11/01/2013 Daily Politics


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics.


Opposition mounts to the government's plans for gay marriage,


as the former Defence Sectary and the Energy Minister line up against


the policy. Will same sex couples be able to marry by 2015?


It's 40 years since some at least celebrated our entry into the


Common Market. This week, after warnings from the Obama


Administration, how real is the prospect of a British exit from the


EU and what would be the consequences?


The House of Lords debates the Leveson Report - should the press


be given time to put their house in order, or is a new law needed to


curb their excesses? And free the Aberdeen One! Helena,


the mannequin locked up for Two stories from Aberdeen this


week! All that in the next hour, and with


us for the duration today is, Mary Ann Sieghart, she's chair of the


Social Market Foundation, a political commentator, and


according to her website, a "Portfolio Woman". Not sure what


that means. It means I do lots of different things, instead of being


a wage slave. Danny Finkelstein has a portfolio but it's a bit thin. He


gets by working for the Times where he's chief leader writer and


columnist. Let's start with gay marriage.


David Cameron has promised to change the law to allow gay people


to marry by 2015, but opposition within his own party is widespread


and apparently still growing. This morning, Energy Minister, John


Hayes, says he has his doubts. And former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox


- you may remember he once stood against David Cameron for the


party's leadership - has come out strongly against the change. A


letter from Dr Fox to his constituents has emerged, and in it


He says he's sure that proponents of gay marriage are sincere, but


Well it's no surprise perhaps that Liam Fox isn't fully signed up to


the Cameron modernising agenda, but it does show the scale of


opposition to this policy. We're joined now by Mike Judge, of the


Coalition for Marriage who are campaigning against same sex


marriage. Welcome to the programme. Pleasure


to be with you. Is it your claim opposition to this policy is now


growing within Parliament, within the Conservative ranks? Certainly,


I don't think there can be any doubt. We had seen upwards of 130


and more, and growing, backbench Tory MPs saying they will


definitely vote against it. There are many more yet to declare. I


suspect they on nervous about this policy and unsure about what has


been proposed. And for Dr Fox to come out with his letter, he is a


senior Tory figure, popular with the grass roots who have been


disaffected by this policy. It is a devastating blow for David


Cameron's plans. I wonder if it is devastating? In a free vote, given


the attitude of the Labour backbenchers, Conservatives and the


Lib Dem backbenchers, doesn't it get through? All observers on both


sides of this debate expected to go through the House of Commons. I do


think there will be a strong opposition within the Commons, a


level of oppositions which will surprise many observers. Then the


debate moves on to the House of Lords. Polling in the House of


Lords shows the majority think it should be put on hold because it is


yet to be demonstrated there is any kind of public appetite for this.


am not talking to you about the rights and wrongs of this issue,


just the politics of it. Your hope and perhaps expectation is this


could be stopped in the Lords? certainly think it will be sent


back by the Lords will stop I think also we will get a strong showing


in the House of Commons. Stick with us, let's hear what on guests pink.


Is he right? Is he right it is controversial? Yes. Is he right


there may be a defeat in the House of Lords? I guess it is quite


possible. Is he right the public don't support it? No. I am


disappointed an organisation that says it is for marriage is against


marriage and wants to restrict the number of people to marry. I don't


know how two people getting married could affect my marriage or anybody


else's marriage. I was just wanting to look at the politics, because we


have debated the substance of it quite a lot. Assuming Mr Judge is


right, it will probably get through the Commons. But if it is stopped


in the Lords, it would be embarrassing for the Prime


Minister? It would, and it is difficult for the Prime Minister


because it wasn't in the manifestos. By tradition, the Lords tend not to


block legislation that was in the governing party's manifesto. But I


think it would be difficult for them to block something that has


majority support in the country. Judge, it is said you are


campaigning against something which the British public now seem more


comfortable with and may have done for many decades? I think, public


opinion, the more they have heard about this debate and they have


understood the rights of marriage are already available to same-sex


couples through civil partnerships, 70% have said, I don't see any need


to redefine marriage. And that particular arguments is what has


commenced a lot of MPs and the knock on effects of the civil


liberties of those people who disagree. All of those reasons when


the public look at a more detailed way of what is proposed, they are


happy with the status quo. That has fed through to MPs, MPs sitting on


marginal seats. They are saying there is not in need this, it does


not have a popular mandate, we are not sure we will vote for it.


do you mean defect of the civil liberties of people who disagree? I


won't be effective if people of same-sex want to get married?


