23/04/2012 Daily Politics


23/04/2012

Jo Coburn debates Lords reform with Lord Strathclyde, and dangerous dogs and MPs' stress with Conservative Mary Macleod, Labour's Lilian Greenwood and Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt.


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. More confusion over

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the attempts to extradite radical Muslim cleric Abu Qatada. What did

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officials from the European Court of Human Rights tell the Home

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Office? We have the latest. Lord Young Ladies, make way for

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mainly elected senators. -- Lords and ladies. That his recommendation

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of a cross-party group, meant to find a consensus, but it has kicked

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off an almighty row. They are two arrogant posh boys who

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show no remorse, contrition and no passion to understand the rest of

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us. Who could that Conservative MP possibly be talking about? Why is

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class so divisive in politics? Every dog needs to be microchipped,

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but will this clamp down on dangerous dogs be any more

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successful than the last? All that in the next hour, and with

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us for the programme is the leader of the House of Lords, Lord

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Strathclyde. Welcome. This afternoon there is more confusion

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about the Home Office's handling of the attempt to extradite Muslim

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cleric Abu Qatada. He was arrested on Tuesday last week because the

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Home Office believed the deadline to appeal against a ruling from the

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European Court of Human Rights had passed on Monday night. Abu

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Qatada's lawyers subsequently lodged an appeal with the court

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that they believed to be the Tuesday night deadline. Robin Brant

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joins us now. Can you clear up for us, according to the Prime Minister,

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that there were assurances to MPs that the deadline was Monday night?

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Is that what he said? What is clear this afternoon is that the Prime

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Minister's version of the advice sought by the Government and then

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given by the court is at odds with the Home Office. The Home Office

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has now not been able to can curb some of the statements made by the

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Prime Minister this morning. -- can. He said twice that assurances were

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received on this specific date, Monday night. This is exactly how

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the conversation unfolded on the Today programme this morning.

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Home Office is working on the basis of the deadline being Monday night.

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I am answering you. That was something that they had checked

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with the court. The other question is did they ask the court. When the

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deadline was, and the answer to that is yes. And did they tell you?

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I discussed this issue with the Home Secretary and she set out the

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position. Absolutely. So what did they tell you in answer to that

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question? The case was this, that the Home Office believed, and

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checked during the process, that the date expired. We know what the

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Home Office believed but the question is what the Court told the

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Home Office. You say that Theresa May asked that question, so what

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were they told? They were told throughout that the deadline

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expired on the Monday night. There are two key parts do that exchange.

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The Prime Minister pushed on what home Office officials asked and

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what they got back in return. When asked if they asked about the

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specifics, he said yes, absolutely, and then moved on quickly. I put

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that to the Home Office and a classic spokesperson line came back

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to me. They were unable to agree with both those statements. I was

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told that if the Prime Minister says it, then it must be correct.

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But the Home Office cannot agree with those statements made by the

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Prime Minister. The confusion surrounding Abu Qatada continues.

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If they cannot agree with what the Prime Minister says, in other words

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they cannot tell you what they were told by there European Court, does

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that mean that the Prime Minister was wrong and he had not been

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briefed properly? Does it mean the Home Office is in a mess about what

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it was told and it is trying to cover it up? Look back to Theresa

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May and her statement on Thursday. She was asked the same question

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repeatedly by Labour MPs, what was asked and what was given back? She

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asserted that the evening of the 16th was the deadline. She said

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they had consulted the court repeatedly and were working from

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that basis. That is something that David Cameron and Teresa may have

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spoken about, working from that basis. -- Theresa May. The Prime

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Minister may have got into a bit of a mess this morning. Tomorrow, I

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understand that Yvette Cooper and the Labour Party will be pushing

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the Home Secretary to produce the evidence, which apparently the

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Prime Minister says is there, about those assurances from the court.

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This is not going away. Lord Strathclyde, fairly detailed

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conversations about these deadlines are being had. But just listening

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to that again, it do you think the Home Office has clocked up? I don't

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think so. I don't think the Home Secretary would have made a

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statement without being absolutely clear that the advice that she was

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receiving from other departments was absolutely correct. And she

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told Parliament that as far as they were concerned, the deadline was

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Monday night. And that is right that it should be Monday night,

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three months from the original date. So the Government was correct and

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has confirmed again that it was correct, and Monday night was the

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date that they believed. And you are convinced that that was what

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the Court told Home Office officials, who rang them to check

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that? If that is the case, why can't the Home Office agree with

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what the Prime Minister said? by sitting here and imagining that

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the Home Secretary picked up the telephone and asked if it was the

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date. I don't think it works like that. No, but an official would

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have asked. So they say it was all it was then? There will have been a

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process, a process of discussion between the Home Office, lawyers

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and the court. They will have it that the President, decided on the

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Monday night, and they will have decided on the Monday night on a

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clear basis. -- they will have lurked at the precedent. Over the

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next few weeks we will have to see what comes out of the court case.

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We are very convinced that the decision that the Home Secretary

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made on the Monday night was correct. And based on the advice

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coming from the European Court of Human Rights? On that basis, Abu

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Qatada's lawyers missed the deadline and that appeal will be

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thrown out. That is what you expect? It looks like that and that

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is what we expect. We don't think that Abu Qatada has any right to be

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in this country at all. That, we have heard that, and many people

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agree with you across the political spectrum. But it is whether or not

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he has the right to appeal and it is an important issue, this

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deadline. Theresa May appears before the Home Affairs Select

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Committee tomorrow, and if she cannot confirm what has happened,

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it will she be under pressure with a job? Not at all. She did not make

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this decision lightly. She did not make a parliamentary statement

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without being clear about the advice that she received. I am sure

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she would not have made that statement unless she was totally

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confident that what she was saying was correct. Would it not have been

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better to wait one day? They would only have waited the day if there

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was any doubt and she was clear and so they made that decision.

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Now on to Lords reform. A joint committee of peers and MPs have

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published a long awaited report on a draft bill for the reform of the

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House of Lords. The joint committee has called for an 80% elected upper

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house where members serve non- renewable 15 year terms. They would

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get paid a salary, rather than the existing attendance allowances.

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Some members of the committee have issued a separate dissenting report.

