Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by Conservative Party deputy chairman Michael Fallon, the shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan and Conservative peer Baroness Newlove.
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Morning folks. This is the Daily Politics.
Today's top story: Tensions in the coalition as the
Lib Dems say they won't back Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt in a
Commons vote on his handling of Nick Clegg twists the knife and
tells the Leveson Inquiry that he has always kept his distance from
Rupert Murdoch and other media barons.
George Osborne says Germany should stump up to shore up the eurozone,
but suggests it may take a Greek exit from the euro to persuade
Angela Merkel. And can new alcohol zones stop
alcohol fuelled violence? We'll hear from the community campaigner
Helen Newlove whose husband Gary was killed by drunken yobs. I work
with ten areas across the country who have access to �1 million
funding, bringing communities together to drive down anti-social
behaviour through problem drinking. All that to come before 1pm. Of
course, Prime Minister's Questions at noon. This will be the first one
in three weeks. With us for the duration deputy chairman of the
Conservative Party Michael Fallon and Labour's Sadiq Khan, the shadow
I can't speak. We're also joined by the Lib Dem MP,
Jo Swinson. Who has been doing the rounds of other networks this
morning! Welcome to the Daily Politics.
Let's kick off with the split inside the coalition over the
future of Jeremy Hunt. Yes and his handling of the News Corporation
bid for BSkyB. Last night the Liberal Democrats announced they
would not vote with the Conservatives to back Mr Hunt.
Instead, they will abstain lead to go headlines in the papers this
morning about a coalition at war. This morning Jeremy Hunt looked
relaxed as he left his home in Central London with his bike. There
is the little backpack. The Conservative whips are taking
the vote seriously by ordering one MP to cut his honeymoon short and
to return to Westminster. You may wonder why given that he a two week
recess, that he could have had the holiday earlier. Is this an act of
Lib Dem trecherry? This is an op opposition day. It is disappointing
the Liberal Democrats aren't going to turn up, but that's a matter for
them. They want to make clear they are not involved in this argument
about News International or the Leveson Inquiry or whatever and it
would have been nice to have had them voting with us, but it is
understandable. So you are relaxed? They won't back
you down when the chips are down? They have backed on us on getting
the deficit down and making this a fairer country. Let's be fair to
the Liberal Democrats, on these tough decision, they have stood
with us shoulder-to-shoulder. This isn't one of the big tough decision.
This is a matter of party politics. Labour have chose tonne put a
motion down and it is up to the Liberal Democrats to decide whether
to take a party political view or not.
Solicitor you will still be -- so you will just be as inclined to
vote for Lib Dem plans on Lords reform?
Well, these are Government plans for Lords reform.
It doesn't diminish your enthusiasm? Lords reform is a
tricky Bill. It is a tricky issue, but the Government as a whole is
committed to bringing forward proposals.
Jo Swinson, the Lib Dem policy, you want an independent investigation
into Jeremy Hunt's handling of the BSkyB affair, is that right?
think that that that would have been the right thing. The Prime
Minister is the person who gets to make that decision. It is his
decision alone. It is your policy.
We think that should have been the decision.
Isn't that what the Labour vote would give you? It wouldn't.
but they are calling for that. Is that right, they are calling - well,
I ask you, do you want an independent investigation? We do.
They put a motion down. They want what your policy is, why don't you
vote for it? Well, they know that passing their motion doesn't change
the decision that has been made. But why not vote for it? Apart from
anything else, it is an opportunistic move by a Labour
Party who found this viewpoint. When they were in Government, they
didn't abide by this code or these suggestions.
Your policy is an independent investigation, Labour is putting a
motion down calling for an independent investigation. Explain
to our viewers why you wouldn't vote for for something that is your
party's policy? It is a party political opposition day motion.
Voting for that would not make it happen. We've made our views
clear... It would change the principle? We have made our views
clear on your programme and elsewhere. We have made it clear
that we disagree with that decision that was taken. As a result, we
will not be joining the Conservatives in the lobby tonight
because that wasn't a decision that was taken as a coalition wide
agreement. So why don't you join with Labour
who are advocating the policy you told our viewers that you stand
for? It doesn't deliver. There maybe more of a chance of
delivering if you voted for. If you voted for it and it went through,
it would pressure on the Government. The decision has been taken.
your principle decision is to sit on your hands? We are taking part
in the debate. Don Foster will be setting out the Liberal Democrat
position. Sadiq Khan I'm lost. You explain
what to do. There are other other devices open to us to persuade the
Prime Minister. In the past, when we were in Government, when
opposition day debates were won by the opposition, we changeted our
policy. A good examples was the Ghurkhas, we lost that vote and the
policy changed. And the threat of a vote on BSkyB
forced News Corp to withdraw. So try and convince her because I've
failed. For Jo to call me opportunistic is a badge of pride!
The reality is this Jo, we are not concluding that Jeremy Hunt is
guilty. Nor are we.
We are saying there is this ministerial quote which was beefed-
up by this new generation Prime Minister with a new generation
Deputy Prime Minister. This is the new politics. Serious allegations
have been made about his special advisers who, because he
overstepped the mark, took the decision to resign. The buck
shouldn't stop with him. There is an allegation about misleading
Parliament which is serious. Jeremy Hunt wasn't exonerate d at the
Leveson Inquiry. We are saying, "there is this guy who is paid
�20,000 a year, many more of your constituents earn, he is
investigating Baroness Warsi, he is he is twiddling his thumbs, why not
allow him the opportunity to earn his crust and investigate Jeremy
Hunt." That's what should have been decided. There is two issues. When
you say that Jeremy Hunt hasn't been exonerated. On how he dealt
with the bid, he has given a good account of what he did.
It is about the issues to do the Ministerial Code, about the issue
about special advisers. If you think he has been exonerated
why why do you want an independent investigation? There are two issues.
There is the issue about whether he took independent advice and how he
dealt with the BSkyB, but there is the issue about who his special
adviser was doing and whether that line was overstepped. There are
questions that remain. I'm not saying that means that he has
broken the Ministerial Code, but an independent investigation would
have been a good thing. Questions which will never be answered
because you haven't got the guts to vote with him.
Jo, by you not supporting the Conservative Party and let's be
clear, our motion has been signed by the other opposition parties,
but you are not in opposition, you are in Government, because you have
not supported the Conservative Party, you are questioning the
decision of David Cameron. David Cameron said, "I think he is in the
clear." Questioning his judgement. We can disagree.
I have done my best and cause trouble, but I have failed! We
I don't know if you have completely failed.
Nick Clegg is giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry this morning.
Here a flavour of what he has been saying.
Two occasions only when I think you met with Rupert Murdoch. The first
is the 16th December 2009. Yes. That was a dinner, Rebekah Brooks
so was it just four of you? No. No. No. There were a large number of
people there. As it happened I was at the very end of the table where
the children sit so to speak! LAUGHTER
And didn't have, I only had very fleeting interaction with Rupert
Murdoch before the dinner and as I said goodbye at the end.
Thank you. I was an observer as much as
anything else. How candid of him. Well, that was
Nick Clegg talking about his less than cosy relationship with Rupert
Murdoch. Now, I mean, Jo Swinson, let me come to you about that issue.
