04/09/2013 Daily Politics


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Good morning. This is the Daily Politics. Back


from our summer break. There is plenty going on. President Putin


warns the West against unilateral action against Syria, although he


didn't rule out supporting a United Nations resolution authorising a


military strike if it was proved beyond doubt that the Syrian


government had used chemical weapons against its own people. Across the


pond American Senators have agreed on a draft resolution that would


authorise the use of force in Syria. It would allow President Obama to


use limited and tailored military action to respond to the use of


chemical weapons. Congress will vote next week. So what is likely to


happen? It's the first PMQs since the summer


break. It's the first since that vote on Syria last week. We will be


looking at how the parties are shaping up.


Ed may not want to go to war but appears the unions do. News this


morning that the GMB union has cut the money it gives to the Labour


party by more than a million pounds. And should MPs vote with their party


or their conscience? We will be delving into the world of


parliamentary rebellion. All that and more coming up. X


Factor, Strictly, eat your heart out. There's only one programme the


British public has been pining for. It's called the Daily Politics. One


half of the Eagle sisters, Angela. She's shadow leader of the House of


Commons in her spare time. And the pin-up boy of the Metropolitan


Police. The former Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell. Welcome to you


both. Now first this morning, let's discuss the latest scandal to rock


the mother of parliaments. Pornography! Because a freedom of


information request has revealed that users of computers in the


Palace of Westminster tried to access internet pornography 300,000


times last year. We would like to point out that 5,000 people work in


parliament, including MPs and peers. So somebody is using it quite a


lot! It is fairly astonishing. I have never been so bored in my job


that I have resorted to that! Website got it from a Freedom of


information request. According to the figures, almost 115,000 attempts


to access pornography from the Palace of Westminster in November,


but only 15 in February. Why is that? I did the elementary maths,


Andrew, and 5000 people work there which means there is 60 attempts to


access her head but I should point out the House of Commons have


dismissed this as grossly inaccurate -- 60 attempts per head. It might be


pop-ups, they said. I don't know. Did you not have to actively go onto


pop-ups, they said. I don't know. the website? Having never gone on to


a porn site, I'm afraid I can't answer that. I don't think accessing


pornography is a good use of tax answer that. I don't think accessing


payers money so I bet you the figures are different next year. The


people who work at the House of Commons are paid for by the


taxpayer. Not all of them. Some of this information seems dodgy but why


was it released in the first place if it is not thought to be accurate?


I have no idea where they got the figures from. You don't know whether


it is some automatic process that goes on in computers, you know. This


is very dodgy stuff. We have spent longer on this than I would have.


The story is over! To something you will be more comfortable talking


about, the economy! Labour is on the front foot in the Commons today,


wanting to debate the crisis - their words not mine - over the cost of


living. A report out today says almost five million British workers


now earn less than the so-called living wage. A whole host of recent


figures though suggest economic good news. Although writing in today's


Guardian, the Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls warns that the UK could be


approaching an unsustainable recovery. But growth is returning


and getting stronger, so say the think tanks. We welcome the return


of growth. It is welcome but very delayed. We have had three years of


stagnation and since 2010 living standards have fallen by effectively


£20 a week for people in this country apart from a few at the very


top. The issue is what we can do to create a sustainable economic growth


rather than one that is fuelled by more bubbles in house prices? You


have conceded that your argument about the flat-lining... But growth


was the key and that was what the Labour Party's economic critique was


built on and you said yourself you should perhaps congratulate the


coalition that after one of the deepest recessions in history,


growth is returning, unemployment did not reach the heights that were


predicted in the OECD raised its projections for growth in the


economy to 1.5%. That is all good news but the fact is, we have had


three years of no growth, we have a million young unemployed and two


thirds of the jobs created in the last period are on very, very low


wages indeed so if we are going to have a proper rebalancing of the


economy and sustainable growth going forward is we have to reboot the


economy in a way that is sustainable. How do we do that?


Create the sustainable recovery? A million private sector jobs have


been created. But on very low pay. There are still millions of people


in work who cannot make ends meet. Even those who are in work are


finding life tough. When you have an economy that is based on consumer


spending, that is not the most sustainable. We have to make our way


in the world in the 21st-century and look at how we can support future


industries that will make as prosperous in the future rather than


unsustainable house price booms. The government will no doubt be


delighted that growth has returned. The question is, what sort of


recovery? Consumption is up, public confidence is returning, mortgage


approvals and house prices are up. Will we enter another debt fuelled


boom? I do not want to get involved in too much party your poo because


people have had a difficult time -- ya-boo. But the government has stuck


to its guns. It has taken the necessary painful measures to sort


out the mess and this news is encouraging. If the projections,


growth of 2%, are achieved, that is encouraging. If the projections,


far more than anyone in visit and I think the Chancellor deserves some


credit for ticking by his -- sticking by his very tough


decisions. Many people said he shouldn't. There was much advice


that it should be changed. He stuck to them and I believe we are reaping


the benefit of that and thank goodness because it has been a very


tough time. What sort of recovery has George Osborne started if we


give him the credit for growth returning? Consumption is up.


Mortgage approvals are up. House prices are up. It looks exactly like


the sort of boom that the Conservatives criticised because


they said it led to bust in 2008. These are exactly the same


conditions that led to the bust and the recession. If you look at what


the new governor of the Bank of the recession. If you look at what


England said in his speech, I think we are not heading for that. He will


keep interest rates low precisely so that people can continue to meet


their mortgage payments. He does not think that would be the result. This


their mortgage payments. He does not recovery is led by the private


sector to. One of the things that Labour said, it is all very well the


shake out in the public sector but it will not be picked up in the


private sector and thank goodness that has been shown to be wrong.


Let's look at the private sector jobs. Angela Eagle said many of them


are part-time and low paid and have not been as a direct replacement of


the public sector jobs lost. Do you accept that there is a problem with


the cost of living? I do except that there is a serious issue to be


looked at with the living wage -- I accept. We are looking at what one


might do about that. Increasing the minimum wage? Yes, I am pleased we


are looking at that. But we have taken 2.7 million of the least


well-paid people out of tax, which is a significant contribution. We


have frozen council tax. It helps people at the bottom by taking them


out of tax. We have seen figures to date showing that over a million


people have fallen down below living wage standards in the last year, so


wages are continuing to be squeezed down. Yes, we have got some growth


and that is to be welcomed, but because we have had three years of a


flat-lining economy we are the only G-7 country that has not got back to


2008 levels of growth in our economy. Thank you, both.