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They say that the Government has ducked the key issue of what powers

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the newly elected chamber would have. There is one recommendation

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from the main report that will prove controversial, to put any

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Lords reform proposals to a referendum. The Prime Minister said

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he did not see a compelling case for a referendum but did not rule

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one out. In contrast, Nick Clegg said this on Sunday Politics: Why

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should we spend a great deal of money, millions of pounds of

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taxpayers' money, asking the British people a question that most

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people frankly don't worry about and on which there is consensus

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between three main parties? Literally, all three main parties,

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Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives, having a commitment

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to Lords reform. To sub-contract to the British people an issue that

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the politicians at Westminster just cannot deal with, I think that is

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asking a lot of the British people when last year we did have a

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referendum but that was when there was stark difference of opinion

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between the political parties. Joining me now is Nadine de Haar,

:09:54.:10:04.
:10:04.:10:05.

thank you for coming on the programme. -- Nadhim Zahawi. All of

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the political parties agreed that there should be reformed to the

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House of Lords. Let's take a step back and look at what the parties

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have said. In our manifesto said we would look towards a consensus. The

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Prime Minister has said they would prefer consensus. You can see from

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the evidence that there is no consensus, either in the House or

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in the country. There is consensus for reform, isn't there? Absolutely

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right. I am all for reform and not abolition. Let me just explain that

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for a second. What worries me is the primacy of the Commons. The

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reason it worries me is because the public have a very clear

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understanding at the moment that each party puts forward a manifesto,

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and then you vote for MPs into the Commons, and allow them to

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legislate and deliver their manifesto. The idea of setting up a

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second chamber that is elected, full of politicians, diluting that

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primacy, taking that away, creating possible gridlock between the two

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chambers, if you take the example of dealing with the economy, the

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Chancellor would not have been able to convince the markets that he

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could deliver an emergency budget if there was any doubt whatsoever

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that a second chamber could get in the wave and stop him delivering

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that in the first place. So that issue was not dealt within this

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committee. It goes to the heart of the problem. I think we all need to

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step back and take the Prime Minister's recommendation on board,

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that the three parties must work together to get a consensus in

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place before we go forward. So you could argue that nothing is going

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to happen. Are you saying that he would prefer to stick with the

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status quo of an unelected House? 800 Lords and ladies, or so, he

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will carry on doing what they are doing, unaccountably? I am not.

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Wheeler to what David Steel recommended. -- we should look to

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what David still recommended, cutting the size of it. It is too

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big. Taking away political patronage, and appoint an

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independent committee, that actually appoints to the House of

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Lords. You get rid of those that have committed crimes in the way

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that we do in the Commons, and you make sure that the terms are

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limited. Then you get rid of the hereditaries. We can do all of that

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right now without getting bogged down in whether we should have an

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elected second chamber and abolish the House of Lords. Should there be

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a referendum on this issue? Yes or no? I think if there is going to be

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a referendum, we should put it in with the general election so we

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does not cost too much. I will fight my corner in a referendum but

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I don't think the nation would thank us on this. We did some

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polling on this. Only 6% think this is a priority for the Government.

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Thank you very much. Lord Strathclyde is still with us. He

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wants to get rid of heredity is, doesn't he? They were got rid of 12

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years ago, at so no problem. I sit as a heredity, but I am only here

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because I was elected by my peers. I am being cheeky, thank you. Do

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you think this should be a legislative priority for the

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Government? This debate has been rumbling on for so long, some

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people say over 100 years. Over the last 10 years, when hereditary

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peers were kicked out, the Labour Party said we should look towards a

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more elected House. This is the endgame of that debate. The Prime

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Minister should be the first to be congratulated for being the first

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minister to come forward with a rational reform for the second

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chamber. But there is division across the board. We have

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alternative reforms. That is not new. There has always been division.

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In a way that was part of what the Prime Minister was saying this

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morning and the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday. There are

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divisions within the parties, rather than between the parties.

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Let's see if we can create a consensus over the Government bill,

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which we can now look at and right over the next few months, and

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presented to Parliament and then take the view. The House of Commons

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will need to take a view as to how they should proceed. Many people

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will say that the strength of the House of Lords is that it uses its

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expertise to hold the Government to account. Do you agree with that?

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Very much so. The House of Lords as a very good job. But it does it

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without having the authority of the people, without election. My

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argument is that in the 21st century, a house of Parliament

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should have the authority of the people. And if it did, it would

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behave more assertively, more aggressively. You are right to

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point that out. But that might create better Lords. But how will

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you protect that expertise that comes from people, from

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crossbenchers, and also from former Cabinet ministers and so on? How it

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would you protect that if elected plans go ahead? There is no reason

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why you cannot elect people with expertise and knowledge. There are

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plenty in the House of Commons. But you are right that you would lose

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something from House of Lords which is very special. People who would

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not naturally stand for election, which is why the Government wants

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to propose that 20% of the House should be reserved for those people.

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You would still be halving the number, quite significantly

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reducing the number. If that is its greatest strength, why get rid of

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it? We would still maintain that element, but I think the House of

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Lords would be strengthened by being directly elected. How?

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Because it would act on the authority of the people. Yes, that

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could ultimately lead to clashes between the houses, but debate is

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not a bad thing for improving law over time. But there is debate

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going on now. We have had a lot of debate and scrutiny from the House

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of Lords in its current form on important bits of legislation. The

:16:04.:16:14.
:16:14.:16:15.

welfare bill, the health bill. Why One of the difficult issues for

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reform in the House of Lords is doing the job it has been asked to

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do, revising and scrutiny, extremely well. Reformers like me

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believe there is scope for a smaller second chamber, directly

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elected, with the authority of the people. That would give the

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decisions it makes greater weight when it went back to the House of

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Commons. In your heart of hearts, you are a loyal member of the

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government and you will defend these proposals are, but in your

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heart of hearts, do you really think a chamber that could end up

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being composed of party hacks who fail to become an MP, would they be

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more effective at holding the government to a cat than a chamber

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filled with experts? You are characterising elections as just

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being a party hacks and you are characterising the House of Lords

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as something else. So do you truly believe that that elected way is

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the best way? It would be a very different house. It would be a more

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assertive house. It would hold the government to account better and it

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would challenge decisions by the House of Commons. What about

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legislative deadlock? That is a key concern. It would be dreadful.

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of the examples about an emergency Budget would not happen because the

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position of the House of Commons is protected. But there are other key

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issues of flagship plans that would be prevented under your scheme.

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of the problems we face is that the House of Commons is not strong

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enough. It does not stand up to governments as much as it could.

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This would be a way of exerting authority from the second chamber.

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That is why I have been in favour of an elected House for a long time.

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What about a referendum on the issue? That seems to be gaining

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momentum. It is, and yet at the general election all three main

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parties had similar commitments to reform, based largely on Jack

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Straw's White Paper of 2008. The trouble with referendums is that

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they are expensive and complicated unless you have very clear

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questions. What with the question be? I am not proposing a referendum.

