21/05/2012 Daily Politics


21/05/2012

Jo Coburn discusses the Nato summit, employers' red tape and parallels with the old SDP and present day Lib Dems with Lord Owen. Plus a look at the week ahead with a panel of MPs.


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Transcript


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Is the coalition

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heading for another rocky ride, this time over workers' rights?

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Controversial recommendations on the form of Britain's employment

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laws are set to be published this week. It has been reported that

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David Cameron may back plans to bring in no fault dismissal. Vince

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Cable has allegedly called the idea bonkers.

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Is your head in a spin over tax? Do you know your National Insurance

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rate from capital gains? Proposals for complete reform of the system

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today. Could we ever see Labour and the

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Lib Dems smooching in the rose garden? We will be asking if the

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two parties could ever form a coalition.

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And the press of Westminster often get a bad press. Quentin will be

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delving into their world. Someone once said that the relationship

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between politicians and journalists was that of a lamp-post and a dog.

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But who is the lamp-post? I will refrain from answering that!

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All that in the next hour. With us for a first half is the former

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Labour foreign secretary and now crossbench peer Lord Owen. Welcome

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to the programme. Let's talk about the NATO summit in Chicago. World

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leaders have the meeting there and Afghanistan was top of the agenda,

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of course. -- have been meeting. They are talking about a road that

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for withdrawal. Are you confident or in any way reassured, that when

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the withdrawal comes, 2014 for America and Britain, that

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Afghanistan will be able to run itself? Afghanistan will be able to

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run itself but that is not the way we would like to be able to run it.

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That is the trouble. We have gone in and tried to recreate a new

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Afghanistan on the basis of Western attitudes to democracy and

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everything else, and it has not worked, it will not work and it was

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never going to work. So we have to get out. We are doing our best to

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put the Afghan Government in a position where they can negotiate

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with some measure of strength with the Taliban, but they are going to

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have to live with each other. There are two Afghanistans. The North of

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Afghanistan will largely be stable. The problem is Helmand Province,

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the Taliban and the Pakistani military, overtly supporting the

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Taliban. There are problems there around the USA and Pakistan, as

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well, recently over closures of that supply routes because of the

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NATO airstrike which killed lots of Pakistani soldiers. That is going

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on as well. It is a very important issue. When you are withdrawing,

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that is when you and your most vulnerable. Every soldier fears

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withdrawal under fire and you need to have good access routes out. The

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Russians have been rather helpful. I think a lot of material will go

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out through the North. It is more expensive, longer, but relying

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totally on the Pakistanis and coming out through Karachi is much

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too vulnerable. Yes, and unreliable. What about the issue of Money? The

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other matter they are talking about is the amount of money. 4 billion a

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year was talked about to help build up the Afghan security forces and

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maintain it. Who do you think should pay for that? We made a

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great mistake really when we first went in. We did not have enough and

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lightened aid projects. We had Western views about what we were

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going to do about opium trading and everything like that and we

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destabilised a lot of their economy. We can help them and we should help

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them but a lot is now going to depend on the Afghans. I went to

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that country when I was 21 and I lived in the mountain areas, with

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the nomad tribes. These are very self-reliant people. They have seen

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of many empires before and they will see of others. They will not

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take occupation. They will find a solution. It will be different from

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what we would come up with, but we can help them at least to have some

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strength and not have the Taliban overrun Kabul with the disastrous

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consequences that happened previously. All right. Thank you

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for that. Instead of our usual quiz we are

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going to be brave. Oh, no! It is a caption competition. Clock this and

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send us your caption. This picture has made most of the national

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newspapers and was taken on Saturday night at Camp David, when

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world leaders took a break from saving the world economy to watch

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the Champions League final. Exciting it was, too. Chelsea beat

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Bayern Munich on penalties, of course. Tweed or email your best

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suggestions, but keep them respectable! -- tweet. At the end

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of the show we will read out the best ones.

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A while ago the venture capitalist and Tory donor Adrian Beecroft was

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commissioned by Downing Street to come up with ideas to cut business

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red tape. He delivered his report in October but it has not been

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published before now. Apparently because some of the suggestions

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were too controversial. After receiving Freedom of Information

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requests, the Government has now decided the report will be released

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this week. The Beecroft Report has been gathering dust on Vince

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Cable's shelf in the business department for months. But it will

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be published this week potentially leading to further tensions between

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coalition partners. Leaks from the report suggested calls for delays

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on making parental leave more flexible, a cap on the amount of

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money tribunals can award for loss of earnings, and perhaps most

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controversially the introduction of so-called no fault dismissal. David

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Cameron is said to be for this idea, speeding up the pace of reform. But

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Vince Cable has dismissed no fault dismissal as bonkers and other Lib

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Dem MPs are just as hostile. The director general of the Institute

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of Directors, Simon Walker, is in our Westminster studio. Thank you

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for joining us. Have company bosses been calling for no fault

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dismissal? I think they have. They are certainly calling for a

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simplification of the system we have got. Half of our members are

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discouraged from taking someone on over the past couple of years

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because they are worried about what will happen if it does not work out.

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I think it is getting away from yes and them mentality, which applies

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to so much of business today. -- Ahsan them. We have seen example at

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General Motors of what you can achieve when you are showing

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flexibility. I think no fault dismissal, like no fault the 4th,

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it removes the stigma from a situation where you just cannot get

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on. -- no fault divorce. No employer wants to get rid of a good

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and productive employee who is delivering. But people are

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frightened about taking on someone who does not work out and then

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being hit with an unfair dismissal claim. On that basis, if you say

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they are calling for it, are you also saying that you would see a

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dramatic increase in the number of people being taken on by small and

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medium-sized firms if this policy came into force? I think we

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certainly would. We are not talking about firing people at will. Isn't

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that what it comes to? necessarily. It is an agreed form

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of compensation if it was decided between you and your and were that

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it was not working out. There would be a statutory proportion. -- you

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and your employer. You would not go to court, which costs thousands for

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the employer, which is quite a deterrent. They know that �10,000

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of legal fees can be the cost if you go to court. And some firms

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have gone to court and gone and even though they have won. Do we

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want a situation where people are frightened to take on people

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because they are frightened they might not work out? Do you think

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Vince Cable is an anti- Business Secretary? I don't think so. I

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think he has some good ideas for business much of the time. I don't

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think I agree with him on this but I don't know the exact scope of

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what is in the report because we have not seen it yet. And I don't

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know the exact scope of his opinion on it. But I am very hopeful that

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there will be some common ground, perhaps allowing this to apply to

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companies with fewer than 10 employees. For them it really is a

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burden having to deal with complicated, bureaucratic

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regulations. That �10,000 really hurts if you are running a business

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with just four people and you incur legal fees. Thank you.

