24/05/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, folks. Welcome to the Daily Politics. European


leaders and another summit in Brussels deciding they will


postpone any decisions until yet another summit next month. The line


is that they want Greece to stay in the eurozone but behind closed


doors they are making preparations for an exit and squabbling over


what they will do to get growth. Culture secretary Jeremy Hunt is


back in the spotlight at the Leveson Inquiry today, with


evidence being heard from his former special adviser over News


Corp's bid for BSkyB. Petrol prices are still sky-high.


Short George Osborne plan -- should George Osborne postpone any planned


increase in fuel duty? New Government plans to block porn


sites. Our parents or internet providers responsible for what we


see online? The alternative is that the Government decides what we all


see online, which is a very dangerous step to take.


That is coming up in the next hour. For the duration, part-time judge,


barrister, writer, Constance Briscoe is with us. Welcome back.


Before we get back to the latest from the Leveson Inquiry, let's


start on a story that was supposed to have happened today but has been


postponed until next week. Justice Secretary Ken Clarke was supposed


to publish the new security and justice bill today, which would


include plans to allow some civil court hearings and crucial inquests


to be held in secret, behind closed doors, where material considered


could be damaging to national security. But we are told there has


been some last-minute wrangling inside the coalition. Who would


have thought of that?! Where do you stand on this? Is there a case for


some things involving security services where secret information


is going to be presented to the court, that it should happen behind


closed doors? Well, I'm not quite sure what is being proposed at the


moment. Certainly in the criminal courts, we have a system whereby if


there is sensitive material, it can be heard with a judge. We have a


public interest immunity system, so if there is an issue that might


affect national security or compromise a criminal trial of the


investigation, the judge can here that material. What is proposed at


the moment is quite different. What is being proposed is that instead


of the judge saying that this material is sensitive and I am


going to look at it, in the comfort of his room or whatever, the


proposal at the moment is that it is the minister who will be closing


the doors of the court. We need to be very clear in relation to what


is going on. We have a public interest immunity system and it


works perfectly well. And I am not entirely sure whether what is


proposed is really a way of preventing embarrassment to the


Government or closing the doors when they don't like the material


that is available. And the responsibility really should remain


with judges, who are completely impartial and used to the procedure


that we have at the moment. I think some people are suspicious because


they said it would involve inquests, and it has been through inquests,


particularly coroner's inquests, that we found out things of


soldiers dying in Afghanistan, equipment not being right, things


that the establishment did not want us to know. Absolutely. This all


developed because the Government is absolutely clear that they do not


want MI5 or MI6 persons to be able to give evidence in court. And


there is pressure from the state that secret intelligence remains


secret. You can understand that. do. But I recall that it was the


information from the state, last week or the week before, about the


double agent, the English double agent with the special... In the


Yemen, yes, absolutely. I do think it is a fundamental principle in


this country that justice must be open, and we are entitled to know


who our accuses art and why it is, for example, that we are behind


bars. -- who accuses us. And the judge can take immunity into


account? It works perfectly well and we do not need what is now


proposed. Namely that the minister closes the door of the court, that


is unacceptable. Thank you. That is clear and we will see what happens


as they are still fighting. For a change! We will not fight about the


daily quiz. Who described the Prime Minister as quite volatile


yesterday? Ed Balls, Vince Cable, at Norman Lamont, or Nick Clegg? At


the end of the show, Constance Briscoe will give us the correct


answer, I hope. I heard him say it. From the horse's mouth? I heard it


live but I don't think you should call him a horse! The 18th Brussels


summit of European leaders in two years, excluding a separate ones


that they have just had with the eurozone leaders, 18 in two years.


Mr Cameron has gone to them but there is still no sign of a


concrete plan for sorting out the eurozone. Last night's meeting in


Brussels, six hours with dinner, of course, produced another bland


statement that Greece should stay in. But Germany and France cannot


agree on how to get the eurozone growing again. There were


skirmishes between David Cameron and Francois Hollande over attacks


on the City, which the French President wants to use to raise


extra funds to pay for his growth measures. Bring us up to speed, Jo,


if there was any speed. You cannot do the summer on an empty stomach!


The euro saga rolls on. The latest instalment was yesterday evening


when European leaders met during an informal summit to discuss the


crisis. The new French President Francois Hollande is trying to push


the leaders away from austerity measures and move towards spending


on infrastructure projects to try to kick-start growth. There is


disagreement on how to pay for it. Angela Merkel is under pressure to


agree to eurobonds, which were basically mean borrowing would be


collectively guaranteed by all the eurozone countries. This would


lower the cost for most countries, but increase it for Germany. Angela


Merkel is also worried it would let those that spent too much of the


hot, and stop them getting their finances in order. -- off the hook.


