02/05/2013 Daily Politics


02/05/2013

Andrew Neil is joined by the former Sun Editor, Kelvin MacKenzie, as many voters go to the polls in local elections. They discuss Britain's aid budget and other political news.


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to the Daily Politics. The aid budget has been protected from the

:00:45.:00:47.

cuts will stop but are the Ministry of defence and other departments on

:00:48.:00:53.

a mission to raid its coffers by stealth?

:00:53.:00:56.

Most newspapers are against it but if the Prime Minister set to press

:00:56.:01:06.

ahead with his plan for the press? How do the politicians of every

:01:06.:01:10.

colour, including the blue ones, treat the hard-working people of the

:01:10.:01:16.

South? Like a piggybank, that is how.

:01:16.:01:21.

Oh, yes, we will pit South versus North.

:01:21.:01:25.

And as voters go to the polls in England and a bit of Wales, we will

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tell you what the weather is going to be like.

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All of that in the next half an hour. With us is the former editor

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of the Sun newspaper, Kelvin MacKenzie.

:01:40.:01:47.

First, could the aid budget be spent on the Armed Forces? There is talk

:01:47.:01:51.

of peacekeeping missions, whose cost is usually met by the MoD, being

:01:51.:01:56.

paid for by the Department for International development. Its

:01:56.:02:02.

budget has been ring fenced, but like -- unlike other departments,

:02:03.:02:06.

its budget has soared during the coalition. The Prime Minister is

:02:06.:02:10.

looking for ways to ring fence the budget while letting others have a

:02:10.:02:14.

slice of it. David Cameron has ruled out cutting the aid budget, which

:02:15.:02:23.

currently stands at �7.7 million. -- �10.7 billion. The government has

:02:23.:02:31.

pledged to maintain it at that level over national income. Other

:02:31.:02:35.

ministers want to radiate budget to meet bills usually paid for by their

:02:35.:02:41.

departments. Aid organisations are worried that money will be diverted

:02:41.:02:48.

from helping the world 's port. If this was to happen, how much of the

:02:48.:02:52.

almost �11 billion reaches the poor is not clear. We are joined by

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Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children. He used to work

:02:58.:03:01.

for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown at number ten. If the British Army is

:03:01.:03:05.

on a peace mission and try to save lives, shouldn't it be in the aid

:03:05.:03:15.

budget question -- aid budget? It can be a small bit of

:03:15.:03:19.

peacekeeping, but the rest of it can't. The prime minister also said

:03:19.:03:24.

yesterday that he would not break those rules. A bit of this is a

:03:24.:03:30.

storm in a teacup. On the one hand, the headlines today are about

:03:30.:03:35.

spending on aid and military. He has said he will not break the rules.

:03:35.:03:42.

you think it is all spin coming out of Downing Street?

:03:42.:03:51.

A little bit of it could. He says security is given -- important for

:03:51.:03:56.

development. Somewhere I have been recently, Somalia, you can train the

:03:56.:04:01.

police force. That is an important part of building security. Some of

:04:01.:04:06.

that can come from the aid budget. But you can't pay for military

:04:06.:04:09.

operations. I don't think the British public would support it. I

:04:09.:04:13.

think they think it is for poverty reduction.

:04:13.:04:17.

But we know the British public do not like the aid budget to be ring

:04:17.:04:24.

fenced. I think the polls are mixed. A lot

:04:24.:04:31.

of people, I think the British public is proud of the aid budget.

:04:31.:04:36.

If you look at the polls, and they're right number of polls on it,

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-- they're right number of polls on it, some of them are as high as 48%.

:04:43.:04:49.

For any ring fenced budget, that is quite a large group of people. I

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reckon 15 million people are passionate. They think it is part of

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our DNA. The story of aid is making a difference. The British public

:04:59.:05:08.

would support... In the past few years, we have had a reduction in

:05:09.:05:15.

child deaths. It is down to about 6.9 million.

:05:15.:05:19.