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Chuka Umunna, the shadow Business Secretary, is with us now. Let's

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pick up on that. You accept that the burden of regulation adds as a

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deterrent to hiring staff? I will say a couple of things. There are

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lots of different opinions on this. If you speak to the managing

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director of Mars, Fiona Dawson, she has said she would not want to see

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workers' rights being compromised. Yes, but that is a very big company.

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What about... I was also going to say that before being elected I

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acted as an employment lawyer and I have acted for many of Simon's

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members. I don't think people are looking to fire at will, if you

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like, and that is what no fault dismissal would allow employers to

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do. We are talking about a lot of people watching this programme.

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Over 90% of our businesses in this country are small businesses and we

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have 3.6 million people employed in firms of fewer than 10 employees.

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This measure would allow people to, regardless of your performance, to

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fire at will with the payment of a set sum. This is not left or right,

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it is wrong. And it misses the point. This is being done in the

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name of growth. If you look at the plethora of different issues

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affecting businesses... But Simon things it would result in growth if

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people hire more people. If you are making a marginal decision and you

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are a small company with 10 or 20 employees, that could be the very

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thing, that makes you take on an extra couple of people because you

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will not have to have a big battle if it does not work out. We already

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have the third most flexible labour market. Only the US and Canada have

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more flexible regimes than ours. It is the most flexible labour market

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in Europe. There is no evidence whatsoever, if you listen to

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leading economists like David Blanchflower, the former member of

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the monetary committee of the Bank of England, they have all said that

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there is no evidence of doing away with people's rights helping us out

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of the double-dip recession and reducing the numbers of people out

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of work. We should not even be talking about this. There are

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bigger issues in business. If we look at the CIPD survey on big

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concerns in business, 50% say that the lack of skills in the work

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force is their number one issue. 28% of them talk about banking.

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Let's look at measures that make a difference. A National Insurance

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broker do much more to encourage micro businesses to take on more

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employees. -- National Insurance break would do much more. I spoke

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to businesses in the Midlands, and they said that regulation and

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labour reforms would make a huge difference. It would make a huge

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difference to their confidence to invest and employ people. You must

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admit it must be part of the package and something can be done

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to make it easier to hire and fire. In terms of the substantial rights,

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which the Government is talking about doing away with, I don't

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think they should be doing that because it is wrong. You can reform

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how the employment tribunals are working, for example. And they have

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set up a review and I think that is welcome. Looking at procedures is

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one thing, but tearing away people's basic rights at work is

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quite another. You agree with Vince Cable that it is bonkers,

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basically? I think it is bonkers. Do you think it would encourage

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business to take on more people? You are standing in a very

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difficult area and it is probably not wise to choose a close friend,

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contributed to the Tory party, the venture capitalist, to lead this

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sensitive subject. Chancellor Schroder 10 years ago made the

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German economy competitive even within the eurozone. He did it by a

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whole series of measures, broadly by agreement. These sorts of

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things? Yes. I have been an employer for 17 years. Nobody goes

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to one of these tribunals easily. You also have to have them for

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employers on your doorstep all the time, advising you on how to deal

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with it. -- you also have to have employment lawyers. It is difficult

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and it has to be done with trade union support and the Institute of

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Directors, with delicacy and care, but this country has to be more

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competitive in world markets. Our unit costs have got to come down.

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We have devalued, which has helped us. We have not had as big an

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advantage from that devaluation as I had hoped. Our growth has been

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appalling in the last two years and it has been a very bad thing, the

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way the economy has dipped down. you do think it would help? I think

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there are a halt range of measures. These are small but important

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measures. The fundamental thing is austerity being the dominant

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element or growth? Demand. That is the problem businesses have. Demand

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is basic. The thing is about this, it is a distraction. Demand is the

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problem. We are seeing issues with access to finance, which is why we

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are looking at plans for British investment bank, which the Chambers

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of Commerce have argued for. Things like sorting out finance, and

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National Insurance brick, getting infrastructure spending going,

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those have been argued for more prominently by business. Not

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tearing away people's rights. We are not in a double-dip recession

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because of the unfair dismissal regime. Listening to ministers and

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the Treasury and Number 10, you would think that because people

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watching this programme have rights at work that that cause of the

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problems that we have. So you will not support any of the issues

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surrounding it no fault dismissal? Bring the consultation period down

:15:37.:15:46.
:15:47.:15:49.

Lord Owen is right. We have not seen the small print.

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Is it true that Vince Cable has discussed his views and you know,

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response to this with Labour, with Ed Miliband?

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Well, we have discussed it with him in the House of Commons. But what

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about privately? There are reports now, you know, you said, you agree

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with with Vince Cable, the idea would be bonkers, so you share

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views in response to Beecroft. Are you talking to Vince Cable? I speak

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to Vince regularly, but I know nothing about the conversations to

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which you have referred now. Would you be pleased if Vince Cable

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was talking to Ed Miliband about this privately? I think where we

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agree on things, it is good to work in a cross party basis. We have in

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too much of a dire situation, looking at the economy, an economy

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which hasn't grown for so long. Where I can work with Vince and

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I've done that around executive remuneration and he is struggling

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to get anywhere with the road blocks to reform in the treasury

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and Downing Street and I will work with him on this issue.

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Is that what he said? He is struggling, he is worried that

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deatial and the coalition -- David Cameron and the coalition will take

:17:01.:17:11.
:17:11.:17:11.

on these issues? It has become a back water because he doesn't have

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the backing of treasury. He doesn't have the buy in in Number Ten, they

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are wedded to the old thatcher right orthodoxies.

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Now, with fresh elections in Greece called for 17th June, but with the

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crisis showing no signs of abating, spare a thought for my counterpart

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on the Greek version of the Daily Politics. Here she is, on Focus TV,

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trying to keep the peace in a discussion between Petros

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Tatsopoulos from the left-wing party Syriza and Stelios Stavridis

:17:42.:17:52.
:17:52.:17:52.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 48 seconds

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Well, I'm thankful to say that hasn't happened to me yet. Chuka

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Umunna left happy and Lord Owen is still with us. Here to talk about

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the situation in the eurozone and Greece, do you think Greece will be

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in the eurozone by the time of the next election? I doubt it. I think

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quite a few country, we will have a eurozone. Germany won't go back to

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the deutschemark. There will be a eurozone, like economies, the

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present variation within the eurozone of the economies I think

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is probably unsustainable. I am against us predicting what will

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happen. The Greek people are having an election. They will fight

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against austerity. That's the big issue.

