07/03/2012 Daily Politics


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


missing presumed dead in Afghanistan. Their armoured vehicle


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


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


military personnel have now perished in the Afghan conflict.


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


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


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


taxing for George Osborne? We will have more later.


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


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


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


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


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


Housing Minister Grant Shapps and the shadow Defence Secretary, Jim


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


has announced that six British soldiers, I understand they are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


what you now know? We know what that a massive


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


precise location where this took place is very unstable. Insurgents


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


media that can no longer launch terrorist attacks against us.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


There is a direct connection between terrorist training camps in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


difficult decisions and progress with them even when the outcomes


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Joining us now is Michael Magan from Republicans Abroad. Good


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


though he only one Georgia last night because that continues to


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


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


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


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


struggling to be inspirational enough for a broad spectrum of


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


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


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


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


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


Democrats fall in love with their candidate and republicans fall in


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


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


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


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


Republican candidates leant towards the convention in Tampa later this


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


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


Santorum won Tennessee yesterday. Evangelicals do not like him being


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


manoeuvre. Angry motorists are desperate for some relief from


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


giving in to the Liberal Democrats is seen as sleepwalking towards


disaster. Andrew. Sleepwalking towards disaster, sleepwalk back


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


expensive enough, we fantasise about a property getting more


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


evaluation. There is a variety of difficulties in bringing something


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


introduce something like this, you need a whole process involving


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


agreement rules that having a revaluation during the Parliament.


Say without getting to a process costing hundreds of millions of


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


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


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


wish it had been that choreographed! It does seem like


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


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


for the government. We had a conversation about the Republican


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


schoolchildren will have a scale similar heights as our guests,


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


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


government that they are considering an overhaul of the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 79 seconds


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


situation where the British government is amongst the slowest


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


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


between David Cameron and President Obama when the President seemed


desperate to have withdrawn. The British government have been the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


There are people who have asked questions about whether the level


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


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


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


following announcement. Yesterday a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


stressed their commitment of our troops to the mission and getting


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


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


meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. Can I echo


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


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


Right Honourable Friend used his meetings with President Obama next


week to co-ordinate a prudent withdrawal of forces from


Afghanistan and to ensure that Afghan forces get the training they


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


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


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


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


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


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


in expressing sadness at the terrible news of our six soldiers


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


service personnel make on our behalf. By putting themselves in


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


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


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


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


we must restate clearly it the reasons for our mission in


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


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


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


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


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


forces and government of Afghanistan to take care of their


own national security without the need for foreign troops on their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


successful Afghanistan? Does he agree that the international


community must increase the pace of progress towards this settlement so


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


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


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


difference we could make is a stronger political settlement that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Prime Minister confirm that despite these tragic events, the mission


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


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


timetable which is all about transition, parts of Afghanistan


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


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


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


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


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


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


clear, the relationship between Britain and other countries in


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


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


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


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


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


cutting corporation tax, investing in apprenticeships, building


enterprise zones, and making sure that across our economy the


rebalancing is taking place it is necessary for economic growth.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


substance immediately? honourable friend raises an


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


life is about difficult decisions, government is about difficult


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


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


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


saying he now supports the principle that people on high


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


supported the opposite principle and he said quite clearly to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


time for the right honourable gentleman to listen to his own


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Prime Minister inform the House whether they plan will be


introduced in this Parliament and before the next general election?


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


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


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


friend the Environment Secretary made absolutely clear that it is


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


Today the Business Select Committee published a major report on


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


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


years since the government concluded its consultation, no


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the most important services for helping people in that way.


Douglas Carswell. The coalition agreement contains many bold and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


politicians must take responsibility. Mr Tom Harris.


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


charges. He was subsequently released when it turned out that


the police officers who arrested him were themselves under


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


legal limbo, his passport confiscated, he cannot travel or


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


the Prime Minister agree that justice delayed is justice denied?