Without wanting to be too rude. I mean he was at the kids end of the
table, Nick Clegg. Is the reason for that that the Lib Dems have
never been regarded as important enough to be anywhere else and
that's why you have never been corrupted? We certainly haven't had
the cosy relationship with the Murdochs that I have to say say my
two colleagues here, their parties have had as we have seen as has
come out in the Leveson Inquiry. We have had a record for years calling
for better regulation, the culture media and sport recommendations
were ignored by the past Government. I am delighted we have the Leveson
Inquiry to look into these issues which are important and need to be
addressed. But that wasn't the question I
asked. Is the reason that you haven't been corrupted is because
no one felt the need to corrupt you? Well, of course, there hasn't
been the courting of the Liberal Democrats that the other parties
have experienced, but you know, certainly, you know, we are in the
coalition Government and since that time have not, even though we have
been in a position of significant power have not still succumbed to
the courting that others have had. But the important thing is that we
get some justice and improved situation, not actually about
politicians because this isn't about politicians. This is about
the general public and the faith they can have in the media and
particularly in how it deals with ordinary members of the public.
say it is not about politicians, but there has been no shortage of
party leaders and former former Prime Ministers at Leveson Inquiry
and Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband took about the culture of briefing
or lack at lack of it. Did you authorise your aides to
brief against Mr Blair? Do you think they may have done
without your knowledge knowledge? If they did so it was without my
authorisation. When I was a Cabinet Minister I did
raise a concern that I had with Mr Brown. I believe in September 2008
about some of Mr McBride's activities.
Ed Miliband there. Sadiq Khan, do you believe Gordon Brown when he
says, "I did not authorise any briefings against Tony Blair.".
heard the evidence of Ed Miliband who spoke from personal experience
and I can't contradict what Ed Miliband said.
No, do you believe Gordon Brown when he said, he was asked "did you
ever authorise any briefings against Gordon Brown?" "no.".
have no personal knowledge. I saw the footage of Ed Miliband and
Gordon Brown and Michael said, they can't both be right.
Who do you believe more? I know it is difficult for you, especially
someone, but who do you believe more? Who do you believe? He says I
didn't authorise any briefings and he goes on to say, he is asked
actually Gordon Brown, "what about, special advisers, using the media
and newspapers to get Tony Blair to step down." "I would hope not.".
Miliband gave an example and he gave a date. Let viewers conclude
what they want to conclude. What do you think? Ed Miliband gave
an example in his personal experience he witnessed it. So it
it speaks for itself. Do you believe that John Watson
went to see Gordon Brown and never talked about it? Come on, Andrew.
How many questions on this. You have heard both... We have got a
lot more, haven't we? Keep them coming! You might answer one?
Watson, Ed Miliband, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown give evidence to the
Leveson Inquiry... Do you believe him? That Tom Watson can visit him
in the middle of organising a coup and they don't talk about it? Do
you believe that pigs are flying over this studio? I can't see any.
You are under oath. Ed Miliband talked about media
ownership in the evidence. Is this now Labour policy, no company
should have more than 20 or 30% of the newspaper market share? When he
floated the idea about the concentration of ownership which
leads to concentration of power and whether that's healthy in a
democracy. You have a situation where there is a concentration of
power in those who own newspapers and there was an attempt for News
Corp to own BSkyB which can lead to some of the challenges we have seen.
But that's what Ed Miliband would like to see a cap at 30% and that
would mean the Murdoch empire selling one newspaper? He didn't
give a specific figure. He did say not more than 30%?
know that News Corp own 37%. I think it is 34%. I am not going
to quibble. It is 34, but they own 37%. When
there is too much concentration of power.
I take the point. I am trying to work out how it would work. I think
it means selling off a newspaper? It means legislation and we have
had rumours about the Murdochs wanting to sell their media
interests here and they may decide seeing, the way the wind is going,
Do you regret that this Leveson Inquiry was set-up? No, it was
needed to clear the air. Both the two parties got too close to all
these media empires. We did when we were trying to get into government
and they did when they were in government. The public needs to be
reassured that that cannot happen again. Our constituents have better
redress for themselves when they are targeted by the press. Clearly,
the regulatory system is not working. It is painful for
everybody involved and embarrassing. Embarrassing to hear that Gordon
Brown seems to be in denial about what was happening when he was
Prime Minister. But Labour were not in power any more and it is more
embarrassing for the government that is. David Cameron will be
giving evidence. He is being dragged kicking and screaming. We
demanded a public inquiry, you said no. You had 13 years to have an
inquiry into this stuff but you did not. We will learn the lessons from
it. We will see if we can come up with a better regulatory system for
our politicians and constituents. Say you're going to take the
warnings from the previous prime ministers? We are going to see what
Leveson reports. We will see when it comes out in the autumn.
Greece is going back to the polls on Sunday after the last set of
elections failed to produce a conclusive result. Last night, the
Chancellor George Osborne talk about the prospect of the exit from
the Greek Euros. He said so far the response to the crisis had been
depressing. Spain's borrowing costs have risen despite the bail-out of
its bank this weekend. Jo are you depressed? Not exactly optimistic.
Five days on from the Spanish bail out and the eurozone crisis is
rumbling on. On Saturday, the eurozone countries handed Spain's
banks 100 billion euros to stabilise the economy. But it has
not convinced the markets and there are signs the contagion could
spread to Italy where the cost to the government of borrowing for ten
years peaked at 6%. Last night, the Chancellor George Osborne said the
bail out seemed to be too little, too late. He suggested that the
eurozone should press on with deeper integration in order to
shore itself up. Yesterday, the European Commission President Jose
Manuel Baroso proposed a banking union across the euro. It looks
like the German Bundesbank will block that plan but George Osborne
said Germany should agree to stand behind the entire eurozone that it
might take Greece leaving the road to persuade Angela Merkel to stump
up more German cash. Thank you, that did sign a -- sound
quite depressing. Jo Swinson has gone, she will be at PMQs and we'll
be live there at 12 o'clock. Michael Fallon, just clarify, is it
British government policy that the eurozone has to be retained intact
in its current membership? policy is that the eurozone has got
to sort itself out. We cannot go on like this. I understand that.
have got to sort themselves out. But does that sort itself out with
all the members or with a reduced membership? With all the members,
clearly. What cannot go one that is grees 1/2 in, half out, this
uncertainty which is damaging our economy going month after month,
summit after summit. But when you opposed Britain's membership of the
eurozone and you did not oppose the idea of the eurozone covering the
countries that it did, you said this is not an optimal currency
area, it cannot work with all these different countries in it, they do
not have the same economies. If you thought that them, why is your
policy to keep us together now? They have got to put in place the
things they did not do at the time. If they want to go on with the
single currency across the zone then they have to put in place the
stuff they did not writing at the beginning to allow sufficient
fiscal transfers between the wealthier ones and the poorer ones,
to improve the governance of the sector and look after the deposits
in the bank. Say you want a federal Europe for the eurozone, that is
your policy? They must decide. We are saying it will not work, you
cannot have a zone like this working unless you have some kind
of fiscal transfers. You will end up with bail-out of the bail-out.
understand that but it is Conservative-led government policy
to urge the creation of a federal eurozone, a federal government
eurozone. It they have a semi federal eurozone at the moment.
