18/10/2012 Daily Politics


18/10/2012

Andrew Neil is joined by Michael Howard to discuss all the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the EU Summit in Brussels.


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Transcript


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. David Cameron heads

:00:36.:00:40.

to Europe for yet another the EU summit, and maybe a bust-up on

:00:40.:00:45.

banking regulation. The French President has already told Britain

:00:45.:00:49.

to butt out. The Prime Minister says he will

:00:49.:00:51.

change the law to force energy companies to give customers the

:00:51.:00:54.

best deal, but his energy department couldn't explain how it

:00:54.:00:59.

would work. Is this an omni-energy- shambles?

:00:59.:01:02.

Should MPs have to come clean on whether they are paying rent to

:01:02.:01:06.

another MP? The Speaker is reported to be blocking disclosure amid

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concerns about security. And as the SNP conference begins in

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Perth, how would an independent Scotland defend itself? Should it

:01:16.:01:19.

be part of NATO, or continue to base British nuclear weapons at

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Faslane? All that in the next hour, and with

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us for the duration, former Conservative Party leader, Michael

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Howard. Welcome to the programme. Let's start with the continuing

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saga of the embattled chief whip, Andrew Mitchell. It's four weeks

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now since he had that row at the Downing Street gates in which he

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was reported to have sworn at a police officer and called him a

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pleb. Mr Mitchell, of course, denies using the P word, but has

:01:48.:01:50.

apologised to officers for the incident, but the story just seems

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to refuse to go away. After being the butt of jokes at PMQs, he was

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at the receiving end of criticism from his Conservative colleagues at

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the 1922 Committee last night. Our political correspondent joins me

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now. Nine at that meeting, a number of his colleagues were prepared to

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speak up and openly criticise him, but no sign yet that his toast, to

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use Ed Miliband's would? That's right, MPs spent half an hour

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behind closed doors are discussing Andrew Mitchell's future. But he is

:02:26.:02:30.

not just any MP, he is a Cabinet minister. And he is not any Cabinet

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minister stare, he is the chief whip, the man who is supposed to be

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in charge of party discipline, and yet MPs were prepared to call for

:02:40.:02:46.

him to resign. Others were more supportive. And others said it is

:02:46.:02:52.

too late now. But there are some MPs who say we do have to draw a

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line under this and rally around the prime minister, who has decided

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to stick by him. Many feel frustration that the damage has

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been done. It does look as though it David Cameron will try and hold

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on to him. They don't want to give a scalp to Labour and the press,

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but his Andrew Mitchell becoming his own worst enemy? At Prime

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Minister's Questions yesterday, when Ed Miliband accused him of

:03:15.:03:20.

using abusive language against the police, and instead of being quiet,

:03:20.:03:25.

Andrew Mitchell muttered "I didn't swear", and ignited the row over

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again. On fortunately, the TV cameras did not pick up Andrew

:03:29.:03:32.

Mitchell saying that, but there are several witnesses including its Ed

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Miliband who say he did then say he did not swear. There are also

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rumours that his deputy was threatening to resign. He said he

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could not work with him. So there is potentially a problem within the

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whip's office, and this is a headache for the Prime Minister. He

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needs his troops to respect the whip and he needs them to behave at

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a time when they have a lot of problems. The frustration from Tory

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MPs is that they have enough going on without this kind of own goal,

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which reinforces an image of the party being out of touch. That was

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why Andrew Mitchell was put there in the first place.

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Michael Howard, for Labour, this is the gift that keeps on giving.

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trying to get my head around the concept of "any old cabinet

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minister", the phrase that Vicky Young used. That really set me

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thinking. Look, his apology was accepted. It has not been accepted

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by the wider political system. It has not even been accepted by a lot

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of people on your own side. For Labour, it is the gift that keeps

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on giving. Her of course Labour will try and keep it going. I

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understand that the majority of Conservative MPs supported him. We

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all get het up from time to time. We all perhaps say we should not.

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But Mr Mitchell keeps on giving the story legs himself. He shattered in

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the Commons yesterday when the Labour leader said it, you swore at

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the police, he said no, I didn't. And yet in previous statements, he

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said, I did swear at the police, but I didn't call them plebs. Who

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do we believe? Everybody will be looking for everything they can

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find to keep the story going. that is a huge thing - he said he

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:05:39.:05:39.

didn't, and now he says he did. was not caught on camera. The best

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witness Vicky could come up with was Ed Miliband. We ought to get on

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to talk about the things that really matter. He has apologised.

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am bored with it. I am happy to move on, but it is not going away.

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I am sure your viewers are bored with it, too. What do you say to

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the idea that the Police Federation are the ones stirring it up to keep

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it alive, because they have their own agenda against the government?

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I don't want to get into any arguments with the Police

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Federation. Do you fear them? at all. I have worked with them in

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days gone by. As far as I'm concerned, the matter is over.

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just have to convince the rest of your colleagues. Not my job. He is

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not bothered. Shall we do a quiz without Andrew Mitchell in it? It

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is hard. The question for today is, yesterday, the Conservative trade

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minister Lord Marland told reporters he was off to keep the

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sun tan up. But where was he off to? Was at his local tanning salon,

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Mozambique for ministerial business or the north Cornwall coast? At the

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end of the show, Michael will give us the correct answer. Maybe he can

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tell us why anybody should care. care, because he does have an

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excellent job. I am delighted that he is continuing to bang the drum

:07:18.:07:22.

for Britain. Are you glad you asked?

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For now, at PMQs yesterday, the Prime Minister again indicated that

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Britain needed a new relationship and that any new deal would need

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popular approval, which is meant to be seen as a nod in the direction

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of a referendum. But he has not explicitly promised one, and he is

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vague about the timetable or exactly what the choice would-be.

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Today Mr Cameron heads to Brussels yet again, probably for some more

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bruising battles with his EU colleagues. This time, the fight is

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over a banking union, and at a time when many, especially the Germans,

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are fed up with British feet dragging.

