07/03/2012 Daily Politics


07/03/2012

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Good morning. This is The Daily Politics. Six British soldiers are

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missing presumed dead in Afghanistan. Their armoured vehicle

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was caught in an explosion in Helmand province. It is the biggest

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single loss of life for British forces since 2006. Over 400 British

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military personnel have now perished in the Afghan conflict.

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The Prime Ministers says it is a desperately sad day for our country.

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The Labour leader calls it a dark day. Expect a muted atmosphere at

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Prime Minister's Questions. Is this year's budget proving

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taxing for George Osborne? We will have more later.

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The Health Bill could become law within weeks after being amended to

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within inches of its life. But that will not stop the unions marching

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on Westminster. There are still determined to kill the Health Bill.

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All that coming up in the next 90 minutes. Morning in the United

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Kingdom given that the news from Afghanistan. We are joined by the

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Housing Minister Grant Shapps and the shadow Defence Secretary, Jim

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Murphy. We will speak about this development in Afghanistan. The MoD

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has announced that six British soldiers, I understand they are

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from 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment and 1st Battalion, the

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Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, are missing, believed dead in the south

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of the country. Their armoured vehicle was caught in an explosion

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in Helmand province yesterday. No bodies have been recovered but I

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understand the difficult process of recovery is under way. If their

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deaths are confirmed, and it looks that way, it brings the number of

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British soldiers killed during the Afghan conflict to over 400. This

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is what the Prime Minister had to say this morning. This is a

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desperately sad day for our country and for the families concerned. It

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is a reminder of the massive price we're paying for the work we're

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doing in Afghanistan, the sacrifice that our troops have made an

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continue to make. I believe it is important work for our national

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security at home, but this work will increasingly be carried out by

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Afghan soldiers. Today we should think of the families and their

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loss. We will hear more from the Prime Minister and a leader of the

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opposition at Prime Minister's Questions. Prime Minister's

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Questions is sure to begin with this sad development in Afghanistan.

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Let's go to our correspondent in Kabul. Bring us up to speed with

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what you now know? We know what that a massive

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explosion took place, claiming the lives of these six British troops.

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We do not know because of the explosion. British personnel are at

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the scene and they have secured the site. The recovery operation is

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under way. This was a massive Warrior armoured fighting vehicle,

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very heavy and robust, and designed to withstand a powerful explosion.

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But in this case it seems like the vehicle was more or less destroyed.

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Two different theories are being looked at by a British forces in

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the area, that either it was at IED, or that it may have been something

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which was in the area for a lot longer, so be it mine, a so-called

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legacy mine, that could have been planted decades earlier. The

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precise location where this took place is very unstable. Insurgents

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are active in the area and have been planting IEDs recently.

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In London, the Ministry of Defence is uncertain, it thinks it is

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unlikely that it was a legacy bomb from the Soviet occupation. But we

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do not know. If this is at Taliban attack, the recovery process is

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dangerous. They call it a daisy chain attack, that you can going

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and then another bomb goes off. A bad is possible.

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-- that is possible. IEDs are a major killer of coalition forces

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and civilians in Afghanistan. Almost one-third of civilians have

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been killed by IED. Since the conflict began, more than 200

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British service personnel have been killed by IEDs. They are very cheap

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to make and relatively easy to position. INAUDIBLE Jim Murphy, I

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suspect, I do not know for sure, but I suspect that a lot of people

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watching this will wonder why are we still there, why are these young

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British men and women as well having to risk their lives and lose

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their lives in this case for what? That is a fair question that many

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people will ask this morning. In other countries, there will be a

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similar response where there has been tragic loss of life. Can I

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express my condolences on behalf of the opposition to the families who

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have lost their loved ones. It is a terrible day for the country as the

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Prime Minister has said. But it is a day that the families will find

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hard to recover from. But on the wider point, we are there because

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to have an Andover no space in Afghanistan, it means that the

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Taliban will come to us. I do think that this is in our national

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interest. The easy thing for the opposition to do would be to say,

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let's ask questions, but that is for another day. It is in our

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interests as a country, as a people, that we should make the country and

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media that can no longer launch terrorist attacks against us.

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is obviously the view of the government as well, Grant Shapps,

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but we have been in Afghanistan since 2001, that is 11 years ago

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and the Taliban still seems very powerful. It seems to be able to go

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across the border with Pakistan with impunity. It looks like it has

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the capability to kill six of our military personnel. All the

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discussion in Afghanistan is that when we do get out, the Taliban

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:08:24.:08:26.

will probably takeover anyway. The people who have lost loved ones

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today, they will still think, why? First and foremost, for the country

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as a whole and for the families involved, a tragic day that I know

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the Prime Minister will reflect on in half-an-hour. We must not forget

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their personal sacrifice. I endorse everything that Jim Murphy has said.

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There is a direct connection between terrorist training camps in

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Afghanistan and what happens on the streets of our own capital. That is

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why it was right to act. There is a structured plans. There will be

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none of our forces in combat roles by 2014. We know they are coming

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out and you're right, it will not be perfect, there will not be a

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democracy as we see it here, but large achievements have been made.

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Women and children are able to go about their lives. If female

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children are able to go to school. If that was the objective, we

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should have kept the Soviet Union there. More children went to school

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under the Soviet Union. But that was not the reason we went in there

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in 2001? If you are arguing that it has not been a straight forward

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campaign, that is obviously true. Sometimes you have got to take

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difficult decisions and progress with them even when the outcomes

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are difficult. Overall, I think Britain can be proud of its role in

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helping to get rid of a terrible regime, and protecting British

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lives in Britain as a result. trying to put myself, and it is

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impossible to do because no one can understand the grief, but I am

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trying to imagine how you would feel if your child had been lost

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and you have just heard the news. If you lost a loved one in the

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Second World War, you felt that they were fighting against the

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greatest evil the world had seen, if you lost a son in the Falklands,

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it was to retake the islands from a fascist dictator. I just wonder

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what you would think this morning? What would you say to them?

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were right. Those families to have lost a loved one have been informed.

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It is important that the families know. It is a much more difficult

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argument to make. In the Second World War, if we had not gone into

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mainland Europe, Hitler would have come here. There was a clear

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national interest in it in the First World War and the Falklands

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war. We have to make the arguments across the party's consistently.

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When I was in Afghanistan and met remarkable men and women from our

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armed forces. They appreciate that they are getting the young girls to

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school but that is not the primary purpose, the primary purpose is to

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keep our country save. We have to have a better conversation with the

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public about that. I am sure we will return to this later. It will

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be a subdued house today for Prime Minister's Questions.

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Now, super Tuesday, the day when a Republican candidate is usually

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confirmed has been and gone and we have no idea who will go up against

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Barack Obama in November. He is a flavour of the action from last

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night. -- here is a flavour. What a great night. There are three states

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under our belt now and counting and we will get more before the night

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is over. To the millions of Americans who look around and can

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only see jobs that they cannot get, I have a message. You have not

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failed, you have a president that has failed you and that is going to

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change. We are going to win a few, we are going to lose a few, but it

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looks like we're going to get at least a couple of gold medals and a

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whole parcel full of silver medals. We have won in the West, the

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Midwest and the South, and we're ready to win across this country.

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Joining us now is Michael Magan from Republicans Abroad. Good

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morning. It is still pretty unusual to have so many candidates alike in

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the field at this stage in a Republican nomination race? It is

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really different. Mitt Romney was hoping he could pull-out into the

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fast lane yesterday but he has Rick Santorum in his rear-view mirror.

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It looks like it will be a dog fight? It will be longer than

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anyone anticipated and with the crime is coming up in the side, and

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with how well Rick Santorum did yesterday, Mitt Romney will have a

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few hard weeks in front of him. you think that Mitt Romney will

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seize the day? It is delicate at the moment. He is trying to seize

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the day. He is hoping that Newt Gingrich stays in the race even

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though he only one Georgia last night because that continues to

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take delegates away from Santorum. What Rick Santorum would like is

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for Newt Gingrich to drop out. No one is paying attention to Ron Paul

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at the moment. The Republicans are desperate to coalesce around a

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single figure, but is the problem that Mitt Romney is still

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struggling to be inspirational enough for a broad spectrum of

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Republican voters? I think you see him trekking to the right. He has

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had to go more and more to the right as Rick Santorum puts

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socialist issues on the agenda. He is winning in cities and are been

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areas, but he is struggling in the country. He is having a hard time

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with people who have not gone to college. There is an old saying,

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Democrats fall in love with their candidate and republicans fall in

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line. We will see people fall in Does he really fit the bill? It is

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hard for me. In some ways, Mitt has been running for President for

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eight years. The general population is waiting for somebody that is

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really going to inspire them, and I think we are seeing right now the

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Republican candidates leant towards the convention in Tampa later this

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year. His problem is that he is weak in the south. If the

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Republicans do not take the South, they will not take the White House.

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Santorum won Tennessee yesterday. Evangelicals do not like him being

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a Mormon. The race now moves to Kansas, which is not sudden, but it

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is quite sat in the Midwest, Mississippi, Alabama. You are right,

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it is going to be hard for Mitt Romney in the coming weeks. The

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other thing to keep in mind, he is out spending rate Santorum 5-1.

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money is unbelievable, isn't it? The Democrats must be running their

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hands in glee. Any smart Democrat now is rubbing their hands in worry.

