24/01/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon. Welcome to The Daily Politics. Following his


speech on Europe yesterday and the prom of a referendum, the PM woke


up so of of the best headlines he's ever enjoyed.


What happens next? The IMF tells Boy George he should consider


scaling back his austerity measures to promote growth. Is it just a


dog's life being an MP? Are they paid too little or too much? Don't


shout all at once, we will discuss it later. We will ask if an army of


snowmen could be the answer to Britain's flood defences. All that


in the next hour. With us for the duration former police minister,


Nick Herbert. Welcome. According to reports I have read, he left


Government not so long ago to spend more time on politics. Is that


true? No. What are you doing here? I don't know. You asked me! Is that


it!? First today, let's talk about gay marriage because the Government


is introducing a Bill on the subject later today. We won't know


what is in it until tomorrow when it will be published. It will be


called Extension of Marriage to Same-Sex Couples Bill. It is


expected to get a bit of a stormy ride through politics. Nick Herbert,


why is it so important to legislate for same-sex marriage? I think


attitudes have changed in society towards gay people. I think the


introduction of civil partnerships with an incredibly important step


forward which gave equality to a limited extent. It gave gay couples


the same rights, but not a marriage. Civil partnership is different.


Those who are saying they don't want to move to gay marriage


understand that too. They are saying it is different. A majority


of the public now are in favour of same-sex marriage. If we are to


fully complete that journey of equality, so that gay people really


are treated in the same way as others, that this is a very


important, final step. Let's talk about unity within the yeerp. The


bill is published tomorrow -- -- the bill is published tomorrow.


These are issues of conscience. There'll be a free vote. I think it


is clear that most Members of Parliament will vote for it.


Conservative MPs will probably be divided roughly down the middle. We


will see. I hope that a majority of Conservative MPs will vote for this


legislation. I hope they will be reassured by the protections given


to churches. That's very important. I set up an organisation called


Freedom to Marry. People should be allowed to get married, if churches


want to do that and organisations like the Quakers agree. Those


churches who don't want to do it should have the freedom to say it


is something they don't agree with and should not be forced to perform


same-sex marriages. It will be save in terms of challenges from the


European Court of Human Rights. I think that will reassure a lot of


my colleagues, who are concerned to ensure that religious rights are


protected too. Phillip Hammond has expressed concern to a constituent


that actually the safeguards you describe will not be robust enough


to protect the Church. I don't know when he wrote that letter. The


Attorney General has been clear to say he considers there'll not be a


challenge. Lord PanicQC said it was beyond argument, the protections


are rock-solid. The European Convention of Human Rights protects


religious liberty, specifically. Therefore, we are sure that there


won't be a challenge. Look at Spain. It's had same-sex marriage in Spain,


a Catholic country, for seven years. There's not been a challenge there.


Why wouldn't you support the idea of same-sex marriage in the Church


of England? There were many people who thought that was going to be


enshrined in this principal, that you would be able to get married in


the Church of England. If they collectively decided that's what


they wanted to do. If individual churches want to do it, they can't.


They are part of an organisation which takes a collective view. The


Church is entitled to have its own view on these matters. I hope that


one day hay will change their mind, but that should be a decision for


them and, in my view, not for legislators to make. That is


fundamental to the principal of religious freedom. I think the


Church is entitled to exercise its conscience. It is dividing the


Cabinet. It is a free vote, you are right. Other Conservative MPs have


claimed their postbags are full of letters from angry constituencies -


- constituents. Is it a priority? myself believe it should be a


priority if you say something is not a priority because of situation


with the economy and so on, the danger is you will never take a


step like this, there'll always be a reason not to do this. It is not


something which need to take up an enormous amount of time. I go back


to the point I made before - public opinion is in favour of this by a


substantial majority and it is strengthening. The Guardian poll


shows three-fifths of the public are in favour. That is a


considerable increase. It is moving across all western countries as


well. This is something that I think a majority of the public now


believe that we should do. It's also something we can reassure


those who want to exercise their conscience that their own church


can be protected. Thank you. Now, it seems David Cameron just can't


make enough speeches. Fresh from his Europe speech in the City of


London yesterday, the Prime Minister's hot footed it to the


World Economic Forum in dave vas, Switzerland, to share his thoughts


on the world economy. Some of the international people present may


not have liked this part of his message. I believe in low taxes.


That is why my Government is cutting the top rate of income tax.


