09/05/2013 Daily Politics


09/05/2013

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with all the latest political news, including reaction to the Queen's Speech and coalition splits on childcare reform.


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Daily Politics. How many young children can one adult safely look

:00:44.:00:47.

after? Lib Dems and Conservatives squabble over plans to bring down

:00:48.:00:53.

the cost of childcare. It was a pretty posh do but will the

:00:53.:00:55.

bills announced by the Queen yesterday helped the government

:00:55.:01:02.

connect with ordinary voters? Unions have played a key role in the

:01:02.:01:04.

Labour Party since its creation that is the money and influence coming

:01:04.:01:11.

too much -- having too much of a sale over the selection of

:01:11.:01:14.

parliamentary candidates? And what is on Dave and Ed 's mind

:01:14.:01:17.

on Queens speech date the Mac a certain football managers

:01:17.:01:24.

resignation, of course. -- Queens speech date? A certain football

:01:24.:01:27.

manager's resignation. Without -- with us for the next

:01:27.:01:32.

hour, three of Her Majesty's's most loyal subjects. Sarah Newton, deputy

:01:32.:01:36.

chair of the Conservative party, Stella Creasy, stack -- Shadow

:01:36.:01:39.

Minister for crime convention who is dressed perfectly for our sofa

:01:39.:01:45.

area. She has just merged in. Obviously there was a job lot on the

:01:45.:01:53.

material. Charming!

:01:53.:02:00.

And Lorely Burt, chair of the Lib Dem parliamentary party. Let's start

:02:00.:02:03.

with childcare and the revelation that Nick Clegg has told the

:02:03.:02:06.

Conservatives that he is not so keen on government plans to increase the

:02:06.:02:09.

number of children that nursery staff and childminders can look

:02:09.:02:16.

after. Speaking on LBC's Call Clegg this morning, he said there had been

:02:16.:02:19.

discussions for weeks about the plans to increase statutory ratios

:02:19.:02:25.

for carers. We have been talking about this for weeks and weeks and

:02:25.:02:30.

that was as surprised as anyone else that this appeared in public

:02:30.:02:35.

overnight. Being open, I'm telling you that this is a debate we have

:02:35.:02:40.

had for a long time. You could look after four at once, couldn't you?

:02:40.:02:44.

It's not a question about me. I challenge you to spend a morning

:02:44.:02:50.

looking after six two-year-olds. will have a go if you have a go.

:02:50.:02:53.

going to visit a childcare Centre this afternoon so maybe we'll have a

:02:53.:02:58.

go. I'll wish them both luck with looking after six two-year-olds. Is

:02:58.:03:05.

this another U-turn on policy? at all. I understand that there will

:03:05.:03:10.

be a consultation. They are going to talk to the different interest

:03:10.:03:13.

groups and make sure that what we're doing is the right thing. It is

:03:13.:03:17.

important decision. Nick Clegg says it is not the right thing to do. He

:03:17.:03:23.

has clearly said he does not think the ratio should be increased.

:03:23.:03:26.

Conservative minister says that it is. As I say, we will take the

:03:26.:03:33.

advice of the experts. My own daughter went to nursery school and

:03:33.:03:36.

they do not know what the ratio was but an old that she got a lot of

:03:36.:03:41.

loving and professional care. I think that is the important thing.

:03:41.:03:47.

We can come onto the substance, but there is a risk that this policy

:03:47.:03:52.

will not go ahead. Is that how you see it? These concerns have been

:03:52.:03:55.

raised at the 11th hour and Nick Clegg does not think the balance is

:03:55.:04:02.

right. I think we will sort it out. I think there will be a compromise.

:04:02.:04:10.

Where will it come from? Am not a fly on the wall. I do not know, I am

:04:10.:04:14.

not a professional. Think we should leave these decisions to people with

:04:14.:04:21.

the professional ability. experts say that it is nonsense and

:04:21.:04:24.

the government's own advice on this has said that it would be madness to

:04:24.:04:28.

go ahead and increase the ratio. Now we have the Deputy Prime Minister

:04:28.:04:33.

saying he is very concerned. This policy is not going to happen.

:04:33.:04:37.

is part of the bill in the normal process is that it gets well

:04:37.:04:41.

scrutinised. This is such an important issue for families all

:04:41.:04:45.

over the country. but scrutinised by the backbenchers, not the

:04:45.:04:52.

government. You're meant to do that when you make it a bill. There is

:04:52.:04:56.

proper scrutiny involving people inside and outside of Parliament.

:04:56.:05:02.

Freedom is usually -- Sweden is usually held up as the best country

:05:02.:05:06.

for childcare but they have no ratios at all. But they have a lot

:05:06.:05:10.

of state subsidies. They have a lot of highly qualified, trained staff.

:05:10.:05:13.

And the make sure they have good quality childcare. I think any

:05:13.:05:22.

parent, and we are all mothers here, any mother would love the best

:05:22.:05:27.

possible care for their children. I think they are really well placed to

:05:27.:05:31.

know and make the choice. How many children do you think one adult

:05:31.:05:36.

could safely look after? I think if it is a question of how

:05:36.:05:42.

well-qualified they are, but I am not an expert. I am in Mum of three

:05:42.:05:46.

but it is not an area of expertise for me. I'd agree. I would not want

:05:46.:05:52.

to look after six voluntarily. But the problem here, this is a policy

:05:52.:05:56.

that has been presented and it is only part of the bill, but without

:05:56.:06:00.

it, the rest of the Bill collapses because it is all costed around this

:06:00.:06:05.

element of childcare, and an earnest has clearly said that without this

:06:05.:06:12.

element, the rest of the package is not costed. This is a proper debate

:06:12.:06:15.

to be had in Parliament but I would say that this is such an important

:06:16.:06:19.

issue, let's not make a political ping-pong match out of it. Families

:06:19.:06:24.

all over the country want to know that we are focused on an important

:06:24.:06:28.

issue, high-quality, affordable childcare. That is the most

:06:28.:06:31.

expensive childcare anywhere in Europe, apart from Switzerland. We

:06:31.:06:36.

have so many families that want to be able to go out to work and they

:06:36.:06:43.

cannot afford it. OK, there are details need to ironed out...

:06:43.:06:47.

think this is a fairly crucial detail. -- needs to be ironed out.

:06:47.:06:53.

How many children can an adult would after? You mean Nick Clegg, he is

:06:54.:06:57.

play politics with this. I think it is unfair to draw particular

:06:57.:07:02.

attention. One week, the Labour Party figures are good idea in the

:07:02.:07:07.

next they think it is a bad idea. This is such an important issue. All

:07:07.:07:10.

the parties should really get to the evidence. Other countries have these

:07:10.:07:17.

ratios. Liberal Democrats are the ones in government, not Labour, but

:07:17.:07:21.

we will come to live now. Do you think it is too many, Stella

:07:21.:07:27.