It's been a long hot summer. Or at least it has for Jo. She has been


sunning herself on the Costa del Chiswick. I've been here tidying the


office and manning the phones. So for those of you who have only just


tuned back into politics, Jo has been brushing up on what the party


leaders got up to on their summer holidays.


Yes, it's been a summer of highs and lows for the party leaders. David


Cameron went on so many holidays the papers nicknamed him "departure


lounge Dave", as he took trips to Portugal, Scotland and Cornwall. He


also revealed he had been suffering from a bad back, which meant he


could no longer go deerstalking in the Hebridies. But he could at least


comfort himself with the gloom hanging over Ed Miliband. The Labour


leader reportedly had his mobile phone switched off while he enjoyed


a fortnight in the south of France, so perhaps he didn't hear news that


Labour's poll lead over the Tories fell from 13 points in May to just


three by the end of July. The leader's own personal ratings also


continued to slide, with one poll putting him on -31. That even led


some to draw parallels with the failed Tory leadership of Iain


Duncan Smith. As usual, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg took his family to


the Spanish town which is home to his wife's family. But he still


weighed in on some of the summer's big stories, including taking time


to criticise the Home Office for ad vans telling illegal immigrants to


"go home". But everyone's holidays were cut short by the decision to


recall parliament for a vote on Syria, and at least in the short


term, the decision to oppose the government seems to have given


Labour and Ed Miliband a boost, with the party's lead over the


Conservatives back up to double digits. Andrew.


And we're joined now by the Home Office Minister, the Liberal


Democrat MP, Jeremy Browne. Let's have a look at some of the things


that have been happening. We learned this morning that the GMB is now one


of the big unions that helps this morning that the GMB is now one


bankroll your party, and is now going to only pay for 50,000 members


rather than 650,000 members. Tom Watson says this could be the


beginning of the end of the historic link between the Labour Party and


the unions, which has endured for over 100 years. It is the absolute


right of the GMB executive committee to take this decision. I hope we can


involve the link with the trade unions so we get more people who are


out at work defending people in their trade unions... We have to


change it and evolve it. Perhaps it hasn't changed soon enough. We have


to persuade individual members of the trade unions that they should


join the party. After all we have been talking about the problems of


people on low wages now. The coalition government have given a


tax cut to millionaires. We have got to have discussions with those who


are defending people's rights not to be treated arbitrarily at work and


persuade them that the Labour Party is for them. The GMB things only 50%


-- 50,000 people will choose to affiliate with the party rather than


650,000. That means you have been taking the money of 600,000 people


under false pretences. It is in the GMB's rules that they can affiliate


how much the executive committee decides and they have made this new


decision. We need to go and argue with them that the best interests of


their members are served with them being actively involved in the


Labour Party. If we can get another 100,000 of them actively involved,


that is more members than the Conservative Party has in the whole


country. We want to create a new mass participation party. This is a


big risk but we can come out stronger? Where else in the Western


world is there a mass party? It is a tough call, politics has been


declining everywhere. So why on earth do you think the Labour Party


will buck the trend? We have to try to recreate new interest in our


democracy and politics and to do that we have to try to get more


democracy and politics and to do people involved. But the GMB things


that less than a 10th of the people they all -- automatically affiliate


will volunteer to affiliate! We have to go and tap the discussions. And


will volunteer to affiliate! We have then you will get 50,000! They think


that. We have to go and have the discussions. They know their members


but I want to talk to GMB members and save join the party, make us


stronger, help create a fairer society. How many people do the


Conservative Party have as members? Membership of political parties has


been declining. But he won't tell us! Why not? You will have to ask


the chairman, Grant Schatz. He won't tell me but I thought he might tell


you! I have not asked him!But you won't make it public. The reason we


are assuming is because membership has collapsed! There has been a


widespread trend which is people join special-interest groups, single


lobbying issue groups, and they choose to do that rather than


joining. I was going to ask Angela what she would regard as a success.


If we can get more than there are Conservative party members, that


would be good. But you will never know! You have set a yardstick which


is unknown! I think it is around 100,000, that is the rumours. The


rumours are it has plummeted below 100,000. 253,000 voted in your last


leadership and the rumours are that your party will not tell as the


figures because it is probably below 100,000, so you have set a pretty


figures because it is probably below low yardstick. How many Lib Dems are


there? Not as many as I would like. It is about 50,000. I have got


42,500. I think Labour are doing the right thing. When I joined the Lib


Dems 20 years ago, it was more like 100,000 I think and that is the


Dems 20 years ago, it was more like decline that nearly all of the party


have seen. It is across the western world. But I think Labour are doing


the right thing. The era of the block vote and people being


surprised to a political party they do not necessarily support is


anachronistic. We want to revive our party and revive politics. The


lobbying bill yesterday, where the coalition government are trying to


stop campaigning groups from having a say at the general election, is


trying to exclude even more. In your view, how many people of your fellow


backbenchers voted against the government over Syria because they


do not like David Cameron rather than the issue? Stop a lot They make


very good speeches which made it very clear I would think there is a


large number who are worried about Mr Miliband than Part of the problem


was this was Barack Obama has specifically excluded even need the


report of the UN inspectorate. For you to make We needed a serious,


thoughtful approach to this issue, rather than a bungled, rushed vote


that was announced on Twitter without any of the proper This is a


rapidly moving situation. We've had more intelligence released. We've


had the appalling napalm bombing of a primary school by a Syrian fighter


jet. We've got the additional intelligence


What is your view? Would you like another vote? I don't think there


should be another vote on the same question. The only caveat I would


put, my short answer is no. The slight caveat is if there is a


put, my short answer is no. The complete change in the issue that we


are being asked to confront and consider,


must reserve the right to have another look at it. We all agree


with that. But... We have to leave it. The cruel vagaries of politics.


