12/09/2012 Daily Politics


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Good morning. This is The Daily Politics. The President of the


European Commission has called for the EU to be turned into a


federation of nation states. In his annual address to the European


Parliament, Jose Manuel Barroso also called for a eurozone banking


union, a mechanism for all 6,000 banks in the eurozone. It will


probably put him on a collision course with the City of London.


The families of the Liverpool supporters who lost their lives in


the Hillsborough stadium disaster have begun examining thousands of


previously unreleased documents, which they hope will challenge the


official version of what happened. The Prime Minister will address the


Commons on the issue while we are on air. And spare a thought for Mr


Cameron - Boris appears to have stolen his thunder. Will Ed


Miliband do the same at PMQs? And we have sent Adam to the tower.


That's what makes the pendulum swing.


So, all that and more coming up in the next 90 minutes of pure TV gold.


Joining us for the duration, a couple of chaps of undisputed


integrity and standing - at least, that's what it says here. David


Willetts, the Universities Minister, and Douglas Alexander, the Shadow


Foreign Secretary. It also says they have an advanced understanding


of markets, and good economic knowledge. Well, actually, it does


not say that of them. This is the advertisement which is going to


appear on Friday in the Economist for the job of Governor of the Bank


of England. Fancy that, either of you? I think it is great that we


are opening up the process of recruiting for this post. We are


barely into the programme, and you answer a totally different question.


Of course, if you might wish to apply yourself, you could give it a


go. It was a Scot who founded it. And it was an Englishman who


founded the bank of Scotland. Do you fancy it? I am happy in my job,


although I would like to lose the title Shadow. Very well paid.


feeling more interested, but I think actually I should stick with


government. Complete waste of time, that. Let's see if we can do better


on transport. Later today, the new Transport Secretary, Patrick


McLoughlan, will be giving evidence to the Treasury -- to the Transport


Select Committee. He will have a lot to talk about. A runway or not


at Heathrow? The West Coast Main Line - should Mr Brunson hold on to


it? And the little issue of the high-speed rail line. Joining us to


talk about all of that and a few other things, we have the former


Welsh secretary Cheryl Gillan, who was in the Cabinet until last week,


and who indeed sat beside David Willetts. We have got Mr Alexander


keeping your part, for health and safety reasons! We normally have a


Oliver Letwin between us! Before I come on to some of these issues,


leaving the Cabinet - do you think you were treated unfairly? Not at


all. The joy of being a Prime Minister is that you can decide who


you have in your Cabinet. There is no secret, David has always said


that he wanted a Welsh MP to be the Welsh Secretary. I had done the job


for seven years in opposition. He also knew the difficulty that I


have with this project, HS2. I have nothing to regret, quite the


reverse. What was the conversation? I am not going to go into all the


tittle-tattle surrounding that. is interesting. Why did he say he


wanted you to go? He said he had always known that he wanted a Welsh


MP eventually, which is white. Don't forget, we have had


tremendous success in Wales, building up from no MPs at all to


three, and then eight. We topped the polls in the European elections.


We have proved that we can see Labour off in Wales. Labour has had


a stranglehold on Wales for a long time. Was he's sipping a glass of


wine when he fired you? Listen, I have answered so many questions on


this, I am not going to discuss... I am not going to discuss anything


that went on in my exchanges with the Prime Minister. I have always


been a good number of our party, and of the Cabinet, and I have no


intention of talking about those things which are between a Prime


Minister and an ex-Cabinet minister. It is my job to try. I have no


doubt it will come out one day. I am not that sort of politician,


either. I am not really that sort of politician. What does the future


hold for you now? Is your political career now simply condemned to


being on the backbenches, or even worse, the House of Lords? Well,


first of all, you're not necessarily condemned to the


backbenches. Quarter to the longest serving woman on our benches, only


the sixth woman Cabinet minister that the Conservative Party has


produced.. Only six? Does that include Mrs Thatcher? It does!


Under was the youngest woman minister in John Major's government.


That is quite an amazing statistic. And I am only 60, and I mean only


60. I think If you're going to say that women are on the scrapheap


when they get to 60, then there will be a lot of us that will


disagree with that. Absolutely! question was not to do with gender,


it was about what happens to a politician like you when you're no


longer in the Cabinet, and probably will not be again. Well, you never


say never. But secondly, I think you have got to remember that every


MP represents a constituency, and unlike in Wales, where a


constituency MP has a first-past- the-post Assembly member, and all


of those list Assembly members to do the same job, there is plenty to


do. HS2 is of course, really key. It is planned to go through your


constituency. Absolutely, right through the middle. What do you


feel? Do you think HS2 will go ahead? I very much hope it will not.


There are two reasons - first of all, it is not a good value for


money project. Secondly, by the time it will be built, not only


will it have destroyed some precious environment, but I think


the world of work and the way we do business will have changed. We are


talking 2026-36. Therefore, I think at the moment, particularly with


the current economic conditions in this country, and it looks as


though we're going to be in this economic downturn for quite some


time, I would like to see the money and the efforts which we are


expanding on that put in too much quicker things, better projects,


for example, the project that I pushed for in Wales, the


electrification of those lines down to Swansea, which will mean so much,


and that link into Heathrow. I would like to see the new Transport


Minister, who was a good friend of mine, giving a fresh think on this.


Do you think he will? I hope so, we shall see. He is giving evidence at


2:30pm. The challenge for Patrick McLoughlan is to come in and have a


fresh approach. There have been stories that the Government is not


quite as committed to this as has been made out, what do you feel?


watched the Chancellor yesterday, and I tweeted, lukewarm. I detected


less certainty about this project. It has been one of the flagship


project, it was a Labour project. I was in as fast as I could do object


to it when Labour announced it. I discussed it at length in


opposition with the then Shadow Transport Minister, and I was quite


convinced that it would either not go ahead, or it would go ahead on a


different route. There is no value to constituencies such as mine,


because there is no stop in Buckinghamshire. If it was going to


Milton Keynes, maybe there would be a different attitude, although


ultimately, I have to say that if we go to designate something as an


Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, I think we should be looking after


that. Is the Government completely committed to this?


Yes, it is. I respect Cheryl Gillan's constituency issue, I


understand it. But this is exactly the kind of infrastructure we need


to be investing in for the future of our country. Why? Because I


think that people, however advanced the economy is, people want to move


around, to meet physically. In terms of the future of our great


cities, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, this is absolutely crucial.


But I can get to Manchester in 90 minutes. -- I can get to Birmingham.


