Jo Coburn with all the latest political news. Including Justine Roberts from Mumsnet on plans to reform parental leave, and the Prime Minister's proposals on prison sentencing.
Browse content similar to 22/10/2012. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.
In an attempt to seize back the political initiative, the Prime
Minister gets tough on crime. After all, what else would you do? In a
speech this lunchtime, the PM's expected to call for tougher
sentences for the worst criminals and rehabilitation and education
for others to cut reoffending. Crisis at the BBC over the Jimmy
Savile affair. The BBC's Director General appears before MPs tomorrow.
We'll be talking to the man charged with grilling him.
Should men and women share parental leave after having a baby? I do not
And we'll be asking if Ed Milliband was secretly pleased to get this
reaction to his speech at this All that in the next hour. And with
us for the whole programme today is Justine Roberts from Mumsnet.
Welcome. First this morning, let's talk about child benefit because
the Government has been warned that it may have left it too late to
implement the cut to child benefit. The Institute of Chartered
Accountants for England and Wales said yesterday that most middle
class families remained unaware of the changes, which will require
about half a million people filling out complicated self assessment
forms for the first time. Have you found that with your followers? Are
they counting down the weeks to the time they will get a reduced child
benefit or none at all? I think they are aware because it has been
a big issue, but I don't think people know they have tefillin more
forms or how to do that. A lot of people have never had to fill in
that type of form before. They will be coming on line and asking what's
next? I think there are people who might not realise that this is
actually going to be done through the tax system by HMRC, it is not
that the Inland Revenue as we used to know it is going to cut your
child benefit... We each would be the natural assumption. You might
still get it and then it will be clawed back. Yes. That sounds very
complicated. It does and it is the last thing anyone needs, to have to
battle with more forms from the HMRC, which is not the most user-
friendly organisation anyway. It sounds like a nightmare for a lot
of people. But in no side whether or not a policy is clever or fair,
the very fact that you are increasing bureaucracy is the one
thing that... Are there people still very upset about the changes
themselves? In the end, you could get a couple earning under the
threshold who will still get child benefit and one single earner who
earns above it he will not. Exactly. I think they are fair -- cross
about the unfairness. It is hard to argue that millionaires should get
child benefit. A lot of people can understand why the Government would
want to reduce it, but they have done it in an unfair way and people
are cross about the effect it as one single learning households and
lone parents relative to a neighbour where they have more
income but they still receive the benefit. For 11 weeks to go until
those changes take effect. Tomorrow morning, the BBC Director
General, George Entwhistle, will appear in front of the Culture,
Media and Sport Select Committee to answer MPs' questions on what the
BBC knew about Jimmy Savile. Tonight, a special one-hour
Panorama will look at how and why a Newsnight investigation into
allegations against Jimmy Savile was dropped before broadcast. The
programme includes interviews with the Newsnight journalists who
worked on the original Savile investigation. Ever since the
decision was taken at Tibshelf Alan Storey, I've not been happy with
public statements made by the BBC. I think they are very misleading
about the nature of the investigation we were doing. It was
an abrupt change of tone from one- day excellent, let's prepare to get
this thing on air, to hold on. was sure the story would come out
one way or another and if it did, the BBC would be accused of a
cover-up. I wrote an e-mail to Peter saying, the story is strong
enough and the danger of not running it is substantial damage to
BBC reputation. In the last hour, the Newsnight
editor Peter Rippon has stood down from his role for the duration of
the independent Pollard review into whether there were any failings in
the BBC's management of the investigation. Let's get more on
this with the media commentator Steve Hewlett, who's at New
Broadcasting House. Has Peter Rippon done the right thing?
don't think... There was no other option. The blog he wrote a couple
of weeks ago outlining the reasons for his decision to stop the
Newsnight programme, remember the essential course of events is that
Jimmy Savile dies at the end of October, a busy one announces
tribute programmes for its Christmas schedule, up pops
Newsnight with a suggestion that Savell may have been a paedophile.
The Newsnight programme then gets cancelled. People say hang on, is
there any danger that one bit of the BBC Cross infect another? If it
were true, that the BBC corporate interests overrode its journalism,
that would be a disaster. That is the reason there is this concern.
Peter Ripon was under pressure to explain why he dropped the
programme. His explanation is at best a partial and the BBC have now
acknowledged it is incomplete and incorrect in important respects and
as a result there is no question he had to stand aside. It now seems
that some of the details of the reasons, not all of them, for
dropping the investigation are now said to be inaccurate. How does
that change things ahead of George Entwhistle's appearance before the
committee? It makes the BBC seemed more of a muddle. We have people
rich using themselves from these decisions. The Director General is
no longer Director General for this, Tim Davey. The whole thing appears
Mugly chaotic. Secondly, the Director General, the director of
editorial policy and the chairman of the BBC Trust have been on the
airwaves and said that this was never any inquiry into Jimmy Savile
per se, it was an inquiry into a police investigation and the
subsequent decision by the CPS not to proceed. The journalists said
that was ridiculous. Our story was, was Jimmy Savile a paedophile?
