29/10/2013 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. More union trouble


for Labour in Scotland as the man at the centre of the Falkirk selection


row and the dispute at Grangemouth resigns.


The Government has another go at at making the case for spending ?43


billion on some fast trains and track.


When Mo met Tommy - we'll be speak to the man who tried to change the


leader of the EDL's views about Muslims.


And what on earth would persuade the son or daughter of an MP to... Well,


become an MP? All that in the next hour. And with


us for the whole programme today is a man whose career's an inspiration


for any aspiring politico - former Home Secretary and Foreign


Secretary, and soon to be former MP, Jack Straw. Welcome to the


programme. Thank you. Let's start with foreign affairs, because this


afternoon the Prime Minister is hosting the leaders of Pakistan and


Afghanistan, Nawaz Sharif and Hamid Karzai, here in London. The


discussions were instigated by David Cameron last year to work towards a


peace deal in Afghanistan and the neighbouring areas of Pakistan. So


will anything be achieved at today's meeting?


I think so, and I hope so. Pakistan and Afghanistan's problems are


essentially the same, and there has been a great deal of enmity between


the governments. It runs right across the border, and Hamid Karzai


once the Pakistan government to release some of the Taliban leaders,


but he also wants the Pakistan government to be firmer about


terrorism across the border, so it is quite complicated. And is now as


Sharif up for that? Because that is the key issue. Notwithstanding the


fact that it is highly probable that part of the intelligence service are


implicated in the running of the Taliban, their security forces have


lost many more people than imagined in fighting against terrorism. But


these discussions are much better than not having discussions. What


about the talks between the Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government?


Can those be restarted? They can. It is like the talks that Tony Blair


and John Major before him instigated with the provisional IRA. You are


essentially taking a terrorist organisation out from using


terrorism as its main political methods to using argument as its


main political method. It can often be a very complicated and difficult


process. But it is the only way, isn't it? It is, and there are


examples across the world that show that you have to do it if you want


an end to conflict. And will these talks kick-start that? They will


start it. There will be a flash, but the situation will not be resolved


just like that. These are incremental changes. But holding


talks is an important step forward. What about Hamid Karzai's future.


When American and British troops leave at the end of next year, what


will happen to him? Will he survive? Will he physically


survive? Yes, I think he will. I meant politically! Well, people do


keep trying to kill him. He has a very effective security around him,


so I suspect he will be able to personally survive. And he will be a


big force in Afghan politics. He comes from a very distinguished


family, indirectly related to the last king of Afghanistan, and he is


a brilliant communicator. So I don't think it will be the last of Hamid


Karzai at all. Thank you. Now it's time for our daily quiz.


The question for today is: what are parliamentary authorities planning


to spend a quarter of a million pounds on?


Is it: a) Upgrading the gym. B) Straightening Big Ben. C) Raising


the Speaker John Bercow's chair. Or d) refurbishing the Commons' bars?


At the end of the show Jack will give us the correct answer.


