21/11/2012 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks, and welcome to the Daily Politics. Today's top story:


Fighting continues in Gaza. Israeli war-planes and naval forces


hit dozens more targets overnight while Hamas continued to launch


missiles against Israel. There is still talk of an Egyptian-brokered


ceasefire. And the Americans are encouraging it. But it hasn't


happened yet. And it will not be helped by the fact that within the


last hour a bus has been blown up in Tel Aviv. The Church of England


Synod is now in crisis session after failing to pass a motion to


allow women to become Bishops. Should Parliament now step in to


force compliance with equality legislation? MPs are back at


Westminster after their short break, and that means Prime Minister's


Questions! Hoorah! It's the highlight of our political week!


We'll find out what Ed's got in store for Dave in half an hour's


time. And after that, should fat people pay more than fit people for


their healthcare? Former Apprentice Katie Hopkins says they should.


Frankly, if you don't care about your health or body, as a taxpayer


funding the NHS, Nauta wife. -- nor do I. All that in the next hour or


so, and much, much more. And joining us throughout is Defence


Secretary Philip Hammond and Shadow Attorney General Emily Thornberry.


Welcome to you both. But first, a senior Bishop was on the radio this


morning insisting that the Church had not 'committed suicide' over


its failure to allow women to become Bishops. An interesting way


of putting it, suggesting perhaps that he doesn't exactly think it's


a great leap forward either. The outgoing Archbishop of Canterbury,


Rowan Williams devoted much of the last decade to trying to persuade


the Church to accept the move. This morning he expressed his sadness.


whatever the motivations for voting yesterday, whatever the theological


principle on which people acted and spoke, the fact remains that a


great deal of this discussion is not intelligible to allow wider


society. Worse than that, it seems that we are wilfully blind to some


of the trains and priorities of that wider society -- the trends.


We have some explaining to do. We have, as a result of yesterday,


undoubtedly lost a measure of credibility. Do you agree with


that? The Church of England has lost a measure of credibility?


think the Church faces some difficult challenges ahead. It is


not just on the ordination of women, but a series of big divisive issues


which the Church has to resolve and heal. It has to find a way forward.


Otherwise it will find itself marginalised. It will find members


of the church with strong views on one side or other of the arguments.


Increasingly, they will be attracted to splinter groups, so it


is essential that the Church of England finds a way of recovering


the middle ground and becoming a mainstream of Anglican thought in


this country. So you were disappointed by the result? It is


disappointed the Church was in crisis. You must have a view.


Downing Street are disappointed. think this is a matter for the


Church. It's not for me to say they should have decided one way or


another. But this is clearly not going to go away. This debate will


continue, and it will continue to damage the church, and that is bad


for society, whether one is a member of the Church of England or


not. Philip Hammond says it is it not for him to say, but this is a


critical issue. The church itself says, or Rowan Williams does, that


it was wilfully blind to the trend of modern society. Do you agree?


I think it is terribly sad. The majority of people in the Church of


England one there to be women bishops. I got a message from my


local church saying they had messed up and that they would try and fix


it. I think people feel very sad about this. A tiny minority have


seized the agenda and of forcing their views on the majority of the


Church of England, and listening to Rowan Williams speaking, you can


sense his sadness, and I feel it as well. You say, Philip Hammond, it's


not for you to decide in that sense, but what do you think it has JUN to


the moral authority of the Church? Rowan Williams does not hold back


when it comes to commenting on political issues. Do you think they


have lost some moral authority because of this? I think they have.


The main thing that undermines the moral authority of an organisation


like the Church is when it doesn't have a clear, defined view that all


its members can get behind. When there is an ongoing debate in any


organisation, the same is true of a political party. If there is an


ongoing debate about what an organisation stands for it is


difficult to project a moral authority to those outside. I think


it is clear what the Church of England stands for. The question is


who should be the senior people preaching it in the church. Most


people supported it. And also the main tenants of the Church, they


all agree with those, it is a question of should women be bishops


or not, and that is a question for the Church to resolve, but the


irony is the majority of the Church wanted it but a minority have


managed to take the agenda. thought the interesting thing was


perhaps a lesson for politicians. It was the House of Laity that was


more conservative with a small c than the bishops all clergy. We


sometimes sense that in Parliament as well. Politicians are willing to


move in a certain direction but have a sense that the Community,


the electorate they represent, is less keen to move on things. What


can Parliament do? And should it do anything? There was a suggestion


from Chris Bryant to stop appointing bishops, or Frank Field


threatened to introduce a motion from the church to be removed from


equality legislation. Should Parliament be doing this? I don't


think the Church as a real problem, but it is a problem for them to


resolve. Then we have all been in organisations that have been faced


with an impassive about how they go forward over the difficult issue.


They will resolve it in time. It may take time, but they will


resolve it. We have to support them to do that but we should not try


and intervened and impose a solution. The Church of England is


a strange vehicle. It is the established church, so if the


Church of England leadership wants assistance from Parliament, we


should listen, but we have to wait and see how they will resolve this.


Clearly this will not do. Thank you both. The bloodshed continues in


both Israel and Gaza. This morning there was an explosion on a bus in


Tel Aviv. At least 10 people have been hurt but perhaps not seriously.


Arab Media Reporting as much as the Western media that it was a


terrorist attack. No one yet claiming that they did it.


Overnight, Israeli jets attacked dozens of targets inside Gaza


itself. Rockets are still being launched from there into Israel.


The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki- Moon and US Secretary of State,


Hillary Clinton, are out there trying to help the Egyptians broker


a ceasefire. But there is no sign of one yet. Jo has the background.


The killing in Gaza and in Israel has dominated the headlines and the


television screens over the last week. The latest flare-up of


violence started in September. Palestinian militant groups in Gaza


increased cross-border rocket fire and Israel responded with air


strikes. Israel says it holds the Hamas movement, which runs Gaza,


responsible for all attacks emanating from there, even if it is


other militant groups carrying them out. The violence escalated on 10th


November after Palestinian militants fired an anti-tank


missile at an Israeli jeep patrolling the Israel-Gaza border.