Creasy? I have got a 2 euros niece and ironed or her, but cannot

:07:27.:07:30.

understand how someone could have another eyes on the back of their

:07:30.:07:37.

heads to cope with six of her at the same time. -- enough eyes. We agreed

:07:37.:07:40.

that families are struggling because of the high cost of childcare but

:07:40.:07:45.

one of the things we did was bringing in childcare vouchers. My

:07:45.:07:48.

word in the 50% of sure start centres say they are not financially

:07:48.:07:54.

sustainable. There is debate about training and qualifications, to make

:07:54.:07:58.

sure we attract and retain the best people. But this is not a small

:07:58.:08:05.

issue. I think the worry is that if the number is not sex, what is the

:08:05.:08:10.

number? But should government increased the number? I am minded by

:08:10.:08:14.

the evidence from Holland where they introduced the ratio and it cost the

:08:14.:08:21.

public purse more. It is a lose lose scenario. Nick Clegg picked up on

:08:21.:08:26.

that. He's right to be but why is he suddenly raising these concerns? Liz

:08:26.:08:31.

Truss has been an advocate for this for a long time. She has been clear

:08:31.:08:36.

about her views, so for it to appear suddenly, I worry that parents are

:08:36.:08:40.

just going to be confused, are they going to make progress? I do not

:08:40.:08:43.

know how you're going to bring childcare costs down? We think

:08:43.:08:47.

investment in the quality of training, and we're looking at sure

:08:47.:08:52.

start. One of the things that comes up is the cost of premises. If you

:08:52.:08:55.

are losing the centres, that is something we should be looking at.

:08:56.:09:01.

Ratios are not the answer. That is the debate we are having. Do you

:09:01.:09:09.

agree with that? You do not agree with the proposal? The key thing, I

:09:09.:09:13.

think we agree, is the quality of the childcare. People have to make

:09:14.:09:19.

technical decisions. I think if parents can have more choice about

:09:19.:09:29.

the type of childcare, that would be a good advance. If ratios are the

:09:29.:09:35.

key thing, why do you want them done at all? You have do have some

:09:35.:09:42.

ratios. Sweden does.That is fine, but you have to set out the basic

:09:42.:09:48.

tenet. Able do not Trust the parents? If people want more than

:09:48.:09:55.

that, then they can have that. I have interviewed Liz Truss on this

:09:55.:09:59.

issue and she is adamant that those ratios need to be increased to bring

:09:59.:10:04.

childcare costs down. I'm not sure where the costs will come down. Will

:10:04.:10:09.

they be passed on to parents? I am not convinced that they will be. We

:10:09.:10:13.

were working in the industry will earn more money and that might be a

:10:13.:10:17.

good thing but can you guarantee that by increasing ratios, parents

:10:17.:10:22.

will pay less? I think it is about choice. Elizabeth wants to be able

:10:22.:10:28.

to offer more choice. Parents are best placed to decide what is the

:10:28.:10:34.

best childcare for them. This is one part of a comrade is a package of

:10:34.:10:38.

measures, making it really affordable for families. Sarah is

:10:38.:10:42.

right, this is a key cost of living issue. We have to do everything we

:10:42.:10:47.

can. Will this be on the books by September, when this is supposed to

:10:48.:10:54.

be rolled out? That is only months away. We had not seen the timetable

:10:54.:10:59.

for parliament but if that is the commitment, we will get to it? Do

:10:59.:11:05.

you agree the Mac with a copper mines, with a change? It has to come

:11:05.:11:10.

out in the wash. We will see. It must be evidence -based. Liz Truss

:11:10.:11:20.

has done her homework. She has. The government's expert says that the

:11:20.:11:25.

ratio makes no sense at all. believe in evidence -based policy

:11:25.:11:28.

making and I'm sure the Minister setting this out to the committee

:11:28.:11:35.

will have a really good debate. Your listeners will expect that. It is

:11:35.:11:39.

our job to spend days and days going through legislation and making sure

:11:39.:11:44.

it is fit for purpose. That is what we will be doing. We will have this

:11:44.:11:48.

discussion before September. Don't say September is just round

:11:48.:11:53.

the corner, we have not even had a summer yet! Acts more like Nigel

:11:53.:11:56.

Farage and less like a public school toff, that was the help of advice of

:11:56.:12:04.

the man who ran David Cameron's County Council. Keith Mitchell said

:12:04.:12:07.

the UKIP leader was better at connecting with ordinary mortals

:12:07.:12:10.

than other politicians and was unafraid to be filmed with a pint of

:12:11.:12:15.

beer and a fag in his hand will stop David Cameron, I'm sure he knows a

:12:15.:12:21.

few things about fags. Yesterday 's win speech looked like a response to

:12:21.:12:24.

the rise of UKIP. Will the speech appeal to disaffected Tory voters?

:12:24.:12:30.

We have been looking at it. The Conservatives are keen to focus

:12:30.:12:33.

on issues that will appeal to members of the grassroots that might

:12:33.:12:37.

have gone over to UKIP or have gone to the pub instead. Shocking. To add

:12:37.:12:42.

some broth to the legislative agenda, there is a new automated

:12:42.:12:43.

agenda, there is a new automated easier to deport foreign criminals

:12:43.:12:45.

agenda, there is a new automated easier to deport measures to

:12:45.:12:49.

regulate migrant access to housing in the NHS. Out our plans for a

:12:49.:12:54.

minimum price for alcohol and plain cigarette packaging. That has

:12:54.:12:59.

angered the black health campaigners but pleased critics of the nanny

:12:59.:13:04.

state. In our new rules meaning that tens of thousands of prisoners will

:13:04.:13:09.

be monitored for up to year after a short jail terms. But there were

:13:09.:13:12.

when the reasons for some backbenchers to think the glass is

:13:12.:13:15.

half-full. No mention of the EU referendum, dashing hopes of a

:13:15.:13:20.

government Bill to enshrine in law a vote after the next election.

:13:20.:13:23.

Ministers say the bill giving the way for high-speed to will boost

:13:23.:13:30.

growth. And although it was not mentioned by the Queen, the gay

:13:30.:13:34.

marriage bill has been carried over from the last Parliament and will be

:13:34.:13:37.

coming back to Parliament. Ed Miliband claimed the package

:13:37.:13:47.
:13:47.:13:48.

amounted to remove to the right and warned the Prime Minister that you

:13:48.:13:53.

cannot out the rise should the rise. Did you see the hand of UKIP in the

:13:53.:14:03.
:14:03.:14:05.

Queens speech? -- out-Farage Farage. We have seen Lord Lawson this week

:14:05.:14:11.

saying that Britain would be better out of the European Union. I think

:14:11.:14:15.

that you look at the meat of the Queens speech, putting restrictions

:14:15.:14:22.

on benefits, for example, for migrants. Obviously, the hand of

:14:22.:14:26.

UKIP is there. But this cannot apply to citizens from the European Union

:14:26.:14:29.

and this cannot apply to citizens from bog area oral mania or Poland

:14:29.:14:37.

or Lithuania. It will only apply to people from Australia, New Zealand,

:14:37.:14:40.

