30/10/2012 Daily Politics


30/10/2012

Jo Coburn has the latest news and comment from Westminster, including the government's plans to allow gay marriages, and the rising cost of food.


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Transcript


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.

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President Obama declares Hurricane Sandy a major disaster in what

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could be America's costliest natural disaster, ever. We have got

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a latest. With a backbench rebellion on the

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cards over the EU's budget, David Cameron has another foe to contend

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with. Yes, Tony Blair's back and he wants to be president - of Europe.

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Would it be a good idea? Can small farmers survive higher

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production costs? We'll talk to Lib Dem President,

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Tim Farron. And should MPs expect to be served

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wine of hotel or private members' club standard? Or make do with

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supermarket plonk? Wine critic, Jilly Goolden, and Labour MP,

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Austin Mitchell, take the Daily Politics taste test.

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All that in the next hour, and with us for the whole programme today is

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the broadcaster, publisher and former Conservative candidate, Iain

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Dale. Now, America has been waking up to the damage caused overnight

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by Hurricane Sandy, one of the biggest storms ever to hit the US.

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At least 16 people are thought to have died and more than 16 million

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people are without power across America and Canada, and President

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Obama has declared a major disaster in New York where fires have broken

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out and a power sub-station has exploded. They're calling Sandy a

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'superstorm' and it's predicted it could cause up to $20 billion in

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damage, making it one of the costliest natural disasters in US

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history. Campaigning ahead of next week's presidential election has

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been suspended and there have been reports this morning that the vote

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could be delayed. Here's what President Barack Obama had to say

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yesterday. I am not worried at this point

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about the election, I am worried about the families and worried

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about first responders, the impact on the economy, transportation. The

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election will take care of itself next week. Right now, my No 1

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priority is to make sure we are saving lives, and search and rescue

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teams will be in place and people will get the food, water and

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shelter they need in case of emergency. We will respond as

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quickly as possible to get the economy back on track.

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Iain Dale, he says the election it will take care of itself, but will

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it? He is concentrating on people who have been affected, and sadly

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died. But its power is still down next week, can the voting go ahead?

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I suspect there will be one or two buildings are they might have to

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change, but I think this is an interesting opportunity for Barack

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Obama. He has got everything to gain by having a strong response to

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this crisis, in contrast to that of George Bush a few years ago.

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could fall into that trap of George Bush? Mitt Romney cannot win on

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this, he cannot do anything and be shown to be a man of action, Barack

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Obama can. During the debates, Mitt Romney has come back into the game.

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In the polls, there is little to put between them? There is only 10

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Swing State that matter. Ohio is the main one. I don't think that

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has been affected by the storms. The reaction from the people of

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Ohio will be interesting and I think Barack Obama has been getting

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stronger verb. It does not matter what the rest of the country thinks,

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it is what these tend Swing State think. The moment they will be

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focusing on the emergency and the response.

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Now it's time for our Daily Quiz. The question for today is: The

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authorities at Westminster want to raise �3 million from commercial

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activities on the Parliamentary estate. So what new ideas are they

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considering? Are they thinking of: Turning the speaker's residence

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into a luxury boutique hotel? Hiring out Big Ben as a Hollywood

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film set? Trebling the cost of food in the

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canteens? Offering a romantic dinner for two

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over the despatch box? David Cameron and Nick Clegg could

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be serving up the food. At the end of the show, Iain will

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give us the correct answer. Now yesterday, Tony Blair, said

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something in Berlin which might either set your heart beating a

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little faster or cast you into a deep depression, depending on your

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view. So what's he suggesting? Tony Blair wants voters across Europe to

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elect a new president of the EU in order to increase its democratic

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legitimacy. In a speech in Berlin yesterday, Mr Blair warned that

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people across the EU will become alienated unless reforms are made.

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He said; "A Europe-wide election for the presidency is the most

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direct way to involve the public". Three years ago the EU created a

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new position - president of the European Council, with Tony Blair's

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name briefly in the frame for the new post. The job spec includes

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chairing regular meetings of European Heads of State and helping

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to set the general political direction and priorities of the EU.

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But Tony Blair didn't get enough support and this man, the former

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Belgian Prime Minister, Herman van Rompuy, got the plumb job instead.

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Now Mr Blair says either that job or the post of President of the

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European Commission, currently held by Spaniard, Jose Manuel Barroso,

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should be directly elected by voters across the European Union.

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That's led to plenty of speculation that Tony still fancies a big Euro

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job. And we've been here before. Let's have a look at the then

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Shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, in the House of Commons in

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2008. He's imagining the response of the then Prime Minister, Gordon

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Brown, to the appointment of President Blair.

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We can all picture the scene after a European Council sometime next

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year. Picture the face of our poor Prime Minister, as the name of Tony

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Blair is placed in nomination after one Prime Minister after another.

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The look of gloom on his face. The nauseating prose oozing from every

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Government. The rapid revelation of a majority view agreed behind

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closed doors when he was excluded. Never will he regret a more no

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longer being in possession of a veto. The famous dropped jaw almost

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hitting the table as he realises there is no option but to join in

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and the awful moment when the motorcade of the President of

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Europe sweeps into Downing Street. The gritted teeth and bitten nails,

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the Prime Minister emerging from his door with a smile of

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intolerable anguish. The choking sensation as the words, Mr

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President of forced out of him. And then, once in the Cabinet Room, the

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melodrama of when we you hand over to me, all over again. Hilarity in

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the House of Commons. We're joined now by Jacob Rees-Mogg,

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he's a Conservative MP who sits on the European Scrutiny Committee,

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and by Roger Liddle, who speaks for Labour on Europe in the Lords and

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used to be Europe advisor to Tony Blair. Why is it a good idea?

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Because we need a Democratic breakthrough in Europe. People

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complain about the Commission being unaccountable and remote. They

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complain of Brussels institutions are a long way away. We need some

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way of making Europe accountable for what it does. Tony is right,

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the way to do that is have a direct election for the President. Would

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you support him for the role? not likely to happen before the

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earliest, 2020. Could you imagine him doing it? I think he would beat

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brilliant at it, yes. I don't think he Best it is the reason he is

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proposing it. Because it is the right thing for Europe, given the

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problem of accountability, given Europe needs to integrate more.

