13/12/2012 Daily Politics


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Welcome to the Daily Politics where the Government is getting cracking


with fracking. Ministers have said energy companies can resume


drilling for gas out of shale rocks. So, is this North Sea oil Mark two


in the cheap energy era or the pursuit of fool's Gold. Earthquakes


and water pollution is in line. The Mayor of Amsterdam trying to ban


students from smoking dope in schools. So it really time to


liberalise the drug laws here at home?


And, the Church of England failed to vote for women bishops. It's


fighting gay marriage and the census suggests fewer of us believe


in God. So what is the future for the church in an ever more secular


world? All that coming up in the next hour.


With us for the duration, MP Caroline Lucas, the first, so far


the only green MP in the Commons, until earlier this year she was


also the party leader. Why are the Greens going nowhere? I do love


your introductory questions! I don't think we are going nowhere.


We have seen our first MP elected, myself, and our first green Council


so we have a minority administration in Brighton and Hove.


You are Brighton? The London Assembly, you remember that the


mayoral candidate came third beating the Liberal Democrats into


fourth place so things are on the up. Really? There have been 12


Parliamentary by-elections in this Parliament since the coalition took


power. You stood in seven of them. How did you do? Very badly and we


do do badly in by-elections because we don't have the resources to put


into every seat that comes up. The by-elections are used to build


ready for the local elections, so often our strategy with the by-


elections is to get our message out on the doorsteps to as many people


as possible and then identify which are the good wards we can work on


to become councillors. In Norwich, we are using that strategy and we


have the Greens on Norwich city council being the official


opposition. In Lancashire and Oxford we have many, many Greens.


There was a net increase of 11 this year, but in every by-election, you


lost your deposit? I tried to explain the strategy. Losing money?


We are a small party of scarce... You only chose seven out of 12. I


understand you picked seven. Even in the ones you cherry-picked, you


lost your deposit in every single one and it's interesting because


the Liberal Democrat votes in a number of areas is crumbling,


certainly in by-elections and you would think that an element of the


Lib Dem vote would go to you, not all but an element. But no. Respect


is another party and doing better than you? Well, it's a slightly


unusual one. UKIP are always way ahead of you? UKIP is doing well,


it's a good single issue party and gets the message across effectively.


What Greens are dog is targeting resources we have which are far


fewer than UKIPs sadly. That's why when we can put our resources into


Oxford, Lancaster, we can see the results. We have an electoral


system that's hugely weighted against smaller parties. We know


that. The electoral system itself not being proportional. If you look


at the European elections, what we are expecting in 2014 is we are


going to increase by another three seats because we were a couple of


votes off in three other areas. When we have a proportional system,


the Greens do well. Over a million people voted Green at the last


European elections. I know it's a negative picture looking at by-


elections under a first-past-the- post system. European elections and


elections under a proportional system, a million people voting


Green is good. A councillor in Cambridge, you had one there, what


happened to him? People do defect. There are defections from any


political party. But why did he defect to the Labour Party? He said


he wanted to be "Part of a bigger party that has real power to make a


difference to people". There's always going to be that. There is a


serious issue there, you can try and make us look foolish. Whether


it's more fective to work in more mainstream parties, that's a


legitimate argument to be had -- more effective. That's


understandable, although not what I agree with, but the real question


is, how do you put pressure on the big parties to change and there's a


lot of evidence that when you join them, you become subsumed amidst


them, whereas if there's a party outside that that's pushing others


in a Green direction, that's effective. We have seen that. Other


parties can't afford to ignore the environment, they have to respond


more on social justice. The Greens are a small party but playing an


important role and I would love us to be bigger and I think at the


next European elections we will be. We'll see if you are still saying


that when the Tory minister joins us later in the programme. Time for


the daily quiz about twither. Everyone's at it these days --


Twitter. David Cameron, the Pope and Andrew Neil tweets all the time.


We want to know what political event of 2012 generated the most


tweets. Are you grumbling from the sidelines? Yes. According to


At the end of the show, Caroline will be pleased to know she'll give


us an answer. The big story of the day, are we


about to see another dash for gash? The go-ahead has been given to


fracking, the extraction of shale gas. It was halted after it was


believed to have caused some minor earth tremors in the north-west of


England. A moratorium was imposed but that's been lifted this very


morning. What is this fracking all about? I chose my words carefully,


Yes and said it carefully. It's a method of extracting natural gas


locked in shale rocks deep beneath the ground. Water, sand and


chemicals are pumped in under high pressure to force the gas out of


the rock. Test drilling in Blackpool was stopped last year


after there were two minor earthquakes. Today, the Government


has lifted the ban but under strict environmental conditions.


Supporters say that fracking could help bring down rising gas prices


but there are still major concerns about the technique's safety and


the environmental impact on burning gas to generate electricity.