They have a single currency. What they have not bottom-placed is a
fiscal element that can underpin that. If they want to go on with a
single currency it is obvious they have to put in place some
arrangements to transfer money from the wealthier countries to the
poorer countries. Be your government is saying there should
be a banking union and they should be the debt mutualisation said that
there are eurozone bombs, that is your government's policy -- bonds.
What we cannot have is the continuing uncertain seas and a
constant call for the propping up of weaker countries. We are out of
the bail out mechanism. Had we stayed in the mechanism we would
have had to come up with �10 billion sterling, we have saved
that from being out of the bail out mechanism. What that does not solve
is the continuing crisis. They have to put in place arrangements to do
that. In effect, Labour's policies are no different from the
government's. You think there should be greater integration in
the USM but we will not be part of it? That is a summary I agree with.
What we are frustrated by is for eurozone have fallen into the trap
of being obsessed with just austerity and no plans for growth.
Michael is right that it is a eurozone problem and it is
incumbent on the bigger countries in the eurozone, Germany in
particular, to do more. The ECB should be the Bank of last-resort
rather than going to the IMF or elsewhere. But if you get a German-
dominated federal Europe, that inevitably, of which we will not be
part, that inevitably changes our relationship with Europe. We will
forever be on the periphery, do you accept that? We will have to wait
and see. What we cannot have is our closest trading partner going from
disaster to disaster. We trade the most with them. Even last year, we
exported huge amounts to the racing countries. If the Spain comes that
or the contagion spreads, it is catastrophic for the eurozone
countries but it is disaster for the UK as well. To accept that this
policy you are both urging results, because I've seen live review thing
for the foreseeable future we will ever be part of this, that Europe
will develop with its own currency, a banking union, with eurobonds
being issued, with the fiscal union, it in effect becomes closer to a
federal system than ever before and we are not part of it, you are
happy with that? In the short term we need to ensure the eurozone
countries do whatever they can to bring about stability. In the
medium to longer term we want to trade with them and continued to
trade if not the same, but more. Let's be clear, we cannot stop them.
You what urging them. We cannot stop them anyway. It is not for us
to decide whether they have a more federal state. We are saying if
they want to go ahead with the zone, all the countries have to sort out
how they will transfer funds from the stronger ones to the weaker
ones. If they want to give up their currency and give up control of
their banks, we are saying what they have got to do is recognise
reality. You cannot have a system that does not complete. You have
got to be able transfer money from the strong ones to the week. I get
that. When Downing Street says when it comes to a referendum on Europe,
quote, that is not something the British people want, where is the
evidence for Downing Street saying that? What they want is for it to
be sorted out. But where is the evidence for Downing Street telling
us the British people do not want a referendum? Their priorities are to
get growth going in this country. But what is the evidence that the
British people do not want a referendum? When Downing Street
issued that there was a poll in the Times St 80 % what a referendum.
What is the evidence for Downing Street St we do not? The issue is
what is the evidence for Downing Street telling us we do not want a
referendum? What they want at the moment is for the government to
focus on getting growth and making sure the his own sorts out its
problems. There is no evidence that the British public do not want a
referendum is the answer to your question. I think what Michael was
trying to say, forgive me, is the policy for us should be to do all
we can to stimulate jobs and growth in the country, rather than being
distracted by a campaign for a referendum. Thank you.
As some of you may know, the European football championships are
underweight in Poland and the Ukraine. England, I am told, drew
1-1 against France on Monday night. I am told it is good. Not good
enough. We want more. What could fire up the team to put a bit of
fire in their belly? A bit of an incentive to win the next game
against Sweden on Friday. They will be lucky. What better than the
prospect of owning a Daily Politics mug? Yes, boys, if you win on
Friday we will reward you with one of these. For the rest of you, you
have to Guess The Year. I hope we will send one if they do win.
will. Let's see if you can remember If I can find collaboration with
any other parties in the House then I am willing to do that. This is
claimed to be the world's first And to be in with a chance of
winning a Daily Politics mug send your answer to our special e-mail
address, [email protected] You can see the full terms and conditions
for Guess The Year on our website, bbc.co.uk/dailypolitics.
Coming up to midday, Prime Minister's Questions starts in a
few minutes. We are joined by the BBC's political editor Nick
Robinson. The first PMQs for three weeks. There has been some
developments from Nick Clegg at the Leveson Inquiry. I'm just told that
he said Jeremy Hunt gave a good account of how he handled the BSkyB
bid. It highlights what may be puzzling to people about the Lib
Dem's position. They will not back Jeremy Hunt today, they will not
back the Prime Minister's judgment but they are not criticising the
way he handled the BSkyB bid. They are simply saying there should be
an investigation. I am lost! think Nick Clegg has always wanted
to keep his party together and where there are votes which there
will be split and there are Lib Dem backbenchers who wanted to vote
against Jeremy Hunt, he would rather they will vote together and
abstained, rather than some vote against a government minister,
others abstained, others vote in favour. It is a matter of high
principle then? An element of party management. An element that he
genuinely feels passionately. When people say all politicians crept to
the Murdochs, he wants to say, we did not. We all know why that was.
No one was interested. No one thinks they matter. I did not say
that. On the other hand, they can say they have fought against that
media bias and they have done it for decades and they want to gain
some credit for saying we are here despite that. A few Ed Miliband, do
you go on this Leveson media village stuff. We will find out
I am sure the whole House will wish to pay tribute to the fallen
servicemen since the House met. Captain Stephen Healey and Michael
Thacker and Gregg Stone. These were talented, dedicated soldiers who
made the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of our nation. Our deepest
condolences are with their family, friends and colleagues. We will
always remember them. This morning, I had meetings with
ministerial colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in
this House, I shall have further such meetings today.
I am sure all members will wish to associate themselves with the Prime
Minister's tribute. Can the Prime Minister reassure my constituents
that there will be no policy shift at all in relation to the third
runway at at Heathrow and this Government will focus on improving
Heathrow's hub status and displacing some of the short haul
and less valuable slots elsewhere. First of all, I know this is not
just a constituency campaign for my honourable friend. It is something
he feels very powerfully about. The coalition position has not changed.
Clearly, we must not be blind to two important considerations. One
is how we expand airport capacity, but how do we make sure that
Heathrow operates better and we make sure we welcome people better
to our country better than at the moment. A lot of progress has been
made and I congratulate the Home Secretary for the extra resources
and the people put into doing that important job.
Can I join the Prime Minister in paying private to Captain Stephen
Healey and Private Gregg Stone. They served our country with
dignity and bravery and the co dough lances of the -- condolences
of the House go to their family and their friends.
Account Prime Minister tell us why he referred Baroness Warsi, but not
the Culture Secretary? There. is a difference between the two
cases. In the case of Baroness Warsi, there has not been a judge-
led inquiry with witnesses taking evidence under oath to get to all
of the factual information behind her case and that is why I have
asked Sir Alex Allen to look at that case, but I have to say I am
happy with the explanation I have been given by Baroness Warsi. She
admits to breaking the Ministerial Code. She apologised for breaking
the Ministerial Code and that's an important point.
The Prime Minister refers to the Leveson Inquiry, but account Prime
Minister confirm that in his appearance at the Leveson Inquiry,
the Culture Secretary was quite properly because it is not the
remit of the Leveson Inquiry asked a single question about whether he
misled this House and thereby broke the Ministerial Code.