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Isn't that the problem? If there were presidential elections, if

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there were rallies in all 27 countries, can you imagine it,

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setting people's hearts aflutter and thinking you could believe in

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it? What is the turnout in Parliamentary elections? I think

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25%. It is because people do not see Europe as a country to which

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they are loyal, to which they have feelings which make democracy work,

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to which they have a patriotic urge. They do for elections in the United

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Kingdom. It is crucially important. You would have a situation where

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the votes of other Europeans would decide how the United Kingdom was

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governed. It would give it an appearance of legitimacy, but it

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wouldn't be legitimate for the British people. They would want to

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govern themselves. It is a cover, rather than a reality. Until we

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have a feeling across Europe, we are one people, which is much

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further off than 2020, having a Democratic system, it won't have

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any validity. What would you say to a person, even if you could

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directly elect them, wouldn't give people the feeling they are in a

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federal set-up? I do believe loyalties will remain for a long

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time to the nation-state. I am not disputing that. But I do think this

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proposal for an election of the President would and live in

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European politics. It is part of a view of politics which is different

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to the kind of what I would describe as, the old fashioned

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Westminster model due, that Jacob has. What I want to see is more

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democracy at all kinds of different levels. European level and local

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level. I don't think Westminster is the only game in town. The

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traditional members of Parliament who have spent all their time

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trying to get there, thing Westminster is the only game in

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town. Let's go to the French view this work -- perspective. We have a

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French journalist now, would it excite people in France if there

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was a sort of a new European President? What is interesting, it

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we don't talk about it in France. But the topic comes back very

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regularly in the UK where it seems to be a titillating question. We're

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talking about more democracy in Europe. Of course, we are all a

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were we need more democracy. But, if we are talking about an EU

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President is because we need charisma. We already have a

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President of the Commission. you saying the present one is not a

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charismatic? I am very pro-European, but no, he does not have charisma.

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It is interesting Tony Blair is coming up. If he could, he could

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apply to the Bank of France, he is a candidate for everything. Do you

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think he would get support in France? I think, what would an EU

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President do? He would be a symbol, he would be an Honorary President.

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What we need is a great historian, perhaps. I would love to have seen

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the Polish historian doing the job, except he is dead. Perhaps in

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Britain, George Steiner who is an extraordinary European, educated in

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France, worked in the US and is a professor in Cambridge. I can think

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of many great men and women. We need a symbol and charisma, rather

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than another politician in Brussels. This is the idea to replace all

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have one of the Rolls elected, who would you vote for, put forward if

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the role came up? By don't want the role to exist and if it did, I

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don't want the United Kingdom to be part of it. The hammer-and-sickle

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has just come up on top of its new flag. And not sure I want much of

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these European singlets -- symbols. Do you agree, saying it might make

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Britain's more interested in Europe? It is a preposterous idea.

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Tony Blair is putting the cart before the horse. There is not

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political union. The job only has importance if there is political

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union. Down the road, the eurozone might come together, it would be

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logical to have fiscal union and and political union. We should have

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no part of that. But if they want Tony Blair, they can have him.

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they need to solve the problems now? Of course they need to solve

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the problems. A lot of decisions are taken in Brussels, trade

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relations with the rest of the world are done through the EU and

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not through the member states. Competition policy, the single

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market. Could I say, this is not just Tony Blair's idea. One of the

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key supporters of this is the German Christian Democrat Union,

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Angela Merkel's party. The strongest and most important party

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in the European Union. Conservatives here have said

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Britain shouldn't be part of it even if there is a close

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integration or a two track Europe. They should recreate the post of

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Holy Roman Emperor and give it to the Queen and everybody would be

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happy. If it did come about, you get a feeling it would be ex-prime

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ministers and presidents who would end up applying. We could see

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Sergio Berlusconi, Jacques Chirac. How much credibility? Police

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commissioners as failed politicians are applying for the job. Give it

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to Victor Hugo. It is interesting, we're talking about this in Britain

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and only in Britain, because I think Britain has the policy about

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Europe is totally in a mess. then is it being talked about here,

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bearing in mind you would argue the centre of gravity has moved to a

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Euro sceptic views. A lot of people would support that. Why is that

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idea coming from here, even though you mentioned about the Christian

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Democrat party in Germany, we don't hear a big surge of support for

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:16:01.:16:09.

Tony Blair is 58. He clearly thinks he has another big job in him. If

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there were a President of Europe, even though I do not support his

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policies, he would be good at it. If you want somebody who is

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charismatic, why not Tony Blair? Why not Boris Johnson? Key while

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being cynical. These jobs exist. -- you are being cynical. They are

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important jobs affecting daily lives. They affect the daily lives

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of people in Britain. Who would have appointed Herman Van Rompuy

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over Tony Blair? Could we get somebody a better quality?

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could not get anybody who is worse. While it do we not just fire one

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and save the money? There is a case for merging the jobs but they are

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powerful jobs. The point of the debate is to make them

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democratically accountable. You are staying with us and coming back at

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the end of the show. Thanks. We have mentioned one money-spinning

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scheme dreamt up by the Parliamentary authorities. This is

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another. To save cash, officials to compile Hansard, the transcription

:17:26.:17:31.

of everything said in a House of Commons and House of Lords, that

:17:31.:17:36.

they will no longer give away hardback copies. It will save �1

:17:36.:17:42.

million a year. Some MPs are unhappy, including Jacob. This is

:17:42.:17:52.
:17:52.:17:52.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 50 seconds

:17:52.:18:42.

Quentin Letts to explain. He we are in the Parliamentary

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archives with all the ancient statutes stacked up. This is animal

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skin. If these are impressive, what about this little job? The Daily

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Hansard, thousands of words ensuring we have an accurate,

:18:59.:19:06.

verbatim report of what our legislators say. Pretty good. MPs

:19:06.:19:10.

have the ability to tidy up a little bit of what they say. Some

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of their hesitations get taken out. John Prescott's words used to be

:19:16.:19:23.

given major surgery by Hansard. It does not capture the atmosphere of

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the Commons. When people give Russia's laughter, it just says

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"laughter". But these daily publications capture the arguments

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to reduce these laws. It catches ministers' answers. They cannot get

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off the hook after this. Hansard employers dozens of reporters and

:19:45.:19:49.

sub-editors with brilliant shorthand skills. You should seek

:19:49.:19:54.

their fingers flying across this tomography keyboards. They turn

:19:54.:20:02.

this round in record time, and it is online. The and people from

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Hansard are really keeping the side up. Well played, lads. Jacob Rees-

:20:11.:20:15.