David Cameron says that he supports the idea of eurobonds but he is


under some pressure himself. There are reports that European leaders


tried to push the Prime Minister to implement a financial transactions


tax, and he has reacted angrily to the proposals, saying it will put


up the cost of insurance, pensions, and will cost many jobs. These


issues will be looked at further during a formal summit in June.


However, the prospect of Greece having to leave the euro is being


openly discussed by the leaders now. This afternoon, the Deputy Prime


Minister will give a speech in Germany. He will say that Greece


exiting the euro is something that no rational person would want. He


argues that as Europeans, our response to this growing crisis has


been woefully fragmented and we have failed on a number of fronts.


Thank you. We are joined by the shadow Europe minister, Emma


Reynolds. And from Strasbourg, the Conservative MEP, Martin Callanan,


who leads the Conservatives and the reformists group in the European


Parliament. Welcome to you both. David Cameron seems to support the


idea of eurobonds. Do? I think it is a matter for the eurozone


countries themselves to decide. What is your opinion? I don't think


they will ever agree to it. As yourself the question, can you see


the Germans agreeing to spend another �40 billion a year on


interest payments alone, having their credit rating downgraded, to


support Greece and Portugal? I certainly can't. I don't think they


will agree to it, having spoken to senior politicians. Anna Reynolds,


does Labour support the idea of eurobonds for the eurozone? -- Emma


Reynolds. We are in favour of eurobonds. It is clear that the


German economy has benefited from exchange rates, meaning that


exports have been cheaper and more successful. Germany has benefited


and at some stage I think they might change their position because


the Social Democrats in Germany, he was doing very well in regional


elections, are more favourable to the eurobonds. They are more


favourable but rather in favour of them? Well, they are, the


leadership is in favour of them. I heard another voice against, so


that is an open question. Saying that Germany would underwrite the


dead of Italy, Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain. How would that


work? Pooling of risk. Det neutralisation. Can you win an


election on that? We have to admit that it is difficult for any German


politician. But they have benefited from the single currency. The


German Government has to do more to recognise what Francois Hollande


has been saying since the got elected and before, that there has


to be an emphasis on growth. -- since he got elected. But people


are talking about growth in different terms. It is not likely


to happen. Do you support Nick Clegg's view that no rational


person would support Greece leaving the euro? In other words, if you


think Greece should leave the euro, you are bonkers! I did, actually, I


think he is wrong. I think he was wrong when he supported the UK


joining the euro in the first place, it so we cannot take his advice


right now. Across the European Parliament, an increasing number of


people are now accepting that Greece will leave the euro. They


cannot put up with another eight years of grinding austerity, and


even then they will only have a debt pile the same as Italy. There


has to be massive fiscal transfer, which will not happen, I don't


think. We have to get on with it. The uncertainty is damaging for


business, Britain, and the rest of Europe. I think the markets have


priced in a Greek exit. I think it is better for them in the long run.


In the short term it will be painful but in the long run it is


better for the European economy and we should get the difficult


decisions over with now. The council should be talking about how


this can be done in an orderly and progressive manner. Does Labour


support group staying in or leaving? We would prefer that


Greece stay in the euro. There are great risks. In Spain, borrowing


costs are already going up. And not at all certain that if Greece were


to leave, that there would not be a contagion effect. Spain is the 4th


largest eurozone economy. banking systems are in trouble.


So if they stay in, it should we do the deal with severe conditions for


the bail-out, which is the price of membership? Right fully, they are


conditions to a bail-out. We think there should have been more


influenza early on to help them get back to growth and cut down the


deficit. -- more influence. should Greece pay the price of that


membership, or do you agree with the left-wing politicians in Greece,


saying that they want to stay in but they will not pay that price?


think they do have to pay a price of membership of the euro. I think


that is clear. I think what the hard Left leader is doing, is


saying to Angela Merkel and others, if he wins and forms a Government,


that they want some renegotiation. It remains to be seen whether


Chancellor Merkel will go anywhere near that. It is not even clear


that Hollande is prepared to renegotiate with Greece. No, it is


not clear. And if they vote for this chap, then it is a vote to


leave, isn't it? That is what some Prime Ministers and politicians are


saying, including David Cameron. What do you say? I think it is up


to the Greek people to decide what Government they want. If the hard


left was to form a majority Government in coalition with others,


then there would have to be negotiation between the new Prime


Minister and the European leadership, and I don't think we


should try to dictate to the Greek people have to vote or otherwise.


But I certainly think it would be much more difficult if the hard


left wing. Speaking of how to vote, what do you make of the UK


Independence Party proposal for joint candidates at the next


election? How does that grab you? think we should stand as


Conservative candidates across the UK and I am sure people will want


to do that. The UK Independence Party will want to plough their own


furrow and use that own policies. If you had the staunch euro-sceptic


Conservative, like yourself, standing in a seat where without UK


Independence Party votes you might win, what would be wrong with that?