You are claiming all the credit. There are other factors at work,

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including rising living standards. It is not all down to aid. One of

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the ageist reasons there is a reduction is vaccinations. That is a

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lot to do with aid. Isn't there a case for a wealthy

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country like Britain, even in tough times, to say, look, there is a

:05:41.:05:46.

chunk of money that we are going to do ring fence for the poorest in the

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world? It just depends. We have plenty of

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poor people in our own country. What I object to with Cameron is that he

:05:57.:06:01.

has not stuck to his guns. I admire people who go through rough times

:06:01.:06:06.

and say, you know what, this is what I believe. What he is doing is

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nodding, unfortunately, towards the UK Independence party on this. It is

:06:10.:06:18.

a political ploy. I don't want him to play politics over something... I

:06:18.:06:28.
:06:28.:06:30.

don't believe in area, schools or NHS, or the chess budget, being ring

:06:30.:06:39.

fenced. -- the NHS budget. I would prefer him to say, I am

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sticking to this. I dislike Cameron on that particular issue.

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Personally, I would not ring fence anything. He has made a point of the

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fact that we should be proud of it. If he believes it, I would like him

:06:51.:06:58.

to stay there, no matter the political waters.

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I think that NGOs often do not give the government credit. David Cameron

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deserves a lot of credit on this issue. They have stuck by their

:07:11.:07:18.

guns. We have got to 0.7%. It is 1p in every pound.

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It is nice to see him believing in something, to be honest!

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There are reports that big chunks of money are wasted and it could be

:07:28.:07:33.

better used. You could cut that �11 billion substantially and the

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world's poor could still be helped. I don't think so. 99% of the money

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goes on the poor. What about the consultants earning 6-figure

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salaries? And the �36 million we gave to Sierra Leone that was spent

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on houses and cars? They have made progress in getting

:08:01.:08:06.

children into school and reducing child deaths. That is because the

:08:06.:08:13.

war ended! The British Army deserve credit. There are a lot of armchair

:08:13.:08:20.

critics of aid. The real story is it has worked. We have a chance, for

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the first time in history, other generation -- no other generation

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has been able to say we can eradicate child deaths. Of the �11

:08:33.:08:43.
:08:43.:08:43.

billion, �700 million is on vaccinations. So it is a small part.

:08:43.:08:49.

That could be ring fenced. We also do education. We fight malnutrition.

:08:49.:08:57.

In the coming weeks, Greg Britain holds the G8. -- Great Britain. We

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did have a report today saying that 250,000 people died from famine in

:09:01.:09:07.

Somalia. If you are doing that, why do you have two raise money for

:09:07.:09:17.
:09:17.:09:20.

British kids? This was a political way to politicise Save the Children,

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to embarrass the coalition. founder, 90 years ago, introduced

:09:28.:09:38.
:09:38.:09:41.

nurseries. Andrew, I think it is unfair. Save the children is

:09:41.:09:46.

nonpartisan. I have just praised David Cameron and George Osborne. We

:09:46.:09:50.

also have an obligation to fight poverty at home. We have big

:09:50.:09:54.

programmes doing it. In September last year, we raised money for it.

:09:54.:09:57.

The British public want to support it. We would never be party

:09:57.:10:02.

political. Our focus is children themselves.

:10:02.:10:11.

Our guest of the day may look content. Yet, he does, actually. But

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there is injustice nagging at him. He is deprived of anybody

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representing him. He believes many others in the South East are in the

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same position. Here is a party political broadcast on behalf of the

:10:23.:10:33.
:10:33.:10:33.

holy fictitious British other party. -- completely dishes.

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Statistics show that we in the South work longer hours than anywhere else

:10:39.:10:42.

in the country, and now commute further and further from our place

:10:42.:10:49.

of work as we attempt not to pay �10 million for our house. And most

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importantly, London and the South East are virtually propped up the

:10:52.:10:59.

entire British economy. -- London and the South East the Queen propped

:10:59.:11:07.