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Should it be seen as a referendum in the way David Cameron

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characterised it as to whether or not they stay in the euro? David

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Cameron needs to be careful. His job is to look after British

:19:31.:19:37.

interests. It is not to grap headlines. -- grab headlines. The

:19:37.:19:40.

thing Europe wants to know from Britain and America, what structure

:19:40.:19:45.

from Europe would be both in the interests of the eurozone and in

:19:45.:19:48.

the interests of the single market. The single market is very important

:19:48.:19:52.

to the UK. In fairness to Angela Merkel, she said she understands

:19:52.:19:59.

we're not going to go for a federalist. There is no majority

:19:59.:20:06.

for federalism. This in or out issue, we need to restructure the

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European future and there will have to be a referendum and fairly soon

:20:09.:20:12.

in this country, but it will be on a very different question to the

:20:12.:20:16.

one of in, out. What would be the question be on

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then? I'm clear. It is a British interest to remain in the single

:20:20.:20:24.

market and the single market ought to embrace and does already embrace,

:20:24.:20:29.

more than just the EU. Norway is a member of the economic area. I

:20:29.:20:38.

would like to see Turkey becoming part of this. At the moment it is a

:20:38.:20:42.

a associate member. We could have them in the single market and it

:20:42.:20:46.

would be an ang advantage. -- advantage. I want to see the

:20:46.:20:49.

British Government talking more about what Britain is going to

:20:49.:20:54.

contribute to the problems, in some sense we are right to say, "The

:20:54.:21:01.

eurozone is yours. Do what you like with it. "I thought it was flawed.

:21:01.:21:05.

I campaigned against it when Tony Blair tried to take us in. We

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ensured he couldn't win a Forum because public opinion stayed

:21:09.:21:15.

against it. Public opinion will not take nuse a federalist -- us into a

:21:15.:21:19.

federal Europe or a eurozone. The Government would argue that

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they are to some extent shouting from the sidelines because what

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happens to Greece, will affect British interests. If Greece does

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fall out of the euro and it is disorderly and there are the issues

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we have talked about which are contagion. It is not standing and

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trying to be heard on a subject that wouldn't affect Britain?

:21:37.:21:43.

he had a very good opportunity now in G8, in Washington in the Camp

:21:43.:21:47.

David and also in the margins of the NATO meeting in Chicago to have

:21:47.:21:56.

quiet talks with Angela Merkel inside the eurozone. It tale ci and

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erm erm -- Italy and Germany. He had an opportunity to talk to the

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new president of France who is against the undue austerity. He

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wants a balance between austerity and growth. Quiet diplomacy, making

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sure they understand what Britain is ready to put up with, otherwise

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we're going to have a nasty argument inside the European Union

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in the next two or three months. We will be talking about this over

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the coming weeks. The Parliamentary Commissioner for

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Standards, Sir John Lyon launched an investigation into whether

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Jeremy Hunt failed to register several donations from media

:22:37.:22:44.

companies. Ben Geoghegan join us now. Can you give us more detail,

:22:44.:22:49.

Ben? This goes back to the days when the the Conservatives were in

:22:49.:22:53.

opposition. There were a series of meetings set-up by private

:22:53.:22:55.

companies, media companies, companies in the creative

:22:55.:23:00.

industries and they were set-up in order, it seems, to brief the

:23:00.:23:05.

Conservative frontbench teams about developments in the industry. Now,

:23:05.:23:11.

one person who was at eight of these meetings was Ed Vaizey, Mr

:23:11.:23:15.

Hunt's deputy and in the register of financial interests, he declares

:23:15.:23:20.

these various meetings and he says that they amounted in value to

:23:20.:23:25.

about �27,000. Now these are not cash donations, but the cost that

:23:25.:23:28.

it would have been for the companies to set-up these meetings.

:23:28.:23:33.

And he also says that Jeremy Hunt was at these meetings with him. But

:23:33.:23:37.

when you look at Jeremy Hunt's entries, these meetings do not

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appear and so, that led to a complaint a few weeks ago by Steve

:23:42.:23:46.

McCabe and it is that the commissioner is looking into.

:23:46.:23:50.

So more pressure on Jeremy Hunt and coming weeks before he is due to

:23:50.:23:55.

appear, no it must be days before he is due to appear at the Leveson

:23:55.:23:59.

Inquiry? Yes, Adam Smith will be appearing this week and Labour have

:23:59.:24:03.

been calling on the Culture Secretary to resign saying that he

:24:03.:24:07.

has probably misled Parliament and so on. Remember though, that he

:24:08.:24:12.

thinks that he has acted with integrity. On this issue about the

:24:12.:24:17.

declaration in the register, he says that he only went to three out

:24:17.:24:22.

of these eight meetings and he wants to amend the register so it

:24:22.:24:25.

seems as though his argument will be there has been some kind of

:24:25.:24:33.

mistake in recording the details. Ben Gay dan, Ben Geoghegan, thank

:24:33.:24:37.

you. Let's look at May 2015. What's that,

:24:37.:24:42.

I see, Ed Miliband and Tim Farron walking through the Rose Garden?

:24:42.:24:48.

Surely not. The two parties appear to be at jagger's drawn or --

:24:48.:24:57.

May 2010 and everything in the garden, was, you know, rosy. It

:24:58.:25:05.

seemed like everyone agreed with Nick. Well, almost everyone.

:25:05.:25:12.

Ma Vast majority, dislike and despise the Liberal Democrats.

:25:12.:25:13.

LAUGHTER You might, Ian, but the boss

:25:13.:25:15.

doesn't. I hope the Liberal Democrats will

:25:15.:25:19.

recognise that the Government is taking the country in a a direction

:25:19.:25:22.

which many people did not vote at the general election. I hope they

:25:22.:25:25.

will come and talk to us and work against the direction of this

:25:25.:25:27.

Government. Senior Labour figures are reaching

:25:27.:25:30.

out to the Lib Dems in an attempt to find the kind of common ground

:25:30.:25:34.

which could pave the way to a coalition should the next election

:25:34.:25:38.

produce a hung parliament. The thing is, there is more than a few

:25:38.:25:44.

Lib Dems out there, who are ready to play ball. Richard Grayson is a

:25:44.:25:48.

speech writer to Charles Kennedy. Most recently however, his policy

:25:48.:25:53.

input has been to the Labour Party. I accepted an invitation from Ed

:25:53.:25:57.