Given that you both agree on of the referendum and have an anti-


European attitude, why shouldn't you have a joint ticket? I think it


is very difficult to do in practice. They are different party


organisations. While we agree on some points, we disagree on others.


We need to demonstrate to their supporters, that voting for one of


their candidates, who might get five or 6% of the vote, that will


actually get Emma Reynolds into Government! They are opposed to EU


legislation, and that is the consequence of voting for the UK


Independence Party. Where do you disagree with the UK Independence


Party? I don't believe that we should leave the European Union. I


think there is hope in renegotiating our membership and we


benefit from the single market. We want to get rid of the excess


legislation, that I was talking about. But if you tried to


renegotiate and failed, would you want to leave? I think there are a


lot of hypothetical questions in that. Just one! It is just one. If


you failed to renegotiate, would you leave? If we renegotiated and


employment legislation, if we renegotiated our budgets level,


then there are lots of ifs. Let's see what we come out with and take


the view. I think that should be put to the British people, by the


way, taking a view on how successful the renegotiations have


been. Then we can see whether we want to bear the good things about


membership and the bad things, which is what we always have to


take into account. I think we will Where you stand? I'm even more


confused as to what has been proposed. I'm in flux and confusion.


You should do this show every day! I will give you the final word.


Conservative Party is all over the place on Europe. You have got


Martin saying there should be renegotiation... Do you want a


referendum? Our position hasn't changed. Are you in favour or


against? By came on your show in October the and said I think it's a


distraction. The British government needs to focus on jobs. You rule


out a referendum? And not forever, but at the moment the focus should


be on getting the economy growing. Maybe you could draw one up for the


next Labour Party manifesto. have no plans for that. You know


what happens with politicians. Michael Heseltine said he had no


plans to run against Margaret Thatcher. You are keeping the door


open. We think membership of the EU... Are I was talking about... Do


you rule out that the next Labour manifesto could promise the British


people a referendum? I'm not writing the next manifesto. I will


not write it on your show. won't answer the question? We are


not in favour of a referendum. you answer the question... We are


not in favour of a referendum. we don't really know. I thought


someone said they were! He is not on the front bench. They are all


all over the place. We have to thank you very much. The


What did Jeremy Hunt know and what did he say? That's the question


today as the Leveson Inquiry looks at the emails between the Culture


Secretary's team and Rupert Murdoch's media empire in the run-


up to the attempted takeover of BSkyB. Mr Smith, who resigned after


his emails were published by the inquiry, is due to give evidence


this afternoon. Mr Michel has been questioned this morning. In the


last hour, he was asked whether he thought Adam Smith spoke with


Jeremy Hunt's authority when they The day and for me, it is self-


evident. A special adviser is someone who


represents the Secretary of State, that is what they are there for.


When they interact across the policy community or with anyone. I


would have to assume that a special adviser, and there are not many


around the Secretary of State, two in this case can't always


represented the view of their boss. They were representing their boss,


that is absolutely true, and constitutionally it is self-evident,


but I suppose I'm asking you about the last part of it and after


having conferred with him. Is that just under Sumsion you are making


or do you have evidence? -- an assumption. It is a general


assumption by making. -- I am making. There are two of three


events where I probably had the impression that some of the


feedback I was being given had been discussed with the Secretary of


State before it was given to me. Mike Sergeant joins us. Doesn't


this go to the very heart of the allegations against Jeremy Hunt? As


he said, to walk free events, the impression he got was that that


Feedback had been discussed with the Secretary of State. Adam Smith


was operating with the knowledge of Jeremy Hunt. Yes, clearly that is


the question and that is what Fred Michel has been questioned at


length about today at the Leveson Inquiry. He was referring to two or


three instances where he felt Jeremy Hunt's views were being


relaid, but that is just two or three occasions within a whole


bunch of communications, 191 phone calls, 158 e-mails, 799 text


messages with Adam Smith. On each occasion, Fred Michel is under


pressure to describe to what extent were Jeremy Hunt's views accurately


be reflected and when Mr Michell was being asked directly what were


Mr Hunt's views on the BSkyB bid, he said he did not know whether


Jeremy Hunt was in favour, he said he thought Mr Hunt was keeping an


open mind on whether NewsCorp should take full control. That


slightly contradicts, when you look at the e-mails between Fred Michel


and Adam Smith, how he could have succumbed to that assumption when


they talked positively about the BSkyB bid. But Fred Michel denies


exaggerating his relationship with Jeremy Hunt and his special adviser.


