27/03/2012 Daily Politics


27/03/2012

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, including the cash-for-access row and the government's planning reforms. With Lord Prescott, Lord Fowler and Don Foster MP.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 27/03/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.

:00:38.:00:41.

The polls made grim reading for the Prime Minister over his kedgeree

:00:41.:00:44.

this morning. One has Mr Cameron ten points behind his Labour

:00:44.:00:48.

counterpart. Maybe the PM should invite a few people round for

:00:48.:00:51.

Easter Sunday. And talking of Easter, Quentin

:00:51.:00:54.

Letts takes to recess like a duck to water with his A-Z of Parliament

:00:54.:00:59.

A framework for growth or carte blanche to develop the countryside?

:00:59.:01:01.

We'll be looking at the Government's new planning framework

:01:01.:01:06.

for England. And farewell clunk click every trip.

:01:06.:01:16.

Are we waving goodbye to public information films like this? Pick a

:01:16.:01:22.

simple topic and state the bleeding obvious about it.

:01:22.:01:25.

Indeed! All that in the next hour, and with

:01:25.:01:28.

us for the whole programme today we have an embarrassment of political

:01:28.:01:31.

riches. John Prescott is the former Deputy Prime Minister now hoping to

:01:31.:01:34.

become one of the first elected police commissioners. Norman Fowler

:01:34.:01:36.

is a former Tory cabinet minister and one-time chairman of the

:01:36.:01:39.

Conservative Party and Don Foster is a Liberal Democrat who speaks

:01:39.:01:49.
:01:49.:01:49.

for the party on culture and the media. Can I say evening, all!

:01:49.:01:56.

yet! Let's start with what's being

:01:56.:02:01.

called - by this programme at least - the dosh for nosh affair. That

:02:01.:02:04.

was sparked by revelations that a Tory party fundraiser had offered

:02:04.:02:07.

access to the Prime Minister's dinner table in return for

:02:07.:02:10.

donations. It caused quite a fuss in the Commons yesterday.

:02:10.:02:12.

Speaker, what Peter Cruddas said was completely unacceptable and

:02:12.:02:22.
:02:22.:02:23.

wrong. And much of what he said, much of what he said was simply not

:02:23.:02:29.

true, as he himself has since stated. My right honourable friend,

:02:29.:02:33.

the Prime Minister, has set out this morning that the Conservative

:02:33.:02:40.

Party will now go much further. I hope that all other parties, and

:02:40.:02:43.

since the Leader of the Opposition has taken the trouble to come to

:02:43.:02:52.

the House, I hope he will set out what his party will do. Will the

:02:52.:02:54.

Minister for the Cabinet Office accept it is completely inadequate,

:02:54.:02:58.

given the scale of these allegations, for an investigation

:02:58.:03:04.

into what happened to be conducted by the Conservative Party? A

:03:04.:03:09.

Conservative peer appointed by the Prime Minister. An inquiry into the

:03:09.:03:11.

Conservative Party by the Conservative Party for the

:03:11.:03:20.

Conservative Party. It is a whitewash and everyone knows it.

:03:21.:03:23.

Does the Cabinet Office Minister understand that when stories such

:03:23.:03:27.

as this emerge, it only confirms what we in Liverpool already know.

:03:27.:03:33.

The Tories are not interested in already -- ordinary people, they

:03:33.:03:37.

are only interested in making their rich friends even richer.

:03:37.:03:42.

there's a lot of synthetic nonsense about this. The party opposite has

:03:42.:03:46.

been snout in the trough far worse than we ever have and the Prime

:03:46.:03:50.

Minister is to be commended for his honesty and straightforwardness and

:03:50.:03:55.

his transparency in revealing all the people he has met. When will we

:03:55.:04:00.

learn from the crisis that engulfed this House three years ago? The

:04:00.:04:03.

response this to this situation is not simply to point fingers, but to

:04:03.:04:07.

address with a renewed urgency the need to deal with its source, which

:04:07.:04:11.

in this case is the continuing escalation of the political party

:04:11.:04:16.

funding arms race. Does the Minister agree with me that it

:04:16.:04:19.

stretches credulity to breaking point to argue that Peter Cruddas

:04:19.:04:24.

did not... He is the most senior fundraiser for the Conservative

:04:24.:04:29.

Party. He didn't understand the law relating to donations to political

:04:29.:04:34.

parties! For the honourable gentleman refers to him as the most

:04:34.:04:41.

senior. Not any more he isn't. Francis Maude feeling the heat a

:04:41.:04:43.

little. And our political correspondent,

:04:43.:04:49.

Carole Walker, is with us now. The electoral commission is being asked

:04:49.:04:54.

to investigate whether Peter Cruddas found ways around the rules

:04:54.:04:59.

on foreign donations. That's right. Jack Straw, the former Labour Home

:04:59.:05:03.

Secretary, has written to the electoral commission, asking them

:05:03.:05:09.

to look into this to find out whether Peter Cruddas and Sarah

:05:09.:05:13.

Sutton broke the law in apparently being ready to take donations from

:05:13.:05:18.

a foreign company. We know the Sunday Times reporters were posing

:05:18.:05:23.

as representatives of a Middle Eastern Investment Company, based

:05:23.:05:28.

offshore English in Stein, and furthermore, Sarah Sutton went on

:05:28.:05:34.

to stage -- say the party won't ask questions. What Jack Straw is

:05:34.:05:37.

saying the electoral commission whether there's been a criminal

:05:37.:05:40.

offence, whether Conservative Party has the right procedures in place.

:05:40.:05:45.

I have spoken to a Downing Street spokesman who says the Conservative

:05:45.:05:49.

Party does have very strict procedures and a professional team

:05:49.:05:53.

who make sure and check carefully to ensure that any donations are

:05:53.:05:57.

legitimate. It is not going to be easy to check this because no

:05:57.:06:01.

donation was actually made. Conservative sources are also

:06:01.:06:06.

pointing out that Sarah Southern, much as she was trying to bid up

:06:06.:06:09.

her connections within the Conservative Party, was in fact the

:06:09.:06:13.

junior aide who had never actually worked on the question of fund-

:06:13.:06:17.

raising. Whichever way the Conservatives cut it, it is

:06:17.:06:23.

embarrassing, isn't it? Up it is. Very difficult and embarrassing.

:06:23.:06:27.

David Cameron recognises that. Polls suggest it reinforces all the

:06:28.:06:31.

sorts of difficulties about the party's image they are trying to

:06:31.:06:35.

shake off, about being in the pockets of big business. They

:06:35.:06:39.

haven't had this by appearing to drag their feet initially, saying

:06:39.:06:42.

they could not publish the list of donors who had been to dinner been

:06:42.:06:49.

dining Street, then doing so. -- Downing Street. In the last few

:06:49.:06:53.

minutes, Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, has said he is prepared to

:06:53.:06:58.

publish a list of who he has met. It is not clear what the detail of

:06:58.:07:01.

that is. He says this has left a stain on the character of the

:07:02.:07:06.

Government. Norman Fowler, let's pick up on that last point. It

:07:06.:07:09.

hasn't been handled well. They looked like they were dragging

:07:09.:07:13.

their feet, saying no to publishing the list and then doing that.

