20/06/2013 Daily Politics


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Secretary has had a busy morning, banging the drum for genetically


modified crops. On Paterson things we should take a new look and GM


food, which he thinks will free up space for biodiversity, nature and


wilderness. Rollup, up, anyone fancy a punt on some bank shares? We will


look at the Chancellor's plans for Lloyds and RBS.


Prepare to be shocked. We have been dealt the in -- delving into the


world of whips. Whipping, like stripping, is best to be done in


private. We will be asking, does it matter what a politician wears?


London, here is to the suit. London is to the suit as Parma is to


Parmesan cheese. After those profound words from the


me of London, all that in the next hour. With us for the programme is


writer, broadcaster and former Tory MP, Gyles Brandreth. Welcome to the


programme. It is good to be with you. I hope you are going to be


cheering me up. Have you been following the Apprentice? I have


not. You have missed the treat. It is not worth watching now because my


love child, who calls themselves Jason, I'm not sure if he is my love


child but he is an openly like me, he has been booted off the


Apprentice and I am feeling low about this. Well, we will share in


your private grief but until then, you will have to do the programme.


am ready. I am having GM the here. First of all, let's talk about the


care quality commission. A report published yesterday found that the


CQC failed to spot problems in the maternity unit at Furness General


Hospital three years ago were several babies and mothers had died.


It is alleged that the findings of an internal review were later


suppressed. The CQC is now reconsidering a decision not to


publish the names of former senior managers accused of covering up


feelings in the organisation. Do you think we should know who they are? I


think we should. The world needs to be accountable and this is serious


stuff. What about prosecutions? People are saying that look, in the


private world, if this sort of feeling had occurred, the should be


private prosecutions. People are put into care and they expect to be


looked after properly. Families should feel that this is reliable


and if something goes wrong in the name of the state, and public money


is involved, public accountability has to be part of the story. And


people will gradually wake up. Sometimes these examples have to be


made so that down the line people learn the lesson. It is interesting


that there is a clamour for some sort of criminal action. But the new


Chief Executive is still saying that the care quality commission should


stay and be reformed. Should it be scrapped? I don't know. I first


learned about this thing a long time ago with the Metropolitan Police


when my father was a friend of Sir Robert Mark, who cleaned up the


Metropolitan Police. Lots of people were saying, we can manage it


internally, you must not ruin morale by naming and shaming. And actually,


he said no, we have to go to the root of this and people have to


leave. We have two name people and deal with this root and branch.


There is something very wrong here and it has to be dealt with once and


for all. People have to know that what they do in the fullness of


time, they must be ready to be accountable for. They are paid and


they must do the job properly or pay the price. It is time for our daily


quiz. The question for today, what name did Barack Obama use repeatedly


to refer to our beloved the Gyles, despite his private grief,


will attempt to give us the correct answer. Not yet. Docking of the


Chancellor, last night he delivered his annual speech at the Mansion


house in the city of London. To the normal crowd of bankers and city


grandees. -- talking of the Chancellor. He used it as a chance


to set out his vision of what we should do with the financial system.


The government would like to sell its stakes in the banks. Currently,


it owes that -- it owns 39% of Lloyds and 81% of RBS as a result of


the �65 billion bailout. George Osborne said that the Treasury is


actively considering how to sell its holdings. That could start within a


matter of months by selling some 20 matter of months by selling some 20


-- selling some to investors. What to do with RBS is trickier. Selling


now would mean crystallising a multi-billion pound loss for the


taxpayer. One option is to split it up into good bank and bad bank. That


would mean separating the loans which have suffered big losses and


keeping them in state hands. The advantage would be that the


remainder would be more attractive and easier to sell. But the bad bits


would stay on the Treasury books for years. Last night, the Chancellor


suggested he was in no great rush. do not want a quick sale of RBS


shares. I want the right sale, the right sale for the British people. I


right sale for the British people. I will only sell our state -- our


stake in RBS when we feel the bank is able to support our economy and


when we get good value for the taxpayer. In our judgement, when it


comes to RBS, that moment is some way off. We're joined by the Shadow


chair cherie Minister, Chris Leslie. -- Treasury Minister. Do you welcome


the announcement? He wants to take his time? He has backed down from


his plan. Last year, there was this whole thing about share giveaways.