Speak in the Commons this morning, the Energy and Climate Change


Secretary, Ed Davey, cautioned against some of the more optimistic


predictions about the potential of shale gas. I'm absolutely clear


that the most responsible and sensible way forward energy policy


is to have a diverse set of resources and sources for our


energy and I believe if you look at some of the press, they have got


very excited about the potential for gas prices falling. I have to


say, when one looks at the independent analysis, you don't see


that. That was Ed Davey. Energy consultant joins me now. He advised


the fracking industry in this country. One thing that Ed Davey


said was that we shouldn't bet our house on fracking? Well, certainly


gas is going to be a part of the gas is going to be a part of the


energy mix and will work in concert with renewables. What about


consumer bills. That's what people want to know. Will it bring down


the amount of money people have to pay for their energy? We must look


at this in a global context. Shale gas is revolutionising the shale


and energy industry worldwide. I would anticipate, of course, that


increased supply will lower prices. Unfortunately, what Caroline Lucas


and a number of other people are betting on is that gas prices will


forever rise and that is certainly not the case.


But is there evidence to actually say - you say you are confident -


but is there evidence to show that it will bring down prices


significantly for consumers? Well, if the expectations that Cuadrilla


resources have, I would anticipate that they must be. One of the big


problems of UK energy policy is that we have no idea of exactly


what the gas price is and what the other charges are. We have much


more transparency at the retail level. I think that would help


greatly. How much money is the fracking


industry going to make out of this? Well, you have to look at how much


money is the UK going to make out of it because this is the UK's


national resource. It's taxed at 62%, so while hopefully the


industry will be profitable, so will the Chancellor. And remember


there are five to six miles worth of steel pipe in each well, so


that's go ing to be looking at the chemical and seal industry and what


have you. And the Exchequer is hoping to make some money out of


this too. Some might argue that's why the Chancellor is so in favour


of it. How long will it take to get gas flowing at the sites? Hard to


say at this point. I think it will be earlier than many anticipate


because of the special geological gift that we have here in the UK.


The shale gas layer is up to 40 times those of the United States.


Thank you very much. John Hayes joins us and Caroline


Lucas is still here. If the potential of shale gas is


realised, if it actually happened, what would it mean to this country?


It could mean a great deal. It's too early to gauge the scale of it.


But look at America, the unit price has gone $12 to $3 or $ 4.


natural gas? Gas extracted, yes and other gas. That's had a big effect


on the American economy because it has an incredible effect on


competitiveness. If you can get the price of energy down, it will


affect the whole economy. We don't know yet how much of our shale can


be extracted commercially so it's hard to estimate its effect. It's


an exciting potential. We shouldn't ignore that, should we? Why should


we ignore it? Two reasons - one is there is a lot of evidence that the


price here won't be anything like the drop that you have seen in the


US, pricing will go up and people like Deutsche Bank, the


International Energy Agency and some others in John's own


department are saying that. If we go down this route, some are saying


we'll bust our climate targets that are legally binding under the


climate change Act. So give than there are other ways of getting the


energy we need and given that all of the evidence that we are looking


at suggests that prices are likely to be going up, not down, it's gas


that is leading to higher oil prices, it doesn't seem right to do


that. The price of gas won't go down, it will go up, according to


some people who comment on that, like Deutsche Bank and whatever the


price, we'll bust our CO2 emission targets? Price, as you know, is a


feature of the relation shi between supply and demand. If you increase


supply, you are likely, as your expert suggested, to have an effect


on price. Again, we can't gauge what that might be. It's certainly


true to say these things are hard to predict, Caroline's rite, but


nonetheless, shale has had that big effect that you describe in America


and could have significant impacts here. We wouldn't want to pool


their eggs in one basket though. Specifically that creates


conditions with a mixed economy of generation for exactly the same


reason that when predicting a long time ahead you want to keep a


number of doors open. What about CO2 emissions? They are on target.


If you look at the short-term targets, the 2020 targets and 2050


targets, we are on target to meet what we said we were. Do you


disagree with the Committee on Climate Change when it said it


won't be possible to meet the targets if we go down this road?


You know as well as I do that we were always going to invest heavily


in gas simply to guarantee energy security. No. We have to do that.