:07:13.:07:18.

it was a very swift moving thing. Was its swift enough? It was pretty

:07:18.:07:26.

swift! They said no to start with. Everyone was caught by surprise.

:07:26.:07:30.

Peter Cruddas's comments were crass and inexcusable. The only thing I

:07:30.:07:35.

would say is we can concentrate just on this one issue. What we

:07:35.:07:41.

should be doing is concentrating on party funding generally. That is

:07:41.:07:44.

what the Conservative leadership would like everybody today. It can

:07:44.:07:50.

be used as a smokescreen. What I'm saying is if you want an

:07:50.:07:54.

independent inquiry, let's have written to all party funding and

:07:54.:07:59.

let's move, I think, and I have what you this in my book, political

:07:59.:08:03.

suicide, four years ago, we should move to some sort of state funding.

:08:03.:08:09.

Unless you have some form of that, and it will not be popular, and I

:08:09.:08:12.

hear your intake of breath, but if you go on like this, you'll have

:08:12.:08:17.

scandals every couple of years. We have had scandal after scandal in

:08:17.:08:22.

the first part of this century, cash for honours, debts, the whole

:08:22.:08:29.

lot. Can I just go back to the issue at hand, which is about the

:08:29.:08:34.

impression it leaves on voters, particularly after the Budget. Do

:08:34.:08:37.

you fear that every time there's a policy announcement now in the next

:08:37.:08:42.

few months, or a U-turn, let's say it is on airport capacity, or the

:08:42.:08:46.

relaxation of the planning laws, everybody will point the finger and

:08:46.:08:49.

say it is because of the Prime Minister and senior Tories wining

:08:49.:08:54.

and dining with rich donors who have had an influence. I don't

:08:54.:08:58.

think that is the reality. Whether people think that is another matter.

:08:58.:09:02.

Who has had most access over the last 30 years to prime ministers?

:09:02.:09:07.

It is not rich donors, it was Rupert Murdoch and the Murdoch

:09:07.:09:12.

press. And some of the other media proprietors. They have not been

:09:12.:09:16.

talking about theoretical politics. Is there any point in having an

:09:17.:09:20.

independent inquiry into this particular episode? Wouldn't it be

:09:20.:09:28.

better to broaden it out? Let's look at this issue... The Tories

:09:28.:09:31.

were also dashed always funded by rich people. The Labour Party

:09:31.:09:35.

largely came through the trade unions and therefore those

:09:35.:09:43.

influence... And then the Lib Dems... It has gone from 15 million

:09:43.:09:47.

to 30 million, the cost of an election. You can't raise that by

:09:47.:09:49.

subscriptions so you get into the business of where the money comes

:09:49.:09:54.

from. I've always been an advocate of state financing. People talk

:09:54.:09:58.

about it as if somehow we don't do it. We already do it to about 35

:09:58.:10:03.

million. Do the public or more of it? They don't know we do it now

:10:03.:10:11.

and we do it to finance political parties... That is about 20 million.

:10:11.:10:14.

We send information to the public about candidates, that is about 35

:10:14.:10:19.

million, although the Tories are about to abolish it for the

:10:20.:10:22.

election of police commissioners. The perception is there are

:10:22.:10:26.

interested bodies in the community that influence political parties

:10:26.:10:29.

that get the legislative framework they want. What they don't like it

:10:29.:10:33.

if you buy it in this direct way or the Prime Minister gives a dinner

:10:33.:10:36.

in that way or trade unions use their influence in that way. Let's

:10:36.:10:41.

go back to looking at the proper way of funding finances. Kelly

:10:41.:10:45.

recommends going a certain way along that, I would go further, but

:10:45.:10:50.

it is already with state fining -- financing. Does it matter as much

:10:50.:10:55.

as you say about one -- where some of the money comes from? Whether it

:10:55.:11:00.

is the unions or rich business sponsors or whoever. Isn't it about

:11:00.:11:04.

transparency? If it was more up front, people would not worry so

:11:04.:11:08.

much. Trade union funds are pretty transparent already. You are

:11:09.:11:16.

required by law to do that. It is transparency. When Mr Murdoch, who

:11:16.:11:18.

had at the register influence behind the scenes, we now found out

:11:18.:11:23.

when he went for BSkyB, he went to Chequers and the Prime Minister

:11:23.:11:27.

denied he ever met him. That is the kind of transparency we need to

:11:27.:11:30.

bring into the open. It is the public's perception that politics

:11:30.:11:34.

is paid for. We need to have it much more accountable and much more

:11:35.:11:38.

transparent. Both political parties need get a better balance about

:11:38.:11:42.

this or we will suffer. Do you think Nick Clegg will have any

:11:42.:11:45.

chance of getting a consensus? It is all very well everyone saying

:11:45.:11:49.

that's what we need, but the agreement on the detail about cats

:11:49.:11:53.

on donations and how they should be made, for instance from individual

:11:53.:11:58.

members or unions, that has always been difficult. It will be

:11:58.:12:01.

particularly difficult when we have the current climate when most

:12:01.:12:04.

people accept now is not the right time to be asking the public to pay

:12:04.:12:08.

extra money to fund political parties. But I think it is

:12:08.:12:12.

important. One bit of the investigation I really think we do

:12:12.:12:16.

have to have independently is in to that issue of the potential of

:12:17.:12:20.

overseas donations, which is illegal and if routes around it

:12:20.:12:25.

have been found, we need to block those. The crucial bit, John is

:12:25.:12:29.

right, it is transparency. We have already heard from the Prime

:12:29.:12:33.

Minister that he will be transparent. We now hear from Ed

:12:33.:12:36.

Miliband that they will be transparent about trade union

:12:36.:12:41.

leaders. The day Ed Miliband became the leader of the Labour Party, one

:12:41.:12:49.

trade union immediately donated �770,000. A massive donation. The

:12:49.:12:52.

influence of the trade unions... They could not do that without the

:12:53.:12:57.

membership agreeing. I don't want to get into this, but please, their

:12:57.:13:01.

money is much more open. It is decided by them members. The

:13:01.:13:06.

perception in people's minds that those donations are directed to

:13:06.:13:09.

particular legislative favours, of course we want to reduce

:13:09.:13:13.

unemployment, the Government have got in a situation where they are

:13:13.:13:16.

increasing it. There are direct views about that and there will

:13:16.:13:19.

always be so, but you need to make sure it is not connected to obvious

:13:19.:13:24.

money payments. The issue of perceptions and the damage it might

:13:24.:13:28.

have done, that the Conservatives of the party of the rich, that is

:13:28.:13:32.

going to be difficult to explain at this precise moment, isn't it?

:13:32.:13:36.

of these scandals are difficult to explain. Just as they have been in

:13:36.:13:41.

the past. David Cameron has worked so hard at detoxifying the

:13:41.:13:46.

Conservatives. He must be absolutely furious about this. The

:13:46.:13:51.

way in which this man explained what party funding was about I

:13:51.:13:54.

think is totally ridiculous and totally inexcusable. But I do think

:13:54.:13:58.

you have to come back to this point that you can't have it both ways.

