26/03/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon. Welcome to The Daily Politics. David Cameron has just


announced he will publish details of the tone fars who visited his


Downing Street flat. The Prime Minister has promised an


inquiry, following ex-Conservative treasurer, Peter Cruddas, offering


access and influence to a Sunday Times reporter in return for a


donation. Ed Miliband is demanding an independent inquiry. We will get


reaction from both parties and ask what can be done to clean up the


system. Do children now have too many rights? Teaching unions


complain a significant number of children are worrying more about


their rights and less about their responsibilities. We will speak to


the children's commission and to the journalist Toby Young. Is it


any wonder MPs are stressed? We will speak to a psychologist who


says MPs should be regularly screened to test their menal health.


With us today is the children's commission, Maggie Atkinson.


Welcome to the show. David Cameron is desperate to show it is business


as usual. The Prime Minister is announcing funding into dementia


will be doubled to �66 million by 2015, to try and make the UK a


world leader in the field. Now, as far as you are concerned, money is


one thing, but do you think this is an issue which needs to be talked


about a lot more as well? I do. I lost a grandma to Alzheimer's. I


was an adult at the time, but can't help thinking had I been a child I


would have needed the adults in my life, from school, through to my


family to try and help me understand why my grandma didn't


recognise me, for example. Or towards the end didn't recognise


anybody in the family. Children need to be taken seriously. They


have concerns. If you spend the time and patience to work with them,


they will understand frightening changes in their life far better


than if you try and keep it from them or don't explain. And it is


something which does seem to be affecting more and more families


because people are generally living longer. Apart from just talking


about it, there is the serious issue of money and funding. David


Cameron, the Prime Minister, has said it is a crisis they will look


at. Has it come too late? They need more than �66 million to tackle


such a big issue? I am not a practitioner in the field of ageing,


so notions of numbers wouldn't be something that I'd have even half a


hope of being able to answer. What I know is that I meet children and


young people all over the country who are, for example living in


households where grandma or granddad have come to live because


they are incapable of looking after themselves. Families do save the


state a great deal of money in being carers. Very often the


grandchildren are as involved as are the sons and daughters of the


people concerned. It's much less about money for me than it is about


the home and dimension. Family is very important to children and


young people, even when families are in difficulty. If you have the


added difficulty that you have a younger person acting differently


or losing their personality, then children are very concerned.


There's only one real story in town today - the Conservative Party is


reel from the revelations that their party treasurer, Peter


Cruddas, offered private dinners with David Cameron in return for


donations. Dinners for donors joined cash-for-honours and all the


rest in the long history of party funding scandals. Post Budget it


does not look good - following the 50p tax break it creates an


impression there are a different set of rules for the well off. The


Prime Minister has announced he will publish the list of dinner


guests. There are calls for him to extend the inquiry into a full-


blown independent inquiry. He will look at will to re-start political


talks on how parties should be funded. It It is unlikely the


Labour Party would be willing to compromise their links with the


trade unions. This is a story that sets to run for quite some time.


Downing Street the position is this, in the two years I have been Prime


Minister there have been three occasions when donors have come to


dinner in my flat. There was a post election dinner which included


donors in Downing Street before the general election. We will publish


full details of all of these today. None of these were fund-raising


dinners. None of these were paid for by the taxpayer. I have known


most of those atending for many years. Let me add that Peter


Cruddas has never recommended anyone to come to dinner in my flat,


nor has he been to dinner there myself. I publish details of


external meetings - the first Prime Minister ever to do so. I publish


all meeting I have with newspaper editors and proprietors. From now


on the Conservative Party will publish details every quarter of


any meals attended by any donors whether at Downing Street, Chequers


or any official residence. That was the Prime Minister. Mr Add damns is


a journalist who helped prompt the Sunday Times investigation. Well,


he'll publish the list of who has attended in terms of donors. Are


you satisfied? That is a good start. We have seen over the past 24 hours


the position has been that that is private, it can remain secret. I am


delighted that is happening. I don't think it gets to the end of


the story, does it? I think what is concerning people, it is what


concerns me, is that a substantial donation to the Conservative Party,


buys you this kind of private, secret access to the Prime Minister


and potential influence over policy. Peter Cruddas was clear that they


will listen to policy suggestions from these wealthy donors.


suggestion is that actually Peter Cruddas has been discred ited,


hasn't he? He himself said it was bluseter. David Cameron has been


very clear in what we heard there that the things that Peter Cruddas


was promising do not happen. Well, that is why I reported this


matter both to the police and this morning to the Electoral Commission


because Peter Cruddas was referring to a system that seemed to me to be


indem nick the way that the Conservative Party goes about


raising funding. It happens in the Labour Party in a similar way. You


are a Labour Party support. You know what happens there as well.


would condemn this if it was in the Labour Party or the Liberal


Democrats. This is not the way that parties should raise funding. I


agree with the Prime Minister on. That I want to get to the bottom of


whether this is a late conversion or whether up to now he has thought


this is the way to raise funds for the Conservative Party. I condemn


it. As it happens, it was a Tory lobbist I sat next to at the


conference. I could have sat next to a Labour lobbyist at the


previous week's conference, the Labour Party conference. If I had


heard this story I would have reacted the same way. This is not


the way we should be doing politics. I am delighted we are exposing it.


