06/07/2012 Daily Politics


06/07/2012

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LineFromTo

Morning, folks, and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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More coalition trouble this morning with the Lib Dems threatening to

:00:43.:00:45.

withdraw support for parliamentary boundary changes if Tory MPs derail

:00:45.:00:52.

plans for Lords Reform. We'll talk to a Tory rebel who's not for

:00:52.:01:02.
:01:02.:01:04.

turning. After the anger and acrimony, the Inquiry. But after

:01:04.:01:07.

Balls and Osborne's bust-up, can MPs really get to the bottom of the

:01:07.:01:11.

banking scandal? As the Met Office forecasts a month's rainfall in the

:01:11.:01:14.

next two days in parts of the UK, many homeowners will be living in

:01:14.:01:17.

fear of floods. But with a deal between Government and the

:01:17.:01:20.

insurance industry expiring in less than a year, could they soon be

:01:20.:01:27.

left high and dry - or low and wet - when the waters rise?

:01:27.:01:31.

And it's a long way from anarchy in the UK as Johnny Rotten joins the

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Question Time panel. So how did the punk legend do? We ask his fellow

:01:36.:01:38.

panellist, and something of a rocker himself, Alan Johnson, for

:01:38.:01:48.
:01:48.:01:48.

his verdict. So all that's coming up in the next

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half hour. With us for the whole programme today, Amber Elliott from

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Total Politics magazine and our old friend Ian Collins. Total madness!

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And our old friend Ian Collins. You are our old friend? Yeah! Now, the

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coalition air is thick with threats and intrigue this morning. No

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change there, then. According to sources to Nick Clegg, there could

:02:17.:02:20.

be "serious consequences". The Liberal Democrats via an interview

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given by one of the Deputy Prime Minister's departing advisers are

:02:23.:02:25.

warning David Cameron that changes to Parliamentary boundaries much

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prized by Conservatives could be at risk if Tory MPs derail the Lib

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Dem's pet project, House of Lords reform.

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We're going to be joined by one of the rebels that the Lib Dems want

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to warn off, Peter Bone, MP. Good morning. Good morning to you. Are

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you frightened, going to act? Are you going to retaliate as a result

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of this threat? Quaking in my poots, I think, the threat from the

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Liberals. They just can't be trusted. The deal was they got this

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wretched AV vote in return for the boundary review. They all voted for

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that bill. I actually voted against the bill, and now because they

:03:09.:03:13.

didn't get what they wanted in the AV they're now saying it's all

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about House of Lords reform. Hold on. That was in the coalition

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agreement. House of Lords reform, bringing forward proposals, seating

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agreement, but nothing about that. You had the Prime Minister saying

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it was a third term priority. had a manifesto too. Why are you

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renegging on it? You did not say that. Your manifesto said you would

:03:35.:03:38.

seek a consensus on House of Lords reform. It's only because of people

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like you we don't have a consensus. A consensus is a consensus. We're

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still seeking it, haven't quite made it yet. Do you take the threat

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seriously? Because it's pretty hard in the current system for the

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Tories to get an overall majority even if you do well in the polls.

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If you don't get boundary reform, it's almost mission impossible.

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don't agree. I think if we had a strong Conservative Government,

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perhaps as a minority Government for six months to a year then went

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to the country, we'd get an overwhelming vote and have a clear-

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cut Conservative majority. I think the Liberals messing around like

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this just proves the sooner we get to a minority Government, the

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better. How high would you put the chances of getting a Conservative

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Government? I think if we govern as a minority Government and for

:04:25.:04:28.

instance brought in definite plans for an EU referendum, a bill of

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rights, tougher on immigration and things like that... You're not

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going to get any of that are you? Not with the Liberals. Not getting

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it even from David Cameron. I don't know. If he was free to be

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Conservative Prime Minister, we could govern and put our case to

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the country in due course, and I think that's - nobody really

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seriously thinks this coalition can stagger on to 2015 when you can't

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trust for one moment the Liberal Democrat members of it. Is this

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just the normal sort of coalition politics, or do we take seriously

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the Lib Dem threat? I think, you know, it's quite fun politics,

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really, because Nick Clegg has upped the ante without saying a

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word. You have had his advisor who left yesterday, and he's put the

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situation out there where the Lib Dems have said, look, if you don't

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do this for us, we'll stop boundary review - stop the boundary changes.

