12/10/2012 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Could Gategate yet


claim the scalp of Andrew Mitchell? He is meeting the police union this


afternoon to give his side of the story but will he survive?


We have gone from hug a hoodie to bash a burglar. Does this signal a


change of direction for the Tories? Will last the standard-bearer of


white van conservatism. A massive hike of energy prices


from British Gas, can the Government to anything to ease the


pain for hard-pressed consumers? And we visit Nick Clegg's Sheffield


constituency. He told his party to go back to their constituencies and


prepare for the trail. Well, he should know. Judas, man! Judaists!


-- Judas. Politics is a rough game. All that in the next hour. With us


for the programme is Sue Cameron from the Financial Times and Nick


Watt from the Guardian. Starting with the fate of Andrew Mitchell,


the Chief Whip, this morning the Telegraph joined the Sun in calling


for his resignation. As a mention this afternoon, he is meeting


representatives of the police confederation in his constituency,


who want to hear a full account of what he said two officers at the


Downing Street gate and whether he used the word, pleb. We will be


talking to one of those attending the meeting. Nick Watt, imagine the


scene next Wednesday. Prime Minister's Questions. Andrew


Mitchell, their ears, very close to the Prime Minister. How will that


be handled when he stands up, the Prime Minister, and has to face


questions? Andrew Mitchell has modelled his career on France's her


cart, the great Chris Wood -- Chief Whip played by a Ian Richardson. If


he was here, he was say the position is difficult. I think it


is very difficult. He is determined to hang on. Downing Street is


determined. They say he asked to hang on and the individual officer


is not watching a complaint. It is the police confederation that are


driving at. He denies having said there were pleb but if he did say


that, that is toxic for the Conservatives. -- having said the


word pleb. I have to apologise, Sue Cameron at the Telegraph. I have


just been reminded. Picking up on backbenchers, how has his authority,


or if it has been eroded, been eroded in the eyes of backbenchers,


when he has to manage them? I think what will happen is that he has to


be given a few months to see if he can establish the respect and


authority that he needs to be a good Chief Whip. At the it would be


absolutely disastrous for him to go now. -- I think it would be


absolutely disastrous. It would damage the Prime Minister. However


rude he was, and clearly he should not have said whatever he said,


even he would acknowledge that, I do not think that it is a


significant reason -- sufficient reason for a Cabinet minister to


resign. The police have got their own agenda. The Telegraph is keen


for him to go, because there is a view that he is toxic when he stays,


too. I still think, personally, that he should stay on for a while.


I do think that they will look very weak if they let him go. And also,


Cameron, to be fair to him, there is an element of lynch-mob about


all this. We're going to get him, we're going to get him. If the


Prime Minister gives into that, that is dangerous. You mentioned


the word pled. Not the first person to focus on that. -- pled. Some


people in focus groups said that it was the "Know your place" line that


was more harmful. In a way, doesn't that queer the pitch for the


Conservatives, trying to say they're not worried about class


warfare? And yet here we have, allegedly, one of their tribe


saying that a policeman should know his place. This is why the timing


is so spectacularly awful. David Cameron is aware of the dangers. In


his speech last year he said he was in favour of privilege and of


spreading privilege to everyone. It is absolutely toxic. Know your


place, that plays into that agenda. It is important to say that Andrew


Mitchell denies the words attributed to him. That meeting


this afternoon will be interesting. This week, David Cameron's


Conservatives showed their tougher side. The Tories may have been


meeting in Birmingham but as far as the way forward is concerned, the


only way is Essex. Out go fruit smoothies, windmills on Number Ten,


hugging hoodies and huskies. And gay marriage did not get a mention


in the Prime Minister's speech. David is driving a new brand of


white van conservatism. And this tabloid Toryism has some stark


messages. Ken Clarke focused on reducing the prison population,


reducing the prison population, replaced with Chris Grayling


talking about other sentences. The Chancellor told Conservatives but


those on benefits would lose �10 billion in the next round of


austerity. The message of work, not welfare, was underlined in the


welfare, was underlined in the Prime Minister's speech. We do not


preach about one nation but practice class war. We get behind


people who want to get on in life. A's -- APPLAUSE.


That is right, the jurors, the risk-takers, the young people who


dream of their first pay cheque, their first home. Those people who


are ready and willing to work hard and get those things. While the


other intellectuals might Spear at people who want to get on in life,


we salute you. They cost the party of the better-off. No, we are the


party of the want to be better off, those who strive to make a better


life for themselves, and we should never be ashamed of saying so.


was the Prime Minister. With us is the self-styled white van


Conservative MP, Robert Southam, and Ryan Shawcross from a


Conservative campaigning group. First of all, you could say gay


marriage, the green agenda, hug a hoodie, all noticeably absent from


the speech. As the modernising agenda been dumped? This is the


mistake commentators have made. You can be strong and compassionate at


the same time. When I talk about white van conservatism, I'm talking


about the person who wakes up at 5:00am to go to work and comes back


at 5pm or 6pm and his wife goes out to work as well. They are doing


that to keep their heads above water. We have to help them, the


people who are striving, working hard and playing hard. Do you think


those other issues are sidelined? Better to dump it at this stage?