Canada. I think that is the scrum monetary and creates a two tier

:14:40.:14:46.

immigration system. Know that you have joined the big time, you are on

:14:46.:14:52.

the Daily Politics, are you going to have do start developing more

:14:52.:14:56.

policies? Are you a party that is going to have policies or you more a

:14:56.:15:03.

state of mind? UKIP is a movement in many ways and it is a state of mind

:15:03.:15:06.

in many ways. It is about people wanting to gain independence for our

:15:06.:15:11.

country. It is about people who want the people who make the decisions in

:15:11.:15:15.

this country to be the people you can get rid of after five years.

:15:15.:15:22.

They do not want it to be unelected commissioners in Brussels who

:15:22.:15:25.

basically dictate 75% of the laws that we have to apply. In a way, it

:15:25.:15:31.

is a state of mine but it is also a fully fledged political party with a

:15:31.:15:37.

raft of policies. Where are you on social care? Do you have a cap? What

:15:37.:15:46.

would it be? On social care, care for the elderly is quite important.

:15:46.:15:49.

Just quite important? It is important because these people have

:15:49.:15:55.

retired. So what is the policy?The policy is that they deserve care in

:15:55.:15:58.

the government are moving in the right direction. I ask about your

:15:58.:16:03.

policy. Where are you on social care? Would you have a cap and what

:16:03.:16:09.

would it be? I think the cap would be similar to what it is at the

:16:09.:16:13.

moment. We're not just here to criticise the government. The point

:16:13.:16:15.

of the matter is that when they do something right are moving in the

:16:15.:16:20.

right direction, we must say well done and given a pat on the back.

:16:20.:16:23.

There are certain issues where we do not think they are moving in the

:16:23.:16:27.

right direction. For example, the removal of any mention of the EU

:16:27.:16:30.

referendum from the Queens speech. We believe that is not good enough

:16:30.:16:38.

and we would like to see a referendum. Interesting that I asked

:16:38.:16:42.

you about social care and we end up on a referendum about Europe! Where

:16:42.:16:48.

are you on child quake? Would you support a bigger ratio on childcare

:16:48.:16:54.

issues? What is the policy there? Well, we actually think that smaller

:16:54.:16:58.

sizes work in terms of childcare, and obviously it is important

:16:58.:17:03.

because it gets our children ready for school, and primary school is

:17:03.:17:08.

where the very seed of education... Even I know what childcare does, I

:17:08.:17:14.

am trying to find out what your policy is! We would like to see

:17:14.:17:17.

smaller class sizes for childcare, but there are restrictions at the

:17:17.:17:22.

moment and cuts have to happen. What we do not want to see is bigger

:17:22.:17:27.

class sizes, because what happens then is that children are often left

:17:27.:17:31.

out and not looked after in the way that they should be. It is an

:17:31.:17:35.

interesting question, whether you should have, given that you are a

:17:35.:17:38.

state of mind and a movement, does it really matter whether you have

:17:38.:17:43.

policies on social care or childcare? That is not what you are

:17:43.:17:47.

in politics for, you are not going to form a government in this

:17:47.:17:51.

country. Should you bother going down the road of trying to answer my

:17:51.:17:55.

questions? Or should you just say that you are a one issue party and

:17:55.:18:00.

that is all that matters? Indeed, if we voted to leave Europe, you could

:18:00.:18:06.

disband. Well, no, because we are a political party, and political

:18:06.:18:10.

parties have policies. Ten years ago, that would have washed, that we

:18:10.:18:14.

were a single issue pressure group, but that is no longer the case. We

:18:14.:18:17.

have policies, we stand in elections, we believe in a small

:18:17.:18:21.

state and freedom for the individual, and most of all we

:18:21.:18:25.

believe in freedom of our country. You had better get to work on social

:18:25.:18:29.

care and childcare before you see me again! Did you try to hire Lynton

:18:29.:18:36.

Crosby to run your campaign? No, we didn't, unfortunately. I have had no

:18:36.:18:40.

contact with Lynton Crosby whatsoever. But did Mr Farage tried

:18:40.:18:45.

to hire him? Mr Farage has had conversations with Mr Crosby, you

:18:45.:18:51.

will have to ask him. I have had no conversations with him. Sarah

:18:51.:18:56.

Newton, you have been attacking UKIP because of their immigration policy

:18:56.:19:01.

lacks detail, and they are looking at it again. If that is a legit as a

:19:01.:19:06.

criticism, why did you announce a policy that is lacking details?

:19:06.:19:13.

I am really concerned about is to listen to the people who vote UKIP.

:19:13.:19:18.

That is fine, but that is not the question I am asking you. If your

:19:18.:19:22.

immigration policy lacks detail with UKIP, why does your policy on

:19:22.:19:27.

immigration lacked detail? We have not seen the bill yet, and it is

:19:27.:19:30.

going to have the detail you are talking about. This is a commitment

:19:30.:19:35.

months ago. This is not a knee-jerk reaction to UKIP. These policies

:19:35.:19:39.

were developed a very long time ago to be in the Queen's Speech, and we

:19:39.:19:43.

will see the draft bills to give us, you know, proper controls on

:19:43.:19:49.

immigration. You said that private landlords and doctors are going to

:19:49.:19:53.

have to become border guards, and yet Downing Street, when we go to

:19:54.:19:58.

these briefings, could not give us any details of how this would work.

:19:58.:20:02.

You are more experienced than I am, you know the Queen's Speech lays out

:20:02.:20:06.

what we are hoping to achieve, it does not go into the details that

:20:06.:20:09.

you get as the bills are published. It is clear we have already got net

:20:09.:20:13.

immigration down by a third, and we are taking every opportunity to

:20:13.:20:18.

tighten things up. We want people to come here to contribute, come to our

:20:18.:20:22.

universities, but people who come as benefits tourists, that is something

:20:22.:20:27.

we will clamp down on. We know a lot of these restrictions, you have got

:20:27.:20:31.

UKIP in mind that the arrival of the Bulgarians and remain years, and yet

:20:31.:20:35.

Downing Street could not tell us whether this bill would be in place

:20:35.:20:40.

for January the 1st. -- Romanians. We are very concerned about the

:20:40.:20:44.

people who voted UKIP at the last election, saying to all of us, loud

:20:44.:20:48.

and clear, none of the above. We are fed up with Westminster politicians

:20:48.:20:56.

were not listening to us or addressing our issues. They took

:20:56.:20:58.

both off everyone. We were already listening to people's concerns on

:20:58.:21:04.

immigration, taking action. So UKIP may be clowns, but you want to join

:21:04.:21:10.

the circus. UKIP voters are really important to me. A few weeks ago,

:21:10.:21:14.

they were clowns, fruitcakes and closet racists, but now, because

:21:14.:21:19.

people are voting for them, they are important to you. For a long time,

:21:19.:21:24.

people who have had immigration as a concerned have been our concern. We

:21:24.:21:28.

have delivered a third reduction in net immigration. These are

:21:28.:21:31.

