26/03/2012 Daily Politics


26/03/2012

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, including the cash-for-access scandal and the Unite tanker drivers' vote. She is joined by the children's commissioner Maggie Atkinson.


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

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

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Downing Street flat. The Prime Minister has promised an

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

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

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

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

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

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complain a significant number of children are worrying more about

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

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

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

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

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

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

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as usual. The Prime Minister is announcing funding into dementia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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they will understand frightening changes in their life far better

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

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something which does seem to be affecting more and more families

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because people are generally living longer. Apart from just talking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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households where grandma or granddad have come to live because

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

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

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

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

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

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

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added difficulty that you have a younger person acting differently

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or losing their personality, then children are very concerned.

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

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reel from the revelations that their party treasurer, Peter

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Cruddas, offered private dinners with David Cameron in return for

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

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

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

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

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Prime Minister has announced he will publish the list of dinner

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

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

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

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Labour Party would be willing to compromise their links with the

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

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

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Minister there have been three occasions when donors have come to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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on the Conservative Party will publish details every quarter of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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will listen to policy suggestions from these wealthy donors.

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suggestion is that actually Peter Cruddas has been discred ited,

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

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

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

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

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

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indem nick the way that the Conservative Party goes about

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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senior politicians, both the Labour and the Conservative Party have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Prime Minister, the Chancellor or the Deputy Prime Minister to

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Obviously these are bad headlines for anyone in Government for this

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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process of dragging party funding because they are dependant on the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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influence ministers about legislation or about the mood of

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

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

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

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donors as well as countless industry representatives. Thank you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the information already, could publish meetings that members of

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the Conservative Party can investigate itself on this. You

:15:06.:15:16.
:15:16.:15:19.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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have also been accusations that they try and influence the

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candidates to be chosen to represent Labour in parliament, is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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his meetings with the representatives of working people

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

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

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

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complete transparency, those meetings, those conversations and

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

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

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to talk through the media immediately thereafter --

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

:17:40.:17:43.

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

:17:43.:17:47.

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

:17:47.:17:52.

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

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

:17:55.:18:00.

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

:18:00.:18:05.

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

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

:18:10.:18:14.

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

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

:18:19.:18:24.

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

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

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

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

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

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

:18:51.:18:55.

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

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

:19:02.:19:08.

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

:19:08.:19:12.

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

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

:19:18.:19:22.

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

:19:22.:19:26.

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

:19:26.:19:31.

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

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

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

:19:42.:19:50.

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

:19:50.:19:52.

controlling the last Labour government, directly influencing

:19:52.:19:57.

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

:19:57.:20:03.

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

:20:03.:20:09.

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

:20:09.:20:14.

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

:20:14.:20:20.

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

:20:20.:20:25.

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

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

:20:30.:20:32.

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

:20:32.:20:37.

people who had earlier made donations to the Conservative Party.

:20:37.:20:40.

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

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

:20:45.:20:49.

official residences. Which everybody seems to welcome, but why

:20:49.:20:54.

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

:20:54.:20:57.

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

:20:57.:21:02.

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

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first government which has ever published details like these. We

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

:21:11.:21:17.

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

:21:17.:21:23.

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

:21:23.:21:26.

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

:21:26.:21:30.

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

:21:30.:21:38.

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

:21:38.:21:44.

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

:21:44.:21:47.

and amongst those people, occasionally, there will have been

:21:47.:21:54.

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

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

:21:59.:22:05.

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

:22:05.:22:11.

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

:22:11.:22:15.

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

:22:15.:22:18.

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

:22:18.:22:22.

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

:22:22.:22:29.

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

:22:29.:22:34.

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

:22:34.:22:43.

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

:22:43.:22:48.

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

:22:48.:22:53.

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

:22:53.:22:57.

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

:22:57.:23:06.

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

:23:06.:23:09.

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

:23:09.:23:13.

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

:23:13.:23:20.

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

:23:20.:23:24.

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

:23:24.:23:29.

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

:23:29.:23:33.

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

:23:33.:23:37.

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

:23:37.:23:42.

to their leaders and prominent members of the Cabinet or Shadow

:23:42.:23:46.

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

:23:46.:23:51.