Yes. He was asked repeatedly whether he was exaggerating his


level of influence, exactly what had been relayed to him and he said


there were one or two instances when he was talking things up, to


keep up morale within NewsCorp, but that was before the oversight for


the bid had been transferred to Jeremy Hunt. After that, he felt


there were no inappropriate contacts. He felt that when he was


talking about J H in those e-mails, he was in fact reflecting the wider


views of the Office of Jeremy Hunt, including his special adviser, and


he makes the point that he was contacted by it text message with


the Office of Jeremy Hunt that direct contact with him could not


continue and he said he understood that. From then on he was dealing


with a special adviser and he thought that was OK.


We've been joined by the Conservative MP John Whittingdale,


who chairs Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.


Let's pick up on that point. What impression did you get from that


evidence, particularly that peace we've just shown? He got the


impression that the special adviser, Adam Smith, had discussed the


information previously with Jeremy Hunt. From what I've seen this


morning, everything Fred Michel said bears out Jeremy Hunt's


account of what happened. That doesn't. Jeremy Hunt said that Adam


Smith had been authorised by the department to act as the channel of


communication. It is not that surprising that there was a lot of


contact between Fred Michel and Adam Smith. But what Adam Smith


said may not be precisely as reported by Fred Michel. We need to


wait and see what Adam Smith says. Fred Michel wants to impress his


boss, demonstrate what an effective lobbyist tears. For a channel of


communication, yes, granted, but it is the relationship between the


special adviser and the Secretary of State acting on Jeremy Hunt's


wishes. That is the impression you come away with. In that instance,


if Adam Smith has resigned and he was only doing his boss's bidding,


where does that leave Jeremy Hunt? We need to hear from the Adam Smith.


I would like to see the actual communications Adam Smith may have


centred Fred Michel and then compare them. I think you might


find that Fred Michel's account of what he was getting from Adam Smith


may be rather exaggerated or at least putting a slant on it. But he


has denied it. He said he contextualised some of it, but it


was not exaggerated, it was a fair reflection. We will hear from Adam


Smith this afternoon. What I hope we will see is not hear from Adam


Smith, I hope we will be able to see Adam Smith's Communications and


then it will be playing for anybody to judge. Is it appropriate have


come and I can't remember the exact words, at 799 text messages,


hundreds of e-mails and text messages, between a special adviser


and a lobbyist, a special adviser very close to Jeremy Hunt, who


could not possibly have missed that this amount of communication was


going on, when they were looking over the BSkyB bid? I want to see


the context and the content of those communications. You don't


think the number... Michel's job was to say to his boss, I am in


regular contact. I suspect a lot of those will have been Fred Mitchell


e-mails Darren Smith, possibly not even replied to. -- Adam Smith. I


have received a lot of e-mails from Fred Michel in the past.


permanent secretary told the minister it would be inappropriate


to have further contact because of his quasi-judicial role, but he


made his special adviser the point of contact, not even a civil


servant. The special adviser is then involved in 1,000 text


messages, 350 calls and e-mails having been told they should be no


contact. He should be told they should be no direct contact between


the Secretary of State and NewsCorp. He appointed a surrogate. It is


normal practice that there should be a channel of communication.


communication between Mr Hunt's office and those opposed to the


BSkyB takeover. I was told that Vince Cable's special adviser had a


similar role when Vince Cable was in charge of determined the


decision. Obviously there has to be some kind of channel of


communication. Whether it was right to appoint a special adviser is a


different question. There's no record of anything like 1,000 e-


mails and text messages to those opposed to it. Why was it a one-way


briefing? Fears a negotiation that takes place. There's a legal


requirement that a company which is examined by the regulator should


then have an opportunity to make representations on the basis of the


recommendations made by the regulator. That is standard


practice. What is interesting, and carrying on from what Andrew said,


is that Fred Michel admitted in the evidence that he did not have much


chance to make representations to Vince Cable, implying he therefore


stopped and switched his attentions to where he felt he was getting a


better hearing. Isn't it that that will land Jeremy Hunt in trouble?


Vince Cable, we know, was hostile to the bid, that is why it was


taken away from him. It may be at that time that Fred Michel wanted


to communicate with Jeremy Hunt's office and Jeremy Hunt at that


stage had no involvement. Once Jeremy Hunt was given the job, he


rightly said he can't communicate with them any longer, but there was


a channel of communication. We will content of that communication was.


Then we can reach a judgement. seems that Adam Smith has resigned


to protect his boss. He was carrying out the will of his boss


and he has resigned. At the moment, there's this huge circle as to did


he or didn't he know. Communication is a two-way thing. The ordinary


person in the Street might say that if Adam Smith has resigned, his


boss may be accountable. I think Adam Smith said when he resigned


that he accepted that on some occasions he had overstepped, he


had gone too far in what he said an maybe volume and frequency was too


great. He accepts that perhaps he went further than he was authorised


to do, but the fact that he was having those communications was


accepted and authorised by the Department and the Secretary of


State. Briefly, before we end this, we have also had news that Sir


Jeremy Heywood has now said that he expected David Cameron to seek his


advice after the Leveson appearance, there would be more questions to


answer. He was unaware of the nature of the apparent back channel


dealings between Adam Smith and the News Corporation executive Fred


Michel. We know that the permanent secretary in the DCMS was aware and


agreed with it. He was aware, he was not keen to say he agreed.


understand he would said he was made fully aware and was content.


