15/07/2013 Daily Politics


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Daily Politics. A welfare cap limiting households to �26,000 a


year in benefit payments is being introduced across Britain from


today. The Welfare Secretary says the measure will encourage people


back to work. But campaigners fear it doesn't take into account the


high cost of housing in some areas, and will hit large families


particularly hard. Tory activists complain they're not


respected by the leadership. We'll be asking have the political parties


forgotten their grass roots. Is media coverage of women too


titillating for today's tastes? And is this man value for money? MPs


will be scrutinising the Prince's All that in the next hour and with


us for the first half of the programme today is the Green MP -


she also used to be the party's leader - Caroline Lucas. Welcome to


the programme. First today, let's start with airports and Mayor of


London Boris Johnson who has been setting out his vision for the


future of London's airports this morning. As well as his pet project


for a hub in the outer Thames Estuary - dubbed Boris Island - the


Mayor has also endorsed Lord Foster's plan for a new hub airport


on the Isle of Grain in Kent or a major expansion of Stansted Airport.


He branded anyone who supports Heathrow expansion "quite simply


crackers" and said the Heathrow area should instead be re-developed with


new houses. What do you think about that idea? Is it worth spending �15


billion to buy Heathrow and turn it into another London borough?


certainly need more housing but I am not convinced this is the best way


to do it. You can't keep up with Boris, every two moment he has an


idea of where he would like another airport. The bottom line is, as the


government knows, they do recognise that aviation growth has to be


constrained. We need to learn to live within the capacity it has got,


naked better. For environmental reasons and the -- make it better.


For environmental reasons that have been probed strongly in recent


months... Business leaders have said we are at full capacity pretty well


at Heathrow and without any expansion, the economy, particularly


in London and the South East, will be really damaged. That is what they


are saying in Schiphol, in Paris, it is the same message, that we are


going to lose out or other countries will lose out. If you add together


the capacity of all of the London airports, it is far above of what


other respective capitals can come up with in other European countries.


Already we have more capacity. The same argument, if we don't expand


then business will go to France or Amsterdam, that is what they are


being told. The bottom line is if we are serious about climate change, we


know that aviation accounts for 12% of climate change emissions in


Britain. If we carry on unconstrained, it could rise to 30%


by 50 -- by 2050. If people want to use a third of our greenhouse gas


budget on aviation, it would mean there is little left for other of


business. The WWF are working with more and more businesses saying they


could be more efficient through videoconferencing and so forth, not


every business but there is a lot of capacity. The figures do not support


your argument that we are at full capacity, he throw is already full,


running at 99% of committed traffic -- Heathrow is already full. All


major airports in the South East will be full by 2030, it is sticking


your head in the sand to say we must not expand further. I think it is


sticking your head in the sand to say we can go on expanding ad


infinitum where we live on a planet with very constrained resources over


whether it is land or emissions. If you add up the capacity we have


throughout London and the different airports, it is more than in Paris


and Amsterdam. It means we are in a good position. Let's learn to use it


more effectively and that might mean substituting trains, more


videoconferencing, using the capacity that is there for long


distance aviation that can't be replaced by Eurostar or similar.


Let's learn to use the capacity more effectively and let's also have


prices that reflect the true cost of flying. As long as you can go from


one end of Europe to the other for �20 on a cut-price flights... It is


hard to say... It is not surprising people will do that. Those prices do


not reflect the full cost of those flights. But Heathrow, it is


Heathrow that has to compete with Frankfurt and Schiphol and Paris. We


know already that there are now direct flights to the second cities


of some of the emerging countries, you can't get them from Heathrow so


people are flying to Frankfurt via Paris, it is a loss of hard income


for people here. I disagree with that. It is true.I think you could


be using the capacity on all London airports more effectively so you're


not concentrating solely on Heathrow. From the tourism aspect,


more money goes out with tourists flying out than comes from people


flying in. The economic arguments are massively overstated. There are


constraints and aviation is ready difficult area cos no one likes to


begin the message that you can't expand infinitely, but it is the


case that if you want a liveable climate into the future, if you want


a decent countryside without the amount of noise and stress caused by


ever-increasing aviation, at some point you have to say stop and we


need to decide where that is. month, Caroline Lucas got a ticking


off during a debate in Parliament. She was holding up Page three of the


Sun. You might be surprised then to learn that it was her t-shirt,


rather than the half naked models on the inner pages of the red top that


caught the eye of the chair during the session. But it's not just Page


three that women's groups and our guest, Caroline Lucas, are concerned


about but more widespread sexism in the media. Attention grabbing


headlines are what newspapers are all about, but are women being


routinely portrayed by the media in For women like me who work in the


media, you want to be remembered for what you say and not just how you


look. Although clearly, that is also important. A group of women's


organisations has looked into the issue and focused the lens on a --


11 national newspapers and how they portrayed women in daily coverage.


They found widespread sexism and one charity has a particular concern.


found, particularly in the coverage of violence against women, commonly


it would be placed next to advertisements for the sex industry


or for film and mainstream entertainment and culture that was


showing violence against women as part of entertainment. You had a


juxtaposition of a Sirius issue of violence against women alongside a


glamorous and titillating side of violence against women -- age


exhibition of a serious issue. We don't think it is a directly


causative link but our media reflects and creates our views and


standards in society. I honestly do not believe that the manner in which


women are represented in the media could cause them any physicality. If


women were concerned about what was likely to happen to them, they


should look to the video world of pornography, and let's deal with


that. Never far from the spotlight, the Sun newspaper's Page 3 as long


and good campaigners who regard it as an acceptable daily dose of --


unacceptable daily Joe -- dose of objectification. A campaign was


recently taken into the chamber. Order. Can I tell the honourable


member that there is a standard of dress that members must comply with


and can I ask the honourable member to address that and put a jacket on,


please. I will of course comply with your ruling but it does strike me


as... You can get copies of the sun in this place. I admire Caroline


Lucas but it is more hot air. To a majority of people in this country


it is not offensive and may even bring some joy. By being a member of


the Green party, you are by nature, a killjoy. Clare Short stood up in


the 80s and try to make it illegal and had thousands of letters of


support. 12 were from women who had page three mentioned to them while


they were being raped, and yet the Sun called her a killjoy and told


her she was jealous. It is not harmless fun. Accusations of sexism


are not just limited to the print press, the cost media can also cause


offence. BBC sports presenter John Inverdale apologised after saying


that this year's women's Wimbledon champion Arion Bartoli was never


going to be a looker, a comment that proved a turnoff for hundreds of


viewers -- Marion Bartoli. The former deputy editor of the Sun and


the new -- News of the world, Neil Wallace, is with us. Let's take the


report that found systemic sexism in 11 daily newspapers, are you


surprised? Not really, the people who commissioned the report went


looking for something to sustain their argument. I think the media in


this country is what it is. It has always been like that. I don't think


it is any more or any less. I think people are desperately trying to


sustain a hollow argument. It is a hollow argument here? I don't think


it is and the kind of reaction I have had, since having that debate


which wasn't just about Page three but sexism in the media, the sort of


response has been overwhelming from people who say they want a spotlight


put on this. We are not talking about censorship, we are saying that


when you come to Page 3 of the sun, why should that be in people 's


workplaces, in cafes and on tube trains and buses where kids can see


it. There are some fascinating testimony is from people on our


website. A father who went to a hairdressers and Page 3 is in front


of them. It is the normalising effect was that if you want to find


that kind of image, go and find it but don't put it in front of


everybody. Can I just say, it must be wonderful that in Brighton at the


moment, things are so perfect that the MP spends her time in this sort


of gesture politics. I would love to come back on that. The absolute


nonsense of her in the chamber, can I tell you what I really think dot.


if she had stood up with a T-shirt that said no more FGM, far more


respect if she had stood up wearing a T shirt that illustrated the fact


there are 1.2 million offences of domestic violence in this country.


Can I come back on those? I would have far more respect if she had


stood up and took about video pornography, sex slavery. -- and


talked about. To ban Page 3 it is gesture politics. You don't think it


is important? I don't. The idea of why I am picking up on this subject,


it is because of interest in Brighton. A number of women groups


have come to meet about working together. I am absolutely opposed to


FGM and I do work on that. didn't you demonstrate about that?


You were not going to get the coverage. It was gesture politics.


It is absolutely not gesture politics and I work on all of those


other issues. You challenged me about violence against women and I


am horrified of violence against women. I am horrified of the fact


that 60,000 women were raped in this country, I am horrified that the


NSPCC says one in two boys and one in three girls thinks there are


occasions when it is OK to hit a partner or to force them to have


sex. The daily drip drip object of occasion of women creates a culture


where those attitudes are more likely to happen. It is not just me


saying that, there are government report saying that, UN reports. If


you think violence happens in a vacuum, I think you are very wrong.


Of course it doesn't. What I am concerned about is the blatant


gesture politics of you standing up like that. It got us talking about


the issue, didn't it? Media sexism. The government alone accepts there


are 30,000 children in this country under the age of ten who are at


danger from the most severe form of FGM. Don't just dismiss it. We are


not talking about bad. We have done the story about the link between


newspaper coverage and what Caroline caused is tripping effect, you


support campaigns against violence against women, but if we are looking


at this issue particularly, do you accept they could be a link between


the overtly sexualisation and portrayal of women in that way and


the violence against them? I think that, in this society, we have film,


the BBC... Do you think the coverage... That is what the report


found, the you say there is no link, that it is overblown? I do not


believe that there is a provable link between some images of women in


some newspapers and the idea of violence against women. Why?I have


never seen evidence that stacked up, apart from vested interest


groups. I do not think the government's own report as a vested


interest, but I find it very interesting that back in the days of


Clare Short, she was told she was stupid and jealous, and the argument


has gone on, and it is interesting to see how he will not engage on the


issue. The issue now is you are saying that it is not a priority,


there are more important things. There are many other important


things, and I am campaigning on those, this is one issue that was


picked up, but I want you to focus on this issue. The reason that he


will not is because you cannot sit there and say that, in a culture


where you have more and more images of object of five women, normalising


women, young kids who see Page three every day, and you are saying there


is absolutely no connection between that and discrimination and violence


against women, and if you are saying that, you are in a complete


minority. Sex does sell newspapers, those stories... Sex sells films,


adverts... You accept that, that is what newspapers are about. No! You


cannot say that is what newspapers are about. All newspapers, like all


television channels, our balances of things. One element appears in some


newspapers that is a glamorised image. Turn to the City pages, for


instance, of the Guardian and the times on this Sunday times, and you


will see pictures of pretty women. I do not see where there is a problem


with pictures of pretty men or women. At the beginning of that film


I said I wanted to be remembered more for what I say than how I look,


but you want to look your best when you are in a medium like television.


Of course you too, but that is a different argument. We are arguing


about whether it is appropriate to have in a newspaper kids that can


get hold of and see. People choose to buy them. That is not to do with


choice, because when you go and see a guy reading page three, when you


go into a workplace, it is the ubiquity of this, you do not have a


choice not to look at it because it is in your face. I am going to have


to finish it there, Neil Wallis, you will be on again, no doubt.


From today, a �26,000 benefit cap is being introduced in England,


Scotland and Wales. The policy is not only expected to save millions


of pounds every year but is also believed to be a vote winner. So how


will it work in practice? Couples and single parents will receive no


more than �500 per week, while individuals will be limited to �350


per week. The cap is set to reflect the average working household


income. The benefits cap applies to people receiving jobseeker's


allowance, child benefit, child tax credits, housing benefits and other


key support from the government. You are exempt if you received


disability living allowance or working tax credits. The Government


says the changes will encourage people to get back into work and


hopes that the cap will save about �110 million per year, but critics


say could does not take into account the higher cost of housing in some


areas and will hit large families particularly hard. I am joined now


by Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi, welcome to the programme. How do you


know this policy is going to get people back into work? This is about


fairness, and you are right to say that there is a discretionary amount


where councils can give more money for housing. At the moment, overall,


there is a saving there. It is not a big saving, is it? When you think of


the bill over the welfare bill, you are saving peanuts. Housing benefit


is about 23 billion, but it is about fairness. Why should an out of work


working age couple get more than �35,000 gross? You would have to win


�35,000, if you were working, to get the same as if you were on benefits.


That is simply unfair, and that is why we are introducing this. How do


you know the policy will get people back into work? Because that is what


the policy is based on, that is the premise, that if we put a cap of


�26,000, we will get more people into work. It is not just this


policy. It is the whole package, looking at universal credit, which


is coming in, and that will mean nobody going back to work will have


that sort of cliff edge where the benefits outweigh the going back to


work. That is important. With this cap as well, you will hopefully


begin to see a nudge in behaviour, people thinking, do you know what?


It is better off looking for work, going to work than claiming


benefits. Plus, the reality is, your viewers watching this, �35,000 a


year as a family, why should your neighbour gets �35,000 for not


working at all? The current system is just not there, it is unfair for


families who are working very hard to support their families without


benefits. Up the whole edifice this is built on is completely flawed,


because the Government was saying �26,000 is the average earnings, and


that is what they related to. If you look at average income, the working


families are able, those earning around �26,000, they could also be


getting housing benefit, they could be getting housing benefit, child


benefit, and they could be getting rather more. So this idea that there


are many out of work families who are raking it in, compared to


working families, is simply wrong. The new statesman, and I will quote


it, it says exactly the same thing, that actually there aren't that many


out of work families who are doing better than those in work. At the


moment there is already a situation where if you are in work, workplace.


That great impartial publication! If you allow me to speak, you might get


an answer. If you are working 24 hours, but we knew you are exempt


from this cap. Below that, you are right. If you are a single person


working 16 hours... So it will hit working families, too. And element


will hit, but you can go up to 24-hour is, that is the idea, to get


you to do more work. The private sector has created 1.3 million jobs,


we have lost half a million from the public sector, but there are jobs


out there to go after... There are five people after every one job,


what are the other four meant to do?! If they happen to have bigger


families... There is no money tree... Could you answer my


question? Look at what is happening in the economy... All I would say to


you is, at the moment, there are more jobs, more people in work than


there have ever been before. That is a good thing, but we need to do more


to grow the economy further. There is no money tree, tell me where you


are going to find the money. There is a reality that most voters like


this policy, they do think there is intrinsic and fairness and that


actually �26,000 is enough for people to live on. Perhaps with the


exception of London and the south-east, where housing is


expensive, people like this policy. Well, unfortunately, I think this


government is trying to appeal to people's less good instincts, in the


sense that they are trying to whip up the sense that people are ripping


off the system. If you look at some of the figures about what people


think, for example the number of people fiddling the system, lots of


people think it must be about 30%, but in fact it is 0.7%. Nadhim


Zahawi admitted the saving will not be that important from a perception


and symbolic importance that people feel that the system is treating


everyone fairly. If we had Fairfax, they would have a better chance of


doing that, and I come back to the initial point, which is if you look


at the working family on 26,000, they can still be getting more money


from housing benefit and more money from child credit and so on, so the


figures are not comparing like with like. That is wrong. Secondly, we


should get away from this idea that you need to penalised people. We


know that people, if they have got four children or more, are going to


be very hurt by this. Caroline will agree with Labour, they want to make


hard-working people need a voice, we give them that voice. Credit costume


or in the end? If you look at what local authorities have said about


housing. -- could it cost you more in the end? There may not be many


with five or more children, but they will be pushed into poverty, and


that will bump up your costs. are 56,000 households, roughly,


about 80,000 individuals, 190,000 children, in London it is 49% of


London homes that are affected by this. Around the country, I think in


my area in the West Midlands is about 7%. So let's see how this


works. It is an important message, it is direction of travel, part of a


package of making work pay, making work the right way forward for


people when they are making choices. The welfare bill is join or must, by


anyone's standard... You say that, but a lot of it is going on housing


benefit, can I make the point that it is not going into the pockets of


feckless people? Rents are so high, that is why housing benefit is high.


I would put a cap on rent increases. Distort the rental market? Caroline,


you are flip-flopping all over the place. It is not fair to push more


people into poverty! Before you go, would you like it to be lower than


�26,000? If this works, would you like it to be brought down further?


Let's see if it works. The important thing is to make sure that it is


fair... Would you say it would be something you would bring down


further? I think people on benefits should never get more than the


average income. They very rarely do... It is about living within your


means... All right, that is enough, no more money trees, Nadhim Zahawi,


thank you. Our guest of the day, Caroline Lucas, is the MP for


Brighton. The council is controlled by the Green Party. But is


Brighton's green dream turning sour? We are joined now by Lucinda Adam,


who has been following events in Brighton, but today she is in


Tunbridge Wells, just to confuse you. Welcome to the programme. I was


in Brighton a few weeks ago, I saw the rubbish all over the streets


because of the strike, and there has been a reprieve, but are they going


to go on strike again? There is no clearer sign of trouble at a got


cancelled and piles of rubbish in the streets, and the seagulls have


been having a field day. This all started because the Green Party,


which has a minority leadership of the Council, plans to change the


allowances on overtime paid to staff. The GMB says that some refuse


collectors will be left �4000 worse off. Negotiations failed and they


strike began. But what it revealed, more than disagreement between the


council and the union, is the extent of growing division between Green


councillors. Many sided with the striking workers, and even Caroline


Lucas was at the picket line pledging her support. Green Party


members sent an open letter to their leader calling for his resignation.


They say he is going against the democratic decisions of members of


the party and bringing the party into disrepute. Some even attempted


to get Labour councillors to join forces with them at a recent AGM in


an attempt to oust him as leader. But Labour capitalised by leading


the request to the media. He has fought off calls to resign so far,


but his problems are not over. As you said, fresh negotiations begin


today to try to find a new pay settlement for refuge workers. But


GMB leaders have warned that the boats are on a knife edge and


another strike could be imminent within weeks if not been as agreed.


Thank you very much. Let's pick up on some of those


points. If we look at the strike, you were on the picket line, the


Green Party is divided. The images of rubbish strewn on the streets of


Brighton looked absolutely terrible, doing nothing at all for


your image as a confident runner of local government. Well, nobody wants


a bin strike, and you are quite right that it did look awful.


Unfortunately, the Greens are not the only administration where there


have been bin strikes, there have been under all the administrations


in Brighton and hope. One of the reasons that the problem happened


just now was, as your reporter said, we are under a legal obligation to


get the quality is legislation properly imposed. At the moment it


is open to challenge because the amount of allowances that the bin


men have been getting has been more than many women in comparable jobs.


So we had a legal imperative to be able to equalise the allowances.


Ideally, of course, what we would want would be to bring the women up


to the level of the allowances of the binman. Let me explain this,


because it is important. I would love to have had the money to do


that. We had a proposal to other parties in the council to say, let's


raise council tax, and Labour sided with the Conservatives, not to raise


council tax. Ism is as if it is said you have no more money, it was


a redistribution of the money you had which ended up with bin workers


getting �4000 less. That's not right, we have a living wage policy


and I am proud of that. We have a policy whereby there is a ten to one


ratio between the highest paid and the lowest paid. The Chief Executive


took a pay cut and the lowest paid people took a pay rise. But the


Greens have mishandled it? We have not. There is a legacy issue which


should have been sorted out under the last administration. We are


under the threat of legal action in October which could mean if we don't


get equality is legislation in place, the council itself could be


liable for millions of pounds. Nobody wants to see that so we are


trying to find a way in a difficult financial situation, to find more


money. Why is the Green party split, with challenges even to the


council leader, splits in the Green party that resulted in labour being


asked to come on, who said to sort out your own problem. It like naive


politics. I think that was naive politics will stop one person has


held their hands up and apologised and said it is naive. I would be the


first person to say it has been really unhelpful to the Greens in


Brighton, it has been very public and it is not a pretty sight. What


we are doing is coming together, working to find the best possible


resolution so we can meet equality is legislation, to which we are


deeply committed, and ensure people are not losing �4000 from their


allowances, because that is not right either. We are trying to sort


it out when previous legislation have left us with that. Leaving you


bombed rubble to Labour taking over? -- leaving you vulnerable.


Labour are second but I am confident that I am able to demonstrate the


effectiveness of a Green MP in Westminster. Why have recycling


rates robbed? I wasn't aware that they had dropped. The Brighton


evening Argus said they had come down from 32%, to 26%. The overall


percentage of waste produced has gone down. We are trying to bring in


food waste collection, the other parties have not supported that and


we have not got the money from the EU that we needed. We want to put in


place food waste because it is a massive amount of the waste produced


in the city. We haven't got the green light for the money but it is


a big priority. Thank you for being our guest of the day.


You could be forgiven for thinking that the only thing happening this


week is the imminent arrival of a new Windsor, but Parliament is busy


tying up a lot of loose ends before the summer break. So, let's take a


look at what else is going on this week.


Today, Margaret Hodge is taking aim at the tax affairs of Prince Charles


- the Public Accounts Committee is scrutinising the accounts of the


Duchy of Cornwall. Eric Pickles is launching a new Conservative Party


group to try and widen the party's appeal among working class and


ethnic minority voters. Meanwhile 40 Conservative MPs in some of the most


marginal seats are launching their strategy for the 2015 general


election. Tomorrow, the Trident Alternatives Review will be


published ahead of a debate on Wednesday. Also, the Government is


expected to publish its legislation on the lobbying industry. Wednesday


sees the last PMQs before the summer recess. Unemployment figures come


out in the morning as well as the Office for Budget Responsibility's


latest report on the public finances. The House of Commons rises


for recess on Thursday, returning on second September. The Lords will sit


until 30th July. And joining us now from a sunny College Green are The


Spectator's Isabel Hardman and from The Times, Laura Pitel. Laura, an


interesting story about Samantha Cameron pushing her husband to take


a more robust stance in Syria after seeing the suffering their first


hand. How much impact do you think she has had? I don't think anybody


would be surprised by the fact that a Prime Minister listens to his wife


at home. What is interesting is she is seen as more normal and a lot


cooler than David Cameron. Tim Montgomery in the Times had an


interesting line, she said if the story is not on six music, I am not


interested. So she is interested, she went to Syria and was touched by


what happened. I don't think we should overestimate her role. He has


a whole host of national-security adviser is telling him what to think


on this. And let's not get carried away with the idea that Samantha


Cameron is the epitome of normal, she is the daughter of a baroness


after all. Isabel Hardman, you may not be surprised but should people


be worried if there is some sort of influence going on at home? I think


it is quite normal for a spouse to listen to people in their


households, it would be odd if David Cameron did not this on. But he has


many other advisers who we will also listen to and give more weight to.


Tory MPs will be worried about any attempt to rush into intervening in


Syria for that the Prime Minister seems to have cooled on that but if


anything happens on the summary says, Britain has to take a decision


without insulting parliament. Many Tories MPs leave this could trigger


the leadership challenge to David Cameron. It is well-known that the


coalition is divided on the issue of Trident but how far do you think the


Liberal Democrats will get with the argument that Britain no longer


faces a threat that requires round-the-clock deterrent. We have a


story saying that the review into Trident alternatives report argues


that the Lib Dems think we should not go for like for like


replacements but producing half the number of submarines. The Tories


have it back on this, saying it would be irresponsible. After the


election in 2015, the Lib Dems will not be a power on their own but we


might have another hung parliament. The big questions is will the Lib


Dems make is non-negotiable, saying they will not replace it and will


not team up with anybody who will? Will it be a red line in the sand?


Philip Hammond has said the Lib Dem proposals would be a step that note


responsible government could take. The Lib Dems need to show it has not


just been an exercise they have been sent away to keep them busy and no


one is going to pay attention, they want to show it is a responsible


alternative and even if it is rejected, it has been paid due


attention. The proposals for a register are out this week after


many years of looking at this issue. Does it tackle the potential


conflict of interests of lobbyists having too much influence?


remains to be seen, some in the industry say it is not because it


leaves out the area of in-house lobbyists. It leaves out the area of


in-house lobbyists. It will only force people who are outside


lobbyists to declare their clients. If you are the communications firm


in-house, let's say a big oil or media company, you don't have to


declare your interest so it is a huge hole that has been left open.


The role of Lynton Crosby and his links of tobacco has come to the


fork so David Cameron will need to be seen to be taken action -- has


come to the fore. Who will be in charge over the summary says since


Nick Clegg and David Cameron are both aware at the same time? I don't


think being on holiday as Prime Minister is the sort of holiday that


any of us would recognise. He does have a phone and staff with him,


bodyguards following him around on the beach. Don't they have nominated


person to be in charge when they are away? Quite a few people will be


hoping it is not Oliver N because when he is left in charge strange


things seem to happen. Theresa May weight -- may hope it is heard given


the leadership ambitions she seems to have been showing. I forgot what


the protocol is if you have the Prime Minister and the deputy away.


No one knows! I wouldn't actually bank on it. Thank you both.


With the next election fast approaching, the latest blow has


been struck this morning in the battle for the future direction of


the Conservative Party. 40 Conservative MPs representing the


party's most marginal seats have published 40 policy ideas to attract


swing voters. And as luck would have it, one of the authors is on our


panel today - James Morris, welcome. We're also joined by the Labour MP


Gisela Stuart and the Liberal Democrat Malcolm Bruce. It is a very


glossy report, especially when I looked it on screen. How did you


pull together these policies? groups represents the 40 held


Conservative marginals. We wanted 40 contributions because it is quite


neat. The book demonstrates the creativity and energy of those 40


marginal members of Parliament. Lots of practical ideas for the future of


the Conservative party. Was it an act of desperation because you are


so worried about UKIP? Not at all. There are ideas about how we tackle


the growing problems of mental illness in Britain, access to


psychological therapies, lots about improving the enterprise agenda.


Stuff about driving forward the localism agenda by giving people a


much better and stronger community right to challenge. They are


practical ideas for the future of the country. Nothing you could


disagree with, is there? There are some interesting ones. As I was


reading stuff about immigration, what you intend to do with single


mothers, capping university places for foreign students, I thought


Nigel Farage does not have to win places because his policies are


being incorporated in the next Conservative manifesto. Welfare is


the top priority, welfare reform is a popular. The idea around teenage


pregnancy is still a big issue, there are very high rates in


comparison to European partners. I think we should look at it, I know


it is controversial but it needs to be looked at. The interesting thing


is you are in government foot up if this was of a party in opposition,


if a group of Labour MPs had done this, I would say there is a real


fight for the next manifesto, but three years into a government in the


first term of a government, for 40 MPs to issue their own manifesto is


extraordinary. This book demonstrates that the Conservative


Parliamentary party is leading the battle of ideas. The Labour Party is


completely intellectually redundant, these ideas are for the future of


the country. Malcolm Bruce, do you sign up to these ideas? I think it


is against what a Conservative government if it was in majority


would be do, what being anchored to the centre ground by the Liberal


Democrats. It is an invitation to realise what the Tory party really


want to do. Some of it is not growing as, it is up to them how


they win their seats. You disagree with policies on improving the


approach to mental health? There are policies that are sensible and some


that are clearly not thought through. It is like reactions on the


doorstep duplicate people. These are your coalition partners? They are


not, they are the Conservative party who wish to lead the country on


their own next time. The top 30 are exempt from universities and what


happens if you are at 31? This is an attack on universities who may have


the best courses, it is elitist, how do you define it? It has those rings


of picking and mixing the things that you will pander, dog whistle


like... There are arguments about this immigration policy, there are a


lot of universities that are running courses which have no value and they


are attracting overseas students to get the numbers up. It is something


we should look at. In this book, it is directly in the centre ground, in


the mainstream, it has a balance of ideas about the future of the


country, looking at improving health care and services and the lives of


children and young people. Why have you felt the need to do it? You are


in government, you are obviously not getting your message across to the


Prime Minister, or he is ignoring you. He has written a foreword to


the book. This is the 40 most marginal seat in the battle ground


offering 40 ideas to be taken forward by the Conservative party.


Does it worry you question but what about the marginal seats you will


have with conservatives it could be a challenge? I have had an even more


marginal seat for a longer time than he had. A one term MP, now here for


the fifth term. The way you'd track the people on the ground is not by


saying, this is my alternative. If I was a voter, I would say, there is a


Conservative government and an alternative group of the 40s you are


trying to offer an alternative menu. This is not an alternative group.


You win the most marginal by saying that as a local representative, you


may offer something extra but you have to be part of the party. You


are welcome to what you're doing it may help us. This is not some other


group, it is a group of not intellectually dead Conservative


members of Parliament. There is a huge range of ideas in the


Conservative arty. We are leading the debate. You cannot get away with


saying, I am an MBNA marginal seat, I have a different agenda from the


Prime Minister. He said these were interesting ideas that not everyone


would agree with, he had no choice. These mainstream ideas that the


government are building one. We look forward to getting your party's not


alternative manifesto! Now, last week Ed Miliband announced plans to


reform his party's relationship with trade union members, and later this


week Conservative Grassroots members are meeting to discuss improving


relationships with their party leadership. As Parliament goes into


recession, how happy are party members with their political


chieftains? I'm joined from College Green by Conrad Landin from Left


Futures, Gareth Epps from the Liberal Democrat Social Liberal


Forum, and Bob Woollard of Conservative Grassroots. Let's start


with you, Bob, are you happy with the leadership? It is not a question


of being happy with the leadership, there are a range of matters that I


am happy with, and a range of matters that I and countless


hundreds and thousands of Conservative members and loyal


activists are not happy with. ones? If you take same-sex marriage,


the bill is going through its final stages in the House of Lords today,


and there was no mandate for that, no manifesto commitment, no Green


paper, no White Paper. No mandate. If you take other issues, HS2, for


instance, overseas aid, a number of this use where the leadership do not


seem to be listening to their grassroots. And what has happened as


a result? What has happened to the grassroots? They have gone, many of


them have torn up their membership cards and are either sitting on the


hands or have gone to UKIP. What about the Labour position on


austerity? That's supported by the grassroots? I think what a lot of


Labour grassroots members want to see is a proper alternative to


austerities. I do not think it is enough to say that posterity is


going to far, too fast. We need to be saying, as Ed Balls has been


saying in some cases, that posterity is crippling the British economy, it


is losing people jobs, but at the same time as that, we have not been


proposing what we will do in said, so we need to be saying what we will


do instead, we need to be saying that we will embark on a massive


programme of council house building. We need to be proposing


things like nationalising the railways, if we need to make cuts,


we should be cutting trident, which is wasting billions of money which


could be invested in things that are actually useful for the economy,


such as green energy and re-nationalising the railways,


things that will create jobs but will not be wasted in their impact.


Is Ed Miliband a good leader? think he is a good leader... Just


not doing any of the things you say. We are having an open discussion in


the Labour Party at the moment about a lot of these things. We need to


come to a King collusion more quickly than we have so far, but I


think we are genuinely making progress. -- a conclusion. I am


going to stop you there, because I want to move on to Gareth Epps, what


about you? What do you think of Nick Clegg? Has he done enough in


coalition? He has been working hard, and we have achieved some


significant things, not least lifting people out of paying income


tax altogether, but he has got a very tough job and has made it clear


that our party, which is a centre-left party, is something he


wants to lead from the centre-right, and as we look forward to 2015, we


have got a big dilemma on our hands in terms of how we tackle the future


debate on the economy, and in particular we had a policy motion


that was unveiled over the weekend, came from Nick Clegg and Danny


Alexander, which effectively looks as though it is going to be


committing us to all spawn's view, and that is not is what Liberal


Democrat on the streets or people who have worked hard to ensure our


57 MPs got elected in 2010 are going to be able to stomach very easily.


Would you rather see Vince Cable leading the party? I do not think it


is about personalities. I think at this stage it is about the policies


and visions. Nick has achieved a great deal as leader of the party,


where some of us are quite concerned is that he seems not to want to


route the party in the way that we have always done in liberal values.


He seems to be wanting us to follow the centre ground and to be tied in


2015, for the next Parliament, to the decisions we have made in


coalition with the Conservatives in the last Parliament. Just as I think


the Conservatives would find it strange to be tied to Liberal


Democrat commitments in 2015, I do not think the Liberal Democrats can


do the same and follow the economic George Osborne. We have to have a


distinct approach, and that was the approach that Vince Cable


articulated so well in 2010. Do you think UKIP are going to make great


games at the expense of the Conservatives in terms of not just


grassroots members but seats? think they probably will at the


European elections. But we have got to really get back, in the


Conservative Party, in my opinion, get back to what ordinary people


want, what ordinary people are feeling. You know, people are fed up


to the back teeth of politicians who say one thing when is an election


coming up and do another when they get into power. So this is switching


people off totally. Will give Nigel Farage one thing, in particular he


is a straight talking type of chap, and we need a much more straight


talking, we need to speak from the heart, take people with us, take


people along with us. That is what is not happening at the moment on a


range of issues. Do you both agree on that point? There is a challenge


coming for all the parties, and I see it quite differently to some of


the voices... Briefly!I think the Labour Party needs to be offering a


more modern vision. I think we need to be at the forefront of campaigns


such as for equal marriage, but we also need to be shown... The Labour


leadership needs to show they have nothing to fear from openers and


debate and from grassroots voices being heard. Is a challenge for all


three, and the world has changed. The fact that we are talking about


equal marriage legislation is something that none of us would have


thought would have been possible ten years ago. Political parties do need


to remember that they need to be doing that straight talking and be


honest with the electorate. Thank you, gentlemen, very interesting,


thank you for coming onto the programme.


All of them seem to be unhappy with the leadership in one way or


another, not listening to them, the Conservatives said that the


grassroot numbers have gone for ever. Ed Miliband has nothing to


fear by being open. And that is why I think the recognition that all the


major political parties have to become broad movements again, where


your grassroots actually not just your members. But can you get any


new members with what Ed Miliband is suggesting? My grassroots are not


all male and white. I thought it was very interesting that those three


examples of speaking for the grassroots. My grassroots are


hundreds of people who deliver leaflets, and probably only a third


of them will be card-carrying Labour Party members. You engage them in


the political process and ask them genuine questions. I am doing


something on welfare where I am waiting for responses because I


really want to know. The Liberal Democrat there, Malcolm Bruce,


saying they are a centre-left, not a centre-right party. Something sounds


wrong for him... The party is a liberal party which is broadly


centrist. The fact is, if you look recently, an interesting article in


the Economist, showing that young people are fundamentally socially


and economic li liberal, and our job is to make them vote Liberal. You


cannot run away from the facts, nobody likes austerity. We have to


do things that nobody came into politics wanting to do, and I think


the electorate get it. The debate should be how you do it as fairly as


possible, and that is what the debate about the parties will be,


rather than trying to pretend you can ignore the background and do


something you will never deliver in government. Very briefly, we heard a


lot beforehand, but you have lost quite a lot of grassroots for ever.


I do not necessarily agree with that. My sense of talking to the


grassroots in my constituency is that they are encouraged by the fact


that this Government is focusing on these use of ordinary people,


Welfare Reform Act off He says you are not listening, HS2, gay


marriage. These are things which are of central concern is to ordinary


voters in my constituency. Margaret Hodge and the Public Accounts


Committee have a new target in their sights, fresh from attacking the


likes of Google, Amazon and Apple, the committee turns its attention to


Prince Charles. His chief adviser, William Nye will be asked to explain


why the Prince pays income tax on the money he receives from the Duchy


of Cornwall, but no corporation tax. The cabin is -- the campaigning


organisation Republic wrote to Margaret Hodge asking her to


investigate his affairs. Why are Prince Charles's tax affairs a


problem? He pays income tax. Duchy of Cornwall is the issue, not


Prince Charles as an individual. This is one of the excuses they have


tried to make, suggesting there is no distinction. There is a


distinction, the Duchy is a major commercial property empire, it makes


millions of pounds every year of profit on, you know, trading in the


property market and pays not a single penny of corporation tax. In


this day and age, and people are very upset about this issue, Google


and Amazon and Starbucks, there are serious questions to ask about why


that is. We will get onto that comparison, but public funding for


the Prince of Wales fell by 50% in the last financial year, and the


income he receives from the Duchy enables him to be largely


self-funded, and he also pays the household expenses of William and


Kate, a pretty good deal for the taxpayer. No, the funding did not


fall at all. All is that happened is that some of the costs were shifted


onto the Commonwealth countries. We do not owe him any money at all,


he's not be head of state, so we are not getting a good deal. There is a


fundamental point of principle, attack should be applied equally to


everybody, and there is no justification for the Duchy of


Cornwall not to be paying it. All of their excuses have been taken apart


by experts, and they carry on trying to twist and turn and get out of


paying corporation tax on multi-million pound profits. Thank


you very much indeed. Do you think it is fair to compare, as was done


there, the Duchy of Cornwall to Starbucks and Amazon? No, I don't


think it is. Talking about a personal attack on Prince Charles,


no Woody would be suggesting that Prince Charles and his organisations


are not doing great work in Britain. -- nobody. It is probably right that


we live in an age of transparency, and it is legitimate that the Public


Accounts Committee looks at the details of this, but I do not think


any Woody -- anybody would be suggesting Prince Charles is


avoiding paying tax. But should he be paying corporation tax from the


estate, not him personally? He pays income tax on the money he makes, I


suppose you could argue that he would be being taxed twice. He would


be able to offset one against the other. That is what the Public


Accounts Committee are looking into. I do not think I could comment


other than it is good it should be investigated. He should be paying


his fair contribution, whether in income tax or corporation tax. A few


years ago, the Queen did not pay any tax, now she does, and we are moving


into a situation where it is expected that the Royals should pay


their fair share. I agree that this is the Duchy of Cornwall, not Amazon


or Google, this is a domestic business. The only issue is whether


it should be managed on behalf of the role family or in a way that is


just fair and just to the public sector and to the Royal Family to do


the job they have to. transparency, they have to be just


as transparent as every videos, so it is a good move. It is a shame he


is not going to appear before the committee. I do not think he is


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