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I think we can do this perfectly easily within Parliament. It is not

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as simple as saying people who go to the second chamber should be

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elected. That is a major constitutional change, to go from

:18:49.:18:54.

an unelected House to an elected House. It will change not only the

:18:54.:18:58.

way the upper chamber looks, but it will change its role. It will be

:18:58.:19:04.

able to challenge the primacy of the House of Commons. In 1999, when

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we created an appointed chamber, the then leader of the Lords said

:19:08.:19:12.

almost what I am saying, that the house would become more assertive

:19:12.:19:15.

and effective. There was no question of having a referendum

:19:15.:19:19.

then. So why are the Labour Party asking for one now? But the prime

:19:19.:19:25.

minister has not ruled it out. The door has been left ajar for a

:19:25.:19:29.

referendum. Today, we are seeing the publication of a substantial

:19:29.:19:35.

report by the Joint Committee of both houses. Within it is a

:19:35.:19:40.

referendum. It is right that the Government should take it seriously

:19:40.:19:43.

and read the report and look at the question of a referendum.

:19:43.:19:52.

dismiss it? Maybe, maybe not. Let's see what the report is saying. Do

:19:52.:20:00.

the parties have a view as to the nature of a referendum? What about

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the threats and warnings from Conservative MPs? We have already

:20:05.:20:08.

had one or two parliamentary aides saying it could be a resignation

:20:08.:20:14.

issue. I regret that. But I accept that not just over the last ten

:20:15.:20:19.

weeks, but over the last 120 years, the Conservative Party has never

:20:19.:20:23.

taken a united view over House of Lords reform, which is why the

:20:23.:20:26.

Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister accept that there needs to

:20:26.:20:31.

be consensus across the parties. Will today's report be part of

:20:31.:20:34.

creating that consensus? That remains to be seen. If it gets

:20:34.:20:38.

through the Commons, how will you get it through the Lords? With

:20:38.:20:43.

difficulty. And under no illusions that in the House of Lords, there

:20:43.:20:47.

is great antipathy towards this reform for two reasons. The first

:20:47.:20:54.

is about the primacy of the House of Commons. It will not do anything

:20:54.:20:57.

to affect the relationship between the government and the House of

:20:57.:21:03.

Commons. Secondly, they think they do a good job and there are people

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of ability can kill within the House of Lords, and an election

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would change that. It is not a few I share. Will it really happen?

:21:11.:21:14.

There is more chance of it happening over the last 18 months

:21:14.:21:18.

than there has been over the last 100 years, so yes. We might have to

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get you back on when we see how this pans out. And what about you?

:21:28.:21:32.

Will your name be on the ballot paper? I think if we get to an

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elected House, I would consider it very strongly. I would like to be

:21:36.:21:40.

an elected member of the chamber. I am not sure my colleagues in the

:21:40.:21:42.

House of Commons would appreciate that.

:21:42.:21:47.

Now, we had further insights this morning into the prime minister's

:21:47.:21:49.

lifestyle in the Downing Street flat above Number 11. He told the

:21:50.:21:54.

Today programme of tea has regular "date nights" with his wife as well

:21:54.:21:57.

as the "kitchen suppers" we have heard so much about. But how good

:21:57.:22:00.

are the residents of Downing Street at persuading us that they are just

:22:00.:22:05.

ordinary blokes? The A R which, went to public

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school, Oxbridge, and despite that line that it is not where you came

:22:08.:22:12.

from but where you are going that matters, they are seen as posh. It

:22:12.:22:17.

is perhaps unfair, but only in the sense that to many people, MPs seem

:22:17.:22:23.

posh, not people like us. Since the financial crash, and all of us

:22:23.:22:26.

having to tighten our belts, we have become conscious of what

:22:26.:22:31.

people have, where it came from and, more trickily, or whether they

:22:31.:22:36.

deserve it. That means that in politics, being posh has suddenly

:22:36.:22:43.

become a problem. Everyone is struggling at the moment. Also, we

:22:43.:22:48.

have just had a cut in taxes for millionaires. When you have a

:22:48.:22:51.

government which has so many millionaires in it, people are

:22:51.:22:58.

bound to smell a bit of a rat. Having said that, it is Parliament.

:22:58.:23:04.

Parliament should look like Britain. It doesn't. We have no Old Etonians

:23:05.:23:08.

on our front bench, but as a body politic, we have all gone backwards

:23:08.:23:11.

in terms of working-class representation. That should concern

:23:11.:23:16.

everybody. But the truth is that right now, it is concerning the

:23:16.:23:19.

right more than anyone, because posh is just one of the problems

:23:19.:23:25.

they have with the men at the top. If you are the sort of person to

:23:25.:23:33.

whom our Prime Minister is a raging Liberal, raging quasi left the

:23:33.:23:38.

Liberal, then the plushness gives you a good stick to beat him with.

:23:38.:23:45.

-- the poshness. They see the ruling group from Notting Hill as

:23:45.:23:53.

being sort of liberal sons of Blair, and they hate it. There is a very

:23:53.:23:58.

tight, narrow clique of a certain group of people. And they act as a

:23:58.:24:04.

barrier and prevent Cameron and Osborne and others from really

:24:04.:24:08.

understanding what is happening in the rest of the country. And are

:24:08.:24:11.

they still two posh boys who don't know the price of milk in your

:24:11.:24:17.

opinion? Unfortunately, I think that not only are Cameron and

:24:17.:24:20.

Osborne two posh boys who don't know the price of milk, but they

:24:21.:24:26.

are two arrogant, posh boys who show no remorse, no contrition and

:24:26.:24:29.

no passion to want to understand the lives of others. That is there

:24:29.:24:34.

real crime. Other Conservative backbenchers might not dare say the

:24:34.:24:39.

same, but they certainly are concerned that this is or may

:24:39.:24:42.

become a widely held view. You might think all of this is a

:24:42.:24:46.

problem for our guest, Lord Strathclyde, with his estates and

:24:46.:24:51.

things like that. But he is not really posh. I mean, he is only a

:24:51.:24:56.

second baron, and he certainly didn't go to Eton.

:24:56.:25:02.

Are you relieved about that? Are best of the day is still here. And

:25:02.:25:04.

we are joined by the political commentator Ian Martin. Do you

:25:05.:25:08.

consider yourself posh, Tom Strathclyde? I do not think this

:25:08.:25:14.

argument should be about how I regard myself. I hope people regard

:25:15.:25:21.

me as authentic. I say what I think. We left behind a long time ago that

:25:21.:25:25.

we judge people on how they speak, where they went to school, the kind

:25:25.:25:30.

of homes they live in. I am what I am. But it seems that Conservative

:25:30.:25:34.

MPs, we heard Nadine Dorries say that David Cameron and George

:25:34.:25:39.