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Why? There is a long time until November. By Obama's negative

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numbers are still quite high. You still have him around 45%. But in

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every poll, he beat whoever you choose. By five points at the

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moment, the gap is not that big. The gap is not any when he was

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expected to be between Obama and Mitt. Is there any chance, as a

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journalist who would love the prospect, of a brokered convention?

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People like to talk about that. know we do! You will have to

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explain it for the viewers. means, and we have not had one for

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a long while, that we get to the convention and there is no clear

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front runner, no overall majority for any money, and so you can

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broker, you can do deals to create majorities for and against. It used

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to be called the smoke-filled rooms, but you're not allowed to smoke now,

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so they are just filled! At a candidate he was not of the ballot

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papers, some are walking by. It is an interesting thing. Is there any

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chance? Of course, there is always a chance. What is the chance? I

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don't know. George W Bush's former chief of staff kind of mentioned

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Jeb Bush's name last week, but at the same time you had Barbara Bush,

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the former first lady, saying this is the messiest primary she has

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ever seen. There are rumblings of a brokered convention, I'm not sure.

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We will be watching extremely closely. I think the winner is one

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of the people who did not have the name on the ballot paper, Obama,

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because I do not mean to be unkind, but watching these four candidates,

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it is like four different parties. We are going to have to move on,

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keep your eye on Illinois, that is the next big state that Mr Romney

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has to win. It may not feel like it, the weather in London is a bit wet,

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Jim Murphy knows what I am talking about, he will translate for you

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later, the subtitles are coming up! But spring is about to spring, like

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the budget, only a few weeks away, the days have been getting longer,

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you might have organised a nice Easter break in the Seychelles for

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the Maldives or Paisley. I don my black silk pyjamas every night and

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dream the dream. Not everyone in Westminster is happy, over to you,

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Jo! The budget is only a fortnight away, and George Osborne could be

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forgiven for losing his beauty sleep. In fact, the Sweet dreams he

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once had a bad thing the Chancellor who share the proceeds of growth

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may be turning into nightmares. The economy is predicted to grow by a

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miserable 0.7% this year, leaving Mr Osborne limited room to

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manoeuvre. Angry motorists are desperate for some relief from

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record petrol prices, but the Treasury argues it has already done

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a lot to cut duty. And there is pressure on him to wake up, smell

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the coffee and end unpopular plans to cut child benefit for higher-

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rate taxpayers. There are demands from the Lib Dems to move faster

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towards raising the income tax threshold to �10,000. Does he have

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any cheerful thoughts for the long night between now and the budget?

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He may try to make life easier for small businesses by cutting

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regulation and perhaps offering tax cuts. And he might be able to

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please many Conservatives by cutting the 50% top rate of income

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tax, but only by making up for it with some sort of wealth tax,

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perhaps the mention tax proposed by Vince Cable. For many Tories,

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giving in to the Liberal Democrats is seen as sleepwalking towards

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disaster. Andrew. Sleepwalking towards disaster, sleepwalk back

:20:03.:20:10.

there. It is not a disaster in any way! We are joined by Ben Page,

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good morning, from Ipsos MORI. He is going to tell us how the Poles

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are doing. On his original plan, we will see if it survives, Mr Osborne

:20:19.:20:27.

taking child benefit away from the 40% plus taxpayers, or... Very

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popular when it first came out, in October, when you first sit the CSR,

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18 months ago. To be honest, people are still in favour of reducing the

:20:37.:20:41.

benefits bill. The question always is how, and of course most people

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do not have kids. Most people do not burn this sort of money.

:20:47.:20:52.

they do not care? Well, they might aspire to add some point, so it is

:20:52.:20:56.

a real juggling act for him. Whatever he does is going to affect

:20:56.:21:00.

one of his core constituencies for one group of voters that he might

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quite like to please, and frankly I am glad I'm not George Osborne.

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You're not alone in that! That does not mark you out, Ben Page! This is

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true. The 50p rate is popular. is... Most people do not pay it.

:21:17.:21:23.

be honest, although they might aspire to, it is very unlikely.

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Interestingly, inheritance tax is much more unpopular, even though a

:21:26.:21:31.

tiny minority pay that. Because people hope that their home will be

:21:31.:21:34.

expensive enough, we fantasise about a property getting more

:21:34.:21:39.

expensive. The top rate of tax is a popular measure, but not among some

:21:39.:21:43.

of George Osborne's key constituencies. Any data on the

:21:43.:21:46.

trade-off that is being talked about, although I'm not sure it is

:21:46.:21:50.

going to happen, between cutting the top rate of income tax on money

:21:50.:21:56.

that you work for but increasing his mansion tax or higher property

:21:56.:22:00.

pounds in council tax, increasing the tax on the property you living?

:22:00.:22:06.

Particularly if it is an expensive property. People in Kensington and

:22:06.:22:09.

Chelsea are quaking in their boots! No, I have not got a simple answer

:22:09.:22:13.

on that one. I do not think there is, but whatever he does, he is

:22:13.:22:17.

going to annoy some of his core constituency, and that is a problem,

:22:17.:22:20.

but it is all small numbers of people. A lot of these is about a

:22:21.:22:24.

signal he is sending to the broader electorate and the country as a

:22:24.:22:27.

whole about whether he is on their side, because at the end of all

:22:27.:22:30.

this is the Ronald Reagan question, will I feel better with these

:22:30.:22:38.

people and four years' time question --? Eric Pickles has made

:22:38.:22:42.

it clear he does not like the idea of a mention tax, he has said it

:22:42.:22:46.

would be a big mistake and it would hit the south-east, Tory seats like

:22:46.:22:51.

your arm, which are not hugely safe. Putting the politics aside, what

:22:51.:22:57.

you find in some of these places is that this could become a Grammy tax.

:22:57.:23:01.

They may not be very wealthy at all in terms of day-to-day expenditure.

:23:01.:23:06.

The process of revaluing is quite a lengthy process. It was started in

:23:06.:23:11.

Wales in 2005 and started to take years. It is expensive, �250

:23:11.:23:15.

million. The coalition agreement said that we were not to a re-

:23:15.:23:18.

evaluation. There is a variety of difficulties in bringing something

:23:18.:23:24.

like this in. I understand that there may be someone in a big house

:23:24.:23:28.

that they got many years ago and it has soared in value, over 2 million,

:23:28.:23:34.

but they are relatively cash poor. But you are putting a new welfare

:23:34.:23:38.

cap on housing benefit which could force a number of people in houses

:23:38.:23:41.

they are in now to move to other houses, so if it is good for them,

:23:41.:23:46.

why is it not good for your mythical old lady? But in the

:23:47.:23:50.

politics of it aside, dealing with the logic of it, if you're going to

:23:50.:23:54.

introduce something like this, you need a whole process involving

:23:54.:24:00.

people visiting lots of properties. It is a long period. The coalition

:24:00.:24:04.

agreement rules that having a revaluation during the Parliament.

:24:04.:24:07.

Say without getting to a process costing hundreds of millions of

:24:07.:24:12.

pounds. I doubt it would bring the cash in in time. -- so you would

:24:12.:24:17.

get into. You are close to the child benefit cut, but you are

:24:17.:24:25.

calling for a fuel duty cut. Did you photocopy his opinion poll?

:24:25.:24:33.

wish it had been that choreographed! It does seem like

:24:33.:24:38.

policy by opinion poll. But in politics to one side, he says, I

:24:38.:24:41.

understand why he says that, because the politics is such a mess

:24:41.:24:44.

for the government. We had a conversation about the Republican

:24:44.:24:49.

Party. UK Coalition is behaving like the Republican Party, all over

:24:49.:24:54.

the place, all sorts of briefings against one another. I know time

:24:54.:24:59.

his shot before PMQs, but one policy deserves more attention,

:24:59.:25:02.

which is couples earning �18,000 are going to see a change in their

:25:02.:25:06.

tax credits which means that unless they go for 16 hours per week up to

:25:06.:25:13.

24 hours per week, they will lose �3,000. I want to explain this.

:25:13.:25:19.

That is misleading. You lose your tax credits. Unless you go from 16

:25:20.:25:25.

up to 24 hours, the problem is in a labour market with so many people

:25:25.:25:30.

out of work, how does a couple find those hours? You raise a very

:25:30.:25:34.

important point, but we have not got time to go there. We will maybe

:25:34.:25:41.

try to do it afterwards. Ben, thank you for being with us. Our two

:25:41.:25:45.

guests have reached the pinnacle of public life. How do we know?

:25:45.:25:49.

Because they have been invited on to the Daily Politics. It is an

:25:49.:25:52.

honour called in to a select few, especially on a Wednesday, and

:25:53.:25:56.

these pillars of society would not be the men they are without a sense

:25:56.:26:01.

of history and understanding of our glorious island story. I can see

:26:01.:26:06.

where this is going. The government is worried that too few of our

:26:06.:26:11.

schoolchildren will have a scale similar heights as our guests,

:26:11.:26:15.

which must mean they are going nowhere! Why? They do not have that

:26:15.:26:20.

sense of history, that sense of continuity, and so worried is the

:26:20.:26:23.

government that they are considering an overhaul of the

:26:23.:26:27.

history syllabus. In the spirit of public service, we thought we would

:26:27.:26:34.

do our own history quiz. Everything in our guests love! Can anyone tell

:26:34.:26:44.
:26:44.:26:46.

me what happened in 1215? We can try! A Labour government?!

:26:46.:26:51.

could call that a trick question or just a stupid mistake on my part!

:26:51.:26:55.

Let's go with the second. Magna Carta. That is the correct answer.

:26:55.:27:04.