That is to replace existing capacity. Now, what Caroline won't


want me to say, is that it's simultaneously putting �1 billion


into carbon capture and storage which means gas can be abated and


can become a clean technology. So actually, this prejudice against


gas will be as silly as a gas against renewables. Is it your


policy that we should have no gas out all? No. But to be investing in


the major dash for gas which is being proposed by the Government is


simply irresponsible. To make the comparison with the US, we need to


be clear that the situation in the US is very different. In the US,


you have the wilds of Texas where you probably don't have lots of


planning permission issues. Like the wilds of Lancashire? A lot of


people don't want to see the number of fracking wells that will need to


be drilled. We are talking about around 2,400 wells. If you think


about the opposition we already have for onshore wind and things


like that, the opposition that there will be against that degree


of intensity of fracking wells, I would suggest, is going to be very


high indeed. The north-west of England, particularly the black


pool area, is a depressed area, and that's where the fuel that was with


the moratorium was will now start again to investigate how much is


there and whether it can be taken out in commercial quantities. Do


you envisage, if there was to work, I emphasise "If" this was to work,


will there be an economic revolution in the north-west?


infrastructure already in Britain provides thousands, hundreds of


thousands of jobs. So energy is important to the economic purposes


of creating growth and skills and jobs. We know the country is


weighted to the south, would this make a difference in economic terms,


would the economic balance shift to It could be very good news for the


North West. But the community have to accept that it is safe and


secure. That is why you put the regulations and protection measures


in place. The MP for that area has been a great advocate of it.


certainly need more jobs, but if you look at it per unit of energy


created, there are far fewer jobs in it. That is preposterous.


Docking about price, the Committee on Climate Change, which John is


anxious to avoid addressing today, have put out a new report saying


that if we go down the gas rich, we will put �600 on tig fuel bills by


2030, whereas with a low-carbon rich, it is more likely to be �100.


I will certainly deal with that. Let me nail the issue on jobs first.


The oil and gas sector is estimated to support 350,000 jobs. A per unit


of energy? Real jobs, real skills. Don't deliberately misunderstand me.


I am saying the that of course right now, there are more people


employed in oil and gas than in renewables. That is because of more


investment over many years. But if you look at the potential for job


creation around fossil fuels versus renewables, it is more labour-


intensive to invest in renewables, more people are needed for


renewables than fossil fuels. Creating jobs matters. There are


many more to be created in renewables. Have figures from


across the industry. A generous estimate of renewables would be a


small proportion. But it is important, and we want to encourage


those green jobs. But I am balanced about this. You are unbalanced.


balance sounds like such a friendly word. But it means you are giving


completely mixed messages to investors. That is why even the CBI


has criticised your energy policy, saying it is not giving a clear


signal to investors who want to invest in green energy. At the


moment, we have a number of gas- fired stations and we are building


more. These gas fired stations use imported gas, many from the Middle


East, not Russia, as many think. And also Norway. Is it your aim


that shale gas would replace that imported gas? It is hard to say how


much shale gas would replace it, because we don't know the scale of


production. But yes, domestically produced gas could play an


important part in driving costs down. At the moment, we still get a


lot of gas from the North Sea, which still has many decades to go


in terms of oil and gas. But we import gas as well. If Caroline is


keen on gas, as she has now said she is, relatively, would she


prefer to import that gas from abroad or to produce it locally?


You have the final word on this. you know, we are part of the


European gas market, so the idea that if we create gas in the UK, we


use it in the UK, that is misguided. The US can do that. But we are part


of a European gas market and there is no guarantee that the gas we


create in the UK would be used in the UK. The gas created in


Lancashire could go to Europe? Absolutely. How would that happen?


There are no pipes into Blackpool. You could use the gas we are


generating to go to other places. How would it get there? There are


pipes. No wonder the Green Party are losing votes. If we create the


gas here, there is no guarantee that it will stay here. It the


people off Blackpool will not let anybody take their gas. They like


their gas. We are sticking with energy now.


This is an important show, and what an important subject. We have to be


nice to him now! Imagine a world where green campaigners embrace


nuclear power, have their doubts about organic farming and think GM


crops might not be that bad. Sounds like Caroline Lucas' worst


nightmare, but they are out there. Their detractors call them neo-


greens, but they believe their ideas could finally moved their


party into the mainstream. But are they an internal irritation, or a


sign of things to come for the green movement?


We are here to stop this vessel delivering coal. The Greens. They


have gone from radical protest movement to established political


party with a presence inside and sometimes sympathisers outside the


House of Commons. We all think we know what green campaigners believe


in. They hate nuclear power, love wind farms and if it is not organic,


they will not eat it. But it turns out there is a new breed of


activists in town, and their ideas go against the grain. Chris Goodall


was the Green Party candidate for Oxford West at the last general


election, but for many of his colleagues, to say he thinks the


unthinkable is putting it mildly. We need to look at nuclear power.


There is a strong case for using nuclear to get rapid


decarbonisation. Then we need to look at GM foods. I am not


convinced, but we will run short of food in the next 30 years as the


population explodes. We also need to look at assumptions about


agriculture. Should we push for organic agriculture, or will that


make it more difficult to feed people? Then there are things about


whether we should use more plastics, because plastics have a low


environmental footprint and can be recycled. We need to look at


everything that has held the Green Party together. So within the party


call people like Chris neo- greens, and it is not meant as a compliment.