:13:58.:14:02.

If you're not going to go on state funding, parties have to raise

:14:02.:14:07.

money somehow. One final question. Normally the party chairman goes

:14:07.:14:12.

out betting for the party. We haven't seen her at all. -- batting.

:14:12.:14:16.

Would you have expected to see her on the airwaves defending the

:14:16.:14:21.

party's image? Baidoa ne ho. We have Francis Maude doing it. In

:14:21.:14:28.

terms of government, Francis is more senior. We have all been a

:14:28.:14:31.

round this track. I had a very hairy debate in the House of

:14:31.:14:35.

Commons on party funding when I was party chairman. I don't think it

:14:35.:14:39.

matters who is doing the defending, it is a hopeless job. Borg Francis

:14:39.:14:42.

was getting it in the neck yesterday, I was getting it in the

:14:42.:14:48.

neck when I did it. For do you believe the Prime Minister sat down

:14:48.:14:51.

with all these people and did not think about the money coming from

:14:51.:14:55.

them? Or when we sat down with trade unions, you would not think

:14:55.:15:02.

about financing for the general election. Number Ten, and even

:15:02.:15:06.

Dorney Wood suggested... I was asked questions constantly, who was

:15:06.:15:12.

staying at Dorney Wood? Just ordinary working people. Dave used

:15:12.:15:20.

all of these facilities to raise Of the 11th of it was a bleak

:15:20.:15:23.

picture for any Tories open in the papers today, as three different

:15:23.:15:28.

polls put the party firmly behind Labour. The Sun/YouGov poll saw the

:15:28.:15:32.

Conservatives trailing Labour by seven points. A poll for the Times

:15:32.:15:37.

saw a smaller four point lead for Labour, but this was a three point

:15:37.:15:41.

drop for the Tories since February. And the Independent/ComRes poll

:15:41.:15:46.

showed the biggest hit for the party. They make grim reading. Does

:15:46.:15:54.

it say the Budget was a disaster? It probably does have some

:15:54.:16:01.

reflection on the Budget. It has been amazing, in a way. The

:16:01.:16:06.

government have done a number of things in terms of public spending.

:16:06.:16:10.

They have cut public spending in a range of areas. They have had had

:16:10.:16:14.

the Health Bill and the welfare bill, then the Budget. It has been

:16:14.:16:18.

amazing that they have been level pegging. They have stayed

:16:18.:16:22.

relatively static through announcements on public spending,

:16:22.:16:27.

even through the controversy of the Health Bill and on welfare. It is

:16:27.:16:33.

only post Budget that there has been this sudden dip. So if you

:16:33.:16:37.

take the 50 pence top rate of tax or the fact that in the end,

:16:37.:16:40.

presentation early, it did not work? These things are cumulative.

:16:40.:16:45.

You cannot put your finger on one thing and say that was the issue

:16:45.:16:50.

that did it. This is the end of a period in which we have been doing

:16:50.:16:54.

really unpopular things. The amazing thing is that we have not

:16:54.:16:58.

fallen behind before. Then you agree with what was called the

:16:58.:17:02.

granny tax and taking away the top rate of tax? I would not

:17:02.:17:06.

necessarily have done it as Chancellor, but there is a sensible

:17:06.:17:14.

case to be made for doing it. wouldn't you have done those

:17:14.:17:20.

things? For the reasons you are stating. The public relations

:17:20.:17:27.

contrast between "helping the rich" at one end, and having an impact

:17:27.:17:33.

upon the relatively not well off at the other in terms of pensions,

:17:33.:17:39.

there is an obvious contrast which will be exploited. You are in the

:17:39.:17:43.

coalition as well, but that a presentation of saying, we are

:17:43.:17:47.

taking these people out of the lower band of tax, but we will drop

:17:47.:17:54.

the top rate of tax, to. You are in the same boat. It did not work. We

:17:54.:17:57.

will talk later about the abolition of the Central Office of

:17:57.:18:00.

Information on the question of whether we should not have been

:18:00.:18:04.

using them vigorously for this. If you have a Budget that takes 2

:18:04.:18:10.

million people out of paying tax and gives a huge tax rebate of over

:18:11.:18:15.

�500 per year to 24 million people, gives the largest ever pension rise,

:18:16.:18:20.

you would have thought we could have had good publicity from it. In

:18:20.:18:24.

the event, the granny tax, which did not seem to be properly planned

:18:24.:18:28.

for in terms of explaining the message... Did you agree with it?

:18:28.:18:35.

If you look at the figures, there is a net �1.4 billion. Overall, the

:18:35.:18:40.

money for pensioners is going up. No pensioner loses anything in

:18:40.:18:44.

terms of cash, and the majority are getting a huge rise. It is a good

:18:44.:18:49.

policy, but the marketing of it was appalling. We lost out because of

:18:49.:18:54.

that. Both parties did. Looking at the polls, Labour is finally doing

:18:54.:18:58.

well. One could say it has been a long time coming after Norman

:18:58.:19:03.

Fowler listed all the other issues like health and welfare. But Ed

:19:03.:19:08.

Miliband is still doing badly in terms of his own ratings. There are

:19:08.:19:12.

different perceptions of how leaders and governments are doing.

:19:12.:19:19.

That is one perception. But this was supposed to be a Budget to

:19:19.:19:25.

increase growth, and it was about not spending more, but we are

:19:25.:19:29.

spending more. So they failed on their own analysis of the Budget.

:19:29.:19:35.

When you put that together with the idea of the granny tax, we had the

:19:35.:19:42.

10p situation. You could rationally point to that 10p, but the

:19:42.:19:46.

pensioners under public did not see it that way. It is the same with

:19:46.:19:50.

the granny tax. But we put up the tax to 50 pence, and they reduced

:19:50.:19:57.

it. So the millionaire's did well. The perception in the public's mind

:19:57.:20:01.

is that the Tories do well with the rich, but those dependent on public

:20:01.:20:08.

service fail. It is interesting and then that Labour has not been doing

:20:08.:20:13.

as well as they might have done before that. When the announcements

:20:13.:20:17.

on public spending cuts came through on public sector pay

:20:17.:20:23.

freezes and the Health Bill, there was no surge then for Labour. So it

:20:23.:20:26.

is only as a result of this presentation of the Budget, not as

:20:26.:20:31.

a result of what Labour have been saying. But if you look at Cameron

:20:32.:20:36.

when he first came in, things were bad for him. Give time for this to

:20:36.:20:46.
:20:46.:20:46.

develop. We are only 18 months in. Nobody doubts he did well in that

:20:46.:20:54.

bear-pit of the House of Commons. He has got it right. He has got the

:20:54.:20:58.

message right and the tone right. You have to have a bit of an

:20:58.:21:05.

aggressive style. That has come together. But it is a long one. He

:21:05.:21:09.

has now established himself as speaking for the nation. He

:21:09.:21:14.

reflects what the nation feels. What does Ed Miliband need to do

:21:14.:21:18.

about the unions, and about Len McCluskey and threats for him for

:21:18.:21:23.

all sorts of direct action like strikes? Does you have to distance

:21:23.:21:30.

himself from the unions? That is the way you see politics. If you

:21:30.:21:35.

look at what is happening with the lorry strike for the moment, why

:21:35.:21:40.

did that come about? Because the Tories brought in balloting. In

:21:40.:21:44.

industrial relations now, every member knows that if you support

:21:44.:21:49.

the Union, you support a ballot for a strike. Let's wait and see if

:21:49.:21:54.

that happens. It is a tactic. Then you guys come along and say, why

:21:54.:21:59.

shouldn't the leader be attacking that? But should he be supporting

:21:59.:22:05.

the strikes? A well, it hasn't got into a strike yet, for God's sake.