Osborne are two posh boys who don't know the price of milk. That is

:25:39.:25:43.

fairly crocheting. I am sure they do. Do they have to know the price

:25:43.:25:48.

of milk? I do not think they should, just as a matter of form, know the

:25:48.:25:54.

price of milk. Being in charge is about being authentic, being real,

:25:54.:26:02.

about where you are from and what you do and acting in the national

:26:02.:26:05.

interest. That is what the Conservative Party has always been

:26:05.:26:11.

best at. But her point and the point of a number of the new

:26:11.:26:15.

Conservative MPs is that they don't relate to David Cameron and George

:26:15.:26:19.

Osborne and can't relate to vast swathes of the public out there

:26:19.:26:23.

because of their background and because they have not experienced

:26:23.:26:32.

things, particularly in a recession, when everyone is struggling.

:26:32.:26:36.

don't share that view. They are in touch with what is going on. Even

:26:36.:26:40.

in the Cabinet, we have a cheap -- a chief whip who was a miner.

:26:40.:26:44.

Nobody would call Eric Pickles Bosch. Side of Warsi, the chairman

:26:44.:26:52.

of the party -- cider Warsi is the first Muslim. Why are people making

:26:52.:26:58.

these attacks on their own leadership? People have to be wary

:26:58.:27:04.

of attempting to play a game which is about proving who is more

:27:04.:27:06.

working-class than thou and running the old Monty Python class about

:27:06.:27:13.

trying to prove who is more working class. But there is a problem, and

:27:13.:27:17.

the government struggles to articulate a message for the

:27:17.:27:21.

aspirational classes in this country. And the Tories did not win

:27:21.:27:25.

the election because they failed to convince a significant enough

:27:25.:27:31.

number of the strivers that Thatcher was on their side. Tony

:27:31.:27:34.

Blair, a public schoolboy, understood that he had to think his

:27:34.:27:39.

way into those people's heads to win. So did Harold Macmillan. This

:27:39.:27:44.

bunch don't seem to get that. They don't understand the importance of

:27:44.:27:49.

the aspirational classes. What do you say to that? They are not like

:27:49.:27:53.

Margaret Thatcher, who a lot of Tory MPs feel did that have that

:27:53.:27:57.

connection with the aspirational classes. Let me give you just one

:27:57.:28:04.

example. Look at the education policies of Michael Gove. He is

:28:04.:28:07.

going to revolutionise educational opportunities for a whole

:28:07.:28:12.

generation. And he has done that in the last two years simply by

:28:12.:28:15.

battling with the establishment of the education bodies to provide

:28:15.:28:19.

schools that will give that opportunity. Then why are other

:28:19.:28:24.

people in the party attacking the leadership on this basis? They need

:28:24.:28:28.

to attack the leadership on something, so why not the fact that

:28:28.:28:32.

they went to Eton and Oxford and all that kind of stuff? So they

:28:32.:28:38.

have an axe to grind? Maybe. That is part of what happens. Within the

:28:38.:28:46.

Conservative Party, we as a Cabinet have to react to what is said, so

:28:46.:28:52.

that we make sure people understand aspiration, growth and opportunity

:28:52.:28:56.

for people to better themselves. giving a tax break to people who

:28:56.:29:01.

who earned over �1 million a year, does that damage that credibility?

:29:01.:29:06.

For this is absurd. Throughout the 13 years of Labour, they never had

:29:06.:29:12.

a tax rate as high as 45 or 50% except for the last three weeks.

:29:12.:29:19.

Sure, but Conservatives are seen as a leadership in which they are

:29:19.:29:29.
:29:29.:29:32.

willing to accept that by 2014, 5 million will play 40p tax. It is

:29:32.:29:36.

becoming the new standard rate of tax. In 1957, Harold Macmillan

:29:36.:29:40.

wrote to the then chairman of the Tory party and said, as I go round

:29:40.:29:44.

the country, I keep hearing about something called the emerging

:29:44.:29:48.

aspirational lower middle classes. Is it possible to find out who they

:29:48.:29:54.

are, what they want and give it to them? I am suggesting that previous

:29:54.:29:59.

prime ministers who have suffered a similar perception problem that

:29:59.:30:03.

David Cameron and George Osborne suffer have had to work very hard

:30:03.:30:08.

to counter it and win elections which, even from the point of view

:30:08.:30:11.

of relentless self interest, they should be interested in this stuff.

:30:11.:30:17.

It is baffling. It is the primary purpose of this government, the

:30:17.:30:19.

Conservatives and Liberal Democrats together, to try and reduce the

:30:19.:30:24.

budget deficit. We have an extraordinary economic situation.

:30:24.:30:27.

Look at what is happening in other countries. We are getting it right

:30:27.:30:33.

at by reducing the budget deficit, paying off the debt. But does

:30:33.:30:38.

language like "kitchen suppers" and "we are all in this together" and

:30:38.:30:43.

"filling up your jerry cans" - does that help? They are saying it

:30:43.:30:46.

because it is true. You might as well say you have a kitchen supper.

:30:46.:30:50.

We are all in it together. That does not mean everyone is equal,

:30:51.:31:00.
:31:01.:31:02.

but it is right to provide equality Says just over a week to go until

:31:02.:31:06.

the Queen's Speech, where we will find out what legislation the

:31:06.:31:10.

Government has planned. Meanwhile there is plenty going on in the

:31:10.:31:15.

Westminster village. The Leveson Inquiry racemes today, and today

:31:15.:31:20.

James Murdoch will be giving evidence followed by Rupert Murdoch

:31:20.:31:25.

on Tuesday and Thursday. The Abu Qatada deportation row will be high

:31:25.:31:28.

on home affairs select committee adjourned on Tuesday. Talks are

:31:28.:31:32.

continuing today to avert a strike by its fuel tanker drivers, you

:31:32.:31:36.

have until Tuesday to come to an agreement before a strike will beat

:31:36.:31:42.

called. And the Chancellor will be hoping for growth in the economy

:31:42.:31:47.

when the GDP figures are revealed on Wednesday. To discuss this we

:31:47.:31:51.

can talk to the sun's political editor, Tom Newton-Dunn and Kate

:31:51.:32:00.

Devlin from the Herald. -- The Sun. There have been comments about the

:32:00.:32:04.

timing in terms of the deadline for Abu Qatada to put in an appeal. How

:32:04.:32:09.

difficult is this for Theresa May, bearing in mind she appears before

:32:09.:32:12.

the Home Affairs Select Committee tomorrow? I think this is very

:32:12.:32:16.

difficult for Theresa May. This issue wasn't ever going to go away.

:32:17.:32:20.

