10/12/2012 Daily Politics


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Afternoon, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. It is short, simple


and men to make the newspapers behave better it. In the wake of


the Leveson report, Labour is the first to publish a draft bill


regulating the press. The party wants a panel of senior judges to


oversee the new system of self- regulation and we will ask the


Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman whether it will work.


Let me pop this question - will gay marriage think the Tories? John


Major is the latest to show support, reminding his party that we live in


the 21st century. A group of MPs say ministers should


consider ending criminal penalties for some people found with small


quantities of drugs. And three cheers for the European


Union, who today took hold of the Nobel Peace Prize - hurrah!


All that in the next hour. With us for the duration, or at least half


of it, a crossbench peer who likes the beer. Welcome to Karan


Bilimoria. He is the founder and chairman of Cobra Beer. First this


morning, let's talk about genetically modified food. The


Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, would like more of it.


Ministers are preparing to relax controls on the cultivation of GM


crops. In the Daily Telegraph, Mr Paterson said GM food should be


grown and sold widely in Britain and consumer opposition to the


technology was, quote, complete nonsense. Is he right? I have


spoken about GM foods in Parliament. Agriculture in this country needs


far more attention, the agriculture sector has gone down to barely over


1% of our GDP, tiny. We need to encourage agriculture. In India,


for example, I know how much during the green revolution that hybrid


crops were used, which transformed Indian agriculture. It has lifted


starving people out of poverty. In theory, GM food is a great idea,


you can increase productivity, reduce fertiliser reduce, reduce


the risk of infection. It should benefit humanity, held up with


people from poverty. Are there no dangers? Of course they have shown


to be dangers. One needs to look at it carefully. There is a lot of


opposition in India because you have to look at very small holdings


and the way it is implemented. But on a case-by-case basis here it is


worthy of considering, rather than having a very blinkered attitude.


It looks like, belatedly, we will go for it? There has been a lot of


debate in years gone by, I think the Daily Mail called it


Frankenstein food, but it looks like the opposition is losing out?


We need to be practical. Science is advancing and if you can have


science helping you to be more productive, that has to benefit in


keeping costs down. We are going through horrible recessionary times,


we must keep an open mind. Now time for away daily quiz. The


Communities Secretary and MP for Brentwood and avant-garde, Eric


Pickles, appeared on Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 yesterday. Guests


can take one luxury item on to the island, what did he choose?


Earl Grey tea, an organic pork pie, weekly bin collections or a boxed


set of The Only Way is Essex? Shut At the end of the show, someone


will tell us the right answer, I hope.


When Brian Leveson published his 2000 page report into the future of


press legislation, he said the ball was back in the Court of the


politicians. What have they done since? The Conservative Party the


Government is against a system of regulation which has to be backed


by a new law. The Culture Department is drawing up a draft


bill to show, they say, how complicated it would be.


But Labour, which supports Leveson's call for a regulator


backed by law, has come up with its own draft bill. Everyone seems to


be doing it. Presumably to show how easy it can be done, the Labour


version is a mere eight pages and six clauses long.


They envisage a new regulator called the Press Standards Trust


with the power to investigate complaints and false papers to


print apologies or face big fines. Every national newspaper and


magazine with a substantial UK circulation would be expected to


join, but purely online organisation such as blogs would


not have to. The Labour plans would see the Lord Chief Justice


appointed to oversee the new trust, along with a panel of other judges


who decide once every few years if it is up to scratch. The Bill would


order ministers and anyone in public office to uphold the freedom


of the press. Ed Miliband is said to have spoken to Nick Clegg about


the proposals, which are said to have gone down well with the


Liberal Democrats. That could add to pressure on David Cameron of the


cross-party talks later this week. Labour's Harriet Harman has worked


on the draft Bill and joins me now. Welcome. What is there in the


behaviour of judges in this country which would make you think that the


freedom of the press would be safe in my hands? What our Bill does is


it actually enacts a central principle that Leveson put forward,


which is the press need to redo their press complaints system so it


is independent and effective, but there needs to be some legal


guarantee, some guarantee in law that they will not just slip back.


