16/01/2013 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. Spare a thought for


call me Dave, the poor PM is being shouted at for more sides about,


you've guessed it, Europe. This morning the so-called Fresh Start


group of Conservative MPs told Mr Cameron they wanted the complete


repatriation of key powers from the EU and would not settle for


anything else. Fighting talk. Ken Clarke is a bit worried. He is


concerned the PM may accidentally open the door to a British exit.


His medical innovation being stifled by the law? Maurice Saatchi


will explain why he thinks so. Hold your horses for PMQs, when we


will be examining the contents of the 12 o'clock Westminster Stakes -


or should that be Shergar burgers?! If that has -- if that is not


enough to whet your appetite, we have a bookie on hand to spice


things up. For the first time I will be taking


bets on the number of times Speaker Bercow interrupts PMQs.


We are all waiting for Speaker Bercow! We speak of nothing else.


That is coming up in the next 90 minutes. We are joined for the


duration by Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander and


Health Minister Dan Poulter. If you have just joined us on BBC Two this


morning, Scotland Yard have confirmed that two people died


early after a helicopter crashed at rush-hour just across the river


from our studio in Westminster in the Vauxhall area. It is a very


misty morning in Central London. Police say it appeared the


helicopter hit a crane on top of a new block of high-rise flats. It is


not yet complete. That was at about 8am. As well as two fatalities,


nine injured people have been taken to hospital, one is said to be in a


critical condition. If there are any more developments we will keep


you up-to-date. In a speech this evening, Health


Secretary Jeremy Hunt will say he wants the NHS to be paperless by


2018. The first step would be to give people online access to health


records by 20th March 15. By April 2018, any crucial health


information should be able to staff at the touch of a button. It is a


lovely idea, but in terms of IT revolutions, haven't we heard this


before and why would this be more successful? There was a very good


idea to set up, if you like, a national database for NHS IT.


Unfortunately that did not work well for a number of reasons, we


did not involve front line professionals in designing the


service -- it did not involve. Jeremy this morning is making sure


the database will be driven at a local level so that different parts


of local health care can talk together effectively, so someone


being picked up in an ambulance, patient details will be available


to the paramedics, saving the time of a lot of my medical colleagues


and also it will mean that patients are treated in a more timely and


effective manner, particularly in emergencies. Looking at the Labour


record and NHS IT projects, it has not been amazing and does not


inspire confidence. My first reaction would be, I would not take


the risk? Of course we want the NHS to innovate, but we need to make


difficult choices about priorities, especially given how tight budgets


are. The Care Quality Commission said that there were 17 hospitals


with unsafe staffing levels, so I am sure viewers would think that


would be a priority. Isn't that more of an issue for patients,


rather than trying to make it paperless? As a doctor, I know


paperless records will make it better for patient care. I will


have more time to spend with patients rather than chasing around


the hospital corridors where the paper records are in different


apartments or phoning up the GP, I will have them in front of me and


it will save a lot of time and I can affect patients more


effectively and quickly, especially in an emergency. On staffing, it


has always been the case that some hospitals are managed very well,


the vast majority are managed exceptionally well and have very


high quality staff, and the right number. But the CQC flag up that


there are problems and concerns in 17 hospitals. Those hospitals need


to to be flagged up, the directors of those hospitals need to make


sure that patient care is achieved. Surely Labour supports the idea of


saving money in terms of what you might call back of his style


operations? It could save �4.4 billion. -- back office style


operations? This Government is spending billions on an unwanted,


indeed, a reorganisation of the NHS from the top down that was


explicitly denied before the election. If you want real savings,


surely the priority is not spending billions on an unwanted


organisation, it is ensuring safe levels of staffing. There are 7000


less nurses today than in 20th May 10. We should consider how the NHS


can innovate and be strengthened for the future, but the priority


must be safe staffing in the NHS and making sure that patients are


getting the care that they need. it much more widespread than you


said? The CQC have five to problems of local hospitals in the past. The


Labour government made it a requirement that you must use a


Freedom of Information request to get information, we want to see


more transparency in the NHS. At a local level, where we are seeing


Chief Executives not prioritising frontline care, it is right we


should expose those hospitals and pressure should be brought to bear.


This IT project is about to delivering savings to the NHS. It


is �4 billion of savings. A big challenge was set under the


previous government, just to continue to deliver the same high


quality of patient care, we need to make savings and put that into the


front line. It will save �1.5 billion a year, these IT savings


will save �4 billion and allow doctors to spend more time with


patients. Let me ask you about something broadcast in the news


this morning, traces of horsemeat found in value beefburgers. Tesco


was named. What is your reaction? It was very concerning foreign


number of reasons. It is also the fact that there is potentially pork


found in beefburgers, and we know people for religious reasons may


not wish to eat pork. That was another concern. We know as we


understand at the moment there are no soap... No public safety


concerns, but the Food Standards Agency are investigating and we


must make sure that they investigate quickly. It is


important that consumers can make an informed choice, that is what we


all want to do, particularly for groups affected. Why did it take


the Irish to discover this? Why didn't the British Food Standards


Authority identified that this was a problem in the supply chain,


ending up in stores like Tesco and ASDA in the United Kingdom? Serious


questions must be asked of the Food Standards Authority.


If you have been an underground bunkers and Christmas you may not


know that the Prime Minister is about to make a key, key, key


speech about our relationship with our European cousins across la


Manche. Ahead of his speech on Friday you may not be surprised to


learn that the Prime Minister has been lobbied by every Conservative


Tom, Dick and Harry about what to say. The Deputy Prime Minister has


stuck his oar in. Let's go to Captain JoCo, who can preview.


Here is David Cameron's battle plan. Tomorrow evening the Prime Minister


will drop quietly into Holland as Operation Common Market Garden gets


under way. Then Addo 900 hours on Friday morning the action begins. -


- then acts 0900 hours. David Cameron's trips include the Fresh


Start group of MPs, who are in no mood to take prisoners, demanding a


complete repatriation of social and employment law, an opt-out from all


existing policing and criminal justice measures, an emergency


brake on any new regulation of financial services and changes to


the EU agricultural, fishing and regional policies. Ken Clarke has


described David Cameron's raid on the EU as a gamble. Can the Prime


Minister link-up with friendly forces and deliver a tactical


withdrawal from Europe in these areas, or is the plan overly


ambitious? Let's go to the Central lobby in


Parliament, where -- where the chair of the conservative Fresh


Start group Andrea Leadsom joins us. Good morning. Let me ask you this,


you're not calling for Britain to withdraw from the EU? Correct, we


think Britain should be in the EU, but we want a better settlement for


Britain. You have outlined a number of areas where you want power was


repatriated. Have you spoken to any of your political counterparts in


the other 26 member states about how they may react to these


demands? Yes, we've had a number of conversations over many months.


What not many people in this country ever see reported is people


like the Dutch Prime Minister is already talking about doing a


balance of competencies review in the Netherlands to look at areas


where perhaps the EU is doing stuff it should not, and where it should


perhaps be repatriated to member states. I don't think we are alone


by any means. Are you saying the Dutch want the complete


repatriation of all social and employment law, a complete opt out


of existing policing and criminal justice measures? Are you claiming


that is the Dutch position? No. But the Fresh Start manifesto is a


culmination of 18 months of research into 11 EU policy headings.