Female trail that Panorama has got demonstrates that in spades. -- the
Demel trail. It also demonstrates that Peter Ripon on 25th November
said fantastic, full speed ahead, and a few days later says stop, we
must concentrate on the CPS decision. It looks like a handbrake
turn. What that represents is another question. Is that the
problem at the moment? Fears an awful lot of speculation. Peter
Ripon has made his dishes and to set aside, but we haven't had any
results of the review, we haven't heard from George Entwhistle.
Shouldn't we just break and wait until we know for sure what went
on? Yes and no. There are two questions. One is what actually
happened, and we will have to wait for the review to find that out.
The other is what the BBC has said. What is so common, the BBC have
made a rod for their own backs by issuing statements which are
partial or borderline misleading and they have taken their lead from
Peter Ripon's blog. It is important for the BBC to establish
credibility. The first thing George Entwistle will have to convince the
MPs of is that he has some grip of the situation. At the moment it
looks mildly chaotic. If thank you. With us now is the chair of the
Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, John Whitingdale, the
former Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, who also used to work for
the BBC, and the former editor of the Today programme, Kevin Marsh.
John Whittingdale, is that what you go to ask him, has he got a grip?
That is certainly one of the questions. Steve is right, the
handling of this by the BBC has been lamentable. They've made a bad
situation even worse and the Director General is responsible. We
would want to press him on that. What about his role? What are you
going to press him on in terms of what he knew ahead of the tributes
being played in his former role at this news that investigation?
of the things that Panorama has uncovered is a conversation took
place between Helen Boaden and George Entwistle where Helen said
hold on a minute with regard to these tributes, you might need to
re schedule because Newsnight uttering an investigation. This was
a conversation that lasted less than 10 seconds. It seems
extraordinary that given George Entwhistle was told that, he didn't
want to know more. Do you not think George Entwistle will not be able
to be as frank as he might have been because of the review that is
now being carried out by Nick Pollard? I don't know that that
review is looking into that question. It is looking into why
Newsnight was dropped. I'm not aware that it is looking at whether
or not George Entwistle knew about it, whether Mark Thompson knew
about it, Helen Boaden. Bradshaw, let's pick up on the
conversation, do you think there was adequate due diligence, that
briefest of conversations between Helen Boaden and George Entwistle?
We don't know, but to be fair to George Entwhistle, when he says he
wanted to maintain a Berlin Wall between his responsibilities and
the news but if the BBC, that is credible. What is incredible is why
it has taken three weeks for the BBC to realise that Peter Ripon's
account of the dropping of the Newsnight programme was inaccurate
and incomplete. That astonishes me. Why was nobody talking to the
journalists? Why was nobody asking the reporter and the investigative
producer for their side of the story? George Entwhistle and at BBC
have repeated his position which we now know to have been wrong.
did it take so long? Do you agree that it took too long? I don't know
what conversations went on about this investigation. Presumably the
Pollard inquiry will find that out. I do believe that Peter Ripon gave
an account that he thought was truthful of the reason for him
dropping... We now know that some of that data was inaccurate.
have to be very careful. E-mails can be taken out of context. Once
you take them out of context and apply hindsight, they can mean
something different. I don't know how much of this Peter Ripon was
aware of at the time. I don't know how much his investigative team
were telling him. We have to wait for the inquiry to look at not only
the case for the prosecution, which is what we will see on Panorama,
but also the case for the defence. With all respect to the BBC
management, they've made their position clear. They seem to be
either wrong in some cases or misleading because of what we are
now hearing from journalists on the programme. I don't think anything
was done in bad faith. I think people thought this was the account
of the investigation, they believed in it. The Director General turns
to the head of news and ask what happened. It is inevitable that the
account will be consistent. Now that these details have come out,
those details have to change. Peter Ripon right to step aside?
the light of this, of course he was. We have to wait for the inquiry, to
look at both sides of this question. Did he make the wrong editorial
decision in terms of dropping that investigation? I don't know the
detail, but no editor of news eyedrops an investigation unless
they has -- have severe doubts about the evidence. You shouldn't
go ahead with an investigation, particularly one making serious
allegations, unless you have a watertight case, would you agree?