I like the 90 minutes, it gives me a chance to have a cup of coffee


and read the papers. Indeed, I might not have to go to Birmingham


so often if you gave me a proper broadband, the kind of broadband


the South Koreans have - why do you not give me that instead? We can


put you in a siding for half-an- hour if you wish! But the evidence


is that this does not reduce the need for people physically to meet,


all that carries on. I have to say, really, for the great cities


outside London, this really is essential. The Public Accounts


Committee looked at this project, and one of the things that was


really interesting was that nobody has yet sturdy what would happen


the �32 billion, at 2011 prices - it is going to be a lot more than


that - what would happen if that money was spent on things like


super high-speed broadband? We have proved that people can survive


without travelling too much. We have kept people out of central


London throughout the Paralympics and the Olympics very successfully.


His Labour still committed to this? It is. Let me try to answer both of


these points. One of the difficulties of sinking that kind


of capital into broadband is that frankly, the technology has changed


rapidly over the last decade, in terms of how to deliver a super


broadband. Secondly, the future is that the West Coast Main Line is


simply filling up. We face a choice - are we going to do what has been


the traditional British approach, of patching up and mending, like we


did to the West Coast Main Line, basic are performing open-heart


surgery on a Victorian railway? Or do we recognise that we have got a


challenge for the cities of Manchester and Leeds...? You will


be on the benches of the House of Lords by the time this happens.


years! If we are serious about rebalancing the economy, we need


that investment. Why does it help the North making it easier for


people to travel to the south? It will just make it a huge suburb of


London? No. Frankly, it connects these areas to the rest of Europe.


Frankly, all of the economic studies indicate greater


connectivity is going to be one thing which Britain needs in the


future. We will have to leave that subject there. Earlier this morning,


the Education Secretary, Michael Gove, appeared in front of the


education Select Committee, where he was being grilled about the GCSE


grading fiasco. The Welsh Government has ordered the


regrading of English papers following a review, something


English students will not be getting. The Education Secretary


said this was a big mistake by the Welsh government.


I think the decision by the Welsh Education Minister is irresponsible


and mistaken. I think he has undermined confidence in Welsh


children's GCSEs, and I think he should think again, after having


made what I regard to be a regrettable political intervention


in what should be a process free from political meddling. Why is it


a mistake from the Welsh government? I think it could be,


because, if there is no regrading by an independent organisation,


such as Ofqual, I think people will look at this cohort of Welsh


students and say, there was something not quite right, not


comparable with English students. I think Leighton Andrews has always


been quick out of the stocks to attack the Westminster government,


but let's face it, Labour has been in charge for 13 years in Wales,


and educational results have been going down and down. You said


regrading, are you suggesting by another body, you would like to see


that? I would not like to see regrading of all of those exams. I


tend to agree with Michael Gove, because I think they should be left


as they stand.. What about the misery for the students who feel


their chances have been harmed? don't think they have. I think


right across the board, if they were treated in the same way, that


would be a different matter. But to separate out English and Welsh


students, there are already difficulties over comparing the two,


and this will make it worse for those Welsh students. But children


have been treated differently already with grading happening


during the year. It has been a shambles. Michael's comments this


morning revealed that he does not understand devolution. The Welsh


Education Minister has the right to make this determination. Secondly,


I think it reinforces the urgency of there being much greater clarity


as to who ultimately holds the responsibility. In opposition,


Michael was at pains to say, it is ministers to decide. At the moment


he is seeking to shelter behind Ofqual, and suggest this is a


matter without any political involvement. But is it not a matter


I'm going to have to leave ill there but thank you very much


Cheryl Gillan. A pleasure. Today is a day of important


announcements about the euro. This morning the German Constitutional


Court gave its backing to the European Stability Mechanism,


saying it wasn't unconstitutional. It will be used to support


countries in the eurozone that get into trouble - plenty of candidates


there. The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel


Barroso, set out the EU's plans on banking union across the eurozone.


That's not all. He's also called for a small matter of a federation


of European states. What can he mean? Let me try to explain. One of


the main causes of the crisis in Europe has be that smaller


countries have been overwhelmed by the bad debts their banks have


built up. The European Central Bank will take over many of the


responsibilities that individual countries's central banks had. The


idea is that the massive resource of the ECB will be enough to put


out the fires. It also means that other powers will be centralised.


President Barroso wants the European banking authority to


become the principal regulator of banks in the eurozone. Britain will


not be directly involved, because it doesn't use the euro, but bank


ers in London are worried that the newly empowered ECB will mean more


meddling from Europe. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George


Osborne, says he favour as banking union as long as Britain isn't part


of it, but can he make sure the City of London isn't damaged? In


his annual State of the Union address President Barroso explained


what the EU was doing. Today the commission is proposing legislative


proposals for a single supervisery mechanism for the eurozone. This is


the stepping stone to the bank union. The crisis has shown that


while banks became transMarshall rules and oversight remained


national. And when things went wrong it was the taxpayer who is


had to pick up the bill. Over the past four years the EU has


overruled the rule book for banks. But mere co-ordination is no longer


adequate. We need to move to common supervisery decisions, namely


within the euro area. But he didn't limit himself to talking about the


proposed banking union. He also set out ambitious plans for the future


of the EU. The present European Union must evolve. And let's not be


afraid of the words. We will need to move towards a federation of


nation states. This is what we need. APPLAUSE A deep and genuine and


economic monetary union can be started under the current treaties,


but can only be completed with changes in the treaties. So let's


start it now, but let's have the horizon for the future present in


our decisions of today. So the President of the European Union


calling for a federal Europe. Are you up for, that Douglas Alexander?


It certainly seems to indicate a change from the language


historically used by the President of the Council and the commission


about closer union. We need to find out what Jose Manuel Barroso, the


other members of commission and indeed yore leaders of the European


nations see as the way forward. If it does suggest a move away from


the theology of ever-closer union, that does suggest there may be a


Will be of significance I don't understand that. Surely a federal


union and closer European are the same things? He is using the


language of confederation. didn't. He used the language of


federation, which is very different. It is completely different from


ever closer union. Let's be clear what he means. The responsible


course is not to jump to our own conclusions gou see what he says


and other European leaders say. We've had indications from


Chancellor Angela Merkel that change will be necessary. Let's see


what emerges in the months ahead. But no-one is proposing a single


unitary European superstate. That's never been on the cards. And the


Rome treaty of ever closer union never implied that. Many Euro-


sceptics would argue that that is the case. That's up to them but I


know from history. That part of the Treaty of Rome was drafted by


federalists. They want ever closer union. I don't understand why you


think that what he is calling is for in anyway delivering a closer


union of a federal state. You don't rule out being part of this?


not clear what you are asking is, to rule out. Could you see Britain


being part of a federal Europe? not clear how he is defining her


terms. Are we proposing to leave the European Union? No. Is the


European Union going to change? I expect. So is there any appetite


among the political parties for further integration of the European


Union? There is frankly not. said he is not calling for a


superstate - he would say that - but a federation of nation states


to tackle our problems. You could say the fact that he is stating


nation states recognises the reality, which is that Britain


doesn't want to see itself integrated into a European


superstate. Nor do many other countries. If he was to get his way


the treaties would have to be renegotiated. What would you do?