He told the chairman of RBS that he was aiming for a fire sale by 2014.


That was mentioned to journalists on the last week. But over the weekend


because of the mishandling of the Chief Executive, Stephen Hester,


pushed out to prompted this fire sale, that attracted a lot of


criticism. He has had to back down. Is that the reason, as you claim,


that Stephen Hester was pushed out? Is it not more to do with the


splitting of the bank into a good bank and a bad bank. We know that


Stephen Hester was not in favour of that. The key thing is that George


Osborne was always rushing towards the fire sale. He has had to think


again, not least because of the Parliamentary commission, wisely,


saying that they had to look at all the options, retail investment


banks, regional banking networks, there are a lot of issues to look at


with RBS. I think the Chancellor could not get away with his original


plan to have a pre-election fire sale. But you have listened to the


-- but he has listened to the recommendations and acted upon them?


We are all were saying that the taxpayer has to come first as he


could not get away with the plan. The chaos now is that he has got rid


of the Chief Executive and there is no replacement. What is going on,


both with the Treasury and this plan, never mind the stability he


was trying to put in place? We are in a more chaotic position today


because he is chopping and changing. Gels Brandreth, did you like the


idea of selling off the shares? -- Gyles Brandreth. The Lib Dems


thought it would be a vote winner. Yes. Well, I'm quite glad.


Ultimately, the taxpayer wants our money back. What is going to secure


that realistically is what we have to go for. I am suspicious of


everyone involved here, that no one knows quite as much as they think


they do. Slowly, slowly, is the way forward. Caution, rather than


rushing into it. It matters a lot to the economy. RBS is a big


institution. Of course, we have two focus on kick-starting the economy.


Let's look at what is going to bring RBS back to health. Do you like the


idea of a good bank and a bad bank? I think it could have its merits.


But the key is that we do not leak to what we think -- leap to what we


think intuitively will be the best thing. It is dull and boring but


evidence -based policy making. The Parliamentary commission does an


enquiry, not just on the good bank, bad bank, but what about helping the


parts of the country that are struggling to get access to finance?


Small firms, distance from banks. you had a good bank, it might be


less dynamic but that might improve lending. That could be the case. But


what was wrong was George Osborne been so tempered to get rid of the


Chief Executive, headstrong rush towards a fire sale. He bungled that


plan and now he has to go back to the drawing board. Well, at least he


has the sense to listen to the Parliamentary commission. It is a


dangerous phrase, good bank, bad bank. We're talking about high and


low risk. It is an uncertain world and there is risk involved in


everything. The bad bank idea is to put toxic things together. To group


them together in order to spend your time water the flower that is


actually going to help regenerate the economy by making the money


available. We meet bankers all the time now who say it is OK, we are


now lending again, but we meet business people who say that they


are not. That is the dilemma. is one of the recommendations, on


the basis of what you have said, they should be expect in banks to


have even higher levels of capital in order to prove that they are in


good shape. -- they should be expecting. The Parliamentary


commission were interesting in their 560 page report. You have read every


word(!) For Cielo -- for steel -- there are ways of making sure that


capital is not sitting idly, but it is productively lent out. We have


had Project Merlin, where they tried to persuade the banks to do the


right thing. There was funding for lending. We are through to version


four of the Chancellor's attempts get lending going. Admittedly, with


hindsight, was this the wrong plan? It was necessary to make sure that


cash machines kept running. Otherwise, Gyles would not have been


able to go to the cash machine. It was a difficult decision. But it is


only the economy getting that moving again and helping to get confidence


going that will make bank shares more valuable and kick-start


benefits. You happy for whites shares to be sold off? We need to


get our my back. -- Lloyds shares. We need to get the money back. The


co-op sale of those branches fell through and we need a better plan to


get competition into the High Street. That is what the Treasury


has to focus upon. Gerald, I mean Kevin, I mean George Osborne was not


the only one speaking at the Mansion house last night. Mervyn King gave


his 10th and final speech to the city audience before he steps down


as the Governor of the bank of in blood. The central banker, set to


become a peer, has run the organisation since 2003 and his time


in office has been defined by the financial crash. He is planning an


extended holiday, a great gap year. Before he goes, here are some of his


more memorable moments. -- gery gap year. For the time being at least,


UK economy is entering a recession. # A little bit of Mardi Gras in my


life. A little bit of Erica by my side.