But if you have an investigation by two very experienced and reputable
journalists, who now claim it was almost ready for transmission,
about a former BBC personality against whom the most grave
accusations are being made, any editor worth his salt goes the
extra mile to make sure that programme gets on air and if they
can't in the current form, they say get more evidence. You would
support that, Kevin Marsh? If you had even has into -- scintilla of
an allegation or claim, in this sort of investigation, you don't
say you've hit a brick wall, you carry on. A you want your team to
go back and look at new evidence. What appears to have happened was
that when Peter Ripon said I'm interested in this CPS line that
the investigation was dropped, can we stand this up? The team came
back and said no. That was when his enthusiasm faded. But the CPS are
never going to say publicly that the reason they didn't prosecute is
because somebody is too old. That was just an excuse according to the
reporter. They felt they were being set a bar that was impossible to
jump over. One of the supporting victims, who was very brave to go
on air at all, said she had a letter from Surrey police, the team
asked her for this letter, the letter wasn't produced. In any
editor's mind, that will ring alarm bells. The why was the
investigation killed? There was a wealth of evidence and even more is
emerging. Because the investigation was dropped without the team being
told to dig further and uncover more, that leaves the suspicion
that there must have been another reason. I hope that is not the case,
I'm prepared to Accept Peter Rippon was not lend on, but because the
explanation looks so thin... Panorama can uncover no evidence of
that. There's another complication. Newsnight comes off there for
Christmas and therefore the investigation would have had to be
picked up after Christmas. There's another aspect. I was very often
running an investigative team and I would say I don't think this stacks
up, and they would offer the material they had to another
programme. If this investigative team was so convinced about the
material, and Peter was so convinced he could not run it, I am
puzzled as to why that material wasn't passed somewhere else.
$:STARTFEED. You but the team, the reporter Liz McKean said about what
she thought was going on that Peter Rippon said, "If the bosses aren't
happy, he can't go to the wall on this one." That's her saying what
she she thought. That's not what Peter Rippon said. The allegation
is that somehow there might have been pressure put on or it might
not have fitted with what the BBC wanted to do.
If the allegation is that Peter Rippon was overr over cautious, he
would plead guilty. BBC editors are cautious. They demand a high
standard of proof. Think we can we can overinterpret this, you take a
conversation out of context and you can make it mean something
different. Are you can have Are you confident
that Peter Rippon wasn't lent on? Every BBC editor I know. If one
said, "You can't run this because it would embarrass us it." They
would get it on tomorrow. I have worked for some editors who
don't need to be lent on because they think they know what the boss
class what. It is a plausible explanation and a catastrophic
misjudgement. John Simpson, one of the BBC's
correspondents says it is the BBC's biggest crisis in 50 years. Is that
an exaggeration? There was one crisis that led to the resignation
of the Director General and the chairman.
This is feeding those people who want to make that claim. That's why
it is important that we deal with this quickly and establish that
there was no improper interference. There is an issue in terms of trust
and integrity. The essence of being an editor and running an
organisation like this is we have to have people's trust? As a BBC
editor, it is there over your shoulder all the time. You know you
are carrying a heavy burden. I agree with John Whittingdale, it is
about child abuse and about celebrity and about the BBC and
about institutions, this has the potential to be even more damaging
certainly than Hutton which was about politics. This touches on
what people care about. Justine, do you care about it?
and it is good that we are having wit I think deal's inquiry and --
Whittingdale's inquiry. This come as a result of Panorama and
Panorama being a BBC organisation and the journalists within it
speaking up and speaking out clearly. So, you know, it is not
all bad, but we need answers and we need to regain the trust.
The handling may not have been up to the mark, but can the BBC regain
it's... The fact that they have admitted after three weeks the
original statement was wrong and they have suspended Peter Rippon is
a start. They need to act quickly and clearly. Get to the facts. Get
them out there and apologise for the original decision. This doesn't
need to be another Hutton. But they need to act quickly and decisively
to make sure it is not. Are you going to get, do you think,
clear answers tomorrow that could in a way sort out what has
happened? No, we won't because George will say, "Look, I have
established an independent inquiry.". You said that you are
you are asking about two different things? There are other areas where
George does need to provide reassurance. We will be pressing
him on those matters and when we see the result of the Pollard
Inquiry, if we remain of the view there are questions to answer, we
will have back the Director-General and possibly others as well.
Ben, do you think George Entwistle should be worried about his
position? I don't know because we don't know the facts. What I do
know of colleagues and friends at the BBC is that he is a very
descent man. He was a brilliant editor at Newsnight in Newsnight's
heyday and I thought he was an excellent appointment for Director-
General, but he needs to acquickly and -- act quickly and decisively
over this. Should 16 and 17-year-olds vote? A
cross-bench of peers think that is the Government should be looking at
the matter and are introducing a Private Members' Bill today. Lord
Adonis joins us now. Why should they be given the vote? As you know,
the Scots have decided that 16 and 17-year-olds will have a vote in
the referendum that will take place on Scottish independence in two
years time. If it is good enough for 16 and 17-year-olds in Scotland
to have a vote on the future of their nation, then there is every
reason why they should have the vote in local and Parliamentary
elections too. This is starting to become internationally normal.
Brazil, Austria, within Great Britain, the Isle of Man as well as
Scotland give the vote to 16 and 17-year-olds. 16 and 17-year-olds
play a a responsible part in our society. It is right they should
play a part in determining who governs them.
Have you always thought this? I don't know. Is this something you
have come to recently or the decision in Scotland made you think
this is the way to go or are you a new convert? I supported votes for
16 and 17-year-old for a long time. Indeed, the book I published this
year, I proposed it. I didn't see that.