You can be strong and compassionate at the same time. Why not mention


it in the speech? We used to hear so much about blue going green, we


used to hear a lot more about the gay marriage issue, and hugger


hoodie. If you look at the Prime Minister's speech, it is strongly


about public Conservatives. -- public services. We care strongly


about the public sector. We can be strong and compassionate, it is not


one or the other. Do you think the modernising agenda has been dumped,


Brian? I do not think it has. In fairness, there is only so much


David Cameron can say in his speech. Modernisation has always been a


problem. It is not just about green issues and gay issues, but in fact


I was working for the Tories and their manifesto was full of issues


about education and health, and it has always been a broad package.


These things are important, gay marriage is an issue, and things


about welfare and education. you did not win the election.


did not. With those issues or that broad-spectrum. Is that why Robert


is right to vote for more on striving and aspiration? I do not


accept the premise of the question which is bad somehow the strivers


are not bothered about green and gay issues. They are very


compassionate, for four people. They care about those things and


they care about the cost of living and childcare, education. It needs


to be a broad package. I accept that we did not win the election


and that is because people do not trust the Tory brand. They think we


care about spreadsheets and Jaguars. But actually we are motivated by


our hearts as well as our heads. the base of that, being the party


of the rich, does it appeal to aspirational Tories and the white


van man to cut the top rate of tax? The question is, how much money


does the Government get? It is not about who you take the money from,


it is about how much money goes into the Treasury. If you can get


the rich to pay more, that is a different issue. What aspirational


people want is law tax for earners. That is what we have done. They


want apprenticeships, and we have invested in 100,000 of them. They


want academies, good schools. Those other things that attract voters.


The issue is how much money the Government gets. The government say


they can get five times more money in by cutting the band for very


rich people. We have cut taxes for low earners by raising the


threshold and it would like us to go further and restore the 10p rate


for lower earners. We have to show people that, to use a Blairite


phrase, taxes for the many, not the few. David Cameron spoke about his


background, and from the criticism put forward by a Labour. You have


said that white van Conservatism triumphs over Metropolitan


intellectualism. But David Cameron and George Osborne came out of the


Notting Hill lead. I was talking about the Labour Party. In the two


years I have been an MP, not one person has ever asked me what


school David Cameron came from. No one ever cares about that. It is


the issues of the Notting Hill elite, rather than the background.


What about the issues they were focused on, are the slightly out of


touch with what people outside of the metropolitan elite are focused


on? Those issues are what the commentators focused on. What the


Prime Minister and the coalition has focused on, as I say, his lover


taxes for lower earners, apprenticeships and better schools.


-- is lower taxes. Brine, what do you think? The Environment


Secretary is spec -- sceptical about the environment, what message


does that send out to voters? Commentators talked about a shift


to the right. Chris Grayling is very, very sophisticated on public


service -- the public service side. He has been in the Department for


Work and Pensions, doing -- developing this programme. But he


will work in the same way on justice. What about what Jeremy


Hunt said about climate change and abortion? I think he was talking in


a personal capacity. Is it appropriate? I do not agree. I do


not think we need to cut the limit from 24 weeks. A big the evidence


suggests that where it is at the moment is right. It is his personal


take and we should respect that. Owen Paterson has personal beliefs


on climate change and we should respect that. There is a Department


for energy and climate change which she is not in, headed by other


Tories who were very passionate about the climate change agenda.


That will be moving forward. It is a right -- it is right to have a


mix of use. Does that fit with the battle to occupy the centre ground?


The centre ground is broad. You are talking about being right of


centre? I am not. Scrap the left and right. It is about addressing


issues which are meaningful for the population. Yes, they want to be


tough on crime but they care about the marriage and the environment.


It is about doing both. Is there a danger that some critics will be


able to label the Tory party as the nasty party? Even if it is rhetoric,


if you think of further welfare cuts to the tune of �10 billion,


the continued freeze in public- sector pay. Isn't that the danger


for the voters? The danger is not a great. It is the age of austerity.


-- not that great. From the beginning, the coalition won the


battle to convince people we had to cut the deficit. I think one of the


strong things about David Cameron's speech in particular was that it


gave a narrative to a lot of the reforms that they are doing, and


put them in the context of ordinary people, not just the toffs, but the


reason they are trying to improve education standards, cut down on


scroungers, which is very popular with voters. All the polls show


that. The reason for that is to help those who aspire for a better


life. The reason the speech was so successful, one of them, was that


he managed to humanise it and to explain that there was a purpose to


austerity other than just cutting for the sake of it. I think giving


hope to ordinary people. Policy- wise, there was not much policy, if


any, in David Cameron's speech. It was not the time, that was the


narrative. In terms of moving to the right, and the absence of those


other issues he used to talk about, is that just the passage of time or


is a deliberate? I c lurches to the right, we make talking about


Britain becoming a foreign land. This is not a lurch to the right. -


- William Hague are talking about Britain. It is certainly a


repositioning. The important thing is that the Conservatives are not


scared of the Labour Party. They looked at Ed Miliband's speech at


the thought it was good but the fundamentals have not changed. They


are not scared of him and they do not feel that they need to do what


David Cameron did when he was scared of Tony Blair, and therefore


he can be talking but these core issues. But another important thing


about William Hague is that his lurch to the right was about


shoring up his position within the Conservative Party. Every single


word he is up to run, it is going through Andrew Cooper, the director


of strategy. -- what he is uttering. Everything goes through him.


