12/11/2012 Daily Politics


12/11/2012

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Transcript


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. Auntie's angst

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continues as more heads not exactly roar but step aside. It was the

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turn of the head of news and her deputy this morning. And on the

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principle that it never rains but it pours for the BBC these days, a

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row has broken out over the pay-off to the new -- to the now former

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Director-General George Entwistle. The Prime Minister and a raft of

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other politicians this morning said it was hard to justify his golden

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goodbye of �450,000. More political shenanigans in the

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Commons, this time over the price of petrol. Rebel Tory MPs could

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side with Labour again and forced another government defeat.

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Is it all really doom and gloom Armagh High Street are we

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witnessing a retail version of Darwin's natural selection?

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And it really is tough in the jungle. It is possibly one of the

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worst nights of my life and I don't think I want to go through it again.

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Who was that?! Have you not seen her before?!

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With us is the chief executive of isn't -- Vision Express, Jonathan

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Lawson. You are not spec Savers? Absolutely not, Vision Express.

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Let's talk about tax avoidance. You couldn't resist! Executives

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from Google, Starbucks and Amazon will be questioned later today by

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MPs on the Public Accounts Committee as part of an inquiry

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into tax-avoidance. All three companies have been accused of

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paying little or no tax on UK earnings. They say they meet all

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their legal obligations. Is Starbucks paying its fair share of

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Corporation Tax? That is for other people to understand whether they

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are adhering correctly. What do you think as an observer and also

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running a business? Are they paying what they should? In our

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circumstance, and I would suspect the vast majority of businesses

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that are like us, registered in the UK and domiciled in the UK, we pay

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a substantial amount of corporation tax. A few added to that the amount

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of VAT and National Insurance... You don't pay that, you collected

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from the customers and give it to the Government. We still incur the

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charge before we pay... You don't pay, we pay VAT, businesses do not.

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If I can finish the point, the vast majority of organisations like us,

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the level of tax we pay is greater than the total level of profit made

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in a financial year. Other companies are finding ways of

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avoiding that. If that is within the rules than the answers are for

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those who make the rules, not necessarily the individuals.

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should they change? You must get annoyed if you are paying that

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level of tax, and VAT, you must get very cross with companies who avoid

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it? I focus on getting cross with things like an influence like how

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we run our own business. I would prefer to see rather than a

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discussion about changing the rules, enforcing and implementing the

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rules. Suggestions of a further potential sales tax... That is what

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was suggested by the former City Minister. Starbucks said they do

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not have profits here, he says they should pay tax on their fails. --

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are now sales. That would be the last thing we would need at the

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moment. I would come back to my point, enforce the rules fairly to

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begin with rather than coming up with yet another level of

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bureaucracy. Is there anything wrong with companies basing their

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European operations in countries with lower corporation tax rates,

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like Ireland and Luxembourg? think the point you are making is

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this is quite complex. If we were to make further changes we would

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need to do it with the support of other countries. Some of the things

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we are seeing in terms of Starbucks, Vision Express has other operators

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in other parts of Europe operating under our licence. We pay tax in

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the UK on that revenue. Thank you. Or be it is time for our daily quiz.

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MP Nadine Dorries, if you did not recognise her in the opening, has

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be appearing on the reality show I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.

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Last night the public decided she would be one of the first to

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undergo something called a bush tucker trial. What will it be?

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Being buried alive with insects, being buried alive with angry

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constituents from Mid Bedfordshire, sounds uncomfortable, a 40 minute

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interview with John Humphrys or obtaining a cobra? We will give you

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the correct answer at the end of the show.

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We are getting reports that Abu Qatada, who the British government

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has been trying to deport to Jordan on various terrorist charges, has

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won an appeal in front of I think it was an immigration... A special

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immigration tribunal. It has been a long, drawn-out process but he has

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won, a major setback for the Government and the Home Office. The

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moment we get more details we will bring them.

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You may have noticed, or you may have other things to do, that it

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has been a tumultuous time at the BBC. Another senior manager or two

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have stepped aside. It has been another busy morning, but Jo will

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bring us up to speed. The BBC crisis following the

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revelations about Jimmy Savile and the report on Newsnight which led

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to false suggestions about the involvement of Lord McAlpine in

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child abuse has continued to grow. On Saturday night the Director-

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General, George Entwistle, stepped down after only 54 days in the job.

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That has led to a row about a decision to award him a pay-off of

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�450,000, his annual salary. Some MPs have suggested Chris Patten's

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position as chairman of the BBC Trust is untenable. Two more senior

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managers, Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell, the director and deputy

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directors of news, have stepped aside. A new acting editor, Karen

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O'Connor, has been appointed to lead Newsnight. The BBC says it

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wants to establish a single management to allow clarity around

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the editorial chain of command. The BBC's deputy political editor James

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Landale joins me. What is the feeling in political circles and

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the anger and the fall-out? At the moment, the political pressure is

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overt George Entwistle's pay-off. The Prime Minister's official

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spokesman says it is hard to justify, as does Culture Secretary

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Maria Miller. A Downing Street source said that Mr Entwistle

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should search his conscience, MPs are saying it is unacceptable.

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Grant Shapps, the chairman of the Conservatives, says it is correct

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to say that this pay-off will hurt the BBC almost most out of the

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current crisis dogging it. Where the pressure is there but not as

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acute is over the role of Chris Patten. Some Conservative MPs say

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his position is untenable and he should stand down, but Downing

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Street was asked explicitly this morning if the Prime Minister had

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confidence in all pattern and we were told that it did. At the

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moment Downing Street has tried to keep a certain amount of distance,

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but Downing Street has commented on the pay-off. Is Chris Patten in

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trouble? At the moment Khaled Downing Street will wait until all

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of these areas inquiry's report, get a sense of the layer of the

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land. I don't think they want to be in a position where they are

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accused of leaving the BBC rudderless. I think they want Chris

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Patten and plays so new changes can be put there, but at the moment

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they suggest that Chris Patten has the confidence of the Prime

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Minister and they give no evidence that will change in the short term.

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The BBC is taking steps to try to get a grip of the situation. At the

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moment it does not seem to have worked? What many MPs feel is a

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sense of frustration and anger. Many of them recognise in their

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view the importance of the BBC as an institution and its role in

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British society, but they express anger and frustration that some

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decisions made. I think they are hoping that better decisions will

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be made in the future, certainly the anger at the moment is focused

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on the pay-off rather than the structural changes that might have

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to be made. Thank you. Just to confirm that breaking news that

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Millbank, terror suspect Abu Qatada has won his appeal against

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deportation to Jordan, he has won his appeal, we will see what the

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fall-out is. No doubt the Home Secretary will make a statement

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shortly. Back to the BBC. With us the former

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Culture Secretary for the Labour government, Tessa Jowell, and,

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Burns, a Conservative MP serving on the Culture, Media and Sport Select

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Committee. We asked for anybody from the BBC to come on. They

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declined. We were very polite in our invitation, we even said please.

