12/11/2012 Daily Politics


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


side with Labour again and forced another government defeat.


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


witnessing a retail version of Darwin's natural selection?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


MPs on the Public Accounts Committee as part of an inquiry


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


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


their legal obligations. Is Starbucks paying its fair share of


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


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


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


circumstance, and I would suspect the vast majority of businesses


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in a financial year. Other companies are finding ways of


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


those who make the rules, not necessarily the individuals.


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


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


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


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


discussion about changing the rules, enforcing and implementing the


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


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


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


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


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


begin with rather than coming up with yet another level of


bureaucracy. Is there anything wrong with companies basing their


European operations in countries with lower corporation tax rates,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Being buried alive with insects, being buried alive with angry


constituents from Mid Bedfordshire, sounds uncomfortable, a 40 minute


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


the correct answer at the end of the show.


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


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


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


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


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


moment we get more details we will bring them.


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


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


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


bring us up to speed. The BBC crisis following the


revelations about Jimmy Savile and the report on Newsnight which led


to false suggestions about the involvement of Lord McAlpine in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wants to establish a single management to allow clarity around


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


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


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


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


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


Maria Miller. A Downing Street source said that Mr Entwistle


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


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


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


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


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


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


Street was asked explicitly this morning if the Prime Minister had


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


they suggest that Chris Patten has the confidence of the Prime


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


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


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


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


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


British society, but they express anger and frustration that some


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


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


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


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


Millbank, terror suspect Abu Qatada has won his appeal against


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


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


shortly. Back to the BBC. With us the former


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


anchoring its programme from outside the BBC headquarters where


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


seeing people stepping aside and action against those involved in


the most appalling behaviour. They fail to broadcast allocations they


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reminding everybody in the senior management at the BBC that the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


trust and confidence, very resilient levels of confidence, in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


longer in government, his government trying to micromanage


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wanted to seek to smear a senior Tory politician associated with


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


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


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


about that. The standards of journalism on that particular


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


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


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


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


Twitter, the internet, these appalling things that are said


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


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


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


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


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


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


been accused because they are involved in one or another is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


survived this who deserve retribution than and for those who


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Whitehall region? You are expressing that in the current


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


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


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


be properly investigated. We could hardly do otherwise on something


like that. Thank you both for joining us.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


necessarily terminal. There is no doubt a consumer revolution has


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


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


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


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


human beings need to physically being, otherwise increasingly we


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


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


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


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


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


with the connected environment that brings people together are the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


recommendation of was that the government needs to re-evaluate


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


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


independent retailers do not expect to make it through next year


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Conservative MP and member of the Business Select Committee


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


are listening to the needs of business, retail businesses are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rates. The Localism Act allows councils to offer discounts to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


districts to become a superb business improvement districts, in


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


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


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


business rates is because of businesses seeing an increased


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


constantly with our landlords about arriving at the best possible


compromise that we can find in terms of investing into high


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


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


sustain operating in those locations, such as the one that


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


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


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


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


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


Stratford, some of those stores are remaining vacant because the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


seen the BBC reporting that the Home Office strongly disagrees with


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


against it. So the Abu Qatada saga continues.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


There has been a disturbance in the Westminster undergrowth about the


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


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


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


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


Parliament or representing your constituents, so the Conservative


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


cause for high blood pressure. Politics is not just intellectual


ability, it is wisdom and experience and bringing experience


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


Westminster is the better for having people who continue to keep


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


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


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


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


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


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


local councillor in tropical Burnley.


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


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


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


jungle. The parliamentary pay and expenses watchdog are looking into


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


if they were absolutely forbidden from having any outside interests.


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


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


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


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


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


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


service, I Marsha going to Australia to eat kangaroo testicles


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


exceptions, the arguments about the exceptions will become


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


connects with the section of the population which does boat in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


you always getting headlines, they overestimated my earnings by about


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


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


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


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


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


a comparative salary compared to what MPs from other positions could


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Prime Minister delivers his annual foreign policy speech at the Lord


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


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


Thursday is election day, with Police and Crime Commissioner


elections taking place in 41 police force areas across England and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to pass. Something different, the elections


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


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


The Government has hardly been banging the drum for these


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


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


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


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


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


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


democratic accountability. -- some other institutions besides the


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


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


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


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


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


of former Labour and Tory MPs standing as police commissioners.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


BBC, has written to John Whittingdale of the Commons culture


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Secretary has been working extremely hard to make sure this


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


operation and ensuring that the journalism that we puts out passes


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


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


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


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


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


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


produced that programme really raises a lot of questions about the


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


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


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


this programme has undermined the credibility of the media and their


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


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


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


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


including this one. Newsnight made some disastrous mistakes. Should


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


maybe too many people are determined to tarnish the whole of


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


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


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


news organisation and remained a world-class news organisation in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


impossible to have a credible conversation about very serious


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


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


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


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


hindered the proper investigation of child abuse? Understand that Tom


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


government should close down the loopholes which means that many


employment agencies are avoiding tax on a massive scale by setting


up umbrella companies to employ people, avoiding national insurance


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


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


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


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


an absurd situation with this rather absurd notion which has been


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


into their savings. Measures brought in by the previous Labour


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


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


postponed increases in the fuel duty escalator. Cannot really be


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


question market is purely opportunistic, they have done what


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


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


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


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


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


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


when you were in government. constituents are writing to their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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