Ed Miliband is under fresh pressure to re-open the investigation into


the candidate selection process in Falkirk. Earlier this year Labour


suspended the selection process in Falkirk after launching an


investigation into Unite's recruitment drive to the local party


after allegations of vote-rigging there. That investigation found no


wrongdoing, but a cache of e-mails released to the Sunday Times at the


weekend appears to implicate Unite in Scotland in a concerted attempt


to undermine Labour's initial investigation. At the centre of the


scandal is Stevie Deans, the constituency party chairman in


Falkirk, whose e-mails appear to reveal the scale of the plot. So say


the Sunday Times. Mr Deans was also the Unite boss at the Grangemouth


oil refinery until yesterday, when he resigned from his job at the


facility. Back in May, Mr Deans was suspended from the Labour Party


while an investigation was launched into allegations of vote-rigging and


the methods Unite used to recruit new members to the local party. In


July, Unite threatened industrial action at Grangemouth after the


owner of the chemical plant, INEOS, suspended Mr Deans, accusing him of


using company time for union business. In September Labour found


no evidence of wrongdoing in the Falkirk selection after key evidence


was withdrawn, and Mr Deans was reinstated to the party. But a cache


of e-mails from Mr Dean's work account at Grangemouth leaked to the


Sunday Times appear to show that Mr Deans oversaw the retraction of key


witness statements from the initial inquiry. Unite denies that anything


untoward took place. Meanwhile the row at Grangemouth between INEOS and


Unite over the treatment of Mr Deans continued until last week when a


deal was struck to keep the plant open. Well, a little earlier I spoke


to Eric Joyce, the current MP for Falkirk. He sits as an independent


after being suspended from Labour following a fight in a Commons bar


last year. He is standing down at the next election. I began by asking


him why he wanted the inquiry re-opened. The enquiry is very


significant for the Labour Party. It was focused on Falkirk, but it was


clearly a problem with Unite which went across the Labour Party. I


believe Unite came along and interfered with witnesses, and the


enquiry was stopped in Falkirk. That meant the Labour Party what off the


hook. What do you think they were trying to do, Unite, under


allegations of trying to influence the selection in your view? Their


political purpose at the moment is to move the Labour Party to the


left. It wants to put as many of its own friends and Labour colleagues


into labour seat in order to follow the whip of the leadership of Unite.


Labour in Falkirk was a target for that when I sadly left the party,


and that therefore was the place where they put most effort in. Much


more will be made public in due course. What about the chair of the


Labour Party and Unite member, Stevie Denes? It is quite clear he


spent much of his time at his employment instead of helping people


to hang on to their jobs. He created a battle by stressing the importance


of the Labour Party in the local Falkirk selection. He sits there is


the chair of the Labour Party and who will be chairing this meeting


next Sunday? It will be him. That cannot be a fair and reasonable


situation. What action would you like Ed Miliband to take? I think he


should reopen the enquiry, and carry it on with the officials who were


there. We know that it was terribly undermined, but the implications of


the failure to carry out the enquiry are severe for the party. This is a


watershed moment, and it is important that the leadership of the


party to not bottle it out. Eric Joyce, MP. We did ask Unite for


an interview but no one was available. They say there is no


evidence even in the e-mails that have been printed by the Sunday


Times that Mr Deans did anything untoward is at all. Should they


reopen the investigation? They should actively consider it. The


enquiry didn't exactly find no evidence. It was faced with a


situation where there had been clear evidence of concerns about what had


been going on, but that evidence, key evidence, was later withdrawn by


those concerned. So there was then and absence of evidence, and in that


absence, it was not able to proceed. And Unite was cleared? Sort


of. I have not seen the e-mails in question, but I think there was a


case presented by the Sunday Times for that to be further questions


which will need to be dealt with. So I don't think this is going to go


away. It runs into the catastrophic tactics adopted by Unite in respect


of Grangemouth. To be blunt, my analysis is that Len McCluskey put


in turn union Unite politics before the interests of their members at


Grangemouth plant. That is a very serious claim, because unions are


there to represent their workers, and 800 people lost their jobs. It


is a serious claim, but it is hard to see any other explanation for


what happened. You had Stevie Deans being subject to discipline, because


as it is now clear, he was using company time and money to spend on


Labour Party activities, and not just the odd e-mail, but a


substantial part of his time. When he is disciplined, strike action is


threatened, and that spirals into further action. Mr Deans has now


resigned, presumably because he accepts the strength of the case


against him. Whichever way you look at what happened at Grangemouth, it


is hard to see how on earth the Unite union could have ended up with


those tactics where they lead their troops up to the top of the hill,


they were refusing to make any kind of concessions with INEOS. They said


they were calling the company's bluff, and the company was


exaggerating the losses. They did, but there are better ways of calling


people's bluff than to get almost to the point where the plant is closed.


You don't need to be a senior executive at INEOS to know that


there is substantial overcapacity at refineries across the world. He got


right to the top of the hill, and like the Duke of York, scurried back


down again. And what should Ed Miliband do? He has not either


wattled it all runs scared. I don't have access to anything except that


which I have read in the Sunday Times. It is for the committee to


make a judgement about whether there it is sufficient evidence to reopen


the inquiry. But if the public perception here is that something


went awry in Falkirk, despite the denials from Unite, and less Ed


Miliband does take action, won't he look as if he is levelling out? He


has been very tough about all of these things. When information first


came out about what had been going on in Falkirk, that is why the


inquiry was established. Should Stevie Deans still be the chair? If


there is something of concerned there, that needs to be looked at.