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We are told that the new acting Director-General of the BBC is

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giving an interview to the News Channel in the next hour or so,

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that is the BBC News Channel, but not to the BBC Daily Politics.

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There is a Marshall McLuhan moment going on, the BBC News Channel is

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anchoring its programme from outside the BBC headquarters where

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their studios are. We have not seen that before! We also asked for the

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Government to come on but they refused, we are not hurt because we

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have these two guests. How is the BBC handling the crisis so far?

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Appallingly. What we are now seeing is the decisive action we hope to

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see a few weeks ago, -- a few days ago, if it had been taken and Mr

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Entwistle might be still in his job. It is getting a grip in a delayed

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fashion. I agreed. If you look back over the history of BBC crisis,

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there is a pattern. They are not good at handling crises. I think

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part of this is the BBC's culture all, at management level, and

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reactivity to the world outside. To whom they are accountable through

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the public money they spend from the licence-fee payer. Eight is it

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getting a grip this morning? -- is it getting a grip? Slowly, we are

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seeing people stepping aside and action against those involved in

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the most appalling behaviour. They fail to broadcast allocations they

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could stand up and broadcast it once they could not. After the

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Jimmy Savile thing, for them not to have been any edicts for anything

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to do with Newsnight and child abuse to end up on the Director-

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General's desk was terrible. has Chris Patten performed as

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chairman? I think Chris Patten has probably done the best job that he

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can, what I think he is critical for Chris Patten is what happens

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over the next six months. I hope we can see a new emerging assertive

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BBC Trust really standing up for the BBC licence fee payer,

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reminding everybody in the senior management at the BBC that the

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public pay their money. What is the role of the BBC Trust? Is it to

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stand up for the licence-fee payer or regulate the BBC? It is,

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constitutionally, to represent the interests of the licence fee payer,

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value-for-money, quality of programming collapse and oversee

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the executive decisions of the executive board of the BBC. It is a

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broken model? No. Is it a mess? It is not a broken model, it is a

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model which needs to be delivered with an awful lot more conviction

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than it has, but it very much reflects where public opinion is.

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The public, the pay the licence fee, wants to feel it is their BBC and

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they have some control. Are you telling me you think the British

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public have trust in the BBC Trust? I think the public definitely have

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trust and confidence, very resilient levels of confidence, in

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the BBC. I said in the BBC Trust. very much doubt that the average

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person watching at home tonight draws a distinction. It is meant to

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be regulating or representing them. People don't know that distinction.

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Is the model Brogan? I don't think so, I think it is up to Chris

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Patten to decide what he wants to do. I think he should see what the

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role of the next Director-General is. I wonder if there is an

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argument for splitting the role, having an editor in chief and a

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Director-General who runs the bureaucracy. Chris Patten needs to

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focus on the future of the BBC. The brand is globally recognised. Many

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of us, even Tories, are great fans of the BBC and we wanted the Trust

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restored. Great fans? I have always been. Any colleagues? I could name

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and number, but that would be unfair on them. You are not sure

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who they are? I am not sure they wish to be outed! Is it that

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embarrassing? Is Mr Entwistle's �450,000 pay-off justified? I don't

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know the contractual settlement. was six months. That is a year.

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What are these are the functions that he has been asked to assist

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with? We are all asked to assist with things... It is a simple

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answer, is it justified? Part of the problem with the BBC, I am no

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longer in government, his government trying to micromanage

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and intervene in the BBC when things go wrong. That should stop.

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I am asking for your view as a member of parliament and a

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representative of your constituents. It is our money, the licence payers

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money, is it justified? I think it sounds like a lot. You know that,

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it is. If he is going to persuade... It is not justified at all, but we

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must not get upset about this. -- we must not obsess about this. In

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the scale of the challenge... me ask you, not as a businessman

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but as a licence payer in this country, first of all, do you think

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the BBC Trust is doing its job Jay's senior appointment as

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Entwhistle to be vindicated after 55 days, for me that poses a bigger

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question about the decision-making had a very senior level about that

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decision in the first place. decision taken by Lord Patten.

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think that answers your first question. I don't answer my

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questions, you have to! Then I would say, to take the points that

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were made earlier, to be normal, average person such as myself

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watching television, the face of the BBC in which I am placing trust

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is based upon what I am watching. However, having read everything

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that has gone on recently, my biggest concern would be with the

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senior management at the BBC, and if that is the trust, that would be

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the trust. Do you believe Mr Entwistle should have had a

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�450,000 pay-off? I believe he should have had what he was

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entitled to within the terms of his contrasts -- contract. It is

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greater than that, there is a judgment? Over that. It is greater

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than that and there is no explanation, well, let's for him to

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go quickly... It is the chairman of the trust's job to say, this is why

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we consider that this was justified. There was great resentment amongst

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a number of colleagues that certain presenters spat out the word, a

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senior figure from the Thatcher era. There was a sense that Newsnight

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wanted to seek to smear a senior Tory politician associated with

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Margaret Thatcher. You think it was politically motivated? Yes, and the

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way the phrase was spat out, a senior political figure from the

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Thatcher era, and that upset a number of us, we were very angry

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about that. The standards of journalism on that particular

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broadcast episodes were appalling. Were you angry enough to want to

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seek revenge? I hope Lord McAlpine will take legal action, and I think

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he will be successful. I don't think there is any doubt about

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that! I hope our committee will look at how on earth we regular

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Twitter, the internet, these appalling things that are said

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about people that you would never have got away with in the Sunday

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Times in your days. Where does this leave the child abuse story now? We

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have got two new inquiry set up in North Wales, including an inquiry

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into an inquiry. We have got the BBC's Savile inquiry, I think there

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is another one. To be honest, I have lost count! There are about

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six. What seems to be the case is that the number of people who have

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been accused because they are involved in one or another is

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destabilising the management at an absolutely critical time. -- Ricky

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used. I think those inquiries have got to continue to their

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conclusions, so that if they are people who did bad, evil, criminal

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things and they are still alive, that they are brought to book. But

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then there are also very important process points that the BBC has got

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to learn from. I was not just thinking of the BBC has tended to

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be lost in the media maelstrom. There are damaged adults who

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survived this who deserve retribution than and for those who

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assault them to be brought to account. There should be no

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deflection from that. Do you believe that there is a paedophile

:20:06.:20:11.

ring operating in Whitehall and Westminster? I do not believe that.

:20:12.:20:15.

At the very core of the whole child-abuse thing, if we look at

:20:15.:20:19.

the Savile thing, is that we have an evil man who is dead. There is

:20:19.:20:23.

no way of bringing him to justice, and that is at the core of the

:20:23.:20:27.

problem. We are setting up all sorts of inquiries... We may be

:20:27.:20:32.

able to bring to justice those who colluded. But we may never get to

:20:32.:20:35.

the portrait on all of these things because of time, because of death.