Conservative concerns and have been for a long time, not a reaction to

:21:31.:21:37.

UKIP. If that is true, why wouldn't you get the legislation in place

:21:37.:21:40.

before the Romanians and Bulgarians arrive? I am sure every effort will

:21:41.:21:46.

be made to tighten up everything. And you let Nadine Dorries back into

:21:46.:21:50.

the party in case she defected to UKIP, the Tories are like a UKIP

:21:50.:21:57.

puppet these days. That is the way you may love to see it, because it

:21:57.:22:01.

is going to make your life a lot more fun, having four parties, not

:22:01.:22:05.

three, but it is not the way I see it. We are there for the vast

:22:05.:22:09.

majority of people in this country, and that is what we will continue to

:22:09.:22:14.

be. Paul Nuttall, you may not have talked to Lynton Crosby, but did you

:22:14.:22:18.

talk to Nadine Dorries about joining UKIP? Well, negotiations

:22:18.:22:24.

behind-the-scenes go on all of the time, and I think the fact that they

:22:24.:22:28.

have invited her back, basically, with no strings attached, when she

:22:28.:22:32.

has been such a strident critic of the Prime Minister and the

:22:32.:22:34.

Chancellor in particular, that basically says to me they are

:22:34.:22:39.

worried that she might cross the floor and join UKIP. It's pretty

:22:39.:22:44.

much as an act of desperation. say these talks go on all the times,

:22:44.:22:50.

so there were discussions? Well, of course, again, I have not personally

:22:50.:22:57.

spoken to Nadine Dorries in my life. Would you like to? We are both

:22:57.:23:01.

Scousers, I suppose! Conversations have been going on with a number of

:23:01.:23:04.

people behind-the-scenes for quite awhile, because there are a number

:23:04.:23:08.

of conservatives out there who believed we would better off outside

:23:08.:23:14.

the European Union, and they just need to grow a backbone and do

:23:14.:23:19.

something about it. It is not just the Tories that are jumping to the

:23:19.:23:23.

UKIP tune, this is the labour that provided over the biggest increase

:23:23.:23:27.

in mass immigration this country has ever known, the Tories coming up

:23:27.:23:30.

with some things to tighten it up compared to what it was like when

:23:30.:23:34.

you were in power, and Yvette Cooper once even tougher action against

:23:34.:23:40.

immigration. You are listening to UKIP as well. We are looking at the

:23:40.:23:43.

economy, and when I look at my community, people are really

:23:43.:23:47.

struggling, and the idea that the best we can do is to say, you will

:23:47.:23:51.

need to take your passport into A&E, that really worries me, are we

:23:52.:23:56.

doing everything we can to get the country moving again? Your spokesman

:23:56.:24:01.

once migrants to be in the country. Die before they get aching back,

:24:01.:24:05.

that is tougher than what they are proposing. That in the country for

:24:05.:24:12.

some before. It is frustrating when the government says we will do

:24:12.:24:15.

something that immigration but we don't hear anything about the

:24:15.:24:20.

economy. Particularly people having their wages and the cup. You are now

:24:20.:24:24.

urging the Government to do a lot more about illegal immigrant in this

:24:24.:24:28.

country, and yet, and yet, these are the illegal immigrants that got into

:24:28.:24:33.

this country when you were in power. We are talking about illegal

:24:34.:24:37.

immigration because it is an issue. We have said that we got things

:24:37.:24:40.

wrong, and Ed Miliband and Yvette Cooper have been clear about that,

:24:40.:24:44.

but what do we do now with an economy that is stuttering along?

:24:44.:24:49.

One of the issues is about people having their wages undercut. Nobody

:24:49.:24:53.

wants to see the national minimum wage and the cut. The Government has

:24:53.:24:59.

not said anything about tackling that. -- undercut. How many cases

:24:59.:25:06.

did you bring when you were in power? I think it was about 3000

:25:06.:25:13.

502,009, and it has been cast about 1500, the number of cases. How many

:25:13.:25:17.

employers were prosecuted under Labour for not paying the minimum

:25:17.:25:24.

wage? That is my understanding.You have got that wrong almost as badly

:25:24.:25:29.

as you got the migration figures from Poland wrong! People have said,

:25:29.:25:35.

yes, we got the figures wrong on Poland, and that was difficult.

:25:35.:25:39.

did not prosecute thousands of employers. We took up the issue

:25:39.:25:43.

around enforcement. We will look up the proper figures, I think it is

:25:43.:25:48.

about ten, you are nodding, about ten were prosecuted. It is a very

:25:48.:25:55.

tiny number. You have gone along with these changes which are very

:25:55.:25:58.

much conservative -inspired, can I just remind you that you were the

:25:58.:26:01.

party that fought the last election on an amnesty for illegal

:26:01.:26:05.

immigrant's, which, if you were not running for election, may have been

:26:05.:26:10.

the most principled and honest policy of all? Yes, it didn't go

:26:10.:26:14.

down too well, though. That does not make it wrong, but at the same time

:26:14.:26:18.

what we have got to do is listen to what people are saying to us,

:26:18.:26:22.

otherwise we will become irrelevant. We have got to listen, we do listen.

:26:22.:26:26.

I go on the doorstep every week, and people talk about immigration, and

:26:26.:26:32.

that is why we are putting forward these... So the amnesty is gone

:26:32.:26:36.

question my I do not think we will be bringing that one back, but I

:26:36.:26:43.

cannot say for my party. Any reason that Nigel Farage should

:26:43.:26:50.

be in the leaders debates? That is above my pay grade extra

:26:50.:27:00.
:27:00.:27:09.

schmuck I think you are an opinion politics when Labour was doing very

:27:09.:27:13.

well in local elections, I am mindful of the fact that does not

:27:13.:27:16.

translate into the national scene. There is a debate about the

:27:16.:27:25.

lection, but that is above our pay grade. -- the election. I am happy

:27:25.:27:30.

to talk about it, but two years before the election, if they are

:27:30.:27:34.

still polling the extent to which they are now, of course, you guys

:27:34.:27:38.

are going to give them a huge voice. Should they be on the leadership

:27:38.:27:44.

debates? We do not know what form they will take. His views should be

:27:44.:27:50.

listened to, absolutely. Paul Nuttall, a final question to you,

:27:50.:27:54.

would you like your leader, Mr Farage, to be part of the leadership

:27:54.:28:01.

debates, if we have them in the 2015 campaign? Well, of course, it would

:28:01.:28:06.

be ridiculous if we won the European elections and were polling" is in

:28:06.:28:09.

2015, possibly even doubled the Liberal Democrats, and excluded from

:28:09.:28:15.

the leadership debate. That would suggest some thing is fundamentally

:28:15.:28:20.

wrong with our democracy. We will have to get another chair! Now, the

:28:20.:28:26.

trade unions have had a long association with the Labour Party.

:28:26.:28:29.