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Would you leave them? I think this is just the beginning step. Given

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it's a here-today-gone-tomorrow advisor following Steve Hilton to

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the United States. It's great for Nick Clegg because if it doesn't

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work out he can say it was just my advisor. That's why you wonder what

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it's all about, Alfie, even though your name not Alfie! Because when I

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interviewed Nick Clegg on the Sunday Politics and said, "If you

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don't get Lords reform, will you retaliate?" He said, "One of the

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good things about this coalition is we don't in for tit for tat

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retaliation." Peter Bone needs to have a word with Mrs Bone on this

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occasion because they seem to have lost the idea of what a coalition

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is all about. If Peter thinks seriously the Conservatives can

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govern with 50 less seats in a minority Government such as that I

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am afraid he's living in cloud coup-coup land. One final thing -

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stand back from it all and give me your prediction, when this

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timetable - call it the guillotine notion determine debate on the

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House of Lords reform comes before, there will be Tory rebellions,

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given that Labour will abstain or vote against, will you have enough

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rebels to win this vote to stop Lords reform in its tracks?

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wouldn't stop Lords reform in its tracks, but it would cause problems.

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Will you? I think there is enough votes it in, but I don't think in

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the end the Government will move the programme motion. Why move a

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motion when you know you're going to be beaten? Carry on with the

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legislation... That would mean the Lords reform would carry on in the

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House and gum up the works. We'll see how much it does. Remember, all

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parties before the election were in favour of scrutinising legislation

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fully, full scrutiny. What does it matter that MPs stayed through the

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night to look at it? It's about time you did some work. Good to see

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you. Now, there is another inquiry on

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the way - this time about the rate- rigging scandal that took down Bob

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Diamond this week. But agreement did not come easy.

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Yesterday's debate on the banking inquiry was dominated by

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acrimonious exchanges between Ed Balls and George Osborne about

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comments by the Chancellor alleging that his Shadow had questions to

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answer over pressure put on Barclays to lower the LIBOR rate in

:07:30.:07:40.
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2008. It was quite a piece of parliamentary theatre.

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Impugned my integrity - he has said - no, and he has made an allegation

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in The Spectator and all over the newspapers. He has no evidence -

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because there isn't any because it's untrue - and he knew there was

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no evidence because he knew it was untrue, and he said it anyway

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because that is the character of the man, Madam Deputy Speaker.

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idea that I am going do take lessons in integrity from a man who

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smeared his way through 13 years of Labour Government, who half the

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people who ever served in him thinks he was a disgrace in his

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post is another thing. Another quiet day in Westminster.

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Where does this all leave the banking inquiry? Well, Labour had

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wanted a judge-led public inquiry. But after the Government won the

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vote in the Commons, the opposition offered qualified support to a

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parliamentary inquiry led by the Tory Treasury Select Committee

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chair Andrew Tyrie. Questions remain about the effectiveness of a

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parliamentary inquiry following criticism of Mr Tyrie's Committee's

:08:44.:08:54.
:08:54.:08:54.

cross-examination of Bob Diamond. If you could call it a cross-

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examination. It's also unclear whether a politician-led inquiry

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can overcome the increasingly partisan tone of the debate about

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where responsibility lies for the rate-rigging and wider banking

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scandal. With us now is Michael Fallon,

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Conservative Deputy Chairman and Chris Leslie, Shadow Financial

:09:08.:09:18.
:09:18.:09:19.