:20:35.:20:40.

Do believe there is a paedophile ring operating in the Westminster-

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Whitehall region? You are expressing that in the current

:20:45.:20:49.

tense, Andrew. I think if there is any suggestion of that, then such

:20:49.:20:56.

allegations... Well, has operated? I am not aware of that ever taking

:20:56.:21:00.

place. If there is any evidence, it should be passed to the police to

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be properly investigated. We could hardly do otherwise on something

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like that. Thank you both for joining us.

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Now, it is what is known in the business as a no-brainer, an

:21:11.:21:14.

economic downturn spells doom for high-street retailers, but while

:21:14.:21:17.

many small stores and big grants have gone to the wall in recent

:21:18.:21:25.

years, is it all doom and gloom? -- big brands.

:21:25.:21:29.

Take a high street, add the next five years, growing online retail,

:21:29.:21:33.

reduced budgets, a global economic downturn, a loss of spending money

:21:33.:21:37.

and a loss of faith in big-name brands, and you get a shopping

:21:37.:21:40.

experience that looks like this, pretty gloomy. But it is not

:21:41.:21:44.

necessarily terminal. There is no doubt a consumer revolution has

:21:44.:21:48.

taken place and it has hurt the high street, but many retail

:21:48.:21:52.

experts say from revolution comes evolution. If our high streets are

:21:52.:21:56.

going to be revived, they will not look like they used to, and that is

:21:56.:22:01.

because the ones that survive at the moment are the ones that we as

:22:01.:22:04.

human beings need to physically being, otherwise increasingly we

:22:05.:22:09.

shop with the click of a mouse. Nail bars were reported to double

:22:09.:22:13.

the numbers in the last two years, because you cannot get your nails

:22:13.:22:17.

done online. You may laugh, but it is true, you cannot meet your

:22:17.:22:21.

friends socially for a drink online. You might be able to Facebook each

:22:21.:22:25.

other, but you are in your own homes. The things that provide us

:22:25.:22:27.

with the connected environment that brings people together are the

:22:27.:22:31.

things that are still in existence, and what I think struggling

:22:31.:22:34.

retailers need to do is either recognise it is out of town and

:22:34.:22:38.

online and that is the only way to trade, all they need to bring the

:22:38.:22:42.

experience back to life and make its social, make it enjoyable, but

:22:42.:22:45.

that usually comes as a price. government has provided some money

:22:46.:22:52.

as part of the Mary Portas review, and a number of areas have one

:22:52.:22:56.

access to 100,000 all -- �100,000 or �10,000, but it is not enough to

:22:56.:23:00.

spruce up areas that need more than a makeover, and plenty of places

:23:00.:23:05.

got nothing. Mary Portas also hit on something else. The biggest

:23:05.:23:08.

recommendation of was that the government needs to re-evaluate

:23:08.:23:12.

rates, and that is massive. We are going to see more businesses

:23:12.:23:16.

struggling to pay, and in Baghdad the statistics that a 16% of

:23:16.:23:19.

independent retailers do not expect to make it through next year

:23:19.:23:27.

because they cannot pay their business rates. Before we give up

:23:27.:23:31.

our high street and retreat to a computer or a mega shopping centre,

:23:31.:23:35.

think honest. Whilst many shops have gone out of business,

:23:35.:23:39.

vacancies have been static, which means others are replacing them,

:23:39.:23:43.

and if entrepreneurs can bring the social experience to what they are

:23:43.:23:49.

offering, maybe we will return. Jonathan Lawson, the chief

:23:49.:23:53.

executive of Vision Express, is still with us, and we are joined by

:23:53.:23:56.

the Conservative MP and member of the Business Select Committee

:23:56.:23:59.

Nadhim Zahawi. Welcome to the programme, Jonathan Lawson, we keep

:23:59.:24:02.

hearing that the British high street is dying, your business is

:24:02.:24:06.

doing OK, is that because it is a vital service? Is that why it is

:24:06.:24:10.

surviving better? I hope it is also an part because we are doing a good

:24:11.:24:15.

job for our customers in terms of providing the right levels of value,

:24:15.:24:19.

service and quality, but there's no question that the high street is a

:24:19.:24:22.

tough place to operate on at the moment. Would you go into a high

:24:22.:24:27.

street like that and open a shop? We open in high streets and in

:24:27.:24:30.

shopping centres. One like that, though? I have got a number of

:24:30.:24:34.

stores operating in high street as tough as that, and in fairness to

:24:34.:24:40.

the team's there, they are managing to do OK. One of the key points

:24:40.:24:42.

that will programme raised is the issue of business rates, because

:24:42.:24:47.

that is a genuine and significant rate to our business, and it is

:24:47.:24:50.

going up higher than the growth in sales. Are you angry that the

:24:50.:24:55.

government has delayed plans to revalue business rates? I am more

:24:55.:24:58.

bemused, if I'm honest, because if you look at last year, where rates

:24:58.:25:06.

went up by 5.6%, this year 4.6%, and then a further �175 million of

:25:06.:25:09.

costs going into next year at a time when the government says they

:25:09.:25:12.

are listening to the needs of business, retail businesses are

:25:12.:25:16.

screaming that this is the wrong decision to have taken. Nadhim

:25:16.:25:19.

Zahawi, your government is supposed to be on the side of small

:25:19.:25:22.

businesses and retailers. Why are you shooting ourselves in the foot?

:25:23.:25:26.

The revaluation was done in 2008, at the height of the property

:25:26.:25:30.

bubble. That is damaging, and I think Jonathan is referring to that.

:25:30.:25:35.

The office that look that is, the agency said that if we re-evaluate

:25:35.:25:40.

in 2015, 800,000 more businesses will be paying more, 300,000 will

:25:40.:25:45.

be paying less, businesses like pubs, hotels, a lot of the leisure

:25:45.:25:47.

and entertainment sector will pay more. What we have tried to do is

:25:48.:25:51.

get some stability, five years where you will not get a real

:25:51.:25:56.

valuation. We have frozen small business rate relief for two and a

:25:57.:26:00.

half years. 300,000 small businesses do not pay business

:26:00.:26:04.

rates. The Localism Act allows councils to offer discounts to

:26:04.:26:07.

bring businesses into the high street. I could say to you that

:26:07.:26:12.

vision Express is in Stratford- upon-Avon, and a customer, and they

:26:12.:26:16.

are a fantastic service. I am a recent customer for my children,

:26:16.:26:19.

and it is a great service, and that is what you go to the high street

:26:19.:26:23.

for. But Jonathan says businesses are screaming about this, this is

:26:23.:26:26.

one of the biggest issues for them, and the government does not seem to

:26:26.:26:31.

be responding. We have tried to help those businesses at the lower

:26:31.:26:35.

end, and with the Mary Portas review, we have tried to make sure

:26:35.:26:40.

that we also create incentives, for example, or business improvement

:26:40.:26:42.

districts to become a superb business improvement districts, in

:26:42.:26:47.

the way that Stratford was looking up on doing. Are you convinced?

