30/04/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, a welcome. Gloom descends over the eurozone as


Spain slips back into recession. David Cameron says we are only


halfway through a crisis which is tracking down the world economy.


Location, location, location, well appointed apartment block in a


prime position adjacent to the Olympic village, perfect for an


anti-aircraft battery. They are in coalition now, but how


will the Liberal Democrats look different from the Tories at the


next general election? We debate live.


Commons authorities consider giving MPs iPads amid claims they will cut


down on printing costs and increase efficiency. Yes!


All of that in the next hour, and with this, the Liberal Democrat


deputy leader Simon Hughes. First, the Prime Minister is under renewed


pressure this afternoon to answer questions about his embattled


culture secretary Jeremy Hunt. The Labour Party are calling for a


statement from David Cameron, who admitted he might not be in the


clear. He insisted that any further questions should wait until he


appears before the Leveson Inquiry, which will be mid-May at the


earliest. Do we have any news about the statement? We will have to wait


about another half an hour or so before the Speaker makes up his


mind on this. Clearly, behind the scenes, sources will say, the


minister made a statement last week, the Prime Minister answered


questions at PMQs, but against that, the Labour Party say there is a


huge amount of interest, there are still questions to be asked about


why the Prime Minister has not referred the matter to his adviser


on potential breaches of the ministerial code. Even if the Prime


Minister is called here back before MPs to answer more questions about


this, it seems pretty clear that for now at least he will be


sticking to what he has been telling us, that he does not


believe at the moment there is evidence that Jeremy Hunt has


broken the Ministerial Code. He wants to give him time to give his


evidence under oath before the Leveson Inquiry, and even -- if


something emerges at that stage, he will either refer the matter to his


adviser to see if the Ministerial Code has been broken, or he could


take action himself. That is the line he will stick to, but if he is


called back before MPs, that will be another uncomfortable session


for the Prime Minister. Do you think David Cameron should


give a statement to Parliament? is the speaker's call, I will not


second-guess that. Do you think he needs to, politically? I do not,


because he gave a full interview yesterday. Everybody has reported


that. The position is clear, there is the Leveson Inquiry and the code


of conduct, that has been accepted by the Prime Minister, and we know


they will be resolved next month, because he is likely to be before


the Leveson Inquiry next month, and the Prime Minister has made a


commitment he accepts there might be a further issue, and it will be


dealt with. He has to refer something if there is a breach of


the Ministerial Code. You were the first Liberal Democrats to break


ranks and say quite clearly that this issue should be referred to


Sir Alex Allan, and we do not know if that is going to happen. Is the


Prime Minister being slow? understand the sequence he argues


for. White issue is the substance, I am clear what the substance is.


The Rupert Murdoch empire, for years, have been chasing after all


been chased by Labour and the Tories. We have argued that


relationship was unhealthy, Vince Cable has had a tough opposition,


the question is, has the government continued to be as tough in being


independent and resisting the blandishments when Jeremy Hunt took


over as it was when Vince Cable was there? We will get the answers next


month. You were the person who raised the issue, should he be


referring to Jeremy Hunt now? Prime Minister has accepted there


might be an issue. If there is, the code is clear that the Prime


Minister has a duty to refer, and it seems to be that the Ministerial


Code has to be followed. On the face of it, it looks surprising if


it will not be, but I am prepared to let Jeremy Hunt give his


evidence and then I assume it will have to be referred before the


ministerial code. The Prime Minister said he will listen to


what Jeremy Hunt says. Under the rules, it is his responsibility,


but the code is clear that in certain circumstances, the Prime


Minister has to use the adviser to make sure the code is followed.


Ever since -- evidence has emerged that George Osborne was lobbied by


James Murdoch. Would you like to see George Osborne before the


Leveson Inquiry? I have appeared before Lord Justice Leveson, he is


robust and no nonsense. He is clear as to who needs to appear before


him. I have no doubt that he will say if he thinks that other


ministers need to appear, and I have no doubt they will appear.


think George Osborne should and will appear? That is Lord Justice


Leveson's call. If we are talking about things that have emerged from


e-mail correspondence between the Murdoch empire and ministers or


their advisers, if we expect the Jeremy Hunt answers questions, do


we expect George Osborne? Lord Justice Leveson is looking at the


relationship between that politicians and the media. We have


heard from Mr Murdoch, he is coming to the political phase next month,


and one of those people who will potentially give evidence, he has


made it clear he will not be bullied by a government ministers,


he will want to go to the bottom of the question, what were the links


between Murdoch and other media and ministers? If he thinks the


Chancellor or the prime minister or others have something to tell the


inquiry, he will have them in front of him. Yesterday, Harriet Harman


suggested that Rupert Murdoch should be stripped of his


broadcasting licence in the UK. Do you agree? No. I was the first


person to raise this issue with Ofcom. I argued that, given there


is now a fit and proper person Test party invite us, against the Labour


government's wishes... Ofcom had assured me and have now said


publicly they are actively pursuing an ongoing consideration both about


individuals and about the company, and they will come to a decision as


soon as possible. We have to leave them to do that independently. It


was wrong for the Labour Party to say that Jeremy Hunt should resign,


and it is wrong for them to say that they should be stripped of


their licence now, without letting Ofcom... The have had serious


doubts. Yes, but the regulator is there to adjudicate. Has that


changed your mind? Since I went to Ofcom and said, can you look at


their suitability, of course, James Murdoch has resigned his post.


