18/12/2012 Daily Politics


18/12/2012

Jo Coburn with the latest political news and debate, including TUC general secretary designate Frances O'Grady and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries.


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. Whatever happened

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to hug a husky? The senior Conservative says the Government is

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making the wrong decisions on energy policy.

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MEPs are voting on a more sustainable fisheries policy -

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could we finally see the end of fishermen simply discarding excess

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catch? As rail unions mount their

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traditional Christmas strikes, has anything really changed in the

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trade union movement? There has been a special visitor to

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Downing Street, the Queen joined ministers around the Cabinet table.

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All that in the next hour. With me for the whole programme is Frances

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O'Grady. She will take over as general secretary of the Trades

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Union Congress in the New Year, becoming the first female leader of

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the TUC in its history. Lucky hair! Let's start with the threatened

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rail strikes over Christmas. Members of the RMT union plan

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action on Friday on Cross Country trains and ScotRail, and members of

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the other rail union, ASLEF, working on London Underground, have

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voted to walk out on Boxing Day, action that is expected to bring

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the network to a virtual standstill. Frances, the public will think it

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is the third year in a row that ASDA has called a strike on

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December 26th, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, just a

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cynical move? They got a 90% "yes" vote and I think people only ever

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go on strike when they feel they have a just cause. Two key issues,

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one, they think that working over the bank holidays should be

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voluntary, and secondly they want fair reward. They think they can

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find productivity savings to pay for it. I think the union wants to

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get back around the table and I hope management do. If you say that

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these are two key issues for the union, the fact that drivers are

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rostered to work in all bank holidays, as people are in many

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other unions. What happens if nobody volunteers if it is

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voluntary? It seems like there was not a problem with covering those

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shifts. Managements have overestimated the number of workers

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needed and it can be done on a voluntary basis. I think it is

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about our train drivers, like any other workers with families at home,

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can they do it on a voluntary basis, sorted out in a sensible manner? I

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hope they can. These groups of workers are in a unique position.

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Most other employees would not have the power to withdraw their labour

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in this way and caused such widespread disruption, and the

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victims are workers themselves, who don't enjoy those same terms and

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conditions. What do you say to them? We have seen enormous public

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sympathy for rail workers, and in particular... What, striking on

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days like Boxing Day? I think the public understand that all working

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families are being hit unfairly, inequality is growing. Lots of

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areas have had pay freezes, it is not fair that those at the top or

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shareholder should be getting rewards and the workers do not get

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their fair share. This is all this is about. But the point is they are

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hitting workers who are not at the top, other people like themselves

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on a day where they would like to go shopping or they want to go to

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work themselves. They are not on big salaries and don't have the

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power to withdraw their labour in the same way. Do you not see the

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inequity? I think everybody wants to see this dispute sorted, not

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least rail workers themselves, but it has to be done fairly. You don't

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get a 90% "yes" vote unless people feel very strongly they are not

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being treated fairly. But rail workers and tube drivers get paid a

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decent salary, in a lot of people's eyes. Most people agree that all

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workers should get a fair pay for a fair day's work. It is about how we

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sort out these problems and whether management can be flexible as well

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as the workforce full spot a you think it is fair to ballot for

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strikes, have only been two days of discussions over this issue?

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Two days of discussion has been reported, then a strike is called.

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A lot of discussions happen informally before the formal talks.

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But I know that I spoke to the leader of the train drivers' this

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morning and he hopes that management will come back to the

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table with a fair offer. You will be looking at these issues

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in the round, do you think there is a perception that that is what it

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is all about, to be a member of the trade union is just about calling

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strikes? The perception out there, that is what people see. I am not

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sure it is. Strike action is at a low level in the UK, historically,

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not least because it is very difficult to call a lawful strike

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without being dragged into courts by an employer who can call an

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injunction if you get a few names or job titles run, something that

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would not have affected it at all. It is difficult in the UK to take

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strike action and people only do it when they feel pushed to the limit.

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In your new role, would you like to see fewer strikes? I would like to

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see fairer agreements. I would like to see less need for strike action.

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It is in everybody's interest to sort out issues in a sensible

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manner, to negotiate their agreement. We know that where you

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have a happy, motivated workforce, it is good for business.

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We will be talking about this some more later.

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Now time for the daily quiz. Today the Queen is visiting Number

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Ten to attend Cabinet for the first time, but what other big name was

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in Downing Street last night? Was it the X Factor winner James Arthur,

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became of Jordan, Father Christmas and his reindeer or rapper Dr Dre?

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At the end of the show, Frances will give us the correct answer, it

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she knows it. She has almost an hour to think about it.

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The greenest government ever, that was the promise David Cameron made

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at the beginning of this Parliament. But will he deliver? The new energy

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minister has called to a halt on onshore wind farms. Last week plans

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were announced for dozens more gas fired power stations as the go-

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ahead was given for shale gas explode -- exploration, using the

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controversial fracking technique. The Government's commitment to the

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green agenda has been questioned today. Setting a target foreign

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missions from electricity generation has been put off by the

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Government until 2016. A decision that clearly raises doubts about

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the depth of the government commitment to accepting the

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recommendations of the Climate Change Committee. There is a danger

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that confusing and contradictory messages are being sent out by

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different parts of governments. On the one hand, backing a big new

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hunt for gas, and on the other, insisting it can still cut carbon

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emissions. Tim Yeo joins us now. Why are you acting now? There has

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obviously been plenty of time to talk about the Energy Bill. Do you

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think you will be successful? don't know if we will be successful,

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but we have the second reading of the Energy Bill tomorrow. They need

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has come about because of the mixed messages we are getting from the

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Government. On one side they say we are absolutely committed to a

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reduction in carbon emissions from electricity and are willing to set

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the target that I once in 2016, but on the other hand a couple of weeks

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ago on the day of the Autumn Statement we had a new gas strategy

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and is itching possibly 37 gigawatts of new gas-fired capacity,

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so I think investors are confused. But it is about to mix, spreading

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the risk because I don't want to speak on behalf of them but clearly

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the Government agrees that you can't agree -- rely on just one

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energy source. Absolutely, we need the mix, and I hope nuclear will be

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part of that but it is taking a long time. We need a mix involving

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some gas. If we can get domestic gas because of the shale gas

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reserves, that reduces the dependence on imports. But we need

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low carbon technologies as well, which are getting much cheaper all

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the time. The Government has agreed a support framework that the

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Treasury has signed off on the money that will be available for

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the next eight years. But now there is uncertainty in the equation and

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some investors are confused. Treasury is cutting funding to all

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departments. George Osborne before the Autumn Statement had already

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made it clear that he felt that in these dire economic circumstances

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it would have to affect energy policy to? I'm not criticising the

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settlement given. The support for low carbon energy does not come