We are trying to set out what would be a significant renegotiation from


Britain's point of view, but what could also get some support from


other EU member states who also have problems with the particular


areas highlighted. We have limited our calls to five treaty


negotiations, but another raft of reforms that could be achieved


within existing treaties. This is a huge piece of research we are


giving to the Prime Minister and other thinkers in this area which


has a contribution to the debate about what sort of renegotiation we


want. And I am sure he is very grateful! You have admitted it


would require a number of treaty changes, some quite substantial.


That requires the unanimous support of the other 26 countries, so it


would only take one to say no, we are not going down this road, and


you are stymied? Yes, but the status quo is not an option. The


eurozone has to move down the path of ever greater fiscal union


because of the financial crisis. They have set themselves off on


that journey. Britain as a non-Euro member, along with other non-Euro


members, has to articulate what sort of relationship we wanted


going forward with the EU. This is a contribution to that. What are


you prepared to trade at to get you demand? What will you give? Britain


is a major EU contributor, one of the big three contributors to the


Budget. We have lead in a number of areas, particularly in moves


towards... What will you give in negotiations? The eurozone needs to


move be -- moves towards fiscal union. As and when there is another


treaty, which Barroso says is soon and other politicians say they will


avoid, if another treaty negotiation happens, the eurozone


will be looking to Britain to support their need, which we do


support, for greater fiscal union. Bad at the same time Britain should


look for what will work better as a new settlement for British people.


Supposing British Government goes to Europe and tries to meet your


agenda and repatriate most of what you have in this document and comes


back and says, actually, they are not interested, they don't want to


give us anything, it is the status quo or nothing, what would your


attitude be? I I don't accept the premise. Why would they say that?


Indulge me, what would you do? not really inclined to indulge you.


You are suggesting they would say get lost, we are happy for Britain


to leave the EU. They would not discuss anything. Would you be up


for leaving if you can't get this agenda? I don't believe it would


come to that. But if it did? think it is extremely unhelpful to


talk about leaving. Precisely what Nick Clegg said this week, the Big


Chill. We are in a position now where the Conservative Party is


very united behind the need for reform, we don't want to leave the


European Union, it would be a disaster for the British economy so


we don't want to go there. Discussing it when there is no need,


I don't think that is helpful. will leave it there.


Let's come back into the studio. Dan Poulter, David Cameron once


warned Conservative MPs to stop banging on about Europe, these are


his exact words. How is that going? At the moment we have a situation


where we have a party that is broadly of a mind that we believe


that our interests are best served being in Europe. There are lots of


benefits we have. We need to be part of the trading bloc in Europe.


Do you support all these things that she wants to repatriate?


not looked into it in great detail. Social and employment law, existing


police and criminal justice measures, any new legislation


affecting financial services. are legitimate concerns. On


employment law I have seen in the NHS the previous government signed


up to the European Working Time Directive, which has badly affected


the continuity of care. So there are things, and the Prime Minister


has made clear, that we want to renegotiate with Europe. The Prime


Minister will set that out very clearly. He has been telling us for


weeks, six weeks, it feels like six months. Do you support the Fresh


I fully support the fact we need to look at what powers are in Europe


and which powers... That's your Government's policy. I am asking if


you support the powers that Fresh Start have said they want


repatriated? There are some things they have outlined and I have given


you an example of the European work time directive where there are


concerns that we have expressed as a Government - we have expressed. I


haven't seen the full list and in detail but there are clearly issues


that have been raised by that group. It's been in the papers for days,


what have you been doing? I do read the papers, but until it was


outlined properly, I have have to analyse it, as you will later on.


have read it. Look into detail at what they've said and we will take


a judgment. But the point is that there are things within that group


have outlined which the Prime Minister has highlighted, this


Government has highlighted. We fully agree... I understand that.


How often do your constituents raise the common fisheries policy?


I have had letters about the fisheries policy. How often? I am


not a coastal constituency so I haven't had in the past very many


representations about that. Would you tell us one other country of


the remaining 26 members of the European Union that supports the


British approach? We just heard from Andrea that in other countries


in the European Union, the Dutch, for example, agree that there are


powers that need to be repatriated. They don't agree with the full list


of Fresh Start. Mr Rutt, I think his name is, isn't even going, we


understand, to listen to Mr Cameron, even though he will be in the


Netherlands. It's clear there are a number of countries in Europe that


have concerns that too many powers have been centralised, that there's


been too much centralisation of powers too fast and too quickly and


that's not in the interest, not just of Britain but other nation


states. Name me one other than the Dutch? We said Holland. Another?


Other countries that have raised concerns. Almost every country...


Name one! Every country in Europe has politicians who have raised


concerns absolutely about the fact that there are - that Europe has


had too many centralised powers and that we need to - all countries


realise that there is a legitimate debate about having more powers in


the British national centre back... You just can't tell me one. Douglas


Alexander, if you don't want a referendum on Europe, you should


vote Labour? You should vote Labour for a number of reasons. On that


issue? Well, we will set out our manifesto in due course but we are


clear and we stand along with senior business leaders actually on


this point with Michael Heseltine, and Nick Clegg and others in saying


to commit now to an in-out referendum is not just bad for


British investment, creating economic uncertainty but bad for


influence within Europe. Change is coming to Europe, on that there is


common ground between Andrea and myself. Will Labour rule out a


referendum at the next election? Well, we do not believe now is the


time to commit to an in-out referendum. Are you saying there is


any circumstances in the future? He is announcing as we anticipate,


depending on whether the speech is delivered on Friday, that he will


commit to an in-out referendum we expect around 2018. Will you commit


to a referendum at the next election? We are saying what Ed


Miliband said on Sunday, we do not believe now is the time to commit


to an in-out referendum in 2018 or beyond. You rule out a referendum


for the foreseeable future? We are clear that in the present


circumstances we do in the believe that a referendum is justified.


What about another kind of referendum? Is Labour in favour of


repatriating any powers. In terms of other referendums, it's the law


of the the land and reaccept that, if there is any significant


transfer of sovereignty from Britain to Brussels under the


referendum act there will be a referendum. You won't repeal that


legislation. We will see how the legislation operates. We have given


no commitment to repeal that legislation. If there is a new


treaty which involves a substantial movement of power from London to


Brussels, you will have a referendum? Well, the Government of


the day would have a referendum, yes. Not if you repeal the law.


have not given a commitment. That's different from saying you won't


repeal the law. We will look at how that legislation operates in


practice, that's what we said when the legislation passed. If you are


asking me to commit to repeal the legislation... The only way you can


see the legislation in operation is by having a referendum. You can see


how it affects Britain's capacity to answer some of the questions you


were asking Andrea. Are we in a position where we can have a


genuine negotiation with other European partners about how Europe


changes? My real concern is that notwithstanding the reasonableness


of how Andrea presents the case, there is still still an unbridgable


gap between what the Conservative Party will insist upon and what


other European leaders can concede. What powers would Labour


repatriate? In relation to state aids, for example, in relation to


regional policies there are grounds to look at whether those powers


better held within individual states. In the last Government we


made the case in relation to regional policy there was a case


for powers coming back to the United Kingdom and in that sense we


will take a pragmatic view. We are not saying no to any powers coming


back from Brussels. We are saying if you set this up... It's not a


big issue, is it? If you set it up as an agenda for what we can take


back from Brussels you are left with a question that you posed,


which is what if other nations say no? If you have a broad agenda of


reform rather than a narrow agenda of repatriation you are more likely


to get an outcome that works for Britain and is accepted. Is no


repatriation and no referendum. have given you an example, regional


policy and state aids. That would be part of a general agreement.


any reckoning, even David Cameron would accept this there are broader


changes coming to Europe. repatriation initiative and no


referendum. I have given you two examples of where we said that we


would be willing and indeed support powers coming back. It's not true


to say no repatriation. I am still not clear on that, but that's


probably just me. Only a few more days to go until the great speech!