But has their influence increased in recent years? It was union votes

:28:29.:28:33.

that swung the leadership election for Ed Miliband, and the party

:28:33.:28:37.

relies heavily on union money for its funding. There are actors Asians

:28:37.:28:43.

that union backed candidates are getting favourable treatment in

:28:44.:28:53.
:28:54.:28:55.

selection for MPs and MEPs. -- there unpopular Prime Minister, the battle

:28:55.:29:00.

between Blairites and Brownite still raw and active, some candidates,

:29:00.:29:05.

both good and mediocre, was simply swept aside. Rebuilding the party

:29:05.:29:10.

ahead of the Euro elections in 2014, there have urged voices that

:29:10.:29:12.

claim some have been excluded from standing under their party banner

:29:12.:29:19.

because they are missing something - the outright backing of a union. I

:29:19.:29:23.

think the criticism that has come from some in the party is that the

:29:23.:29:30.

trade unions are trying to take over, in some way, the selection

:29:30.:29:34.

process for the European elections. For me, that is not a particularly

:29:34.:29:39.

credible claim. A lot of fingers can be pointed that Labour Party

:29:39.:29:42.

selections, unions is just one part of a much more complex whole. The

:29:42.:29:46.

rules have not changed in recent years for Labour Party selections,

:29:46.:29:51.

these rules were put in place by Tony Blair. But I certainly think

:29:51.:29:54.

there is a much greater assertion on behalf of the trade unions that they

:29:54.:30:00.

want to have a bigger say in selections. Ramsay MacDonald's first

:30:00.:30:04.

Labour government of 1924 contained both the well-to-do and a worker,

:30:04.:30:08.

socialist intellectuals and the brightest union men, and like all

:30:08.:30:11.

parties, especially when they are facing calls of internal division,

:30:11.:30:19.

it has remained a broad church, which is why some are worried it is

:30:19.:30:22.

becoming less so under pressure from the union movement. If we are going

:30:22.:30:25.

to be a one nation party, that means governing for the whole community,

:30:25.:30:29.

and that includes working people, people in business. We need the

:30:29.:30:33.

energy and enterprise that very often businesspeople bring. Building

:30:33.:30:38.

that coalition is the way we won three general elections, we have to

:30:38.:30:45.

keep hold of that coalition. I'm not sure if union backed candidates are

:30:45.:30:49.

squeezing out other candidates. Why was backed by a lot of trade unions,

:30:49.:30:53.

but ultimately it comes down to which candidate convinces the

:30:53.:30:55.

hundreds of party members in a particular constituency that they

:30:55.:31:00.

should vote for them. It is one member, one vote. Unions can make

:31:00.:31:04.

nominations, certainly, but when it comes down to it, it is the local

:31:04.:31:07.

party members who will make a decision on who they think is the

:31:07.:31:13.

best person to be the candidate. suggestion is that the rules of

:31:13.:31:18.

selection for candidates, which give 13 weeks for canvassing members

:31:18.:31:21.

before the run-off, favour those who have financial backing. And

:31:21.:31:28.

canvassing structure, from a union. But however, no rules have been

:31:28.:31:33.

broken. There is a legitimate question to be asked about how we

:31:33.:31:37.

level the playing field so that people who do not have personal

:31:37.:31:41.

means or are not able to secure support financially from elsewhere,

:31:41.:31:48.

can compete on a level playing field. And string that question is

:31:48.:31:53.

tricky within Labour. With potential electoral consequences, as we

:31:53.:31:57.

found, unions and concerned would-be candidates are unwilling to state

:31:57.:32:03.

their case. Stella Creasy, can you get selected

:32:03.:32:08.

as a Labour candidate without union backing? Of course. There is a wide

:32:09.:32:13.

range of people. What is overwhelming if the number and range

:32:13.:32:17.

of people coming forward. It is heartening to see people do that. It

:32:17.:32:22.

is a difficult job. Seeing arrange of people, particularly the number

:32:22.:32:27.

of women who want to stand up is impressive. No one denies that women

:32:27.:32:32.

have done well under Labour in terms of selection and becoming MPs, but

:32:32.:32:35.

it does not answer the question, can you do it from whatever background

:32:35.:32:42.

you come from without union backing? Yes, you can, but it is difficult.

:32:42.:32:45.

The result was a debate between political parties about how you make

:32:45.:32:47.

sure you get the broadest and best range of people coming forward will

:32:47.:32:57.

stop am involved with the women's network which is looking at ways we

:32:57.:33:01.

can get more women to stand. It is not just coming for it, it is about

:33:01.:33:06.

time. Not everybody has it perfect, but is the union involved? It is a

:33:06.:33:11.

small part of a bigger picture. say it is small, but there is a

:33:11.:33:16.

perception, and it might be backed up by fact in certain

:33:16.:33:21.

constituencies, but actually the unions, as we have heard in that

:33:21.:33:26.

film, not only are the exercising muscle in her dad at -- at the early

:33:26.:33:31.

stages, but they want to exercising more. Of the perception that a

:33:31.:33:34.

politician has to be a man of a certain age in a suit. We are

:33:34.:33:41.

showing that that can be broken. I'll make no apology for the role of

:33:41.:33:49.

the trade unions. And you were backed by a trade union? No, I am

:33:49.:33:51.

from the cooperative part. Formerly, I was a labourer and co-operative

:33:52.:33:59.

MP. Before we carry on, we can join our viewers from Scotland, who are

:34:00.:34:02.

now watching the Daily Politics. are speaking about the involvement

:34:02.:34:07.

of unions in the selection of Labour candidates. Perceptions can be

:34:07.:34:11.

argued about but there is this specific and sample of an

:34:11.:34:19.

Fairweather -- specific example of an Fairweather, who was excluded.

:34:19.:34:25.

Crime seems to have been to have worked in business and not be one of

:34:25.:34:29.

the chosen candidates of the unions. Why was she left out?

:34:29.:34:34.

her and she was fantastic. fantastic enough. Understand more

:34:34.:34:41.

than 100 people applied. Frankly, some people would struggle to name

:34:41.:34:48.

their MEP, let alone their MP. did not have union backing? I know

:34:48.:34:56.

that that 100, many people did not. -- of that 100. I know London, and

:34:56.:34:59.

we now have eight fantastic candidates standing and there is an

:34:59.:35:02.

issue about where they come on the shortlist. There will always be

:35:02.:35:08.

questions about what role member state in the process. Actually, it

:35:08.:35:11.

is dismissive of her to say that she did not have something fantastic to

:35:11.:35:16.

give, and to say that the only thing that the people who did get it had

:35:16.:35:21.

was union membership. The trouble was there was a very high quality of

:35:21.:35:27.

people standing. Why does Peter Watt say that it is an old-fashioned

:35:27.:35:32.

stitch up? He's not going person from within Labour to say this.

:35:32.:35:36.

did not come from an union background. So he is wrong?I think

:35:36.:35:40.

in different places, there are allegations. There will always be

:35:40.:35:46.

concerns. What matters for me is that people like and get a chance.

:35:46.:35:52.

Let us look at the cost. How can you afford to do it unless you have

:35:52.:35:56.

backing, and you are someone with money themselves, personal means?