Everything will have been polled and they will say they are on the


money. On the issue of gay marriage, should that be quietly dropped?


$:/STARTFEED. The Government are right to focus on aspiration and


helping strivers. If we're talking about a campaign from the centre,


though, Ryan, hasn't an incident like Andrew Mitchell's gate-gate


retoxified the brand? Andrew Mitchell was very rude. He's


apologised for that. It could be seen as very damaging. However, I


wasn't there. I didn't see what happened. People want to situation


to rest now. You say people want it to rest. Who? Politicians want it


to rest. People probably until there is no new evidence about


what's happened shouldn't come to a judgment. We shouldn't quickly come


to a judgment. Has this affected Andrew Mitchell's position within


the party? You could say the same when Gordon Brown called an old


lady a bigot. Sure. People did carry on hounding him the rest of


his life. The fact is he apologised for calling her a bigot. Andrew


Mitchell has apologised with what happened to the police. It's time


to move on. He hasn't apologised for the pleb bit. Has it hindered


his ability to move on as Chief Whip? I think it's time to move on.


He's apologised in the same way Gordon Brown apologised for what he


did. Gordon Brown went on to lose the election. Is it a possible


standing amongst your colleagues? think his apology is welcome. It's


time to move on. Very few people have talked to me about this on the


street. This is not the thing people are concerned about. People


are much more concerned about the cost of living. Thank you very much.


Given all the Prime Minister's efforts to appeal to the striving


classes, the Mitchell affair must be proving to be more than an ir80


distraction. He's due to meet members of the Police Federation.


Kailai, who will be at the meeting, joins us from Birmingham. What do


you want to hear? Good afternoon. We simply want to ask Mr Mitchell


exactly what he said outside the gates of Downing Street eight weeks


ago. There has been a lot of talk about the language issued. Our


concern is that of integrity, both of police officers and Cabinet


Ministers. Someone in this incident isn't telling the truth, and we'd


like to find out who it is. course, it could either be Andrew


Mitchell or the police officer involved who took down the so-


called transcript of that encounter. Yes, the police officers involved


made notes of what happened at the time. Mr Mitchell, of course,


although he has apologised - that's been accompanied by repeated


denials of the language used, but he won't tell us exactly what he


said. As I say, that's one of the questions we'll be asking him.


have been discussing it. He has apologised and actually the police


officer who bore the brunt of the outburst has accepted that apology.


What right have you to keep on at this issue? I have to stress I


don't represent Metropolitan police officers but we think the issue of


integrity is significant. Society demands police officers are honest.


They should expect the same standards of Cabinet Ministers.


That's what we have to resolve. Somebody here isn't telling the


truth. Is this becoming a political exercise on your behalf? We have


spent days and days on this issue about who said what. People have


apologised. It has been accepted, and yet here we are weeks later


still discussing the minutiae of what was said, not to diminish


words that were bandied about, if they were bandied about at the time,


but are you now at risk of become accused of being political about an


issue that's really been gone over enough? This is absolutely not a


political campaign of any sort, I have to stress. This is about the


integrity of police officers. We have officers' notes that are being


described by a Cabinet Minister as not being accurate. I would like


that issue resolved. It really is as simple as that. If you're not


satisfied with Andrew Mitchell's account, what happens next? We have


detailed accounts from police officers. Unless Mr Mitchell is


going to accept they're accurate - we believe they are - I don't want


to prejudge what happens tonight. We're going to push him for an


explanation of what happened outside Downing Street three weeks


ago. You have prejudged it because, as you have said, he's denied the


account by the police officer, so unless Andrew Mitchell says, "I


made a mistake. I did say those words," then what action are you


going to take subsequently? We want him to explain what he said outside


Downing Street. He's consistently refused to do that. If he refuses


again or doesn't quite meet with what you were expect, what are you


going to do? In this case, he has to resign. Do you think this is a -


- there is a risk this is becoming a political exercise? Of course it


is. On the question of pay and integrity, I think it's a bit rich


because only this morning we have had Hillsboro, police covering up


for 23 years. There is going to be an investigation. The inquire yous


are going to look at them committing manslaughter perhaps. We


have only just gotten over that baton-waving bobby who hit poor Ian


Tomlinson, to when died. He has been left. There is also the


question of what the police were doing. I don't think it was the


people on the gate. I am told it was more senior officers leaking


what was in their notebooks because what was in a police notebook - I


don't think it applies here, but potentially can be used as


evidence... Ken, what do you say to that? Lots of issues raised there.


Let's take the Chief Constable of Cleveland. He lost his job only a


week ago largely through dishonesty. He went through the discipline


process and was dismissed as a result. We cannot change the


standards - IPCC has announced today there will be discipline


inquiries into what happened at Hillsboro - and rightly so. And we


want to see the same sort of standards applied to what happened


outside Downing Street. I mean, a cover-up for Hillsboro is not on


the same par in any sense with a Cabinet Minister, wrongly of course,


but losing his temper. It's not on the same planet. What do you say to


that? Some people say this was an outburst of temper and nothing more.