:26:47.:26:50.

There is something that does not stack up in the methodology,

:26:50.:26:54.

because if we are saying that we are delaying the revaluation of

:26:54.:26:56.

business rates is because of businesses seeing an increased

:26:56.:27:00.

costs, yet this is against a valuation that was taken in 2008,

:27:00.:27:05.

at the height of the property boom, so does not work in the way that it

:27:05.:27:09.

was partly to do the first place, which is why what we said is, let's

:27:09.:27:12.

hold the business rate increase for next day and freeze it, and then we

:27:12.:27:16.

can properly review how this is calculated in the first place,

:27:16.:27:21.

because its business rates have gone up further on the basis of an

:27:21.:27:24.

evaluation in 2015, that suggests that the system itself is flawed

:27:24.:27:29.

and is not driving the right level of value. What about rents?

:27:29.:27:33.

Obviously, they vary across the country. How big an issue are

:27:33.:27:36.

Wrens? Isn't that why we are seeing board above shops in parts of the

:27:36.:27:42.

country? Events are an issue, and we are an active discussions

:27:42.:27:45.

constantly with our landlords about arriving at the best possible

:27:45.:27:49.

compromise that we can find in terms of investing into high

:27:49.:27:52.

streets, and we are opening stores still on high streets where

:27:52.:27:56.

possible. But they need to provide value to us and reasons why we can

:27:56.:27:59.

sustain operating in those locations, such as the one that

:27:59.:28:02.

your programme featured, and at the same time opening new businesses as

:28:02.:28:08.

well. A lot of shops on the high street are owned by pension funds

:28:08.:28:12.

and banks, and one of the Porter's review recommendations is that

:28:12.:28:15.

unless they manage them properly, they ought to sell them, and that

:28:15.:28:20.

is one of the reasons you're not getting movement. In places like

:28:20.:28:23.

Stratford, some of those stores are remaining vacant because the

:28:23.:28:27.

landlord is refusing to drop the rent. Aside from the pilot projects,

:28:27.:28:31.

nothing much seems to be happening, why doesn't the Government

:28:31.:28:35.

implement those recommendations? Well, look, we are going to

:28:35.:28:40.

implement the recommendations... When? Well, Parliament's time has

:28:40.:28:44.

to be decided by the government, I cannot give you an answer to that

:28:44.:28:51.

question, but what we have done is we have got Phase 1 at two in place,

:28:51.:28:58.

and in my constituency, it has become a team town with �10,000

:28:58.:29:02.

help from experts. There's lots of work being done on the area. Nadhim

:29:02.:29:05.

Zahawi, thank you very much. Just to keep you abreast of the

:29:05.:29:10.

breaking news, for once nothing to do with the BBC, the Abu Qatada

:29:10.:29:13.

Court decision that he cannot be deported to Jordan, we have no just

:29:13.:29:17.

seen the BBC reporting that the Home Office strongly disagrees with

:29:18.:29:21.

this decision, so strongly it is going to seek leave to appeal

:29:21.:29:26.

against it. So the Abu Qatada saga continues.

:29:26.:29:30.

Now, it is a difficult choice, the Australian jungle in the spring or

:29:30.:29:37.

a damp, dreich Westminster, I like that word, in November. I think a

:29:37.:29:42.

lot of us can see where Nadine is coming from, but not me, I was

:29:42.:29:46.

watching Homeland on Channel 4. Here she is on something called I'm

:29:46.:29:56.
:29:56.:29:57.

I think it is possibly one of the worst nights of my life and I don't

:29:57.:30:01.

think I want to go through it again. I have never been so relieved to

:30:01.:30:04.

see the dawn come up, I don't normally want to see it. We have

:30:04.:30:10.

not slept all washed or change our clothes for 24 hours.

:30:10.:30:15.

Should MPs be allowed to court kangaroo testicles and big bugs? I

:30:15.:30:21.

never thought I would get to say that on the BBC on daytime! Or

:30:21.:30:30.

should all extra-curricular activity be curtailed? Here is Adam.

:30:30.:30:35.

There has been a disturbance in the Westminster undergrowth about the

:30:35.:30:41.

news that Nadine Dorries is entering ITV's celebrity jungle.

:30:41.:30:44.

Speaker, I sometimes think the Deputy Prime Minister would like to

:30:44.:30:49.

send me to a jungle in Australia for a month... Rats and snakes,

:30:49.:30:54.

that was even before she went to the jungle! You should be in

:30:55.:30:57.

Parliament or representing your constituents, so the Conservative

:30:58.:31:04.

whip was taken away from the Dean. And it has gone down like a mouldy

:31:04.:31:08.

which are to grow up with a Tory colleague Philip Lee, who spends

:31:08.:31:14.

his time continuing to practise as a GP. The workload by an MP, if you

:31:14.:31:19.

want to do we proper job, is more than a full-time job. I just don't

:31:19.:31:22.

think it is very helpful for someone to have somehow given the

:31:22.:31:26.

impression that we are part-timers and can just disappear to Australia

:31:26.:31:31.

and become a celebrity for four weeks, I think it is disgraceful.

:31:31.:31:35.

But he told me the wider issue of second jobbing MPs should not be a

:31:35.:31:39.

cause for high blood pressure. Politics is not just intellectual

:31:39.:31:43.

ability, it is wisdom and experience and bringing experience

:31:43.:31:49.

to bear from various sectors, be it law, medicine, business. I think

:31:49.:31:53.

Westminster is the better for having people who continue to keep

:31:53.:32:00.

a toe or maybe a foot in another world. So what exotic things to

:32:00.:32:05.

other MPs do when they are not at Parliament? The Conservative Sir

:32:05.:32:12.

Tony Baldry has earned as much as �25,000 a month doing legal work.

:32:12.:32:16.

Labour's David Miliband spent two weeks a year as Vice Chair of

:32:16.:32:20.

Sunderland Football Club. An extra �75,000 a year.

:32:20.:32:25.

Gordon Birtwistle of the Lib Dems is paid �225 a month working as a

:32:25.:32:30.

local councillor in tropical Burnley.

:32:30.:32:35.

You can find plenty of other examples, none of it is against the

:32:35.:32:39.

rules and it is all declared in the Register of Members' interests,

:32:39.:32:43.

which is available to the public. But there has been a rumble in the

:32:43.:32:47.

jungle. The parliamentary pay and expenses watchdog are looking into

:32:47.:32:50.

this whole area and one of the things they have suggested is that

:32:50.:32:54.

maybe MPs should have their pay docked if they do not stick to the

:32:54.:32:58.

day job. Are you sure this is not poisonous?!