There is no reason why you should have read T but the fact that the
Scots are going to do this in two years time, gives it added urgency
and there will be a sense of grievance on the part of 16 and 17-
year-olds elsewhere in the country that Scots are allowed to vote and
they're not. Can I make porn another important? -- important
point? Too few of them vote and take an interest in politics. My
view is the way that you get them engaged in politics is to give them
real political responsibility while at school and college. We have
citizenship education in our schools, but it is not regarded as
real. The politicians don't take it seriously and they don't visit the
sixth-formers because they don't have votes. If you gave the six
formers a vote and had a polling station in every school and every
further education college, this would really make politics a
serious business. You said engaging... That and that
would help engage them more. Don't the polls indicate that 18 to 24-
year-olds who have the vote don't exercise it in vast numbers anyway?
Well, nearly half of them vote. We have a a problem about people
voting at large. The answer is to embed citizenship education at the
core of what pupils do so mock elections which have been a
practise in our schools lead to real election for the sixth-formers
and those at college. If that were the case, citizenship education
would be treated with more seriousness than at the moment and
the politicians would take it seriously by visiting schools and
and engaging with the young people because they would have votes.
We will be calling you up to visit schools. I am happy to that.
Do you think that 16 is too young? They have made this exception for
the Scottish referendum. It maybe difficult to try and withdraw it
from other elections, but are 16- year-olds ready to exercise that
big responsibility? Well, I think rationally it is hard to argue
against 16-year-olds getting the vote. There is a lot of users on
our website say they can get married and have children and have
a flat. Not letting them vote seems odd. My concern is I can see a
stage where there are 16-year-old policy designed to get the 16-year-
old vote and we will have easier exams and cheap video games and all
the rest of it! That would be awful to have attention focused on things
which are narrowly defined for a small group of people, but I can
see it coming, but actually my head says and the users on on mumsnet
says it is madness because we give them responsibility in other areas
and by 16 and 17 you have grown up now.
Thank you very much. Should men and women share the
leave that they take off work after the birth of their baby? The
Government has consulted on the idea of sharing parental leave, but
it is yet to outline its plans, but some businesses are concerned that
such a move could lead to more red Play time at Mandy's house. She is
a mum of four who works part-time for a website that offers women at
women advice. She is in favour of more flexible rules that could see
dads taking more time off. In my last pregnancy, it would have been
brilliant because I didn't get much paternity pay because I was only
doing a part-time job and I am the main breadwinner in the family so I
had to take that time off and when I could have could have been
earning. If my partner had taken the time off, I could have earned,
I could have kept my wages coming Women get 39 weeks of paid
maternity leave and men get two weeks paid leave. The coalition
Government is committed to a form of leave where men and women could
share the leave. That was one of the pledges made in the the
coalition agreement and the Government carried out a
consultation that outlined plans to give women 18 weeks paid leave. It
suggested that both parents should share a further 30 weeks of leave,
17 of which would be paid. It said that each parent should be entitled
to four weeks of parental leave and pay in the first year of their
child's life. The Government is expected to set out its plans for
parental leave soon and the left leaning think-tank IPRR says they
are moving in the right direction. It is the right way to be going.
Our Research has shown a parental leave agenda doesn't need to cost
more. They could allow better choices for mums and dads in the
way they want to bring up their children.
What about the impact on small businesses? This accountancy firm
employs eight people. One of whom is soon to go on maternity leave.
The boss says you can plan for that, but the prospect of parents taking
their parental leave in chunks would be a problem.
As a services business each person is critical to the business. So we
are planning well in advance for the next person about to go for
maternity leave and that's fine if we know they are going to be going
approximately eight or nine months. If they were going three months off,
three months on, it does get more complicated to work out the komp.
-- cover. Could the plans be business
friendly and family-friendly at the same time?
Can we really afford the changes? All the evidence shows actually
that offering flexibility to your workforce increases productivity.
It increases retention rates. It increases employee well wellbeing.
I think certainly you know, we shouldn't just dismiss it as a cost
to business. I think flexible working is something that business
needs to embrace. I take the point from your film that for a small
business there maybe an issue around exceptions because it is
hard. Mumsnet is a small business and we employ a lot of women of
child bearing age. It is a test for business and I think there is
something around you know planning, and small businesses finding that
hard, but big business should embrace it.
And big business by and large does or certainly has made steps to do
so, hasn't it? We have been working closely with a lot of big business.
We have a family-friendly programme and they have been doing some
innovative things. O2 have a working interest rate which they
share between parents that are allowed to share the hours between
them. They have one contract. Brilliant idea. But they are doing
it for a reason. It works. But if it works in the way that you
have said that it increases productivity and helps a business,
why has the Institute of Directors called for the reforms to be
stopped and the scrapping of flexible working?
It is a really good question. I wish they were here to answer it.
wish they were too. Look, it suits some industries better than others.