But, as a lobbyist you know that is how it works. That is how it works


in the sense that party donors expect some sort of access to


senior politicians, both the Labour and the Conservative Party have


websites, where it is very clear and very transparent you can go on


to those websites and they have either the 1,000 club for the


Labour Party or these leaders' clubs for the Conservative Party.


So, nothing is hidden in that broad sense. No. Come on - I think it is


the scale of these allegations which is the point. I give money to


the Labour Party. I have been invited to receptions by the Labour


Party. Yes, that is proper within limits. What we are talking about


here is the scale of revelations. The idea that a truly staggering


donation - I will never donate �250,000 to the Labour Party, sadly


for them, sadly for me that I don't have that money to give. But it's


the scale of the donations and what that bought people is the issue,


not the fact it happens. We don't know what has bought in that sense,


do we? That is why the police should investigate. It is clear


what Peter Cruddas was offering the Sunday Times. If it was bluseter,


presumably that will come out now in the course of the inquiry and


this can be laid to rest N the mean time there are serious questions to


be answered. Well, listening to that is the Conservative MP,


Damiean Fielding. Thank you for listening to us on the -- is Mark


Field. Thank you for listening to us on the programme.


Are you satisfied he will publish the list? Yes, I am satisfied. It


is good to see David Cameron getting on the front foot on this


issue. Quite slow? Quite rightly he looked through to see if he could


produce these lists in double-quick time. I would be happy for a full


list of everyone who goes through Downing Street on a quarterly basis


to go through. When people don't understand this, there are dozens


of people a day going into 10 or 11 Downing Street to see either the


Prime Minister, the Chancellor or the Deputy Prime Minister to


discuss these issues. You would be unhappy with the idea that people


who make big donations, let's say in the region of �250,000 that did


buy them a more exclusive dinner with the Prime Minister? I don't


think it has brought them exclusivety at all. There has been


a three-year campaign, meeting with many ministers over that time and


coalition ministers. There's never been any sense of an exclusive


arrangement there. That is part and parcel of how politics operates.


What is essential now, and I am sure David Cameron will have this


in mind, is to clear up this issue of party funding. A scandal of


three years ago in relation to MPs' expenses led to the creation of an


independent regulator. I think we probably will need now to go down


this path. There will, therefore, I think be ceilings on donations. We


may well, I am afraid and I don't say this with great joy be heading


towards a situation where there will be state funding. How damaging


is this affair for the Conservatives? It is not great.


Obviously these are bad headlines for anyone in Government for this


sort of story. Clearly coming on the back of the Budget, the concern


is that the party is regarded by many people, wrongly in my view,


and unfairly, but it is regarded by many on the side of the rich. I


support the idea of reducing the top rate of tax which is very


damaging for entrepreneurs and damaging as a message. Can you see


the link being made here? In the Sun they say it looks as if


millions has been taken off high earners as a result of cosy


political lunches? One can see how it could be disunderstood. This


goes beyond 2010. We had the cash for peerages under the Blair era.


It has been in the Labour Party's interest to delay and drag this


process of dragging party funding because they are dependant on the


trade unions who literally give them every �9 of �10 they get.


don't believe the claim made by Peter Cruddas in that film, that


actually those donors can buy access, which one might argue is


self-evident, but it buys influence? I don't think that is


right. I think the word, as I say, you look at the number of people


going for the doors of Downing Street every week who are trying to


influence ministers about legislation or about the mood of


party policy, Government policy, that makes me think that this thing


you can overstate that. As I say, there are many, many people who go


to Downing Street, who are trying to make their case, that applies to


donors as well as countless industry representatives. Thank you.


Joining me in the studio now is is Michael Dugher. Pleased, like


everyone else that list is going to be published? That is what you


wanted? I think is Government has within complacent today about what


are extremely serious allegations. Why are they being complacent? We


have heard not only are they going to and already do publish lists of


meetings that the Prime Minister and senior ministers are out on. He


will publish the list op donors who have attended private dinners in


the Number Ten and number 11 private flat? What Peter Cruddas


was saying at the weekend in the Sunday Times, he was saying if you


give up to �250,000 to the Conservative Party, if you are not


happy with policy, they will feed your views into the policy


committee of Number Ten. We know there is not a policy committee.


