24/10/2012 Daily Politics


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Good morning. This is the Daily Politics. First some good news -


the economy is expected to return to growth tomorrow. Music to the


ears of any beleaguered Chancellor. With unemployment and inflation


falling, we'll be asking, yes, we will, is George Osborne a first-


class operator? Maintaining Auntie's independence from


government - the Chairman of the BBC says the Jimmy Savile affair


should not bring it into question. Omnishambles in Scotland - Alex


Salmond's been finding out that life as First Minister is not plain


sailing. We'll be finding out why. And it's over 100 years since they


first marched on Parliament. They're back again today. We'll be


talking to a modern-day Suffragette. Very appropriate day given the


ruling by the Supreme Court on the public sector workers in Birmingham.


They've lost their case. All that and more coming up in the next 90


minutes of British broadcasting at its finest. So far, there hasn't


been an inquiry into us. Anyway, with us for the duration we have a


cast that could grace any British blockbuster. OO7 eat your heart out,


because on the Daily Politics red carpet today, we have our very own


Sean Connery, Roger Moore and Ursula Andress. Former Lib Dem


leader, Charles Kennedy, the former Police Minister, Nick Herbert and


from Labour, the Shadow Health Minister, Liz Kendall. Welcome to


you all. Now first, let's talk about Europe because suprise,


suprise the Government appears to be heading for a bit of showdown


over the EU budget. The European Commission and the European


Parliament both indicated yesterday that they want big increases in the


budget, which could add �2 billion to Britain's committments over the


next two years. That's up to 2121. Nick, what should the Government


do? If necessary, veto. On the grounds that one trillion euros is


enough to be getting on with. That actually, the situation in the EU


with debt, with public spending cuts, means that governments at all


levels ought to be contraining costs too. It's absurd that the EU


at that time, or the Commission, is proposing and the Parliament is


proposing, an inflation-busting increase in the budget. If you look


at the British Government for instance, the size of Government


departments is being reduced by a third, so the costs are being tack


indown. As well as public spending. But, the British, Germans and


French all agree that the budget shouldn't go up by as much as the


Parliament want. Mr Hol hol and -- Mr Francois Hollande and Angela


Merkel do think it should rise in inflation. What is the British


line? Should it go up at all? don't know - my view is that we


should reduce costs so I don't think why a deal at inflation is


acceptable. It should be frozen? Look at the spending cuts that are


across the eurozone and across the EU at the moment. They are very


substantial. It's absurd that governments should not be seeking


to reduce spending. According to the papers this morning, Charles


Kennedy, your leader is, "in lock- step", with David Cameron over


wanting a freeze in real terms over the next seven years? He has seen


Mr Mr Von rum my. -- Vera Zvonareva. -- Donald Rumsfeld. -- Von Rumpey.


As President of the European Union movement, it's only a matter of


time, that's how I feel. It's only a matter of time, you are happy for


the British Government to veto anything more than a freeze? Well,


let's hope it doesn't get to a veto, because that's not healthy politics.


It may be good short-term headlines for David Cameron a couple of weeks


ago, but it doesn't feed through. I think they are right, I have to say,


in the age of austerity, whether one agrees or not, they are right


to say you have to be realistic here and you can't go for


inflation-busting increases. Whether it turns out to be a freeze,


or whether it's somewhere between a freeze and the current French and


jerl an position, well, we -- German position, well, we know what


Europe is like, there will be a dispute and be settled in the early


hours. What would Labour's position be? We want to see a real-terms


reduction in the EU's budget. We tabled a motion on this back in


July. We voted in favour of a real- term reduction in it. Are you in


favour of the veto? I think Charles is right, you won't get what you


actually want, which is a real-term reduction. You are not going to get


that anyway. You would be lucky even to get a freeze.


Government's not going to get us there, because it'site lated from


our traditional, national allies, but it's right-wing political


allies. What allies do we have in wanting a reduction? I think we


would find alleys. -- allies. There are countries in the past who have


done that. That would be part of the - Who? -- that would be part of


our negotiations. I don't know. I think many countries would say,


when we're being asked to make huge cuts, how on earth can the EU be


asking for anything else? If the budget goes ahead and is increased


by a reasonable amount, not as much as they want, it won't be that or


even the Parliament, if it's a real-terms increase will Labour


back David Cameron vetoing the increase? We want a reduction and


we'll negotiate now for that. you back him? I'm not going to deal


in hypotheticals. It won't be in a few weeks. It's about what it


should be doing now to get a reduction. The position of Labour


MPs in Parliament is very clear. your Government doesn't agree a


deal then all that happens is you roll over the 2013 budget into 2014


and that involves a 2% rise? So it goes up and you can't veto that?


don't know the mechanics. That's the suggestion that we have no


choice and we accept it. That cannot be right. You should be


prepared to accept 2% anyway, because if you don't you'll get


that? We'll take a stand and make the argument for a reduction. I


find it incredible that people, including all the MEPs, not the


Conservatives, but certainly Labour MEPs who this week voted for this,


who are immune from the idea that they have a responsibility to


reduce costs at a time of austerity. I think this dilemma points to the


difficulties of saying we'll waive the veto. It's not as simple as


that, for the very reasons outlined. OK. I'm glad we're not there with


the tabloids. Thank you for that. Now to that thorny issue of


prisoner voting. Conservative MPs have reacted angrily to reports


that the Government is drawing up a draft law that will give some


prisoners the vote. In May, the European Court of Human Rights gave


Britain six months to extend the franchise to prisoners. The


Government has denied that legislation is in the pipeline,


although it has confirmed that officials are in the final stages


of negotiations on how to respond to the ruling. In the last hour,


the Attorney-General, Dominic Grieve, has been speaking to the


House of Commons Justice Committee about the potential consequences


for the UK if the Government ignores the Convention. It's at


least technically possible we would certainly be in breach. There's an


issue, which has been mentioned previously, that I spoke about in


Parliament, that there would be damaging claims stacking up against


the United Kingdom Government in respect of individual prisoners.


They would claim that their right to vote had been denied them.