The point I would make to the honourable gentleman he asks
specifically about why I have not referred the case to Sir Alex Allen
and that's the case. I haven't done that, but I have Sir Alex Allen for
his advice on the future guidance on judicial decision making which
is something that he was discussing at the Leveson Inquiry and I will
be discussing tomorrow as well. And Sir Alex Allen replied to my letter
and I will put a copy of both letters in the library of the House,
but the House might want to know what Sir Alex Allen said in reply
to my letter. He said this "I note your decision in relation to Jeremy
Hunt adherance to the Ministerial Code which is, of course, a matter
for you. The fact that there is an ongoing judicial inquiry probing
and taking evidence under oath means that I do not believe I could
usefully add to the facts in this case." He goes on to say, he goes
on to say that he remains available if circumstances should change, but
those are the views of Sir Alex Allen.
Mr Speaker, the key issue is who makes the judgement on whether
there has been a breach of the Ministerial Code? This is what Lord
Leveson said, "I will not be make ago judgement on whether there has
been a breach of it. That is simply not my job." That is the job of Sir
Alex Allen. Now let's take one of the issues that was - Mr Speaker, I
know they have been well whipped. I can see they have been well well
whip today! They have -- whipped today! They have got the memo from
the Prime Minister... They have got the memo from the Prime Minister's
aide because he is sending memos around. The last one began,
"comrades." I like the sound of that, Mr
Speaker. We need a protective wall of sound! Last week we rather dried
up. Please show sufficient stamina for the full half-hour.
Now, now, now, Mr Speaker. Let's take one of the issues that was not
raised at the Leveson Inquiry. The Culture Secretary told this House
on 25th April and I quote, "I made -- there is no point in the part-
time chancellor trying to give him the answer before I asked the
question! I made absolutely no intervention in a quay zi judicial
process that was at the time was the responsibility of the Business
Secretary. Yet now we know he wrote a memo to the Prime Minister that
said, "If we block it, our media sector will suffer for years."
Account Prime Minister confirm in that answer on 25th April, the
Culture Secretary was not straight with this House of Commons?
Well, first of all, let me explain on hour side of the House, comrades
is a term of endearment! It is not an official title!
LAUGHTER If I can explain it in that way.
The point is, all comrades, of course. Look, the point about the
Ministerial Code is it is the job of the Prime Minister to make the
judgement about the Ministerial Code and I have made that judgement.
I have quoted to him, I quoted to him what Sir Alex Allen says and
Sir Alex Allen is very clear that he couldn't usefully add to the
facts in this case. Now I'm sorry, I'm sorry that the whole political
strategy behind his opposition motion has collapsed, but
nonetheless that is the fact of the case. Now, he asks very
specifically about the note that the Culture Secretary sent to me on
19th November and I would refer to him in that note he specifically
says it would be completely wrong to go against the proper regulatory
procedures and that's what the truth of what has happened in
recent days is that the Culture Secretary gave a very full account
of his actions to the Leveson Inquiry and he demonstrated that
when it came to the BSkyB bid he took independent advice at every
part of the process. He followed independent advice at every point
of the process which is a contrast to how the last Government behaved.
Mr Speaker, let's be clear about what the Prime Minister is claiming.
He is claiming when the Culture Secretary told this House I made no
interventions seeking to influence a judicial decision that a memo to
the Prime Minister is insignificant document in relation to a decision
the Government has to make. The first time in political history
that's the case. If the case is so strong of the Prime Minister, why
is his deputy not supporting him? Well, first of all, let me read
what this note said on 19th November. It said this. This is
from the Culture Secretary and I quote "it would be totally wrong
for the Government to get involved in a competition issue which has to
be decided at arm's length." That's what he said. When he got
responsibility, when he got responsibility for this dossier, he
behaved in exactly that way. Let me make one point. By the the way the
whole reason we are discussing this take-over is because the last
Government changed the law to allow a foreign company to own a British
broadcasting licence. This is a point, this is a point that they
conveniently forget. Now, he asked me very specifically about the
Deputy Prime Minister. Let me be absolutely frank. What What we are
talking about here is the relationships that Conservative
politicians and frankly Labour politicians have had over the last
20 years with with News Corporation, News International and all the rest
of it. To be fair to the Liberal Democrats, they didn't have that
relationship and their abstention tonight is to make that point and I
understand that it is politics. THE SPEAKER: Order. Order. Order.
The House House must calm down. Order. Mr Ed Miliband.
I have to say he has reached a new state of delusion I mean really and
truly! You know, Mr Speaker, he just wants to talk about the past!
He was - he just wants to talk about the past, Mr Speaker. He was
the future once! Now, isn't the truth and isn't the
truth, and isn't the truth the Deputy Prime Minister, the Deputy
Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister says the bid, says the
decision should go to the independent adviser. The
Conservative Chair of the Committee of standards in public life, the
Conservative chair of the Public Administration Committee says it
should be referred. The former Chair of the Committee on standards
in public life says it should be referred. Isn't the truth, the
reason he won't refer him to the independent adviser is because he
is scared the Culture Secretary won't be cleared?
Well, imitation is the sincerist form of flattery. Well, the clear,
he says we're talking about the past. There are elements of this.
This whole Leveson Inquiry, the whole problem of the relationship
between politicians and the press some of it is about the past and we
had a little insight into that when the former Prime Minister gave
evidence and he said this. He said, "The one thing I can say definitely,
the one thing I can say definitely is no one in my position would have
instructed briefing against a senior minister."
LAUGHTER I can tell you - perhaps, perhaps,
perhaps the victims can put their hand up. Any takers? I don't need
Sir Alex Allen to adjudicate on that one!
Everyone knows it was the Prime Minister who decided to appoint the
Culture Secretary to oversee the bid and it is the Prime Minister
who is clinging on to him now in the face of all the evidence.
Doesn't he realise it is no longer about the Culture Secretary's
judgement, it is about the Prime Minister's judgement which is so
badly flawed even his deputy won't support him.
Well, I do hope the England football team are better at putting
the ball in the back of the net. Look, the point is, it is for the
adviserer on ministerial standards to discover the facts. My judgement
is we should let the Culture Secretary get on with organising
the most important important event which is the Olympics. When we come
on to the Olympics, let us consider this - if there was an Olympic
medal for double standards and hypocrisy, the Labour Party would
be well in the running. I'm really very worried about the
conduct of the Education Secretary. In the average classroom he would
have been excluded by now. He must As we remember those who fell 30
years ago during the Falklands war, Argentina continues to dispute
British sovereignty over those islands. Yet Argentina also
continues to receive loans worth billions of pounds from the World
Bank of which British taxpayers are a major shareholder. Will the Prime
Minister join President Obama in instructing his officials to vote
against anymore such loans to Argentina?
I think my honourable friend makes an important point. No British
taxpayers money is is spent on world banks loans to Argentina. A
an important point is what happened yesterday which is the Falkland
islanders decided to hold a referendum. Argentina is trying to
hide this argument and pretend the views of the of the Falkland
islanders don't matter, they do matter.