:22:05.:22:11.

I have just told you. If I went in negotiating, I would want the

:22:11.:22:16.

members to back what I was saying. Now they do it by ballot. You are

:22:16.:22:19.

required by law brought in by the Conservatives to ask your members

:22:19.:22:25.

whether they support it. The charges to be then that they did

:22:25.:22:29.

not have membership support. Now they have, let's see. The Lib Dems

:22:29.:22:35.

are stuck on 11%. Will they ever do better while they are in coalition

:22:35.:22:38.

with the Conservatives? Increasingly, the message is

:22:38.:22:41.

getting out about the real influence the Liberal Democrats are

:22:41.:22:46.

having. The Labour Party have been given this instruction to say it is

:22:46.:22:51.

a Tory-led Government. The truth is that there is evidence of the

:22:51.:22:54.

impact the Liberal Democrats are having in government, working in

:22:54.:23:02.

coalition. What about the Health Bill? There have been huge,

:23:02.:23:11.

significant changes. You want to get rid of the House of Lords.

:23:11.:23:14.

if you take the Budget, one of the most significant things was that

:23:15.:23:23.

move towards a �10,000 tax threshold. Do you think you will

:23:23.:23:27.

see an increase in the polls as a result of that? Over time. Would

:23:27.:23:31.

you like to see more distance between yourselves? We are in a

:23:31.:23:35.

coalition. People have to understand that for the sake of the

:23:35.:23:39.

economy, two opposing political parties have come together in a

:23:39.:23:43.

coalition where we are rebel to get a number of our policies into

:23:43.:23:50.

practice. But so have the Tory party. You are taking a snapshot at

:23:50.:23:54.

a particular time. We now have three years to run of this

:23:54.:23:57.

Parliament. So although the opinion polls are interesting, they are

:23:57.:24:01.

hardly conclusive. Now, it is a difficult and

:24:02.:24:04.

controversial subject, and something Parliament has not

:24:04.:24:09.

debated properly for 40 years. But this afternoon, MPs will confront

:24:09.:24:13.

the question of assisted suicide. Giles has been on the green with

:24:13.:24:17.

two MPs with two different views. Sometimes MPs debate things because

:24:17.:24:21.

they are going to change the law. On assisted dying, they are not

:24:21.:24:24.

debated because they are going to change the law. They have not

:24:24.:24:28.

debated it for 40 years, but now they are debating the guidelines

:24:28.:24:35.

set up by the Director of Public Prosecutions in February 2010. This

:24:35.:24:40.

was your suggestion. What has changed that we need to discuss

:24:40.:24:46.

this now? Nothing has morally changed. But I think society will

:24:46.:24:50.

benefit if the set of guidelines which provide for a fair and

:24:50.:24:53.

compassionate way of dealing with cases where you assist someone in

:24:53.:24:57.

ending their life, if those guidelines have parliamentary

:24:57.:25:02.

support. It will make them stronger and more effective. I also want

:25:02.:25:08.

colleagues to understand the issue more. I believe they are now

:25:08.:25:12.

getting their head round it to, which is for the public good.

:25:12.:25:15.

against the law anyway, so it will still be against the law unless

:25:15.:25:19.

there is legislation passed. And this debate will not change that,

:25:19.:25:24.

so presumably you are reassured? Absolutely, but it is important to

:25:24.:25:29.

debate this issue. It has not been debated for 47 years, and it is of

:25:30.:25:33.

strong interest to many people. People are interested in the end of

:25:33.:25:37.

life and beginning of life issues. What is wrong with somebody who is

:25:37.:25:42.

sentient and terminally ill saying, I want to die? I have complete

:25:43.:25:46.

compassion with that and understand that position. But unfortunately,

:25:46.:25:51.

the law has to cater for everybody. And not everybody's Next of Kin is

:25:51.:25:58.

a relative. Often, it is the state. It will be a PCT or a care home or

:25:58.:26:02.

a nursing home. There are people all over the country at the moment

:26:02.:26:06.

who feel protected by the law, and that has to stay. We have to cater

:26:06.:26:13.

for the greater number of people, not a minority. About 20 or so

:26:13.:26:16.

people a year have travelled abroad for assisted suicide. The

:26:16.:26:20.

campaigners are hoping that number will go up once the guidelines were

:26:20.:26:26.

introduced. It hasn't. You can't make a law which caters for the few

:26:26.:26:32.

and not the majority. There is a risk, isn't there, that bit by bit,

:26:32.:26:35.

it becomes more acceptable and then we are not necessarily talking

:26:35.:26:40.

about those cases where people have a lot of sympathy? Well, these

:26:40.:26:46.

guidelines have been in place for the last two years. And the

:26:46.:26:49.

Director of Public Prosecution's approach to this was in place a

:26:49.:26:53.

long time before them. But people will derive comfort about their

:26:53.:26:58.

options from this. You do not like the idea of this? No, I don't like

:26:58.:27:05.

it because I think the greater number of vulnerable people... ICA

:27:05.:27:12.

point one day, as you say, it is about the slow erosion, ICA point

:27:12.:27:17.

one day where a doctor will one day feel a patient is costing �12,000 a

:27:17.:27:22.

week to the NHS to block a bed, and they may suggest to that patient

:27:22.:27:26.

that maybe they would like to have their end assisted. That is

:27:26.:27:32.

somewhere we don't want to go. I know that is an extreme point.

:27:32.:27:39.

in that example, that would expressly be a factor covered by

:27:39.:27:45.

prosecution. The debate will run. It is one of those interesting

:27:45.:27:50.

debates. No doubt our viewers have their views, too.

:27:51.:27:53.

Now, banker bashing is such a popular sport these days that it

:27:53.:27:59.

should probably be included in the 2012 Olympics. But 150 years ago,

:27:59.:28:04.

things were a bit different. George Peabody, American tycoon and

:28:04.:28:10.

banker. From 1837, number and philanthropist. 150 years ago this

:28:10.:28:16.

week, he donated �150,000, a lot more in today's money, to tackle

:28:16.:28:19.

the effects of poverty in the capital, especially the lack of

:28:19.:28:24.

housing. As a result, this block of flats was built in Spitalfields in

:28:24.:28:28.

the city. On his death, Peabody left more money to the cause and

:28:28.:28:31.

his distinctive estates sprung up all over the place as the slums

:28:31.:28:35.

were cleared and the poor were rehoused, some are enjoying unheard

:28:35.:28:40.

of mod cons like bathrooms. Some of the estates were destroyed during

:28:40.:28:44.

the Second World War, but many have survived. Today there are 20,000

:28:44.:28:48.

people -- Peabody properties. Some are bought and sold on the open

:28:48.:28:53.

market, but the majority form part of local authorities'' stock if

:28:53.:28:56.

social housing. And the organisation continues the mission

:28:56.:29:00.

of its founder by running community programmes for residents. It has

:29:00.:29:05.

pledged to build 900 more low-cost homes in the next three years.