The pain will be over, temporarily. Now, Prime Ministers questions is


often described as a lottery for Mr Cameron and Miliband, each man's


political future balancing on the turn of a question. Apparently


that's not enough of a gamble for some. A well-known book-maker is


placing bets on today's questions questions. Being the BBC, we take


our values seriously, but we are not going to tell you which bookie,


but I can tell you that we have someone called Paddy in the studio.


Other book-makers are available. What are you doing? Taking bets the


number of times The Speaker interruts. -- interpruts. We have -


- interrupts questions. We have come up with the idea that we


reckon it will be between two or three interruptions that will


happen today in PMQs. It might make watching questions more interesting.


Right. A huge talking point most weeks in this studio, John Bercow


interventions. How are you going to define an intervention? Obviously,


it's not easy, he has to stop proceedings to be considered an


intervention. So a significant stop and if he is watching this he might


want to have a bet himself and he can affect the outcome of that.


will be watching closely. Not wanting - - do you think this is


treuflising parliament? It makes it more engaging for people who want


to watch and it's what people are talking about and speculating. Some


people think he likes the sound of his own voice too much. This is a


chance for people to put their money where their mouth is. What do


you think of the idea? I am afraid I can say I have never placed a bet


in my life. Could this be the first time? I wouldn't know thousand fill


in a betting slip if I walked into a bookies. I am sure we could find


someone to help you. What about you, Dan Dan Poulter? I am not a betting


man either. I am a great man of John Bercow but I would be going


for three or more. Exactly how many times do you think? Two sounds


fairly modest. How many times do you go for? Three. That's quite a


lot. He always does one because he likes the sound of his own voice.


Sour sin sale -- you are so cynical, Andrew. What are you going for? I


think he only does one. One, three and more than three. He can't


interrupt more than three times! We will be speaking to you later.


It's hard to know what to trust these days. HMV gift vouchers that


won't buy you a Lembit Opik DVD. Beefburgers that may have more than


a passing acquaintance with the winner of the 2.30 at Doncaster.


It's good to know there's always something you can that rely on. Yes


you have guessed it, the Daily Politics mug, crafted lovingly by


little BBC elves and fired in the kiln of free-flowing political


discourse. It's free from ekwaeupb -- equine DNA, I am told. It can be


euros if you can answer just -- it can be yours if you can answer one


question. You would be a horse's derriere to miss. It. -- to miss it.


Let's see if you can remember when # I don't feel like dancing


# My heart could take a chance #. Storming to victory in Labour's


heartlands, there's hardly any seat in the country that will be safe


and Gordon Brown must be quaking in # Does that make me crazy


To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug you can send


your answer to our special e-mail address. You can see the full terms


and conditions on our website. It's coming up to midday. There's Big


Ben behind me. It's a cold winter's day here but quite bright. Prime


Ministers questions are on the way and Nick Robinson is here. We have


been talking about Europe. Think we are going to hear more about it in


and in a way it's dominated this week and it's worth pausing to


think how cure curious this is. We are debating, and I think they will


debate in a few minutes, a speech that's yet to be delivered about a


decision that will be taken for an election that hasn't yet been


called, about a treaty change that may not happen, because other


European countries may not agree to it, about a negotiation that hasn't


been started that Britain might not succeed in and what might then


happen in that referendum. It is a pretty curious position we have


ourselves into. It seems all parties have a problem on this. The


Tories have the biggest problem, of course, because of the danger of


disappointing one faction or another. That's why David Cameron


for so long said he wouldn't talk about this subject at all. William


Hague refers to the issue of Europe as a ticking timebomb underneath


the Conservative Party. But forgive me, I was watching Douglas


Alexander, too. The Labour Party don't want to tell you whether they


will have a referendum or not, whether they're ruling it out or in.


They want to essentially watch the Government's difficultying and say


-- difficulties, and say, on you go, why don't you make a mess of it and


we will tell you what we will do in a couple of years. Given there is


not a majority in the Commons for a big repatriation strategy because


Lib and the Lib Dems won't vote against it why does Mr Cameron not


just wait until the election manifesto? Why does he have to lay


out a stall now? Why doesn't he say I am with you, chaps and lasses, I


am on your side on the Tory Party in this but we haven't got a


majority. Let's get it right in the manifesto? One word answer - trust.


Three-word, lack of trust. His party doesn't trust him because the


fact he posed as a eurosceptic and - remember that row about who the


Tories sat with in Europe in parliament, because he said let's


have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty and said actually I didn't


mean now have a referendum on the treaty. The truth is his own party


don't trust him on it. So there would be a strategy that any Prime


Minister would want to follow, which is we are not sure how things


are going to change, we are sure they are, we will get back to you


in a while. Is that all right? The reason he can't do that, the reason


he has to give a speech is because at his back are backbenchers saying,


we need to know and if you don't give us something we want, we will


put our own motion down in the House of Commons and will force it.


His His activists are saying, do you know how many of my friends


have joined the UK Independence Party? He has twin pressures and


his attempt will be to say OK, here is a rationale picture of what the


next five years might look like but if he listened to John Major or


Margaret Thatcher he might remind himself that it's quite hard to do


that, to draw a line in the sand on this issue. All my sources tell me


he is not going to give them enough red meat, that he will end up not


satisfying anybody. He won't satisfy the remaining pro-Europeans


in the Tory Party, because he has raised the issue, they don't want


it raised at all and he won't go down the repatriation road that


others... I think that group was effectively set up to put the


Cameron and Hague strategy... think that's the moderate strategy?


They're saying is you create space for us. So the things that I think


David Cameron thinks could be and I emphasise could be achievable, is


for Britain to say, we will not be part of judicial co-operation, we


will get back things like the Working Time Directive, and we will


have some protections which even a a Labour Government would fight for


if they were there for the City of London and the financial services.