Is it a saga that does not reflect well on the national leadership of


Unite, both in respect of their relationship with the Labour Party,


but also in respect of their representation of their members at a


huge plantlike Grangemouth? Eric Joyce also said that Len McCluskey


should go. That is a matter for them. I would say that I would put


any money on the fact that his predecessor, Tony Woodley, would not


have landed his union in such an appalling position as Mr McCloskey


has done. What do you think it does in terms of public perception of


unions, and whether they are all working in the interest of they


unions? I have already had good relations -- always had good


relations with the unions, when I was Home Secretary and Justice


Secretary. Not just with major unions like UNISON, but I also had a


special relationship with the prison Association. I see people who come


in who haven't got union membership who have suffered grave injustices


by their employers, but you need to have unions recognising their


fundamental responsibilities to their members, and if they fail


that, they felt everything. The gunmen has published a new case for


HS2, the line connecting London with Birmingham, Leeds and mentored. --


the government. The Transport Secretary will be speaking later


this afternoon. The government says the scheme would boost the economy


to the tune of ?15 billion per year. We are joined now by the Transport


Minister, Susan Kramer. Welcome to the programme. As the argument of


HS2 shifted? We have been talking about this for the past year or so.


Initially the case was shorter journey times. That seems to have


been relegated below are arguments about capacity and connectivity and


economic benefits. Is that right? The discussion about capacity, which


is crucial, has been there from the beginning. I think a lot of the


conversational focus was on speedy because that had an element of


excitement to it. The real rationale for the project has always been


structured around capacity. I have been imposed two weeks. I have


already had a take note that the rail regulator has turned down a new


service because there is no room to put the additional trains on. We


really have a severe capacity problem. You mention the economic


benefits. That has been spoken about to a great extent. The estimate for


the economic benefit of HS2 has now been lowered. Instead of ?2 50 per


?1 spent, it is ?2 30. Will it go down again? We are confident around


these numbers that you refine them as you go along. This is a


sophisticated piece of refinements that is taking place. If anything, I


think most people think we are understating the benefits. Why as it


gone down, then? We had some costs coming out of environmental


measures. That was a sensible element to make sure was included in


this. So you do refine things. 2.3 is a good result for a large project


taking a long period of time. As you will know, these projects continue


to serve people over a long period of time. The actual demand increase,


the uses by passengers, is capped three years after we finished the


second stage of the project. In terms of winners and losers, do you


accept the conclusion of the KPMG report that some parts of the


country will just not then fed but will be losers, will become lest --


will just not -- will not just not benefits but will become losers? We


are looking at the proportion of the general wealth of the country is in


different places and has been affected, in a sense, by HS2. We


have got a whole economy that is benefiting by 15 billion. Places


that are closest to the line, that can build of the Iraq potential that


comes in -- the economic potential that comes in, they will do best. My


point is that actually there will be some areas that lose investment


because it would be redirected to those places you have just


described. In other words, they will become less competitive. There are


other projects going on at all times. In the next Parliament, we


are spending 73 billion in transport improvements. Only 17 billion is


going into HS2. There will be new trains, new electrification, new


projects all over the country. They will mainly benefit the closest


areas. This pattern of loss and gain is limited use. It is the


distribution of wealth. Can you confirm HS2 will not go ahead


without cross-party support? There has been cross-party support for


this. When I sat in the house of Lords, the voices from the Labour


benches and Labour peers with long experience in rail worker absolutely


firm and determined. The Labour front bench was determined and clear


that they are engaged fully with HS2. I expect that to be the case.


In the studio are one of the leading critics of HS2 on the Conservative


benches, and Jack Straw, a supporter of the scheme. Do you back on


alternative or does nothing me to come? No, quite the reverse. There


are lots of alternatives. Certainly there are other schemes and oppose


all that have been put forward by eminent railway engineers as well.


-- and proposals. Many of them, the implication is the cost would be


high, around ?20 billion. The disruption was something like 14


years of weekend closures to carry out alternatives so you could have


something like the capacity that would be created by HS2. I think


that they scaremongering story that was put about the government to try


to have a precursor to a business case. -- that was a scaremongering


story. We need to consider them at a time when we are having to pay the


bills of the last government, is this the best way to spend our money


on transport? If you are going to drop speed and moved to capacity and


connectivity, HS2, as it is currently configured, does not


connect properly with Heathrow or the Channel Tunnel rail link. It


doesn't go into the centre of cities. As you said yourself, Jo,


the has pointed out that there are going to be areas of the country


that see permanent loss. -- the report has pointed out. How


important is this line? There will be collectivity. If she wants to


ensure that there is a line through North London to connect it with HS1,


that is fine by me. But there will be more complaints from people in


the southern parts of the country. Let me say more about this. As the


Conservative Transport Secretary has pointed out, the Labour leaders of


major cities across the north-west and the North are all backing this.