:32:58.:33:05.

We are now looking for a new reporter...! Please send your

:33:05.:33:10.

applications. If anyone has seen, I think it was a tarantula, don't let

:33:10.:33:16.

us know! We are joined by former MP Ann Widdecombe, as we all remember

:33:16.:33:19.

she took part in Strictly Come Dancing on the BBC and other

:33:19.:33:24.

television shows after she stood down as an MP, and by the Telegraph

:33:24.:33:30.

blogger Dan Hodges. Welcome. Ann Widdecombe, should MPs just

:33:30.:33:34.

concentrate on the day job? I think it would be a very bad idea indeed

:33:34.:33:38.

if they were absolutely forbidden from having any outside interests.

:33:38.:33:43.

For example, you would wipeout all the professions. If you are a

:33:43.:33:47.

dentist you want to keep your hand in, so to speak, if you are a

:33:47.:33:51.

doctor you want to keep up with the latest developments. If you are a

:33:51.:33:55.

lawyer you will need to practise. You would wipeout the professions,

:33:55.:34:00.

you would wipeout serious people. Let me deal with that point, what

:34:00.:34:05.

would you say to that? There may be an argument for Barnet or public

:34:05.:34:10.

service, I Marsha going to Australia to eat kangaroo testicles

:34:11.:34:15.

counts. -- I am not sure going to Australia. I think given where MPs

:34:15.:34:21.

are now, I have argued for some time it is time to stop kicking MPs

:34:21.:34:25.

and they have to stop kicking themselves. The spectacle of Nadine

:34:25.:34:30.

Dorries going to the jungle raises a broader issue. My view, I think

:34:30.:34:33.

the time has come to pay them a competitive salary, give them a

:34:33.:34:38.

decent pension, do away with the perks, clever accounting of outside

:34:38.:34:43.

interests and say, this is your job, get on with it. I think that is how

:34:43.:34:48.

you can rebuild an element of public confidence. I want to come

:34:48.:34:51.

on to Nadine Dorries in a moment, we will have too much fun if we

:34:51.:34:55.

concentrate on her all the time. Let's deal with the broader issue,

:34:55.:34:59.

you had a second point? Serious people like to stay in touch with

:35:00.:35:04.

what they have been doing. Not everybody has a safe seat, some of

:35:04.:35:09.

them need to stay in touch. If you ban all outside interests, are you

:35:09.:35:14.

going to ban somebody writing? They produce a book and get it published,

:35:14.:35:20.

we are nearby matter? And we nearby and hobbies? I think MPs should be

:35:20.:35:26.

able to do things that do not conflict with their day-to-day job

:35:26.:35:31.

as an MP. I can see how it is possible to continue to write and

:35:31.:35:35.

be an MP, I don't see how it is possible to go to a jungle or spend

:35:35.:35:44.

weeks or even monks... -- weeks or even months... Lots of our MPs, let

:35:44.:35:48.

me put it this way, have other jobs, particularly on the Tory side but

:35:48.:35:53.

not exclusively. You think that is wrong, you think they should be

:35:53.:35:58.

paid a higher salary and do nothing else? That right. I think one can

:35:58.:36:01.

always find exceptions to the rule, and I think writing would be one,

:36:02.:36:07.

but in general terms I do not agree with Ann, I don't see how you can

:36:07.:36:11.

continue to be a full-time MP and be a practising physician.

:36:11.:36:17.

suspect lots of viewers might agree. Fine. Then don't grumble about the

:36:17.:36:21.

quality of Parliament, don't say we don't have any representatives from

:36:21.:36:25.

the professions. When Parliament is discussing the NHS, don't say

:36:25.:36:29.

nobody knows what they are talking about. I understand why you are

:36:29.:36:33.

saying this, but if you are trying to say that there will be some

:36:33.:36:39.

exceptions, the arguments about the exceptions will become

:36:39.:36:44.

unsustainable. I think it is far better to say MPs answer to their

:36:44.:36:49.

electorate, the electorate knows if you're doing a good job or not. If

:36:49.:36:52.

you're doing a good job as a constituency MP it will not be

:36:52.:36:55.

worried that you have produced a bestseller. Leave that to the

:36:55.:37:00.

judgment of the constituents, I think. You wrote your book, you

:37:00.:37:07.

have already said, when you wear an MP. You took part in A celebrity

:37:07.:37:12.

Fit Club and Lewry through a film due at home when you were an MP.

:37:12.:37:19.

Was that the right thing to do? Fits Club was one Sunday every

:37:19.:37:23.

month. Probably good for you. Exceptionally good for me, gave me

:37:23.:37:29.

a lot more energy. But what I would never have done, and I turned down

:37:29.:37:33.

the opportunity, was the jungle. I would never have done Big Brother.

:37:33.:37:38.

There were things I would not do. Every year for five years before I

:37:38.:37:44.

retired, I turned down Strictly. I only did it when I retired.

:37:44.:37:47.

Nadine Dorries made a mistake in going to the jungle? If she asked

:37:47.:37:52.

me, which she did not, I would have advised her not to do that. I

:37:52.:37:56.

believe she has made a mistake. But it she pulls it off in that she

:37:56.:37:59.

connects with the section of the population which does boat in

:37:59.:38:03.

reality shows but not elections, she might be onto something, but I

:38:03.:38:07.

think it is a terrible gamble and a very strong outside chance. As I

:38:07.:38:11.

said before, I think it was a terrible mistake. And I actually

:38:11.:38:17.

quite like her and I had some respect for her independence of

:38:17.:38:21.

view, if you like. But I think she has really damaged herself and I

:38:22.:38:27.

think she has damaged parliaments. The reality, as you know, despite

:38:27.:38:32.

the caricature most MPs are very hard working on behalf of their

:38:32.:38:35.

constituents and I think it really does not help them in presenting

:38:35.:38:40.

the reality of what parliamentary life is like. You are a member of a

:38:40.:38:44.

public -- the public as well as a businessman, what do you make of

:38:44.:38:49.

it? When I vote for an MP I believe I am voting for somebody dedicating

:38:49.:38:55.

themselves full-time to the Sarries position as their role as an MP. I

:38:55.:38:59.

think the judgment was an error. I think where we talk about other

:38:59.:39:03.

activities, they are sadly lacking in the literature they publish at

:39:03.:39:08.

the time of any election coming around. I would suggest that those

:39:08.:39:11.

are significant salaries already been paid for MPs to do full-time

:39:11.:39:16.

roles. The idea that your electorate don't know if you have

:39:16.:39:20.

other interests, the register is well covered and the local press,

:39:20.:39:24.

you always getting headlines, they overestimated my earnings by about

:39:24.:39:29.

four times. The idea people that don't know you do other things is

:39:29.:39:34.

nonsense, but if you are a good MP they will vote on that basis.