All right, what happened in a 1769? It is your turn! Grant does not

:27:05.:27:12.

know! It is nothing to do with Scotland, it is the introduction of

:27:12.:27:16.

the spinning mule, which was a key moment in the industrial revolution.

:27:17.:27:22.

Was it really? That is what I was going to say! I have not read the

:27:22.:27:28.

opinion poll! Finally, what happened in 2004? What seminal

:27:28.:27:33.

broadcasting event took place in 2004? You first appeared on this

:27:33.:27:39.

programme. More important than that, it was the introduction of the

:27:39.:27:43.

Daily Politics Eid. The clue is in the title. If you want to be part

:27:43.:27:49.

of history, you just have to enter the guest of the competition.

:27:49.:27:54.

will remind you had to enter. see if you can remember when this

:27:54.:28:04.
:28:04.:28:04.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 79 seconds

:28:04.:29:24.

To be in with a chance of winning, send your answer to our special e-

:29:24.:29:34.
:29:34.:29:36.

mail address. He can see the full terms and conditions on our website.

:29:36.:29:39.

Yes, Stephen Fry and all of these other quiz masters will be feeling

:29:39.:29:42.

pretty secure in their jobs after my performance. It is coming up to

:29:42.:29:46.

midday, we can take a look at Big Ben, as we always do, Prime

:29:46.:29:51.

Minister's Questions on its way. Nick Robinson is here, too, and the

:29:51.:29:56.

debts of the six British soldiers, not confirmed, it will overshadow

:29:56.:29:59.

everything. I think it will. We have grown used to the names of

:29:59.:30:03.

people who have lost their lives being read out at the beginning of

:30:03.:30:08.

Prime Minister's Questions. We know that six debts are not worse than

:30:08.:30:12.

one for the people involved, but when it takes you over this

:30:12.:30:15.

threshold, entirely arbitrary, it means nothing to people who have

:30:15.:30:21.

lost someone, that it is the 400th, every last is serious, but there

:30:21.:30:25.

are moments like this where the House of Commons will feel a need

:30:25.:30:29.

not just to pay tribute but to reflect on the huge sacrifices that

:30:29.:30:34.

are being made. It is an interesting issue, though, because

:30:34.:30:39.

all three main parties, the main parties in parliament singer from

:30:39.:30:43.

the same song sheet on this. They do pretty much, and we are in a

:30:43.:30:46.

situation where the British government is amongst the slowest

:30:46.:30:49.

of international government to say we want to get out. Other

:30:49.:30:53.

governments have wanted to get out, and there was a sign of tension

:30:53.:30:58.

between David Cameron and President Obama when the President seemed

:30:58.:31:02.

desperate to have withdrawn. The British government have been the

:31:02.:31:06.

last to say, this is right, we are staying, and they have had the

:31:06.:31:10.

support of the opposition parties. I wonder if anyone will stand up to

:31:10.:31:13.

speak for those, and they do exist in the country, we think we should

:31:13.:31:18.

get out quickly. It has been read that people have done that. You

:31:18.:31:22.

have observed how rarely the issue has been debated over the 10 years,

:31:22.:31:26.

the 11 years since British forces moved in. My instinct is probably

:31:26.:31:30.

not, but you will see, maybe somebody will say it is right to

:31:30.:31:34.

leave. Is there a strong movement on the backbenches? Not strong.

:31:34.:31:38.

There are people who have asked questions about whether the level

:31:38.:31:42.

of sacrifice is worth it. The bigger worry, and this was raised

:31:43.:31:47.

by David Miliband, will it revert to being as bad as it was before

:31:47.:31:57.
:31:57.:32:01.

when we pull out? Straight over to I hope you will permit the

:32:01.:32:06.

following announcement. Yesterday a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle

:32:06.:32:10.

on patrol near the eastern province of hell man was struck by an

:32:10.:32:15.

explosion. It is with great sadness that I must tell the House that six

:32:15.:32:20.

soldiers are missing, believed killed. Five soldiers are from 3rd

:32:20.:32:23.

Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment, and one is from 1st Battalion, the

:32:23.:32:26.

Duke of Lancaster's Regiment. Our thoughts are with the family and

:32:26.:32:31.

friends of these brave men. This would be the largest loss of life

:32:31.:32:37.

in a single incident in Afghanistan since 2006. It takes the total

:32:37.:32:43.

number of casualties to over 400. Every death reminds us of the human

:32:43.:32:52.

cost paid by our armed forces. The commanders of the armed forces have

:32:53.:32:56.

stressed their commitment of our troops to the mission and getting

:32:56.:33:01.

the job done. I know that everyone will want a message of support to

:33:01.:33:07.

go out from this house today to the armed forces. This morning I had

:33:07.:33:14.

meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. Can I echo

:33:14.:33:20.

the Prime Minister's tribute to the fallen? Their service and their

:33:20.:33:28.

sacrifice humbles us all. With this terrible news in mind, will my

:33:28.:33:30.

Right Honourable Friend used his meetings with President Obama next

:33:30.:33:35.

week to co-ordinate a prudent withdrawal of forces from

:33:35.:33:39.

Afghanistan and to ensure that Afghan forces get the training they

:33:39.:33:44.

need to take over? Next week is an opportunity to make sure that

:33:45.:33:49.

Britain and America, as the two largest contributors to the nation

:33:49.:33:57.

in Afghanistan, art together and in one step when it comes to training

:33:57.:34:02.

the army and the Afghan police. All NATO partners should have a

:34:03.:34:07.

properly co-ordinated process for transition in that country. We

:34:07.:34:15.

should be able to bring our forces home. Can I join the Prime Minister

:34:15.:34:19.

in expressing sadness at the terrible news of our six soldiers

:34:19.:34:25.

missing, feared dead. Today we are reminded of the sacrifice that our

:34:25.:34:30.

service personnel make on our behalf. By putting themselves in

:34:30.:34:36.

harm's way for our benefit, they demonstrate the utmost courage. We

:34:36.:34:40.

owe them and all of those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan an

:34:41.:34:45.

immense debt of gratitude. Our thoughts are with their friends and

:34:45.:34:50.

family and colleagues. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that

:34:50.:34:55.

we must restate clearly it the reasons for our mission in

:34:55.:35:01.

Afghanistan, a more stable, self- governing Afghanistan for greater

:35:01.:35:09.

and better outcomes in that region? And for safety at home. He is right,

:35:09.:35:14.

our mission in Afghanistan remains vital to our national security. We

:35:15.:35:18.

are there to prevent that country becoming a safe haven for al-Qaeda

:35:18.:35:25.

where they might plan attacks on our country. We well equipped the

:35:25.:35:28.

forces and government of Afghanistan to take care of their

:35:28.:35:32.

own national security without the need for foreign troops on their

:35:32.:35:39.

soil. That is our game and we are making progress. The Afghan

:35:39.:35:48.

national army stands at 184,000. It is on target for 190,000 by the end

:35:48.:35:53.

of this year. We are making progress and this is absolutely

:35:53.:35:59.

essential for bringing our troops home. But agree that we need to

:35:59.:36:04.

restate clearly why they are there, Y eight days in our national

:36:04.:36:10.

interest. As the commander of the battalion said to me today, his men

:36:10.:36:14.

have higher morale. They know they are doing an important mission for

:36:14.:36:20.

this country and they want our support. Three the Prime Minister

:36:20.:36:24.

and I also agree that it is essential that we build now for a

:36:24.:36:28.

political settlement in Afghanistan for when our troops are gone. Can

:36:29.:36:33.

he take this moment to update the house on what diplomatic progress

:36:33.:36:40.

is being made on securing a more inclusive settlement needed for a

:36:40.:36:44.

successful Afghanistan? Does he agree that the international

:36:44.:36:48.

community must increase the pace of progress towards this settlement so

:36:48.:36:54.

that we can do all we can to make concrete progress between now and

:36:54.:37:00.

the end of 2014? We are clearly planning the increase in the army

:37:00.:37:05.

and the police, the physical forces that takeover, but the greatest

:37:05.:37:09.

difference we could make is a stronger political settlement that

:37:09.:37:14.

will make sure that Afghanistan has a chance of real stability and

:37:14.:37:19.

security in the future. There are proper discussions now between the

:37:19.:37:23.

Afghan and Pakistani governments. There is a clear message coming out

:37:23.:37:27.

of both countries to all those who are engaged in violence to give up

:37:27.:37:32.

that violence and join a political process. There is strong support

:37:32.:37:37.

for that across the Arab world, particularly in the Middle East. We

:37:38.:37:42.

need to support that and send a clear message to the Taliban.

:37:42.:37:47.

Whether it is our troops are Afghan troops that are there, they will

:37:47.:37:53.

not win on the battlefield. A political settlement will give the

:37:53.:37:59.

country a chance of peaceful progress. I would like to echo the

:37:59.:38:04.

Prime Minister's tributes to our brave men and women who are asked

:38:04.:38:11.

to make sacrifices on a daily basis to keep our country says. Will the

:38:11.:38:15.

Prime Minister confirm that despite these tragic events, the mission

:38:15.:38:19.

will remain in Afghanistan in one form or another for as long as it

:38:19.:38:27.

takes to produce a secure Afghanistan? We have a very clear

:38:27.:38:31.

timetable which is all about transition, parts of Afghanistan

:38:31.:38:36.

will be handed to Afghan security control, which will allow our

:38:36.:38:41.

troops to move into the background and eventually out of the country.

:38:41.:38:46.