So is the overwhelming majority of members of Parliament. We are at


silly clear that this will bring benefits. -- we are absolutely


clear. On this issue of if you have the benefits in Manchester, will it


chalk activity away from other areas? -- will it draw activity. The


north and north-west have been suffering for decades from a


disproportionate investment that has benefited your constituents in the


south and south-east. Look at crossrail. I am in favour of it. But


one of the reasons London and the south-east has done so well


economically is because it's transport is better. We need to


rebalance this. On the rate of return, it has come down from 2.50


to 2.30, and I tell you what, if my bank offered that... They won't! If


Labour were so supportive of this, Jack would know it would not be on a


one line whip on Thursday. If you are so concerned, as I am, with the


economic health and welfare of the north, this project would be started


in the north. We would be improving connectivity between those northern


lines. You are talking about a project that finishes in the north


by 2033 or beyond. If you build the Birmingham-London line,


international experience shows that it will start to suck things more


into London. Let me just say to you, Jack, Birmingham's leader and other


cities, they would be in favour of it. I wouldn't expect anything else.


Let Jack respond. The reason you have a line from London to


Birmingham is because that is where there is a capacity constraint. That


is not true. It is. The evidence is overwhelming. I see it for myself


every day. I use the West Coast Mainline, and look at Euston. When


it opened, the number of passengers was a tiny proportion compared to


now. The place is heaving. The tracks are heaving. There has been a


wonderful increase in train usage. But there was an increase in


capacity, which was disruptive for years. On the Trent Valley line,


there was a quadruple in. You have got to improve capacity in the


South. How disappointed are those northern leaders going to be if the


Chancellor pools the support? Ed Balls has been giving support. This


is a matter for the whole Labour Party. His job is to raise questions


about costs. I would also say this. To some extent, a project of this


kind, this scale, involves some act of faith. You have to get the


numbers right. Hang on a second. So did the Olympics. Why Szczesny


Cabinet committee on the Olympic for four years. -- I cared the come


beauty -- I chaired the Cabinet committee on the Olympics for four


years. Are you sure that Labour will continue supporting this? I'm sure.


We are supporting this on Thursday. If we were not, we would have our


troops are there. As you know, in opposition, you always have a one


line whip if you support something. How many Tory rebels do you think


there will be? On the Department for transport's own figures, use and is


only the second least crowded line. -- Euston. If you look at the


figures, it is 28% of the trains on the West Coast Mainline that are


full. With improvements, that could be improved. For example,


lengthening trains. We have to finish it up there. It was the first


time, thank you both, in 35 years that the presidents of Iran and the


US had spoken. The short conversation between Hassan Rouhani


and Barack Obama came off the last month's UN General assembly. Mr


Rouhani has struck a more moderate tone than its predecessors and says


he wants a deal on Iran's nuclear programme. Our guest of the day,


Jack Straw, thinks the new Iranian president is a man the West can do


business with. May I press the Prime Minister on


this issue of relations with Iran? With respect, his previous answer


sounded as if he had taken no account of the fact that since our


embassy was sacked by Ahmedinejad, there has been an election in Iran,


however imperfect. It has led to a different individual, Hassan


Rouhani, becoming president, who, to my knowledge, somebody the West and


the British Prime Minister can deal with. Could I ask you to deal


carefully with the Foreign Secretary to identify areas of common interest


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


of a president who has a greater, and to reform is a good step. I have


written to President Rouhani to rate a series of issues that need to be


settled between Britain and Iran. Above all, we need to see progress


on what the president has said himself is important, which is


trying to come to an agreement where Iran gives up the idea of you clear


weapons, and in return we see some relief on sanctions. That would be


major progress. -- the idea of nuclear weapons. This is not hoping


for the best. We have singled Iran has been capable of in the recent


past. We should go in to these discussions cautiously. David


Cameron. Joining us this Dr Matthew Levitt, who specialises in


counterterrorism and intelligence at the Washington Institute. Welcome to


the programme. First of all, do you agree that the tone has changed,


that Hassan Rouhani strikes a mocha Cilic we note? There is no way the


line at -- to deny that. What we need is more than statements. We


need to Seattle progress, tangible progress, not only on the


negotiations but on the human rights issues. -- to see tangible progress.