Things have changed. Ofcom is there to regulate, they ought to win the


case, they say they are being active, they will adjudicate.


We will stay on the subject of Jeremy Hunt for the quiz. Yesterday,


Michael Gove Cup for the revealed that Jeremy Hunt has an interesting


item in his house, so what is it? Is it a Sky dish, a sign that Take


That poster, a sprung dancefloor or a copy of Vince Cable's book? At


the end of the show, Simon will give us the correct answer. No


prizes, it is just for fun. For something more serious, is the


economic crisis in Europe about to enter another even more painful


phase? Last week, in the first three months of the year, Britain


slipped from weak economic growth back into recession. The infamous


double-dip. This morning, Spain has also fallen into technical


recession, joining other eurozone countries in the double-dip,


including Belgium, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands. The backlash


against authority continues with protests a familiar sight on


European streets from Madrid to Athens. In France, Francois


Hollande is poised to take power, Bank -- vowing to end deficit


cutting programmes and reopening the austerity pact brokered by


Germany. Nicolas Sarkozy has previously accused David Cameron of


interfering in the eurozone. This weekend, the Prime Minister risked


doing so again by blaming Europe for the UK's economic problems.


What is happening it is a massive tension between the single currency


that countries are finding difficult to adapt to. It is going


to be a very long and painful process in the eurozone as their


workout, do they want the single currency with a single policy and


all the things that go with it, or are they going to have something


quite different? They have to Do you think the eurozone is facing


a renewed threat of collapse? we saw it this month, it can get


worse. It depends on the reactions of the ECB and of politicians in


Europe. What to do me? We heard David Cameron defend gloomy


predictions and St that the eurozone is facing a renewed threat


of collapse. What does that do to market speculation? It is the


politicians within the eurozone that can have the bigger impact,


because they are going to be called upon to solve the crisis. In the


first quarter of this year, the ECB have calmed down the tensions by


throwing it liquidity into the markets, but that does not solve


the problem. It bought a politicians' time. There is an


irony, every time we get a pinnacle in the tensions of the crisis, and


this has been going on for years, it is then that politicians have


the desire to come out with something really firm in terms of


structural reform. It is then they can go back to their electorate and


say, we have to do something. If you like, the ECB has potentially


prolonged the crisis. What is the reaction in Germany to this idea of


pressure for either pumping up and backing that the ECB or any risky


bail-out fund? What is the German government feeling? They are


waiting for Sunday. Election day. The French have to decide their


President. The Greeks have to decide their government. It is


another fortnight until we have elections in our biggest state,


North Rhine-Westphalia. Until then, nothing will happen. What about the


prospect if the polls are to be believed that Francois Hollande


becomes the next president? How will Angela Merkel react? There


will be much gnashing of teeth in Berlin and they will then get on


with it. As every German Chancellor and every French President has done


for the last 40 years. It will not make any difference to the crisis


in substance? She was ill-advised to support Nicolas Sarkozy in the


way she did. She will have to make up to Francois on bond. She will


give some way on some measures or some personality decisions. Apart


from that, it will be business as usual. What is the reaction to the


Prime Minister's comments, possibly years of recession or minimal


growth, and blaming the eurozone for Britain's economic woes? Who is


David Cameron? Is that still the feeling? In terms of eurozone


politics, in terms of overcoming the financial crisis, who is David


Cameron? Who is David Cameron, Simon Hughes? Somebody who is


outside the inner circle. The wrong decision? We obviously were unhappy


about that, we have always argued for maximum participation. I


absolutely agree... We should not write-off Nicolas Sarkozy, my


friends I was speaking to today, they say, do not assume it is all


over. I am not a supporter of either, there is not a strong


Liberal candidate. Secondly, absolutely, we have got to see what


happens in the Greek election, we have got to replace the


bureaucratic government with a political government. This is going


to take a long time to resolve. Our job was always to make sure that we


helped as far as possible a smooth landing for the most difficult


economic turbulence we have had in my lifetime. Has David Cameron done


that? We had the blip in December, when we had a different view as to


whether we should have participated, but life has moved on, and there is


participation. We have to continue working with our colleagues,


because the eurozone future is important to Britain's future, our


biggest trade is with Europe, so if It's being said it faces a renewed


threat of collapse and it is as a result of turmoil in the eurozone


that Britain is facing the double- dip recession. The eurozone has not


helped us at all, but it's very important that we remain as strong


as possible as an economy. What will happen after the elections