One minute, the coast of the Commons, the next you are just


toast. Even when your career is at an end, cruel and unusual judgements


do not stop. No, they don't. Spare a thought for this little fellow here.


There he is. Do you know who it is? Well done, it looks nothing like


him. Chris Huhne. Enough people voted for him to become Prime


Minister in 1963. He emerged without voted for him to become Prime


even a vote in the Conservative Party. Would you like to come and


help us tomorrow morning? He was chosen by a cabal of older Tony and


is, that Iain Macleod called the Magic Circle, in a famous editorial


in The Spectator. Nobody elected him, because in the own -- olden


days they were not elected. It has been found that while Margaret


Thatcher, Winston Churchill and Tony Blair still fly off the shelves,


maybe because people are throwing them, not a single person has bought


little Alex. Nobody voted for him, nobody is buying him. Enough to make


you choke on your digestive. But the quality of our tea is not strained.


If there was a Daily Politics Toby jug, I am sure it would be more


popular than anybody else. There we go. Who is that?The good old Daily


Politics muggy will always be in vogue. We will remind you how to


enter the competition in a moment. Let's see if you can remember when


this happened. Who is the Briton who checked in as


Richard Reid? # Just can't go on too long


# Your tragedy starts to happen... # I'll stand by your side, as I


always do. Smugglers decreed we should wear burkhas, which the


Taliban force every woman in Afghanistan to wear.


# You got stuck in a moment, now you can't get out of it. # I am today


resigning from the government. To be in with a chance of winning a


mug and the Douglas Hume jug, send your ansa to our special quiz e-mail


address. You can see the terms and conditions on our website.


It is coming up to mid-day, Big Ben will appear as magic. Prime Minister


's questions will be pretty good, I think. We will hear the fallout from


the Syria debate. Jesse Norman had some sort of position in number ten,


and he has had to resign, he has effectively been fired. There will


be others, no doubt. He is on the policy board, so he is an adviser,


but he was brought off the back benches as a rising star. He did not


vote with the government on Syria, so he has gone. There has to be


consequences, said an insider. Desperately proving that the Bell


did not work! Or she has got to purchase a hearing aid! We tested


it, it was working! They tested it the week before! They could be more


victims? Once the reshuffle comes, there will be fallout. The


interesting thing about PMQ 's, what there will be fallout. The


is the tone? The real poison has entered the relationship between the


Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition. People often think that


the leaders hate each other. Often, they do not, there is a respect. But


real poison into the relationship. I think Ed Miliband will go on Syria,


he is wanting to show that there is something you can do, but he opens


himself up to the possible charge that he helped Parliament to rule


out military action, when he personally said he was in favour in


the right circumstances. There were so many caveats. But his starting


position was, there were chemical weapons that did cross a red line,


it was the case that the President Assad used it, but now, he says it


is the Prime Minister's fault. David Cameron has got problems in terms of


his management of it, it looks like he rushed to an American timetable


and could not deliver. To which the Americans then changed. People like


Malcolm Rifkind say, for goodness sake, talking, because the only way


Parliament can have another vote, the only way the Prime Minister will


then another vote, is if the politics changes. If the leader of


the opposition says, I am willing to join with you in certain


circumstances. We need to trust each other. At the moment, there is not a


chance. Living standards are the theme of the day for the Labour


Party. Economic growth.Let's find out.


Before listing my engagements, the house will wish to join me in


congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their


son, Prince George of Cambridge. I am sure I speak for the nation in


son, Prince George of Cambridge. I sending our congratulations and wish


them and Prince George a happy and healthy life. I can assure


honourable members they can offer their own congratulations next


Monday when This morning I had meetings with


ministerial colleagues and others and I shall have other meetings


today. Can I also congratulate their Royal Highnesses. Since we last met


there has been a spate of good economic news. Unemployment is down


and the economy is growing. Isn't it time for those who still oppose it


to stop messing around, give it up, and abandoned plan B? Business


confidence is at its highest level since 2000 date, consumer confidence


is up, and the figures on construction, manufacturing and


is up, and the figures on services are going in the right


direction. These are early days but services are going in the right


it is because of the tough decisions that this government took that we


can now see progress and the party opposite told us unemployment would


go up, it has gone down, they said the economy would go backwards, it


has gone forwards, and it is time for them to explain why they were


wrong and we were right. Ed Miliband! I join the Prime Minister


in congratulating the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of


Prince George and I wish them all of Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of


the happiness in the world. At the G20 summit in Saint Petersburg


tomorrow, will the Prime Minister do everything he can to get other


countries to match the UK's important aid commitment to


alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Syria. Almost one third of


town-macro families have been forced to leave their homes but the UN has


less than half the resources that it needs. -- one third of Syrian


families. We are the second largest aid donor there has been. We must


make clear our revulsion at the use of chemical weapons, our desire for


a peace process but above all getting donor countries together and


making sure they do everything they can to live up to their


responsibilities so we can help the Syrian people. The Civil War and


refugee crisis in Syria are having profound impacts across the Middle


East, specifically in Lebanon, where the population is up by 20% since


the Civil War began. What specific support beyond the welcome


humanitarian assistance can Britain give to these countries to help them


deal with the burden on their economy and society and


infrastructure? Having been to a refugee camp in Jordan I have seen


how great the pressures are. That camp is now one of the biggest


how great the pressures are. That cities in that country. We have well


funded embassies and diplomatic networks, very close relationships


with Jordan and Lebanon and the Turks as well. We are well placed


because we are spending serious money on the humanitarian aid


programmes. At the end of the day we need a solution to the Syrian


crisis. We also need to make sure we are clear about our revulsion in


terms of chemical weapons. We should be making sure our aid programme is


helping give the Syrian people protection from the appalling


attacks. The revulsion about chemical weapons attacks is shared


on all sides of the House. I wanted to talk about getting the talks


going. The opposition Syrian National Council is meeting the


Foreign Secretary in the next couple of days. Can the Prime Minister tell


us what work he is doing to make those talks in Geneva happen? One is


we want to support those elements of the Syrian opposition that support a


clueless stick, democratic and free Syria -- a pluarlistic. But we go


further because we recognise the rebels that back those views also


deserve our support, in terms of training and advice, because we


won't get a peace process in Syria unless Assad realises that his


regime is under some sort of threat and pressure, not just from the


rebels but from the millions of Syrians that we must be standing up


for, who want democracy and freedom. We should be on their side.


There is no difference within the House on the need to stand up for


the innocent people of Syria. The question... The question... JEERING.


We have approached this in a calm and measured way so far and we


should carry on doing that. There are large barriers, big barriers, as


we found out, to the Geneva peace talks actually happening. Can I ask


the Prime Minister whether there isn't a case for immediate talks


between those countries backing the rebels and those countries backing


the regime? That happened during the Civil War in Lebanon and would at


least provide a basis for discussion. I agree that Britain


should use all of its diplomatic muscle to discuss with those


countries that have backed the regime and to join with those


countries who backed the rebels and the opposition to try to bring those


talks about and that is why I have had repeated discussions, for


instance with President Putin, and why I travelled to see him


specifically to discuss this, but I come back to this point. It is all


specifically to discuss this, but I the real world for the countries


supporting either side to want the peace talks to take place. What you


also need is for those people involved in the conflict in Syria to


recognise that it is in their interest to see the beginning of the


peace process. I think we can convince the Syrian national council


peace process. I think we can it is in their interest, but we need


the regime, Assad himself, to realise that it is is -- it is in


his interest. And for that to happen the world is to take a very tough


response. We must not in any degree give up our after revulsion of the


chemical weapons attacks... Nobody disagrees with our revulsion at the


use of chemical weapons, the question is how to deal with it.


Given the difficulty of getting direct talks moving between the


Syrian government and the opposition, is there a case for


getting regional partners involved? We know the role Iran has played in


fuelling this conflict but given that successful diplomacy involves


talking with those with whom we profoundly disagree, what is the


position on Iraqi participating? The Foreign Secretary will be meeting


with the Iranians Foreign Minister -- the position on Tehran


participating? Let's not forget what Iran have done to our embassy. We


all want these peace talks to take place, we all want Geneva to happen,


but we can't want it more than the participants involved in Syria's


bloody conflict and we have to make sure it is in the interest that


these talks go ahead and that is why yes, diplomacy is important, but the


work that we do with the Syrian opposition, that is important. They


are standing up for millions of Syrians who have been bombed out of


their houses. Those are the people you need to talk to in the refugee


camps in Jordan and elsewhere to see how they feel how badly the rest of


the world is letting them down. Nobody disagrees with that of the


world is letting them down. Nobody disagrees with that overview we take


about Iran's behaviour but the question is how to bring the


regional parties and the opposite sides together? Does he accept there


remains support across the country for Britain taking every diplomatic,


political and you monetarily and effort to help the Syrian people?


Last week's vote was not about Britain shirking its global


responsibility. It was about preventing a rush to war. Last week


the House of Commons voted clearly and I respect the outcome of that


vote and I won't be bringing back plans for British participation in


vote and I won't be bringing back military action. I agree we must use


everything we have in our power, and diplomatic networks, influence with


other countries, membership of the EU, NATO, UN, but my only regret


from last week is I do not think it was necessary to divide the House on


a vote that could have led to a vote but he took the decision that it


was. SHOUTING. We hear today the UK services business activity index is


at its highest level for six and a half years. Does this not show that


the government economic policy is working? Will the Prime Minister


the government economic policy is commit to ensuring our increased


prosperity helps to pay for Shrewsbury's Northwest relief road?


I will look at the proposal. I know he wants Shrewsbury to be a


connected hub in our country. The good news about this economic


recovery is we are seeing it in more people in work. 1.3 million private


sector jobs more and we need to see further progress with that because


the best way to improve living standards in the country is to see


an increasing number of people in gainful work. Jack Straw! May I


press the Prime Minister on the issue of relations with Iraq. His


previous answers sounded as if he had taken no account of the fact


that since our embassy was outrageously sacked by the reigning


president and his thugs, there has been an election in Iran that has


led to a different individual becoming president who to my


knowledge is someone the West and a British Prime Minister can deal


with. Can I ask him to look carefully with the Foreign Secretary


at how we make steps now to improve relations with Iran and try to get


them involved in solving Syria? I agree that the election of a


president who has a greater commitment to reform is a positive


step and I have written to President Rouhani to raise a series of issues


that need to be settled between Britain and Iran and we need to see


progress on what he himself has said is important, which is trying to


come to an agreement where Iran gives up the idea of nuclear weapons


and in return we see every leaf on sanctions. But we should do this not


from a position of just hoping for the best. We have seen what Iran can


be capable of. We should go into these discussions cautiously.


Does he agree accuracy of statistics is vital to inform


public debate? Is he aware that 4% of the people believe that Elvis


Presley is still alive? Double the number we hear today that they that


the member for Doncaster North is not a natural leader! I can see my


Honourable Friend, he has put his summer to very good use. I am


grateful for his question. You need to see opinion polls before you can


grateful for his question. You need see a true trend. Why does the


Prime Minister believe that his plans to restrict lobbying are


opposed from organisations from the Salvation Army, the Countryside


Alliance, and so on. I listen to the exchanges before I came in and


it seems to me there is a concerted campaign being run by the trade


unions, who mysteriously managed to convince members of parliament to


raise this problem. We know what is going on. They do not want the


trade unions brought within the law, they walked the trade unions to go


on spending millions, trying to alter an election campaign rather


than having them properly controlled by the law. That is what


the lobby in bill is about. -- lobbying. The UK economy will


benefit from £50 million by a posting them round the world yacht


race. Will the Prime Minister come to Gosport to see one of the top


marine and sailing centres and congratulate those people who are


flying the flag for tourism trade and watersports? I think my


Honourable Friend is right. I have seen a model of the vessel. I


welcome the fantastic contribution it makes to the economy. It was


great to see the race in London for the first time and that it was led


by a British boat and supported by the great campaign. I will take


into account the kind invitation. I wish Sir Robin Knox Johnston well


and all those taking part. Can I take him back to the answer he gave


my friend a few minutes ago, can he be more positive about building


better relations urgently with Iran, as one of the keys of bringing


about a peace process in Syria and the region, simply attacking Iraq


all the time will not bring them to the negotiating table. It is better


that he is more positive. If you are trying to build a relationship


with someone, it depends on the actions they take. Given that the


Iranian government was complicit in completely smashing the embassy and


residence in the capital, we will want to see action so that we can


build that relationship. I have reached out by writing to the


President, congratulating him on his accession to power, and wanting


to discuss these issues. If we believe there is a magical key to


the Syrian conflict, I suddenly adopting a different posture, I do


not think we will make a good decision. La suite, we saw the


proportion of households with no one in work for to the lowest since


records began. Is this further evidence well for -- welfare


reforms are working? He makes a very good point. In the second


quarter, there are 3.5 million households without work, down


182,000 on the year and 425,000 since the election. Each statistic


tells a story about people who will be able to get into work, provide


for their family, make something for their lives. We should be proud


of the reforms. Every single one of them was opposed by the party


opposite. We have not just saved £83 billion of measures they


opposed, we have given hope to millions of families. I condemn the


opposed, we have given hope to chemical attacks in Syria. Is it


not time for joined-up thinking? Surely an American strike would


squander opportunities offered by the new Iranian leadership and by


the new US initiative in Palestine? Will the Prime Minister do what


British people want and insist that the G20 searches for a way to bring


about a ceasefire, rather than a new bombing raid. I respect the


decision the house came to after the debate and Britain will not


play any part in action. I would ask her to put herself for a moment


in the shoes of the President of the United States and others. He


set a clear redline. If there was large-scale chemical weapons used,


something had to happen. We know the regime used chemical weapons on


previous occasions. I think that to ask the President, having made that


warning, to step away from it, I think that would be perilous. In


response, I think you would see more chemical weapons attacks from


the regime. The Honourable Lady has a long track record in supporting


peace talks and I respect that. I will do everything to bring the


peace talks together. I do not believe there is a contradiction in


taking a tough line on the use of chemical weapons and also want in


the peace talks that could bring the crisis to an end. -- wanting.


the peace talks that could bring Cancer funding per head in


Herefordshire is half that than in Birmingham. Academic research


suggests that the current funding formula discriminates against rural


areas. And against older people. Does he share my view that the NHS


should move as quickly as possible to fairer funding for rural areas?


He makes an important point. He will know we have given many


decisions away from ministers to NHS England. They said they are


looking at a fairer formula and I am sure they will look at those


arguments. I would ask him to look at the cancer drugs fund, which has


been a success. Sadly it was not copied by Labour in Wales. The fund


has helped constituents to get treatment they need. Can he tell


the House what he is doing to support food banks in the United


Kingdom. What we have done is something the food bank movement


had asked for for years but Labour did not grant them because they


were worried about public relations and that is the ability to say to


people at the JobCentre who needed help that they could go to a food


back. That might be something they did not want to do because it was


bad publicity. We did it because it was right. Does the Prime Minister


agreed that the combination of good weather, deficit reduction and the


control on public spending has given confidence to business and


individuals to create 1.3 million jobs? Given these encouraging


figures, is he somewhat surprised that the opposition believe the


policy will cost 1 million jobs? He could add to the good weather that


Andy Murray when macro Wimbledon and England retained the Ashes. --


won. There was a key judgment parties had to make weather in this


Parliament they get to grips with the deficit and take tough


decisions to turn the country round. We make those tough decisions. The


party opposite got to them. -- ducked them. The Government is


right to extend nursery provision. Four in 10 councils will not have


sufficient places. Can he guaranteed those children promised


a place will actually have one? We put in place funding to provide


that and I am confident they will put in place funding to provide


receive the services they deserve. Unemployment in my constituency is


lower than any time since the general election. Locally I


organised two jobs fairs and I am organising a third. Does he agree


that this goes to show the Government is right to stick to the


economic plan despite calls to abandon it by the members opposite?