On 14 November 2012, Israeli intelligence carried out a targeted


air strike in Gaza City, killing a Hamas military commander as part of


a wider series of air strikes. For the first time Palestinian


militants have been able to reach as far as Tel Aviv, using Iranian-


made missiles. The Israelis have responded deploying interceptor


missiles and stepping up air strikes in what they are calling


Operation Pillar of Defence. In the last week, the conflict has cost


the lives of at least 138 Palestinians and five Israelis. The


world now waits to see whether peace talks in Cairo will produce a


ceasefire or whether Israel will initiate a ground invasion. Let's


speak to the BBC's Gaza Correspondent. We have had those


reports of the bomb attack on the bus in Tel Aviv. What will this do


to chances of a ceasefire? It could be again changer. It's not just


report, it has been confirmed. In the last 15 minutes we have had a


massive response from Israel. I was on the roof of the office when


seven or eight missiles piled into an area about a kilometre from


where I'm sitting now. Huge explosions, massive plumes of smoke


mushrooming into the sky. We understand they hit an area which


is actually a football and athletics stadium, about one


kilometre from where we are. So an immediate response from Israel to


the bus bomb. Hamas has claimed responsibility and it has been


broadcasting statements from the mosques saying that it managed to


get one of the operatives to throw a bomb on to the bus. We heard the


sound of celebratory gunfire in Gaza when it happened. Things feel


like they could escalate dramatically. So no, violence is


escalating. What about the chances of diplomacy in terms of Egypt


being a key to a ceasefire? I think you are right, Egypt is the key. We


have been told there will not be any ceasefire finalised until we


hear the Egyptian President announced it. We thought it was


close last night but it did not come. Then we had a massive Israeli


attack overnight in Gaza with more than 100 hits. Israeli navy shells


pounded Gaza for much of the late evening yesterday, and then there


were more airstrikes overnight. When this all started and Hamas's


top military commander was killed a week ago, Hamas said it might


respond not just with rocket. Today it seems to have proved that it is


able to do that, and you cannot stress how much the issue of bomb


attacks on buses in Israel's biggest metropolis has on the


Israeli Psyche. It could go if two ways. Israel may escalate its


operation, and it does seem to have hit back quickly, or you could say


that this is Hamas try to put pressure on Israel to say they need


take us seriously and get a deal done. Thank you very much. Philip


Hammond, what role has the British government played in trying to


bring about the ceasefire? We are encouraging both sides to engage in


a process of achieving a ceasefire so we can stop the bloodshed and,


of course, it is a bit of a plaintive cry, but the age-old cry


for progress towards 82 states solution, which is the only way of


revolving -- resolving the problem in the long term. We know the


Secretary General is out there, and Hillary Clinton is out there, one


of her final acts as secretary and that in the illustration. Who do we


have help -- helping? We don't have anyone in the ground in Gaza, but


clearly we have diplomats on the ground. We do not have anyone else


I'm aware of, but the Foreign Secretary has made it clear that we


will encourage this process and encourage the Egyptians to act as


brokers, as it were. Your correspondent talked about the


symbolic significance of attacks on buses in Tel Aviv and, and the fact


of this attack this morning will make it almost impossible for the


Israeli leadership to engage in the ceasefire process. Whoever has done


this has deliberately made it much harder to achieve a ceasefire today.


We will see if that is how it pans out. Does the British government


have a view on what the shape of a ceasefire should be? That is beyond


the literal meaning of the words. Hamas should stop firing rockets


into Israel. Israel should step back from any plans, ground attack.


But do we have anything beyond the literal meaning? Then we need to


get back to the Middle East peace process. We have a new American


President. We have to take this opportunity again to reintegrate


this process. The ceasefire will have to be fleshed out by more than


that. It will require more commitments from the Israelis and


further commitments from Hamas. Does the Labour Party have an idea


of what the ceasefire should be shaped as? It is really important


that the rocket stop being fired from Gaza. That is really


important.Favour, I understand that, but how it should be shaped be on


that? The Israelis won the shelling to stop, and Hamas and all the


people in Gaza won the gates opened, and if they can be opened and trade


and aid can going, we can close the tunnels, and then there will be


some way of being able to do something. The Israelis invaded a


few years ago in order to stop the rocket attacks. Clearly did not


work and it has continued. There Right. But if the Israelis are to


be asked to stop the blockade, which is what you are suggesting,


what will Hamas give in return? They need to stop the shelling.


That is not enough for Israel. Stopping the shelling will mean,


the rockets, will mean that Israel will stop the shelling and call off


the ground invasion. But Israel is not going to agree to taking away


the blockade unless they get something watertight in return.


What should that be? They are closing the gates and everything is


coming through the tunnels. The stuff coming through the tunnels,


that's not coming through at all. I heard a couple of giraffes came


through the tunnels a couple of weeks ago. With respect, I've asked


the Secretary of State and I haven't had an answer from him


either, what should Israel demand or insist on return if the blockade


is to be lifted either in total or partially? If the blockade is


lifted, Toda or partially, then things will go through the gates


and Israelis will be able to monitor what goes through. In what


way? Because they go through the gates. You can't get anything


through by sea. If the blockade is lifted, but Gaza Strip could take


anything it wanted by sea. I ask again, because it's an important


matter, the ceasefire is more than just a seizing of firing, but the


quid pro quo be? It has to be that the fighting stops, that people


calm, and we have to have... In the end, there has to be a political


solution. Nothing has happened but two years. Be Israel, interesting


words from the Secretary of State about the impact this terraced bus


bomb may have, if Israel does decide that in its view there is no


terms of the ground attack, in your view, would that be illegal under


international law? I think that you can defend yourself but you have to


do it in a proportion that way. History has shown us that if there


is a ground attack, that hundreds of people died. That isn't what I


ask you. I'm answering the question but you need to listen.


listening and I don't hear an answer. As a Shadow Attorney


General, do you believe they ground-attack would be illegal


under international law? Your shadow Foreign Secretary has said


that Israel should act in accordance with international law,


so therefore would a ground attack be illegal under international law?


A only if it was deemed and international law to be


proportionate. History has shown us that when they had a ground attack


before, hundreds of civilians died. The question then is, is that


proportion it? Let me bring in Manuel Hassassian, he has been


listening to this, he is the Palestinian ambassador to the UK,


and also the former adviser to be former Israeli minister in Gaza,


deal messing. Does the Palestinian Authority, based on the West Bank,


do you have any authority at all in the Gaza Strip over Hamas?


given the split that has taken place since 2007, the Palestinian


National Authority does not have any control on the security of Gaza,


it is in the hands of Hamas. What is your attitude towards... I know


you condemn the Israeli attacks on Gaza, but can I ask you, and you


obviously don't want a ground attack either, but what is your


attitude towards the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel? Actually, we


have to understand that these rocket attacks came as a result of


air strikes, as a result of the blockade, as a result of


humiliating the Palestinians. what is your attitude towards it?


All of the killings, these were instigated... What is your attitude


towards the rocket strikes, do you support Hamas in sending rockets


into Israel or don't you? There is no support or not support. This is


a situation where Palestinians of being killed, innocent Palestinians.


We want total cessation of this violence. We need this truce to


work out in order to salvage the situation and get the Israelis back


on the negotiating table. Israel has obviously done a lot more


damage to Gaza man Hamas has managed to do to Israel, so why


don't you agree to a ceasefire now? The Israeli government was explicit


in saying why it would... Going back to give the discussion you've


had, I think it's unfortunate that the Palestinian ambassador birds


not condemned by a ring of rockets towards civilians. I think it


should be noted that Israel is doing everything in its power to


avoid civilian casualties. To the question... Everything... Hamas is


launching rockets every day on civilians. The term at


proportionate retaliation by Israel, only yesterday one missile that had


90 kilograms of explosives, hit an apartment building it one of


Israel's biggest metropolis that. What is proportionate to this?


Israel is trying to avoid civilian casualties. Both sides can come on


and you can trade these facts from your point of view. I'm trying to


get a better understanding of what you are now prepared to do. If a


ceasefire can be negotiated by Egypt with the help of the


Americans and it stops the firing, what is the next stage? Hamas will


want the blockade lifted, never mind the attacks on Gaza. What


would Israel require in return for lifting the blockade? There are two


things essential for not only the end of this cycle of violence but


the Prevention of the next cycle of violence. One thing is, be complete


cessation of firing from the Gaza Strip towards Israel. We have not


initiated it. 120 missiles were fired towards Israel before that.