Secretary. Welcome to you both. Let's not go through the whole

:09:19.:09:23.

argument again we had yesterday afternoon. We're going to have a

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parliamentary inquiry. The Government wants it. Labour will

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reluctantly go along. Do you have a view as to what shape this

:09:30.:09:35.

parliamentary inquiry should now take? Obviously, we would have

:09:35.:09:39.

preferred the judicial, but given we are where we are, there are a

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number of things to be resolved. There is the question of is there

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going to be officials and secretariat? Couldn't be Treasury

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officials. They're in the frame. think the Chancellor said there

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were going to be discussions in the usual channels. We want to see what

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those are. I have to say, you mentioned in the outset, because

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this is more than just Barclays, because we're talking about

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potentially dozens of banks around the world being involved in this, I

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think the public will be saying, you know, is this an inquiry with

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sufficient independent importance and stature? I understand that is

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why we are still... As you said, we are where we are. We had that

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debate yesterday. Let's not go over old cold milk here. Do you have an

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idea what - how this inquiry should be constituted? Should it have an

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independent secretariat? Should it - people testify under oath, which

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doesn't usually happen? Should there be a QC to teach you how to

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ask questions? Look, Labour have backed down on the inquiry they

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wanted. We have agreed we have parliamentary inquiry. In turn

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we're happy to listen to Labour if they have constructive suggestions

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about how this inquiry should be framed. In answer to your questions,

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yes, more resources can be provided. Parliament cost could do that the

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National Audit Office might be able to help. Your second question I

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think was on... Should people testify under oath? They can

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testify under oath. The Parliament can require that at the moment.

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has the power to do that. It does. Finally, I think you said, should

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we have a lawyer involved? You can have a lawyer advising the

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committee. You do have that. Should you have a prominent QC there to

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advise you as a team, to have back- up questions? Certainly to advice.

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I don't think our concessions would understand that we would have to

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hire somebody to ask the questions for us. Certainly, you could have

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legal advice. The Treasury Select Committee already has a lawyer who

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advises. The difficulty is, is this the right moment to be trying to

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sort of forge a new way of Constitutionally investigating this

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within a parliamentary process - oaths and QCs, and so forth. It

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would have been better - and the public expect - it should have been

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straight away, get into that independent judicial inquiry where

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the rules are already set out. You're revisiting yesterday.

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can't repeat it three times when we heard it endlessly yesterday. You

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may be right or wrong, but we are where we are. I am trying to decide,

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what should the scope of the inquiry be? What lessons can we

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learn given we have legislation going through. We have already had

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a judicial inquiry going on by the States. The facts are out there.

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What we need to do is know how to change the legislation already in

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front of Parliament to learn the lessons. The inquiry we have had

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sparked off by the Americans, not the British, was about particular

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LIBOR fiddling - two types of fiddling - one by officials, one by

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rogue traders. We have not had an inquiry into why the culture of the

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City has been dragged down to the level now where every day we open

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our papers and some other bank is having its collar felt for mis-

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selling, cheating, lying and paying themselves shed loads of money they

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don't deserve. Exactly. We have legislation, Andrew, in front of

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Parliament at the moment to better regulate the City, so we need to

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learn very quickly from this inquiry. Which isn't good enough.

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Which isn't good enough. Speed is of the essence. We have learned the

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lessons. We can get them into the bill in front of Parliament. After

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the Trace Select Committee in front of Bob Diamond where you barely

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laid a finger on him, do you think you need a QC to do this? There

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were three different aspects to the LIBOR inquiry - 2005, 2007 and 2008,

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and each member was per suing their own line of questioning. Of course,

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that can be better organised. One of the advantages of this

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particular new committee is there will be more expertise there. There

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will be somebody there from the House of Lords there as well. It

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will be smaller, more focused, a slightly narrower inquiry. It can

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get on with this every week now until Christmas. Is it Labour's

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contention that in the autumn of 2008 the Government played no part

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whatsoever in trying to get the LIBOR rate down? Well, I mean,

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there is a distinction between governments of all parties who will

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want to have a view about the level of interest rates, unemployment

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inflation and then a suggestion - no, no, this is important - then a

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suggestion that somehow manipulating or fraudulently

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fiddling figures has to be the route to be pursued. That's not

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what I asked you. I am not asking you have... Absolutely. I am asking

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you is it Labour's position that it was not your policy to depress

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LIBOR in the autumn of 2008? governments want to make sure

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interest rates are affordable. That's not the answer to my

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question. The key allegation the chance loor was insinuating is

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somehow key individual Ministers including Ed Balls had been somehow

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complicit in the manipulation fraudulently... No, no, that's not

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the allegation. Is it your position that Mr Balls or Ms Vadera or

:15:16.:15:23.

anybody else played no part whatsoever, directly or indirectly,

:15:23.:15:26.

in influencing LIBOR policy? We'll go through them. Ed Balls has said

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he's not had those conversations about LIBOR... I didn't ask you. I

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said indirectly or directly? She's gone on the record and talked

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about... She said it was a concern. The paper she commented upon.