But with modern technology and with the fact that our users tell us
that three-quarters of them say they are less likely to be employed
after they have children, more than that say they won't get promoted,
you wonder where there are fewer women in the workforce and there is
a glass ceiling. Diversity is not great. Not having diversity in the
workplace is a bad thing. I think, you know, people need to get a bit
more modern. The Institute of Directors need to look at the
bigger picture. Sometimes you just measure the cost of things as
opposed to the long-term effect. How much of the statutory pa
paternity leave do you think fathers should be permitted to
$:/STARTFEED. On the one hand we are telling women they need to
breast field for longer and longer, and on the other we are saying go
back to work. The truth is, what is good about this policy, it allows
each individual some flexibility. It will take a while before women
and men of on an equal footing, but at the moment you have total gender
discrimination. Employers are reluctant to employ women have a
certain age because they think they will go and have babies. We talk a
look at about family friendly policies, we need employer friendly
policies and flexibility is the key one. The more you open it to all
employees, the less discrimination you get. My argument, and the
argument of hours, is in the long run it is to is good for business.
Thank you. Will this week in politics be as
eventful as the last? Let's take a look at the week ahead. Today, MPs
debate the Hilsborough disaster. Labour is set to call for powers to
force police officers to give evidence to an inquiry into the
alleged police cover-up Tuesday promises to be an uncomfortable day
for the BBC's Director General, George Entwistle. He's before the
Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee over the Jimmy Savile
affair. Wednesday promises to be something of a blast from the past,
as the granddaughter of famous suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst leads a
march on Parliament calling for political action on gender equality.
While for Chancellor George Osborne, Thursday can't come soon enough.
The latest GDP figures are due to be published, which most economists
and commentators expect to reveal that the economy returned to growth
in the third quarter. Let's talk now to Rosa Prince, who writes for
the Telegraph, and Rafael Behr from the New Statesman. We've had the
news for the editor of Newsnight, Peter Rippon, will step aside while
the review is carried out. Where do you think this leaves the BBC?
all sorts of trouble. It has been a terrible day for the BBC and
tomorrow will be worse when George Entwistle comes to Parliament and
gets one of those ferocious mornings MPs like to dish out a
public figures. A lot of MPs on the conservative side are not keen on
the BBC and they will relish this opportunity. It seems strange that
tonight we will have Panorama on at the same time as Newsnight itself.
It is crisis mode and MPs will enjoy themselves. Do you think it
is a crisis, would you agree? crisis for the BBC, a definite
crisis for Newsnight. Some hysterical things have been said.
If you compare this situation to the situation immediately after the
heart an inquiry where senior executives at the BBC were at war
with the Government... We need to get to the bottom of precisely why
Newsnight pulled this investigation into Jimmy Savile. The charge at
the root of this, as I understand it, is that someone somewhere in
the BBC decided that the BBC reputation was more important than
getting to the bottom of whether a big TV personality abused children
over a long period of time. That is a very serious allegation. If you
can clear that up, everybody can move on. As long as that is not
clear, the crisis will keep going. Her let's talk about GDP. It is
being labelled as turn around Thursday and George Osborne needs
it to be Thursday -- 10 around Thursday. This was the missing
piece of the jigsaw for George Osborne. Ever since the coalition
came to power, we've heard ministers putting their trust in
the economy. The austerity drive, of the cuts programme, the basis of
the plan for winning another term in office is that they are the
people that will put Britain back on track by cutting the deficit.
You need growth to do that and that has been stubbornly hard to find.
If George Osborne gets his Gabby Day on Thursday and the figures are
good, fat helps to solve that problem. The trouble vent his you
begin to test that premise on whether it is the economy stupid
and whether that is the only thing that counts. There's a lot going on
for the Government that people are finding uncomfortable. For the on
the shambles reputation, and Jim Mitchell resigning, David Cameron's
announcement on energy that was quickly denied. Is the public are
only interested in the economy and growth? That will be the question
going forward. Is it the economy stupid? Will there but all of those
other issues outlined by Rosa to one side and they will be able to
say, we've got inflation coming down, unemployment is coming down,
and we finally got great? economy is the biggest issue and it
is the thing that will decide the next election. We can get hung up
on the headline GDP figure. On Thursday we will have a number. If
it is slightly higher than forecasted, the Conservatives can
say behold, it is working. Stick with us, don't go back to Labour.
If it is disappointing, Labour can turn around and say we told you so,
the economy was growing, the coalition has made it worse. The
parties can hang whatever messages they had before on to this figure.
Parts of the country have been in recession since before 2008 and
parts of the country that never felt the recession that much and
are probably growing OK. Fiddling around politically in the margins
is great knockabout Westminster politics, it will not tell us that
much about the economy. What will it do about allegations and
criticisms from within the Tories about incompetence and
mismanagement at Number Ten? It is slightly more than fiddling around.
I get the message, a percentage point here and there doesn't make
much of a difference to people and how they feel about their own
circumstances, but if George Osborne can keep saying we have
sorted out the economy, there is growth, and David Cameron can say
that at PMQ is, that goes a long way. Is it entirely the answer? No.