The uncertainty faced by the committee, this assessment of the


uncertainties, we cannot be unsure which of the big risks to the


outlook will materialise. # A little bit of you makes me your man.


89 press conferences, 82 under the banner of the inflation report, I


have had my say. Now it is over to the next generation to have heirs.


# Mambo Number five. # Nobody was bullying in the studio. That was


Mervyn King and Mambo Number five, one of his Desert Island discs. Was


the effective? Missed his inflation target. Yes, but he had a difficult


job while he was in office. The key thing for his legacy, the bank of


England were trying to stimulant the economy, but at the same time,


particularly over the last three years, George Osborne was pulling in


the opposite direction. Of course, we had one brand of government --


branch of government doing one thing and the other doing another. That is


the unfortunate nature of the wiki has had to operate with a Chancellor


who has done anything he can to pull confidence away. Alistair Darling,


when he was Chancellor, in his book there were hints that he found


Mervyn King intransigence. There is not a lot of history. --


intransigence. Do you recall him? Neatly deflected! I recall a


priceless exchange between him and the Queen, just after the last last


crash. The Queen said, remind me how many people work there? He said


1413. The Queen said, 1413 and none of them saw this coming? The truth


is... She raises a good point.She did. And he has kept the thing


moving. Vaguely in the right direction. They sometimes do things


they do not know of. Nobody knows what is involved in quantitative


easing. What it involves, what is achieved. It has been an amazing


thing, huge element of this policy and I have not found anyone who has


You cannot just leave it to the Bank of England to sort out the


economy. The new chief executive is running the Bank of England. The


daughter of Douglas Hogg, our former minister of agriculture and


the granddaughter of Lord Hailsham. A woman at the helm will be better.


It is a very good idea to have women at the helm. Thank you.


Politicians love to talk about the importance of education, education,


education. Just last week we had Labour's offering on the direction


of schools as well as the government's appraisal of what


GCSE's should look like in the future. This morning it was the


turn of Michael Wilshaw. He has already discussed comprehensives


failing bright pupils and now he's worried about white working class


children falling behind. Here he is in an Ofsted advertisement talking


about what he calls the unseen children. This is a very nostalgic


experience for me. I am standing in St Michael's School in Bermondsey


in South East London, where I started teaching 46 years ago. I


taught the sons and daughters of mainly dockers. It laid the


foundation of what I did thereafter. There is absolutely nothing


predictable or predestined about poverty leading to failure. I have


always believed that. I have always believed that poor children can do


well. That is why I came to Hackney. There was pessimism in the area. It


cannot be done. You are talking about inner-city children and


deprivation. Our guest is here. Welcome to the programme. The


schools but you say are failing poor children have, in some cases,


been labelled as outstanding. said in the report were published


today that the focus is shifting. Failure often resided in the inner


city, in places like Hackney. What we have seen over the last five, 10


years, there is better performance in London. Even poorer children in


Birmingham, Manchester and city areas. Where problems now reside


are in areas where the spotlight has not shone. That is why we call


this report unseen children. In places we would assume they are


doing OK in rural areas, coastal areas, county areas where the


headlines are very glint. Actually, when you dig below the surface, it


is the poorest children in those schools that are doing the worst of


all. we mentioned one example, West Berkshire. When you look at the


performance of poor kids, they're doing really badly. That is very


difficult to delve into. While they are being given an outstanding


status if they are failing their poorest children catastrophically?


We need to look at this again. They should not be given an outstanding


grading, especially now they're getting additional funding through


the pupil premium. We can point the two schools where they're using it


really well - where there are high numbers of free school milk pupils


was up here, they are often ignored. That is why we have called it an


unseen problem. Why are those schools failing the poorest - the


least well-off? You also said it was white, working-class children.


Why is that if the vast majority of those children are doing so well?