And an end to the firing of shelling towards Israel. The second


thing would be to create a mechanism that would prevent or at


least minimise the rearmament of Hamas on the border between Egypt


and Gaza. If there would be a mechanism, but now the Egyptians


are respectfully trying to sort it out. If there would be a mechanism


that would stop the rearmament of missiles to Gaza... This would end


this violence and prevent further ones. Mr ambassador, is the PAC,


are you prepared to help in the context of a ceasefire, are you


prepared to help stopping further Rockets getting into Gaza? We are


ready to help, and we are ready to stop the violence if Israel end its


occupation. What do you mean by occupation? Your Israeli guest has


forgotten that almost 1100 people have been injured and more than 140


innocent Palestinians have been killed. The infrastructure in Gaza


is being destroyed, journalists of being attacked. I understand that


but I'm trying to move on from that. I'd be grateful if you could answer


my question. What would you be prepared to do to stop the further


rocket attacks getting into the Gaza Strip? Israel should stop its


F-16s and Apaches in hitting innocent civilians and targets that


have nothing to do with Hamas or the rockets. What's the answer to


my question? We want to end its violence as soon as possible


because we have higher stakes than the Israelis. All of these


casualties or what, being under siege, and a blockade and being


humiliated? Enough is enough. had enough, too, we've run out of


time. When you listen to both of them, you realise how difficult it


is. There is no attempt even to engage on the issues that need to


be engaged on. You and I are just agreeing what many much greater


statesman than as have discovered over the years. That this is one of


the great intractable problems of our age. How to get this Middle


East peace process, the two state solution which almost everybody


agrees is an obvious way to go forward, how to turn that into a


reality. The two states solution has been overtaken by the fact that


the Palestinians are now deeply divided into the West Bank,


represented by the ambassador from the Palestinian Authority, and


Hamas... Hamas and the Palestinian authorities hate each other as much


as they hate the Israelis. This is a very complex situation and there


are other actors waiting in the wings. I'm sorry, I know that you


are not going to like this but in the end there is no military


solution. The fact that nothing has happened but two years just means


we've screwed the lid down on a boiling pot and it is bound to keep


erupting like this. The only solution in the end is for there to


be a settlement. Without that, this problem will always continue.


move on. In about 10 minutes it will be time for Prime Minister's


Questions. Now that MPs are back at Westminster after a week off, to


recharge their batteries, they really needed their batteries


recharged. They'd been back all of five weeks! It's a tough job, isn't


it? Yes. Ministers don't get the break. Soon after that, the Prime


Minister will be jetting off to Brussels to take part in


negotiations over the EU budget. He will need to recharge his batteries


for that one! With any country able to veto the deal, he'd better look


forward to quite a few late nights sessions as they try and hammer out


a deal. Which bit of kit should he really be taking with him?


Obviously it's a Daily Politics mug full of coffee. To get him through


all of these all my tears, that would help. But if you don't win


one, I'm afraid you can't take one. We will remind him now to enter,


this is how you do it. First, when # But things ain't quite that


There was no doubt in my mind that we will win the Cold War. Why do


you say that? I think the general opinion in the world is turning in


# You're So vain, you probably think this song is about to. --


# People. All-day the Israelis have been


pouring enforcement into the Golan Heights, where the original Syrian


a strike is more than matched by To be in with a chance of winning,


send your answer to our special quiz e-mail address. You can see


the full terms and conditions on Let's take a look at Big Ben. It's


nearly made date. Prime Minister's questions in a moment. Nick


Robinson is with us now. A couple of weeks since PMQs. I can't make


up my mind what I think they will go one. An obvious one would be to


do the Budget, Ed Miliband talked about it. Although not obvious in


the sense that both frontbenchers say they think the same thing about


the Budget, so perhaps it wouldn't get anywhere. Another possibility,


will the Leader of the opposition want to talk about what you've been


talking about, Gaza? Not just because from time to time the


leader of the opposition wants to say, this is the most important


thing that's happening in the world, we should talk about it, but the


Palestinian cause is very close to the hearts of many people in the


Labour Party. I remember that Tony Blair got into more trouble, almost,


by backing Israel during the Lebanon more war and he had bad


back in America over the Iraq war. There was more anger when he was


seen to give the green light to the bombing of they've moved. There


will be many people in the Labour Party who are very uncomfortable


about what's happening in Gaza. It may be that Ed Miliband chooses to


voice that. And that set of borrowing figures out for October.