that we have this week, across Great Britain, is that we will need


to review whether we are doing everything we can to move on with


growth. Clearly, it's been difficult. There's a new session of


Parliament. I want us to pull every single lever for growth and if


there are more to pull, we need to pull. What do you say to this


insistence that we can do something to help the eurozone and help


growth, is that just empty words? think the whole word is becoming


far more important to all of the people, especially in the UK. Many


economists don't believe that number that came out, but


regardless of that, I think for all politicians growth is going to be


the real watchword. Are the programmes the wrong way to go, in


the countries which are under huge pressure to make severe cuts?


politicians are realising that they've got to be efficient by pro-


growth policies. If you are from the point of view of Germany, that


certainly you need structural reform. Unfortunately, that can


take years to pull through. Look at Thatcher's labour market reforms.


In the meantime, we need to stop the spiral, such as we are seeing


in Spain, where banks are under pressure from 25% unemployment and


drop in property prices and that meaning that banks haven't got the


money necessarily to lend. The slowing down of growth too, so you


need some pro-growth policies to stop this spiral. What is the


structural reform you are advocating? Pension reform, labour


market reform and budgetary reform. This has been going on for some


time. If you take the eurozone in general, many countries were


supposed to have done that prior to 1999. Generally speaking, it's when


that's done that invest towards start to buy the bonds from those


countries. The social Democrat Government failed because they did


all those structural reforms. The employment rate in Germany is


higher than in most countries in Europe. The pension system is still


in need of reform, because we get older all the time, but they did


reform it. I'm not entirely sure whether that's correct. Do they


take the idea that it all comes down to what Germany does?


course not. Look at the Netherlands. That is a net contributor. The


Government has collapsed. France is important whatever else. America


may be the more important partner, but France is extremely important,


and so is Italy and Spain. absolutely clear that given the


Government's form when there was a disruption in Greece at the time,


we were right to make sure we protected ourselves against


reputational loss, which meant ratings would go down and weighed


start to see either further inflation or whatever. Now


everybody is say we must pull the growth levers, but there are issues


for France. They have retirement age much earlier than we do and


they won't be able to afford that. We've taken the difficult decisions.


But were the Liberal Democrats a block on the reform here? That's


the argument being put against them, saying they tried to slow it down.


We have clearly been willing to say that the pension age must rise, but


look at a whole restructuring of the system so people get a much


more secure pension by 2015 at the end of the exercise. That is


sensible, because it accepts the reality of longer life, but


realises you have a different way. Thank you all very much. It emerged


yesterday that the MoD is proposing to station surface-to-air missile


on top of a block of residential flats in East London in the


Olympics. Residents in Bow Quarter have received leaflets. It says the


missiles will only be fired as a last resort. Over now to Ross


Hawkins, who is on College Green for us. Noisy neighbours, somewhere


safe to put your bins, you don't normally have to worry about high-


velocity missiles being put on your roof, but that is a real concern


for some. Over now to two MPs. It's your constituents, who we are


talking about here. They and you must accept that we do need to


defend the stadium and that can be difficult and people are just going


to have to make allowances. Yes. People are excited and they are


working closely with the authorities to make sure that there


is proper security and that's what we are all concerned about. But,


what is really worrying about this situation is that it's been done


within a -- dealt with in a cack- handed way. People have received


leaflets and they've seen army officers going through the flats


without proper explanation and that's quite alarming and there are


questions that people are asking. The first thing some of the


constituents knew was they got the leaflets from the pizza company and


from the local Tay-away and there was one saying, "By the way there


may be a surface-to-air missile on your roof."? That's right. It's


unacceptable. Everybody would expect a bit more consultation and


explanation of what this entails, what this would mean and what would


be the worst-case scenario in a heavily-built area. These missiles


are being put above residential properties in a heavily built-up


area and that's unprecedented. Patrick Mercer, a quarter of a


century in the army, so you must know that when the military come so


close to civil society they have to think about what they're doing and


handle themselves with tact. It doesn't sound like they're done


that, does it? It's very difficult. I think she made some very good


points and you are right, this has to be with the content of the


people. The more the people agree the more they understand the better


the result will be, however, ultimately, the defence is needed.