Mogg is still with us and is one of 90 MPs who still receive

:20:15.:20:20.

traditional hardback volumes of Hansard. Important to have that

:20:20.:20:24.

accurate transcript of what is said in a House of Commons, but do you

:20:24.:20:30.

have to have it in his very heavy hardback copy? You don't have to,

:20:30.:20:35.

and I will be sorry to see it go. Is it essential to our democracy?

:20:35.:20:45.
:20:45.:20:45.

Probably not. The Hansard reporters turned every day, into silk purses.

:20:45.:20:52.

They are amazing. It is a record that can be kept permanently rather

:20:52.:20:56.

than a temporary entry on the internet. I will be sorry to lose

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it. You don't think it will save as much as a million pounds? All the

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work is done, the Hansard reporters of her. It is put into order daily

:21:06.:21:11.

so that is done. It is updated weekly -- weekly to make any minor

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corrections. It is just a bit of cloth binding and printing. It is

:21:16.:21:22.

hard to believe each one of those Orleans cost �350. This is

:21:22.:21:28.

expensive to publish? The retail price is �105. As a publisher, I

:21:28.:21:35.

can tell you the cost of producing these, a normal hardback book, �20

:21:35.:21:40.

and the Prince cost is probably a couple of pounds. That is because

:21:40.:21:45.

they are mass-produced. These, several hundred copies, less than a

:21:45.:21:52.

1000. You have a gold leaf on the front. They are fine looking. I

:21:52.:21:57.

have a collection going back to 1945. Where do you put them? They

:21:57.:22:02.

are in a garage in Essex. I'm waiting for the day I own a country

:22:02.:22:08.

home! I got given them by NOP, they used to send them to every MP

:22:08.:22:12.

whether they wanted them or not. He gave them to me because he never

:22:12.:22:18.

looked at them. How often do you pick up your leather-bound Hansard?

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They are not leather-bound. OK, the hardback poppy -- cocky Qamar how

:22:25.:22:31.

often do pick it up and refer to it? I like looking through and

:22:31.:22:35.

seeing what people had to save. Seeing if there are things that I

:22:36.:22:41.

can repeat. You could do it if it was the paper bound? The difficulty

:22:41.:22:46.

is, you would have to bind them together yourself. On the they are

:22:46.:22:52.

all on the internet now, so it is no problem. It is harder to flick

:22:52.:23:00.

through the internet. By am in favour of books. It is good for

:23:00.:23:04.

looking at something specific when you are not sure of that date. But

:23:04.:23:09.

it is not so good for flicking through a general discussion.

:23:09.:23:14.

won't be running a campaign? but I will make a contribution

:23:14.:23:20.

towards them. If you pick up any random volume and open a random

:23:20.:23:24.

page, there is some interesting stuff in there but not worth �1

:23:24.:23:34.

million a year. In the months since the Government

:23:34.:23:36.

launched a consultation into how gay civil marriage might be

:23:36.:23:39.

introduced into law, there has been deep disquiet on back benches and

:23:40.:23:42.

grassroots in the Conservative Party. At first opponents seemed to

:23:42.:23:45.

tackle the idea on moral grounds but now many are suggesting there

:23:45.:23:48.

is a broader and more dangerous strategy point for the Prime

:23:48.:23:50.

Minister personally. Giles has been looking at whether the gay marriage

:23:51.:23:54.

policy might get jilted at the altar after all.

:23:54.:23:59.

Indeed a year since the civil partnership Act, over 50,000 gay

:23:59.:24:03.

couples have celebrated a public declaration of their commitment.

:24:03.:24:07.

Many of them, for the sake of convenience, or refer to themselves

:24:07.:24:12.

as married and refer to each other as husbands or wives. But they are

:24:12.:24:17.

not. The Government wants to change that and allow gay marriage. It is

:24:17.:24:25.

a change the PM has backed. I don't support gay marriage in spite of

:24:25.:24:29.

being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a

:24:29.:24:34.

Conservative. But there has been significant opposition, which has

:24:34.:24:37.

seen a coalition Government face down by a coalition for marriage,

:24:37.:24:41.

who say it was not in either party's manifestos, has not been

:24:41.:24:46.

asked for, is now widely supported and politically upsets many

:24:46.:24:51.

grassroots Conservatives. They rare thing about this particular

:24:51.:24:55.

political argument is, the argument for gay marriage and the argument

:24:55.:25:01.

against it, is essentially the same. That if the laws and protections

:25:01.:25:05.

provided by a civil partnerships are essentially the same as those

:25:05.:25:08.

provided the marriage, those in favour say, what is the difference,

:25:08.:25:16.

why make a fuss? Those again say, why do you need it? It comes down

:25:16.:25:21.

to the definition of one word. Those against who gathered at this

:25:21.:25:25.

party conference dislike redefining marriage. To them it is between a

:25:25.:25:30.

man and woman. It is fair to say Conservatives on both sides wish it

:25:30.:25:34.

had not been raised in the face of bigger priorities, but those who

:25:34.:25:41.

think dropping it will give third opponents the nasty party label.

:25:41.:25:46.

The and those against say even gay and lesbian couples in polling

:25:46.:25:51.

distrust the Prime Minister's motives. Fewer than half thing Mr

:25:51.:25:54.