It is about limited expectations at home and predominating in schools


in these areas where expectations are far too low. What we suggested


in this report, to rid the lift things quickly, we need the best


leaders of our schools up and down the country to go into these areas


under what is called a national leader of education scheme. We need


really good teachers. We suggested a tranche of teachers every year,


who prove themselves and the classroom and had done really well


are given a Centro contract by government. They become national


service teachers. They lift standards and disseminate good


practice and progress after a period of time to leadership


positions. You are going to take really good teachers out of other


schools. Parents in those schools were not be pleased to know you're


going to take them and put them somewhere else. All my experience


is where you have a teaching School Alliance. A lot of that teaching


goes on in schools. A lot of teachers go into those schools and


carry on their good work. There will always be a tranche were


teachers who want to go elsewhere. We are saying, give them a


government contract and son and two areas where they need teaching.


you surprised Ind terms of highlighting poor working-class


school children in these areas? problem areas commit you go to


schools where they are able because of the size and resources to give


breakfast clubs, so kids start with a good meal. They are after-school


clubs, activities. Their quality life is at school and the problem


is the home life. In more rural places, there is not that same


facility. It is not so surprising to me that action cannot be taken


so easily in rural communities. Isn't the problem also lack of


expectation? Teachers cannot be social workers. They cannot bring


up children like that. You are asking them to replace the failings


and shortcomings. I disagree. I ran the school where we knew youngsters


would come to school with a deficit that you and I would know about. We


became surrogate parents will those youngsters. We ran extension


classes and a rich and programmes. Retract their performances to


ensure we succeeded. The best teachers knew what to do. The other


important thing is that it worked in London because of something


called London challenge. It is led by head teachers. Good head


teachers and outstanding head teachers who gave tough messages to


underperforming schools. We are suggesting they support something


similar. Some regional challenges in places like Hastings, Norfolk


and North East Lincolnshire, who can do things we are suggesting -


co-ordinated well and get local performance to improve. I want this


to work. Good man. How long are you going to give your national service


for teachers? How long to raise the standards? It is an issue for


government. I suspect a few years. Show what can be done. Remain there


if you can. Become a leader of the schools in those communities and


showed good practice. That is what happened in London. State schools


in London are outstripping the national average partner because of


the high levels of immigrant children with very high


expectations who are driven to exceed. Absolutely. We need to make


sure our poor, white, British children do as well. We should


never give up. I was a London teacher. People were saying, what


could you do in London? London is a basket case. Look at it now! Thank


you. They used to call it franken- food. Genetically modified crops


have long been the bete noir of the tabloids - guaranteed to instil


fear over the breakfast table. Now the Environment Secretary wants us


to learn to love GM. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Have I missed you


campaign to bring GM foods to the UK? Where was your big


consultation? Good morning. What I'm trying to do is to get people


to realise this is not any strange new spooky innovation led by 20


professors with spiky hair and flapping Coates. This is well


established in many countries. There are 17 million farmers who


cultivate about 170 million hectares across 28 countries. That


This technology is now established agricultural production. Those


products are going into the food chain. They could no longer


guarantee there when non GM foods. My point today is to bring


attention to the fact that this technology is now well established


in many major agricultural countries. That we are importing


significant amounts for animal feed and the longer that we have


political decisions overriding the regulatory process at European


level, time and again products are approved by scientists and


overruled at political level. What I am asking is that everyone reads


my speech in some depth and sees that this is a well-established


technology. Not the only one. If we do not begin to use this technology,


Europe will slip further behind. What is also very important, it


will not just affect our farmers and food producers, it will have to


really damaging impact on our environment. There are


environmental gains on using GM, less spraying, less compaction of


soil. If I can just finish - another very important point. I am


at this World leading research centre for agree sides committed we


do not allow more progress on this one technology, research will go to


other countries. That is not the only shot in the locker. That is an


important innovation, along with other innovations. As the world


population grows, we should remember there are 1 billion people


hungry today, we have to embrace all the new technologies. I have to


come in with a question. Can I just put to you, the public do not like


it? There is no public clamour for it. They are suspicious of it. They


do not like the idea of jeans been taken from other organisms and


being injected into other plants. They think it is strange and


nothing has dissuaded them. However convincing and powerful you make it


across your point, at the moment, the public is not with you. I think


I would like to ask what what evidence is all that. I have a


survey. Can I just say? A survey here says 21% of the population


supports the technology. All right, 35% opposed but that leaves a lot


of people undecided. Friends of the Earth has described your support


for GM crops as flogging a dead horse. I think they are ignoring


the facts that today very large numbers of UK citizens will make a


choice and they will go into a supermarket and they will buy a


product where they know perfectly well from the announcement of the


main supermarket that the animal from which the meat product was to


ride, or the egg was derived, was fed on GM. There was no major


public reaction at Woolworth. I think your opinion is rather dated.