Previously they have said we will sort things out and improve the


system and after a few years they have slipped back. This Bill is


simply sets up a system which recognises and gives the


responsibility to the Lord Chief Justice. Let me come back to my


question, what is it in the behaviour of British judges in


modern times which makes you think that freedom of the press is safer


now hands? They will apply the law. And the law we have set out says


there has to be a guarantee of press freedom but also says that if


a body which has been set up by the press themselves but is actually


independents and operating according to the criteria Leveson


set out, you simply verify it, you go away and carry on with your day


job of being Lord Chief Justice, in three years' time you look again


and say, are they still doing what they promised they would do? If


they have you tick the box and go away again. It is a legal guarantee


that you don't have what she always had Doba last 70 years, good


intentions and then things slipping. -- what you always had over the


last 70 years. The British judiciary has been responsible for


some of the most anti- believe -- anti- free press behaviour is in


the modern world, such as thalidomide and Spycatcher, which


they tried to stop it being -- to stop being published. They would


not be dealing with any complaints about the press, that is not what


they would be doing. But they would monitor the body that is. They


would not. They would report every two or three years. At the outset


they would look up the criteria laid down by Leveson like whether


the body is independent and includes the newspapers, they would


then say it has ticked the box and they would get on and deal with the


press. The Lord Chief Justice would be no where near content or any of


those other issues. I have read your bill, it is interesting, more


readable than most, although that may be a weakness of it. But under


the Bill the Lord Chief Justice and other judges would monitor, reports


on how this body of regulators is performing with the power to make


regulations, suggest changes and enforce them if need be? In the six


clauses and The One Show Gil, it says at the outset it would verify


the system and then look at it. If you had a system which was set up


and after a year the press decided to close the whole thing down, I


don't think they would, but supposing they did, we have a


clause which says if it breaks down between the three years, then the


Lord Chief Justice can say the system is broken-down and therefore


it is no longer verified. I would like you to recognise and accept


that this takes the courts nowhere near what is written in the papers.


Parliament is nowhere near what is written in the papers, the


Government is nowhere near. The press would set up their own system


to deal with complaints, we would just tick the box. It is operating


in the way they say it will operate. But the judges would still be the


Verify and they would report on the performance of this body. They


would not report on the performance, they would simply say, is the body


matching the criteria laid out? They would not have it up and say,


we are not happy with how you dealt with this complaint, we think you


should have dealt differently, they will simply look at whether or not


it is structurally and organisationally what the press


themselves say they are doing. next Lord Chief Justice could be


Brian Leveson. Are you happy he would be the one regulating the


press? Whoever is Lord Chief Justice will have the


responsibility of applying the law according to the statute. This is a


very simple and straightforward task. It must worry you that Brian


Leveson could be the Lord Chief Justice, the man that you would put


in power as the ultimate arbitrator of press regulation? All the


experience of working journalists, I don't know if you speak to them


Walmart, they don't think judges understand the media or not. It's a


Claude Leveson six months to work out that journalists do not write


their own headlines, and yet she want to give these people with no


expertise at all the ultimate ride on regulating the press? We don't.


And the criteria that Leveson has laid down for highways system


should work, and independence of regulatory system, they have been


agreed by the newspapers, they have said they are good criteria and we


will accept the principles. All we are doing is ensuring them having


accepted those principles and setting up a body which complies


with those principles, we have it verified and also in three years'


time we have a sense that the press know that they have to keep doing


what they're doing and not slip back. I have got your own copy of


the bill for you to read. I have read it, but why don't you sign it


for me? Why did you give up on Ofcom? Mr


Miliband first said he wanted Ofcom to do this, not the Lord Chief


Justice. This recognising body should be Ofcom, but if people did


not want that they could have an alternative. Ed Miliband said you


would go with Ofcom. Leveson said we should have of combative people


did not wanted there could be an alternative. Ed Miliband said we


would go with Leveson to have Ofcom, but in the debate last Monday and


number of MPs, including, importantly, the Deputy Prime


Minister... Mr Clegg, I think his name is. He said he was not happy


with Ofcom. Ofcom is not a central tenet, it is a question of who will


do the role. We have come forward with something we think will


reassure people of the independence. And you hope for wider support by


doing it this way. Off, is a direct regulator, that is the worry. -- of,


is a direct regulator of. If you give back an observing role to


somebody whose day-job is the regulator, they might start getting


directly regulatory. But Leveson said you could pick. You have


changed your mind, I understand. have not, we listen to Parliament...


And change your mind, Miliband said you would go with off, and you have


not, you have changed your mind, fact. You want compromise, stop


arguing with me, I am agreeing with you. You're doing quite well as


arguing with me. What is the logic of saying the


online website of the New Statesman should come within this regulation,


which has no great influence on Westminster, but probably one of


the most influential sites, credo Fawkes, should not? Faulks is


offshore, offshore activities, of the situation of the law deals with


them differently. But they could join voluntarily. If they did and


they got done for libel, they would be able to say we are in the body,


please make our damages accordingly and don't sting us with costs.


though Guido Fawkes is not covered if he does not volunteer to join it,


he could get costs in any libel case? There are sticks and carrots,


you can get costs reduced if you join his body, because you have


shown good endeavour, it is a mitigating factor. If you don't,


and you are found guilty of libel, you get it in the neck. This will


come before the Lords. If it ever becomes a bill in parliament, how


There is a feeling that things have gone too far T majority of the


Leveson report has got people agreeing with it. Having judges and


I have the greatest respect for British courts. Worldwide we have


the fairest courts in the world. Anything to do with judges, courts,


supervising the press, alarm bells ring. The free press is a


cornerstone of this country. I know the intentions are good, but you


have to have an independent regulator. We know the Press


Complaints Commission has not worked. We need something which


will. The report is very good in that sense. We have to stay away


from any form of statutory control of the press. That will destroy and


the perception sent abroad - we must remember that, not just here.