Miliband after a discussion with him to encourage Lib Dems to have

:25:57.:26:02.

dialogue with Labour, that happened. We talked to people like Liam Byrne,

:26:02.:26:06.

we talked to a number of other Labour MPs in policy groups so

:26:06.:26:11.

there was a dialogue between grass- roots Liberal Democrats and people

:26:11.:26:16.

at a fairly senior level of the Labour Party. It is not just about

:26:16.:26:23.

shared values, this is about power. Ar hung parliament again -- a hung

:26:23.:26:28.

parliament again is a likely prospect, I think. And that means

:26:28.:26:31.

the Liberal Democrats, although they will suffer badly at the polls,

:26:31.:26:37.

could play a role and their natural place, their natural allies

:26:37.:26:41.

historically have been Labour. the Lib Dems get into bed with with

:26:41.:26:44.

Labour, what does that mean for the future of the party and its leader?

:26:44.:26:51.

I think it will be difficult for Nick to do a deal with Labour. I

:26:51.:26:58.

think that's partly because he is just ideologicalically closer to

:26:58.:27:02.

the Conservatives. And maybe there does have to be a change in

:27:02.:27:05.

leadership, but strange things happen in politics.

:27:05.:27:09.

Well, I can't see how the Lib Dem, the current Lib Dem leadership,

:27:09.:27:15.

having sold the past to the Tories on this right-wing agenda can do

:27:15.:27:18.

another backflip and go in with Labour. So I would have thought

:27:18.:27:23.

they will go in one direction and the party will resume its historic

:27:23.:27:28.

radical liberal tradition and go to look for alliances with progressive

:27:28.:27:32.

forces particularly Labour after the next election.

:27:32.:27:35.

Any alliance with Labour could come at a high cost to the party's

:27:35.:27:40.

current leadership. But would it be worth the price? I think for the

:27:40.:27:46.

Liberal Democrats, we have always wanted to influence policy and see

:27:46.:27:50.

that centre-left policies get implemented. Sadly we are

:27:50.:27:54.

influencing policy on the margins and collaborating with a broadly

:27:54.:27:58.

centre-right economic agenda at the moment. If we want to see our most

:27:58.:28:01.

important policies implemented, then we have to have dialogue with

:28:01.:28:05.

Labour. Tony Blair and Paddy Ashdown trying to work together in

:28:05.:28:13.

1997, but their parties won't wear it. The lib-lab pact of the 70s and

:28:13.:28:17.

that didn't work. A deal with Labour in 2015? Well, three years a

:28:17.:28:26.

long time, but it is a work in Phil Collins joins us now. Looking

:28:26.:28:29.

to your crystal ball, could you see Labour and the Liberal Democrats

:28:29.:28:36.

doing a deal ahead of or into the next election? Not ahead of, but I

:28:36.:28:39.

could see it being a necessity after the election. There is a

:28:39.:28:43.

couple of long-term trends that make hung parliaments more likely.

:28:43.:28:48.

The two main parties, Labour and Conservative don't get as large a

:28:48.:28:54.

share as they used to in the 50s and 60s and there are nowhere near

:28:54.:28:59.

as many marginals. So it is much harder to win. And that makes a

:28:59.:29:03.

hung parliament a possibility and the arth ma particular looks like

:29:03.:29:10.

it is -- arithmetic looks like it will be a coalition. If the ar rith

:29:10.:29:18.

ma particulars -- arth ma particulars work. We heard from one

:29:19.:29:21.

Labour MP saying how much distrust there is, but there is dislike and

:29:21.:29:25.

contempt from senior Labour figures for Liberal Democrats or is that

:29:25.:29:28.

just public rhetoric and actually they would be happy to work with

:29:28.:29:34.

them? Well, both things are true. There is serious dislike... Does

:29:34.:29:40.

that not prevent that coalition? it dissipates quickly if the

:29:40.:29:43.

prospect of power is looming. For the Liberal Democrats there would

:29:43.:29:46.

be something remarkable on the table, they would have ten years in

:29:46.:29:51.

Government. People in their early 20s who would say, I have known

:29:51.:29:54.

nothing but a Liberal Democrat Government all my chance. For

:29:54.:29:58.

Labour, there would be a chance to come back. That sense will change

:29:58.:30:00.

if that were the option on the table.

:30:00.:30:05.

Would it be possible if Nick Clegg was still leader of the Liberal

:30:05.:30:09.

Democrat Party, would it be the case, I am not asking for

:30:09.:30:11.

predictions of how well or not the Liberal Democrats will do, but

:30:11.:30:14.

would it have to be a different person at the helm of the Liberal

:30:14.:30:23.

Probably, but I don't think one should get tough on this issue. A

:30:23.:30:26.

much more important thing is what is happening with the British

:30:26.:30:32.

economy. I think that if you have the opportunity to form a

:30:32.:30:35.

Government, and say Labour has the largest number of MPs, with the

:30:36.:30:40.

largest number of votes, they will obviously work with whoever is most

:30:40.:30:45.

compatible. That would probably be almost certainly the Liberal

:30:45.:30:49.

Democrat. But they have been at opposing end of the spectrum

:30:49.:30:56.

economically, haven't they? It is an aberration. On whose part? The

:30:56.:31:00.

Liberal Democrats? A did not join the Liberal Democrats, but I worked

:31:00.:31:04.

with them. I was part of the Government, and foreign secretary

:31:04.:31:12.

at the time of the Lib-Lab pact. There was a fairly good and open

:31:12.:31:16.

relationship at that time. David Steel chose to end it before the

:31:16.:31:19.

election and he thought that was an important thing and to this day he

:31:19.:31:24.

does. I don't think it is necessary to see this coalition carrying on

:31:24.:31:29.

for full five years. They could split away, while still supporting

:31:29.:31:32.

the Conservatives. Or if they found on the economy that the

:31:33.:31:36.

Conservative policies were so antipathetic to them, then they

:31:36.:31:41.

might decide to allow Labour to come in. We have a fixed term

:31:41.:31:45.

Parliament. Tories talk as though David Cameron can have a general

:31:45.:31:50.

election whenever he wants, but he cannot. I think this coalition is

:31:50.:31:53.

coming under ever increasing strain. They have failed on the basic issue

:31:53.:31:58.

of the economy. We are now in a double-dip recession. In my view,

:31:59.:32:03.

we probably have six months more of the general public giving them the

:32:03.:32:08.

best... Of then you think it will fall apart? If they are still in

:32:08.:32:11.

economic difficulty in six months' time, there will be big questions

:32:11.:32:15.

about whether or not this coalition can continue. Just listening to

:32:15.:32:21.

that, at in terms of whether or not the coalition can last until 2015,

:32:21.:32:28.

on this core economic message, if Liberal Democrats signed up to

:32:28.:32:32.

austerity, then they could have an agreement with Labour? I do. Nick

:32:32.:32:37.

Clegg often says that �7 out of every �8 would have been cut under

:32:37.:32:41.