Will he make sure that a Foreign Office minister immediately


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


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


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


these cases. The work of Fair trials abroad and other


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


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


Minister join with me in congratulating the project that is


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


sector, the London borough of Redbridge, various charities,


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


people with special needs into employment? I will certainly join


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


only help children with special needs through their schooling time


but also through that transition after school and into college and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


uncertainty that has been created by the nationalists around the


separatist idea of a referendum that has been delayed longer than


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


respect. Louise Mensch was not Labour-controlled Corby Borough


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


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


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


Minister agree that the council should come clean with call the


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


important point, which is that there are proposals for total


transparency and local government, that expenditure over �500 should


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


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


including councillors allowances and expenses, including


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


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


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


incorporated into the European treaties in five years. Will he


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


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


incorporated with the position of all 27 member states of the


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


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


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


losing your woman Claudia Lawrence, in supporting the sensible


recommendations of the justice Select Committee's report into


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


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


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


justice Select Committee has made an important report but the present


law is complicated and recognise that there are difficulties faced


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


recommendations carefully, and I will write to the honourable


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


Prime Minister manages to persuade his Chancellor to remove some of


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


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


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


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


reform, quite apart from the unfairness between the single


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


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


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


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


people marched through my town to present a petition calling for


radiotherapy services at the General Hospital in Kendal. Will my


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The Prime Minister and the government are the biggest


shareholders on behalf of the stakeholders, so when will the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


honourable friend speaks with considerable experience because of


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


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


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


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


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


The last government started this with the extra money put into


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


about a translator or shortage being unable to quiz suspects for


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


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


police getting back office functions carried out by private


sector organisations. Indeed, when the shadow policing minister was


asked the question at the Home Office, Home Affairs Select


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


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


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


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 79 seconds


many honourable members will It quickly picked up when Ed


Miliband moved on using the first two questions on Afghanistan and


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


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


you made of Prime Minister's Questions.


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


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


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


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


Afghanistan was to prevent the country from becoming a safe haven


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


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


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


understand about breaking promises to the electorate. Before the


election they told us they would protect child benefit and disabled


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


Doncaster as says that Ed Miliband position is not credible.


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


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


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


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


discussion it within the coalition about what to do about shall


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Sometimes there are five people chasing every job it in certain


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


answer to a parliamentary question in the same parliamentary question.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


assertion because on defence I identified billions of pounds of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the radical agenda of this Government is it the coalition or


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


things like introducing universal credit which is a radical change in


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


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


faster. One of the people pushing hardest against the Whitehall


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Americans from Afghanistan. Quite interesting that ahead of that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


security review announced spending cuts of the armed forces, including


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


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


Scottish independence, should the UK government continued to direct


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


It just seems to me incredibly strange that the government is


thinking of allowing shipbuilding to finish here in Portsmouth and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


And we are joined by Gerald Vernon Jackson and Stewart Maxwell, SNP


member of the Scottish parliament, who is in Edinburgh. We will be


with you in a moment, but we do not know Scotland is going to become


independent, isn't it a little bit presumptuous to say or what should


go to English basis? I am saying that until we know, we should not


make a decision about cloning down the only place in England that has


the ability to build advanced strategic warships. If the decision


is made in the next year, those skills will have gone. If there is


no independence in Scotland, well, if there is in 2014, there will be


nowhere left in the UK to be able to build advanced warships, and


Britain will have to go abroad to buy them. That is not a good


strategic place to be. We have just lost a contract. The Navy put out


contracts, and no British firm bid to do the work because the skills


have gone. We have got rid of that bit of industry. But that is not


really to do with Scotland. You could be using the idea of Scottish


independence to make a case in what is a global market. Not for


contract to build aircraft carriers and frigates. If we are going to


give the ability to build advanced warships, we have to be realistic.


There will be a referendum in Scotland about independence, and we


do not know which way it is going to go. If you can promise me that


people will vote to stay in the UK, it changes the argument. I cannot


promise you that, Stewart Maxwell, why should the UK government pay


for ships to be built an independent country? Well, of


course, should building on the Clyde goes back many hundreds of


years, and the fact is that the arts win orders not because of


where they are based but because of the excellence of the workforce and


their ability to deliver on time and on budget high-quality ships.


That is why they win orders, and frankly the idea that you should


try and stop yards on the Clyde being allowed to bid for orders or


get orders from the UK government is nonsensical when they are busy


sending orders or around the world. You are making the case of the


Clyde being the best, but you can see the argument, can't you? While


we are waiting to hear what happens with Scotland, why don't we fly the


flag here and have the contracts delayed for the moment? Well, it is


an interesting positive case for the union that you should try to


frighten shipbuilding workers in Scotland into voting no in case


they lose their jobs. Over the last 10 years, the first 10 years of the


last Labour government, about 5,000 shipbuilding workers in Scotland


lost their jobs, so the impact of the UK on the shipbuilding industry


in Scotland has been quite dramatic and has really decimated the


industry. The fact is that EU... What are you building on the Clyde


and who for? Well, the fact is that they are building parts of the


carriers, as you well know. And who are they for? The Royal Navy?