How do the politicians of every colour, including the blue ones,

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treat these massively hard-working people? Like a PD bank, that is how.

:11:16.:11:26.
:11:26.:11:26.

They tax the hell out of us. It is time for a southern party.

:11:26.:11:36.
:11:36.:11:38.

According to Professor Nicholas at Warwick University, London is not

:11:38.:11:48.
:11:48.:11:48.

far from producing half of the country's comic output. The average

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Londoner produces 60% more than a work in the north-east. Sexy 6% more

:11:52.:12:00.

than somebody in Wales, too. -- 66%. Stamp duty is a pernicious,

:12:00.:12:07.

virtually southern only tax. Five London boroughs pay more Stamp duty

:12:07.:12:13.

than the rest of the nation together. There is a basic

:12:13.:12:17.

unfairness in the way Southerners are being treated. We need political

:12:17.:12:23.

pressure. I really southern party can supply it. -- only the southern

:12:24.:12:31.

party. So, is London and the South East

:12:31.:12:39.

having to bail of the UK? In the know -- northern korma -- in the

:12:39.:12:44.

northern corner, Mike Smith, leader of Mike's Carpets. And in the

:12:44.:12:51.

southern corner, Kelvin MacKenzie. He says the average Londoner

:12:51.:13:01.

produces more than the rest of the country. Rubbish and prejudice.You

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should be on the show more often! have never heard such prejudice

:13:07.:13:14.

against the North of England. We say that the people in London work

:13:14.:13:20.

harder. They don't work harder than the North of England. There is great

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entrepreneurship in the North of England. Great business is going on

:13:26.:13:33.

in the North. The rum or start up companies per head of the

:13:33.:13:39.

propagation than the south. -- there are more start-up companies.

:13:39.:13:44.

The North of England is home to entrepreneurs like him. I see there

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are more in the North starting up than in the south. You are all

:13:49.:13:54.

living on your property profits. have nothing against entrepreneurs.

:13:54.:13:59.

I am making a different point. With the effect of house prices down

:13:59.:14:05.

here, the Stamp duty is a southern tax, one of the fracture is the work

:14:05.:14:11.

now have to commute even further. Therefore, the effect of train

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fares... If you live outside London, it is going to cost you

:14:18.:14:21.

�6,000 simply commuting over the year. Add it to the fact that the

:14:21.:14:27.

average house price for instance... I looked up a company, and the

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average price in Leeds is �178,000. The average price down here is about

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�300,000. We get caught in stamp duty, and the North doesn't. I'm not

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against this as long as we don't have to pay taxes to go and

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subsidise the great entrepreneurial drive of the North. The South of

:14:53.:14:57.

England contributes �30 billion to the public finances and the North

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takes �30 billion out. That is not true. In the South, there is more

:15:07.:15:15.

well. I am in favour of Stamp duty. The amount should vary a bit. The

:15:15.:15:22.

property prices are far less than in the North. We have got a multitude

:15:22.:15:25.

of properties that come into Stamp duty. They are paying more in the

:15:25.:15:30.

South because the price is more. The standard of living is different.

:15:30.:15:33.

People can afford to live in Yorkshire on a third of what they

:15:33.:15:40.

can live on down here. Why should teachers, then, get the same amount

:15:40.:15:47.

of money in the North East as if you work in the South? They shouldn't,

:15:47.:15:52.

actually. There should be a differential. There used to be a

:15:52.:15:59.

Londoner living allowance. Not only for teachers but for the police.

:15:59.:16:04.

North drives our manufacturing now. The North East has the highest level

:16:04.:16:13.

in the country. I am seeking political pressure so that the

:16:13.:16:20.

Tories or Labour or whoever decided we can stick these taxes on and they

:16:20.:16:27.

are applying exclusively to the south. What I am saying is, I am

:16:27.:16:37.
:16:37.:16:39.