A few of the founding fathers of and the movement think that at best,


they are tilting at windmills. There are people who have looked at


the accelerating climate change story, are understandably scared by


it, and have almost persuaded themselves that it is that bad that


any port in a storm will do, even if it is a nuclear port at. So out


of desperation, they throw their lot in with the nuclear industry.


But even a second glance would remind them of how foolish that is.


At worst, it could be a danger to the movement and themselves. One of


my concerns has been the degree to which some of these spokespeople


for a new wave green ideas have been seized on by their respective


industries and made ruthless use of. I am sorry to say they are in for a


rough ride when it comes to their views being used and abused by the


nuclear industry. But greens like Chris said they are addressing a


problem so profound that it is stopping the party from growing up.


But effective, the Green movement must move into the centre of


British politics. At the moment, it is almost a cult on the edge of the


extreme left. That has to change. The green movement must push the


Green Party into the mainstream of British politics if it is to have


any effect on the way things happen in this country. In turn will


descend is hardly a new thing for political parties of any size. The


question for greens is whether the attack from within will prove to be


just growing pains, or something much more profound.


The energy minister John Hayes is still here, as is the Green MP


Caroline Lucas. Caroline, do you agree with Chris Goodall that the


Green Party at least needs to look at nuclear-power? I'll come not


ruling out nuclear power in some ideological way to say that if that


were the only way of dealing with climate change, we should not look


at it. But right now, there are more cheap, effective and efficient


ways of getting the likes to be kept on and they are safer, so why


go down the nuclear rude? Nuclear is a distraction. Over the next 15


years, we should invest in renewables, as they have done in


Germany. 25% of their electricity comes from renewables. We need to


invest in energy efficiency. That is what will keep the lights on.


People do not take into account that to get an nuclear power online


would take another 50 years minimum, and it is far more expensive as


well as all of the safety issues. It is a distraction and will take


years to come online? Well, nuclear energy has contributed up to 30% of


our needs. As high as that? A up to 30%. Last year, just under 20%. So


nuclear power is already providing energy needs. We know it is


reliable. It has a long pedigree in this country. We know there are


people interested in investing in it. But it has been difficult


without a subsidy to get people to commit. We have committed to build


new nuclear energy without subsidy. That is not true. Up it is true.


The previous Secretary of State for Energy agreed that there would be


new nuclear energy without... subsidy is when the Government


gives support. The Government does give support to renewables. But you


said you would do nuclear without that. The coalition agreement says


without a subsidy, and you are redefining it. I am not. No support


will be available to nuclear that was not available to other


technologies. Nuclear has the capacity to provide security, jobs


and skills. Caroline says she is not against it ideologically. Then


in what way is she against it? Because it will cost us more and be


much less safe and take us much longer. If you said to me that we


were against the wall on climate change and are run the choice was


climate change or nuclear, of course I would not be up against it


in a fundamentalist way. But it is unsafe and unnecessary. But Chris


Goodall himself says we need to look at it, a member of the Green


Party. Congratulations on finding the one person in the Green Party


that would hold that view. I don't think he has got a point and he


certainly does not represent more than himself in the Green Party in


saying that. The Green Party websites as a deadline for phasing


out nuclear power would be said when we came to office and all


nuclear power plants would be phased out within the state. That


is exactly the position I am taking, which is contrary to the position


Chris Goodall is taking. The EU are saying it will be phased out. I am


against nuclear unless somebody says to me that the only way we can


meet our climate change targets is nuclear. But don't you understand


that to a balanced energy mix, renewables, gas, nuclear, which can


meet those targets and keep the lights on? And it will cost more.


Don't you care about those with energy bills which are already high,


and you will make them higher by going down the nuclear route? At a


Methodist cheaper, safer and more efficient, why would you not do


that? Nuclear must be delivered affordably. The energy bill is


designed to give a long-term price certainty. We will negotiate a


price on nuclear that is in the taxpayer's interest. The big doubt


comes in with the energy gap. Can you fill the energy gap with


renewables? If you combine it with a big investment in energy


efficiency, yes, you can. The 25%? At in Germany, they have 25% of


energy coming from renewables because they have a very different


energy policy, one which includes smaller scale generators, not just


six big energy companies that have the whole case sewn up. We heard in


the House this morning from one of our colleagues, a former energy


minister, that Germany are building coal power stations now. Why are


they allowed to do that? They will burn coal that is even dirtier than


ours. How can they do that, but the EU tells us we have to close hour


coal-fired stations? You must not inside me to speak about the


European Union and say something I regret. But you are right that we


need to ensure there is consistency across the European Union. I spoke


to the commissioner last night on the subject of carbon captor and


storage, and emphasised that we need consistency across Europe.