Cameron is sincere in his commitment to gay and lesbian

:25:54.:25:58.

rights. They think he is playing politics with marriage. We think he

:25:58.:26:03.

is playing politics with marriage. A lot of people think he will say

:26:03.:26:08.

anything to get a vote. On an issue like gay marriage, I think he stood

:26:08.:26:12.

up and is taking a risk, and I think a lot of people who may not

:26:12.:26:16.

agree with him on the substance of the issue of gay marriage. If he

:26:16.:26:20.

fights for this and keeps saying he believes in it because it is right,

:26:20.:26:24.

it is a quality and encouraging gay people into relationships which

:26:25.:26:29.

rewards stability. I think a lot of people, not necessarily sympathetic

:26:29.:26:34.

to his position will admire David Cameron more at the end of that.

:26:34.:26:38.

declared, because he believed in it he was going to introduce same-sex

:26:38.:26:43.

marriage. And to rub salt into the wound on the day the consultation

:26:43.:26:47.

ended, Mr Cameron said the will of the Government will prevail. Not

:26:47.:26:52.

one response has been opened. the Prime Minister jilt the policy,

:26:52.:26:57.

be forced apart by grassroots disapproval? Can he tell the

:26:57.:27:07.
:27:07.:27:08.

doubters this is not a marriage of $:/STARTFEED. David Cameron said of

:27:08.:27:13.

marriage it is something I feel passionate about and if it is good

:27:13.:27:19.

enough for straight people like me, it is good enough for anybody.

:27:19.:27:24.

agree. Once we have left the ECHR. But David Cameron is promising

:27:24.:27:28.

guarantees and saying that religious freedom will be protected.

:27:28.:27:34.

Because there doesn't have to be religious marriage He can't deliver

:27:34.:27:38.

that. We have pressure groups and individual MPs who are saying the

:27:38.:27:43.

first vicar or ministers to refuse to marry a gay couple, will be

:27:43.:27:47.

straight to the European courts. Once we leave the European courts,

:27:47.:27:50.

I think it is right if a couple want to be together, the community

:27:50.:27:58.

and their family, they have a right to marriage. Why did you say...

:27:58.:28:05.

while religious freedom is compromised You said gay marriage

:28:05.:28:14.

is for the metropolitan elite. support gay marriage, I was at

:28:14.:28:19.

Iain's civil part sip. Not a gay marriage. I would like to see Iain

:28:20.:28:26.

and John marry if they want to. But there smub, Parliament does not

:28:26.:28:30.

reflect the view of the peoples. I think gay marriage is it. If the

:28:30.:28:34.

public want it, we should deliver it. I want it. But I'm not sure the

:28:34.:28:41.

public do. The polls show they do. If the show that, fine. I will give

:28:41.:28:47.

you a personal experience. I have entertained in my own home almost

:28:47.:28:53.

200 of my activists and there are about five who supported it. The

:28:53.:28:57.

polls may show people support it. You say Conservative grass roots

:28:57.:29:03.

don't. No. I think David Cameron is taking us into a lot of trouble as

:29:03.:29:09.

a party. Why did the Labour Party not do this? Sometimes in politics,

:29:09.:29:14.

politicians have to lead public opinion. You're telling me that?

:29:14.:29:17.

Indeed. That is what David Cameron is doing. I think you miswhrauns

:29:17.:29:24.

the Government want to do. It is not about religion o' is --

:29:24.:29:27.

religious freedom. David Cameron said there would be no on tkwaigs

:29:27.:29:34.

for any -- obligation on any religious organisation to do.

:29:35.:29:40.

cannot deliver that. The first vicar who refuses to marraway gay

:29:40.:29:44.

couple. Churches won't be allowed to do it. Even those who want to do

:29:44.:29:51.

it. Let's move.... Ed Miliband has muddyed the water, because he said

:29:51.:29:56.

he thinks that churches should be allowed to if they want to. That is

:29:56.:30:02.

hen your point about the court of human rights comes in. But the

:30:02.:30:06.

legislation will prohibit churches from carrying out gay marriages.

:30:06.:30:09.

But the point about constituent and Conservative grass roots, what

:30:09.:30:14.

Nadine is saying and the reason some people think David Cameron

:30:14.:30:18.

didn't make as big an issue is because it is divisive for

:30:18.:30:23.

Conservatives. Do you accept that? Nadine might be right in her party,

:30:23.:30:29.

I would like to think that is not reflected across the country. I was

:30:29.:30:33.

the first gay candidate to tell the selection committee I was gay and I

:30:33.:30:37.

got a 66% endorsement. There were people there that were unhappy

:30:37.:30:43.

about having a gay candidate. I think I won them around. Hang on a

:30:43.:30:48.

second. In some areas there is still a lot of work to do on

:30:48.:30:52.

thisish yuerbgs not just with Conservative activists, you could

:30:53.:30:58.

go into constituency Labour Party and have the same issue. This is

:30:58.:31:01.

something where the three party broadly agree. There are some

:31:01.:31:06.

people who disagree for religious reasons. I respect that. What is

:31:06.:31:11.

good for straight people is good for gay people. How diadviceive

:31:11.:31:19.

would bit would there be -- devicive would it be for your party.

:31:19.:31:23.

Some of the people who said that were parents of children who were

:31:24.:31:28.

gay. And who embrace the notion of their children being in a civil

:31:28.:31:34.

partnership, but it is, people do for their religious aspect don't

:31:34.:31:38.

agree. Four million Christians said they would no longer vote

:31:38.:31:42.

Conservative. If you believe everyone who says I will never vote

:31:42.:31:46.

for a political party again because of one issue. Do people say they

:31:46.:31:52.

will because of it It carries the same weight. People vote on a

:31:52.:31:57.

number of issues. If David Cameron leaves gay marriage as his legacy

:31:57.:32:02.

as Prime Minister, that will be... He will have done a great job.

:32:02.:32:07.

will be hard for Conservative core voters to vote. He has made an

:32:07.:32:12.

issue of it and if he doesn't stick to it, he will lose more

:32:12.:32:17.

credibility. That is his choice. If David Cameron continues, maybe he

:32:17.:32:21.

will be seen as something who drivers his point home, but it will

:32:21.:32:25.

be the wrong point and will have lost us votes. You said you were in

:32:25.:32:29.

favour of gay marriage. personally am but I'm not

:32:29.:32:33.

personally in fave of alienating our entire Conservative vote.