How do you stop what has happened over the past 70 years, the press


changing, getting their house in order and then slipping back. As


far as abroad is concerned that is a red hearing. The Irish have their


system and they are human rights come President Clinton. Ironically,


the biggest -- they are right rights compliant.


That is one stop. That is what has been shown to happen.


I think we have learnt some serious lessons. What you have said has


been said over and over again. This time we have to make sure we don't


slip back. It is not fair on people like the McCanns and the Dowlers


that should happen to families. Speaking of... Don't leave us,


because we are speaking about lives being wrecked by some things the


media do. From the British press, let's move to the Australian media.


The two presenters who made that hoax call say they are heart broken


by the death of the nurse caught newspaper the prank. Her name was


Jacintha Saldanha. She was found dead three days after put through


that call. This is what the presenters had to say earlier today.


Unfortunately I remember that moment very well, because I haven't


stopped thinking about it since it happened. I remember my first


question was, was she a mother. When you found out she was what did


you think? Very sad for the family. I cannot imagine what they are


going through. What about you? Gutted. You know.


Shattered. Heart-broken.


Does it even feel real to you what has happened? We're still trying to


get our heads around everything, trying to make sense of the


situation. It doesn't seem real because you could not foresee


something happening like that from a prank call. It was never nopbt go


that far. It was meant to be a -- never meant to go that far. It


meant to be a prank. This wasn't supposed to happen. If it was a


British tabloid responsible, in the post Leveson atmosphere there would


be a lynch mob, wouldn't there? think everybody right now is


sympathetic and heart-broken for the family and there will be an


inquest, but I think it's just a real tragedy. I think the idea of


trying to judge what has happened on this against this bill we've put


forward, I mean I just.... I think it is relevant. If this were to


become law, there would be a body of law which is the basis of press


regulation. If you got something like that, God forbid, done by a


British newspaper, there would be a huge outcry in Parliament, you


probably leading it to toughen up things so this could not happen?


All there would be is a stamp - an authorisation of what the press


themselves are doing by the way of Press Complaints Commission. They


are reconstituting that now. What do you think? What happens here is


awful. On one hand, you would say pranks - people have always pulled


pranks, they will always happen. In this instance you are talking about


people playing a prank on a hospital, dealing with people


caring for people's lives. You are trying to get private, sensitive


information, let alone, it happens to be a member of the Royal Family.


That is wrong, for somebody to think of playing a prank like that


- it's completely wrong. They are regretting what they've done. They


have no... They were not thinking of what they were doing. Well, it


is very serious. You don't do that with a hospital.


Will you sign this for me? Indeed! With a kiss? I am hoping to even


persuade you it might be a bit of a tall order. I have no views on the


matter. I am in favour of press freedom, like you are. I would not


dream of doing anything I felt harmed the press. I am in favour of


individuals to lead their lives without harassment. That is what


has been suggested we do. David Cameron is in favour of gay


marriage. So are many prominent figures, not everyone in the party


Adam is on the green. You are totally right. It is fair to say


this divided Conservatives to strong views. Let's hear some of


the views. We have Tim Montgomery from Conservative home and Peter


Bone. You are in favour of same-sex marriage, so too is John Major, he


issued a statement in favour. Why is that a significant moment?


is important for the Conservative Party to demonstrate is civility. I


respect Peter's view. I hope he respects mine. What I hope we'll


get to in a position and this is what the Freedom to Marry group is


hoping for - a number of others leading, the right for gay people


to be part of the important institution of marriage but


important liberty to protect it as well. We must not force anybody in


the churches or mosques or synagogues to support something


that is against their consciences. Is it is a civil debate? It seems


like it is getting bad tempered? didn't start off very well. The


letter Tim was associated with implied that most people who didn't


support their view were homophobic. That is a really bad way. It was


badly written. If that is not what it meant, please say. When I hear


other Conservative MPs picking on other Conservative MPs over this


issue, that is not the way to have this. It's not just the


Conservative Party who is divided over it - of course the country is


divided. It is not just political parties, people of different


political views. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I


have that right to believe that. Tim takes a different view. What I


object to is this being forced on Parliament now when there's no


mandate from any political party, not in any manifesto for this to


happen. Yes, so Tim where is this coming from? It was not in


manifestos, as Peter Bone says - the evidence from the public is


mixed? I don't think it is mixed. There is a large minority who


oppose this form. Every opinion poll has found a large majority of


people in favour of this reform, particularly amongst young people,


and even amongst most religious people as well, I think there is


support for this. One of the first speeches David Cameron gave as


leader of the Conservative Party was, he said he wanted to see


marriage between a man and a man, a woman and a woman and a man and a


woman as well. He wanted full equality before the law. I think


that's the right position for the Conservative Party, for the nation,


to address. Completely, contrary to what Peter has said, I don't regard


him as homophobic. Why did that letter say it? You read it.