We've cut corporation tax. I am a low-tax Conservative. I am not a


companies should pay no tax Conservative. Individuals and


businesses must pay their fair share. Businesses who think they


can dodge that fair share or keep on selling to the UK and setting up


ever more complex tax arrangements to squeeze their tax bills down,


they need to wake up and smell the coffee, because the public who buy


from them have had enough. Wake up and smell the coffee! Get it,


Starbucks! Four people on this stage didn't like it, they loved it.


There's been a walkout. There was no mention of reigning in austerity


measures. Something the IMF told the Chancellor to consider. In his


March bupblt, he said that today. With us is Nick Herbert and Rachel


Reeve. The pound is sliding. It is the weakest kurstsy currency on the


exchanges. We are looking to neg sieve growth in the fourth quarter


of this year and the squeeze on living standards continues at its


most severe since the 1920s. If that is success, what would a


failed one look like? A couple of things you missed out. What was


wrong? I am not challenging the things you were saying, but overall,


let's look at the fact that the deficit has been reduced by a


quarter. But is rising again. year, the deficit is being reduced


by a quarter. There is a plan, which the Government is sticking to,


to reduce the deficit over a period of years. That's the first thing.


Let me interrupt you on that. First of all, it is true that in the last


financial year you managed to cut the deficit by a quarter since you


came into power, but the deficit is now rising again. It is now �7


billion higher in this financial year, than it was in the same


period the last financial year. The original plan by Mr Osborne was to


cut the deficit by 75%, by 2015. The latest target is 40%. So,


frankly, the plan is a mess! are right that the timetable for


the reduction in the deficit has lengthened. That of course is


related to the fact that growth and the recovery of growth has been


slower for the reasons we know about, including sluggish growth in


the eurozone. The revenues don't come in as fast. So plan A is in


shreds. It's not in shreds. The timetable is longer. But the plan A


involved a timetable. There was a timetable to reassure the markets


and you've not done that. Since the timetable was a key part of plan A,


plan A is in shreds. The timetable is longer. To say it is in shreds


is-egging it. The second bit of economic news you missed out - you


only read out neg sieve news - was significant reductions in


ememployment, which I think are important. Important because job


creation in this economy has actually been very strong, despite


that downturn. So it is one million new jobs T job-creation figures we


saw this week showed that actually a majority of those were not part-


time jobs as is sometimes levelled, the abgsaig to us,. They were full-


time jobs. We have more people in work than ever before. It's not


sensible just to isolate the bits of economic news. I think the


important thing for confidence in the economy, is that we have a


credible plan to reduce the deficit, to get on top of public spending,


to maintain low interest rates and we'll see what happens in relation


to the next growth figures. In essence, the Government, not


through its own will, is in a sense doing what you want it to. Gepbss


its own will it is taking -- against its own will it is taking


longer to cut the deficit. Government are borrowing because


taxes are not coming in as they were supposed to and because the


welfare bill is going up because we have more out of work than the


Government an miss taited and more people in part-time -- anticipated


and more people in part-time work. They are not borrowing more to


invest. They are not borrowing more to protect police or nurses. The


reason -- Nick says the reason is because of what is happening in the


eurozone. Of course it is having an impact on the UK, but the German


economy has grown by 2.5%. The US economy has grown by 4%. Our... If


you look at the IMF... It came to a halt. In the last two years, these


economies are growing. Our economy has flat-lined because of the


decisions that George Osborne has made. First of all he blamed the


snow, then the Royal Wedding, then the eurozone. At some point he has


to take responsibility for his own actions. I don't think it is true


that the deficit reduction has been the cause of slower growth. I think


that most commentators would agree with that. Look at the IMF. They


are saying the... The chief economist at the IMF, he's an


important commentator. It would point to the collapse of confidence


in the eurozone, which is our principal export market. Actually,


the growth.... Please let me finish. It is not as high as we would like


are not far off those of the United States. They are higher than most


of the eurozone economies. Actually, I don't think it is right to say


this is a plan that has failed. We know what your position is - your


position has always been that actually we should spend more and


borrow more. You are not therefore on strong grounds to attack this


Government. You are the ones borrowing more - the cost of a


failed plan. We employ more people at this time than in the country's


history. That must cheer you up. Part of the reason is there are


more people in the country. If you look at the numbers....


Unemployment in Spain - lower in Britain. The only major economy


where unemployment is lower than ours is Germany. The headline


figures are good news, but there is a mixed bag there. Long-term


unemployment is at the highest level since 1997. 500,000 people


have been out of work for more than a year.