Therefore, that would be costly to the United Kingdom Government,


unless it chose not to pay, in which case that would be a further


breach of international obligations. As to what the end game would be,


whether it would mean that the United Kingdom decided to leave the


Council of Europe, or be expelled from the Council of Europe, I don't


think I would wish to hazard a guess. Joining us now, fresh from


that Select Committee, is Steve Brine. Are you prepared to go down


that line? I was there this morning and I heard him say that, among


other things. Referring back to the previous conversation too, what we


should probably try to do is take the heat out of this. I don't think


confrontation and fights with Europe is the British way. I don't


think it's a sensible way. I think we should step back and remember


what the British public think about this. Parliament reflected what the


British public think of this earlier this year, when it was


clear that it does not want to give the vote across the board to


prisoners. You said across the board, so are you prepared to give


some prisoners on short sentences the vote? Well, I this I that we


have to actually look at some facts. Fine defaulters, contempt of court,


have the vote. People who are on remand have the vote. It's not a


case that all prisoners don't have the vote. The ruling was quite


clear, and it said it would be illegal under European law to have


an abroad-the-board blanket ban, but listening to the Attorney-


General this morning, and it was the first time he's been before us,


I think there's a way out for the British Government. What is it?


shouldn't be of any great surprise that official are looking at this,


because they have to by the end of next month. I think there is a way


out here, whereby Parliament is sovereign in this and Parliament


can legislate. Parliament has made its view clear and will necessarily


make the view clear again. There's no reason why Parliament can't make


the ruling on this and response on this. I'm sure it will. Right, but


what are you suggesting should be the Government's response? I think


the Government can respond with the status quo. Nobody has suggested


that rapists and murderers should be given the vote, but there are


already -- Then you are in clear breach of the obligations and the


expectations from Europe and that could lead to damages, being sued


by prisoners and your international reputation. These are the things


the Attorney-General is saying. You could find that it would be pretty


tough to be at the wrong end of this ruling? I think we would be in


breach with an across-the-board blanket ban. We don't have that.


Unless we were to go down that rot and legislate for one, that would


put us in breach. I think there is a compromise here and a very


British one here, that can allow us to bring forward the legislation,


which we have to do, without this confrontational way of going about


things with the European Union. Thank you very much. Nick Herbert,


do you agree? This compromise, should the Government bring forward


draft legislation or should they ignore the ruling? I don't think


the House of Commons will vote for any form of prisoner voting. I


think that's the bottom line, actually. Should they be given the


opportunity? First, should prisoners be allowed to vote. We


can discuss that. I don't think they should. I don't think it's a


human right to have a vote when you have a sentence. And secondly, it's


who decides. We should have a House of Commons elected by the people


and the House should decide. Our own House of Commons has said no.


Our courts have said no. We have something called the Supreme Court,


but apparently it's not supreme. It said no, the House was right to be


able to disagree and now we have the situation where we have the


European Court seeking to override that. I think it's that that is


unacceptable and I do think that there may be room to continue to


kick the can down street, which is what has happened for years. The


court in Europe itself hardly progresses things quickly as we


have discovered. Would delay be the best way forward? I don't think


there's a point in the Government bringing forward to the House


measures that infight the House to do something that is simply it


won't do. They deny they'll bring forward the legislation. Charles


Kennedy, should some prisoners get the vote, more than the ones that


do currently? Yes. I think I have felt in principle and we have


argued when I was leader with great unpopularity, that should be the


case. Did you vote in favour at the last time it was discussed? Yes, we


were among the view voices in favour. We have put in the caveat


and I think Nick is saying and what Steve was saying is spot on, I'm on


the Council of Europe, the all- party representing Westminster. We


know because the only power that members of the Council of Europe


have got is we vote on who the European Court of Human Rights


judges are. It's not a Foreign Office, because we send senior


British judicial figures there. What about the damage to Britain?


They are not up for confrontation. They want to find a way through


this problem. It's a upon for them, because they don't want to be in


breach of the dispute and they recognise the problem for us, for


the democratic reasons. One of the suggestions we put forward, we


might want to revisit this, both from the Council of Europe point of


view and from the House of Commons point of view, is maybe you could


allow High Court judges to have discretion in ruling on individual


cases, as to who could be able to vote and who might not. Jack Straw,


where he left the issue off, signed off on it, was perhaps you have a


four-year period and after four years the prisoner becomes eligible


to be considered for voting rights. $:/STARTFEED. The problem at the


moment is we do not know what the Government's plan is. There is a


highly respected journalist who gives a report today that they are


going to bring forward a draft bill. Then it is denied. We are not clear


what their proposals are. One of the things that would be really


helpful if we saw the legal advice the Government has had and what the


implications are of this breach. But we are not getting that


information. That would help us start to see a way through. We have


been told in a few weeks we will find out because there has to be a


response by the end of November. The it is difficult for


parliamentarians to see is there a way through this without giving


prisoners the vote that does not get us into the beach? We need to


see that legal advice. Tomorrow sees the publication of the first


estimates of growth for the third quarter of this year. The


Chancellor wants an eagerly anticipated set of figures because


the economy is expected to have shown a return to growth in this


quarter after three-quarters of no growth. Some economists are


predicting up to 0.9%. They only used decimal points in the forecast


to show they have a sense of humour. Did you know there is finally light


at the end of the tunnel a company by a series of welcome signals?


Unemployment is down to 2.5 3 million. Inflation has dropped back


to 2.2%. Shut for his return to the High Street where retail sales


figures showed 1.5 increase in September compared to last year.


Tomorrow we will learn what a good old shunt from the Olympics has


given to give us a good increase in GDP. Is George Osborne a first


class Chancellor forgot the economy back on track with the prospect of


a high speed recovery? Or will it be a brief encounter with growth?


Charles Kennedy is saying you I mean by saying all that about Boy


George. Nick Herbert, is this a blip or is


it a return to growth? I do not know, we have to see the figures.


Most of the economists are suggesting there will be a return


to growth in the next couple of years, but that puts us pretty near


to the forecast of US growth. The rate of job creation in this


country is better than the United States. We have an employment which


is lower than many of our EU counterparts and is predicted to


continue to be low. I think there are some signs that the corner may


be beginning to return, but there are also difficulties. There is the


continued weak demand in the euro- zone. That has been the cause of


the reduced growth that we saw as against the Office for Budget


Responsibility's forecast a couple of years ago. It has been very


disappointing according to what they forecast. That is not in our


control. All such a collapse in domestic demand in Britain. The


median wage in Britain to date is 8% lower in real terms than what it


was in 2008. That is a collapse and domestic demand. That will be


helped by the fall in inflation. Consumers are spending, but it has


been taken up in a fuel price rises. Of course, there is a possibility


that inflation will begin to rise again because of the higher fuel


prices. The reduction in inflation is good from the point of view of


potential greater demand in the economy. Average wage rises are


rising more slowly, but they may cross in the next couple of months.


Is this a blip or is the economy going to return to growth? If we do


see us finally emerging from the longest double-dip recession, not


least thanks to the billions of pounds from Olympic ticket sales


and Olympic TV rights, we need to look at the big question, which is


what the underlying growth trends are. We will wait and see what


people say. My real concern is that even if we get a 1% growth figure


tomorrow that means the size of the economy is the same as last year.


There are big problems in terms of future growth, jobs and borrowing.


The fat the Chancellor is having to borrow �150 billion more than he


planned is a cause for concern. understand all that. It looks like


the third quarter will show some growth, but it could be specific to


the third quarter. What I am wondering is inured you... There


are problems. I we returning to growth even if it is weak growth?