Yes, again, but it is the question of Mr Mitchell denying what the


officer's account is correct. It is an issue of integrity. Now, that is


massively significant for us. do you say? It is hilarious to hear


the Police Federation saying they're not a political


organisation. They're an intensely political organisation. They're a


trade union. They paid for posters to be put up outside the political


party conference last week. Of course they are. What I find creepy


about this is the idea that the police should decide who is in the


Cabinet. I tell you who decides who is in the Cabinet. It's the Prime


Minister who is elected by the people, not by the police. If Mr


Mitchell did say all of these things, of course his position is


difficult, and of course, he's going to face a real fight, but


Parliament and the Prime Minister will decide, not the police. You're


going to lose support over this, aren't you? In the end, the public


who did support the line and feel that police officers should be


treated with respect, you'll lose this in the end, and you'll lose


face? I don't think we will. We have seen The Daily Telegraph


online poll today - 10,000 people have responded to that over 9,000


think Mr Mitchell has to resign. That's an indication of the public


interest in this, and the view that the public have. All right. Thought


that meeting obviously take place this afternoon.


Now with the night drawing in and winter almost upon us, it's time to


wrap up warm and turn up the heating. In recent years energy


price rises have become a regular feature of the changing seasons.


Today, British Gas announced that they will be raising gas and


electricity prices by an average of 6% on November 16th, meaning an


average price increase of around �80 per household. Earlier, the BBC


spoke to the Energy Minister Greg Barker and asked him what the


Government is doing to reduce energy bills. Here's what he had to


say. We're taking practical action to


help people in the short term. We're legislating to reform the


electricity markets. We're also about to roll out the biggest home


efficiency programme ever seen in this country. The roll-out of the


Green Deal will transform the energy efficiency of people's homes,


and although that won't help bring prices down, it will mean that


consumers use less energy, so their bills should come down. Joining me


now is Richard Lloyd, Executive Director at consumer group Which?


Can the Government actually do anything about this? White House


rises have been going on now for year, and they can't make them come


down. Well, what Ministers will say is, we're reforming the energy


market. We're doing things to help people save money. But that's such


a poor answer to people today hearing they're going to be


clobbered by this inflation rise from British Gas. I wouldn't be


surprised if later today or perhaps in the next couple of days we hear


more of the big six energy companies announcing similar price


rises, so the question for the Ministers is what are you doing to


make this market competitive so it works for consumers so there is


competitive pressure on those big, lazy companies to be more efficient


and keep their price down? The answer is the public don't believe


Ministers will do anything about it. They have to get their act together


on this one. Are they in the process of getting it together? Are


they in the process of opening it up? Everything seems long term. As


you say, people are struggling and they will struggle now. They're in


a bit of a dilemma because on one hand they're trying to attract �2


billion of investment into rebuilding our ramshackle


infrastructure. It is in a complete mess. On the other hand, they need


to protect the consumer's interests here. There is no need to get


private investment in if consumers can't afford their bills. They have


to strike a balance. What we need to see is much more pro-consumer


reform of the market so it is genuinely competitive at the same


time as attracting this investment into rebuilding infrastructure.


It's a difficult balance, but this is what Ministers are for surely.


We have heard from British Gas who are saying their profit margins are


far lower than they were, they are putting that money into investment.


We can't see any of that on our bill, how much goes into investment,


and of course, they go on time and time again about the White House of


wholesale energy, that that is what's making them put the price up


for the consumer. I don't think anyone believes that when British


Gas's parent company Centrica is announcing very, very healthy


profits and there is this capacity - this lack of transparency about


how the business works and when wholesale prices are going up, your


domestic bills are rocketing up. When they fall, somehow our


domestic prices don't fall quite so fast. They're not being straight


with us? The consumers tell us at Which there's complete lack of


transparency about what's going on here. It doesn't seem fair to


people their domestic prices are going up so fast when the parent


company is announcing such profits. If we had a more competitive energy


market there would be more pressure on British Gas to keep those prices


down. One of the things viewers complain about all the time is the


Government's green prices and how much they're costing consumers and


why can't we see it on the bill? The Government would argue this is


going towards people's long-term - but they don't know how much it's


going subsidise people's green subsidies. It is really hard to


figure it out. What we have been saying to the companies is if


you're going to blame British Gas and the Government for some of this


price increase, spread it out. Tell us in our bills in a summary


exactly what this price is composed of, whether it's social policy,


environmental policy, wholesale price, your profit? Surely, it's


not beyond you to spell that out, so there's bit more transparency in


here. Sue, how can the Government go on appealing to the aspirational


voter, to the striver who is working hard when they can't seem


to do anything about rising energy prices, rising petrol price and


rising food prices? Probably the three most important things to the


average consumer. I think on the energy front, I can - you can quite


see why consumers get upset when Centrica has made big profits, but


you have to remember Centrica are the parent company of British Gas.


