25/02/2013 Daily Politics


25/02/2013

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Afternoon folks, welcome to the Daily Politics. We've screwed up -

:00:38.:00:41.

so says the Liberal Democrats' President, Tim Farron, over the

:00:41.:00:43.

party's handling of allegations that its former Chief Executive,

:00:43.:00:50.

Lord Rennard, behaved inappropriately towards women. Nick

:00:50.:00:52.

Clegg insists he has nothing to hide after admitting last night

:00:53.:00:56.

that his office had been aware of concerns five years ago but hadn't

:00:56.:01:01.

been given specific allegations, which Lord Rennard denies.

:01:01.:01:08.

Who's all at sea in Eastleigh? The by-election's on Thursday. We'll be

:01:08.:01:14.

taking a look at the runners and riders. George Osborne's in the

:01:14.:01:17.

dock over losing Britain's triple-A credit rating. MPs are expected to

:01:17.:01:18.

debate the Chancellor's currency later.

:01:18.:01:21.

And, they're young, some would say they're gifted, but are they our

:01:21.:01:25.

political future? Giles has been finding out. My problem with people

:01:25.:01:30.

who start politics from the start... Yes, yes, we all heard this before,

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the problem is you think they're weird.

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All that in the next hour. With us for the first half of the programme

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we're joined by the future of politics, at least that's what it

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says here, Rhammel Afflick, from the British Youth Council. Welcome

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to the programme. First this morning, let's talk

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about special relationships because the new US Secretary of State, John

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Kerry, is in town. Yes, he's been let loose for the first time since

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taking the job. And Downing Street is his first port of call. Do you

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care about the special relationship? I do and I think many

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other young people do and if they don't realise yet how important it

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is and how much it affects us as a country they soon will realise. For

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example, if you look at the UK's relationship with a lot of EU

:02:19.:02:23.

countries, regarding economy, I mean, if you look at our

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relationship with the US in terms of national security it's so

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important and it affects everybody within this country, even whether

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they don't realise it. In times of globalisation, do you think your

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generation is also looking to other parts of the world that perhaps

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Britain's focus hasn't been on, although it's beginning to now and

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that America's importance is perhaps diminishing in your eyes?

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The importance of certain countries has definitely changed and is ever-

:02:53.:02:57.

changing but I think, you know, we are still looking at the US for a

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lot of inspiration in a lot of things we do at the moment and I

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think young people recognise that actually there are other countries

:03:04.:03:08.

that are developing and becoming more important to industries like

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technology, when you look to other countries that haven't mentioned

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yet. I think that will continue to happen and evolve over time but at

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the moment as you can tell, the main focus is on the EU and even

:03:21.:03:27.

our US relationship, as well. about contacts, do you have

:03:27.:03:32.

counterparts, equivalents in EU countries and America? The British

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Youth Council does have membership to the Youth Forum and we do have a

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programme called the UK Young Ambassadors where they look at

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their equivalents and Councils that represent other EU countries, as

:03:45.:03:52.

well. Thank you. Last week, Channel 4 News broadcast

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allegations about the senior Liberal Democrat peer Lord Rennard.

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They reported that women who worked for the party had complained in the

:03:58.:04:02.

past that he had behaved inappropriately towards them. Lord

:04:02.:04:04.

Rennard strongly disputes the allegations, but questions have

:04:04.:04:07.

been raised about whether Nick Clegg and other senior figures in

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the party did enough at the time, and whether they've been completely

:04:10.:04:15.

open about what they knew. It could hardly have come at a worse time

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for the party with a critical by- election in Eastleigh later this

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week. Chris Rennard became well known around Westminster in the

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1990s as the Liberal Democrats' election supremo - credited with

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masterminding a string of by- election victories. Between 2003

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and 2009, he served as the party's Chief Executive before standing

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down - the party said, for health reasons. On Thursday and Friday

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last week, Channel 4 News broadcast allegations that he had acted

:04:40.:04:42.

inappropriately towards women working for the party - allegations

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which he denies. One said she had been left feeling humiliated,

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undermined and shameful. Nick Clegg launched an investigation but

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issued a statement saying that he hadn't known about the allegations

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until Channel 4 contacted the party last week.

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Then, last night, he issued another statement saying he had been made

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aware of indirect and non-specific concerns about Lord Rennard in 2008.

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He says he asked his then Chief of Staff, Danny Alexander, to look

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into the matter - the man who now sits in the number two spot in the

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Treasury. We also know other Lib Dem MPs, including Jo Swinson - now

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a Business Minister - did know about some of the specific

:05:27.:05:30.

allegations at the time. Party President Tim Farron says they've

:05:30.:05:32.

screwed up the process of investigating the complaints. But

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Nick Clegg insists the inquiries he has set up will get to the truth.

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The fact is we had a number of women who subsequently spoken out

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with frustration, who now need to be listened to because they clearly

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weren't listened to and we need to get to the bottom of the truth.

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Until last week the specific allegations where we know which

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women were concerned and what events they were allude - alluded

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to were not made available to me or my office. The moment they were, we

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set up the investigations. We now must allow that due process to play

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itself out. Our political correspondent Robin

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Brant can tell us the latest. Where are we in terms of Nick Clegg

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having said he knew nothing, he has now said he did know something

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albeit about so-called unspecific concerns? That change in stance

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from the Deputy Prime Minister is probably the most significant

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development, certainly over the last 24 hours. As you said, he said

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he learned firstly about these allegations when Channel 4

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broadcast them late last week. We now know that he was told about

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these non-specific general concerns back in 2008. The problem for Mr

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Clegg is changing of the stance and also that almost very leagueistic

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ambiguous language. People will want to know more about these non-

:06:51.:06:55.

specific claims. They're described as being general. The party

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President said that Nick Clegg's office became aware of rumours.

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There will be more questions about exactly what are the detail of

:07:03.:07:06.

those allegations, how did Nick Clegg's office come to know them?

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Secondly, there is a real difference of opinion, certainly at

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the top of the party today. It's no secret there are differences

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between Tim Farron, the President, and Nick Clegg in terms of how

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they're regarded within the party. Tim Farron on The Today programme

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saying we screwed up, Nick Clegg refusing to accept that assessment

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although he did concede in another BBC interview that he thinks

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perhaps once these investigations are under way they may uncover

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flaws in the procedures. There are now two inquiries under way. One

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into the allegations themselves against Chris Rennard, secondly,

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another one into how the party has dealt with them. Nick Clegg in a

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difficult position, he has to let due process take place and that's

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going to take time. We don't know exactly who is going to be heading

:07:58.:08:02.

up both inquiries at the moment. In the meantime, he doesn't want to

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rush to judgment. The key problem for the Deputy Prime Minister is

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his curiosity or perhaps even his incuriosity. It was a label

:08:11.:08:20.

ascribed to George Entwistle, director general at the BBC for 52

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days and the fact he didn't ask various questions is something

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being labelled at Nick Clegg. If he didn't know about these allegations,

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didn't know details about them back in tweet, -- 2008 and people

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weren't coming forward and didn't feel they could approach him then

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why was that? Thank you very much.