It is a mixed bag. That is what I am saying. They are always a mixed


bag. Every Year of the Blair-Brown Governments I could show you the


unemployment figures. We have a challenge of people out of work


more r -- for more one or two years. We know from the recessions of the


1980s and 1990s that short-term unemployment turns into long-term


unemployment. If someone has been out of work for two years, they are


offered a job, that they have to take that opportunity. They have to


take the job. What happens if they don't? They forfeit their benefits.


Six months at the minimum wage - that is fair to taxpayers and to


What would happen to them? They would not get their benefits of


stock with baby out on the street? They have got a choice. -- would


they be out on the street? I know constituents of mine who are


filling in job application after job application and not getting


anywhere. They are desperate for jobs. This is a tough but fair plan


that we have funded but the government on not doing it anything


about it. When the IMF says you need to look again at your


austerity plan, the IMF for most of my lifetime has been a shrine to


austerity, has forced it on every country, including this one in 1976.


When the IMF is telling you that, you are in trouble. That was


looking ahead to the Budget and the Chancellor will announce what he is


going to do and we will also by then have had the next round of


growth forecasts, but what we must have regard to his confidence.


Confidence in the economy that has resulted in very low interest rates,


which have been incredibly important... �300 billion of


quantitative easing has had quite an impact on low-interest rates!


That lost... Confident is undermined by an economy that went


into a double-dip recession and has flat lined for two years. We have


to move on! We will leave it. Ritual, we have to let you go but


we are sad about that. Nice to see you. -- Rachel. David Cameron set


out his European policy yesterday in his long-awaited and much-


delayed speech. He promised a straightforward in-out referendum


after the next general election once he has had a chance to


negotiate a new settlement with the EU. That of course is assuming he


wins the next election. He said that the European Union is failing


its citizens. It needs to reform to become more flexible and more


democratically accountable. He also wants to see Britain's relationship


with Europe change. David Cameron says he'll set up a


band to take back powers from Europe. For years the EU has been


working towards ever closer union, but everything changes and now


Conservatives want to repatriate powers back to the UK. We'll have


to wait for the 2015 manifesto to get the full details of exactly


what powers they want back. But the Prime Minister mentioned the


working time directive in his speech yesterday. Conservative MPs


also pray to restore powers over crime, the environment, agriculture


and fishing. If they win the next election they'll ask the British


people how deep is your love for Europe in a referendum on the new


settlement. If there's a yes vote, and David Cameron says this is what


he wants, Britain will stay in the EU but with powers back for good.


But if voters decide that love ain't here anymore, we'll be out of


the EU once and for all. Well, as we saw earlier, David Cameron has


been speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos. And of course he


was asked about the issue of Europe. What I am proposing is not just


change for Britain. I am proposing change for Europe. We have to be


frank about our performance. We are falling behind in the world. We are


earth over regulating businesses and leaving citizens behind. And


that is why I said Europe too often has been a cause of cost to


business and complaint to citizens. We need to deal with that for


everybody's sake in the European Union. RM clear it is obvious that


change is coming in Europe. -- I am very clear. There will be further


changes as the single currency inevitably means changes in Europe.