There is a policy unit. Government today, because they hold


the information already, could publish meetings that members of


David Cameron's policy meeting have had with senior donors in Number


Ten. They could publish it now. That would go some way... That has


himself said it was bluseter when he boosted, to some eke tent, about


the.... So we have to take Mr Cruddas's word for that? No we are


taking Francis Maude and others who have said it was bluseter. He has


been discred ited, he has also -- discredited. He has also resigned.


A lot were saying it was nonsense, including Francis Maude. What we


need is an independent inquiry. It is just intolerable the idea that


the Conservative Party can investigate itself on this. You


know, if they have nothing to hide, What influence to the trade union


leaders have in terms of the Labour Party? Actually, our biggest source


of funding comes from our members. Last time you interviewed me, I was


having to defend Ed Miliband, who was having a public disagreement


with the general secretary of the Unite union. Yes, but let's have a


look at the influence of the unions, they are represented on the


National Executive, which has always been the case, but there


have also been accusations that they try and influence the


candidates to be chosen to represent Labour in parliament, is


that true? I don't think so. We have an historic link with working


people, that keeps Labour's feet on the ground, that we have that


relationship with ordinary people. And look at the money that we are


talking about, most trade unions do not affiliate to the Labour Party,


but for those that do, it is individuals giving �3 a year.


you're saying the unions have no influence a tall on Labour Party


policy? I'm saying it is not the influence that the Conservatives


like to believe they have. We have a relationship with working people


which goes back 100 years. That is to our strength. Those links are


something which are very good for politics. If you're proud of that


relationship, as you say, why doesn't Ed Miliband publish any


dinners or meetings that he has with Len McCluskey, for example, or


Dave Prentice? I'm sure Ed Miliband would be more than happy to publish


his meetings with the representatives of working people


in this country. He has got no problem with transparency. Will we


have, in the same way, since you're in opposition now, but these are


the sort of things which Labour talk about when they were in power,


complete transparency, those meetings, those conversations and


those dinners with big union backers? The truth is, most of them


are publicly known anyway, not least because the trade unions tend


to talk through the media immediately thereafter --


immediately after they have had a meeting. But there were serious


allegations this weekend, and I don't think it is good enough for


David Cameron to say that we are not having an independent inquiry.


The idea that you can do a News International, if I can put it that


way, remember the phone hacking scandal, and they said, leave it


with us, we will have an internal investigation, it is not good


enough, we have got to have an independent inquiry. If we look at


donors and donations, even during Tony Blair's time as Prime Minister,


we had the cash-for-honours investigation, but Lord Levy has


today admitted that Tony Blair had private dinners with party donors.


It has happened under every single government. A Yes, and I think


think that politicians... That was wrong, was it? What is wrong is not


that you are accessible to people. It is good that you talk to people


at the coalface, but what is wrong is that people can buy special


access and special favours and buy influence on government policy. I


think that speaks to the conduct and character of David Cameron's


government and is really serious. But it was Tony Blair's government,


too. There is no suggestion that at any stage Ed Miliband has been


going around charging donor's �250,000 to influence policy.


you do encourage donors to give money, and they then get access to


receptions, for example. In our club, people pay 80,000 -- people


pay �80 a month, whatever it is. But there is a very important


distinction, there is no suggestion at all in Ed Miliband's Labour


Party that we are going around, that Ed Miliband's treasurer is


going around selling excess to the leader of our party, and flogging


influence on our policies, it just doesn't happen. What have you got


to say to that, Michael Fallon? trade unions were directly


controlling the last Labour government, directly influencing


policy. You had the Unite union actually choosing the next Labour


leader. They provide 80% of Labour Party funding. Our donations are


spread right across the board. This is a party which is run by the


trade unions. But big donations go to dinner with the Prime Minister.


They do not. They do, because the Prime Minister is going to publish


a list of these dinners at the flat. There have been three occasions in


the last two years where he has had supper up in his own flat, where,


amongst the friends invited for supper, there will have been some


people who had earlier made donations to the Conservative Party.