The Prime Minister said he believes the Leveson Inquiry dealt with the
relevant issues regarding the Secretary of State for culture,
media and sport, but it did not deal with section 11 A of the
financial services and markets Act which deals with market abuse and
the passing of information to one party in a market situation which
is not available to others. Given the hundreds of texts, e-mails and
memos in this situation, will he ask the Financial Services
Authority to examine the evidence, see whether there has been a breach
of section 11 A or any other part Clearly there are very strict rules
governing all of these areas. The point I would mate to him is there
is no doubt the special adviser behave wrongly and that is why he
offered his resignation and white was accepted.
Mr Speaker, I am sure all members will congratulate the volunteers
who raised �6.5 million to recognise the contribution and
sacrifice in the Second World War by Bomber Command personnel. For
the memorial to be opened by Her Majesty the Queen on June the 28th.
But the costs of security on the day have risen sharply and despite
necessary constraints on all government expenditure, would my
right honourable friend consider financial support from the
government to make sure veterans and their relations are properly
looked after? I think my honourable friend is
right to raise this issue. Bomber Command, many people served in
Bomber Command in the Second World War, many people lost their lives
and it is right there will be this this -- splendid memorial unveiled
by Her Majesty the Queen. These memorials tend to be paid for by
public subscriptions. I will look carefully at what he says. The
Department for Culture, Media and Sport does have an ability to
intervene when monuments are done on a national basis. I'm sure the
Culture Secretary would have been listening carefully.
Due to top-down government health cuts, South Tees hospitals have had
reduced services leaving both hospitals uncertain of their future.
Would the Prime Minister support his Foreign Secretary who said to a
crowd of 4,000 people, that the government NHS cuts are
unacceptable? First of all, I would point out
that the increases in health spending for his Primary Care Trust
is at 2.9 % increase and an �8.2 million increase for the current
year. That is what is happening. The only reason more money is going
into the health service in his constituency is because this
coalition government decided to invest in our NHS, against the
advice that we receive from the party opposite who think increases
in health spending are irresponsible.
Question number six, closed question, Mr Philip Hollobone.
As my honourable friend nose, cabinet meetings are occasionally
held outside London, not least so we can get different ministers to
meet with different organisations. The Cabinet has met in Bradford,
Ipswich, Derby, Cardiff and the Olympic Park. Locations for future
meetings will be announced in due course. Were the Cabinet to come to
Kettering, it would be able to congratulate Kettering Borough
Council on its pledge to freeze council tax for the next five years
and to celebrate the Department for Transport's funding for the wedding
-- widening of the Kettering bypass. Will be right honourable friend
agreed to invest in the Midland Mainline which would make a big
difference to the Kettering economy? I joined my it honourable
friend it in congratulating his Borough Council and it shows what a
valuable -- the value for money Conservative councils can provide.
We are committed to a lecture find 300 miles of railway routes. That
compares with just nine miles which were at a lecture fired under 13
years of the last Labour government. There is a large amount of support
for the Midland Mainline a lecture vocation. A decision will be made
and I will listen very carefully to what he says.
Given that the purpose of the Leveson Inquiry is to get out the
unvarnished truth about the unhealthy relationship between some
politicians and the media, why do government ministers, including
himself, need to be briefed by lawyers and coached by lawyers
before attending to give evidence? What ministers I'm sure I doing is
you have to be familiarise yourself with a huge amount of evidence
going back over seven years. I have provided to the Leveson Inquiry,
for instance, all the evidence I can find with meetings of press
proprietors and the press going back to 2005. There is a huge
amount of information preparation and I think that is entirely
appropriate. My constituency has a height
recycling rate, the best in the north-west. Does the Prime Minister
believe it is right for a huge waste burning incinerated to be
built there, an incinerator rejected by the local planning
board, overwhelmingly opposed by my constituents and which would
involve transporting lorryloads of waste hundreds of miles across the
country? Will he do what he can to stop an inappropriate development
which surely cannot be called environmentally sustainable?
completely understand the honourable lady's concern and she
is right to raise this issue. I understand her disappointment that
this has been appealed against the local planning board's decision.
But as she knows, peels like this can be made -- appeals. She can
make her views clear. There is a need to take into account the size
and scale of any proposed development and also to look at the
potential effect of any local communities and I'm sure she will
want to make those points. The Prime Minister will be aware of
the latest British Social attitudes survey showing a record fall in
public satisfaction with the NHS. My question is this, I would
appreciate an answer, because the Health Secretary would not give one
yesterday. Will the Prime Minister intervene to stop the scandal of
the NHS having to rely on charitable donations having to fund
the purchase of the latest radiotherapy equipment? What I have
to say it is this government is putting record sums into the health
service, we are increasing the money into the health service but
if he wants me to stand here and criticise the volunteers and the
charities and the big society that provides so many scanners and great
Sheen's for our health service, I will not do that. I think it adds
to our health service. There is a 2011 survey of people who used the
health service, rather than asking people about their perceptions, and
that found 92 % of in-patients rated their overall experience as
good, very good or excellent. That is what is happening in our health
service and we should be proud of Can I ask the Prime Minister, will
the Government go ahead with high speed to, a project which is
extremely important to the economy and jobs in the north. If the
answer is yes, can I suggest we start laying the track in West
Yorkshire first? I am grateful for that enthusiastic endorsement. I
believe we should go ahead with eight just too. -- H S two. In
links to the question asked by his neighbour about Heathrow, there are
many flights which could be avoided if we had a network of high-speed
rail in our country and I'm keen that we press ahead with it.
Before the last general election, the Prime Minister made an
important speech condemning crony capitalism with money buying power,
power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions at
their own interest. Is this not a pitch perfect description of the
undignified courting of News Corporation by the Culture
Secretary? When will the Prime Minister shows some judgment of
this? If they are looking for volunteers for the Olympic team for
hypocrisy, it could be the decathlete there. We had 13 years
of pyjama parties, christenings, changing the law, sucking up to the
Murdochs, honestly, what a load of brass neck!
Thank you, Mr Speaker. In 44 days' time, the Olympics and Paralympics
come to London. Millions of people will be coming to London to enjoy
the games. Most of those individuals will be totally
dependent on public transport to reach the venues. Will my right
honourable friend condemn the Unite union for calling bus strikes and
doesn't the silence from the party opposite on this subject speak
volumes for that attitude to London? I think my honourable
friend was entirely right. If you want an example of crony politics,
frankly it is the fact that the party opposite get �5 million from
the Unite union and when it comes to this strike that could disrupt
the Olympics, absolute silence. Not a word of condemnation. It is not
surprising because Unite union did not only give them the money, they
pick their leader as well. The patient satisfaction survey
results have shown the greatest reduction in patients' satisfaction
in the history of the National Health Service. What will the Prime
Minister do turnaround perceptions about the failure of the NHS and
his government? Are if you look at the King's Fund who carried out
this survey, they say this. There is no evidence of a real decline in
service quality of performance. That is what the King's Fund say
about their own survey. I would put more weight on a survey of people
who have been using the NHS and the users of the NHS, 92 % of in-
patients, 95 % of outpatients, rated their overall experience as
good, very good or excellent. Since the election, there are 4,000 more
doctors, mixed-sex accommodation is down 94 %, hospital infections are
at their lowest levels since surveillance began and the number
of people waiting 18 weeks is also at the lowest level since records
began. Average waiting times are down as well. The health service is
performing extremely well and we should praise all those who have
delivered that performance. The Prime Minister will be aware
that there is a current shortage of primary school places across our
country. Is particularly acute in Winchester where there are
temporary classrooms to accommodate pupils for this September. What is
the government doing to help councils in this Goldie and whether
he is confident enough is being done to prevent a repeat of this
performance when these pupils reach secondary school? -- This Old Year.