Exactly. My heart sinks when I hear. This euro has to sort out the


eurozone. Where there are things we can work together, like the


environment, we should. The last thing we need is another agonised


debate on all this theology about federalism. Why don't they do the


things they can do, get out of the things they shouldn't be doing, and


give us break about the continuous debate about how Europe is


organised and its constitution. Floss appetite for that in Britain.


The real crisis in the eurozone and its finances. All its efforts


should be on that. Isn't it likely that Mr Barroso, who doesn't speak


for anybody expect the politician, he wasn't elected by anybody, isn't


it likely he may not get his way with all the EU members, but the


logic of Economic and Monetary Union for the eurozone members is


that they will become much closer and much more integrated? I think


that is likely. The only difficulty I would have with David's


characterisation is this. There may be genuine and profound


consequences to that greater integration within the eurozone for


the other members, the non-euro members of the European Union. If


you have a country of Germany's standing saying we want fundamental


treaty change across the whole of the European Union, of course that


has implications do. We regard that as a priority in of course we don't.


On the other hand it may be coming towards us. That is why we need to


understand where the commission is and the other countries are.


European-wide banking regulations which are proposed, not popular in


Germany. Legislation will go before the Parliament in Strasbourg. That


doesn't cover us legally, but it is bound to affect the City of London.


What are you going to do about that? It is very important that we


protect the interests of the City. We've a, it's a big thing that for


the eurozone to work it needs a banking union. One of the many


reasons the Conservative Party said we should stay out, they didn't


want to be part of that. They need to make it work. Our job in Europe


is to protect the principles of single market, so it applies across


the European Union, including countries like ourselves not in the


eurozone. You have this massive regulator on the other side of the


Channel regulating the banks of the biggest economies in Europe. All


part of the eurozone. In economies where our banks operate. And yet


you will have almost no say on what those bank regulations will be.


They will have to decide what they do for the eurozone. On anything


that affects us the single market will apply. I have to say, one of


the reasons why I'm optimistic that we can continue to protect our


interests is that it is so clearly in the interests of the free


trading members of the eurozone, Germany and some of the northern


European countries in particular, for the single market to include us


and for us to be a voice of the free markets. It is clear. They


want our voice at the table of the single market and we are not part


of the eurozone. In legal terms what matters is the relationship


between the European Central Bank and the European Banking Committee,


which continues to affect the City in a profound way. In political


terms the real question, is do the European countries talk demust a


way that if we can legally defend - - do the European countries caucus


in a way that if we can legally defend our status. From there


Friday we'll be bringing you Daily Politics Europe, giving you the


latest news and views on what's going on in the corridors of power


in Brussels and Strasbourg. I have to stay here and Jo gets to go to


Strasbourg. Didn't he do well? Just come back


from New York. Andy Murray's first Grand Slam this week, beating that


other Scot, Novak Djokovic. LAUGHTER Yes, it was an all-


Scottish final. It was in the bar around the corner. Forget about


leaping the net and climbing into the crowd or other showy acts.


"Muzza" paused only to grab his watch, so he could comply with his


rather large sponsorship deal with a certain maker of timepieces. Not


to be outdone our Daily Politics mug this week is sponsored by Andy


Murray. You can see his true Brit side is displayed, patriotic Ilkley


-- patriotic ally. If you are from Dunblane or Dagenham we'll give you


full sovereignty over this mug. Who are you calling a mug! Let's


see if you can remember after all Everybody wants to know who shot


How do you feel about Mr Mugabe's victory? I think it stinks and the


British stink with it because you've just give an victory to


A bit of Abba there. To be in with a chance of winning a


Daily Politics mug, send your answer to our special quiz e-mail


address. You can see the full terms and


conditions on our website. I've just been told there is no


WiFi on standard class on the trains.


Is that because you are not in standard class?


Maybe shoe look at that before you invest in high-speed trains. Can


let's look at Big Ben. Prime Minister's Questions on its


way at noon. James Landale is with us. Hillsborough dominating the


news this morning. Events in Libya also making it. Lots of economic


news around as well, some of it heavily to the coalition, like


unemployment. Some of it not at all helpful, in that debt is on the


rise again. A tricky one for Ed Miliband today. Because of the tone


of Prime Minister's Questions, afterwards the statement for


Hillsborough, so I think there'll be a temptation for him to choose a


subject which perhaps is less confrontational than usual. He


could talk about the situation in Libya, Afghanistan. There are


foreign themes he hasn't looked at recently. He could go back on the


growth front. Debt. This is the continuing theme, the economy.


know the Autumn Statement is going to be 59 December. And there is


obviously this question this morning about whether the


Government is going to meet its target for reducing debt by the end


of the Parliament. He might wait until he gets the latest figures,


which are out soon. This is the kind of day when you choose


something left of field. Maybe something on health. Maybe


something on the universal credit, another thing that Labour have been


pushing hard on this week. I would expect him to go in an unexpected


condition. The usual hammer and tongs would be tricky, if you know


that in just 20 minutes you are going to have to be statesman like


and talk about a serious issue. this issue of spending is, you give


this regional development fund �1.5 These were courageous man. We are


for ever indebted to them. I'm sure the renaming of the clock tower


today, following the campaign led by my friend, as the Elizabeth


Tower. This morning, I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and


others. I will have further such meetings in this House today. I,


too, pay tribute to our troops who have died. It is far braver people


than we who were have died. The statistics out today show that the


number of female redundancies is rising over the last few months. In


addition, we now have nine government departments, with not a


single woman minister. I know the Prime Minister likes to think of


himself as much... -- as butch... He told us so last week in this


very House. But what has the Prime Minister got against women? First


of all, what I would say to the Honourable Gentleman is that the


unemployment figures today have a number of very encouraging figures


in them, including the fact that women's employment, the number of


women in employment is actually up by 128,000 this quarter, which is


up to 150,000 compared with the time of the last election. I think


that is encouraging. Obviously, the way that we have treated public


sector pay, and the public sector pay freeze, protecting low-paid


people especially, that has actually helped women. But do we


need to do more to help women to work? Yes. Do we need to do more to


help with childcare? Yes. Do we need to encourage more women into


politics? Yes to that as well. Local businesses and the


industrious people in my constituency, South Ribble, are


doing their bit in helping the economy to recover. Will the Prime


Minister join me in condemning the irresponsible threats of Co


ordinated strike action by the trade unions, which do nothing but


undermine the efforts of my constituents? My Honourable Friend


is absolutely right to speak up for her constituents, who work hard and


do the right thing. Today's figures show an extra one million private


sector jobs since the election, which shows our economy is


rebalancing. She is right to say that the trade unions provide a


threat to our economy. The party opposite has received �12 million


since the Honourable Member became leader of the party from the three


unions who are now threatening a general strike. I have to say to


him, they have threatened a strike to stop our fuel supplies, to


disrupt the Olympics, now, they threatened a strike to make the


economy. When he stands up, I think it is time for him to say he will


take no more money from the unions while they are making these threats.