Are you asking too much in terms of limiting its nuclear programme and


what they would like? No question, we're talking about the nuclear


programme and they are talking about the sanctions. But there is middle


ground. We should be pursuing this devil Matic route seriously but with


eyes wide open. -- diplomatic route. There can be progress. We shouldn't


just take them at their word before there is actual progress on the


ground. While the negotiations have to be step-by-step, there are


multiple issues that have to be negotiated.


Matthew Levitt said that Iran has been known for deception. The mother


and father of their problems has been failure to describe -- provide


full disclosure about the nuclear activity. And they are still not


doing that. We are not certain. I don't disagree with what he is


saying about the need for care in the negotiations. But Hassan


Rouhani's election does represent a great opportunity for the West in


the way that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election represented a setback. I


hope that these negotiations with the permanent members of the


Security Council and Germany will make progress. But is there really a


substantive difference between Hassan Rouhani and Ahmadinejad? What


is the substantive difference between what is happening in Iran


now and previously? I have spent as much time as I can seeking to


understand the incredibly complicated power structure in Iran.


And where did it get you? With great information, not necessarily greater


understanding. But behind everything is the supreme leader, and


ultimately he is the final authority, but it is much more


complicated than that. The fact that Hassan Rouhani was allowed to


stand, and then got a much vigour vote than many people were


anticipating, is an indication of the desire by the Iranians people


for change. He is different from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in terms of the


things that Ahmadinejad used to say in terms of wiping Israel off the


map, and denying the Holocaust. Iran has always said it's nuclear


programme is a peaceful bid to generate electricity. Most people do


not believe that. The real issue is this, as Mr Straw said. One is to


give the resident the space to negotiate earnestly. A six-month


window is a very short period of time. There are also all kinds of


power leaks within Iran right now. The situation is complicated. Going


with eyes wide open. But there are precedents of previous Iran


presidents, and in my new book on Hezbollah, one of the things I found


that I didn't use in the book because it is meant to be more about


Iran, the CIA looking back at these presidencies, what they found was


that none of the previous presidents were interested in


curbing support for terrorism, and if they were, this would be up to


the supreme leader. This is a different president. This is the


history of relatively moderate presidents in Iran. The Israelis


always deal with Iran very suspiciously because of previous


rhetoric and their fears about any sort of attack. But if Iran wants to


reach the status of a nuclear state, in which it could manufacture


a nuclear bomb quite quickly, how much risk are you prepared to take?


Well, the Middle East does already have on nuclear weapons state,


Israel. Not that anyone admits it. But we all know it. And they have


refused to accept any kind of sanction. I don't know whether Iran


have nuclear weapons system, and whether they developing it. But


their lack of candour, and trying to enrich uranium, raise very serious


questions about their intentions. Plutonium, too. Not just uranium.


And if they want to lift the sanctions, which unquestionably are


biting, and as for long-term agendas, we want to see a more


constructive role internationally. You have to have one step at a time,


and part of the strategy of the West needs to be to help and in power


Rohani. Thank you both very much. It's been a pleasure.


Vigorous and sometimes raucous campaigning is what you expect in a


vibrant democracy. But what happens when lies are told about rival


candidates, innuendo is spread, racist or anti-semitic campaigning


techniques are used? They've been an unfortunate feature of British


election campaigns, and an all-party report out today suggests such


practices are still prevalent. In a moment we'll hear from one of the


authors of that report, but first let's remind ourselves of some


memorable political campaigns. A 1983 by-election in Bermondsey was


mired in accusations of homophobia. The now Lib Dem deputy leader Simon


Hughes took on Labour candidate and gay rights campaigner Peter


Tatchell. One liberal leaflet presented the context is a straight


choice, and Simon Hughes on with one of the biggest recorded swings


against Labour. He later apologised for any part of the campaign which


had been homophobic. In 2005, Labour was accused of anti-Semitism when


they produced a poster which critics claimed portrayed the then


Conservative leader Michael Howard is fading. Labour said it was just


anti-Tory. Later, Labour's Oona King fought


George Galloway, who overturned a 10,000 majority. Oona King said she


faced anti-Semitism in what she described as one of the dirtiest


campaigns we have ever seen in British politics.