The experts, the officers, who will have carried out the reconnaissance,


will have decided this is the best area and the weapons are designed,


if necessary, to be used in built- up areas, not necessarily with


people present. I'm reassured by the fact it's been carefully


thought through and that we have got this particular weapons system


in place. You say designed to be used in such areas, but we are


talking potentially about the British military shooting down an


aircraft, but whether it falls down in bits because it's been blown up,


it is going to do damage in the area and endanger lives. That is


the situation we have on a day-to- day basis anyway. The difference is


if this happens now, as we are speaking, that two very high --


high-quality aircraft will be used. Here we are talking on TV about


national security. It's no accident this is so high profile? This is a


PR campaign for the bad guys? don't think so at all. The fact we


are all standing here, including the MP and her constituents, what


we are saying to the bad guys, "If you dare and try, you know what


will hit you." It's a good thing. Reassuring? No. Patrick needs to


recognise if you want to give out signals, it's very important to get


the people to understand exactly what this involves and they've been


left in the dark and that's not reassuring. Thank you both very


much. We all know there's going to be lots of inconvenience and


struggle with special lanes. Some people, it seems, will have a


particular sort of anxiety, but it doesn't look like taif got much of


a choice. -- they've got much of a choice. We'll look to the general


election in 2015. If the coalition makes it that far, of course. The


Liberal Democrats are trying to implement the differentiation


strategy, but just how possible is that when your tied up in


Government? How much can you promise when your only realistic


chance is in coalition? We have been trying to find out what Simon


Hughes' next manifesto might look look. It's the list of promises a


party makes to win votes, but these manifestos were written before the


age of coalition Government. Next time around, the Liberal Democrats


could take a very different approach, according to the peer who


led two of the party's election campaigns. Aim sure what we'll do


will be, we'll listen one, two, three, five-five numbers of issues


which are crucial for us and we'll say that the more Liberal Democrat


MPs you elect, if you like those policies, the more of those


policies are likely to be implemented by the next Government,


whether it's a Liberal Democrat Government or a Labour Government


or Tory Government or coalition. The coalition agreement that these


men helped hammer out took bits from the two manifesto $, but both


sides got their red-line issues in. In the future, should a party's


manifesto outline the areas where they might compromise if they end


up around the table in here again? The institute for Government, which


has carried out into research on how it was formed, warned that


could be a bad move for the Liberal Democrats. I don't think it would


be sensible for parties to put in their manifesto, "These are the


things we really want to do. We'll definitely stick to these, but


these are the others we'll basically drop if we have to." It


would look rather odd and it would weaken their bargaining position in


any negotiations too. Beware the manifesto pledge. It was a mistake


for us to fight the last election on the basis that the candidates


are signing a pledge that there would be no increase in tuition


fees and I think that's a lesson I'm sure that all three political


parties will learn, that you have to couch it rather than saying,


"Over my dead body." That was something that we are still


recovering from. The dawn of the TV leaders' debate is another reason


to leave contentious bits out of the manifesto altogether, according


to one backbencher. Nick Clegg boosted enormously Liberal Democrat


support through his performance in the hustings on the TV. Then the


media looked through the Liberal Democrat manifesto and found some


deeply unpopular things. I think manifestos will have less in them


in the future and I think they will be more about general direction and


the philosophy and value of parties rather than specific policies.


Although the two main parties might stick to the usual approach.


Tories and Labour Party won't campaign on the assumption there's


going to be a coalition, because they'll campaign to win and


therefore they'll have much more traditional styles to their


manifestos. A list of maybes then, rather than promises. Joining Simon


Hughes now is Conservative MP and coalition fan, Nick Bowles. We


advocated a pact at the next election, do you still support it?


I'm still a fan of the coalition. It's given the country a strong and


stable Government. What about it? have to accept on the pact I'm


really much a lone voice. Siem son will confirm this has not been


warmly -- Simon will confirm this has not been warmly embraced. I


would like to see a majority. don't want to campaign, but you


would rather have a pact in order to have a coalition? I will be


campaigning for a Conservative majority and I am now, but what I


think we need to recognise is that as a party, a the Conservatives, we


have found it hard traditionally in the last few years to build that


majority Government. I think this coalition Government has been a


very good Government at a time of difficulty for the country. Much


better than my minority Government would have been. I don't think that


we should burn our bridges. We'll campaign as independent parties and


have different manifestos and different plans, but I hope we


won't be trashing the Liberal Democrats and they won't trash us,


because we might need to work together again after the next


election in the national interest. That's the difficulty, isn't it? If


you are going to campaign separately, then one would expect


there will be a bit of trashing. If, as you had suggested in Liberal


Democrat seats, the Conservatives would not put up a candidate and


urge supporters to vote Liberal Democrat, then obviously there


wouldn't be the problem for that. Is that something you would still


like to see? I'm a realist. I'm a junior MP. Nobody else in my party,


nor in the Liberal Democrats, thought this was good. Let's deal


with reality, rather than hopes. That would help the Liberal


Democrats. If there wasn't a Conservative up against them in the


seats, under boundary changes, or marginals, they would increase the


number in Parliament? I promise you that the Liberal Democrats


conference will not allow us to not fight every single seat in the


election. Nick put up an interesting idea. I agree with him


that we've had the Government we needed in this difficult time. The


only majority that could have been formed was a Conservative and


Liberal Democrat majority. There wasn't a majority with Labour. We


did the right thing in the national interest. I'm clear it will last


for five years, because we have to show that coalitions can work, if


that's what the people ask us to do. At the next election wail draw up


the manifesto. You saw the example and I think Nick is right in one


respect, we will be much more careful that we are not pretending


that only majority governments are the outcome and Tim made that point.