The Prime Minister seems to have opened the door to more questions

:32:20.:32:27.

about what exactly her office knew and when. The Theresa May, part of

:32:27.:32:32.

the problem is that this could always have happened. Abu Qatada

:32:32.:32:37.

could always have lodged an appeal and it could have been accepted by

:32:37.:32:40.

the court, even if it was judged to be late. The problem is that

:32:40.:32:44.

everything that happens from now on will be seen as her fault, her

:32:44.:32:50.

problem. Has the Prime Minister Major job more difficult? I think

:32:50.:32:57.

he did, this morning, yes. -- made her a job more difficult? It is

:32:57.:33:02.

emerging now that he might have gone a little bit too far by saying,

:33:02.:33:08.

and very strongly saying, that the Court of Human Rights did confirm

:33:08.:33:12.

to the Home Office what their understanding of the deadline was,

:33:12.:33:17.

Monday rather than Tuesday. We have just come out of lobby which was 45

:33:17.:33:21.

minutes, unbearably and painfully long, where the official spokesman

:33:21.:33:26.

refused to back him up on that, which is always a bad sign. I think

:33:26.:33:32.

we are into a tangential the shambles of the main shambles now.

:33:32.:33:36.

And this will never go away so long as Abu Qatada is in Britain. It

:33:36.:33:39.

will always be a problem for the Government and it will get worse

:33:39.:33:44.

the moment the lawyers go to court, possibly this week, possibly

:33:44.:33:49.

tomorrow, and ask for the man to be released. Habeas corpus. If Abu

:33:49.:33:54.

Qatada is back on the streets, it becomes a massive problem again.

:33:54.:33:57.

Let's look at Lords reform again. We seem to have had alternative

:33:57.:34:03.

reports to the Joint Committee's report on 80%-20% elected-non-

:34:03.:34:08.

elected. Do you think the case for the referendum will gain ground?

:34:08.:34:11.

think the referendum is a very difficult question for the

:34:11.:34:16.

coalition. The problem they have is if they do accept there should be a

:34:16.:34:20.

referendum on this, it will increase the clamour for referendum

:34:20.:34:24.

on an in or out decision on the EU. That is something that they want to

:34:24.:34:31.

avoid. They have been able to... I mean, we are having referendums, on

:34:31.:34:35.

independence in Scotland, but another national referendum would

:34:35.:34:41.

cause serious problems for them, I think, and a serious demand for

:34:41.:34:45.

another referendum on the EU. And I think they will resist that as hard

:34:45.:34:48.

as they can. The Prime Minister left the door open slightly on that

:34:48.:34:53.

issue as well. Conservative MPs are basically saying, some of them,

:34:53.:34:58.

that they will resign over this issue if it goes ahead. Again, this

:34:58.:35:02.

looks like it could be a total mess. It is already a total mess, I am

:35:02.:35:06.

afraid. There are already two different reports coming from the

:35:06.:35:09.

same joint committee this morning on what should happen. They cannot

:35:09.:35:12.

even agree on what should happen themselves and they are supposed to

:35:13.:35:15.

be the cross-party architects. Whether or not there is a

:35:15.:35:19.

referendum will be a headache, but an even bigger headache is who will

:35:19.:35:23.

win. The Lib Dems have put their flag in the sand and they won this

:35:23.:35:27.

to happen. The Tories do not want this to happen and there can only

:35:27.:35:31.

be one winner. It is another bout of collective lunacy from everybody

:35:31.:35:35.

in Westminster. Why make this the one issue to fight and die in a

:35:35.:35:40.

ditch over? Both parties have decided that this will be it, when

:35:40.:35:43.

it is of zero interest to the vast majority of our readers, certainly,

:35:43.:35:51.

and probably your viewers. On that note, thank you very much. I am

:35:51.:35:55.

joined by three MPs, Lilian Greenwood from Labour, Tessa Munt

:35:55.:35:58.

from the Liberal Democrats and Mary MacLeod from the Conservatives. Can

:35:58.:36:02.

I start with you, Tessa Munt? It is a nightmare for the Liberal

:36:02.:36:05.

Democrat if there is a referendum on this issue. I don't think there

:36:05.:36:09.

needs to be a referendum, actually. All three of the main parties, in

:36:10.:36:14.

fact all of the main parties, came into this Parliament knowing it was

:36:14.:36:18.

in their manifesto. We have needed Lords reform for 100 years and it

:36:18.:36:22.

has been trawling along and it has been shuffled sideways. We did not

:36:22.:36:28.

have a referendum when we got rid of the hereditary peers. You have

:36:28.:36:32.

got a referendum going on all over the place in terms of the mayoral

:36:32.:36:39.

referendum. The referendum on the subject began when we all put it in

:36:39.:36:42.

our manifesto, when we all said we were in favour of the House of

:36:42.:36:46.

Lords reform. I don't think we need a referendum. That was the

:36:46.:36:52.

manifesto. Our manifesto said there would be one. I think we have the

:36:52.:36:59.

right to have a say on this. don't think so. Referendums of very

:36:59.:37:03.

expensive. All three parties agree that we need change to the House of

:37:03.:37:07.

Lords, so let's go and do it. Let's not faff about. Let's get the job

:37:07.:37:12.

done. We don't need to wait 100 years. There are all sorts of other

:37:12.:37:15.

things going on in Government, besides dealing with the deficit

:37:15.:37:19.

which is very important, but don't stop everything else while we are

:37:19.:37:24.

moving forward in that direction. What do you say to Tory MPs saying

:37:24.:37:27.

this is such a big constitutional change that there should be a

:37:27.:37:32.

referendum? Absolutely disagree. What do you want them to do? Shut

:37:32.:37:36.

up. Sometimes people have to play the team game and do what your

:37:36.:37:41.

manifesto said. Well, do what your manifesto said? Yes, there are

:37:41.:37:45.

various opinions on this. I still think it is an important debate

:37:45.:37:52.

because it was in the manifestos to cut the House of Lords and we need

:37:52.:37:58.

to work together to make this happen. Given that it was in our

:37:58.:38:02.

manifestos and given that if you pulled the country today, they

:38:02.:38:06.

would say go with House of Lords reform and make it more democratic,

:38:06.:38:12.

then we should go ahead. -- if you asked the country. What about the

:38:12.:38:16.

idea that if there was a referendum it would cost a lot of money and of

:38:16.:38:23.

course it could be lost? What is there to lose? We have got 70% of

:38:23.:38:33.
:38:33.:38:36.

our second House in the gift of three blokes. What is that? You do

:38:37.:38:40.

need to have experts in the House of Lords, but actually this just

:38:40.:38:44.

increases the level of patronage and it is not good enough. This is

:38:44.:38:47.

a modern democracy that we live in and it should not be how much money

:38:48.:38:53.

you have got. I don't see why we can't get the three parties working

:38:53.:38:57.

together to find a solution for the House of Lords and make it really

:38:57.:39:01.

positive, saying what can we do to make sure that Parliament is

:39:01.:39:05.

accountable and democratic? And actually delivering the right thing

:39:05.:39:09.

for the country. Aren't they doing a good job at the moment of

:39:09.:39:13.

scrutinising the legislation? It is quite big, so why not cut the

:39:13.:39:21.

numbers? There are more peers over the age of 90 than over the age of

:39:21.:39:25.