:32:33.:32:38.

is a simple thing you can say to people who are against gay marriage,

:32:38.:32:44.

if you have a problem wit, don't marraway homosexual. Do you not

:32:44.:32:50.

believe in freedom. I believe compromising the opinions of one

:32:50.:32:55.

group is not right. It is no compromising any religious views.

:32:55.:33:01.

We know what the consultation says. You have not seen the bill. You

:33:01.:33:06.

don't know what is in it. It is hypeth thetical to say churches

:33:06.:33:16.
:33:16.:33:23.

If you believe in it, shouldn't you lead your constituency? I hope it

:33:23.:33:29.

is going to be a free vote issue. It is. I think Ed Miliband is going

:33:29.:33:36.

to represent his. I think it should be a free vote. I am going to stop

:33:36.:33:41.

it there. You can kiss and make up after the programme. Ministers have

:33:41.:33:44.

said that 100,000 ash trees have been destroyed to try to prevent

:33:44.:33:49.

the spread of the deadly chalara fraxinea fungus. A ban on the

:33:49.:33:52.

import of ash trees came into force on Monday and an expert tree

:33:52.:33:54.

disease taskforce has been established. But in the Commons

:33:54.:33:57.

yesterday, Labour accused the government of being asleep on the

:33:57.:34:03.

job and failing to act quickly enough.

:34:04.:34:09.

And we are taking the threat posed by Chalara fraxinea, or ash dieback,

:34:09.:34:15.

C Risley. We have imposed a temporary ban on imports and

:34:15.:34:21.

restrictions of moments of ash trees in consultation with industry

:34:21.:34:24.

and pursed risk assessment. The band will be affected before the

:34:24.:34:31.

start of the main UK planting season. Preceding this ban, the

:34:31.:34:35.

Horticultural Traders Association urged members to follow a voluntary

:34:35.:34:39.

moratorium throughout this period, which has been well observed.

:34:39.:34:44.

risk facing the UK from ash dieback is apparent. Experts fear it is the

:34:44.:34:48.

biggest threat to British treasons 25 million trees were killed by

:34:48.:34:53.

Dutch elm disease 30 years ago. It is disappointing the Secretary of

:34:53.:34:56.

State announced a ban in Staffordshire instead of in person

:34:56.:35:01.

to this house. We welcome the ban, but the question is, why did it

:35:01.:35:07.

take so long? Ash dieback was found last February in Buckinghamshire.

:35:07.:35:11.

Why did ministers sit back, cross their fingers and wait until the

:35:11.:35:16.

disease was found in the wild in June? Why did the Horticultural

:35:16.:35:20.

Traders Association act before the Government? Why did they

:35:20.:35:24.

consultation on an import ban on Ashe starts only on 31st August.

:35:24.:35:29.

is the disease was intercepted there has been monitoring, tracing

:35:29.:35:33.

forward movements from plans from infected nurseries and inspecting

:35:33.:35:38.

trees in the The City of infective sides to ascertain whether disease

:35:38.:35:41.

and may be present in the wider environment. It is an enormous task

:35:41.:35:48.

and involves over 1000 sites. It is ongoing. It is as a consequence of

:35:48.:35:51.

that the 100,000 trees that have been destroyed have had to be taken

:35:51.:35:56.

now. This episode is a terrible indictment of the Government, but

:35:56.:36:00.

also of the opposition. De Horticultural Traders Association

:36:00.:36:04.

warned about this disease in 2009, so neither of you houses have

:36:04.:36:09.

worked hard enough and fast enough. Will the Minister reverse the trend

:36:09.:36:12.

of vipers and cuts he is making to the Forestry Commission so we have

:36:12.:36:17.

the resources to tackle this problem properly? She is not

:36:17.:36:21.

correct in what she said. I have already explained at the sequence

:36:21.:36:24.

of events and I have explained we have not in any way reduce the

:36:24.:36:32.

resources available to plant health Susana Mendonca has more on this,

:36:32.:36:40.

let's join her now outside Parliament. As we will hearing,

:36:40.:36:43.

this Chalara fraxinea, or ash dieback has the potential impact of

:36:43.:36:50.

being devastating on our ash tree population in the UK. In Denmark,

:36:50.:36:55.

90% of ash trees have been destroyed. Labour don't think the

:36:55.:36:59.

Government has been going far enough. I'm joined by the shadow

:36:59.:37:03.

environment secretary and the Conservative MP for Hexham. Mary,

:37:03.:37:07.

you were saying you do not think the Government has gone far enough.

:37:07.:37:12.

They have banned the import of these ash trees and are cutting

:37:12.:37:16.

down the effect of ones, is that not enough? We welcome the ban, but

:37:16.:37:22.

why did it take ministers so long to act? This was found in a nursery

:37:22.:37:26.

in Buckinghamshire in February. At the Horticultural Traders

:37:26.:37:29.

Association implemented their own voluntary ban before the Government

:37:29.:37:33.

had started consultation. They waited until it was found in the

:37:33.:37:36.

wild in June and brought the ban in yesterday. It is too little too

:37:36.:37:40.

late and another sign of incompetence we are used to from

:37:40.:37:44.

this Government. What do you make of that, that the Government was

:37:44.:37:48.

sleeping on this and should have acted sooner? She would say that.

:37:48.:37:54.

We visited 1000 sites in the last eight months and cuts down 100,000

:37:54.:37:59.

trees and destroyed them. It is significant. You have to consult

:37:59.:38:02.

with the businesses he will be involved in importing and the

:38:02.:38:05.

Government has done that consultation, and then banned all

:38:05.:38:10.

importations. That cannot happen overnight. There is also the

:38:10.:38:13.

problem of it not just being the importation, it is something that

:38:13.:38:17.

can be airborne. You look at examples in East Anglia and there

:38:17.:38:22.

is evidence it is an airborne transfer from the Continent on

:38:22.:38:27.

ongoing basis. We cannot do anything about that. This is also

:38:27.:38:31.

something that has baffled and obstructed repeated countries over

:38:31.:38:36.

the last 10 years, because it has been going for more than 10 years.

:38:36.:38:39.