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

:23:51.:23:55.

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

:23:55.:23:59.

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

:23:59.:24:04.

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

:24:04.:24:12.

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

:24:12.:24:20.

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

:24:20.:24:24.

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

:24:24.:24:28.

young people expect of their leaders, of broader adult society

:24:28.:24:35.

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

:24:35.:24:40.

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

:24:40.:24:43.

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

:24:43.:24:47.

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

:24:47.:24:53.

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

:24:53.:24:57.

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

:24:57.:25:03.

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

:25:03.:25:06.

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

:25:06.:25:10.

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

:25:11.:25:17.

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

:25:17.:25:22.

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

:25:22.:25:27.

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

:25:27.:25:31.

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

:25:31.:25:41.
:25:41.:25:46.

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

:25:47.:25:51.

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

:25:51.:25:54.

badly behaved and less respectful than they were, perhaps

:25:55.:25:59.

conveniently forgetting their own youthful high jinks. It has the

:25:59.:26:05.

balance of power swung too much towards pupils and away from

:26:05.:26:10.

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

:26:11.:26:16.

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

:26:16.:26:20.

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

:26:20.:26:25.

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

:26:25.:26:30.

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

:26:30.:26:34.

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

:26:34.:26:38.

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

:26:39.:26:43.

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

:26:43.:26:48.

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

:26:48.:26:51.

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

:26:51.:26:56.

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

:26:56.:27:00.

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

:27:00.:27:06.

empirical evidence that children are actually ruling the most? The

:27:06.:27:14.

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

:27:14.:27:19.

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

:27:19.:27:24.

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

:27:24.:27:27.

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

:27:27.:27:31.

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

:27:31.:27:35.

that evidence of a culture where children are untouchable because

:27:35.:27:43.

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

:27:43.:27:51.

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

:27:51.:27:54.

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

:27:55.:28:00.

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

:28:00.:28:05.

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

:28:05.:28:10.

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

:28:10.:28:14.

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

:28:14.:28:20.

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

:28:20.:28:24.

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

:28:24.:28:28.

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

:28:28.:28:30.

class children who do not understand those boundaries,

:28:30.:28:35.

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

:28:35.:28:40.

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

:28:40.:28:45.

positive direction will signal in the language that we use.

:28:45.:28:51.

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

:28:51.:28:54.

teachers, giving youngsters the opportunity to get into what could

:28:55.:28:58.

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

:28:58.:29:03.

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

:29:03.:29:09.

getting the balance between responsibilities and rights is

:29:09.:29:16.

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

:29:16.:29:19.

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

:29:19.:29:24.

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

:29:24.:29:29.

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

:29:29.:29:35.

slightly differently. Rather than rights versus responsibilities, I

:29:35.:29:38.

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

:29:38.:29:44.

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

:29:44.:29:48.

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

:29:48.:29:52.

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

:29:52.:29:56.

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

:29:56.:30:01.

government making modern foreign languages optional at GCSE. If you

:30:01.:30:04.

look at the performance of Britain's schoolchildren in the

:30:04.:30:08.

international league tables, measuring comparative performance,

:30:08.:30:12.

you will see that British schoolchildren have plummeted, when

:30:12.:30:19.

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

:30:19.:30:27.

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

:30:27.:30:32.

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

:30:32.:30:36.

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

:30:36.:30:40.

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

:30:40.:30:45.

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

:30:45.:30:49.

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

:30:49.:30:53.

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

:30:53.:31:03.
:31:03.:31:10.

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

:31:10.:31:15.

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

:31:15.:31:19.

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

:31:19.:31:24.

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

:31:24.:31:28.

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

:31:28.:31:33.

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

:31:34.:31:37.

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

:31:37.:31:43.

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

:31:43.:31:49.

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

:31:49.:31:55.

maintained LEA schools, Catholic and other faith schools where that

:31:55.:32:00.

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

:32:00.:32:07.

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

:32:07.:32:12.

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

:32:12.:32:15.

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

:32:15.:32:20.

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

:32:20.:32:26.

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

:32:26.:32:34.

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

:32:34.:32:38.

who really suffer from this culture are children from deprived

:32:38.:32:41.