Nick Clegg spoke very badly in that press release that he withdraw. I


don't regard people who have sincere, perhaps religious views,


who hold the view that Peter does as anything other than sincere.


People who are homophobic I think are a small minority. I don't want


to swap one form of intoll rapbls for a new form of inkol --


intolerance, for a new form of intolerance.


Mutual tolerance and support for equal rights. Also, isn't the


problem with this issue, it's not like a lot of issues where there


can be a nice fudge, people are broadly happy with. There is no


compromise We should argue on the issue. Maybe something we can agree


on is there cannot be a goorn tee that churches will not be forced to


have same-sex marriage. When the European Court of Human Rights gets


involved, who knows where it will go! A few weeks ago we said there


would be no church same-sex wedding. There's not a cast-iron guarantee.


Tim knows the European Court has its own way of getting involved in


these things. Let's look way into the distance. Imagine this


legislation is passed or swished in the House of Commons and the Lords,


where would this leave the Conservative Party once it happens


or doesn't happen? I think what is true is we look at issues like


Section 28 from ten years ago or civil partnerships from five years


ago. These were issues of huge controversy at the time. Almost as


soon as they are passed they are accepted by the nation. I don't


know Peter's view on civil partnerships. I support them. There


you go. Did you at the time? That's a very nice, easy thing to say,


isn't it? When you are trying to change an institution which has


been there for hundreds of years - this is where you will see from


Conservative home the number of grass root Torys who are opposed to


this change F we do it, put it in a manifesto, have a general election.


Let people decide whether they want to vote for that MP, not bring it


forward now. I hope you'll agree with me, this is an own-goal in


terms of the Conservative Party. It damages us. What happens if it gets


past in 18 months - would you leave the Conservative Party? I do have a


calling that is higher than the Conservative Party - that's God, of


course. We have strong arguments... What I don't want. It is not what


the letter in the Telegraph said. We must have a civilised debate. I


would hope the people who wrote that letter will apologise for it.


I think you are being too pressure about that. -- precious about that.


I I think millions were offended by it. I am sure not. Take steps that


way. Carry on discussing it and we'll go back to the studio where


we will talk about controversial issues. We'll hear more later in


the week when Maria Miller will be in the Commons to update MPs on


what MPs want to do with this issue. Where are you on this? I led a


debate earlier this year on the contribution of the ethnic and


religious minoritys to this country. It is fantastic that we have such


an open country, a secular country, multicultural, where we don't just


tolerate all religions, we celebrate all religions. We've had


civil partnerships. If this is to go ahead, so long as it is not


forced on any religious body to implement it. The fear is once it -


although that's not the intention - the critics say once this becomes


law, there will be huge pressure on the churches, even maybe legal


pressure to conform. No, I they are making it very clear. Of course the


step by step approach would be a first for civil partnerships to be


recognised as marriages. Then to get to this stage and now it's


going straight to marriages. you happy with that, or not?


think, on the whole, people seem to want to move on in that direction.


My biggest fear is it should not be forced on the religions. That is


wrong, we should not do that. out thevy lins and spare a thought


for poor MPs who are - well sometimes they cannot win. Take


immigration. The Government wants to bring net migration below the


100,000 mark by 2015. They are 80,000 off target. Ministers want


to grow the high tech businesses which often rely on, you have got


it, skilled foreign workers from outside the EU, who will be hit by


the immigration cap. That means they are getting it in the neck


from, well, just about everybody. In America, they have Silicon


Valley, a sizable chunk of California poplised by industries


of 21st century and beyond. We are British. We have silicon roundabout.


One day, all of this will be high tech startups, run by trendy


entrepreneurs, the Government insist will revitalise the economy.


That is why politicians love to hang here. The cool kids say,


thanks in a large part to the Government's immigration policies,


they cannot get the staff. Their beef is with the cap. Ministers


want to bring net inward migration below 100,000 by 2015. It is


currently at 180,000. They cannot do much about people there the EU,


but they can deal with those from outside it. Only people with


exceptional skills, investors and entrepreneurs are being welcomed.