He is right. The figures on employment are encouraging with


more people in work than ever before. More people in private


sector employment. A record number of women in work and almost 1


million more people in work compared with the situation we


inherited. At some stage the party opposite will have to admit they


got it wrong. Even today, the shadow chancellor is saying he will


borrow even more, even when we have started turning around the economy,


he has learned nothing. £3.3 billion profit windfall while


ordinary families face energy bills going up by £300 in year. Why is


ordinary families face energy bills the Prime Minister not standing up


to energy companies and getting a better deal from the market for


ordinary families? I do not know where she was in the debate on the


energy bill but this government is legislating to make sure people are


put on the lowest tariffs. This legislating to make sure people are


government has done that. When the leader of the Labour Party was


Energy Secretary and bills leader of the Labour Party was


through the roof, there was none of this sort of action. Given that the


end N S has revised figures up words for growth, -- ONS come and


there are good conditions for young people to get into work, does he


think this would have been achieved if he took the advice of the Shadow


Chancellor? It is interesting. Every time there is a question


about the economy and the fact more people are in work and more


businesses are established and the economy is growing, the party


businesses are established and the opposite do not want to hear a word


of it. Britain is succeeding and Labour is failing. Will the Prime


Minister accept any responsibility for the fact it is forecasted on


wages working people will, by the time of the election, have lost


£6,660 in real terms while he has been in Number 10? There is only


one sustainable way to get living standards up, and that is to get


the economy growing, to cut taxes and to keep mortgage rates low,


the economy growing, to cut taxes which we are doing. If we listened


to the party opposite, who have won plan, to spend more and build up


more debt, we would be back to where we started -- one plan. As


the Syrian tragedy has unfolded, I have always had the Armageddon


question in the back of my mind, which I will put to the Prime


Minister. If the Americans illegally bombard the Assad forces,


and Assad legally invites the Russians in, to degrade the rebels,


what will NATO do? The first thing I would say is that we would never


support illegal action. We debated this at some length last week. It


is not the case the only way action can be legal is a United Nations


resolution. We would only support action that is illegal. Britain


would not be taking part in any of this action. You have to put the


Armageddon question around the other way, which is if no action is


taken following President Obama's Red Line, and it is not taken


following the use of chemical weapons, you have to ask what sort


of Armageddon other Syrian people going to be facing? The Prime


Minister says he does not support a mansion tax for people living in


mansions over £2 million. Because, he claims, some people living in


these mansions are capital rich and cash poor. Can the Prime Minister


tell me how he rounds that circle with his support with the bedroom


tax? That is where he is punishing people who are capital poor and


have no cash. He has to get clear what is a tax, and what is not a


tax. Before the changes, there was a subsidy for people who had


additional rooms they did not use. We believe it is fair to have the


same rules in private sector rented accommodation and in council


accommodation. You have ranted and raved, Labour, about the spare room


subsidy. Will you reverse it? Are you going to reverse it? That means


no. That means yes. Any chance? Absolutely nothing to say. It is


not a trivial decision for somebody to leave their home and their


country, fleeing for their safety. How many people must have left


Syria before it is impossible for the regime to declare any kind of


moral entitlement to govern back- country? I do not believe the


regime is legitimate. The way it has treated its own people, the


bombing of its own citizens and the use of chemical weapons, it is an


illegitimate regime. We have to bring pressure to bear for a


transition so that we can end up with Syria in totally different


hands. The cost of secondary school uniform has spiralled to £285 as


new free schools and academies insist on branding clothing. But


one Academy, 70% of parents had to take out a loan. Why has the Prime


Minister failed to act so that his policy is leading to loans that can


only add to the profit of pay-day loan companies? Like many parents I


think it is right for schools, if they want to choose, to have a


tough uniform policy. I was at the opening of a free school in


Birmingham yesterday where the parents were very grateful of the


fact that is exactly the policy they had. What I see from the


Honourable Lady is trying to find a way of opposing free schools. We


Honourable Lady is trying to find a now have 194 free schools in our


country that they don't like, because parents think it is a good


education. It cost the Ministry of Defence £1.4 billion to extend the


life of the Trident submarines in order that the Liberal Democrats


could have a study of alternatives. Now that study has shown there is


no alternative, will the Prime Minister consider signing the main


contract for the first two submarine so that we can never


again be blackmailed by the Liberal Democrats in a hung parliament? I


have to credit the Honourable Gentleman with a remarkable


consistency on the issue, on which I agree with him. We have Trident.


It is the right approach. We need to renew Trident. The delay of the


decision has saved money. His point about the review is right. If you


want to have a proper functioning deterrent, you need to have the


best and that means a permanently at Sea submarine based alternative.


That is what a Conservative only government after the next election


will deliver. Is it not the case... Is it not the case... Order. The


Honourable Gentleman is something of an exotic creature in house.


That excite the interest on government benches. I wish to hear


what the Honourable Gentleman has to say. Is it not the case that in


real wages have fallen by almost 1500 pounds the years since he


became Prime Minister? We live in 1500 pounds the years since he


tough times because of the incredible mess we had to clear up


from the party opposite. The party opposite, complaining about the


economy, complaining about living standards, is like the arsonist


complaining to the fire brigade. This government is turning the


economy round and that is how we will get living standards up.


Burnley recently was awarded by the Department of business, innovation


and skills, an award for the most enterprising town in the UK. Would


he wish to congratulate the many businesses in Burnley who are


members of the scheme on their achievement? I congratulate


businesses large and small for the enterprise they have shown. The


fact about the recovery is that it is private sector-led. That is what


we needed after excessive government spending and it is very


good that businesses have done so much to take people on and get the


economy moving. The first Prime Minister's


questions of the new parliamentary season. It was


It was built by everybody except Nick Robinson as a Guy Fawkes night


of action but in fact it was rather subdued, so Nick Robinson was night.


-- was right. Someone said to me it was like two bald men fighting over


a coma, Ed Miliband and David Cameron talking about Syria -- --


comb. The Tory backbenches were laced with


questions planted by the whips on the economy but they were still a


little bit behind the times because nobody managed to plant a question


about the GMB withdrawal of money. It happened too late. They should


keep up with the news. A flat encounter between the two


today, says John. Both tried to be statesman-like and both not willing


to make others think otherwise. Helen Manning says, David Cameron


does not need to take lessons on Syria from duplicitous and


hypocritical Ed Miliband. Backbone was needed to take action in Syria.


But Diane said I thought David Cameron might be attacked humble and


contrite after his humiliating defeat. As a floating voter I would


have hoped for him to show some understanding there was no appetite


for military intervention but his performance today was bad and


arrogant. Someone else asks is it known how


much of the economic rise in growth is due to natural changes rather


than the Prime Minister's policies? While PMQ 's have been going on in


London there are reports that German intelligence had been briefing the


German parliamentarians in Berlin. They have said their information is


that Assad in Syria was responsible for the poisoned gas attacks on the


21st of August and German intelligence says the intercepted


traffic between Hezbollah, they had Lebanese -based group operating on


Assad's side, and the Iranians embassy in Berlin, in which the


traffic between Hezbollah and the Iranians embassy confirmed that


Assad had used chemical weapons. Confirmation from a country that


will not be part of any action but interesting that that is what German


parliamentarians are being briefed on. Briefly, that is pretty


significant because the doubts amongst many MPs were about the


assertion that the Assad regime was definitely responsible. They had


widespread doubts in the House because of the reliance on Israeli


intercepts, partly. German intercepts are much less politically


controversial, hot if you like, then Israeli ones, and the fact that the


Germans are not in favour of action but are releasing that assessment is


really quite significant and would perhaps persuade people like Andrew


Mitchell that Britain should look at this again. It underlines that we


should keep an open mind. And also, why did we have such a rush to vote


last week before all of this had been given a chance to come out? Do


you think the vote would have been different then? I think there was a


big worry in the House of Commons on all sides that there was a kid and


timetable and that we were being bounced into a decision before all


of the processes and evidence had been gone through so that does cast


some doubt on the Prime Minister's judgement. This came out from


several Labour backbenchers. Why is it Labour policy to put so much


faith in Iran? It is not about faith, it is about trying to get a


dialogue about the people behind what is going on in the Middle East.


You need to recognise reality on the ground. What is going on between


tribes, which countries are supporting which actors in Syria,


and to try to get some sort of process to deal with this. Yes, but


why do you think Iran is the key to peace and progress in Syria? That is


not what was being said but what was asked is since there is now a new


president in Iran, does this present a new opportunity to try to get more


constructive engagement? What evidence is there to suggest that


this new president is a chance for that? He has been seen as being much


more moderate all around, by the people that watch these things, and


in fact the Prime Minister has already written to him as he


revealed. It is not very nice when you have to deal in diplomacy but


you have to try to get the people having an effect into a dialogue.


What is the evidence that this new president is in anyway more moderate


than the previous one? He is known by those who know him. You heard


Jack Straw talking about M. Less of a head-banger. You are aware that he


is the man, when Iran was having this green revolution, educated


people marching in the streets for basic freedom, that this man you


describe as more moderate called for the extermination of these


protesters. I didn't say he was a Democrat. This is Iran and they are


post-revolution. What is more extreme than calling for the


extermination of demonstrators? It is pretty extreme. What can be more


extreme? Nothing can be more extreme. Why do you call him a


moderate? He is widely seen as a potential new start for diplomatic


relations between the West and Iran which have been in deep freeze since


the uranium Revolution. Interesting development. -- the Iranians


revolution. That came up again and again. It is right to make sure we


give Iran a chance to show it has turned a page and the new president


may indeed meet that. But your point turned a page and the new president


about what he has done in the past are very relevant. That is why we


should test it and see whether there is a change in Iranians policy. Why


should anybody outside of this country care what Mr Cameron or Mr


Miliband have to say about Syria? country care what Mr Cameron or Mr


They are irrelevant. This region has been convulsed by an extraordinary


catastrophe. The G20 is a chance to move the process forward. Anybody


who knows anything about Syria, which in this country is not a lot,


knows that negotiation is not an option. This is a tribal war which


the Assad clan know there can only be two outcomes for them. They win


or they get killed. This is why I was so strongly in favour of


military action. The only way in which the Assad regime will be


brought to the negotiating table is if they realised if they continue,


they will lose. That is why it is essential that the world sends an


incredibly strong signal about military action. But the Prime


Minister made it clear we are not going to send that message. That is


true but as I say, we need to await further evidence and I believe the


Americans will take action. You think he will get the vote in


Congress? I think he will.The German intelligence may help. The


Prime Minister has been defeated on a central issue of his premiership.


Normally that would cause chaos in the first Prime Minister 's


questions, shouting match, demands for vote of no-confidence. The two


leaders reminded me of people who had had a few really strong can


argument at a party and came down in the morning sheepish. Ed Miliband


repeatedly said, there is no different on this issue of chemical


weapons, but nobody asked him whether there was! He feels


vulnerable on that. The Prime Minister felt the need to repeatedly


tell people there would be no military action because both men


feel uncomfortable about where they military action because both men


have ended up. We are on the eve of almost certain United States


military action in Syria and they were having a perfectly interesting


chat about who might go to peace talks, but with the best will in the


world it did not feel like the most pressing set of questions given that


serious military action could happen. I still have my doubts he


will get it through the house. I think he will get it through the


Senate. Isolationist and protectionist contingent, tea party


and left wing there. But we will see! John Kerry said he would not


rule out them taking action anyway! If it turns out that the president


has a majority in Congress and the Americans proceed, what are the


implications for the people we've just been watching? We are


spectators. Many people may be saying, thank goodness for that.


They may think that is exactly what saying, thank goodness for that.


their elected representative to do, not for Britain to join the United


States, but it does minimise the influence of the British Government


over the course of events. If there is a phase two, if after the


military action there is a Syrian reaction or an Iranian reaction or


Russian reaction, which then needs more military operations, would that


be sufficient for the British Government say, well, maybe we


should consider our position? Given that overnight at those


Congressional hearings we've heard the Secretary of State refused to


rule out boots on the ground in certain circumstances, talk about


hardening up the punishment of the regime to be beyond what Obama


originally talked about. It seems to be this debate, however much the


front benches may wish it otherwise, be this debate, however much the


this debate cannot end, it won't end. Tune in next week.


Something a little different. Time was our cuddly looking guest of the


day, nice looking Andrew Mitchell here, would strike fear into the


day, nice looking Andrew Mitchell hearts of Conservative MPs in his


role as his party's top enforcer, the Chief Whip. These days, though,


you could be forgiven for thinking the boot was on the other foot, with


backbenchers seemingly feeling free to rebel with gay abandon. The


latest manifestation of this was last week's defeat for the


latest manifestation of this was government over Syria, but it's not


just a passing fad. These days the Commons is a pretty scary place if


you are a Prime Minister. It is clear to me that the British


Parliament, reflecting the views of the British people, does not want to


see British military action. I get that and the government will act


accordingly. Last week's revolt on Syria was a biggie, but it was not


alone. Imagine if you could build your own MP. They would probably be


independent, fearless, not afraid to put the views of their constituents


above those of the party machine. In fact, a bit of a rebel. Well, if


that is your cup of tea, the good news is there's a lot of them about.


This Parliament is currently the most rebellious parliament in terms


of the number of divisions of any in the post-war era. If you go back to


the 1950s, there were two sessions, two whole years in which not a


single government MP rebels even once. Today's whips would bite your


hand off for that level of cohesion. So who is Britain's most rebellious


MP? Philip le bone, focused on Kettering. My test as always, were I


to walk down Kettering high street and speak to 100 of my constituents


who had the time, energy and enthusiasm to look at the


legislation before the House, what would a majority decide? At the end


of the day, my job is to represent constituents in Westminster. It is


of the day, my job is to represent not to represent Westminster in the


constituency. The real problem for the whips, the men and women tasked


with trying to make backbenchers to the party line, isn't serial rebels


like Philip, revolt isn't a risk-free option. There's lots of


opinion poll evidence showing that people want their MPs to be


rebellious, that is on the increase. The percentage of them


wanting to be loyal is on the decline. The problem is there's no


evidence that the public then reward MPs at the ballot boxes. And there


is evidence the public punish divided parties. If the public were


to see that there was a party, for example be Conservative Party, which


allowed freedom of thought amongst its backbenchers, allowing them to


be independently minded on issues, giving them all free votes at


committee stages of bills, for example, I think the public would


appreciate that. Rebellious MPs aren't new, but the new mode -- mood


of revolt at Westminster seems here to stay, and that could make whips


and ministers afraid, very afraid. We are all scared here. We are


joined by the Conservative MP Peter bone, who's been known to display a


rebellious streak or two in the past. You are looking at me


quizzically. How much of a rebel are you? I voted more times for the


government and the deputy Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the


government and the deputy Prime Prime Minister. I can't be that


rebellious. New one of the top six most rebellious MPs. I think it's


different when you have a coalition government. I voted all along for


Conservative policies. When liberal ones were being put forward I voted


against. I don't think last week's vote on Syria can possibly ever be


suggested that the whips can tell you to vote when you are putting


people 's lives at risk. I think people across the House made their


own decisions. I don't think they said, OK, my whip is telling me to


vote this way, I will do that. What do you say to that? There are still


Conservative MP is, there was a government motion and David Cameron


put his case. Is it really valid to say there shouldn't be whips


involved in that vote, when it was a key part of foreign policy and


delivered a humiliating defeat for David Cameron? To be fair, on an


issue like that you have to have cross-party support. There's a block


of people on both sides who are virulently opposed to using


military... The question about the whips. I don't think your point


really stands on that debate. There's another trend that has been


going on in Parliament over recent years which is much greater power


for the legislature to hold the executive to account. David Cameron


made that point in the immediate aftermath, that he accepted that


this was the of Parliament. He is a Democrat and would accept what


Parliament had decided. Parliament has moved to give much greater


power, we all made this decision, to the legislature at the expense of


the executive. So it's a nightmare for the whips, whose job it is to


make sure that people oil. If that happened every day we never get any


legislation passed. It shows you that the job of the whips has become


a more sophisticated and difficult one. But it's always been a myth


a more sophisticated and difficult that the whips can bully and cajole


people. In order to be in Parliament you have to be quite a tough


character. In the end, charm and persuasion are much more


character. In the end, charm and weapons ban the bludgeon. There was


good but discipline under Tony Blair at the beginning, and that must have


been partly down to the whipping operation. I agree with Andrew that


soft power is always better when you are dealing with MPs. The difference


between Tony Blair's Parliament and the parliament we've got now is that


they were big majorities then. At the moment we have not only got a


coalition, it is pretty unstable at both edges. That is why Peter


can... He's picking and choosing which things he is rebelling on. I


think we've had 185 coalition MPs rebel, which is why Philip Cowley


was saying this is the most rebellious Parliament. It makes life


interesting when they can't vote to support their own legislation. Do


you want to get rid of the whips office? I get could be abolished in


a sense that elected MPs should not be whips. All the things done in


running the House could be done by paid officials. The government


should be able to argue its case and then expect its MPs to support it.


We should not come under pressure from other MPs telling me how to


vote. You have to have whip's offices. They are an essential part


of the government getting its legislation. You were Chief Whip for


six weeks, do you miss it? The Chief Whip's drop is incredibly


difficult. I'm enjoying not being chief whip. Do you think George


Young has done a good job? An extremely good job in very difficult


circumstances. You've made his life very difficult. I think the new


change in Parliament, the fact that Parliament is beginning to hold the


executive to account is a really good thing. David Cameron promises


in his speech on fixing broken politics, before he came to power,


he has honoured that. It was very courageous and right of him to bring


Parliament back and put a motion to the House. That would not have


happened under Blair. Philip Cowley's words there, the


constituents that MPs represent won't necessarily thank you for


supposedly representing their interests. UR in Parliament to do


what you think is right. Tony Blair did bring Parliament back and we did


have a vote. When did we vote on Afghanistan? The majority help.


Let's go back to Syria. France's National Assembly holds an emergency


debate on Syria this afternoon but no vote is planned. French MPs will


debate the country's position on possible military action on Syria.


Axelle Lemaire is an Assembly Members in the French Socialist


party and represent a constituency that includes Great Britain. What is


it like to be France's new best friend, sorry, America's new best


friend? Should I understand there is any jealousy in that comment? No, I


think burgers go well with french fries. The reason why France...


Sorry, we seem to be having a little bit of trouble with the line. I'll


just come back to getting my original question correct. How did


you feel about being America's new best friend? No, we seem to have


lost the line. I'm back! Let me ask you this. What I wanted to say is


the reason why France is leading on this is that we've always been


against the use of chemical weapons. My country was the first to


against the use of chemical sign the protocol in 1925,


prohibiting the use of chemical weapons after World War II. It is


here in Paris in 1993 that the convention of Paris was signed and


ratified by 183 countries full stop France is a member of the Security


Council, so of course we are hand-in-hand with America on this.


But it is not just France alone. I think that is the National Assembly


behind you there. Why shouldn't your Parliament have a determining vote,


like the British Parliament and the American Congress? Why is your


president able to do this without parliamentary sanction? It is my


time to be a little jealous now. According to the terms of the French


constitution, Article 35 precisely, in case of military intervention,


the French president has a duty to inform Parliament. He can do so


three days after the start of an intervention. But there is no vote.


That is what the text says. That is the theory. In practice, there is


the theory. In practice, there's an increased political pressure to


organise such a vote. We would have to find entirely that option, but


what is important for the moment is to have a debate. That is what we


are going to have. Are you voting for war? For the moment I'm not


going to vote, I need to be convinced. I want to see the


evidence. The intelligence services have released some documents that


were classified, which helps me make my view on the issue of the


intervention. I was amazed to realise that the zones attacked by


chemical weapons are entirely controlled by the opposition. I'm


sorry, we've run out of time. Thank you for bearing with us in the


glorious Paris sunshine. It's quite nice in London as well. Time to put


you out of your misery and give you answers to Guess the Year. It was


2001. We will find out who the winner is.


That is it for today. Thanks to all of our guests. The one o'clock News


starting on BBC One. We will be back tomorrow at noon. I will be joined


by the chairman of the Local Government Association. I'm off to


Brussels. She gets all the gigs!


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