The government now borrowing more money last month that it did in


20th October 11. That is assuming that these figures that came out


for the first time are accurate. I can't tell you how many discussions


we've had in this studio based on figures that turned out not to be


right. Particularly on growth. Borrowing forecasts have always


been dreadful. The Treasury has a terrible record of the forecast. I


don't know, you might think there would be that in the run-up to that


important Autumn Statement. It's one of those days where there's no


obvious news story for Ed Miliband. But there are a lot of markers he


could put down. Finally, I predicted it last time I was on but


I was wrong, all leaders of the opposition have a final mark if


it's a quiet day, try and get this one running. There may be something


on a cause dear to his heart, health, for example. You couldn't


rely out energy prices. difficulty is rhetorically David


Cameron would say to him, I've done what I said I would do. Labour and


others are deeply sceptical about whether the words will mean what


they say in practice. But it's not easy to prove it. Essentially, at


this stage it is one man's word against another. It's not until BCB


energy bills. That is the first time we will know. Europe forms the


A whole House will wish to join me in sending our sympathies to the


family of Captain Waugh to Barry. He was described as a fantastic and


engaging soldier -- wall to Barry. Our nation must never forgive --


forget his service or sacrifice. This morning I had meetings with


ministerial colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in the


house I will have more the meetings later today. Can I join the Prime


Minister in paying tribute to captain Barry and all of our


soldiers working in Afghanistan. In Stoke-on-Trent, libraries are


closing, teachers are being laid off and youth clubs are shutting


their doors. Given that public funds are so precious, Mr Speaker,


does the Prime Minister think it was a good use of taxpayers' money


to waste �100 million on the farcical police and crime


Commissioner elections in November? I think it is good that right


across the country we are now going to have local law and order


champions who will stand up for the public and make sure we get a good


deal from the police. I have noticed that Labour have two


criticisms aren't Police and Crime Commissioners, on the one hand week


spent too much money, and on the other we didn't spend enough money


promoting it. I'm prepared to accept one criticism all the other,


but not both. The British government borrowed from investors


a record low levels saving taxpayers millions of pounds this


week. Does he see this as more evidence that the economic plans


are working? My Honourable Friend makes a good point that because of


the fact we have a credible plan to get on top of debt and deficit and


show how we will pay away in the world, we have record low interest


rates which were described by the Shadow Chancellor as the key test


of economic credibility. Mr Speaker, can I start by joining the Prime


Minister in paying tribute to Captain Barry. He showed the utmost


courage and bravery, and all our thoughts and condolences are with


his family and friends. Can I also express my deep sorrow about the


loss of life and suffering in Israel and Gaza in recent days,


including the latest appalling terrorist attack on a bus in Tel


Aviv. Mr Speaker, there is widespread support on all sides of


the house for an immediate and durable ceasefire being agreed in


Israel and Gaza. So will the Prime Minister set out, in his view, what


are the remaining barriers to the ceasefire agreement now been


reached? First of all, can I say how much I agree with the Right


Honourable Gentleman about the appalling news of the terrorist


attack on a bus in Tel Aviv. Can I also express our deep concern at


the intolerable situation for people in southern Israel and the


grave loss of life in Gaza. He asked specifically what more we can


do to help bring the ceasefire about. I think that all of us,


right across the European Union, including America and beyond, need


to be putting pressure both on the Israeli Prime Minister than all of


those that have contacts with Hamas to de escalate, to stop the


fighting, to stop the bombing, and that is what I have done. I spoke


twice to the Israeli Prime Minister over the weekend, wants to the


President of Israel and my Right Honourable Friend the Foreign


Secretary is working hard on this to persuade both sides that we need


a ceasefire. Then beyond that, we need proper discussions about the


future of Israel and Palestine. Speaker, I agree with the Prime


Minister, and he is right to say that any such ceasefire deal can


only be turned into permanent peace if there are meaningful


presumptions of negotiations between the states about A2 state


solution. This weekend as shown us that there is neither piece or a


piece process. The reality is that the international community does


bear some responsibility for the abject failure of having those


meaningful negotiations nine years on from the promise of the road map


to peace. Can he set out to the House what steps beyond the hoped-


for ceasefire need to be taken to put pressure on both sides into


kneeing -- meaningful negotiation? First of all let me agreed that we


need we need a process put in place, and we need to do everything we can


to persuade Barack Obama that this should be a leading priority for


his presidential term. But I would make the point that whilst we all


want the process and we all want this piece, in the end, peace can


only come about by Israelis and Palestinians sitting down and


talking through the final status issues. They have to discuss


borders, Jerusalem, refugees. In the end, as Barack Obama is fond of


saying, and by the degree, we cannot wanted more than they wanted.


-- and I agree. We cannot want it more than they want it. We need


them to talk through these final- status issues. But Mr Speaker, that


is completely right, but we have to use every means at our disposal to


pressure sides into those negotiations because the reality is


that the confidence that they can be that state solution is dwindling


month by month. There will be an opportunity to support the course


of the 2up state solution later this month, recognising enhanced


Observer priority. We have supported this because we think it


will strengthen the moderate voices within the Palestinian to want to


pursue the path of politics and not violence. Can I urge the Prime


Minister to consider opting this position in the days ahead? First


of all, let me greet with the first part of what he said, that


confidence is dwindling -- let me agree. That is why there is such a


sense of urgency amongst the international community. This could


be the last chance for peace. The facts on the ground are changing.


It is so much in Israel's interest to push for the solution that we


should keep up the pressure. On the issue of a potential vote at the


United Nations, it is our view, and the Foreign Secretary said this out


yesterday, that the Palestinians should not take it to the un in the


short term and we have urged them not to do that. If we do that, we


have to consider the right way to vote. But in the end, we will not


solve this problem at the United Nations. This problem will be sold


by Israelis and Palestinians sitting down and negotiating and


there may be dangers from pushing it too early at the un in terms of


a cut-off of funds for the Palestinian Authority and all the


other consequences that could follow. So in the end, let's get


negotiations going rather than discussions at the United Nations.


A if the Prime Minister wants to send a clear message that Scotland


and England belong together. Should he not be doing his best to make


sure that the principal road from London to Edinburgh is a modern


dual-carriageway and doesn't become a country lane? My Right Honourable


Friend makes a very attractive spending bid for the Autumn


Statement, and whilst my Right Honourable Friend the Chancellor is


not here, I'm sure of the Treasury colleagues will have listened


closely. The Prime Minister claimed Universal Credit would bring about


the most fundamental and radical change to the welfare system since


it began. Given that the Government's propensity for


shambles, can he guarantee that the second phase of Universal Credit


will be implemented in 20th April 14 and not delayed? Universal


Credit is a good Reform and I thought it was welcomed across the


house because it was going to put in place proper work incentives for


people at all levels of income and it is also highly progressive in


channelling money to those who need it most. I can 10 look the


Honourable Lady that it is on time and long credit -- on budget and it


will have a pilot scheme starting Mr Speaker, the person responsible


for the murder of Bheki Edwards in my constituency has not been


brought to justice because incriminating evidence was excluded


as part of a court process. Would my Right Honourable Friend join our


calls for a thorough review of Code C of the Police and Criminal


evidence Act so terrible situations like this don't happen if in


future? Fire will look carefully at what my Honourable Friend has


raised and the specific case -- I will look carefully. And also the


Police and Criminal evidence Act. It is important that all


information that can be put in front of a court is put in front of


a court so it can reach the correct Cuts in frontline police together


with cuts to police pensions and conditions of service has led to


96% of the police force believing that this government does not


support them. Does the Prime Minister think that is a problem,


and if so what will he do about it? This government strongly supports


the police service and what they do. These are people who go out every


day and put their lives on the line to keep the rest of us say. Frankly,


whoever was in government right now would have to be making cuts to


police budgets. But if we look at what is happening in policing, we


have seen a number of neighbourhood police going up. The percentage of


police on the front line has gone up and we see the number of police


in back-office roles going down. Crucially, crime is down and


satisfaction with the police is up. So people don't have to wade


through hundreds of bamboozling tariff plans, will Prime Minister


confirm that this Government will legislate to ensure people can


access the best deals, something the leader of opposition failed to


do as energy secretary? I am delighted to tell my honourable


friend that having stood at the Despatch Box and saying we wanted


to ensure that people got access to the lowest tariffs, that is exactly


what we have achieved. If there are colleagues opposite to have a doubt


about this, let me quote the Labour shadow energy minister who said


this about the change, it means some of the most expensive deals


would go, being able to reduce the number of tariffs will help people


get a clearer picture of what is happening, and that can only be a


good thing. That is the sort of endorsement that I welcome.


Speaker, the government promised that there should be no rationing


in the NHS on grounds of cost alone. Can the Prime Minister tell us


whether he has kept the promise? The promise we have kept is that we


have said we would increase NHS spending every year under this


government, and in England that is what is happening. In Wales, of


course, there is a massive cut in the NHS because it is run by Labour.


First of all, Mr Speaker, there are 7,000 fewer nurses in the NHS than


when he came to power. But I was asking a very specific question


about the promise made by the then Health Secretary, and I know you'd


sacked him and he is now leader of the house, but he promised a year


ago that there would be no rationing on the grounds of cost


alone. This is what the President of the Royal are pathologists --


ophthalmologists said. He said this: primary care trusts are not


following a government guidelines. Half of health commissioners are


restricting access to cataract surgery. I don't think you should


ask for help, you got rid of him from the post. Can the Prime


Minister tell me why, for the first time in six years, the number of


cataract operations actually fell last year? What I can tell him is


that under this government the number of doctors is up, the number


of operations is up, waiting times are down, that is what is happening


because we took the responsible decision. He quotes Primary Care


trusts. Of course, we are abolishing Primary Care trusts and


putting that money in the frontline services. That is what is happening


under this government. They believe, he believes, that increasing


spending on the NHS is irresponsible. We think it is the


right thing to do. Mr Speaker, once again, he has no clue about the


detail. He has no idea what is actually happening on the ground.


Give him credit, Mr Speaker, he did make history this week. He has got


his very own word in the Oxford English Omnishambles. He is basted


-- wasted millions of pounds on a top down reorganisation that nobody


wanted or voted for. Just like he wasted millions of pounds on Police


Commissioner elections. He doesn't listen, he's out of touch, and last


Thursday the people of Corby spoke for the country. Last Thursday the


people of Humberside spoke of a There is more. Because the former


Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, said this. This is not


just about the police. This is a referendum on everything this


Government has done - on health, education, the local authorities.