As that happens, Britain has got a choice. We can stand back and hope


it will go away and the argument will settle down, or, my approach,


say yes, the European Union needs to change to suit the euro but it


also needs to change in order to suit all of us as well. Make the


arguments about a flexible and open and competitive Europe, take it to


the British people and seek their concern at in a referendum. -- seek


their opinion in a referendum. With us now is Jack Straw, a former


Foreign Secretary with experience of negotiating in Europe. And in


Bielefeld in Germany is Elmar Brock, an MEP and Chair of the European


Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee. Up I think we should


look at a number of areas. A remind us. Common Agricultural Policy,


Fisheries, employment and social legislation and then I think there


are issues relating to the EU budget and putting in place


measures to ensure there cannot be these constant increases in the


cost of the administration. negotiation, you do not usually get


everything you want. Do you have read lines, or what they call in


Europe? An irreducible minimum that you would have to get before you


could say, we should stay in Europe? The Prime Minister did not


approach a bag way. He set up the principles. -- the Prime Minister


did not approach it that way. know it. I am asking what do you


think. We are looking at the areas of policy which could be more


sensibly organised in our country. One of the more fundamental things


the Prime Minister spoke about is really important, including


challenging the idea that Britain has to subscribe to the idea of


ever closer union... I understand that but as you know, it is not


answering the question. I am not in a position to say, here is my


shopping list. As far as I'm concerned, if we don't get that the


negotiation is not a success. I think we should look at the areas I


have set out and also look very closely at this driving principle


of the EU, which is problematic for people in this country, that there


has to be the constant ratchet of further integration... What is


wrong with Britain wanting to repatriate some powers are back to


Westminster? It looks like Britain wants to have special rights. The


Prime Minister wants to use the internal market, someone who wants


to use it has to fulfil all parts of the internal market and cannot


make cherry-picking and if you talk of agricultural policy, a wish you


good luck to them negotiate that with the French, and if you took a


bad European budget, it is so low, it is less than 1% of GDP and for


the next seven years they will not be an increase in that so that will


be another problem. We need common roots in the internal market. It is


unequal playing field. What we can discuss is whether the rules should


be high or low well. It is a question of normal legislation in


the council and European parliament. You do not want to sit on the side


bags without ever -- that banks without any influence. Ever-closer


union it was the idea of John Major. It is from the treaty of Rome in


1986. No. That is not true. Britain is now your biggest trading partner.


No, with the ever-closer union, you are not right, it was not the


treaty of Rome. I was there when it was signed! The last time I looked.


Angela Merkel seems in a much more generous mood then you to help


David Cameron? Angela Merkel has said there is no cherry-picking


possible. What we can do is be to negotiate in the parliament and


European Council better legislation. But it is not a question of


repatriating powers but dealing with powers better. Germany has the


highest social benefits and rights and it is very competitive and you


talk about the working-time directive to 48 hours, this was


introduced to Britain in 1908 in a from Christian Church also what is


wrong with that? -- by Winston Churchill. Winston Churchill he is


not right about everything. He was not right about India. I wish the


Prime Minister luck. This is the wrong way to go about improvements


in our position in Europe. One of the things that man just said that


was passed by it was that David Cameron should get back his


Conservative Party into the European People's Party, which is a


centre right coalition in which the Conservative Party have for years


and he's been part, and they would then have influence. The oddity


about the leadership of the election for the Conservative Party


five years ago was that David Cameron was actually in the centre


of the Tory party to do trade with the Euro-sceptics and said if


people like Bill Cash gave him their votes, he would withdraw the


Conservative Party from the EPP and joined fringe groups with some real


oddballs, whereas David Davies, the natural right-wing candidate, said


I will not do something that daft. So you think changing that makes it


more difficult for him? Certainly. But what I also suspect is David


Cameron is in the same position as Harold Wilson 40 years ago, where


Wilson decided he would go for a referendum about whether we stayed


within Europe. He then dressed up a series of demands which were


extremely easy to obtain because they were frankly cosmetic. He got


them, declared victory and secured endorsement from our position in


Europe. What has come up from the discussion you had with Nick


Herbert a moment ago is once the euphoria of David Cameron's speech


dies down, they will be a battle royal inside the Conservative Party


about what exactly the demands are in that you cannot be inside the


European Union if you do not accept some principle of the Common


Agricultural Policy. Most of our farmers now accept that. There are


some things over the working time directive, particularly as it


affects junior doctors, are daft and we have been trying to get


changes would Spain and Germany, but the idea that you can turn the


whole thing upside down and say working 60 hours a week is OK is


unattainable so detail will be critical. If your allies with the


mainstream Conservative Party, if you allies, you would have a better


chance of getting your way then? That is a side argument. Jack, I


think you miss the two big points. First of all, the British people


have not been given a say about our relationship with the EU since 1975.


People want their say. They were promised it before over Lisbon and


it was taken away from them. There is a strong feeling about that in


the country and that has to be addressed. The important thing


about now is that the British people will be involved in this


situation and they will have the final say. Let me go back to


Germany. The members of the eurozone, led by France and Germany,


are going to come up with a number of proposals for a much more


economic and monetary integration and with that, or possibly further


political integration. Britain will not be part of that by choice. As


you go to an ever-closer union in the eurozone, isn't it legitimate


for Britain to say, we need to negotiate our opposition to a more


semi-detached place while that eurozone is renegotiating its


position to a much closer union? Look, the question to be negotiated


is to have more competitiveness by structural changes, more


possibilities to stop a bad Budget procedure, and site fiscal deficit.


That is also the British position. This is not a question when it is


debated between the 17th. The fiscal compact, which Britain


refused to join us, was signed by 25 countries. 25 countries and


Denmark is included, despite its opt in, and we have to see that


this is a question for more or less all the European Union who wants to


do with that and go forward with that and it is the question that


Britain cannot then come and say, we want an internal market...


would be grateful if you are dressed my question. It is a


project we did five countries. the proposals that Francois


Hollande and Angela Merkel will make in May this year for the June


council in 2013 are fundamentally to do with that eurozone and the


eurozone will get closer and closer together, and Britain will not be


part of that. We will not be at the heart of Europe so what is wrong


with renegotiating a more semi- detached relationship, given we


will not be in the core? Co you have silenced him altogether!