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I'm now joined by Mark Littlewood, who was the Liberal Democrats' Head

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of Media when Lord Rennard was the party's Chief Executive. Had you

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heard about the allegations? Not a whisper or a sniff or rumour

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between 2004 and 2007 when I was there. None of these rumours that

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have been circulated you hadn't heard about? Not a sniff of it.

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Maybe I was an incredibly unobserveant press officer but

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there wasn't even a call from the the journalist during that period.

:09:09.:09:14.

By about 2008 I started hearing some of these rumours, but, frankly,

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very often, certainly in my position, having left the party, I

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dismissed them as tittle tattle. The more you hear from different

:09:25.:09:28.

sources and different events the more you think is there something

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in this? What do you think about the way it's been handled by Nick

:09:32.:09:36.

Clegg so far, particularly this idea he said he knew nothing about

:09:36.:09:42.

the specific allegations, but now has revealed he also heard rumours,

:09:42.:09:49.

so far as to get Danny Alexander to talk to Lord Rennard? It's

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incredibly confusing. They almost seem to be inventing a new language.

:09:51.:09:56.

I am not sure what an indirect non- specific complaint is. There seems

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to be an indirect non-specific complaint involving behaviour that

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was unacceptable, that's apparently what Danny Alexander said to Chris

:10:04.:10:08.

Rennard, how can something be indirect and non-specific and

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totally unacceptable? That seems to be very confusing indeed. What

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they've got to get out, apart from the allegations which Chris Rennard

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flatly denies entirely, is what processes did they go through? Who

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knew what when? And why did they close the file? My understanding is

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that no one came forward with a specific complaint at that time.

:10:32.:10:37.

Once the chat had happened between Danny Alexander and Lord Rennard

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there was nowhere to go, what do you say to that? It's clear as well

:10:41.:10:51.
:10:51.:10:59.

that Jo Swinson, the Womens and and What did though do, the Chief Whip

:10:59.:11:04.

and Womens and Equalities Officer? Do you think it's difficult for

:11:04.:11:10.

them? I would have thought that was her job. She would have been an

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obvious go to person, if you were a woman that believed you were unfair

:11:14.:11:19.

ly treated. She would be high on the list of people to confide in.

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Do you think the -- do you agree the party screwed up? What they've

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got to set out pretty clearly is who knew what when, what they did

:11:27.:11:32.

with it and if there was a screw-up where was that and why? Why do you

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think the allegations have resurfaced now? The timing is

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curious, bearing in mind we are talking about these unspecific

:11:40.:11:44.

concerns dating back to 2008 and before? You would have to ask the

:11:44.:11:51.

women who have come forward about that. I have never even met...

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don't know either of them? It's possible that I might have bumped

:11:54.:11:58.

into them once, but I have never spoken to them, to my knowledge.

:11:58.:12:02.

Why did they come forward? The evidence seems to be that they were

:12:02.:12:05.

concerned that Chris Rennard was getting involved in the party again.

:12:05.:12:08.

That seems to be one of the triggers for it. But he's been

:12:08.:12:12.

involved in the party or has come back in after standing down for

:12:12.:12:15.

health reasons in the last year. Why only a week do you think before

:12:15.:12:21.

the Eastleigh by-election? I don't know these women, but what I saw of

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them on Channel 4 News, it doesn't seem to they're attempting to

:12:25.:12:29.

undermine the Liberal Democrat effort in the by-election nor would

:12:29.:12:32.

Channel 4 News be doing that, I wouldn't have thought, if you have

:12:32.:12:37.

a story like that and you are the broadcaster, I would think there

:12:37.:12:44.

are unbelievable Is to dot and legals to go through, it's not

:12:44.:12:46.

something you hear about on Monday and broadcast on Tuesday. My belief

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would be it's taken Channel 4 a long time to put that together

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before they were broadcasting and they were going to broadcast when

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it was ready. What impact do you think it will have on the by-

:12:55.:12:59.

election? That's definite to say. - - difficult to say. Although it's a

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significant political story it is a Westminster bubble story and it may

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be in Eastleigh people are actually more concerned about local issues

:13:07.:13:11.

than what's going on here. But of course virtually every front front

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page of every newspaper will be bad news for the Liberal Democrats. If

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the Liberal Democrats now lose the seat, then this could well be the

:13:22.:13:32.

explanation for that. Do you agree with that? What's important is they

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get to the bottom of it and it's investigated properly now they're

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aware of - and the specifics are now, - have come to light. That's

:13:41.:13:47.

what's important about this and reviewing maybe the processes that

:13:47.:13:51.

they have in place to deal with issues. What about Nick Clegg? It's

:13:51.:13:57.

difficult for him to be embroiled in this even even accidentally, if

:13:57.:14:01.

we are being kind to to him? course it's difficult. I don't

:14:01.:14:11.
:14:11.:14:15.

think he helped himself much with his statement last night. It's very

:14:15.:14:18.

difficult to actually pick up a consistent thread of what the

:14:18.:14:22.

Liberal Democrats were saying over the weekend. That morning Vince

:14:22.:14:26.

Cable said, you know, he wanted to be absolutely clear that neither he

:14:26.:14:29.

nor Nick Clegg knew anything. Suddenly we start getting into

:14:29.:14:32.

highly complex words about general, rather than specific. Indirect

:14:32.:14:38.

rather than direct. It's all incredibly confusing. Really, rings

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of contorted language. He would have been better to tried to get

:14:42.:14:45.

everything out or at least say when he was going to get absolutely

:14:45.:14:48.

everything out in full detail about when he knew what ever it was that

:14:48.:14:54.

he did know. He did also come across as slightly sort of petulant

:14:54.:14:58.

actually last night. He seemed to be angry as if he was unfairly, he

:14:58.:15:02.

and his party were unfairly under fire. I don't think that did him

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any great favours, either. I am not saying he needs to go through

:15:05.:15:08.

another so sorry moment, but I think that he probably should have

:15:08.:15:16.

attempted to come across as being somewhat the more contrite than he

:15:16.:15:23.

did. Thank you. The re-trial has begun today of

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Vicky Pryce, the ex-wife of the former Cabinet Minister, Chris

:15:25.:15:33.

Huhne. The original trial collapsed last week. Our correspondent is

:15:33.:15:37.

outside the court. Remind us how we got to this point. This has been a

:15:37.:15:42.

very, very long process to get to this point of retrial. Just over a

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year ago both her and her now former husband, Chris Huhne, were

:15:48.:15:52.

charged with perverting the course of justice over a very, very minor

:15:52.:15:57.

matter, a speeding ticket back in 2003, the allegation had been that

:15:57.:16:00.