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

:32:41.:32:46.

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

:32:46.:32:51.

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

:32:51.:32:57.

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

:32:57.:33:02.

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

:33:02.:33:11.

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

:33:11.:33:14.

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

:33:14.:33:21.

Cambridge at Mossborne, ten children went to Cambridge. Every

:33:21.:33:27.

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

:33:27.:33:31.

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

:33:31.:33:36.

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

:33:36.:33:39.

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

:33:39.:33:45.

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

:33:45.:33:52.

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

:33:52.:33:58.

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

:33:58.:34:02.

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

:34:02.:34:06.

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

:34:06.:34:10.

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

:34:10.:34:16.

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

:34:16.:34:21.

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

:34:21.:34:26.

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

:34:26.:34:31.

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

:34:31.:34:36.

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

:34:36.:34:39.

circumstances where it is reasonable to discipline your

:34:39.:34:46.

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

:34:46.:34:49.

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

:34:49.:34:54.

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

:34:54.:35:04.

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

:35:04.:35:08.

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

:35:08.:35:12.

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

:35:12.:35:19.

children do better, particularly from deprived backgrounds. What

:35:19.:35:27.

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

:35:27.:35:32.

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

:35:32.:35:37.

they disrupt sha class consistently they should be ejected from that

:35:37.:35:41.

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

:35:41.:35:46.

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

:35:46.:35:52.

30 children they are otherwise disrupting. They are taught in

:35:52.:35:55.

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

:35:55.:35:59.

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

:35:59.:36:07.

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

:36:07.:36:12.

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

:36:12.:36:17.

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

:36:17.:36:24.

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

:36:24.:36:31.

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

:36:31.:36:35.

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

:36:35.:36:41.

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

:36:41.:36:45.

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

:36:45.:36:48.

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

:36:48.:36:52.

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

:36:52.:36:56.

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

:36:56.:37:00.

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

:37:00.:37:08.

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

:37:08.:37:13.

that on their record. It is against the law.

:37:13.:37:21.

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

:37:21.:37:25.

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

:37:25.:37:31.

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

:37:31.:37:36.

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

:37:36.:37:41.

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

:37:41.:37:45.

spending today and tomorrow in South Korea, meeting businesses and

:37:45.:37:50.

politicians. The Government is expected to reveal more details

:37:50.:37:55.

about its controversial changes to planning rules. There are fears

:37:55.:38:00.

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

:38:00.:38:04.

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

:38:04.:38:08.

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

:38:08.:38:13.

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

:38:13.:38:17.

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

:38:17.:38:20.

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

:38:20.:38:25.

opposition about cleaning up politics and cleaning up the whole

:38:25.:38:28.

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

:38:28.:38:32.

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

:38:32.:38:36.

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

:38:36.:38:41.

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

:38:41.:38:46.

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

:38:46.:38:49.

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

:38:49.:38:56.

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

:38:56.:38:59.

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

:38:59.:39:04.

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

:39:04.:39:07.

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

:39:07.:39:11.

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

:39:11.:39:15.

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

:39:15.:39:23.

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

:39:23.:39:28.

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

:39:28.:39:33.

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

:39:33.:39:37.

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

:39:37.:39:41.

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

:39:41.:39:43.

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

:39:44.:39:47.

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

:39:47.:39:50.

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

:39:50.:39:54.

Ann, that obviously the Prime Minister is dealing the immediate

:39:54.:39:58.

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

:39:58.:40:02.

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

:40:02.:40:08.

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

:40:08.:40:13.

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

:40:13.:40:18.

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

:40:18.:40:23.

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

:40:23.:40:29.

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

:40:29.:40:35.

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

:40:35.:40:38.

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

:40:38.:40:43.

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

:40:43.:40:49.

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

:40:49.:40:52.

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

:40:52.:40:57.

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

:40:57.:41:01.

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

:41:01.:41:05.

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

:41:05.:41:09.

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

:41:09.:41:14.

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

:41:14.:41:18.

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

:41:18.:41:24.

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

:41:24.:41:31.

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

:41:31.:41:38.

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

:41:38.:41:44.

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

:41:44.:41:46.

important story. Rupert Murdoch thought David Cameron was a light

:41:47.:41:51.