Someone put on Umm Qasr that he was in favour of this proposal, and he


was demoted and lost 40% of his salary. Will people working in the


public sector be allowed to voice their opposition against this?


same opposition that were shown on Section 28, age of consent and so


will partnerships. Each time we have had the same debate, usually


big red herrings are put about, and in the end it gets through. What I


suspect it will happen, the same will happen, it will be


controversial. It is difficult for the Government, because it divides


Conservatives particularly between older and younger. Liam Fox


referred to lifelong Conservatives. It probably is true of like long


Conservatives, but younger Conservatives are more in favour of


it. Isn't the problem, you face being on the wrong side of the tide


of history? Within my lifetime, it was illegal to be involved in


homosexual acts. I don't think many people would now propose to bring


that law back. It is not that long ago you could smoke on an aircraft.


The idea you could now smoke on an aircraft would be regarded as


derisory. In a few years, won't we see gay marriage as part of life?


Many things do change in life, but marriage has not been one of the


things that has changed. Marriage between men and women has been


around for thousands of years, it is before the Christian church and


Britain as a nation. I'm sure it will be around for many years to


come. But the public on not convinced of the argument it needs


redefining, especially because there is in law, no discrimination


for same-sex couples and the same rights married couple have are


available through civil partnerships. And that point is put


to people and then they are not convinced of the argument. Banks


for joining us. Just before we move on, the politics of this is


interesting. Mr Cameron has upset a lot of people in his party by being


seen to champion this. He could probably have got away with this is


the economy was growing by 4%, living standards were better and


the Tories were 10 points ahead in the polls will stop none of the


above is true. You have also got to show you are in favour of the


things you are in favour of. You have to give heart to liberal


Conservatives as well. And to broader, non-Conservative supported


him at the last General Election and show them you have not lost the


vision, when you are taking typical, economic decisions. Making people


think the Conservatives have had to be hard-nosed. He is being true to


that. It is because people are saying they have become the nasty


party, they are cutting benefits. He has got to show, in other areas


of life, more compassionate. And it gives people a lot of happiness.


Time for the daily quiz. Which member of the Government was


allegedly involved in throwing Damian Green, in fact off the


bridge in Oxford during his student days? Was it Chris Grayling.


Solicitor General Oliver Heald, or the Home Secretary, Theresa May.


Will I have to answer? Not now, at the end of the programme. Do you


know the answer? Yes. January is quite the month for


birthdays. The Daily Politics celebrated its 10th this week. Mel


C from the Spice Girls is going to be 39 tomorrow. And can you believe


it's been 40 years since Britain joined what was to become the


European Union? Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? Adam's been


looking back at the events of 1st Jimmy Osmond was popular in that


year. # I will be your long-haired Lover


from Liverpool. Richard Nixon was preparing for his


second term in the White House. And a village in Devon celebrated


Britain's entry into the Common Market, joining France, Belgium,


the Netherlands, Germany and Luxembourg.


It was also the year at the New London Bridge opened, so where


better to meet Tony Blair's former man in Brussels, who is now the


official historian between Europe and the British political


establishment. They looked at a North Atlantic free trade area with


United States. The Americans said, you must be joking. Then they look


at going it alone. But we were no longer economically powerful enough.


That is why Ted Heath signed us up to the Continent will clock, paving


the way for the treaty in 1970 to stop but only after the French


vetoed our membership twice in the previous decade. Then insisted we


make a big contribution to the Budget. It also had to be written


into British law by a knife edge vote in Parliament. On the old


files there is the draft of the statement he had ready just in case


he lost the vote. It was one of those bits of paper that never got


used but it was there. Nowadays, hardly anyone remembers the


occasion was marked by a Euro themed beauty contest on television.


But the foundation had been laid for the Euro wrangles we see today.


There was an underestimate and up the extent this would be dynamic


and there would be growth in the number of laws and policies that


would emanate from Brussels, even though we would play a part in


negotiating them. The leaders at the time thought the European


Community would be led by the three big countries. They underestimated


the power of the institutional structure that had been set up.