This is becoming an issue. What the Department for Education has done
is put aside �1.4 billion of schools' capital and a further �1.4
billion for the subsequent year. There is also the opportunity
through free schools to have excellent new schools established
in constituencies so we not only get new capacity but it -- we get
the competition and choice which I believe will drive up standards.
The use of food banks in Plymouth has gone up from 792 nearly 4,000
in a year. Is the Prime Minister proud of the fact that changes to
his benefit arrangements have caused this to happen? There is no
doubt about that. Is he therefore going to stand up and say, that is
fine, food banks are lovely. Yes, they are lovely and the people of
Plymouth are magnificent but will he... Will he passed the buck on
this and go for the gold medal in passing the buck as he has...
Prime Minister. First of all that may join her in praising the people
of Plymouth who do you huge amount for their neighbours and members of
their community. That is all for the good. Yes, we have had to make
difficult decisions but we have protected tax credits for the least
well-off, we have protected benefits for the least well-off.
The biggest welfare reform that we have made is to put a cap on
welfare where we have said, you should not be able to get on
welfare more than the average family gets in work, and when we
put that forward, �26,500 a year, the party opposite voted against it.
Kamal right honourable friend tell the House how much it would cost
the country to take part in the bail-out of Spain's banks this week
he had not stood up for Britain and got us out of the previous
government's commitment? honourable friend makes an
important point. Before this government came to power, bail-outs
were carried out with Britain playing a full part in those bail
out, often as much as 14 % of the total. 100 billion euros bail-out
of Spain, Britain could have been paying as much as 14 billion euros,
�10 billion. That money has been saved because this government,
unlike the last one, stands up for Britain in Europe.
Prime Minister, and on the shambles of a budget you claimed you had
read, a double-dip recession you made in Downing Street, and a Tory
lead committee reporting that the coalition lacks strategic direction,
evidence if it was ever needed that men can multi-tasking, obviously
just that some are not very good at it. Prime Minister, have you now
run out of steam or is the job just too big for you? Prime Minister.
I'm pleased my honourable friend the education secretary is
introducing compulsory poetry reading lessons in class and
perhaps we could start with the honourable gentleman.
Order. Order. What is route is for people to continue shouting when
they have been asked not to do so. I know the Honourable Member for
Cohen valid is exceptionally well- behaved and he will sit in his
usual quiet, respectful fashion. Mr David Burrows. Thank you. The Prime
Minister has called for compassion for my constituent, Garry MacKinnon,
who doctors report will take his life if he is extradited. Can the
government be true to its word and stop the extradition and finally,
after ten years, give Garry MacKinnon his life back? I know my
honourable friend has campaigned long and hard over this issue. The
Home Secretary is carefully considering a wide range of
material before making her decision. She has instructed two independent
medical experts to review the report that have been submitted in
this case. This is not an easy case, as he knows. There are a number of
difficult issues before she makes an announcement.
The popular NHS walk-in centre in my constituency has recently closed.
These NHS walk-in centres are closing all over the country, why?
It is certainly not because the money in the NHS is being cut
because it is not being cut. The money in the NHS is being increased.
If we had followed her advice, the money would be going down. What
matters is the money in the NHS is spent to deliver better health
outcomes. That is a decision which needs to be taken locally. Giving
the fascinating evidence that was presented by his predecessor to the
Leveson Inquiry, with the Prime Minister agree with me that it
would be overwhelmingly in the public interest, to publish the
Downing Street phone records so we can finally establish what
conversations happened between his predecessor and Rupert Murdoch?
my honourable friend nose, governments cannot release
information provided by previous governments but I'm sure this is an
issue that the previous Prime Minister will want to consider,
given the clear statement that he made.
The Prime Minister will probably not be aware that a firm in my
constituency produces cream liqueurs and other alcohol products.
I do not know if he ever relaxes with his. I have recently beat
planning a �10 million investment - - recently been planning. However,
they are now worried that HMRC are reinterpreting how they treat these
products for duty, under pressure from the European Commission with
their erroneous interpretation of the European Court of Justice. Will
he ensure that a competent Treasury Minister makes myself and other MPs
to ensure that common sense and consistency prevails.
I have not tried one of these delicious sounding their fridges.
If it is all right with the honourable gentleman I will wait
until after tomorrow before trying. -- beverages. I do understand there
is an issue with HMRC and I'm happy to arrange a meeting so they can
look closely at this issue. Unprecedented levels of flooding
hit the North Caribbean communities at the weekend causing untold
damage to business has -- Ceredigion. I think the Prime
Minister for his words of support and I know the council, emergency
services and many in the local community rallied to ensure no loss
of life. Can I urge the Prime Minister to urge all insurance
companies to act now with renewed speed on this so we can get the
communities back on their feet as quickly as possible? I certainly
joined my honourable friend in praising the emergency services who
did a superb job at the weekend. I spoke to the Welsh Secretary and
also the Welsh First Minister to pass on what my best wishes for the
work they have done. In all the situations, there is clearly the
rescue and emergency part of it. Then there is the recovery phase. I
think in many ways the most difficult phase to get right is
when people are going back into soaked homes with peeled plaster
and all the other problems that come about and making sure they get
swift action from the district council and above all from the
insurance companies. I will certainly worked with him to make
There is civil war in Syria. The economy is in recession. The
Chancellor is blaming that recession on the eurozone crisis.
The eurozone crisis gets worse by the day. There were riots in Poland
last night and major demonstrations in Moscow. But the exchange at PMQs
was dominated by the future of the Culture Secretary, Mr Hunt. We will
talk about that in a minute. First, we hear what you thought.
Well, you have just stolen my thunder because that's that's
exactly what a lot of the viewers said. They did wonder why it was
that most of PMQs was devoted to Jeremy Hunt. So we had this from
Kevin from London. "is the euro about to collapse? Is there civil
war in Syria? What are they on about?" We had this from a Jeremy
Hunt "does the Westminster Village think the rest of the world really
cares about this?" We will never if it was from the Jeremy Hunt.
Jacqueline in Bristol says, "Ed Miliband quoting David Cameron
about being the future once. The delivery was so poor he could get a
raspberry for it." Surely sooner or later Jeremy Hunt's conduct will
have to be properly investigated. Well, they went with Jeremy Hunt so
we better talk about it. We have had this letter, the Prime Minister
has unveiled this letter from the man that is supposed to look after
the Ministerial Code just explain to our viewers, Nick, what happened.
If David Cameron had written the letter himself, he wouldn't have
written it differently. The independent adviser on ministerial
interests, the person the Labour Party have been saying must look
into this case has written to him and I'm going to para phrase. He
said the facts came out in the Leveson Inquiry. There is no value
in me looking for more facts. He says, "I remain open to looking
after it if if things change." David Cameron said "it was my job
to decide whether the code was broken. My job therefore, to decide
whether Hunt should stay or go. The role of the adviser was to
establish the facts." I have gone back to look at this great thing,
the Ministerial Code. Right. Let's read what it says. "if
there is an allegation about a breach of the code and the Prime
Minister having consulted the Cabinet Secretary feels that it
warrants further investigation, he will refer the matter to the
independent adviser." It is up to the Prime Minister. So people who
think that Hunt should have gone, they are saying, "You should have
got rid of him." Would Ed Miliband, if he is Prime Minister, say, "Your
job in the Cabinet, he hands over to someone else to decide whether
you stay or go." My guess, he wouldn't.
