09/09/2013 Daily Politics


09/09/2013

Jo Coburn is joined by Labour shadow minister Diane Abbott to discuss all the main political news of the day, including the latest on Syria.


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Transcript


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Good afternoon, and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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Labour and the unions trade blows. Is the report on an alleged union

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stitch-up in the selection of an MP another union stitch-up?

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Hague couldn't persuade his MPs, but can the US Secretary of State

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visiting London today persuade congressmen to back military action

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against Syria? MPs prepare to grill BBC bosses. Who

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was it who authorised hundreds of thousands of pounds of licence fee

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payers' money to be paid to departing colleagues?

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And the queen of the party conference comedy circuit hangs up

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her boots. It is a well-known truth that every

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Lib Dem activist fancies himself in sequins!

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Yes, the mind boggles! All that in the next hour.

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With us for the first half of the programme today is Shadow Health

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Minister and Labour MP Diane Abbott. Let's start with Chris Huhne. The

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disgraced former Cabinet Minister has today claimed that the media

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coverage which led to his downfall was what he described as "payback"

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for his support for investigations into hacking by Rupert Murdoch's

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News International. Mr Huhne lost his political career and his liberty

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over his speeding conviction, a story that was uncovered by the

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Sunday Times, a paper owned by News International. Mr Huhne told the

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Today programme this morning that, at one time, he was being was tailed

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by a full-time investigator. All I am pointing out is that the

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way in which this was specifically done, was a very clear payback for

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the fact that I had been a former journalist. I wasn't able to resist

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going public on how the police should reopen the investigation into

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voice Male hacking and the Murdoch press.

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Your thoughts? My thought is politicians complaining about the

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media is like ducks complaining about the weather. I feel very sorry

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for his family particularly the children who got caught up in it.

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What I would recommend to Chris Huhne is a John Profumo system,

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quiet, good works, in long period of reflection.

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He is not taking your advice. Is that because he is, somehow, trying

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to brazen it out, if you like? He is certainly not taking good advice.

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It worked for John Profumo, it will work for him. Years of silence.

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It worked for John Profumo, it will Did News International have an

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agenda? You know, is the Pope a Catholic? Of course they have an

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agenda. Complaining about that as a politician... You get on with it.

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He says rather than cheap skating on the proposed investigation on

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hacking my phone, the News of the world put me under extensive

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surveillance by a retired policeman. Is this someone tried to

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fight his way back into politics? The truth is he did break the law,

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that's why he went to prison. Rupert Murdoch is a separate issue.

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Now it's time for our daily quiz. A report from Yale University today

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suggests that politics can impair performance, but what does it make

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you bad at? Is it: a) Relationships. B) Maths.

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C) Grammar. Or d) Sports? At the end of the show we will give

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you the correct answer. Now, a war of words has broken out

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between union bosses currently gathered in Bournemouth for the TUC

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conference, and the Labour leadership over Mr Miliband's

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proposed changes to Labour Party funding. The Labour leader wants to

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end the automatic affiliation of union members to the party. Members

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would, instead, have to opt in to Labour, a policy change that could

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cost the party millions. The changes were announced in the wake of the

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controversy over the selection of Labour's candidate in Falkirk. The

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Unite trade union was alleged to have packed local membership lists

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with Unite members who were unaware they were joining Labour, in a bid

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to get their candidate Karie Murphy selected. Ed Miliband suspended two

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party members, including Karie Murphy, and put the Falkirk party in

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special measures. And, in a speech, he castigated Unite and the Falkirk

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saga, calling it: "Politics of the machine. A politics that is rightly

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hated. What we saw in Falkirk is part of the death-throes of the old

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politics." But then, on Friday evening, Labour

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announced the two suspended Falkirk members would be reinstated, as they

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were "not guilty of any wrongdoing". And Karie Murphy announced she was

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withdrawing her nomination for the Falkirk seat.

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Labour also said, "Key evidence has been withdrawn". The current Labour

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MP for Falkirk, Eric Joyce, has said the key witnesses were "prevailed

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upon" to withdraw their statements. They may be keen to move on, and

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they were criticised by Ed Miliband, he said there were serious

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issues, labour besmirched by the behaviour of if you individuals. It

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is wrong, the practices would not have Len McCluskey defending this

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kind of machine politics. He made a big deal about this. Now we find

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that evidence has been withdrawn and the report will not be published.

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Should it be? Len McCluskey has said he is happy

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he wants to move on and work with the Labour Party. This is a

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Westminster story, ordinary people in Hackney are not talking about

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this. Ed Miliband make a begin of it. He

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launched his reform of the relationship between Labour and the

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unions on this. The people around Ed Miliband feel

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under pressure. They are determined to prove he is not a puppet. He is

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not, that is a fact. That was then, this is now.

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So was it a mistake by Ed Miliband to go in as hard as he did, over

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what he alleges what happened in Falkirk?

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We are all going to move on. You Falkirk?

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keep saying that but can you move on when there has been an

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investigation, a report that has now not been published, when that

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investigation has found the two suspended individuals have now been

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proven innocent? We can move on. George Osborne is

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boasting how well the economy is doing, but my stitch whence are

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under the cosh in terms of living standards. This was a Westminster

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bubble story. It was not, this was Ed Miliband,

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his platform from which he launched his big reform of the relationship

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with the unions. If Len McCluskey is ready to move

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on, surely the media should be. Is Ed Miliband happy with the

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conclusions, does he not need to demand that report is published?

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Otherwise we can't make a judgement. He must want to address the big

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issues, living standards, zero hours contracts.

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Tom Watson has said those comments about unite should be retracted from

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Jim Murphy. But no one will move on until this

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squabbling in Labour, until some things are sorted out.

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Should Jim Murphy beat apologising? There are far bigger issues, Syria,

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living standards, what's really happening to ordinary people. We

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have to move on. What do you say to the two people

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who were suspended? Karie Murphy has agreed to stand down for the best

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interests of the party. If someone apologised, that would

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draw a line underneath it? I am not supporting those calls.