:29:05.:29:09.

Where do and now by the chief executive of the Peabody Trust,

:29:09.:29:13.

Stephen Howlett. How did we get into a situation where there is

:29:13.:29:18.

such a shortage of affordable housing? There just is not enough

:29:18.:29:23.

housing being provided. Right across the country, particularly in

:29:23.:29:30.

central London, we need a lot more housing that is affordable to

:29:30.:29:36.

people on low incomes. We have seen rising prices of land and a

:29:36.:29:41.

shortage of supply as well as a cutback in government funding,

:29:41.:29:49.

increased rents and cuts in the benefits system. You have

:29:49.:29:52.

identified the problem that there is not enough housing, but is the

:29:52.:29:58.

answer more homes to buy or Mo homes to rent? It is both. Across

:29:58.:30:03.

the sectors, right from low-cost rented housing to intermediate

:30:03.:30:07.

whence to home-ownership, all those are needed. We need a diverse

:30:07.:30:17.
:30:17.:30:17.

approach. There are a lot of people who cannot afford the market rate,

:30:17.:30:21.

in London particularly, and who don't qualify for the low-cost

:30:21.:30:29.

You were in charge of housing at one time, it is to regret that

:30:29.:30:32.

there is now such a shortage of housing. Successive governments did

:30:33.:30:38.

not do enough to build enough affordable housing. Far more than

:30:38.:30:46.

being built now. The real issue is about financing local housing. Mr

:30:46.:30:51.

Peabody... It was 30% privately- owned. That is reversed now. People

:30:51.:30:56.

want to own houses, but you have to provide the social housing. The

:30:57.:31:01.

right to buy took 1.8 million houses out and cost us billions in

:31:01.:31:08.

giving subsidies. By tried to stop that. We want people to buy houses.

:31:08.:31:12.

I introduced a �60,000 house which met the Government kept the land

:31:13.:31:17.

and you had the price of the House. But the market has. House prices

:31:17.:31:22.

far greater than inflation. It is about profit and governments have

:31:22.:31:25.

to play a role in social housing. He did not build enough council

:31:25.:31:31.

houses. We didn't. I spent something like �40 billion making

:31:31.:31:35.

the 2 million houses into better houses that were not invested in

:31:35.:31:39.

when they were selling them off. I then gave a priority to develop and

:31:39.:31:45.

modernise the existing houses. You have to build more council houses

:31:45.:31:50.

and I have to carry my share of the blame for that. The legacy of

:31:50.:31:54.

right-to-buy, the number of council housing was eroded over time. Do

:31:54.:31:59.

you think that has left us with this problem? It hasn't left us

:31:59.:32:04.

with the problem we have today. Right-to-buy was the right policy.

:32:04.:32:09.

It was a policy which was supported in the end by the Labour Party. You

:32:09.:32:13.

only have to it... We did not get rid of the legislation. You only

:32:13.:32:17.

have to go to some of the old council estates as I knew in

:32:18.:32:21.

Nottingham, for example, and you see the vast improvement in the

:32:21.:32:24.

housing stock and the fact that people actually wanted to buy their

:32:24.:32:29.

own home. Where we failed is actually in replacing that which we

:32:29.:32:36.

sold. That has been a power failure. For a variety of reasons, not least

:32:36.:32:40.

planning and a green field sites... For we will get on to that. Is the

:32:40.:32:45.

answer in the private sector? part of the answer, but Lord

:32:45.:32:50.

Prescott is right, we need more low-cost rented housing been

:32:50.:32:52.

provided through housing associations and local authorities.

:32:52.:32:57.

What we are seeing at the moment is a cut by about half in the public

:32:57.:33:01.

investment in housing. We need a broad range of solutions. Public

:33:01.:33:05.

land, we are prepared to put money into making that housing available.

:33:05.:33:11.

And shared equity. I think it fundamentally comes down to supply.

:33:11.:33:16.

That would take the pressure off prices. If we build more houses,

:33:16.:33:20.

regard leak of what they are originally intended as, it will

:33:20.:33:25.

reduce the rents. In the south-west at the moment, the average house

:33:25.:33:29.

price is 14 times the average salary. There's no way the majority

:33:29.:33:34.

of people can buy houses in those prices. If you increase supply, you

:33:34.:33:39.

reduce cost. The one thing we are not talking enough about is

:33:39.:33:44.

bringing back into use of empty properties. How many? In the south-

:33:44.:33:50.

west, the area I know best, there are as many empty properties as

:33:50.:33:53.

there are homeless households. You can begin to solve the problem by

:33:53.:33:57.

bringing them back. The one thing I'd love to see the Government do

:33:57.:34:01.

is reduce VAT on the renovation of properties because that would help

:34:01.:34:09.

stimulate... They are largely above shops. I brought in legislation

:34:09.:34:13.

that you could take them back in the public ownership, do them up

:34:13.:34:16.

and return them to the owner because they knew then had to do

:34:17.:34:21.

something about modernisation. The real problem is the price. If I

:34:21.:34:25.

wanted to put a teacher near a school in an affluent area, the

:34:25.:34:30.

teacher on their wage could not pay it. I was going to Gordon Brown and

:34:30.:34:35.

saying I want �78,000 subsidy to allow this teacher to be able to

:34:35.:34:39.

provide teaching services at a school. Of the Lib Dems worried

:34:39.:34:44.

about that sort of situation being replicated as a result as -- of

:34:44.:34:47.

parts of the welfare bill where people will be prised out of rents

:34:47.:34:51.

in the centre of London? One of the things there is clear evidence of

:34:51.:34:55.

his at the moment if you have Landlord's able to get a large

:34:55.:35:00.

amount of money through housing benefit, they can put the rent Supp.

:35:00.:35:07.

If you catch it, you begin to see the rents go down. John was the

:35:07.:35:11.

first person, and he has to have credit for this, it introduced the

:35:11.:35:15.

concept of shared equity properties where people could partly owned...

:35:15.:35:19.

The that has been taken on. John started it for key workers and that

:35:19.:35:23.

is the sort of programme we need to do more of. Thank you.

:35:23.:35:25.

Now, the Government's long-awaited planning reforms are about to be

:35:25.:35:29.

announced in Parliament. They are reworked from the draft National

:35:29.:35:32.

Planning Policy framework which was published last summer. Many

:35:32.:35:35.

countryside groups were angry at the proposals, so let's have a look

:35:35.:35:38.

at what we can expect. Ministers want to simplify more than 1,000

:35:38.:35:41.

pages of planning regulations by pages of planning regulations by

:35:41.:35:45.

cutting them to around 50 pages. Whitehall sources have said it's an

:35:45.:35:47.