Chris Huhne was caught speeding on the motorway back into London from

:16:00.:16:06.

the airport ap that Vicky Pryce had taken points for him so he could

:16:06.:16:09.

avoid a driving ban as he was preparing to fight the Eastleigh

:16:09.:16:13.

seat when he originally entered parliament. A year and a day after

:16:13.:16:19.

that charge he pleaded guilty here at Southwark Crown Court. He is

:16:19.:16:21.

awaiting sentencing but the trial of Vicky Pryce continues on the

:16:22.:16:27.

same offence. She denies it saying she was forced to take the points.

:16:27.:16:31.

The original trial came to an end in dramatic circumstances last week

:16:31.:16:35.

when the jury failed to reach a verdict but as these things happen,

:16:35.:16:45.
:16:45.:16:49.

the judge restarted this morning with a fresh jury. It's a retrial.

:16:49.:16:59.
:16:59.:17:02.

Does that mean they will hear from He told this newly sworn-in jury

:17:02.:17:07.

that their job was to, "Pool their common sense and experience of life

:17:07.:17:11.

to come to a true verdict, based on the evidence they will here before

:17:11.:17:17.

them in court." He told them because of the collapse, it happens,

:17:17.:17:23.

just to get on with it. Decide to ignore whatever they have heard

:17:23.:17:29.

about the onlyal jury. The evidence in court will be broadly the same.

:17:29.:17:33.

This is what happens in retrails. The prosecution will outline the

:17:33.:17:38.

evidence, they will put their case. The prosecutor has told the jury

:17:38.:17:41.

that at the heart of this case is a convenient decision between Chris

:17:41.:17:46.

Huhne and his former wife, for her to take the speeding points, simply

:17:46.:17:51.

because it was not a good idea for him to lose his license at the time

:17:51.:17:55.

in 2003. It suited their purposes for Vicky Pryce to take the points.

:17:55.:17:59.

He said she was not the kind of woman who would do as her husband

:17:59.:18:05.

told her to do and her defence of marital coercion, that she was

:18:05.:18:08.

bullied into taking these points does not wash. It is up to this

:18:08.:18:13.

jury to decide, in the course of the coming week, whether it is the

:18:13.:18:18.

case or not. Later today in the House of Lords, peers will decide

:18:18.:18:25.

whether to create a press regulator by the back door. Earlier this week,

:18:25.:18:30.

their Lordships decided to vote in favour of amendments produced by

:18:30.:18:34.

Lord Puttnam, which effectively created a Leveson-style press

:18:34.:18:38.

regulator. If the changes to the bill are passed, the Government has

:18:38.:18:42.

threatened to throw the bill out, damaging its intention of trying to

:18:42.:18:52.

reform the libel laws. With us now is Lord Lester of Herne Hill and

:18:52.:18:56.

former, Charlie Falconer. You spent a lot of time working on this bill

:18:56.:19:05.

- what was your original intention with this Defamation Bill? It is to

:19:05.:19:11.

reform entirely the outmooded English law of libel, which is to

:19:11.:19:16.

restrictive of free speech that President Obama signed a law in

:19:16.:19:19.

America to prevent it being enforced in the States. No-one

:19:19.:19:23.

disputes it needs reform. All three parties have worked very well

:19:23.:19:28.

together in arriving at a bill, which is being looked at across the

:19:29.:19:34.

common law world as a model. It is an extremely important bill. Is it

:19:34.:19:41.

at risk of being dropped by a Labour amendment supported by Lord

:19:41.:19:46.

Falconer to try and push through at the same time a Leveson-style press

:19:46.:19:51.

regulator? I hope not. The thing about this country is we have a

:19:51.:19:56.

spirit of compromise. Three political parties need to come to a

:19:56.:20:01.

sensible view with the press on independent self-regulation, not

:20:01.:20:07.

state regulation of a free media. Why have you attached these

:20:07.:20:11.

amendments to the Defamation Bill? It's not me, it's the House of

:20:11.:20:17.

Lords. The amendment was crafted by four people right across the House,

:20:17.:20:23.

one being ex-Tory. The bill is excellent. What the amendment does

:20:23.:20:27.

is it says there should be an arbitration service which people

:20:27.:20:30.

can use free if they have a complaint against a newspaper, to

:20:30.:20:35.

give access to justice to everybody and it needs an independent

:20:35.:20:38.

regulator to determine whether or not it is a fair ash traig service.

:20:38.:20:42.

What is wrong with that? It should be voted upon in the Commons. If

:20:42.:20:48.

they don't like it, they should take it out. Why attach it to the

:20:48.:20:53.

Defamation Bill? It is about defamation-related claims. I do

:20:53.:20:59.

know that is right. Lord Justice Leveson made it clear

:20:59.:21:04.

at the beginning of his inquiry that nothing he was doing would

:21:04.:21:08.

affect the Defamation Bill. The bill is a bill to amend the law of

:21:08.:21:13.

defamation. It is not on privacy. Leveson was about gross abuses of

:21:13.:21:18.

privacy. It is all very well saying it was not your fault...

:21:18.:21:21.

supported it strongly. It is the right thing to do. It is for the

:21:21.:21:26.

House of Lords to take responsibility. I don't accuse you

:21:26.:21:31.

of drafting it. You have pleaded not guilty to that. He was cleared

:21:31.:21:37.

of that, was he? Leveson recommended that newspapers should

:21:37.:21:42.

be published through punitive damages. Now when Charlie was - I

:21:42.:21:52.
:21:52.:21:52.

think he was in 2007. What month are you in? Let's not

:21:52.:21:57.

worry about that? Now his Government rejected the idea of

:21:57.:22:03.

extending damages, not once, but twice. And now all these QCs have

:22:03.:22:07.

written opinions saying so. So there is a problem.... What is

:22:07.:22:12.

wrong with a free arbitration service? Nothing is wrong...

:22:13.:22:20.

you in favour? Of course. Why don't you support it? It needs to be done

:22:20.:22:23.

by self-regulation. That is what the amendment is saying. It says it

:22:24.:22:28.

is done by the press. Let's come back to the original point. Are you

:22:28.:22:33.

prepared to pay the price for the Defamation Bill - that is the risk

:22:33.:22:38.

and it is a risk because the Government is threatening that -

:22:38.:22:46.

they will drop the bill and then you will have lost... Have they

:22:46.:22:52.

said that Yes. Of course there'll be plenty of negotiations behind

:22:52.:22:57.

closed doors. We're talking - cross-party talks are going on...

:22:57.:23:02.

Shouldn't you wait for those? because the right thing to do is if

:23:02.:23:05.

we cannot reach agreement at the cross-party talks and we are

:23:05.:23:08.

desperately trying to, then Parliament should decide.

:23:08.:23:15.