:35:56.:35:59.

You would have to have some sort of sponsorship. Absolutely. There is an

:35:59.:36:07.

issue about the cost. All political parties are struggling with that. We

:36:07.:36:10.

find within the labour women's network that if you have child care

:36:10.:36:15.

commitments, it is like going through many Christmases, were you

:36:15.:36:23.

meet a lot of relatives. You are talking to a lot of people and it is

:36:24.:36:27.

time it -- time intensive. And it is right that the unions fill that gap?

:36:28.:36:33.

And do not think that is the case. Some local areas do short

:36:33.:36:36.

selections, some do wrong selections. There will always be an

:36:36.:36:40.

issue about the role of any one organisation in a movement like the

:36:40.:36:43.

labour movement. There is a wider debate and I'm somebody who has

:36:43.:36:47.

always been supportive of the reform of that relationship. In terms of

:36:47.:36:50.

what you were talking about, you are talking about perception, not

:36:50.:36:55.

reality. The trade unions, if they really had as much influence as

:36:55.:36:58.

people in the media like to say, why do they always complain about their

:36:59.:37:03.

lack of influence? Well, they want even more influence, if you listen

:37:03.:37:06.

to them. In the case of the Conservative party, the

:37:06.:37:10.

Conservatives complain about influence from the unions endlessly

:37:11.:37:15.

about in terms of getting a broad range of people, it does not appear

:37:15.:37:19.

to have worked at Number Ten. The reality is that it is full of all

:37:19.:37:23.

the Taureans which has not been helpful to the perception of the

:37:23.:37:28.

Tory party. In the end, you had to have in a list. We are all about

:37:28.:37:33.

merit. We want the best possible candidates. Really, local

:37:33.:37:39.

collections are important. -- local connections. We have an open and

:37:39.:37:43.

rigorous process. And we have made enormous strides forward. I am part

:37:44.:37:49.

of the new 2010 intake and there is a huge server city of backgrounds.

:37:49.:37:53.

How many working-class candidates? What is a working-class person?

:37:53.:38:00.

tell me. Jacob Rees Mogg? I can tell you about the candidates that we

:38:00.:38:05.

have just selected. We have a boxing trainer, somebody who is a postman,

:38:05.:38:10.

we have small business people, veterinary surgeons, teachers. We

:38:10.:38:17.

have soldiers, charity workers. The a list has worked extremely well in

:38:17.:38:19.

the last Parliament and in this parliament were using different

:38:19.:38:23.

processes. Why are you not going for the a list again? The party has

:38:23.:38:29.

moved on. We did not have enough women in Parliament before 4010. And

:38:29.:38:34.

we really made such drives forward. That you do not need it? We built on

:38:34.:38:41.

that process. The grassroots get it. This CD broad range women that

:38:41.:38:46.

have come in, and they see the good job. We do not need that. They

:38:46.:38:53.

voluntarily choose the best possible candidates. -- they see the broad

:38:53.:38:58.

range. But you would not have needed to impose the a list if you trusted

:38:58.:39:01.

them to choose the right people. was about giving them a broad

:39:01.:39:04.

range. The Conservative party is always the choice of local people.

:39:05.:39:10.

Lorely Burt, you know that the record of the party is terrible in

:39:10.:39:18.

terms of numbers of women and ethnic naughty MPs. The Lib Dems... At

:39:18.:39:23.

least Labour have increased the numbers of women and so have the

:39:23.:39:27.

Conservatives. What are the Liberal Democrats going to do? We have a

:39:27.:39:31.

process where we train up people. Particularly from areas where we are

:39:31.:39:36.

missing. So women, people from poorer backgrounds, ethnic

:39:36.:39:42.

minorities, disabled people. Just about everybody, really, except for

:39:42.:39:47.

upper-middle-class white man. the areas where we are under

:39:47.:39:49.

represented. At the last general election we had some excellent women

:39:49.:39:59.

and ethnic minorities candidates, but not in safe seats. Safe seats

:39:59.:40:02.

are a challenge. If we had one of you seek, you would have seen a

:40:02.:40:11.

different picture stop -- one AQ seats. We are not funded by big

:40:11.:40:15.

business or unions, we are funded by our members. Would you like women

:40:16.:40:21.

shortlists? I would love it. But unfortunately we are too democratic,

:40:21.:40:28.

it is so annoying! We have managed all women shortlists completely

:40:28.:40:32.

voluntarily. Only one in five MPs are women and I

:40:32.:40:36.

cannot turn around to a community where 51% of people are women and

:40:36.:40:39.

say that Parliament gets it. Every political movement has you have this

:40:39.:40:43.

conversation about prejudice. We have had that and we have done

:40:43.:40:46.

something about it. We will support anyone else having a debate because

:40:46.:40:53.

we need to get to 50-50. completely agree. We have got

:40:53.:40:56.

agreement. We have an apology to make to Stella

:40:56.:41:02.

Creasy. We said earlier that ten people had been prosecuted for the

:41:02.:41:06.

minimum wage violations, and that turns out not to be true. We

:41:06.:41:11.

apologise. It was eight. And I'd apologise to you, Andrew, because I

:41:11.:41:20.

have missed red something. I stand corrected. -- Ms rent. Apologies all

:41:20.:41:28.

round. There is still time.Anyway, eight minimum rage violation

:41:28.:41:34.

prosecutions according to the HMRC document. I will go back and check

:41:34.:41:37.

what it was that made me think it was different and I will tweet you.

:41:37.:41:41.

Full disclosure. Life does not get better. The organisation which

:41:41.:41:45.

represents councils across England and Wales say that they risked

:41:45.:41:47.

failing their communities if further cuts are imposed. The Local

:41:47.:41:52.

Government Association has submitted their response ahead of the June

:41:52.:41:59.

Spending Review for 2015. They say that the council is having to make

:41:59.:42:03.

savings on average of �64 million in the calling on the government to end

:42:03.:42:07.

the ring fencing of health and schools budgets as well as removing

:42:07.:42:11.

the requirement to hold a referendum if you want to increase council tax

:42:11.:42:15.

by more than 2%. We're joined now by the vice-chair of the Local

:42:15.:42:19.

Government Association, a Labour council leader for Dudley. David

:42:19.:42:29.

Sparks joins us from Birmingham. Welcome. Now, councils overall will

:42:29.:42:35.

lose 2 billion a year from uncollected council tax. Another �2

:42:35.:42:39.

billion from fraud, and you have �16 billion of reserves, so what are you

:42:39.:42:47.

moaning about. Oh, dear. We cannot hear him. We cannot even hear if he

:42:47.:42:52.

is still mourning because I'm sorry, Mr sparks, and my viewers, we have

:42:52.:42:56.

lost the sense to Birmingham. David Sparks, I apologise. Could you say

:42:56.:43:01.

something, anything, so that we can work out if we can you do? No, we're

:43:01.:43:11.
:43:11.:43:12.

not. All right. We will go back to Birmingham. Third time lucky, I'm

:43:12.:43:21.

told. David Sparks? Hooray! Let me ask you the question again. It is

:43:21.:43:25.

easier for you know you have time to think about it. You are losing �2

:43:25.:43:29.

billion a year from uncollected council tax, �2 billion from fraud

:43:29.:43:35.

and you have �16 billion in the bank, so what are you moaning about?