I think UKIP got a hold of the This is a distraction. We're not


saying, never have a referendum. Certainly not. I read what Nick


Clegg wrote this morning, thinking, I agree with Nick. Also I agree


with Michael Heseltine. This is a distraction. It reminds me of


budgets. If it is well received on the day, they are hanging out


afterwards. Let's be clear, Ed Miliband at Prime Minister's


Questions was explicit in ruling out a referendum, an in-out


referendum. Douglas Alexander had to explain that is not what he


really meant. It is a mess. It is not. It is clear he was talking


about them. He mis-spoke. You could put it that way. What should


Labour's position be in the referendum? My position is, if


there were a referendum tomorrow, I would strongly say and advice my


constituents to vote yes. I would do that, either without a


renegotiation. Having started off sceptically about Europe, my own


belief is that after four year -- after years in the European Union,


it depends on our membership of the referendum. Should there be one or


not? It is academic at the moment. Five years, you are talking about,


who knows what will happen in five years. I will not say we'll never


have one. There's a prom there! As clear as mud! We couldn't hear you


- I apologise. We'll come back to you one day soon and hear what you


have to say. Our apology from London. He looks as if he's sitting


outside Glasgow University union. It is interesting to listen to


British arguments. We got him in the end. Don't all shout at your


television sets at once. How much is your MP worth? I can't hear the


shouting yet! A survey revealed the majority of people questioned felt


Members of Parliament deserved a 32% pay increase. Perhaps


unsurprisingly though it was a survey of MPs. Do they have a


point? An MP earns just over �65,000 a year. In a survey


conducted by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority,


our politicians said this ought to be increased to more than �86,000.


That compares to the average UK salary of �26,500. The chief


executive of a medium-sized company earns �99,046. MEPs recently


We are joined by John Mann. Before we go - Scotland viewers are with


us as well. They have been watching First Minister's first question.


Why should you be worth three times the average salary? I am being paid


twice as much as an MP for the past 15 years. As an MP? MPs are worth a


reasonable salary. This is about relativetys. We have a situation,


where British MPs are not particularly well paid compared to


other MPs. They are paid a lot less than BBC political journlithss, who


may or may not -- journalists who may or may not want to say how much


you are paid, paid for by the taxpayer. One interesting thing is


journalists making comments about MPs' pay are on the whole much


better paid than MPs. Tell me what a reasonable salary is? I will not


give you that, because we have now decided, as a Parliament, to


happened this decision over to the Independent Parliamentary Standards


Authority. What I think is sensible is rather than us going for an


auction about all this, to say we had years and years of struggling


to set a proper pay level for MPs ourselves. It was unseemly. It led


to the development of the expenses system, increases by the backdoor,


which was unacceptable. Better to hand it over and for them to decide.


Meanwhile, I hope we will not get people coming out with these


approaches. As I say, to repeat my point, I am not making a plea for


myself. I enjoy a very high standard of living. My concern is


younger MPs. Let's see what their salary is comparable to. Is the


work you do less important of than than a CEO of a medium-sized


business. It does not compare to anything else. There must be in


terms of responsibility and status. We are representatives. We are


representatives of the community of society. That is what we're meant


to be. Therefore you cannot do those comparisons. Are we paid


enough at the moment? �65,000, with the current recession, I say that


we are. Do you agree with that? There is


not a comparison to be made with other responsible jobs like a head


teacher of a secondary school who could get paid between �79,000-


�112,000 a year. There are comparisons to be made. You do set


salaries which are comparable. By the way, Jo mentioned trade union


General Secretaries. They would be paid six-figure salaries. These


things are out there. My concern is this; the intake in 2010 of new MPs


I thought was a higher level of intellectualal lapbt on both sides


than anything I -- intellectual talent on both sides. My concern is


it does not put off people in the future. You should be concerned


about that, John Mann, the types you would like to see, they will


not necessarily be bankers and barristers. If you want to


encourage somebody who wants to own a mebg oak ker Sally they will not


come into the -- salary, they will not come into the House of Commons.