Students face tougher language tests, are allowed to stay for less


time and need a sponsoring employer. That gives the new breed of


businesses around these parts a headache. The high tech companies


on Silicon Roundabout are affected. We thrive on having really skilled


workers and are ability to expand and provide new jobs in this area


is affected by getting the skilled workers. We would love to have as


many British coming in. But if we are going to grow Silicon


Roundabout into something which is world-beating and has a major


effect on the economy, we need to bring in the best and the brightest


from around the world. You don't have to support the Government to


disagree with Dan. So far as employers are concerned it is self-


serving. It is the easy way out. Instead of resources for young


people - don't forget 20% of graduates cannot get jobs. Instead


of taking on graduates, the easy option is to get somebody from


abroad. Of course they use the argument, this strives economic


growth. It adds minutely overall to GDP. So far as per capita GPD, that


is the wealth of the individuals in the country, it doesn't add at all.


Equally, being a Conservative doesn't mean you have to think what


The trouble is that I do not think the policy is in the economic


interests of the country and I don't think we will be able to


reduce immigration from its current level of 182,000 to under 100 birds


and, which is what we have promised. Which leads people like Dan feeling


dazed and confused. On the one hand we are promoting


Silicon Roundabout and we are able to find great people to come in as


a result of that, but on the other hand the Government is saying that


we don't want immigrants. This is not what the UK once, the UK is not


open for business. You can't have those two messages at once.


immigration debate is as much about politics and people as it is about


the numbers, which makes keeping everyone happy very hard indeed.


We are joined by the Immigration Minister Mark Harper, welcomed. Is


there not a danger that your immigration strategy is now


undermining your growth strategy? don't think so. I fundamentally


don't understand and that clip why the gentleman was saying he had


heard people say Britain was closed for business. Ministers have said


nothing of the sort. Our policies are about having fewer people


overall but being more selective and making sure we have skilled


workers. If you look at the figures published on the 29th of November,


we have fewer people coming in of all but more skilled workers. We


have fewer students but more students coming to an excellent


British universities, Britain is very much open for business. Why do


you have a cap on 1000 visas for the exceptionally talented? That is


a new stream we have opened up, we have not reached 1000 yet. A number


of the things we have opened, we have developed. Why would you


cabbage? Don't we want exceptionally talented people? Why


would you put a cap on exceptional talent? We opened a new stream to


have people coming in under that route, people who were extremely


talented, and also routes for entrepreneurs and investors. We


want people to come here, start businesses and be successful, that


is the strategy we have outlined and it is working. When that


gentleman said he could not hire skilled workers, the cap we have is


nowhere near being reached. I just don't think it is true. If you


can't hire them it is not because of the cap? If he wants to bring


skilled workers from outside the EU, there should not be a problem.


are a businessman, you deal with this, what is your view?


reality is the perception of what is being said. This country has


been built on good immigration. The previous government lost control of


immigration and if you asked the UK Border Agency right now how many


illegal immigrants that are, they cannot even give you a figure


rounded up to 100,000, they have no clue. We have lost control of our


borders, we have not introduced exit controls so we don't even know


who is sleeping. Then there is a big difference between bad and good


immigration. There are 60 million people on a small island, we can't


have everyone coming in. It is an attractive place to come, one of


the top 10 economies in the world, but we need to get control and keep


away the bad immigration. What about the cap?


ALL TALK AT ONCE. It is the way that you did it. If


you want to get bad. -- rid of the bad immigration, the dodgy colleges


and students, everybody would agree. But if you have a blunt, crude


immigration cap, you send out the message of a broad brush carpet-


bombing everyone. I sits on the boards of schools and we have seen


applications of students from India plummet, because the message being


sent out is that British universities do not want us. The


London Metropolitan University, overnight the Borders Agency said


you have to get rid of 2500 to 3000 foreign students you have now, that


is a police state type action. Most of those students did nothing wrong.


It is not just the Duchy College is you are closing down, people coming


for dodgy degrees, it is affecting people who should be coming to our


top business schools? The overall number of students coming to allow


universities was up last year. that the case? The figures I have


here was that in the it year to 20th September 12 there were


210,921 visas issued for study. That is it for up 26%. The number


of students coming to the UK is down, the number of students coming


to our universities is up. We have tackled the institutions which were


not selling education, they were selling... The number of


applications for visas to come to universities is also up. The


university sector is being protected. It is the sector where,


as Karen said, there was abuse, we are weeding out the abuse. We have


far fewer colleges. This fall of 26%, a quarter, is it all down to


the closure of the dodgy language schools and the false degrees?