:39:34.:39:38.

think many people will agree with you up until the phrase an MP

:39:38.:39:43.

should be paid a lot more, that might be a tougher sell?

:39:43.:39:48.

understand why people would blanche that, but I don't think �60,000 is

:39:48.:39:51.

a comparative salary compared to what MPs from other positions could

:39:51.:39:56.

do. Do we want good people and Parliament or not? If we do, we

:39:56.:40:03.

have to go by the principle that we would in any other field and pay a

:40:03.:40:09.

competitive rate, �60,000 is not. We have a situation where MPs are

:40:09.:40:12.

sleeping in their offices, good MPs are thinking of packing it in at

:40:12.:40:15.

the next election because they can't maintain themselves on their

:40:15.:40:20.

current salary. Ann Widdecombe, it has been a long time since you came

:40:20.:40:23.

to see us, don't leave it so long next time!

:40:23.:40:30.

Thank you for that. And Jonathan Lawson, thank you.

:40:30.:40:34.

As interesting as that story is, it is time to look at what will be

:40:34.:40:38.

making the rest of the news this week. This afternoon, MPs will vote

:40:38.:40:42.

on plans to increase fuel duty by three pence a litre in January.

:40:42.:40:47.

Labour have put down a motion to delay the increase until April.

:40:47.:40:52.

Hoping that Conservative MPs will rebel once again. Tonight, the

:40:52.:40:56.

Prime Minister delivers his annual foreign policy speech at the Lord

:40:56.:40:59.

Mayor's Banquet in the City. Tomorrow evening, Parliament goes

:40:59.:41:04.

into recess, with MPs returning to their constituencies until Monday.

:41:04.:41:07.

Thursday is election day, with Police and Crime Commissioner

:41:07.:41:12.

elections taking place in 41 police force areas across England and

:41:12.:41:15.

Wales and three by-elections in Manchester Central, Cardiff South

:41:15.:41:19.

and Penarth and Corby. To discuss the week ahead we are joined from

:41:19.:41:27.

College Green outside to Parliament by a writer from the Spectator and

:41:27.:41:31.

one from the Independent. Your reaction to Abu Qatada winning his

:41:31.:41:38.

fight against deportation? It is incredibly depressing. The whole of

:41:38.:41:44.

Britain will be thoroughly depressed. What can we do if we

:41:44.:41:49.

cannot support these people? I have not read the full judgment yet but

:41:49.:41:54.

I really don't know where we go from here. Donald, the Home Office

:41:54.:41:58.

says it is seeking leave to appeal, that is hardly a surprise. But what

:41:58.:42:03.

happens? I think it is impossible to say what the Court of Appeal

:42:03.:42:08.

will do. The Home Office will certainly appeal the decision, and

:42:08.:42:14.

Melissa is right that it has taken an incredibly long time. It is a

:42:14.:42:17.

blow to the government in one sense, although I don't think any one

:42:17.:42:21.

could accuse the Government of not doing their best to get rid of Abu

:42:21.:42:30.

Qatada. There is one., it is important -- there is one point, it

:42:30.:42:35.

is important there is a review into how it has taken so long, but it is

:42:35.:42:39.

worth pointing out that it is worth it for our international reputation

:42:39.:42:44.

that the rule of law prevails. Obviously all the governments and

:42:44.:42:48.

most of the country will be hoping this decision is overturned by the

:42:48.:42:53.

Court of Appeal. Picking up one.'s point about how this plays out for

:42:53.:42:58.

the Government and Theresa May, do you think people will understand

:42:58.:43:01.

its, no doubt what the Government will say, which is they have tried

:43:01.:43:07.

their hardest? I think they will. I spoke to a Tory MP yesterday he was

:43:07.:43:10.

singing the praises of Theresa May and has said she has turned out to

:43:10.:43:15.

be an extremely good Home Secretary. She has kept a cool head and won

:43:15.:43:18.

plaudits for her handling of this. She has apparently tried as hard as

:43:18.:43:23.

you possibly can. I think the processes are to blame, it is not

:43:23.:43:27.

for want of trying on the part of this government that this has come

:43:27.:43:32.

to pass. Something different, the elections

:43:32.:43:35.

for Police and Crime Commissioners, Donald, one of the because

:43:35.:43:39.

complaints from viewers has been a lack of information and publicity.

:43:39.:43:41.

The Government has hardly been banging the drum for these

:43:41.:43:46.

elections? There is something slightly half-hearted about it,

:43:46.:43:52.

which I think is disappointing. Actually the police need to be

:43:52.:43:56.

democratically accountable, in my view. I think the pity of it is

:43:56.:44:01.

that this is such a halfway house. If we had a network of elected

:44:01.:44:06.

mayors, I think it would attract much more attention and secondly it

:44:06.:44:11.

would place some other institutions as vibes the police, no also need

:44:11.:44:15.

democratic accountability. -- some other institutions besides the

:44:15.:44:19.

police. I think the disappointment is the Government have not gone the

:44:19.:44:23.

whole hog. Whether publicity is an issue Walmart, I suspect the

:44:23.:44:28.

turnout will be low. -- whether publicity is an issue or not.

:44:28.:44:34.

has been poorly advertised as a whole and I think there is a danger

:44:34.:44:39.

it will become a career path for former MPs. There is an awful lot

:44:39.:44:45.

of former Labour and Tory MPs standing as police commissioners.

:44:45.:44:50.

What we don't want is this to become a kind of alternative career

:44:50.:44:55.

path. You get the car, the six- figure salary and if you are not an

:44:55.:44:59.

MP any more it is a nice job to have. What are they actually going

:44:59.:45:03.

to do? If it will engage the public more next time they need to show

:45:03.:45:10.

they have done something. Briefly, Donald, there seems to now be a

:45:10.:45:15.

political row will be Chris Patten's decision to award George

:45:15.:45:20.

Entwistle, the former Director- General, �450,000 pay-off, what is

:45:21.:45:24.

your response? I think it is a pretty big pay-off and a lot of

:45:24.:45:28.

people will be pretty baffled that it is so big, as they are baffled

:45:28.:45:32.

by some salaries paid by the BBC. I personally think it would be a

:45:32.:45:38.

shame if this resulted in Chris Patten's departure, because I think

:45:38.:45:42.

the BBC... It is very difficult to find people with character and

:45:42.:45:47.

judgment and independence of the nature of Chris Patten. It looks

:45:47.:45:51.

like Entwistle's appointment was a mistake and the pay-off is very

:45:51.:45:55.

difficult for the public to swallow, but I feared it would be very bad

:45:55.:46:04.

for the BBC's independence if We have just heard from Nick Higham,

:46:04.:46:10.

the BBC media correspondent, that Lord Patten, the chairman of the

:46:10.:46:13.