It is a nonsense to suggest that MPs come in for the pay and that


what we need to do is attract greater people. It's for the


electorate to decide. There's no shortage of competition. In fact,


the problem in Parliament is we don't have enough people from


enough walks of live. We don't have enough people in ordinary


professions. What has happened is parliamentary intake - 90%


graduates. A lot of people on both sides being subsidised either by


their spouses or by family income. I don't think that is sensible.


That's why I say, let's try and take the emotion out of this and


leave it to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority,


which is for the first time ever, we have said we will not set our


own pay. It is a really tricky issue. There's never a good time


for it to be discussed. I think for the health of our democracy, just


as - and I say again, this is an important issue - journalists who


monitor us are paid considerably more than MPs. That's a decision


which has been made by the.... all journalists. Certainly the ones


who monitor us. And so what? It is about the attractiveness of


people's careers. What is your view on this? Should MPs be paid more?


No. I just think at the moment... What about attracting people from


all walks of life. If you don't pay a reasonable salary all the smart


people will go into other industries. That might be a wider


issue about politics and the nature of the job. I think it is a bigger


question about the sort of things that an MP now does. I think just


at the moment when we have a downturn, where we have had pay


freezes in the public sector, pay freezes in large parts of the


public sector for a time.... This is historical, isn't it? Yes. To be


talking about a substantial pay increase now could not be a worse


time to be doing so. It is still in... Would you like to see it?


Maybe this is something which could be looked at at a different moment.


We're not properly recovered from the expenses scandal there a is a


matter of confidence. To raise this issue now is extremely damaging. We


have to look at the wider economy. They are not just having pay


freezes, they are having falls in their incomes. It is not saying


let's take a decision tomorrow. They are looking to not before the


next Parliament. At some stage, this issue does need to be termed.


You, as much as anybody else in the House of Commons, and John, as well


other MPs agreed that the decision should be taken out of the hands of


MPs and passed over to the authorities. You are out of step


with most of your parliamentary colleagues? I probably am. It never


stopped him before! Find me the care assistant... What about the


General Secretary of the union? There are millions of industrial


workers. Loads of care assistants, people like that. None of them are


saying to me, oh, we have become an MP if you paid us more than �65,000.


That is not the problem. They are paid a fair whack. Should members


of a union be paid a six-figure salary. If it was my union I would


get it reduced. Thank you. The union General Secretary is a


worried man! Thanks. Come back and see us again. To


immigration, because the chief inspector has condemned as


unacceptable the discovery of backlogs of more than 16,000 cases


at the UK Border Agency. Some of the unprocessed


applications from people wanting to set until Britain, because their


husbands and wives, that is a natural thing to do. They date back


to more than a decade. Here is what the chief inspector said earlier


and the minister for immigration, Mark Harper. In the cases that have


been put into archive, for reasons either because people can't be


traced, for example. We've looked at the checks that have been made


and found that assurances that they have given to Parliament about


regular checks being made have not actually been made. Clearly we


inherited an agency with a lot of problems. We've a new chief


executive, new management team. He is getting a grip of the agency. We


are also very clear we would not be able to turn it around overnight.


We are going through, working through these issues. I am


confident that by the time we get through this Parliament, the agency


will be in good shape. It is not an overnight fix. We are going in the


right direction. We are getting a grip of these things and sorting


them out. The Shadow Minister joins us now.


Let me come to you first. You wrote in your local paper two years ago


that the UK BA was close to clearing the backlog of almost


500,000 cases and that things were getting better. What do you say


now? It is a shambles, isn't it? is infuriating. It has been to


successive Governments. Last week, I took part in a debate with Johm


Reid about Civil Service reform and the machine -- Mr Read reetd about


the Civil Service reform and the machinery and to bring people in to


sort out the way it is run. John Reid said, not at all if you have a


minister like me I can sort departments out and implied


everything has been sorted out in the Home Office. That is not what


we found. There have been systemic problems with UK BA, which Theresa


May has been dealing with. She has made a big structural change by


splitting that off with Border Force. We have new management in.


There have been continuing problems. You heard Mark Harper. He is


determined to tackle it. The UK BA, it is clearly in something of a


mess. It is a dealing an historic backlog.