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When asked about what was in the original report, he said this

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enquiry says people were being signed up to the party without their

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knowledge. He says people were being asked to sign up to the Labour Party

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on condition they supported certain candidates, that is why we have

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suspended to individuals. On Friday, it was announced no rules

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were broken. He was from. You need to ask Ed Miliband about

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that. Somebody was wrong here. Either the witnesses and their

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account wasn't correct and there was a problem with evidence, which would

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be very serious. Or they were telling the truth but have been

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persuaded to withdraw evidence. What other explanation could there be?

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There is no conspiracy here. You would have been persuaded to

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withdraw evidence. What other explanation could there be? There is

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withdraw evidence. What other no conspiracy here. You how to ask

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Ed Miliband. As I understand, Unite did nothing in Falkirk that other

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organisations weren't doing. So Ed Miliband was wrong to pursue it? Ed

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Miliband is never wrong. It can't be that the unions weren't doing

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anything wrong, and that Ed Miliband... You must ask him, maybe

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there was a misunderstanding. Are you embarrassed? Nope.Why don't you

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want to talk about it? People have other things they want to talk

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about. There is an element of truth and element of trust. There is and

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Ed Miliband and the trade unions are committed to modernising the way the

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unions relate to Labour. Going well so far? You will see by the end of

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the week. So, tomorrow, Ed Miliband addresses

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the TUC conference in Bournemouth, So, tomorrow, Ed Miliband addresses

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determined, apparently, to reform the link with the unions. But just

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how money does Labour risk losing in these changes? Here's David.

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I do not promise easy time. That was before he decided to reform their

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links with the unions. They may be comrades but they are not always

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friends. Ed Miliband may have won the leadership on the back of union

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votes but it is clear he wants to reform the relationship between the

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party and its biggest paymasters. What is not clear is the

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consequences of that decision. A new beginning or the beginning of the

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end? The consequences could be drastic. I am on record saying this

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could be the gamble of the century, a political gamble. It could force

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the financial meltdown of the Labour Party as it stands.

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Here is why he is talking in such apocalyptic terms. Union members

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have to watch out if they want to avoid paying an affiliation fee to

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Labour. Last year, those fees raised £8 million, a quarter of its total

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income. Under the reforms, members would have to opt in which could

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cost dear. Last week, the GMB said its affiliation fees would drop by

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£1 million to reflect the move. Unite reckons the party would lose

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£3 million from its members. Big numbers but not enough to deter

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those who crave reform. If you worry about something that needs to be

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tackled as a matter of principle because you might lose some money,

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you are looking at this from the wrong end. This is about a new type

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of politics, after the expenses scandal, this is about a new

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settlement. Ed Miliband's strength is he understands a need for a new

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settlement. But that is the kind of armaments which antagonises people

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within the union movement. The money the party is means -- receiving from

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the union movement is the most transparent money in politics.

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People have a right to be insulted by that. While the proposals might

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hit affiliation fees, the unions could still donate. So things as

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drastic as they seem? I would find it amazing, and many

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unions are not affiliated, but they know their ambitions, their view of

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life, it is very similar to the Labour Party. So I would be very

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surprised if they did not contribute to those objectives.

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TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady joins us now live from

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Bournemouth. Welcome.

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You said earlier today, union money is the cleanest cash in politics.

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Would it be more less keen if individual had two. -- had to opt

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in? That is a matter for the Labour

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Party. What do you think? The real dirt in politics hasn't been

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tackled. People are far more worried about the grip that people in the

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City have over politics, half of donations to the Conservative party

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come from the City, than freely given from nurses, train drivers.

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Ed Miliband has already made it clear the direction he wants to

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take... What do you think?The TUC is not affiliated to the Labour

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Party and most of our unions are not affiliated to the Labour Party but

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we do share concern that we want an agenda for decent jobs, fair pay and

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a fair share of the rewards as and when economic recovery comes. What

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do you say when Ed Miliband will say, we need to build a party truly

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rooted in the lives of all the working people in Britain once

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more. What does that say about the efforts of the trade unions to do

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the same? We represent 6 million people. I think we do a good job of

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it. I don't think we would be talking about zero hours contracts,

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the need for living wage and unfair pay if it wasn't for the trade union

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movement and I am proud for that. Voters want a real agenda for a

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fairer Britain and some answers about how we are going to get there.

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There is also an opinion poll that shows the majority of unions are

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backing Ed Miliband's plans to reform the relationship with the

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unions and how they are funding Labour. A lot of union leaders have

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already been clear about that. Len McCluskey has welcomed the

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initiative to modernise and reform the link for the 21st-century. This

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has happened over the Labour Party's entire history. There is

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nothing new about that. Its rules are not written in stone, it is a

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broad church and they will change with the time. Do you support... 100

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relieved hands of Labour Party funding? That is a matter for the

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GMB but the real issue that ordinary working people are talking about is

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how to get that 1 working people are talking about is

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people back to work, not any job but a decent job, how do we get fair

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pay, and that when we do get a recovery it doesn't all go into

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bumper bonuses in the city of but into people 's pay packets. -- in

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the City but into people's pay packets. 86% of members of Unite

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believe it is right to introduce a packets. 86% of members of Unite

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cap on benefits but that is not the position of the unions. Our concern

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about the benefit cap is that the majority of the benefits go to low

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paid workers in work, who are dependent on tax credits to get by

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when instead, and this is a key point, we should tackle the root

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cause of low pay. I want those employers in those industries that

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can afford to pay a fair wage and offer fair working conditions should

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do so. We need employers and unions to get around the table, supported

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by government, to get that right. Ordinary families have lost £30 a

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week on average out of their pay back its troop cuts in real pace

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since the financial crash that they did nothing to cause -- out of their

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pay packets through cuts. Meanwhile top pay has gone through the roof.