Mr Speaker, can I join the Prime Minister in paying tribute to the


two servicemen. Both of them showed the utmost courage and bravery, and


our thoughts are with their family and friends. Can I also join him in


celebrating today the renaming of the clock tower as the Elizabeth


Tower. It was done with all-party support. It is a fitting tribute to


the service that Her Majesty the Queen has shown to this country. Mr


Speaker, the fall in unemployment today is welcome. But all of us


will be concerned that the number of people out of work for more than


a year stands at 904,000. That is its highest level for 17 years.


Does he agree with me that this is a particularly troubling statistic,


because the longer someone is out of work, the harder it is for them


to get back into it, and the more damage is done to them, their


families and to the economy? agree with him about the dangers


and the threat of long-term unemployment. It is what to put in


front of the House the full figures today. Unemployment is down by


7,000, employment is up by 236,000 over the quarter. It is significant,


because it is a real time, live figure, the claimant count, which


was down 15,000. And as I have just said, when you look at the private


sector jobs number, which is vital when we think we need to rebalance


the economy, there are more than one million net new private sector


jobs over the last two years. The long term unemployment figure is


disturbing, that is what the work programme is designed to deal with.


We got that programme up and running within a year. It has


already helped 690,000 people. The key part of it part -- Two part of


it is that we paid training providers more to help the long-


term unemployed into work. He talks about the work programme, but not


only is long term unemployment at its highest level for nearly two


decades, but over the past 12 months, we have seen a 247%


increase in the number of young people on the dole for more than a


year. That is happening throughout the country. Mr Speaker, is this


not the clearest evidence so far that his work programme just is not


working? I do not accept that. On the youth unemployment picture, it


is disappointing that youth unemployment is up 7,000 over the


quarter. But the youth unemployment figures include young people in


full-time education. If you look at the picture of the number of -- of


the number of young people actually in work, that figure is actually up.


In terms of the youth contract itself, that is now up and running.


65,000 young people have taken part in work experience programmes,


which were criticised by some people sitting opposite and some


trade unions. But actually, within 21 weeks, half of them have been


taken off the unemployment register, by finding proper work. I think


that is very encouraging, it is about 20 times more cost-effective


than the Future Jobs Fund, which it replaced. I have to say, to all of


the young people looking for work around the country, that sounds


like a rather complacent answer. The reality is that because of his


failure on long-term unemployment, borrowing - the key test he set


himself - is up 25% in the first four months of this year. He is


borrowing �9.3 billion more in the first four months of this year than


last year. That's �1.6 million in this up mack of PMQs. And we gather


today that the Government may miss the overriding economic test which


he said himself, which is that debt will be falling at the time of the


next election. Isn't the fact that he is failing the very test he set


himself the surest sign yet that his plans are just not working?


First of all, there is absolutely no complacency in this government


about the issue of youth employment or long term unemployment. That is


why we're putting so much energy into the apprenticeship programme.


We have seen 457,000 apprenticeships starting in the


last year, a record figure, and something we want to build on in


the years ahead, with �1.5 billion invested. He raises the issue of


borrowing. In the last two years, this government has cut the deficit


by a quarter. If he is concerned about borrowing, why does he have


plans to put it up? There are many ways you can reduce borrowing. The


one way you cannot reduce borrowing is to increase spending and


increased borrowing, which is what he tells us to do! Mr Speaker, the


reality that this Prime Minister cannot get away from is that for


2.5 years, borrowing is rising on his watch. That is the reality,


borrowing is up. It is up 25%. �9.3 billion in the first four months of


this year. When he gets up to reply, maybe he can tell us whether the


reports this morning that the Government is not going to beat it


-- its target that debt will be falling by the end of this


Parliament is correct? The it is this government which has cut the


deficit we inherited by a quarter. That's what we have done in two


years. Normally, Mr Speaker, at this stage in the proceedings, I


say that the party opposite has not got any plans. But on this occasion,


I can reassure the House, they have got some plans. They have got a new


plan, it is called pre-distribution. I think what that means is that you


spend the money before you actually get it. I think you will find that


is why we are in the mess we are in right now. Mr Speaker, I will tell


him what it is about - it is an economy which does not just work


for a few at the top, but works for everybody. And it is not about a


Prime Minister who cut taxes for millionaires while raising taxes


for everyone else. And perhaps when he gets up to reply, he can answer


the question which he so far has not answered - is he going to be a


beneficiary of the 50p tax cut? This is an economy which has


generated one million new private sector jobs. I know he does not


want to talk about pre-Distribution, but I have done a little work, Mr


Speaker. I can tell him about his new guru. His new guru is called, I


am not making this up, the man who invented free distribution is


called, I am not making this up... Order! Members on both sides need


to calm down. I am surprised they do not want to hear from their new


guru. He is called Mr J Hacker. And his recommendation is that we spend


an extra �200 billion, borrow an extra �200 billion, in this


Parliament. I have discovered his new book, which is published by


Princeton University Press, and it is called, The Road To Nowhere. He


does not need to read it. He is there already. That may complement


the Prime Minister on such a butch answer. And what a week it has been


for Mr Butch. He has briefed against the former Transport


Secretary. He was knocking back the claret whilst asserting the Welsh


secretary. And when it came to the environment secretary, she was


sacked because she was too old, and replaced by a man who was older.


The reality is this - the Prime Minister is going to have to answer


between now and April, and he did not answer the question, as to


whether he is going to get that top rate tax cut, a tax-cut for


millionaires by millionaires. The reality is this - their plan is


fading, they stand up for the wrong people. Plan A is not working, he


should change course. On a day when we hear that this


economy has created one million net new private sector jobs, all we


have learnt from the Labour Party is that they have learnt nothing.


They are still committed to the spending, the borrowing and the


debt that got us into this mess in the first place. That's the truth


and they cannot hide it from the British public.