-- atoll. There was real concern a few days ago. -- a few years ago.


The whole point of today is to get a raft of facts to show this is


established. It is an accepted part of practice. Does it work? Can you


produce drowned resistant GM crops? It may be there has not been a


public reaction. Maybe it has seeped into the food chain. Do they


actually work? If you had time to plough through my speech, you would


minister in Berlin. Brazil is about The next generation is what is


really interesting. You mentioned saline resistant. That could bring


in marginal land, which is of enormous importance. My last


thought, 1 billion people got up this morning hungry and they will


go to bed really hungry. We owe it to them to use wonderful research


centres to use at innovation and developed technologies to help to


agreement about adopting GM foods? The coalition agreement is very


clear. The agreement was that there will be a government led discussion


which will highlight the potential benefits of GM foods, and also the


potential risks, and that no decisions will be made before we


have had that debate with the public. What we have had today from


Owen Paterson in his speech is cheerleading on behalf of the GM


industry. You say he is cheerleading on behalf of the industry but he


says that we could help the starving people across the world. It is an


emotional argument. Indeed. The Lib Dems are not in principle opposed to


the potential of looking at GM crops. What we need is the evidence.


In terms of the health opportunities and risks and, crucially, what is


not covered very much, the environmental risks and the economic


risks. I sit on the House of Lords agricultural committee. We were


promised a review from Owen Paterson's department about the


economic and environmental effects of GM crops. That was promised but


it had not arrived in March. Why are we not getting the facts from the


Department before we make the decisions about the use of these


crops? There have been hundreds of scientific surveys carried out and


there is a whole pile of evidence listening to people who are involved


in the GM industry, who say that it is safe. They say it is safe and it


is used across Canada, America, Brazil, and it is already in the


food chain. What are we frightened off? There is a lot of evidence that


we have not got definitive answers on the environmental impacts. In


China, Argentina, Brazil, they are using more synthetic chemicals to


control pests, despite the claims from the GM industry that the use of


these crops would bring down the use of insecticides. Is it spooky?


not think so. It is exciting, new Dom and I tend to agree with the


last person I heard. Owen Paterson was very impressive but when this


debate began my thought, what will I decide? When I discovered that the


Duke of Edinburgh was in favour of GM crops I thought, well, if he is


in favour, I will be too. The truth is, there is no evidence of it


having any damaging affect on health. There is no evidence of that


and the rest of it seems to be moving, scientifically, into


exciting new directions. Debate has been going on for several years and


we need action from government. He made a convincing adamant. It is


taking the debate further. We have had GM crops for 20 years and a lot


of the claims we had initially have still not been substantiated. You


say that you can then be is in favour full stop I am sure you might


get a different answer from the Prince of Wales. We have a lot of


organic farmers in the UK and in the states, that has -- there have been


thousands of lawsuits from organic farmers who cannot undertake their


business because of cross contamination. We have to take that


seriously. This is my view on most things. Whatever the argument, I set


the Prince of Wales in front of me, who is wonderful, and I follow


whatever the Duke of Edinburgh says, regardless of the issue. It


does save time in the long run. You do not need to read the report.


little simplistic, if you don't mind me saying. Is that how you view the


Duke of Edinburgh? Your argument. You're putting words into my mouth!


Vetiver joining us. And welcome to our viewers in Scotland who have


been watching first ministers questions. Last month, a strange


form of Ingo took place in the House of Commons. It looked like this.


asked the assistant to drop in numbers. As each number is strong, I


will read out the place in the ballot list and the corresponding


name of the member in the ballot rocks. -- ballot box.Number 20 will


be? 214.Doctor Matthew offer. And number 19 will be? 212.I think we


have to shake them up! Mr Michael Meacher. As we say in the North


West, shake them up. And we now want number 18. 485.Mr William Cash.


It is like winning the lottery. That was the Deputy Speaker, Lindsay


Hoyle, and two of those lucky winners are in our studio now.