you don't know why the Germans can open new coal-fired stations and we


are being forced to close arts? are, we are all kinds of stories. I


would be happy to find out. As a result of the question today, I


have asked my officials to look at exactly that. I am happy to come


back on your show and tell you. before you go, have we got enough


onshore wind farms? I think onshore wind is a matter of community


interest and community benefit. Where people want them, they should


have them. The Secretary of State says the Government is clear that


meeting our energy goals is no excuse for building wind farms in


the wrong places. Local people and their councils should not feel


Nuclear has been generating 14% of our electricity, gas 37%, coal 45%,


wind 1.6%. Hydro1.2%. The French connector giving us nothing and the


Irish connector nothing but Dutch 0.2%. For those watching us in


Holland, we thank you for the 101 megawatts you are sending us now.


The European Central Bank has won new powers to supervise 200 of the


biggest European banks directly and the right to intervene in present


ones doesn't come in until 2014. One of the Finance Ministers


stepped from the negotiating chamber. This on a day when the


Prime Minister heads back to Brussels for a two-day summit with


all the European heads of Government and the question for


David Cameron is whether this represents another step towards a


more centralised Europe which many in his own party do not want to be


part of. Our Europe editor is Gavin Hewitt. Welcome to the programme.


We hear the Finance Ministers were up all night and that they have


agreed this deal. How significant is it?


Jo, I think it is significant. It's something they've been talking


about for at least six months and what does it represent? It


represents a large transfer away from national authority towards a


European institution and in the future, as you have said, the


European Central Bank will supervise some of those largest,


150-200 banks, but will also have sweeper powers to be able to


intervene if they sense that a smaller bank is getting into


trouble. What all this is aimed at is trying to break that link


between banks that get into trouble, then off-loading the problem on to


Governments which, of course, that only pushes up their debt. So it's


trying to break that loop. The other thing it's trying to do, and


I think this is important, once the supervise ore, this banking


supervisor is in place, countries will be able to access the


eurozone's main bail out fund and use money from that to directly


recapitalise banks. That is seen as particularly important for


countries like Spain. And further acknowledgement and a signal of a


two-speed, two-tier Europe? Well, it is and it isn't. Certainly in


terms of the direction of travel, what we have seen in the last few


hours and what we will again see in the summit will be a blueprint for


further integration, further integration particularly for


eurozone countries and a building towards what they call a genuine


economic and monetary union. Now, in terms of Britain, David Cameron,


we know, some time in the New Year, is going to sketch out his vision


and it seems it's likely to be moving in a very different


direction. What was interesting hear was that Britain pushed to


ensure that its voice would not be diminished in this banking area.


George Osborne says he was quite successful and actually lining up


with him were not only countries like Sweden and the Netherlands,


but Germany was sympathetic too. Certainly, I detected over recent


weeks that there is a real awareness here in Europe that they


need to reach out to Britain because of the political pressures


in the UK. So two-speed Europe definitely there is a two-speed


Europe but there is an awareness on behalf of other countries that they


don't want to make that bigger than it already is.


We now welcome viewers from Scotland who've been watching the


First Ministers questions. We have not seen it but I'm sure it's


lively. We are discussing European banking regulation. Thought that


would get your attention! No, don't go and make a cup of tea, it's


really interesting, because we've got Labour's Shadow Europe Minister


emMo Reynolds and Mark Field, welcome to your both. The Europeans


are heading towards a eurozone banking regulator, a very powerful


body, as we heard, huge powers to intervene in European banking, but


it won't cover the biggest centre of finance in Europe which is


called London? What could possible go wrong? Well, I think this is an


important development and we have important safeguards that have been


negotiated by the Government for the City of London's decision. I


think it's a very important template that is being set for what


is going to be a two-speed Europe that you have eurozone members


voting for a civil majority -- simple majority. It will be


interesting. We have to be careful what we wish for in the City of


London. There is a concern that if you have an all-powerful eurozone


with its powerful institutions, pairing off a few of the weaker


members, that will become an issue for the City of London and we have


to be aware of that. I think George Osborne's negotiated well with


these arrangements today. Surely as this new regulator finds its feet


it's bound at some stage to imping on the City of London, that's


inevitable? It's going to affect the way London operates? There


certainly is a concern that if decisions that are taken by the


eurozone, if they have to be approved by a majority of those


member states not in the banking union that there will be a


spillover effect from the regulations that affect it. It will


be regulated by the European banking regulator? Yes and the City


provides more banking than any of the other member states put


together so the City is an incredibly important financial


place. Not only for, as you say, British banks, but European banks.