There are other countries being affected by this, Denmark and is

:38:40.:38:44.

this something wider than just what the Government can do? Absolutely

:38:44.:38:50.

not. My have asked the minister to publish the scientific evidence to

:38:50.:38:54.

show it is airborne. When ministers and MPs say it is airborne, they

:38:54.:39:00.

are creating cover for themselves as an excuse for inaction. There is

:39:00.:39:05.

evidence. And there is no evidence, I have had spoken to scientists

:39:05.:39:09.

over the weekend. It can be brought in either on birds or on people's

:39:09.:39:14.

jackets. The country was disease free last autumn and scientists

:39:14.:39:19.

were on the alert. And the trees scientists have had their budget

:39:19.:39:23.

cuts from 10 million down to seven. We heard David Heath saying it is

:39:23.:39:27.

not the case, in terms of research there has not been a cut that has

:39:27.:39:33.

led to this. Is this just about politics? David said about the cut

:39:33.:39:37.

to plant health, but he did not respond to my challenge about

:39:37.:39:44.

Forest Research reduced from 12 million down to 7 million. Also

:39:44.:39:48.

seven offices have closed and people have been laid off.

:39:48.:39:52.

Regardless whether the cuts have resulted in this, there will be

:39:52.:39:55.

people in your constituency who will be worried about this and may

:39:55.:39:59.

be cuts to Forestry budgets may have caused this? There is no

:39:59.:40:05.

evidence to this. Tree and plant health budgets have been maintained.

:40:05.:40:09.

More money is being spent than ever before on this issue. In my

:40:09.:40:14.

constituency, I have a number of forests and I met with the Forestry

:40:14.:40:18.

Commission in the summer and they are working on this. Sadly, we have

:40:18.:40:24.

to leave it. If people are worried, there is a new Act created way you

:40:24.:40:32.

can submit any examples if you can find it. -- application.

:40:32.:40:35.

As the cost of food goes up and household budgets get squeezed,

:40:35.:40:38.

spare a thought for Britain's small farmers. They're facing a real

:40:38.:40:42.

struggle to survive this winter. The wet summer devastated fodder

:40:42.:40:45.

crops so they're facing huge bills to buy extra animal feed. And they

:40:45.:40:48.

say they're also under pressure from supermarkets keen to keep

:40:48.:40:51.

their costs down. Sunday Politics North West reporter, Peter Marshall,

:40:51.:40:56.

reports from Cumbria. We've been joined from Plymouth by

:40:56.:41:06.
:41:06.:41:06.

Mum it is an industry that is in the blood. Hill farming has been

:41:06.:41:11.

through tough times in the past. This is a market in North Yorkshire.

:41:11.:41:16.

Harry Hutchinson is among those looking for livestock. For the last

:41:16.:41:26.

30 years he has farmed the hills. The cost of production is far above

:41:26.:41:29.

what it cost the consumer to buy. We're not getting paid enough for

:41:29.:41:34.

it. Does he believe some would go hungry to have enough money to feed

:41:34.:41:40.

their livestock? Every hill farmer you talk to will put his stock

:41:40.:41:44.

before himself. It has to come first, that is what we do. Prices

:41:44.:41:49.

are holding up this autumn, but there is an expensive winter ahead.

:41:49.:41:53.

The wet summer has devastated productions so farmers will have to

:41:53.:42:00.

buy additional fee. On a Lancashire, Cumbria border, Robert Pennington

:42:00.:42:05.

has 200 sheep to get through the winter. A lot of farmers will go

:42:05.:42:13.

out of business. There was a lot of feet been sold at �60 a bail, how

:42:13.:42:20.

can farmers make a living out of that. The price -- price of grain

:42:20.:42:26.

is going up. It is going to be a very tight year. These may not be

:42:26.:42:30.

the best of times, but most in the industry accept they are not the

:42:30.:42:38.

worst of times. Images from the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak are in

:42:38.:42:44.

our memories. And the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution

:42:44.:42:48.

gave out nearly �30 million in aid. Amounts paid out to farming

:42:48.:42:53.

families in hardship this year are smaller, but pressure is mounting.

:42:53.:42:57.

We have cases in England and Wales where welfare officers have carried

:42:57.:43:02.

food hampers in their cars so encases of extreme hardship, when

:43:02.:43:06.

families don't have anything on the table, we can provide food and

:43:06.:43:12.

supermarket vouchers as well. changes in the Common Agricultural

:43:12.:43:15.

Policy being negotiated, it is a critical time. Some upland farmers

:43:15.:43:19.

fear there will be changes to subsidy schemes which will make

:43:19.:43:24.

life harder still, for them. It is crucial the payments available to

:43:24.:43:28.

the hill farmers are able to come to those farmers, and they are able

:43:28.:43:33.

to choose what they can do with them. What farmers do is, they use

:43:33.:43:40.

those payments to produce food. Government's commitment to the

:43:40.:43:45.

Cumbrian uplands prosperity Plan, which will bring new facilities to

:43:45.:43:50.

farming communities is welcomed. Despite tough times, there is

:43:50.:43:54.

confidence in the future of the industry.

:43:55.:44:01.

We have been joined from Plymouth by Mary Talbot rose from the small

:44:01.:44:07.

farms Association and Tim Farron. Mary, small farms are being

:44:07.:44:11.

squeezed from all sides by rising costs and supermarkets demanding

:44:11.:44:16.

they cut prices. Can they survive? They can, the great thing about

:44:16.:44:22.

British agriculture is there is huge diversity. The important thing

:44:22.:44:27.

is the West -- in the West Country is most farms are family owned.

:44:27.:44:33.

They have a future as long as one or maybe more family members can

:44:33.:44:37.

find employment off the farm and bring income into the farm. As you

:44:37.:44:42.

report said, prices are being squeezed, profit margins for

:44:42.:44:46.

farmers are constantly squeezed. We have energy costs rising and then

:44:46.:44:50.

we had this horrific weather, not in this country but all over the

:44:50.:44:56.

world. Extremes of climate, so the yields are down all round.

:44:56.:45:02.