Then why pick on the north? I am not picking on the north. Shouldn't

:16:39.:16:43.

London give more to the rest of the country? If it was not for the

:16:43.:16:48.

manufacturers of the north -- it was not the manufacturers of the north

:16:48.:16:52.

that brought us to our knees with the economic crisis, that was

:16:52.:16:57.

London. If you look over the last 60 years, London has supplied the

:16:57.:17:03.

earnings so that other people... If you take place like Wales, Wales

:17:03.:17:09.

spends 44% more on what it does in Wales, ie a subsidy, compared to

:17:09.:17:13.

London, which is a net producer of wealth, and we have to stop this.

:17:13.:17:17.

Why should London and the south-east subsidise entire chunks of the

:17:17.:17:24.

country? Wales is a different area. In Wales, the mining industry was

:17:24.:17:27.

prolific and subsidised the education system. Yorkshire had the

:17:27.:17:34.

same problem, because the mining industry has gone now. But now it is

:17:34.:17:41.

coming back. The pits are open. There are places which may be

:17:41.:17:47.

potentially opening. It will not be what it was before, but it is coming

:17:47.:17:51.

back. It brings a cross to bear on the education system, not just in

:17:51.:17:59.

Yorkshire and Wales, but all over the country. If you are 150 grand a

:17:59.:18:02.

year in the south, you don't pay any more tax than in the north. The

:18:02.:18:09.

taxman does the same for everybody. You are not subsidising us.

:18:09.:18:18.

Actually, the majority of people earning that money are down here.

:18:18.:18:25.

And they provide a standard of living in the north... I said

:18:25.:18:32.

�150,000 a year earners, not �150,000 people.

:18:32.:18:36.

Now, it is six weeks since a deal was done in Ed Miliband's office on

:18:36.:18:41.

newspaper regulation, without the newspapers being present. All three

:18:41.:18:44.

party leaders signed up to it, but their plans for a new regulator

:18:44.:18:47.

backed by Royal Charter has gone down like a lead balloon with

:18:47.:18:50.

national and local newspapers. Let's get the latest from our

:18:50.:18:54.

correspondent. The government came up with this royal charter and

:18:54.:18:58.

parliament agreed with it, but no newspaper has yet agreed to sign

:18:59.:19:05.

on. So what will the government do? People keep saying this is complex.

:19:05.:19:10.

In fact, it is simple. On 15th May, there will be a meeting of the privy

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Council, the Queen and four of her ministers, standing up. That is how

:19:15.:19:19.

she likes this business done. They will approve a Royal Charter. At the

:19:19.:19:24.

moment, it looks like that will be the cross-party Charter agreed in

:19:24.:19:28.

that office meeting. Many of the papers don't like that one bit. So

:19:28.:19:34.

the question is, will David Cameron decide to concede to the papers'

:19:34.:19:39.

demands and either put up the newspapers' version or some

:19:39.:19:43.

concessional combination? And intriguing bit of spin reaches me

:19:43.:19:47.

from a well-placed Tory source today. I am told the Conservatives

:19:47.:19:54.

are amenable to the newspapers' position, but this has to have

:19:54.:19:57.

cross-party support. So the papers need to be targeting Labour and the

:19:57.:20:01.

Liberal Democrats for concessions. Hard to know what to make of that,

:20:01.:20:06.

but lots of Conservatives will tell you it is Labour and the Lib Dems

:20:06.:20:09.

who are the ones the papers should go after when it comes to a general

:20:09.:20:18.

election period. We are joined by Steven Barnett of the campaign group

:20:18.:20:23.

Hacked Off. Kelvin Mackenzie, is it your view that if Mr Cameron

:20:23.:20:31.

proceeds with this royal charter, the newspapers will not sign up?