Interestingly enough, it was your party has started the contracts


that send shipbuilding contracts to South Korea. It was under the


Labour government... Answer a straight question, it is being for


the Royal Navy on the Clyde and Rosyth. The Royal Navy, Scotland


would be a foreign country to the Royal Navy. You are attacking the


British government. I have got criticisms of the British


government, but you are attacking them for ships to be built abroad,


and yet an independent Scotland will build ships abroad in a


country called Scotland for the Royal Navy? It is a ludicrous


assertion, the type of risk that is associated with separation. What is


ludicrous is Jim Murphy's argument that shipbuilding is protected by


the union, by the anti- independence parties will operate


from London. The shipbuilding industry in Scotland has been


decimated for decades of actions by the UK government. The first 10


years of the last Labour government, 50% of jobs of shipbuilding in


Scotland were lost to Scotland as a direct result of the Labour Party.


One could argue, as a representative of Scottish


constituents, you should be arguing for these to be built in Scotland.


My father worked in the shipyards, my family has relied on it for many


years. I thought quite a few were close. What has kept them alive is


the Royal Navy and the skills of the people who work there, we


should be proud of those people. Stuart and I live half a mile away


from each other just outside of Glasgow. It is a ludicrous argument.


Is it not inconceivable that an English taxpayer would allow Royal


Navy ships to be built in an independent Scotland? Is that


inconceivable? The Royal Navy has never build a warship outside of


the United Kingdom. It has never happened. The skies in the SNP have


not got an answer, and it is the type of risk... We need more of a


conversation about it during the build up. A final word. That is why


it is important before the referendum we keep sportsmanship


building open to make sure that if Scotland becomes independent,


advanced warship construction can take place in the rest of the UK


that would remain. It is very important that that happens to keep


our options open for strategic reasons. Thank you to you and du


Stewart Maxwell in Edinburgh. You might be forgiven for thinking


that the Health and Social Care Bill, which is still... And would


not stand in a way are we doing this! It is not easy, is it? You


see what I have to deal with? The other social care bill is the most


controversial bill ever, you might think, but it is on course to


become law within weeks. -- the Health and Social Care Bill. Unions


are still angry about the bill, and they are set to besiege parliament


later today in a big protest. Let's find out what is known to happen,


we are joined by the TUC's deputy general secretary, who will be


taking part in the rally tonight. Is there a certain sadness with you,


Frances O'Grady, that you have done these huge protests, huge number of


medical bodies against this bill, but it is becoming more? There is


still time to save the NHS. We have got thousands of professionals,


staff, patients descending on Westminster tonight, asking the


government to think again and stop this �3 billion worth being wasted


on a top-down reorganisation of the NHS that nobody wants that nobody


voted for. What is your main complaint? I know it is a


complicated bill with lots of things you do not like, but if you


had to sum it up in a paragraph, what do not like about the reform?


This will be the end of the NHS as we know it, and the basic founding


principle that the NHS should be free at the point of need to all.


The government intends to let the cap on private income for hospitals,


so we will see few queue-jumping by anybody who can wave a fat credit


card. And of course the regulatory body will have this new duty to


remove obstacles to competition, so we will see big business fat cats


coming into the NHS and putting profit before people. The


Government needs to listen. Thank you for that. It is a good summary.


If in three years' time the NHS is still free at the point of use,


still treating the same number of people it does today and waiting


lists are about the same as now, you will have proved to be wrong.


Is that right? It is very unlikely. All the while colleges, including


the doctors, the nurses, the midwives, the physiotherapists, the


radiographers, have joined with unions and patience and the public


to say that the Government must think again. They need to drop the


bill and go back to the founding principles of the NHS, otherwise we


are going to see US-style healthcare with the richest doing


very well and the rest of us being left behind. I look forward to our


conversation in three years' time to see what has happened. But, I


want to see you before them, but you know what I mean! The answer to


guess he was 2004, you get to pick a winner. We are running out of


time! It is Peter Colaba from Cambridgeshire. That is it, thank


you to our guests, special thanks to our guest of the day. The BBC


News is starting on BBC One. I'll be back tomorrow on my own, Jo is


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