Alistair Darling's plan. You have to think of this from the Liberal

:32:41.:32:45.

Democrat point of view. They don't see themselves as an adjunct to

:32:45.:32:50.

another party, in complete agreement with either of them, but

:32:50.:32:53.

as the liberalising influence on them. I do not see this as an

:32:53.:32:56.

overwhelming barrier to them changing sides and we will probably

:32:56.:33:01.

have to get used to that. briefly, Ed Miliband and Vince

:33:01.:33:05.

Cable's conversation? Not surprising? Not at all. I think

:33:05.:33:10.

they share a lot, as people in lots of parties do. And a good social

:33:10.:33:20.

democrat. We can no longer assume that one party will be elected with

:33:20.:33:25.

an overall working majority. The last election, I was part of a

:33:25.:33:28.

group which had a website dealing with a hung Parliament. It was

:33:28.:33:31.

obvious it was going to be a hung Parliament for three months before

:33:31.:33:35.

the election. To David Cameron's credit, he offered a generous offer

:33:35.:33:41.

of coalition and Miliband would do the same. Thank you. We let you go

:33:41.:33:47.

at this stage. We have got VAT, National Insurance,

:33:48.:33:52.

CJ tea and a whole alphabet spaghetti of taxes. Enough to leave

:33:52.:33:55.

even Carol Vorderman confused, bemused and discombobulated. They

:33:55.:34:00.

are trying to make the trip up! How about simplifying everything to the

:34:00.:34:06.

30% rate of income tax? And omnitax, if you like. The Institute of

:34:06.:34:11.

Directors has suggested just that. Mathew Sinclair is from the

:34:11.:34:20.

taxpayers Alliance. Isn't it just and fair in the end to have this? -

:34:21.:34:25.

- not fair. If you earn twice as much, you pay twice as much. If you

:34:25.:34:29.

earn 10 times as much, you pay 10 times as much, and that is what

:34:29.:34:36.

would beat the case under our system. -- would be the case. It

:34:36.:34:41.

would be advantages to the poorest. What is really not fair, is that

:34:41.:34:46.

people, by paying in a certain way, through a company, through share

:34:46.:34:51.

buy-backs, pay less. The critical thing is to have a single tax rate

:34:51.:34:59.

which applies however your income comes. However that income finds

:34:59.:35:06.

its weight to the end consumer. higher earners benefit more than

:35:06.:35:12.

lower owners, don't they? Yes, they do. They deserve to pay twice as

:35:12.:35:19.

much. We are talking about a proportionate tax. This term can

:35:19.:35:22.

throw people but we are still talking about a tax system that

:35:22.:35:26.

would have a very heavy contribution. I think that we

:35:26.:35:29.

should be looking towards a system that would make sure that everybody

:35:29.:35:33.

pays less. That is why we should not be going down at the root of

:35:33.:35:43.
:35:43.:35:46.

revenue neutral reform. -- down the route. The real basic rate is not

:35:46.:35:49.

30%. Including both forms of National Insurance, it is 40% and

:35:49.:35:53.

we think that should be cut to 30% to give everyone a better deal.

:35:53.:35:58.

Thank you for joining us. We are joined by the Lib Dem Lorely Burt,

:35:58.:36:02.

James Morris from the Conservatives and their Alan Sugar from Labour.

:36:02.:36:09.

Is that music to your ears? -- Gavin Shuker from Labour.

:36:10.:36:14.

really. They want to raise the personal tax allowance even more to

:36:14.:36:17.

�10,000, which is building on what the Chancellor announced in the

:36:17.:36:21.

Budget. They want to devolve financial autonomy to local

:36:21.:36:25.

authorities and allow local authorities to build up more tax.

:36:25.:36:28.

Just on the income tax rate, is that something you would like to

:36:28.:36:33.

see in theory? Some sort of flat rate of tax? I think it is an

:36:33.:36:36.

aspiration over the long term. We have a lot of very profound

:36:36.:36:40.

difficulties in the economy at the moment that we need to deal with.

:36:40.:36:45.

Getting the deficit under control, dealing with the eurozone crisis.

:36:45.:36:47.

In the long term it is an aspiration and I would be

:36:47.:36:50.

interested to read the detailed recommendations in the report.

:36:51.:36:54.

Would it help the economy to do something as radical on income tax?

:36:54.:36:58.

There are other things that we can do. We cannot that the supply-side

:36:58.:37:03.

of the economy. I think we need to focus on employment law. What do

:37:03.:37:07.

you think about having a simpler tax system? Gordon Brown was always

:37:07.:37:11.

criticised for having an over the complicated tax system. Is it the

:37:12.:37:16.

Government's role to redistribute at that level? The key question is

:37:16.:37:20.

what would it do for the economy and on that question, I think

:37:20.:37:24.

Matthew is out of touch. The report is saying that we should cut back

:37:24.:37:28.

the size of the state. He is saying put more money in people's pockets.

:37:28.:37:31.

If more money is in their pockets and they can spend more of their

:37:31.:37:35.

income, doesn't that help the economy? Chuka Umunna has just said

:37:35.:37:39.

the real problem is demand. Doesn't that boost demand? Absolutely,

:37:39.:37:44.

which is why you need to target tax decreases in areas where it get

:37:44.:37:52.

people spending. Reducing VAT, for instance. A lot of people out there

:37:52.:37:56.

now feel that because they are paying National Insurance and

:37:56.:37:59.

income tax and various other stealth taxes, that they are not

:37:59.:38:02.

keeping enough of their own income to spend up there. We are talking

:38:02.:38:07.

about how you divide up the pie, and we can have that conversation,

:38:07.:38:10.

but the Tax Payers Alliance is saying that we should reduce the

:38:10.:38:20.
:38:20.:38:21.

price so extremely that public services will go. -- the eye.

:38:21.:38:23.

want those with the broadest shoulders paying the greatest

:38:23.:38:31.

proportion of tax. So a flat tax? understand that it will cost �50

:38:31.:38:35.

billion to implement, which goes straight into the deficit, so I

:38:35.:38:38.

don't think that is a particularly good idea. I think we should have

:38:38.:38:43.

fairer taxes for people on higher earnings. And lower taxes for

:38:43.:38:46.

people on lower earnings. It does not fit in with that. Which tax

:38:46.:38:53.

would you get rid of? National Insurance? Golly, I don't know! Yes,

:38:53.:38:58.

why not? National Insurance does not do what it says on the tin. It

:38:58.:39:03.

does not do what it was set up to do. Would you get rid of it?