other words, the EU is a bit like the area around London Bridge, it


looks pretty different now, but really it is still dominated by


We are joined by the Times' European correspondent, who has


written a book, Au Revoir, Europe, and Mary Ann and Danny are still


with us. David Charter, let me come to you first, do you think, looking


back, when we joined 40 years ago, did we realise it was going to be


so rocky, that we would become so disillusioned with it as a nation


overall? Well, happy birthday, Andrew! I think there is no


question that people who voted in the 1975 referendum feel that they


were a little bit hoodwinked in some way by what developed. Because


within, say, five years of having that referendum, the assembly where


we sent our MPs to talk about the laws in Brussels became a directly


elected parliament, under all sorts of unforeseen developments then


came from monetary union, which we did not take part in, of course, to


the adoption of a European foreign minister, and of course now the


plans for banking union, fiscal union, economic union. Little


wonder that people say, we did not know what we were voting for in


1975, when we had the referendum. We were not really told what we


were in for in 1973. Whole lot of water has passed under the bridge


since we joined, the country is more Euro-sceptic, the policy of Mr


Cameron is to repatriate, and as the eurozone becomes a closer union,


we are going to attempt to repatriate powers back to London.


The Foreign Office has been briefing that the Germans are not


there is against this as they might seem, that the Germans could be an


ally in this, because they do not want to lose Britain altogether.


You are sitting in Berlin, shed some light, is that really true?