They're a global company. Its profits come from other countries.


And if, for instance, they were making big profits here, then using


them to subsidise the Americans, everybody here would go mad. They


can't do it the other way around. I think British Gas is having to


invest a lot in the grid. We don't want to have black-outs. They're


having to pay more for gas. Do you think the prices are justifiable?


think it's very difficult. There has been stories that the


Government is going to encourage the use of building of new gas


power stations, which might help to bring down price. But let's - let's


see if that happens. But is Government impotent? That's the


point. Is Government impotent... Pretty much it is. Let's be honest.


Energy prices are massively and incredibly sensitive to the good


old supply and demand. We face in this country two real problems that


aren't going to go away. One is North Sea gas and oil prices are


heading downwards. What is heading upwards is demand for energy in the


developing countries of China and India. That is only going to go up.


If you have demand going up and supply going down, guess what


happens? The price goes up. There is nothing you can do about that.


You have to admit these are big, bloated formerly public sector


companies that have very little competitive pressure on them to be


efficient... Not for a moment - I'm not for a moment defending the big


six, and Ed Miliband has made fantastic speeches criticising them


saying they should be more efficient. But energy prices are


decided on the global market. There is not much we can do about


it. Everyone expects and knows energy prices are on the way up


because of commodity prices, but are consumers in the end being hit


unfairly and unfairly hard at a time people can least afford it?


have a feeling you might be back on if the set on this in the future.


Thank you. The Government's plan to reform the


NHS proved hugely controversial, politically difficult, and of


course, their creator, Andrew Lansley, has been moved from his


job as Health Secretary. The Bill did, however, make it on to the


statute book, but when will you and Notice any difference, and when


will we know whether or not it's working?'' The independent and


highly respected think-tank The No-holds-barred assessment of the


potential impact of those reforms - The aim was simple. A radical


reform of the NHS designed to increase efficiency, promote choice


and deliver the best possible care for patients. Yet less than six


months after it came into being, its architect, Andrew Lansley, was


sacked as Health Secretary. To say that independent experts have set a


low pass for success is putting it mildly. Success for the Government


will involve keeping the show on the road, maintaining good


standards of patient care, freeing up money from areas that are


wasteful at the moment and finding them -- finding the resources to


invest in new priorities. If the Government is able to drive those


improvements, then the rationale for reforms will be justified. At


this stage, no one can tell whether that will be the outcome. The NHS


insists that it will be able to cope with any glitches that arise


from the reforms. We will intervene if we believe things are going off


track. Obviously, to protect local populations and patients, so we can


do anything from putting other people into the group to run it, on


our behalf, so we have those powers, and we will use them. Jeremy Hunt,


have you got the Health Secretary job? Jeremy Hunt may have more than


the future of the NHS in his hands. It is the biggest privilege of my


life. The political stakes -- the political stakes are really high.


It is hard to exaggerate the importance of the NHS for the


Government. The challenge is damage limitation -- damage-limitation. To


persuade staff that there are benefits of these changes even


though there is deep scepticism. believe in the NHS is to believe in


its reform. Not my words, but those of Lord D'Arcy, the Labour health


minister under Andy Burnham. Now he is in opposition, Andy Burnham


sings a different tune. Would things really be that different


under Labour? Labour could go back on these reforms and there is a


clear commitment to repeal the gargantuan Health and Social Care


Act, and to go off in a different direction. That implies another


major reorganisation of the Health Service and Labour has said it does


not want to promote structural change. It is going to be hard to


fulfil that promise and repeal the Act at the same time. According to


the Professor, the biggest challenge is not the reforms


themselves, it is the economic Times where working in. And his


message is stark. I think in a year or two, the health service will do


very well indeed to maintain current standards of patient care.


Declining rates of hospital been acquired infections, many areas of


care have improved. -- hospital acquired infections. But the


funding pressures are huge. We have never had a period like this before


and if they Health Service is still able to maintain the standards in


two years, it will be a miracle, frankly. To battle it out on the


health policy, Diane Abbott is here, and Dr Dan Poulter is in our


Ipswich studio. First of all, we heard Professor Ham saying it would


be a miracle if in a your two, the Health Service maintains its


current standards. -- in a year or two. That is a damning indictment.