Jeremy Heywood was not happy. It is one of these white all


weaselly words. Content is one of these words that can mean anything.


We will probably have an opportunity to ask Jonathan


Stephens when he next comes before the committee. He has said he


agrees with the Secretary of State's account, which is that he


was happy with the arrangement. That is the principle of collective


responsibility, does it apply to Adam Smith and his boss? If Adam


Smith was acting directly on the orders of his boss, obviously...


just what special advisers are supposed to do. He did go further


than he was authorised and there was why he decided to resign.


There's a bigger question about the job of special advisers. I was a


special adviser a long time ago in the Department of Trade and


Industry and the one area I did not get involved in was competition


policy because that was a political. But the role of special advisers


has changed over the last few years and perhaps we need to look at that


I am content to move on to another matter, but I have not necessarily


agree to it! I am also content to welcome viewers from Scotland,


watching First Minister's Questions at Holyrood, now joining us on


Daily Politics live from Westminster. Our first question is,


how do you get more women into top jobs? It is an age-old question and


when it comes to the legal profession, the Ministry of Justice


has been sharing its own ideas on how to create a more diverse


judiciary. But lawyers is not the only sector where women are less


They make up more than half the British population, but when it


comes to who is in the top jobs, women rarely come close to hitting


the 50% mark, apart from a few exceptions. When it comes to


Supreme Court Justices, the figures plummet. In 2011, just 9% of


justices at the highest court in the land for women, and at the


moment only one woman is employed to sit in that seat. Just as Ben


Ali has been outlining plans to get more women and ethnic minorities


into those seeds. -- Lord McNally. Government cuts to criminal and


family law where women tend to work, is having the opposite effect.


result of publicly-funded cuts over 15 years, at the bar, we have a


huge retention problem in relation to our women. It is rather sad.


When we look at the number of black and minority ethnic that of women


entering the profession taking the exams, we are almost equal and it


is much higher when it comes to a thing minorities. This is another


place where women and the senior ranks are low. Just 22% of MPs


positions are filled by women. There is a woman who did reach the


top of British politics. But David Cameron's Cabinet has just five


women at the table, which is a far cry from the new French President's


line-up. This gender equality campaigner tells me that the only


answer is to give women a leg-up. We have waited 100 years for


equality in Parliament and I think it is time that unless we accept


that we have to open the doors to let women come in, we are not going


to get the change that we need. What we have got women there, we


can allow that change to be more sustainable and it would just be a


short-term solution. Respect and deference are two different things,


sir. In the world of law, change has come to our TV scenes. -- TV


screens. The latest drama shows a woman rising above her male


counterparts. But if life is to imitate art, do women need to be


bushier? They do not have to be more pushy, they have to be more


forceful and determined, I think. I was the first female Asian Queen's


counsel appointed in the United Kingdom. I have two children.


Therefore I managed to do it but I had to make sacrifices in relation


to my children, such as when I was there when they grow up, and I was


not for most of the time. You have to be really determined about what


you want. So when in need to work harder if these numbers are to rise.


-- women need to work harder. But do men have to level the playing


field? When you go into the big legal


offices in London, the international offices, or in New


York, their role women everywhere in the top jobs. Yes. -- there are


women everywhere. I suspect they are solicitors rather than


barristers. But hasn't the legal profession done reasonably well on


the gender balance? I wouldn't say so. Because? In terms of gender


balance at the very bottom, at entry level, they are quite a lot


of women. As you go up the pyramid, they fall away, and I am afraid


that in the top jobs at the top of the pyramid, they are very few


women. By the top jobs, you mean the judges? The Supreme Court, the


judges. Top barristers? Very few women. Given that they are coming


out of university and going into the profession, but they don't make


it to the top, why is that? There are a number of reasons. The first


is, I suppose, that those that take the decisions do not select women.


It has often been suggested that we have a difficult task. We have


ovaries, therefore we are going to have children, and then we will


take time out. So it is men selecting men? Well, I think it is


men selecting men. I know this may be controversial, but when I first


came to the Bar in 1983, I was told in very clear terms, that there


would be a trickle-down of diversity and quality and all I had


to do was wait. I have been waiting for the best part of 30 years and


that trickle-down equality has not trickled down to me and people like


me and women. I very much regret to say that I doubt very much whether


it will trickle down. I think we pay too much lip-service to


equality and more women in top jobs. It simply does not happen. We are


probably in the same position that we were in 1987. Not much is done.


We talk it up and we have interesting debates about it. Do we


actually put women in top positions? Of course we don't. And


then we say, you know, it is the women. They don't want the top jobs.