"unashamedly pro-growth document", designed to speed up planning

:35:47.:35:53.

decisions. So at the heart of the framework is a "presumption in

:35:53.:35:55.

favour of sustainable development", which ministers say will boost

:35:55.:35:58.

growth, but that doesn't harm communities, the environment or the

:35:58.:36:03.

countryside. This phrase is thought to be in the new document, despite

:36:03.:36:07.

criticism from countryside campaigners. They fear it will mean

:36:07.:36:09.

developments are automatically approved unless there's a specific

:36:09.:36:13.

local objection. They also wanted clarification on what a

:36:13.:36:17.

"sustainable development" is. Whitehall sources have told the BBC

:36:17.:36:19.

that the "necessary safeguards will be there", and ministers are said

:36:19.:36:24.

to be confident that enough assurances are in place. David

:36:24.:36:32.

Thompson is on College Green and Greg Clarke, the planning minister,

:36:32.:36:38.

is outlining this document to parliament as we speak. This isn't

:36:38.:36:42.

the Government's first stab at this. This document has been through a

:36:42.:36:45.

number of revisions in an attempt to get the balance between

:36:45.:36:48.

protecting the countryside and giving the green light to growth. I

:36:48.:36:58.
:36:58.:36:58.

am joined by two protagonists in that debate. Adam, it seems as if a

:36:58.:37:02.

number of safeguards have been put back into the document. By you

:37:02.:37:06.

reassure the countryside will be protected? When the draft framework

:37:06.:37:12.

was published in July we were concerned it would development --

:37:12.:37:17.

deliver a development at all costs scenario. Serious revisions need to

:37:17.:37:23.

be made to the document when it is published in its final form today.

:37:23.:37:26.

There has been speculation that some changes will be made,

:37:26.:37:30.

particularly on the issue of open countryside, protecting the wider

:37:30.:37:36.

countryside. It was not in the draft, but it is back in the final

:37:36.:37:44.

framework. Also, very important that ground filled first is back in

:37:44.:37:48.

the document. Local councils need to be given time to book plans in

:37:48.:37:58.
:37:58.:37:58.

place. A lot to come out in the wash. What sh this space. Liz, the

:37:58.:38:04.

Government says this will be unashamedly pro-growth. That means

:38:04.:38:09.

more houses will be built on green land. This is a filly or beats --

:38:09.:38:12.

fill your boots charter. necessarily. People need somewhere

:38:12.:38:18.

to live. There's no problem with having a planning system that

:38:18.:38:22.

provides for growth, good growth, good development, a development

:38:22.:38:26.

that works. Of course you shouldn't have unmitigated development all

:38:26.:38:31.

over the place. You have to have a system of control, but you need to

:38:31.:38:36.

make it an efficient system to plan for the growth where we need it.

:38:36.:38:42.

The old system was 1,000 pages. Surely, whatever your concerns

:38:42.:38:49.

about the new regime, it has to be better than the old one. We had no

:38:49.:38:53.

problem with clarifying for planning guidance, bringing it down

:38:53.:38:56.

into a shorter document, but things seem to have been missed along the

:38:56.:39:03.

way by the Government. We are in favour of the right kind of

:39:03.:39:06.

development in the right places. We know there's a shortage of

:39:06.:39:09.

affordable housing in rural areas. We were concerned the framework as

:39:09.:39:13.

it was drafted would not deliver the right sort of housing in the

:39:13.:39:17.

right places, it would end up being green field development, executive

:39:17.:39:22.

homes, where developers would make my youth -- most profit. This

:39:22.:39:26.

document is designed to remove some of that complexities. I'm willing

:39:26.:39:29.

to bet it won't remove the controversy!

:39:29.:39:32.

You might be right. Let's pick up on some of those

:39:33.:39:37.

issues. John Prescott, looking at this issue of building on

:39:38.:39:42.

brownfield sites, that was in the original document. When they got

:39:42.:39:47.

rid of 1,000 pages, it wasn't complexities, it was the controls

:39:47.:39:51.

to stop the developing industries going to greenfield site. They've

:39:51.:39:55.

already made the applications. think they will still go to those

:39:55.:40:01.

sites? I said the requirement, you have to look for brownfield sites

:40:01.:40:07.

in the cities. Now they are saying it is up for growth. Growth must

:40:07.:40:09.

have the importance of the sustainability. At do you agree

:40:09.:40:16.

with that? We increased the brownfield from 60% to 70% houses.

:40:16.:40:21.

We had more greenfield sites. This is about removing controls and

:40:21.:40:24.

giving the developers a chance to build in greenfield sites. Is that

:40:24.:40:28.

a good thing to promote growth? all for growth but you can build

:40:28.:40:35.

houses in the cities. In our time they began building in the cities

:40:35.:40:39.

and stop the building in suburbia. This is a developer's Charter, it

:40:39.:40:43.

is about money, not about growth. That must be worrying for you. How

:40:43.:40:47.

do you explain that your constituents? I would be deeply

:40:47.:40:52.

worried if John was right. We have not seen the paper. We have the

:40:52.:40:58.

original. A then we have the consultation. People were concerned

:40:58.:41:02.

about whether the protections were strong enough in terms of

:41:02.:41:05.

protecting the green belt and ensuring you have brownfield

:41:05.:41:11.

development first. I understand that is now there. The second big

:41:11.:41:15.

concern was the fact that many local authorities haven't got their

:41:15.:41:18.

local plans sorted out and therefore they would not be able to

:41:18.:41:22.

use those for local concerns. I understand is now going to be a

:41:22.:41:26.

year-long break so that local councils can get them right and

:41:26.:41:29.

that can give local people control over what happens. Do you agree

:41:29.:41:33.

with Simon Walker who has called opponents to these reforms and

:41:33.:41:39.

indies? It is all about I don't want it in my backyard. They will

:41:39.:41:44.

always be around. We have probably all been guilty of it ourselves.

:41:44.:41:47.

have just had a conversation about the need for more homes, we need

:41:47.:41:51.

more affordable homes, we need to make land available for that and

:41:51.:41:54.

the planning system at the moment does restrict the opportunity to do

:41:54.:41:59.

it. Can you get the balance right between sustainability on one hand

:41:59.:42:02.

and protecting the environment on the other? You are reassured?

:42:02.:42:08.

haven't seen the paper, but from what I understand, I think those

:42:08.:42:14.

controls are now very firmly in place. Is this the right time to be

:42:14.:42:18.

picking a fight with the core vote for the Conservative Party? There

:42:18.:42:21.

have been very strong campaigns against this. The National Trust,

:42:21.:42:25.

the Daily Telegraph are against this in principle. If we are going

:42:25.:42:28.

to concrete over the whole of the green belt, they have every

:42:28.:42:33.

justification. And also over the high-speed rail link. You have to

:42:33.:42:38.

make some decisions. I happen to agree with what John was saying

:42:38.:42:44.

about brownfield site. I represented for 30 years a

:42:44.:42:48.

constituency on the boundaries of Birmingham. What was quite clear is

:42:48.:42:54.

that people much preferred coming there and expanding into the green

:42:54.:43:02.

field rather than building in the very apparent and evident

:43:02.:43:05.

brownfield sites you had in Birmingham. From going back to

:43:05.:43:09.