:39:03.:39:08.

necessarily. We need to reduce business tax is much more radically,

:39:08.:39:12.

corporation tax, which we have already reduced. I think there is

:39:12.:39:16.

more scope for further reduction in corporation tax. Would you like to

:39:16.:39:20.

see more wealth taxes? More tax on unearned wealth, as they

:39:20.:39:25.

characterise it, rather than on income? I prefer that to the system

:39:25.:39:29.

we have at the moment, giving a tax break to millionaires were people

:39:29.:39:33.

on low incomes are suffering. Conservatives are suffering because

:39:33.:39:37.

that rhetoric has just come home. The reality was that in the Budget

:39:37.:39:41.

we brought in stamp duty on properties over �2 billion and we

:39:41.:39:46.

are bringing in more taxes than were ever raised by the 50p rate. -

:39:46.:39:50.

- over �2 million. We need to reduce the rate of income tax that

:39:50.:39:53.

low earners have to pay and that should be the focus and it is the

:39:53.:39:57.

focus of the coalition Government. But you want to see more wealth

:39:57.:40:01.

taxes, don't you? We don't want people to be punitively taxed, but

:40:01.:40:06.

I think everyone should pay their tax fairly. Just going on to this

:40:06.:40:11.

mythical 45p, in actual fact, the OBR have calculated that our tax

:40:11.:40:15.

changes will increase the amount of money that the rich pay by five

:40:16.:40:20.

times. Labour only introduced it a few days before the last general

:40:20.:40:24.

election, and quite a cynical attempt, I think, to put us in a

:40:24.:40:29.

difficult position. The key question is getting growth going in

:40:29.:40:33.

the economy and if you can do that in a fair way, let's do it, but

:40:33.:40:39.

this is not the right way. Traffic wardens, estate agents, second-hand

:40:39.:40:44.

car dealers, who is missing? Journalists and politicians! You

:40:44.:40:49.

can find both of these in abundance in the dark corridors of

:40:49.:40:55.

Westminster. Is it a world of backbiting, schmoozing, scheming?

:40:55.:40:59.

If anybody knows, Quentin Letts does.

:40:59.:41:04.

J is for a journalist. Parliament and the media, not an easy marriage.

:41:04.:41:07.

Someone once said that the relationship between politicians

:41:08.:41:12.

and journalists was that of a lamp- post and a dog. But who is the

:41:12.:41:22.
:41:22.:41:36.

lamp-post? A little light reading. This is the

:41:36.:41:40.

BBC office in the House of Commons press gallery. Many of the offices

:41:40.:41:45.

are shared. The Financial Times used to share with the News of the

:41:45.:41:48.

World! It is a right little rabbit warren of offices. Not much has

:41:48.:41:53.

changed since Charles Dickens worked here as a parliamentary

:41:53.:42:01.

reporter in 1831. Around 200 media swaps toil at the Palace of

:42:01.:42:06.

Westminster, including little old me. I am a gallery reporter. That

:42:06.:42:09.

means I sit in House of Commons gallery, watching events. Others

:42:09.:42:13.

are in the lobby. That means that they have more intimate access with

:42:13.:42:19.

MPs. The lobby! They are a secretive lot. The chief privilege

:42:19.:42:23.

of being a lobby reporter is having access to the House of Commons

:42:23.:42:27.

lobby just outside the chamber, where they can mix with MPs and be

:42:27.:42:31.

told things on lobby terms. We don't get to know who said what.

:42:31.:42:35.

The other privilege of being a lobby reporter, daily briefings

:42:35.:42:45.
:42:45.:42:45.

from 10 Downing Street. Hello? Two pints of something very bitter,

:42:45.:42:54.

please, and a discreet table. Thank you very much. Much of our work is

:42:54.:42:59.

done around the Westminster village in pubs like this, maybe. A quiet

:42:59.:43:04.

pint with a disgruntled former minister, or some thrusting Schema,

:43:04.:43:14.
:43:14.:43:17.

and you can learn interesting You could argue that journalists

:43:17.:43:23.

are sly, skivvy creatures, and you could be right. -- scurvy. But

:43:23.:43:28.

could the same adjectives not be applied to politicians, too? Set a

:43:28.:43:38.
:43:38.:43:39.

thief to catch a Thief, that is the How very informative, as always,

:43:39.:43:43.

from Quentin Letts! Do you describe journalists as sly, skivvy

:43:43.:43:50.

creatures? Not to their faces! -- scurvy. To paraphrase, some of my

:43:51.:43:56.

best friends are journalists and we do get along. Do you have lunches

:43:56.:44:02.

with journalists? No, but I am open to invitations! I am sure we can

:44:02.:44:06.

set something up! Are you friendly with journalists? Do you avoid

:44:06.:44:11.

them? Of course one is friendly to journalists. It is an important

:44:11.:44:14.

part of the parliamentary progress and it has a long history and you

:44:14.:44:18.

have to be careful about what you say. Do you give stories to them?

:44:18.:44:23.

Certainly not. Nobody is going to take you out for lunch! What about

:44:23.:44:27.

you? Do you give stories to journalists if you go out with

:44:27.:44:31.

them? Absolutely. I am just waiting for the drinking invitations to

:44:31.:44:36.

come rolling in. I generally get my phone calls from my favourite

:44:36.:44:39.

journalist when I am in the middle of doing the shopping in a

:44:39.:44:43.

supermarket, you know. You just say the first thing that comes into

:44:43.:44:47.

your head and afterwards you wonder if you should have said it! They

:44:47.:44:53.

have worked out the best time to call you! They have! The Leveson

:44:53.:44:56.

Inquiry has put a serious spotlight on the relationship between

:44:56.:45:00.

journalists and politicians. Do you think it will fundamentally change

:45:00.:45:04.

that relationship? I don't think fundamentally. There is a parallel

:45:04.:45:10.

with the MP's expenses crisis. The pendulum swing, the clear up, and

:45:10.:45:14.

then interest goes down. It may be the same as the leather CERN

:45:14.:45:21.

inquiry clears itself up. I think there ever -- as the Leveson

:45:21.:45:26.

Inquiry clears itself up. I think that we will have to respond to the

:45:26.:45:30.

Leveson Inquiry. The point is that you do not want to be transparent.

:45:30.:45:34.