Hopefully other European leaders have appreciated that the city's


not only a strength for the UK but the euro. Given that, as I


understand it, both the major parties, even the Liberal Democrats


now, you don't think we should be part of the eurozone or part of the


regulatory structures, we have no choice now but to be on the


sidelines. Is that Labour's policy? Look, the vast majority of policy


areas, as Caroline will know well, having spent years in the European


Parliament, are still going to be at 27. Yes, when it comes to the


Single Currency, and when it comes to some forms of economic


integration, it will be at the 17, but for the vast majority of other


policy areas it will be still decisions taken at full EU members.


But on the eurozone - I mean today the summit was on to eurozone


fiscal integration - that means the coordination of national budget


decisions and of economic policy, the Germans and French pushing for


varieties of this, a version of it will happen again. Inevitably, we


are bound, or a version of the 17 are bound to get closer together,


become a clear two-speed Europe which will be inevitable? As far as


the financial services are concerned, it's important to


remember that we are not just a European Centre, we are like a


global Centre for The rest of the world. We have a huge amount of


business coming in from all parts of the glob, not just from Europe -


- globe. Yes, what is important is that we are on the negotiating


table. It's a very crucial part of it that we need to be there to make


our case. I think as far as banking in England is concerned within the


eurozone, yes, there would be concern in the longer term if there


was pledgeling Vietnamese or Chinese bank took the view we have


this powerful eurozone area, of course we have a representative in


the City of London, but maybe the operation should be out in


Frankfurt or Paris or somewhere like that. We need to be careful.


The strength we have in the UK is that we are a safe haven because we


are outside the Single Currency, we have the benefit of low interest


rates. Lowest rates in Europe? most countries. I think the real


issue would be there's still a lot of road for this can to be kicked


down, but it would be a time for the City of London. To you agree


with Boris Johnson that there should be a full-scale


renegotiation of our relationship with Europe? I've always believed


that I don't think there's any option of having a full-scale


renegotiating. It's dangerous. We have the status quo with bells and


whistles and George Osborne's made sure we are safe in our position


outside the European zone. I don't think fundamental renegotiation or


pe rateration of powers, despite what some of my colleagues on the


Conservative benches say is an option. You don't think the other


European countries would in effect agree to us remaining a member of


the club without a lot of the responsibilities that go with


membership? I think that's right. There has been a lot of unease. On


the one hand we are proud of not being there. That's given us more


options in the global economic Crisis over the last four years.


It's all very well for Britain to say they are not in the eurozone


but they are a roadblock in the other areas in the sense that we


all need to be in the club. Would the Greens have, as part of the


inner core? We have never been in favour of the Single Currency, so


to that extent we have always said trying to impose one set of


interest rates on different economies and histories and so


forth was going to be bound to fail and it's always been against the


Single Currency. What we need to do is have a real debate about the EU.


I'm worried about the way in which those who're taking Euro-sceptic


positions have the high ground at the moment in terms of they are the


ones leading the debate. For those who believe the EU needs to be


reformed - and it certainly does - but we are better off with the


environmental standards, but those in favour need to make the case


stronger. The way it's constituted at the moment, where is Labour now


on a referendum, you were playing footsie with it ce lintly but have


you gone off the idea? -- recently. Ed Miliband made it clear that he


thinks the referendum now would put at risk what is already a very


economic different time. Is not now. What about in the future? It


depends about the debate we are having today about how the eurozone


integrates. We shouldn't underestimate the difficulties that


eurozone member states will have in agreeing something with political


union, whatever people mean by political union... Orificical


union? Yes, I think there are great difficulties along the way and it


will tame some time. You have ruled out a referendum for now then. What


would change that could bring a referendum back? If there were a


fundamental change in our relationship with the EU... Such


as? We have said in the past for example, if we had advocating going


into the euro, which we didn't, that would be a fundamental


constitutional change. Sure. That's not going to happen? No, but for


example - no, we are not, just to clarify, we are certainly not.


interestings, we must leave it there.