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Earlier this week, the German magazine Der Spiegel compared the

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British position in Europe to Statler and Waldorf from the

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Muppets, always carping from the sidelines. The magazine is said to

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be close to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the French

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President Francois Hollande has also said to be frustrated by

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Britain's approach, saying that those outside the single currency

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should avoid "telling us how the Eurozone should be run". So how

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have things got so bad? David Cameron is heading to Brussels for

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a two day summit that is expected to be dominated by proposals to

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create a banking union for countries who use the euro. The

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hope is that this will help protect the bags inside the Eurozone by

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putting them all under one monitoring system and having a

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joint deposit scheme. The British government is in favour of this,

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but is worried that our own financial system could also end up

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under European control. They want legal safeguards to prevent the

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Eurozone countries out voting Britain and others who don't have

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the euro. The discussions could get nasty. One EU Commission official

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has already said it would not be legally possible for the UK to

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secure a veto. We can speak to Mats Persson, a director of the think

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tank Open Europe. Is that true? Can be to ensure that its own banks are

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outside this banking union? I think you can. There are two parts to

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this proposal. In theory, yes, it is possible for Britain to get some

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pragmatic solution which it can be comfortable with to ensure that

:09:48.:09:53.

Britain and British banks have a good relationship with the Eurozone.

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What are the dangers to the City? Are their exaggerated in terms of

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negative impact on the City from these new banking union

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regulations? The City of London is a bit divided, actually. On the one

:10:06.:10:10.

hand, the like the idea of a banking union as a stabilising

:10:10.:10:16.

factor. At the same time, they are worried that the Euros and 17 will

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start to write rules for the 27 member states, with Britain having

:10:19.:10:23.

a limited ability to block the rules if they are not suitable to

:10:23.:10:29.

the City of London or the UK. So they are a bit two-faced. Yes,

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there is a legitimate concern here and Cameron is right to look at

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safeguards. But is there a risk that Britain will cut off its nose

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to spite its face? They want the banking union. The Chancellor said

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that anything that will stabilise the banks that are in crisis in

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Europe would be a good thing. If AV to it, the whole thing might

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collapse. I agree. There is a bit of inconsistency in the British

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diplomatic position at the moment. I have some sympathy with the

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Germans. But I think the British have a point, because this has an

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impact on them. Our interests need to be safeguarded as well. Everyone

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is looking out for their national interests, and so must Cameron. So

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I have sympathy with the German position, but Britain needs to look

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out for its own interests as well. A head of these summits, there is

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always a lot of rhetoric and foot stamping. Hasn't a lot of the

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ground now been agreed? British officials will have been talking

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about this banking union. When I was at the European Parliament,

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they were already discussing it. Hasn't a not been done already?

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Some has been done already, but there is still a huge number of

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disagreements lingering, not only between Britain and the Eurozone

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members, but amongst the Eurozone members themselves. The Germans are

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still keen on ski -- keeping of the scope of the agreement limited to

:12:02.:12:08.

the biggest banks, whereas others want to extend the agreement to all

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EUR6,000 and banks. So there is a lot of disagreement between Britain

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and the Eurozone members, but also within the Eurozone block itself.

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There is a lot of negotiation still ahead.

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Let's stick with this story. We are joined by the European Council

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spokesman Richard call but, and Michael Howard is still with us. Mr

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Corbett, can you clarify an issue for us here? If the UK does not

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like the shape of this banking union that is being proposed, does

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Britain have the power to veto it? As Mats Persson said, yes, there is

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one element that needs unanimous agreement of all the EU member

:12:53.:13:01.

states to be enacted. But once these negotiations have concluded

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and if there is not a veto, what power would Britain have over an

:13:07.:13:14.

operational banking union? Britain chooses not to join the

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banking union, if that is done at the level of the Eurozone or the

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Eurozone plus others who wish to join in but Britain does not wish

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to join in, there would be some supervisory aspects. They would

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only be supervising Eurozone banks. Britain is worried about something

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slightly different, that that spills over into the area of

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regulating banks, and that regulations will be adopted, with

:13:42.:13:47.

Britain being outvoted by a block of Eurozone countries. It is

:13:47.:13:52.

worried about that, but historically, other European

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countries recognise the importance of the City of London for the whole

:13:55.:13:58.

of the European Union, and try to get Britain on board for any

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legislation in this sector. It is unusual for Britain to be outvoted

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in the adoption of such legislation. But you are referring to the

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European Banking Authority, which exists at the moment. I was

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speaking more widely, actually. my understanding is that the

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British fear is that under this proposal, the European Central Bank

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will represent the Eurozone on the European Banking Authority. The ECB

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could vote as a block, 17 votes, so any major banking regulatory issues,

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Britain, with by far the most important financial sector in

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Europe, could lose out. On the point of the banking authority,

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that is indeed Britain's fear. As I said, most other countries would

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not normally want to do that. We are looking at safeguards in the

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voting procedures to say, for instance, whether you might need a

:15:03.:15:07.

double majority of those in the Eurozone and does not in the

:15:07.:15:11.

Eurozone. Those things will be yet explored and I am sure a compromise

:15:11.:15:21.
:15:21.:15:28.

$:/STARTFEED. Michael Howard, what would you do a keyword Mr Cameron

:15:28.:15:34.

going to Europe? Let's be realistic about this. The main argument that

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is taking place today is going to be between France and Germany. They

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have hugely different views about what sort of banking union it

:15:43.:15:49.

should be. All we are saying, perfectly legitimately, is we think

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it is a good idea to have a banking union, you decide what kind of

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union and make sure what you have decided his set-up in such a way

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that it does not disadvantage Britain. I am entirely in favour of

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this. This is yet another example of the kind of flexible Europe I

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would like to see created. Not every member state has to accept

:16:15.:16:21.

every edict that comes out of Brussels. Some member states are in

:16:21.:16:26.

the euro-zone and some are not. Some are going to be in the banking

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union and others are not. We had our opt-out from the Social Chapter

:16:31.:16:36.

and tell it was given away by the last Labour Government. We ought to

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have the kind of European structure which allows us to say to our

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European partners, we do not want to stop you doing what you want to

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do as long as you do not make us do what we do not want to do. Is that

:16:50.:16:55.

realistic? In essence Mr Howard is right to say Britain is not part of

:16:55.:17:01.

the euro-zone and since banking union is being set that essentially

:17:01.:17:04.

for the euro-zone if Britain does not want to take part, it does not

:17:04.:17:09.

have to. But there are some who would say this ought to be a matter

:17:09.:17:15.

for the single market, all 27 member states. We have a single,

:17:15.:17:19.

financial markets and banks work across frontiers and ownership. Is

:17:19.:17:25.

it not better to have a common set of rules for that common market and

:17:25.:17:29.

common supervision for the whole of the single market? Britain says no,

:17:29.:17:33.

so it is going ahead without Britain, but that is Britain's

:17:33.:17:40.

choice. What is the view in Europe? We read in Der Spiegel that for

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Angela Merkel she is getting fed up because everything that is proposed

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a Britain drags its feet and slows down everyone else. Is there a

:17:49.:17:52.

growing feeling in Europe that Britain should make up its mind? If

:17:52.:17:59.

you are not part of the programme, get out of the way. You hear voices

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saying that more and more, on the other hand people can point to

:18:03.:18:07.

other policy areas where Britain has been in the lead. In recent

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years it was in the lead on climate change, for instance. Quite often

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it is in the lead on foreign and security policy issues. It is not

:18:20.:18:24.

in the lead, obviously, in things relating to the euro because

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Britain is not part of the euro. Let me ask you, the position of the

:18:30.:18:37.