Now, issue, question, - would that ever be enough? Answer for some of


course, because there is a great spectrum between people who want


some protections, and those who have had enough of it and want to


get out. The big change since I first started reporting on this, it


was the first story I really did as a young producer at the BBC 25


years ago, is the split in the Tory Party, it's no longer between pro-


Europeans and eurosceptics, it's between eurosceptics and those who


want out and those figures who regard themselves as public pro-


Europeans, the older generation. he undervails -- veils the stall


and it goes quiet for two years. We have had our say. Let's hear what


Can I pay tribute to suburb Richard Walker. But it is clear to see from


the tributes paid that he was an outstanding soldier and hugely


respected, and our deepest sympathies are with his family and


friends at this difficult time. I would also like to mention a


helicopter crash in Central London this morning. The whole house wish


to join me in thanking the emergency services for their rapid


and professional response to this situation. This morning I had


meetings with ministerial colleagues and others, and in


addition to my duties in the House I will have further such meetings


today. For too long many women and


especially hard-working stay-at- home mums have been penalised by


the country's pension system for having interruptions to their


National Insurance contributions. After 13 years when the previous


government did nothing to redress first, does the Prime Minister


think that the announcement this week of a single tear pension will


find a league deal with this grave injustice? -- will finally deal


with? I think the single deer pension is excellent. I think it


will have all-party support, because it holds out the prospects


in 2017 of having a basic state pension of over �140 rather than


�107, taking millions of people out of the means test, giving them


dignity in retirement and particularly, as he said, helping


low-paid people, self employed people and, above all, women who


have not been able to have a full state pension in the past, to have


one. It is an excellent reform. Mr Speaker, can I join the Prime


Minister in paying tribute to Sapper Richard Reginald Walker,


attached to 21 Engineer Regiment. He showed the utmost courage and


bravery. I also joined him in passing on condolences to the


families of those who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in


London, and paying tribute to the emergency services. When the Prime


Minister first became leader of the Conservatives, he said their


biggest problem was spending too much time banging on about Europe.


Busy but those days are over? LAUGHTER. -- is he glad those days


are over? LAUGHTER. I think even the leader of the


Labour Party should accept a massive change taking place in


Europe. A change driven by the changes in the eurozone. Frankly,


this country faces a choice and political parties in this country


face a choice, do we look at these changes and see what we can do to


maximise Britain's national interest, and do we consult the


public about that, or do we sit back, do nothing and tell the


public to go hang? I know where I am this party stand, in the


national interest of this country. I should congratulate him on having


decided on the date of his speech. Well done. Another example of the


Rolls Royce operation of Number Ten Downing Street. Now, Mr Speaker, in


advance of his speech, what is his answer to this question, which


investors need to know? Will Britain be in the European Union in


five years' time? On important decisions, can I firstly


congratulate him on his important decision this week, to keep the


Shadow Chancellor in place until 2015. Rarely do we see so much


cross-party support. My view is that Britain is better off in the


European Union, but I think it is right for us to use... It is right


for us to see the changes taking place in Europe and make sure we


are arguing for the changes Britain needs, so therefore we had a better


relationship between Britain and Europe, a better organised European


Union and the full-hearted consent of the British people. Those are


our choices, what are his? Maybe we are making progress. In October


2011, I am sure you will remember, he and I walked shoulder to


shoulder through the lobby against the 81 members of his party who


voted for and in/out referendum. You might call it two parties


working together in the national interest, Mr Speaker! The Foreign


Secretary said at the time, I think he was on his way to Australia to


get as far away as possible from the Prime Minister's speech, he


said, the reason for our boat was that an in/out referendum would


create additional economic uncertainty at a difficult economic


time. Was he right? He was entirely right. It is interesting that the


leader of the opposition only wants to talk about process, because he


dare not debate the substance. I don't think it would be right for


Britain to have an in/out referendum today, because I think


we would be given the British people a false choice. -- would be


giving the British people. Millions, myself included, want Britain to


stay within the European Union but believe there are chances to


negotiate a better deal. Countries are looking at forthcoming treaty


change and thinking, what can I do to maximise my national interest?


That is what the Germans and the Spanish will do, that is what the


British should do. Let's get to the substance and give up the feeble


First of all, Mr Speaker, I thought the jokes were pretty good. But I


am talking about the substance. His position appears to be this, and


in/out referendum now would be destabilising, but promising one-


in-five years' time is just fine for the country. -- but promising


one in five years' time. That is five years of businesses seeing a


closed for business sign hanging around Britain. What did Lord


Heseltine say? He said, to commit... Dear Lord Heseltine, one mainstream


conservative voice, to commit to a referendum about a negotiation that


has not begun, and a timescale you can't predict, on an outcome that


is unknown, seems to me like an unnecessary gamble. Isn't he right?


It is no secret that there are disagreements between myself and


Michael Heseltine when it comes to Europe. I have a huge amount of


time for Michael, he was one of the leading voices for Britain joining


the single currency, and I am delighted we have been joined, and


we should not, and under my prime ministership we never will. -- I am


delighted we have not joined. What business wants in Europe is what I


want, to be part of Europe but a more flexible and competitive


Europe, a Europe that can take on the challenge of the global race


and the rise of nations in the south and east. I put it to him


again, when there is change taking place in Europe, when the single


currency is driving change, isn't it in the British national interest


to argue for changes that will make the European Union more competitive


and flexible, that will strengthen and sort out the British


relationship between Britain and the European Union, then to ask the


British people for their consent? That is our approach. Apart from


coming out with what he considers very amusing jokes, what is his


approach? The biggest change we need in Europe is to move from


austerity to growth and jobs. And he has absolutely nothing to say


about that. And here is the reality, the reason he is changing his mind


is nothing to do with the national interest, it is because he has lost


control of his party. And the problem is this, he thinks his


problems on Europe will end on Friday. They are just beginning.


They are just beginning. Can he confirm that he has now given the


green light to Conservative cabinet ministers to campaign on different


positions on whether they are for or against being in the European


Union? He tries to make the point that Europe should somehow be


moving off the policy of deficit reduction, he is completely


isolated in Europe. There is not one single government, not even


socialists in Europe, who believe you should be pushing up borrowing


and borrowing more. That is the simple truth. What is in Britain's


interest is to seek a fresh settlement in Europe that is more


flexible and competitive, that is in our interest and that is what we


will seek. I must ask him, doesn't he understands -- understand that


what has happened over the last decade, where a Labour government


signed treaty after treaty, gave away power after power, saw more


centralisation after more centralisation had never consulted


the British people is what has made this problem so big in the first


place? The Prime Minister did not answer the question about whether


he gave the green light to his Conservative colleagues in Cabinet,


for some of them to concern being in the European Union and some of


them getting out of the European Union. -- for some of them to


campaign about being in the European Union. When there are 1


million young people out of work and businesses are going to the


wall, he spends six months creating a speech to create five years of


uncertainty for Britain. When it comes to Europe, it is the same old


Tories, a divided party and a weak Prime Minister.


He has absolutely nothing to say about the important issue of


Britain's relationship with Europe. What is his view? Order, order. The


response from the Prime Minister must be heard, and it will be.


There will be a very simple choice at the next election. If you want


to stay out of the single currency, you vote Conservative, if you want


to join it, you boots Labour. If you want to take power back from


Britain, you vote Conservative, if you want to give power to Brussels,


you vote Labour. That is the truth. He wants absolutely no change in


the relationship between Britain and Europe and he does not believe


the British people should be given a choice. Mark Causey!


The Prime Minister has very rightly focus the Government on growth and


the development of new housing plays a key part in providing that


growth, as well as providing much- needed new homes. In my


constituency we have two developments of the combined size


of 8000 new homes. Will the Prime Minister joined meet in praising


the Council's attitude towards new development? He might come to rugby


to see how we are going about it. would be delighted to visit him in


Rugby. He is right in saying we need to build more houses, because


right now, unless you have help from your parents, the average age


of a first-time buyer is in their 30s. We need to build more homes to


make sure we can allow people to achieve the dream that so many


people have done, getting on the housing ladder. David Lammy.


2010 the Prime Minister and his party said it was, I quote, lying


and scaremongering to suggest that they would reduce family tax


credits for families earning less than 31,000. We found out last week


that the threshold will in fact be �26,000. Will he now apologised to


families that he has failed to protect.