This year is the tenth anniversary of breast cancer campaign's Wear It


Pink Day. But there is still much more to be done, including early


identification of this disease, at all ages. Will the Prime Minister


meet with the chairs of the parliamentary groups and the


leading charities for further We've made big leaps forward in


terms of advancing the action on breast cancer. There is still more


to be done. I payen tribute to the thousands up and down our country


who not only wear those ribbons but take part in so much campaigns, so


much fundraising and awareness raising. I would be delighted to


have her at this meeting. Rochdale is proud of its link with the Royal


Regiment of Fusiliers. The decision to act the Battalion was taken by


Ministers, not the professional leadership of the Army. Morale at


an all-time low in the armed forces why won't the Prime Minister


reconsider? These are very difficult decision as we move


How best to structure that Army to maintain as many cap badges and


historic regiments as possible in all the United Kingdom. We defend


those decisions but if people want to come forward with alternatives


we will always listen to them. Would the Prime Minister agree with


me that the improvement in the balance of trade figures are


welcome and demonstrate we can balance our economy by expanding


our trade with the rest of the world as well as Europe. The trade


figures out yesterday showed the biggest cash decline in the trade


deficit for 20 years. As I have said many times, we do face great


economic difficulties in this country and across Europe. But we


are seeing a rebalancing of the economy, a growth in terms of


private sector employment that I've talked about. Manufacturing now


accounting for a growing share of the economy rather than a shrinking


share. A big increase in exports, particularly to the fastest growing


parts of world. We need more of that alongside small business


creation and entrepreneurs in order to rebalance our economy and make


it stronger for the future. Before the election, the Prime Minister


promised a moratorium on hospital closures. Last year he told me


Ealing Hospital would not close without the support of doctors and


patients. So why are the doctors and patients having to march on


Saturday to keep our hospitals open? Let me say again to the


honourable gentleman, who quite rightly raises this issue, there


are no plans to close Ealing Hospital. I understand the trust is


planning a capital programme of �4 billion for 2012-13, which includes


refurbishing some wards. It proposes a merger with north-west


London hospitals is a matter for the trusts them. It is clear that


reconfiguration of frontline services is a matter for the NHS.


As he knows, any proposed changes to clinical services has to be


subject to the foretests of support from GP commissioners, strengthened


public engagement, clarity on the clinical evidence base and support


for patient choice. He is right to raise this issue but this is how it


should be approached. THE SPEAKER: Nick Gibb. CHEERING


Thank you Mr Speaker. My constituent has crumbling vertebra


and is in constant pain and can only walk short distances. She is


87. She applied for the renewal of her Blue Badge but like many others


was turned down due to the way the new national Blue Badge improvement


service is implemented locally will. The Prime Minister intervene to


ensure that the scheme is being implemented fairly and


appropriately across the country? will look very carefully at the


case that my right honourable friend mentions, because I think it


is important that this reform is carried out properly. I think all


of us as constituency MPs get two sorts of complaints. Sometimes from


people who see people have the Blue Badge who don't merit it, but also


those who want the Blue Badge, do deserve it and can't get it. Can I


pay tribute to my right honourable friend for his long work on


educational standards and believing in true rigour in schools. He seen


many of his ideas mutt into practice and that's what we come


into politics to achieve. The Adam we areity affair should


have taught important lessons to Ministers about becoming too close


to their outside advisers. Now it appears his climate change Minister


may be making similar mistakes. Given media reports today, does the


Prime Minister have the same complete confidence in his climate


change Minister as he had in his former Defence Secretary?


climate change Minister is doing an excellent job. I want to put that


on the record. I've consulted with Cabinet Secretary over this issue.


The Permanent Secretary at the Department of Energy and Climate


Change has commoned this issue. The Cabinet Secretary has examined it


too and I don't see a need for a further inquiry on that basis. The


key point I would make is that the individual in question was hired by


civil servants after a properly run Mr Speaker, this month marks the


40th anniversary of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda by Idi Amin.


They came to this country with nothing but the clothes on their


backs. But they picked themselves up and soon integrated they'll into


the fabric of Britain. Will my right honourable friend the Prime


Minister join me in commending this community and also the Conservative


Government of the time, which had the courageous decision to let them


in, notwithstanding the enormous amount of opposition both in the


House and in the country at large? I think my honourable friend is


absolutely right to raise this. The Asian who is have come from Kenya


and Uganda have made an extraordinary contribution to this


country. It was an absolutely right decision to welcome them here as


happened in the 1970s, and those that opposed it I believe were


profoundly wrong. I would say to him, who is from that background,


what an incredible achievement for someone from that background to get


within a generation to come to Parliament and make such a


distinguished contribution. Speaker, last week's reshuffle was


clearly a painful experience for many, but can the Prime Minister


advise us why he recommended knighthoods for five of his


redundant male Ministers but there was no nothing like a Dame...


actually take the view that when people come into public life and


work hard in opposition and in Government and make a contribution,


that is something that we should recognise. It shouldn't only be


Permanent Secretarys that receive these honours. We should also be


prepared to honour Ministers should have worked hard and served their


country as well. Our armed forces... THE SPEAKER: Order! The honourable


member must be hear. Our armed forces are always willing


to do what we ask of them, without complaint, but there'll be a


detrimental impact on individuals' training, deployment opportunities


and R&R if we ask them to keep this country going in the face of


strikes. Isn't this another reason why those unions should think


again? I think my honourable friend makes an extremely good point. I do


hope that these trade unions who are meeting and discussing this


appalling idea of a general strike think again and think of the go


good of our economy rather than their selfish interests. She makes


an important point about our armed forces. I want to put on record


again what a fantastic job they did with the Olympics and Paralympics,


stepping up to the plate. From everything I saw from the Olympic


Games our armed services were pleased to play that role. There


are times we can call on them and they'll be pleased to serve. Many


of us are shocked and sad and that child poverty in the UK is so


severe and widespread that Save The Children have felt it necessary to


launch their first ever appeal for British children. Members opposite


attacked Save The Children and even accused them of publicity seeking


will. The Prime Minister take this opportunity to distance himself


from those comments, and support the report which led to this


appeal? I'm a strong supporter of Save The Children. They do an


excellent job. Look, as long as we recognise that the sort of poverty


that we tragically still have in Britain is very different from the


poverty of people surviving on $1 a day in sub-Saharan Africa, as long


as we respect the differences between those types of poverty it


is right that GGOs and charity groups campaign in TUC as well as


overseas. In a Commons debate last year on rural broadband I


highlighted how poor the service is in pend approximately, including in


the village of New Church, which might be unique in the country for


having particularly poor service when it rains. Does the Prime


Minister share my joy at plans to cut the red tape which is holding


back fast broadband? I join my honourable friend in his campaign


to make sure all our communities have access to from fast broadband.


It is not just an issue of money, and this Government is putting the


money in. There are planning issues, because some councils have held up


giving permission to the necessary cabinets and other things which


have to be put at place at street and village level. That's why our


planning reforms announced by my right honourable friend the


Communities Secretary are going to sweep away that rocks I -- sweep


away that bureaucracy. Despite the Prime Minister's Valient efforts,


does he not realise that denying thousands of our disabled


constituents adequate levels of benefit is merely underlining the


fact the Tories really are the nasty party? I simply don't accept,


even the premise of the right honourable gentleman's question. We


are not cutting the money that's going into disability benefits..