Conservative Party is they want to renegotiate Britain's arrangements,

:18:37.:18:40.

Britain's settlement with the European Union. They want to

:18:41.:18:46.

repatriate a wide range of powers back to London. Is there any

:18:46.:18:53.

appetite for the major European powers to agree to that? Up to now

:18:53.:18:57.

the British Government, as opposed to any political party, has not

:18:57.:19:03.

asked for any such renegotiation. You know what I am saying. If that

:19:03.:19:09.

happened, it would need a treaty change agreed for the most part.

:19:09.:19:12.

understand that as well, but I am asking you is there any appetite on

:19:12.:19:18.

behalf of the French, the Italians, the Dutch, to agree to a major

:19:18.:19:23.

repatriation of powers to Britain, powers that would not be

:19:23.:19:28.

repatriated to Berlin, Paris, Rome or the Hague? I have not heard of

:19:28.:19:35.

any enthusiasm for such a thing! not go away. At last, Andrew, you

:19:35.:19:39.

have been trying hard for the last 10 minutes to get some kind of

:19:39.:19:45.

issue you can get your teeth into it and at last. What is your answer

:19:45.:19:51.

to it? He has just said there is no appetite to repatriate powers.

:19:51.:19:56.

answer is this. There are a number of signs that the core members of

:19:56.:20:00.

the European Union are moving closer together, they are moving

:20:00.:20:07.

closer together to a federal union. If they continue to move in that

:20:07.:20:11.

direction, they are likely to need a treaty change. If they need a

:20:11.:20:15.

treaty change, that would present an opportunity for the Government

:20:15.:20:21.

of the United Kingdom to move in the direction I was talking earlier.

:20:21.:20:25.

To be my semi-detached. I would not say semi-detached, we are never

:20:25.:20:30.

part of the core, but to create a more flexible kind of structure for

:20:30.:20:34.

the European Union in which not every member state has to sign up

:20:34.:20:39.

to everything. So they would have to repatriate powers back to us?

:20:39.:20:45.

would not say they have to, it would be a process of negotiation.

:20:45.:20:49.

They would once certain things which needs our agreement. What

:20:49.:20:55.

sort of things? You have a process of negotiation. They want things

:20:55.:21:00.

from us and we will want things from them. We have a civilised

:21:00.:21:06.

discussion and that would present us with a great opportunity. I will

:21:06.:21:11.

give you the final word, Mr Corbett. Give me your reaction to what

:21:11.:21:17.

Michael Howard has just said. that a serious or probable likely

:21:17.:21:24.

way it will pan out? The further deepening relates to the euro-zone

:21:24.:21:29.

which we are already not part of. It could deepen further by means of

:21:29.:21:33.

a treaty or an amendment or it could deepen further by a treaty

:21:33.:21:38.

among themselves. It is not certain this further deepening in an area

:21:38.:21:44.

in which Britain is not involved in any way, that that further

:21:44.:21:49.

deepening would imply opening other areas of the treaty. Why should

:21:49.:21:53.

deepening mean that Britain should opt out of justice and police

:21:53.:22:00.

matters? It does not necessarily follow. That is very interesting.

:22:00.:22:05.

Come back and talk to us and we are on once a month and we do politics

:22:05.:22:10.

Europe, and we hope you join us on that as well.

:22:10.:22:14.

At the moment secret recordings made by the police or MI5 cannot be

:22:14.:22:18.

used in court and the security services would like to keep it that

:22:18.:22:22.

way, arguing it could compromise their intelligence-gathering

:22:22.:22:26.

techniques and ruin ongoing operations. But the law has been

:22:26.:22:30.

called into question after the death of Mark Duggan, the man shot

:22:30.:22:34.

dead by police last year in an operation filmed here by a member

:22:34.:22:38.

of the public. His death in Tottenham's sparked days of rioting

:22:38.:22:45.

across England. An inquest has been set for January, but it has been

:22:45.:22:48.

warned that it may not be able to go ahead because some of the

:22:48.:22:53.

evidence will be heard in secret. The Tottenham MP David Lammy joins

:22:53.:22:57.

us from the Central lobby in the House of Commons. Expand for us a

:22:57.:23:03.

little more as to why the inquest will be delayed. We are in the

:23:03.:23:07.

extraordinary situation where following four days of rioting and

:23:07.:23:11.

the death of Mark Duggan because they may have have been the use of

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intercept evidence, there will have to be a closed inquiry. I think

:23:17.:23:20.

you're viewers will understand that in Britain when someone dies in

:23:20.:23:25.

mysterious circumstances, certainly at the hands of the state, you need

:23:25.:23:30.

a jury at a coroner to determine the truth of what has happened.

:23:30.:23:35.

That is the law. They cannot do that, coroners cannot do that.

:23:35.:23:40.

the moment coroners are not allowed to hear cases that may involve

:23:40.:23:45.

intercept evidence. Indeed, courts are not allowed to hear cases that

:23:45.:23:49.

may involve intercept evidence. This has been knocking around

:23:49.:23:54.

parliament since 2005. The Home Office do not like it and Theresa

:23:54.:24:00.