Caroline Spelman, and William Cash. We only ever hear you being called


Bill Cash. I am Bill, 100%. I have a son called William so I call myself


William. -- old Bill. What is the bill about? It is about compensation


for blight. If there is an infrastructure built -- if there is


infrastructure near where you are, it is difficult to find


compensation. I am trying to improve compensation for blight. What a


durable or more you lobbied to put it forward? This is my bill. High


Speed two is going through my constituency. I am at the Midlands


motorway crosswords so a lot happens at my constituency. -- crossroads.


What is the chances of it happening? I think it is quite good because if


you listened to PMQs yesterday, there was a clue. Asked about a


property bonds, the Prime Minister was quite warm about that. He did


not reject it. What is your bill about? To enhance the role of women


in relation to the third World and developing countries. I have done a


lot of work in Africa and in India, and I have worked with the women who


raised the money for sewage and sanitation in Mumbai and in Delhi. I


was out there with the Guardian. It has been an interest of mine and I


believe that women must be given much, much bigger roles in relation


to the government and public services, education, health and


water sanitation throughout the world. And it was the ideal


opportunity, if the legislation is thematically worked into projects


around the world, to ensure that that priority enables things to be


done. Caroline Wozniacki former Shadow Minister for their element


aid and she understands this. We agree in this strongly. Both


worthwhile cases. You have made the argument forcefully. The problem


with Private Members' Bill is that they often fall at the first hurdle


or the next hurdle. You must be worried. It does not necessarily


mean you do not get a change in the law. I have been lucky enough to be


on the ballot for times. Even though my members Bill might have fallen,


the government has been prompted by the Private Members' Bill to make a


change in the law. In my case, on adoption and garden grabbing.


the problems is being talked out. can give you an example of that. You


will remember Cyril Townsend, the Member for Bexleyheath. I helped him


with a bill to stop child photography, the abuse of children,


paedophilia. In 1977 it was amazingly controversial. Don't ask


me why. Actually, the government give it time and Jim Callaghan told


me when I saw him in the House after, just before he retired, I


asked him how he got it through and he said, my wife said I would not


speak to -- she would not speak to me for six months if I did not put


it on the statute books! But there is another bill that you,


particularly, will also want to see made law. Would you drop yours in


favour of the EU bill going through? I do not have to make that choice


because it has been made for me. I am a supporter of the Referendum


Bill. I brought in several Referendum Bill is and as far as I'm


concerned, that campaign the Gyles knows of from the whips office, is


now coming about. That is something I'm very pleased about. If you get


the support of the government, there is momentum. And you really work


with all sides. You speak to all the parties and then you go to the


relevant Cabinet minister and take him with you. The government will


always find time. Actually, they like things that are going to


improve the world in which we live. And my marriage act in 1994 enables


civil weddings to take place in venues others -- other than registry


officers. -- registry offices. It came about because somebody in my


constituency on the castle and wanted to hold weddings there. She


thought it was unfair that Chester Cathedral could have a wedding but


her castle could not. It was a constituent who made possible. The


Prime Minister got behind it and the whole thing swept through. People


say that the marriage act and the Northern Ireland peace process I the


only two good things to come out of John Major's time in office.


they could not be more different! There are other famous members bills


that have made it. Capital punishment. And abortion. There have


been a number of other ones. that was David steel's.


opportunities that this gives you, with all the things that Gyles has


said, at the whips office, mine is an all-party bill, and Malcolm Bruce


is behind it. Michael James. There is a whole wide range of left, right


and centre. Thank you both very much. They were dumped an exciting


opportunity by the Prime Minister. And the coalition promised 200 of


them nationwide. But it looks like the open primary has fallen out of


favour. It seems they deliver MPs who are not playing ball. There is


one of those MPs being selected. Apologies for the sound problems.


am reading out the names in alphabetical order. Nick by. 3088.


Sarah Randall Johnson, 5495. And Sarah Wollaston, 7914. Sarah


Wollaston is our successful candidate. And she is here. Well


done. Why do you think the Prime Minister is backing away from these


primaries? I am disappointed because I think they have great potential,


particularly in safe seats which never change hands, to let people


decide what kind of Conservative or Labour MP they would like


representing them. Sometimes for decades to come. You accept that


they have been ditched? I will keep up the pressure because I do not


think that they should have been ditched. They need to be cheaper,


that is the point. How expensive was your selection? I am told it was


around �40,000 goes every voter in the constituency, regardless of


political affiliation, got a paper. A lot of money if you do that 200


times. We cannot afford it but we could pilot electronic footing.