We are not supposed to reveal our sources. From the public point of

:45:35.:45:37.

view, I think the Leveson Inquiry is raising the issue of the

:45:37.:45:41.

relationship between politics and the media, which is helpful in a

:45:41.:45:44.

sense of shining a light and getting transparency on the issues

:45:44.:45:49.

that we need to confront. Now we go to College Green, where we have

:45:49.:45:54.

bagged ourselves a couple of sly, scurvy creatures. Actually they are

:45:54.:45:59.

very nice! And I don't think they have got scurvy. Helen Lewis from

:45:59.:46:07.

the New Statesman and the editor of James, David Cameron shouting at

:46:07.:46:11.

the Germans, are they going to listen to a British Prime Minister

:46:11.:46:15.

and what to do about the the eurozone? David Cameron on the one

:46:15.:46:19.

hand pressuring Angela Merkel to do more and on the other hand trying

:46:19.:46:24.

to do her dirty work in saying to the Greeks if you vote for the

:46:24.:46:28.

anti-bail out parties. What the Europeans want the message to the

:46:28.:46:33.

Greeks, if you vote for an anti- bail out party, you are voting to

:46:33.:46:36.

leave a currency that you don't want to leave.

:46:36.:46:41.

When it comes to the Greek election in a month. Is David Cameron in a

:46:41.:46:49.

place where he can't do anything except shout? I don't think we can.

:46:49.:46:53.

Merkel's intervention in Greece goes down badly. She is seen as a

:46:53.:46:57.

domineering German figure. Cameron outside of a currency and Britain

:46:57.:47:01.

with its detached relationship from the eurozone is more able to make

:47:01.:47:05.

the arguments to the Greeks. How well they will go down in Athens

:47:05.:47:09.

remains to be seen. The view of the of the euro crisis,

:47:09.:47:12.

as far as Britain is concern, is the worry about a run on the banks.

:47:12.:47:16.

Is that where the concern should be? Well, it is hard to look

:47:16.:47:19.

forward when everything is up in the air. We have seen a lot of talk

:47:19.:47:22.

about the possible default and the elections will be the next thing

:47:22.:47:27.

that people are looking to, but the trouble is you have got a situation

:47:27.:47:31.

where Nobel prize winning economists don't have an idea. No

:47:31.:47:33.

one knows what is going to happen next.

:47:33.:47:38.

They are trying to look at how to to boost growth, that's the other

:47:38.:47:42.

part of this equation in the eurozone to make countries more

:47:42.:47:46.

competitive and here with the Beecroft proposals due out this

:47:46.:47:49.

week, is this another focus of coalition tension that will be

:47:49.:47:53.

difficult for David Cameron? think it sounds - it sounds like it

:47:53.:47:57.

will be kicked into fairly long grass. Vince Cable's remarks have

:47:57.:48:04.

been strong and the the noises coming out of his coughs calling it

:48:04.:48:09.

"bonkers" the more contentious suggestions will be shelved and a

:48:09.:48:14.

few of the smaller ones will be put through.

:48:14.:48:18.

Do you think it will be shelved? We keep hearing that David Cameron is

:48:18.:48:23.

favourable to the ideas. The controversial ones being no no no

:48:23.:48:29.

fault dismissal? The interesting thing is this has been a long

:48:29.:48:34.

running row between Vince Cable and Steve Hilton. Steve Hilton has left.

:48:34.:48:37.

In the last few days people close to Nick Clegg and David Cameron

:48:37.:48:42.

have been suggesting there will be a more co-operative attitude to

:48:42.:48:47.

coalition growth. There will be some deregulation and maybe some

:48:47.:48:53.

things to promote infrastructural spending. Like project bonds for

:48:53.:48:58.

Britain. I think what is is interesting, Vince is out of tune

:48:58.:49:02.

with the mood music that Nick Clegg is pushing. It will be interesting

:49:02.:49:06.

to see if Clegg pushes Cable back and bit and tries to take on on

:49:06.:49:14.

some of the things in Beecroft. When you mention the Beecroft

:49:14.:49:18.

report, you get this reaction from the Liberal Democrats now.

:49:19.:49:24.

Helen, we were talking about chillax, about how hard the Prime

:49:24.:49:29.

Minister is working. A bit unfortunate. At one time it was to

:49:29.:49:37.

his advantage to look like a normal bloke. You heard William Hague

:49:38.:49:47.
:49:48.:49:48.

saying bosses must work hard. You hear about him him playing Fruit

:49:48.:49:51.

Ninja and having a nap. People don't work at their best when they

:49:51.:49:54.

are spending all hours of the day. On the other hand, I think for him,

:49:54.:50:01.

this has been an image problem. Has it become an image problem,

:50:01.:50:06.

James? People are thinking he is complacent or is it a timing issue?

:50:06.:50:10.

There is a perception problem. Our attitudes to politicians is

:50:11.:50:14.

contradictory. We want them to be well-balanced normal people with a

:50:14.:50:19.

family life and want them to work 24/7 and strain every sinew, but

:50:19.:50:22.

there is an issue that, Cameron needs to do more to show that he is

:50:23.:50:27.

getting a grip and it comes back to this competence question which has

:50:27.:50:32.

been rolling and riling in the coalition in the last few months.

:50:32.:50:38.

Now, just time before we go to give you the results of our caption

:50:38.:50:43.

competition. This was the picture and here are some of our favourites.

:50:43.:50:50.

I did love these! From Calum May, "Word leaders await

:50:50.:50:58.

the election results.". David Cameron comes in on top in G8 Fruit

:50:58.:51:06.

Ninja knockout. Angela Merkel a distant seventh. Trevor Ottaway,

:51:06.:51:15.

"Put your hand up if you are a posh boy." Rich Williams, "Joy for

:51:15.:51:20.

Cameron as Boris gets run over by a new Routemaster bus.". What do you

:51:20.:51:25.

think? I was worried about how many Tottenham Hotspur fans weren't

:51:26.:51:29.

happy because they were looking for another result. We have got to

:51:29.:51:32.

expect politicians to relax. Prime Ministers need to relax. People

:51:32.:51:38.

need them to relax in order to make the right decisions tor the country.

:51:38.:51:42.

-- doctor the country. What do you think? The only thought

:51:42.:51:46.

I was was maybe Theresa May had booked the return tickets back to

:51:46.:51:50.

the UK and they got an extra day out of it!

:51:50.:51:56.