:20:31.:20:35.

is an interesting question. My sense is that they will not, because there

:20:35.:20:42.

is virtually nothing in it for them. There is the threat of

:20:42.:20:47.

increased fines if they don't, and that may end up in various strands

:20:47.:20:53.

bog courts to be fought through -- Strasberg courts. If I were a

:20:54.:21:01.

newspaper proprietor, forget what the editors think, I would take my

:21:01.:21:06.

chances. So there is a danger that after all this debate and the

:21:06.:21:10.

regulation that has come forward, we will have a regular tree system to

:21:10.:21:14.

which not even the Guardian or Independent will sign up? Of course

:21:14.:21:18.

there is a danger, because the whole point is that it is a voluntary

:21:18.:21:23.

system. The situation is more nuanced than that. I am sure Kelvin

:21:23.:21:27.

is right and some papers will say they don't want to play this game.

:21:27.:21:33.

Others will look at the detail after May 15. The Guardian, the

:21:33.:21:37.

Independent, the FT, none of them have come out in support of the

:21:37.:21:43.

press charter. More importantly, I would advise everyone to look at

:21:43.:21:52.

their local and regional press. If you look at what could be in it,

:21:52.:21:56.

picking up Kelvin's point, for the local and regional press, if I was

:21:56.:22:00.

the editor of a local newspaper and I was thinking, wait a minute, there

:22:00.:22:04.

is this leader of the council and this local entrepreneur, I have got

:22:04.:22:07.

stuff on them in the public interest that I want to publish, but they

:22:07.:22:14.

have been threatening me and I am scared of lawsuits, and I am worried

:22:14.:22:19.

about being bullied, the point of this system is that it protects you

:22:19.:22:23.

from those sorts of people. If I was a regional local editor, I would

:22:23.:22:27.

think this could work for me. far, none of them have said that

:22:27.:22:32.

publicly. They seem to be more against it than the national papers.

:22:32.:22:37.

What is your response to that? Leveson, which has turned out to be

:22:37.:22:44.

a disaster, as you will see from various stories beginning to trickle

:22:44.:22:48.

out already with the shadow of Leveson over people, I think local

:22:48.:22:53.

papers will run a mile from doing anything under any system right now.

:22:53.:22:58.

Because of the fear of penalties? The fear of penalties, the fear of

:22:58.:23:06.

threats of this, that and the other. So you end up this morning where a

:23:06.:23:10.

police authority will not name an ex-police officer who is charged

:23:10.:23:15.

with �117,000 worth of stealing because they say we are "following

:23:15.:23:22.

Leveson" . You are getting all kinds of people in authority now saying,

:23:22.:23:26.

we will not reveal this or that. It is hard enough to find out what is

:23:26.:23:31.

going on without people than threatening you about disclosure.

:23:31.:23:36.

are in danger of confusing two different things. One is the system

:23:36.:23:40.

of voluntary self-regulation which is on the table now, which I and

:23:40.:23:45.

others believe that a local press will look at and say, that will help

:23:45.:23:48.

us do decent investigative journalism. There is a different

:23:48.:23:52.

point, which is, are there things being said by certain people like

:23:53.:23:57.

police forces, who are perhaps using Leveson as an umbrella? Maybe, but

:23:57.:24:00.

that is a different issue from whether this particular system,

:24:00.:24:10.

which I think will be signed off on 15th May, will work or not. I hope

:24:10.:24:14.

it isn't. I think Cameron made a shocking error by announcing Leveson

:24:14.:24:22.

in advance of the trials taking place. I think it would have been a

:24:23.:24:31.

stronger suit... But we are where we are. OK, on that basis, I hope the

:24:31.:24:35.

newspapers stick together will stop but they haven't got much of a

:24:35.:24:40.

backbone. They talk about free speech, and as soon as a puff of

:24:40.:24:43.

wind comes their way, there seems to be a lot of ways of accommodating

:24:43.:24:49.

people. If they don't sign up, the government is in danger of calling a

:24:49.:24:52.

party to which no one will come. it turns out you are wrong about

:24:52.:24:58.

regional papers, the jury is out on that matter, if they decide that

:24:58.:25:04.

exemplary damage will go all the way to Strasberg as it could be an

:25:04.:25:11.

offence to human rights... That is not going to happen. Forget the

:25:11.:25:17.

scaremongering. I have seen the legal advice on both sides, and the

:25:17.:25:22.

legal advice for the press comes from those providing advice at

:25:22.:25:28.