We are already seen in Helmand province, one of the toughest parts

:38:46.:38:51.

of Afghanistan, Lashkar Gah is now controlled by Afghan forces so this

:38:51.:38:58.

process is now on going. I believe it can be properly completed by

:38:58.:39:03.

2014 so we can leave in a proper and orderly fashion. But let's be

:39:04.:39:08.

clear, the relationship between Britain and other countries in

:39:08.:39:13.

Afghanistan will go on. We must learn the lessons of the past which

:39:13.:39:22.

is what a mistake it was to turn away from Afghanistan. The Prime

:39:22.:39:25.

Minister's Business Secretary says of the Government's sanction on

:39:25.:39:33.

economic growth, our actions are, frankly, rather piecemeal. Does the

:39:33.:39:39.

Prime Minister agree? I do not agree with that. This Government is

:39:40.:39:44.

cutting corporation tax, investing in apprenticeships, building

:39:44.:39:49.

enterprise zones, and making sure that across our economy the

:39:49.:39:54.

rebalancing is taking place it is necessary for economic growth.

:39:54.:39:59.

constituents have to wait longer to get a hospital appointment and they

:39:59.:40:03.

would in England. There are five times less likely to get certain

:40:03.:40:08.

cancer drugs than in England, and if they get to hospital, they are

:40:08.:40:13.

twice as likely to get an infection than they would be in England. Does

:40:13.:40:18.

this prove that you cannot trust Labour with the NHS? He makes an

:40:18.:40:25.

important point. What has happened to the NHS in Wales shows what has

:40:25.:40:30.

happened if you do not put in the resources. Resources have been cut

:40:30.:40:35.

in Wales. The NHS should have been reformed to make sure that people

:40:36.:40:41.

get the treatments they need. There are much longer waiting times in

:40:41.:40:48.

Wales and that is an example of what happens without the reform.

:40:48.:40:58.
:40:58.:41:06.

The Prime Minister is proud of his welfare reforms. Hear, hear! Can he

:41:06.:41:12.

look me in the eye and tell me he is proud of the decision to remove

:41:12.:41:15.

all disability benefits from a 10- year-old child who can hardly walk,

:41:15.:41:25.

who cannot go to the pilot herself, because she has cerebral palsy? --

:41:25.:41:34.

the toilet. This government is not cutting the money going into

:41:34.:41:40.

disability benefits. As someone who has filled out the form for a

:41:40.:41:43.

disability living allowance, and who has had a child with cerebral

:41:43.:41:49.

palsy, I know how long it takes to fill out the form. We will have a

:41:49.:41:53.

proper medical tests so people who need that help will get it more

:41:53.:42:03.
:42:03.:42:08.

quickly. -- test. I say to the honourable gentleman for Brighton

:42:08.:42:13.

that that sort of nice it is not acceptable in this chamber.

:42:13.:42:20.

Friday, two police officers came to see me about the life threatening

:42:20.:42:25.

effects of new legal high called black mamba. I am informed that

:42:25.:42:32.

this is the latest legal high being sold on our streets today. Now that

:42:32.:42:37.

we have regulations that allow us to act swiftly to ban potentially

:42:37.:42:45.

dangerous legal highs, would my Right Honourable Friend act on this

:42:45.:42:50.

substance immediately? honourable friend raises an

:42:50.:42:54.

important issue. We are determined to stamp out this sort of thing and

:42:54.:43:00.

my honourable friend is aware of this particular substance. We have

:43:00.:43:10.
:43:10.:43:11.

an early warning system that brings this sort of thing to our attention.

:43:11.:43:17.

A delivery driver from Dartford is the sole earner in his family. He

:43:17.:43:22.

currently works 20 hours each week. Under the Prime Minister's

:43:22.:43:27.

proposals, and less he works 24 O'Haras per week, he will lose all

:43:27.:43:32.

his working tax credit. He says he has approached his employer to

:43:32.:43:42.
:43:42.:43:42.

increase his hours, but he was told that the are simply were not there.

:43:42.:43:48.

What is the Prime Minister's advice to this man? We need to reform the

:43:48.:43:53.

tax credit system because we have a massive budget deficit. When we

:43:53.:43:59.

came into office, tax credits were going to nine out of 10 families,

:43:59.:44:04.

including people write up the income scale. In terms of this

:44:04.:44:08.

specific case, we're dealing with the basic unfairness that we asked

:44:08.:44:12.

a single parent to work 16 hours before getting access to the tax

:44:12.:44:18.

credit system. I think it is only right to say to couples that they

:44:18.:44:23.

should work 24 hours between them. If they do that, they will actually

:44:23.:44:31.

be better off. That answer is no use to that man and his family. He

:44:31.:44:41.

cannot find the extra hours, he is going to lose... The Defence

:44:41.:44:46.

Secretary shirts, what about his wife? To his wife is looking after

:44:46.:44:56.
:44:56.:44:58.

their three children and cannot find work consistent with that. --

:44:58.:45:06.

shouts. This man and 200,000 couples are going to lose as a

:45:06.:45:11.

result of this. Before the election, the Prime Minister said that for

:45:11.:45:17.

Labour to say that the changes we are making to tax credits will hit

:45:17.:45:22.

low-income fact -- families is simply not true. Why has he broken

:45:22.:45:29.

that promise. To answer him directly, I do not think it is

:45:29.:45:32.

unreasonable when we say to a single parent that they have to

:45:32.:45:37.

work 16 hours to get access to the tax credit system, again not think

:45:37.:45:43.

it is unreasonable to ask a couple to work an average of 12 hours each.

:45:43.:45:49.

This relates to a bigger picture. We have a massive budget deficits.

:45:49.:45:53.

If he is not going to support the welfare camp, the housing benefit

:45:53.:45:59.

camp, if he will not support cuts to tax credits, how will we deal

:45:59.:46:08.

In case the Prime Minister did not realise, in Dartford there are five

:46:08.:46:14.

people chasing every vacancy. It is just not enough on a prime minister

:46:14.:46:17.

to say, they should get out to work. If they cannot find the work, they

:46:17.:46:21.

will find they are better off on benefits than in work, something

:46:21.:46:25.

the Prime Minister said he wanted to avoid. It goes to this matter of

:46:25.:46:29.

trust. The Prime Minister made a clear promise, just like he made a

:46:29.:46:34.

clear promise on child benefit. Before the election, he said, I'm

:46:34.:46:42.

not going to flannel you... I am going to give it to you straight. I

:46:42.:46:47.

like child benefit. I would not change child benefit. I would not

:46:47.:46:52.

means-test child benefit. I do not think that is a good idea. We are

:46:52.:46:55.

already established he has broken his promise to low income families.

:46:55.:46:59.

Why has he broken his promise to middle-income families, too? Here

:46:59.:47:05.

we go, another change she does not support. He seems to think... He

:47:05.:47:10.

seems to think that people... Order! The question has been asked,

:47:10.:47:16.

the answer must be heard. Does he really think that people earning

:47:16.:47:21.

�20,000, �25,000, should pay for his child benefit? I don't agree

:47:21.:47:26.

with that! We have to make savings, not giving child benefit to the

:47:26.:47:30.

wealthiest 15% of families, of course it is a difficult decision,

:47:30.:47:34.

life is about difficult decisions, government is about difficult

:47:34.:47:39.

decisions. Isn't it a pity he is not capable of taking on?

:47:39.:47:46.

Miliband! Mr Speaker, first of all, we are talking about families on

:47:46.:47:49.

�43,000 per year, and secondly it is no good the Prime Minister

:47:49.:47:52.

saying he now supports the principle that people on high

:47:52.:47:56.

income should not get child benefit, because before the election he

:47:56.:48:00.

supported the opposite principle and he said quite clearly to

:48:00.:48:04.

families about down the country, I'm not going to take away your

:48:04.:48:08.

child benefit. Mr Speaker, in my book, there is a simple word for

:48:08.:48:13.

that, it is a broken promise, a broken promise by this Prime

:48:13.:48:20.

Minister. Two broken promises! They are right, two broken promises, two

:48:20.:48:24.

broken promises. The reality is this. Low-income families are

:48:24.:48:29.

losing tax credits, middle-income families are losing child benefit.

:48:29.:48:32.

Does the Prime Minister understand why people just do not believe him

:48:32.:48:38.

when he says, we are all in this together? I really do think it is

:48:38.:48:41.

time for the right honourable gentleman to listen to his own

:48:41.:48:46.

shadow chief secretary, who said, we must ensure we pass the test of

:48:46.:48:50.

fiscal credibility. If we don't get this right, it does not matter what

:48:50.:48:56.

we say about anything else. She is absolutely right. Reducing our

:48:56.:49:00.

deficits take tough decisions. He has opposed every single cut, the

:49:00.:49:05.

welfare cap, the housing benefit cap, the ASBOs is Legal Aid cuts.

:49:06.:49:10.

No wonder, when people dial up a radio phone-in and work out who he

:49:10.:49:16.

is, they all say the same thing, he is not remotely up to the job.

:49:16.:49:26.
:49:26.:49:31.

Let's... Order! Let's hear from Mr Speaker. Following last week's

:49:31.:49:36.

statement on the use of wild animals in circuses, could the

:49:36.:49:39.

Prime Minister inform the House whether they plan will be

:49:40.:49:45.

introduced in this Parliament and before the next general election?

:49:45.:49:50.