You're going to get that information published, and from now


on, you're going to find out about everybody who has come for meals at


official residences. Which everybody seems to welcome, but why


the change? Yesterday it was private, people who attended Number


Ten in that capacity, they were not going to be published, so what has


changed? We are always looking for more transparency. This is the


first government which has ever published details like these. We


have had enormous public interest in the last 24 hours in the idea,


which is wrong, but Peter Cruddas was boasting about getting access


to number 10, and we need to show that this was not right. How did


those donors get to that Dinnet unless it was because they had


donated those large sums of money? The Prime Minister has people up


into his own private apartment, I'm sure you do the same thing. They


have not paid me �250,000. He has people in his private apartments,


and amongst those people, occasionally, there will have been


donors. Those names are going to be published now. Will records have


been kept of those meetings? I hope so, and the work is now being done


to establish who was there. what was said? Summer we are going


to get a tape recording, but the two points which Peter Cruddas was


boasting about were both wrong - when you do not get special access


to Downing Street, and you're not able to dictate policy.


Understandably, you're not going to have notes taken from a private


dinner, but it is the impression that it leaves, now that we have


heard this tape from Peter Crowe does, that donors were having


dinner with the Prime Minister -- Peter Cruddas -- so how can we know


that these people were not having any influence at all? Making


donations to the party does not buy you any influence over the policy.


What is the point of making a donation, then? Because you were


shared the policies of the party. It is the commitment to free


enterprise, supporting business and advancing jobs in this country. You


share those values, it is not because you have any influence over


policy. You look at the website, and it has the leader's Club, if


you pay �50,000, I think, like any party, but does that have to stop


now? Are we getting to the stage when only that kind of thing will


satisfy voters, but you should not be appealing to donors in that


sense? I think all political parties offer that kind of access


to their leaders and prominent members of the Cabinet or Shadow


Cabinet, that one of the ways political parties attract donations.


The Labour Party has always done that, we do that, you might get to


meet senior ministers and so on. The difference here is that we need


to make it absolutely clear that that should not happen in Downing


Street itself, and it should not lead to any direct influence over a


particular policy. Let's ask our guest of the day, are you convinced


by what Michael Fallon has been saying? I'm not a politician, so I


cannot say who influences whom. What I will talk to about is what


young people expect of their leaders, of broader adult society


as a whole. Your viewers may remember that the United Kingdom


Youth Parliament meets once a year in a meeting chaired by Mr Speaker.


The youth parliament is more diverse in many ways than the main


parliament in either House. What our young people have, and I meet


young people all over the country, in poor and rich circumstances, who


have high morals and high ideals, and want to live in a society like


that. They expect a society where their own transparency, you know


how transparent young people are, they do not lie, they tell you


their stories, they are very keen to live in a society where, if they


vote, it counts, and however political parties are funded in the


future, and I really do not care about that, I am completely neutral


and bound to be so by law, I meet young people with a huge range of


political ideas, but they want to be able to aspire to be MPs


The youth of today have been a cause of concern for ever, really.


Each generation seems to think the kids they come across are more


badly behaved and less respectful than they were, perhaps


conveniently forgetting their own youthful high jinks. It has the


balance of power swung too much towards pupils and away from


parents and teachers? We went to find out. We will do one lesson of


revision, period three, and then period four, we will do the test.


Scenes from a British classroom, teacher in control, well-behaved


kids. If only it was like this all the time. If you believe what you


see in some papers, corridors like these are ruled by little kids who


the teachers cannot touch because they know their rights. There is


some evidence to suggest that that might be partly true, but really,


are the young people of today worse than those of yesterday, or is it


us? Things are more challenging and difficult for teachers, routinely,


with children and young people. I do not want to put young children


down, but there are unfortunately a significant minority who think they


have all the rights, but not the responsibilities. Is there any


empirical evidence that children are actually ruling the most? The


number of permanent exclusions has actually halved since 1997. But the


number of serious assaults on teachers reached a five-year high


in 2010, with 44 needing to be rushed to hospital. A survey for


teachers in the same year found that 92% thought behaviour had


become worse or much worse over the course of their careers. But is


that evidence of a culture where children are untouchable because


the pendulum of rights has swung too far in their favour? I think


this is a myth. What it has done, if anything, is it has changed the


way in which adults deal with children. In the end it is the


adults who bring children up, it is the teachers who manage children,


and it is their expectations, not those of the children. So, do


discipline and respect start at home? If they have got no


experience at home of doing things they do not want to do, of parents


setting appropriate boundaries, then they do not to stand -- they


do not understand that it needs to happen in school. My teachers tell


me that it is not just working- class children, it is many middle-


class children who do not understand those boundaries,


because they have been over- indulged. But does there have to be


a constant struggle? We need to present a really clear, simple,


positive direction will signal in the language that we use.