People interact with politics all the time. I get 1000 e-mails a week


some weeks. People want to interact online. Just as people have got used


to the idea that you might vote with the red button, you can see huge


interactions with people if they have a secure code that they can use


when they get the ballot paper. Then they could vote online and that


would get rid of all the return postage issues. Do you think open


primary produce awkward, outspoken MPs? I think there is a difference


between being awkward and actually trying to approach things in a


different way. I applied to be an MP without having ever been to a


political meeting in my life. You are not a career politician.


Actually, I think the point is that all of us can do politics. I think


we see too many politicians who have come through a set route where they


have been researchers, and I am not knocking them because we need people


who have done this, but we also need to open up politics to more people


who come from a variety of backgrounds and, crucially, more


women. Can everyone do politics, Gyles? Everyone can do life and one


of the problems with politics is it is about people doing politics.


there too many of those? It is like a village talking to itself and the


idea of the primary is that anybody can come along, so you can get a


retired teacher or fire worker, or a mother or a father, every type of


person can come along. The difficulty for party politicians is


you will then get Mavericks, single issue people, people who are


brilliant on the night but turn out to be flaky. One of the phrases one


uses endlessly in Parliament, is, is she sounds? Is the current system is


so spectacularly successful? Look at what we have at the moment. We need


to have people who come through and understand how it works but the


public are frustrated. We have lots of politicians who end up in jail.


We need to accept that at the moment Parliament does not look and sound


like wider Britain. What do you think of Number Ten? I have already


made some comments about how I think that if you come from... Nobody has


any problem with where the Prime Minister goes to school. None at


all. But what they expect is to see a wide variety in the team around


him. I went to a state comprehensive, one State conference


of anti-grammar, I should correct that, but it would be unusual that


there were people from my former school in Number Ten. That is the


point. It does not matter where you come from, it is about having


diversity. Is there a problem with democracy? I am excited that Prince


William will be king and he went to Eton and the Archbishop of


Canterbury went to Eton and the Prime Minister. The only thing that


is wrong with the economy is that George Osborne did not go to Eton.


Maybe we need more of these people. Boris Johnson went to Eton. They do


not take girls, this is the problem. Sarah Woolaston, you can answer


this. It kind of excludes women. I would like to see more diversity. It


is a pipeline issue. There are not enough women applying to go into


politics and often that is because they do not think they will be


accepted. You are completely right and the whole thing needs to be


reinvented. The problem with the primaries is that in America, they


can test the candidates to destruction. The ones that we have


had in the UK have not quite worked fully because it is a short process


and a few oddballs have been thrown up all stop it has not tested people


to destruction. We're going to have Now to the next in our series about


the behind-the scenes figures who keep the Westminster village


running. We've heard from the paparazzi, the ministerial drivers


and the shadowy special advisors, but now we can reveal the most


secretive of them all: the whips. They are the supremely discrete


figures who keep MPs in line and make sure the Government gets its


I am the chief whip - merely a functionary. I keep the troops in


line. I make them jump. You cannot get a better description of the job


than that one from the House of cards. He is the creation of


Michael Dobbs, former adviser to Margaret Thatcher. Politics is a


team game. Every team requires coaching staff. They need to be


pretty rigorous - even ruthless - at times. That is what whips are.


