07/10/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon, welcome to the Daily Politics. The political


reshuffle comes of age. David Cameron has been tweeting who is in


and who is out. The biggest scalps Cameron has been tweeting who is in


so far is the Scottish Secretary, Liberal-Democrat Michael Moore.


Labour is expected to reorganised their team this afternoon. We will


have all the comings and goings. The 80s are back. This postman


wanted you to buy shares in British Gas, now at the Royal Mail is up


for grabs, but are the terms of the sale wrong?


Could Government help for poor and has proved to be David Cameron's


biggest nightmare at the next general election?


And as MPs return to Westminster after the conference season break,


it will be asking the grassroots if politics has changed one jot.


All that in the next hour. With us today we have a pal of MPs who will


be checking their Twitter accounts hoping for a direct message from


their party leader. Alice they had taken your telephones away. From


the Conservatives' Stephen Dorrell, from Labour, Hazel Blears, and


Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes. Let's start with the


news a ministerial reshuffle is under way. The big announcement


this morning is that Michael Moore, the Liberal Democrats Secretary of


State for Scotland, has been sacked. He will be replaced by a Alistair


Carmichael, the Lib Dem Chief Whip. Last night two Conservative


ministers resigned, Chloe Smith who was a minister in the Cabinet


Office, and John Randall, the Deputy Chief Whip. On Friday the


transport minister Simon Burns stepped down and announced he


wanted to stand for the vacant job of Deputy Speaker of the Commons.


Let's get the latest from our deputy political editor, James


Landale. At this stage of the game we are in the middle of a reshuffle,


and as we know they do not always run to plan. There is always a


minister who says no and a Cabinet minister who refuses a junior


minister being foisted on him. There are cock-ups. I am always


slightly cautious before being definitive about these things. As


far as we know, only one Cabinet change. But if you think we are now


less than a year away from the referendum on independence in


Scotland and the Liberal Democrats referendum on independence in


have chosen to change their Secretary of Sheikh -- State for


Scotland. Michael Moore was a more consensual figure and he was needed


to establish the groundwork for the referendum, to agree the rules for


the referendum. He outmanoeuvred Alex Salmond on several occasions.


But now they are into the campaign proper they need to have somebody


who is willing to cross the road and have a fight with Alex Salmond.


What about the fact this is a reshuffle of a difference because


it is being done on Twitter. Does that mean we are not going to see


all those comings and goings in Downing Street? Four years of those


ministers have been largely sat behind closed doors. The ministers


the Government wants to flag up and show they are allowed to walk up


and down the street. Sometimes they were co-ordinated to walk up in


twos and threes to have individual pictures to make individual points,


such as more women coming to the Cabinet. Topic of women, is that


not one of the things David Cameron is considering in this reshuffle?


There would be more women and more northerners? That is what we are


told. I can remember when Tony Blair had his first reshuffle in


1998 with Margaret Jay and Patricia Hewitt. Most prime ministers failed


to make as much of an impact as they want. I have bumped into the


junior welfare minister and she refused to say anything, but she is


looking very happy. The Prime Minister rates her, she is a woman


as she is on the north of England. The Prime Minister wants to have


them in ministerial position so they can get on to the telly. David


Cameron has only carried out one proper reshuffle as such. Does he


not like doing them? No, he hates them. Tony Blair used to say they


were Glass Lake. The reason they do not like them is that although it


is extreme moments of power it is the one time in the Prime


Minister's calendar when they can say do this, and it happens. It is


pure power. They do not have to worry about Parliament and


regulations. But because of that the risks are huge. You had to the


pool of the discontented, the overlooked, the unhappy, the sacked.


The risks are almost always higher than the potential gains. David


Cameron could say, we have got new faces and new women and he could be


very happy. But this is not the last reshuffle. This is a holding


pattern from the Conservatives. This will not be the whole team


that will be fighting the election in 2015. Enjoy the comings and


goings. Simon, let's talk about Michael Moore. But, first of all,


are any of you expecting a call? Certainly not. I have not got my


mobile with a. First of all, Simon, Certainly not. I have not got my


why do you think Michael Moore has been sacked? They must think the


campaign is in disarray. I think it is unfair when you say, somebody


has got the chop. Nick Clegg said at the beginning he wanted to give


people various opportunities of having a chance. Michael Moore has


done a fantastic job to make sure we keep Scotland as part of the UK.