BBC, has written to John Whittingdale of the Commons culture

:46:13.:46:17.

committee about the pay-off to Mr Entwistle, and the letter makes

:46:17.:46:20.

clear that it is what the BBC would have had to pay if they had fired

:46:21.:46:25.

the director-general and that the trust was considering sacking him

:46:25.:46:29.

if he had not volunteered his resignation. That letter will soon

:46:29.:46:35.

be in the public domain, but in the public domain with us until the

:46:35.:46:37.

bitter end of the programme are three of Westminster's finest, well,

:46:37.:46:43.

the best we could get, James Morris, Luciana burger, and last, but not

:46:43.:46:47.

at all least in any way, even though he is a Liberal Democrat,

:46:48.:46:55.

Martin Horwood, welcome to all of you! Can we get your reaction to

:46:55.:46:59.

the appeals tribunal saying that we as a nation cannot deport Abu

:46:59.:47:04.

Qatada? Well, I think it is a very regrettable situation. The Home

:47:04.:47:07.

Secretary has been working extremely hard to make sure this

:47:07.:47:11.

man is deported from the UK to Jordan. Now, I think the Home

:47:11.:47:16.

Office is going to appeal. It is. Our I think the British public will

:47:16.:47:19.

be, frankly, outraged that yet again there is an obstacle in the

:47:19.:47:24.

way to removing this man from the United Kingdom. The Home Secretary

:47:24.:47:29.

has given assurances that he would not be tortured or evidence would

:47:29.:47:34.

not be used gained under torture in a trial against him in Jordan. The

:47:34.:47:39.

appeals commission clearly does not agree with that. Well, I support

:47:39.:47:42.

what James said, that the British government is absolutely correct in

:47:42.:47:47.

mounting an appeal. I have not had a chance to read the judgment, the

:47:47.:47:53.

story has just broken. It is very frustrating and very expensive, the

:47:53.:48:00.

whole exercise. The lawyers are the only gainers from this. I think the

:48:00.:48:03.

point is that you have to obey the rule of law, and sometimes you have

:48:03.:48:08.

to have a judgment you do not like. Back to the News of the morning,

:48:08.:48:13.

which is of course the BBC, and the acting director-general of the BBC,

:48:13.:48:17.

Tim Davey, has been doing some interviews this morning. He would

:48:17.:48:21.

not do one with the Daily Politics, but Chris Patten would not be one

:48:21.:48:26.

with the Sunday Politics yesterday, so we do not feel left out. This is

:48:26.:48:32.

what the new acting director looks like, let's see what he had to say.

:48:32.:48:36.

If the public are going to get journalism they trust from the BBC,

:48:36.:48:40.

I have to be, as director-general, very clear who is running the news

:48:40.:48:45.

operation and ensuring that the journalism that we puts out passes

:48:45.:48:50.

muster. The first decision I have made is to get a grip of that, take

:48:50.:48:54.

action and build trust by putting a clear line of command in.

:48:54.:48:58.

Separately, we are going to look at the individual processes, and there

:48:58.:49:03.

may be disciplinary action. Do you think the BBC is getting a grip of

:49:03.:49:09.

it? Well, I think there is a big issue here, isn't there, about the

:49:09.:49:12.

credibility of the BBC's news reporting? The fact that Newsnight

:49:12.:49:16.

produced that programme really raises a lot of questions about the

:49:16.:49:19.

credibility of news reporting in the UK. Does it? It is one

:49:19.:49:24.

programme. But what it has done is it has forced us into a situation

:49:24.:49:28.

where part of the process of holding the powerful to account,

:49:28.:49:32.

this programme has undermined the credibility of the media and their

:49:32.:49:36.

ability to do that, and I think it raises some very serious questions.

:49:36.:49:40.

Should it be externalised like that? This is about one programme

:49:40.:49:45.

which made two major mistakes, it has been on air for 30 years, the

:49:45.:49:48.

BBC puts at hundreds of hours of news programming every week,

:49:49.:49:54.

including this one. Newsnight made some disastrous mistakes. Should

:49:54.:49:57.

that tarnished the whole of the BBC? I do not think it should

:49:57.:50:01.

tarnish the whole of the BBC. There is a big job to be done in terms of

:50:01.:50:06.

restoring trust and the reputation of the BBC, and no doubt under the

:50:06.:50:11.

new leadership that is what he will be doing. You would not say that

:50:11.:50:14.

Denis McShane tarnishes the whole of the Labour Party. I agree with

:50:14.:50:20.

you! There are a number of different examples, phone-hacking,

:50:20.:50:23.

and now with a lack of control over a very serious allegation that was

:50:23.:50:28.

made by the BBC about an individual without actually a shred of

:50:28.:50:34.

evidence. We understand all of that, nobody is arguing with that. What I

:50:34.:50:39.

am putting forward as an argument, because that is my job, is that

:50:39.:50:42.

maybe too many people are determined to tarnish the whole of

:50:43.:50:50.

the BBC with the egregious mistakes made by one programme. Despite your

:50:50.:50:54.

day at the Lib Dems, I'm going to agree with you! It is very

:50:54.:50:59.

important that we remember that the BBC is overwhelmingly a world-class

:50:59.:51:02.

news organisation and remained a world-class news organisation in

:51:02.:51:05.

most of its output throughout his entire period. I think there are

:51:05.:51:09.

some people in the Conservative Party with an agenda about the BBC,

:51:09.:51:12.

and I do not think we should give that kind of argument a leg up on

:51:13.:51:17.

the back of something which was a rare lapse of judgment. I have no

:51:17.:51:21.

agenda against the BBC. My point is that over a period of time in

:51:21.:51:25.

Britain there has been a collapse in trust in a number of different

:51:25.:51:29.

media organisations, whether it is tabloid newspapers, phone-hacking,

:51:29.:51:33.

and now with the BBC over a report which had the effect of making it

:51:33.:51:39.

impossible to have a credible conversation about very serious

:51:39.:51:43.

allegations about a senior figure, and I think that really does go to

:51:43.:51:46.

the heart of things to do with the responsible media in Britain that

:51:46.:51:53.

we need to address. Of course, part of this has also been happening in

:51:53.:51:57.

Parliament with Tom Watson's allegations. Have these helped or

:51:57.:52:03.

hindered the proper investigation of child abuse? Understand that Tom

:52:03.:52:06.