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

:41:51.:41:57.

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

:41:57.:42:02.

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

:42:03.:42:08.

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

:42:08.:42:14.

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

:42:14.:42:19.

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

:42:19.:42:24.

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

:42:24.:42:30.

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

:42:30.:42:32.

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

:42:33.:42:36.

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

:42:36.:42:41.

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

:42:41.:42:46.

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

:42:46.:42:50.

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

:42:50.:42:54.

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

:42:54.:42:58.

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

:42:58.:43:03.

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

:43:03.:43:08.

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

:43:08.:43:13.

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

:43:13.:43:15.

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

:43:15.:43:19.

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

:43:19.:43:21.

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

:43:21.:43:26.

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

:43:26.:43:30.

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

:43:30.:43:39.

That is ensuring Unite and other David Miliband yesterday on The

:43:39.:43:43.

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

:43:43.:43:48.

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

:43:48.:43:51.

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

:43:51.:43:55.

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

:43:55.:43:59.

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

:43:59.:44:04.

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

:44:04.:44:07.

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

:44:07.:44:11.

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

:44:11.:44:15.

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

:44:15.:44:19.

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

:44:19.:44:24.

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

:44:24.:44:34.
:44:34.:44:37.

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

:44:37.:44:43.

and Christine Taylor. Henry and Dorothy Angus. They were

:44:43.:44:48.

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

:44:48.:44:52.

into Downing Street and then arrived at his dinner table the

:44:52.:44:55.

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

:44:55.:44:59.

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

:45:00.:45:04.

Downing Street for people whose only qualification for being there

:45:04.:45:07.

was they were donors to the Conservative Party? The questions

:45:07.:45:11.

will go on about why more information cannot be revealed

:45:11.:45:15.

about previous dinners at previous locations, other locations, for

:45:15.:45:19.

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

:45:19.:45:22.

are practical difficulties in assembling that information about

:45:22.:45:27.

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

:45:27.:45:31.

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

:45:31.:45:41.
:45:41.:45:44.

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

:45:44.:45:54.
:45:54.:45:54.

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

:45:54.:45:57.

obviously transparency is really important. This is fundamentally

:45:57.:46:03.

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

:46:03.:46:07.

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

:46:07.:46:12.

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

:46:12.:46:17.

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

:46:17.:46:21.

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

:46:21.:46:26.

have personal friends. Once transparency starts, it is

:46:26.:46:32.

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

:46:32.:46:36.

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

:46:36.:46:42.

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

:46:42.:46:47.

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

:46:47.:46:53.

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

:46:53.:47:02.

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

:47:02.:47:06.

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

:47:06.:47:13.

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

:47:14.:47:20.

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

:47:20.:47:24.

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

:47:24.:47:34.
:47:34.:47:38.

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

:47:38.:47:41.

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

:47:41.:47:48.

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

:47:48.:47:52.

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

:47:52.:47:56.

people, between that and suggestions of buying influence

:47:56.:48:02.

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

:48:02.:48:06.

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

:48:06.:48:12.

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

:48:12.:48:14.

rewind this programme over the years and you would have had

:48:14.:48:20.

various of these events. The political class generally has not

:48:20.:48:24.

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

:48:24.:48:28.

no progress in terms of getting agreement on how parties are

:48:28.:48:36.

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

:48:36.:48:39.

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

:48:39.:48:43.

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

:48:43.:48:51.

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

:48:51.:48:55.

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

:48:55.:48:59.

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

:48:59.:49:04.

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

:49:04.:49:09.

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

:49:09.:49:16.

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

:49:16.:49:20.

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

:49:20.:49:25.

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

:49:25.:49:31.

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

:49:31.:49:35.

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

:49:35.:49:39.

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

:49:39.:49:44.

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

:49:44.:49:48.

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

:49:48.:49:53.

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

:49:53.:49:57.

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

:49:57.:50:01.

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

:50:01.:50:06.

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

:50:06.:50:11.

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

:50:11.:50:16.

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

:50:16.:50:20.

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

:50:20.:50:22.

trade union movement in recent months. The opposite could be

:50:22.:50:28.