This Government has had to make difficult decisions on public


spending and welfare. But throughout that we have protected


those on the lowest incomes and Major, particularly with the child


tax credit, that we have increased it. That is what we have done with


child tax credits, it is a record we should support.


The residents of Thanet both enjoyed burgers but also love


horses. This morning they will be shocked to hear that they might


have been eating horsemeat. I wonder whether the Prime Minister


can reassure us that he and the Government is doing enough to


reassure the diners of Thanet? honourable lady raises a very


important issue. It is an extremely serious issue. People in our


country would have been very concerned to read this morning that


when they thought they were buying beefburgers they were buying


something that had horsemeat in it, that is extremely disturbing news.


I've asked the Food Standards Agency to conduct an urgent


investigation. They have made clear there is no risk to public safety


because there is no food safety was, but this is a completely


unacceptable state of affairs. They will be meeting retailers and


processes this afternoon, working with them to investigate the supply


chain, but it is worth making the point that ultimately retailers


must be responsible for what they Could I thank the Prime Minister


and the leader of the opposition for their condolences and could I


add my condolences and sympathy to those people who died, the families


of those who have died in my constituency this morning in the


helicopter crash. Would he share with me the absolute amazing work


that was done by particularly the fire services this morning, the


firefighters who came from Clapham station were there in a short time.


Would he also recognise at some stage, not for today, but some


stage we do need to look at whether now with a changing skyline of


London we need to look much more closely at where and how and why


helicopters fly throughout our central city?


I think the honourable lady is absolutely right again to praise


the emergency services. Everyone could see from those terrifying


pictures on our screens this morning just how quickly the


emergency services responded and how brave and professional they


were in the way in which they responded. I think the point she


makes about the rules for helicopter flights and other


flights over our capital city, I am sure they will be looked at as part


of the investigations that will take place. That's not an issue for


today but tpheft plea something -- inevitably it's something to be


looked at. Last week I organised an entrepreneurship seminar for women


wanting to set up their own businesses and one of the questions


they asked was about the cost of child care. Given that this


Government has extended 15 hours of care to two-year-olds for the most


disadvantaged, quarter of a million two-year-olds and extended it to


three and four-year-olds, does it not show this Government is


supporting families and women who want to work? I think my honourable


friend makes an important point. We have seen over the last couple of


years one of the fastest rates of new business creation in our


history. But we do need to encourage particularly female


entrepreneurship, if we had the same rate as other countries we


could help wipe out unemployment altogether. We do help families as


she said, in terms of two, three and four-year-olds with childcare.


We also help through the tax credit system, but as the House will know,


we are looking at how we can help even further for hard-working


people that want to go out to work, that need help for childcare, to


make sure they can do the right thing for their children and


families. Thank you, Mr Speaker. When will the Prime Minister visit


a food bank? He is welcome to come to Rother hpl? -- -- Rotherham.


should welcome the work they do. It was the last Government I think


that quitely actually recognised that through giving food banks an


award. As honourable members have asked this question, and shout out


a lot about food banks, let me remind them of one simple fact -


the use of food banks went up ten- fold under the last Labour


Government. So before they try to use this as some political weapon,


they should recognise this started under their own Government.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. The national star college in my constituency


provides well renowned care for some of our disabled youngsters


with the most profound and complex learning difficulties to enable


them to lead an independent life. Sadly, it and a few similar


colleges' future is being placed in jeopardy by a decision not to


ringfence the funding. As I am sure my right honourable friend will


wish to solve this problem, may I invite him to come to the college


to see this wonderful care for himself.


As my constituency neighbour, I am happy to discuss this issue with


him. He praises the fantastic work carried out by the college. It does


do an excellent job in improving the life chances of young people. I


know the college has concerns over the new funding system. I know that


he has contacted the Minister responsible. We are changing the


way that funding is allocated but this does not necessarily mean that


the funding will be cut. I am happy to discuss this with him but the


new funding system does allow local authorities to have more say in how


the funding is distributed but I am sure they'll want to recognise


excellent work including from this college.


Is the Prime Minister aware of the trauma facing thousands of families,


particularly in London, who live in private represented accommodation


where the housing benefit payments do not meet the rapidly increasing


rents and they are forced out of their homes, out of their boroughs


and the community suffers as a result and children's education


suffers? Does he not think it's time to regulate private sector


rents and bring in a fair rents policy in this country so that


families are not forced out of the communities where they have lived


for a very long time? I would say is he does have to


recognise that we inherited a situation in terms of housing


benefit in London that was completely out of control. Some


families were getting as much as �104,000 for one family for one


year. Even today we are still spending something like �6 billion


on housing benefit in London. I think we have to recognise that


higher levels of housing benefit and higher rents were chasing each


other up in a spiral. I don't support the idea of mass rent


controls because what we would see a massive decline in the private


rented sector which is what happened last time we had such


controls. We need proper regulation of housing benefit and making sure


we have a competitive system for private sector renting and also


making sure we build more flats and houses. The deficit has to be


brought down, but if tax credits and benefits are capped now for the


next three years at 1%, people on low incomes will be vulnerable to


increases in food and energy prices. If prices go up by more than


expected what contingency plans does the Government have for


benefits and tax credits? The most important thing is to make sure


people are getting a good deal in terms of energy prices. That's why


we are going to be ledge lating to make -- legislating to make


companies put people on the lowest available tariffs, that's something


on this side of the House we are doing that will help all families.


As a diabetic, can I welcome the fact that last year the Prime


Minister lit up Number 10 for the first time on World Dine Day. One -


- Diabetes Day. One third of all school leavers, are either obese or


overweight, yet they consume cans of coke and Pepsi that contain up


to eight teaspoons of sugar. What steps is the Prime Minister


proposing to take to engage manufacturers in a war against


sugar? If we don't act now, the next generation will be overwhelmed


by a diabetes epidemic. I think the gentleman is absolutely right to


raise this issue. It's one of the biggest health challenges that we


face in our country, a public health challenge that we face. He


is right to highlight the problem of accessive eating of sugar.


That's why we challenged business through our responsibility deal to


try and reduce levels of sugar and that has had some effect. What we


have in place now is a diabetes action plan which is about how we


improve early diagnosis, how we better spwe care and -- integrate


care and provide better support. It's one of of those challenges not


just for the health service, it's a challenge for local authorities,


schools and for parents, as well. As someone trying to bring up three


children without excessive amounts of coca-cola, I know exactly how


big the challenge is. 20 years ago this week Claire Tiltman, a 16-


year-old girls school pupil was stabbed to death in my constituency.


Nobody has ever been convicted of this crime. Both of her parents


subs subsequently died never knowing who had actually taken


their only child from them. Mr Speaker, could the Prime Minister


assure the House that this government will continue to provide


full assistance to Kent Police to help bring justice for one of


Britain's most brutal and unsolved murders? He is absolutely right to


raise this case. It is a particularly tragic case because as


he says, the parents of this girl have both died. What Wye say is of


course we will do everything we can but above all, it's for other


people, anyone who knows anything about this case to talk to the Kent


Police because in the end it is their responsibility to try and


solve this case. In terms of taking action to deal with appalling knife


crimes like this one, as he knows the Government has taken a set of


important actions. 39 people suspected of serious child sex


offences who fled the country have been brought back quickly to


Britain under the European Arrest Warrant to face justice. Sadly,


many of these backbenchers want to scrap the European Arrest Warrant


making it easier for paedophiles to escape justice. Will he today


categorically rule that out? As the honourable gentleman knows, we have


the opportunity to work out which of the home affairs parts of the


European Union we want to opt out of and which ones we want to opt


back into. That's being rightly discussed in the Government. It's


being discussed in this House. I am sure they'll listen carefully to


his arguments. Great progress is being made in improving the rights


of park oepl owners, many of whom are are vulnerable on low incomes.