Farron, people don't want to pay high prices. Some people will pay

:45:02.:45:05.

for small organic produce to support their local farms, but

:45:05.:45:10.

people are suffering and don't want to pay higher prices. There is no

:45:10.:45:16.

way around it is there? Farmers are at the bottom end of the supply

:45:16.:45:20.

chain. In the middle you have supermarkets do with power. It is

:45:20.:45:25.

an obvious and clear example of a broken market. When you have a few

:45:25.:45:30.

huge retailers, a large number of not so well known but equally

:45:30.:45:34.

powerful processors, and thousands of not very powerful farmers doing

:45:34.:45:38.

the hard work. It is easy for the big four supermarkets to take the

:45:38.:45:48.
:45:48.:45:54.

profit and give less than cost Do you agree? Yes they have a

:45:54.:45:58.

little cabal or a war going on between them. They watch each other

:45:58.:46:02.

like hawk. Once we were more sustainable. This is one thing the

:46:02.:46:06.

Government should do, put a lot of effort behind farming and try to

:46:07.:46:11.

explain to the public that we have become more self-sufficient and we

:46:11.:46:17.

don't need to imimportant food. When you say sustainable, are you

:46:17.:46:22.

talking about Government subsidising small farmers? That is

:46:22.:46:26.

a big political issue, but they need to negotiate hard on the

:46:26.:46:29.

common agricultural policy. There is a lot of negotiations going on

:46:29.:46:34.

at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty as to when it will be

:46:34.:46:38.

introduced and what the deal will be. I think it should favour small

:46:39.:46:45.

farmers. But one thing I should say the bureaucracy needs to be cut out.

:46:45.:46:49.

Do you agree with that. How much should government do, would you

:46:49.:46:55.

like to see further subsidies? There is a lot of support. There is,

:46:55.:47:00.

but more? I it it has to be targeted. This is the hind crisis,

:47:00.:47:06.

our ability to feed ours has dropped and we see more farmers go

:47:06.:47:09.

out of business and we import more. It is about make sure you pay

:47:09.:47:16.

farmers for the work they do. In Cumbria our tuerism - Toucheism

:47:16.:47:21.

industry is worth �3 billion a year and the farmers back that and they

:47:21.:47:29.

get paid nothing for that. Is a view that says why should we

:47:29.:47:33.

subsidise an industry that can't support itself? I was brought up on

:47:33.:47:38.

a small farm and my sympathy is with the farmer. When we joined the

:47:38.:47:42.

European community, we made a decision that farming would be

:47:42.:47:46.

looked at as an industry. The French and the Germans made a

:47:46.:47:50.

different decision and they support their small farmers in a way

:47:50.:47:54.

British governments never have. Not just by subsidy. It is too late to

:47:54.:48:00.

turn the clock back. If you're a small dairy farmer producing milk

:48:00.:48:07.

at 62 pence a litre, you can't compete with huge farms that can do

:48:07.:48:11.

it. Aren't economies of scale something we have to face and admit

:48:11.:48:16.

that food produced on a big scale... That is why they have gone out of

:48:16.:48:21.

business. Because they can't compete. Don't farmers have to be

:48:21.:48:25.

realistic. We are talking about economies of scale, competition,

:48:25.:48:28.

you can't compete with price, so perhaps more farmers should just

:48:28.:48:33.

pack up and go and do something else. A lot of them have packed up

:48:33.:48:38.

and done something else. The other thing is farmers need to realise

:48:38.:48:44.

they have transferable skills. And many farms that I know don't

:48:44.:48:48.

survive purelyen what they produce or the live stock they produce.

:48:48.:48:51.

They have to diversify within that business, or they send a family

:48:51.:48:57.

member out to bring in income from outside. I went on holiday in Italy,

:48:58.:49:02.

they get huge subsidies on the farms to re-create holiday homes,

:49:02.:49:07.

big subs Deux would you like to see that sort of subsidy, up to 80%

:49:07.:49:11.

they were telling me they were getting to diversify. You look at

:49:11.:49:16.

what happens, since foot-and-mouth, there have been diversification in

:49:16.:49:21.

areas that can do it. Some farms are so out of way that it is not

:49:21.:49:27.

possible. In the end, on a positive note, the world population will

:49:27.:49:31.

increase, because of the growing middle grass in the develople world,

:49:31.:49:35.

the demand for food will double. It is a good time to be a farmer. I

:49:35.:49:39.

want the UK to be at the table, rather than dropping behind and

:49:39.:49:44.

having to import. Thank you for joining us. Now apparent think

:49:44.:49:48.

palace of Westminster is in dire need of repairs and over the summer

:49:48.:49:54.

rumours were rife that MPs might have to move out for a radical

:49:54.:49:58.

overhaul of the building. James Landale has lerpbdz this won't

:49:58.:50:07.

happen, because it would cost too much. James, how likely this a

:50:07.:50:12.

temporary evacuation? It is still a possibility. At the meeting of the

:50:12.:50:16.

body that runs Parliament, House of Commons commission, there was an

:50:16.:50:20.

attempt by a senior member of the committee to kill off the idea on

:50:20.:50:23.

the grounds it would do Parliament's reputation too much

:50:23.:50:28.

damage to spend billions and I mean billions, De Kamping the whole of

:50:28.:50:34.

Parliament while the whole place is renovated, but that idea was

:50:34.:50:38.

resisted. The idea is still on the table. But what the MPs think is

:50:38.:50:42.

before they consider doing that, they have to have proper business

:50:42.:50:46.

plans so they know what the costs are and can make a business case

:50:47.:50:53.

about value for money to voters, who may think it is not a good idea.

:50:53.:50:57.

But they post pond any final decision for at least a year when

:50:57.:51:02.

they do more work on what is possible and how much would it cost.

:51:02.:51:07.

But they say there is a real problem, the place is full of

:51:07.:51:13.

asbestos, it is a fire risk, it is 150 years old and it has not been

:51:13.:51:17.

touched. Now, I don't know if you have had a chance to speak to MPs,

:51:17.:51:25.

or any get any feel of support, it would be very disruptive to to move

:51:25.:51:30.

everyone? Well MPs would be able to stay at their new office block. One

:51:30.:51:35.

idea doing the roundss and this is a possibility, you swap, you kick

:51:35.:51:41.

the Lords out of their ends, the MPs sit in the House of Lords and

:51:41.:51:45.

you swap and do vice ver Alex Salmond all you are doing is moving

:51:45.:51:52.

out one -- and you do vice versa. All yo doing is moving one out. One

:51:52.:51:57.

option somebody said was the idea of filling a space that is next to

:51:57.:52:01.

portcullis house, loads of different places where they could

:52:01.:52:06.

do is. But they haven't made a decision yet. Well it doesn't sound

:52:06.:52:12.

as bad ace first thought. Alcohol and politics, they complement each

:52:12.:52:18.

other like strawberries and cream. That is why it is important to the

:52:18.:52:22.