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Phillip Hammond, for example, a Shadow Chief Secretary, also talked

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about LIBOR... You were the Government, Chris. There is a

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difference between saying interest rates should be affordable and

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implying you should somehow... sorry. A criminal approach to

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fiddling the figures. Nobody wanted to do that. The issue is not should

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interest rates be affordable. was. You need to reread your

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history. The issue was wholesale lending for the banks had

:16:10.:16:14.

completely dried up and the LIBOR rate was going through the roof. It

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was a matter of life or death. It was not about affordability. I ask

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you one more time - are you saying the Labour Government at no stage

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directly or indirectly put pressure on the bank to lower LIBOR?

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Diamond himself said in response to a question from Michael, were

:16:32.:16:38.

Ministers putting pressure on you to fiddle LIBOR? His answer was, "I

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didn't believe that no." Diamond being instructing, which is

:16:43.:16:47.

entirely different. The answer you're looking for, for indirectly

:16:47.:16:51.

is yes, because he was the City Minister. You can't be the

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Government and have no indirect connection between what's going on.

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Do you understand the interest between fiddling figures? It wasn't

:17:01.:17:05.

George Osborne's best moment. Somehow he was sitting around the

:17:05.:17:10.

table with a calculator and abacus trying to instrument what the rate

:17:10.:17:14.

should be is preposterous. The Government of the day were not

:17:14.:17:19.

indirectly linked at some level with what is going on in the City -

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you must know that. Part of the problem is we seem to be doing an

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inquiry before anyone started an inquiry. Yesterday in the Commons

:17:27.:17:32.

we had a situation where it was sort of very unparliamentary to a

:17:32.:17:35.

certain extent. It got very personal. The worry with this is it

:17:35.:17:42.

sets a precedent. You then go into an inquiry which is a parliamentary

:17:42.:17:46.

inquiry... If someone accused you of fiddling figures you would want

:17:46.:17:49.

to defend your position. George Osborne overplayed his position. I

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have spoken to Conservative MPs who tell me he's overplayed his hand.

:17:54.:17:59.

Some were on the record. Yesterday we saw Ed Balls who can be very

:17:59.:18:06.

tribal - he's not so good at taking it. We're finished. But here's a

:18:06.:18:12.

prediction. We'll come back do this. As you may have noticed, it is

:18:12.:18:15.

chucking it down out there. According to the forecast, parts of

:18:15.:18:25.
:18:25.:18:27.

the UK can expect a month's worth of rain in the next 48 hours. The

:18:27.:18:30.

Met Office told us it would be dry. It is what makes the British summer

:18:31.:18:34.

great! But for many whose homes are at risk of flood, the threatened

:18:34.:18:37.

downpour is serious stuff. And it could get worse if a deal on flood

:18:37.:18:40.

insurance between the government and the industry expires next year.

:18:40.:18:42.

Here is Len Tingle, our political editor in Yorkshire.

:18:42.:18:44.

This man demonstrates brand new flood defences just fitted to his

:18:44.:18:50.

front door. Affected, he hopes, to keep out the water. Five years ago,

:18:50.:18:56.

this is what happened to his street. This is just outside Barnsley in

:18:56.:19:01.