The Prime Minister is the gatekeeper. One of the things we
have been discussing in Parliament and outside of Parliament over the
last two weeks because we have been on recess is the issue is whether
the Prime Minister should be the gatekeeper bearing in mind the self
interest the Prime Minister clearly has. The issue of who is a minister
should be the job for the Prime Minister. The issue of who resolves
whether there has been a breach of ministerial codes bearing in mind
you have an independent ministerial adviser, should be the independent
ministerial adviser. If there is evidence of a breach, you refer it
to the independent adviser and that's what should have happened in
this case. That opens the possibility and it
would be interesting if this was the case that the Prime Minister
gets a report, an independent report report saying someone has
breached the Ministerial Code, but says, "I choose to keep them."
sanction should be the job for the Prime Minister. He decides whether
a minister is appointed or stays. You need assistance sometimes for
somebody to look at the evidence and decide whether somebody...
David Cameron is basically saying and I think he regrets the way this
Ministerial Code was written. He says, "It is up to me who is in my
Cabinet and if you don't like it, vote for another party." It was
updated by David Cameron when he came Prime Minister in 2010.
Because he wanted to have a new style of of politics, he updated
and change it had. He says, "We, the foreies, must be
different." His letter to Alex Allen was sent today and he
received a reply today. Who remains in the Government has
to be a matter for the Prime Minister. In the end, it has to be
for the Prime Minister. He has taken that decision. He has the
option of seeking advice, but the facts of the case have been
exhaustively examined on television, under oath by a judicial inquiry
and really, I I nothing new has emerged over the last two months to
show that there has been a serious breach.
What hasn't been examined and that's the substance of the Labour
motion today, and what the Liberal Democrats are going to abstain on
is the suggestion that he breached the Ministerial Code A, by
misleading Parliament, Leveson didn't discuss that, and by failing
to control his special adviser. Clearly, the facts on the special
adviser was was looked into at Leveson, but there was never - did
you fail to control your special adviser.
We have had one debate and he is going to explain the answers he
gave which were superseded by the evidence he laid in front of
Leveson, a huge amount of text and e-mails and he will tear clear that
up -- he will clear that up. They will have to look at the role of a
special adviser. There were two other things that
came out that are transport issues that I'm interested in. PMQs kicked
off with a question from Zac Goldsmith, a great environmentalist
whose constituency is on the Heathrow flightpath. He told the
Prime Minister, "You are going to stick, aren't you to your Tory
commitment to not build a third runway?" The Prime Minister did not
say yes at all. When he came to HS 2 and the high-speed railway, the
Prime Minister said, "I am in favour of this." But I am told the
project is being kicked into the long grass and that HS 2 is not
going to happen in the foreseeable future. It is interesting there
maybe a U-turn in the making over the runway and HS 2 being kicked
into the long grass. There maybe a U-turn on the runway, but not until
the next manifesto. I don't think David Cameron thinks he could get
away with either in coalition with the Liberal Democrats or with some
of his own supportsers like Zac Goldsmith or with the people in
West London who voted a particular way because of the Tory manifesto.
He couldn't get away with a U-turn until he put it to the country
again. There is pressure from business on the Conservative Party
to come up with a solution to this aviation crisis. A, on high-speed 2,
the anxiety I'm told is about money. The Treasury was always relaxed
about high-speed 2 because it was so many years away it didn't have
anything to do with the period at which our deficit was being cut.
The problem is that the Chancellor told us, it will take more years
than originally planned to cut the deficit and therefore, you get a
cross over the moment the Treasury is trying to cut spending, it comes
at the same time as this massive investment to pay for high-speed 2.
If you speak to businesses inside this country and outside this
country, one of the biggest criticisms is lack of transport
infrastructure to get to this country and to get freight around
and other things around as well. If Nick is right, another example of
the needs of our country being acraifiesed for the -- sacrificed
for the greater good of the two political parties in charge at the
moment. There are different issues, the
airport capacity issue is a major issue. Heathrow is full. We are
going to get a consultation document calling for evidence as to
how we use our airports we are and where people think the next runway
should be built across the South East or elsewhere. How long will
that take? How long is a longer project.
Even longer now. So these are different projects.
Labour fought the last election in favour of a third runway at
Heathrow and the other two parties were against it. After you lost,
you changed your policy to be against a third runway.
I heard your transport spokeswoman tell me that you were against it.
You are reviewing the policy? are reviewing our transport policy
which includes aviation, but we are in favour of high-speed two.
You would like to see that go ahead? High tweed two? Yes -- high-
speed two? Yes. The issue is we are told by this
this chancellor he will bring forward projects and he needs to do
so and the good thing about high- speed two, you have a number of
different revenue streams to help fund it, but you have got a
situation where Crossrail will be finishing shortly and it will be
easy to transfer the skills from Crossrail to high-speed two.
It will be finished by 2015. High-speed two is a a longer term
project and it requires legislation to go before Parliament. It wasn't
on the Queen's Speech, was it? Delay. Delay. Delay.
You didn't do anything for 13 years about high-speed railways. We are
getting on with it, but it is a long-term project.
Crossrail was announced in 1986, it is now 2012! Things happen quickly
Five years ago, Gary Newlove was murdered by three youths outside
his home in Warrington. He had gone outside to speak to a gang of
youths who he believed had been vandalising his wife Helen's car.
Since then Helen, now Baroness Newlove, has been determined to
make sure her husband's death is not just another statistic. For
this week's soapbox, we joined her on an estate in Havering, East
London, one of the neighbourhoods across England and Wales where she
has been trying to tackle anti- social behaviour through community
The police have named the man who died after confronting a gang of
youths outside his home. He was Garry Newlove. Detectives described
his murder as sickening. On the 10th August 2007, my family
life ended as I knew T my husband, Garry Newlove, was attacked by a
gang of youths. He was kicked in the head 14 times and suffered 40
internal injuries. My neighbourhood suffered from under-age and binge-
drinking. I attended my local meetings, spoke
to my local agencies who classed anti-social behaviour as low level
crime. So no action was done. Everybody has a right to live
safely and happily in their communities. Under-age and binge-
drinking drags communities down. That is why I was pleased to be
made a Baroness In the House of Lords, giving me a national
platform to champion the voices of communities who suffer such
problems. We have to stop under-age and
binge-drinking. Stop shops from selling alcohol to under-age
drinkers. If need be, close them down if they persist. Stop street
drinking. Make drinking more sociable and not anti-social and
working the trade. Working together helps everybody.
Hello, Syd. How are you? It is lovely to see you.
There is a hidden team of people who work tirelessly without seeking
reward or recognise recognition to make life better for everyone. We
are in Havering where the spirit flourishes. The generations have
reached an understanding of mutual tolerance. People work with the
authorities for the good of the community.