I think this is a form of bullying, I am afraid. Bullying?! Yes, they

:23:15.:23:23.

have taken the bill hostage. haven't. You have taken... Wait a

:23:23.:23:27.

second. You have taken it hostage at the moment. What is very

:23:27.:23:31.

difficult is this - when it goes to the Commons I have no doubt that it

:23:31.:23:38.

will be made in the Commons F Labour don't approve of that, there

:23:38.:23:45.

is a serious risk it will not get through the Commons. There is a

:23:45.:23:55.

serious risk it stays. If it stays then Mr Cameron... Before war is

:23:55.:24:00.

declared, or you have declared it, in a very nice Lordship sort of

:24:00.:24:05.

way! Your impression in terms of Leveson - would you like to see

:24:05.:24:10.

some sort of statutory underpinning, to use that term, or is self-

:24:10.:24:14.

regulation enough? It is important that we retain freedom of speech,

:24:15.:24:18.

as has been mentioned already. It is important that there is

:24:18.:24:22.

somewhere that people can go - whether it is self-regulated or not.

:24:22.:24:27.

If they have concerns about the press. One thing that was miss from

:24:27.:24:30.

the Leveson Inquiry that we campaigned on was actually an

:24:30.:24:36.

amendment to the editor's code. At the moment it does not include age

:24:36.:24:41.

as a form of discrimination. As you might know, young people are often

:24:41.:24:44.

miss represented in the media. I mean, throughout the week f you

:24:44.:24:49.

look at some of the stories that cover young people, actually how

:24:49.:24:52.

many young people are actually involved in the stories themselves?

:24:52.:24:58.

How many young people will be sitting on the sofas, like myself,

:24:58.:25:02.

giving their opinions on those issues. That is something I was

:25:02.:25:07.

disappointed not to see. What you are proposing seems to go further

:25:07.:25:11.

than what was proposed by leve because you are talking about a --

:25:11.:25:14.

Leveson, because you are talking about a regulatory system which

:25:14.:25:21.

will mean publishers have to check with the system before they publish

:25:21.:25:27.

a story.... Leveson suggested in considering what damages to award,

:25:27.:25:31.

it would be relevant to have regard whether or not, before publishing

:25:31.:25:36.

something, without going to the subject of the story, the press had

:25:36.:25:44.

sought advice - that is what it proposed. Free clearance... It is

:25:44.:25:48.

nothing to do with that. If you are given damages, allowed in the law,

:25:48.:25:53.

if you have taken advice and they say don't do it without asking the

:25:53.:26:02.

subject first, surely that is a factor. Max Mosely sought such a

:26:02.:26:08.

thing. The English courts said no, that violates free speech. I know

:26:08.:26:13.

of no democracy in the world... Hang on - I know of no system in

:26:13.:26:18.

the world - it is coercive state regulation. I only know of five out

:26:18.:26:23.

of 47 in Europe with such a thing. They are all former mens of the

:26:23.:26:29.

Soviet Union. I am astonished... am astonished by how you have miss

:26:29.:26:32.

represented that! I am sure you will continue this, fascinating

:26:32.:26:38.

although it is. It is an odd thing about politics that youthful,

:26:38.:26:42.

charismatic leaders seem the Holy Grail, whereas older statesmen have

:26:42.:26:47.

to step down for being too old. Not like our two previous guests. The

:26:47.:26:52.

eLord Chancelloror rate seem to distrust youngsters who have done

:26:52.:26:57.

nothing but politics from birth. What do the young have to offer

:26:57.:27:07.
:27:07.:27:20.

political debate? Giles has been When it comes to age, politics -

:27:20.:27:25.

the essence of youth... I think what he really means is that for

:27:25.:27:30.

centuries, youth has not been allowed to have influence in the

:27:30.:27:34.

world of politics. Yeah - what she said! You need experience to be

:27:35.:27:38.

involved in politics. You need to have something you can bring. Some

:27:38.:27:42.

stand point you represent. Young people is a stand-point. It is

:27:42.:27:47.

being an experience in itself. Trying to find jobs, understanding

:27:47.:27:51.

for graduates it is a difficult time at the moment. Young people

:27:51.:27:53.

are being vilified in the press. That is an experience one can bring

:27:54.:27:59.

to the political debate. It is just as valuable as any other background.

:27:59.:28:05.

There are clearly savvy 20- somethings, but an MP at 23 - is

:28:05.:28:11.

there too young for Westminster? was the most inexperienced,

:28:11.:28:15.

incapable Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. I learnt very

:28:15.:28:22.

quickly. 100,000 voters in a town, Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph,

:28:22.:28:28.

Ian mag Greg gor and myself closing the steel works and putting 10,000

:28:28.:28:35.

people out of work - my God I aged from 27 to 47 in a few months!

:28:35.:28:42.

It is already for half of you, half of you won't be here in 30-40

:28:42.:28:47.

years' time! My problem with people who start politics from the start...

:28:47.:28:53.

Yes, yes, we have heard that before. You think they are younger pith the

:28:53.:28:56.

younger, Prime Minister in his 20s. William Hague and that speech. All

:28:56.:29:03.

I can say, is I think it is very judge mental! There is a difference

:29:03.:29:10.

between being a -- between playing politics and if you are trying to

:29:10.:29:14.

act like Prime Minister, that is- and-a-half. You have to be involved

:29:14.:29:21.

in politics if you are young. old grey beards are back in fashion.

:29:21.:29:26.

The voters want to look at them rather like I look at my solicitor

:29:26.:29:32.

and my bank manager. I want him to be dull, boring and grey and full

:29:32.:29:36.

of wisdom. The truth is, us youngsters do have much to learn

:29:36.:29:40.

about life, but don't underestimate those, who from the start, have

:29:40.:29:47.

something to say and say it well. have never felt so old!

:29:47.:29:52.

You still look young though! Regular viewers will be delighted

:29:52.:30:00.

to hear we have given Giles Dilnot the boot and replaced him with

:30:00.:30:04.

eight-year-old Olivia. Let's pick up on that last point in the film -

:30:04.:30:08.

people in politics want a representative who is older and

:30:08.:30:12.

wiser. I think it's something that we, a lot of people want, but

:30:12.:30:21.

actually if you look at it in history, there have been amazing

:30:21.:30:24.

and inspirational people who have been young. I don't see any reason

:30:24.:30:28.

why a young politician shouldn't become, you shouldn't become an MP

:30:28.:30:33.

or become a local councillor, or even the Mayor of London. I would

:30:33.:30:38.

encourage anyone who wanted to do that to do so. What is your

:30:38.:30:42.

ambition in politics? personally, I am not looking to

:30:42.:30:47.

become an MP just yet, but in the future, you never know. It may be

:30:47.:30:51.

something that is I want to do personally. I want to encourage

:30:52.:30:56.

anybody to think their age should not be a barrier. Which party would

:30:56.:31:01.

you represent if you become an MP? Probably I would create my own

:31:01.:31:05.

party and... Very diplomatic! diplomatic way of putting it. I

:31:05.:31:10.

think there's a lot of change that needs to happen, so the parties are

:31:10.:31:14.

more reflective of The Views of young people. Do you have any

:31:14.:31:21.

influence in youth Parliament? Does it really matter? Does it have any

:31:21.:31:31.
:31:31.:31:34.