And 2010 saw a campaign which could change the way elections are fought.


Labour narrowly on old East and Saddleworth, but the result was


declared void by an election court, which ruled he had lied about his


Lib Dem opponent. And the author of that cross-party


report into the conduct of election campaigns, Natascha Engel, joins us


now. Some political campaigns have been dirty, it was ever thus. But


what of the worst examples that you have come across? Yes, right at the


outset, this was not about stopping people from campaigning robustly.


And it was not about curbing freedom of speech, that was another thing


that was very important. What we wanted to do was identify pieces of


political campaigning that were beyond the pale, and we heard really


distressing stories. The day after one candidate lost his seat in


Gloucester, his children found a severed pig's head in his garden.


That doesn't belong in politics. How'd you know that was a campaign


thing? It could have been a vindictive member of the public?


There had already been a concerted campaign against him where in the


local newspaper that had been a letter to say that the population of


Gloucester wasn't ready for a foreigner to represent them. He was


born in Middlesex. So it is that sort of campaigning that we are


really looking to stamp out. Why hasn't this been looked at before?


It has, but it was looked at expressly in terms of anti-Semitism,


in 2006 there was a report about anti-Semitism in electoral


campaigning. The electoral commission refused to do much about


it, or was certainly half-hearted about it, so we decided to widen out


the remit, identify if there really was a problem, and we found that if


there was a problem, we would put forward proposals.


What can you do to actually stamp it out? You want campaigns to be


robust. It is the crossing the line that is difficult to draw. That's


right. We have law, and it is obviously the cases where the law


has been broken, it can be difficult to know what to do. We want the


political parties to come together and decide that we have a cultural


shift in the way that we campaign, to make sure that we identify


clearly when things are overstepping the mark, but most of all what we


thought would be helpful was to have one person specifically responsible


in each political party for taking on a complaint and having a look


very quickly at whether there is something wrong. Shouldn't campaigns


coordinator is be the people who deal with this sort of thing?


I think this is a really good idea from Natascha. A compliance officer


ought to do this. I was subject to a vicious campaign in Blackburn. I


have Jewish blood in me. It was said that because I was Edu, no Muslims


should vote for me. And the chap who put these leaflets around was taken


before the criminal courts and convicted of an offence under


electoral law. So are those laws not working, then? The laws during an


election campaign are tighter than they are outside, so they need


better to be used. But I entirely accept, what Simon Hughes and his


friends got up to in Bermondsey, where they distributed badges which


said, I have been kissed by Peter Tatchell, was even more abject given


the fact that Simon Hughes subsequently accepted that he was


gay, but it would have been dreadful whether he was gay or straight. The


leaflet about Michael Howard was disgraceful, and there have been


Conservatives who were very upset. Did you say anything about it at the


time? I was unaware at the time. I have now fought nine elections. More


fool you! There is no need to go in for dirty campaigning. Not in


marginal seats? You need to look ahead to the election in 2015,


particularly looking at the coalition, whether there are


marginal seats, and they will be at each other. I think the public hate


negative campaigning. What they want to know is, what do you stand for,


where do you come from? The problem we identified was that there were


candidates who didn't want to come forward and say that they were being


negatively campaigned against for fear of being seen as weak or not


being up to the rough-and-tumble of election campaigning, when actually


this was stuff that was way over the line and was illegal. How do we stop


that from happening in the first place and get out those sort of


messages? Dirty campaigning doesn't really work, it backfires. And


winning out of a dirty campaign, it takes something out of your soul.


The price is far too high. We wanted to bring parties together and have a


really positive framework for action. Natascha Engel, thank you


very much. An unlikely pairing were the stars


of a BBC One documentary last night. Tommy Robinson was the leader of the


English Defence League, or EDL, who have campaigned against what they


see as the "Islamification" of Britain. Tommy meets prominent


British Muslim Mo Ansar, who wants the EDL banned. The film ends with


Tommy Robinson's shock decision to leave the EDL. Here's a taster of


what happened when Tommy met Mo. In a democracy, when you are angry,


you protest. You should use your freedom of assembly, which is what


we will be doing today. If an Englishman commits a crime, throws a


bottle at the police, or commits a crime or gives a Nazi salute,


bottle at the police, or commits a That won't happen. You have said


yourself there are strange types in the EDL. If somebody commits a crime


today, is it right for us to blame all English people? It is just a yes


or no question. If the people pick up a book and it says throw a bottle


at the police officer, and they do it, it is the book's fault. Do you


accept that you are adding to fear and hysteria causing attacks on


Muslims? And Mo Ansar joins us now in the


studio. What do you think persuaded Tommy Robredo them to leave the


English Defence League? I hope it was a combination of factors. I


think 18 months with me is more than enough to force most people out of


most occupations! I think spending time with people from a diverse


range of Muslims, hearing different views. I think going to a mosque was


important. You could have knocked him over with a feather after that.


And did you change your views of him and VE Day after making that


documentary? I think Tommy has been quite clear that he hasn't shifted


in his views after that. I did have an impression of him. I had painted


him as some kind of Goebbels figure for the 21st-century, and... And was


he like that? Spending time with somebody always humanises them, and


there are soft sides to him, and although I think the effect it has


had on music -- Moslem communities has been disturbing, he is a complex


character. The interesting thing about


documentary is that your views what also challenged by other Muslims.


They don't necessarily think you are a good spokesperson for moderate


Islam. You accept that? Do they -- I accept that they think that. I have


been working as head of diversity for an organisation, and you do


things like equal rights, and stand up for women and gay rights as well.


Let's take some of those issues. You are challenged on sharia law on


whether you approve of these being punished by having their hands


chopped off, and you refused to give a definitive answer. I think it is


abhorrent. That one up. We did have that conversation, it's just doesn't


make that to the public sphere. And if slaves were treated justly and


with no rights whatsoever, why would anyone object? You were challenged


on this last night. Twitter is an open forum where people can


challenge. You think that if slaves are treated justly and with full


rights, there is problem with it? If we had a three-day debate about


slavery a year ago. It was about the historical context in ancient times.


I hope it was quite an academic debate. Are you saying there are


some instances when slavery is OK? No. I think there should be no


slavery. I think that would be obvious. But you indicate that there


are circumstances when... If you want to analyse something that


happened hundreds of years ago, there should be academic freedom to


debate those things. You mentioned women and gay rights. Tom Holland


was in the documentary. He said is lamb, -- is lamb needed to be


reformed. Do you agree? To an extent. If we are talking about


Reformation, the Reformation required is with Ms limbs are not


necessarily Islam. How are you... I hope you're not saying that


Christians are the best example. I am merely talking about Islam. What


about this cool to modernise or liberalise parts of Islam? I think


he is talking about a Reformation in Islam as we had in Christianity.


There is a great debate going on in Islam about how you relate what is


in the Koran and then in the commentaries to a modern-day


setting. The idea that there is one single school of thought in Islam is


nonsensical. There is no single school of thought in Christianity.


One of the things that has come out from what Mo says, although it is my


language, is that a lot of the practices in Islam, I fact -- are in


fact cultural. The position of women is cultural, based on subs with


commentaries. -- subsequent commentaries. In my surgery, I say I


would prefer them to remove the Vale. I also say to them, I will


honour their right to wear the veil, but it makes it easy if I can see


their face. I have been outspoken about Peter Holub own and several


Wollaston. -- Peter Holub own and several Wollaston.


What about young gills wearing the veil? -- young girls. I understand


that. I had a long conversation with my wife about this. She is from


Finland. She has a very European view, as do I. My view was,


actually, each to their own. If parents and kids want to decide


that, it is not my cup of tea, but they can do it. The headscarf is


about identity. Headscarf, fine. We are talking about the veil. I'm not


a fan but do we legislate? We should say, as a norm, that it is not a


good idea. The former MP said more could be done to stop young girls


being groomed for sex. One of the discussions we had, I spent three


hours talking to the mothers and the families of victims of grooming and


with members of the England defence league near to Blackburn. Part of


the conversation was, we have a problem in society generally. In the


UK, 200 women are abused or raped every day. They come from all


races. Mo, don't dodge the issue, with respect. There are more white


people locked up for sex offences than Muslims. There is a specific


pub in the Muslim community will -- with the way women are treated and


the young men come forward with a view of women. That can turn to lead


what we have seen with grooming, where groups of predominates


Pakistani men are grooming young girls. -- predominantly. We have


seen organisations be very outspoken. But they haven't done


enough until now. There is complacency on all sides. Thank you


very much. You might think that having a politician for a parent


would put you off West Mr for life. I suspect in many cases it has. --


Westminster. Jack Straw to be the -- could be the next father to hand the


political baton to his son. My stature has grown. 1995, and Patrick


Jenkin is called to speak. Only it's not Patrick but his son on his feet.