The question is is how best to reform those disability benefits so


disabled people get access to the benefits that they require. Anyone


who has looked at disability living allowance or has had to fill in


those forms knows it needs reform. The reform has been led by many


disability groups who want to see something much more related to


people's disability and faster to access as well. Will my right


honourable friend join me in celebrating a major inward


investment by the Chinese firm Huawei, who are investing �1.3


billion over five years to create 700 jobs in the UK and encourage


them to come to Wycombe? I welcome the investment by Huawei. I met the


chairman yesterday in Downing Street. I'm afraid to say some of


the jobs from going to be created I very much hope in Banbury, but with


investment of this scale I'm sure there'll be opportunities around


the rest of the country. They are coming here I believe not for the


weather but because we've got highly trained engineers, excellent


universities, a leading floel the telecoms and mobile industries and


they think this is a Government that's open for business. Can I ask


the Prime Minister to explain why in the previous Parliament members


of either House who were shown to have deliberately abused the


expenses system were quite rightly forced to face the full rigour of


the law, but why is it in this Parliament the same proven


dishonesty flults the restoration of ministerial office and a seat at


the Cabinet table? I think if the honourable gentleman is referring


to my right honourable friend the Minister who is attending Cabinet,


and is a Minister of State in the Department for Education, he made


very clear the mistakes he made in terms of the expenses system. He


resigned from the Government. Speaker order! The Prime Minister's


As I have said in the past, I do think it is right to give someone a


second chance. Does my right honourable friend agree with the


managing director of euro craft in Dudley who contacted me about the


Government's plans to sweep away unnecessary health and safety red


tape, that at least years of regulation are being replaced bay


single concept called common sense. Isn't it common sense to remove the


head an ache for low listen risk businesses and won't this


deregulation help businesses to grow? We've got 3,000 regulations


in our sights that we believe can be radically scaled down or reduced.


We've made good progress already. We believe there is more we can do


to exempt particularly small firms from regulation. I think the new


Minister in the business department will be pressing ahead with the


full support of the Secretary of State down this very important


agenda. Four years ago the Prime Minister


gave the support to High Speed 2 as provide an alternative for short-


haul flights and therefore a third runway at Heathrow. As he is


dithering over Heathrow, is he dirting over H is 2? No, I fully


support HS2 and I believe it is something that needs to go ahead


for the benefit of our country. Following the reshuffle there's


been speculation in the press that some new appointments indicate a


shift away from our green agenda. Would my right honourable friend


like to take this opportunity to Scottish these scurrilous


allegations and reaffirm our commitment to being the greenest


Government ever? Can I first of all congratulate the


honourable lady on her new role The Treasury she has every ability to


make sure this Government delivers on its green commitment. What I


would say to her is that this Government that has set up a Green


Investment Bank, with �3 billion to spend. It is this Government that's


committed 1 billion to car ban capture and storage. We have the


first incentive scheme for renewable heat. The mass roll-out


of smart metres and we are the first Government to introduce a


carbon price. Thank you Mr Speaker. In 1993 the chairman of the


Conservative Party Norman Fowler said if the �365,000 given to the


Tories by Asil Nadir was stolen, that money will be returned now


that Asil Nadir has been convicted of theft does the Prime Minister


agree with his party's former treasurer that it is tainted money,


it shames the Conservatives, they have a moral duty to give it back?


When is the Prime Minister going to go in his pocket and get the


What I would say to the Right Honourable Gentleman is, what about


that �12 million that his party has taken from the trade unions, who is


threatening to bring the country to threatening to bring the country to


its knees?! Order. This government does indeed


aspire to be the greenest government ever. With that in mind,


can the Prime Minister assure me that before any decision is taken


to extract shale gas from Fylde, a full investigation and assessment


will be undertaken to ensure that the environment is protected?


Studies have been done regarding the tremors which we had in


Blackpool last year. A full, independent review has been carried


out. But I can assure him that any future shale gas production would


have to meet stringent environmental standards. It would


have to follow deep consultation with local communities, and it


would have to fit within overall This came from one viewer - the


Prime Minister is in a funny land, if he thinks there are more jobs


now than when he came to office. I am unemployed, and on the much


heralded work programme. The only jobs are part-time or temporary. My


employment plan is a joke. This one says, when his David Cameron going


to answer questions, instead of passing off lists and spin in his


party's favour? But this one says, Ed Miliband is once again wrong-


headed. Debt would have been far worse had Labour won in 2010, we


would have had to have borrowed more. David Cameron is right,


Labour's pre- distribution is nonsense. This one says, is butch


the only retort Miliband can come up with? And this one says, why


didn't David Cameron answer the question about the top rate tax?


David Willetts, there is no growth in the economy, there has not been


for three quarters. Real living standards are still falling. And


once again, the deficit is rising - is there anything left of Plan A?


There is an absolute commitment to bring down government borrowing,


which we are delivering. We are 25% of the way through that. You are


not, that is not correct. You cut the deficit by 25%, compared to the


previous year last year. The deficit is now rising. The first


four months of this year, you borrowed more than you did in the


first four months of last year - the deficit is rising again. Let's


see what the new figures are in the Autumn Statement. But I think the


challenge of course is to get growth at a time when the whole


world economy is suffering. Today, you had both the overall statistics,


the one million new jobs, and you also had a great example of how we


can attract inward investment with the massive �1 million investment


we have just secured. We are rolling up our sleeves to do


everything to keep the economy growing, in a hostile economic


environment. But part of Plan a, part of the reason why we have to


go through all of this pain, was that come the next election, you


could begin to see not the deficit, which would already have been cut,


but actual total debt begin to fall. You had projected that debt would a


fall between the financial year ending 2015 April and 2016 April,


debt would be falling as a percentage of GDP. All the latest


forecasts are that that is not going to happen, and that was the


fundamental part of Plan A. fundamental part of plan a was to


make sure that we have low interest rates and did not get into the kind


of financial crisis that we have seen across the eurozone. When we


were elected, our interest rates were the same as Spain's. Now, our


interest rates are down below 2%, compared with 6% in Spain. This


affects families and businesses. We will be projecting government


borrowing and debt again in the Autumn Statement. Let's wait for


the Autumn Statement. You say that Plan A is the reason why interest


rates are so low - I would suggest to you that the real reason has


been because of the Bank of England and quantitative easing. 36% of all


the debt issued by this country is now sitting on the balance sheet of


the Bank of England. The Bank of England's credit card has bought


the Government's credit card, is that not right? Quantitative easing,


we can have an active monetary policy because at the same time,


the markets know that we have got a grip on the public finances. They


cannot do quantitative easing effectively in Spain or Italy,


because people do not have confidence that the government


there has got a grip on the finances. You are buying your own


debt. The Government is responsible for the Bank of England's balance


sheet. At the end of the day, Her Majesty's Treasury stands behind


the balance sheet of the Bank of England, and you have placed 36% of


total debt, your debt, and you are then responsible for that balance


sheet. It is like me saying, here is my Mastercard, I have got �5,000


on it. What I will do is, I will transfer it to my American Express.