The problem is that the whips, past and present, are about as open and


transparent as the Mafia. I could not possibly comment. Andrew


Mitchell has been in the Whips Office twice. First during the


Maastricht two years and then under David Cameron. Whipping, like


stripping, is best done in private. It is discreet and should be very


effective in what it does. Above all, it should go one below the


waterline and it should deliver for the Government. It is a very close


team. You tell a check everything and no one else anything. That is


the rule. -- you tell each other everything. Sometimes it is like


these guys, doing the housework, sorting out who gets which office


and even helping new MPs find a flat. It does not just involve


directing the traffic in Parliamentary Party. It also


involves in the eyes and ears of the management. I have been asked


who the most difficult MPs were to deal with. I always answered my


ministerial colleagues. They always expected miracles from the Whips


Office. That was not always possible. Then there are other


moments carved into Westminster law, when the Labour whips kept Jim


Callaghan in office, 20 had a majority of one or none. -- when he


had. There was one moment when a colleague of hours, in the Whips


Office, was deputed to secured the vote for a particular amendment of


a Scottish member. It was necessary for him to drink an extraordinary


quantity of alcohol in an adjacent restaurant and bar. I remember


seeing the two of them staggering her arm in arm through the lobby, a


glimpse of triumph in the eye of the whip in question. After the


vote, I saw him in the corner of the Whips Office passed out through


alcohol consumption. It was done in a very good cause. And we are


joined now by a whip expert, none other than James Graham, who wrote


This House - a play about Labour and Tory whips. Welcome. Of course,


Gyles Brandreth, you have been a whip. I have was that I kept a


diary, which was not approved of by my colleagues when I published it.


I hope it was of assistance when writing the play. There is the code


of science and on that in the Whips Office. It is hard to penetrate


that. When you did manage to penetrate the layers of the Whips


Office, always surprised by what you found? Shocked, surprised and


delighted. So many stories from the 1970s when there was a party with


not enough of a majority to form a government. Then every vote had to


be fought for. You get incredible scenes of whips, charming and


bribing and seducing members to go into the lobby. Then the strong


arms and the threats. The Labour government of 1974 had to work with


their enemies very closely. You had to bargain with all the odds and


sods within the Conservative Party. And promise them all sorts of


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 52 seconds


The point is, you are elected to support the Government of the day.


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 52 seconds


Ambulances could be brought in full stop you and the opposition could


see a person. -- ambulances could . There is a human side to it. I


encountered lots of noble stories of people being kind and supportive


too ill and sick members. If you cannot make a boat, a member of the


opposite party were agreed to step This was the most satisfying


experience of my life. It is a very collegiate place - the House of


collegiate place - the House of problems. A and John Major's


birthday. We had a keeper copy of Who's Who above the safe. Your


trusted with trying to get the votes through! No wonder he struggled. It


is a lot of middle-aged men and three women doing their best. That


is what it is. Now, it was Mark Twain who said that clothes make the


man. Naked people have little or no influence on society. Clothes do


matter. Just ask William Hague and his baseball cap. Or Gyles and his


famous woolly jumpers. It has been interesting to view the wardrobe


malfunctions which have recently occupied the political news agenda.


First, there was Caroline Lucas in trouble for wearing this political


T-shirt in the Commons, and was told to cover up. Strangely, the G8


leaders were positively encouraged to dress down and relax in their


press conference without ties. David Cameron was leading the charge


without even a jacket to protect himself from the Lough Erne


elements. It was there to protect our sartorial standards? You will


never guess. -- who is there. When they want to get a good suit, they


have two come to London, Savile Row, the epicentre of tailoring and suit


making in London. London is to the suit as Parma is to Parmesan. And


when the big cheeses of the world wants to get themselves properly


attired, they come to our great city. That was the big cheese


himself, Boris Johnson. Looking like he has made an effort, apart from


the here, to smarten up. Do we like our politicians dress up or dress


down? All the research shows that what people recall of what they see


on television, 83% is a visual image and 17% is what they hear. How you


look really makes a difference. If you looked at that line-up, Francois


Hollande does not often appear clearly dressed. He did not look


right. He does not know where to put his trousers. They were too high up.


You can see the blokes in the line-up who were accustomed to


appearing in shirt sleeves and those who were not. If you are going to


appear in shirt sleeves, you have to maintain a slimmer figure. One of


the problems the David Cameron has suffered at Downing Street is he has


managed to, despite his excellent exercise regime, to put on a few


pounds. So his tell me begins to show. There are are many virtues of


wearing a jacket. You're not wearing a tie. I have tried to remain


formal. How you appear is everything. This is why American


presidents, whenever they approach the steps of an aeroplane, they will


always run up. However old, or infirm, to look energetic. Now they


have a jacket, and it is slung over the shoulder to show that they have


one. I did not know you had such experience. There is time to find


the answer to our quiz. The question was what name did Barack Obama used


repeatedly to refer to our repeatedly to refer to our


repeatedly to refer to our Chancellor? Gyles Brandreth? Gideon?


No. That is his name. He kept referring to him as Jeffrey.


Unfortunately. That is all for today. Thank you to our guests. The


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