We are happy to give it to them but they just will not take it.


parliamentary briefing paper that we looked at for this said that


women have registered some progress in the legal profession. 9%? Moving


from 37% in 2001-45% working as solicitors, lawyers, judges and


coroners in 2010. -- up to 45%. then when you get up the pyramid,


it is 9% of judges in the Supreme Court? It is. That is quite


interesting. It bears out the point you are making. But now we have a


profession in which 45%, almost equality, are working as solicitors,


lawyers, judges and coroners. Surely that 9% changes over time.


There is a much bigger base. much time does one need for it to


change? I came to the Bar in 1983. The change from 1983 to now was not


significant at all. If you look at the amount of women coming into the


profession, yes, that has increased. But as you go up to top judges,


there has been no progress. How many minorities are there? How many


women? How many minorities in the Court of Appeal? Very few. But they


are all ancient in the Supreme Court. In a Thwaite, they reflect


the legal profession the way it was 30 years ago. -- in a way. And the


way it is. 10% of barristers are now from ethnic minorities. That is


about the ratio in the country, isn't it? 10%? About that, yes.


lot more in London, but as an average of the country. Barristers


kind of reflect that. This barrister's kind of reflected. --


yes, barristers kind of reflect that. My son wanted to go to the


Bar as a barrister. We discussed it. He is not coming, thank goodness!


Are you not supporting your industry? No way will we tolerate


that. He is going straight to the City! My daughter wanted to be a


barrister and we had another discussion about that. She is not


coming, thank goodness. She is going to the City. There is a


better chance of progress and getting to the top than at the bar.


I have been working for 30 years and I do not want my children to


wait for 30 years. That is not going to happen. Take that!


City can welcome them with open arms. Online pornography, how to


stop your children accidentally stumbling across it and seeking it


out as they get older is a challenge for any parent with the


computer and internet connection. In an attempt to tackle this, the


Government is going to consider introducing new filters, which


would block adult material as a default. But Nick Pickles from Big


Brother Watch does not think this is a good idea.


Parents are always worried about what their children are up to, and


how to make sure that, when they are in their bedroom and out with


friends, they are safe. And the internet brings new challenges.


Parents need to make sure their children are not seeing something


appropriate and that they are safe online. I put forward a default


block on any content that is deemed inappropriate, from pornography to


gambling websites. I really do not Since 2008, there have been two


Major Government reviews into how we keep children safe online. Both


of these reviews rejected the idea of a default filter and actually


focused on the idea of parents being able to talk to their


children and making informed decisions themselves. In the USA,


the White House's chief technical expert rejected blocking because it


would introduce a new security risks to the internet and in


Holland, internet service providers introduced the system, only to


abandon it when it did not work. And Ofcom have concluded that


blocks are trivial to circumvent and not with implementing in the


first place. -- not worth implementing. Yes, more does need


to be done, but technology is not a substitute for parenting. When you


buy a new PC and have broadband installed, you should be given a


simple choice about whether you want to install controls. They


should be a straightforward helpline for parents. But this is


already happening. Ultimately it is for parents to decide what their


children look at online. The alternative is that the Government


decides what we can all see online, and that is a very, very dangerous


step to take. In the studio with me is Nick


Pickles and the Conservative MP Claire Perry, who chaired the


parliamentary inquiry into online child protection. Can I start with


you? As part of the research, how easy is it to access pornography?


From a child's perspective? The way we are supposed to protect our


families now is to download filters on to every internet enabled device.


You download protection on to everything, which the internet


service provider is keen for you to do, and they provide filters for


free. It is the parent's responsibility to keep their child


safe, and that extends to the internet world, absolutely. The


problem is that less than four out of 10 of parents by using those


filters. 50% of parents say that their children know more about the


internet than they do. We have got to the situation where millions of


children are accessing things, but not just pornography, anorexia


sides, suicide sides, self-harm. And it is easy to do. Is it


damaging and do people care? We asked that question, and 83% of


people are really worried about how easy it is to access online adult


material. How effective would filters actually be? You have said


it yourself, and I know from my experience, my children are very


computer-literate. They are going to find ways round it. Not if they


are looking for pornography, but they will find their way around


Fildes. Young children stumble across it when they are typing in


the innocent search term, and then the older children who are curious


about sexuality. It was ever thus. The problem with the current set-up,


is they have to go on every device, and in some houses that is up to 17.