We'll chat about the consequences of what you said. I thought there


was a story there. He's right and Damian Green's right. It's my job


to reck naiz a story when I see one! -- recognise. The Church of


England has been having a time of it lately. The census suggested the


number of people saying they are Christian has plummeted over the


last decade. There is a row over gay marriage and the church has


been tying itself in Notts over whether or not to allow women to


become bishops -- knots. Ben Bradshaw led the debate about the


issue of women become bishops. So, in announcing on the eve of the


debate that they will have another go in July, the bishops really do


need to be sure they will win. The process must be concluded quickly


in months and not years and if they aren't sure they can deliver, they


should ask Parliament for help. Many of us will have been contacted


by priests and lay members of the church since the Synod vote


appealing to Parliament to act. A priest from Lancaster wrote to me


saying "Please, please, please help." Does he not agree with me


that it's vital that the trajectory and progress should be considered


given that women bishops are already part of the Anglican


community including in can za, the US and Australia and New Zealand? -


- Canada? The message that should come from the House is that we are


concerned, we want to nudge the church in the right direction and


we hope it moves in that direction, but we should not completely rule


out taking the matter in our our own hands. There's nothing in my


New Testament that says you will have churches and deacons, bishops


and priests and they'll all be men. I may have missed something, but I


have at one stage or the other read the New Testament and there's


nothing there that says that. House of bishops expressed it


continuing commitment to enabling women to be consecrated as bishops


and I'm glad to say, it intends to have fresh proposals to put before


General Synod at its next meeting in July. This is not an issue that


can be part - this is not an issue that can just be adjourned


generally for some other time in the future - it has got to be


worked at until a solution is found. We've got Tony Baldry, the church


representative in the House of Commons here with us now. He's come


straight from a meeting with the designate Archbishop. What did you


say to him? It's more about what he said to us. It was a packed meeting


in the House of Lords. He said he's determined that legislation for


women bishops will be moved forward as speedily as possible, it's got


to happen and it's got to happen as quickly as it can. Bearing in mind


all what's happened, it's been a mess. He admitted that? We all


acknowledge that. It's got to be sorted. When he says speedily,


where are we looking at? 2015 What sort of guarantee is there


that the outcome will be any different? Were can only continue


to work at it. Everyone recognises that this has been a disaster for


the Church of England. Today, up and down the country, clergy will


be out of burying the dead, looking after the bereaved, helping people


prepare for marriage, opening food banks. That is the mission of the


Church, and it has been really distracted by this debate on women


bishops. Until it is resolved, we can't get on with the important


work, so it has to be sorted out. So there would be a vote on the


issue of women bishops next June lie? That would be the start of the


process -- next July. But if we can all get agreement on that, we can


move things forward reasonably quickly. There are procedures


within the Church, but within those Scopes, everything will move as


fast as it can. What do you think the initial rejection of women


bishops did in terms of the image of the Church of England in the


eyes of the public? I think it was hugely damaging. It looked as if


the Church was out of touch with where most it are. And the majority


of people in the Church did want to go down this road, so everyone got


bemused by the different voting systems within the Church haricot


which meant that despite the fact that dig, a majority were in favour


of changing, that change did not happen. That system has done the


Church no favours. The Church of England is currently exempt from


equality laws. If it is ever to reflect the nation, shouldn't this


exemption be removed? We have no exemptions that other faith groups


do not have. We are treated the same as every other faiths. But you


don't think that should be removed across the board? A once you have


women priests, everyone acknowledges that we need not have


women bishops. Women clergy have done fantastic work up and down the


country. The Church of England could not function without women in


the clergy. The sooner we have women bishops, the better. This has


been an extraordinarily frustrating period of time, but we will get


there. And in Justin Welby, the Church of England is fortunate in


having a very clear new leader. it is not the only issue


destabilising the Church of England. There is also the issue of gay


marriage. Did you agree with the idea of making it illegal for gay


couples to...? De Church of England is not destabilised by gay marriage.


Nor is the Church of England asking for privileges in relation to this.


The fact is that canon law, the laws which apply to the Church of


England, are also the laws of England. So whatever is in the Bill


has to comply with canon law. The judge in England simply says, as


far as we are concerned, marriage has always been an institution of


complementarity between man and woman. We believe in long term


covenanted relationships between same-sex people, but that is not


the same as marriage. But a lot of people were under the impression


that the legislation would allow gay couples to get married in the


Church of England. Were you one of them? Yes, I was, and there are


some in the Church of England who would be happy to do it. So there


is a distinction between saying much it should be forced to


undertake these marriages against their will, and going to this


extreme on the other hand, which is an outright prohibition on doing it.


That's is the same position as we have had on civil partnerships for


a long time. The law in relation of two civil partnerships is bad faith


groups as a whole either opt in or opt out of holding civil


partnerships. A do you agree that the impression given was different?


A bit of that is because this is important legislation which has


been taken at an unnecessary crack of a pace, bearing in mind that the


Bill will be carried over into the next session. To get to the


position where we are having urgent questions before a statement led to


a bit of confusion. Perhaps if we could take this in a more measured


way, we will all get there. No one wants to be disruptive, we just


want to make sure whatever legislation comes forward works and


respects people's religious and civil freedoms. We had the census


figures out this week, showing that the number of Christians has fallen


in England and Wales. What is your reaction to that? What is happening


to society? Perhaps people are less happy to fit themselves into boxes.