Currently they're not eligible for the green deal. Will he ask his


civil servants to investigate this mat tore make sure that assistance


with energy efficiency is available to everybody who really needs it?


I will look carefully at what my honourable friend says. This


Government has taken some steps forward in terms of the rights of


park home owners. I have some of these in my own constituency and I


know how important it is we get the balance of law right. Specifically


her point on the green deal, I will look at that because the green deal


is a very important measure to try and help people with their energy


efficiency and keep their bills down. We want that obviously to be


available to as many people as possible. Yesterday Sir Bruce Keel


the medical director of the NHS, told the Public Accounts Committee


GPs were imposing unjustified restrictions on cataract operations.


It seems the Prime Minister and his reorganisation is taking the NHS


back to the 1980s when it was - when the NHS was the sick man of


Europe. Will he take this opportunity to apologise to elderly


people who are waiting unnecessarily for their cataract


operations? First of all, can I make the point that compared with


2010-11 last year there were 400,000 extra operations in our NHS.


If you look across our NHS, there are 5,000 more doctors and 5,000


fewer administrators. We have the level of mixed sex wards right down.


The level of infections - the point I am making, I know the the party


opposite don't want to hear, the NHS is improving under this


Government because we are putting money in and they take the money


out. Many of us were inspired by the Prime Minister's speech on


political reform delivered in kaoepbs kaoepbs kaoepbs -- Milton


Keynes when we were in opposition. To make that happen, we were


promised a system of open primary selection which has already had


such a refreshing effect in the constituencies of Totnes. When does


the Prime Minister expect open primaries to be in place more


widely as promised in the coalition agreement? I do support using open


primaries. On this side of the House - sorry in this party we had


a number of open primaries. I hope that all parties can look at this


issue and debate and see how we can encourage maximum participation,


including in the selection of candidates. Let's talk about Europe


and the national interest. Millions of British women would be hit by


the post in today's Conservative Fresh Start report to opt out of


the EU law on equal pay. Will the Prime Minister rule out this opt-


out today? What this Government has done is we explained at the


beginning of Prime Ministers questions, is massively helped


women through the single tier pension. I will look carefully at


the proposal he mentioned and I will write to him. I know my right


honourable friend is aware of the extreme flooding suffered in the


West Country in November and December of last year, impacting


many homes and businesses and also sweeping away the rail link between


the West Country and London, leaving us cut off for several days.


Would he please ensure our Government will take every step


necessary to impoef the resilience -- improve the resilience of this


sraoeut afl link to -- vital hreurpbg so we -- link to we never


get cut off again? I went to see myself how badly one town had been


-- flooded. He is going to be visiting the area soon to look at


this. We are working with Network Rail to improve the resilience of


the overall network and we will do everything to make sure these


important services are maintained even when they're challenged by


floods like last year. Does the Prime Minister accept that a


statement on Europe designed to be populist runs the risk of


polarising this House, undermining key UK UK relations with America,


confusing and alienating our friends in Europe and starting a


process that sleep-walks the UK out of Europe? I think the most


dangerous thing for this country would be to bury our head in the


sand and pretend there isn't a debate about Britain's future in


Europe. The most dangerous thing for this country would be to see


the changes that are taking place in Europe because of the single


currency and stand back and say, we are going to do nothing about it.


What Britain should be doing is getting in there, fighting for the


changes that we want, so then we can ask for the consent of the


British people to settle this issue once and for all. Can the Prime


Minister tell the House what the Government is doing to keep


pensioners warm in this cold weather and will he join me in


congratulating the Suffolk Foundation for the great success of


their surviving winter campaign? What this Government has done is


first of all give the biggest increase in the basic state pension


of �5.30 a week last year. We have kept the winter fuel payments, we


kept the cold weather payments at the higher level and we are


replacing the Warm Front Scheme with the energy company obligation


and while the Warm Front Scheme helps something like 80,000 houses


a year, the eco could help up to 230,000 houses a year. So that is


what we are doing. That's how we are helping old people and it's a


record we should be proud of. Prime Minister should know that the


ONS have recently released figures which show there were 24,000 extra


cold weather deaths over the winter of 2011-12. The majority of those


who perished were over the age of 75. Mr Speaker, can I ask the Prime


Minister if he thinks his Government should do more to help


the elderly and vulnerable and less to help millionaires with tax cuts?


As I just said, we are doing more to help the elderly and the


vulnerable. A record increase in the basic state pension. Bigger


than what the party opposite would have done with their rules. Keeping


the cold weather payments at the higher level that the last party


only - last Government introduced before the election. Keeping our


promise on winter fuel payments, taking all of those steps and


making sure again something never done by the party opposite, that


energy companies will have to put people on the lowest tariffs.


That's a record we can be proud of. Mr Speaker, a business in my


constituency is enduring a hideous regulatory farce, thanks to the


Health and Safety Executive and the European Union. Will my right


honourable friend remind the CBI that the British economy is very


reliant and small and medium businesses, businesses far less


able to cope with bad regulation, particularly when it's badly


administered in the UK? He is absolutely right. Businesses large


and small are complaining about the burden of regulation, not just the


pwurtd of regulation -- burden of regulation from Europe but more


generally and that's why we should be fighting in Europe for a more


flexible, more competitive Europe and a Europe where we see


regulations come off, rather than always go on. The sraouf of the


party -- view of the party opposite is sit back and do nothing and


never listen to the British people The big news is that the speaker


interrupted only once. Who said he would interrupt only once? Are a


forgotten! That would be me. How much do I get? Nothing.


In other news, a Europe dominated the frontbench exchanges, just as


they dominated the first part of our programme. PMQs now follows the


so carefully that the leader of the opposition even began with the same


question I began the programme with. He is obviously watching the show


and taking notes as he heads into the chamber. We saw a debate about


Europe that will take place over the next three years. Just get used


to it. An interesting thing that was not mentioned, there was no


question about Mali, a major intervention by one of our European


allies in which the British are providing logistical support. Al-


Qaeda will now use northern Mali as a new base to launch terrorist


attacks on Western Europe and the United States, it is said, and yet


no one in the House of Commons, the mother of parliaments, I asked a


question about it. That may be a sign of increasing parochialism in


British politics. 99% of our viewers commented on


Europe and the debate between the two leaders. John in Leeds said


that history is to date repeating itself, a Conservative PM digging a


hole for himself over Europe. David Cameron even made a non-existent


Labour policy on Europe look viable. Diane in Truro, David Cameron has


dug himself into a massive hole and is committing political suicide as


a result. The issue of Europe will be an irrelevance in a general


election, but party unity and competence is always crucial.