Let's see what happens tomorrow and let's see what the other


organisations say. People like the OBR are now say we did predict much


higher growth. We are now concerned that in fact what has happened on


tax increases and public spending cuts has made the long term growth


in the economy... You are not going to answer my question, let's see if


Charles will answer it. Is it a blip, or is it any make and it may


not be anything like a boom, but are we returning to growth? There


is common consensus there is some return to growth. What I detect is


that there is a weary acceptance that we are not where we had hoped


to be at this stage. We are definitely not. But given the other


half of the parliament that is ahead of us, by the time of the


next election if you are looking at an election scenario of best case


which will still be pretty sluggish, probably on the plus side of the


equation, but not much. That is a difficult political scenario for


anybody. The mood changed I detect amongst the ministers is that.


danger for the coalition is there may well be a return to growth next


year. The Third Quartet may be a blip, but it will still be growth.


But it is not as we have no it coming out of a recession. Only


people like me will notice it. Voters will not notice it because


it will be so anaemic. You are right about what you said about


consumers' pockets. It has been difficult for people. The big


question were remain who has the right policy to get us back on


track, which means getting on top of the deficit and restoring as to


a position where we live within our means. The danger for Labour is


they appeared to have the same song, which is to borrow more and I do


not believe that the public accept that argument. The Government is


borrowing �150 billion more than they planned. Either banks lending


to businesses to grow and to individuals to get on the housing


ladder? We still have a very poor figures on that. Are we bring in


the long term unemployment down which has a big impact on people's'


lives? Are we seeing a real impact on incomes? If people cannot spend


that money because of food and fuel bills and the Government is not


taking the action it needs to get the prices down, then individuals


will not be going out and spending. If businesses and individuals are


not spending and the economy is not growing in that way, that is the


problem. The debt figures were an improvement on expectations. �150


billion more borrowed. You cannot propose more borrowing, it is


completely the wrong position. have to move on. To buy what �100


would have bought four years ago, you would have had to spend �116.


And wages have not risen by 16%. If your faith in great British


institutions is fast crumbling, I cannot think why, but mine is, fear


not, because there is one great British institution that will not


die. I am not talking about James Bond, he is not real. This is real,


the Daily Politics mug. These are the most sophisticated mugs in the


land. Here he is starring in his latest epic for you are mug only,


the man With the Golden mug. Licensed to mug. All right, I will


stop now. It took us all morning to think of those. If you want your


very own you will have to enter our guess the year competition.


Is it sky mug? Let's see if you can remember when


this happened. # You have got to roll with it, you have got to take


it, you have got to say what you want to say, do not let anyone get


in your way. #. Who dares, wins. We dare. We will


# This is how we do it. #. I am glad the debate has started,


but it will for us us to look closely at clause four and we can


To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send your


answer to our special address. You can see the full terms and


conditions on the website. It is coming up to midday and let's


take a look at Big Ben. It could only mean one thing. It is a bit


grey and misty. The seasons of Mr and snowflakes. Prime Minister's


Questions is on the way, and so is Nick Robinson. Let's talk for a


change about the BBC. We have not done that for 10


minutes. It is the gift that keeps on giving.


We have got the chairman of the BBC trust in open-water with the


Culture Secretary. Rumours coming from across the Atlantic that Mark


Thomson the outgoing DG may lose his new position as chief executive


of the New York Times. When I saw that, I thought they cannot be


anything in that, and then that paper's editor is quoted as saying


it is worth considering whether he is the right person for the job.


And in other unnamed figures says he brings so much unwanted baggage.


Is our brand so damaged you cannot even go and run the New York Times?


What will be more interesting is to see whether it gets onto the floor


of the house. Ed Miliband a week or so ago said he thought there should


be a public inquiry as against the BBC commission's enquiry and the


NHS inquiry. But given the chance to raise it at Prime Minister's


Questions, he said he did not, he kept it at low-key. My


understanding is he wanted to carry on keeping it fairly low-key. I


think he might feel he wants to say something. The Prime Minister


similarly has wanted to not to appear to be ruling out an


independent inquiry, but up to now has backed up the inquiries as they


are. If politicians, party leaders, feel they have to wait in, it gets


more serious. The BBC has become a national punchbag. Members of


parliament after the expenses crisis, they might say it is your


turn. You can see that, there is a lynch mob out there. It has made as


they get that at its heart this is a story about a very evil man who


was allowed to get away with very evil things for a long time and


there were probably people complicit and active withing in


getting away with these evil things. I am sure the priority is for the


police to get these people. I have no fresh information, but the talk


has been about the police making arrests. If they are not simply


within the BBC or not within the BBC at all, at the focus will shift


back to a criminal, Serial, sexual predator and away from who knew


what about this or that television programme. 4 x Milliband, this is


his first chance to try and have a go at the Prime Minister for a


series of what he will label as mess up us. The Chief Whip has gone.


He said he was post and he is opposed. If I were Ed Miliband of


what I would be looking for is how do you avoid looking like a


Westminster game and try and relate it to people's lives? William Hague


was brilliant when he said, you minister said this. Liz is saying


yes to energy prices. You want opposition leaders to take things


that affect people's lives, energy prices, police numbers and say,


this is not just Westminster, it is about your life. If you can do that


as an opposition leader, John Smith did it brilliantly once took John


Major at Prime Minister's Questions, you will make progress. There is a


guest of honour, it is Nick's This morning I had meetings and in


addition to my duties in this House I will have meetings later today.


Could I ask my right honourable friend whether he will ensure that


the full panoply of Government powers is used to investigate the


predatory activities of the late Mr Jimmy Savile? I think my honourable


friend makes a very important point. The allegations and what seems to


have happened are completely appalling and are shocking the


entire country. These do leave many institutions, perhaps the BBC, with


serious questions to answer. think above all the question how


did he get away with this for how long? The most important thing is


the police investigation is properly resourced and is allowed


to continue. I don't rule out further steps, but we do now have


independent investigations by the BBC, independent investigations


into the NHS and today I can confirm that the DPP has confirmed


that his principal legal adviser will review the papers from the


time when a case was put to the CPS for prosecution and the DPP


specifically is going to consider what more can be done to alert


relevant authorities where there are concerns that a prosecution is


not taken forward. The Government will do everything it can do. Other


institutions must do what they can do to make sure we learn the


lessons of this so it can never happen again. Mr Speaker, last week,


the Prime Minister told this House and I quote, "We will be


legislating so that energy companies have to give the lowest


tariff to their customers." Can he explain, including to the Energy


Secretary, how he's going to guarantee everybody in the country


the lowest tariff? As I said last week, we are going to use the


energy bill to ensure that customers get the lowest tariffs.