South Yorkshire. The nearby river burst its banks and locals were

:19:01.:19:06.

rescued by boat, waves up to five feet high burst through doors, and

:19:06.:19:11.

destroyed everything in sight. There had not been a single flat

:19:11.:19:16.

here since the 1950s. The Environment Agency says it cannot

:19:16.:19:21.

reduce the risk of it happening again to less than once every 25

:19:21.:19:27.

years. That is a risk too far for insurance companies. I would need

:19:27.:19:34.

to pay 800, 900 pounds more. could be far worse. Across all

:19:34.:19:39.

affected areas, at temporary deal between the government and effected

:19:39.:19:44.

insurers are keeping coverage in place. The deal runs out next year

:19:44.:19:48.

and the insurers want a new one, with government agreeing to

:19:48.:19:55.

underwrite property in the highest areas. If we ever managed to get

:19:55.:20:01.

insurance again. This man is the Finance Minister. Last week he

:20:01.:20:06.

toured some of the latest area has to be inundated. Here he is near

:20:06.:20:11.

Halifax in West Yorkshire. We are reducing the spending over four

:20:11.:20:18.

years by 6%. It is a real priority for us. Broadly speaking, we're

:20:18.:20:22.

spending similar amounts as the previous government because we're

:20:22.:20:27.

spending the money smarter. couple of days later, the Prime

:20:27.:20:31.

Minister visited and neighbouring town. He had a clear message for

:20:31.:20:37.

the insurers. We need a clear deal with the insurance companies so

:20:37.:20:42.

that they do what it says on the 10, they provide people with insurance.

:20:42.:20:48.

Labour warns of falling insurance crisis. At a flat summit in Hull,

:20:48.:20:52.

there were claims that government spending cuts are deeper than

:20:52.:20:57.

admitted. Spending on flood defences was cut by this Government

:20:57.:21:05.

by more than 30 %. The insurance industry have accepted that but

:21:05.:21:11.

they have said, do not expect us to take up the risk. As the

:21:11.:21:17.

politicians and insurers argue, the tide of fear and uncertainty grows.

:21:17.:21:22.

These pictures must have made many reach for their insurance policies.

:21:22.:21:27.

The fear is that if there is next time, those policies may not exist.

:21:27.:21:30.

Len Tingle there. And Aidan Kerr, who is Head of Property at the

:21:30.:21:35.

Association of British Insurers, joins us. Good morning. If the

:21:35.:21:39.

current agreement is not replace, will you simply stop insuring those

:21:39.:21:44.

at risk? We're committed to ensuring those who are at risk of

:21:44.:21:50.

flux. But the fact is that the risk is increasing over time. --

:21:50.:21:57.

insuring. But if you do not get that agreement with government,

:21:57.:22:06.

will you stop providing insurance? Insurance will always be available

:22:06.:22:11.

but as the risk increases, the cost will go up. The issue is about

:22:11.:22:18.

affordability. I think I would take that as a no. Does the Government

:22:18.:22:25.

need to ensure that no household in the UK becomes uninsurable? It is a

:22:25.:22:28.

joint responsibility between the government and the insurance

:22:28.:22:33.

industry. What do you need from the government? They a government needs

:22:33.:22:37.

to work with the insurance industry as they have been doing so far.

:22:37.:22:44.

What does it need to do? It needs to work with us to develop a model.

:22:44.:22:47.

We need to agree with government a kind of pooling system that allows

:22:47.:22:53.

those most at risk to be supported by the market more widely. If you

:22:53.:22:57.

have such a system, and the taxpayers going to be or on the

:22:57.:23:06.

line for this? -- are going to be responsible for this? The insurance

:23:06.:23:10.

industry would still hold on to a lot of the risk. There is always a

:23:10.:23:14.

risk of flooding. I was interviewing a meteorologist last

:23:15.:23:20.

weekend he was saying that every year we have this conversation. The

:23:20.:23:26.

risk is always there. You pick and choose where you want to pay and

:23:26.:23:34.

who you want to insure. For most people come my insurance is very it

:23:34.:23:38.

affordable. Flood insurance is part of a standard home insurance

:23:38.:23:43.

package. Where it has happened, people can still get their

:23:43.:23:48.

insurance renewed. The problem with the packages there is no

:23:48.:23:54.

stipulation as to how much that will cost. So you do not want to

:23:54.:24:04.
:24:04.:24:05.

take the risk? Your parents fear a flood risk. It they live in St Ives.

:24:05.:24:11.