Secondly, it will therefore be more helpful not to have too many gos at


what others have done or what they are saying, because we may have to


How can you differentiate? We will all due that they should not be


money spent on a like-for-like replacement of Trident. The Tories


will argue for a like-for-like replacement, we would save a lot of


money by doing that, which we would spend on other things. We want tax


policies that help the people at the bottom end, we oppose giving


tax concessions to people at the top, because we want the gap


between rich and poor closed. We want more regulation of the banks,


the Tories want less regulation. What about more cuts after the next


general election? Than it Alexander admitted it will be in the next


Lidl Democrat manifesto -- Danny Alexander. The economy will not be


sorted in five years. What he said it was not about death and it cuts,


he asked all departments to think about where they would find savings


if they needed to move budgets around. When asked about going to


the election, promising further cuts, he said, I am afraid so.


is him speaking in a coalition government on behalf of the


government having corresponded with colics. We will form our own view


in 2015. That sounds like Simon Hughes is trying to say they would


not necessarily go into the next election promising further cuts.


Differentiation would mean more attacks on Conservatives. How much


does that worry you? Not at all. We are separate parties. Two years in,


Conservatives are now frustrated about some of the things we would


have liked to have done as a majority government that we have


not been able to do, and we will want to assert them more clearly


and more firmly in our manifesto. Renegotiation and were -- over our


membership of the EU. The introduction of the British and


have rights to replace the European Convention of Human Rights, so we


can get rid of a bigger target without waiting eight years for the


European Court to make up its mind. We feel strongly, and they will be


underlined in our manifesto, in the way they were not the last election,


because we did not note there would be such contentious issues.


would see that outlined in a Conservative manifesto? You cannot


make it explicit which policies you will throw away, because you might


as well not put an end. But what you can do is spend more time


elaborating your policy positions on things that really matter to you


and less time on things that matter less. Do you agree that the Liberal


Democrats are blocking the recovery? No, which are in


government together. There are some things we would like to do, but we


have got to work through this as a coalition and get some sensible


policies in place. I agree with him, we need to pour every lever on


gross. A day you accept your party brogues and Series promises that


were made in the last manifesto? your party broke a series of


promises? We wanted to drop tuition fees, the Tories wanted tuition


fees. We were stuffed, we could not deliver. It was difficult for us.


They might have been another way of dealing with it. We could have put


in a new graduate contribution system. It would have allowed us to


confirm what we have said, but we have learnt the lesson. You cannot


make a pledge that you cannot deliver. What would you say on


tuition fees in the next election? You have to look at things as they


are. It will be a lot Blanda, because you cannot make promises,


because of the risk of coalition. In Scotland, we were in collision,


we delivered residential care for the elderly free and a better


system of student tuition. There was a Labour Party minority


government in Wales, we made a deal to ensure money for pupils in


schools. In coalition, we have delivered all four of those things


in the manifesto you showed. The other partner in a coalition has to


put its priorities on the table, and we negotiate, but we will


continue to make a more fair, Moorgreen, more international


Britain. We will take them on. look forward to it!


Breaking news. A spokesman for John Bercow says there will be two


urgent questions asked on the floor of the House this afternoon, Ed


Miliband to the Prime Minister, about referring Jeremy Hunt to the


independent adviser on the ministerial code. The other is from


Keith Vaz, about the queues at Heathrow. You are forewarned!


We are in the last few days of a parliamentary session that began


with the Queen's Speech, almost two years ago. The longest in 150 years.


With local elections on Thursday, the politics will continue, so


there is no break for Pippa Crerar and Andrew Pierce. Such hard


working hacks! Can I get your reaction about the urgent question?