Birmingham, it seems many of these Brownfield sites still exist for

:43:09.:43:12.

top there's still going to be a fear that if there's a presumption

:43:12.:43:15.

in favour of sustainable development, unless there's a

:43:15.:43:18.

specific objection, there will be a carte blanche for builders to go

:43:19.:43:24.

where they like because of the pressure for housing.

:43:24.:43:28.

Yes, and there will be some tough decisions, for example in some

:43:28.:43:32.

villages. At the moment you have a situation where people just can't

:43:32.:43:37.

get houses. You will probably have to expand. There's no point in

:43:37.:43:42.

trying to duck this. There are no easy solutions. One of the

:43:42.:43:45.

contradictions is the Government won localism and they say they will

:43:45.:43:49.

leave the decisions to local areas, but we know the groups that will

:43:49.:43:54.

come up in our constituency and they will have a ballot. Then it is

:43:54.:43:58.

supposed to be decided in the area. It will be coming to Mr Pickles,

:43:58.:44:02.

who will have to make the decision. When you talk about people looking

:44:02.:44:07.

at the Tories, Mr Pickles sat down with all of the developers and he

:44:07.:44:12.

is the man who said it was a personal mail. A conversation going

:44:12.:44:22.

on between money, developers and his government. Hang on. Grant

:44:22.:44:28.

Shapps campaigned against it. campaigns against everything.

:44:28.:44:34.

were not get away with this. The Labour government imposed housing

:44:34.:44:38.

targets on each local authority that in many cases were completely

:44:38.:44:44.

nonsensical. There was no ability to even Bill does houses and it

:44:44.:44:48.

would have required going into the green belt to do this. What this

:44:48.:44:52.

does his matches, I hope, the ability of getting on with being

:44:52.:44:57.

able to build a much needed houses on the one hand, and on the other,

:44:57.:45:01.

protecting the environment. If we get this balance right... Take the

:45:01.:45:06.

south-east. We wanted to increase houses in the south-east so

:45:06.:45:10.

youngsters could live with their families lived. We increased it by

:45:10.:45:13.

200,000. There were screams and shouts but we showed you could

:45:13.:45:17.

build it in the same density of housing with the same amount of

:45:17.:45:23.

land we had for 900,000. You can if you go on to brownfield which is

:45:23.:45:28.

what local councils will do. Final word and we are ending this. It is

:45:28.:45:32.

critically important that we pick up what Norman said. John believes

:45:32.:45:38.

it as well because he used to do it when he was in charge. We have to

:45:38.:45:41.

have an assumption that brownfields our way you have to do the first

:45:41.:45:49.

development before you go anywhere At the end of this month, it is

:45:49.:45:53.

bye-bye to COI, the Central Office of Information, which has been the

:45:53.:45:56.

government's in-house marketing agency for more than 60 years. They

:45:56.:46:00.

are constantly bombarding political journalists like me with press

:46:00.:46:04.

releases, but you will be more familiar with their public

:46:04.:46:08.

information films. How will the government cope with

:46:08.:46:14.

the closure of its marketing arm, the COI? We delved into the

:46:14.:46:17.

archives, and luckily found a public information film about

:46:17.:46:24.

making public information films. Learn how to make an informative

:46:24.:46:31.

film for the public, with the Daily Politics. Step 1 - pick a simple

:46:31.:46:35.

topic, and state the bleeding obvious. In the '40s, people needed

:46:35.:46:40.

to be told how to use such new- fangled inventions as hankies.

:46:40.:46:46.

a large put the pot, sprinkle with it, then hold the handkerchief to

:46:46.:46:53.

his face. Step two - to help Mr and Mrs public understand your message,

:46:53.:46:57.

why not hire a celebrity? Like Kevin Keegan, here simultaneously

:46:57.:47:00.

highlighting the dangers of roads and casting footballers as

:47:00.:47:08.

presenters. Sometimes, celebrities were created, like Charlie the cat

:47:08.:47:13.

and his weirdly voiced owner. Charlie says next time we go

:47:13.:47:18.

fishing, we should stay very close to Dad, where he can look after us.

:47:18.:47:22.

Step 3 - to make sure people listen to your public information film,

:47:22.:47:26.

why not consider making it exceedingly frightening? That was

:47:26.:47:31.

the approach used in these not at all scary films about surviving a

:47:31.:47:37.

total nuclear war. Nobody can tell where the safest place will be.

:47:38.:47:42.

Public information films will not disappear with the demise of the

:47:42.:47:45.

Central Office of Information. The government just hopes the whole

:47:45.:47:50.

process of advertising using public money becomes a bit cheaper.

:47:50.:47:55.

Hopefully, the film's stay just as cheesy.

:47:55.:47:59.

A trip down memory lane. Don Foster, did you have a favourite of any of

:47:59.:48:05.

those public information films? I always liked the clunk click one,

:48:05.:48:12.

particularly because you saw a motorway with hardly any cars on it.

:48:12.:48:17.

But if you had the demise of the Public Information Unit, does that

:48:17.:48:23.

mean that your correspondent just lost his job? No. I think he was

:48:23.:48:28.

multi-tasking. But he looked good. They did serve a purpose, though.

:48:28.:48:36.

To some extent, public information films have worked. In 1986, I ran

:48:36.:48:43.

the HIV-AIDS campaign. We had it falling tombstones and icebergs,

:48:43.:48:51.

and we really got it on to the TV screens. And the result of that was

:48:51.:48:57.

that by the end, 95% of the public said that they knew how HIV-AIDS

:48:57.:49:03.

was contracted. That was tremendous. That was not bum - back not done by

:49:03.:49:08.

the Central Office of Information. They contracted it. We had a

:49:08.:49:14.

brilliant man from one of the agencies. I do not think the demise

:49:14.:49:19.

of the COI will make much difference, as long as the people

:49:19.:49:23.

have the experience. But there is an issue of funding for public

:49:23.:49:29.

health campaigns in general. It was not just a chavvy. There were anti-

:49:29.:49:34.

smoking campaigns. These things have had an effect on changing

:49:34.:49:42.

attitudes. There is a role for them. As Norman said, you might have to

:49:42.:49:48.

get the best of advertising to do it, but it is expensive. If you

:49:48.:49:55.

look at the budgets of departments, they have spent millions on this.

:49:55.:49:58.

But take climate change. People need to understand what is

:49:59.:50:03.

happening and what the effects are. When I was trying to get youngsters

:50:03.:50:08.

to get on to their parents and say, why do you fill the kettle of? Or

:50:08.:50:13.

why do you let the tap when all the time?, nobody will take that in the

:50:13.:50:17.

modern media. But you can use these public information films. There is

:50:17.:50:23.

a lot to be done. Now, money is being spent influencing other TV

:50:23.:50:29.

programmes. Everybody knows the agricultural correspondents on the

:50:29.:50:32.