I am working with ten areas across the country over the next few years
who have access to to �1 million funding, bringing communities
together to drive down social be behaviour. I do this passionately
because I do not want another family to suffer the highest price
my family paid. Helen Newlove is with us now. It is
very tough for you in the way you lost your husband, but you picked
yourself up and you are working hard to help communities battle
against binge-drinking and other social problems. What keeps you
going? I think listening to people's problems in communities
and I was a community activist where I lived. I had terrible
problems. My neighbours suffered terrible problems with the cars,
alcohol was thrown in our gardens. People were urinenating up the
fences and there is only so much you can take. We attended community
meetings where we had the police and the councillors and everybody
else and it was walking away from one of the meetings that I said
until somebody is murdered they will not do anything. Little did I
know it would be Gary. For me, listening to going through the
trial and and listening to people today, who are suffering the same
problems, if gives me the passion to do something because it should
never ever happen. You should feel safe where you live.
You have explained about the social problems. Do you think those sh use
that you have mentioned -- issues that you mentioned which some of
the agencies deal with and say it is a low lying anti-social
behaviour and crime, do you think those are the problems that can
lead to what happened to your husband? I get infuriated when they
say "low level crime." When they don't live there, it is infuriating.
My mailbag is full of people who shut their curtains, frightened to
go out, they cross the road, that is not low level crime. To me, it
is a silent killer and we need to nip it in the bud fast.
Do you think binge-drinking is the whole issue? Do you think that's
the biggest driver of the crimes and social problems that you are
talking about? It is one of the drivers. Alcohol-related crime is
horrendous because it is a come buston of things. You become anti-
social to people and you get violent. Gary suffered 14 kicks to
the head. 15 people were around him. This was on a summer's evening and
he was in shorts and he asked one single question. You have to look
at the indicators, but in rural areas, people are having their
tractors pinched and people laugh when I say, "We have got Tractor
Watch." They can't employee workers. These are real problems and we
should not dismiss them as low level crimes and I will never give
it a low level crime because Gary started off as anti-social
behaviour and he lost his life and I had to turn his life support
machine off. How do you class that How do you get communities
involved? Are they not frightened to some extent to do what you were
doing? The model used was in Havering, east London. How to get
people to patrol the streets and Aaron way or patrol the neighbours?
Everybody said to me, we need to know what the ingredients are. If I
knew the ingredients I would have a top saleswoman plaque on my
shoulder. You cannot say but these people are very passionate. They
are sick of living in these blighted areas. At the end of the
day, if you want to do something, you do not get anything done by
sitting and complaining. If you want to make a change, try and
connect. There are frightened people out there and not everybody
can do it. It is to help them feel safer so them when they feel they
can do it they can go out. Because it is blighted or we label them
deprived areas, affluent areas, who labels them? We are all the same in
life and we need to be able to live in a safer, happier place. Why was
Havering a good place to go? I love Havering. I am a people person.
When I went to Havering I first met them in a hall. It was very unique
because we had the older generation this side, the younger generation
this side and I was a referee in the middle. There were six
youngsters who had made a DVD and they showed it and they were asking
about the area. One of the things the young lad said was he thought
the old people should be in by 8 o'clock. Then the older people said,
why should I be in by 8 o'clock, I have lived here for 40 odd years.
They are saying you should not be in bed, we are worried because we
do not feel safe. I am connecting them now. They have done a rap
Opera together, opened photograph clubs and we have a 92-year-old
woman who is in charge of the community centre. What sort of help
can the government give to tackle these problems? I think we are
seeing their help. We have the Localism Bill and local people have
a voice but they go one about the Big Society, the Prime Minister
does, he did not say it to give everybody a manual. Everybody mucks
it. When I speak to communities, they want recognition. They say, we
are doing it, we have a great British background and we will
carry on doing it. Michael Fallon, there is a big issue with binge
drinking and we have talked about minimum pricing but will that be
enough to stop the images of our town centres being filled with
drunken yobs who take up all the time of the health services, the
emergency services and the police, it cost a fortune? We are looking
at the unit pricing of alcohol but we are doing other things as well.
We have doubled the penalty for shops selling to under-age children.
There are too many and dredge drinkers. We are giving communities
assay over licences -- too many under-aged drinkers. We are making
it tougher for places to get licences. We are making them
contribute to the cost of clearing this stuff up. The government has
got to do a lot of these little things to create a better climate.
But in the end, it is for communities. I salute what Helen is
doing. We have to start by changing little things. Changing the culture
is what many people say, governments manage to change the
culture in relation to smoking, the tide was turned. Why not be as
radical? Banning, just for example, to be more radical not just change
bits of the law, and it will not change the culture and be more
dramatic about it? Unit pricing may do that, multi- buying may stop
people buying great trunks together. What about banning drinking on the
street? Boris Johnson bandit on the Tube. You can get an alcohol
banning order in areas. We have tried it in Kent. There are some
experiments. We have to look at different ways of getting the
culture to change. It took a long time with smoking but we are
working at it with drinking as well. Thank you, Helen.
Remind me of giving Michael Fallon the history of American prohibition
for Christmas. The Falkland Islands will hold a
referendum next year on their future sovereignty. Yes, a
referendum, fancy that?! They hope there will be a firm message to
Argentina that the islanders will remain British. Comes on the 30th
anniversary of the end of the Argentine occupation of the islands.
David Lidington has just been updating Parliament on the plans.
For our part, the British government will continue to offer
unequivocal support to the islanders, by maintaining a
defensive posture on the islands, by supporting the growing economy
and by protecting their rights and their wishes today, just as we did
30 years ago. The forthcoming referendum will provide I believe,
further evidence that the islanders alone will decide their future and
will offer a simple but powerful expression of democracy.
So, how about that? A Tory lead government finally gives the
British a referendum on sovereignty. Are you proud? Absolutely. This is
the week we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the liberation of
the Falklands. It is a clear-cut issue, do you want to stay British?
It was done in Gibraltar a few years ago. I think it will send a
strong message. If it is good enough for the Falklands, what
about the rest? Where is the evidence that the people of the
Falkland Islands want a referendum? I think you have seen plenty of
evidence. We know what the outcome is, don't we? Do we? How do we
know? It will be a minimum of 95 % in favour of the current status.
hope so. Argentina has been reasserting its claim. It is very
important that Argentina gets the wishes of loud and clear that we
will respect the issues -- wishes of the islanders. What about a
referendum on House of Lords reform? You can have referendums on
lots of things. So specifically, House of Lords reform. There is
evidence that people wanted. The plants are very controversial, as
you know. Changing our constitution forever, let's have a referendum,
trust the people, Michael. referendum was proposed. Will we do
it? Be brave, Michael, you are the deputy chairman of the Conservative
Party. Don't let Clegg bully you. Could we give the Falkland as a
referendum on the House of Lords? And Europe! Enough.
Too much teasing going on here. We have just got time to pick the
winner of the get the year competition. The correct answer was
1977, the year of the Silver Jubilee year and the Labour act --
Lib-Lab pact. And there we go. Alan Atkinson from Kent is the winner.
That is it for today. We thank both Michael Fallon and Sadiq Khan for
being our guests, for being good sports as well. You have to be a
good sport to be on this programme, Newsnight it is not. The One
Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by the deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Michael Fallon and the shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan. Nick Robinson gives his analysis of PMQs and the Conservative peer Baroness Newlove discusses alcohol fuelled violence.