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from the taxpayer, it comes from energy consumers. It goes through

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to your electricity bill. But the figure itself is acceptable. The

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problem is why we have to waste another four years to see what

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carbon intensity target the Government wants to have on

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electricity generation. Their statutory independent adviser, the

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Climate Change Committee, whose advice has always been accepted so

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far, has suggested it be set. My committee said the target should be

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set and now the Government says we need to wait for years. We think

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the danger is that will deter investors and we won't get the

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extra capacity that Britain needs. Do you think renewable energy, we

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can talk about onshore into it -- wind farms etc, will resupply the

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energy if there is a gap while we go around with nuclear? It will

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supply part of it, not all of it. It is close to 10% of the Energy

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last year which was generated by renewables. Consistently? Over the

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year as a whole, yes. The expectation is that figure will

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rise, there is a commitment to increasing that. Do you think the

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Energy Minister is committed? hope he will show during the

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passage of the Bill, which he will take to Parliament, that he is

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committed to government policy. said that we have had enough

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onshore wind farms. Onshore wind farms is only one element. We are

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talking about energy from waste, celeb, offshore wind, tidal, wave

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power, there is an awful lot of alternatives. We need to try to

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deploy them at greater scale so the costs can come down, otherwise we

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will give up the leadership of this to other countries, we need to back

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this more unequivocally. How keen do you think families are to pay

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green energy taxes? I think all families are very concerned about

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energy bills. They don't like a lack of transparency over the green

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energy taxes? We need to make changes to wake -- to the way the

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big six operate. But in the longer term we will achieve a lower

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consumer price if we have a Ben Nevis of technologies. Do you think

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that is right, up bearing in mind that families are having to deal

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with high energy bills. --? Is this the time to talk about continued

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investment in renewables when gas could be quicker and maybe are

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cheaper? I think we need to mix, I think Tim is absolutely right.

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Unless we have the target in the bill, we will not get the

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investment uncertainty needed not just in terms of energy policy but

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in terms of jobs. There is real potential in renewables which is

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secure, because you don't have to imported, but let's have it as part

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of an active industrial policy. We get steel and cement sourced in

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Britain, we get them built in Britain so we can create decent

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jobs and apprenticeships. How split is the Government on energy? Their

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policy is pretty clear, there has been big negotiation inside

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Whitehall. Yes, between the Conservatives and the Lib Dems.

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Between the Department for Energy and some other departments. Many

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aspects are very positive, they have changed the bills

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substantially since the draft Bill, some of those in change -- in line

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with my own committee's recommendations. We head Danny

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Alexander at the Lib Dem conference in October explicitly committing to

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exactly this target. It is the advice from their official advisers

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and my committee and also from a large number of investors. All we

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are saying is bring the date forward, don't put it off for four

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years. Your critics might say you have a vested interest because you

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are the chairmen of some renewables and electric vehicles companies?

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The truth is I formed my views 20 years ago when I was the minister

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dealing with climate change. My views have been expressed many

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times publicly in the last 20 years. My financial interests were only

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acquired after I left the front bench, so any suggestion I formed

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my views because of my interests, it is the other way around. I

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believe passionately in Britain being a leader for climate change,

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I believe there is an economic advantage for those countries who

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decarbonised. I want to see Britain as a leader in this green and were

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200 years ago. Think of the union leader and a big,

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burly bloke with a megaphone might spring to mind. But in January the

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movement will be led by a woman, our guest, Frances O'Grady. These

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days almost half of all union members are female, a proportion

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likely to increase as overall numbers decline. But can one woman

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at the top of first years of male domination and how does she ensure

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that the interests of the male members are finally properly

:15:12.:15:22.
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The tradition a image of the union leader. Big men, out of shape but

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definitely men. This is the TUC headquarters in London. Some of the

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great fig groufrs Labour movement have made this place their power

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base. Now, from January next year and for the first time in its

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history, the General Secretary will be a woman. But will change at the

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top change the way the union movement treats its female members?

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Bring back the railways. Women make up up almost half a movement and

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they are a growing presence in a organisation whose numbers are

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falling. Unions haven't had a great reputation for taking them or their

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interests seriously. Even though who have made to it the top didn't

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find it easy When I started working for a trade union it took me ages

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to get a job. When I started working, I was the only woman in an

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Al male team. It was quite a macho environment, it was one that still,

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I think reflected a culture that said that it was OK to go out

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drinking at lunchtime, it was very much who was loudest got the most

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attention, it was very different to the environment we work in now.

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Even so, only 15 out of the 54 unions affiliated to the TUC are

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led by women. Something friend of the Labour movement believe is a

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problem. The public impression that union leaders we see most of the

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time are late middle aged men, pretty aggressive, up for a fight,

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not the kind of image that is going to be seductive to getting more

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women in and they need more women, more members, from the private

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sector, as well as the state sector. So can one woman at the top make a

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difference? Frances has very little power in that she is a chair of a

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council. She can't tell any other union what to do. She can't tell

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them who to elect or thousand have better candidates for their

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elections. She can't tell a union not to go on strike, even if it is

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unrbl reasonable and does great damage to the movement. She only

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has her own power of persuasion. And that will have to be pretty

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powerful No-one should pretend that trade unions haven't got a

:17:51.:17:54.

difficult time. We have falling memberships, and we have a

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difficult economy. Both those things have to be dealt with. That

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is something that she will have to head up and she will have to find I

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think, innovative and new ways through. Not simply saying that

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what we will do is rely on the mantras of the 6070s, 90 and the

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last decade. She will have to find a new way forward for unions to be

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the relevant voice for a different work population, and one where

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women have a central role. unions evolve will be usual for all

:18:23.:18:28.

their members whatever their general da. But -- gender, but the

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key to their relevance will be woman and not just the new one at

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the top. And Frances O'Grady is still with us. I am joined by

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Nadine Dorys who hoped to be Conservative MP again soon? I hope

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so. What is happening? It is all with the Chief Whip, I am sure it

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will be resolved shortly. Hopefully. Right. So for the New Year. We will

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see. Let us get back to Frances O'Grady. It is no longer all men in

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flat caps, how are trade unions changing? As you heard on the clip,

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round half of our membership are women, it is 50-50. Three in ten of

:19:08.:19:14.

our leaders are women, that is a better record than in the boardroom,

:19:14.:19:18.

or indeed round the Cabinet table. So, unions have been changing

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quietly, but in a determined fashion, we are there to represent

:19:22.:19:26.

all working people from all walks of life. We heard also in the film

:19:26.:19:30.

you will have to find innovative ways of doing it, how are you going

:19:30.:19:34.

to do it? Working people are having an incredibly tough time at the

:19:35.:19:39.

moment, we know that family budgets are at breaking point, we have got

:19:39.:19:44.