I have seen the work he has done, there is no criticism of him. But


maybe they want somebody who is a bit more pugilistic. His Alistair


Carmichael cover? I know him because I have had dealings with


him a few years ago and he might seem a tougher opponent. That may


be true and that may be the perception. But if you are the


chief whip, you are silent. It is quite an unfair job to be given


because you can never speak out on matters that affect your


constituents and you issues. It gives Alistair Carmichael a chance


to re- emerge and be there speaking for Scotland. I do not know whether


Michael will get another job or not. I think we should say thank you,


you have done a great job, but change is a good thing with a year


to go until the referendum. It is a long time coming. Is that a sign of


weakness or David Cameron shying away from it? Or has it been a


virtue? A virtue. The point you're making in the introduction that


reshuffles cause many more problems than they solve, there is always a


tendency for a Government in problems to have a reshuffle, and


it always brings in new problems. I think David has been entirely right


to appoint people he trusts, to wait and then to stick with it and


allow them to get on and do the job. Do you think they need to be more


women? Having them more visibly at minister of state level and


spreading them geographically to get away from the accusation that


the Tory party is full of posh southerners? David Cameron made it


clear he wanted a Government where the third of the Government were


female and the current numbers do not meet that standard. I am sure


he would be looking for opportunities to do that. But he


would also say the people he appoints to ministerial office are


the people best qualified to do the job. Critics will say this is all


about politics, you have to move certain people, certain people need


to have a turn. You have to spread around ministerial privilege. Shock,


horror. Politicians engaging in politics! Did the best people get


the job? All prime ministers have to balance a whole series of


factors. But if out of this reshuffle there are more females,


including those who speak with accents outside the South East of


England, that would be a good thing from the Tory party's. A pupil


stock you would be right there in this ministerial reshuffle. Your


application would be considered favourably. You are not expecting a


call? No, I am not. I have been delighted to have a bit of freedom,


to perceive things I really care about. Being a minister is


fantastic, it is an immense privilege, but the shackles that


bind you sometimes, it is really hard work. What is it like being


reshuffled? Tell us the stories. It is amazing. My heart goes out to


people who are waiting by the telephone or waiting for a tweet.


People will be so desperate, particularly if you are on your way


up. This could be you one chance to do something that is exciting and


it is a privilege to be making policy for the country. I remember


when I was a very junior health minister at the time, at the bottom


of the pecking order, and it was a reshuffle and I had not got a phone


call. I went to Cornwall and I was in the middle of a field,


surrounded by cows, and the Prime Minister rang me up. I said, I


cannot talk because there was a cow Minister rang me up. I said, I


about to chase me. The Prime Minister gave me 10 minutes to get


out of the field. I did not lose the job. What about the cock-ups


that James Landale is talking about. How much of that goes on behind the


scenes? We have heard of people saying, no I do not want to move.


We heard rumours about Iain Duncan Smith. Does a lot of that go on? It


certainly went on in John Major's Government. I remember going into


Number 10 and being put in a room and I had to wait. I do not think I


had anything to read. I was walking up and down, looking over Horse


Guards Parade, waiting to be called in to the Prime Minister, he was


sorting out whether he had a vacancy. There is not a lot of room


for manoeuvre for the Liberal Democrats in a coalition. That is


another reason for not doing it so often. If there was a job, what


would you go for? I am not going to answer that question. We did a deal


at the beginning of the parliament that it was probably a good idea


that the deputy debt should not be in the Government so the party


thought it has somebody at the top of the party not locked in. But


that has been a criticism levelled at Nick Clegg, that he lost some of


the influence he might have been able to exert. This was the first


coalition Government since the war. I do not think everything was done


perfectly, but it was done in five days under huge pressure. It


delivered a firm coalition from the beginning and will stay the course.


It will show that coalitions can work when the electorate vote in


that way. It is much better than a work when the electorate vote in


minority Government. It shows we are willing to step up to the plate


and take difficult decisions. The criticism in the past wars, why


should we vote for you because you have never been in Government? My


understanding is that in the coalition both party leaders have


been clear they want to change within their own defined ranks. Did


they talk to each other? They could have been hardly any crossover at


all. Appointments are technically made by the Prime Minister and he


will talk to Nick Clegg, but Nick Clegg will make the nominations


appropriately. You will see some changes across the Department


between the two parties. Don Foster is Lib-Dem Chief Whip. Thank you


very much. Replacing Alistair Carmichael. Voices are coming into


my head. The Liberal Democrats were very much the junior partner and


here they are horse-trading on Cabinet positions without a mandate


from the electorate. This is a decision behind closed doors. I


think it is very important. Answer that. The Prime Minister has made a


change with the support of the Lib Dem leader. The Liberal Democrat


Party did not win sufficient votes Dem leader. The Liberal Democrat


and here they are with a whole series of Government posts.