Well, up to a point, because the Germans are terrified, in fact, of


being left without a big ally against what you might call Club


Med, the group of countries that led by France, but including Italy,


Spain, Portugal and Greece, there would like a different style of


European Union with more social protections, and protections for


their businesses and their farmers, for example, from foreign


competition. So there is a very strong feeling in Berlin that, as


much as possible must be done to give Britain in the club, but I do


think that Angela Merkel's patients and the patience of others in


Germany has a limit, and at the end of the day they will save the


European Union, rather than saving David Cameron's neck. Before I


bring in other guests, I am grateful to have you to date from


Berlin, is it really credible for the British to expect the Germans


and the French, but particularly the Germans, to repatriate so many


powers that we get all the advantages of being in the single


market and the open market, but we have almost none of the


responsibilities or costs of club membership? I am very sorry, I have


lost all sound from London. Is the status quo sustainable, given the


state of British... Can we just carry on? No, but there is a big


difference between status quo and the idea that you can somehow


renegotiate meaningful powers back to Britain, and as you put it in


your question, and remain within the single market, which is after


all a British creation. We need the extension of the single market to


include things like telecoms and energy, extended across services,


and we have the problem of the EU budget, but you do all that from


within the union, fighting your corner with allies. It is right


that Germany has a lot of sympathy for us, but I would not push it too


far. They are not about to give us meaningful powers. So is the prime


minister's strategy credible, and can he do end up...? He now


presides over the most Euro-sceptic mainstream party in Europe now, and


repatriating the Working Time Directive and a couple of other


things, that is not going to surprise, is it? The first thing to


say it is not eccentric to be Euro- sceptic. It would have been a


different model for this country, but we decided to stay out of the


euro, that is a settled view in this country, and that requires a


different relationship with the European Union. It is not just a


question of the Prime Minister eccentrically wanting to repatriate


powers for Tory Euro-sceptics, it is not possible for Europe to move


towards consolidation of a single currency without changing, and that


change cannot happen unless Britain's relationship from outside


the euro changes. So this change is necessary, and does however much


people have and Bath, in the country or out of the country, they


will have to be a change, and that change will take either a limited


or greater form. But unless we join the euro, we are going to be


different from other countries who are inside. Are we really going to


hold the ever closer union of the eurozone hostage to them giving as


what Mr Cameron wants? I do not think it needs to be as dramatic as


that, but yes, in 1973 lots of people said that we gave away


sovereignty by agreeing to join, and that was absolutely correct. In


return, what we got was a large say, and in places a veto, on how Europe


develops.,... When Thatcher signed up to the European market, we


decided to give up our veto, because we did not want the French


vetoing the single market. What you think of the general proposition


that if the eurozone wants to have more fiscal, more economic union,


which is the cause they have to embark on if they want to save


their currency, we will say, you can only do that if you let us go


in the other direction? Is that credible European policy? It is a


credible negotiating position, and people like Rowland will say, you


cannot have a pick-and-mix Europe, but we already do have. Some


countries have joined the euro, some have stayed outside. Some have


joined the Shengen agreement with three borders, some have chosen to


stay outside. That is how the union has developed. Can you tell me


another major country that wants to repatriate powers? I don't know,


I'm afraid. Going back to David Charter in Berlin, can you hear us


now? I am back, yes! We have managed to get the director-general


to put another shilling in the meter to keep you here. What I


wanted to know, I know that, as you say, they would prefer us to stay


in rather than leave, because in economic attitudes we share a


generally liberal philosophy compared to the French and Club Med


countries. What I wanted was whether Angela Merkel, because she


is the one that will matter in this, is she prepared to lead Britain


have all the advantages are one over market in Europe, and almost


none of the responsibilities and costs that go with it? No, she is


not prepared to go that far, and this will be subject to the most


difficult negotiations, which is why David Cameron would be well


advised not to over promises in his much vaunted forthcoming speech on


Europe later this month. Because not all of it will be deliverable


in terms of what his backbenchers are saying they want. You have got


to remember that these directives that David Cameron does not like,


and many of the Conservatives do not like, and many in business and


British society do not like, are seen as absolutely fundamental


parts of the single market in most of Europe. And the single market is


what many Conservative MPs assay is the only thing they want. I'm


afraid they therefore misunderstand what the single market is. It is a


system of open and free-trading that has checks and balances to


ensure social protections for workers. And that is the deal.


Roland Rudd, people like yourself are strongly pro-European, don't


you have a fundamental problem these days, considering what Danny


was saying, if we are not going to join the euro and no-one seems very


keen to do that for the foreseeable future, I mean, you're not in


favour, are you? No. This business about being at the heart of Europe


is a nonsense. You cannot be at the heart of Europe if you are not in


the inner circle. I do not believe that to be the case at all, and I


think the reason that people always say that the remorseless logic of


the euro is further integration is because politically that is their


position and has always been our position, and it proves the point


that they want proven. But it is proving to be right. But is not in


Britain's interests to expend capital and energy in something you


do not want to have happened. Far better to use our interests to get


a more liberal, open market and to put our ethics with Germany.


Germany has made it clear they will not allow the price of further


integration to harm the single market. Look at what happened with


banking union, it is a shadow of what was promoted by the French and


Italians, because the Germans stood by the British, and we negotiated a


good deal, Osborne worked with the Germans on banking union. You are


not denying that the eurozone will become an ever closer union. I am


sure that will happen. And we will not be part of it, rightly or


wrongly. But let's not talk about it in the sense of edging them on,


because it is not in our interest. We want to focus on the things that


are important, British jobs and prosperity. Once we decided not to


join, we created a different relationship with the other


European countries, and you see this differently because eventually


you want to join the euro. I keep an open mind. That is fine, sorry


if I have misunderstood that, but in any case, you are creating a


different relationship with the European Union, and that requires


us to create a structural distinction. David Owen explains


this very well in his recent book, it creates a structural distinction


between the single market, with all of what David Charter has said, and


the eurozone. It creates a difference. When are we getting the


Prime Minister's speech? I think it is the 22nd. David, do we have a


date for that speech? It is going to be in Holland, we understand.


think it is 22nd January, finally we have a date, and finally we


think it will be in the Netherlands, not here in Germany, unfortunately.


Probably wise! But another country that, of course, has a mini rebate


from its contributions to the European Union. If I could just


come back, people asking me about what Merkel once, very quickly, we


voted in 1975 for 40 years of surprises in the European Union.


Merkel will not be around forever, there will be a Social Democrat


chancellor one day in Germany, and perhaps he or she will decide they


want a more social Europe. Unlikely to be one this September. Oh, very


unlikely! Mrs Merkel is looking the top favourite there. Thank you for


joining us in Berlin, we will try to come back to you to get the


reaction of the Germans to Mr Cameron's speech when he delivers


it on that date. Roland Rudd, thank you, we will continue this debate


That is a real terms cut once inflation was taken into account.


On Wednesday's Daily Politics, the Conservative Treasury minister,


Sajid Javid, and the Chateau Work and Pensions Secretary, Liam Byrne,


debated what the consequences of the cap would be. Because of that


discussion, Sajid Javid made a specific claim about the state of


the public finances when the current government came to office.