because the number of students coming to universities is up. The


high quality end of the sector, the best and brightest, to use your


language, is going up. Britain is very much open for business. That


is what ministers are saying. want to bring you back, we are not


just talking about students but we are talking about visas for very


talented people. The minister says we are way below the cap, is there


any evidence that British companies cannot hire the best and brightest


from abroad because of what the Government has done? Yesterday I


was at the annual awards of the Bangladesh Caterers Association,


the leading restaurant body. That employs over 100,000 people, it is


part of our way of life. They cannot recruit staff from a board,


in particular, shirts. I know that curry colleges were being set up,


including the University of West London, where I was Chancellor, but


those things take time to implement. In the meantime, restaurants are


suffering, consumers are squeezed, they are trying to survive...


have made no apologies for saying you can't bring in people from


outside the UK will unskilled and low-skilled. These are skilled


people. The migrations... Migration Advisory Committee set up


the skills we want people to have. But the industry is saying we are


not getting the skills. They listen to people, they don't just sit in


Whitehall, they take evidence and listen. Come here if you are


skilled, but we are not importing unskilled labour into the labour


market. An unrelated matter, related to immigration but not what


we're talking about, Romanians and Bulgarians, by the end of next year


the transitional restrictions come after and Romanian some Bulgarians


will have totally free access to this country the way the Polish had


to 10 years or so ago? That's right. And we are not the only country


removing transitional controls. you accept that this report by


Migrationwatch, it could lead to up to 425,000? That is speculation.


When I was asked in the Commons about the forecast, I said it is


much better to say it is very difficult to forecast these numbers.


I think you alluded to the previous government... They got it totally


wrong. But there are a number of European countries with


restrictions, they will be releasing them as well. It is a


very difficult job. No forecasts? No. Straight answer. Thank you both


very much. Goodbye. Now let's look at what will be


making the news next -- this week. Today sees the publication of the


Home Affairs Select Committee report on drugs, which has made 48


recommendations, including, controversially, urging the


Government to consider a system of drug decriminalisation pioneered in


Portugal. On Tuesday, there is the


Communications Bill. The Lib Dems may yet withdraw support for more


police powers to monitor communications.


Get you glad rags on tomorrow night, the Chancellor is hosting his


annual Christmas drinks. Let's hope he can extend a little more


Christmas cheer than his Autumn Statement.


On Wednesday it is the penultimate PMQs of the year. For some of you,


that means second blast. The parties go head-to-head on


Leveson on Thursday. More cross- party talks, I wish -- I bet you


can't wait. Statutory underpinning or not?


We are joined from outside Westminster by Craig Wood house


from the Sun and Rowenna Davis from the New Statesman, looking very


cold indeed. Rowenna Davis, I don't know if you heard Harriet Harman,


are you comfortable with the Labour idea that judges should become the


ultimate arbitrators of press freedom? It is an interesting


proposal which has had a reasonably warm welcome, largely because it is


quite constructive and has a natural solution, it is reasonably


comprehensible, not too long and deals with a chief problem that a


lot of the press had which was there was too much involvement of


Ofcom. Where I think there are a couple of worries are the role of


judges, as you rightly pointed out. Having spoken to colleagues in


various newspapers there is a concern that several times in the


past with things like injunctions, judges have not always acted in the


public interest. Secondly there is a concern about whether this deals


with new media sufficiently. A commercial blocks of really big


outlets like Guido Fawkes and the Huffington Post will not be obliged


to join us. We need a settlement that works with the changing


newspaper industry and not just one as we see it today. Is this some


happy to have judges as the ultimate arbitrator? -- is the Sun?


Whether judges are the right people to hold it to account, we don't


necessarily know. The fundamental problem with these proposals today


is it still amounts to a statutory underpinning, which the industry


and many Conservatives say they will not stomach. It will come to


the cross-party talks on Thursday. It certainly moves Labour closer to


the Lib Dems by saying they no longer need Ofcom, but I think they


will get opposition from people, including David Cameron. Again


talking to newspaper colleagues, the settlement does not get agreed


soon, that will be the worst thing. Because this odd limbo state exists


where the press are trying to report some politicians but


politicians are trying to decide whether are not to boot some


statutory like -- regulation. Let's move onto gay marriage. Is it


doing damage to the Conservatives in the sense that it shows they are


quite deeply divided? I'm not really sure what some of these


Conservatives are up to. We heard earlier from Peter Bone, who


obviously feels strongly, and some others of a strongly religious


nature Feely -- clearly feel strongly. But lots of moderates,


including David Cameron, say this is the direction they want to lead.