50 and they mostly come from the South East and London. People

:39:25.:39:28.

expect people making decisions for the country to be elected and

:39:28.:39:33.

accountable. What about the fact that they are not elected? 59% said

:39:33.:39:36.

they should be reformed, but everybody says that and nobody can

:39:37.:39:41.

agree on what it should be and what should be done. Is it a priority?

:39:41.:39:44.

don't think it is the top priority for people up there because they

:39:44.:39:47.

are rightly worried about their jobs and the state of the economy

:39:47.:39:52.

and rising unemployment. But the fact is we do need to tackle this

:39:52.:39:56.

under-represented second chamber and we committed to it in our

:39:56.:39:59.

manifestos so there does need to be action. What about the Abu Qatada

:39:59.:40:04.

debate? We heard this thing about the deadline being passed. Do you

:40:04.:40:08.

think Theresa May is in trouble? don't know. You should ask Mary

:40:08.:40:15.

MacLeod. I don't think so. I think they have followed to process. They

:40:15.:40:17.

have definitely made much more progress than the last Government

:40:17.:40:22.

did to get him out of the country. Our objective has been clear from

:40:22.:40:25.

the start. We want him out of the country and we are doing everything

:40:25.:40:30.

possible to do that. But to do it within the law. So they followed

:40:30.:40:34.

the due process, there is no mess up, Labour are just making

:40:34.:40:39.

mischief? Hardly. I think Theresa May has shown herself to be

:40:39.:40:43.

incompetent on this issue. It is basic stuff. When I was dealing

:40:43.:40:46.

with a criminal cases as a trade union official, the first thing you

:40:46.:40:49.

find out is when the deadline is for an application. You just need

:40:49.:40:56.

to know that. At one moment you are telling us to hurry up, and at the

:40:56.:41:03.

next that we should take our time. But shouldn't it have been wiser to

:41:03.:41:08.

wait a day rather than getting their negative headlines? The Home

:41:08.:41:11.

Secretary thought that she had got that clarification, so that is for

:41:11.:41:17.

her to discuss a internally. But I do think that we have made real

:41:17.:41:21.

progress on this. I am convinced that he will be out of this country

:41:21.:41:25.

in the months ahead, but we do have to follow due process, make sure it

:41:25.:41:29.

is done properly. We do not want this coming back on us, where he is

:41:29.:41:35.

the gets sent back or we have to pay compensation. -- either he gets

:41:35.:41:42.

sent back. Let's do it properly. have you got your fingers crossed

:41:42.:41:46.

that there will be positive news on growth? I always have my fingers

:41:46.:41:50.

crossed to get positive news on growth. But do you think there will

:41:50.:41:57.

be? We have done so much. There are lots of jobs out there. There is

:41:57.:42:00.

lots of opportunity for young people to go and find jobs. There

:42:00.:42:04.

is always more that we can be doing, but we are looking to get that

:42:04.:42:08.

Investment to encourage growth and trade elsewhere. Danny Alexander

:42:08.:42:11.

has been making a speech to the Treasury to say that he expects

:42:12.:42:16.

departments to keep in reserve another 5%. Do you support the fact

:42:16.:42:19.

that those departments just have to make more cuts to do that? We have

:42:19.:42:24.

to look at how departments spend money. If you take it down to a

:42:24.:42:28.

local level... But these are cuts. He is asking people to keep money

:42:28.:42:33.

in reserve. Not spend. Why are, yes, but if you look at what happens at

:42:33.:42:41.

a local level, by March, you will find every set of roadworks because

:42:41.:42:44.

everybody is trying to spend money at the end of their budget. It

:42:44.:42:48.

would be better to take a sensible view about how people spend their

:42:48.:42:51.

budgets and allocate them, and if it can be held for emergencies...

:42:51.:42:59.

Can it? Yes, it can. You think that governments are sitting on money

:42:59.:43:03.

despite the past seven years? Department of Health has just saved

:43:03.:43:11.

goodness knows how many. -- how much. Yes, by cutting nurses.

:43:11.:43:17.

they found that money. What did you say? We have invested more in

:43:17.:43:20.

health service, so that is ridiculous. I came from the

:43:20.:43:25.

business world, and every year we look at cutting and reducing...

:43:25.:43:29.

Even when there has been 20% cuts? There is always room for

:43:29.:43:32.

improvement. Look at what is happening to the economy as a

:43:32.:43:36.

result of the cuts that you have made. Let us finish. The economy

:43:36.:43:41.

has been flat lining. We left you an economy growing at 2.1% and this

:43:41.:43:47.

year the best it will achieve is less than 1%. Not 0.7% is predicted.

:43:47.:43:52.

There are more jobs in the private sector. We have 1 million young

:43:52.:43:56.

people unemployed, the highest rate since 1995. Corporation tax is good.

:43:56.:44:01.

There has been a 0.3% contraction in the last figures, so one could

:44:01.:44:06.

say those cuts have not led to growth. We have to look at these

:44:06.:44:10.

cuts and see where we can look at the general economic climate and

:44:10.:44:14.

see where we can carry on making progress. We are in difficult

:44:14.:44:18.

economic times. That was the mess that we were left. That was what we

:44:18.:44:22.

were left by the last Labour Government. They destroyed this

:44:22.:44:30.

country. A growing employment -- economy, and more employment, that

:44:30.:44:36.

is what we left you. We need to look at what we can adjust and

:44:36.:44:40.

change as times go on. So there should be adjustments and changes?

:44:40.:44:44.

Not an overall plan. And to support the announcement that there would

:44:44.:44:49.

have to be �10 billion of further welfare cuts? Liberal Democrats are

:44:49.:44:54.

behind that? The welfare cuts are in essence sensible. There are

:44:54.:44:58.

things that I do not agree with myself, but we have to look at the

:44:58.:45:02.

special cases, so that the people that are most hard-hit our help.

:45:02.:45:06.

And then we can make changes. Nothing is so cut and dried that we

:45:06.:45:11.

cannot reflect on the difficulties that people have.

:45:11.:45:14.

The Government has outlined its plans to cut down on dangerous dogs

:45:14.:45:17.

in England. The last attempt to legislate on this issue was in

:45:17.:45:21.