The Prime Minister will not be happy, but it is the right end. If


the Prime Minister says he has got nothing to hide, and it has got


nothing to hide, and he should deal with it. It was a nonsense that


Lord leathers and should be the moral arbiter, he is investigating


phone hacking! -- Lord Justice Leveson. Some people ask about what


the point of Alex Allan was. Do you think, in the end, David Cameron


will have that independent inquiry by the independent adviser? They


will continue to be pressure on him. Jeremy Hunt seems to be on


probation. Until he appears before the inquiry, we will continue


having questions from the Labour Party, starting this afternoon,


putting pressure on David Cameron to have more information. It has


not gone away yet, it is likely to get even worse for David Cameron,


we have got Rebekah Brooks releasing texts and e-mails to the


Leveson Inquiry, which she set to the Prime Minister, so there will


be a lot of nervous advisers in Number Ten, waiting to see what


they reveal. Well Jeremy Hunt survive? I think he will, not least


because that does not appear to be any new information that has come


to light since the story broke. The Prime Minister likes him, I was


talking to Tory backbenchers, they like him, there is little pressure


from within the party to get rid of him. He is an effective human


shield for the Prime Minister. Let's look ahead to local elections,


and the mayoral elections. The pulse of the road between Ken


Livingstone and Boris Johnson over the past few weeks, how big a


factor will national politics be? Boris Johnson is doing everything


in his power to present himself as Boris Johnson first, and a


Conservative candidate second. He was deflecting questions left,


right and centre about the impact of the party's national woes. He


says it is irrelevant, nothing to do with what people are concerned


about. That will have some traction, but I think we will begin to see


him brought down slightly. He is massively ahead in all of the


opinion polls so far of his own party, and Ken Livingstone is


behind the Labour Party, so he is doing everything he can to ally


himself with the party and persuade voters that he is the Labour man in


power. David Cameron needs Boris Johnson to win. This reminds me of


1990, Mrs Thatcher was in big trouble, so Ken Baker span before


the local election votes that if they held Wandsworth and


Westminster, that was a decisive victory for her. They won those


boroughs, but the results in the rest of the country were disastrous,


but nevertheless, it was carried off as a great day for her. This is


what they are doing with Boris Johnson, but I would remind viewers,


only six months later, after Thatcher's victory, she was gone.


An ominous tone! The double-dip recession, on the doorsteps, how


much will that play for all of the Party's pin-up prospect? To a


certain extent, Boris Johnson is the candidate most likely to print


London after of recession, both by job-creation measures and also his


relationship with the Treasury, he had a lively relationship with


George Osborne in the past, but he insists he can get more money out


of them for London. It will have an impact, but not as big as some


people might suggest. The National Party leaders will knock-on very


intently, Ed Miliband appears to be sending out signals that if Ken


Livingstone loses, it is a reflection on him and not on the


Labour Party. He said that if the election was on Labour policies,


London would be taken. Labour is expected to do well in the assembly


elections, and to put on seats there. The Conservatives expect to


lose seats. We will have a strange situation, may be doing well as a


party in London, but not able to get their man into power. Ed


Miliband will say, he is not my candidate, but it will have some


fall-out. On the sort of independent nature of David


Cameron's 2010 intake of MPs, the various groups of MPs from wind in


their tuppence to the debate, how were Richard BP buy them? They are


the liveliest, most independent- minded intake I can recall. They


are terrific news for journalists like me, because they give great


headlines. You cannot silence them, because they know they are not


necessarily going to get ministerial jobs, because 20 of


them are backed by the Liberal Democrats. They have decided to go


for it, and they are flexing their muscles, which must be to the


despair of Tory whips. Alongside Simon Hughes, as if by


magic, Jon Ashworth and Pauline Latham had -- Pauline Latham. Do


you belong to any of these independent groups? Not a specific


membership, but I tend to go in and out of meetings if it is something


that is of particular interest for me. Why are you an independent


voice? I am fairly loyal, but there are a few things that will happen


in the future that I think I might have a voice on. Which are those?


We will have to wait and see! are the areas that you or


interested in, going into the meetings? I am concerned about the


House of Lords reform. I am not happy about throwing the baby out


with the bathwater, which is what I think we are going to do. And same-


sex marriage. I do not have anything against gay people, I have


no problem, but I have a problem with any form of marriage ceremony.


How would you describe the feeling amongst you and your colleagues


about Moore's reform? There are a significant number of us that are


concerned. We are looking at what the final proposals will be when it


comes to the House of Commons. do you say to that? You are in for


a big fight, what message do you send to Pauline? I respect of you.


Neither of the issues she mentions are easy. Why have a principled


view on the House of Lords reform, it will have to beat a compromise,


it will have to be mainly elected and some appointed, to get


agreement. They do not want it to happen. But the principle must be,


those asked to obey the laws Chew's who make the laws. Only one other


country in the world has a wholly nominated top house. We are behind


the curve. Once you stop -- once you start paying them, they would


challenge the supremacy of the House of Commons. I understand, I


was on the commission which looks at the relationship, and we might


need to make that even clearer. The reason it is already clear, we are


elected every five years at most, so we have a mandate, but the Lords


will be elected in thirds, so they will never have a recent mandate.