What would you say? There are 5.2 million homes at risk of flooding.

:24:11.:24:15.

The Government is planning to cut flood defences. You have a

:24:16.:24:19.

situation where the last government agreed a deal where they would keep

:24:19.:24:23.

up flood defences in return for insurance companies subsidising

:24:23.:24:27.

homes at risk, but we have a situation where this government is

:24:27.:24:33.

a bit more free-market about it and not keen on the idea. That leaves

:24:33.:24:38.

people in a difficult situation. They buy annual sled insurance and

:24:38.:24:42.

in one year's time, they do not know what will happen. Do you think

:24:42.:24:48.

you will get a deal with the government? I certainly hope so.

:24:48.:24:49.

Thaw This week, scientists in

:24:49.:24:52.

Switzerland found the God particle, Andy Murray reached the semifinal

:24:52.:24:55.

at Wimbledon and we learnt that TomKat were no more. But what else

:24:55.:24:57.

has been happening in the Westminster village, I hear you

:24:57.:25:06.

ask? Here is the Week In 60 seconds. The former Defence Secretary Liam

:25:06.:25:10.

Fox sparked a debate about a potential referendum on Europe. It

:25:10.:25:17.

sounded a bit like the hokey-cokey. The now ex-boss of Barclays

:25:17.:25:21.

appeared in front of the parliamentary committee to be

:25:21.:25:25.

questioned over the interest-rate fixing debacle. He is such a

:25:25.:25:30.

diamond geezer, as he was on first- name terms with everyone.

:25:30.:25:36.

George, this was reprehensible behaviour. Nick Clegg gave his

:25:36.:25:40.

response on the scandal to the children's programme Newsround.

:25:40.:25:46.

They have got to be responsible for when things go wrong. He said that

:25:46.:25:51.

being in power may 10 feel like he had had a lobotomy. All the really

:25:51.:25:56.

big brains head for Question Time, and John Lydon of the sex Pistols,

:25:56.:26:02.

who disappointed many of his fans by being sane. I do not want my

:26:02.:26:06.

drugs taxed. And to discuss John Lydon, aka

:26:06.:26:09.

Rotten's, performance on Question Time last night, we can speak to

:26:09.:26:12.

his fellow panellist, and something of a rock 'n' roller himself, Alan

:26:12.:26:22.
:26:22.:26:30.

Johnsosn, who joins us from Hull. Good morning. How it did he do?

:26:30.:26:37.

did all right. It is always easier for someone who is not a politician,

:26:37.:26:41.

because they do not have a constituency to answer to, they are

:26:41.:26:45.

not expected to take blame for things that happen in the past, at

:26:45.:26:52.

the moment are in the future. But I thought he captured the mood. I

:26:52.:26:56.

would think this because I agree with him about having a judge led

:26:56.:27:03.

inquiry. He was nervous beforehand. He had a go about the smoking ban

:27:03.:27:08.

beforehand with me but I do not reveal green room conversations.

:27:08.:27:14.

Did he makes sense on the big issues of our time? Yes, he did. He

:27:15.:27:20.

made sense on banking and he had important things to say. He puts on

:27:20.:27:26.

a bit of an act that he is an anarchist, but actually, there is

:27:26.:27:30.

some establishment in hand. We had this amazing drug confession as

:27:30.:27:36.

well, but that came from the Tory MP who was on the programme. What

:27:36.:27:44.

did you make of him? I want to watch wise old men like Alan

:27:44.:27:49.

Johnson to impart his wisdom. I thought it was preposterous. He

:27:49.:27:54.

wheeled out some vacuous platitudes. He did at this thing that you can

:27:54.:27:59.

do it on a show when you're not a politician, you can come to a

:27:59.:28:06.

crescendo at the end Divya point. He even interrupted the audience.

:28:06.:28:11.

If people want to be entertained, E C was entertaining. It is Question

:28:11.:28:19.

Time, it is not supposed to be entertaining. Alan Johnson, are you

:28:19.:28:26.

telling me that John Lydon is your adviser on banking policy now?

:28:26.:28:31.

but the name is quite appropriate, because something rotten is

:28:31.:28:37.

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