What was that related to in transport? Related to all aspects

:31:34.:31:38.

of transport, particularly the price of transport and how much it

:31:38.:31:41.

costs for young people. In London, for example, you get free transport

:31:41.:31:47.

but there are parts of the UK where you have to pay a full adult fare.

:31:47.:31:49.

They issued, just like any other Select Committee, you know,

:31:49.:31:55.

recommendations that they felt the Government should take on. They got

:31:55.:31:57.

a full Government response just like any other Select Committee

:31:57.:32:01.

report. I would say they were very influential. It's more than just

:32:01.:32:05.

playing at politics, what cynical older people, like me, would say

:32:05.:32:10.

everybody who is interested in politics in their teens and early

:32:10.:32:16.

20s, and then lose interest. think, you know, just like any

:32:16.:32:19.

other subject you can lose interest and you can gain interest but what

:32:19.:32:22.

everybody within the Youth Parliament and British Youth

:32:23.:32:25.

Council believes is it affects everybody and no matter how much

:32:25.:32:31.

you get involved it will affect your life. What about voting by

:32:31.:32:36.

young people? Most people will know the voting turnout for young people

:32:36.:32:40.

tends to be less. There's proof to show if you engage young people you

:32:40.:32:44.

will get them to participate. A great example is the UK Youth

:32:44.:32:48.

Parliament managed to get over a quarter of a million young people

:32:48.:32:53.

to respond to a survey last year in response to saying what their views

:32:53.:32:56.

were. If you engage young people you can get them involved. There

:32:56.:33:01.

will be politicians who will say young people aren't voting enough

:33:01.:33:06.

in their droves, they can't be that interested in what we are talking

:33:06.:33:10.

about. Do you think young people are more interested in individual

:33:10.:33:13.

campaigns than in party politics? Actually that's exactly something I

:33:13.:33:16.

was going to mention next. Young people are more interested in

:33:16.:33:21.

issues rather than party politics. That's what the UK Youth Particle

:33:21.:33:26.

splt based -- Parliament is based on. It's about being passionate for

:33:26.:33:30.

an issue that you care about which is the roots of politics in general.

:33:30.:33:35.

I am sure there are a lot of politicians who had one issue that

:33:35.:33:39.

triggered them to want to be an MP or councillor. Thank you very much

:33:39.:33:43.

for being our guest and good luck. Thank you very much.

:33:43.:33:47.

MPs are back at Westminster today after their short recess. I hope

:33:47.:33:51.

they're well rested because there's plenty on their plate this week.

:33:52.:33:55.

This afternoon, Labour are pushing for a debate on why we've lost our

:33:55.:33:57.

triple-A rating and what it all means. And the horsemeat scandal

:33:58.:34:02.

rumbles on. Ikea meatballs are the latest food implicated. European

:34:02.:34:04.

Union politicians and officials are in Brussels to agree ways of

:34:04.:34:07.

keeping horsemeat out of beef products.

:34:07.:34:10.

Tomorrow, the new Archbishop of Canterbury - Justin Welby - takes

:34:10.:34:13.

his seat in the House of Lords. And, on Wednesday, it's the weekly

:34:13.:34:15.

Cameron-Miliband set-to in the Commons - Prime Minister Question

:34:15.:34:20.

Time. Voters in Eastleigh go to the polls on Thursday to decide who

:34:20.:34:23.

will replace Chris Huhne, who resigned after admitting he lied

:34:23.:34:30.

about his speeding points. Well, with me now to discuss all that are

:34:30.:34:32.

Isabel Hardman from the Spectator and the Mirror's associate editor,

:34:33.:34:36.

Kevin Maguire. We have just heard the Speaker has granted Ed Balls an

:34:36.:34:41.

urgent question relating to the Government's economic policy at

:34:41.:34:45.

3.30pm. Let's talk about the credit rating, does it matter it's been

:34:45.:34:51.

downgraded? It matters politically because Osbourne set such stall by

:34:51.:34:56.

it, what's interesting is whether he is confident we can retain the

:34:56.:35:02.

rating, I asked a spokesman and he wouldn't confirm. It is important.

:35:02.:35:05.

Also, Tory MPs will start to put pressure on Osbourne to do things

:35:05.:35:11.

like unfunded tax cuts to bring growth in. What can Labour say? Ed

:35:11.:35:16.

Balls has said that actually you can't hold that much stock by the

:35:16.:35:21.

agencies, they gave top billing to subprime mortgages at the time. So

:35:21.:35:25.

Labour can't come down too heavily on this, surely? No, it's a great

:35:25.:35:31.

irony of the triple-A rating disappearing so Labour say the

:35:31.:35:36.

agencies are worth - useless and say now Osbourne's totally

:35:36.:35:39.

humiliated while Osbourne who made a song and dance about the rating

:35:40.:35:43.

is trying to brush it off. The truth is he will know, George

:35:43.:35:46.

Osborne, he has failed on his own terms. His party will know he has

:35:46.:35:56.
:35:56.:36:00.

failed on his own terms and I suspect Ed Balls will dust down his

:36:00.:36:05.

his alternative. In terms of the Budget, the timing I suppose

:36:05.:36:09.

implicated that actually the credit rating agencies didn't think George

:36:09.:36:12.

Osborne could do anything that would breed confidence so they cut

:36:12.:36:18.

it now? Yeah, and one of the tests that rebellious Tory MPs have laid

:36:19.:36:23.

down for Osbourne is a successful Budget. Another one was keeping the

:36:23.:36:26.

rating, that's obviously gone. Another one is a successful Budget

:36:26.:36:33.

and his focus should be as not having another omnishambles, and

:36:33.:36:37.

having a Budget that doesn't fall apart weeks afterwards. On the base

:36:37.:36:42.

to say doesn't fall apart -- basis it doesn't fall apart, he can't do

:36:42.:36:45.

very much, one of the problems now are fears about the currency. The

:36:45.:36:50.

pound is falling, looking very weak. There was talk at the weekend maybe

:36:50.:36:55.

exaggerated, of a sterling crisis. Surely that's focusing his mind?

:36:55.:36:58.

The economy's had no growth in a year, living standards are falling

:36:59.:37:04.

pretty sharply. On his watch the economy has gone into reverse.

:37:04.:37:08.

Whatever his excuses or reasons, it's a poor picture. He has to do

:37:08.:37:11.

something. He might as well go for growth otherwise he will be

:37:11.:37:15.

remembered as a total failure. He lost the rating, the last Budget

:37:15.:37:20.

was, well, it crumbled like a pasty and pretty quickly. If he wants to

:37:20.:37:25.

get growth in that economy, he's got to restore it and if not - for

:37:25.:37:29.

no other reason he has to do it to give the Conservatives a chance at

:37:29.:37:32.

the next general election. Self- interest requires George Osborne to

:37:32.:37:38.

do something. Liberal Democrat woes at the moment with these

:37:38.:37:40.

allegations surrounding Lord Rennard. How do you think Nick

:37:40.:37:45.