Very good. Very good. I was going to go with the Fruit Ninja. Showing

:51:56.:51:59.

that football match, you know, with Cameron and Merkel sort of standing

:51:59.:52:07.

next to each other, perhaps was not the best thing for the entente

:52:07.:52:12.

cordiale, but it is only a game! On the entente cordiale, we spoke

:52:12.:52:16.

to the two journalists about the situation in the eurozone. Do you

:52:16.:52:19.

think David Cameron's strategy of standing outside the euro and

:52:19.:52:24.

trying to tell them what to do now is going to do anything? I think it

:52:24.:52:27.

is the right approach. Britain's not in the eurozone and we are

:52:27.:52:31.

approaching a crisis point. We are in the middle of a crisis. We need

:52:31.:52:35.

to do everything we can to get the eurozone stabilised and he is right

:52:35.:52:39.

to say what he is saying and the most important thing is we need to

:52:39.:52:42.

protect Britain's national interests and be prepared for any

:52:42.:52:45.

eventuality. How can they protect the national

:52:45.:52:49.

interests? On the broad point, Britain is an outward facing

:52:49.:52:52.

country. We need to be continuing to drive exports to emerging

:52:52.:52:56.

economies. Well, that's long-term. What can

:52:56.:53:01.

they do now? If Greece drops out of the euro and there is a run on the

:53:01.:53:06.

banks or the pressure on Spain. What can Britain... The eurozone

:53:06.:53:11.

countries need to ensure that we have a correct firewall to prevent

:53:11.:53:15.

con tainlg oon, -- contagion, but we need to be preparing for all

:53:15.:53:20.

eventualities. The problem is, you can't do any of

:53:20.:53:26.

this stuff without growth. You are seeing the reaction in the UK as

:53:26.:53:31.

well. That's not going to save Greece either, is it? We should be

:53:31.:53:35.

doing all we can to keep Greece in the euro and it would be easier if

:53:35.:53:39.

David Cameron was around the table leading as in 2008 when we had the

:53:39.:53:43.

last big financial crisis rather than standing on the edge of Dover

:53:43.:53:48.

and shouting across insults. Is that what the Liberal Democrats

:53:48.:53:55.

want to see, David Cameron shouting at the European counterparts?

:53:55.:54:00.

with the G8 doing as much as he can to try to encourage the right

:54:00.:54:03.

result in Europe. What is the right result, Greece

:54:03.:54:07.

staying in or Greece going out? Well, it is difficult. I would

:54:07.:54:13.

suggest it is Greece staying in. Why? Why? Because as far as

:54:13.:54:18.

Britain's interests are concerned, 60% of our exports and our trade is

:54:18.:54:21.

with Europe. But what difference Greece being in

:54:21.:54:27.

or out make? I think because if you get a collapse then that's going to

:54:27.:54:32.

have very bad repercussions. Greece won be able to buy our -- won't be

:54:32.:54:37.

able to buy our products and the whole thing is in danger of

:54:37.:54:42.

actually collapsing. You are saying David Cameron and

:54:42.:54:46.

privately, the leadership would like Greece to go? It is not in

:54:46.:54:49.

Britain's national interest for there to be a disorderly default

:54:49.:54:53.

from Greece. It is not in anyone's interests so we need to be working

:54:53.:54:56.

in our position, not part of the eurozone, but as a key influence

:54:56.:55:01.

and player to ensure that a solution is found. However, we need

:55:01.:55:05.

to be preparing as a responsible Government should do, for all

:55:05.:55:09.

eventualities in relation to the Greek situation given the

:55:09.:55:13.

volatility and the elections. The subject of growth has come up,

:55:13.:55:16.

you know, here with the Beecroft proposals that will come out this

:55:16.:55:21.

week. Do you agree with the main thrust of them? Would you like to

:55:21.:55:27.

see those come into place? should be looking at deregulation

:55:27.:55:31.

in that particular area. I mean I ran two small businesses before I

:55:31.:55:36.

got into Parliament. I know the difficulties of take on people. The

:55:36.:55:40.

amount of effort you need to put in to take on people. We need to sure

:55:40.:55:45.

we look at these proposals. We need to create more private sector jobs

:55:45.:55:47.

to get the growth that everybody wants.

:55:47.:55:51.

Only with this Government, the way to boost employment is to make it

:55:51.:55:57.

easier to sack people. There isn't business confidence.

:55:57.:56:01.

Do you agree with James and with a lot of Tory MPs that deregulation

:56:01.:56:06.

is what is needed and making it easier to hire and fire people is

:56:06.:56:11.

what is needed? There is a lot of stuff in Beecroft which is fine. I

:56:11.:56:17.

have had my own businesses as well, as well as having an HR background

:56:17.:56:22.

and I don't think anybody ever worked harder or or more

:56:23.:56:26.

productively because they were under threat of having the sack.

:56:26.:56:29.

Nobody is arguing for fire at will. Anybody who has run a small

:56:29.:56:33.

business will know one of the first things you need to do is create a

:56:33.:56:36.

good cull do you remember in your company -- culture in your company.

:56:36.:56:41.

One of the problems with employment law it created unintended

:56:41.:56:45.

circumstances and that has held British small business back.

:56:45.:56:50.

We are doing that already with with a lot of the legislation, there

:56:50.:56:56.

will be more con sillation before this aspect starts to kick in now.

:56:56.:57:01.

He is talk being growth and this is getting private sector employment,

:57:01.:57:05.

stimulating enterprise is how we're going to grow the economy and he is

:57:05.:57:14.

silent on what his plans would be. Where is the growth? Ellesmere Port,

:57:14.:57:20.

motor manufacturing is booming. all the the factors and measures of

:57:20.:57:25.

the economy, yes, there is is not growth. There hasn't been.

:57:25.:57:30.

Unemployment fell last week. Gavin is not welcoming the fact there has

:57:30.:57:33.

been huge investment in manufacturing in Ellesmere Port.

:57:33.:57:37.

Do you agree with Vince Cable that it is bonkers to be looking at fire

:57:37.:57:42.

at will and no fault dismissal. I can't see how it would help. It

:57:42.:57:45.

would hinder the situation and lot of the stuff that we are bringing

:57:45.:57:49.

in will really be the helping factor for business and for people

:57:49.:57:52.

as well. It has to be a balance there.

:57:52.:57:56.

We're going to be glutons for punishment and go back to the to

:57:56.:58:04.

the caption. Let's look at that picture from the G8 Summit. Nick

:58:04.:58:11.

says, "Tony Blair's return to front-line politics will the USA.".

:58:11.:58:18.

Ian, "The euro suffers another slide against the pound." "English

:58:18.:58:28.
:58:28.:58:29.

football hooligan breaks into G8 Summit.". Which one? The first one.

:58:29.:58:32.

The leaders wait for the election result.

:58:32.:58:38.

I have thought thought - Gordon Brown makes a surprise appearance.

:58:38.:58:41.

Thank you to our guests and the One O'Clock News is starting over on

:58:41.:58:45.

Jo Coburn is joined by Lord Owen as the guest of the day. They discuss the Nato summit in Chicago and government plans to cut red tape for employers.

We also look at Lord Owen's former party the SDP and if there are any parallels for the Lib Dems now with calls for them to consider a future relationship with Labour after the next election.

In the second half of the programme Jo looks ahead to the coming week in parliament, and is joined by a panel of MPs.


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