If you asked a question about whether people felt some kind of


spiritual awareness and detachment and whether they found those


elements of their lives important, they would say yes. They do not


want to dig a box which means you have to sign up to every part of


the faith in question. Things are changing. People feel more open to


saying that actually, they did agree with everything in every


religion. So I am not surprised by it, but we should not then conclude


that we are a nation of Cordless people. -- godless people. I agree


with that. Faith groups will be judged by the support they give to


those in need and distress. The census showed that there are


now more miners in Kensington and Chelsea fan in Gateshead.


For why would they ask that question?! The Jedi Knight seemed


to be growing. There are no miners in Gateshead. It is because there


is a school of mining in Kensington, and they regard themselves as


miners. The use and possession of most


narcotics has been criminal since the Misuse of Drugs Act became law


in 1971. Since then, the arguments about whether prohibition is


effective and whether it does more harm than good have raged. This


week, the Home Affairs Select Committee wade into the argument,


publishing a report calling for a review of all UK drugs policy by a


royal commission to report by 2015. The MPs also recommended looking at


the Portuguese unpenalised system, where possession of small


quantities of drugs for personal use, although still illegal, is not


prosecuted. They also urged the Government to look at the


decriminalisation of marijuana or in parts of the United States and


the proposed state monopoly on cannabis in Uruguay. Caroline Lucas


is still with us. She wrote to the Guardian this week, calling for the


need to move away from a system that bans the personal use of drugs


towards what she calls an evidence- based public health approach. We


are also joined by Melanie Phillips, a columnist for the Daily Mail. The


committee is not recommending that people take drugs. It is not


recommending legalisation or even the decriminalisation. It is


recommending a royal commission. What is wrong with that. Firstly,


it is a strange thing that a committee has been taking evidence


for about a year that produces a weighty report, and the purpose of


the report is to say we need a commission. The purpose of the


Royal Commission is to put legalisation on the agenda. The


committee has carefully not said it wants to legalise or liberalise


drugs, but the logic of this is inescapable. It wants to put


legalisation on the agenda. It is an amazing thing that the Home


Affairs Select Committee seems to be in thrall to the legalisation


lobby. And it has been for some time. Not every member of the


committee is in that camp, but this report has been heavily influenced


by the legalisation lobby and by people such as Richard Branson.


you think it is a ruse. Would it be fair to describe you as part of the


legalisation lobby? But it is important to make the distinction


between legalisation and decriminalisation. When you talk


about legalisation, nobody wants to see people pushing drugs outside


school gates. We want to see the reduction of harm associated with


drugs. There is an interesting example from Portugal and elsewhere


around decriminalisation. I support the idea of the commission. It is


not some kind of Trojan horse. The evidence in this case is difficult


to assess. A committee of MPs is not necessarily the best body to


look at that evidence. You think that people carrying small


quantities of cannabis for their own use of should not be arrested,


that that should be OK? That is my position. What about other drugs?


That is why I want a commission. It is clearer with cannabis, but at


the same time, you need regulation alongside that. With cannabis, the


trouble is that people do not know what they are taking. The skunk on


the streets is damaging in some cases. If you regulate the market,


you can make sure that what people are having is a poorer -- pure form


of it so that it does not do the damage skunk does and you would not


waste police time. To let me deal with the Portuguese red herring.


The Portuguese statistics have been grossly misrepresented by the


legalisation lobby. Since Portugal decriminalised drug use in 2001,


drug use has gone up. Drug-related crime has gone up. We where are


your figures from? For from the Portuguese addiction agency. These


are official statistics. On cannabis, I find it astonishing


that the Home Affairs Select Committee recommended, on the


casting vote of the chairman, Keith Vaz, that cannabis should be


recalibrated down again from category B to category C. It was


reclassified up from C de B on the advice of experts including the


director of mental health, that the harm done to young people,


particularly due to psychosis from cannabis, is overwhelming. What


Melanie has just said points to the importance of having some kind of


commission that will look at this. For every bit of evidence that


Melanie will cite Thatcher will show you that the Portuguese


experiment has led to certain outcomes, there are other bits of


evidence I can cite that would 0.2 other results. That is why we need


a commission to evaluate this. couldn't the committee do it?


Because there is a wealth of evidence from many different


countries in a lot of detail and a lot of scientific reports. A


committee that meets once a week could not do that. A Royal


Commission would be better placed to do that. It needs to be based on


evidence, and our current policy is not. The evidence on cannabis is


overwhelming. If you legalise or decriminalise, more young people


will have more harm to their brains. The reason why the select committee


did not consider this was because they took so much evidence from the


legalisation lobby. Just time before we go to get the


answer to our quiz. Caroline, what was the most tweeted about


political event from 2012? I have been thinking about it. I would go


for either Osborne or Nick Clegg, probably Nick Clegg. You are wrong.


It was this. "political event". That was not a political event! It


was just an event! Anyway, that is it. The One O'clock News is


starting on BBC One. I will be back on BBC One tonight after Question


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