People took the first opportunity to kick him out. On the subject of


making history this week, I think the leader of the Labour Party made


some history this week. He told his conference he wanted to be Disraeli,


he told them he wanted to be Margaret Thatcher. He said on


Europe, he's more eurosceptic than Bill Cash. Then he went to the CBI


and said he loved Europe even more than Tony Blair. He has


impersonated more politicians than Rory Bremner. But this time the


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Does my right honourable friend, the Prime


Minister, agree with me that a free press is one of the cornerstones of


a true democracy, and that any attempt to muzzle newspapers, such


as the excellent Kent Messenger Group in my own constituency,


should be strenuously resisted? Honourable Friend makes an


important point. I joined him in my admiration for the Kent Messenger


Group and all they do. It is important because the problems we


have had in our newspaper industry have not really been about regional


and local titles that perform an incredibly important function in


our democratic system. I think we all have to wait for the Leveson


inquiry report and study that carefully and then respond to what


he said. Allow me to present a tale of two companies. The first is a


comic company in my constituency who pays seven people and pays


every penny of tax on time. Amazon UK brings in revenue of up to �4.5


billion and yet last year paid less than �1 million in tax. Will the


Prime Minister follow the example of the French government, which has


issued a back claim for unpaid tax against Amazon, or will he allow us


to draw our own conclusions about whose side he is on? I think that


is an important point about making sure that companies make their


contributions and tax payments in our country. We have put an extra


�900 million specifically into the Inland Revenue to try and make sure


that we do probably get individuals and companies to pay their taxes. I


announced yesterday that one of the key priorities of the G8, which I


will be chairing from January, in County Fermanagh in Northern


Ireland in June next year, one of the priorities will be to make sure


we get proper international agreements so that companies pay


their taxes properly. Could I highlight to my right honourable


friend a free school which is opening in Wolverhampton this year?


This will be in one of the most deprived wards of Wolverhampton and


will provide a re-electable social mobility for young people. It is a


tangible advert for what this government is doing in terms of


education, and he's more than welcome to visit. That's a very


kind invitation. I held a recent meeting at Number 10 for all of the


78 free schools that have been established over the last two-and-


a-half years. We are making good progress. I want to see many


hundreds of free schools established between now and the


next election. Whereas the last government managed 200 academies in


13 years, we've done 2000 in two- and-a-half years. Academies, pre-


schools, we want to give this agenda the biggest possible boost


we can. Question number seven, closed question. I look forward to


visiting Scotland soon and will obviously look carefully at whether


I can visit the Honourable Gentleman's constituency. A few


months ago he came to my constituency and was going to give


me the opportunity of taking him around. One of the areas I was


going to take him to was the shipyard, where I had my


apprenticeship as do many years ago, he would probably have been in


short trousers. But outside the door of that shipyard on a Thursday


was a man called the tally man, who was a loan shark. He charged half a


crown, which is 12 and a half pence, a week per pound for the loan he


would give the shipyard worker. Today we are hearing all about...


Can we have a question? Now. question is, you hold one of the


great offices of the state, so does the Prime Minister. What is he


personally going to do to drive these sharks out of our economies?


I did enjoy my visit to true love. I may be offered to the Honourable


Gentleman then that I would happily share a platform with him to defend


our United Kingdom. For some reason the invitation got lost in the post.


I make the offer again. He makes a serious point about pay-day loans.


We have seen the OFT report, which is a preliminary report. I think we


do need to take action. That is why we are giving the Office of Fair


Trading a new power to suspend a consumer credit licence with


immediate effect where there is an urgent need to protect consumers.


The OFT report shows many companies are not sticking to the guidelines


set out and that is not acceptable. Has he seen the recent experience


study which showed that Milton Keynes is the area of the UK best


placed to lead economic growth, with forecasts of 3.1 % in the next


year? My Honourable Friend is a great spokesman for Milton Keynes


and has welcomed me them many times. It does have a successful economy


based largely on small and medium- sized enterprises. One of the


things we need to change in Milton Keynes and elsewhere is to get the


housing market moving again. I'm convinced that is an important part


of driving recovery in our economy. Many young apprentices receive very


low wages. The youngest only �2.60 per hour. So is it fair for the


Prime Minister to take away housing benefit from young people who


simply cannot live with their parents but are trying really hard


to build a future for themselves? This government strongly supports


the growth of apprenticeships. We've seen something like 1 million


new apprenticeships under this government. On the issue of housing


benefit, which I know is an important issue, I think where


there is a problem, and this is something that needs proper


attention, is we do seem to give some young people a choice today


which is if you are on jobseeker's allowance you can have access to


housing benefit, whereas if you are living at home and trying to work


you can't. We need to recognise that the signals we sent through


our welfare system are in many cases sending a negative signal to


young people. Is it still the Prime Minister's intention that this


should be the greenest government ever? Yes, it is. It is this


government that in record time has established a green investment bank


which is now in Edinburgh and starting to make loans. I'm sure


the Prime Minister agrees with me that a government spokesman


describing the children's Commissioner's report into child


abuse today as hysterical is extremely unhelpful. Victims of


abuse already find it difficult to come forward, including those who


were reduced by Cyril Smith in Rochdale. On that issue, will the


Prime Minister now help these victims by publishing all the


police files on that Smith and ensure a police investigation takes


place into all the allegations and into any cover-up? On the first.


Barbara, it's a very serious issue that is being examined. It is an


interim report that we need to study closely. It has some


extremely disturbing findings. We need to give every encouragement to


the commissioner, to make sure that the final version of the report is


produced. On the specific issue he raises, which is a very serious


allegation about a former member of this House, I understand that


Greater Manchester police have confirmed they will investigate any


allegations of sexual abuse involving the late Sir Cyril Smith,


that happened from 1974 onwards. I would say to all members of this


house, particularly in the light of what has happened in the last few


weeks, if anyone has information and facts, then take them to the


police. That is the way we should Businesses are helping to cut the


borrowing deficit by paying tax on their profits, but some


multinationals appear to be paying very low amounts of UK corporate


tax, like Starbucks and Amazon. I wonder if the Prime Minister could


tell the House whether he thinks this part of the tax code needs


investigating? I think it does. I've asked the Treasury to do that.


They are looking as hard as they can at what can be done. There are


clearly some things that one can do nationally. But because we live in


a competitive, global economy where companies can move capital around,


move their headquarters around, move money around, you do need


greater international agreements. We come to an important national


agreement with Switzerland, which is going to recover billions of


pounds in tax for our country, but we need to work hard, and that is


where the G8 can help, to make sure we get a fair share of tax from


companies, particularly given the fact that Britain is doing its part


to cut rates of tax down to the most competitive in the world.