2.5 million people unemployed, a four year pay freeze for Britain,

:19:44.:19:49.

by the end of next year, with benefits and services under attack

:19:49.:19:54.

too. So we know it is a tough time. My job is to make the argument that

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the Government needs to change course, particularly because women

:19:57.:20:03.

are taking 70% of the pain of those cuts. You mean changing course in

:20:03.:20:08.

terms of reducing the rate of cuts?. We need a change from this policy

:20:08.:20:11.

of austerity. The economy is tanking, borrowing would be up if

:20:11.:20:18.

it wasn't for the sale of G4. And the Chancellor hasn't met his own

:20:18.:20:22.

targets so it is not working, we need to focus on jobs and growth

:20:23.:20:28.

and fair treatment. And frankly, instead of attacking people's hard-

:20:28.:20:31.

won employment right, we need to get to the root causes of the crash

:20:31.:20:35.

and start reforming and getting tough regulation for the banking

:20:35.:20:42.

and finance industry. And tax justice. Now the good news. The

:20:42.:20:49.

deficit is down by 25%. I think that has been a massive achievement.

:20:49.:20:53.

Some of the announcement which have taken place, such as raising the

:20:53.:20:58.

personal tax allowance, 60% of women benefit from that, in terms

:20:58.:21:01.

of unemployment, we have the lowest unemployment rate particularly

:21:01.:21:08.

among youth we have had in ten year, there is, my constituency, freeze

:21:08.:21:14.

on council tax for two years, freeze on fuel duty, they are

:21:14.:21:18.

benefiting people. I think what we are seeing is a change in culture.

:21:18.:21:22.

I understand Frances, where some of your criticism comes from, but the

:21:22.:21:30.

change of culture is this. People who work are being rewarded. We see

:21:30.:21:35.

250, sorry 240,000 more women are in work than were between March and

:21:35.:21:41.

May 2010. That is quarter of a more million work are back in work. I

:21:41.:21:44.

know that the counter argument is that benefits have frozen. That is

:21:44.:21:49.

because there is a culture change. And pay has the frozen. Work pay,

:21:49.:21:55.

benefits don't. We have to have a situation where by people who work

:21:55.:22:00.

earn more than people on benefit, that wasn't the case before. Why do

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you think many young working woman don't want to join a union? I was a

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member of a union. You were. I was. What did it do for you? It didn't

:22:11.:22:15.

do anything for me. But personally, but I felt when I went into the NHS

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it was the thing to do. Everybody joined the union. I don't think

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that, there is that, that kind of, that culture isn't imbued in the

:22:25.:22:28.

workplace, I think it is because employment practises are fairer

:22:28.:22:35.

than they used to be, health and safety is better, and I don't know

:22:35.:22:40.

there is that imperative need to join a union. It is not relevant in

:22:40.:22:45.

the way? It is. I have a massive opportunity coming in to lead the

:22:45.:22:50.

TUC. We know there are millions of workers who want to join and union

:22:50.:22:55.

and need to be asked. Why aren't they joining? Membership is not

:22:55.:22:59.

very high. The women and young people who say they want to join

:22:59.:23:03.

but don't know how, perhaps no expense of unions in their family.

:23:03.:23:07.

But, I mean, I have to come back, because... What do you mean they

:23:07.:23:13.

don't know how. They go on the internet and put TUC in. Thank you

:23:13.:23:17.

for that advert. Ordinary working people are supporting what unions

:23:17.:23:21.

are saying on austerity. Nobody believed the cuts were fair. Now

:23:21.:23:25.

they can say they are not working. That is the political message. What

:23:25.:23:29.

power do you have to change people's lives? It is fine there is

:23:29.:23:33.

a political stance you are making, you are against austerity, but

:23:33.:23:37.

beyond that, what are you doing that will help those workers?

:23:37.:23:41.

have thousands and thousands of reps round the country n workplaces,

:23:41.:23:45.

we know that where workplaces are yuen niceed workers are more likely

:23:45.:23:51.

to get family friendly agreements. Better maternity pay, equal pay,

:23:51.:23:55.

holidays and massively important, learning opportunities,

:23:55.:23:59.

especially's They wouldn't have had those rights? People are objecting,

:24:00.:24:04.

I have had this, objecting to the fact there are union workers in

:24:04.:24:07.

Local Authority positions who are paid by the taxpayer and not by the

:24:07.:24:10.

union bus are doing full-time union work. I think that is a negative

:24:10.:24:14.

message for you. I know people resent that. I think there are

:24:14.:24:18.

practises that you possibly need to change, in order to get people to

:24:18.:24:25.

start liking you again, because I know council workers resentful of

:24:25.:24:32.

the fact that taxpayer money pays for Pilgrims, to work full-time and

:24:32.:24:37.

be paid and only do union work. I congratulate you... Do you think it

:24:37.:24:43.

is beneficial to have a woman? think it is fantastic. It is about

:24:43.:24:48.

changing hearts and mind. I think it was.... It would be grate if

:24:48.:24:54.

somebody from a background like you talked about the benefits of trade

:24:54.:24:58.

union membership. There is a suspicion it is back to the 1980s,

:24:58.:25:02.

that people are looking to pick fights with union, they have

:25:02.:25:06.

forgotten union members have changed. They are picking on 50%

:25:06.:25:12.

women. There is no such thing as an irresponsible strike and David

:25:12.:25:16.

Cameron this we are pussy cats, I hope your language and dialogue,

:25:16.:25:21.

because we have the wrong language in politics sometimes, and I hope

:25:21.:25:24.

your language. This is about ordinary working men and women

:25:24.:25:29.

doing a decent job who want fair treatment. I understand that.

:25:29.:25:32.

you think the language is encouraging dialogue with the

:25:32.:25:35.

Government? I think Len is speaking up for his members, and that is

:25:35.:25:38.

ultimately what we are here to do. What do most people want out of

:25:39.:25:43.

life? We want a decent home, a steady job, enough money to look

:25:43.:25:49.

after our families. That is nothing do with language. That is nothing

:25:49.:25:54.

to do... I think unions ailiate a lot of people. Language like no

:25:54.:25:59.

strike is irresponsible. Because they are are democratic. I mean

:25:59.:26:05.

there is a basic principle here, unions civic society organisation,

:26:05.:26:08.

the biggest voluntary organisations in the country and we are

:26:08.:26:12.

democratic membership organisations. You have a responsibility to talk

:26:12.:26:18.

your way... Can I just, to go back to the Polly Toynbee point. She

:26:18.:26:22.

said you don't have that much power, it is the head of the individual

:26:22.:26:25.

union, she says as the head of the TUC, you can't tell a union not to

:26:25.:26:29.

go on strike or choose a different leader, that does limit what you

:26:29.:26:36.

can do? I have drawn my power from my members. You can't tell them

:26:36.:26:42.

what to do. In a democracy, you have to persuade people, I am not a

:26:42.:26:47.

dictator, no union leader is a dictators awe of us draw on our

:26:47.:26:50.

strength from our membership. That is what democracy is about. Thank

:26:50.:26:55.

you very much. Before you go, because we are going to come on the

:26:55.:26:59.

this now. There is a suggestion that Andrew Mitchell may not have

:26:59.:27:05.

called a police officer a pleb. Do you think he was sacked too hastily.