This is not a new criticism. We have had the same concerns raised


for the last five or 10 years. Each year, the NHS does well in


maintaining quality patient care. As it not been able to do that


because of vast amounts of money and investment into the health


service? As a result, we are seeing shorter waiting times, a reduction


in hospital acquired infections. That rate of investment will be cut


dramatically even if there is a slight increase, and you will be


blamed. This government is continuing to make sure that we


protect the budget and continue to invest. But at a law degree. -- a


law degree. The Labour party have never confirmed that they would not


do the same. We're doing the best to make sure we continue to invest


in patients. The question is, what does good health care look like in


a few years' time? People are living a lot longer, with multiple


medical conditions, diabetes, dementia, heart disease. We have to


make sure we have a health service that is in a better place to look


after those people. That means that more care has to be delivered in


the community, to keep people well at home rather than picking up the


pieces when they get on well. These reforms will put us in a better


place. So you will challenge Professor Ham when he said it will


be a miracle if those standards are maintained? You can categorically


say that the current standard, using waiting times and infections,


for example, they will be maintained? Absolutely. We have had


the same challenge has, historically, and each year, the


NHS continues to meet those challenges. Of these reforms will


put us in a better place to look after that a challenge that we face,


how we look after all the people. - - that big challenge. He seems


pretty confident that nothing will change. He sounds pretty callous,


to me. It is not good enough to say that we have had tough times before


and the NHS staff have struggled through. My mother was a nurse and


I can tell the doctor that NHS staff are tired of these top-down


reorganisations. There are very frightened about the financial


situation. Staff should not be expected to struggle through. This


government should never have imposed a top-down reorganisation,


which will cost �3 billion and caused chaos at a time when,


inevitably, they're going to have to find savings. Andy Burnham


saying he will repeal the Health and Social Care Act, that will


trigger another top down reorganisation, surely? Why not?


What is Labour asking for? We are asking to repeal part three of the


Bill, if the part of the bill -- the part of the Bill... It is not


about reorganisation. The thing about all this jargon, we're not


going to reorganise again. What we're going to do is limit the role


of the private sector. This government is poised to have the


private sector run ragged. All hospitals will be able to add up to


49% of the reactivity in the private sector. We will reintroduce


the powers of the Secretary of State for Health so it is a Jemma


Lowe and National Health Service. Without it costing anything? Yes. -


- genuine National Health Service. The powers of the city-state do not


have a cost attached. We were never opposed to having GPs more involved.


You could have done it quite easily by putting more GPs on PCTs.


problem is the Government has alienated sectors of the health


sector. As a former doctor, what is your impression of the relations


between doctors and ministers? still intends to keep practising in


the NHS. You have prematurely retired! It is important that we


have ministers. Ministers to understand what frontline


professionals are thinking and saying. But they said they did not


like it. We know that under the previous government, we had a


government determined to impose things on the healthcare profession.


This government is saying that it is down to doctors and nurses and


health care professionals, people who understand the needs of


patients. Why did they not support you? We have many doctors and


nurses getting on with these reforms, just as I speak and we are


speaking now, who believe that having clinical leadership running


the NHS is a good thing. And making sure that we face up to that a


challenge, how we better look after older people. And we're getting on


with that and delivering that today and that is something we need to


face up to and recognise, that the NHS is going to be in a better


place to look after patients in the years ahead. Do you agree with your


colleague when she says that the Government had screwed up the


presentation of these changes? think what we sob was that we had


very good reforms that will cut out waste and bureaucracy. But what


about her quote that "Screwed up the presentation of the changes".


have made it very clear, and Diane Abbott just made the point that we


have been worried about the four private sector being involved in


the process. Why was she, then, part of a government which used the


private sector? You may not have been part of the government but you


are part of the Labour Party and Labour did introduce that. Full


disclosure, I was never a minister under Tony Blair. But you did start


that process. When we used the private sector, it was managed and


limited. We're talking about 49% of activity. But Dan Poulter is


ignoring the fact that the latest Ipsos MORI poll puts us 30 points


ahead in terms of managing health care. Doctors and nurses do not


have confidence in what they're doing and the public do not. Every


single, nearly every single Royal College came out against these


reforms because they will be a mess and they will make it harder to


make the changes we need to make. And Andy Burnham and Labour will


make this a big issue at the 2015 election. It is going to be very


uncomfortable, isn't it, however much the Tories say they are the


party of the NHS, to make this positive. They will make it


difficult because the NHS, whoever is in government, is having a


difficult time. We're talking about David Nicholson's challenge, �20


million of -- �22 billion of savings. Any party in power will


face those challenges. The problem for the Conservatives is that the


introduced to these reforms and there will be difficulties. Labour


and others will say, "We know why we have these changes". About the


Budget, the reason the NHS budget has to be higher than the general


level of inflation is that inflation within the health


service... But Labour will want to protect it. If you were in power,


you would have the same pressures. But top-down... Because of the way


the reforms were done, which were totally unnecessary, there is


general agreement with doctors and nurses. No problem about that. What


is going to happen, when problems arise with the cutbacks, never mind


the cutbacks, everyone will bring the reforms and that will be bad


for the Government. -- blame the reforms. The result was a problem


at election time. It is always going to be blamed on the Tory


reforms. What do you make of your boss's comments on abortion? Every


MP is entitled to their own opinion. Was it appropriate for the Health


Secretary to give his personal opinion on a 12 week limit? He has


been on record before on this issue. Of but he was not Health Secretary.