May now needs to act and amend the law. Explain why that is important

:24:00.:24:03.

because of the police claims about the background to Mark Duggan in

:24:03.:24:09.

the lead-up to that shooting? think it is important, obviously

:24:09.:24:12.

for Mark Duggan's family, but it is important for the country to

:24:13.:24:17.

understand the circumstances surrounding the shooting, what

:24:17.:24:20.

happened in the lead-up and why he was shot outside his car where he

:24:20.:24:27.

was in broad daylight. And obviously the consequent emotions

:24:27.:24:32.

that followed in those ensuing days. That is very important for this

:24:32.:24:36.

country to fully understand. This is the first major domestic case, I

:24:36.:24:42.

think, where this use, or non-use of intercept evidence is thwarting

:24:42.:24:45.

justice and that is why we are bringing it back to the House of

:24:45.:24:52.

Commons. Do you have much support? I am joined by David Davis, a

:24:52.:24:55.

former spokesman for the Conservatives on home affairs, and

:24:55.:25:00.

other backbenchers across parties that are concerned about intersect

:25:00.:25:04.

thwarting justice in this country. Every other major country in the

:25:04.:25:09.

world they use intercept evidence you would not be able to jail

:25:09.:25:12.

people if you did not have intercept evidence in court. It is

:25:12.:25:17.

an anomaly that we here in Britain stand in the way of this in the way

:25:17.:25:22.

that we do. It has the support of the police and the Metropolitan

:25:22.:25:27.

Police Commissioner. Absolutely and the Home Secretary has said she

:25:27.:25:31.

would like to change the law and is waiting on the Chillcott inquiry to

:25:32.:25:37.

look at this again. But they have looked at it seven times since 2005,

:25:37.:25:42.

so I think because of its impact on domestic cases, I think because

:25:42.:25:47.

really in the end we need an open, democratic justice system and we

:25:47.:25:51.

need an amendment that enables a judge or a coroner to look at the

:25:51.:25:55.

material. I do not think we should know the means by which this

:25:55.:26:01.

evidence is got because, quite rightly, we need an intelligence

:26:01.:26:06.

service that can do that. Michael Howard, why should the law not be

:26:06.:26:10.

changed? David Lammy has put forward a very powerful case and is

:26:10.:26:13.

joined by other figures mentioned to have the use of intercept

:26:13.:26:19.

evidence. I am in had -- inhibited by what I can say because I am a

:26:19.:26:28.

member of the Chillcott committee. We will very shortly be giving our

:26:28.:26:33.

file advice to the Home Secretary. What I would say is this, I am on

:26:33.:26:36.

record in the past as being in favour of the use of intercept

:26:36.:26:42.

evidence. I started off from a principle similar to the one David

:26:42.:26:46.

Lammy has just put forward. All I can say is it is a great deal more

:26:46.:26:49.

complicated and a great deal more difficult than might at first sight

:26:49.:26:54.

appear. The Home Secretary will have to decide and the committee

:26:54.:27:00.

will give her our advice. Why is it more complicated? I do not want you

:27:00.:27:05.

to go into detail. The simplistic view is it is the security services

:27:05.:27:11.

to do not like it. They have to protect sources. Allies like the

:27:11.:27:17.

Americans will not give us information. In a word, or in a few

:27:17.:27:23.

words, David Lammy tried to make a distinction between the content of

:27:23.:27:28.

the evidence and the source, the way in which you obtain that

:27:28.:27:34.

evidence. That sounds like a very neat distinction. But the truth in

:27:34.:27:39.

the real world is that very often you would be able to tell from the

:27:39.:27:45.

content of the evidence how it was obtained. That leads you into great

:27:45.:27:50.

difficulties. I do not think I'd better go any further. Do you think

:27:50.:27:55.

the Home Secretary's own native a little bit when it comes to siding

:27:55.:27:58.

with the intelligence services when they become the Home Secretary?

:27:58.:28:03.

I do not, I think she will reach a balanced view and take all the

:28:03.:28:11.

advice she is given into account. Now there has been the unmistakable

:28:11.:28:15.

sound in Westminster of a prime ministerial announcement

:28:15.:28:22.

unravelling at full speed this morning. It dominated the lobby,

:28:22.:28:25.

the off-the-record briefings as the Government tried to clarify what

:28:25.:28:30.

the Prime Minister said yesterday. This is what David Cameron told the

:28:30.:28:36.

House of Commons yesterday. I can announce, which I am sure he will

:28:36.:28:40.

welcome, is there that we will be legislating said that energy

:28:40.:28:43.

companies have to give the lowest tariff to their customers,

:28:43.:28:47.

something Labour did not do in 13 years even though the leader of the

:28:47.:28:52.

party could have done. That sounds pretty good to you and me, doesn't

:28:52.:28:58.

it? Diligent journalists checked the details of the announcement

:28:58.:29:03.

with the Energy Department, which you would think would be fully

:29:03.:29:07.

across this, they would have got the draft and the wording right,

:29:07.:29:15.

but they could not offer any details. There were suggestions it

:29:15.:29:21.

could even increase the costs for consumers or break competition laws.

:29:21.:29:27.

This morning, the energy minister, John Hayes, was called to the House

:29:27.:29:32.

to answer, not surprisingly, an urgent question. Following the

:29:33.:29:36.

Prime Minister's announcement yesterday, I am pleased to confirm

:29:36.:29:39.

we will be bringing forward legislation to help energy

:29:39.:29:45.

consumers get the best deal. We have already regulated and have

:29:45.:29:49.

plans to improve competition, simplifying tariffs for the retail

:29:49.:29:53.

market and we will improve liquidity and competition in the

:29:53.:29:57.

wholesale market through the energy bill in weeks rather than months.

:29:57.:30:03.

There are a number of options being considered. For example, the

:30:03.:30:06.

voluntary agreement in April secured a number of measures which

:30:06.:30:11.

will be evaluated to make the legislation binding. This is a

:30:11.:30:15.

complicated area and we will discuss with the industry, consumer

:30:15.:30:25.
:30:25.:30:32.

We wanted to speak to him Minister about this on your behalf, but we

:30:32.:30:38.

were told, surprise, surprise, that none was available. But undaunted,

:30:38.:30:40.

we are joined by Stephen Fitzpatrick of Ovo Energy, never

:30:40.:30:48.

heard of them, crazy name - and the shadow energy minister, Luciana

:30:48.:30:53.