Perhaps we can forgive, on this occasion. Lord Jenkins and only left


the Commons five years before his son arrived. Today, Westminster has


20 MPs whose fathers were also in the Commons. You might say it is in


their blood. A relatively new entrant to the Westminster family


tree is the Conservative Laura Sands was on her father, Duncan, was a


government minister in the 50s and 60s. When I was born, I had a pram


which said, vote for daddy on the side. I was pretty much a recruit


from a force to volunteer from a young age. -- a recruit, a force to


volunteer. Children following their parents into politics is not new. We


all remember our former Prime Minister William Gladstone, but


perhaps not his son, Herbert, who became Home Secretary in 1905. Fast


forward more than half a century and Douglas, now Lord Hurd, an MP in the


70s, 80s and 90s, has been followed into the Commons by his son, who is


currently a junior minister. Then there is the prominent Tony Benn,


here campaigning in the 1963 by-election. His son, Hillary, was a


Secretary of State under the Labour Prime Minister 's Blair and Brown.


And this father son duo are both still grow much active in


Westminster. Lindsay Hoyle is a deputy speaker. His father is a


former Labour MP. The first impression was a Labour Party


Conference, he was out delivering leaflets. I was the cheap Labour.


I've always got that eastern memory. I was scarred for life. Did you


encourage him to go into politics? Well, I hoped he might become an MP.


It was up to him. He was not influenced by ourselves. We try to


be as normal a family as you could. As for the latest additions, Jack


Straw's son has been elected as a Labour candidate for the


neighbouring constituency to his dad. John Prescott's son David hopes


to be contesting Greenwich and Woolwich, and there are even rumours


that Tony Blair's son is eyeing up a seat for the 20 15th election. And


with us to discuss this is Matthew Parris. Before I come to you, are


you pleased your son might be following you into Parliament? Yes,


but he is doing it on his own merits. He is gay to have a tougher


fight and to Blackburn. -- he's going to have. I don't think you


would do well to draw favours by saying that Jack is going to hand


the baton onto him. I think there is a strong undercurrent in British


culture of resentment against, you know, it is not what you know, it is


who you know. In America, they don't have a Royal Family so they


reproduce it in their politics. But we do. I think, although he is your


son will have got him hearings, from now on it is good to be a


disadvantage that he is your son. People are going to think he is only


there because he is Jack Straw's son. But it is in the blood, it is


in the dinner table speech. That is the reason, rather than there might


be a case of, yes, there is some help being offered. It is there all


the time. I am not an eligible engineer like my father. It is


different. -- an electrical engineer. I don't think there is


much you can do to get your child a seat. But the public think there is.


They don't like it. There may be advantages in having a dad like me,


but when it comes to politics, there are only disadvantages. On this


thing families and politics, my family talked about politics all the


time. But they were obscure, not known. I had no baggage when I was


trying to make my way in politics. You have got something to live up


to. It is difficult, I would say. I know his son and he is brilliant. It


will be difficult for him to live up to his father. What I would like to


see is the reverse. If Boris Johnson and his brother could get their


father to stand, he would be a great addition to the House of Commons. If


you think Boris was colourful, try Stan! Just time before we go to find


out the answer to our quiz. If you can remember, the question for today


was, what our Parliamentary authorities planning to spend


?250,000 on? Upgrading the gym? Straightening Big Ben? Raising the


speaker chair? Or refurbishing the bars? I think it is the gym. That is


terrific. I use it on a regular basis. Do you? ! Absolutely.


Spinning a body blast, yoga... It is in the old cell block of a police


station. You are right. It is the gym. I'm glad you're using it.


Thanks to all of the our guest today. From all of us here, goodbye.


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