That's what we want to do. I have to say to the honourable gentleman,


there is a real problem here and it is worth looking at. There are -


last year, there were only 400 tariffs. This is completely


baffling for customers and while encouraging people to switch can


help make a difference, we need to go further and we need to use the


law, because I'm in no doubt we are on the side of people who work hard


and want to pay their bills and want a better deal. Mr Speaker, the


only people who are baffled last week were all of the ministers who


didn't know anything about the announcement. Last week, it was a


guarantee, a gilt-edged guarantee from the Prime Minister and now


he's read the small print and it's unravelled. Another dodgy offer


from this Prime Minister. Why can't he just for once at mitt the truth


- he doesn't do the detail, he made up the policy and he got caught


out? We are going to use the energy bill to ensure people get the


lowest tariff. The Deputy Prime Minister said exactly the same. He


wants to look at the detail. Let me ask him about this detail - yes, we


have his entire energy policy laid out for us today. Maybe he can tell


us now he says he wants to scrap Ofgem. In Government, he kept it.


Now he says he wants to pool energy supplies, in Government they


scrapped pooling energy supplies. Now he says he wants to refer the


big six to the Competition Commission, then he said he


wouldn't do it. I'm all in favour of switching, but this is


ridiculous. Let's talk about my record as Energy Secretary, because


I want to thank him for the Conservative Party briefing


document issued last Thursday. After the chaos of the House. It


revealed something very interesting, Mr Speaker. While I was the Energy


Secretary the average dual fuel bill fell by an average of �110.


Under him, it has risen by �200. I'll compare my record to his any


day. Now, let's go on... The part- time Chancellor is giving advice


again! I'm actually coming on to one of his favourite subjects, the


West Coast Main Line. The former railway secretary and now the


Northern Ireland Secertary told us in August about the franchise


process., "We have tested it very robustly." The former Secretary of


State, now the Secretary of State for International Development, she


doesn't really want the job, but she's there, she said, "The process


is incredibly robust." Yet we learn today that concerns were raised by


the bidders as long ago as May 2011. Can the Prime Minister tell us


whether any minister knew about the bidders' concerns? First of all, he


said he wants to talk about his record as Energy Secretary. I think


we should spend a little bit of time on that. The fact is, under


Labour, gas bills doubled and electricity bills were up more than


50%. When he was Energy Secretary, had he became Energy Secretary, the


companies were making �25 loss per bill, and when he left Government


they were making �55 profit per bill. He didn't stand up to the


vested interest, he stuffed their pockets with cash. Right,, we've


dealt with that. By the way, sorry, while we are on his energy record,


he put in place in his low-carbon transition plan, a policy that


would have added �179 to every sippingle person's bill in the


country. Perhaps when he gets up he can apologise for that. Perhaps


members on both sides could calm down. Over to the Leader of the


Opposition, Mr Ed Miliband. Even he's taking his habit of not


answering questions to a new level. I asked him a question - if he


wants to swap places, I'm very happy to do so. I asked him a


question about the railway. The Chancellor shouts from a sedentary


position. It's not the ticket that needs upgrading, but the Chancellor,


many my view. -- many my view! The mismannedling of this process --


the Miss Handling of this process has cost taxpayers up to �100


million. Which of his former transport ministers, who oversaw


the bidding, is responsible for this multi-million-pound fiasco?


There is a proper independent investigation into what happened


with the West Coast Main Line. The Secretary of State for Transport


has made a full statement to this House and has explained what will


be done, so the commuters receive a good service. We get to the bottom


of what went wrong too. What is interesting and what the country


will notice, is he wants to talk about the Chancellor, because he


can't talk about the economy, because he's got no plans to


increase the private sector. He can't talk about the deficit,


because he's got no plans to cut it. He can't talk about welfare,


because he he opposes the cap. He can't talk about all the issues


that matter to this country and that's why he stands up and tells a


whole lot of rubbish jokes. I think we can take it from that answer,


that nobody is taking responsibility for what happened on


the railways. Ministers didn't know the detail. They didn't do the work.


They got caught out. Mr Speaker, who can blame them? They are just


playing follow my leader, after all. And this is what he said before he


became Prime Minister and I quote, "We must provide the modern


Conservative alternative - clear, come tent, inspiring." Mr Speaker,


where did it all go wrong? I tell you what has happened under this


Government in the last week, inflation down. Unemployment down.


Crime down. Waiting lists down. Borrowing down. That's what happens


but he can't talk about the real issues, because he's not up to the


job. It's good to see the crim zon tide back. -- crimson tide back.


He's living in a parallel universe. It's been another disastrous week


for his Government. Last week, he defended the Chief Whip. Now he's


gone. He made up an energy policy, that's gone too. He's lost millions


of pounds on the railways. Isn't the truth, there's nobody else left


to blame for the shambles of his Government? It goes right to the


top. It's only a bad week if you think it's bad that unemployment is


down. We think it's good. It's only bad if you regret inflation's


coming down. We think it's good for our country. It's only a bad week


if you don't think it's a good thing that one million more people


are in work. That's what's happening in the country. Every bit


of good news sends that team into a complete decline, but I can tell


him, the good news will keep coming. Would my right honourable friend


join me in congratulating the West Midlands Police on their


performance with robbery down 31% and house burglaries down 29% in my


area? Doesn't this show that reform is working? I think he makes an


important point. We have seen just recorded crime fall by 6%, but also


the crime survey showed it falling by 6% and this is at a time when we


are making difficult decisions about police funding, but the


combination of police reform, the changes and tougher approaches to


criminal justice is seeing crime falling and public satisfaction


with the police going up. Last year, Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister told


the house at the Despatch Box there was no reason why front-line police


officer numbers needed to go down. Yet, in my constituency in Harrow,


there are fewer police on our streets. Isn't the real truth,


Prime Minister, that there are 6,800 fewer police officers since


he came to power? What is actually happening is the number of


neighbourhood police officers is actually going up by 2,360 since


2010. Mr Speaker, last week planning permission was granted for


a large retail leisure park on derelict land between my


constituency and the Corby constituency. It will create 2,000


new jobs, have a large Marks & Spencer and a stunning nature


reserve. Labour are opposed to that development. Could the Prime


Minister tell the House who the people of Corby should support?


Christine emet and the Conservatives campaigning for 2,000


new jobs or Labour's Corby Luddites? My honourable friend


makes an excellent point about how it is this party and Government who


are getting behind economic development and as I just said,


every piece of good news is a disaster for the party opposite.