And they are relatively easy to circumvent. And public Wi-Fi is


relatively free of filters. This idea of an opt-in, where you choose


to get the adult material, but the default setting is free from adult


material, that is a much safer option. What is wrong with that


plan? A before you get to the choice of opting in or out, someone


has to decide what is blocked. I agree fully with the Foreign


Secretary, that this is not something the Government should be


doing. Britain is leading the world in campaigning for a free and open


internet and the benefits that have brought. But at the same time, we


are having this debate. Is it any wonder that last year the Chinese


state media praise Britain for controlling the internet as a new


opportunity for the world? This is about censorship at the end of the


day. Do you not accept the damage that it does to children? That you


are putting an automatic block on pornography sites, so how is that


censorship? There are two points there. By now, mobile phone


operators are blocking the BNP's website as part of their child


protection. -- right now. Whatever we think of that, it is not


pornography, and do we want the Government making that same view?


If you buy a device, it should be prompted, and more effort should be


made by suppliers. Parents should have a simpler way of getting


support. But if you make those choices on your devices, it is up


to you. We reject that. If there was censorship, the watershed would


be censored. You have to opt in to get adult contact on your website.


And the BNP website! That is why you need to have human intelligence


around filters. And it is brilliant that we are talking about this


problem. Finally it is on the Daily Politics. 60 websites have been


blocked in the first quarter, and that was not right. Millions and


millions of websites, with arguably very degrading and damaging


pornographic material, because it is not borne as we knew it that we


are worried about, it is the degrading and extreme stuff. --


porn. We know that the current system is not working. Our children


are accessing stuff with these are known, social, long-term


consequences. -- unknown. We should bring this in, because we have six


out of 10 of people supporting it. There is a difference between


popular support for control and the Government mandated a list of


websites. Your report calls for Government consultation into a


network filter across the whole of the UK and the Government should


consider introducing VAT. That is a Government led website control.


me just continue. The current filtering technology is provided by


all of the internet service providers and is installed on every


lap top, that already has definitions of what is and is not


acceptable and we would use that You have got children. Would some


sort of block, adopting, would that be so wrong? Can I just say before


I answer that question that it must be of grave concern that a minister


is going to dictate to the British citizens what they can and can't


access on the internet. I don't think that is what we are proposing.


I don't think that a minister should be getting involved in this.


Where do we stop? Do we sense of violence? Do we sense or politics


or political views that are not conducive to the present


government? Can we watch sex in the City? That is the problem. It is


who is doing it. Forgive me, I absolutely agree that we should


have more protective measures when it comes to children. Perhaps we


ought to re-educate parents because we would save a lot more money


telling them how to fix their filters on. I do think when a


minister starts to dictate to us in this country what we should and


should not seek is unacceptable. one is suggesting that. We are


suggesting the eye S Ps work together on this. They already use


these filters. Why is the internet any different? We accept these


filters on every other form of media, whether it is television,


film ratings, mobile phone us. Why is the internet any different? It


isn't. Thank you. After I saw the second sex And The


City movie, I was convinced it should be banned it was so awful!


What can be done to help motorists with the cost of petrol? Yesterday,


MPs discussed ideas including cancelling the planned 3p rise in


fuel duty due in August. But could the Chancellor afford that? Here's


Said he really he of Tesco said that feeling that the family car


has gone up by 70% in two years, causing what was a steady recovery


to go sideways. Myself and others and most fair-minded people will


recognise the government have made significant progress, abolishing


the last government's fuel duty escalator, scrapping the planned


hikes in 2011 and a 1 p cut in duty last year and a partial fuel


stabiliser as well up as a freeze in the duty in January this year.


But we face considerable problems and that first is the planned tax


rise in August, which I'm asking the government to reconsider.


Second, we need a serious inquiry into the lack of competitiveness in


the oil market and possibly even a windfall tax on law firms to cut


prices. Third, there's a problem of banks speculating on the price of


oil. At a time when fuel costs are rising and it costs more to fill a


car and he jaw home than to buy groceries, is it not now time for a


windfall tax on oil companies? own belief is that in order to cut


prices at the pump, the government needs to seriously look at another


windfall tax on the oil companies. Calls for the August increase to be


scrapped do raise a very important question. We would need to consider


how to replace the �1.5 billion it would cost to do so. This money


would need to come from higher taxes or lower spending elsewhere.


We have recognised the impact of high oil -- higher oil prices. The


previous government had no credible plan to deal with the debts they


created, nor a credible plan to support motorists, however we have


listened and responded in our time in government. We cut fuel duty, we


scrapped their escalator, we have ensured there would be only one


thing crate -- inflation-linked increase this year. We will have


kept fuel duty frozen for 16 months and we will continue to support


motorists. We've been joined by one of the MPs


who spoke in that debate, Conservative backbencher Robert


Halfon, and by Sian Berry from the Campaign for Better Transport.


Welcome to the Daily Politics. Let's continue the debate.