Last week David Cameron tried that during clashes with Ed Miliband
about Andrew Mitchell. He kept saying, aren't you going to ask me
some serious questions, it didn't really work because Andrew Mitchell
still had to resign. It is important, but will it be the
panacea for all ills? I'm not sure. What about seizing the initiative
with the crime and justice speech today? Will that help regain power
for David Cameron? He is sounding tough on crime and that is a
popular message. The place for the Tories have gone into now, which is
a big problem in the wake of the Mitchell resignation, is whatever
they now say, it is seen as an attempt to regain the initiative,
to relaunch the Government's programme, and people are less
interested in the message than the ralph -- wider brand apparatus over
what is going wrong end the Government. People will look at the
Prime Minister saying I want to be tough on crime and say, of course
politicians would say that, but what is really going on? You get
into this position where it becomes difficult for Number Ten to get
through with the message they want because everybody else has decided
the political narrative is something else. You are very
difficult to please! Thank you. And joining us now for the rest of
the programme, three MPs. From Labour, Tom Greatrex. From the
Conservative Party, Jane Ellison. And from the Liberal Democrats,
Simon Wright. Welcome. Let's pick up on growth. Simon, do you agree
that the future of the Government hangs on these GDP figures?
hoping for a positive story. course! You can take nothing for
granted. The last quarter's figures were disappointing, but politically
it is important. In his it critical? -- a visit critical?
need to show that the plant is going to deliver the growth we all
want. We've had some positive figures in the last week's on
things like unemployment. Record figures over unemployment.
Inflation down. Inflation is now half what it was a year ago. I hope
that following falls in unemployment and inflation, we were
now see an increase in growth. must be praying for no growth.
we want to see the economy growing. It is having a detrimental effect
on people. The issue with this quarter, 18 months' worth of TV
rights, ticket sales for the Olympics, captured in that one
quarter. It is about the sustained picture in terms of growth. Simon
is right to talk about further quarters. One quarter of growth is
a blip and will not be good for the economy. If the economy starts
growing again, what happens to Labour's argument about austerity
measures having killed of growth? It will be shot to pieces. Her they
have killed off growth. What does Labour say on Thursday if there's
growth? Even if it is 1%, we're only going back to where we were a
year ago. We've still got, despite the welcome changes, a record high
long-term unemployment, a lot of people in my constituency have not
been able to get a job. Some deep- seated economic problems. Lots of
those are the fault of the Government. Even if you get 1%
growth on Thursday, it is worth than the position they inherited.
We used will be calling for money to be spent to boost the economy?
It is important that we try to build growth, not just relying on
one quarter. That means particularly around some of the
investment in infrastructure that needs to happen. Not a lot is
happening. After the Andrew Mitchell affair, the energy policy,
no economic growth would fuel those critics within the Tory party who
are questioning whether Cameron and Osborne are up to the job? We've
had a difficult few weeks, but the economy is central. More
importantly than that, by the time of the next election, we have to
show we have taken Ashes -- taken action on some of the big issues.
It is not just about one quarter, it is about whether all of the
things we are doing on welfare and apprenticeships, all of those
things are feeding in to a more robust economy. Do you think for
Number Ten operation is competent at the moment? I can't pass comment,
I'm not close enough to the seat of power. You're a Tory MP. The prime
minister is competent, that is the key thing. The Prime Minister at
the party conference know at the big issues. But not Number Ten?
Prime Minister laid out very clearly what we need to do as a
country. I am 100% behind him. you agree it is mishandling at the
Number Ten operation that is stopping the message getting out?
think the people of Britain want to see us dealing with the really big
issues. All of our constituents at are experiencing difficulty. I'm
not going to get drawn into the whole Westminster village
discussion about the operation. There are bigger issues for the
electorate. It is not the media, it is Tory party members, whether it
be senior figures like Norman Tebbit or backbench MPs. One or two
figures have been critical but a lot happened. Can you endorse the
Number Ten operation for us? It is running the Prime Minister's office.
The only thing that matters in Number Ten is the prime minister.
David Cameron's deputy chief of staff said on American chat show
programme that he spends most of his day doing crisis management, is
that what you expect from the senior management team running the
Government? To it is not what anyone would expect and not
something I've seen happening. Clearly there might have been some
problems. Did they handle the Mitchell affect directly? I think
Andrew Mitchell was right to resign. It was very clear that after the
few weeks that issue had continued to pick up steam that it wasn't
going to go away and there was the right decision for him to take.
Moving forward, we have to focus on the economy, on improving the
outcomes in the education system, bringing down crime. We've had
positive crime figures. There's plenty of big issues that we can
get stuck into and we are delivering on.
To be or not to be tough on crime, that is the question this morning
as the Prime Minister lays out his vision on law and order in a speech
this morning. Before the election, David Cameron described himself as
a liberal Conservative and was derided for wanting to hug hoodies.