Let's listen to what he had to say. During the last decade, welfare


spending in real terms went up by 45%. It represents, in total, one


in every �3 that is raised in taxes, it is a Budget that was out of


control. When you are using divisive language, talking about


shirkers and strivers... You have had your chance, you have had your


chance. You are having trouble answering the questions, I want to


about a bit. The problem is that he does not want to acknowledge the


reality, and I wish she could be honest again, as he was before,


talking about there being no money left. I thought you were trying to


help them out! I want to be straightforward and acknowledge


that the welfare budget was out of control, and if you are going to


deal with the largest deficit of any industrialised country when we


came to power, you have to deal with the welfare budget. So Mark


these words, the largest deficit of any industrialised country when we


came to power. That was, of course, in May 2010. But was he right? A


loyal viewer, Eugene Zelem, e- mailed us to ask us to look into


them had the biggest deficit and the highest overall debt, so we


have asked Paul Johnson from the IFS to cast some light on the


situation, and here he is, welcome! Let's go back to basics, as a prime


minister once said, let's clear up first of all, because it is often


mixed, sometimes intentionally by politicians, what we mean by


deficit and what we mean by, I think, probably best called the


The national debt is the total of many outstanding that as a country,


we still owed. It is more than a trillion pounds. The deficit is the


amount we borrow every year. And that is around �120 million this


year pulls up the deficit is the flow of additional borrowing.


time we borrow more than we spend a year, that amount we borrowed gets


added to the national debt? Exactly right. You can only reduce the


national debt, it can become a small amount if the economy grows,


is that right? That is exactly right. All politicians, I hope you


use that distinction. The Government's aid they had cut the


deficit by 25%, the public think they have cut the overall national


debt by 25%. The national debt is growing a lot. A proportion of the


size of the national income, it is going to go up above 80% of


national income, which it is the highest that it has been. Savage


jabbered said we had the highest debt the city of any industrialised


country when the coalition came to concrete -- came to power, was he


right? What was understood at the time in 2010, he was basically


right. The OCD was saying... Americans are higher. Although at


the time we thought our deficit was the highest, in fact when we looked


at the figures again, the Americans were higher. The Americans were


slightly above us in 2010. The story does not change, we did have


the want or two highest deficits Our public finances were not in a


good place. So he is not quite right, he may have thought it at


the time, but we now know the Americans had a bigger deficit as a


percentage of GDP, and we had. We had the second biggest question


mark a century. Was it bigger than Greece? Coming back to the national


debt, the accumulated deficits from over the years. Where are we in


terms of the national debt? In the middle of the pack. We are rising,


but it in 2010 card debt was a bit less than the average across the


own. The Italians could be there as well. If you are spending 113% of


your national debt, and it has not worked by now, you would think it


would have worked. The United States is ahead. As you said, it is


It is rising and it is rising very fast. One of the reasons the


Government is missing its fiscal rules is it will be continuing to


rise in 2015, when they had said it would be falling in 2015. So he was


not entirely right, he was a bit wrong, but not way-out wrong?


basic story was right, we were one of the two countries with the


biggest deficits in 2010. In 2010 we did think we were the biggest.


We did have a very big deficit. the one thing this coalition cannot


save the other conceivable future is that it is cutting the national


debt? It is increasing the national debt? The national debt is going to


carry on rising we think at least until 2016. The proportion of


national income is forecast to fall after that. It depends on how well


the economy does. Is there any time in your crystal ball, when this


national debt in absolute terms, starts to fall? I don't know when


it starts to fall in absolute terms, but assuming it goes terribly well,


it will be the 20 30s. It is a generation and a half before we get


back to where we were. Which is not in a very low level of national


debt. There was another controversy on Wednesday as well. It was about


how much families would lose by the 1% cap and other things the


Government, the coalition has done. Why on the changes you have made,


were working families by next year be �280 poorer, and the year after


that �534 poorer. These are the men walking past the curtains? Those


working families will only be poorer if you look at the changes


in isolation. That wouldn't be right. The House of Commons library


figures are there. I have to confirm what Liam Byrne has said.


There the �280 been worse off next year, that is from House of Commons


library. That includes the personal allowance. And the figure of �534


worse off by 2016, is the Institute of Fiscal Studies and includes a


rise in the personal allowance. only includes the change in the


personal allowance that it was announced in the Autumn Statement.


But does not include the change in the personal allowance for the


entire period. Does it include all the changes in


the personal allowance? The �534 No. We are looking at, is just the set


of figures that were announced in the Autumn Statement, which


includes some of the increase in the personal allowance, but not all


of it. It includes the benefit of rating. It includes restriction of


pension tax relief for the rich, and a restriction of the higher


rate tax relief. A significant chunk of that money is coming from


those right at the top of the distribution. Given what they're


doing, for those in working families, the coalition argument is,


all right, we are tapping your tax credits by 1%, but we are taking a


huge chunk of your early income out of tax altogether by raising the


personal allowance. Does your calculation take that personal


allowance rise into account? have done a bunch of calculations.