:27:05.:27:09.

Andrew Mitchell on the police officer? It was four weeks. Do you

:27:09.:27:17.

think in the end they should have waited longer? I am sure there was

:27:17.:27:19.

a thorough investigation went on and that the appropriate resolution

:27:20.:27:26.

was met at that time. Sorry. Put you on the spot there of so the

:27:26.:27:30.

Andrew Mitchell plebgate saga and the manner it came to light rols on.

:27:30.:27:35.

The former Chief Whip was forced to resign rather than sacked,

:27:35.:27:38.

following an altercation with police after they told him he would

:27:38.:27:44.

have to dismount his bike. A Metropolitan Police officer was

:27:44.:27:48.

arrested at the weekend on suspicion of misconduct in a public

:27:48.:27:55.

officer. A Channel 4 programme will make further claims about the

:27:55.:28:01.

incident of It is an ongoing criminal investigation and it is

:28:01.:28:03.

supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. So I

:28:03.:28:07.

hope people understand that. I also hope people understand this is not

:28:07.:28:11.

all that, there is more to this than meets the eye. I am

:28:11.:28:15.

constrained in explaining that. I hope when people hear the full

:28:15.:28:22.

story they will support what we have done. I am joined by Gary

:28:22.:28:25.

O'Donoghue. How does this change the event at the Downing Street

:28:25.:28:29.

gate? Well, interestingly, Bernard Hogan-Howe, in another interview

:28:29.:28:33.

this morning, has said he doesn't think it does change the account

:28:33.:28:38.

that the original officers gave of what happened between them and the

:28:38.:28:41.

then Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell. This third officer that we are

:28:41.:28:45.

talking about, who was arrested at the weekend, the IPCC, the watchdog

:28:46.:28:49.

yesterday said that he had claimed to be there and to be a witness of

:28:49.:28:54.

that, to an unnamed MP. Now, Bernard Hogan-Howe has said that

:28:54.:28:59.

that officer wasn't there, and that therefore, anything he has been

:28:59.:29:04.

investigated over isn't in connection, or doesn't cast doubt

:29:04.:29:07.

on what the original officer said about what happened. Reading

:29:07.:29:12.

between the line, we are looking at two issue, one is the leaking of

:29:12.:29:16.

the police log given to a newspaper four or five days after the

:29:16.:29:21.

original incident in September. That seems to be where the IPCC is

:29:21.:29:25.

supervising the inquiry and where this officer seems to be being

:29:25.:29:28.

questioned. There is a separate issue about what happened on that

:29:28.:29:34.

day, and of course Andrew Mitchell denies he used those words, and

:29:34.:29:40.

told these officers that they ought to know their place, he denies that.

:29:40.:29:44.

But what the Met commissioner is saying these developments don't

:29:44.:29:49.

really change that account, although he was eelliptical to it,

:29:49.:29:54.

he says there is more than meets the eye. Who knows what that means.

:29:54.:29:58.

It prompts do you ask more question, in terms of what he nose or doesn't

:29:58.:30:02.

know. Has there been any response from Andrew Mitchell or his

:30:02.:30:06.

friends? Not really. There was yesterday, when the IPCC made clear

:30:06.:30:10.

what they were doing, Mr Mitchell did do an interview and he did say

:30:10.:30:14.

again, that he questioned still, and continued to question the

:30:14.:30:18.

original police log, so the original account of what was said,

:30:18.:30:22.

which the officers filed after that incident. He continues to question

:30:22.:30:27.

that and continues to deny that that was said, but we are no nearer

:30:27.:30:30.

what happened after that and what the involvement of this other

:30:30.:30:35.

officer was, he has been arrested and could face charge, so I think

:30:35.:30:41.

it is trick you for us to speculate too much on that and may be a bit

:30:41.:30:48.

tricky for the Commission tore Fisherman must stick to strict

:30:48.:30:52.

quotas set by the European Union restricting the number of fish they

:30:52.:30:56.

can land. It has led to them being frustrated, and conservationists

:30:56.:31:02.

are not happy either. Fish is the hot topic in Brussels today, but

:31:02.:31:06.

what are the politics? No prizes for suggesting fish can

:31:06.:31:11.

cause a stink, but as EU ministers meet in Brussels, there is a whiff

:31:11.:31:16.

of argument in the air. The EU wants stricter quotas are how much

:31:16.:31:21.

cod is caught and to restrict the time that fishermen spend at sea.

:31:21.:31:26.

Hard-pressed UK fishermen are gutted. In 2006, cod stocks reached

:31:26.:31:30.

the lowest-ever levels and a response was the EU cod recovery

:31:30.:31:35.

plan, meaning cod quotas, tough fines for catching cod illegally

:31:35.:31:39.

and the controversial discarding of card, a fish which dies when

:31:39.:31:44.

brought to surface waters weather caused accidentally or deliberately.

:31:44.:31:48.

The Government sees significant rises in stocks of the fish as a

:31:48.:31:52.

reason to relax controls. The EU says that tougher controls for the

:31:52.:31:57.

next few years will make cod sustainable into the future. There

:31:57.:32:01.

is a worry that they lack the flexibility could make the UK

:32:01.:32:04.

fishing industry unsustainable. Ever since the expenses scandal,

:32:04.:32:08.

people have said there was something about politics which is

:32:08.:32:12.

fishy, but what about the policy of fishermen?

:32:12.:32:15.

Politics may mean that decisions you have very little to do with

:32:15.:32:19.

fish management, because MEPs have had more of the state since the

:32:19.:32:23.

Lisbon Treaty and there is talk that if the EU ministers decide to

:32:23.:32:27.

go for cuts, they may face a legal challenge by the European

:32:27.:32:31.

Parliament. It seems MEPs want to show who is boss.

:32:31.:32:38.

I am joined from breast -- Brussels by the Liberal Democrat MEP and

:32:38.:32:41.

founder of Fish for the Future Chris Davies, and David Amess, who

:32:41.:32:46.

sits on the all-party Parliamentary fisheries group joins me in the

:32:46.:32:51.

studio. Chris, did you get what you wanted? We are very much in the

:32:51.:32:56.

wake to bringing forward to a reform of the fisheries policy.