It is absolutely the right thing, having the Monetary Policy which is


active and energetic, it is the right thing to do in these


exceptional circumstances. But one reason why we can have that active


military policy is that people can have confidence in what we're doing


in the public finances. The two things go together. Yes, absolutely,


when the economy is facing these challenges, getting the money out


into the economy, holding down interest rates. And the danger for


Labour's position is that you do not know what the tipping point is.


Your policy is to expand the deficit and to get a bit more of a


Keynesian stimulus, but you have no idea how much you can do before


interest rates start to soar. In these circumstances, the tipping


point, it is not a great nation, rates could suddenly shoot up.


we do know is that confidence is haemorrhaging in the fundamental


judgment which was made at the beginning of this Parliament By


George Osborne. You cannot deal with the deficit if there is no


growth in the economy. You're right, there is a judgment between taking


demand out of the economy, whilst sustaining growth. I think it was


the one decision adopted by the Government at the beginning of the


parliament effectively to talk down the prospects for the British


economy, which, at the time, was growing, and unemployment was


falling, and to draw immediate comparisons with Spain, Greece and


Italy. We now have only two European economies, Italy and the


United Kingdom, who have suffered a double-dip recession. We can be


certain that the approach of the Government, which has been the


centrepiece of the strategy, is failing, and has failed. That


requires, I believe, the Government to take a different approach, and


it may be, as we have seen in The Guardian this morning, that the


expectation of reaching -- breaching the fiscal mandate will


cause them to think again. But at the moment, an emblem it is too


high, there is no growth, and as you have said, �9 billion more


borrowing in the first quarter of this year than last year. That is


not a plan which is working. James, is their increasing concern in


government circles about the economic strategy? This economic


strategy was meant to have delivered some results by now.


Growth was meant to have returned. And by 2014, we were meant to be


growing, the pain would be over, and we're off to the races in the


2015 election. That whole electoral-economic strategy is gone.


Absolutely, and I think the Government recognises that, which


is why the entire agenda now is growth, growth, growth. They know


that more has to be done. The problem is, whenever you speak to


somebody in government, and you say, you are still banking on some


growth returning at some point, hoping that the third quarter


figures will be more positive, they always say to you, once the GDP


figures change, the political figures will change, too.


Everything will be sorted out. they are running out of time.


Whenever I ask ministers, what is it which is going to turn the


corner, what is actually going to change? I have to say, it is not a


question to which you get a satisfactory answer. This is why we


saw in PMQs, the Prime Minister was asked twice, is happily going to


meet its debt target? And twice he failed to answer that question. I


think his failure to one so that question, and to reaffirm it as the


Government's target, will allow that to carry on running. Douglas


Alexander, you were out at the Democratic convention in North


Carolina, and you wrote an article with David Miliband, about the


lessons to be learned from Barack Obama and the Democrats. It was


quite a long article, but I did plough through it. I would not say


800 words is particularly long. seem a lot more than that! Surely


you could have summed it up - the real lesson from the Democrats is


the importance of a charismatic leader. I don't think so. There


were many lessons, as I tried to draw out in the article. But one of


the corps troops between British and American politics is that the


economy is front and centre, right now. But in Britain, we have an


economy which is contracting, the Americans have got an economy which


is growing. That is the central challenge, which, as well as other


lessons, will continue to be the centrepiece of our conversation


which is, how to get growth in the economy. Would you accept that the


Democrats would be in a much worse position for this coming election


if they did not have someone with the charisma of Mr Obama leading


them? To be honest, the talk in the bars in Charlotte was that actually,


former President Bill Clinton had actually... But he is charismatic,


too. So, I would not draw that central reach. What Bill Clinton


did, very effectively, was to destroy the claim on the right,


which we see both in the British Government and in some


Conservatives supporters, that actually they have got a fiscally


credible strategy. The Shadow Foreign Secretary does not think


President Obama is charismatic, but apart from that, what came across,


I thought, was that it takes more than four years to sort out the


mess when you have lost control of the public finances. That was the


central argument put by Bill Clinton - you need more than four


years to sort it out. I think that was a very powerful argument.


need the right strategy, not the wrong plan. You said Mr Clinton's


demolition of the economic credibility of the Mitt Romney plan


was a masterclass - who could do that in Britain for you? I think


the facts in Britain are speaking for themselves. You have just said


it - the economy has not grown for three-quarters, the deficit is


rising, not falling, the debt target is not go to be met. All of


us have a responsibility to give the facts to the British people,


that Plan A has failed.. Rather than me, should that not be Ed


Balls? He did it to the TUC only yesterday. He got booed. I would


have thought you would have been intrigued that when he said we


needed rigour and discipline in the public finances, certain delegates


chose to boo. The I personally think he was absolutely right to


say what he said. I applaud Ed Miliband for having the courage to


say that in front of the TUC, as well as in other organisations.