Interpreting what the minister had to say, she basically said we have


done a lot of May -- already, we have no money, you are not on.


have to continue the campaign. We've asked the government to stop


Yorkist rise, we want an Office of Fair Trading investigation into the


UN competitiveness of the oil companies and we want them to look


seriously at the windfall tax of mail companies. Doesn't that


increase the pump at the price? your oil companies are already


behaving uncompetitive rate and the price of oil, when it is high, the


price at the pumps go up, but when the oil price falls, it takes much


longer to get passed on to motorists at the pump. When the


price of oil falls, as it has done recently, $95 a barrel at the


moment, should that be reflected in lower prices or a tax rise to keep


a constant? You asking me? That why you're here. We have a serious


long-term problem with the petrol market. There are short-term


problems with speculators making it more expensive. But petrol prices


will go up. We have to do more to reduce people's reliance on the car.


Chloe Smith was talking about not having money available. If there's


going to be money available, it has to go on improving public transport


before it goes into petrol. We have to live in the real world. My


constituents will get up at 5am, have to drive his lorry, and is


paying an extortionate amount on petrol. The average Harlow resident


is paying a 10th of their income every year on fuel. Motorists are


facing fuel poverty. If we stopped the August rise, we will put �1.8


million back into the economy and create jobs. We would not...


would not object to a freeze. Any kind of cut is going to be public


spending and it does need to go into things that are more


constructive, more about the future, more about reducing people's car


dependency long term. You will not be able to fight this rise in the


long term. In real terms, fuel duty is lower than it has been for quite


a while. If there's money available, it should go into something more


worthwhile. It hasn't gone up in real terms. If you look at the


figures and the former chairman of Tesco will confirm this, the price


of petrol and diesel and the last couple of years has gone up by 70%.


Oil prices have risen. Last year, or oil prices fell by 5.5% yet they


were only reduced by 1.5% at the pumps and took a long time to get


that decrease. Off the government has done a lot to cut petrol tax


last year, and stopping the January rise, but they need to go further.


It hasn't got any money. This is why I'm suggesting we have a


windfall tax on the oil companies which would raise the money and


that money would be passed directly to the motorist under-insured


millions of pounds were injected back into the economy. We will


leave it there. Now, sit back, chillax and have a


glass or two of wine. I have had! Better not suggest that


to David Cameron, though, as you might just get your head bitten off.


Using our hard-won credibility which we would not have if we


litter -- listened to the muttering idiot opposite Mai. It prevents the


bullies from hitting him, the Prime Minister. The honourable gentleman


has the right at any time to take his pension and I advise him to do


so. Calm down, dear. Listen to the doctor. Calm down and listen to the


doctor. It is good to see the honourable gentleman on such good


form, I often say to my children, no need to go to the National


History Museum to see a dinosaur, come to the House of Commons. I


know the honourable lady is extremely frustrated about... Maybe


I'm going to give up on this one. think that was the right decision.


We're joined now by the journalist Iain Martin. Does the Prime


Minister have a problem with his temper? It is a good thing that the


Prime Minister has a temper. It shows there's blood flowing through


his veins rather than iced water. People who don't have a tempers


tend to be saints or very boring. But he's clearly having a problem


controlling it and whilst it is good that he cares and he takes his


politics seriously, what happened yesterday looked very unlike a


prime minister. Was it more than that? Does he lose the argument if


he snaps back at Ed Balls, in this case, and says you are muttering


idiot. His benches fall about laughing, does it matter that much


or does it show that he has lost it? Be matters because at the


moment, look at the situation to government is in, the economic


crisis, everything else that is happening, you really need if you


are Prime Minister, one of the strongest cards you have is being


calm in a crisis. When he does what he did yesterday to Ed Balls, he


throws that away. Ed Miliband has picked up on this and has changed


his style over the last few months. He has definitely gone for


something much calmer and more deliberately statesmanlike, as


Cameron loses his temper, Ed Miliband finds his voice. What do


you think? One of the other incidents was where he made a


comment about Ed Balls, a gain. He is sitting right across and what


they will say is the microphones and cameras don't quite pick up a


lot of the provocation. Not that I'm saying it is justified, but


there's a lot of heckling. He also said Ed Ball was akin to having


something with to read syndrome sitting opposite. Is that


appropriate? It may not be. It probably isn't appropriate. But the


man in the Street will understand what it is like to lose one's


temper when one is being severely provoked. This is not a permanent


bad mark. He lost his temper. He might do with some anger management


courses. Oh no he wouldn't! I know of some very good ones if he wishes


to avail himself to that facility. He might wish to take Ed Balls with


him. Let's see how he was described. Do you remember the quiz at the


Stade? Let's listen to who said this about David Cameron. We have


got the quiz answer. My fault! Somebody said he was quite volatile.


Do we know the answer? Norman Lamont. He was his boss when he was


Chancellor of the Exchequer and David Cameron was special adviser.


The frustrated Merc -- remark about women, is that good politically?


To be fair to him, he did withdraw that immediately because he did


realise he was through the water! That's it. Special thanks to


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