They wake up every morning, wanting more unemployment, but unemployment


is coming down. They want inflation to rise, but it's coming down. As


we can see in Corby, it's the Conservatives getting behind growth


and jobs and the future. During the last election, the Prime Minister


made many pledges to the people. One of those was to help rebalance


the Northern Ireland economy. Given that our economy lags behind the UK


average and indeed lags behind the position in Scotland in terms of


key, economic indicators, when can we expect an announcement by the


Prime Minister on the steps that he's going to take to help


rebalance the economy? I do want to see the Northern Ireland economy


rebalanced. It badly needs to, because of the size of the state


sector and it counts for so much of Northern Ireland GDP. We are


continuing to pursue the policy of looking at a lower corporation tax


rate for Northern Ireland, because of the land border with the


Republican. -- with the Republic. We need to look at boosting


manufacturing and small businesses and do all the things we can to


encourage inward investment into Northern Ireland, which I've been


doing, including on the trips I've been making to other parts of the


$:/STARTFEED. Will he as First Lord of the Treasury ensure that the


Treasury stands four-square behind the Ministry of Justice to deliver


these first generation of payment by results programmes which are the


cash consequences of success for the next spending review period?


should be bringing payment by results to all of the criminal-


justice system. We spend over �1 billion on probation and I want to


say payment by results being the norm rather than the exception.


When the Treasury designed payment by results in the welfare system


they allowed the Department of Wight and pensions to spend the


future receipts of lower benefit claims. They will be equally


inventive and creative when it comes to as getting better results


in our criminal justice system. Last week from the dispatch box the


Prime Minister said services at Kettering hospital were safe. This


week we have learnt that the official review's best option is to


get rid of many vital services in that hospital and to reduce the


number of beds by 80%. Isn't the truth you cannot trust the Tories


on the NHS? You can always guarantee Labour Members of


Parliament will get up in Parliament and scaremonger about


our NHS. What I said last week is right. Mr Speaker, with 170,000


fewer people on benefits and 1 million new jobs created, should it


not be clear that this Government's plan is working? The honourable


lady makes an important point. There are more people in work than


at any time in our history, more women in work, and this is the


election the number of full-time jobs has increased faster than the


number of part-time jobs. There is no complacency on these benches,


but we have to continue to get people into work, and cracking down


on youth unemployment. Could the Prime Minister explain the


relationship between Virgin care donations to the Tory party and the


number of Virgin care shareholders on commissioning group boards and


the number of contracts awarded to Virgin care? All donations to


political parties are properly disclosed and properly announced.


The difference between the nations the Conservative Party gets from


individuals and businesses and that trade unions giving to the label


party is that they effectively by votes. That is the scandal in


funding parties. Mr Speaker, under the previous Labour Government the


NHS lost hundreds of millions of pounds because foreign patients and


the cost of treating them was not properly recovered. Can I get an


assurance that both the Department of Health and the Home Office will


now work together to resolve this issue? I can get my honourable


friend that assurance. This area has become much too complicated


about who should pay how much and when. I have asked ministers to get


together to simplify the process and I hope we can come up with a


simplified system in which the public will have real trust. Jimmy


Carr avoided �3.3 million of tax last year and the Prime Minister


said that was morally wrong. Apple, Google, Facebook comic eBay and


Starbucks have between them avoided at nearly �900 million. Will the


Prime Minister now take this opportunity to condemn their


behaviour as morally wrong? I think the honourable lady makes an


important point and this is an international problem that all


countries are struggling with, about how to make sure companies


pay tax. I am not happy with the current situation, the HMRC needs


to look at it carefully. We need to make sure we are encouraging these


businesses to invest in this country, but they have to pay fair


taxes as well. May I ask my right honourable friend why, as he told


be on Monday, he thinks that the single currency needs a banking


union? Because the crisis in the euro has not been caused by the


absence of a banking union, but by the absence of a single, fiscal


policy. Yet if the fiscal union were introduced, which would


certainly be dominated by Germany, that would lead to the death of


democracy throughout most of Europe. So, it is the least painful


solution the abolition of the euro and the return to national


currencies? What I would say to my right honourable friend is that I


believe the insecurity in the euro- zone is caused impart by both those


issues that he raises, the lack of a fiscal union, but also the lack


of a banking union. One of the problems in the euro-zone is the


different level of interest rates and part of that is because of


concerns about the link between weak banks and sovereign


governments. It is only when you have a banking union that you have


greater security about those weak banks. We have a single currency in


the UK and we also have a banking union. We would not treat banks


differently because they were in Wales or Scotland or Northern


Ireland. A working currency will need a working the banking union


and that is consistent and sensible. Last week we had a Government chief


Whip who was educated at Rugby public school and this week we have


got one that has been educated at Eton. I wonder if the Prime


Minister can give us an update on his campaign to spread privilege.


People across this House would recognise that my right honourable


friend and his record stands for itself. Order. The House must calm


down. Let's hear from Mr Rob Wilson. After the appearance of the


Director General before the Select Committee yesterday, I hope the


House will agree it is essential the independent inquiries get to


the truth. Full details of those inquiries are quite sketchy,


despite letters I have sent to the BBC. Will the Prime Minister join


me in calling for full details to be published today so that both


enquiries can have the full confidence of the public and Jimmy


Savile's of victims can hear the truth? Can I commend my honourable


friend for the good and valuable and dedicated work he has done on


this issue of making sure all of these institutions get to the truth.


To be fair to the BBC, the two inquiries they set up qualify as


independent inquiries. The enquiry into the Newsnight programme is


being carried out by the former head of Sky News and the second,


more important review, into the cultural practices of the BBC, is


being led by a four appeal court judge. It is very important the BBC


makes clear these inquiries can go where the evidence leads, they will


have access to all the paperwork and they will be truly independent


and get to the truth on behalf of all the victims of Jimmy Savile.


The Prime Minister refused to answer a question at last week.


Will he now tell us why he will not publish the e-mails and


correspondence between himself, Rebekah Brooks, News International


and Andy Coulson so we can judge for ourselves? What is he


frightened of? Sang -- scandal or embarrassment? It was this


Government that set up the Leveson Inquiry and has co-operated and


given them all the information they have asked for it. In March, one of


my constituents was informs her fiance, Private Daniel Wade, had


died in Afghanistan. Three months later she gave birth to his baby.


Mr Speaker, the Army will not accept maternity without evidence,


nor will they release the DNA without a court order. As a


consequence the baby receives nothing. What the Prime Minister


helped to expedite this case? Would he require the Army routinely holes


DNA as in other countries, such as the US? On the latter part I will


look at that. I was as shocked as he was when I found out about this


case. I will do everything I can to expedite a conclusion to it. The


sincere condolences go to private Wade's family. This is a dreadful


situation and cannot continue. The Ministry of Defence are aware of it


and it raises complicated, legal issues, but the reactions from


members of the House that shows we have to move quickly to get this


sort it will stop does the Prime Minister recall telling the House


that the UK would lead the world in eradicating modern-day slavery.


Could he explain why we could not top out my bill to eradicate


slavery in British companies? We have to move his campaign forward.