Clegg and his office have handled it? Not very well. I was speaking

:37:45.:37:50.

to someone who works in crisis PR yesterday and they were saying they

:37:50.:37:54.

always get clients saying we can't mention this and that, their

:37:54.:38:02.

response is to you have to bring the detail out straight away. Using

:38:02.:38:05.

strange language about indirect non-specific allegations, it's not

:38:05.:38:09.

helpful to closing down the story. What do you think Nick Clegg needs

:38:09.:38:17.

to do now? Vanish! This all goes away. It feels as if it would be

:38:17.:38:20.

easier if those in the party who didn't know anything about these

:38:20.:38:25.

allegations came forward, because we have Nick Clegg himself, we have

:38:25.:38:29.

Alexander, Jo Swinson, you have Tim Farron saying he knew, it's become

:38:29.:38:33.

a terrible, terrible mess. They set up two inquiries. They will take

:38:33.:38:37.

their course. But at the same time, there's going to be a drip-drip of

:38:37.:38:41.

allegations, more women may come forward making allegations. I

:38:41.:38:45.

accept Lord Rennard disputes the allegations made but people are

:38:45.:38:48.

coming forward nonetheless. Tory and Labour MPs are going to the

:38:48.:38:53.

police. It's a real mess. Wye have -- I would have put a lot of money

:38:53.:38:57.

last week on the Liberal Democrats holding Eastleigh and the by-

:38:57.:39:00.

election, now I am not so sure. that betting note, we will leave

:39:00.:39:10.
:39:10.:39:13.

both of you, thank you very much. Joining me for the programme is

:39:13.:39:16.

the Conservative MP, Priti Patel, the Labour MP, Lisa Nandy, Liberal

:39:16.:39:19.

Democrat MP, Annette Brooke and UKIP MEP Gerard Batten. Welcome to

:39:19.:39:26.

you all. Let's talk about the credit rating.

:39:26.:39:29.

What you failed to highlight is that those same agencies have

:39:29.:39:33.

pointed to our creditworthiness, which is in good order right now,

:39:33.:39:38.

which would prevent interest rates from going up. So, the triple-A

:39:38.:39:41.

rating has gone, we have to accept that and move on. The same has

:39:41.:39:43.

happened in other international markets, including the US, as well.

:39:43.:39:49.

But we are still sound in terms of our creditworthiness. It's the

:39:49.:39:54.

political point that George Osborne held so much stock by it and he

:39:54.:39:58.

repeatedly insisted it was so important to retain it. Was that a

:39:58.:40:02.

mistake? I agree that there's been a great deal of political emphasis

:40:02.:40:06.

placed on that, no one can deny that. The point is it's gone and we

:40:06.:40:09.

have to move on and look at what we can do in terms of economic growth

:40:09.:40:13.

and also still in terms of fiscal consolidation. Part of the reason

:40:13.:40:16.

why our interest rates are low is because there's been a proper

:40:16.:40:21.

programme and focus on fiscal consolicitor tkoeugs --

:40:21.:40:26.

consolidation and deficit reduction. Which Labour wouldn't have

:40:26.:40:30.

undertaken? A Chancellor who can say there are ten benchmarks by

:40:30.:40:33.

which we should judge the economy and our economic success, the first

:40:33.:40:37.

of which was the triple-A credit rating, to lose it and say we are

:40:37.:40:41.

not going to change course seems fairly astonishing. So, actually

:40:41.:40:46.

it's not a question of business as usual, it's this should be a real

:40:46.:40:49.

wake-up call to the plan isn't working on his own terms and he

:40:49.:40:52.

needs to change course. Is Labour really saying the market and the

:40:52.:40:56.

credit rating agencies would respond more positively to a big

:40:56.:41:00.

spending splurge or stimulus which is what Labour has outlined in its

:41:00.:41:05.

plan. The economy would respond more positively to a spending

:41:05.:41:11.

stimulus. So, Ed Balls announced recently we would use proceeds from

:41:11.:41:14.

the 4G auction to invest in affordable homes, it's that sort of

:41:14.:41:17.

thing that's going to get people's confidence back and get the economy

:41:17.:41:21.

moving because the key test really is can you get people spending and

:41:21.:41:25.

growth back into the economy? are saying that's more important

:41:25.:41:29.

than any vote by the credit rating agencies? In other words, it's

:41:29.:41:33.

really not important it's been downgraded? We always said that we

:41:33.:41:36.

don't place the same emphasis on the rating agencies as George

:41:36.:41:39.

Osborne had but it seems quite unbelievable that a Chancellor can

:41:39.:41:42.

fail his own key test and still be in the job refusing to change

:41:43.:41:47.

course. Should he still be in the job? He should be. It would be and

:41:48.:41:52.

sourd to -- absurd to think we should change Chancellor. Even the

:41:52.:41:57.

markets say this, we have inherited a catastrophe in terms of the state

:41:58.:42:00.

of the economy and the deficit, as well. You could argue the plan so

:42:00.:42:07.

far to repair that catastrophe, as you put it, isn't working?

:42:08.:42:10.

disagree, we have low and stable interest rates and those are

:42:10.:42:13.

signals... As a result of quantitative easing. Those are

:42:13.:42:16.

signals we need to make sure we have confidence in the system and

:42:16.:42:19.

confidence of business, as well. Let's talk about living standards,

:42:19.:42:24.

but first of all, we know - no growth, debt up and actually

:42:24.:42:30.

borrowing, we will see if it's up and now downgraded, are you still

:42:30.:42:35.

happy to be wedded to the Government? George Osborne made the

:42:35.:42:39.

ratings so high stakes in the debate. As Vince Cable said, it's a

:42:39.:42:42.

symbolic change but what's important is to get the right focus

:42:42.:42:45.

following this and in the Budget. There are differences between the

:42:45.:42:52.

Conservatives and the Lib Dems, we do believe that we have to have

:42:52.:42:55.

deficit reduction, how we would achieve that would have a different

:42:55.:42:57.

emphasis. There is a case for mansion tax, for example, to bring

:42:58.:43:02.

in extra money. We are making our arguments within the coalition. I

:43:03.:43:06.

want to see that house-building start. We are all agreed that this

:43:06.:43:10.

would really get things moving. So we are asking within the coalition

:43:10.:43:18.

for the cap to be lifted on local authority borrowing. I think that's

:43:18.:43:22.

really important. Our job is to be putting our arguments strongly

:43:22.:43:25.

forward. You are in the Government, if you don't get those what should

:43:25.:43:30.

the Lib Dems do? We are going to do the best we can, pushing our

:43:30.:43:33.

arguments, I don't want to see the poorest in society bearing the

:43:33.:43:42.

bankrupt of the cuts -- brunt of the cuts. We have to get a really

:43:42.:43:48.

good agreed package. It's very important the components, but

:43:48.:43:52.

absolutely we agree not to go down the path of Labour, spin, spin,

:43:52.:43:58.

speb -- spend, spend, spin. You do agree about a mansion tax? Labour's

:43:58.:44:02.