House of Commons authorities to dish out a new contract to provide

:52:22.:52:27.

wine in the watering holes that the supply should be of hotel or

:52:27.:52:31.

private club standard. Can members tell the difference? Are they that

:52:31.:52:36.

discerning? In a moment we will find out. Before we whet your taste

:52:36.:52:44.

buds, a note of caution, Jim Hacker. Good evening Constable. Can I see

:52:44.:52:49.

your licence? Yes certain Lu. you -- aren't you Mr Jim Hacker?

:52:49.:52:54.

Yes. What seems to be the trouble. Any reason you were drive sog

:52:54.:53:01.

slowly? I didn't want the curb to - - kerb to hit. I didn't want to hit

:53:01.:53:09.

the kerb. I have a silver badge somewhere. I see. Perhaps constable

:53:09.:53:19.
:53:19.:53:19.

Evans will drive. I will drive. you're in a proper state to drive.

:53:19.:53:24.

Don't drink, well not while my husband's driving. And now we have

:53:24.:53:32.

been joined by the Labour MP Austin Mitchell and the wine critic, Jill

:53:32.:53:36.

Ji Golden. So how good are you at deciding what is quality and what

:53:36.:53:42.

is less quality wine. I have drinks here. I will give you Jacob Rees

:53:42.:53:47.

Mogg the white one. You can take these two here and I'm going to

:53:47.:53:50.

give you Austin Mitchell, not that I actually talk to you about

:53:50.:53:55.

whether you prefer white or red, you're going to have the red.

:53:55.:54:01.

is a shame, I like white. If we had more time I would swap. But it is

:54:01.:54:07.

pleasing everyone. Jilly, we start with white and I'm going to keep

:54:07.:54:17.
:54:17.:54:18.

the sparkling. I will sacrifice. First, Jacob Rees Mogg, try No 3.

:54:18.:54:23.

And would you as well Jilly. This has been worked out with great

:54:23.:54:28.

precision. Let's see if Jay xob and Jilly can tell the difference

:54:28.:54:38.
:54:38.:54:42.

between. -- Jacob. That is what wine snobs do. No 4. You can try

:54:42.:54:52.
:54:52.:54:53.

your other one. Have you swallowed No 3? Yes. Go on then. All right.

:54:53.:54:58.

Jacob Rees Mogg, which do you think is the posh plonk and which is the

:54:58.:55:05.

less posh? I have no idea. First... I don't understand why they think

:55:05.:55:10.

you can't buy decent wine on the high street. It is a good question,

:55:10.:55:16.

you can buy good wine on the high street. I have to challenge you for

:55:16.:55:21.

saying posh plonk and none posh. Supermarkets have brilliant wine

:55:21.:55:27.

and lot of it is posh. Most of us drink it. They matching what you

:55:27.:55:33.

can get in pricing with this. not get from it the supermarket? It

:55:33.:55:39.

would be cheaper. Which did you like more? I liked three more than

:55:39.:55:49.
:55:49.:55:53.

four. Three of course is the �1995 bottle, that is a more -- �19.95

:55:53.:56:01.

bottle. That is more up market than No 4. Are both obscure Italian

:56:01.:56:06.

grape varieties. I think the peck Ricoh from Marks and Spencer is

:56:06.:56:11.

gorgeous and ten pounds cheaper. I like the other one, but it is a

:56:11.:56:18.

more quirky wine. Let's strie Austin Mitchell on the road. --

:56:18.:56:23.

let's try Austin Mitchell on the red. I think the lore classes will

:56:23.:56:30.

be worse than the upper classes in this. How does that taste? It is

:56:30.:56:37.

all right. Try number six. Although he has said now he prefers the

:56:37.:56:42.

white. Do the red. That is number six. Which one do you prefer?

:56:42.:56:48.

prefer number six. Well Jilly, yet again. Discerning tastes. Well yes.

:56:48.:56:54.

A man of the people, Austin. I only drink New Zealand wine from

:56:54.:56:59.

supermarkets, because it is cheaper and better. Tell him which is which.

:57:00.:57:05.

You have preferred the wine merchant wine. The expensive one.

:57:05.:57:15.
:57:15.:57:15.

Yes. It's �20 I wouldn't buy it. How much is the other one?

:57:15.:57:22.

number five is �10. And that is from Marks and Spencer. Is it �10

:57:22.:57:26.

better? If I had my troubles I would get plenty of that. Now I get

:57:26.:57:34.

a chance to try them. I haven't been given which is which.

:57:34.:57:43.

House of Commons had magnificent cellars. And then sold. Bob Maxwell

:57:43.:57:48.

sold our wine. Sold it to himself didn't he Of course he did. Or gave

:57:48.:57:52.

it to his friends. That is extraordinary, that is a clean

:57:52.:57:57.

sweep for the whine merchants. But these are both English sparkling

:57:57.:58:03.

wines which I am keen on. Marks and Spencer provided the others.

:58:03.:58:10.

the Marks and Spencer, the English one is glorious. This one which is

:58:10.:58:18.

from a neighbouring vine yard is �29. You all vote for the high

:58:18.:58:24.

street. The high street wine for house of commons. People are

:58:24.:58:28.

discerning about quality. Get the sewer market. We still have to pay.

:58:28.:58:34.

It is not as if they're free. answer to our quiz and the question

:58:34.:58:38.

was what is Parliament thinking doing about doing to save money. We

:58:38.:58:43.

will have to give you answer tomorrow. Sorry thank you to all of

:58:43.:58:48.

you. All our guest and the wine in the studio and for being our guest

:58:48.:58:51.

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