It is growing... Cases date from 2003. The majority comes from since


2010 and indeed the report makes clear that the backlog is growing


by 700 a month and that it's the one category of the backlog stood


at 14,000 last zep. If it is still grow -- last September. If it is


still growing it is higher than that now. By the time you left


office you sorted out Border Force? It didn't exist but UK BA was not a


perfect organisation, to put it mildly! It is what we call "a


British understatement." I am being very British here. You need


intervenalist ministers. What the British public will get fed up with


is endless speeches about immigration and remarkably very


little dealing the nitty-gritty. There are other worrying things in


the paper that was produced today, for instance saying there is


inconsistentsy between the way that staff based in the UK from UKBA


deal with a case, from the way they are dealt with overseas. That must


be wrong. Would this not be an issue, in which you should put


aside party differences, because neither of you have a great reortd


in this and you share -- record in this and you share your experiences


and have an agreed programme to put it right? Yes, but in the end you


still need intervenalist ministers. That is the case I am making, thank


you. My worry is that I don't think Theresa May has been sufficiently...


You don't know Theresa! The British people want to see


their borders properly controlled and they have a view that both your


parties in government have failed to do so so should you not put your


differences aside and tried to sort it out on a consensual basis?


Sharing the experience is important because these are management issues.


They are not Dudu political decisions. There have been big


management and systemic problems in his agency -- they are not down to


political decisions. Accountability also needs to be addressed. Their


numbers have come down very substantially actually. We could


throw rocks but one particular one that I will throw, which is a


bolder, is the fact they have cut the number of staff by 6,000! It is


a fact! That is about allocation of resources, no. Allocation of


resources by your lot, yes. I had dinner with codes CNN last week. I


hope some of his diplomatic skills had rubbed off on May but clearly


not -- Kofi Annan. A work you manage to avoid how much you were


paid. Nobody asked. How much are you paid? Not enough! Not nearly


enough! Thank you, Chris Bryant, it is time


you left. It is an allocation of resources issue.


There used to be a time when many thought of it as "the copper's


party". Strong on law and order. Keen on getting "bobbies on the


beat". But now this party is the senior partner in a coalition


austerity government. And we have 20% cuts, massive changes to pay


and conditions, plus the loss of 12,000 officers. The relationship


between police and this party, the Conservative party, is no longer a


happy one. David Cameron has always been


supportive of the dedication and sacrifice of the police but equally


that they are the last great unreformed public service, and that


changing that was something personal. He had been right there


when the Tories last tried it, and were faced down by police pressure.


Now, the government is forging ahead with scale of reform not seen


before, affecting pay, conditions, roles, the private sector, police


and crime commissioners and cuts. All police pride themselves they


are managing this process but it's been tough. It is always difficult


when you see such a substantial reform programme because not only


do we have to manage that and restructure and reorganise and cut


20% out of the Budget all at once, without any of really clear


overarching plan, and we also have to deliver the service. We cannot


stop while we we organise. The private sector, which we are told


we should look at more, tell me it is A-level and scale of change


which many have absolutely no experience of -- it is at a level


of change. They are doing it to the police service and not with the


police service. They need to engage. Policemen are suspicious of the


reforms themselves, suspicious of the motives behind them and


suspicious that at the end of this process they will not be a better


service as a result. And there is the feeling that the government has


made this a lot harder than it needed to be. Yes, it has left


police officers feeling particularly not listen to and


undervalued extent that this government does not particularly


like the police service. Whether that is true or not is irrelevant.


That is the perception as a result of the current implementation of


the reforms. It's not hear-say some officers are


angry as we all heard them say it. Home Secretary, you may not like


this, but we in the police service and no longer trust you, end of


story. And if it wasn't the Police


Federation conference, it was a march by off-duty police that


displayed a dismay we had not seen so publicly before. Inevitable, say


the government's opponents. government thought they had


developed policy but they didn't, it was it cliche, the last


unreformed element of the public sector. To to the ignoring the


reform that had been before and ignoring the fact that to do


policing properly, they had to reform to keep up. You cannot have


the technology of ten years ago used for policing today, so they


are fundamental cliche was wrong and it just has got worse ever


since. Government argue their changes will


finally deliver a better service better suited to the modern UK.


Both ACPO, the PSA and the Fed say their people will deliver because


"that's what they do". But... is a question around the tipping


point. How much more can you drive out of policing before it becomes a


direct impact on frontline service delivery? We are close but at the


moment we have maintained that service. But no question, frontline


officers are working under more pressure and harder than ever


before and that is why the salary has to match the demanding nature


of the job. For Sir Hugh Aldous says that the reforms are pushing


the police service to do tipping point -- so Hugh Orde. Perilously


close to affecting frontline services. What do you say?


course you have to ensure there are sufficient resources but we were


told two-and-a-half years ago but the budget reductions for the


police would have a catastrophic effect. You remember their


campaigning, the Labour Party were doing it Bob le Brocq the says it


is close to tipping point. -- were doing it... He says it is close to


tipping point. Is he wrong? Crime has fallen substantially under this


government and that is a credit to the police. They have actually been


able to deal with this reduction in resources which is essential. The


police cannot be exempt from the at. Is that essential to a massive


restructuring of pay and conditions, police and crime commissioners,


whilst simultaneously removing 20% of central funding from police?