The Government's position is that we're not changing the rules for a


portion. It is important and I know that it is important for the 1967


Act, which was introduced for a reason, to protect women and look


after their best interests. We should not force women, whatever


the moralities are, to suffer the indignity of a backstreet abortion


and the health consequences that that has. The abortion law is


staying as it is. No vote on the issue? No. Where you stand on the


time limit for abortion? -- where do you stand. I have given you my


position and the position of the Government. That is also your


position? Absolutely. We need to protect women and remember why the


1967 Act was brought in, regardless of the moral act -- moral the


arguments. That Act was brought in to protect the indignity of women


having to seek backstreet abortions because they have found themselves


in difficult circumstances and making sure that when it comes down


to it, actually we look after the medical interests of women. The


Prime Minister has made it very clear that we are not changing the


Government's position on the time limit for abortions. That is pretty


clear, Diane Abbott. Jeremy Hunt has expressed his views but it will


not change government policy. Jeremy Hunt is trying to calm


things down. The first thing he does is release and in century


statement. Of course Dan Poulter will take his position, because


that is the position of the Royal College of gynaecologists. They


know a tiny bit more about this and MPs will return to Westminster


Monday. Nick Clegg was seen to have had a good one, answering his


critics over his leadership and direction of the party but were his


constituents in Sheffield impressed?


MUSIC He was working as a lekturer in a


politics department when the residence of Sheffield Halam met


Nick Clegg. It all started so well. He was elected as their MP in 2005.


The residence of this constituency, one of the most affluent outside of


the south-east of England - made him feel at home. He even took part


in the local pantomime. I'm Clegg, a slightly witless Prince. Come the


2010 general election it seemed everyone agreed with Nick Clegg.


During the Prime Ministerial debates he kicked Dave and Gordon


into next week, suddenly seeing him down the Broom Hill tavern was as


cool as seeing one of the arctic monkeys. But a professor says


success came at a price. There's the general pressures from being in


Government - all politicians find out that winning office is very


easy to governing but then he's got an added issue that before the


election he made a very explicit, public plem about no tuition fees.


He tolds a student seat, then he went back on his word. Nick Clegg


told his party conference to go back to their constituencies and


prepare for vitriol and abuse. And he should know. He's had dog mess


put through the door in his old home in his constituency. He's even


been spat on and heckled in the street. You're a Judas. Judas!


Clegg, the Judas. The lead singer of the Sheffield band Reverend and


the Makers supported the Lib Dems in the last election. I just feel


used. As a northern working-class person that the same people run


things - and really it seems like the Liberal Democrats have


facilitated that. Some people in Sheffield do still agree with Nick.


Paul Scriven, the now former Lib Dem leader of Sheffield City


Council lost that job when the control of the council went to


Labour in 20 Len. In the last local elections, he even lost his council


seat. What I do know about Nick is this - he can go to bed every night,


look at himself in the mirror and say, I'm doing this for the country,


and I'm doing the right thing rather than the short-term


political thing. That kind of integrity will see him through.


Nick Clegg has got a majority of just over 15,000 here in Halam,


making it one of the safest Lib Dem seats in the country. Based on the


last general election results, Labour would need a swing of about


18.5% to unseat the Deputy Prime Minister - difficult but not


impossible. In fact, the Lib Dems took the seat here in '97 with an


identical swing that will give a lot of people a lot of interest and


as soon as the seat becomes known as it's contestable, particularly


if aing I big-name independent decides to go for it, it might enbe


that Nick Clegg decides I won't even bother playing this game.


Nick Clegg's Nick Cleggs believe - singing "I'm sorry" might not be


appropriate. "Don't you want me baby" might be more appropriate. As


the song goes - # It's me who put you where you are


# I can put you back there too # Carefully chosen music there, and


the Lib Dems' former campaign director is with me now, Chris


Renard. We heard there a majority of just over 15,000 for Nick Clegg,


but that could be very difficult to sustain in 2015, the election. Is


there any chance of Nick Clegg stepping down before that rather


than the risk of losing his seat am sure not. That was clear in the


conference this year. I think the nature of the apology he made over


tuition fees is clear he's going to lead the party in the next election.


Look at the local election results in the constituency in 2012 were


very difficult for the party but good for them in the Halam


constituency. It reflects the different results in seats held by


Liberal Democrat MPs. By and large they did well. Can you still appeal


effectively to the anti-Tory vote? Yes, but it depends whether you're


chosen between what we have at the moment or an overall Conservative


majority. An overall Conservative majority wouldn't be interested in


protecting the vulnerable, wouldn't deliver a fair society, wouldn't


deliver tax cuts for people on middle and low incomes, wouldn't do


anything for the environment. I think perhaps a coalition is


difficult but a majority for the Conservatives or Labour would be


much worse. You agree with Nick Clegg who said when asked whether


he'd accept �10 billion of further welfare cuts and taking housing


benefit away from under 25s, "I knock both ideas on the head?"


Absolutely but a Conservative majority Government would be doing


just that. He'll be associated with that, won't he? If those are the


proposals put forward isn't the problem for Nick Clegg that he's


associated with it, whatever he says in a run-up to an election?