Frequently, we ask way to many questions both as parents and


teachers, giving youngsters the opportunity to get into what could


become a conflict. If we had not asked the question, there would not


have been a conflict in the first place. All of this matters, because


getting the balance between responsibilities and rights is


after all one of life's great lessons. We are joined by Toby


Young, who has set up a free school in west London. The general


impression is that children are not as respectful these days - do you


agree with that stereotype? evidence is mixed. I would frame it


slightly differently. Rather than rights versus responsibilities, I


would say it is the old-fashioned British culture of stoicism, the


bulldog spirit, keeping a stiff upper lip in the face of adversity,


versus a kind of therapeutic, touchy-feely culture, in which the


priority is on fostering a cells of self-esteem among children. That


has led to a general lowering of expectations, typified by the last


government making modern foreign languages optional at GCSE. If you


look at the performance of Britain's schoolchildren in the


international league tables, measuring comparative performance,


you will see that British schoolchildren have plummeted, when


it comes to science, for instance, from seventh to 25th in the


developed world, and from eighth to 28th when it comes to maths. You're


saying this is because of this change in culture? Absolutely. If


you look at the countries which are doing really well, at the top of


the league tables, countries like South Korea, Hong Kong, China,


Taiwan, those clearly are not countries in which the emphasis is


on children's rights and boosting their self-esteem. Respect has to


be earned, it cannot be given to them on a plate. Do you agree with


that, that state schools have I go in and out of them all the


time. I would say no. The drop out rate in South Korea is the highest


among the world. Let's not believe there aren't cliff edges in those


countries as well. If you look at the UN conviction of the right on


the human rights, there are three Rs here. There are rights, John


Major signed it in 1991. We are bound by it. It comes with other


two Rs - climate of respect and mutual responsibility to make sure


if I have rights then so do you and so do you. We are mutually


responsible. I go in and out of aspirational schools, academies,


maintained LEA schools, Catholic and other faith schools where that


culture is there. The children know the boundaries. You do need


authorities, you do need boundaries. You need respect in every classroom.


Teachers deserve the right to teach. Children who leave school with no


self-esteem and no ability to be entrepreneurial or lead, you are


doing them a disservice as well. It has to start when they are children.


Hapbt that children's ex-- what about that children's expectations


are not there? Children are praised for doing anything? The children


who really suffer from this culture are children from deprived


backgrounds, where they are not pushed at home, in the way that


middle class children are. If you look at schools, I visited many


myself. I recently visited a school in Hackney - one of the most


deprived boroughs in the UK, somewhere like 50% of the children


have free school meals. The children are sent home if they come


to school wearing the wrong colour shoes. That is not liked by


progressers. If you look at the number of children who went to


Cambridge at Mossborne, ten children went to Cambridge. Every


child in the sixth form went to university. I I have also been


there. The children will confirm it is a caring environment and the


results are because of the human self-esteem. They teach them in


special places with some of the best staff in the school. There are


two sides to Mossborne. It is a disciplined school, but also a very


caring school. Let's look at the discipline - let's look at uniform,


homework handed in that is sloppy, even if the content is good. Are


these things that would inch standards up? If children feel they


cannot get away with getting to school five minutes late, it does


matter. And they cannot come into school without their homework,


because it does matter? Of course it does matter. In desperately


scattered and drifting rural places I don't meet that complacentsy.


am glad you acknowledge the discipline in schools. In the past


you have advocated prosecuting mums who smack their children. No I


haven't. Are you saying they should be allowed to smack? There are


circumstances where it is reasonable to discipline your


children if they are misbehaving. Your issues of school uniform may


not seem important but actually does seem to make a difference. It


is how far you take it though. is pointless having a uniform in a


school if you don't enforce it. Too often up and down the country their


ties are down to their nave vels, their shoes are not polished.


It may sound old fashioned, but we can see where it is enforced the


children do better, particularly from deprived backgrounds. What


about how students treat teachers. Some teachers say they feel -- if


someone is disrupting a class they are removed from that class. If


they disrupt sha class consistently they should be ejected from that


school? That is the sort of system that is in place. Children are


removed. It is difficult to do. Children are taking away from the


30 children they are otherwise disrupting. They are taught in


special units. Children can be taught in small groups and held to


being on time, doing the homework, getting right support, asking the


right questions to get them through their exams. The exclusions issue -


if exclusions are done properly and above board and in a proper, formal,


corresponding with home fashion. Are they? They mostly are. There


are schools who have admitted to us that there is also, every now and


again, a casual exclusion, go home for a few days and sort yourself


out. We need to do more work on that. The Government is keen also


to crack down on illegal exclusions. I would hesitate to defend a


practise which is illegal, but I think from the point of view of the


head teachers in the schools to try and ensure that proper learning


takes place in the classrooms, sometimes to go through a formal


exclusion procedure, in which there is an appeal and appeals panel


which can reinstate the child and if they exclude them they have to


take a child from a neighbouring school - sometimes they don't want


that on their record. It is against the law.


End of. I will thank you both at this point. With just two day left


before Easter recess, let's see what is still to come before MPs


jet off - questions on cash for access are likely to dominate the


next couple of days. Meanwhile, with incredible timing Nick Clegg


has managed to get away from Westminster and the scandal. He is


spending today and tomorrow in South Korea, meeting businesses and


politicians. The Government is expected to reveal more details


about its controversial changes to planning rules. There are fears


from some groups it could amount to a carte blanche for developers.


Joining me now is Anne McElvoy and Nick Watt. Anne McElvoy, first of


all, has he done enough, David Cameron, by announcing he'll


publish details of the dinners held with private donors at Number Ten?


It gets him off the initial hook, which looked very bad for him and


the Conservative Party that many of the things that it said in


opposition about cleaning up politics and cleaning up the whole


donor question were looking thread bear. It didn't take long for them


to change their minds. If there is such thing as giving credit where


it is due, that is where I would give it. When I saw their initial


resistance I was surprised and I wondered how long that line would


last. David Cameron is prepared to take the hit on showing who he has


dinner with, as long as it shows he is trying to get back into the


driving seat on openness. Surprise, surprise, big done nations to


political parties, you get access to the Prime Minister and you get


to chat to him, so tell me something I don't know? I can just


about hear you, but there is a very loud helicopter. I will shout it


again. I am saying, surprise, surprise, donors to political


parties give lots of money, they get access to senior ministers and


the Prime Minister ee tell me something I don't know! -- They


would like you to think that you can 236 give �100,000 and it will


not have an effect on David Cameron. Peter Cruddas blue it oup, give us


�250,000, you'll be in if Premier League and get to influence policy.


He is not meant to say that. There is a gentleman's agreement. You


might get to meet the Prime Minister over dinner, of course it


will have no impact on what he does. That is the offence that Peter


Cruddas has committed. What will be interesting from this, I agree with


Ann, that obviously the Prime Minister is dealing the immediate


crisis with greater transparency, but the deeper crisis is how are


they going to deal with this point that clearly you do get access, you


do get influence with ministers if you pay all this money. What


influence can you get? We don't know what influence, in that sense


is brought to bear. The timing is unfortunate for the Conservatives


because it comes after the Budget and their big policy announcements,


particularly on the top rate of tax. Does it have a direct influence?


You don't have a direct link. This was raised when Labour went through


its own cash for honours issue. People will suspect there is a link.


It is unlikely that anyone turns up and says, here Prime Minister, can


we sign this list off over the desert? It does not work that way.


If you pay a lot to the Conservative Party and get access


at high level it does not look like you sit around discussing the


spring sunshine. Although it is hard to say what you got out of it,


what you got was the ear of the Prime Minister to put your case


across. Peter Cruddas used the phrase "bosh, there you are." They


look from one party to another and think this never gets better. That


is what David Cameron has to challenge. He cannot be seen to be


in the company ofty cons. It is interesting that -- of tycoons.


It is interesting that which must be forthcoming eis this the revenge


of the media mogul? It was a Sunday Times story. Good nor the Sunday


Times - a really important -- good for the Sunday Times. A really


important story. Rupert Murdoch thought David Cameron was a light


weight. He is furious at the Leveson Inquiry and that it has


been set up. Len, looking at the public -- then, looking at the


public response, will people be - they are bothered obviously by any


sense of donations in political parties - but will they see it


different from previous scandals? It is another brick out of the wall.


It is the old animal farm thing, you look from man to pig and pig to


man and wonder which is which. We've had this coalition for a


relatively short amount of time. I bet Nick Clegg is pleased to be


off to South Korea today. It is a short time to get into the


situation where people are saying, you are exactly the same as the old


lot who had been in office for too long. I think that is where David


Cameron will feel he has allowed a silly situation to arise. Of course


he cannot entirely be blamed for the stupidity of Mr Cruddas in


making the kind of promises he was making. It was clearly an open door.


Trouble was going to march through it. What about hostage to fortune


in terms of the opposition and Ed Miliband? Is it rich for the Labour


Party to be pushing this issue too far, Nick? Well, of course Ed


Miliband thinks this is an absolute gift for him. He is planning he


will reply to the Francis Maude statement, to put the pressure on


the Prime Minister. Yes, of course the Labour Party has its own


problems. The Prime Minister, in his statement today was saying I


think we should be moving in the direction of the �50,000 cap,


individual cap on donations. Well, we all know what that is about.


That is ensuring Unite and other David Miliband yesterday on The


Andrew Marr Show was coming one the suggestion that we should look


closer at individual members of trade unions, they should know when


they are ticking the levy box. They should make that choice. Maybe that


would be a way around that �50,000 cap for the Labour Party. Thank you,


both of you out there in the sunshine. We will talk about party


funding later on. I do believe now we can join our political editor,


Nick Robinson, who has been following this story closely. Has


he done enough now, David Cameron, even though they refused to publish


the list of the donors of private dinners yesterday, they have


changed their minds? Well, they have published them now. Of course


there'll be scrutiny now of exactly who those names are. Some are


fairly familiar to me. Andrew Feldman. Others less familiar Ian


and Christine Taylor. Henry and Dorothy Angus. They were


not people who gave a donation one day after the Conservatives got


into Downing Street and then arrived at his dinner table the


next. But of course people will still ask, why on earth did he


think it was appropriate to have dinners at all in his flat above


Downing Street for people whose only qualification for being there


was they were donors to the Conservative Party? The questions


will go on about why more information cannot be revealed


about previous dinners at previous locations, other locations, for


example, Chequers. The Prime Minister's aids are saying there


are practical difficulties in assembling that information about


Chequers. They will do it in future but not about the past. The


difficulty with transparency is once you start, people say, carry


on going, please, we want more. Coming to you now, Caroline


Dinenage, do you think there should be an exhaustive list? I think


obviously transparency is really important. This is fundamentally


very undermining for the hard- working activists at a local level.


I was at a fish-and-chip lunch in my constituency on Saturday, where


everybody paid �7.50 to be there. This is what grassroots fund-


raising is about. Transparency is very important, but we have to draw


a line, people are entitled to a private life, they are entitled to


have personal friends. Once transparency starts, it is


difficult to know where it will lend. On the doorstep, what are you


going to say to people? It is difficult, and it is heartbreaking


for those of us that work really hard at a local level, and do not


have constituents who will ever be able to come to be a 8 kind of


money to a party. -- able to contribute that kind of money to a


party. But in actual fact, it appears that this guy was operating


completely against party guidelines, so we ought to be looking into it


and making sure it does not happen again. Were you shop, Jo Swinson,


by the video with Peter Cruddas, and what he said? I think everybody


would have been shocked by that, because that is not an appropriate


way to go about fund-raising. to all political parties do it?


think there is a difference between people who are supporters of a


political party, whether that is by donating money or whatever, and


obviously, at party conferences and so on, they will meet with senior


people, between that and suggestions of buying influence


over policy. I think that is a very, very serious suggestion, which is


why the weekend was so damaging. That's why it is really important,


this is not the first story like this that we have had. You could


rewind this programme over the years and you would have had


various of these events. The political class generally has not


salted its act out, which is what we must do. Then why has there been


no progress in terms of getting agreement on how parties are


funded? I'm not sure, but this is on a different scale to anything we


have seen in the past, this is about access to the Prime Minister


and his wife in Number Ten Downing Street. Not only that, it is about


influencing policy. We do not know that. That's what Peter Cruddas was


saying he could arrange for �250,000, because that amount would


put donors into the Premier League. So, this is actually on a different


scale, which is why we say we need an independent inquiry. What would


you do to make sure that Labour was above any kind of accusations of


this nature? We have money from trade unions, but that is


individual members, who choose to join a trade union, take the


political levy box, but a few pounds a month into that Levy, it


is not about individual millionaires paying �250,000 to see


the Prime Minister and influence policy. Listen, viewers know that


union leaders bring a lot of influence to bear on the Labour


leadership, and one could argue particularly now, because they were


seen as the ones who put Ed Miliband where he is. So, what


could be done to reassure people that that link does not mean that


union leaders have more influence that they showed? I don't think


union leaders do, to be honest with you. They do not have influence


over the policies, the candidate's? The Labour Party represents the


interests of working people. I think we have seen in recent weeks


and months that the Labour Party is not necessarily the friend of trade


unions, some Mum Ed Miliband has been dancing to the tune of the


trade union movement in recent months. The opposite could be


argued. Is it not the problem for David Cameron that he argued so


vociferously for transparency and now looks as if he has not


practised what he preached, particularly as he said that the


next crisis that was going to happen was the relationship between


politicians and lobbyists? As you said, there is no evidence that


this money that changed hands was directly leading to this. But they


are going to be talking about policy, aren't they? Policy which


will help businesses or entrepreneurs, or help people to be


more tax-efficient... We are not talking about like a Bernie


Eccleston giving �1 million for tobacco advertising, we're talking


about somebody who wants access to the Prime Minister, and they may


discuss anything, but the Prime Minister has various influences on


what government policy will be. There's so many other things which


will influence him, he will not just changed his mind on the basis


of one person who has paid to be there. Are you worried that people


might think twice before giving a large amount of money to the


Conservative Party? We have to make it very clear that access to the


Prime Minister is not going to buy you influence. What new can be


done? I don't know, we just have to look at why this was... We have


already got clear guidelines as to how people should behave, and we


have to look at how people ever thought they could have done this.


Would you like to see a cap on donations? I think that should be


the way we should go, yes. Where do you think would be a good


standpoint? I think �50,000 would be a good starting point. That will


form the basis of the discussions. My understanding is that those


talks will restart, the Deputy Prime Minister has made an approach


to the different parties to kick- start this some weeks ago, because


it is in the coalition agreement, we need to get the big money out of


politics, which is why I think a cap is important. The committee has


recommended one which is lower, about �10,000. Different parties


will have different views. But I think moving ahead with a cross-


party consensus to get this sorted out... I think we need it any


independent inquiry, in truth. We welcome the Prime Minister's U-turn


on this, but we need an independent inquiry. We saw this Tuesday the


privatisation of the National Health Service. We did not see that.


Let's talk about the talks on party funding. Let's stick to that. One


of the stumbling blocks has been Labour's failure to agree on what


the links should be financially between the unions and the party.


There is this problem over opting in and opting out. Do you think now


it is time that should people should have to opt in rather than


opting out? I agree with what Ed Miliband has said, members of trade


unions ought to be able to decide whether they want to opt into that


political levy or not. You would advise the Labour leader to do


that? I think I would, it is less damaging than capping donations. We


rely on donations from all sorts of people, members of the Labour Party


donate. They pay a membership, subscription fee. And I think that


forms the biggest part of the money we received, to be honest, it is


bigger than the trade unions. -- we receive. I think they are not


mutually exclusive. We have to make progress on these talks, because I


think they should be a cap on individual donations. If you start


to do that, then all of the speculation about people buying


influence becomes irrelevant, because we're not talking about the


same kind of sums. So I think a cap on party funding, and I also think


we need to look at the rules on party spending as well. For the


Liberal Democrats, that's clear, because you do not have the same


sort of money. We have a range of different donors, much of our money


comes from the grass roots, all of those local fund-raising events,


but I think that is a strength. We should be encouraging people, that


if they support issues, donating to a political party is a legitimate


way of doing that and being involved actively. Would you be


happy to ask the taxpayer to give money, and have some kind of state


funding, is that going to be palatable? This is the thing, I


don't think it will be. This is the danger, that inevitably, there will


be a conclusion that all parties should be state funded, but I don't


think there will be an appetite for that. That would be completely


unpalatable, for people to be expected to pay to fund political


parties. People think they pay too much in taxes anyway, to be honest.


To fund the BNP, for example, would be unpalatable follows people.


think in the current climate, it will not happen. It works well in


other countries, and of course, there is some state funding, for


example, for the opposition, in terms of policy development, which


is fair enough. But some am state funding will be the solution. But


we need a system -- but I don't think state funding will be the


solution -- where it is all more transparent. The fear of fuel


shortages is with us again. There is a threat that a tanker drivers


could be going on strike as early as next month. The Government has


announced that army personnel will be trained to take over. Will this


be enough to avoid a crisis? Well, what do you think? Labour really


suffered the last time there was action like this. I'm not sure that


it will. The Government needs to be making contingency plans, but they


need to be encouraging the trade unions to get around the table and


find a settlement, with the management. Last week we were


speaking to small businesses, and the price of a litre of petrol has


gone through �1.40 on Friday - do you think George Osborne should


have done more to tackle the price of fuel? I would have liked to have


seen more on this in the Budget, definitely. But this kind of move


by the tanker drivers is so were responsible, we have got hard-


working businesses up and down the country, trying to grow their way


out of recession. To hang his over their heads I think is so


irresponsible. Are you fearful about a possible crisis like this


again? We all remember what it was like last time. It is right that


the Government puts plans in place so that we do not end up in the


same situation. It is so important to the economy that we keep things


moving. Is it right for the military to be stepping in?


Government needs to look at how emergency services can continue,


and indeed, the economy does not grind to a halt. But that means


having a negotiation which there's some kind of fruit, is that


possible Blunkett -- is that possible? That has to be the


reality. I do not know the detail, to be honest. It needs to be


settled, I don't think anybody want to strike, but we should have the


right to withdraw labour, if that is the only alternative. Even if it


brings the country to a standstill ban ahead -- to a standstill?


there is no alternative, then yes, absolutely, people have the right


to withdraw label. But I want a conclusion to be seen on this one,


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