Isn't that too much? Central funding has not been reduced by 20%.


Central funding has been reduced but the budget implication that is


not 20%... I am saying their package? It is important to say it


is not 20% funding reduction. Accountability is very important in


public services. There was a feeling that there was danger of


disconnection between the police and the public and greater


accountability is valuable and what we sought to do was to end the


decade of bureaucratic management of the police from the centre,


which resulted in a lot of bureaucracy and targets, and


substitute that for a local and democratic accountability, which


has been a success in London because the mayor's responsibility


for policing in London is welcome in London I think. A even though


the turnout for the commissioners was appalling. Yeah, I think it


will be a success. We have set up an independent review into pay and


conditions. Police officers must continue to be well remunerated but


there were issues about an 0 fashion system of pay and


allowances that had to be addressed -- old-fashioned system. He tries


to produce a system that will match pay according to skills rather than


a system where you pay simply goes up every year regardless of your


skills. Have you won the hearts and minds of police officers? It is


tough. These are tough times and these are demanding reforms and


they affect police officers' pay packets. As people across public


services have been affected. The police are not alone in that. It is


important we continue to say that the government continues to say how


important the police are, that we do value the police, they do an


important job... A but they have not heard that. They clearly said


they think the government do not like them, so whatever you have


said, it has not worked, has it? The perception from the police and


the difficulty with making those reforms has not succeeded because


they feel you do not like them, that you have put too much on them


in one go and you have not won hearts and minds? There is an


element within the police service and the Police Federation in


particular that regarded everything as not challengeable and therefore


any challenge was escalated into "this is an attack" and if you look


back over the years, successive governments faced protests from the


Police Federation, allegations that morale had never been so low and


that this was an attack on policing and what the federation has had to


realise is that the economic situation, the necessity to ensure


that public services can be today's challenges, the importance of


ensuring a strong relationship between the police and the public


meant that these changes had to be made and I strongly believe that


they are in interest of policing. You speak very passionately about


this. Surprising you walk away from this. There are other reasons for


that which I have spoken about before. But I will continue to


support the government programme of police reform.


With a big thaw on the cards, fear not my friends about melting snow


and floods. We have on hand apparently a sophisticated flood


defence system. And here it is. # Sleigh bells ring. Are you


listening? # In the lane, snow is glistening.


# A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight.


# Walking in a winter wonderland. # Gone away is the bluebird.


# Here to stay is a new bird. # He's singing a song, as we go


along. # In the meadow we can build a


snowman. # Then pretend that he is Parson


Brown. # He'll say: Are you married? We'll


say: No, man. # But you can do the job when


you're in town #. According to reports in today's newspapers,


snowmen are the answer. Joining me now from the not very snowy slopes


of Westminster is Phil Rothwell, flood risk manager from the


Environment Agency. Can this be true? Should we be out buildings no


men? I feel as cold as a snowman. I do not think they are the answer


for stockholding snow back is a good thing. Snow holds a lot of


water. But when the snow melts and goes into the river systems, it


does cause some problems, particularly at the moment with


lots of saturated ground. River levels are already responding to


the snow melting. With heavy rain forecast, we could be imposed more


flooding so building snowmen is not the answer. There is a bit of


science behind this. If you compact snow, it is a lot slower to melt. A


snowman on your lawn is the last thing to go when the snow


disappears so yes, it does hold back the water, but you need a very,


very, very great many of them before it makes any difference.


are looking at one in the north, 17 ft tall. That is a public-spirited


attempt! Can be papped of the country with a 17 ft snow men? --


could we have pepper? It would be a spectacular sight but it would not


do a great deal to reduce your flood risk. The better thing to do


is to look at the agency's flood website to really assess the risk.


So we do have some risk coming up? Yes, it is a series point. Rivers


are very high and grunt is saturated -- series point. The


ground is saturated. We are looking at river levels very carefully and


if you are at all worried MPs look at the environment agency's website,


where there is lots of useful website.


That's it, folks. If you can't get enough Europe chat, then join me


tonight on BBC One with Neil Hamilton, Laura Kuenssberg, Lowri


Turner, Katherine Ryan, Shirley Williams, Michael Portillo and Alan


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