:32:56.:33:00.

Fisheries ministers across Europe meet each December and have done

:33:00.:33:03.

for decades and try to please the fishermen by just looking at the

:33:03.:33:07.

next season, trying to have quotas which pleased the fishermen but

:33:07.:33:12.

ultimately lead to fish stocks going down and down. We have

:33:12.:33:16.

devastated the seas as a reports of bud as a result of this short-term

:33:17.:33:22.

approach. I thought to be cod stocks had gone up? There are many

:33:22.:33:26.

fisheries across Europe, in some places measures were put in and

:33:26.:33:30.

stocks are recovering, but in general they are still declining

:33:30.:33:35.

across Europe. We are putting forward an obligation on ministers

:33:35.:33:39.

and the European Commission to obey the scientific advice and insure

:33:39.:33:44.

that stocks recover. If we have more fish, we have more jobs for

:33:44.:33:49.

fishermen. They have voted in favour of that? I have come

:33:49.:33:53.

straight from the committee can have devoted on the amendments,

:33:53.:33:58.

there is a two-hour break while we check the details of 500 boats

:33:58.:34:03.

which have taken place this morning or afternoon and we will vote to

:34:03.:34:08.

introduce an obligation to land all fish that our courts and to

:34:08.:34:13.

introduce this legal obligation to restore and rebuild fish stocks.

:34:13.:34:17.

This sounds eminently sensible, instead of the short term look,

:34:17.:34:21.

season to season, by putting his obligation of ministers and

:34:21.:34:27.

countries, fish stocks will slowly rise, to the benefit of everybody?

:34:27.:34:31.

I absolutely support what the EU has done about discards and

:34:31.:34:37.

sustainability, but the 25 years the Common Fisheries Policy has

:34:37.:34:40.

been an absolutes that -- shambles. Our British fishermen have followed

:34:40.:34:45.

the letter of the law and European partners have not. I support our

:34:45.:34:50.

British minister fighting for British fishermen, and I'm very,

:34:50.:34:56.

very concerned about the cod stock. I don't want to see this go ahead

:34:56.:35:01.

with a 20% reduction, I want it frozen. British fishermen have done

:35:01.:35:06.

what they have been asked to do, and Spanish have not? There is some

:35:06.:35:10.

truth in this, but you only have to look at the Shetland Islands, where

:35:10.:35:15.

we had a big case last year were �1 million fines were being handed out

:35:15.:35:19.

against fishermen and battery processes where they had been

:35:19.:35:23.

diverting fish in order to avoid the quota. It was flagrant abuse

:35:23.:35:29.

and ended up in the courts. We have to ensure that the fish stocks

:35:29.:35:34.

increase, fishermen have to respect the quotas, not just in Britain but

:35:35.:35:38.

across Europe. That is why we have a new fisheries control agency with

:35:39.:35:45.

British, Irish and French inspectors working together. People

:35:45.:35:47.

with 20 years of experience or more at the docks, who know every trick

:35:47.:35:51.

in the book, working together to pool experience and make sure the

:35:51.:35:56.

cheats are stopped. Them in the end, you'll be working towards the

:35:56.:36:01.

common good? But I am a British politician and I will back British

:36:02.:36:06.

fishermen? Even if it will be back in the long term? I think it should

:36:06.:36:12.

be done gradually until 2015. Yet again we will follow the law and

:36:12.:36:15.

our European partners will not. Chris Davies says that there will

:36:15.:36:19.

be new policies and UN forces meaning that fishermen in other

:36:19.:36:24.

countries will not be able to bypass this. We need clear dates

:36:24.:36:28.

and we want to know how the scheme will work in detail, the present

:36:28.:36:33.

scheme is not working. In Leigh-on- Sea where we supply the best fish

:36:33.:36:37.

in the world, very important for not only the under 10 metre vessel

:36:37.:36:41.

but the over 10 metre vessels. We have 28 families whose lives depend

:36:41.:36:46.

on how much fish they catch, they are being crucified at the moment.

:36:46.:36:53.

What do you say, Chris? Everyone looks at the small-scale fishermen,

:36:53.:36:57.

the under 10 metre boats. That has nothing to do with the European

:36:57.:37:03.

Union. The European Union decides the quota for every country, it is

:37:03.:37:07.

up to which governments to decide how the share will be split between

:37:07.:37:13.

the �25 million trawl a working in the North Atlantic and the small

:37:13.:37:17.

port -- small boats. I don't know there has ever been a debate in the

:37:17.:37:23.

House of Commons about how that is divided. But each January, our

:37:23.:37:27.

Minister meets with the vested interests and decides which scale

:37:27.:37:32.

be small-scale fishermen will get, often it is tiny, around 4%. Surely

:37:32.:37:37.

you need to bring that to the House of Commons? You need to be having a

:37:37.:37:43.

bat in terms of how the spoils will be divided up? Three weeks ago a

:37:43.:37:47.

Westminster court, -- Westminster Hall, my colleague was responding

:37:47.:37:52.

to a debate for Members of Parliament with fisheries in their

:37:52.:37:58.

constituency. Did the small fishermen get what they wanted?

:37:58.:38:03.

ministers said he would do wall he could to adjust the situation. I

:38:03.:38:08.

think the European Union rules and regulations are key in this issue.

:38:08.:38:13.

Every British politician must fight for the rights of British fishermen

:38:13.:38:18.

as far as our involvement with the European Union is concerned. I

:38:18.:38:25.

emphasise again, we follow the law at the moment and Europeans do not.

:38:25.:38:29.

That is simply not true. You can't point the finger at Denmark,

:38:30.:38:34.

Scandinavia or Germany and say they are breaking the law. Richard

:38:34.:38:37.

Benyon is playing a first-class role in building up an alliance

:38:37.:38:41.

between reform-minded countries in order to change the policy, I hope

:38:41.:38:45.

we are doing the same in the European Parliament. That is good

:38:45.:38:50.

news, but until he returns home I can't get a feel a bit, perhaps he

:38:50.:38:55.

has won a great victory. It sounds like we will have a legally binding

:38:55.:38:59.

targets, whichever way, when we hear the rest of the boats. Perhaps

:38:59.:39:04.

we will get more from Chris Davies later. 20.

:39:04.:39:10.

What is a fair wage for an hour's work? The minimum wage of �6.19? Or

:39:10.:39:14.

the higher living wage of over �1 more outside London? A growing

:39:14.:39:21.

number of employers are plumping for the living wage, as Sunday

:39:21.:39:24.

Politics West Midlands reporter Tom Turrell discovered.

:39:24.:39:27.

How much do you need to earn for a basic standard of living?

:39:27.:39:34.