Prime Minister quite rightly praised the wonderful work of


London's emergency services during the Olympics, Paralympics and Her


Majesty's Jubilee. Does he share with me the concern of the London


public that the numbers of fire stations that are threatened with


closure, in particular the one in Clapham old town in my constituency,


and would he joined the campaign to save it and would he also agree


that it's not right to choose a fire station to close it, simply


because it is on very expensive land? This is an issue for the


berne macro as well as for the government. I will look closely at


what she says. We all have to recognise that the most important


thing in terms of the emergency services is the time it takes for


them to get to an incident. While all of us as constituency MPs on


naturally focused on the bricks and mortar items of whether it is


ambulance stations or fire stations or indeed other facilities, what


really matters for our constituents is how quickly do the emergency


services get them and how good is the service when they do? Does my


right honourable friend share my deep disappointment, and I know


that of many on all sides, that yesterday the Church of England


failed to make proper provision for women bishops? A sad day for our


national Church and our national character, particularly given that


42 out of 44 diocese had voted overwhelmingly in support of women


bishops. And it's not the consequence of the Bolt, not the


danger of the Church of England being in some disestablishment, but


simply does interest. I think my right honourable friend speaks with


great expertise and knowledge. On a personal basis, I'm a strong


supporter of women bishops and I'm very sad about the way it went


yesterday. I'm particularly sad for the Archbishop of Canterbury,


because he saw this as a major campaign that he wanted to achieve


at the end of his excellent tenure of that office. It's important for


the Church of England to be a modern church in touch with society,


as it is today, and this was a key step they needed to take. The Prime


Minister promised that his start-up loan scheme would provide 2500


loans to young entrepreneurs to get their business ideas off the ground.


Only 43 loans have been granted. Why hasn't he delivered on his


promise? The start-up loans Initiative is a very strong one. I


want to look at putting more resources into it because I think


there is a major demand for it. At the same time, there is the


Enterprise Allowance Scheme that originally was only available after


people had been unemployed for three months. Under this government


is going to be available from the first day of being unemployed.


Looking back to the 1980s, many people used the scheme to start up


their first business, their first rung on the ladder. Those are the


sorts of people we want to help. Angela Watkinson. Would the Prime


Minister join me in congratulating Draper's Academy in the most


deprived ward in my constituency, sponsored by the Drapers Company


and Queen Mary College London, in only its second year it has become


the fastest improving school in the whole country and is a wonderful


example of the government's academy scheme. I certainly join her. I


think one of the strengths of the Academy programme is getting


sponsors like the Drapers Company, like businesses and other


organisations to get behind the school and help change the culture


and help improve it. That is why last week we set a new target for


academies taking over failing primary schools. We think academies


shouldn't be restricted to secondary schools. We want to see


sponsored academies taking over primary schools where results


aren't good enough. Everyone can focus on there are schools in some


inner-city areas that because of effective Academy sponsors are


doing better than schools in some of the leafy suburbs. We could use


this change to drive at aspiration and achievement across our


education system. Following his answer to the Honourable Member for


Banbury, given that the Church of England is the established Church,


would he consider what this Parliament can do to ensure that


the overwhelming will of members of the Church of England and of this


country is respected? I will look carefully at what he says. But what


I would say is the Church has its own processes and elections, hard


for some of us to understand. We have to respect individual


institutions and the decisions they make. But it doesn't mean we should


hold back and saying what we think. I'm clear that time is right for


women bishops, it was right many years ago. They need to get on with


it and get with the programme. But you do have to respect the


individual institutions and the way they work, while giving them a shop


abroad. A cut in this country's EU budget rebate, which was agreed to


buy the last Labour government, is now costing taxpayers �2 billion


every single year. Will the Prime Minister please confirm that in the


forthcoming budget negotiations, he will not agree to any further


reduction in this rebate? I can certainly give that assurance. The


rebate negotiated by Margaret Thatcher is an incredibly important


part of Britain's position in Europe, and making sure we get a


fair deal. It is extraordinary that the last government gave away


almost half of that rebate. We've never heard one word of apology or


regret for the fact that however hard we fight in Europe, and we are


fighting incredibly hard this week for a good deal, they cut away our


feet by giving away half the rebate. Could I congratulate the Prime


Minister on his very wise decision to bring the G8 summit to County


Fermanagh? Could I confirm to the Prime Minister that the enthusiasm


with which that decision has been received with in the manner, but


could I ask him that he believes it would be possible to bring further


prestigious events to Northern Ireland in future? I will look at


that. I believed it really is the right decision for the G8 to be


based in Northern Ireland in June. What was interesting yesterday,


standing with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister in


Northern Ireland, talking about the situation, something that would be


unthinkable 20 years ago, to have that sort of event with so many


world leaders coming to Northern Ireland. I think it will be a great


adverse -- advertisement for Northern Ireland and for everything


that people in Northern Ireland at -- can achieve. Does the Prime


Minister agree that the UK' retention of its triple-A status


when France lost its this week, shows that the UK retains the


confidence of international markets because of the difficult but


necessary decisions that we are taking? That's a good. Barbara,


which is because we have set out a clear plan, we are able to have low


interest rates, able to have international confidence, which is


the absolute of the proper growth A rather subdued Prime Minister's


Questions to date. -- today. Ed Miliband divided his six questions


he is allowed. He divided them into two. The first part was on the


situation in Gaza. There is largely frontbench consensus on that. Then


he came back and ask some questions on the NHS, which Martha -- rather


surprised us in the studio. It is not an issue which is on the agenda


this week. Dog that didn't bark until the question at the very end


was the upcoming Brussels summit on the European budget and prisoners


There seems to be more inquiries about what happened then than there


is today. There wasn't really a clear threat will way through the


Israeli Palestinians. Mr Cameron must wish he should go on a foreign


trip every Wednesday after his awful performance at the Despatch


Box, says one commentator. Mr Miliband wrong-footed the Prime


Minister with clever questions on the Palestinian issue. Never buy


Roberto beneath -- never mind Roberto Di Matteo, Ed Miliband is


not worthy of leading his team. So much ammo he could have fired, but


he came up with wishy-washy questions. A feeble performance. Jo


Moore in the Netherlands says David Cameron is grabbing at straws when


he has to refer to John Prescott failure to win in Humberside.


Surely an average of 50% of people voting does not give the Prime


Minister any right to boast, after all it was his brainchild to have


the elections. Martin Bristow from Wolverhampton. How does Labour get


away with the charge that they would be spending less on the NHS


than the government is now? David Cameron annihilated Ed Miliband. Mr


Austin in London says David Cameron said there would be lower bills for


consumers, but experts say there is likely to be a levelling process


that will result in this -- new, so-called low tariff costing more


than the current one. This is the risk, as some people see it. Before


I bring in the panel, let me show you the latest pictures from Gaza.


They were taken within the last hour or so. A series of explosions.


The level of violence there does not really appear to be coming down


on either side. Very serious explosions in the centre of an


urban area in Gaza. Still no word yet on any ceasefire, as these


pictures clearly illustrate. And if you're just joining us there has


been a terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Aviv this morning. About 17


people injured, but it seems none seemed to have two serious injuries,


fortunately. No fatalities, anyway. It is strange to go on the NHS in a


way, given that we have a Brussels budget that will dominate the news.


As you saw, David Cameron was prepared to tease Ed Miliband with


the elaborate joke about whether he is Disraeli or Margaret Thatcher.


That is because Ed Miliband went to the CBI and said he would stand up


for Britain staying in Europe, but a couple of weeks ago he voted with


the hardline Euro-sceptics in the Conservative Party to embarrass and


defeat the government on the EU budget. You can make a case that


both are consistent, but the reason he did not go was because he knew


that David Cameron would be waiting for him on that. Therefore he has


taken a study done by the Royal College of ophthalmologists and


said that there was evidence that the first Labour had made about the


NHS budgets has a real impact. In other words, people are being


denied operations they ought to have, cataract operations.