This Government has an excellent record in combating modern-day


slavery and we continue to commit fill our international aid


programme to tackle where it exists in some of those countries.


number of major employers in my constituency are calling for


greater certainty from investors in one of the fastest growing sectors


in the economy, low carbon energy. Will he ask for a power target for


the power sector? We have already taken the most important step,


which is to set the renewable Certificate out into the Peter, so


investors know they can invest in offshore at Windsor, knowing what


the return will be. There will be more details in the energy bill.


Can I refer the Prime Minister to Hansard, 23rd May, 2012, when the


honourable member for Belfast North asked, where he gave an undertaking


he will not succumb to the dictat by the European Court of Human


Rights in relation to prisoners voting? Can he tell us how he is


going to get round breaking European there? I gave the


honourable gentleman that assurance will stop the House of Commons has


voted against prisoners having the vote, I do not want them to get the


vote, I am clear about that. If it helps by having another vote in


Parliament to put the legal position beyond doubt, I am happy


to do that. But prisoners are not getting the vote under this


Government. Is the Prime Minister aware that last year there was a


Borough Council run referendum in my constituency about locating and


energy and waste incinerator on the edge of King's Lynn? On a 61%


turnout 65,516 of mind and my honourable member's constituents


voted No. Does he agree that it is essential for local democracy and


localism that my constituents and these people are listen to? It is


important the planning system listens to local people and proper


processes are followed and I am evidence file used to convict a


paedophile if it still exists contains clear intelligence of a


widespread paedophile ring. One of its members boasts of its links to


a senior aide of a former Prime Minister who said he could smuggle


in indecent images of children from abroad. The Leeds were not followed


up, but if the files still exists I want to ensure that the


Metropolitan Police Sicher the evidence, re- examine it and


investigate clear intelligence suggesting a powerful Peder farm


network linked to Parliament and Number 10. The honourable gentleman


raises a very difficult and complex case. I am not entirely sure which


a former Prime Minister he is referring tipple stop I would like


to look very carefully to Hansard and the allegations he has made and


see what the Government can do to help give him the assurances he


seeks. Jacob Rees-Mogg. principle, does my right honourable


friend think that statutory regulation could ever be compatible


with a free press? My honourable friend is temptingly into


commenting on what Lord Leveson might or might not recommend. I


think it is important, having set up the inquiry on an all-party


basis, we should allow him to produce his report. I think one can


obsessed him much about how exactly these things are done. What matters


is are we going to have a regulatory system in which the


public will have confidence? If there are mistakes made, there are


proper corrections. Newspapers can get fine, there is proper


investigation. That seems to be the most important issue for all of us


to address and we are going to put in place a system in which we can


have confidence the public will support it and we can have an


independent and very vigorous press. Is the Prime Minister aware that


young people's unemployment in my constituency has gone up by 1,000%?


What is he going to do about this scandal? We are putting in place


through the wet programme and the Youth Contract the biggest scheme


to help people get back into work. We have seen success in recent


weeks and months. The recent figures saw a decline in the


claimant count and a decline in unemployment and a decline in youth


unemployment. There is more to do, but we are heading in the right


direction. Will the Prime Minister promised a day that unlike other


leaders in other parliaments in the UK he will never spend �100,000


fighting the release of legal advice that he does not hold and


never asked for? He asks a baffling question about a truly baffling


situation, which is that we were told by the first minister in


Scotland that he had legal advice about Scotland's plays in the


European Union in the event of independence. They did not have any


legal advice at all. When you shine a spotlight on the case for


separation the SNP put, it completely falls apart. The Prime


Minister has rightly expressed concern about child abuse in our


institutions. Last year, at the Government reduced child protection


measures in schools and changes to Ofsted mean that some schools will


never be inspected on their child protection procedures. Will the


Prime Minister now meet me and cross-party MPs from the all-party


Child Protection Group to protect our children now and in the future?


I am very happy to arrange a meeting between her and the new


minister who has huge experience in this area. What we have tried to do


is take a set of rules and regulations that involved nine, 10


million more parents in this sort of thing and try to simplify it and


concentrate on where it needed to $:/STARTFEED. There was talk about


the low-energy price statement from the Prime Minister. It unravelled


within hours of him making it and Ed Miliband had to have a pop at


the West Coast Main Line, since that was pretty low-hanging fruit


as well. He quoted the Prime Minister saying that the


Conservatives were clear, competent and inspired. Then the about where


did it all go wrong. There are other issues, including the Prime


Minister giving very strong steer that he will not be come plying


with the demand of the Strasbourg court to introduce votes for


prisoners, though there was a story in the guard guard this morning


saying they were prepared to do that, but he was pretty gat gorical.


Ewas. -- categorical. He was, indeed. The viewers didn't pick up


on that, but the performance. We have this, "I think Miliband had


David Cameron on the ropes an Ed Miliband looks like a man


rejuvenated." Steve from Liverpool said, "This is getting to be a


weekly slaughter. David Cameron is in big trouble and now having real


problems answering an increasingly competent Miliband." But we have


this from Jacqueline, "The lines of questions are meaningless to me and


frankly his silly jokes at the Chancellor's expense." That will be


about the rail ticket. "This is a waste of time and silly point


scoring." David,." The one-liners are awful. He needs to ask serious


questions and stop trying to score petty points." There were many more


along that line. While you were doing that we discovered the Chief


Constable of West Yorkshire has resigned. That suggests that he's a


casualty of the aftermath of the ills borough affair. Nick, thoughts


on PMQs? I didn't think the central clashes got us very far. Ed


Miliband will feel he's establishing in the public mind


incompetence that affects ordinary voters and blaming David Cameron


personally for it. Come Ron wanted to establish in the public mind a


series of good bit of news. Most striking was the clearest possible


hint I've ever seen a Prime Minister give about an economic


piece of news he's seen that we haven't. Tomorrow, we get GDP


figures, growth figures, that come out for the third quarter and he


was saying the good news will keep on coming. That is saying to the


country, "That's what we'll see tomorrow." That would mean the end


of the double-dip recession and the beginning of a big argument about


whether it proves anything at all. Is it just an Olympic factor or a


bounce back after previously bad figures or the beginning of


recovery? There will be fire and fury tomorrow about that. Frankly,


I suspect the answer is we won't know until we get the next set of


figures. Do you share my view that he knocked down this story that the


Government was preparing to give prisoners votes to some? Well, yes


and no. In other words, there's an argument, I think, going on within


Government and there always has been, about how to respond to the


European Court. There is a few that the Attorney-General feels very


strongly about it and he repeated it today, that you cannot pick and


choose which of these rulings you implement, otherwise you are


inviting dictators around the world and regimes you don't approve of to


do the same. You have to be seen to be come plieling if you can. It


seems to me -- come plying if you can. It seems to me the Attorney-


General has lost a key ally. He has Nick Clegg, but lost Ken Clarke. He


has Chris Grayling, who is not going to be the man to will argue


for that. There could be an argument, but I don't know this,


but I believe there will be an argument going on that he hinted at,


should the Government be seen to try to comply to say, "OK, this is


what we have to do. We put it to Parliament." Then they say to the


court, "We did our job. Sadly democracy had its day." Or do you


take the view that it's -- there's no point bothering. The Prime


Minister said if it would be necessary to have another vote he's


prepared to do it. What he's trying to do is to say to the court we're


trying and to Parliament don't worry about that. I think it's spot


on. That is what is happening. Attorney-General has lost out?