Berger. I have just seen an open goal for you to kick the ball

:30:53.:30:59.

through. Let me come to you first. Do you know what government policy

:30:59.:31:04.

is on this? 12 months ago, I was in a meeting with David Cameron and

:31:04.:31:08.

the heads of the large energy companies. And they agreed to write

:31:08.:31:12.

to their consumers and say, you could be paying less. And I

:31:12.:31:16.

suggested it might be better if you just got the energy companies to

:31:16.:31:25.

charge them less. A year on, having seen that nothing much has changed,

:31:25.:31:29.

the Prime Minister has decided it is time to take action. It is a

:31:29.:31:34.

brave move. Except that what the Prime Minister said yesterday was

:31:34.:31:39.

that energy companies should give consumers the lowest tariff, not

:31:39.:31:43.

offer them the lowest tariff, just give it to them. On the briefings

:31:43.:31:51.

we have since had, from what Mr Hayes said, that is not what the

:31:51.:31:59.

Government policy seems to be. The word offer was much softer than

:31:59.:32:04.

"give". We will wait to see what comes out in the energy bill.

:32:04.:32:09.

you don't know what the policy is. Nobody knows what the policy is

:32:09.:32:13.

until we see it. The intention is to force the big six to treat

:32:13.:32:18.

customers fairly. I understand that, and I understand that you are in

:32:18.:32:21.

favour of that because you are a smaller energy company which would

:32:21.:32:29.

like to take on the Big Six. I know the Labour leader and others have

:32:29.:32:33.

been trying to encourage people to be given lower tariffs. But what do

:32:33.:32:39.

you think of the prime minister's idea for these energy companies to

:32:39.:32:43.

give the lowest tariff, not ask or offer, but just to say, it is

:32:43.:32:48.

yours? This is another shambles from the prime minister. We have

:32:48.:32:54.

established that. Don't milk it. I have milked it. I am sorry your

:32:54.:32:59.

video did not big enough up of the cackles of laughter. I have never

:32:59.:33:02.

heard such a farce. People thought it was the most entertaining half-

:33:02.:33:06.

hour of Parliament they have ever heard. I can assure you, that is

:33:06.:33:12.

not true. I am sorry that the Secretary of State Ed Davey did not

:33:12.:33:17.

grace us with his presence. I know it is an open goal. You have kicked

:33:17.:33:22.

the ball in the back of the net. What is the answer? Were don't want

:33:22.:33:26.

to see tinkering with the edges, we need an overhaul of the energy

:33:26.:33:36.
:33:36.:33:37.

market. But I would like an answer to my question. I take the point

:33:37.:33:41.

that you don't want tinkering. But the Prime Minister is saying energy

:33:41.:33:46.

companies should give customers of the lowest tariff. That would be a

:33:46.:33:52.

major change of policy. Would you favour that? We have said the

:33:52.:33:57.

Labour Party would favour giving over 75s the cheapest tariff. They

:33:57.:34:00.

are the most likely to suffer from the cold and the least likely to

:34:00.:34:06.

have access to the internet. they suffer from rising fuel bills.

:34:06.:34:09.

And cold winters. And they are least likely to have access to a

:34:09.:34:19.
:34:19.:34:21.

bank account. And then? We have not yet seen any detail of this policy.

:34:21.:34:25.

Their prime minister announced it yesterday. There is nothing in the

:34:25.:34:32.

forthcoming electricity market reform bill... That bill relates to

:34:32.:34:37.

wholesale markets. The retail reform bill relates to the retail

:34:37.:34:44.

market, which is what we are discussing. But could the

:34:44.:34:47.

Government simply mandate that the energy companies to give everybody

:34:47.:34:54.

the lowest tariff? The easiest change to policy with the biggest

:34:54.:34:58.

benefit is to say that for any given payment method, whether it is

:34:58.:35:02.

direct debit, cash or cheque or pre-payment, you automatically put

:35:02.:35:07.

every customer on to the cheapest tariff. And if they want to opt out,

:35:07.:35:13.

they can. If in case they want to pay more. For 15 years, the energy

:35:13.:35:19.

companies have relied on apathy and confusion. And it has become more

:35:19.:35:23.

confusing. The energy companies have relied on this apathy. They

:35:23.:35:26.

write to customers saying, you could pay less, but why not write

:35:27.:35:34.

to them and say, we are going to charge you less? We need to take a

:35:34.:35:41.

step up the backwoods. Why not for what? I do not want to wait until I

:35:42.:35:49.

and 75. We know that when the wholesale price of energy goes up,

:35:50.:35:55.

N G companies are quick to put their prices up. It is an important

:35:55.:36:03.

point to make. I understand that. More competition is the answer.

:36:03.:36:09.

are in the delicious position here, Luciana Berger, of the prime

:36:09.:36:15.

minister proposing defectively and administered price, a government

:36:15.:36:18.

mandated administered price. Whereas you and the Lib-Dems are

:36:18.:36:25.

talking about more competition. it would be the energy companies

:36:25.:36:32.

setting that price. Energy companies don't pass on a changes

:36:32.:36:36.

in wholesale prices to their customers. They are very slow to

:36:36.:36:43.

put them down. Michael Howard, you don't have to be on-message for

:36:43.:36:48.

every question I ask you. I think most people watching think this is

:36:48.:36:52.

a good idea, even though the Prime Minister is running away from it

:36:52.:36:56.

now. What would be wrong with having a law that said to the major

:36:56.:36:58.

energy companies that they have to put you on the lowest, most

:36:58.:37:04.

beneficial tariff? It is a good idea. Luciana Berger has just said

:37:04.:37:07.

that Labour will have a comprehensive overhaul, of which

:37:07.:37:13.

the major feature is that over 75s will get the benefits. Why just

:37:13.:37:18.

them? Exactly, everybody should get it. How long have you got to go

:37:18.:37:25.

until 75? I am almost there. That was just one element of that. We

:37:25.:37:28.

also had Ed Miliband an ounce but what we would like to get rid of

:37:28.:37:33.

Ofgem and replace it. That is a good idea. We think there should be

:37:33.:37:37.

a separate regulator for the wholesale market and one for the

:37:37.:37:45.

retail market. If it is right to give the over 75s at the lowest

:37:45.:37:49.

tariff, and if that can be done, and presumably you think it can,

:37:49.:37:54.

why not give it to the rest of us? I come back to the point about

:37:55.:37:58.

doing that in isolation. If the energy market is broken and the

:37:58.:38:02.

energy companies are setting prices too high anyway, you can look at

:38:02.:38:06.

tinkering around the edges, but that will not fix the energy market.

:38:06.:38:10.