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People have a real appetite for fairness and politicians of all

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political parties need to start listening. Except one could argue

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you are not representing working listening. Except one could argue

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people on the issue of welfare and the benefit cap because the majority

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of Unite members support the benefit cap and you don't. I think if you

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ask trade union members, do they want to see fair pay and employers

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stopping offering zero hours contracts, you will get a very clear

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answer. That workers should not have to rely on state hand-outs when

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employers can afford to pay more. That is the way to get the deficit

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down. The same goes for the housing benefit bill. Frances O'Grady in

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Bournemouth, thank you very much. Last time you were on the programme

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we asked you about angry comments from trade union general secretaries

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and you laugh them off and said they did not mean what they said. Now

:20:08.:20:14.

they have taken action. The GMB has withdrawn £1 million of funding to

:20:14.:20:18.

the Labour Party. They are withdrawn £1 million of funding to

:20:18.:20:23.

their money where their mouth is. The leadership of the major trade

:20:23.:20:29.

unions, Len McCluskey, Paul Kenny, very strongly support the Labour

:20:29.:20:34.

Party. Their problem is that on this issue they are a little to the right

:20:34.:20:40.

than their activists but in all the unions there are a very large amount

:20:40.:20:44.

of members who do not support the party. Dave Prentice did not sound

:20:44.:20:52.

supportive to Labour. He has been a solid supporter to successive Labour

:20:52.:20:56.

leaders. Trade union money is a matter for them but I do not believe

:20:56.:21:05.

Ed Miliband... You think they will reverse the decision to cut the

:21:05.:21:12.

money to the Labour Party? I am not saying that, no. It is like a family

:21:12.:21:18.

quarrel but at the end of the day the unions will not see the Labour

:21:18.:21:23.

Party destitute. That, I believe. But it is a natural conclusion to

:21:23.:21:29.

what the Labour Party is proposing, so how will the party afford to run

:21:29.:21:36.

the next election? No doubt the people around Ed Miliband have

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factored that in. Do you talk to Ed Miliband much about these issues,

:21:42.:21:47.

like Falkirk? You are a frontbencher, it sounds like you do

:21:47.:21:53.

not have any discussions with him? I am very humble on the front bench.

:21:53.:21:59.

So are you not in his inner circle? I am a very humble frontbencher.

:21:59.:22:04.

Will I am seeing is the trade unions will not see the Labour Party

:22:04.:22:09.

destitute. -- all that I am saying. You said Ed Miliband had a mission

:22:09.:22:18.

to detoxify the label Red Ed. I did not say that. The talk in the

:22:18.:22:27.

newspapers is nonsense, that he is Red Ed. But not that the union

:22:27.:22:33.

supported him and that is how he won. The unions voted for

:22:33.:22:35.

supported him and that is how he because they wanted to block David

:22:35.:22:41.

at all costs, that is what that was about. Thank you. Don't go away.

:22:41.:22:45.

It is set to be a tough week for Barack Obama who is trying to

:22:45.:22:49.

convince the US Congress and Senate to support military strikes in

:22:49.:22:53.

Syria. On this side of the Atlantic, this morning the American Secretary

:22:53.:22:56.

of State John Kerry and William Hague have discussed Syria, with

:22:56.:22:59.

William Hague insisting Britain and America are closely aligned. A

:22:59.:23:02.

little earlier John Kerry explained why there should be support for

:23:02.:23:05.

action against the Assad government. I think it would be good to hear

:23:05.:23:10.

people saying to a dictator, keep your hands off chemical weapons that

:23:10.:23:13.

kill your own people. Protect your own people. I think it's important

:23:13.:23:22.

for us to stand up as nations for civility and against actions that

:23:22.:23:30.

challenge notions of humanity and decency and appropriate

:23:30.:23:32.

international behaviour for almost 100 years. The world has stood

:23:32.:23:39.

together against the use of chemical weapons and we need to hear an

:23:39.:23:43.

appropriate outcry as we think back on those moments of history when

:23:43.:23:47.

large numbers of people have been killed because the world was silent.

:23:47.:23:56.

We have our special correspondent in New York. Andrew. Welcome!

:23:56.:24:04.

Good afternoon on a beautiful New York morning.

:24:04.:24:09.

One does wonder why, when Great Britain is going to be joining

:24:09.:24:15.

forces with America, John Kerry was standing shoulder to shoulder with

:24:15.:24:20.

William Hague. This will make no influence, it is

:24:20.:24:25.

not even being watched over here. If This will make no influence, it is

:24:26.:24:29.

the vote was held in Congress today, the president would lose. He

:24:29.:24:34.

might squeak through in the Senate, although I am not sure of that. He

:24:34.:24:42.

would certainly lose in the House. 227 members of them have already

:24:42.:24:47.

said they would be against a strike and you only need 217 for a

:24:47.:24:53.

majority, so if it was today, it would go the way of David Cameron in

:24:53.:24:57.

the House of Commons. How much has he got to do to

:24:57.:25:02.

persuade enough people to make the certain of success?

:25:02.:25:05.

He is not certain of success and he has a mountain to climb. He is

:25:05.:25:11.

giving interviews to six networks today, which will all appear on

:25:11.:25:16.

prime time tonight. He is addressing the nation from the Oval Office

:25:16.:25:20.

tomorrow life and there is a massive lobbying campaign going on in

:25:20.:25:25.

Congress. That is a powerful business. The president is up

:25:25.:25:32.

against a more powerful machine, public opinion. Senators and

:25:32.:25:35.

congressmen are coming back from their constituencies over the

:25:35.:25:40.

weekend reporting huge public opposition to any kind of strike

:25:40.:25:45.

against Syria. One Congressman's said to me, to say 99% of my people

:25:45.:25:51.

are against it is to overestimate the support for it. Those that have

:25:51.:26:00.

electoral ambitions are against it, like the senior senator, Democrat,

:26:00.:26:08.

for Arkansas. It will be very hard indeed. At the moment the president

:26:08.:26:15.

is staring defeat in the face. What will that mean for his

:26:15.:26:20.

presidency? For him, politically? The stakes are high.