Increasingly, it seems the minimum wage is not enough. Elaine is one

:39:34.:39:38.

of more than 2500 workers at Birmingham City Council now

:39:38.:39:42.

receiving what is known as the living wage, in a policy aimed at

:39:42.:39:47.

putting a bit more money in the pockets of its lowest-paid workers.

:39:47.:39:53.

I get �50 a month more, which is a lot of money. To some people it

:39:53.:39:58.

might not be, but to low-paid workers, �50 is a lot of money, for

:39:58.:40:03.

me, anyway. What is it all about? You could be

:40:03.:40:08.

forgiven for thinking we already have a statutory minimum wage, and

:40:08.:40:15.

you are right. It is currently �6.19 an hour. But campaigners are

:40:15.:40:23.

pushing employers to pay the living wage, �7.45, which is a whole �1.26

:40:23.:40:27.

more. Almost 100 organisations nationwide have committed to paying

:40:27.:40:31.

a living wage. Many of them are charities and local authorities. In

:40:31.:40:36.

the past few weeks, Labour-run councils in Stoke-on-Trent and

:40:36.:40:40.

Newcastle-under-Lyme signed up to it. And in London, Boris Johnson

:40:40.:40:46.

has announced the living wage for workers will increase to �8.55 an

:40:46.:40:51.

hour. Across the country, more and more councils are looking at upping

:40:51.:40:56.

pay. One of those is Wyre Forest District Council. We absolutely in

:40:56.:41:00.

support of the living wage, we want to pay people a fair rate for their

:41:00.:41:03.

services and make sure what we pay them make sure they can live. We

:41:03.:41:08.

think the living wage is absolutely the right thing for us.

:41:08.:41:12.

Here at Top Barn Farm on the outskirts of Worcester, the

:41:12.:41:16.

Christmas trade is in full flow. Seasonal workers are in high demand.

:41:16.:41:20.

But much like when the minimum wage was brought in in 1999, the

:41:20.:41:24.

response from some businesses to the living wage is less glad

:41:24.:41:28.

tidings and more baa humbug. Margins are very tight at the

:41:28.:41:32.

moment. Our labour bill is very high. If we were told to increase

:41:32.:41:39.

that by 20% it would have serious implications. I'm not sure what the

:41:39.:41:44.

future of growing our crops would be. The farm's grotto is pulling in

:41:44.:41:49.

the punters, but if the living wage were to become law, it could see

:41:49.:41:53.

staff pay rise by a 5th, something businesses like this feel is a gift

:41:53.:41:59.

they simply can't afford to give. Frances O'Grady of the TUC is still

:41:59.:42:03.

here, and we are joined by Andrew Lilico of Europe Economics. Frances,

:42:03.:42:08.

is the living -- if the living wage is the level that people can

:42:08.:42:12.

support themselves, why not make the minimum wage that level?

:42:13.:42:17.

think the real value of the living wage is it is looking industry by

:42:17.:42:20.

industry. We know there are industries like food production,

:42:20.:42:25.

construction, banking and finance where it would add less than 1% to

:42:25.:42:30.

the pay bill to take everybody up to at least the living wage, they

:42:30.:42:34.

can afford it. There might be other industries where we need to phase

:42:35.:42:39.

it in in a sensible manner, and collective bargaining between the

:42:39.:42:43.

unions and employers is the best way. You'd like to make it law,

:42:43.:42:48.

even if you're phasing it in industry by industry? Will have to

:42:48.:42:50.

stop looking at almost the reinvention of wages councils,

:42:51.:42:57.

which were introduced by Winston Churchill but got rid of by the

:42:57.:43:01.

Conservatives in the 90s. We are now at the stage where pay

:43:01.:43:05.

inequality is rising on such a scale that it is not sustainable

:43:05.:43:09.

and ordinary working families are struggling to pay bills. What is

:43:10.:43:14.

your response in principle to the idea of a living wage for

:43:14.:43:17.

industries and councils and departments that want to do it?

:43:17.:43:20.

Some private employers might find it is beneficial to offer more than

:43:20.:43:23.

would otherwise be the market salary because they might think

:43:23.:43:27.

they get more worker by Ian, higher productivity and more loyalty.

:43:27.:43:32.

There is no reason why they should not find that. In respect of the

:43:32.:43:36.

public sector, it is a bad idea. The problem with the living wage,

:43:36.:43:41.

it is a bit like fair trade, on the face of it it seems that you're

:43:41.:43:45.

doing something lies, but you are creating a distortion. When you say

:43:45.:43:49.

to somebody, here is a particular salary, more than the market rate,

:43:49.:43:53.

you are denying the opportunity for somebody else who would be prepared

:43:53.:43:58.

to work for less to undercut them and have the job instead. Another

:43:58.:44:01.

consequence is if you impose a living wage then you compress the

:44:01.:44:05.

pay scale so that people who are more productive are not paid more

:44:05.:44:09.

for more productive activities, so then you try to bid up the other

:44:09.:44:14.

kinds of salaries as well. In the public-sector they wanted to go

:44:14.:44:18.

towards performance-related pay, people can earn more if they are

:44:18.:44:22.

more productive? I think all the evidence is that performance

:44:22.:44:27.

related pay does not improve performance, quite often you end up

:44:27.:44:30.

with the blue-eyed boy syndrome of who is in favour gets the increase

:44:30.:44:37.

rather than fairness. That to motivate everybody. What is fair?

:44:38.:44:42.

If you're trying to encourage your work forced to work better, more

:44:42.:44:45.

productively and harder, why doesn't a mechanism like

:44:45.:44:49.

performance-related pay theirs is a living wage just given out work

:44:49.:44:53.

better? I think what is there is having enough to live on, if you

:44:53.:44:59.

are on poverty pay it is very difficult to look after a family in

:44:59.:45:03.

Britain today. Of course we need to do something about wages inequality,

:45:03.:45:08.

we can't go on. If employers don't pay a living wage, particularly for

:45:09.:45:13.

people still having to support themselves perhaps to benefits, as

:45:13.:45:17.

taxpayers we are subsidising them through welfare? There are two

:45:17.:45:22.

issues, one is that over the past 20 years we have ended up with

:45:22.:45:27.

benefits going very high up the pay scale, so you could find people in

:45:27.:45:31.

the mid- 50,000s a year on salary was still getting supposedly income

:45:31.:45:35.

related benefits. We have borne down on that a bit, we need to take

:45:35.:45:39.

it down further so that fewer people are captured by benefits

:45:39.:45:44.

when they work. Another thing more importance is over the past few

:45:44.:45:48.

years, price rises have consistently outstripped salary

:45:48.:45:52.

rises right across the economy, since about 2006, prices have gone

:45:52.:45:59.

up by around 26%, salaries have gone up 17%. Every year, workers

:45:59.:46:03.

find they are more and more squeezed, which creates pressure at

:46:03.:46:07.

the bottom for the people most vulnerable to say, we just can't

:46:07.:46:11.

live on the salaries. I would urge the TUC and other bodies to

:46:11.:46:15.

complain about the inflation, over the past few years the Government

:46:15.:46:19.

has consistently failed to meet its inflation targets and workers have

:46:19.:46:24.

not volunteer for the salary cuts. Each year people's expectations of

:46:24.:46:31.

inflation are markedly below what It can't be right that employers

:46:32.:46:35.

who can afford pay a decent wage are being subsidised by the

:46:35.:46:40.

taxpayer to the tune of billion, and we can't just remove tax

:46:40.:46:43.

credits from families who are struggling. We need to put pressure

:46:43.:46:48.

on plom employers to pay what they can afford. Absolutely. We are

:46:48.:46:52.

doing it. You are punishing ordinary worker, instead ofen

:46:52.:46:56.

suring that employers fulfil their obligation to pay a fair wage.