You negotiate a coalition. I would prefer a majority Labour government.


It is not likely to happen. When you lost power and did not make a


majority, the logical conversation was to serve the Liberal Democrats.


It is worth saying that at the time the coalition was formed, everybody


said it would break down within a year and it has not. It is has a


majority in the House of Commons and the majority of people have voted


for it. It has carried through a programme that has put us in a much


better place economic leave. -- economically. Hazel! Hazel! No harm


in that. We will come back to this. Chloe Smith, who we mentioned at the


beginning, we said it was her decision to go and that is why she


resigned, she was not purged. I do believe that. She made it clear she


wanted to do other things with our lives. She has a marginal seat and a


big fight in Norwich. Politics, gosh. It could be a red letter day


for owners of Royal Mail shares when the company is officially floated on


the stock market next week. There's been a last minute dash by


stockbrokers in the City to buy up the shares, as a number of firms and


individuals believe the company is significantly undervalued. The


Government announced last month that shares in the company would be worth


between £2.60 and £3.30 each, after the company was valued at £3.3


billion. But analysts at City firm Panmure Gordon said the company was


worth up to £4.5 billion, with Labour's Chuka Umunna also warning


the company is being sold off on the cheap. Investors have until midnight


on Tuesday to apply for the shares, which is expected to be


oversubscribed as many of the sell-offs in the '80s were. There


will then be a three day period of "conditional trading" when City


institutions can buy and sell the shares between each other. The final


price will then be announced on Friday and shares in Royal Mail will


be traded on the London Stock Exchange from Tuesday next week.


That could mean investors making up to 40% profit in just a few days.


Labour are warning the sell-off should be halted so that it offers


better value for the taxpayer, and doesn't end up in a bonanza for the


City. I'm joined now by former City trader David Buik. Welcome to the


programme. Is the Royal Mail undervalued? Yes. Good. You are


talking about the company being worth more than £1 million more than


it was estimated as. You need to look at the small print. It is easy


to criticise the government. Labour have had an enormous problem trying


to get Gordon Brown to agree with Peter Mandelson. Things are very


much better and more scaled down now. The great thing we have had


with initial public offerings is that they have tended to agree on


getting the price right. You drain every last sense then there is no


nickel and dime for every person that comes in. The real problem with


trying to evaluate the Royal Mail is the question of what importance you


attach to what I call a pretty free and light touch regulation. The


regulators have given Royal Mail the opportunity of moving prices for as


many as 29 million people. To date, the profit margin of Royal Mail has


been 3%. Over the next five years or so, if they get the opportunity to


remain competitive, they could increase their margin of


profitability by 10%. That significantly gives them the


opportunity. You never know quite what the likes of FedEx or TNT or


other people who have been in business on an international basis


will do. It is difficult for Vince Cable but I think he has done a


fantastic job and he should not be criticised for undervaluing eight


grossly. If you give people the encouragement to support businesses


like this you get a good shareholder register. Are investors set to make


a big buck? I think they are. The issue is likely to be ten times


oversubscribed. Whether it is the 70% of institution shareholders or


others, we will be disappointed with what we get. It gives us a good


shareholder register. It could easily be £3 85. Is the Royal Mail


undervalued to the tune of £1 billion? I am not an expert. Are you


worried? Of course. The government should always try get maximum money.