:26:20.:26:26.

It will be devastating for the president if he loses because it

:26:26.:26:30.

will show that he has not got the power to get his way in Congress

:26:30.:26:32.

when it comes to major issues power to get his way in Congress

:26:32.:26:38.

foreign policy and indeed, the elephant in the room is not Syria.

:26:39.:26:42.

The strongest briefing we are getting from the administration is

:26:42.:26:46.

that if the Americans do not agree to a strike against the 9/11

:26:46.:26:54.

regime, by the way Assad has appeared on American network

:26:54.:26:58.

television this morning reminding Americans of the difficulty of their

:26:58.:27:04.

past experiences in the Middle East, but the line is that if the White

:27:04.:27:08.

House does not respond to the chemical attacks in Syria, the

:27:08.:27:13.

Iranians will not believe any threats they make against them. If

:27:13.:27:18.

he loses this, my feeling is we will have a lame duck president for the

:27:18.:27:24.

rest of his tenure. Second terms are always very difficult for American

:27:24.:27:28.

presidents, they do not have pulling power to bring people along. If he

:27:28.:27:34.

loses this vote in Congress, he will be even more of a lame duck

:27:34.:27:38.

president. What about the timetable of these

:27:38.:27:40.

events? What about the timetable of these

:27:40.:27:45.

We are beginning to get procedural motions this week and there could be

:27:45.:27:49.

a substantial vote on Friday but I do not think the House, and he needs

:27:49.:27:55.

to win in both the House and the Senate, I do not think they will

:27:55.:28:00.

come until sometime next week and these long delays, he let Congress

:28:00.:28:07.

comeback after those summer holiday in the natural way, delaying any

:28:07.:28:14.

possible attack, it is like he has done a save the date card to Assad

:28:14.:28:19.

saying, I will get to you in September. The fact there is this

:28:19.:28:23.

delay also means that many in Congress to not think the president

:28:24.:28:28.

is really serious about this and they are not going to go along with

:28:28.:28:33.

it. Presumably if Congress does not

:28:33.:28:37.

support this, even though he could go ahead with military action as

:28:37.:28:42.

commander in chief, he wouldn't. It is inconceivable if he loses the

:28:42.:28:47.

vote in Congress that he would proceed with military action. He

:28:47.:28:53.

will not say so in public but White House aides are sailing Congress

:28:53.:28:57.

will have to vote and if it doesn't, there will not be a strike -- are

:28:57.:29:03.

saying. I will bring you back a present if

:29:03.:29:09.

you get Diane Abbott to answer a question.

:29:09.:29:15.

It is a deal! Answer the questions or I do not get the present! It

:29:15.:29:23.

looks now as if any military response is hanging in the balance.

:29:23.:29:28.

You must be pleased but listening to John Kerry, it will leave the Assad

:29:28.:29:33.

regime unpunished. I will not comment on American policy but I

:29:33.:29:40.

will say this. Bombing Syria would almost certainly make things worse

:29:40.:29:45.

and it would suck us into a Syrian Civil War and that is why the

:29:45.:29:49.

majority of the British public and the American public are against it

:29:49.:29:54.

and that is why it would be very unwise to bring the issue back to

:29:54.:29:57.

the House of Commons for a second vote. You think it would be a

:29:57.:30:01.

mistake. Cameron must think so as vote. You think it would be a

:30:01.:30:04.

well otherwise he would not have been so emphatic. Even more of his

:30:04.:30:13.

own MPs will vote against the first time and that would be a

:30:13.:30:21.

humiliation. Let me try again, is Ed Miliband minded, if circumstances

:30:21.:30:25.

change dramatically, William Hague there said there was a possibility,

:30:25.:30:30.

that a second vote could be had in the Commons? Would let Ed Miliband

:30:30.:30:51.

support it? Really, there has to be a United Nations resolution. If

:30:51.:31:02.

Congress... Would that not be enough?

:31:02.:31:08.

If there is a UN resolution, of course we would support it. But

:31:09.:31:14.

failing that, and a great many of us believe that to get involved in

:31:14.:31:18.

bombing Syria and getting sucked into a civil war would be a big

:31:18.:31:21.

mistake. If David Cameron manages to get Ed

:31:22.:31:26.

Miliband on board, would you be on board?

:31:26.:31:28.

Not unless there is a UN resolution. The BBC Director-General Tony Hall

:31:28.:31:36.

sent an email to all staff this morning saying today's going to be a

:31:36.:31:40.

"tough one" for the corporation. Yes, another one.

:31:40.:31:45.

This afternoon, no fewer than seven former and current BBC bigwigs will

:31:45.:31:48.

appear before the Public Accounts Committee in the Commons. And all

:31:48.:31:51.

eyes will be on former Director General Mark Thompson and BBC Trust

:31:51.:31:55.

Chairman Chris Patten, who have been trading public blows over who knew

:31:55.:31:57.

what about controversial severance packages for departing executives.

:31:57.:32:03.

Mark Thompson says the trust knew about the hundreds of thousands

:32:03.:32:07.

being paid out. But here's what Chris Patten told the committee back

:32:07.:32:12.

in July. For us, we asked for this report

:32:12.:32:20.

because we were concerned about the overall size of severance payments,

:32:21.:32:25.

and wanted to see if we could reduce them, albeit the fact that they were

:32:25.:32:30.

contractual, it was a question of shock and dismay for us to discover

:32:30.:32:35.

how many had been beyond contractual, and even higher than

:32:35.:32:37.

they needed to be. Where they can seek -- exceeded

:32:37.:32:44.

contractual obligations, should the trust have known?

:32:44.:32:45.

Yes. And if you recall, The Conservative MP Chris

:32:45.:33:03.

Heaton-Harris is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, and will

:33:03.:33:05.

be questioning BBC bosses this afternoon. He joins us now.

:33:05.:33:11.

It is unusual to speak to all of the witnesses simultaneously, if you

:33:11.:33:15.

like, why? Because they are contradicting each

:33:15.:33:19.

other, so it is easier to whittle out a tiny bit of the truth by

:33:19.:33:23.

having them all answer each other's questions. It will be an interesting

:33:23.:33:27.

dynamic, there is no love lost between certain members of the

:33:27.:33:30.

panel. Chris Patten has said he hopes it

:33:30.:33:35.

will be reasonably dignified, what are the chances of that? It should

:33:35.:33:40.

be. Everything we do is reasonably

:33:40.:33:44.

dignified. What the panel does to each other, who knows?

:33:44.:33:47.

Did you have problems persuading them to appear alongside each other?

:33:47.:33:52.

It was relatively smooth in sorting out the logistics.

:33:52.:33:56.

What do you want to hear from Mark Thompson today?

:33:56.:34:02.

We want to hear from the trust and Mark Thompson what actually happened

:34:02.:34:07.

with these very big payoffs. We have conflicting versions.

:34:08.:34:11.

We want to find out the truth, the committee has not had access to BBC

:34:11.:34:18.

accounts before 2010. Every time we have scratched the surface,

:34:18.:34:22.

especially at the top, this is about the top echelons of the BBC and

:34:22.:34:26.

nothing to do with the general rank and file of staff. At the top, there

:34:26.:34:32.

are definite issues about how public money has been spent.

:34:32.:34:36.

Rob Wilson said if it turns out the trust approved excessive payments it

:34:36.:34:40.

is not tenable for Chris Patten to continue. Do you agree? It depends

:34:40.:34:44.

if he knew about them. There is a scenario that Mark

:34:44.:34:49.

Thompson and Chris Patten are telling the truth.

:34:49.:34:55.

Mark Thompson has evidence he claims that the trust, including Chris

:34:55.:35:00.

Patten, did know about the payments being made. He might have sent an

:35:00.:35:04.

e-mail to Chris Patten or the trust office which could have been generic

:35:04.:35:09.

and not specifying detail. That is something we are going to

:35:09.:35:13.

ask this afternoon. You're not expecting a definitive

:35:13.:35:16.

answer if you are conceding actually both could be right.

:35:16.:35:20.

I have just given you a scenario where this could possibly be that

:35:20.:35:22.

both of them are telling pretty much where this could possibly be that

:35:22.:35:27.

the truth. Are you hoping to get to the bottom of it?

:35:27.:35:31.

I am expecting so. The chairman Margaret Hodge is very good at that

:35:31.:35:36.

sort of thing. There are MPs on the committee who are very good in

:35:36.:35:39.

visitors. Lucy Adams has already admitted

:35:39.:35:44.

misleading the committee over an e-mail that she didn't seem to

:35:44.:35:48.

remember at the time, but then admitted she took part in drafting

:35:48.:35:53.

it. Is there a punishment for that? She has said she will leave the BBC,

:35:53.:35:59.

it might speed that up. It depends on what Tony Hall thinks about this.

:35:59.:36:04.

A man who has come in to do a job, not expecting it to be such a choppy

:36:04.:36:09.

ride as he has had since coming into post. I think he was quite reliant

:36:09.:36:17.

on Lucy Adams doing this. Losing that key member of staff in that H R

:36:17.:36:21.

position and then finding the evidence she gave to the committee

:36:21.:36:26.

was whether a deliberate untruth or a mistake, incorrect, must be very

:36:26.:36:31.

disappointing. Is there a punishment for misleading

:36:31.:36:35.

disappointing. the committee? There is but I don't

:36:35.:36:39.

think we will be giving her a public dressing down.

:36:39.:36:43.

Should she go early though? Do you as a committee member think she

:36:43.:36:46.

should? Personally, I think she should, yes.

:36:46.:36:51.

What do you think? I think it is an internal BBC

:36:51.:37:02.

matter. We know that 99% of you are not getting millions of pounds. She

:37:02.:37:04.

matter. We know that 99% of you are says, bitterly!

:37:04.:37:10.

What has this done to public trust in the corporation? I don't think it

:37:10.:37:15.

helps. It gives the impression that everyone in the corporation is

:37:15.:37:19.

overpaid. The issue is important, the infighting is not edifying.

:37:19.:37:25.

But the issue itself is important, if there were over payments that

:37:25.:37:30.

were not contractually necessary. If this was a private sector company

:37:30.:37:34.

it would clearly be what they wanted to do. But the BBC, it gets

:37:34.:37:40.

attention from scrutineers, like Chris. As I say, it is sad, it

:37:40.:37:47.

reflects poorly on what is actually a great institution.

:37:47.:37:49.

There are suggestions the trust could be abolished. It will set up

:37:49.:37:54.

under Labour. Should the regulator be Ofcom?

:37:54.:38:01.

I think we are moving towards that. You do. I think so.

:38:01.:38:06.

They keep the organising and changing but it doesn't seem to

:38:06.:38:09.

work. What about you?

:38:09.:38:14.

I am not sure. The National audit report stresses there are government

:38:14.:38:20.

issues at trust level. And, unfortunately, for the BBC as a

:38:20.:38:26.

whole, the BBC Trust has maybe done some inaccurate and bad things, and

:38:26.:38:32.

now the BBC gets a public bashing for it. That is slightly unfair.

:38:32.:38:39.

But, this is the way we work in media, you get plenty of attention

:38:39.:38:40.

when something bad happens and not media, you get plenty of attention

:38:40.:38:45.

so much attention otherwise. Whoever it is, Ofcom, there will be

:38:45.:38:54.

politicians who find something to criticise.

:38:54.:38:59.

So, time now to look at what's on the political agenda this week, and

:38:59.:39:05.

it's shaping up to be a busy one. Tomorrow, Labour leader Ed Miliband

:39:05.:39:08.

faces a key test of his leadership, addressing union leaders at the TUC

:39:08.:39:10.

conference in Bournemouth. On Wednesday, Parliament's Public

:39:10.:39:13.

Accounts Committee holds a hearing on the Iain Duncan Smith's troubled

:39:13.:39:16.

Universal Credit plans for benefits. This follows last week's criticism

:39:16.:39:19.

of the system by the National Audit Office.

:39:19.:39:23.

On Thursday, the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, gives

:39:23.:39:26.

evidence to the Treasury Select Committee on the August quarterly

:39:26.:39:30.

inflation report. And party conference season begins this week.

:39:30.:39:36.

The Greens are in Brighton on Friday. And this weekend, the Lib

:39:36.:39:41.

Dems gather in Glasgow. We're joined from College Green by

:39:41.:39:44.

Pippa Crerar of the London Evening Standard, and the Daily Mail's

:39:44.:39:48.

Andrew Pierce. No doubt really looking forward to

:39:48.:39:53.

the conference season. Pepper, is Ed Miliband doing the right thing in

:39:53.:39:58.

terms of reforming the relationship with the unions?

:39:58.:40:02.

He may well be but there's not much he can do about it because there is

:40:02.:40:06.

no going back. Having made such a big deal about reforming the link

:40:06.:40:11.

with the unions, he has two see it through. Can you imagine if he said

:40:11.:40:16.

he made a mistake? It would send a message of weakness within the party

:40:16.:40:21.

and to the unions. The bottom line is the majority want to see the link

:40:21.:40:26.

performed. Ed Miliband, having had the union support, has always been

:40:26.:40:34.

seen as being in thrall to them. So it is important to show that he is

:40:34.:40:39.

able to create some degree of separation, and modernise the

:40:39.:40:44.

relationship. That is not to say not to have a strong link but to make

:40:45.:40:49.

sure it is not seem as if they have an overbearing influence on policy.

:40:49.:40:55.

This row was a gift for the Conservatives.

:40:55.:41:01.

The majority of trade union members are backing Ed Miliband. Could he

:41:01.:41:08.

come out of this stronger? Only if he wins. If he doesn't, he

:41:08.:41:13.

will look like a lame duck Labour leader. This is a futile scrap with

:41:13.:41:20.

the unions. A knee jerk response to Falkirk. He overreacted, telling us

:41:20.:41:25.

there was evidence of wrongdoing. Then on Friday night, there is

:41:25.:41:32.

nothing wrong in Falkirk at all, suggestions there may have been

:41:32.:41:36.

union manipulation. It has wrong-footed him and made him look

:41:36.:41:41.

weak. He has already lost money from one of the unions. He needs a

:41:41.:41:48.

coherent alternative economic strategy which they are miserably

:41:48.:41:52.

failing to do. He is petrified he may not win. The British public

:41:52.:41:59.

don't give a hoot about this. On the economy, how difficult is

:41:59.:42:04.

this for Labour? George Osborne arguing Labour has been proved

:42:04.:42:12.

wrong. Growth is back. It is a tricky strategic decision

:42:13.:42:16.

George Osborne made in his speech. He has decided that he wants to

:42:16.:42:23.

hammer home the message the economy is moving thanks to the column --

:42:23.:42:30.

the Conservatives. But there is a danger of things not progressing as

:42:30.:42:34.

fast as he would like. Recovery has been slow so far. And there is a

:42:34.:42:39.

danger of him appearing complacent. We remember George Bush after the

:42:39.:42:44.

invasion of Iraq saying, mission accomplished. There is a long way to

:42:44.:42:54.

go and Ed Miliband would be do well to do this, to hammer home the

:42:54.:42:58.

message that, for working people, things are not better yet, even if

:42:58.:43:02.

the economy is heading in the right direction. Living standards,

:43:03.:43:08.

household budgets are high, there is the spectre of another house prices

:43:08.:43:14.

bubble. People are feeling the pinch. Wages are lower than when

:43:14.:43:19.

David Cameron took power. Labour will be hammering home that. The

:43:19.:43:24.

economy will have centre ground closer to the general election.

:43:24.:43:29.

How careful does he have to be or is he sounding more confident about the

:43:29.:43:33.

economy and himself? He is, a poll yesterday suggested

:43:33.:43:45.

if... There is this just G of talking up the economy. I can see

:43:45.:43:52.

the point of that. The Daily Telegraph says, I have saved the

:43:52.:43:57.

economy, which is over the top. Gordon Brown said he saved the world

:43:57.:44:00.

or the banking system, I can't remember which. It is putting

:44:00.:44:04.

pressure on Labour. They said all along austerity doesn't work, you

:44:04.:44:09.

have to spend your way out of recession. Statistics are still

:44:09.:44:14.

fragile but looking more positive. And beginning to show the austerity

:44:14.:44:19.

programme is working. Some Tories today have said if only he had been

:44:19.:44:24.

more vigorous on austerity and cut public spending more, the economy

:44:24.:44:30.

would be looking even better. Enjoyed the converse is, thank you

:44:30.:44:35.

very much. I'm sure we will try hard.

:44:35.:44:37.

With me now for the rest of the programme, the cream of 2010 intake:

:44:37.:44:39.

Labour's Anas Sarwar. The Liberal Democrat MP Tessa Munt.

:44:39.:44:42.

And the Conservative MP Chris Skidmore.

:44:42.:44:46.

Welcome to the programme. Let us talk first about the

:44:46.:44:51.

economy. The Chancellor George Osborne has been making a speech

:44:51.:44:54.

today in which he said the UK economy is turning a corner.

:44:54.:45:00.

If economic collapse was even worse than we thought, preparing it will

:45:00.:45:05.

take even longer than we hoped. But we held our nerve, when many told us

:45:05.:45:11.

to abandon our plan. And, as a result, thanks to the efforts and

:45:11.:45:16.

sacrifices of the British people, Britain is turning a corner. Many

:45:16.:45:22.

risks remain. These are still the early stages of recovery. But we

:45:22.:45:27.

must not go back to square one. We must not lose what the British

:45:27.:45:29.

people have achieved. At PMQ 's Ed Balls used to do the

:45:29.:45:42.

famous flat-lining gesture to show the economy was not moving. Last

:45:42.:45:47.

week they had their own gesture to show we are returning to growth. Ed

:45:47.:45:51.

Balls's economic strategy has been undermined. The Chancellor has been

:45:51.:45:57.

doing this for three years and now he is trying to make it positive.

:45:57.:46:01.

Let's take the experiences of our he is trying to make it positive.

:46:01.:46:05.

friends and families. They will see every day we do not have the right

:46:05.:46:12.

types of jobs, we have youth unemployment at record levels, too

:46:12.:46:16.

many women are out of work, the quality of jobs and the rise in zero

:46:16.:46:22.

hours contracts, low wages, too many people below the living wage and...

:46:22.:46:29.

That is Labour's new economic case, fine. But we have sat here for the

:46:29.:46:36.

past three years listening to Labour politicians saying austerity would

:46:36.:46:41.

choke growth. It has been proved wrong. Labour has to admit that

:46:41.:46:43.

before moving on. We had growth wrong. Labour has to admit that

:46:43.:46:50.

the economy when the Tories came into government and unemployment was

:46:50.:46:54.

falling, and then unemployment started to rise when they came in

:46:54.:47:03.

and we had a double dip recession. George is right to say this recovery

:47:03.:47:07.

is built on the back of the British people. 29.7 million people

:47:07.:47:12.

employed, more than in any other age. But is it as a result of his

:47:12.:47:19.

policies that recovery has come? I think so. The deficit has gone from

:47:19.:47:28.

11% to 7%. And is now flat-lining. Mortgage rates have remained stable

:47:28.:47:32.

so working families campaign the bills. Why did Labour opposed the

:47:32.:47:39.

coalition policy of ensuring that the £10,000 remains tax-free so that

:47:39.:47:44.

we took 1.2 million people out of income tax altogether. Why did you

:47:44.:47:54.

oppose also... Reports clearly show that people are earning less by the

:47:54.:47:58.

end of this government and they were earning at the beginning of this

:47:58.:48:04.

government. Petrol is 10p cheaper. Your constituents not feeling the

:48:04.:48:09.

pain because mine are? Living costs would be worse if Labour are in

:48:09.:48:16.

power -- were in power. But you admit, prices are rising, wages are

:48:16.:48:21.

not rising, people do not feel better off. Do you accept your

:48:21.:48:28.

constituents do not feel better off? As George said, it is a slow

:48:28.:48:32.

recovery. We need to ensure that the only way to get wages rising in the

:48:32.:48:40.

longer term is to increase the economy overall. You are accepting

:48:40.:48:44.

it has got worse under this government? It would be even worse

:48:44.:48:49.

under Labour. Don't talk over each other because it is difficult for

:48:49.:48:55.

viewers. Chris Skidmore, it saying it would have been worse under

:48:55.:49:01.

Labour. IU supporting the plan to spend £12 billion to boost recovery

:49:01.:49:06.

-- are you supporting? That was a major part of the plan. Absolutely.

:49:06.:49:13.

You have to get the right type of borrowing. There is no point... You

:49:13.:49:21.

should increase borrowing to increase capital investment,

:49:21.:49:25.

increase quality jobs right across the country. That is what will get

:49:25.:49:30.

the economy moving and living standards up. Not the current

:49:30.:49:35.

scheme. Do people feel better off in your constituency? A number of

:49:35.:49:41.

people feel better off because of the things the Lib Dems have

:49:41.:49:50.

brought, we have made sure that £700 people have more in their pay

:49:50.:49:54.

packets... Even though their wages are falling and their fuel bills are

:49:54.:49:56.

packets... Even though their wages going up. We are making sure there

:49:56.:50:04.

is a tax cash back for people, £2000, various things in motion to

:50:04.:50:08.

make sure we ensure that job stay in the economy. There is a million more

:50:08.:50:14.

private-sector jobs. We want to create another million. Governments

:50:14.:50:20.

do not create those jobs. We have got the regional growth fund to

:50:20.:50:22.

do not create those jobs. We have structure more money into the

:50:22.:50:26.

regions for businesses, the business bank, the green investment bank, we

:50:26.:50:29.

regions for businesses, the business have invested in wind power we have

:50:29.:50:35.

made sure the structure is there to support various different

:50:35.:50:39.

industries. Company still complain that banks are not lending. Of

:50:39.:50:48.

course. Our bank has committed to 700 million. The point you have

:50:48.:50:55.

made, you have caught the Labour Party out. They spent three years

:50:55.:51:00.

saying we should go down a different plan but the reality is they dropped

:51:00.:51:03.

that message at the beginning of the summer and slowly, things look as

:51:03.:51:08.

though they are going in the right direction. We need to be cautious,

:51:08.:51:16.

because it is only two quarters that things have been going better, we

:51:16.:51:18.

because it is only two quarters that have to go carefully, but things

:51:18.:51:21.

because it is only two quarters that will get better. We need long-term,

:51:21.:51:30.

well-paid, full-time jobs and we are seeing zero hour contracts,

:51:30.:51:33.

part-time jobs on the rise, and speak to any business in any

:51:34.:51:40.

constituency, they still feel the squeeze. There is a commitment to

:51:40.:51:46.

spend 700 million. We don't need a commitment, we need people spending

:51:46.:51:50.

that money to create wealth and jobs. Not continued pledges from the

:51:50.:51:55.

Chancellor. Tests, it is interesting said things will get it. Things get

:51:55.:52:03.

better, nothing to do with government policies. And it is

:52:03.:52:08.

fragile, you said yourself. Yes, and it would be mad to say it is all

:52:08.:52:13.

sorted because I am not sure that is sensible. We have to make sure we

:52:13.:52:17.

keep helping businesses to create jobs. Is it risky for George Osborne

:52:17.:52:24.

to save the economy has turned a corner? I would not say that but I

:52:24.:52:31.

am not the Chancellor! I would not say that. There are a number of

:52:31.:52:37.

other fact is that could change. So this is a high risk strategy. Your

:52:37.:52:41.

coalition partner is saying growth is very fragile. All the signs you

:52:41.:52:46.

have seen show this is a balanced recovery. Manufacturing is at its

:52:46.:52:52.

highest level for 19 years. You cannot deny that there are positive

:52:53.:52:57.

signs but that does not stop us from being complacent. We must fight

:52:57.:53:02.

harder to get more people into work. We want to make sure hard-working

:53:02.:53:07.

people are rewarded. Now, the Liberal Democrat conference starts

:53:07.:53:09.

next week, but with Sarah Teather announcing that she's going to stand

:53:09.:53:13.

down at the next election, who's going to do the stand-up? I thought

:53:13.:53:19.

I wouldn't keep you for too long tonight because I want to get back

:53:19.:53:23.

to my hotel room to watch Strictly Come Dancing but coming back to

:53:23.:53:27.

George Osborne, I heard he wants to Come Dancing but coming back to

:53:27.:53:34.

do a line dance on the show. Brave of Sarah Teather. I take it you will

:53:34.:53:43.

not replace her in that? I do not do comedy! You are set to lose a woman

:53:43.:53:50.

MP. Add news for a party -- bad news for a party that has more men than

:53:50.:54:03.

women in Toluca Micro. Yes. Sarah has been a fantastic member of

:54:03.:54:07.

Parliament. She should be very proud of the work she has done. She fought

:54:07.:54:14.

for special needs young people and their parents and did a fantastic

:54:14.:54:18.

job as Minister for education. But she said she left feeling desolate

:54:19.:54:22.

and catastrophically depressed by some of the lip Dem policies. I did

:54:22.:54:28.

hear that quote. I would take a different view. My job is when

:54:28.:54:36.

something is wrong, to make people know about it. Is she alone in

:54:36.:54:41.

feeling like this in the party? I think it would be an unusual

:54:41.:54:46.

response. If I feel something is wrong, I knocked on doors of the

:54:46.:54:52.

ministers. They put their nameplate on. That is the point of being in

:54:52.:54:59.

coalition. The power that we have a disproportionate, as I am sure many

:54:59.:55:05.

of Chris's colleagues would say, but we can influence. She felt she

:55:05.:55:07.

of Chris's colleagues would say, but couldn't influence even as a

:55:07.:55:11.

minister, on things like immigration. She felt depressed

:55:11.:55:13.

minister, on things like about the benefits cap. Is that

:55:13.:55:16.

because she has been more principled on Liberal Democrat policies than

:55:16.:55:23.

others? Absolutely not. I am as good as the briefing I get from my

:55:23.:55:28.

constituents. I have my own opinions but I very often depend on my

:55:28.:55:33.

constituents to tell me what they feel strongly about. We need to get

:55:33.:55:38.

our voice heard in government. Nick Clegg, in his defence, he cannot

:55:38.:55:44.

mind read what 57 of us are thinking. She made her views pretty

:55:45.:55:50.

clear. But do you think that as Ming Campbell said, she could not take

:55:50.:55:56.

the heat? He said that coalition was not for the faint-hearted and that

:55:56.:56:01.

is right. She has a different way of dealing with things. We went into

:56:01.:56:07.

coalition to sort the country out and that is what she is trying to

:56:07.:56:14.

do. Is she going to defect? I feel sorry for her. The bigger point is

:56:14.:56:20.

this is a politician choosing to jump before the politicians per

:56:20.:56:23.

share. This is a seat that Labour needs to win. I think she has

:56:24.:56:31.

probably seen that. This is the time when everybody makes their

:56:31.:56:34.

decisions... I will have to leave it there.

:56:34.:56:37.

We were told HS2 had the potential to transform the economic shape of

:56:37.:56:41.

the UK, but this morning the Commons Public Accounts Committee has said

:56:41.:56:43.

estimated benefits of the planned high-speed rail link are dwindling

:56:44.:56:47.

as costs rise. Margaret Hodge, the chair of the Committee, has

:56:47.:56:49.

explained why she has changed her position. I have looked at the

:56:50.:56:57.

detail of the project. I have moved from being a supporter to thinking

:56:57.:57:01.

this is not the right place to put £50 billion of money. I am not

:57:01.:57:07.

alone. There are a growing number of voices who are sceptical about this

:57:07.:57:12.

project. I think the government needs to listen seriously, not leave

:57:12.:57:22.

this as a vanity project. We must increase rail capacity to ensure

:57:22.:57:25.

overcrowding does not take place. We had these debates probably when

:57:25.:57:30.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel was building! I welcome the fact the

:57:31.:57:35.

Labour Party are still having a cross-party position to support

:57:35.:57:39.

this. Alistair Darling is withdrawing his support. I still

:57:39.:57:45.

support High Speed Two. The West Coast Main line in Scotland will

:57:45.:57:52.

reach capacity in ten years. We need millions off the road, to free up

:57:52.:57:58.

space. That is a plus. Connectivity is a big thing. The further north

:57:58.:58:00.

the line goes, the more value it is is a big thing. The further north

:58:00.:58:06.

for us. I have always been a massive supporter for investment in rail and

:58:07.:58:10.

public transport but I do not think it will do much for the West

:58:10.:58:15.

Country. It is not just HS2, we are investing elsewhere.

:58:15.:58:19.

There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.

:58:19.:58:23.

The question was this: According to Yale University research, what does

:58:23.:58:29.

politics make you bad at? Relationships, maths, grandma or

:58:29.:58:36.

sports? I will say sport.It is maths. Thank you both very much! All

:58:36.:58:48.

three of you! That's all for today. Thanks to our guests. The one

:58:48.:58:51.

o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now. I will be here at midday

:58:51.:58:57.

tomorrow. Goodbye.

:58:57.:58:59.

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