Peter in the Wirral, an incredibly weak performance from Cameron but


Europe is an open goal for Miliband. One viewer says that the electorate


cannot forget the way in which Labour handed over power was to the


European Union, I shed our thinking of Gordon Brown is signing the back


door and going -- going in the back door and signing the Lisbon Treaty.


Chris in Berkshire says Ed Miliband's attempt to embarrass the


Prime Minister by suggesting that Tory cabinet members would be given


the right to campaign in a referendum campaign from -- for a


withdrawal from the EU, does he not recall that is what Harold Wilson


did in 1975? Was he... Yes, he was Prime Minister in 1975, I was just


checking. They call it the hokey-cokey


referendum. In, out, shake it all about!


I know exactly where we are. Let me ask you this, Nick, is it the view


of Mr Cameron and those around 10 that Europe is a vote winner? -- Mr


Cameron and those around him. It is not an issue which resonates every


day, and this country is more Euro- sceptic than it has ever been. So


do they think for him to be, quote, banging on about it in a Euro-


sceptic way, is that a helper in the run-up to the election or not?


What do they think? Coup I think they did this beach not because


they thought it was a bold winner, but because the pressure was coming


from within and outside his party, from UKIP and others. But you could


see the strategy. In his last words, and the Prime Minister always gets


the last word, he said if you want to go into the single currency you


vote Labour. They looked amazed, because Ed Balls was the person who


told Gordon Brown under no circumstances should Britain go...


No, he just told Gordon Brown that Tony Blair was in favour! Tony --


Gordon Brown said, that was not happening! But clearly the tactic


was to say that Labour were in favour of more powers. If in favour


of getting rid of the pound. If you want to keep the pound you have to


vote for the Conservatives. They are trying to turn it around into a


vote-winner. Sometimes it is worth looking at faces in the House of


Commons. Did the Tories look like they were having a good time?


Whereas the Labour backbenchers looked like they were. I think Ed


Miliband can scarcely believe his luck. The reminder that he summed


up of a divided Conservative Party, people just hear a noise in the


Conservatives, an argument about something which does not appear to


be the priority of the day. That is so valuable foreign opposition


party. It does not mean that Labour will not face difficult questions


that they are not answering... did this morning. Perish the


thought! That has never happened before, when Douglas did not answer


the question! I suspect he does not feel any pressure to answer the


question at the moment. He will do one day, before the election, but


not now. It is clear that Mr Maher but -- Mr Miliband knew what he was


doing... Because he asked your question! We will send the invoice.


And his and your backbenchers seemed to like it. There must be


concern that Labour gets its positioning rights in a country


where all the polls show there is very little appetite for Europe.


have to recognise the legitimate concerns expressed by the British


public. Europe needs to change. But the central point, as Mix suggested,


the promise is being driven by this position not by strength but by a


weakness. I expect you'll get some good headlines out of the speech.


The suggestion you up -- will be that he will push around other


European leaders. But he is being pushed around by his own


backbenchers, which might be good for Labour but not for the country.


As Nick outlined earlier, the Prime Minister has always maintained a


pragmatic Euro-scepticism and a pragmatic year-old involvement, we


must be involved as trade in Europe is important to the country, we


must be part of Europe, but there is widespread agreement among so


Conservative Party that where we are now is not in a good position,


it is not in the British national interest. The European Working Time


Directive and the powers highlighted this morning by Andrea.


It is right that we look to bring back powers that are in the British


interest back to Britain. That is the broad consensus of the


Conservatives. I thought the most significant moment for the history


books today was when he said, Ed Miliband, will you give your


Cabinet permission to campaign on either side during the referendum?


Because going back to 1975 when Harold Wilson did that, you have


the extraordinary spectacle of two cabinet members in the Panorama


studio, Roy Jenkins on one side, Tony Benn on the other, at each


other's throats on the issue of Europe. That was 1975. By 1981, Roy


Jenkins was leading the SDP, an alternative political party, and I


think the row about Europe and the Labour Party in the mid-70s


generated the anger that produced the Social Democratic Party, which


generated the split on the centre- left which meant the Tories were in


power for 18 years. It was written last week that this European


Business has the ability to split the Tories like corn rows. Forgive


me if I'm wrong, the referendum happens in this context, as Mr


Cameron would wish it, that he gets a deal from Europe in some form


that you think amounts to a repatriation of certain powers.


Probably not his wish-list or anything like it, but something to


come back. Then the choice he plans to put before us if re-elected is


that we both for this may be a bit more semi-detached relationship


with Europe, and if we both know, we are voting to leave? We won't


know until he delivers the speech. We know he wants to renegotiate and


thinks he can do it. What is the vote on? One possibility is to say


to the British public, do you support to the new negotiated


position of the Government on Europe? If they vote yes, we know


what that means. Voting no could mean a boat to try a bit harder,


have another negotiation in the sense that the Irish referendum did


not mean they got out of Europe, the Dutch referendum, the French


referendum, these were all no votes over different treaties in recent


years. That is the ambiguity which we will see if it is resolved on


Friday. And does it mean, please try again, all, off we go? -- or


off we go? Is it true, as I have read in the papers, that Downing


Street and those around Mr Cameron ARC all his mates from Eton who are


around him? -- are all his mates? don't recognise that at all. All of


their cabinets and Mr Tenham regularly engaged. I mean what we


used to call the kitchen cabinet? It is not something I recognise.


How many did not go to Eton? I am sure you will tell me. But it


depends on who you describe as the inner circle. I always found him


very receptive to me when I was a backbench MP, from all members of


the party he is receptive. He has shown very good engagement with our


backbenchers and with ministers. I think that is the case. You up for


promotion, I can see it! -- you are up for promotion. Tell us about it.


His Chief of Staff, Ed Llewellyn, was at Eton with him. Craig Oliver


used to work at the BBC, he is not an Old Etonian, and Andrew Cooper.


There are lots of exceptions. But what angers a lot of Conservatives,


let alone people outside, is they feel they can't break into a circle


which is as much about what's anything-goes end of the Times


called it not at the Notting Hill set, but the research department


set. A group of people began in the -- began in politics working in the


research department under John Major, George Osborne and David


Cameron included. The reason they became so-called Tory modernisers


and said our generation should lead, they look at what happened to John


Major and said, never again to our party. The reason today is


significant is they will go back to their office and say, does that


feel just a bit familiar? Maastricht rebels, who were seen as


the extreme Euro-sceptics, are now the mainstream of the


Conservatives? And the mainstream of the country, in some respect.


The gamble the Prime Minister is taking is that Europe is bound to


change after the Euro crisis, that it is, therefore, perfectly


possible to negotiate a new deal and that no government - Labour,


Tory or Coalition - could drive that a new deal through Parliament


like the Maastricht treaty was, without consulting the public. The


gamble is let's get brownie points now for stating what he regards, we


know he regards this, as the completely obvious - there will be


a new deal, there will have to be a referendum. Does he get brownie


points or do the parties say, it is not enough, or it is too far, and


drag him around? There is a rather more significant, powerful and some


will say significance arrangement of chums, it is the Paisley


arrangement. We have always seen it as a conspiracy! I was not brought


up in Paisley, just for the No one wants to join! Touche! 15-


all! Writing a letter of complaint as we speak!


I really must not lower my standards!