Archers has influenced what happens in farming. Money is now being

:50:32.:50:37.

spent to influence a lot of other soaps. The problem with that is

:50:37.:50:40.

that when you have films like that, they are very transparent. You know

:50:41.:50:45.

it is the Government. It is more insidious if it is influencing a

:50:45.:50:52.

soap opera. In my view, in some areas you need much more direct

:50:52.:50:58.

advertising. I was chairman of a select committee. We looked at HIV-

:50:58.:51:03.

AIDS 25 years ago. We found that in terms of treatment, the government

:51:03.:51:07.

spent over three-quarters of a billion pounds on drugs and on

:51:07.:51:15.

direct advertising, they spent �2.9 million. That is totally out of

:51:15.:51:23.

kilter. I don't mind about the COI going, but I do think that things

:51:23.:51:29.

like public health can only be done in that way. Don was right when he

:51:29.:51:37.

said you can use the soaps. They have been effective, but now you

:51:37.:51:40.

can have your cornflakes on the table and have them in the

:51:40.:51:47.

programme. That is not influencing the public, that is just an advert.

:51:47.:51:56.

What would you do a public health broadcast on now? There are so many

:51:56.:52:04.

issues, but Norman is right - not party funding! - but there are

:52:04.:52:09.

issues about health. Not just on a chavvy, but all aspects of health.

:52:09.:52:16.

With the rising obesity crisis, and alcohol and drug problems and so on,

:52:16.:52:22.

improving public health as important. One should remember, it

:52:22.:52:26.

is not necessarily the case in health, but one should remember the

:52:26.:52:32.

limitations of what can -- what one can do. We tried it with seatbelts.

:52:32.:52:39.

But that did work. But when we passed the law, if the casualties

:52:39.:52:46.

went down. But you had softened the public up with that campaign.

:52:46.:52:54.

that took over 15 years. Drinking and driving. That really did change

:52:54.:53:02.

people's attitudes. It became a taboo. I nearly broke my back not

:53:02.:53:07.

wearing a seatbelt. What a great advert for that campaign.

:53:07.:53:10.

Now, there is an end of term skittishness in the air, and it is

:53:10.:53:14.

not just the hot weather that has brought it on. Here is Quentin

:53:14.:53:24.
:53:24.:53:24.

Letts, with his to Z of Parliament. The letter R is for recess.

:53:24.:53:27.

Parliament does not sit all year round, and when MPs are not at

:53:28.:53:31.

Westminster, they are said to be in recess, and they can do other

:53:31.:53:41.
:53:41.:53:54.

things. Jolly boating weather. Good morning, Kevin. Right. Off we go.

:53:54.:53:58.

They have several recesses a year. The longest is the summer, about

:53:58.:54:03.

seven weeks. Then they have another for the party conference season. In

:54:03.:54:07.

the party conferences, they used to go to the seaside for those. These

:54:07.:54:12.

days, it is more like town-centre such as Manchester and Birmingham.

:54:12.:54:16.

Christmas is next, about three weeks. Then you get a week in

:54:16.:54:20.

February for half term, a couple of weeks at Easter, baby ten days at

:54:20.:54:24.

the end of May and if you are lucky, a couple of days before the State

:54:24.:54:30.

Opening of Parliament. It is about 14 weeks in all. Parliament may

:54:30.:54:35.

hold, but MPs, as they never tire of telling us, go on working. There

:54:35.:54:39.

is all that constituency work to do, pressing the flesh. Do you think

:54:39.:54:49.

they possibly work too hard? I know the feeling. Traditionally, the

:54:49.:54:53.

Government gave little notice of when the house would be in recess.

:54:53.:54:58.

Information is power, C. The law- making process is uncertain, and

:54:58.:55:01.

also to let the opposition know far in advance and the house was

:55:02.:55:05.

breaking up gave them an advantage. But the government has become more

:55:05.:55:10.

reasonable now. It allows MPs to get those cheap deals on their

:55:10.:55:14.

package holidays. It is possible for Parliament to be recalled if

:55:15.:55:18.

ministers ask the Speaker to do that. This happens once every two

:55:18.:55:23.

years. It happened in 2011 after the summer riots, and when the

:55:23.:55:26.

Falkland Islands were invaded and after 9/11. One good thing about

:55:26.:55:31.

the house not sitting is that it stops those MPs passing too many

:55:31.:55:35.

laws. By the way, if you are in London and on holiday yourself and

:55:35.:55:39.

the MPs are in recess, you can still go in and have a look around

:55:39.:55:49.
:55:49.:55:50.

Parliament. Mind you, the place might be a bit deserted.

:55:50.:55:55.

Quentin Letts, having fun. Yes, MPs break up for Easter today, but who

:55:55.:55:59.

has worked harder this session, MPs or the Lords? The Lords have worked

:55:59.:56:08.

extremely hard on things like health. Around the clock. What have

:56:08.:56:16.

MPs been doing? Yes, v Lords have been working harder. Most of the

:56:16.:56:24.

legislation has been with them, and it is now coming back to us. But

:56:24.:56:27.

these things go in cycles, depending on where the legislation

:56:27.:56:32.

starts. The other big difference is that the House of Lords has this

:56:32.:56:38.

wonderful thing. You can see it on the monitor. It says "adjourned at

:56:38.:56:44.

pleasure". Every evening, they have this break to just go off and be at

:56:44.:56:50.

pleasure. I have often wondered what that means. You have an

:56:50.:56:54.

intricate knowledge of the workings of the House of Lords. That is

:56:54.:56:59.

marvellous. It does not take place every day. The House of Lords has

:56:59.:57:04.

actually worked extraordinarily hard, particularly on the Health

:57:04.:57:11.

Bill, which everyone agrees. To say one thing about recess, when one

:57:11.:57:15.

was a minister, I remember being in a health dispute which had been

:57:15.:57:21.

going on for six months. And I decided I could take five days off.

:57:21.:57:25.

This hit the headlines - controversial holiday taken by

:57:25.:57:30.

minister. Ministers do work hard, and at some stage you have to

:57:30.:57:35.

decide whether you want exhausted ministers slumped over their best,

:57:35.:57:39.

making bad decisions, or whether you think every so often, it would

:57:39.:57:45.

not be a bad idea to take some days off. Are you proud of having bricks,

:57:45.:57:51.

or not? That is what the political system is. We used to come back in

:57:51.:57:58.

September. People do feel it is a long break. We do not get paid at

:57:58.:58:02.

through that break. Ours is a different system. Do you think the

:58:02.:58:05.

public are being unfair in saying you have these long holidays over

:58:05.:58:14.

the summer? They say the same about teachers. It is a judgment they

:58:14.:58:19.

make. This week, we have just announced that we will be off for

:58:19.:58:26.

another week, and we have not got time to discuss the Scottish bill.

:58:26.:58:33.

So let's cancel the recess. You have all got to stay. He would not

:58:33.:58:38.

agree, but we have very much the same view on Parliament. Have a

:58:38.:58:43.

good recess. The One O'clock News is starting on BBC One. The Daily

:58:43.:58:48.

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the cash-for-access row and the government's planning reforms. With Lord Prescott, Lord Fowler and Don Foster MP.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS