10/07/2013 Daily Politics


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Politics. Ed Miliband tries to distance himself a bit from the


unions, but will the plan work and please voters, but leave the Labour


Party penniless? Tell Sid, or should it be tell Pat. Will it see off


opposition? What does the Queen think about press regulation? We can


only speculate. The Privy Counsellors are to meet the Queen


over a Royal chaverTer to keep their house in order. -- charter to keep


their house in order. Could the legal profession be the next public


institution to fall from grace? You mean it hasn't already?


officially! All that to come. Some of the very finest public service


broadcasting your licence fee can buy. To prove that, with us for the


duration, the man who used to have two jobs, justice and Home Office


minister, but he now has none. Nick Herbert is in good company, because


we have another ex-Government employee, former Environment


Minister and some how Shadow community secretary, Hilary Benn.


Good to see you both. We like to help out the jobless. Our very nice!


A mixed reaction for Ed Miliband's proposals to mend not end the


party's relationship with the unions. Yesterday he said that


Labour would no longer accept affiliation fees unless union


members had specifically requested to contribute to the Labour Party.


But this would, we think, we think, still leave unions political funds


in tact to spend as the union leaders wished. Has he done enough


to bring Anned to the party's troubles over union influence? Who


should we ask? Of course, Kjo. course. 24 hours and many of the big


guns have given their reaction to the speech. Tony Blair, a Labour


leader who relished taking on the left-wing said this is a defining


moment and I think it is bold and strong. He said the proposals were a


reform of the Labour Party that is long overdue and frankly I should


have done when I was leader. Confounding expectations, Len


McCluskey, the General Secretary of Unite, the trade union at the heart


of the controversy in Falkirk, because also supportive. He told the


BBC the current status quo isn't acceptable and therefore a new


relationship is something I'm very comfortable about. Not all trade


unions were as emollient. Paul Kenny, the boss of the GMB said the


proposals are as close as you can get to ending the union link. Mr


Kenny said the reforms could see a 90% drop in the number of members


affiliating to the party and equally severe funding drops could see


donations drop from �2 million to around �300,000. That's from his


union alone. Andrew. Thank you. Hilary Benn, it's all rushed? Ten


days ago Mr Mel band -- Miliband had no intention of doing this, but now


he's ending up copying the policy of Stanley Baldwin, Conservative Prime


Minister in 1927? I don't think you quite got that right, because the


current rules for setting up political rules and for members


deciding whether they want to opt out of making a payment were put in


place by a Conservative Government in the 1980s. What Ed has done


yesterday is to set out a bold set of proposals, because since he


became leader he has talked about opening up politics. People look,


including at what happened in Falkirk and think they are a small


group of people arguing about something and what does it have to


do with us? To say to individuals to pay the levy, we want you to make a


conscious decision to afailiate to Labour, to say to Londoners who


support Labour, we would like you to play a part in selecting our


candidate for the Mayor next time around. This is about opening up


politics and the test of a leader when a crisis strikes and there's


been a problem, is to try to sweep it under the carpet, or do you seize


the moment? That's what he has done. If it's not rushed then and it's


well-thought out, then we'll pale away -- peel away the proposals.


Unite, if you are a member you pay a levy of �8. Is that the bit I'm


allowed to opt out of if I want to? Under the law currently, when you


join a union you can decide whether to opt out of paying the levy and


that is not going to change, because that is the law that the


Conservatives put in place. What will change is party will say to


affiliated unions, for the members who want to affiliate to Labour,


they must make a conscious decision. That is the change, that Ed has


proposed. Of the �8, to use the Unite example, only �3 of that goes


to the Labour Party. Is that the bit I'm opting out of it? No, members


would be deciding that they want to opt in to affiliation to the Labour


Party. Now, unions will still have funds. As you know that, they


continue to use those. I'm trying to clarify, because the details are


interesting. They are not clear. I'm not allowed to opt in to the


political fund, that is part of union membership? No, you are wrong.


I'm not right or wrong then. You are wrong. I'm asking you questions.The


law is very clear. Unions have to ballot on the political funds and


member when they are joined are asked, do you want to opt out of


paying the levy and that's been the law for a number of years and that


won't change. If you don't want to pay it you tick the box and you


don't pay it. The whole �8?Whatever the political levy is. The �3 of the


�8. No, you don't pay - whatever the levy that is set by the individual


union, then unions decide currently how many members they affiliate and


for that we want those union members who have agreed to pay the levy to


decide. We want to make a conscious decision to be members of Labour,


because we want to increase membership and bring working people


who are members of trade unions into membership of the Labour Party.


don't opt in specifically for the �3 of the eight to go to Labour, do I


get it back? No, because you've - you have already decided to pay the


levy and that remains with the unions. The consequence of this


could be that the union leaders will end up with a bigger fund than they


have now? They may, depending on how many choose to opt in. The second


thing that we are proposing and Ed made the proposal last year, we want


a cap on donations from unions and businesses,ed Conservative Party get


-- gets a huge amount from businesses and individuals. At the


moment the Conservative Party hasn't responded and David Cameron has


indicated he wants a much, much higher cap on donations. We'll come


to that. We need to take money out of politics. I'm trying to unravel


what is being proposed here. We have accepted that the consequence of


this, indeed it could be a major one, because a lot of union leaders


think not many people will opt in to paying the Labour bit of the levy,


is that union leaders will have a bigger political fund to back Labour


candidates that they want to back? Unions will continue to have a


political fund to make donations, but we are also proposing that there


should be a cap on donations. Ed has proposed there should be a cap on


expenditure limits in selections, but what this is really about is


saying we want to open up politics and we want more people to get


involved. You have said that.I know, but this is the important


selling point. We are getting down to the detail. We want people to get


involved. We are proud of the links with the unions. There would be


nothing to continue to stop Unite doing what it's doing now, indeed it


could do it with an even bigger political fund of identifying over


40 constituencies in the country, where it wants to put its man or


woman and put money behind these people, correct? Unions can of


course make donations to the party centrally and to local


constituencies. It's funds to back its own people? As to parties


locally. Andrew, we are also arguing for a cap on donations. That is the


really big prize and change and David Cameron is not responding.


I'll get to that in one moment. Two final points. Will this mean the end


of the privileged position of unions and voting for your party's leader?


Ray Collins has been asked to look at what the consequences of this


change are. We are going to wait for his report. We don't know the


answer. We don't, because he'll advise on further changes he thinks


might be able. Final question on this particular area, will it mean


the end of the unions' privileged voting position at conferences?


is also something that Ray can look at. We are taking the proposals that


are being put forward. It's radical. We are seeing what Tony Blair had to


say about them. He said he wished he had done that. This is a significant


moment. Ed is probably the first party leader in history to say, "I


want to make a change and it might result in us... ." He didn't want to


make the change. It's about the leadership you show when a cry


erupts. Ewants to make a change because it's the right thing to do.


It may result in less money, but he thinks involving more people is even


more important than that in politics. It doesn't affect you


because you have have take taken from hedge fund managers and private


equity guys and people who earn a tonne of money Anned -- and don't


pay much tax? There is the question of the cap that should be re-opened.


It was the Labour Party's res fusal to broker any notion that the unions


should be reformed that stalled those discussions. What we have


heard, there is a limit into how much will change in the Labour


Party. Yes, apparently now provided the unions agree, if you weren't


automatically enrolled as a member of the Labour Party if you are a


union member, but you will still be in the political fund unless you


decide to opt out. The automatic position where actually you are put


into the political funds still applies and that means the unions


can make donations to the Labour Party and constituencies if they


choose to. What about the cap?I support the cap. I think it should


be there. What should it be?The original discussion was �50,000.


Would there be a cap on unions? course. It is perfectly reasonable


to discuss it. How much?Ed said a year ago �5,000. Kelly recommended


10,000. David Cameron has said 50. That means over five years an


individual or business could buy �250,000 to the Conservative Party.


It would apply to unions and to individuals and businesses. Why are


the Tories not supporting that? in favour of a cap. We can discuss


the level. We are. What do you think it could be? Could you persuade


David Cameron? We'll hear what the Prime Minister has to say. I think


there should be a cap, but I don't speak for him. There is a


distraction from the undue influence that unions were having on Labour


Party policies which extends to the whole areas. You say there should be


transparency, but I was looking at the way you have the money into the


run-up to the election and because one individual didn't can't to be


seen to be giving a lot of money, he gave a tonne of millions, but it


wasn't millions, but then you look down the small print and it turns


out the wife gave money, the sons gave money, probably the cat gave


money as well. You add up how much the family gave and it came to


around �4 million. I don't know whether you can frame a law that


stops a family from donating money as individuals. It means that one


family gave almost 50% of what the whole of Unite has given. You've


been able to work that out. The donors have to be named legally.


That is absolutely right. It took a long while to get to that. Fine, but


the point is that each donation has to be declared. If you can frame a


rule that prevents family members from - His rule would. It would


apply to individuals too. We'll come back to this. Thank you for that.


It's interesting to get more details. I hope they're right.


Remember this - Sorry, mate got to go. British Gas shares. They


couldn't be easier to do. Phone this number. Place your information on


how to apply. If you see Sid, tell him, won't you? It's two decades


since the last large-scale public offering of shares. The most


memorable being the sell-off of British Gas. Today, the Government's


announcing the privatisation of Royal Mail, with shares made


available to the public. There will be no big publicity campaign this


time around, but shares will be handed out for free to 150,000 Royal


Mail staff. Joining us now from Liverpool is Bailey haze, General


Secretary of the Communication Workers' Union who oppose this.


Welcome to the programme. Will you conditions. But when you say you are


defending your people's conditions, I mean, those in favour say the


commercial benefits from privatisation of the Royal Mail will


help secure the postal service's long-term future?


That's just nonsense. The post services are currently in profit.


Its profits went up by 60%. It needs investment, it can borrow money on


the open markets like Network Rail does and we've got an efficient


postal service in the public sector. This is going to destroy postal


services. You talk to anybody who 's using any utilities. The


privatisation is an old-fashioned idea and will make matters worse.


Why will it destroy the postal service? That's a slightly


apocalyptic view. Why wouldn't it enhance it in terms of technology.


The investment, wouldn'tn't it be better to get the money from private


investment, rather than from taxpayers?


Well, you see, currently the Government allows, for example, it's


just allowed the Greater London Authority to borrow �1 billion for


the improvements in the Tube service, the extension of the


Northern Line. It could do the same for Royal Mail, it could borrow


money on the open markets. Network Rail is currently borrowing �27


billion on the open markets and it's looking for �50 billion. That


doesn't go on the public sector borrowing requirement. We are talk


youing about investment here in the company. The last argument they've


got for the people who want to privatise Royal Mail is, it needs


money for investment and we agree. How much? My estimate is something


like �2 billion over five years. Network Rail borrows �27 billion


currently. Borrowing money on the open market and it doesn't go on the


public sector borrowing requirements. Let us can check your


reaction to what Ed Miliband said. Do you agree with Paul Kenny of the


GMB that the union reforms that have been suggested are as close as you


can get to ending the union link? agree that it's a set of proposals


that are completely muddled. For example, in the open primary that's


been discussed for the Mayoral London elections, will the people


afilliated to the Labour Party and members of our union be allowed to


vote in the London Primary? I mean, listening to people talk about the


proposals, I mean, it's about as clear as mutted to me -- - mud to


me. All credit to Andrew Neil for muddling through. Nobody knows what


the proposals are about, but I think what it's about is posh people's


politics. The idea that ordinary working people which Trade Unions


represent need to be excluded from politics because they're somehow or


other saying it's dirty money, that's completely nowt the case.


What do you say to Billy Hayes? opposite of that. It's about


encouraging the union members to come and join Labour to participate,


including in the Primary which we want Labour supporters to do as


well. This is about opening up involvement in politics, it's about


welcoming people at work who're Trade Union members participating in


the life and the decisions of the Labour Party in a bigger way. I


think it's a great opportunity, one that should be seized. That's why


others have said they welcome this. Billy Hayes, back to you. What is


your reaction to that? Well, youent think he's answered the questions


about the mayoral elections in London. Where people hope to stay


with Labour, will they be allowed to vote in the London elections? They


have more right to vote given they've paid the political levy and,


you know, support the Labour Party. Will they be allowed to vote? I'm


all for opening up politics. The whole of the political process in


this country feels as if it's stuffed with people who spend their


whole lives in politics, as a special adviser or this or that, and


it feels the same in all the institutions. I'm all for opening up


politics. What we have got in this country is posh people's politics.


Andrew Neil no less identified that and it was Peter Mandelson who


blamed the Trade Union for not getting more people involved in


politics. We'll leave it there. Thank you for that. Let me come to


you, tonne privatisation of the post office. Why is your Government not


taking the opportunity to do a Tell Sid on this? In other words, to


spread the shares in the Royal Mail? It's our Royal Mail after all? To


spread the shares acorrosion the country? The announcement's just


coming, isn't it. But from what we have seen of it, it looks as though


the proportion of the shares were... Shares for post office workers?


Whether it should be spread more widely. We are told there 'll not be


a Tell Sid campaign. That's right. It won't be a big


publicity campaign. Here was a chance to spread the


shares to people at advantageous prices. You are meant to believe in


popular capitalism. This time it looks as no ethe big institutions


will only be automobile to buy? will also be the workers.


talking about the people who use it? The rest of us who don't work for


the Mail, but own the Mail at the moment? There will be the


opportunity reports But they are not going to do that? You are talking


about whether there should be a marketing campaign. Let's look at


the principle. Private ownership gives access to capital and allows


the Royal Mail to compete. It's losing market share at so rapidly a


rate. But something has to be done. It's not going to be a people's


capitalism and it's not just marketing. The British Gas share


price was set at a price. The pricing was key, because the frozery


wanted a higher price but they took the decision to try and spread the


shares as wide as possible to set a competitive price. You are not going


to do that. It will be the big institutions. You have to take a


decision in setting the price in terms of what the market will pay


and to ensure the you can is Cesc of the floatation. You can't just take


the view that you can offer it at a price that's a give-away, you will


be criticised for that as well. It's important this is a successful


privatisation for the future of Royal Mail which will protect the


universal service. Thank you for that. Yesterday, she


was enjoying the sunshine, sailing down the river on her Royal barge.


Today, she's meeting the Privy Council to talk about press


regulation. Yes, it's the varied life of a modern Monarch, but one


former minister who won't be taking his place on the Queen's Australian


shent advisory body today is Lord Prescott. He's resigned over its


handling of press regulation. He's on College Green and he's joined by


Trevor Kavanagh from the Sun. Welcome, gentlemen. Trevor Kavanagh,


you have pushed ahead with your own regulator. Are you trying to hand


out a fait accompli? We didn't set out to outflank them, simply went


ahead with a plan we feel is worth looking at at the highest level


while they sat on their hands for months and did nothing to actually


get together a plan that they could put before the Privy Council.


Doesn't it seem odd to you that ministers have ended up second in


line for the Privy Council when Parliament expressed its will


clearly back in March? It asn't actually. The leaders of the various


parties have ganged together to stitch up the press with a 2 am


pizza conference. There's never been a debate about this at all in the


House of Commons, Jo, so this is not something Parliament has agreed.


John Prescott, haven't they got every right to pip you at the post?


Wait a minute, it's not right. I have a copy of the draft put in in


March 18th. You can't can't say that. Every detail is in there.


Parliament decided by 500 votes to put this. They didn't debate it.


They could a second debate on it. This is the one that's ready now.


The Prime Minister said it will go to the May Privy Council. They


didn't put it to maismt I believe they are not putting it to July.


They could put it today if they want. That will mean November. The


Privy Council is being used to delay the whole business. That's how


they've defeated it before. So now, it's being abused and I don't want


to be any part of it. So I've resigned.


John Prescott's taken a stand there, Trevor Kavanagh. It looks as if you


are pressing ahead by using underhand tactics? In what way is it


underhand, Jo? We have simply produced an alternative to the Royal


Charter that we don't accept which is basically a statutory operation


with underpinning. Whichever way you look at it, that's political


interference in the process of the media which has been sacred against


us for three centuries. Not all the papers agree with the charter.


Nearly all. It isn't the Guardian, the Independent... Part of the


hacked off operation. It's not a United one. Doesn't even fit with


the independence by Leveson. So why is the Government... It's exactly


what Leveson spelled out. ALL SPEAK AT ONCE


Parliament's word against these press guy who is want to Dutch us.


-- dump us. David Cameron and Nick Clegg from told the Commons they


didn't have any choice, that they were advised by lawyers that the


press had to come first. No, he said when we did the March 18th, when we


produced Parliament's report, he said it would go to the May


commission. He said it didn't go because it took legal opinion.


No-one's seen the legal opinion, but theirs is a divided one. Why is it


that they are only just putting the press won first which would talk us


up to the election. Delay, delay, delay, is what the press have always


done to defeat the last seven. is your party going to do about it,


John Prescott? We are making it clear, they are unto the charter.


The charter is a kid. They are entitled to make their view as


leaders, I'm John Prescott, I'm not running the Labour Party, but I'll


tell you this, if you go on like this, you will end up being kidded


by the Royal Charter. And by the way, it will be controversial. You


are going to involve the monarchy fighting Parliament because


Parliament's clear. It has a view. Thank you both very much.


John Prescott briefly on Ed Miliband's speech, the relationship


with the units, Tony Blair's praised it as being brave and wished he'd


done it, although he was never accused of being in with the unions.


Billy Hayes says it's clear as mud? Hang on, all the arguments on one


member one vote, under clause IV under Tony Blair changing the voting


system. They were controversial, we debated it. Now we don't talk about


Ed being weak, all the papers are saying he's strong. He's going to


have the debate. Len McCluskey said I'll get the vote. That's the nature


of the party. It gits controversial. It's about change, but at least this


man's shown the framework he wants to work with and people should


recognise he has the courage to do that. Is it the courage you say to


end the link with the unions? doesn't want to, he's made it clear.


I don't want to see it ended. Billy and all those opposed to clause IV


change and one member one vote, but we made the changes. Gentlemen,


thank you very much. Was that Michael Portillo standing


behind them? ! I think it was! be, or one of the union members in


disguise. We are good at winning things, the rugby, the tennis, and


now the cricket starts today, the Ashes at Trent Bridge. It's not been


a brilliant start, 31 for one. Still all to play for. They'll slog it out


for the next five days. For what? An urn containing the Ashes of a


cricket bale. Not even a bat, a bale. Isn't it about time they found


a more fitting receptacle? We think it is. If you are feeling lucky, you


too could be a winner of the Daily Politics.


Mug. See if you can remember when this


Satisfactory peace... # Swing low, sweet Lord


to the Scottish people and to their king.


It's an all-northern Cup Final as Blackburn and Newcastle take the


# Unforgettable... # To be in with a chance of winning


that Daily Politics mug, send your website.


Do you think anyone's ever read them? I have!


Doesn't get out a lot! Coming up to midday. There's Big Ben, a beautiful


summer's day here in London. It means Prime Minister's Questions and


Nick Robinson. A veritable ucopia of things to discuss at PMQs?


Miliband will do party funding and will quote my guest, genuine guest,


Sir Christopher Kelly's report from November 11 which said �10,000 cap


on party donations if Labour agrees to end the system of Trade Union


relationships they currently have. That is what he proposed yesterday.


So I've no doubt he'll claim I've moved, rth will you move, Prime


Minister. My guess is that the Prime Minister will say, we've heard you


say that you have moved, but we are baffled about what it will mean in


practice, as are indeed all the Trade Unions who've appeared on the


programme. John Prescott department seem to have a clue either about


what it would really mean, other than he was broadly in favour.


see. Will it all be on the issue of process? I think so. I think David


Cameron thinks he created the speech we saw by the Labour Leader


yesterday. He'll want to talk about it and he believes he's making the


weather. Let's find out. Here is the Prime Minister at PMQs.


I'm sure the whole House and country will wish to join me in


congratulating Andy Murray on his historic Wimbledon success. To


become the first British player to win Wimbledon for 77 years is


fantastic and it will go down in our history books. This morning, I had


meetings with ministerial colleagues and others and in addition to my


duties in this House, I shall have The government is setting out plans


to modernise the Royal Mail and to allow modern people to own 10% of


the shares. Could the Prime Minister tell us what support he's expecting


to see for this measure? I think there will be widespread support


around the country to modernise this great public service and to get new


capital into this service and to make sure that 10% of the shares


will go to the people who work for the Royal Mail. What is remarkable


is it was proposed by the Labour Party when they were in Government,


but of course, because the trade unions now oppose it, they have to


oppose it too. Fresh evidence today that they are still in the pockets


of their trade unions paymasters. Let me first join the Prime Minister


in paying tribute to Andy Murray, for his fantastic victory following


Virginia Wade's victory in 1977. It was a fantastic achievement. He


showed extraordinary determination and the whole country is incredibly


proud of him. As the Government considers the issue of party funding


reform, can the Prime Minister tell the House how much his party has


received in donations from hedge funds? I'm not surprise surprised -


THE SPEAKER: Order, the Prime Minister will want to answer - I'm


sure he will - I know he will want to answer the question that has been


put to him and we must hear him do so. The Prime Minister. I'm not


surprised he's got this sudden interest in party funding. However,


let's be frank, every donation to the Conservative Party is fully set


out and public. Let's be clear what this real scandal is about. It's


about trade union fixing of political appointments to this


House. That's what it's about. When he gets to his feet let's hope he


addresses the 40 seats that Unite have fiddled and let's hope he


publishes the full report and let's hope he tells - they don't want to


hear! THE SPEAKER: Order, order. I'm


always concerned about the rights of backbench members and they will be


heard and if we run over for the purpose, because of this sort of


conduct, so be it. They will be heard. Please, let's have a bit of


order and some answers. The problem is they're paid to shout and they're


doing nothing about it. I don't think he wanted to answer the


question, did he? Let's give him the answer. The Conservative Party has


received 25 million from hedge funds. Now, next question. In the


Budget, the Chancellor gave hem funds �145 million tax cut. Can the


Prime Minister tell us was it just a coincidence? The tax raid under this


Government is going to be higher than it ever was under his


government. But let me tell him this important point. There is a big


difference between donations to the Conservative Party and donations to


the Labour Party. And the difference is this - donations to the Labour


Party buy votes at your conference and candidates and MPs in this House


and pay for the votes that gave him his job. They pay their money and


bought their votes and put him in his place and that hasn't changed a


thing. I'll tell him what the difference is, six pence a week in


fees from ordinary people up and down the country. I guess the party


funded by a few millionaires at the top.


THE SPEAKER: Mr Ellis, you find it so difficult to control yourself.


I'm sure you didn't when you were practising at the Bar. Calm it man,


get a grip of the situation. What is shameful about it, he doesn't even


know about the extra tax cut he gave to hem funds. Now, he says he wants


reform. He says he wants reform. So I've a proposal for him. I'm


willing, as I've said before, to have a �5,000 limit from unions and


businesses and individuals as part of a reform in the way the parties


are funded. Is he willing to do that? Firstly, let me deal with six


pence a week. THE SPEAKER: Order. We have to


listen. Here are the figures since he became leader. 8 million from


Unite, 4 million from GMB, 4 million from Unison. They bought the


policies and the candidates and they bought the leader. I have long


supported caps on donations. I think we should have caps on donations and


they should apply to trade unions, to businesses and to individuals.


But let me say this - THE SPEAKER: Order. Order. There is


still far too much shouting. It's on both sides. The Prime Minister, I


think is concluding his answer. me be frank with him, there is a


problem with a �5,000 cap and it's this - it would imply a massive


amount of taxpayer support for political parties. Frankly, Mr


Speaker, I don't see why the result of a trade union scandal should be


ever taxpayer in the country paying for Labour. So there we have the


truth. THE SPEAKER: Order. Mr Miliband.


He's ducking reform. That's the truth. He's ducking funding reform.


He doesn't want it to happen. Look, let's test his willingness to reform


in this House. Current rules allow MPs to take on paid directorships


and consultancies as long as they're declared. It's in the Register of


Members' Interests. Members on both sides abide by those rules. I say,


in the next Parliament, and this will affect both sides of this


House, MPs should not be able to take on new paid directorships and


consultancies. Does he agree? think what matters is that


everything is transparent and open. Those are the rules. Look, he made


me an offer - THE SPEAKER: Order. I said one


moment ago, the Leader of the Opposition must be heard and he must


be and the Prime Minister must be heard. He made me an offer. Let me


make him an offer. If he wants change, I make this offer, there is


a Bill coming to this House next week covering trade unions. If he


wants to legislate to move from opting out to opting in, if he wants


to give union members the chance to choose whether to donate, if he


wants to allow union members to vote on whether they should give to


Labour, we will legislate. Will he accept that offer of legislation?


Yes or no. Mr Speaker, I've got to say to him he's got to do a lot


better than that and answer the question on second jobs. He has to -


let me just tell the Prime Minister and all the members opposite,


between now and the general election they will be subject to this test.


Do they support second jobs, new directorships? Yes or no. That is


the test. Let's try him on another test. I say


THE SPEAKER: Order. The question must be heard and people that I


might have thought about calling to ask a question, who are shouting


from a sedentary position, might just as well leave the chamber.


say this as well, as well as ending new direct orships, there should be


a limit on earning on top of the salaries as they have in other


countries. The public would expect nothing less from that. What does he


say? What is interesting, he doesn't want to talk about the trade union


stitching up Parliamentary selections. He doesn't want to


address that. That is what this scandal is about. Let us ask what


has actually changed since yesterday? Will the unions still


have the biggest vote at the conference? Yes. Will they still be


able to determine the party's policy? Yes. Will they still have


the decisive vote in voting for the leader? Yes. That is the fact. They


own you lock, stock and block vote! This is a man owed by a few


millionaires at the top of the pile and everyone knows it. Here's the


difference between him and me, I want action on second jobs, he


doesn't. I want party funding reform, he doesn't. I am proud that


we have links with ordinary working people. He's bank rolled by a few


millionaires. The party of the people, the party of privilege.


not the party of the people, it's the party of Len McCluskey. Those


are the facts. THE SPEAKER: Order, we cannot just


have a wall of noise. What we need is questions and answers. The Prime


Minister. We are the party of the people. You are party of Len


McCluskey. They buy the candidates. They buy the policies. They buy the


leader. What is their policy on the Royal Mail determined by the


communications union? What is their policy on health? Determined my


Union. What is their policy on party funding? Determined by Unite. No


wonder he thinks that bud that. He wants to be reincarnated and come


back as a proper leader. THE SPEAKER: Order, the question,


however hong it takes, will be heard. Thank you very much. Three


quarters of a million British people suffer from heart failure, a


condition which uses one million hospital beds every year. Recent re


research says low levels of air pollution can significantly increase


this Is are being. Will the Prime Minister commit to meeting European


standards on air quality, which if implemented could increase life


expectancy by up to eight months? makes an important point about air


quality. We have seen real improvements in recent years. It


makes a genuine difference to public health there are important


discussions on going, particularly about car emissions and I'll perhaps


write to him about the conclusions. The Government has diverted EU


regeneration funds intended for South Yorkshire to benefit wealthier


parts of the UK. The Chair of Sheffield City have said that


arguments of loeBgsals have been ignored and the decision will have a


hugely negative impact on the area. Why has he ignored local business


leaders? How can the Prime Minister justify allocating 34% more per head


to Cheshire than South Yorkshire? have done a very fair assess


assessment between the nations and the regions in the United Kingdom


about how to distribute this money. We have distributed it in a fair way


and I note if you look at Yorkshire and Humber you see enployment up


11,000 this quarter and employment up 86,000 since the election. But as


he is a member of Unite, it's not surprising he doesn't mention that


fact. Does the Prime Minister welcome last Friday's vote to give


the British people a say on their relationship with Europe? A vote


with a stark contrast where the party opposite chose to stay away,


to squabble within themselves over this side of the House from the


Conservative Party. What was noticeable is, even though there was


a 19-page briefing from the Labour Party, which like every other bit of


paper now refind lying around the House of Commons, they couldn't


actually make up their mind which way to vote. Pf


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Does the Prime Minister agree with the former


Conservative treasurer that the Munsefed from Azin Nadir is tainted


and they have a moral duty to give it back and, will he return that


money? The fact should start with the fact


that his party's taken �1. 6 million, not a �5,000 cap, but �1. 6


million from Mr Mills and advised him how to dodge the tax!


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Under the last Government, communities like


Thanet were left and aJuan donned on benefits. Was the right honourable


gentleman impressed by the thousands of jobs created? This Government is


putting people back into work. Well, my right honourable friend is


absolutely right and I was impressed on visiting Thanet to go and see the


jobs being created by the London Array because it's jobs in shipping


and for seamen, in terms of engineering and apprenticeships. A


really important investment for the UK and we hope to see more.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Is the Prime Minister aware about


the importance of investment in infrastructure and widespread


agreements about its job-creating potential. Can he tell the House why


after three year, in office, the employment in the construction


centre has fallen by 84,000 people? The employment in construction's


currently rising. The recent news on construction has been very good.


That is because we have an infrastructure plan, a fifth of the


projects are under way, we have got road-building at far higher levels


than it ever was under the Labour. They electrified five miles of


railway line, we are going to be electrifying hundreds of miles of


railway line. I know he doesn't mention the fact that he's been


paying rent to Unite in his constituency office. Normally it's


money from Unite to Labour, on this case it's money from Labour to


Unite. Thank you, Mr Speaker. Is my right


honourable friend aware that after yesterday's surrender of powers by


the Home Office to the European Union by bringing the European Court


of Justice into the arrest warrant, the Commission has welcomed it as


pragmatic? Has bra thattively overtaken the Prime Minister's


popular desire to repatriate powers? What I would say to my right


honourable friend is that the Home Secretary's announcement yesterday


represents the repatriation to the UK of 98 powers. There were 133


items on the justice and Home Affairs list and that's a mattive


transfer of power back here to the UK which I think my right honourable


friend should welcome. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


-- massive transfer. A career and her husband with Parkinson's disease


were moved to a two-bedroomed property because he found it


impossible to sleep when sharing a room. The cumulative effect means


she'll have to find an additional �1,000 a year. Evidence has been


published which says discretionary payment schemes are only actually


benefitting one in ten. That's the scheme that Government ministers


frequently pray in aid. Was it his intention that nine out of ten


careers should face eviction, debt, arrears and bailiffs? Well, first of


all, let me make clear that Disability Living Allowance, the


main benefit received by disabled people is being uprated by inflation


and excluded from the welfare cap. When it comes to the spare room


subsidy, anyone who needs a career sleeping in another bedroom is


exempt from the spare room subsidy. Of course, also there is the


discretionary payment. Members opposite shake their heads. The fact


is, they have opposed each and every one of our welfare savings. It's


their poll sill to adopt our spending plans -- policy. They can't


go on accepting the plans but criticising at the same time.


It's one year since the Government suspended aid money that goes


directly to the Kagame regime in Rwanda over the role they played in


supporting warlords and militia gangs in the Congo. Recently, the UN


confirmed Rwandan Army officers are still involved in such activities.


Does my right honourable friend agree with me that these actions are


unacceptable for a Commonwealth nation and, will he work with the


international counterparts by ensuring those committing war crimes


are brought to justice? The war crimes should always be brought to


justice. I've raised the issue for support with President Kagame on a


number of occasions. We need to bear in mind that fact. We should also


recognise, and this goes across parties in this House, that British


investment in aid in Rwanda has created one of the great success


stories of African development over the last decade and we should


continue to invest in that success and lift people out of poverty while


delivering a clear message to President Kagame at the same time.


Prime Minister, how many job jobs (inaudible)


All members of Parliament have the cleers possible duty to their


constituents. But let me make this point. Do I think the House of


Commons benefits from people like the honourable member for Blackburn?


And his experience? Do I think the House of Commons benefits from the


honourable member for Sheffield Brightside who comes to this House


with his experience? I think we do benefit. I'm not sure we benefit


from my immediate predecessor, but there are honourable members


opposite who give good service to this House.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, we are all celebrating Andy Murray's


historic victory this week. The Prime Minister may not know that


history was also made in 1954 when Dave Valentine, a Scotsman, was the


first man to lift the Rugby League World Cup trophy for Great Britain.


With the 14th Rugby League World Cup happening this year, the first major


sporting tournament on these shores since last year's wonderful London


2012 Olympics and Paralympics, will the Prime Minister give full support


and come to one of the games? wasn't aware of that important piece


of history and I'm grateful for him bringing me up-to-date on that. I


strongly support the fact we are holding this tournament and will


give it all the support we can. We have the small issue of the Ashes


which is very important as well. Thank you, Mr Speaker. When the


Prime Minister entertained the hedge fund owners of Circle Health, the


private hospital company, to a dinner for donors in Downing Street,


what did he promise in return for their �863,000 donation to the Tory


party? Let me give him the figures. �8


million from Unite, �4 million from GMB, �4 million from unison. And the


difference is this - those donations, they buy your leader.


They buy your policy. They buy... THE SPEAKER: Order, order!


Does the Prime Minister agree with me that it's welcomed that 2,500 out


of workhouse holds in London can no longer claim more...


THE SPEAKER: Order. Mr Lord's question must be heard!


Mr Lord? These out of workhouse holds can no longer claim more than


the average work family earning, a welfare reform opposed by the party


opposite? The party opposite have opposed


every single welfare change we've made. �86 billion in total, and


people in this country, including Trade Union members, will find it in


xplicable why the party opposite think you ought to be better off on


benefits than in work. Shows that they have the wrong relationship


with the unions and have the wrong values too.


Can the Prime Minister tell the House (inaudible)


THE SPEAKER: Order. Some basic manners would suggest


that the question be heard. Just as I said about Mr Lord, so too Cathy


Jamieson will be heard. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Perhaps the Prime Minister could tell the House whether the donations


to the Conservative Party had any influence on the Foreign Secretary's


intervention in his company's tax dispute?


The donations to the Conservative Party do not buy votes at our Party


Conference. They don't buy votes for our leader. They don't mean you can


select candidates. That is the unhealthy relationship in British


politics. They can say all they want, but they've been found out in


Falkirk and are being found out across the country.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Every Shropshire child receives


�4,612 per annum for their education. In other parts of the


country, that figure is as high as �7,000 to �9,000. This is completely


unjust and puts Shrewsbury children at a disadvantage. Will the Prime


Minister do all he can to help the Education Secretary to change this


funding Meg name before the unions try to block it? We agree the


current system is unfair and my right honourable friend gave the


figures. We have committed to consulting on how best to introduce


a national funding formula for 2015-16. We'll consult widely with


all of the interested parties to get this right. We'll obviously include


all Members of Parliament and I know that my right honourable friend, the


member for Shrewsbury, will campaign very hard on that issue.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. The Tory chair of the Treasury


Select Committee's described the Government's banking reforms as


falling short and, in some respects, virtually useless. Is this the pay


off for all the millions the bank banks... (Inaudible) Is this


Commission that commissioned the Vickers Report, committed to a


ringfence around retail banks, it's this Government that's legislating


to have criminal sanctions against bankers. What did the last


Government do? What did those two do when they were sitting in the


Treasury, when Northern Rock were handing out 110% mortgages? They


were knighting Fred Goodwin. Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, on Friday, the town centre of Bury will fall silent as


the people of Bury lead the nation in paying respects to drummer Lee


Rigby, so horrifically murdered on the streets of Woolwich. Will the


Prime Minister join with me in paying tribute to all his family and


friends and his comrades in the Fusiliers for their calm and


dignified response to their loss and thank all those in the church, Armed


Forces, police and Public Services who've been engaged in the planning


and preparation for the funeral? My right honourable friend speaks


for the whole country and the whole House when he talks about this


issue. We should all pay tribute to drummer Lee Rigby for his service to


our country. I heard about it at first hand when in Afghanistan and


meeting members of his regiment. We should pay tribute to his family, to


all the pain and difficulty they are going through. I'm sure it will be a


very fitting and moving service on Friday and the whole country will be


mourning with them. I have a JCB factory in my


constituency and I represent their Parliamentary interests as part of


my Parliamentary duties. Will the Prime Minister tell us how much the


Foreign Secretary was paid by JCB whilst he was in opposition?


JCB is a Great British company that exports all over the world. Instead


of trying to take it down, we should be celebrating it. It's opening


businesses, creating employment, it's training apprenticeships, it's


backing our academy programme. How typical of the party opposite. All


they want to do is talk down Great British businesses.


Does the Prime Minister agree that what this Government does, as it


helped us save the Medway Insolvency Service is represent the interests


of ordinary, decent Trade Unionists who too often are lions led by


donkeys? I absolutely agree with my right


honourable friend. Can I pay tribute to him for his work in saving the


Medway Insolvency Service. This is important and the fact is, the party


opposite is in hock to union leaders and that is why they refuse to


investigate the scandal of these rigged appointments. That is what


this is scandal is about and that's what they refuse to talk about.


Major contributors to Conservative Party funds... . Could the Prime


Minister say what role will be played in Conservative Party


planning policy? As a member of Unite, she speaks


with great authority on this subject. Let me explain again - when


people donate to the Conservative Party, they are not buying votes for


the leader, they are not buying policies, they are not buying votes


to the Party Conference. The reason the right honourable gentleman has


his job is that Trade Unions bought votes in the Labour Party and put


him where he is. That doesn't happen in any other political party. If


they've got any sense at all, they'll realise it's profoundly


wrong. I'm sure the Prime Minister will


agree with me that there's no better way to build a stronger economy and


a fairer society than through apprenticeships. In Solihull, the


number of apprenticeships has nearly doubled already and I'm on a mission


to build on the success by working with local businesses to create 100


new apprenticeships in 100 days. Will the Prime Minister support this


objective? I certainly support her campaign, as


I would to all members to encourage to take up apprenticeships. It's


about encouraging young people and businesses as well. In the West


Midlands, we have Jaguar Land Rover powering ahead taking on many more


employees and investing heavily in apprenticeships. Thank you very


much, Mr Speaker. This morning I had a person threatening to commit


suicide because they were so depressed from the effect of welfare


reform. I would like to say this was unique, Mr Speaker, but it wasn't.


Can the Prime Minister tell the House today what is Government is


doing to analyse the effect of the welfare re reform and how he will


react to it? As I said many times, I'm always happy to look at


individual casings, but the fact is, we badly need to have welfare


reform, the system was completely out of control. Housing Benefit was


out of control. DLA had gone up by over a third. We need reforms and


it's no good the Shadow Chancellor gesticulating. He now is in favour


apparently of welfare reform. The only problem is that he opposed all


86 billion of the reforms that we'd made. Engineering work is under way


to finance Swindon. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that it's a


good example of Spencible investment in infrastructure leading to


economic growth for Gloucestershire? My right honourable friend is


absolutely right. Investing particularly in some of the branch


lines, single track lines like some of the ones that serve my


constituency and turning them into double, makes the service far better


and we can get more people on trains and out of cars and use the service


like that. What I said to the honourable gentleman is that he


needs to examine again this relationship between the unions and


the Labour Party. That that's the problem. They do this, yes, they


give you the money, they buy the votes, they buy the leader. That's


how it works.let oo Prime Minister's Questions comes to an end. It was a


noisy rum bustious PMQs. Hasn't been that noisy for a while. It was all


about party funding in the exchanges between the two frontbenches. Mr


Miliband depicted Mr Cameron as being financed by millionaires and


hedge fund magistratements and Mr Cameron depicting Mr Miliband as


being in the pockets of the union leaders as some things never change


in British politics. This is one of scaring the people into voting for


them. Dave, you have UKIP breathing down your neck. Jill said, as usual


they accused each other of being corrupt. The sad part is they are


both probably right. Helen said Ed's predictable today. Amazing how he


wants to change the debate when they are trying to fix the candidate


voting system. They must think we were all born yesterday. Isabel


says, "It's giving me a sore head listening to the constant shouting.


They're like children in the playground." Class wear fair never


dies in this country, does it, Nick? I just sometimes wonder whether this


argument about process not about how to build homes or grow the economy


or make society fairer, whether it doesn't just go over the heads of a


lot of people? The other thing it may do is convince people to say


well they are all as bad as each other and they're all corrupt in


some way. Labour did to David Cameron what the Tory backbenchers


had done last week to Ed Miliband. They were organised and they all


this questions about hedge funds who had been to dinner at Downing Street


and given a lot of money. Last week it was all about Unite. What is the


impression? Remember, largely because we no longer have a Lib Dem


voice, the leader was able to pop up and he would have been able to


playing on both your houses. The result was you just get this wall of


noise and it's worth saying to viewers watching, they may think why


does the speaker keep popping up. You honestly wouldn't be able to


hear them in there. It's because the microphones are directional and they


are programmed to get the sound close to the speaker and you need to


get a sense of quite how noisy it is, but as you say, we have the


claim on the one hand from Labour, they are the people's party against


the party of privilege and the claim from the Conservative Party that


Labour have been bought lock, stock and block vote as the Prime Minister


put it by the unions. The funny thing is that report I mentioned


before, Sir Christopher Kelly, they posed a cap on donations, agreed by


all party leaders. The argument is about the level. He says 50 K a year


and Ed says five. He also said that was only possible if Labour moved


way from a system that they have, exactly what Ed Miliband announced


he intended to do yesterday. The people are automatically signing up


to the Labour Party. If you came down from Mars and you read the


report and you would think there was the makings of a deal. There was a


five between five and 50, but there should be a deal. That gives you the


impression there is not the slightest chance. The Prime


Minister's claim is that whereas that union donations by influence --


buy influence, that rich folks' donations buy no influence on policy


on the Conservatives. Is that really credible? People who make major


donations to the Conservative Party wine and dine regularly with


Conservative leaders and Cabinet ministers. They have special dinners


at party conferences, where all the Tory leaders turn up and they see


them regularly. Are we really meant to believe that all of that social


meeting that follows major donations has no influence at all? He was


drawing the contrast between formal influence, where there is a formal


input over the policy process, which is what happens to the Labour Party.


Ed Miliband wouldn't be there and what happens when someone makes a


donation to the Conservative Party, they can seek to influence, but in


the end it's transparent and they have no formal say over policy.


unions are transparent too. There are plenty of people who have


expressed dissatisfaction with the policies. Plenty of individuals have


expressed that. Doesn't it pass the smell test for ordinary viewers if


you give a couple of million to the Conservative Party and then that


gets you all sorts of access to social occasions and even working


dinners with leaders of the Conservative Party that the


Conservatives are not in anyway influenced by these people? That's


why there needs to be a cap on donations. Nick is right, that has


been agreed. They do have an influence? Of course, and it would


be better to have a cap. The Prime Minister is wrong when he says they


don't have an influence? I think it's just playing with words. What


we need to have is confidence in the system. There should be a cap. I go


back to the fact that as the former General Secretary of the Labour


Party admitted in his book, the talks collapsed or were collapsed by


Labour, because they wouldn't move on union funding. The view that was


taken by the others at the time is you can't have a cap on donations


and yet allow millions of pounds to flow through from the unions to the


Labour Party. If the Labour Party will agree that not just the


affiliation fee but the political fund as well is covered by all of


this, that people should have to opt into political fund too, then yes,


of course, we can go back to the position and talk about a cap. That


would be better. There is transparency on donations. People


can look to see who is donating. They don't have an influence over


the formal policy. They don't. What about Adrian Beacroft. He lobbied


David Cameron on workers' rights and got to write a report on it and the


document became Government poll -- policy. What about JCB. They've


lobbied on various matters and commissioned a report by the Prime


Minister on industrial policy. They have bought direct access to the


Conservative Party. The central recommendation of the report was


rejected by the Government. Many others were accepted. It's a public


report. You can judge the merits on it. Here was a businessman who


advised on competitiveness. I cannot think of a better person than to


advise on industrial policy than Sir Anthony Bamford who is leader of


JCB. He is a word leader. Every single pound of his money is


published and it's apparent and people can make their judgment. I go


back to the fact, we are not disagreeing about the fact that


there should be a cap. Why should it be? That is, as the Prime Minister


said, a matter for discussion. It was the Labour Party who walked away


because they refused to accept the fact that the unions would not be a


part of it. That is where the focus should lie. The unions now seem to


be a part of it. The point though that the Prime Minister made is


probably correct, isn't it, Hilary Benn, that if you go down to a


donation as low as 5,000 being the cap in the end the taxpayer will


have to stump in and finance your parties? I don't think there's a


public appetite for that. No.For reasons I think all of us


understand. Look, the Prime Minister was - The last report, I'm sorry to


interrupt, but the last report did say that if you went to a cap double


that, �10,000, every Westminster vote would then get �3 given by the


taxpayer to political parties and therefore a euro election vote would


get �1. 50 as a piece of information. Sure. Look, I think


what the public wants, they want to rereform of the system and the fact


that why did the head funds get a large tax cut in the budget? The


Prime Minister couldn't answer that. He wasn't prepared to say what he


will do in answer to Ed Miliband on a cap on donations and we have


moved, as you've acknowledged, and that is what Ed did. Because you've


had to. You refused to talk before because you didn't want the unions


to be affected. You've oenT moved because you had to, because of the


scandal of Unite trying to buy influence in the party in not just


one Parliamentary selection, but 40 of them and you still haven't


answered questions about that. the case. - You have a Unite


official leading the inquiry. case has been referred to the


police. A crisis arose and what Ed decided to do was lead from the


front and make a profound change, which everybody has acknowledged.


The Prime Minister wouldn't answer on paid directorships and the like.


Nick, you know, see the grainy footage that we've been suspected to


as members of Parliament have been discussing how much they might


charge in response to businesses that approach them. The fact is that


shouldn't have a place in Parliament, which is why Ed Miliband


said today that they shouldn't be allowed. What is the Prime


Minister's position and yours on that? Quick response. I don't know.


Blunket, Straw, Brown, who are the biggest earners outside the --


blunket, Straw, Brown, who are the biggest earners outside the party.


The danger here is the sum of the proposals will lead to the wholesale


professionalisation of the parties, where there is no outside interests.


If you are a minister you give all up, but there is quite a big


question whether for instance you are a director of a family company,


or whether you are a solicitor, if you have some outside experience or


interest, whether you should not be allowed to have that at all. I


wonder if that's whether the public want that. I agree.You are putting


this down as a smokescreen to deflect. I'm not talking about


experience. It's people because they've been elected as a MP. -- an


MP. I'm talking about new ones. No ones that they bring in. If they've


founded a family firm, it's different. It's people who are


approached once elected to come on the boards and what Ed Miliband is


saying it's stopping now. I need to hear from Nick Robinson. I do


sometimes despair. The one view I'm allowed to have as BBC political


editor I believe in politics. I think it's a good thing. The slight


feeling of despair I have to say that I have today is that with a


recommended pay rise for MPs tomorrow, being made not by them,


but being made by aned pent body, it will be less than �10,000 a year,


but it will seem like a fortune to many watching this. There is not a


lot these guys can do about it. They would have to overturn that. But


with that, with Labour saying the Tories are corrupt as they take


money from the rich and the Tories say their corrupt with the unions


and now we are talking second earnings. I have a horrible feeling


that the only impact on most people will be to say a playing on all of


you and we don't trust any of you. The increase will be vast and it


won't compensate people for some change to outside earnings, so


simultaneously, members of the public will be outraged and members


of Parliament will feel they are now in danger of earning less than they


ever did. It's a self-generated and ever did. It's a self-generated and


very painful political story. Hilton, one of the Prime Minister's


senior advisers reportedly said British bureaucracy masters the


politicians. It's not unusual to hear ministers complain the Civil


Service machine is not up to the job. There are plans for a big


shake-up of the way Whitehall has been working. Francis Maude spoke


earlier. We think the current system where we have an impartial Civil


Service capable of serving any Government with equal enthusiasm and


dedication and passion and commitment is a very important part


of how Britain can be made to be really successful and win in the


global race. But actually, it whats to be the case that ministers need


to feel that their offices are their offices, not the department's office


and that's the change that will will be put in place. You said one thing


you discovered is that civil servants don't work for you. Is it


really that bad a problem? Imagine you were asked to do a job, say that


you were asked to be chairman of a company but none of the people in


the company worked for you, you can't vary or alter their pay


according to performance, the Chief Executive doesn't actually work for


you, would you take the job? Nobody would. That's what we ask ministers


to do. Real questions now do arise about accountability. I strongly


welcome what the Government has announced today, which I think is a


sensible step forward that enhances the accountability of a system of


the permanent Civil Service, for instance by saying that the


Permanent Secretaries should not suffer a long-term more than five


years and allows ministers to have extended offices to bring in people


and make use of civil servants as well with real policy expertise.


That happens in other Parliamenty democracies. It was recommended by


the IPPR, it has been endorsed by the Institute for Government and I


think it's a very good foreword to make sure that it's equal to the


task of delivering a modern Government. Will it make civil


servants equal to the task? Obviously, Whitehall's been painted


as this independent institution that puts into place Government policy.


Is the Government in danger of blurring that line, or is it the


pragmatic way forward? You have to make sure there are proper


safeguards and the fact that we have it independent. We haven't got the


American system. You get a President elect and everybody goes and there's


chaos for three months while confirmations take place. I've been


a Cabinet Minister for seven years, and in the end, you are the person


responsible and it's important that the people you are working with are


properly accountable to you. That's about the clarity you give, the


extent to which you are on top of the job. When I reflect to my time


as deputy council lead leader, we took part in electing electing ours.


I think it's fair, frankly, that Secretary of States should be able


to bring in other outside expertise to assist them. We have seen that


under both Governments. You get specialist advise advisers


recognising that we are politicians, as well as holders of the office of


state and we come with a particular perspective and view and it's


important that that's reflected in the decisions that the Government


makes. That sounds like consensus for it, at least certainly the


direction ofle - travel. You have a group of people hand picked by the


minister, one of you two, whose job will depend on that minister, to


some extent staying in office. That will become more political? There is


an emerging consensus but the reforms are sensible. What we are


not talking about is hugely increasing the number of political


advisers. Are you sure that just won't happen as a consequence


though? There 'll be loads more paid special advisers? But I think what


the proposal is talking about, people of expertise, there is a


desire to bring in people of calibre and experience and expertise and to


make use of them from within the existing Civil Service. That happens


in other comparable systems. If you look at the support that a minister


in Australia or Canada receives, it's far greater. They have much


bigger offices than our own ministers who're under supported and


I don't think the system is sufficient to do what we now need to


do. We need a different kind of Civil Service today. If it's about


winning the global race, we need a better skilled Civil Service with


very strong commissioning skills. We have seen failures with things like


the West Coast Mainline, so there needs to be a shake-up. Do you think


that civil servants should be made for publicly accountable? I think


the accountability arrangements are unsatisfactory because ultimately,


ministers are accountable for everything. Because they can't be


accountable for the minutiae, the reality is that nobody is


accountable. In the West Coast Mainline, it wasn't just the


minutiae, there was the sense that ministers were perhaps blaming civil


Searle have beens -- civil servants. Is that a case of ministers saying,


I'm covering my back here? I don't think you can have a working


relationship if you are going to blame the civil servant colleagues.


Your job is to take responsibility. That's what happened here? ! I take


the blame for everything. You have to be on top of staff, but it's


right and proper that, as Cabinet Ministers, you are able to call in


other expertise and support to help you through. Nike's -- Nick's


thought about this. It's a typically pragmatic British compromise.


fudge? Well, no, it's not a fudge. It is after all, special adviser


were created as a body and it recognised, we bring politics, views


and values into our job. You could have a French system of an interim?


It'sle an extended ministerial office because there should be


guards built around it, I agree. But it works well in other Commonwealth


countries. The secretary has to be someone you have confidence in.


you should select? I certainly took a decision about who would be a


private secretary because it's about a working relationship, not about


politics. I remember that bit of France from


my science class. Here is a test for you, name we once


Great British institution which hasn't fallen from grace in recent


years? Not even the dear old BBC. It's been through the ringer whosmt


will be the next focus of public derision. Ross Clarke's got his soap


backs to argue that it's time we put We've done bankers, politicians and


even journalists. But what about the one group of professionals which has


never been reformed? Lawyers. Even the coalition's attempts to tripe a


mere 10% from the hideous legal aid budget has run into the sand. As for


the chronic overcharging on nonlegal aid cases, it goings on -- goes on,


unabated. Critics of legal aid reforms like to damn the idea of


cheaper legal services as Tesco justice, but the reality is that


legal costs are spiralling out of control. Even a junior counsel in


the Leveson Inquiry was paid �218,000 for a few months' work.


To use the courts, you need to be either very rich or very poor. If


you are very rich, you can behave like Robert Maxwell, threatening


anybody who crosses you with ruinous legal costs. If you are very poor,


you might qualify for legal aid, if which case the taxpayer picks up the


tab. But I have an idea of how we could create a level playing field.


Why not allow anybody involved in a court case to set a cap on the cost


which they will claim from the other side in the event of them whipping.


The cap could work both ways and serve as a limit on the costs which


the other side can claim from you in the event of you losing.


-- winning. Wealthy litigants could still pay for fancy law, but they


wouldn't be able to frighten their poor opponents into submission.


Go into court and it's not cheap, but there's no reason why it should


have to cost you your shirt or even your house.


Ross Clarke joins us now. Do you think any Government of the left or


the right will ever take that on? The big problem is the House of


Commons is stuffed with lawyers. This is true. When see set out to


reform education, you don't put a teacher in charge. You don't put a


doctor in charge of reforming the NHS. An attempt at legal reform, we


always sealp to get a lawyer to do it. It's a difficult one to get


progress? For that very reason, yes, the vested interests. Hilary Benn,


if you look at the, never mind the public sector, take the private


sector, look at the huge changes blue collar workers have gone


through in the car industry, in the newspaper industry, in broadcasting,


all of them are bywords for restrictive practice and overmanning


and inefficiency. All gone, all state-of-the-art doing all these


things now. Yet, the white-collar professions are still mired in the


restrictive practices of overmanning and absurd costs. Why? I think Ross


has a point. One of the last things we did when in Government was to


reduce the criminal legal aid fees that could be charged and there was


quite... Outcry.Indeed. The introduck shufr of no-win no-fee was


in part an attempt - we strengthened it - the previous Government began


the change. But in an attempt to enable people to get access to law.


You make a very fair point. If you are talking about access to civil


justice, it's either the very rich and before some of the changes the


current Government's made, or those on very low income who is 'ed have


the opportunity and for most of the rest of the country tlfrksn't any


access to justice. Look at the outcry. Mr Grayling suggested some


people may regard things as modest reforms. Huge outcry, after


listening to well-spoken judges saying it's the end of life as they


know it and he's had to Iran back already? The criminal legal aid


system is too expensive. If you look at comparable systems of legal aid.


Our system is twice as expensive as New Zealand. I think in n all the


reforms you have to separate what's in the public interest and in the


producer interest and those are not necessarily the same thing. So you


have to separate out when lawyers are saying this is all appalling and


so on, actually is that an access to justice argument, whether it's right


to protect access to justice or is it about defending a particular way


you are working. Medicine is a classic example. If you capitulate


too much to that producer interest, you, as happened in the previous


Government in relation to the GP contract, then what happens is the


patient interest suffers. If the Labour Party supports the


Government, it would be good, on the legal aid reforms. Ross, this sounds


a tough mountain to climb. Are you going to continue your campaign?


shall do, yes. I'm amused by the idea the High Court judges slam any


reform as Tesco justice, but I'm sure that the point of Tesco and


other supermarkets is, they come up with this brilliant compromise


between quality and price and the law seems to think it should be


immune from that. Ross, we'll leave it there. Keep us


posted. What was the year? I'm going to tell you. Time to put you out of


your misery. The year was 1951. We need to have a winner. Press the


red button, Nick, Hilary, anyone! Even a lawyer could do it.


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