Sometimes in Prime Minister's Questions, viewers don't see this


way, but they are about putting down markers, not just getting a


victory on the day all raising morale. They are about putting a


marker down, asking a question to refer back to. And you can put


something on the agenda as well. It may not ignite, but it could be a


slow burner. One Gaza, some of the things were the same, but there was


a difference. Ed Miliband was saying that Labour would support


the Palestinian Authority, going into the United Nations and


applying for statehood. Remember the Palestinians are not officially


recognised as a state. This would be seen by Israel as a deeply


provocative act and it would be likely to be vetoed by the United


States. Up until now, the British government have not so they are


against, they said they would not if I were you. What they are asking


for is enhanced observer status. The Palestinians themselves have a


problem with the state because of it is the P A that go there, it


won't include Hamas and Gaza. And what about the boundaries of the


state? What about the 400,000 settlements. The underlying thought


was they should get President Obama involved, but not the slightest


sign he wants to get involved, not least advised by his outgoing


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. She won't be there long, but she


realised when her husband was president, Sheikh found no deal was


done -- she put in at a lot of work and found no deal was done. We will


put all this energy in and you get nowhere. There is a huge symbolism


that has not dawned on London that this is the first president who,


after winning an election or getting re-elected, chose to go to


south-east Asia. Because this is the Pacific President, that is the


whole thrust of the second term, the sources in Washington Tel-Me


will be to face to the Pacific. He visited Thailand, Cambodia and


Burma. And Burma, for special reasons, but all three have borders


with China. There was a huge announcement, largely ignored here


in London, that the Secretary of State for Defence in the Pentagon


has announced that from now on 60% of US naval assets and will be in


the Pacific. 40% will be elsewhere, including the Atlantic, instead of


50/50. Whether we like it or not, this is a superpower Batty's


repositioning its focus. -- Batty's repositioning. I think that's right.


The US has responded to the strategic challenge posed by China,


and the fact, whether we like it or not, that the Loat -- most likely


flashpoint for any confrontation involving China and its neighbours


in the coming decades is likely to be in the South China Sea where


there are scores of disputed islands and areas. I think we


should be positive about this. The fact that the US is willing to rise


to this strategic challenge is something that NATO should


celebrate. It means we in European NATO have to do more in our own


defence and near abroad, which includes North Africa and the


Middle East. We would not be able to respond to the strategic


challenge posed by China if China had chosen not to do that. This is


a sensible division of labour, as it were, among the NATO alliance. I


do not know if this is being discussed at the MoD, but if it


looks as though Gaza is not containable. In other words, it is


drawing in and possibly over spilling into the Syrian conflict,


then it becomes a strategic threat to the United States. In no longer


stays as another flashpoint in this long-running regional problem, it


becomes something more serious. have to see the Israeli and Gaza


problem in the context of a wider Middle East. There is the


continuing stand-off with a ramp, the chaos in Syria -- Iran, and the


chaos in Syria. I think that the United States will believe it


always has a sufficient strategic leverage with his rare to prevent


Israel from doing something -- Israel to prevent them from doing


something that leads to a strategic disadvantage. It does have pretty


strong leaders in terms of Israel. It I hear what you say. I think


there are a lot of people, a lot of European friends of America who


wish the Americans would focus on the Israel and Palestine conflict


again. I hear what you say about Barack Obama having other things to


do, but we should be saying loud and clear, please get involved in


this and usual authority. He shows no inclination to do so.


understand that, but isn't European of friends need to tell him. Today


-- today, he gets only 10% of imported oil from the Middle East,


the US. By the time Barack Obama leaves the White House he will get


no oil from the Middle East. It changes America's geopolitical


focus. The Attorney General has refused to intervene in the case of


an SAS soldier jailed for 18 months for possessing a pistol he said was


given to him as a "gift" after service in Iraq. Last night,


Sergeant Danny Nightingale's wife handed in a petition to Downing


Street. Her husband pleaded guilty to the offence, but claims he


suffered medical problems affecting his memory, and didn't remember


having the weapon. Our Defence Correspondent, Jonathan Beale,


joins us. The thank you for coming onto the programme. Where does the


sergeants case now rest as we speak today? As I understand it, this


afternoon his wife and his lawyers will be lodging the appeal at the


High Court. They want the sentence quashed, and they want him out on


bail. They say he was essentially forced to plead guilty in this


incident, and let's look at the mitigating circumstances, which did


come up in his court martial, which is the first of all he did not pack


the weapon. It was given to him as a gift while he was serving Iraq.


He had to go back early from Iraq to organise the funeral of two of


his comrades. He was then locked up at a secure location. That said, he


was then it moved around and ended up in military accommodation that


was outside of the line, in other words not a secure location, not


just this 9 mm pistol, but also it more than 300 rounds of ammunition


double found in a container under his bed. -- that were found. He


said he suffered memory loss and he was on a gruelling charity marathon


run in Brazil in 2009 where he fell into a coma and he has suffered


memory loss. He said he forgot he had begun. But clearly the evidence


is fairly damning, and there is a prohibited weapon found which was


not in a secure location. That said, the Defence Secretary clearly feels


the heat of a growing public campaign for his release. I think


there are some in uniform he would ask the question if this was the


right way to go about justice. In other words, should this man who


has given so many years' loyal service to the British Army, who


has been a key seven for the SAS, should he have got a custodial


sentence -- key servant. He could have got five years. If you or me


had a gun in our cupboard and ammunition under the bed, we would


have been looking at a sentence longer than five years. There is


mitigating circumstances and they were looked at, but there are still


people who question whether he should have been locked up.


Jonathan, thank you very much. You mentioned the defence secretary and


he sits here now. You asked the Attorney General to review the


conviction. Why? We also share a sense of frustration in the case. I


have no power to intervene. The service prosecution authorities


Independent as is the judicial system. But there is a test which


has to be applied before a prosecution is brought, whether in


a military court or civil court, about whether it is in the public


interest. And particularly in the case of a service prosecution, in


the interest of the service, for the prosecution to be brought. I


wanted to be sure in my own mind that that test had been properly


applied. I take that test to be contextual. Given that plenty of


people have popped up, ex-military men, and said they had done


something similar in the past, I wanted to be sure that the context


of military service and what goes on, whether it was right or wrong,


what actually goes on in practice. Whether that had been taken into


account. Did you get the Did you get that reassurance?


wrote back to me to say it was not appropriate for him even to review


the application of that test because we were yesterday, and we


are still this morning, within the appeal period. We all know it is


very likely that an appeal will be lodged. So the case is in some


case... Were you disappointed by the response of the Attorney


General? I'd hoped I would get some reassurance one way or the other,


but I understand that the Attorney General has responsibilities within


the judicial process. He obviously has to take them seriously.