Prime Minister signalled to the backbenchers to vote against it. He


said it was sick to his stomach and he's done the same thing and


signalled to the House that he's not in favour of it, that the House


is entirely able to vote against it, but also suggested there may be


some vehicle for that. I think it's possible there will be a vote or a


bill and you are in rather extraordinary position it's as


though they are going through the motions of compliance. I think


there are longer-term questions about the competence of the court,


and other issues will come into the frame too, about why we now have a


Supreme Court that is not supreme and whether in the end the House of


Commons takes the decisions and while this issue might be did you


fupbt, the long-term issues will have to be -- difupbt, the long-


term issues will have to be ironed out. But if he said we are not


going to do this, then we end up in a clash between the European Court


of Human Rights and the British Government? Well, I was in the


chamber at Strasbourg at the Council of Europe and we have


completed for the first time in 26 years, our presidency of the


Council of Europe. It was handled very well indeed, by the British,


diplomatically and politically. Cameron as Prime Minister came and


addressed the Council of Europe. He was absolutely superb. And he's


polls apart from me on the issues, but on that afternoon he was


excellent in handling that assembly and he makes the House of Commons


look close knit in the spectrum of politics. He was diplomacy itself


and on his game. There was no hint of wanting a clash whatsoever. This


isn't the first time, as we know with Tony Blair and John Major, the


British Prime Ministers give one tone of voice when they're on these


shores and a rather different tone when they cross the Channel. I


don't think myself that David Cameron wants the clash, actually.


I don't think the Council of Europe, or the European Court, wants the


clash either. I'm still optimistic a way will be found through. I


don't know what shape or form it will take, but I don't think it


will come to dying in the last ditch. What about you? I think


people want to know what the Government's plans are. We are


hearing hints and rumours. They don't know themselves. They are in


the final stages. Then something else happens. As I said, I would


really like to see what the legal advice is that the Government's had.


The legal advice and I was talking to the Attorney-General about this,


he hasn't published this, but we'll come on to this, but the legal


advice from the Attorney-General is quite clear - we need to comply.


That is the legal advice. We don't have to give all prisoners the vote,


that seems to be the ruling. We are not the only ones in the frame. It


ly is involved -- Italy is involved too. We are not the only ones in


the frame. But why The Guardian story this morning - cleared nudged


by the Attorney-General, I would suspect or his department, and they


would say, "If we give votes to some prisoners, we'll be fine."


That was always the European Court's argument, that there was an


arbitrary ban on all prisoners not having the vote. And that if


Parliament wanted to draw up a new way of determining that this or


that category of prisoners didn't have the vote, that might pass the


test that the court set, but it was arbitrary to say automatically,


everyone without a judge considering, regardless of the


circumstances. Now, remember, for viewers who think why do we care,


the reason is that the courts may end up paying out to prisoners who


bring court cases, who don't get the vote. The Government may be


obliged to pay them. Therefore, the argument - There's an issue about


paying compensation. You wouldn't necessarily have to do that. There


is conflicting advice on that too. Enjoy being part of the Government?


-- enjoy being out of the Government? Yes. Are you sure?


Why? That's probably a longer conversation, but freedom to say


more on the things you believe in and the things you want to do.


Watson asked this rather bizarre question, out of the ordinary in a


way, about a paedophile ring close to Downing Street in the years gone


by. We are not exactly sure what he's talking about there. We have


our suspicions it may involve some people who were aides to previous


Prime Ministers, but until we get a clear eidea, it's probably better


not to go in that direction. seems to me what he's trying to do


and remember he was the person who was very heavily involved in the


News International case, he has got a seam that he's mining of talking


about scandals of this sort. What he was doing is helping the


newspapers to extend their enquiries beyond the BBC and beyond


the NHS, to arguing there was a ring in some sense in public life.


The interesting thing will be whether newspapers now start to


name names, start to ask questions about exactly who was involved, but


that was clearly his name. There is no other reason for standing up and


saying that in the House, other than the Prime Minister is giving a


green light to MPs and Tom Watson is saying, "Start writing this."


It's significant how carefully and seriously phrased was the Prime


Minister's response, which makes you suspect immediately if you're a


journalist with a snout, there must be some smoking gun here. There


have been some stories in the press and recently too, and in the


Murdoch press I'm seeing here at the weekend, about a former aide to


a former Prime Minister apparently involved with underage boys. Until


- these are sensitive matters and until we do some proper journalism


we should hold back and find out what is being talked about. We


learned the Prime Minister has to fight votes for prisoners and the


GDP figures will be good tomorrow and there will be all hell breaking


loose over Tom Watson's questions. There might be a signal for a


future week. Tax avoidance. He was asked about Starbucks and he didn't


promise any crackdown. He is probably thinking like former


Chancellors, but there was a significant to Margaret Hodge


saying, "I don't approve." It may be stating the obvious. My sources


tell me there will be something in the autumn statement, which will be


live on BBC Two from this very studio on 5th December from 11.30pm.


Well done. You'll with be us. All day. These days the Suffragette


campaign might seem like something that's confined to the history


books - the grainy footage of women marching through the streets of the


capital are from a different age. 106 years ago a mass lobby of women


marched on Parliament, led by the Suffragette leader, Emmeline


Pankhurst. Well, today another Pankhurst is marching through


Westminster - her great-grand- daughter no less, Helen Pankhurst.


She's on the Green with Conservative MP, Caroline Noakes.