I talked about replacing the regulator. We would also like to

:38:10.:38:13.

see the big six energy companies but in the energy they generate

:38:13.:38:17.

into a pooled so that all entrants can have access to that market.

:38:18.:38:22.

are the UK's leading independent energy supplier, and we are

:38:22.:38:28.

confused about this from the Labour Party. Most people listening will

:38:28.:38:38.
:38:38.:38:39.

think, great, somebody is in our corner. But usually, it is the

:38:39.:38:44.

energy companies that lose out or, I am sorry to say, the opposition

:38:44.:38:48.

have not been bold enough in their point of view. We will have to

:38:48.:38:58.
:38:58.:39:05.

leave it there. We could have a Howard energy policy here.

:39:05.:39:09.

Right, according to today's Daily Telegraph, the world is about to

:39:09.:39:12.

find out which MPs and former MPs are renting their properties,

:39:12.:39:16.

presumably bought with taxpayers' money, two other parliamentarians,

:39:16.:39:19.

who are renting at our expense. The Telegraph reports that an attempt

:39:19.:39:23.

by the Speaker to block the publication of these after a

:39:23.:39:26.

Freedom of Information request has failed. Some MPs have expressed

:39:26.:39:29.

concern that the release of this information could compromise

:39:29.:39:34.

security. One of those is the New Forest MP, Julian Lewis. And he is

:39:35.:39:39.

with us. Why is it a security threat? In just a question of

:39:40.:39:46.

putting together pieces of a jigsaw. In 2008 and 2009, Parliament

:39:46.:39:49.

decided that MPs' home addresses should never be revealed in

:39:49.:39:55.

response to Freedom of Information request. At the time when people

:39:55.:40:02.

are nominated for elections, the law was changed. Some don't agree

:40:02.:40:05.

with that, but that is the situation and there are good

:40:05.:40:08.

arguments for it. But isn't this going to get you into this a to

:40:08.:40:13.

trouble that all MPs ran into over expenses? People see it as a lack

:40:13.:40:20.

of transparency again. I have not even got to where I want to get. It

:40:20.:40:25.

is a complex matter. The law is that MPs' addresses will not be

:40:25.:40:30.

revealed. If you reveal the name of a landlord, and if you reveal the

:40:30.:40:35.

first part of an MP's home address postcode, so you can see if people

:40:35.:40:38.

are flipping addresses, if you then put that into a search engine, the

:40:38.:40:42.

first part of the postcode, together with the name of the MP's

:40:42.:40:46.

landlord, that can often give you a full postcode which will give you

:40:46.:40:50.

the address either of the MP themselves where it is a small

:40:50.:40:55.

landlord, or of a house close to the MP's address. If that happens,

:40:55.:40:59.

that undermines what Parliament has decided, which is that MPs' home

:40:59.:41:02.

addresses should not be revealed. There are other ways of doing this,

:41:02.:41:07.

but this is not the right way. what is the other way? People might

:41:07.:41:12.

say, how about we just get the name of the landlord? As I understand it,

:41:12.:41:17.

they are just doing the name of the landlord. But if you Google the

:41:17.:41:20.

name of the Landlord and that those three letters of the MP's addresses,

:41:20.:41:24.

you get the two. If I were the Daily Telegraph, and I think there

:41:24.:41:28.

is a public interest in knowing if MPs are renting to each other,

:41:28.:41:32.

would be to ask how many MPs are renting two other MPs. When you

:41:32.:41:35.

have got the answer, the answer is to take it up with the body

:41:36.:41:42.

concerned and say, how come you are allowing this to happen? At the

:41:42.:41:50.

moment, the Speaker is attempting to block the publication of MPs'

:41:50.:41:54.

addresses in order to prevent at that link being shown. That is how

:41:54.:41:58.

it will seem to viewers. The Dilnot the Speaker attempting to block the

:41:58.:42:03.

publication of MPs' addresses. Everybody accepts that MPs'

:42:03.:42:08.

addresses must not be revealed, by law. The Speaker is just trying to

:42:08.:42:17.

stop a way of publishing landlords' names which will reveal details and

:42:17.:42:21.

could lead to the undermining of the existing legal position, which

:42:21.:42:25.

is that the MP's personal address should not be revealed. Michael

:42:25.:42:30.

Howard may not like it, but that is how it is. Michael Howard, there

:42:30.:42:34.

are good security reasons, and we have heard the complicated way of

:42:34.:42:38.

building of the jigsaw, but are they valid reasons? I was against

:42:38.:42:43.

the law to which Julian referred. We have had this argument before.

:42:43.:42:47.

My constituents knew where I lived, and I did not have a problem with

:42:47.:42:54.

that. It also has to be said that transparency and disclosure are the

:42:55.:42:59.

best disinfectant to the kind of concern we have seen. But to be

:42:59.:43:03.

fair to Julian, in relation to the particular issue we are talking

:43:03.:43:08.

about it, MPs renting from each other, he has suggested a way

:43:08.:43:16.

forward. It would achieve that objective. So I lost the argument

:43:16.:43:21.

with him in the Act of Parliament, because it is on the statute book.

:43:21.:43:27.

To be fair to him, he has suggested a way forward which would meet the

:43:27.:43:30.

objectives the Daily Telegraph want to meet. What do you think of MPs

:43:30.:43:36.

renting to each other? I have not kept up with all the changes in the

:43:36.:43:42.

rules since I left the House of Commons, but apparently, it is

:43:42.:43:48.

specifically allowed. A but is it right? Julian will know more about

:43:48.:43:55.

this than I do. But bearing in mind the background, is it right that

:43:55.:44:02.

MPs should be able to rent to each other? They will then be busy

:44:02.:44:07.

building up a nest-egg, as many think. A few had the kind of

:44:07.:44:11.

transparency, which one way or another can be achieved, you would

:44:11.:44:14.

find out whether Members of Parliament themselves thought it

:44:14.:44:18.

was right. Julian, do you agree that MPs should be allowed to rent

:44:18.:44:24.

to each other? It is one of those practical problems. If they didn't

:44:24.:44:27.

rent to each other, they were probably rent to a member of the

:44:27.:44:33.

public. In many cases, MPs have acquired flats, and then the rules

:44:33.:44:36.

changed and said their mortgage interest payments could not be met

:44:36.:44:40.

from public funds. So they would either have to sell the flat or

:44:40.:44:44.

rent it to somebody, so they rented it to somebody. But I think it does

:44:44.:44:48.

not look great for MPs to be scratching each other's backs in

:44:48.:44:53.

this way. But in that case, the fault lies with the regulator. It

:44:53.:44:58.

is up to them to change the rules. I hasten to add that I do not rent

:44:58.:45:07.

from anybody. But I would say that those MPs would have some reason to

:45:07.:45:11.

say to the regulator, we asked you in good faith and you said it was

:45:11.:45:21.
:45:21.:45:29.