come round to our way of thinking. That doesn't make sense. You have

:44:02.:44:05.

said don't spend but you want local authorities to borrow, why do you

:44:05.:44:10.

want them to borrow if not to spend to invest? I am saying we make

:44:10.:44:16.

careful decisions in this, if we are raising some taxes, then those

:44:16.:44:20.

taxes must be on those with higher income and wealth and that would

:44:20.:44:25.

give us more man owe sraerability for spending. I don't want to see

:44:25.:44:30.

is the rash spending, including that in the run-up to the general

:44:30.:44:35.

election where projects which were going to favour Labour seats were -

:44:35.:44:38.

projects were being signed off left, right and centre. Would you

:44:38.:44:43.

thraoeubg see tax cuts -- like to see tax cuts? I am a realist about

:44:43.:44:46.

the current situation. I believe in a low tax economy, because that

:44:46.:44:50.

would... Wouldn't that boost growth? Your colleague is putting

:44:51.:44:54.

it forward and seems to have support? The Chancellor has done a

:44:54.:44:58.

lot in terms of reducing taxes on business, down to to corporation

:44:58.:45:04.

tax, small profit rates tax and that has brought in confidence for

:45:04.:45:07.

businesses to invest. Investment is key to create jobs. Businesses

:45:07.:45:11.

aren't investing. They're sitting on a massive amount of cash because

:45:11.:45:14.

they don't feel certain about whether to invest. That's a

:45:14.:45:22.

sweeping generalisation. There are businesses doing that. The other

:45:22.:45:27.

side, if you look at the schemes such as funding for for lending,

:45:27.:45:32.

that's starting to works. When we get a new Governor of the Bank of

:45:32.:45:37.

England the monetary debate will kick off again on what can be done

:45:37.:45:47.
:45:47.:45:59.

to bring money into the economy in How worried are your quairbts about

:45:59.:46:05.

inflation? -- quairbts about inflation? The cost of living

:46:05.:46:09.

affects everybody. We have to be mindful and I think the Chancellor

:46:09.:46:14.

is mindful of the fact that people are hurting. The pound is getting

:46:14.:46:19.

squeezed through energy costs and fuel prices. What does he do to

:46:19.:46:25.

help them? He recognises that. At the same time we have to press the

:46:25.:46:28.

energy companies to keep prices low and to be fair in terms of

:46:28.:46:32.

competition as well. It is about the pressure we can apply. The last

:46:32.:46:35.

thing we want to see is sterling come under acute pressure. Of

:46:35.:46:42.

course that would have a knock-on in terms of food prices. One could

:46:42.:46:46.

argue it is under pressure. should not create panic about this.

:46:46.:46:52.

It has been hit over the past week - that was in anticipation of the

:46:52.:46:56.

credit rating being lost. Let's turn attentions to a story which

:46:56.:47:02.

has all the drama and intrigue of a soap opera. A former MP facing jail

:47:02.:47:07.

and a cast of MPs seeking to be elected in Eastleigh.

:47:07.:47:17.

Flem flem flem has been to Hampshire -- Adam Fleming has been

:47:17.:47:22.

to Hampshire. Affairs, rivalries and boats - 80s'

:47:22.:47:27.

TV favourite Howard's Way had it all! It was filmed here in

:47:27.:47:34.

Eastleigh, which is now in the midst of a by-election of soap

:47:34.:47:39.

opera proportions. This was a Tory seat until 1994, then the Lib Dems

:47:39.:47:43.

seized it. Chris Huhne was the MP in 2005. We all know what happened

:47:43.:47:48.

to that character. If Chris Huhne is the villain, then here is the

:47:48.:47:58.
:47:58.:47:58.

man trying to clean up the mess - the Liberal Democrat candidate.

:47:58.:48:02.

He put his hand up for it. He should be punished. I would like

:48:02.:48:08.

him to apologise to everyone here. Meet his closest rival and feisty

:48:08.:48:18.

female - Maria Hutchings who has gone off on her own issues. This is

:48:18.:48:22.

a fantastic place to live. It deserves somebody who understands

:48:22.:48:26.

it and will be a good focal force in Parliament, supporting David

:48:26.:48:36.

Cameron's clear message. Who is this? A mysterious new-comer - John

:48:36.:48:40.

O 'Farrell. There'll be a general election in two-and-a-half years -

:48:40.:48:45.

are you committed as-to-a life as MP? If they don't like me after two

:48:45.:48:50.

years they can kick me out again. I will stand if elected. I am looking

:48:50.:48:55.

forward to that exciting life. there is the previously minor

:48:55.:49:05.
:49:05.:49:06.

character thrust into a major plot line, the UKIP candidate. I have

:49:06.:49:09.

had questions thrown at me, you know, you have to think on your

:49:09.:49:13.

feet. Like what? A number of the interviewers were, are you racist?

:49:14.:49:20.

Are you a bigot? You know - it's amazing that they still trawl that

:49:20.:49:23.

particular line. And the theme continues at this local pub, where

:49:23.:49:29.

they have a tribute to the cast of Howard's Way on the wall. Hang on -

:49:30.:49:36.

that's given me an idea! Which soap opera character are you like in

:49:36.:49:42.

real life? I heard Joan Tweeted I should be the lead in Borgen. I

:49:43.:49:49.

don't watch it. I will be one of the Spooks girls. Which one?

:49:49.:49:55.

Probably one of them they have killed off. One soap opera I

:49:55.:49:59.

enjoyed watching is an American one - it was the West Wing. If I can be

:49:59.:50:03.

even a quarter of the man the President was in that, I would be a

:50:03.:50:13.
:50:13.:50:13.

very happy man! Bet Lnych, serving pints to the

:50:13.:50:23.
:50:23.:50:26.

To be fair to this place, Howard's Way is not that realistic -

:50:26.:50:32.

Eastleigh is actually an old railway town, but this episode is a

:50:33.:50:37.

real-life cliffhanger. What will the consequences be? Will Labour

:50:37.:50:45.

sink and UKIP swim? Stay tuned! Remember, you can see a full list

:50:45.:50:55.

of candidates on the BBC website. We are joined now by Gerard Batten.

:50:55.:51:01.

How damaging to Lib Dem prospects is the way the party have handled

:51:01.:51:05.

allegations that have been denied by Lord Rennard? I found as I was

:51:05.:51:09.

in the constituency last night at a hustings there was not one question

:51:09.:51:12.

about it. I had spoken at a constituency dinner on Saturday

:51:12.:51:16.

night. I spent over an hour on questions and not anybody there

:51:16.:51:20.

asked me a question about it. It is certainly a big issue in the

:51:20.:51:26.