Welcome to both of you. Starting with you Helen, why do you feel the


need to march today in the name of women's rights? Because there is


still so much to do. If you look at the issue of political


participation and the representation of women, the whole


issue that my family was so involved in, we only have about a


quarter of women MPs. 100 years later that really is not good


enough. It needs to change, because without women MPs in equal


proportion and the whom system of Parliament changing to enable women,


then the policies that are enacted are not gendered, so we are


perpetuating an you equal and unfem $:/STARTFEED. What sort of things


would you like to see? If austerity measures were looked at to see


whether or not a whole set of factors were super imposing upon


each other to make women's position even worse, so we look at issues


such as childcare provision and the cuts to that, issues such as women


being more predominant in the public sector, etc, the austerity


measures are disproportionately affecting women and that needs to


be looked at. We have got Caroline Noakes are there. What is the


Government doing to mitigate those? The austerity measures are


important. We want to see more women in work and employment


statistics are showing that figure is up. But also things like


business mentors, encouraging women to start their own businesses. I


was pleased with the modifications of the Chancellor made to the child


benefit policy because I was worried particularly for a single


income households, the changes in their original form could have had


a significant impact on my knees. There is a march going on today in


the name of a women's rights because they feel there are not


policies answering their concerns, the Government is failing in their


eyes. The Government is not failing, it is working in difficult times to


make sure we have a good range of policies that are supporting


families, by making sure mortgage rates stay exceptionally low and by


making sure there are more or employ Matt Tebbutt Trinity's in


the employment sector. But at their height I endorse the regions behind


the march and I want to see more women in Parliament making sure we


see a range of issues. In his end up being done? It is a cross-party


issue. We have to have women in Parliament working across the


divides to ensure things are going to change. If all the MPs do not


speak of their particular policies, we will not address the fundamental


reality that we are not addressing the population's issues as a whole.


What would you like to see Caroline Noakes doing it to mark a young


women in Parliament. The very fact she did not respond negatively to


the march and the lobby is good. I think the fact we have a resurgence


of women's rights activism, a number of people on their own


coming to lobby in Parliament, this is not large organisations lobbying


on behalf of the organisations, these are individual constituency


members saying I would like to talk to my MP about issues such as the


cuts against women, 230 women are being turned away by a refuge on an


average day. We need to see more women represented in parliament and


all the women MPs know that and we need to see the male MPs and we


need to see leadership to get change now, not in another 100


years' time. Nick Herbert, there has been a landmark ruling today


against Birmingham City Council which has lost its appeal against


claims from a female staff who were denied a bonus when most of the


male staff in traditionally male jobs were given theirs. What do you


say to that request Denmark why is that happening in this day and age?


You can always say there would be an impact on employers in a


difficult time for implementing some kind of equality. But why is


it acceptable in today's society that women doing the same work as


rent received low pay? They do get lower pay. It is unacceptable and


we have to start from that position. On the broader issue of


representation of women is the question of whether there is a need


for a law or a lead. We need both. Assessments are being done to make


sure that the changes are not disproportionately damaging. We


have to make certain women are given that proper opportunity,


which they still are not. Be is that enough? Not at all. The reason


we have got far more women MPs is because Labour took all-women short


lists. We had to do that to make the progress. I think the


Government is totally out of touch with what is happening to women


across the board. Cuts to child care comet women's unemployment.


The biggest growth has been unemployment four or older women,


women in their fifties. We have seen huge cuts to the care service


so that women who are helping with grandchildren and looking after


relatively Ella tears -- relatives, the Government does not get it.


thought you were ready to jump in a frankly with an answer irrespective


of what I said. Just urging people does not work. We have record


numbers of women in employment in this country. That is good news to


tell. Of course there have to be cuts in public spending. A women's


unemployment is a high is for 25 years. There is a relative measure


of protection for child provision. You are back to the same opposition


which is just always opposing. do not understand what is happening.


Charles, you can have the final word. As the rows between two


thorns. The Government said, we are fully hoping for equality, but


local devolved pay is a different matter. I think that is an


important constitutional principle. I think they are correct on that. I


think the key thing is I spent a long time over this in the party


and we had Cherie Booth advising us about quotas and all the rest of it,


and very good she was as well, when I was in the Lib Dems. I am not


persuaded by quotas and legislation. The Davies report of last year has


been based on a voluntary principle and most women over 80% respondents


agreed with that approach. We have to go north of the border now.


It is not that far. What would you call an omni


shambles in Scotland? The SNP leader Alex Salmond did not have


the best of days yesterday. First, two of his backbenchers resigned


the Whip over his party's changing stance on NATO. Then he had to


admit his Government had not sought legal advice on an independent


Scotland status inside the European Union, despite telling me in March


they had. Have you sought advice from Your Own Scottish law? We have,


yes. What did they say? You can read that in the documents we put


forward. What did they say? cannot reveal the legal advice of


the officers, you know that. Everything we publish his


consistent with the legal advice that we have received. That was


Alex Salmond talking to me in the granite City of Aberdeen in March.


Here is Nicola Sturgeon in the Scottish parliament in Edinburgh


yesterday. In light of the Edinburgh agreement, by which both


governments have agreed the process for Scotland to achieve


independence. The Government has now commissioned a specific legal


advice from our law officers on the position of Scotland within the


European Union if independence is achieved through this process will


stop the Scottish Government has previously cited opinions from a


number of eminent legal authorities, past and present, in support of its


few... Order, order. In support of its view that an independent


Scotland will continue in membership of the European Union,


but has not sought specifically that advice, however as the


Edinburgh agreement provides the exact content of the process of


abstaining independence, we now have the basis on which specific


legal advice can be sought. The it was the Deputy First Minister. I am


joined from Edinburgh by Jamie Hepburn. Have you been able to


establish why it when I asked Alex Salmond if he had sought advice


from his own Scottish law offices in this matter that he said years


when it turned out the answer was No? This is a gross


misinterpretation perhaps on your part, Andrew. I have got the


transcript in front of me and it is perfectly clear what the first


minister was referring to he was referring to the fact the Scottish


Government had published a number of documents that were of course


underpinned by legal advice. Every single document published by this


Scottish Government is underpinned by legal advice. Let's look at the


full context. This was in the context of an interview that asked


him what Scotland's status would be if it became an independent nation


in the European Union. Would it have to apply again for membership?


He said no. I then quoted some legal experts who said it would. He


quoted either experts who said it would not, but they were all in the


private sector. I asked him if he had had official advice from his


own law officers, and he said he had, but he could not tell me what


it was. What has changed? suggest the advise the first


minister had proffered was all based in the private sector pulls


up again he was referring to the secretary general of the European


Union, the director general of the European Union, I have got the


documents in front of me. They are not part of the Scottish Government.


I asked him if he had had advice from his own Scottish law makers.


Are they yes does not mean years and we are end Bill Clinton


territory, have you sought advice from your own Scottish law officers


in this matter? We have, yes. What did I not understand? The first


minister was quite clearly referring to existing documents.


That was quite clear. Excuse me, he said he could not tell me what the


advice was because this kind of advice was not published. Why would


he tell me he could not publish advice he did not have been the


first place? He said, I'm sorry I cannot tell you that advice. Alex


Salmond is not above the Ministerial Code and has to adhere


to that code. He is not only allowed to comment on advice given.


He did not have the advice. Some of the confusion has come from the


interactions made. I am going to interrupt you now. We are going to


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