To some calculations if you look at the consolidation package as a


whole. It takes everything into account since 2010. It you look at


that there is a clear pattern. People on modest to higher earnings


of the least affected. The most affected are those at the top of


the distribution, lost their child benefit, paying 50 pence tax. The


next group most affected of those dependent on benefit, particularly


those out of work and also those in work. The people at the bottom are


badly affected. The people in the middle of the least affected and


the people at the top of the most affected. Would it be fair to say


that because of the families at the very top had been most affected,


because they don't get the benefit of the personal allowance, it does


not feed through to them. This business of families being �534 was


up by 2015, that is an average. Isn't that skewed by the number of


well off families that are being very seriously hit? At �500 number


is one very specific families, single earner families with


children. That has been chosen in the debate because it is the


biggest number affected by the Autumn Statement. It is skewed by


the fact it takes effect of some of the high corners and some of the


smaller things that were changed. Would it not be better to give the


median figure? A medium figure would be good. We have looked at


the effect of the Autumn Statement changes on families, the operating


effect on families with children, who are in work. That is one to


�200 a year on average for the group who are affected. The


majority are not affected. I am still a little bit confused. Was he


right when he said that �534 figure does not take all the personal


allowances into account? Yes, he was right because it is a number


which was announced in the Autumn Statement. In the autumn statement


there was a small increase in the personal allowance but it does not


take into account all the increases into the personal allowance.


didn't you do that? We have. There are hundreds of numbers you can


produce. If you look at the changes made by the Government since 2010,


what you find is those on modest too high incomes in work have been


less affected than those on benefits at the bottom end and


those are well up at the top end. We can get this on your website?


is all on the website. Government wants a Royal Charter.


Labour and campaigners are calling for full implementation backed by a


new law and the press have recoiled from any suggestion of statutory


regulation. Negotiations have continued this week between the


Government, political parties and the industry over how best to


implement Lord Justice Leveson's report into the, "Culture, practice


and ethics of the press". Today the Lords are debating the issue. Let's


The Prime Minister has said he does not believe statutory legislation


is necessary to achieve the principles outlined by Leveson.


Noble Lords should be aware my Right Honourable friend, the


Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has been clear that


if the industry does not deliver a tough, new self regulatory system,


she won't shy away of going down the legislation route. We do have


some concerns about the Government's proposals that an


independent regulator be underpinned by a Royal Charter. We


welcome the fact this represents an acceptance of the need for a legal


framework to underpin the role of the regulator, but we had some


doubts as to whether this is the best mechanism. What we need, what


we have always needed is a regulatory regime which is


independent from the Government and the media. And is about the


regulation process and not content. This is what Lord Justice Leveson


proposes, a set of voluntary regulations. It is a voluntary


regulation based on incentives, with a guarantee of proper


standards. It is not a liberal, state regulation. For those who say


the press cannot be trusted to put its house in order, I say now it


has no choice. If that sounds like a threat to legislation, it is. And


the press would be very foolish to ignore it. My Lords, we won't need


another enquiry if there are more scandals on the scale we have


witnessed. Legislation will be inevitable. The 2000 pages of the


Leveson report makes it seem like a light weight document. It is


important to remember why the report was written. It was the


consequence of national, moral outrage. Anyone who believes


Britain's moral conscience is worse than it was, might reflect on our


collective response to the phone hacking scandal. Long ago I worked


as a journalist for four newspapers, including one owned by Rupert


Murdoch. I was sacked by him, and experience of which I am


unequivocally proud. I was also sacked by Robert Maxwell, but I


won't go into that here! The Leveson report, which we are here


to debate is immensely impressive. I basically supported its approach.