He is best known as an advertising guru, but now Lord Saatchi says he


knows how to cure cancer and it's all by changing the law. 18 months


ago, Lord Saatchi lost his wife to a rare form of the disease. He has


put what he learnt into his Medical InOvation Bill -- Innovation Bill


which aims to prevent doctors from being held liable for clinical


negligence if they innovate during cancer treatment. Here he explains


Cancer is relentless, remorseless, merciless. Its treatment is


medieval, degrading and ineffective. There is no more distressing thing


in the whole world than a beautiful woman being reduced to a sparrow.


That's why I have introduced the Medical Innovation Bill into the


House of Lords. Will this Bill cure cancer? No, but it will encourage


the man or woman who will. The treatment regime for such cancers


are 40 years old. For the woman, the good news is hair loss. The


less good news is that the drugs mimic the disease. Nausea,


diarrhoea, vomiting, fatigue. That's before we get to the bad


news. That's that the drugs do such damage to the immune system,


allowing fatal infections to enter the body, that the woman is as


likely to die from the infections as from the cancer. Current law is


a barrier to progress in curing cancer. Under present law, any


tkaoef -- divation by a doctor will result in a verdict of guilt of


medical negligence. Fear of litigation is sa barrier to


progress in curing cancer. We don't want human beings being treated


like mice, but on the other hand, we do want bold scientific


discovery. This Bill achieves both. One man or woman with an idea will


cure cancer. That person has to be encouraged, not frightened. Only a


change in the law can solve that problem because the law is the


problem. And Lord Saatchi joins us now.


Welcome to the programme. Before I come to you, Dan Poulter, do you


tkpre with Maurice Saatchi that current law is a barrier to


progress in terms of cancer care? think we are sympathetic to the


points that Lord Saatchi has raised. Do you think it's a barrier, the


law is a barrier to progress can cancer care? One thing that was a


problem in the past was getting quick access to drugs and we


introduced as a Government the cancer drugs fund which has meant


25,000 more people are getting access to drugs but there are


concerns certainly that some medical professionals have that


sometimes when they bring forward or have new ideas about what can


improve care for patients, that sometimes they're not able to bring


that forward as quickly as they would like to do and this is


something we do need to have a look at. We are sympathetic to the ideas


and would like to engage further. I think Jeremy Hunt has already


spoken to Lord Saatchi and I know I will be keen to continue


discussions because we have to do everything we can to improve


patient care. Certainly as far as cancer treatment. Let me ask you


then, do you think it really could lead to a cure in the way that you


outlined, that by releasing doctors or giving them the freedom to be


more innovative, that it could then lead to a proper cure for cancer?


Well, I thank Dan very much for what he has just said. It sounds


surprising, doesn't it, that... sounds quite dramatic. Yes, how can


an skwrablt of parliament -- skwrablt of parliament cure cancer?


The answer is the analysis which has taken place over the course of


the last year with a great deal of consultation with medical


practitioners and academics and lots of people in Dan's department,


if the analysis is correct there is an ever present fear in the mind of


a doctor who is treating a patient, that only the well worn path of the


status quo is safe and that to deviate from the status I do, from


-- status quo, from that path is a risk to the patient, never mind the


patient, a risk to the doctors' lifelyhood and -- livelihood.


you advocating experimentation? You don't want patients to be treated


like mice, isn't that the risk? What this Bill does, and there is a


debate in the House of Lords today on the general subject of medical


innovation and the Bill will take its course and probably there will


be a second reading when the particular clauses can be debated


in detail. But those of us who have been involved in the preparation of


this Bill believe that by defining responsible innovation in law for


the first time that you will do more to discourage quackery and


reckless experimentation which puts patients' lives at risk than the


present law. Let's put that to Dan Poulter, who is a doctor, a


hospital doctor, of course, still practising. I tried to retire you


last time you were on the programme! I am going this


afternoon. Do you agree that you could actually minimise risk by


defining what being innovative is in law? That still sounds like not


a huge guarantee to being being experimented on? It's right that we


have safeguards in place so people can't - you won't have ad hoc


experimentation with medical drugs and with procedures. We do know in


some areas in medicine advances happen very quickly. But at the


same time Lord Saatchi is right, in other areas, for example,


particularly in the field of drugs, things have not been as quick as we


would like. Where we know that a drug potentially has worked and


there are clinical evidence and trials that's worked we need to


bring on stream more quickly and continue to do more quickly


medications that are effective. Douglas Alex and tkrer, do --


Alexander, do you agree? Of course you want to strike the right


balance between established protocols and innovation. Dan is a


doctor, I am a lawyer by training. My instinct is to establish on


statute a legal water-tight definition. It's a tough ask of the


legal draftsman. That being said, my own mother was a leukaemia


specialist for many years in the NHS. There recall clearly


established protocols for cancer treatment. But if we encounter


situations where there are patients who if they follow established


protocols, inevitably are not going to respond to that treatment, we


need to look, for example, at the named patient procedure in place at


the moment and see if there is further scope for innovation


because we have an interest in finding right balance between


innovation and safety. Because some patients would like to try, if


they're coming towards the end of their life, you may think I will


try anything, why not, I have not very much to lose? To take


Douglas's point, he is a lawyer and he understands that in the court of


-- course of the drafting of this Bill by senior draftsmen with


support and advice from the judiciary, that the point that the


Bill takes in law is to follow, for example, the law in relation to


abortion or law in relation to sectioning under the Mental Health


Act both of which involve activities not permitted by the


signature of one doctor alone. Two doctors are required in both those


cases, for very good reasons. In this Bill what the safeguards that


appears is a definition of a process which has to be followed in


order for the innovation to be legal. That process is very


restrictive in that the multidisciplinary teams that Dan


has put in place who deal with all cancer patients will have to


approve the innovation. I have to stop you there, thank you very much.


Because we need to move, we are getting the word from the betting.


Let's get back to our friend, Paddy. As you said yourself, before and


after, one interruption from the Speaker today. A little bit


disappointing. Probably should have been offering odds on how many


times the Prime Minister said "you are absolutely right ask that


question". To be fair, you were correct. Exactly. What are the odds


on the next election? Labour majority is favourite at 5-4. A


Conservative majority 11-4. Between the two of them is probably the


outcome. What odds on a hung parliament? Would be, I suppose,


probably around 8 or 10-1 shot. What odds by still being in Europe


by 20? There is talk about a referendum. It's 5-1 that he


actually - the Prime Minister says he has an intention of having an


in-out referendum on Friday. What odds of Dan Poulter being the next


leader of the Conservative Party? This is a difficult one because he


is here. You want to pitch this in such a way... 100-1?! We want to


offer good value but not be insulting. 80-1. What about Douglas


Alexander the next leader of the Labour Party? Well, Douglas, 12-1


shot. Better news. Who is ahead of him? Ed Miliband! How very helpful


there. I like this one, odds on the first MP to go topless in a


photoshoot? I think I - most appropriate thing to do is probably


offer 20-1 for either of your guests to do it right now. Because


we have a fine example of this, you will be pleased to know. Let's have


a look. Dan. Is that you having a flu jab? I am disturbed about the


Mail on Sunday reporter's interest in spending time in researching


this. But I am pleased it's raised awareness for the campaign. We need


to do The Guess The Year. The answer was David Cameron was - the


husky photoshoot, remember? It was 2006. Dan, press that red button.


Paul Rees in Hampshire. You won, you got 2006. That's it for today.


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