I think it is squabbling on the backbenches, but once they become


more people forget about them. If it happens in time for 2014, which


the Government hopes, it will all be forgotten about by the 2015


general election. Gay marriage does not divide the Labour Party, but


what about drug decriminalisation? Will Labour have the guts to accept


the recommendations? I really hope so. The whole issue of


decriminalisation is one of those issues where the evidence is


consistently in its favour and it has always been the politicians


refusing to step up to the evidence and take an lead on it. I would


hope it will start to happen. You saw on the Today programme...


we hope and what happens are often different, what do you think will


happen? I don't know what will happen exactly, I think Labour will


still discuss it. It is interesting with Ed Miliband at the moment, he


is prepared to take on quite a few issues which go against the typical


political lines. Whether it has been Leveson or the banks, he has


consistently said, let's challenge the frame of the debate at the


moment. Most recently on voting on benefit changes, he may go against


what is established political law, I hope he does that on drugs.


chance, Crich quite -- Chris? don't think so. I think it is a


step too far. Ed Miliband's thing is about taking on the vested


interests, I don't know what be vested interest is here. We will


let you get into some warmth, thank you foreign during the cold and the


sirens! They were probably looking for you, or looking for me!


Should ministers consider ending criminal penalties for people found


with small quantities of drugs if they are going to a treatment


programme? The Commons home affairs committee thinks so. A report out


today says Britain might benefit from following an approach which


has been pioneered in Portugal. It used to be Sweden or Amsterdam we


went to, but Portugal is now the new one. What does the Minister


thing? The Home Secretary has said she


does not think the Royal Commission has the answer at the moment, but


the report is a thoughtful, comprehensive and intelligent


report. We don't necessarily need to agree with every recommendation


and we will analyse it properly, because it has just been published.


We want to have an informed policy, informed by fresh thinking and


based on the best evidence available so we will look at it


We are joined by Paul Uppal, Bridget Phillipson and by Annette


Brooke. I think they will look at it. I saw the minister on Skye TV


this morning certainly looking at the Portuguese example and said


they would look at it. It's important in the grand scheme of


things - and I am the father of three children - I know how


pertinent it is. I worry about my children being exposed to drugs in


the future. Why did they did a Royal Commission is not necessary?


There are some positives. Even the report noticed this as well. If you


look at 11-15 year olds there are a decline in the numbers of them


using these soft drugs, also with the harder drugs there is a decline


there. It is important to focus on the two main issues - one is the


harder drugs and second are recreational drugs taken at


weekends. On both those fronts we are seeing progress. Bridget


Phillipson, will Labour grapts this nettle? Is there a con-- grasp this


nettle? Is there a convention not to do anything about this? I am a


member of the Home Affairs Committee. We are clear that drugs


policy is one area to be considered. It is a wide-ranging report, which


looks at a number of aspects, treatment, how we enforce, how to


get money back where it is laundered through UK banks. The


issue of decriminalisation or otherwise is an aspect. It is one


that gets the headline. It is why we recommended a Royal Commission.


Personally, I was not persuaded by the arguments around


decriminalallisation. I know colleagues who visited Portugal


were interested by what they saw there. It is not a sanction of free


approach in Portugal. Members were impressed by what was being done


there, in making sure we address the consequences properly. There is


still a problem, in this country, with how we treat people who are


using drugs, including alcohol. I see that with the work I do as an


MP. We have a long way to address that, to make sure people get the


right treatment they need, so they are not a victim of crime.


Liberal Democrats have traditionally been, how shall I put


it! Liberal on this matter. You have the legalise cannabis


motion - and they rush to hose it down. The grown-up party should say


we should look at the evidence. It cannot be said that the


reclassification of drugs under the last Government was based on


scientific evidence. I have to admit I feel strongly we should be


looking at the evidence, but then, as a parent, I get tugged. I think


we should look at all these projects. We're not doing well. We


have the vicious circle with people taking drugs, stealing, into jail,


more drug-taking and on we go, on and on. It surprised me official


figures show official drug use in England and Wales is at the lowest


rate since 1996. That is surprising. That is encouraging. You are on the


committee - why is that? It shows that decriminalisation is not the


answer. Why they use drugs and cause harms to themselves and


others is complex. The work I did before I was an MP, working with


people who were homeless is people use drugs because of trauma in


their lives and because of poverty. The action that Labour took to try


and work with families to stop that happening and to address the root


causes did lead to a decline in drug use. These declines in use,


notwithstanding - the war on drugs has been lost, not just in this


country, it has been lost across the Western world, in the United


States. Shouldn't politicians be prepared to be more radical than


just say more of the same? I think it is important to look at the


causes we are looking at here. There's a three tronged report. You


-- those who have drug dependency, wean them off that. I know I heard


you speaking there - I met somebody who was in prison for most of his


adult life, when I became an MP. He said the main thing which got him


off drugs was a stable family life. Those are the fundamentals.