And two years ago, Ken Clarke described rising prisoner numbers
as pointless and very bad value for taxpayers' money. It was a far cry
from a previous Conservative position that prison works. But
today, tough is the new liberal, as the Prime Minister announces a
"tough but intelligent" approach. He says that the debate between
being tough or acting soft is a sterile one. In keeping with recent
announcements of more freedom for householder to use violence against
burglars and longer sentences for handling firearms, Cameron has put
a greater emphasis on retribution and punishment. At the same time,
he is still pushing Ken Clarke's idea of a rehabilitation revolution,
arguing people need opportunities and chances away from crime. So is
this a change of direction and can you focus on retribution and
rehabilitation at the same time? David Cameron has just been
speaking at the Centre for Social Justice. A for many people, when it
comes to crime, I'm the person associated with those three words,
two of which begin with H and one of them is hoodie, although I never
actually said it and I haven't said it again today. For others I'm a
politician who has frequently argued for tough punishment. Do why
take a tough line on crime or a touchy-feely one? In no other area
of public debate to the issues get as polarised as this. On climate
change, you don't have to be incomplete denial on the one hand
or complaining to get every car off the road on the other. Life isn't
that simple. Government policy isn't that simple either. Key with
the crime debate, people seem to want it black or white. Lock them
up or let them out, blamed the criminal or blame society, be tough
or act soft. We are so busy going backwards and forwards that we
never move the debate on. What I've been trying to do in opposition and
now in government is to break out of the sterile debate and show a
new way forward, tough but Jane, is this the end of a hug a
hoody phrase? The Prime Minister said he didn't ever say that. It is
an evolution of what we have been saying for seven years from
opposition through into Government. It is a sterile debate to say it is
one thing or the other. There are clearly, people who need to be put
away for a long time to protect society and for all the reasons the
Prime Minister spelt out, but to imagine there isn't a role for
rehabilitation to think we are putting people in prison at great
public expense to make sure when they come out they don't slip back
into crime. No one would disagree with that.
There maybe questions about whether this is a continuation of an
existing policy, either prison works and that's your headline or
rehabilitation works? The Prime Minister is saying prison should
work better. You do get this kind of polarized view and some people
have presented the Prime Minister as not being tough enough on
serious criminals... You think he gave that impression of not being
tough enough? No, I don't. The debate has got bogged down in that
territory and parmance have been part -- Parliamentarians have been
part of that. The idea that we can't help with drug use and all
those things is crazy. You a I gree with Ken Clarke --
agree with Ken Clarke who said, "Too often prison has proved an
ineffective approach that failed to turn prisoners into law abiding
citizens." Do you think Ken was right? Yes.
You don't want to see rising prison numbers? It is what you do with
people when they are inside. If David Cameron is saying there
have got to be tougher sentences then there are going to be more
people going to jail for a longer time. Are you comfortable with
rising prison numbers? If prison numbers rise as a result of putting
away serious crim criminals, that's fine.
How are you going pay for it?. are trying to stop people coming
back and that answers your question about payment. It is about stopping
the same people coming back and back and back, that's how you get
the cost cost down. If you want to send more people to
prison, you will need more prisons? Snooze a Liberal Democrat I support
the view that we need a revolution in rehabilitation... Do you support
the prison works? Prison can can work which is what David Cameron is
saying today. We cannot have the resolving door where offenders
leave prison and come back in. Our re-offending rates are unacceptably
high in this country. We need to focus on the evidence of what works.
This means getting away from the the narrow debate about being tough
or soft on crime. Initiatives such as the use of restorive jus justice.
Julia Lyons warned that tougher sentencing will cost more in the
short-term? Well, the only way crime will cost more in the long-
term is if we don't... How do we pay for it in the short-term?
thing we can do is focus on payment by results so so those providers
have a clear idea of what they need to be achieving in order to get
paid. That's how we are going to drive down re-offending rates.
It puts Labour in a difficult position, painting you soft on
crime? No, I don't think so. Today's speech was, there is
nothing new in it actually. It is trying to get a third re-launch in
the calendar year for David Cameron, but the concern I have with what
Chris Grayling was saying this morning about the rolling out the
Peterborough pilot, the payment by results is that we haven't got the
results from that pilot yet and Chris Grayling has form on this
because he rolled out the the scheme for peopling coming off
Incapacity Benefit and that caused chaos so we have to make sure we
get the details right. It is untested. The Commons justice
Select Committee said payment by results were untested in the field
of criminal justice. Pinning your hopes on that is premature? It is
clearly a learning development. This is an exciting area of
development where the Ministry of Justice has been putting in work
and effort. We will make it work. We have to make it work because we
have to bring down fending. You have to get the results of the
pilot. If it is not working, you will create more problems for the
few tufr. -- future.
We are not without knowledge. One of the things I hope we have got
space for in this initiative is to make sure that smaller, voluntary
and innovative groups can find space to and not just the big
providers. That would be something I'm looking for as we roll this out.