But we need to have that debate. On the other matter, I say this from a


Christian background, they should be a difference between what the


state recognises as a partnership, like in the rest of continental


Europe, and what faith groups recognise. Sacrament of marriage


are very important to the Christian Church and others, but allowing


people as adults to join his civic partnership and call it the same


think is for me something which is an acceptable way in a modern age


of making sure people were given equal recognition. Civil


partnerships, what is the difference? We could have a long


debate. There is a difference in practice, and people feel they are


differentiated in the status they give. With the commission going


over these issues, let's refer back to Jeremy Hunt. He is still in his


post, you will have the urgent question. Ed Miliband failed to


make the killer blow. I do not know about that. The key thing is, David


Cameron has to show some responsibility, he cannot hide


behind Lord leathers and -- Lord Justice Leveson. He appoints his


ministers, and he has responsibility for the ministerial


code, show -- so we should request an inquiry. The longer the prime


minister delays,... The more he looks weak, and people will ask,


The three main parties all face specific concerns on Thursday. In a


bout of expectation management, the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles,


has said the Conservatives could lose 400 to 450 to Labour. Labour


hope their national lead translates into gains of at least 700 seats,


by despite that Ken Livingstone still trails Boris Johnson and the


whrds, who were in the words of -- Liberal Democrats, who were in the


words of one Liberal Democrat, slaughtered last year, will they do


any better? Do you agree that members should hold their noses and


vote for Ken Livingstone? I think people should vote for Ken. He was


wrong in saying that? He was making a point about the way the election


is going, but actually there are other elections going on 3rd May,


on Thursday. It's not just all about lon and you have to remember


the context -- London and you have to remember the context. In 2010 we


had the second-worst general election result. We lost seats from


193. We made good progress and we had some gains. I won my own by-


election last year and this year we are hoping to make progress in the


south. I've been looking out on Thursday evening for Norwich and


Reading and Harlow. Those bellweather places where I suspect


we saw people voting Tory coming back to Labour. Will it be the


amount of progress we want, probably not, but some. We'll


return to Ken Livingstone since you didn't want to talk about him. Is


the reason that Tom Watson said people should hold their noses, so


hardly a wringing endorsement, is because of embarrassment over his


tax affairs, which he's defend and his comments over the Jewish


community and others that have made him not the best candidate Labour


would have chosen? Do you endorse him? Are you saying there should be


such? Of course, they should. He's the Labour. I'm not a Londoner, but


I'll encourage them to vote on Thursday. This is from a Shadow


Cabinet member, "The voters must not think they can wash their hands


of responsibility for their actions if they fail to vote against the


Tories." Is that what you would have put it? What he's saying


directly is that Boris Johnson is a big celebrity, but people who vote


for him have to remember they are vote forg a Tory who supports


cutting -- voting for a Tory who supports cutting taxes. Whatever


that Labour candidate says or does? He's the candidate and he's very


good for the Labour Party. He's setting out a programme to cut


fares and a programme to bring back London-based educational


maintenance allowance. I think that's a great manifesto for London.


If I was a Londoner I would vote for him on Thursday. Do you think


there's a scepticism about the machine politics, if you like, in


Labour, that there's a wider problem? You used to work in Ed


Miliband's office. I did. Selected for a safe by-election seat then


another selected in Feltham and then we had the by-election


selection in Manchester Central, Lucy Powell, also a triumph. Ed


Miliband said, "We are trying to do politics in a different way."


Doesn't this give the impression of stitchups? I can see why you would


make that point. We have a council leader in Scotland and Dan Jarvis,


who has served our country in Barnsley and Debbie Abrahams in


Oldham, so they are not all people who have worked in politics who are


fighting the lections. Sthr how worried -- by-elections.


worried are you about things in Glasgow? We know we have a lot of a


job to do. These are fought on proportional representation. Last


time the same set of elections - You think the SNP will win? If they


put up the same number as last time, we would be having a different


discussion. Paula, do you agree you'll lose 450 seats? I think in


the last four years, in 2008, we had a high. It was in the run-up to


the general election, so obviously we did well. I suspect that we will


lose some seats. I find it very - Will you lose as many as 450?


hope so, but it's possible, because we did have a huge high. We weren't


expecting to win many of those seats four years ago. We did win


them and we are likely to lose quite a lot. Do you think Boris


Johnson's strategy in London to distance and differentiate himself


from the national scene, from pasty tax and charity tax, is the right


way? Boris is running to run London. He's not running to run the country.


The Conservative candidate to run London and he doesn't want to be


seen - I've been a counsellor for 23 years before I came here and it


used to annoy me and say it was a referendum on the Government, but


it isn't. It's about local people. Not what I've done or what Simon


Hughes or anybody else has done. Running London is a pretty big job.