word is moving here - Washington State have become the first to


legalise marijuana. At election time a number of pleb cysts, voted


for a more -- a number of plebisites voted for a more... You


would like a Royal Commission? happy looking across the board. We


have to look at different types of drugs, because obviously new ones


are emerging, switching from one to the other. I don't think it is as


simple as decriminalising cannabis. How did you miss the trip to


Portugal? I had just had a baby. Now, hip, hip, hooray for the


European Union, who today formally accepted the Nobel Peace Prize at a


ceremony in Norway. David Cameron declined to go, but the Deputy


Prime Minister, he couldn't wait. The EU was given the award for its


role in united Europe after two world wars. Some of the more


cynical may say that the award is inappropriate at a time when the EU


is struggling with the financial crisis. You are just a bunch of


meanys. Here is Nigel Farage. utterly bemused. We saw Angela


Merkel going to Athens, people dressed up in Nazi uniforms and a


feeling of mutual disgust, which has grown up between Germany and


Greece. I find it absolutely baffeling that the EU could have


been awarded this prize. Frankly, it brings the Nobel Prize into


total disrepute. Were you baffled? That was quite a long baffled!


you baffled when you heard the news? It was something I didn't see


coming. I didn't expect that one. Were you baffled when you heard it,


high the EU got the prize? It is unusual to award it for an


institution as opposed to an individual. We saw greater


integration, it was for a good reason. It emerged from the horror


of war. Many people disagree with how Europe has gone since. I am a


support of Britain having a strong role in Europe. Shouldn't we have


given it to NATO? That kept the peace. Europe doesn't do it by


itself, but no, I don't think it is a bad thing to have done it.


has said, political satire become obs leet when Harry kissing ger was


awarded the Nobel Prize. A lot of people in the country dislike the


EU and reading about it, don't feel comfortable about this. It is an


institution which needs reforming - absolutely! But I think we can look


back on a relative 70 years of peace in Europe. Would you put it


down to the EU or to the spread of demock rasy and the NATO defence


system? -- democracy and the NATO defence system? All things have to


come together. I remember learning about the heartland, which would be


a battle to get control over the centre of Europe. It is quite a


weak one overall, but you can match that to what was happening with the


power based around Germany. By balancing strengths out across the


EU, that has been important. Those critics who say, oh, it should just


be a trade treaty, would obviously not see that as appropriate. It


always surprises me when one is door-knocking and a member of the


Liberal Democrats says, you are favour -- in favour of the EU. Look


at what you are doing to us. I reply back. But we have had peace


for 70 years. That is something to be valued. You must, as a Tory, be


proud that Winstonure hill has been ooze en? I always have a warm glow


many my heart when we mention Winston Churchill. Equally a noble


recipient could have been NATO. It was just an idea that flooded


into my mind! Great minds think alike. Let's talk about the fate of


Britain's most famous MP - not David Cameron, but Nadine. She


travelled to the jung toll take part in I'm a celebrity get me out


of here. They withdraw the whip. Yesterday she told the Sunday


Politics why she took part. Children run up to me with their


mobile phones and say, Are you an MP?" what is it like to eat a


spider N Westminster, back in the corridor of powers, my name has


been removed from the Conservative Party's website list of MPs. In


2015, a whole new generation of voters will go into the voting


booth in Mid-Beds put a cross next to my name and know who they are


voting for. Far from being a disaster, I'm a celebrity - with a


total success. I have no regrets and I would do it all again. Well,


today she meets the Chief Whip. So, what should her fate be? Should she


get the whip back? That is above my pay grade actually, Andrew.


must have a view. I have a view on this and I know I watched this


yesterday on TV. Is this for her or for the Conservative Party? I'm


going to quote Ronnie Wood on this - I am not sure - he said of all


the addictions in life. I think he's done most of them, of all the


vices. H said the most famous one is fame. I think politicians can


get addicted to seeing themselves in black and white that can be a


dangerous think. If we are talking about drugs and linking this in,


maybe she has gone from a soft user into a hard user in terms of media


addiction. Is she good for bad for the Torys? She is certainly


interesting. She has strong views on a number of issues. I respect


the fact she has those views. However, I don't think we should


confuse the job we do with being a celebrity. I think she is in the


risk of confusing that. She has an important job. She would be better


serving kirpblts out of the -- constituents out of the jungle.


Is fame necessarily going to mean you will make achievements?


Politicians here are to change things. This will disappear.


Putting your own views aside, what in general is the view of


backbenchers to here? She has a lot of school children asking who she


was and what it was like eating a spider. We will see this story


unfold. There's just time before we go to


find out the answer to our quiz. What luxury item would Eric Pickles


take with him if he got stuck in a What is the correct answer? Does


anybody know? I thought you would mention curry. I have to go for the


pork pie. The correct answer is Earl Grey tea. You can cut out the


bin collections. Thank to all the guests being here. The news is


starting on BBC One now. Jo will be here tomorrow at noon, with all the


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