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

:50:28.:50:31.

vociferously for transparency and now looks as if he has not

:50:31.:50:35.

practised what he preached, particularly as he said that the

:50:35.:50:39.

next crisis that was going to happen was the relationship between

:50:39.:50:44.

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

:50:44.:50:49.

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

:50:49.:50:54.

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

:50:54.:50:58.

will help businesses or entrepreneurs, or help people to be

:50:58.:51:02.

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

:51:02.:51:06.

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

:51:06.:51:10.

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

:51:10.:51:13.

discuss anything, but the Prime Minister has various influences on

:51:13.:51:17.

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

:51:17.:51:21.

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

:51:21.:51:24.

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

:51:24.:51:28.

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

:51:28.:51:33.

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

:51:33.:51:38.

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

:51:38.:51:44.

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

:51:44.:51:48.

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

:51:48.:51:52.

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

:51:52.:51:56.

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

:51:56.:52:01.

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

:52:01.:52:07.

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

:52:07.:52:15.

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

:52:15.:52:19.

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

:52:19.:52:22.

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

:52:22.:52:26.

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

:52:26.:52:30.

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

:52:30.:52:34.

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

:52:34.:52:38.

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

:52:38.:52:45.

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

:52:45.:52:49.

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

:52:49.:52:55.

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

:52:55.:53:01.

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

:53:02.:53:09.

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

:53:10.:53:14.

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

:53:14.:53:21.

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

:53:21.:53:26.

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

:53:26.:53:30.

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

:53:30.:53:37.

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

:53:37.:53:41.

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

:53:41.:53:46.

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

:53:46.:53:51.

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

:53:51.:53:54.

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

:53:54.:53:59.

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

:53:59.:54:03.

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

:54:03.:54:11.

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

:54:11.:54:16.

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

:54:16.:54:20.

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

:54:20.:54:23.

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

:54:23.:54:26.

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

:54:26.:54:31.

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

:54:32.:54:37.

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

:54:37.:54:40.

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

:54:40.:54:45.

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

:54:45.:54:49.

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

:54:49.:54:53.

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

:54:53.:54:57.

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

:54:57.:55:05.

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

:55:05.:55:09.

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

:55:09.:55:13.

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

:55:13.:55:17.

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

:55:17.:55:21.

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

:55:21.:55:25.

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

:55:25.:55:29.

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

:55:29.:55:34.

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

:55:34.:55:41.

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

:55:41.:55:45.

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

:55:45.:55:48.

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

:55:48.:55:52.

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

:55:52.:55:56.

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

:55:56.:56:03.

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

:56:03.:56:10.

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

:56:10.:56:15.

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

:56:15.:56:19.

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

:56:19.:56:22.

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

:56:22.:56:28.

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

:56:28.:56:34.

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

:56:34.:56:38.

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

:56:38.:56:41.

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

:56:41.:56:47.

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

:56:47.:56:50.

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

:56:50.:56:54.

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

:56:54.:56:58.

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

:56:58.:57:02.

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

:57:02.:57:05.

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

:57:05.:57:09.

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

:57:09.:57:15.

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

:57:15.:57:19.

irresponsible. Are you fearful about a possible crisis like this

:57:19.:57:23.

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

:57:23.:57:27.

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

:57:27.:57:30.

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

:57:30.:57:35.

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

:57:35.:57:38.

Government needs to look at how emergency services can continue,

:57:38.:57:44.

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

:57:44.:57:48.

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

:57:48.:57:57.

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

:57:57.:58:04.

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

:58:04.:58:10.

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

:58:10.:58:16.

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

:58:16.:58:24.

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

:58:24.:58:28.

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

:58:28.:58:33.

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

:58:33.:58:43.
:58:43.:58:44.

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate. She is joined by the children's commissioner Maggie Atkinson.

There is also a look at the cash-for-access scandal that broke over the weekend, and the implications for David Cameron.

If Unite tanker drivers vote 'yes' later today, there could be a fuel tankers strike. The army is being trained to stand in. Jo discusses this with the Monday panel of MPs.

And Jo looks at whether MPs should be subject to regular stress tests. One doctor thinks they should be; would the panel be willing?


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