The Post Office struggled and Royal Mail struggled over the years


because it had pension liability which has been sorted. It was making


loss after loss. The government has delivered a policy which means we do


not have closures of Royal Mail services like we have had in the


past. The issue for me is whether, in the end, the private sector has


the majority or not of the shares. Are you not convinced about the


privatisation? I support our manifesto which was 10% employees


and is not a majority for the private sector. A combination of


government and employees. I hope that is what we end up with. This


sounds like a dream for the hedge fund managers and investors. We need


to remember that investors in this fund managers and investors. We need


context means pension funds. It is the man and woman in the street,


through their pension funds. The second thing to remember is that by


far the most important argument for transferring Royal Mail into the


private sector is to allow it to compete against FedEx and other


companies. The male market has changed. We communicate by e-mail


and the letter post has declined dramatically. It is a parcel service


with a lot of competitors and by moving it into the private sector we


have allowed it to take on its competitors in the UK market and to


look beyond the UK market so that it becomes a proper competitor in a


global business. That is the argument for doing it but you must


accept that the Royal Mail is profitable at the moment. I think it


is a good thing that it is profitable because that is what


allows it to take on global competitors and deliver value to


shareholders, the vast majority of whom are men and women in the


streets contributing to their pensions. Do you think it is too


high? It is quite a lot. Wherever you put a cut off, it reduces the


number of people who can participate. What we need to


number of people who can remember is that everyone of us


participates through our pension funds and life insurance. What about


you? Are you in favour of the sell-off? The number one concern of


government is to protect the public interest. That means if you go down


this route... Are you in favour? We would not have done this. Peter


Mandelson would have done it! He is long gone! We would not have done


this in the way it is proposed now. The important thing is about


regulation and public interest. If this is going cheap then I want to


see the interests of the taxpayer protected. The public are concerned


that the public get a good deal. If this goes ahead then we will protect


the universal service obligations so people get a proper service. We will


regulate prices because they have gone up by 30% in the last few


years. You are talking about people who see the Royal Mail as essential


and we need to see that it is affordable. If it is overvalued then


that is a big issue of money not coming into the public purse. Are


you comfortable that the public is coming into the public purse. Are


being protected? Every day there will be a delivery to wherever you


live, whether it be in Bermondsey the Shetlands. It is protected


legislation and it can only be changed by legislation. There is no


will in any party to change that. As I said earlier, the price is going


to be determined by the market. If you want more money then the


argument for selling shares is valuable, and you sell it on the


open market. If there is a market then you sell it for the price you


can raise. These shares are going to be oversubscribed by ten times. You


not think it is too low? No, I do not. If the guy from Panmure Gordon


had gone on he would have said is not. If the guy from Panmure Gordon


they would have difficulties getting it on. They did seem to say that


they had done a great job in getting the valuation right. There is the


world of difference between getting the valuation right. There is the


rid of something and something being oversubscribed. The Royal Mail is


profitable and is in the right position and I want to make sure


that the public is not ripped off by these shares being sold at the


Varsity reduced price. Can I ask you about strikes? That is still on the


table, and do you think it can be justified? The trade unions have to


protect the interests of their members. I am not in favour of


strike action on a utility like this because people depend on it, but the


trade unions have a legitimate job to do to make sure their members are


protected. The NHS has always been a crucial


issue to voters and the political parties who woo them - but perhaps


never more than at the next general election. The union Unite believes


it has identified 11 English marginal constituencies - currently


held by the Conservatives, but only by a handful of votes from Labour -


where failings in the health service locally mean they're ripe for the


taking, with voters blaming the Coalition for the problems. And


Unite claims these seats could be key to Ed Miliband's chances of


winning the next election. David Thompson reports.


The NHS is an election battlefield and in a dozen corners of England it


is a decisive one. The Unite union have identified constituencies where


Tory MPs are facing defeat because of problems with the health service,


and they say that as a golden opportunity for Labour. If these


seeds go to Labour then that could swing the election. That is good


because the Shadow Secretary of State for health has said in the


first queen's speech that he will repeal the health care act which is


costing a fortune and nobody wanted. It is fragmenting our NHS and worse


still, it is handing it over to private sector companies. The


marginals include direct in Essex. Hospitals have been criticised by


health-care watchdogs. The seat is held by Jackie Doyle Price with a


majority of 92, but she's coming out fighting. I think Unite are of beam.


They have identified that there are a lot of places in the country with


health service problems which are represented by Tory MPs but they


have interpreted that as being a problem for us. It is not. People


have interpreted that as being a have been grappling with these


problems and we have put these issues on the desk and the Secretary


of State has taken action. Far from highlighting weaknesses of the


Coalition Government, Unite are highlighting the fact that I have


been on the front line fighting for better care. Unite believe that if


it comes to a choice between trusting politicians and trusting


health care professionals, they are on the right side of the argument.


80% of us believes are GP. 17% of us believe Cabinet members. GPs are


saying that the funding for the NHS in England is catastrophic. Whatever


the rights and wrongs of the claims by Unite, the future of the NHS will


be a key part of the campaign and whoever wins that argument may win


the election. Do you agree with that analysis?