Well, I do want to see... I do want to see a ban introduced. It is the

:49:50.:49:55.

overwhelming opinion of members in this house. We are putting in place

:49:55.:49:58.

a regulatory scheme in the short term, but my right honourable

:49:58.:50:01.

friend the Environment Secretary made absolutely clear that it is

:50:01.:50:07.

our intention to introduce a ban in fall as well. Mr Paul Blomfield.

:50:07.:50:10.

Today the Business Select Committee published a major report on

:50:10.:50:15.

consumer debt. Last November, we reported 60% of people worried

:50:16.:50:20.

about debt and 3.5 million considered pay-day loans. In the

:50:20.:50:23.

years since the government concluded its consultation, no

:50:23.:50:27.

action has been announced. Will the Prime Minister commits to act now

:50:27.:50:31.

to protect vulnerable families, or will he accept he is out of touch

:50:32.:50:36.

with the financial reality facing them as a result of his policies?

:50:36.:50:40.

As the last exchange proved, we are worried about debt, the whole

:50:40.:50:44.

country needs to worry about debt, and the Labour Party does not seem

:50:44.:50:48.

to understand there is a problem. There has been a debt problem in

:50:48.:50:51.

our economy and also for many households, and we need to make

:50:51.:50:56.

sure that they get help. That is why we are making sure that

:50:56.:50:58.

Citizens Advice Bureau continues to get help, because they are one of

:50:58.:51:01.

the most important services for helping people in that way.

:51:01.:51:05.

Douglas Carswell. The coalition agreement contains many bold and

:51:05.:51:11.

brilliant proposals to give Britain the change that we need. Open

:51:11.:51:14.

primaries, a bonfire of the quangos, radical localism. Sometimes,

:51:14.:51:19.

progress has been slower than some of us are beside would have hoped.

:51:19.:51:22.

Sometimes, the radicalism has been slightly blunted. Is this because

:51:22.:51:28.

of the constraints of collision or because of the Whitehall machine?

:51:28.:51:32.

Well, it is good to have such a helpful start from my honourable

:51:32.:51:36.

friend! I think this government has done a number of radical things

:51:36.:51:40.

right across the board, whether it is welfare reform to make sure it

:51:40.:51:44.

always pays to work, whether it is education reform to give greater

:51:44.:51:47.

independence to our schools, whether it is tax reform to give as

:51:48.:51:52.

competitive tax rates. Of course, I always want us to go further and

:51:52.:51:56.

faster. I do not blame the Whitehall machine. In the end, the

:51:56.:52:01.

politicians must take responsibility. Mr Tom Harris.

:52:01.:52:05.

of my constituents was arrested in Goa nearly three years ago on drugs

:52:05.:52:07.

charges. He was subsequently released when it turned out that

:52:07.:52:11.

the police officers who arrested him were themselves under

:52:11.:52:14.

investigation for corruption. He has spent the last 22 months in a

:52:14.:52:18.

legal limbo, his passport confiscated, he cannot travel or

:52:18.:52:22.

work. He does not even know when his case will come to court. Does

:52:22.:52:26.

the Prime Minister agree that justice delayed is justice denied?

:52:26.:52:29.

Will he make sure that a Foreign Office minister immediately

:52:29.:52:34.

urgently to discuss the case? will certainly do that. It is very

:52:34.:52:37.

important that we feel we can stand up for constituents on the other

:52:37.:52:40.

side of the world of being treated in this way and we can take up

:52:40.:52:43.

these cases. The work of Fair trials abroad and other

:52:43.:52:47.

organisations is very important, and I will make sure that the

:52:47.:52:51.

Foreign Office meet with him very soon. Mr Lee Scott. Will the Prime

:52:51.:52:55.

Minister join with me in congratulating the project that is

:52:55.:52:58.

piloting in my constituency which is being funded by both the private

:52:58.:53:02.

sector, the London borough of Redbridge, various charities,

:53:02.:53:07.

congratulating the co-chairman at the interface group to get young

:53:07.:53:12.

people with special needs into employment? I will certainly join

:53:12.:53:16.

him in supporting that project. I think it is important that we not

:53:16.:53:19.

only help children with special needs through their schooling time

:53:19.:53:23.

but also through that transition after school and into college and

:53:23.:53:26.

then try to help them to find work. It sounds like this is an excellent

:53:27.:53:31.

project that deserves support. mistake Sharon Hodge them. And as

:53:31.:53:36.

the Prime Minister if it is true, backward, the problem is that

:53:36.:53:40.

policies being run by two public school boys who do not know what it

:53:40.:53:43.

is like to go to the supermarket and put things back on the shelves

:53:44.:53:47.

because they cannot afford it for their children's lunchboxes? What

:53:48.:53:54.

is worse, they do not care either. Not my words, Mr Speaker, the words

:53:54.:53:58.

of Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. I would have thought,

:53:58.:54:02.

coming from the north-east, she should be celebrating the fact that

:54:02.:54:09.

Nissan are going to be building their new car in Britain. Instead

:54:09.:54:19.
:54:19.:54:19.

of whatever the nonsense was that she ran out! Oliver Colvile.

:54:19.:54:24.

personal tributes to our fallen as well. Mr Speaker, on Monday,

:54:24.:54:27.

Clare's Law came into being. Would my right honourable friend be

:54:27.:54:32.

willing to meet with me and Sergeant Howarth to learn first-

:54:32.:54:37.

hand how this team's ground- breaking initiative in Devonport,

:54:37.:54:41.

Operation compass, is helping to make sure that children in my

:54:41.:54:46.

Devonport constituency end up by growing up in an area where there

:54:46.:54:50.

is not going to be domestic violence any more? I think I write

:54:50.:54:54.

animal Friend is right to raise this issue in his constituency and

:54:54.:54:58.

also to raise it this week, when we have international women's day. --

:54:58.:55:01.

My right honourable friend. The movement on Clare's Law is

:55:01.:55:04.

important, it is a breakthrough to give women this information if they

:55:04.:55:09.

seek it. I want us to follow that by looking at a specific offence of

:55:09.:55:13.

stalking. I want us to continue to support the rape crisis centres and

:55:13.:55:19.

to make sure we act on domestic violence right across the board.

:55:19.:55:24.

Question Number Ten, closed question, Brian Donohoe. Number Ten.

:55:24.:55:33.

I look forward to visiting Scotland's Sue. -- Scotland soon.

:55:33.:55:38.

Mr Brian Donohoe. I am not so sure, Mr Speaker, that I do not know that

:55:38.:55:43.

he is coming to my constituency very soon indeed. In fact, later

:55:43.:55:52.

this month, to his Tory party conference in true. -- Truman. But

:55:52.:55:56.

I want to know whether or not he agrees with main that the

:55:56.:56:01.

uncertainty that has been created by the nationalists around the

:56:01.:56:04.

separatist idea of a referendum that has been delayed longer than

:56:04.:56:09.

it should be is not leading to an uncertainty of inward investment

:56:09.:56:14.

boat in my constituency and elsewhere. Will he come with me,

:56:14.:56:18.

while he is in Scotland, to see some potential inward investment?

:56:18.:56:23.

It is a promise, Mr Speaker, that he made to me at a meeting one year

:56:23.:56:27.

ago. When he asked me this question one year ago, I met with a

:56:27.:56:31.

delegation from his constituency. I agree with every word he said, and

:56:31.:56:35.

I make this offer. As I am going to be untrue, he can make the short

:56:35.:56:40.

trip from his constituency, we can share a platform together and point

:56:40.:56:45.

out the dangers of separatism and the nationalist agenda. Are you up

:56:45.:56:52.

for it?! Labour-controlled Corby Borough Council... Order! I want

:56:52.:56:56.

the honourable lady is question to be heard in full with a bit barchan,

:56:57.:57:01.

respect. Louise Mensch was not Labour-controlled Corby Borough

:57:01.:57:09.

Council are trying to suppress a report into a scandal. �26 million

:57:09.:57:12.

of money has been wasted, and now councillors are being threatened

:57:12.:57:16.

with disciplinary action if they blow the whistle. Does the Prime

:57:16.:57:19.

Minister agree that the council should come clean with call the

:57:19.:57:24.

people? I absolutely agree with the honourable lady. She raises an

:57:24.:57:28.

important point, which is that there are proposals for total

:57:28.:57:31.

transparency and local government, that expenditure over �500 should

:57:31.:57:36.

be separately documented, but the salaries, names, budgets and

:57:36.:57:39.

responsibilities of staff paid over 58,000 should all be published,

:57:40.:57:43.

including councillors allowances and expenses, including

:57:43.:57:48.

organisational charts. We want the wind of transparency to go through

:57:48.:57:53.

local government. Mr John Fryer. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Article 16

:57:53.:57:57.

of the European fiscal compact says very clearly that it will be

:57:57.:58:01.

incorporated into the European treaties in five years. Will he

:58:01.:58:05.

promised to veto that, what does not expect to be here in five

:58:05.:58:10.

years' time? What the treaty says very clearly is that it can only be

:58:10.:58:13.

incorporated with the position of all 27 member states of the

:58:13.:58:18.

European Union, and our position has not changed. Nigel Adams.

:58:18.:58:23.

you, Mr Speaker. Can the Prime Minister join me, along with the

:58:23.:58:28.

thousands of families with missing loved ones, including the family of

:58:28.:58:32.

losing your woman Claudia Lawrence, in supporting the sensible

:58:32.:58:35.

recommendations of the justice Select Committee's report into

:58:35.:58:40.

missing people's rights and the presumption of death? I think this

:58:40.:58:43.

is an important issue that he raises, and they pay tribute to

:58:44.:58:47.