were you concerned or even surprised that the Attorney General


issued a press release, went public on your inquiry within minutes of


telling you he would intervene. It was an instant response. He clearly


felt it was necessary for him to state publicly that he was not


getting involved in a process that was still potentially before the


courts. I understand that the Attorney General has two hats. He's


a politician and a member of the cabinet, but he's also a senior


officer within the judicial structure. He clearly felt it was


necessary to do that. The team knew that when you wrote to him, but you


were still hoping for some progress on what you clearly regard as a


vital issue. To be clear, I wasn't expecting the Attorney General to


make a public response. I was asking for private advice and


guidance on this particular matter. Where we are now... Did you ask him


publicly or privately? Did you tell the press that you were going to


get in touch with the Attorney General? And I didn't make any


secret of that fact. So the public knew he'd been asked and he just


answered publicly. The issue now is we hear from Jonathan that an


appeal will be lodged this afternoon. There's huge public


interest in this case. It would be in the public interest if this


appeal for expedited, so we get an answer through the proper judicial


mechanism as quickly as possible. Was your request of the Attorney


General partly motivated by what you felt was dismay in the armed


services about what has happened to Sergeant Nightingale? The question


has been raised with me by members of the armed forces, whether the


public interest test had been properly applied by the service


prosecution authority. That is why I sought the Attorney General's


advice on that matter. Where are you on this? It's an absolute


offence to own or to be in possession of a firearm and not to


have it decommissioned. The rules are that you get five years unless


there are exceptional circumstances, whether a civilian or member of the


armed forces. We have very strong rules in this country because we


don't hat -- want to have weapons on the street. The armed forces


have always known it's an absolute no-no that to have weapons that you


haven't deactivated. I have sympathy for this gentleman but he


had a weapon that haven't been deactivated, that he'd moved to


several places. He had bullets under his bed. The place he was


living in was not secure. Neither the bullets nor the weapon had been


deactivated. Are you aware of the special circumstances his lawyer


pleaded? I am. I understand he has had difficulty since that marathon


but he was still a serving officer, so he was sufficiently sound to be


able to be serving in the SAS. Clearly one needs to... In the end,


this is a matter for the courts to decide. I have to say I think


yesterday you made a grave mistake because you had asked the Attorney


General to look again at a case where a decision had already been


made. He had pleaded guilty, he'd been convicted, he'd been sentenced.


You know as well as I do that since the glorious Revolution, since


James the second, there has been a separation between the executive


and the courts. If we allow governments to intervene in the


courts and say, we don't like that, have another sentence, this guy


should be let off, you are undermining our entire system. I


think it's posturing. Emily is a lawyer and is sounding exactly like


a lawyer. They do get tremendously pompous about protecting the


integrity... You did politics at university. What I was seeking from


the Attorney General was reassurance on a specific point.


Not asking him to review the sentence or conviction or the wider


case. I was asking him specifically whether in his view the service


interest test had been correctly applied. I did that after talking


to a number of people who'd raised issues with the, including taking


informal advice from a legally qualified people who thought that


that was an interesting question and appropriate question to ask.


I'm told on legal advice that the sergeant could be let out of


licence, pending the appeal. That of the services prosecution


authority should not be allowed to oppose the appeal. And that both of


these decisions are under the remit of the Attorney General. Would you


support him taking these decisions? On the first point, you talked


about him being in a military prison. The sentence he has been


given as one of Military Corrective Training. He could have been


sentenced to a prison term, which would have been served in a


civilian jail. So this is not a prison term. She should he be


allowed out on licence? In the normal course of events, after


quite a short period in that facility he will be allowed out,


initially for days and then for longer periods of time. It is not a


prison sentence. I and he's not been dismissed from the services.


It is a retraining programme. have to move on.


The nation's finances are broken and yet we are spending ever more


money and health care to treat avoidable diseases. Our NHS is


these -- based on need and not ability to pay. But if you eat too


much, smoke, drink and don't exercise, who should pick up the


tab when your body fails? Katie Hopkins thinks it's time for more


Sit in any doctor's surgery, hospital waiting room, A&E


department and there's one thing you can be sure of. Crowds of


people. The old, the young, the rich, the poor, all seeking help


from the NHS. The National Health Service was created in 1948 to


bring free medical treatment for all. 70 years on, times have


changed yet the NHS still provides this service. We now live in a


country that offers ever greater amounts of toys. These choices


include how we live our lives and how we choose to look after a row


bodies. With strong emphasis on health education from an early age,


we are now better equipped than ever before to make the right


choices on food, diet, exercise and Isn't it time we took


responsibility for our own actions? Isn't it time we paid a price for


the choices we make? The latest figures show a quarter of adults in


England are classified as obese. Around three in 10 boys and girls


are classified as either overweight or obese - 20 % of people say they


take walks of 20 minutes less than once a year or never! As a taxpayer,


I do not want to fund NHS treatment for people that refuse to take


exercise. If you choose to smoke, why should I help fund your lung


cancer treatment? If you choose to overheat, why should I pay for your


operations? NHS demand is overwhelming. It is time to limit


NHS provision. If you choose to kill yourselves through your own


actions, then you opt out of free medical treatment and you should


foot the bill for yourself. Frankly, if you don't care about your health


or your body, then as a taxpayer Katie Hopkins has no doubt run to


the studio in Plymouth. Can you hear me? I can. How would the


alternative work? Who would decide who gets treated and who gets


turned away? I'd been overwhelmed by e-mails and texts from people


saying that it has been far too long that the taxpayer has been


supporting people's poor health choices. It is time that people


were made accountable for the choices that they make regarding


their health. Who would decide who gets that access to health care?


It's time we started to add a premium to people. If you choose to


eat yourself into obesity, you pay a premium. If you choose to smoke


yourself into lung cancer, you pay a premium. But who would decide who


is too fat to get free health care or who has smoked too much or drunk


too much - he would make the decision? Wherever the funding sits,


whether that was PCTs or whether it needs to be done centrally, the


funding decisions need to be made in order to make people accountable


for the choices they make. At the moment, we are allowing people to


take very poor decisions about their health and are expecting the


taxpayer to pick up the tab. That cannot continue while we have


queues and queues of people on waiting lists that deserve to be


treated. Should lifestyles choices affect your access to health care?


If there is a clinical basis for it then sometimes, but I think the


case that is being made here... If people's lifestyles choices have


led to them being in a condition where treatment is not going to


work for them or it's going to be higher risk then clearly there is


already a sense in which some of those lifestyles choices do affect


their health care treatment available. But should people who


drink too much and eat too much be forced to pay for it? We have a


system where there treatment is free at the point of need. That's a


decision we have made. We recognise that the National Health Service,


free at the point of need, is one of the cornerstones on which our


modern society is built. If you go down this route, where do you stop?


What about kids who don't do their homework, they don't get any help


with further education later on - where do we start with this


process? It is costing an awful lot of money. Do you think it would


have an effect if people who were drinking every Saturday night and


were a vast burden on all the emergency services, if they were


made to pay for their regular trip to the hospital, do you think it


would stop them drinking? Before I answer this, I declare an interest


in this. The point is, if you start saying, if you've eaten too much,


drunk too much or smoked too much, you should pay more for the


National Health Service, then how about if you have a wonky Jean and


nevertheless insist on having a child who the chances are we'll


have some sort of disability - should you pay more then? What if


you are jumping off cliffs and a bit of rubber - should you be


paying more then? In the end, the great benefit of the NHS is we are


all in it together and we pay equally and all get the benefit of


it. It's one of the great things about being British. Katie, you are


running every day to stave off that obesity. Should I pay for your


arthritis treatment later on? we are all in it together. We are


not all in it together. People who eat healthily are contributing to


their own personal health care. What about skiers and people who go


horse riding? They are very dangerous activities and cost a


fortune if you break your neck. can pick those examples but I'm


talking about people we district nurses are having to spend time


going into their homes because people can't get out of their homes


because of their obesity. Ambulances that cost �120,000 just


to move someone that is severely obese. We have to take action and


we have to stop people who are investing in their health from


queueing behind people who really don't care. We have no more time.


The Guess The Year and so, that's Thank you to all of our guests


today. The news is starting over on BBC One. I will be back tomorrow at


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