Leveson. Put that to one side. Yes, you are right. It may be that no one

:25:28.:25:33.

comes to this party. If that happens in a years time, the recognition

:25:33.:25:36.

panel will bring forward a report saying that nothing has happened.

:25:36.:25:43.

That is the point of a voluntary system. But you will have failed. It

:25:43.:25:48.

is not us. This has become your life's work. The people who will

:25:48.:25:52.

have failed will be the people who have suffered from press abuse,

:25:52.:25:58.

because there will not be a system to stop it happening again.

:25:58.:26:05.

As you may have heard, there are a few elections taking play today. 35

:26:05.:26:08.

local authorities are holding them -27 in the county can, seven unitary

:26:08.:26:13.

authorities as well as Anglesey in Wales. 2300 seats are up for grabs.

:26:13.:26:19.

There are also mayoral elections in Doncaster and north Tyneside. And

:26:19.:26:21.

there is a by-election in South Shields after the former Foreign

:26:21.:26:26.

Secretary, David Miliband, resigned. Before you venture out to the

:26:26.:26:30.

polling station, it is important that we give you a weather forecast.

:26:30.:26:38.

You will need your sun hat, if you can find it, as you have had a long

:26:38.:26:43.

time without using it. We are joined now by the BBC's Huw Edwards, who

:26:43.:26:49.

will soon be taking possession of this enormous desk. When do we start

:26:49.:26:56.

getting the first results? Normally, you know better than

:26:56.:27:01.

anyone, on election night, we are waiting hours for results. But when

:27:01.:27:06.

we come on air tomorrow morning at 8.30 on the BBC News Channel, we

:27:06.:27:09.

will be able to talk about the South Shields Parliament drew by-election,

:27:09.:27:15.

which will have been done overnight. And one of the mayoral elections and

:27:15.:27:20.

six local authorities. We should have some strong signals. And for

:27:20.:27:26.

the rest of the day, you carry on. A lot of accounts are being done

:27:26.:27:29.

during day two, so you will get the results in the morning and

:27:29.:27:37.

afternoon? Six have done there's overnight. Then there will be more

:27:38.:27:42.

during the day. Some of those will be very interesting. We will be on

:27:42.:27:46.

BBC Two from midday and then back on at two o'clock and then five. Most

:27:46.:27:50.

of the day will be on the BBC News Channel, but three hours on BBC Two

:27:50.:27:56.

during the afternoon. So a long day, but an important day. Parties are

:27:56.:28:01.

very nervous about this election. There are a lot of unknowns.

:28:01.:28:05.

Politicians like to dismiss local elections as local affairs, and in

:28:05.:28:15.
:28:15.:28:19.

many areas, they are. But there are bigger things here and there are

:28:19.:28:21.

high stakes for the parties and their leaders.

:28:21.:28:25.

Don't miss Hugh Edwards on the BBC News Channel at 8:30am and then on

:28:25.:28:29.

BBC Two from 12, two and five. But is it for today. I am back tonight

:28:29.:28:33.

with a special This Week on BBC One from as special secret location,

:28:34.:28:38.

with an audience. We have never had an audience. We will have Michael

:28:38.:28:43.

Portillo, Alan Johnson and Nigel Farage and Miranda Green. I will be

:28:43.:28:46.

back on Sunday with the Sunday Politics, when we will be chewing

:28:47.:28:50.

As many voters go to the polls to elect local councillors, Andrew Neil is joined by the former Sun Editor, Kelvin MacKenzie. They'll be discussing Britain's aid budget and whether it should be ring-fenced as well as all the other political news, interviews and debate.


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