Peter Lawrence and his support for this campaign, missing people. The

:58:47.:58:52.

justice Select Committee has made an important report but the present

:58:52.:58:57.

law is complicated and recognise that there are difficulties faced

:58:57.:59:00.

by those whose loved ones are missing. We will consider the

:59:01.:59:03.

recommendations carefully, and I will write to the honourable

:59:03.:59:09.

gentleman when we come up with an answer. Sheila Gilmore. If the

:59:09.:59:11.

Prime Minister manages to persuade his Chancellor to remove some of

:59:11.:59:15.

the anomalies of the child benefit policy to help people earning over

:59:15.:59:20.

�43,000 per year, will he then take action to help the couples on a

:59:20.:59:24.

minimum wage you are set to lose �3,000 from April? I think we have

:59:25.:59:29.

dealt with his earlier, which is, you know, we are making a long-term

:59:30.:59:33.

reform, quite apart from the unfairness between the single

:59:33.:59:38.

person on 16 hours, we are making a long-term reform, universal credit,

:59:38.:59:42.

which will mean everyone is better off in work, no matter how many

:59:42.:59:46.

hours they work. That is something you had 13 years to put in place,

:59:46.:59:52.

we will have it done in 18 months. Mr Tim Farron. On Saturday, 2000

:59:52.:59:56.

people marched through my town to present a petition calling for

:59:56.:00:00.

radiotherapy services at the General Hospital in Kendal. Will my

:00:00.:00:04.

right honourable friend agree to meet with us to make sure we bring

:00:04.:00:09.

cancer treatment to Campbell so that local lives can be made longer

:00:09.:00:13.

and Jenny's shorter? -- Kangaw. know from having visited his

:00:13.:00:17.

constituency how important the issue of the hospital is. I know

:00:17.:00:20.

the Health Secretary is fully engaged in this issue, and that I

:00:20.:00:23.

can fix a meeting between him and my right honourable friend to make

:00:23.:00:28.

sure the issue is dealt with. Royal Bank of Scotland has recently

:00:28.:00:34.

axed another 300 jobs. Mostly in Edinburgh and London. However, the

:00:34.:00:38.

jobs have not gone completely. They have all been outsourced to India.

:00:38.:00:40.

The Prime Minister and the government are the biggest

:00:40.:00:44.

shareholders on behalf of the stakeholders, so when will the

:00:44.:00:48.

Prime Minister stand up to RBS and prevents these Maeve Lewis job

:00:48.:00:51.

losses in the UK? I think the most important thing we have to do with

:00:51.:00:58.

the role Bank of Scotland is to recognise is that the last

:00:58.:01:04.

government but �45 billion into that bank. �2,500 for every working

:01:04.:01:08.

family, and the most important thing is we get that money back. We

:01:08.:01:13.

need RBS to return to health. It has got to deal with its bad loans,

:01:13.:01:17.

it has got to grow the rest of its business. Then we would get into a

:01:17.:01:20.

position where we can return people the money that they put into the

:01:20.:01:26.

bank. That is what matters most of all. Mr Kris Hopkins. Thank you, Mr

:01:26.:01:30.

Speaker. Can I offer my sympathies to the families and friends of the

:01:30.:01:33.

six soldiers who have been killed, five of which served with the

:01:33.:01:38.

Yorkshire Regiment, the 3rd Battalion the Duke of Wellington's,

:01:38.:01:41.

which I had the privilege of serving with. I ask the Prime

:01:41.:01:46.

Minister, I recognise the vital role which our troops endeavour to

:01:46.:01:50.

undertake, and I support that process. Can I say that we do need

:01:50.:01:56.

to bring our troops back in 2015? Can I ask the Prime Minister that

:01:56.:02:00.

we do everything to support the families of those who are lost?

:02:00.:02:02.

honourable friend speaks with considerable experience because of

:02:02.:02:06.

his service in our armed forces. I think it is important that we have

:02:06.:02:10.

the date for our troops coming home from Afghanistan, a date which I

:02:10.:02:13.

said we would not be in a combat role or anything like the numbers

:02:13.:02:17.

we are in now at the end of 2014. It is important that they have all

:02:17.:02:21.

the equipment between now and then to keep them as safe as possible.

:02:21.:02:25.

The last government started this with the extra money put into

:02:25.:02:30.

vehicles since 2006, and we have spent around �2 billion are better

:02:30.:02:34.

protected vehicles. We put an additional 160 million on to Kuyt

:02:34.:02:38.

IED equipment. But he is absolutely right that we need to do more for

:02:38.:02:41.

their families at home, and that is what the military cupboard process

:02:41.:02:44.

and the Cabinet committee which I chair the first meeting of is all

:02:44.:02:50.

about. Mr Speaker, using Applied Language Solutions was supposed to

:02:50.:02:56.

save the West Midlands Police �750,000 per year, and yet we heard

:02:56.:02:58.

about a translator or shortage being unable to quiz suspects for

:02:58.:03:03.

weeks. Is that we can't -- is that what we can expect the private

:03:03.:03:07.

tenders in policing? I do not think there is anything wrong with the

:03:07.:03:11.

police getting back office functions carried out by private

:03:11.:03:16.

sector organisations. Indeed, when the shadow policing minister was

:03:16.:03:20.

asked the question at the Home Office, Home Affairs Select

:03:20.:03:23.

Committee, he said he was quite relaxed about that. I think that is

:03:23.:03:26.

right. I am delighted that the honourable lady is looking at the

:03:26.:03:33.

issue of whether to become a police and prime commissioner, and I hope

:03:33.:03:43.
:03:43.:03:43.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 79 seconds

:03:43.:04:59.

many honourable members will It quickly picked up when Ed

:04:59.:05:04.

Miliband moved on using the first two questions on Afghanistan and

:05:04.:05:09.

then moved on to tax credits and the Government's tax policy. We

:05:09.:05:15.

will speak about that in a minute, but before we do, let's hear what

:05:15.:05:17.

you made of Prime Minister's Questions.

:05:17.:05:23.

The vast majority of the e-mails were in response to the soldiers'

:05:23.:05:29.

death in Afghanistan. One viewer, says, why is it in our national

:05:29.:05:39.
:05:39.:05:40.

interest to be in Afghanistan now, but not after 2014.

:05:40.:05:45.

Rogers says, David Cameron stated that our reason to be in

:05:45.:05:49.

Afghanistan was to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven

:05:49.:05:54.

for al-Qaeda terrorists. Is this the same safe haven that we provide

:05:55.:05:59.

for terror such as Abu Qatada? There were questions about welfare

:06:00.:06:05.

and it NHS reforms. Peters says that the Conservatives do not

:06:05.:06:10.

understand about breaking promises to the electorate. Before the

:06:10.:06:14.

election they told us they would protect child benefit and disabled

:06:14.:06:20.

allowances, and now they are reneging on promises. A viewer from

:06:20.:06:29.

Doncaster as says that Ed Miliband position is not credible.

:06:29.:06:35.

We were having a riot over the 50 pence tax rate. We were having a

:06:35.:06:40.

row over whether the 50p child benefit should be taken away from

:06:40.:06:47.

taxpayers. Can you elucidate? fair to the Labour Party, they have

:06:47.:06:53.

been trying to get this on the agenda day after day. There is the

:06:53.:06:57.

discussion it within the coalition about what to do about shall

:06:57.:07:02.

benefit and that so-called cliff- edge of taking it away. That has

:07:02.:07:07.

been distracting from this. Ed Miliband will feel pleased that he

:07:07.:07:11.

has got that firmly on the agenda and to suggest that there is an

:07:11.:07:21.
:07:21.:07:22.

injustice about taking money away from low-income families. If you do

:07:22.:07:29.

not work 24 hours as a couple, you will lose all of your tax credits.

:07:29.:07:33.

The Labour Party are saying, if you going to find money to deal with

:07:33.:07:38.

50p, if you're going to find my to deal with higher incomes getting

:07:38.:07:41.

child benefits, surely you should find money to deal with this

:07:42.:07:48.

problem? For the key to this is the word working. It is a working tax

:07:49.:07:53.

credits are the Government's line is that we will increase the number

:07:53.:07:59.

of hours. If you work for fewer than 24 hours combined per week,

:07:59.:08:03.

then you're not really in any kind of full time employment and

:08:04.:08:12.

therefore do not qualify for credit? That is exactly right. The

:08:12.:08:17.

Government is saying that it was a much too generous system, a system

:08:17.:08:23.

that paid out money even to members of parliament. It was possible to

:08:23.:08:28.

get tax credits even over �50,000 each year. They are trying to clip

:08:28.:08:33.

back. They say there is a fairness that if a single parent has to work

:08:33.:08:37.

16 hours per week, then a couple combined should work longer than

:08:37.:08:42.

that. The opposition say it is all very well, but if you cannot get

:08:43.:08:47.

the work, you would be better off living on welfare than staying in

:08:47.:08:54.

work. Jim Murphy, lay out your stall, because I had to interrupt

:08:54.:09:02.

you beforehand. Now is your chance. It is your job. What is the case

:09:02.:09:08.

against the government policy? is straight forward. I do not think

:09:08.:09:13.

it is complicated to resolve. Viewers at home her out of work and

:09:13.:09:19.

go to the JobCentre or maybe see an advert online, someone who is out

:09:19.:09:24.

of work in that situation, someone who is trying to work 16 or 17

:09:24.:09:29.

hours but gets these tax credits, someone who is unemployed, it will

:09:29.:09:32.

not be in their financial interest to go to work because they're

:09:32.:09:42.

better off on benefit. Some people cannot find those extra seven hours.

:09:42.:09:46.

Sometimes there are five people chasing every job it in certain

:09:46.:09:50.

cities. I do not think the Government meant to do this, I am

:09:50.:09:55.

not saying that it was malevolently intended, but it is an unintended

:09:55.:10:00.

consequence of other changes they are making, and they should think

:10:00.:10:07.

about it again. Grant Shapps, what is the case against? The welfare

:10:07.:10:13.

system is a mess and it has spiralled out of control. We all

:10:13.:10:16.

remember when Frank Field under Tony Blair was going to reform it

:10:16.:10:21.

and he never did. It is a messy system which we are massively going

:10:21.:10:27.

to reform with the universal credit. At that time, every single person

:10:27.:10:33.

who works will always be better off by working than with benefits. Once

:10:33.:10:38.

we move to that situation it will be a system that no one else got

:10:38.:10:43.

round to reforming. That is a promise for tomorrow. These changes

:10:43.:10:48.

are this year. Why should someone on the minimum wage to believes in

:10:48.:10:52.

the dignity of work and is struggling, what is the answer to

:10:52.:11:02.
:11:02.:11:02.

that? What Ed Miliband has done today is to find one element within

:11:02.:11:07.

their that he can spot without answering The Big Questions. How do

:11:07.:11:14.

you get people out of the benefits trap? He got this point from an

:11:14.:11:22.

answer to a parliamentary question in the same parliamentary question.

:11:22.:11:26.

In the same answer it explains that under the Universal Credit, which

:11:26.:11:30.

comes in next year, people will always be better off. What about

:11:30.:11:40.
:11:40.:11:44.

this year? They have given up. This is much more interesting. You are

:11:44.:11:48.

in government, you answer the question. You're saying that

:11:48.:11:53.

something will come along next year. How does it help the cost of

:11:53.:11:57.

welfare if someone cannot find the work and they're better off on

:11:57.:12:03.

benefit? Most people watching the programme will say that they get

:12:03.:12:13.
:12:13.:12:17.

the Prime Minister's point. The threshold has not doubled, but it

:12:17.:12:23.

has risen to 24 hours. I think your difficulty with all of this, Jim,

:12:24.:12:28.

as with every other area of policy is that you make these complaints

:12:28.:12:32.

and you say that these things need reforming, but you do not agree

:12:33.:12:38.

with end of the individual measures that are taken. That is a ludicrous

:12:38.:12:41.

assertion because on defence I identified billions of pounds of

:12:41.:12:47.

cuts that we would support. I have been at reading about you on

:12:47.:12:52.

defence. He also said at a mess was made of defence procurement whilst

:12:52.:12:57.

you were in office. What will happen to those people until that

:12:57.:13:02.

universal credit comes out, what happens to that group of people?

:13:02.:13:12.

soon as you are in work you are outside of this situation. We are

:13:12.:13:17.

not seeing double the number of fire us, we're saying 24. Your

:13:17.:13:23.

answer might be a reasonable answer if there were jobs. If there were

:13:23.:13:28.

extra hours in the local Tesco... am going to have to break-in. I

:13:28.:13:36.

think we have got the point. If it is very unfair. If the question

:13:36.:13:41.

from the Conservative MP, he asked the Prime Minister what is blunting

:13:41.:13:45.

the radical agenda of this Government is it the coalition or

:13:45.:13:50.

is it quite haul? What is the answer? I have been a government

:13:50.:13:55.

minister for two years, Jim Murphy has been one before, and it is true

:13:56.:14:00.

that the machinery of government is too slow for modern-day living. In

:14:00.:14:06.

a world where we send e-mails back and forwards we still have 12 weeks

:14:06.:14:15.

for every single consultation. Why? Are they can be much faster. It has

:14:15.:14:24.

taken weeks to pass the localism act in my area. It should not take

:14:24.:14:28.

half a Parliament to implement promises. So it is Whitehall?

:14:28.:14:33.

is the machinery of government and Whitehall. We have made progress on

:14:33.:14:37.

things like introducing universal credit which is a radical change in

:14:37.:14:43.

welfare, in areas like education and housing as well. But things

:14:43.:14:46.

need to change in the Whitehall machine for at things to change

:14:46.:14:51.

faster. One of the people pushing hardest against the Whitehall

:14:52.:14:57.

machine was Steve Haldon in Downing Street. What was his official

:14:57.:15:04.

title? Blue-sky thinkers. He has gone to California, depressed by

:15:04.:15:10.

the grander scale of some of the things you are doing. He has now

:15:10.:15:16.

tweeted his final Tweet. Steve Hilton guru, this chap who is not

:15:16.:15:22.

10, but seems to know a lot of what is going on in Downing Street. The

:15:22.:15:26.

machine has gone on the blink, so his final tweets are not been

:15:26.:15:33.

received. Do you know who he is, Steve Hilton guru? It is not you?

:15:33.:15:38.

It is not me. It is remarkably close to a lot of the trade when

:15:38.:15:48.
:15:48.:15:50.

One time I was impressed him time, he said I should not be on, he said

:15:51.:15:57.

the Daily Politics was more my level! Harsh! Harsh but fair!

:15:57.:16:03.

not think we will miss Steve Waugh the guru more. We have got the twit,

:16:03.:16:08.

I have been scented. Steve Hilton guru, you should be ashamed of your

:16:08.:16:13.

inability to focus on what is important for my citizens'! He was

:16:13.:16:20.

that? He has also just tweeted, can he come to the Spectator's summer

:16:20.:16:27.

party? Maybe that is how we will find out who he is! When I was

:16:27.:16:34.

first appointed a minister by Tony Blair, you never know what to

:16:34.:16:38.

expect, you get summoned to the Downing Street of this, you meet

:16:38.:16:44.

him, you chat to him, and he says, what I need to tell you is that the

:16:44.:16:48.

British Civil Service as the engines of a roll Royce, -- Rolls-

:16:48.:16:51.

Royce, but they also have the brakes of a Rolls-Royce, so get

:16:51.:16:56.

behind the wheel and drive it as well and as quickly as you can.

:16:56.:17:00.

When ministers come to the end of their life, they don't say, I wish

:17:00.:17:05.

I had made fewer decisions. We did not reflect on what we started with,

:17:05.:17:09.

Afghanistan. There was a very important word in the very first

:17:09.:17:13.

question from Nick Boles, who is very loyal and close to the

:17:13.:17:17.

leadership, which is that they should be a prudent draw down, as

:17:17.:17:22.

he puts it. This is a way of signalling, with the Prime Minister

:17:22.:17:25.

going to the White House next week, that there is quite a bit of

:17:25.:17:29.

concern about the fact that there may be an imprudent withdrawal by

:17:29.:17:33.

Americans from Afghanistan. Quite interesting that ahead of that

:17:33.:17:38.

visit we have got something on the top of the agenda. We had better

:17:38.:17:42.

leave it there. We say farewell to Steve Hilton guru, who were there

:17:42.:17:47.

you are, we will miss you. There is one final tweets, there is always

:17:47.:17:57.

one. Your guru has let the wigwam. He is like that, he is gone. He has

:17:57.:18:01.

left the wigwam of trust. I have invited him to the Jacuzzi of

:18:01.:18:06.

justice! Didn't you question the idea of having a mansion tax on

:18:06.:18:14.

wigwams? There is room for both! The 2010 strategic defence and

:18:14.:18:16.

security review announced spending cuts of the armed forces, including

:18:16.:18:19.

the Navy, and that means less word for naval dockyards which employ

:18:19.:18:24.

tens of thousands of people. With the prospect of a referendum on

:18:24.:18:28.

Scottish independence, should the UK government continued to direct

:18:28.:18:33.

work to base is more of the border? The leader of Portsmouth council

:18:33.:18:36.

says no further contract should be awarded to Scotland until the issue

:18:36.:18:46.
:18:46.:18:54.

Welcome to Portsmouth. You can see people coming into the city here,

:18:54.:18:58.

the commercial port here, and over here the heart of the city, the

:18:58.:19:02.

Royal Navy. The Royal Navy has been here for 800 years, this is the

:19:02.:19:05.

home of the Royal Navy, not for sentimental reasons but because

:19:05.:19:15.
:19:15.:19:19.

this is the most economic place to We build ships here, we provision

:19:19.:19:24.

them here, we run them out of here, and at the end of their lives, we

:19:24.:19:33.

It just seems to me incredibly strange that the government is

:19:33.:19:37.

thinking of allowing shipbuilding to finish here in Portsmouth and

:19:37.:19:41.

only to happen in Scotland. A Scotland that might well become

:19:41.:19:46.

independent very soon, which means there would be no advance warship

:19:46.:19:49.

building left here in the United Kingdom, and that seems the

:19:49.:19:59.
:19:59.:20:03.

strategically a really stupid view Britain gets 90% of its imports and

:20:03.:20:07.

exports by the sea. We have to keep the sea lanes saved and open,

:20:07.:20:12.

otherwise no one in this country eats, drinks or can drive a car.

:20:12.:20:15.

The Navy is usually important, and we have got to be able to build

:20:15.:20:18.

high quality strategic warships here in Britain, are the only way

:20:18.:20:22.

to do that is to make sure they are built in Portsmouth, because it is

:20:22.:20:32.
:20:32.:20:38.

And we are joined by Gerald Vernon Jackson and Stewart Maxwell, SNP

:20:38.:20:42.

member of the Scottish parliament, who is in Edinburgh. We will be

:20:42.:20:46.

with you in a moment, but we do not know Scotland is going to become

:20:46.:20:49.

independent, isn't it a little bit presumptuous to say or what should

:20:49.:20:54.

go to English basis? I am saying that until we know, we should not

:20:54.:20:57.

make a decision about cloning down the only place in England that has

:20:57.:21:01.

the ability to build advanced strategic warships. If the decision

:21:01.:21:07.

is made in the next year, those skills will have gone. If there is

:21:07.:21:12.

no independence in Scotland, well, if there is in 2014, there will be

:21:12.:21:16.

nowhere left in the UK to be able to build advanced warships, and

:21:16.:21:19.

Britain will have to go abroad to buy them. That is not a good

:21:19.:21:25.

strategic place to be. We have just lost a contract. The Navy put out

:21:25.:21:30.

contracts, and no British firm bid to do the work because the skills

:21:30.:21:35.

have gone. We have got rid of that bit of industry. But that is not

:21:35.:21:39.

really to do with Scotland. You could be using the idea of Scottish

:21:39.:21:46.

independence to make a case in what is a global market. Not for

:21:46.:21:50.

contract to build aircraft carriers and frigates. If we are going to

:21:50.:21:53.

give the ability to build advanced warships, we have to be realistic.

:21:53.:21:56.

There will be a referendum in Scotland about independence, and we

:21:56.:21:59.

do not know which way it is going to go. If you can promise me that

:21:59.:22:04.

people will vote to stay in the UK, it changes the argument. I cannot

:22:04.:22:08.

promise you that, Stewart Maxwell, why should the UK government pay

:22:08.:22:13.

for ships to be built an independent country? Well, of

:22:13.:22:16.

course, should building on the Clyde goes back many hundreds of

:22:16.:22:19.

years, and the fact is that the arts win orders not because of

:22:19.:22:23.

where they are based but because of the excellence of the workforce and

:22:23.:22:26.

their ability to deliver on time and on budget high-quality ships.

:22:26.:22:31.

That is why they win orders, and frankly the idea that you should

:22:31.:22:35.

try and stop yards on the Clyde being allowed to bid for orders or

:22:35.:22:38.

get orders from the UK government is nonsensical when they are busy

:22:38.:22:44.

sending orders or around the world. You are making the case of the

:22:44.:22:47.

Clyde being the best, but you can see the argument, can't you? While

:22:47.:22:51.

we are waiting to hear what happens with Scotland, why don't we fly the

:22:51.:22:57.

flag here and have the contracts delayed for the moment? Well, it is

:22:57.:23:00.

an interesting positive case for the union that you should try to

:23:00.:23:04.

frighten shipbuilding workers in Scotland into voting no in case

:23:04.:23:09.

they lose their jobs. Over the last 10 years, the first 10 years of the

:23:09.:23:14.

last Labour government, about 5,000 shipbuilding workers in Scotland

:23:14.:23:18.

lost their jobs, so the impact of the UK on the shipbuilding industry

:23:18.:23:22.

in Scotland has been quite dramatic and has really decimated the

:23:22.:23:26.

industry. The fact is that EU... What are you building on the Clyde

:23:26.:23:32.

and who for? Well, the fact is that they are building parts of the

:23:32.:23:36.

carriers, as you well know. And who are they for? The Royal Navy?

:23:36.:23:41.

Interestingly enough, it was your party has started the contracts

:23:41.:23:44.

that send shipbuilding contracts to South Korea. It was under the

:23:44.:23:48.

Labour government... Answer a straight question, it is being for

:23:48.:23:52.

the Royal Navy on the Clyde and Rosyth. The Royal Navy, Scotland

:23:52.:23:56.

would be a foreign country to the Royal Navy. You are attacking the

:23:56.:24:00.

British government. I have got criticisms of the British

:24:00.:24:03.

government, but you are attacking them for ships to be built abroad,

:24:04.:24:06.

and yet an independent Scotland will build ships abroad in a

:24:06.:24:10.

country called Scotland for the Royal Navy? It is a ludicrous

:24:10.:24:15.

assertion, the type of risk that is associated with separation. What is

:24:15.:24:19.

ludicrous is Jim Murphy's argument that shipbuilding is protected by

:24:19.:24:22.

the union, by the anti- independence parties will operate

:24:23.:24:26.

from London. The shipbuilding industry in Scotland has been

:24:26.:24:30.

decimated for decades of actions by the UK government. The first 10

:24:30.:24:35.

years of the last Labour government, 50% of jobs of shipbuilding in

:24:35.:24:40.

Scotland were lost to Scotland as a direct result of the Labour Party.

:24:40.:24:42.

One could argue, as a representative of Scottish

:24:42.:24:46.

constituents, you should be arguing for these to be built in Scotland.

:24:46.:24:50.

My father worked in the shipyards, my family has relied on it for many

:24:50.:24:54.

years. I thought quite a few were close. What has kept them alive is

:24:54.:24:57.

the Royal Navy and the skills of the people who work there, we

:24:57.:25:02.

should be proud of those people. Stuart and I live half a mile away

:25:02.:25:06.

from each other just outside of Glasgow. It is a ludicrous argument.

:25:06.:25:10.

Is it not inconceivable that an English taxpayer would allow Royal

:25:10.:25:14.

Navy ships to be built in an independent Scotland? Is that

:25:14.:25:20.

inconceivable? The Royal Navy has never build a warship outside of

:25:20.:25:24.

the United Kingdom. It has never happened. The skies in the SNP have

:25:24.:25:28.

not got an answer, and it is the type of risk... We need more of a

:25:28.:25:33.

conversation about it during the build up. A final word. That is why

:25:33.:25:36.

it is important before the referendum we keep sportsmanship

:25:36.:25:40.

building open to make sure that if Scotland becomes independent,

:25:40.:25:44.

advanced warship construction can take place in the rest of the UK

:25:44.:25:47.

that would remain. It is very important that that happens to keep

:25:47.:25:52.

our options open for strategic reasons. Thank you to you and du

:25:52.:25:56.

Stewart Maxwell in Edinburgh. You might be forgiven for thinking

:25:56.:25:59.

that the Health and Social Care Bill, which is still... And would

:25:59.:26:04.

not stand in a way are we doing this! It is not easy, is it? You

:26:04.:26:09.

see what I have to deal with? The other social care bill is the most

:26:09.:26:12.

controversial bill ever, you might think, but it is on course to

:26:12.:26:17.

become law within weeks. -- the Health and Social Care Bill. Unions

:26:17.:26:21.

are still angry about the bill, and they are set to besiege parliament

:26:21.:26:26.

later today in a big protest. Let's find out what is known to happen,

:26:26.:26:31.

we are joined by the TUC's deputy general secretary, who will be

:26:31.:26:36.

taking part in the rally tonight. Is there a certain sadness with you,

:26:36.:26:41.

Frances O'Grady, that you have done these huge protests, huge number of

:26:41.:26:46.

medical bodies against this bill, but it is becoming more? There is

:26:46.:26:50.

still time to save the NHS. We have got thousands of professionals,

:26:50.:26:54.

staff, patients descending on Westminster tonight, asking the

:26:54.:27:00.

government to think again and stop this �3 billion worth being wasted

:27:00.:27:04.

on a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that nobody wants that nobody

:27:04.:27:09.

voted for. What is your main complaint? I know it is a

:27:10.:27:13.

complicated bill with lots of things you do not like, but if you

:27:13.:27:16.

had to sum it up in a paragraph, what do not like about the reform?

:27:16.:27:21.

This will be the end of the NHS as we know it, and the basic founding

:27:21.:27:25.

principle that the NHS should be free at the point of need to all.

:27:25.:27:29.

The government intends to let the cap on private income for hospitals,

:27:29.:27:36.

so we will see few queue-jumping by anybody who can wave a fat credit

:27:36.:27:43.

card. And of course the regulatory body will have this new duty to

:27:43.:27:48.

remove obstacles to competition, so we will see big business fat cats

:27:48.:27:52.

coming into the NHS and putting profit before people. The

:27:52.:27:57.

Government needs to listen. Thank you for that. It is a good summary.

:27:57.:28:00.

If in three years' time the NHS is still free at the point of use,

:28:00.:28:04.

still treating the same number of people it does today and waiting

:28:04.:28:09.

lists are about the same as now, you will have proved to be wrong.

:28:09.:28:15.

Is that right? It is very unlikely. All the while colleges, including

:28:15.:28:20.

the doctors, the nurses, the midwives, the physiotherapists, the

:28:20.:28:25.

radiographers, have joined with unions and patience and the public

:28:25.:28:30.

to say that the Government must think again. They need to drop the

:28:30.:28:34.

bill and go back to the founding principles of the NHS, otherwise we

:28:34.:28:38.

are going to see US-style healthcare with the richest doing

:28:38.:28:43.

very well and the rest of us being left behind. I look forward to our

:28:43.:28:47.

conversation in three years' time to see what has happened. But, I

:28:47.:28:52.

want to see you before them, but you know what I mean! The answer to

:28:52.:28:57.

guess he was 2004, you get to pick a winner. We are running out of

:28:57.:29:06.

time! It is Peter Colaba from Cambridgeshire. That is it, thank

:29:06.:29:11.

you to our guests, special thanks to our guest of the day. The BBC

:29:11.:29:15.

News is starting on BBC One. I'll be back tomorrow on my own, Jo is

:29:15.:29:19.

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