Watson's allegations have been passed to the police, and that is

:52:06.:52:10.

where they belong. We do not know what they are, but I have no doubt

:52:10.:52:13.

the police will very seriously investigate them. They will have to

:52:13.:52:18.

now. With phone-hacking, the police did not do its job. Where are you

:52:18.:52:22.

honest? Tom Watson chose not to pass what he knew to the police but

:52:22.:52:26.

raise it in a rather sensational way in Prime Minister's questions,

:52:26.:52:29.

and he posed a question that the Prime Minister could not possibly

:52:29.:52:38.

answer. Very briefly, how upset or otherwise will your MP colleagues

:52:38.:52:43.

be about the size of Gestede was a's pay-off? It is more about what

:52:43.:52:49.

our constituents think, it is a massive amount of money, and I

:52:49.:52:52.

think they will be very upset. We await to see the detail of the

:52:52.:52:56.

letter you referred to. It seems like an awful lot of money to mere

:52:56.:53:01.

mortals like you and me, but if it was in his contract, the trust is

:53:01.:53:05.

probably obliged to pay. I broadly agree that it is a lot of money,

:53:05.:53:09.

there was a serious failure in our senior management, and I think the

:53:09.:53:12.

public will be very sceptical about such a large pay-off. All right,

:53:12.:53:18.

let's move on, Jo. As we heard earlier, MPs will later today vote

:53:18.:53:21.

on whether to delay the increase in fuel duty due in January. It is a

:53:21.:53:31.

Labour opposition Day motion, and they want to postpone the increased.

:53:31.:53:35.

This is what Rachel Reeves said earlier. We have said that the

:53:35.:53:38.

government should close down the loopholes which means that many

:53:38.:53:43.

employment agencies are avoiding tax on a massive scale by setting

:53:43.:53:47.

up umbrella companies to employ people, avoiding national insurance

:53:47.:53:50.

and tax. If you close down that loophole, the Treasury reckon that

:53:50.:53:56.

they could bring in about �650 million, which would more than pay

:53:56.:54:00.

for this postponement of the fuel duty. Do you agree that the

:54:00.:54:05.

proposed rise in petrol duty should be postponed? Well, I think this is

:54:05.:54:08.

an absurd situation with this rather absurd notion which has been

:54:08.:54:13.

put by the Labour Party today... Fine, should the rise be postponed?

:54:13.:54:17.

I think it needs to be looked at in the Autumn Statement, in the right

:54:17.:54:21.

kind of way. This is a completely opportunistic motion from Labour.

:54:21.:54:25.

They are asking us to pay through a tax relief that they introduced for

:54:25.:54:29.

a fuel duty increase which they legislated for. It is an absurd

:54:29.:54:33.

opportunistic opposition Day motion. But you are not sure whether you

:54:33.:54:37.

support the idea. If you were talking to your constituents, would

:54:37.:54:41.

you be agreeing with the rise being postponed? We have already removed

:54:41.:54:47.

the fuel duty escalator, cancelled at least two of the proposed rises,

:54:47.:54:52.

saving �158 for ordinary consumers. We need to see what comes into the

:54:52.:54:57.

autumn statement. I would like to see it considered, but it has cost

:54:57.:55:00.

4.5 billion so far to get rid of these rises, and that has got to

:55:00.:55:05.

come from somewhere. If we do see the increase in January, the

:55:05.:55:08.

average household will see an increase in their fuel bill, just

:55:08.:55:13.

the tax going up �200 per year. Since the election, we have seen

:55:13.:55:18.

fuel prices rise by 12%. You only have to look at the Which? report

:55:18.:55:21.

which says 6 million people are really struggling at have to dip

:55:21.:55:25.

into their savings. Measures brought in by the previous Labour

:55:25.:55:30.

government, it is absurd. Labour plans six fuel duty rises. When we

:55:30.:55:35.

were in government, at the height of the financial crisis, we

:55:35.:55:39.

postponed increases in the fuel duty escalator. Cannot really be

:55:39.:55:44.

paid for by closing tax loopholes? -- can it. The government will not

:55:44.:55:48.

actually released the figures of how much is being evaded by these

:55:48.:55:53.

umbrella companies. It estimates that it is 650 million, but it

:55:53.:55:57.

could be as high as 1 billion, and we are saying, let's use a

:55:57.:56:02.

proportion of that. Introduced by the previous government. Should it

:56:02.:56:07.

be postponed? Having cited Which? organisation, people dipping into

:56:07.:56:11.

their savings to cover the cost of petrol, it is the number one

:56:11.:56:15.

concern. We generally like green taxes, but it would be nice if

:56:15.:56:19.

there was a way to work something out that was not automatic, in the

:56:19.:56:24.

way that Labour legislator for it, but which was sensitive to the

:56:24.:56:28.

situation that people are in. you be voting for the motion

:56:28.:56:30.

question market is purely opportunistic, they have done what

:56:30.:56:35.

they did in the previous week on the EU budget, trying to get

:56:35.:56:37.

parliament to vote for something it cannot decide. It worked quite

:56:37.:56:43.

well! How many e-mails to get from constituents who are feeling the

:56:43.:56:49.

cost-of-living increases? I am sure the same kind of proportion as you,

:56:49.:56:53.

and we blame Labour for leaving us in that situation. You legislated

:56:53.:56:57.

for this increase, let's not forget, you should have thought about this

:56:57.:57:02.

when you were in government. constituents are writing to their

:57:02.:57:07.

MPs... It is clearly an issue, but it is not an issue that needs to be

:57:07.:57:10.

resolved by a totally opportunistic Labour amendment to a motion today.

:57:10.:57:15.

Briefly, before we go, why are reductions in the price of crude

:57:15.:57:19.

oil not reflected in fuel prices? Why can't we see the breakdown in

:57:19.:57:23.

the price of petrol and the duty that is pushed on it? We need to

:57:23.:57:26.

move towards a system where there is a greater correlation, but it is

:57:26.:57:31.

not going to be achieved by this kind of motion in parliament today.

:57:31.:57:35.

Before we say goodbye, we know you want to find that the answer to our

:57:36.:57:43.

quiz. What trialled did Nadine Dorries have to undergo on the

:57:43.:57:48.

programme I'm A Celebrity? Being buried alive with insects, being

:57:48.:57:52.

buried alive with constituents, and it took John Humphrys of taming a

:57:52.:57:59.

coma? It is being buried with insects, I think. That is the

:57:59.:58:03.

correct answer. Put up your hands if he watched the programme last

:58:03.:58:09.

night! None of you watched it last night? Are you not curious? Are you

:58:09.:58:13.

going to watch its tonight? I am told it is on tonight. We have got

:58:13.:58:18.

an important vote in Parliament tonight! I don't, but I will not be

:58:18.:58:23.

watching either. We have to go now, because having seen the acting DG,

:58:23.:58:28.

we are going to have a whip-round to buy him a tie. It is called

:58:28.:58:33.

being casual! That is all for today, the One O'Clock News is starting on

:58:33.:58:37.

BBC One now, plenty more news, particularly the failure of the

:58:37.:58:40.

government to deport Abu Qatada, leading the news for a change,

:58:40.:58:44.

rather than the BBC, and we will be here at noon tomorrow with all the

:58:44.:58:47.

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