:46:57.:47:01.

would be a mistake to underestimate the extent to which the current

:47:01.:47:06.

structure has allowed the UK to get through this crisis with relatively

:47:06.:47:10.

low rices in unemployment. The benefit system provides a subsidy

:47:10.:47:15.

for employment. If you start taking the subsidies, if you start forcing

:47:15.:47:21.

people to raise salaries too high, you could disturb that balance.

:47:21.:47:26.

This is the old chestnut we heard when the minimum baidge was -- wage

:47:26.:47:31.

was introduced. The CBI and others suggested we would loose over one

:47:31.:47:35.

million job, it didn't happen. is scaremongering, those employers

:47:35.:47:39.

who can afford to pay, should pay fair wage, and they should pay

:47:39.:47:43.

their taxes, and be good citizens like everybody elsement Thank you

:47:43.:47:49.

very much. Well, they have demand votes for prisoners and end to

:47:49.:47:53.

control orders and ininterm Nat sentence, the European Court of

:47:53.:47:59.

human rites hasn't had the best press, but how else do was keep to

:47:59.:48:03.

our comoith commitment? The Conservative Party manifesto

:48:03.:48:06.

promised a new British bill of rights to replace the Human Rights

:48:06.:48:09.

Act. Labour and the Liberal Democrats disagreed. When the

:48:09.:48:13.

coalition was formed, the agreement committed the Conservatives and

:48:13.:48:17.

Liberal Democrats to establishing a commission, to investigate the

:48:17.:48:20.

creation of a British Bill of Rights, that incorporates and

:48:20.:48:24.

builds on all our obligations under the European Convention on Human

:48:24.:48:30.

Rights. The Commission was established in March 2011. 20

:48:30.:48:34.

months on it has published its report today, but the splits in the

:48:34.:48:38.

Commission's membership has meant it has failed to come to a

:48:38.:48:40.

unamimous conclusion, and this morning the Justice Secretary Chris

:48:40.:48:44.

Grayling wrote in a newspaper article, that while he would listen

:48:44.:48:48.

to the Commission, he was looking ahead to the next election, and ta

:48:48.:48:54.

he believes it is time to examine how to curtail the involvement of

:48:54.:48:56.

the European Court of Human Rights in UK domestic matters. While we

:48:56.:49:01.

have been on air, Mr Chris Grayling has -- Grayling has been answering

:49:01.:49:04.

questions in the House about a British of Bill of Rights and how

:49:04.:49:10.

it would differ from what is in place. The British Human Rights Act

:49:10.:49:13.

provides protection against cruel and inhumane treatment, includes

:49:13.:49:17.

the right to a fair trial, the right-to-life, the right to family

:49:17.:49:23.

life, freedom of expression and makes ex pli -- explicit that

:49:23.:49:29.

Parliament is sovereign. Can the Justice Secretary be clear the

:49:29.:49:32.

British Human Rights Act he so opposes or the British courts who

:49:32.:49:35.

interpret the law and which of the rights in the British Human Rights

:49:35.:49:40.

Act would not be in his Bill of Rights? Well, Mr Speaker, I think

:49:40.:49:44.

the issue is that the original human rights convention was a

:49:44.:49:47.

laudable document, written at a time when Stalin was in power and

:49:47.:49:57.

people were being sent to the gulags without trial. It has moved

:49:57.:50:00.

further and further away from the goals of its creator, and I believe

:50:00.:50:04.

this is an issue we have to address in this country and I believe

:50:04.:50:11.

across Europe. Well, we are joined by Mike someone who resigned from

:50:11.:50:14.

the Commission earlier this year. Do you think this whole process has

:50:14.:50:20.

been a bit of a waste of time? actually, but before I come to say

:50:20.:50:27.

why, can I come back to your last item, because I was struck by, on

:50:27.:50:32.

the fact the Commission, the Commission decided to give a lump

:50:32.:50:37.

sum fee of �500 to graduate students, to do what potentially

:50:37.:50:41.

was several months of work, I objected to it, because I felt it

:50:41.:50:47.

was a way of getting round not only a living waiming but a minimum wage.

:50:47.:50:53.

Right. And so, I have a lot of sympathy with both speaker, and I

:50:53.:51:01.

feel that the lowest paid need to be protected, especially by the

:51:01.:51:04.

Ministry of Justice. You are listening to the programme and the

:51:04.:51:07.

piece before you came on. To get back to the issue at hand, do you

:51:07.:51:11.

think the whole process of having a commission to look at this has been

:51:11.:51:15.

a waste of time? Well, I think it need not have within a waste of

:51:15.:51:20.

time. -- been a waste of time. Had there be room for real discussion,

:51:20.:51:26.

because I think when people with different views get koth, and --

:51:26.:51:29.

get together and discuss in scenesable way one gets to the root

:51:29.:51:34.

of the problem. Was discussion suppressed? We didn't, because the

:51:34.:51:38.

real issue, which is the relationships between Britain and

:51:38.:51:42.

the Strasbourg court, was seen to be excluded from the terms of

:51:42.:51:50.

reference, and that is what one of the documents says, that they

:51:50.:51:55.

couldn't get to the real discussion, and so it has been, you know,

:51:55.:52:00.

largely a waste of time, which is what I said last March. Right. Now,

:52:00.:52:06.

do you think the fact bearing in mind those restrictions no

:52:06.:52:09.

unanimous agreement on whether a British Bill of Rights would be

:52:09.:52:14.

achieve dge or desirable has meant that we are back to square one?

:52:14.:52:21.