How do we get more bright kids from poor backgrounds into our top

:45:29.:45:34.

universities and into the top jobs and the top professions? In the

:45:34.:45:37.

moment we will be talking to the Government's social mobility

:45:38.:45:44.

minister, Alan Milburn. He says universities need to work more

:45:44.:45:47.

closely with deprived schools in deprived areas and encourage pupils

:45:47.:45:54.

to apply to the best institutions. We put a lot of time and effort

:45:54.:45:59.

into working with schools. If you go down to Imperial College you

:45:59.:46:04.

will find Robert Winston, a fantastically inspired academic,

:46:04.:46:08.

working in his lab with sixth-form students from a school in a

:46:08.:46:13.

deprived area in London, trying to help them get higher grades in

:46:13.:46:18.

their chemistry A-levels. We are very hands on in trying to help the

:46:18.:46:22.

schools in tackling what we think is a big challenge for them. We all

:46:22.:46:27.

need to help, but universities cannot do it by themselves. We need

:46:27.:46:32.

help from a whole range of stakeholders. The group

:46:32.:46:37.

representing the top Big yin -- research universities. And welcome

:46:37.:46:43.

Alan Milburn back to the programme. You have been keeping yourself busy.

:46:43.:46:49.

That is a compliment. If the state schools produce poor exam results,

:46:49.:46:54.

why is that the responsibility of the universities? It is the

:46:54.:46:59.

responsibility fundamentally of the schools, but the universities

:46:59.:47:04.

generally want to grow the group of talent. The best way of a kid

:47:04.:47:08.

getting into university is to do well at A-level. Universities are

:47:08.:47:13.

spending a good deal of money trying to ensure that happens there

:47:13.:47:18.

with summer schools, outreach programmes and mentoring and so on.

:47:18.:47:24.

My plea to the universities is to become more focused about that. We

:47:24.:47:28.

know that whatever the problems are with City academies, they have

:47:28.:47:33.

improved standards in disadvantaged areas. That is why Michael Gove is

:47:33.:47:38.

continuing the programme Labour began. I would like to see more

:47:38.:47:42.

universities sponsoring City academies so they can work with the

:47:42.:47:47.

communities and teachers and pupils in those disadvantaged communities

:47:47.:47:50.

and raise their expectations and aspirations as well as the

:47:50.:47:56.

standards. But in some cases is it not too late for the schools Quetta

:47:56.:48:00.

and Mark big gap begins to start very early on Ant is full of

:48:01.:48:04.

complicated associate economic factors. A off course and there is

:48:04.:48:12.

no magic, silver bullet. There are a lot of factors. Family, cultural,

:48:12.:48:17.

economic, but we know that if there is one thing that makes the biggest

:48:17.:48:21.

difference for social mobility, it is education that unlocks

:48:21.:48:26.

everything. That is the most important thing. Performance in

:48:26.:48:30.

school and attainment at A-level is a guide to what happens later on in

:48:30.:48:36.

life. Let me put this to you to get your reaction. I remember going too

:48:36.:48:40.

hard in the United States and they go around the country looking for

:48:40.:48:45.

bright kids. They have a huge team of people doing it, but in LA they

:48:45.:48:51.

had a choice. They had two kids, one had gone to a very good school

:48:51.:48:58.

in a posh area. The other came from East LA, a black kid, a single-

:48:58.:49:03.

parent mother in the ghetto where the riots were. Her grades were not

:49:03.:49:09.

quite as good as the boy's, but they gave the place to the single-

:49:09.:49:13.

parent mother on the basis that it had grades were that good going to

:49:13.:49:19.

a pretty poor school, it she had gone to the same school, she could

:49:19.:49:25.

have done Betty -- are better. universities here are taking

:49:25.:49:30.

contextual data into account. They are doing it very quietly. The top

:49:30.:49:37.

universities do it, but in a quiet way. And that is a good thing?

:49:37.:49:40.

is a good thing because what a higher education should be about,

:49:40.:49:45.

admission to university should be about the potential benefit. A-

:49:45.:49:51.

levels are a great guide, but they are not foolproof. You are not

:49:51.:49:57.

comparing apples and pears. If a child has gone to a disadvantaged,

:49:57.:50:02.

failing school and has got freebies and you compare that to a kid at

:50:02.:50:09.

Eton with three A's. Who has had to work harder? Nobody pretends it is

:50:09.:50:15.

easy, it is a trade-off. Have they learned from America about doing

:50:15.:50:21.

this? The interesting thing about the States, the Ivy League, the top

:50:22.:50:29.

universities, it is they all do it. They priorities -- prioritise

:50:29.:50:36.

equity. You here with the Russell group St if we do it with equity,

:50:36.:50:41.

we have to compromise excellence, but they do not do that in the US.

:50:41.:50:48.

I am immensely sympathetic. I am worried about whether today a boy

:50:48.:50:52.

growing up in Wales going to a state school could get into

:50:52.:50:56.

Cambridge as I was lucky enough to do. The grammar school I went to is

:50:57.:51:03.

no longer there. I hope my concerns are necessary, but I worry about it.

:51:03.:51:08.

The problem is in the schools. That is why what Michael Gove is doing

:51:08.:51:12.

is so immensely important and that is why I agreed. Universities have

:51:12.:51:17.

got to look for potential. A-level results are a very good guide, but

:51:17.:51:24.

they are not the only guide. I want to make one other point. I was very

:51:24.:51:30.

start this morning hearing somebody say on the Today programme is we

:51:30.:51:35.

hear a great thing about teenagers going to universities to see what

:51:35.:51:40.

they are like and there are children who cannot afford the

:51:40.:51:44.

money to go to an Open Day. Universities ought to be helping

:51:44.:51:48.

children from those families. Should more began at 16 to keep

:51:48.:51:53.

pupils on? To build on that, I think that is right. One of the

:51:53.:51:59.

things that is regrettable was the abolition of thick educational

:51:59.:52:07.

maintenance allowance. I do not agree with that type of argument.