Westminster puddle. As far as I am concerned, and I can say quite

:51:26.:51:31.

categorically, I had never heard of these allegations either first-hand,

:51:31.:51:36.

second-hand at all. I have been a female MP for 12 years. So, I think

:51:36.:51:41.

that is very significant. I'm not pleased, as a female, to think

:51:41.:51:45.

these were not investigated and dealt with properly at the time. I

:51:45.:51:50.

am straight to the investigations. I think all this speculation, who

:51:50.:51:54.

said what, where and when is ludicrous. Let's get on with a

:51:54.:51:58.

proper inquiry. For me, we are looking at culture. Cultural

:51:58.:52:08.

problem across the Church, the BBC - we could go on and on. What about

:52:08.:52:12.

the culture in the Lib Dems? As a woman MP, you say you have been

:52:12.:52:17.

there many years - what is it like? Do you say you are not pleased hu

:52:17.:52:22.

they dealt with it at the time? culture aspect - was there an

:52:22.:52:26.

element of an important person going through. Did we have the

:52:26.:52:30.

right structures in place? If we find we did and they were all there,

:52:30.:52:34.

why didn't they apparently work properly and therefore we've got to

:52:34.:52:39.

look at whether people are in the right places. I am confident with

:52:39.:52:43.

the Chief Whip. A very professional chief executive. Total confidence

:52:43.:52:48.

in where we are going from here. As a female, I certainly feel that I

:52:48.:52:52.

want to know why, how and to be able to stand up and say, this will

:52:52.:52:58.

never happen again in our party. Priti Patel, do you accept that the

:52:58.:53:02.

Eastleigh by-election result will be a verdict on David Cameron's

:53:02.:53:06.

leadership and the coalition? don't. By-elections, particularly

:53:06.:53:09.

mid-term, yes people will vote whichever way they want to vote,

:53:09.:53:13.

but I don't think any sitting Government should take it as a said

:53:13.:53:18.

verdict on them because people vote because they are disillusioned,

:53:18.:53:22.

unhappy about things going on. I have been involved in by-elections

:53:22.:53:30.

for a long period of time. So, it's flux - yes, there is a lot of that

:53:30.:53:34.

in by-election. By-elections do play some importance, but more

:53:34.:53:39.

often than not you will find a local candidate... What about UKIP

:53:39.:53:46.

in terms of taking away Tory voters and handing the by-election to the

:53:46.:53:49.

Liberal Democrats? I am not convinced. There is a national

:53:49.:53:52.

spotlight on by-elections. All the parties will throw everything into

:53:52.:53:57.

them. They will try and maximise their share of the vote. When it

:53:57.:54:03.

comes to UKIP claiming they are the only party on Europe, I disagree

:54:03.:54:07.

with that. Isn't that what you are hearing on

:54:07.:54:11.

the doorstep - actually, don't worry Mr Batten because the Tories

:54:11.:54:16.

are giving us what we want, so we will not vote UKIP? I have not

:54:16.:54:20.

heard that at all. I have heard disillusioned people. People are

:54:20.:54:25.

coming over to UKIP. We're not just taking votes from the Tories -

:54:25.:54:30.

that's a myth. We take them from Labour supporters. We take some Lib

:54:30.:54:35.

Dem votes sometimes. But not often? I don't have a scientific analysis

:54:35.:54:40.

for you, but we do take, because a lot of Lib Dem votes are protest

:54:40.:54:44.

votes, in Eastleigh any way. People who have protested by voting for

:54:44.:54:50.

the Lib Dems no longer feel it is a worthwhile thing to do. The latest

:54:50.:54:55.

figures is we can be neck and neck with the Tories. The polls out at

:54:55.:54:59.

the weekend said we are on 21%. They looked at how people's

:54:59.:55:03.

previous voting - how they voted last time. If you take it out of

:55:03.:55:08.

the equation, we could be on 25, the Tories on 26. Labour risks

:55:08.:55:16.

coming behind UKIP in this race? are not complacent about this at

:55:16.:55:23.

all. An old railway town, this should be a three-way margin, a

:55:23.:55:26.

four-way margin. People are feeling the squeeze as much as elsewhere.

:55:26.:55:30.

We are fighting this by-election hard. We are fighting it hard

:55:30.:55:33.

because it signalled something about Ed Miliband's Labour Party,

:55:33.:55:38.

which is we are not just interested in Governing for one section of the

:55:38.:55:42.

population. When he said, we want to be the one nation party, he

:55:42.:55:47.

meant it. That is why we're on the doorstep, trying to garner support

:55:47.:55:52.

n a seat we have traditionally not won. Is the candidate taking it

:55:52.:55:56.

seriously? I think he is taking it seriously. He is a stance believer

:55:56.:56:00.

in social justice, as am I. He cares about the situation of people

:56:00.:56:05.

who are seeing their living standards falling as a result of

:56:05.:56:09.

the disastrous handling of the economy. You see light-hearted

:56:09.:56:15.

humour from him. In the general circus that Eastleigh seems to have

:56:15.:56:22.

become I preferred the brand of humour than what is going on at the

:56:22.:56:27.

moment. Has it turned into a dirty fight? I didn't see that last night.

:56:27.:56:31.

I have been out on the street as well. I would argue that, at this

:56:31.:56:34.

stage, the Liberal Democrats are not looking for a protest vote.

:56:34.:56:40.

What they are looking at is a track record in the town with holding all

:56:40.:56:44.

26 council seats. They could not have been doing bad things over so

:56:44.:56:52.

many years - it is remarkable to hold all the seats. A local can r

:56:52.:56:57.

candidate. As they have some local credentials. He has the track

:56:57.:57:00.

record. Well, good for him! Stay with us. We are nearly at the end

:57:00.:57:06.

of the programme. We are joined from Westminster but someone you

:57:06.:57:16.
:57:16.:57:16.

will all recognise. Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall. What is the fishiest

:57:16.:57:24.

outfith you've had? We've had squid, jellyfish. It's been the most

:57:24.:57:28.

fantastic carnival atmosphere. We have close to 2,000 people here.

:57:28.:57:32.

They are here because they share the passion for protecting the

:57:32.:57:36.

marine environment. We have a very, very loud siren going on behind me.

:57:36.:57:45.

We are used to it. Battle with it. I don't want to dampen anyone's

:57:45.:57:50.

enthusiasm here. There is a consultation about marine

:57:50.:57:53.

conservation. Our Government has asked to hear from us. We want to

:57:53.:57:58.

see action. You want to see action. Have Government ministers agreed to

:57:58.:58:03.

meet you? Are you getting anywhere? I have met with our fisheries

:58:03.:58:07.

minister on several occasions to discuss this issue. It is - fair

:58:07.:58:12.

play to him - he is engaged. Having set up a period of consultation

:58:12.:58:16.

over two years which cost �8 million, DEFRA came up with a

:58:16.:58:21.

proposal for a network of 127 Marine Conservation Zones around

:58:22.:58:25.

the UK. That is a good, healthy number. The current disappointment

:58:25.:58:29.

is they have announced they will only look at 31 of them. That is

:58:29.:58:33.

what we're talking about here today. We want to see a time frame to

:58:33.:58:40.

extend that number for a proper consultation on the full 127.

:58:40.:58:46.

will let you go back to your fishy friends. Good luck! That is all for

:58:46.:58:53.

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