:43:35.:43:39.

We have collected 97% of council tax each year, which is far in excess of

:43:39.:43:44.

central government, which has 20 billion pounds in unpaid tax. In

:43:44.:43:49.

relation to the reserves, we have worked out that if we use the

:43:49.:43:52.

reserves to fund the gap that we have got, money would run out in

:43:52.:43:56.

five years. This is irrelevant in relation to the fundamental problem

:43:56.:44:01.

that we have, which is that in 2020, if current things carry on as they

:44:01.:44:06.

are, there will be a funding gap in this country of �16.5 billion in

:44:06.:44:13.

local government. But by 2020, we barely know what is quick to happen

:44:13.:44:17.

next year, let alone 2020. What is the situation going to be next

:44:17.:44:22.

year, in your view? The situation next year is that it will be the

:44:22.:44:29.

fourth year of a reduction of over 33%. Already, councils are in an

:44:29.:44:37.

extreme position. We have had to make massive cuts which we do not

:44:37.:44:40.

want to make. It is a tipping point now. The situation is going to be

:44:40.:44:44.

that councils throughout the country representing millions of people will

:44:44.:44:49.

be making further cuts, unless the government comes to its senses and

:44:49.:44:54.

finances local government sensibly. Is it true that you want to end the

:44:54.:44:59.

discount for council tax for single occupancy? We want to look at the

:44:59.:45:02.

old question of how much we raise in income in relation to local

:45:02.:45:06.

government. We have suggested to the government a range of suggestions in

:45:06.:45:14.

our contribution, so that we can increase the income and we can also

:45:14.:45:19.

make further economies and efficiencies in public sector

:45:19.:45:24.

funding across the community on the whole. Was that a yes or a no?We're

:45:24.:45:34.
:45:34.:45:34.

still looking at it. This business of needing a referendum to increase

:45:34.:45:39.

council tax by more than 2%, I understand you wanted to raise it by

:45:39.:45:43.

more than 2%, but you found it was going to go down like a lead balloon

:45:43.:45:49.

with voters. No, quite the opposite, Dudley pioneered the way with our

:45:49.:45:53.

consultation with our electorate before we went to the question of a

:45:53.:45:57.

referendum. We had a situation where a quarter of the public in Dudley

:45:57.:46:05.

wanted to increase council tax by over 2%, but the majority wanted to

:46:05.:46:12.

keep it either the same, a frozen level... That was my point.We went

:46:12.:46:17.

along with what the public wanted, which is what we are supposed to do

:46:17.:46:22.

in a local democracy. You are making local councils pay for the

:46:22.:46:28.

Government's deficit-reduction. Sorry, I am asking the Conservative

:46:28.:46:32.

representative here. I have been a councillor, and it is tough for

:46:32.:46:35.

councillors. We have had to make cuts across government because we

:46:36.:46:38.

decided not to cut the NHS and education, and that does mean that

:46:39.:46:42.

there have been cuts, that local authorities are having to do things

:46:43.:46:47.

differently, but we also gave them a massive shift in power from

:46:47.:46:50.

Westminster to local communities to do things differently. And what I

:46:50.:46:54.

see is that some councils are grasping this opportunity, getting

:46:54.:46:59.

people around the table, actually improving services, while freezing

:46:59.:47:02.

or even, in some parts of the country, cutting council tax. What

:47:02.:47:07.

this gentleman did not mention was the new resources, all councils own

:47:07.:47:10.

their council houses, they keep all the revenue locally. Business rates

:47:10.:47:16.

have been localised, council tax benefit, the pupil premium, the new

:47:16.:47:19.

homes discount, all sorts of new income streams for councils. It is

:47:19.:47:23.

uncomfortable for some of them. Those who just want hands out from

:47:24.:47:27.

Westminster, they want that dependency, they are struggling with

:47:27.:47:34.

this. But once you love local democracy What do you say to that?

:47:34.:47:38.

Local authorities have had their budgets cut by 33%, central

:47:38.:47:42.

government has only cut by 10%, so it is not a fair share of the cards.

:47:43.:47:46.

In relation to local business tax, that is welcome in terms of being

:47:46.:47:50.

localised, but the Treasury are continually taking a huge chunk of

:47:50.:47:56.

the money. So having greater freedom to make more cuts is no freedom at

:47:56.:48:01.

all. You have also... You failed to mention the New Homes Bonus and the

:48:01.:48:07.

transfer of NHS money into adult social care. Munsell councils, most

:48:08.:48:11.

first-tier councils, their biggest responsibility is caring for

:48:11.:48:15.

people. -- most councils. Extra money is being passed from the NHS

:48:16.:48:23.

to councils, and these art of times, but we must prioritise... This is a

:48:23.:48:27.

separate budget, this is spoken for. This is extra money, in addition to

:48:27.:48:35.

that. No, it is not. Again, further inaccuracies. The fact of the matter

:48:35.:48:38.

is that the NHS budget is ringfenced. We would like to have

:48:38.:48:43.

greater access to that so we could have more economies. If local

:48:43.:48:46.

government had more money in relation to adult social care, there

:48:46.:48:50.

would be fewer people in beds in hospitals, and the hospitals would

:48:50.:48:55.

be more efficient. We are at cross purposes. The gentleman is right

:48:55.:49:04.

about the public health budget, that is not what I am talking about. This

:49:04.:49:07.

is about the integration of NHS and social care, social care budgets. I

:49:07.:49:10.

am really proud of my authority, they have not cut adult social care

:49:10.:49:12.

at all, they are working on new and innovative ways to make sure there

:49:12.:49:15.

is better care in the community, more joined up services with the

:49:15.:49:20.

NHS... There are areas which will have far greater social problems to

:49:20.:49:29.

deal with, and when... It is hard to imagine that in Cornwall...

:49:29.:49:34.

necessarily is populated as some of the other parts of the country.

:49:34.:49:37.

Prime Minister's own local government is getting an increase,

:49:37.:49:43.

and Liverpool, which most of us would recognise as a lot of

:49:43.:49:46.

problems, is getting an 8% cut in funding. It is disingenuous to

:49:46.:49:50.

suggest that local government is not bearing the brunt of these cuts.