:52:07.:52:14.

We are running out of time. Is the Government listening to you? They

:52:14.:52:18.

have asked me to do this, so I never know it. I take it at face

:52:18.:52:22.

value, I have produced a report and I have spoken to Michael Gove. I

:52:22.:52:27.

hope it is something they are serious about. If they are serious

:52:27.:52:32.

about social mobility, they need to get into this area. The Scottish

:52:32.:52:35.

National Party are gathered for their annual conference in Perth.

:52:35.:52:39.

The good news is the deal with Westminster over an independence

:52:39.:52:44.

referendum. The less good news is a debate that might prove awkward.

:52:44.:52:49.

For many years the SNP have wanted Scotland to leave NATO and that is

:52:49.:52:54.

closer than ever, but they have changed their minds.

:52:54.:53:01.

This is the most advanced air defence warship in the world. The

:53:01.:53:09.

British destroyer on radar looks the size of a fishing boat. The

:53:09.:53:15.

Govan shipyards on the Clyde have been the makers and maintainers of

:53:15.:53:19.

the sharp end of British naval power. But ironically defence is

:53:19.:53:22.

the one area where an independent Scotland provides politically

:53:22.:53:28.

something of a problem for the SNP. You see Britain, and at the moment

:53:28.:53:34.

Scotland, is a nuclear power within NATO. In Faslane outside Glasgow it

:53:34.:53:40.

is where our nuclear arsenal resides. For 30 years the SNP's

:53:40.:53:45.

stance has been independence would mean being neither Nuclear non in

:53:45.:53:50.

NATO and that could be about to change. The Scots do not want to be

:53:50.:53:57.

neutral sitting out in the North Atlantic in the big rush for wrong

:53:57.:54:01.

materials and trade routes. Scotland needs to be in a group of

:54:01.:54:09.

other countries with collective self-defence, NATO. And also an

:54:09.:54:14.

independent Scotland that walked out of NATO would be upsetting all

:54:14.:54:19.

of our closest neighbours. Alex Salmond now wants his party and

:54:19.:54:23.

country to stay in NATO, but have Scottish and non-nuclear state has

:54:24.:54:28.

written into any constitution. For opponents of the U-turn that is not

:54:28.:54:32.

enough, it is about whether you are anti- nuclear weapons, not just

:54:32.:54:38.

anti-nuclear weapons on Scottish soil. My concern about Scotland

:54:38.:54:44.

continuing to be in NATO is twofold. Firstly, it is whether or not we

:54:44.:54:51.

can reasonably expect to get rid of nuclear weapons and continue to

:54:51.:54:55.

shelter under an organisation of a first strike policy. Also there is

:54:55.:55:01.

the wider issue of what the force is for in the wider world. Many

:55:01.:55:06.

will look across the water to Norwich who are in NATO, but not

:55:06.:55:10.

nuclear fought a compromise. But for a summit does not bridged the

:55:10.:55:15.

gap. Let's look at Sweden, Finland, Austria, all countries in Europe

:55:16.:55:19.

are not in nature and they do not feel the need to be in NATO and

:55:19.:55:24.

that is the same for Scotland. There is a practical point about

:55:24.:55:29.

the nuclear weapons on this Clyde. It would take a long time, a very

:55:29.:55:33.

long time to move those nuclear weapons submarines to England in

:55:34.:55:39.

the event of independence. It might take 15 years, maybe longer at

:55:39.:55:44.

quite considerable cost. Both sides say the debate is healthy and will

:55:44.:55:49.

abide by the boats. But who would risk embarrassing a leader just

:55:49.:55:53.

when they are closer than ever to delivering what their party exists

:55:53.:55:58.

to achieve? It is funny what Scottish institutions pop up when

:55:58.:56:05.

you are looking in the film archives. Three years ago... Here

:56:05.:56:08.

is that blip at the end of that cell?

:56:08.:56:12.

He should never be allowed on television!

:56:12.:56:17.

He looks very familiar. Michael Howard, stop laughing.

:56:17.:56:25.

Raymond Buchanan joins us from the SNP conference in Perth. An

:56:25.:56:26.

independent Scotland for most Scottish Nationalists would have

:56:26.:56:35.

meant not being part of NATO. It is an issue for the SNP, and the idea

:56:35.:56:38.

that the UKIP brief prepared to abandon that, how big an issue is

:56:38.:56:47.

that? Can you hear us? I was struggling, but I heard most of the

:56:47.:56:54.

report at. That is about the big dividing line in the conference

:56:54.:56:57.

between those who believe the SNP should stick to their traditional

:56:57.:57:01.

anti-Nato policy and those who wish to follow the leadership, the

:57:02.:57:06.

charge led by Angus Robertson, the leader of the MPs at Westminster

:57:06.:57:11.

for the SNP, who says the vast majority of people in Scotland

:57:11.:57:17.

believe an independent Scotland should remain a part of NATO. They

:57:17.:57:24.

are trying to build up a credible argument for a defence. They think

:57:24.:57:28.

it is the time to change of that traditional policy and go for

:57:28.:57:33.

something which gets rid of nuclear weapons, but also ensures the

:57:33.:57:38.

majority of people in Scotland get their way and this country, post-

:57:38.:57:42.

independence, stays in NATO. Will they get it through the leadership,

:57:42.:57:48.

yes or no? I do not think Raymond can hear us and we have not got

:57:48.:57:52.

that answer. You have stunned him into silence,

:57:52.:57:55.

bat is the nature of your interviews.

:57:55.:57:58.

Let's go back to that young chap and get the answer.

:57:59.:58:04.

That is all I needed to know. It gives us time to find out the

:58:04.:58:10.

answer to our quiz. Yesterday Lord Marland told reporters he was off

:58:10.:58:20.
:58:20.:58:20.

to keep his suntan up. But where was he after? Mozambique. What is

:58:20.:58:26.

the answer? It is. Do I get a trip there as

:58:26.:58:30.

well. Yesterday we did not have time to

:58:30.:58:36.

pick guess the Year when there's and the answer was 1963. Michael, a

:58:36.:58:46.
:58:46.:58:49.

press that buzzer. Who is it? Anyway, whoever you are, you have

:58:49.:58:54.

Andrew Neil is joined by former Conservative party leader Michael Howard to discuss all the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the EU Summit in Brussels.


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