You have to lobby Government for a lot of money in transport. It


doesn't help if - If the referendums go through they'll have


to do the same. It's very difficult to divorce national politics then


from, if you like, local politics in terms of the London mayorality,


so he's got the right strategy to try to push the national scene


aside? I'm not so sure he's doing that, because he's doing a lot of


strategies and increasing the police on the beat and building


more houses. He's getting employment up. He's doing a really


good job for London and I think he needs to continue. If he's doing a


really good job, it will be as a result of what has been happening


nationally? I don't know about that. It will be what Londoners decide


and it's up to them to decide what they're going to do, but I hope


they'll vote for him, because London is a much brighter place for


the fact that he's there. I really hope that in Scotland people vote


for the Scottish issues that are at local levels and in Wales. I think


we run it very well. I hope the people will reward us for that.


wouldn't you want to be in coalition? It's important that at


local elections. In London I'm an MP and I want people to vote for


Brian Paddick. You have a second choice, so you can vote on for


Boris or Ken. I think there's a case for Brian. He's a police


officer. He knows about security. He wants to deliver 360 affordable


homes and more money from the banks. Good policies. Absolutely, people


should vote for the Mayor. They should vote for the assembly,


because it's important. We should vote elsewhere in the country.


There are very good candidates. Liberal Democrat counsellors must


be thinking, "We're going to prosper from the Government's


difficulties, the Conservative Government's difficulties,


particularly over Jeremy Hunt." was in Manchester yesterday. There


are no Conservative counsellors in Manchester. The same I think is


true in Liverpool. But there are many areas where there are, but


there are no Tories present. The battle there is between us and


Labour. I think we'll do much better than last year. We had a


very bad year for obvious reasons. What would be a good result in


footish for any of us to predict. You lost nine out of 19 last year.


I hope we hold current ones. With a majority, that is. I hope we'll


hold the councils that we are running, but I hope that people


like in Manchester or in Headingley in Leeds or in Sheffield, where the


former leader of the council is defending his seat, I hope people


vote for good counsellors who know how to look after their people.


Know what is good for their cities. If they do that we'll all think


that local Government is working. You think you'll still have 3,000


counsellors this time next week? think we'll hold a significant


numbers. We are in Government. Like Pauline. Governments always - when


Labour they got cut off, unfairly sometimes, because people weren't


voting on local issues. Tory counsellors and Lib Dems will lose


sometimes their seats for nothing they've done. They could be the


best in the world, running the best administration. I take the point.


plead to your viewers vote on local issues. I hope they're Liberal


Democrats. Do you regret not running for Mayor of London? I've


done it once and it's very demanding. I don't regret it,


because I'm deputy leader. I think Brian Paddick has run a better


campaign than four years ago. impact on the race hasn't been very


good. We have a fixed system when you have the one, two choice,


because it's not a fully proportional system. I think Brian


will do better. I think he's communicated a message, tough on


will you and order, pay back for crimes and build more housing and


help the young people. I hope people vote. Right. We were going


to do something completely different, I warn you. Now, which


do you prefer, Angry Birds or draw something? We know the PM is an


Angry Birds man and has in fact completed it. He's also a fan of


the tablet computer and has a specially adapted one, so he can do


business on it. Today, Commons authorities are meeting to decide


whether all MPs should be issued with iPads or other tablets. We


thought we would let our MP panel get used to them. You can count


yourselves lucky we found three. We have three here. Angry Birds is old


hat, so if you're an expert on that, I'm sorry. We have loaded up the


latest hit, temp run for you three. -- Templerun, for you three. You


have to make the little man. Siem son Hughes has already lost. You've


-- Simon Hughes has already lost. Yuef gone on. You played this


before? -- yuef you've gone on. Have you played this before? I have.


You don't get another go. What is your score? Zero. 702. What is your


score, Pauline? Nil. Are you sure? I don't know. As always happens -


No, 2030. We'll leave Jon to carry on to see if he can answer any of


the questions. What do you think of the idea they'll save money and


will help MPs in their work? theory they should mean we lose


less papers, but with computers we use as much as we did before, so


I'm not sure. Although I occasionally use it myself, I'm


against people sitting in the House using technology. Have you got one?


I have one. You are allowed to use it instead of paper for speeches.


You are. Do you use it instead of paper? Do you think it would cut


printing costs? Yes. It's a very good thing. I find it useful. I'm


on the international development Select Committee and I have to go


away and I'm out of the country. To have one is better than a laptop.


Much more efficient. You would advocate it? Yes. My score is


20,678. What about that? That might be the top score. It's beaten the


others. How is the Prime Minister completing Angry Birds? Have you


tried it? I've tried it. I can't get past the one where the little


pigs have the funny cowboy hats. How on earth has he completed it?


Where does he find the time? I've got no idea. You'll try to beat him


now. Do you think it would be be good? The proposal is that we'll


cut back on the printing of Hansard and the older papers, so it makes a


sense. We have to do the quiz answer. I can't remember what it


was. What is the interesting item that Michael Gove revealed that


Jeremy Hunt had in his house? Cable's book. What does he have?


It's a sprung dancefloor, because he's apparently a dab hand at the


lambada. He shouldn't be allowed to swerve for this inquiry. Oh, very


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