Well, I think we are not, acheeb cheevable. The real issue isn't the

:52:21.:52:27.

text of a Bill of Rights, I mean, in general terms, everybody agreed

:52:27.:52:31.

to the rights, in the European Convention on Human Rights, nobody

:52:31.:52:37.

wants to take those away, it is a question of who judges the rights,

:52:37.:52:41.

and the jurisprudence that people want to tackle. And so, just

:52:42.:52:47.

looking at the rights, it is really irrelevant. Nobody wants to torture,

:52:47.:52:51.

everybody is in favour of a right- to-life. Family life, fair trial,

:52:51.:52:55.

freedom of expression, that is not in question. The question is who

:52:55.:52:59.

desides what is freedom of expression, and I think there is a

:52:59.:53:03.

belief that now it should be British judges, accountable to our

:53:03.:53:07.

Parliament, and that is the core problem. And Frances O'Grady, do

:53:07.:53:10.

you agree with that, that nobody wants to take those sorts of human

:53:10.:53:15.

rights away, but it should be a case of judges who are, if you like,

:53:15.:53:19.

sovereign and answerable in some way to Parliament and Government

:53:19.:53:23.

here? I think the big issue here is from a trade union movement's point

:53:23.:53:29.

of view is that ue man rights only get recognised as important as when

:53:29.:53:32.

people are looking to dilute them or take them away, I mean there has

:53:33.:53:38.

been a lot of discussion about rights for murderers, or alleged,

:53:38.:53:44.

of those facing allegations of terrorism, but a big issue for us

:53:44.:53:50.

has been about blacklisting of trade union activists where their

:53:50.:53:55.

names were being put on data baste basiss and livelihoods, people

:53:55.:54:01.

locked out of jobs... Why couldn't that be dealt with? That is an

:54:01.:54:04.

interesting question, but this shouldn't be and what a lot of

:54:04.:54:08.

people are worried about, this is about a Government that doesn't

:54:09.:54:13.

like the human rights act, doesn't like those basic protections and

:54:13.:54:21.

wants to dilute them. You will recall that when the current

:54:21.:54:29.

Government was in opposition, it wanted to increase the rights of

:54:29.:54:34.

people. They were against against the long period of detention

:54:34.:54:37.

without trial. I don't think the record supports that fear. I think

:54:37.:54:44.

that is an unnecessary fear. Thank you very much. Now it a Tuesday.

:54:44.:54:47.

Which means the Cabinet met earlier today, but this morning there was a

:54:48.:54:54.

special guest. The Queen. Her Majesty became the first monarch

:54:54.:54:57.

since 1781 to attend a cabinet meeting in Downing Street. David

:54:57.:55:00.

Cameron introduced her to each of the members of the Cabinet in turn.

:55:00.:55:05.

That will have taken time! And their hours practising bower or

:55:05.:55:09.

courtesying were put to good use. The Prime Minister's spokesman said

:55:09.:55:14.

the Queen spent about 30 minutes at the meeting, lots of laughter and

:55:14.:55:18.

on her way in she shared a joke, as we heard with the Chancellor George

:55:18.:55:22.

Osborne, we would like to know what that was stkwhr. And William Hague.

:55:22.:55:29.

Well, I am joined by the royal historian Kate Williams. It looks

:55:29.:55:37.

very jovial. We imagine cab net might more adversarial. She was

:55:37.:55:43.

being given a present. This was the jubilee gift. I here it was 60

:55:43.:55:47.

place mats. At the beginning of the year Michael Gove and fellow

:55:47.:55:51.

ministers were suggesting a yacht. That got beaten down. They have

:55:51.:55:56.

gone for something more minimal. The House of Commons shop does some

:55:56.:56:01.

good place mats. How significant was this moment, of the Queen

:56:01.:56:06.

attending cabinet? In is a very significant moment. Obviously,

:56:06.:56:09.

people from outside occasionally attend, but that is to give

:56:09.:56:13.

presentation, it is not to sit in and listen, the last person to

:56:13.:56:21.

attend cabinet was George III and by then monarchs had become much

:56:21.:56:26.

less, so Victoria, she did meet some ministers in a more informal

:56:26.:56:35.

manner? Did she attend cabinet? No, cabinet was different in those day,

:56:35.:56:39.

it is very formal, David Lloyd George did it formal with minutes

:56:39.:56:44.

and meeting and stfs secure, it was more different in the days before

:56:44.:56:49.

formal democracy it is a significant moment the Queen has

:56:49.:56:54.

attended. Although she reads minute, she cease them all, she sees

:56:54.:56:57.

ambassador, report, she doesn't get to sit in and see what I would

:56:57.:57:01.

imagine, what we imagine is a lot of debate, a lot of argument and

:57:01.:57:05.

discussion over what is going on. I wonder how much argument and debate

:57:05.:57:08.

there was this morning or whether everybody was on their best

:57:08.:57:12.

behaviour. People were saying they have to mind their Ps and Qs. She

:57:12.:57:16.

was there for half an hour, there is business to be done. We are

:57:16.:57:22.

heading towards America falling off the fiscal cliff. We have issues

:57:22.:57:24.

for 2013 and simply because the Queen is there I don't think the

:57:24.:57:27.

Government would say let us chat about Christmas trees, important

:57:27.:57:32.

business has to be done. She has an audience with the Prime Minister.

:57:33.:57:37.

For half an hours she has had 12 Prime Minister, she started with

:57:37.:57:41.

Winston Churchill, she has a lot of experience, she meets heads of

:57:41.:57:44.

state. He is a neutral head of state. He is only supposed to

:57:44.:57:47.

advice, but she has had a lot of expense, she has travelled all over

:57:47.:57:51.

the world, the Commonwealth, and she meets a lot of her subjects,

:57:51.:57:55.

the Queen herself is someone who is concerned with the every day

:57:55.:58:00.

political life of her subjects. idea constitutionally is the Queen

:58:00.:58:05.

is above party politics. Exactly. Is there any danger of that sense

:58:05.:58:10.

of her attending cabinet? I think this is a one off. I won't happen

:58:10.:58:13.

again. It's a Diamond Jubilee celebration and we probably won't

:58:13.:58:16.

see it again for her successors, Charles and William, simply because

:58:16.:58:21.

it is a one off event, because really, this is not very customary,

:58:21.:58:26.

cabinet meetings are private. We can't go, MPs can't go. They don't

:58:26.:58:30.

even see the minutes. This is a one off, a final Diamond Jubilee

:58:30.:58:33.

celebration and I presume they had to dash through the rest of the

:58:33.:58:36.

business after she left. There is just time before we go to find out

:58:36.:58:40.

the answer to our quiz. I know you have been waiting for this Frances.

:58:40.:58:47.

The question was who visited Downing Street last night? Have a

:58:47.:58:51.

go. It is Father Christmas. I will give it to you. Just in case.

:58:51.:58:57.

Jo Coburn with the latest political news and debate, including TUC general secretary designate Frances O'Grady and Conservative MP Nadine Dorries.


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