1990s when specific breeds were banned, and it is widely believed

:45:21.:45:26.

to have produced an ineffective law. Will what is announced today be any

:45:26.:45:36.
:45:36.:45:38.

I am joined by David Bowles of the RSPCA. The RSPCA believes this is a

:45:38.:45:42.

wasted opportunity. It is 21 years since the Dangerous Dogs Act has

:45:42.:45:46.

come into effect, which everybody acknowledges did not decrease dog

:45:46.:45:51.

bites or the number of illegal dogs on the street. It is a huge problem.

:45:51.:45:54.

Two years since the consultation finished, the Government have come

:45:54.:45:57.

up with another consultation which will last for another two years.

:45:57.:46:03.

The RSPCA believes this fails dog- owners and people who have

:46:03.:46:07.

irresponsibly kept dog and it fails the public who will get bitten by

:46:07.:46:13.

dogs. So you don't welcome it, obviously. But are you talking

:46:13.:46:18.

specifically about whether to microchip all dogs? There is also a

:46:18.:46:22.

case of closing the loophole, which would mean you would be prosecuted

:46:22.:46:27.

if you... Attack someone on public land. Do you support that changed -

:46:27.:46:36.

- if your dog attacks someone on public land. Yes, expanding the law

:46:36.:46:42.

to include private property is good. But the RSPCA was calling for

:46:42.:46:46.

action to prevent dog bites from happening. All the property thing

:46:46.:46:53.

will do well be to react after one of the RSPCA inspectors has been

:46:53.:46:58.

bitten. But it will not prevent these things happening in the first

:46:58.:47:06.

place. The RSPCA wanted a holistic approach to this, to have dog

:47:06.:47:09.

licensing or at least a centralised system where we could link the

:47:09.:47:14.

owner with its dog, and if they were not behaving properly, because

:47:14.:47:18.

this is more about owners than dogs, to crack down on them. At the

:47:18.:47:22.

moment, we have the same that we have had before. The RSPCA believes

:47:23.:47:28.

that we have had six deaths in the last five years. We have not had

:47:28.:47:32.

the death of a child, fortunately, for some time. I'm afraid that if

:47:32.:47:35.

the government are trying to reverse the process of an increase

:47:35.:47:40.

in dog bites and an increase in illegal dogs, this will not do it.

:47:40.:47:46.

Do you think the problem will get worse? The number of attacks by

:47:46.:47:50.

dangerous Dogs has increased. have a 3% increase of dog bites

:47:50.:47:59.

each year. The number of illegal dogs taken off the streets

:47:59.:48:02.

increased to fold over a 12 year period. The RSPCA believes there is

:48:02.:48:07.

little to prevent this the Kerrin in the future. This will fail

:48:07.:48:11.

responsible dog owners, and it will also fail the general public. In

:48:11.:48:14.

the future, we could see more incidents of children and adults

:48:14.:48:20.

been bitten by dogs and also dogs not been taken off the street and

:48:20.:48:25.

people not behaving responsibly. A resounding no to those proposals,

:48:25.:48:28.

because it will fail the general public and fail law-abiding dog

:48:28.:48:34.

owners. Sounds like a waste of time? It is worth discussing,

:48:34.:48:39.

because this is about protecting the public. The majority of blood

:48:39.:48:42.

donors are very responsible, so we are talking about a minority.

:48:42.:48:46.

if you look at the figures, the number of people attacked by

:48:46.:48:53.

dangerous dogs has doubled in the last 13 years. It was one of the

:48:53.:48:56.

first issues that a constituent of came to me about when I became an

:48:56.:49:03.

MP. Something does need to be done. These proposals, like the

:49:03.:49:08.

microchipping, which can be done at a low-cost, are worth looking at.

:49:08.:49:14.

But we have heard that it will not work. 54% have already had their...

:49:14.:49:18.

Microchipped. Those are just the responsible ones. So what do you do

:49:18.:49:26.

about those owners? It is a good proposal in that you microchip

:49:26.:49:34.

every puppy. But what about the... That are dangerous now? It is like

:49:34.:49:40.

having something in Tesco that goes bleep. But not everyone is

:49:40.:49:46.

responsible. It will be years before you can say that every dog

:49:46.:49:52.

will have been microchipped. Who is going to object in this

:49:52.:49:57.

consultation to having microchipping? People who are not

:49:57.:50:01.

responsible dog owners. But the point is that it will not work.

:50:01.:50:07.

think it will. We do not need to consult about it again. They waited

:50:07.:50:11.

two years to respond to the consultation. We should just round

:50:11.:50:16.

that one through. Do you think microchipping is a good idea?

:50:16.:50:19.

think it is a good idea, and they are right to phase it in with

:50:19.:50:23.

puppies, but they should have given more power to police and councils

:50:23.:50:29.

to tackle dangerous dogs. That is one of the proposals, to give the

:50:29.:50:32.

police more power to seize animals while they decide whether they

:50:32.:50:39.

should be destroyed. The RSPCA could have done things to tackle

:50:39.:50:42.

dangerous owners at the moment who do not take proper measures to

:50:42.:50:46.

control their dogs. What can you do firstly about the dog owners who

:50:46.:50:50.

will not have their dog microchipped and will not get a

:50:50.:50:59.

licence? We put forward specific proposals around dealing with dogs,

:50:59.:51:05.

which was supported by the RSPCA. The Government should have listened.

:51:05.:51:09.

You said it was one of the things that make the first things a

:51:09.:51:12.

constituent said to you. Do you think more money should have been

:51:12.:51:17.

spent on this to give police and community is the power to clamp

:51:17.:51:24.

down on dangerous or banned breeds? It is not just about money. But in

:51:24.:51:27.

local communities, there is certainly more that could be done

:51:27.:51:32.

to help people work together to identify the irresponsible owners

:51:32.:51:38.

and get prosecutions happening. Wright, David Cameron told us today

:51:38.:51:43.

that he is at the kitchen table at 5:45am every morning going through

:51:43.:51:46.

his paperwork. Life at the top is clearly a demanding and stressful

:51:46.:51:52.

business, but what about ordinary MPs? Like you three? And politics

:51:52.:51:55.

get too stressful? And is there a danger that too much stress caused

:51:55.:51:59.

them to fail to take decisions probably? Joining me now from

:51:59.:52:04.