Is held a crucial issue? It is always a crucial issue in a general


election campaign. What's Unite is saying is that there are marginal


seats, yes, and the NHS operates in marginal seats. I do not think that


has advanced the argument. The reality is that in every seat in the


country, voters care about the quality of care delivered by the


health service and everyone of us needs to answer questions about it.


In those marginal constituencies those issues become more critical


and there has been a big reorganisation. On the doorstep,


have these reforms been popular or The issue will be whether we are


able to change the health service that can meet the needs of the


elderly for joined-up, health care services. The irony is it is the


piece of legislation that created health and well-being boards which


provide the basis for building a more joined-up health care service.


You are behind that? Stephen always tops a great deal of sense on this


issue. The biggest challenge is their health care of the elderly,


particularly those with dementia. Stephen has long campaigned on that.


We need to get more results from the money we have got to spend. But


there is an issue about disqualified provider where people


are genuinely worried about people coming into the health service


simply to make money. That goes against the grain of what most


people think the health service is far. Tony Blair started those


reforms when he was prime minister. Let's look at it from a minority


seat perspective. This could be rich pickings for the Liberal


Democrats. You could do something completely different. Everybody


will fight for good, local health services. Many years ago we had the


Battle of Guy's Hospital being closed and St Thomas's survived


with a campaign. In the neighbouring borough in Lewisham


recently there was a big battle I supported. Because of other


people's failings, not Lucienne, we fought so they did not lose their


accident and emergency and maternity units. However, the


challenge is how you get very good, specialist care, which you cannot


have in every town in the country, but secondly, how you have really


good community care which means you are not in hospital unless you


really need to beat. It is not good enough. Are you signed up to the


idea some hospitals have to close? It would be better to have bigger,


more specialised units? That seems to be the way medical officials


would like to go. Nobody was a hospital shack in their


constituency. Of course not. Are they going to stand by it even when


the services are bad? People do not go into that for bad services. It


is the quality of service that is delivered to the individual patient.


It is not just the clinicians. The National Audit Office has just done


her review and reckons that 30% of people should not be in hospitals


if we had proper joined-up care. That is why we need to take


resources away from picking up the pieces and invest more into


community-based services and prevention. How much damage has the


accident and emergency crisis had on voters? It is one of the ways of


the health service gets into the headlines, but it is a


manifestation of this issue, that we do not have a system that


intervenes earlier and supports people to avoid unnecessary


attendances at accident and emergency. But it has happened and


do you think you will be blamed for that? Governments are accountable


for what goes on in the health service. The way you deal with it


is not by focusing on the departments, they are the symptom


and not the cause. Andy Burnham was a target, rightly or wrongly,


because of what went wrong when he was Health Secretary, looking at


the target culture. Is it time at four Andy Burnham to go? No, I do


not. This whole issue has become extremely personal and that is bad


for politics. Let's talk about acute care, community care, people


with dementia, that is what the public care about. It is not a good


idea to turn it into a personal vendetta. How do you think it has


been challenged and handled? A on besides there is more politics and


policy and voters are more interested in policy. Would it


defuse the issue if Andy Burnham was moved? You could say if he was


moved, he was caving in to what Jeremy Hunt wants to see happen. I


think we should talk about the issues. That research shows many of


those areas in the airport are whether hospitals are in special


measures. Let's sort that out and get the health service to the point


where it can look after people. The issues over the last five years


have been policy and many hospitals have been unable to deliver quality.


Local GPs have not been able to open when people want to go to them.


It is now time to look at the political agenda. It is a busy week.


Tomorrow nominations open for the post of Deputy Speaker in the


Commons. Also on Tuesday, the Lobbying Bill has its report stage.


On Wednesday the Privy Council is expected to meet to decide whether


to improve proposals for a royal charter poor press regulation. On


Wednesday the Business Committee holds a one of hearings on Royal


Mail privatisation. On Thursday Lord Justice Leveson gives evidence


to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee. Turning us from the


green is Kieran Stacey of the Financial Times and Alastair Little.


Are you excited by the reshuffle? More than I can possibly say. It is


ongoing as we speak. Some journalists have to admit they will


struggle to recognise the names involved in the reshuffle. We are


getting a few hints and we have not had the whole of it yet. We are


fascinated by it. I can tell. Let's not do any tests of whether we


recognise the faces. But I can tell you that estimate the bay has been


promoted, but we do not know to what. Do you think this will build


a stronger team even if it is not the last reshuffle going into the


election? I do not think it will be the last reshuffle. We are


expecting a more substantial reshuffle sometime next year,


probably after the European elections, when he can assess what


he needs to do for that final push to the election. He is moving a few


people up to the level below Cabinet so they are ready for that


final push. That is if she was to bring in more women -- if he wants


to bring in more women. Let's look at the reshuffle in Labour's team.


That will be more substantial. There are very clear signals of


where Ed Miliband once his team to go. As the guests were discussing,


there is a huge interest in Andy Burnham's future. At the moment the


betting is on him remaining as a shadow Health Secretary. Of course,


I could be 100% wrong on that one. Andy Burnham has raised the stakes.


As scandals emerge about the NHS that took place under the last


Labour Government, Andy Burnham inevitably has to spend a lot of


time defending his own and his Government's record rather than


getting on the front foot and attacking the Conservative policy.


But I think if Andy Burnham was moved, a lot of people would say it


is a skull for the media, which Ed Miliband would hate. Yes, indeed.


Let's have a look at press regulation. Is this all going to be


signed and sealed? I was talking to some campaigners and they were


absolutely convinced this was going to be signed and sealed at the next


meeting of the Privy Council. They thought it was done. They always


wanted press regulation of the press. I am not so sure. Just


before the summer or they were being pretty slow about consulting


on the various options. There are two options on the table. There is


one that the cross-party agreement has put forward and there is one


that the press has put forward. Neither side likes the other one's


proposal. We have not come to a stage where either side has managed


to get over that. We could just do it anyway and say to the papers,


here it is. I do not think they would do that. I think there will


be more stagnation. None of the parties want to make this a big


issue right now a. Do you agree with that? I think it is a


compelling argument and we will all be looking forward to seeing Lord


Levison appear. He is a member of the Privy Council ironically, but I


gather he will not take part in the discussions on it. A bit of revenge


I feel. The Conservative backbencher Adam Afriyie told the


BBC he does not like creating a stir. He has got a funny way of


going about it. His latest bid to stir. He has got a funny way of


help the party leadership is to call for an end-out referendum next


year, saying many voters are not convinced David Cameron would be


able to deliver the vote in 2017 as promised. Here he is. The only


struggle I have had is not a fight with my party, but a fight with my


struggle I have had is not a fight conscience as to whether or not we


struggle I have had is not a fight give Parliament and the British


people the opportunity to have their say in 24 it in. I wanted


people to have that opportunity. It is for each individual MP to search


their souls. You decided it would get you in the headlines again, so


you would do it. You are so cynical. I have no ambition in that


direction, I am not a publicity seeker. I would not be able to


sleep that night if I did not bring forward this opportunity for


Britain to have its say. We have left it far too long. Nobody under


the age of 56 has had a save. That was Adam talking to Andrew


yesterday. We can speak to the Conservative MP behind the Commons


Bill designed to ensure there is a referendum by the end of 2017. He


has wrestled with his conscience, so he is doing your party in favour.


He is sincere in what he is bringing forward, but I also think


he is wrong. I got a bill through that will guarantee their


referendum by 2017. This amendment could derail that. It will cost


time and it will make it more difficult to deliver the bill. I do


not doubt Adam's reasons are genuine, but he should reconsider.


But he is not alone in thinking it would be better to have a


referendum sooner rather than later. There are not many colleagues I


have spoken to who are keen to support it. Then maybe one or two.


The Conservative Party is united behind the bill. There are


differences of opinion. Some people agree with the policy that we


should get the best possible deal. Some MPs do not want a referendum


at all. All this does is play into the hands of those who do not want


a referendum. Is he a publicity seeker? I think he has certainly


had the predictable effect of seeker? I think he has certainly


taking headlines. I am a co-sponsor of James' Bill and agree with


everything James has said. I am a of James' Bill and agree with


strong supporter on the principle of a referendum, but before you


have a referendum it is a good idea to know what the question is.


Labour could support Adam Afriyie's amendment and then see what happens.