Do you accept in the short-term it is going to push up costs and you
will need at least some more prison space to hold these prisoners?
don't think we know that either of these things are true.
You have You have Juliet Lyons saying that and she is an expert?
We don't know what is going to happen to prison numbers or the
costs. Payment by results has the potential to deliver diminishing
costs. It is an area that's evolving. I don't think you can
jump from hearing the speech to saying it is the case that numbers
are going to go up. Sentencing is down to judges.
Why is the re-launch happening? don't think it is a re-launch...
What's new? It is a long planned speech.
There is nothing new in it? It has become an overly sterile debate and
the pragmatic reality is between the two polarizeted pos --
polarized positions. Do you believe that David Cameron
is a liberal Conservative? This is one area in which he is
demonstrating he can be a liberal Conservative. Supporting
Rehabilitation is key to bringing down crime. I am pleased that he
has incorporated that into this speech and he is moving beyond what
is an old-fashioned rhetoric of the black and the white that he talked
about, that you are soft or tough on crime and moving towards a
debate on what works. This Bill is very effectively on the work that
Ken Clarke was progressing within the Ministry of Justice.
Do you agree with the rhetoric surrounding the bash a burglar?
think that that policy was very clearly articulated... And you
agree with it? It is right that people should not be punished for
something that they are caught in the moment in and the heat of the
moment and I think making that clear is vital which is what that
discussion was about a few weeks ago.
And nothing for you to to disagree on, Tom? It is about trying to send
a message of being the tough person that will appeal to the base and
keep some of Jane's colleagues on board after what was a traumatic
for Jane's colleagues last week. Something Labour did successfully,
being tough on crime works for the electorate? The issue around this
pilot is that payment by results, if you got to get the detail pilot
before you, there is a danger in rolling this out and the big
companies cherry-picking the easy bits and you leave the real
problems behind. If the pilots come back back, they
come back and say this works, will Labour back it? Will you say "this
is something we will support." That's yu -- that's why you need to
get the results. When it comes back, we will evaluate. If it is working,
it is something that should be considered. Its danger of -- the
danger of rolling this out, Chris Grayling may rush this out, we have
got to be careful we don't have unintend consequences and make a
situation worse rather than better. Spare a thought for Ed Miliband who
turned up a the anti-aurth march on -- anti-austerity march on Saturday
and got booed. Take a look at this. Now, of course, now of course,
there will still be hard choices and with borrowing rising, nots
falling, I do not - I do not promise easy times. You know, you
know it is right, it is right that we level with people. That there
would still be hard choices. I have said whoever was in Government now,
there would be some cuts, but this Government has shown the cutting
too far and too fast, self deceiting austerity is not the the
answer. It is not the answer to Britain's problems.
Ed Miliband, it sounded like everyone was booing him. It might
be a small vocal group which is what the SMP are good at.
Jane thinks it is Ed Miliband's spindoctors booing for effect!
That's taking the events of last week too far. Isn't there an
important point that you can make a a controversial, unpopular speech
to a friendly audience and get booed and the wider electorate
think, "Ed Miliband is saying important. He is prepared to go
against his supporters.". The point that Ed Miliband was making was the
right one and I know from people who went on the sister march in
Glasgow, there are people who aren't the usual suspects in terms
of trade union activist who are concerned about issues and joined
that march because they are concerned about what is happening.
Does it help him being booed? People will see that reactionment
people will hear what he says, and what he is saying is right. We have
to be clear about what it is - the situation we are likely to inherit
if we come into Government gen Government again in 2015.
Isn't the real real that Labour would have cut. There would be been
serious cuts and slashing of spending? The situation that we are
likely to have in 2015 could be worse than the situation in 2010
and we are one of only two G20 economies that that have been in a
double dip recession. George Osborne got booed over the
summer? Ed Miliband at a time when Britain is trying to attract saying
we are open to business and trying to attract jobs and trying to
restore confidence, he shared a platform with people calling for a
general strike. He would have made cuts? Labour
haven't voted for any. We haven't had any support whatsoever from the
Opposition in two years of taking hard decisions.
That's the receipt riblingt in reality -- rhetoric and they would
have made cuts? Well, how can we believe it? His position is not
credible sharing a platform with people calling for a general strike
that would damage our country. What are the Liberal Democrats
going to counter the support? Liberal Democrats are working hard
to clear up the mess that Labour left behind.
The grass-roots are going over to Labour? No, that's not the case. We
are working hard in Government to try and sort out the mess that was
inherited. The one thing that Ed Miliband could have said, that
might have got got cheers is to apologise for his party's record. A
record which he and Ed Balls were very much behind and advising
Gordon Brown in the Treasury. So I think that the one thing that Ed
Miliband needs to do is reflect on why people are booing him. Why they
are disillusioned and it is because he says he wants cuts, but doesn't
Jo Coburn with all the latest political news. Including Justine Roberts from Mumsnet on plans to reform parental leave, and the Prime Minister's proposals on prison sentencing.