Keeping the American analogy, as you know, there is a major school


teacher strike on in Chicago at the moment, the first time in a


generation, and the man who runs a Chicago is a former Chief of Staff,


he is out to reform the teaching unions, and to reform education in


the city, which has got an appalling education system - it is


a big embarrassment to Mr Obama, who has not said a word, but how


big a potential this winter to the In terms of the position, Ed


Miliband has been clear in saying he doesn't want these strikes. I'm


happy to repeat that today. We don't believe it's the right


approach for the trade unions to anticipate strikes, but we are


deeply concerned from some of the noises we are hearing within


Government that along with the snow, the Royal Wedding and the... It is


for trade unions to decide what lines toe use. I don't want a


labour strike. Is there any grounds for a general strike? I don't think


the case has been made in Britain, no. How relishing is the Government


over the public sector union outcry? I think it's a double-edged


sword for them. They like the politics, the fact that makes tough


questions for Labour. Equally they know they don't want to get into a


fight where it feeds the narrative of this is the Government that


can't do things, that it is not sorting things. They know that the


idea of restraint within the public sector is electorally popular with


many people, particularly those who work in the private sector. But


equally there are many within the coalition, remember one or or two


Liberal Democrats formed this coalition too. They don't want to


get on the wrong side of public sector voters, students and others,


who've traditionally voted for them as a party. There's a nervousness


about it but I think there is no question of any doubt within


Government this is what they are going to do. Is it not hypocritical


for the Government to say that if the unions do go on strike and


cause disruption that you are going to bring in the military, just at a


time when you are savaging the numbers in the military, cutting


the Army down to 373,000 from 106,000? Are you serious about


that? As the Prime Minister said at Prime Minister's Questions, there


is as we know the military will come in and serve. There are no


plans to change the arrangements with the military. I thought James


was overanalysing this. People don't want a general strike. It


would be outrageous for the public sector for a general strike. Of


course we value public services but when you look at the pay in the


public services, I think really it would be completely wrong for them


to go on strike. That's a strong feeling across the country. We


understand it and the Labour Party don't. You were not allowed to


criticise James on this programme. He is a national treasure, Mr James


Landale. We are going to release you now, my little treasure. He is


going to stay actually. Just for today. In the last few minutes,


David Cameron, the Prime Minister, had apologised to the families of


the 96 people who died at the Hillsborough stadium. He said on


behalf of the Government and indeed of our country, I am profoundly


sorry that this double injustice has been left uncorrected for so


long. Although he did say the report had found no evidence that


the Government tried to conceal the truth about reports. An independent


report condemns the responses of the police. Mr Speaker, over all


these years questions have been raised about the role of Government,


including whether it did enough to uncover the true. It is certainly


true that some of the language in the Government papers published


today was insensitive. But having been through every document and


every Government document, including Cabinet minutes will be


published, the panel found no evidence of any Government trying


to conceal the truth. At the time of the Taylor Report the then Prime


Minister was briefed by her Private Secretary and the defensive and I


quote, close to deceitful behaviour of Yorkshire officers was


depressingly familiar. It was clear that the then Government thought


that the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire should resign. As the


honourable member has rightly highlighted Governments then and


since have not done enough to challenge publicly the unjust and


untrue narrative to sought to blame the fans. Third and perhaps most


significantly of all the Bishop of Liverpool's report casts new


evidence which casts doubt over the original evidence. The coroner


believed victims suffered asphyxia leading to unconsciousness within


seconds and death within minutes. As a result he asserted that beyond


3.15pm there was no actions that could have changed the fate of the


victims. By analysing post-mortem reports the panel found that 28


people did not have obstruction of blood circulation and 31 have


evidence of heart and lungs continuing to function after the


crush. This means that individuals in those groups could have had


potentially reversible asphyxia beyond 3.15pm, in contrast to the


findings of the coroner and a subsequent judicial review. James,


first of all the apology. Very clear. How significant is that do


you think for families? I can't prejudge how the families are going


to respond to this but clearly the Prime Minister has gone as far as


he was able, making it clear that he makes as Prime Minister a


profound apology. For two things. One element was the behaviour of


the emergency services and the police and others while it was


happening. That last shocking fact, that there were people there who


could have been saved, with reversible asphyxia and perhaps not


enough was done on that front. The second point is the scale of the


cover-up. He talks of 164 official statements being changed. Of the


police taking blood samples from dead children to see if there was


alcohol in their system. To see if that could in anyway transfer the


blame to them for behaviour on that day. The impression is that the


Prime Minister's given a shocking account of what this report says


and from the Government's point of view, a total apology, but not for


any Government actions. We heard that in his statement. No. He was


clear, they hadn't concealed any of the evidence. But deeply


distressing, those are the words of the Prime Minister and the


testimony, but what the families want is justice. What does justice


look like? We've heard now this evidence that statements were


altered. What do you think justice looks like? We'll see what has


emerged. The families got sight of this documentation at 9.30am. We


pay tribute to the families of the 96 who in the face of an apparent


disengagement of politicians from all political partys in the past


kept going and showed persveefrpblts I hope they feel a


sense of vindication today for a more than two decades-long struggle.


It will criticise the Prime Minister every day of the week if I


think he is getting it wrong. I think he got it right today in


offering a comprehensive apology. What the families have maintained


is that today is about truth. What they want next is justice. What


that may mean is the re-opening of the inquest. There was a deadline


set that the inquest would only look up until 3.15pm on that


afternoon. I would expect it may well be that people will say we


need the re-opening of the inquest. That's matter for the families.


Prime Minister did hint at that. He said the Attorney General is going


to have another look at this and dropped a hint that was his view


that the inquest should be re- opened. What about the emergency


services and the police? It reflects very badly on the police


as an institution doesn't it? don't know what's in the report but


it is clearly a powerful report. I agree with what Douglas Alexander


said. We have to understand the importance of the families today.


They have all of our respect for the persistence they've showed. The


Bishop of Liverpool and the excellent work he's done. There are


lots of lessons from. This as people now have for the first time


the ul evidence, which have not been shown before, there'll be a


whole range of issues that get opened up. This is a very


chastening incident for the entire nation. We do all need to learn the


lessons. Do you think, Douglas Alexander, that someone will be


held to account in that sense? You are right, today is about the


families and their response and uncovering the testimony we haven't


seen before. Or sit now, has the time passed and it has all been


laid to bare and that will be enough? One of the mothers of the


victims said for us justify is accountability. We've seen the hope


of the families that it will lead to greater accountability. Like


David, I can't prejudge where this will now go but I do think there's


a strong possibility that the inquest will be re-opened. Whether


there are other procedures that follow on from that I don't know,


but I welcome the fact hopefully the families will feel today that


at least the search for information is over T search for justice may


well continue. In terms of this never happening again, a cover-up


like this couldn't, could it? hope not. That's one other


important thing from. This this is also about openness and


accountability. I think all of news our different ways in public


service, we do need to remember that we are held to very high


standards that. Must include open access wherever possible to


decisions we take and why we took them. James? It wouldn't be


possible, as today everybody has mobile phones. As we've seen in


recent riots and demonstration this is incident would have been covered.


The amount of film of what had happened would have been


instantaneous. It was a different era. You are right. One of the big


criticisms at the time or in the initial report was that Liverpool


fans were criticised and the blame was pushed on to them, that they


had come in this a drunk and disorderly fashion, that they had


pushed into the terraces one or two tickets. We would have almost


video... I can't think of another example in our public life where it


appears that the establishment came together and blamed the victim


force a tragedy. That's been the root toifpb justify felt on


Merseyside for two decades. It is not just they wanted to understand


the appalling sequence of events. They also wanted the narrative of


what happened that afternoon to change. Hopefully that will change


as a result of today. James. Thank you very much. Pleasure. We'll see


you soon. Not soon enough.


At this point of the programme we had hoped to speak to a


representative of the Respect Party about the news that their leader


has resigned, blaming a breakdown in trust at senior levels. However,


George Galloway's office refused and the press office wouldn't


return our calls. We know when we're not wanted. We always like to


think the best of people on this programme. We always give people


the benefit of the doubt. We don't always, but sometimes we do.


LAUGHTER We are sure Respect aren't just trying to shut this story down,


so I would like to invite on air a representative from Respect to come


on our show tomorrow. We look forward to hearing for you.


The answer to Guess The Year was 19806789 David, just bash that big


red thing there. David Fouracre from balm, you win


this fancy Andy Murray mug. -- from Birmingham. I don't know


what kind of mug you are getting. Thanks to all of our guests.


There'll be more coverage of the Hillsborough statement and reaction


in Liverpool on BBC One with the one o'clock news.


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