Especially to the need for a fine delicate layer of statutory


underpinning. I am much more accustomed to defending the press


and much more comfortable in that role. Why is it in the last two


years I have campaigned for change? Basically it is because I had seen


the values that I am much journalists hold high, trampled


into the dirt. It is because I have seen so called journalists


attacking the public rather than carrying out their essential duty


of standing up for their rights. am optimistic of a good outcome. We


shall seek a profound change of culture, and an end to sloppy


journalism ruining the lives of innocent people, without losing all


that is good in our press. We shall demonstrate that for a good


journalist, freedom of expression and professional principles can,


and must be inseparable. Indeed symbiotic. And to the victims I say


this, the clear message must be, never, never, never, never, never


We are joined by Jacqui Hames, formerly of Primark's, who speaks


for the Hacked Off campaign. Reminders why you got involved. --


remind us. 10 years ago now, I and my family were put under


surveillance by the News of the World. I husband took over the


reins of a very prominent murder inquiry into the death of a private


detective, a very complex issue I will not going to, but in basic


terms, our phones were hacked, we will put under surveillance, our


mail was tampered with. He felt the News of the World behaved in a


disgraceful way towards you. Completely. That is what motivated


you in this. Yes. I think everybody accepts that the press has to


change and that it needs a new code of conduct and it has to be able to


account quite stiffly on a new code of conduct. The argument is down to


whether it should be statutory or not, and Hacked Off wants statutory


underpinning. What is your reaction to this idea that is being floated


by Oliver Letwin that they should be some sort of royal charter


instead that would be the mechanism by which the press was held


accountable to new standards and ways of doing things?


difficulty at the moment is that we have not seen the detail of that


discussion. Clearly, he is having a discussion of the newspaper editors


and proprietors about that. We have not been privity to that


information, and I do not know the full extent of what he is proposing.


The idea of a royal charter, I am not a legal expert, does seem a


rather draconian measure which does not seem to have the teeth that I


and other victims of Hacked Off would want to see. But we have got


an open mind. This idea of a royal charter has been bandied about,


although Letwin is the man behind it, he was floating it before


Christmas. -- Oliver Letwin. argument on statute has changed.


The original wave was that it would make sure that people could not opt


out of the regulatory system. Brian Leveson ruled against that. The


argument on statute is in a different place and now, it is


whether or not you actually need, in order to have independent


regulation, to have a statue. My position is, if a way can be found


whereby you do not need to do that, it is preferable not to, but you


have to be reassured, of course, that the system will deal with the


issues that Lord Leveson's report talked about. There has been a lot


of conflating from the newspaper side of statutory regulation and


statutory underpinning of independent regulation, which is


what Lord Justice Leveson called for. He did not say the government


should regulate the press. He said the government should create the


circumstances in law whereby an independent regulator could


regulate the press. The press has started talking about statutory


regulation as if it is the government regulation. Conflation


has taken part of all sides. The reason that Hacked Off wanted it


was to have statutory regulation. Conflation has taken place across


the board. I do not think Hacked Off wanted that. Absolutely not.


order to ensure... But in order to achieve compulsory membership of


the regulatory body, and Sir Bryan Leveson ruled against that, so now


it has been decided that he wants statutory regulation for a


different purpose. I was not convinced it was necessary. We will


see whether that is the case. draft bill follows Leveson, as I


understand it, it is not compulsory to be part of this, but there would


be penalties, as he recommended, if you are not part of it. It is just


taking the regulations side of the recommendations about the fact that


they should be independent central regulation -- there should be


independent self regulation. But there should be another body to


underpin that, and that should be in legislation, and the hack of


draft bill takes those simple recommendations and shows how


simple and easy it is and how straightforward it is and how


nobody has anything to fear. -- the Hacked Off draft bill. It also


enshrines this feeling of free speech being part of the country's


DNA. No-one is trying to... I do not doubt your sincerity in this,


it is very tricky, but you cannot say there is no need to fear. If


you introduce legislation, this is my concern, it may be very


difficult to draw the line that Mary Ann wants to draw between this


and statutory regulation. But maybe the intent, that may be the desire,


but it is difficult to do. We have been overrunning on almost every


item this morning because I have been enjoying the discussion so


much. Isn't there a sense the press are dragging their feet on this? If


they really wanted to scupper your thing, they would be more


enthusiastic about coming up with their own proposals. You can never


put two editors in a room and they will agree on anything. We have got


30 in a room trying to agree on something. They are dragging their


feet, but it is like trying to herd cats. Thank you very much.


It is well known that Aberdeen is Scotland's richest city, it is


probably Britain's richest city. On Wednesday, we talked about that. It


does not just both its wealth to oil and gas, it is a goldmine for


new stories. We heard about its attempts to ban begging, today it


is the mannequin locked up for seeking election to the council. In


a moment, we will be speaking to the mannequin's agent, but to


explain the story, here is Kevin Keane.


Cleared of electoral corruption,... It was a nomination which was to


land her in court. This is Helena Torry, a shop dummy who was to


stand as a councillor. No win in the election, but now a victory in


court. I feel vindicated anyway, it has been stressful at times, but I


never felt guilty, so I was not as stressed as maybe I could have been.


At one point during the proceedings, the mannequin was produced as


evidence, wheeled into the courtroom by the clerk, still


wearing the red hat, long coat and scarf, and bearing a placard with


the words, support Helena Torry, the voice of the silent majority.