The worse thing would be if we were making tax cuts for very wealthy


people which the Conservatives would like to do. That's what


they're doing into the -- going into the next election saying. They


say they want to reduce the tax burden for the richest in the


country the Liberal Democrats will go into the next election saying we


should protect the most vulnerable. You have lost votes - I don't know


the number - to, primarily because there will be Labour voters who


associate you with a Tory-lead Government, particularly in the


north and in Scotland, you're being wiped out by Labour at a local


level. That doesn't bode well for national politics. Some people have


joked the Lib Dems have waited 90 years for mid-term Government


unpopularity other parties have experienced on many occasions.


it has been decimated, the seats you have fought so hard for - at


the peak of the next election - they're going to be wiped out


That's not right. The midterm poll position is generally a good


election. You go back the last five Parliament and the midterm poll


election is different to the general election. There are two


sides of the coin. Yes, it's difficult for the Lib Dems at the


moment in midterm in seats where we're facing the Labour Party, but


Lib Dem MPs facing the Conservatives have been doing well


in the local elections, and even this May which was a bad set of


local elections for us we made gains with MPs, Lib Dem councils


and where we face Conservatives. think obviously they have a problem


as to what they can, do but I think what Chris just said is important.


The thing about Sheffield Halam, Nick Clegg's seat, is historically


it has been a very, very strong Tory seat. A safe Tory seat? Not in


that seat. It is in other parts of the country, but not there. It


seems to me inconceivable - I mean, in 1997 they voted Lib Dem because


they couldn't bear to go over to Labour. So I mean, why would they


now vote - revert to being Tories? Because it was Tories that forced


Nick Clegg to do tuition fees - do a turnaround on tuition fees. The


Tories - they're not going to vote Tory. No chance of Nick Clegg


losing his seat? The people of Sheffield were deciding whether


colleague leg would remain an MP he'd lose because it's a Labour


city. It's not the people of Sheffield but the people of Halam,


which is a formerly a Tory seat, and they detest the Labour Party.


He has a good chance. This big question of will he stand at the


next election? Of course he will. The question is whether he be


leader of the Liberal Democrat at the next election? Clearly, if


things don't improve over the next year or so, his position might be


difficult. I don't think so. Of course he will be. A lot of people


are saying they'd like Vince Cable to be Chancellor of the Exchequer.


There is a case for saying he'd be a better Chancellor than Ed Balls


but if they think that they need to vote for him next time. We have 57


seats in Parliament and the Conservatives, 307. Thank you very


much. Cameron versus Bojo, a failed


merger in aerospace and accusations of political misogyny in Australia.


Who would have thought it? Here is the week in 60 seconds.


David Cameron opted for the traditional lectern for his big


speech to the Tory faithful on Wednesday. For some, it went down


rather well. It's the messiah that Britain needed. Cameron is the


messiah? It's the messiah Britain needed. Some think this chap is the


Messiah. Others think he's just a naughty boy. But the so-called


blond-haired mop was on his best behaviour. Well, if I am a mop,


Dave, you're a broom, a broom cleaning up the mess left by the


Labour Government. Fantastic jab you're doing. Elsewhere merger


between BAE and EADF crashed and burned causing embarrassment for


politicians. Australia's Opposition Leader was forced to endure a


dressing down from the Prime Minister. I was offended when the


leader of the opposition went outside in the front of Parliament


and stood next to a sign that said, Stand up for yourself, lady. Now,


if all that wasn't exciting enough, we have learned the European Union


has won the Nobel Prize. Norwegian Committee has decided


that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2012 is to be awarded to the European


Union. With us is someone I know who would like to offer his


congratulations, the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage. Here is your


opportunity to congratulate them on winning that prize. Astonishing,


isn't it? I suspect the Nobel Prize will be brought into disrepute by


this. A few days ago Angela Merkel went to Athens to be greeted with


Molotov cocktails, a violent demonstration and unbelievably


people dressed up in Nazi uniforms. The Germans are being rude about


the Greeks and vice versa, so we're seeing disharmony caused by this.


So peace breaking out everywhere - defend this prize. He should go and


accept this award on behalf of the European Union. Would you go and


accept it, Nigel Farage? I think I would struggle to accept that, no,


it will be Mr Van Rompoy or - the one thing I can be certain of is


the person who picks up this award will be someone unelected and in


support of the nation states abroad. It really devalues the currency.


Honestly! I have to apologise for Sue's language. I missed that.


is 50 years too late. When they gave it when the Treaty of Rome was


signed saying you're going to solve your problems on the battlefield


not at the conference table as David Cameron said in his speech,


great the problem is there has been disaster since then. What happened


in Europe's backyard? The war in the former Yugoslavia. It took the


United States bombing Bosnia to get the Serbs to the table, not the


European Union. Isn't the lesson of Yugoslavia if you artificially try


to bring people together and impose a new flag on them without consent


it leads to civil war, and tragically the European Union is


doing the same thing. Barroso was clear last month - nation state


democracy must go. It must be transferred to people like him.


Fine, you can do that if if the people want that but there is no


evidence... Isn't the attempt to say that the people of Ireland,


Portugal and Greece want to stay in the euro and somehow


psychologically this will help them? It wasn't the Nobel Prize for


economics. They certainly wouldn't get that under any circumstances.


Do we get any of it, the prize money? I don't know what'll happen


to it. If you divide it up across the people of the nation states you


get 0.002... Think of all of those underpaid bureaucrats in Brussels.


They could do with some help. they could help pay off my fine,


having been rude to... How much was that fine? 3,000 euros, just for


saying... Have you paid it? Yes. Just for saying the chap had the


charisma of a damp rag. Don't say it again! You'll be fined. That's


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