I am not in charge of deciding our policy position. I would say this,


here we are again squabbling about Europe and what the public see is


they are interested in jobs, the economy, the NHS and here we are


again within the Conservative Party. You cannot get your act together to


sort it out. Labour is not united on this. There would be some end


sort it out. Labour is not united Labour's Wrens who would dearly


like to sign up to Adam Afriyie's amendment. There will be a debate


on this as there is in all political parties. Because Labour


is split. I look forward to the day that Labour announces they will


support the Bill because there would be a national consensus about


the need to negotiate a new settlement for Britain in the EU.


Personally, I think there is a very strong case for giving people a say


on something as big an issue as the pupil stock rock the boat, he is a.


You want me to support a Tory Bill? You are kidding. A cross-party Bill.


But I genuinely think, here you are again squabbling about Europe. Stop


it and deal with the issues the public want to talk about. One


Conservative MP has come out and said, I think it should be


different. Everybody else is united behind this Bill. You are not


worried at told that Adams said in five weeks support will start to


come for the amendment and as you say, that could wreck your bill


altogether. Are you totally relaxed he is not going to get it? I am not


relaxed at all. If it gets selected by the Speaker, that will have to


be debated and that would take time. It is not going to get past and he


will not get the support from the Conservative Party, but it is


putting at risk our chances of delivering the referendum. People


are not convinced. What happens in 2015, we do not know. David Cameron


might not be prime minister. You could pass legislation to undo it.


That is why some people are saying, let's go for it now.


we need to negotiate a new settlement for this country and seek


the support of the public for that new settlement. How likely is it


that you will get new powers back and there will be this great new


settlement? There may be some chance if we can get renegotiation. There


may be some change. We have not remembered that within this


Parliament we have legislated to provide for a referendum already.


Our view has been that that is the time to do it rather than picking an


arbitrary date such as 2017 or next year. It is better to do it when


there is a process. My fear is that a lot of people are looking at a


celibate argument. I am clear for my constituents and everywhere else in


the country, coming out of the EU, in jobs terms and in investment


terms, will be the worst thing for Britain. I understand that we can go


alone but in terms of real jobs, real trade and real investment, we


are clear that the referendum will be arguing towards staying in the


EU. I'm a campaign with you! I will have to finish it there.


MPs return to Parliament tomorrow after three weeks of knocking back


the ginger ale at the party conference season. Now, by all


accounts, probably theirs, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg


have all had 'a good conference' with no major mishaps. But just how


happy are party members with their political leaders? I'm joined from


College Green by Conrad Landin from Left Futures, Gareth Epps, from the


Liberal Democrat Social Liberal Forum, and James Joshua of


Conservative Grassroots. Welcome to all of you. Can I start with Gareth?


Did you hear what you wanted to hear from Nick Clegg? I think some of the


party will be happy with what he said but there is a difference of


opinion amongst the Lib Dems from those who want us to go into the


next election campaigning loudly on Liberal Democrat principles and


those who want to adjust their positions with regards to short-term


expediency. There is a mix of opinion. There are some who will be


happier than others. What about you? Were you happy? Personally speaking,


I would like more differentiation. What epitomised it was over the


economy where we had a debate, and we have seemed to have ended up with


a situation where we have a dangerous initiative in the housing


market being brought forward. It runs the risk of taking us back to


the days of Gordon Brown with a housing bubble fuelled by debt. We


want to see real investment going in. James Joshua, there was a


consensus that the speech of David Cameron was a holding speech and did


not set the world on fire. Do you agree? I think the Prime Minister


states his positions very well. There is time until the elections


and he has set out policies. He is now focusing on getting through the


next two budgets and I think he has set things in motion. We are heading


in the right direction in terms of policy. We need to start creating a


clear dividing line between us and the other parties so we can have a


vision for the future. Do you think the marriage tax allowance did


that? It is a step in the right direction but I do not think it went


far enough. There is more that needs to be done. Conrad, Ed Miliband was


criticised for being in visible over the summer. Do you think he seized


the initiative? Yes, I do. I think he made a good speech overall and it


shows that Ed Miliband is not only a strong leader, and not only can he


challenged the government on their disastrous record, but he can set


the agenda. When he made his announcement on energy prices,


empower changed their website so it said, why wait for Ed? They offered


customers the opportunity to set their energy prices there and then.


I think, for some years, Labour Party activists have been saying


that we need bold policies and the front bench have been saying, no, we


need caution and we cannot afford to make a commitment at this point. I


think the party activists and the party grassroots have been proved


right. There is an opportunity for the Labour Party. We have been very


unpopular privatisation of Royal Mail that is about to happen, and at


the party conference I was very pleased that the party unanimously


agreed to renationalise the Royal Mail after a general election win.


My message to the leadership is, no, do not ignore that and do not


undermine that and accept that the party grassroots will pledge to


renationalise. James, you were concerned by the threat of UKIP. I


think, at the grassroots level, we are concerned by the threat of UKIP.


I speak for myself and not the Conservative grassroots, but I am in


favour of local linkups with UKIP. It will not split the centre-right


vote, and in my view that would be disastrous for the country. We had


13 years of Labour and we have a mess we need to clean up now. It


would be unrealistic to go back to that mess. Thank you, gentlemen.


Thank you for joining us. Local linkups. Let's pick up on that


issue. Nigel Farage said it could be done on a local level. What you


think M I am not in favour with the UKIP party or the Lib Dems or any


other party. I think the Tories should go into the election and aim


to win a majority. On your big question about party conferences, I


to win a majority. On your big think we have a bigger division


coming up. The key point from Ed Miliband was about price control.


David Cameron enabled us to see rising standards and I think the


party can win a majority without support from other parties. There is


clear water between Labour and the support from other parties. There is


Conservatives, is there not? There is no doubt about it. The activists


who are knocking on doors will be happy with the way the party is


going. I you happy that socialism is back? I have been knocking on doors


for the last two months. We had two by-elections and I am delighted we


have tangible policies to talk about. It was time to talk about


it. I think what Ed Miliband bid was clever but heartfelt. It was about


standing up to vested interests and acting on behalf of the public, the


little guy, if you like. The energy companies have behaved


irresponsibility, I think all parties would agree with that. Good


politics and Bonk economics, somebody said. I do not think the


public would feel that. 25 experience -- 25 years of experience


of this. They understand that moving a freer economy delivers better


living standards. You also need good regulation to stand up for the


public. Interesting words from Gareth who said he would like more


differentiation. He felt and feels that Nick Clegg and the Liberal


Democrats are far too close on that Nick Clegg and the Liberal


spending cuts to welfare, for example. Look, I think there is


differentiation. The key policy from this government came from our


manifesto which was raising the tax threshold. It was our policy and the


Conservatives agreed to it. We wanted people to be less oppressed


and keep more of their money. We wanted to collect more money from


people at the top. We need to do more. What would you like to see? I


want it to continue in that direction and to lift the minimum


wage level. On energy, very quickly, we had a real failure by the


regulators. When Labour win government, the energy supplier did


not do the job properly. I do not think that Vince Cable would argue


that price control is the best way. I must stop you. More details are


emerging of the reshuffle. Michael Moore has been given his reaction


from moving as Secretary of State for Scotland. I am disappointed to


be moving away from this office. I am pleased about what I have


achieved, in particular with regard to the constitutional Scotland. This


big decision we are taking as a Scotland is bigger than one


particular individual and 1-party. I look forward to playing a role in


the constitutional debate in the next 12 months. Let's get the latest


from our political correspondent. What more can you tell us? A few


more bits and pieces. Esther McVeigh who qualifies as a woman, moves up


to a minister at state level. I cannot see any other women or


Northerners. Mike Penny, born in Luton, he moves over to DWP. Greg


hands moves up to the whips office. There are no women at the moment. We


are promised there will be. The big story is the removal of Michael


Moore. A bit of feedback on it. A lot of people are questioning it.


They wanted a more abrasive approach, some people. A lot of


feedback I have been getting is that Michael Moore pitched its just


right. He did not allow Alex Salmond is to pitch it as an anti-Scotland


campaign. Though some questions about whether it was the right


move. They want somebody to take on Alex Salmond day today. We are


seeing pictures there of Nick Clegg. That is done. Sadly Davitt has been


appointed as the Secretary to the Prime Minister 's financial


concerns. We no longer have the walk of shame. If you lose your job you


no longer have to remove it and people will not shouted you! If you


get a job, you get a walk of joy. Esther McVeigh went in, Greg hands


went in. If you walk up the street, you are going to get promoted.


Everybody else, it is a no-go. If you see people walking up the


street, Norman, it makes the job a bit easier for you! I hope your day


is not too long. Thank you for bit easier for you! I hope your day


joining us. Have we got a few seconds more, briefly? It does not


sound that dramatic, does it? Apart from Michael Moore. That is the big


story this afternoon. Later on, maybe the women will emerge, I do


hope so. We need more women in government.


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