:49:50.:49:55.

you agree with the cap on council tax rises? My council has managed to

:49:55.:49:59.

freeze it, but the bigger problem is that he is right when he talks about

:49:59.:50:03.

the problems they are facing. We are wasting a lot of money in our NHS. I

:50:03.:50:07.

am doing casework of people being discharged from hospital and social

:50:07.:50:11.

services not being told. If you take an approach just based on a budget,

:50:11.:50:15.

you make short-term decisions, like this government is making, with

:50:15.:50:21.

long-term, expensive costs. We need to be working... But let's be

:50:21.:50:23.

honest, under the Alistair Darling plan, spending for local government

:50:23.:50:28.

was to be cut as well. Correct? have been talking about whole person

:50:28.:50:36.

you want, but under the Alistair Darling plan, local government

:50:36.:50:40.

spending was to be cut. Everyone was clear that the deficit needed to be

:50:40.:50:45.

reduced, the question is how you do it, and this government is racking

:50:45.:50:50.

up costs. Well, yes, I understand that some councils are having

:50:50.:50:55.

difficulties, but we are introducing a damping process so that the worst

:50:55.:51:02.

hit councils will only be cut by a very small percentage, about 3% or

:51:02.:51:07.

less. That is not what Stella was saying about Liverpool. I will try

:51:07.:51:11.

to get this right, a 7% cut in funding, which is in contrast with

:51:11.:51:18.

Whitney getting an increase! Sparks, have you seen the

:51:18.:51:20.

Department's recommendations, 50 ways for councils to save money,

:51:21.:51:26.

have you tried any of these? We are trying everything we can, inventing

:51:26.:51:32.

new ways of saving money, but at the end of the day we will literally

:51:32.:51:35.

have 16.5 billion funding gap in the next couple of years, and that is

:51:35.:51:40.

something that is not going to go away. Thank you for joining us

:51:40.:51:43.

today. Sorry about the sound problems at the beginning there,

:51:43.:51:49.

thank you very much. Now, my microphone is working! For a

:51:49.:51:53.

few hours yesterday, politics was put to one side as the Queen opened

:51:53.:51:56.

a new session of Parliament with a speech in the Lords, and when MPs

:51:56.:51:59.

reassembled in the laws, proceedings began, as by tradition, would be

:52:00.:52:04.

humble address, a sort of after-dinner speech, this year

:52:04.:52:13.

proposed by Peter Luff and seconded Mr Speaker, it is a great honour to

:52:13.:52:16.

propose the loyal address, but the invitation from the Chief Whip to do

:52:16.:52:20.

so means I must accept an uncomfortable truth, that for 21

:52:20.:52:24.

years of service means I fit into the traditional role all too easily

:52:24.:52:32.

of old buffer! No, surely not!Way back in 1996, as I approached my

:52:32.:52:39.

first real election, my son at his father described in a BBC

:52:39.:52:42.

documentary as a middle-aged politician. That phrase resonated in

:52:43.:52:50.

his eight-year-old mind. For years after, birthday cards came to the

:52:50.:52:54.

acronym MAP, children certainly keep you grounded. I thought it was a

:52:54.:52:57.

premature description, but I have moved beyond that. I have decided to

:52:58.:53:07.
:53:08.:53:08.

leave this place at the next election. Shame!I suspect the news

:53:08.:53:11.

of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement will attract more interest in the

:53:11.:53:15.

outside world. Having just conducted my first rebellion in 21 years, and

:53:15.:53:25.
:53:25.:53:41.

enough! I had not been anticipating to be offered this opportunity.

:53:41.:53:45.

Prime Minister and I were born within 48 hours of each other, and

:53:45.:53:50.

for the avoidance of doubt, he is the older of the two. I can see from

:53:50.:53:55.

this vantage point that genetics has been kinder than him than it has to

:53:55.:53:58.

me, particularly in the tonsorial Department, both in colour and

:53:58.:54:04.

cover. While our family and school circumstances were indeed quite

:54:04.:54:10.

different, we must have had similar cultural reference points and

:54:10.:54:13.

experiences in the 1970s and 1980s. I believe he was a fan of the

:54:13.:54:18.

Smiths, although I understand the feeling is not entirely mutual. I

:54:18.:54:28.
:54:28.:54:34.

preferred Duranty ran -- Duran Duran and ABBA, with my favourite song

:54:34.:54:39.

being Dancing Queen, which will not come as a surprise! That leads me

:54:39.:54:43.

into the social reform of gay marriage. The right for same-sex

:54:43.:54:46.

couples to demonstrate their love and commitment to each other before

:54:46.:54:51.

family and friends will be a lasting social reform of this Parliament,

:54:51.:54:55.

the legislation is brought forward by this coalition government, but it

:54:55.:55:03.

is supported by members from all parties around the house. Bristol

:55:03.:55:05.

West has three Quaker meeting house is, a Unitarian chapel, and a reform

:55:05.:55:08.

synagogue, so I am sure that the country's first same-sex marriage

:55:08.:55:13.

may be on my own constituency, but personally, Mr Speaker, I am still

:55:13.:55:19.

waiting for my own Prince Charming, so I will not be able to take... I

:55:19.:55:29.
:55:29.:55:29.

may be able to take advantage of ordinary people? If you listen to

:55:29.:55:35.

that, I think it has answered itself! Too often not, according to

:55:35.:55:38.

Liam Fox, who has called on the leadership to speak in the language

:55:38.:55:45.

of the pub. The Prime Minister made a good start yesterday morning when

:55:45.:55:48.

he realised that pubs might not be full of people discussing the

:55:48.:55:51.

Queen's Speech but the resignation of a certain football manager

:55:51.:55:55.

instead. Shortly after 2am yesterday, I will say that again,

:55:55.:56:05.
:56:05.:56:21.

2am in the morning, he tweeted, Sir reference to the Aston Villa, like I

:56:21.:56:31.
:56:31.:56:36.

am bothered! Showing he is down with time in the morning?! It is not

:56:36.:56:46.
:56:46.:56:55.

after that, reminding the Labour lead that actually Mr Ferguson had

:56:55.:57:01.

not really died, he had just resigned! All right, so the party

:57:01.:57:05.

leaders are at least trying to get it, but how in touch are their MPs?

:57:05.:57:11.

Well, ladies, you will be pleased to know, oh, yes, we have got a little

:57:11.:57:15.

quiz to find out how in touch UI with popular culture! Stella, Lucky

:57:15.:57:22.

you, number one, how many convictions were there under the

:57:22.:57:30.

minimum wage... ? Stop it!You both got it wrong, actually! Who is not

:57:30.:57:33.

in the running to replace Alex Ferguson as the next manager of

:57:33.:57:43.
:57:43.:57:54.

Mourinho. I grew up in Manchester, so they are my team. He was in the

:57:54.:58:03.

running. It is Steven Gerrard.We have got to move on, who is number

:58:03.:58:13.
:58:13.:58:22.

guess number one. You are wrong, it is Daft Punk! Lorely Burt, we cannot

:58:22.:58:25.

let you go, which East Enders character is reportedly set to make

:58:25.:58:35.
:58:35.:58:45.

made our point! Special thanks to our three guests, the one o'clock

:58:45.:58:50.

news is starting on BBC One. I will be back tonight for This Week on BBC

:58:50.:58:54.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn with all the latest political news, including reaction to the Queen's Speech and coalition splits on childcare reform.

Also on the programme, do politicians speak the language of us ordinary folk?


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