Salford is Dr Ashley Weinberg. What evidence do you have that being an

:52:04.:52:09.

ordinary MP is stressful? Over the last 20 years, I'm afraid it has

:52:09.:52:15.

been one of my sad hobbies to research into this topic. I am

:52:15.:52:19.

grateful to hundreds of MPs both here and abroad who have filled in

:52:19.:52:23.

questionnaires asking about their experiences of their working lives

:52:23.:52:31.

as politicians, but also symptoms of psychological strain. And has

:52:31.:52:35.

there been anything out of the ordinary? Being an MP is just one

:52:35.:52:38.

of many stressful jobs. Is it something the MPs should be worried

:52:38.:52:43.

about all that we should be surprised about? There are two

:52:43.:52:47.

things to consider. As you say, everyone who is trying to work

:52:47.:52:52.

probably does a job that contains some level of stress. When it comes

:52:52.:52:55.

to politicians and certain other jobs, where decisions can carry

:52:56.:52:59.

very high stakes, we should be vigilant about how well they are

:52:59.:53:02.

functioning and whether they need extra support to carry out their

:53:02.:53:08.

duties. What should they have? Should they be going to see a

:53:08.:53:16.

counsellor regular -- regularly? Cronje, the UK parliament is very

:53:16.:53:21.

well provided for. It does have an occupational health service that

:53:21.:53:25.

MPs can access. People dared to an excellent job of screening as many

:53:25.:53:30.

MPs as they can in a given year, but the uptake is about 40% of MPs

:53:30.:53:33.

to go for a regular mental and physical health check. If all MPs

:53:34.:53:38.

did that, they could at least be certain that things are going well

:53:38.:53:41.

for them. And if there are psychological or physical needs

:53:41.:53:49.

they have, they could be addressed. What are the classic signs? Of

:53:49.:53:53.

those who answered your survey, what are the signs of stress?

:53:53.:53:57.

for all of us, problems with sleeping, increased irritability, a

:53:57.:54:02.

tendency to worry about things and losing confidence in yourself as a

:54:02.:54:06.

person or your ability to make decisions. Do you think the job

:54:06.:54:11.

should have a health warning on it? Some of my research seems to show

:54:11.:54:15.

that for new MPs, there is an unexpected hit from adjusting to

:54:15.:54:21.

the job in the first year, as there would be in many jobs. But there

:54:21.:54:24.

are particular strains on family life that being awake in Parliament

:54:24.:54:29.

can bring. We could do more to alert you MPs and prospective

:54:29.:54:34.

candidates to what they might be coming into.

:54:34.:54:40.

Let me come to you. Not that I want to belittle this, but do you

:54:40.:54:45.

recognise any of those signs in terms of how stressful your job is?

:54:45.:54:50.

Most of us probably find our job stressful. I find being a parent

:54:50.:54:54.

stressful at times and being away from home can be stressful. But in

:54:54.:54:59.

many ways, we are fortunate. We are incredibly well paid at over

:54:59.:55:05.

�65,000. We have a fairly good job security. Compared with lots of my

:55:05.:55:09.

constituents who are struggling in unemployment to make ends meet, our

:55:09.:55:13.

stresses are not bad. Everybody needs access to support, whatever

:55:13.:55:19.

job they do. A considerate employer would provide that. Do you think

:55:19.:55:23.

MPs should be regularly screened for psychological strain, bearing

:55:23.:55:28.

in mind that big decisions are being made? I am not sure about

:55:28.:55:36.

screening. I did not know about the occupational health service. I did

:55:36.:55:42.

know you could go to someone. staff probably need that more! But

:55:42.:55:47.

we are similar to every small business. We are small businesses

:55:47.:55:50.

in ourselves. We are meant to look after ourselves to a certain degree.

:55:50.:55:55.

If I felt stressed, would have no hesitation in talking to somebody

:55:55.:56:00.

about it. I don't, but then I am older. And a woman. Is it easier

:56:00.:56:05.

for you as women, if you were having problems, to speak to

:56:05.:56:07.

someone in the House of Commons, than for some of your male

:56:07.:56:12.

colleagues? Not necessarily. Nowadays, lots of people go for

:56:12.:56:16.

counselling and support. It does not matter about gender. But the

:56:16.:56:20.

public expectation of an MP's role has increased and the workload has

:56:21.:56:26.

increased. With e-mail and all the different social media that are out

:56:26.:56:32.

there, there is a lot of work. Our staff need a lot of support as well,

:56:32.:56:36.

because they do a lot of work and it is stressful for them as well.

:56:36.:56:40.

What about closing the bars in the House of Commons? George Galloway

:56:40.:56:44.

said that might help, if MPs did not drink. I am not saying that you

:56:44.:56:51.

do, but do you think it is a bad combination? I think it is

:56:51.:56:55.

important that people have mechanisms for coping with stress.

:56:55.:56:59.

Alcohol is probably not unadvisable one. People do occasionally need to

:56:59.:57:03.

get away from politics and do things that help you de-stress. I

:57:03.:57:11.

enjoy going for a run or hanging out with my family. Are you

:57:11.:57:14.

surprised that research shows that the new MPs particularly, the

:57:14.:57:19.

elevated levels of psychological strain are showing even a year on?

:57:19.:57:23.

Maybe it is particularly in that first year. Is it difficult to

:57:23.:57:28.

adapt? Anybody starting a new job would find it stressful,

:57:28.:57:31.

particularly when it involves a lot of travelling and being away from

:57:31.:57:39.

home. That is not surprising. But it is important that everybody has

:57:39.:57:42.

access to mental health services, and that it is not stigmatised.

:57:42.:57:45.

it is. Everybody talks about a macho culture, and Eric Joyce

:57:45.:57:50.

admitted that he was stressed. He had a stressful personal life that

:57:50.:57:56.

had led to it. We'll deal with things in different ways. It is

:57:56.:58:01.

about recognising your limitations and being upfront about those. As a

:58:01.:58:05.

liberal, I would talk to my whips. But is probably not the same with

:58:05.:58:11.

every party. My whips are really nice. We are strange. But I would

:58:11.:58:20.

have no hesitation in speaking to them. They are very open. But I

:58:20.:58:25.

know this is just extraordinary. But MPs are not necessarily in

:58:25.:58:31.

control of your own working hours. That is something you need to adapt

:58:31.:58:37.

to. I would change working hours to make them more professional. I

:58:37.:58:41.

worked long hours in business, but I was more in control of the hours

:58:41.:58:44.

are worked. I would change them so that people could make choices. It

:58:44.:58:51.

Jo Coburn is presenting today. Joining her for the first half of the programme is Lord Strathclyde, Leader of the House of Lords. They'll be talking about Lords Reform and whether being posh turns voters off.

In the second half of the show we'll be joined by a panel of MPs: Conservative Mary Macleod, Labour's Lilian Greenwood, and Tessa Munt of the Liberal Democrats. We'll talk to them about new proposals on dangerous dogs and the danger of MPs being too stressed.


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