Two police officers were asked to identify it. The name never made it


onto the ballot paper, but it was published on the initial list of


candidates. The returning officer said he received information the


next day about Helena Torry and contacted the police. He maintains


this was the right action. I am absolutely certain of that, and the


situation arose again, I would do the same thing. In April last year,


Rene Slater was interviewed and charged. Afterwards, she brought


police to this cafe in Aberdeen city centre, where the mannequin


was being scored. It was handed over to officers and taken away in


a policeman. Right now she is still behind bars but expected to be


reunited with their agent within weeks.


We did try to get in touch with the returning case -- the returning


officer who brought the case, but we have been surprisingly


unsuccessful. But we are joined by the manic and's agent, Rene Slater,


thank you for coming on to the Daily Politics. -- mannequin. Why


did you put it up for election? There have been a lot of problems


in Aberdeen in terms of lots of closures happening within things


like mobility, people with mobility issues, people with learning


difficulties. It was all disappearing to some extent because


they have stopped ring-fencing it, but many of these people have no


voices, so I thought it would be useful to bring in someone who had


no voice to speak for the silent majority. The one not try to imply


that the mannequin had more personality and character than some


of the people standing for election. -- you were not. So you were trying


to imply that! I understand they put you in jail for a while. Well,


yes, I was in a police cell for six hours. They would not let me out


until I handed in Helena Torry. It was a bit of a prisoner exchange.


Let me get this right, Helena Torry is the name of the mannequin, and I


think it is to do with Helen of Troy. It came from that


amalgamation, but it is also a place within Aberdeen itself, an


area of deprivation. Where I worked, I have done youth work for 30 years,


they had programmes there for use projects, and they have all


disappeared to some extent. -- use projects. It is about losing


resources from local areas. there was a prisoner exchange, you


were allowed out in return for the incarceration of the mannequin.


That is correct. And is it still in jail? I am going to see if I can


collector after three weeks. assumed the mannequin has not been


maltreated. I do not think so. She is all over the place. She has not


been waterboarded. She needs a change of clothes, I think.


suspect she does. A final question, briefly, what do you think the


political import of these will be? Well, I mean, it is difficult to


tell, actually, what could happen in the future. She might get


involved in the fight against the gardens being dug up. I think it is


quite important to be involved in some local issues as well. She has


a voice, even though she did not speak herself, she has a voice and


charisma, and people enjoy a bit of humour after all. Give our best to


the mannequin. Thank you very much, Andrew. We will organise a Daily


Politics campaign to spring air, if it comes to that. Thank you for


joining us. Now, it is hard to think of


anything newsworthy that we have not covered today, not just the


waterfront here. He is a round-up of the week's political news in 60


Monday saw the eagerly awaited, well, awaited coalition review.


David Cameron called it the Ronseal deal, it does what it says on the


tin, but just before an audit of what the government has actually


delivered and what it has not was published, it was Ed Miliband's


turn to give him a coating. A PR man who cannot even do a relaunch!


Meanwhile, the lesser spotted Miliband attacked the Government


benefit cuts. This rancid Bill is not about affordability. Then Lords


were leaving, not Strathclyde and Lord Marland leaving frontline


politics. Apparently Lord Strathclyde found the Lib Dems too


much to bear. Still, he did resist the temptation to call me, as he


launched a radio phone-in on LBC. Have you ever worn a onesie? I was


given one. So now you know. And as you might say, see you same time,


Right, this business about benefits for pensioners, taking it away from


the better-off pensioners. Nothing is going to happen this side of the


election, but as the election approaches, is it back on the


agenda? You can make an economic case, a social case, a political


case. We are all in it together, surely. I am just saying that I


think it would be very difficult. I can understand the public policy


argument, but it is not the vote. It sounds like could use an


Aberdeen word, you are at the end. He made that promise in the first


place because of the votes. He was bounced into the Labour campaign,


which was very effective. Keep your eye on that subject. Before we go,


the answer to the quiz. Which member of the Government was


allegedly involved in throwing the police minister Damian Green of a


bridge in Oxford during their All of them responsible for up


holding the law! I think it was Dominic Grieve. I know it was.


did he do it? They had some sort of argument over the presidency of the


Union. I have forgotten! Nothing to do with the Bullingdon Club. All


right! So it was Dominic Grieve, the police will be knocking on your


door, Attorney-General! Thank you to all my guests. The news is


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