04/11/2013 Daily Politics


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tell us why he disagrees. Police officers accused of misleading MPs


over Plebgate will be hauled before Parliament and told to apologise or


risk jail. We'll speak to the Committee chairman. Ed Miliband says


he would offer firms a 12-month tax break if they agree to pay the


so-called "living wage" - so would that cut benefits? Or cut jobs? And


which country has the most sexist Parliament?


All of that in the next hour. And with us today is Axelle Lemaire -


she's the French MP for our very own constituency here in...Northern


Europe. constituency here in...Northern


saying they approved of him. Why is he is so unpopular? I wish I knew


the answer W would tell him! I would, of course. The left in power


has implement it reforms which had not been done in the past, and maybe


that only ask could do without having the country demonstrating in


the streets. We are reducing the public ever sit, we are changing


schools, we are reforming the labour market, bringing more flexibility,


we are reforming the pensions system, which is terrific tricky and


difficult. But people do not see the results, what they see is their


taxes going up and a president who has great capacities to compromise,


but when it has great capacities to compromise,


second day of his term, wasn't he, his popularity just died. Is it


because of his programme of tax rises? Farmers have protested, and


truck drivers, over the eco-Mac tax, for example, and they want to see


more of a balance, with public expenditure getting cut. You have


got the wrong programme? Well, we are discussing the finance bill at


the moment. When you look at the budget for 2014, 80% of the budget,


of the savings, will be in cuts in public expenses, it is only 20%


coming from tax rises. So, the public perception is clearly wrong.


Also, people do not make the differentiation between local taxes


and national taxes. So, last year, it was the opposite, it was two


and national taxes. So, last year, have had to scrap higher levies on


individual savings because of protests, a potential strike in top


football clubs protesting at the 75% tax levy on incomes of more than 1


million euros, these are big Rob 's. But I think it is in the


Financial Times today, describing this as a U-turn, but we are in the


process of discussion over the budget. To me, as an MP, I see it as


Parliamentary democracy. -- these are big problems. We are just saying


what we think should be improved, so it is a discussion. But in the end,


in a couple of weeks time, the budget will be voted on. What about


this idea of consensus as you said yourself that he is not going for


the headlines, but he is described as a man of indecision, U-turns are


mentioned, that he cannot make a decision without speaking to


everybody decision without speaking to


market, it was not an easy task. But he spoke with all the unions, all of


them, and they came up with a solution, which was the first time


in 30 years that an agreement could be breached. But then people do not


necessarily see that. But I assume that in the long-term, the results


will be positive. I am sure you will hope so, before the next election,


of course. Looking at elections, what about the threat from the


right, from the national front, who seem to be gaining in support in


some of the national by-elections, that is as a result of Francois


Hollande's policies, isn't it? This is a phenomenon that we see across


Europe, I am afraid, the rise of populist parties, of extremism. But


it is particularly true in France, and especially at the


it is particularly true in France, people are racist. We think


immigration is positive for the country, when it is well controlled.


The other thing is to have an economic and social agenda, and


prove that we can help raise living standards, help put growth back into


the economy. We are out of recession for the last two months, I think,


and the rise in unemployment is decreasing, at least. So, we aren't


starting to see the first positive results of what we are trying to do.


And you think that might turn it around? What about his relationship


with Angela Merkel? It is, as the Financial Times says, a bit of a


one-woman show, isn't it? Financial Times says, a bit of a


is a very well-balanced relationship, with all of the


different ministers. For example, the economy minister, he is on the


phone every single day with his German counterpart, and we work


together very well. So I think between what we read in the press


and the reality of the negotiations, there is quite a difference.


You will not have forgotten, if you are a regular viewer of the


programme, that Britain could be on the way to a referendum on our EU


membership after the next election. Whether the relationship is good or


bad for Britain is an issue that divides politicians, the public and


businesses. Well today, the largest business group, the CBI, is holding


its annual conference and it has decided that the country is better


off inside the EU than out. The group says that the net benefit of


EU membership to the UK could be more than ?62 billion, that's ?3,000


a year to every household, because membership has opened up trade with


the EU and But industry isn't exactly full of


starry-eyed Europhiles, and the CBI also says that if we do stay in then


"reforms are urgently needed". This assessment has already been


challenged, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage saying...


Well, joining us now from the CBI conference in London is Michael


Rake, the president of the CBI and chairman of BT. Welcome to the


programme. You were sharing a platform with the Prime Minister


earlier. Is the CBI's view on Belgrade ship the same as David


Cameron's? Based on a huge project we have carried out over the last


Cameron's? Based on a huge project engaged. Have you accurately being


able to gauge the level of euro scepticism amongst your members?


Well, no, in the business community, it is very clear, we want to remain


in the European Union. We have to be competitive. It is a hugely


important trade area with many bilateral agreements, including some


extremely important ones coming up. We understand the frustrations of


businesses small and large about unnecessary regulation, whether it


comes from Brussels or London. Whilst we need regulation, it needs


to be effective and it does not need to be burdensome, particularly when


we have the beginnings of a recovery, and we have to make sure


this recovery is sustainable. recovery, and we have to make sure


should be a referendum is a we in the CBI are very clear... Is it not


a question for business as well? If you are saying it is critical, and


John Cridland said there is no credible alternative to being in the


EU, so surely business has got to make a play in political terms to


stay in the EU? I am sorry, I can hardly hear you, but I think you


were asking about alternatives. In the work we did, we have looked at


alternatives, and we think the regional example, the Swiss


example, would not work, we would be to remove, we would have to bear the


costs of compliance without any influence. We do not think that is


the way to go, when we are trying to come out of this very long downturn.


We want to create conditions for investment and trade in the European


Union and across the world. Whether it


Union and across the world. Whether business must simply state what the


obligations might be. Michael Rake, thank you very much. Sorry you could


not hear us but we could hear you loud and clear, which is always a


bonus. We're joined now by the UKIP leader Nigel Farage - and Axelle


Lemaire is still with us. Well, that is a bit of a blow, isn't it,


because not only does he say the majority of his members, businesses,


backed the idea of staying in the EU, but that it is absolutely


critical, and it would be a huge mistake to leave? Let's remember,


the CBI is big business, it is corporatism, it is effectively an


arm of government. Most of the firms in the CBI love the EU. It is


fantastic for them. They go to the commission, they help the commission


draft rules, and those rules stop small competitors


draft rules, and those rules stop to throw a few small businesses in,


knowing that when another poll was done, more than 1000 firms, with a


genuine spread of large, medium and small businesses, half of them


said, the costs of the single market outweigh any benefit. This CBI,


these were the same people 12 years ago saying we should join the euro.


They were wrong about that and they are wrong about this. So you are


dismissing the 240,000 businessmen buzz of the CBI, then, does their


voice not matter? Again, what is interesting is that even within the


CBI, the cracks are beginning to show. There is a significant


minority of members who Digby Jones, who was the Director-General


a few years ago, has now come to the view that reform is impossible


within this European Union, and the sooner we have a referendum on it,


the better. Is it not true, Axelle Lemaire,


the better. Is it not true, Axelle to pay for membership? They bring it


is stronger with Britain in. It is this old debate sounds surreal to


me. If I wanted to be cynical, I would say please, leave this, we


will help the French business, because you run with of our main


competitor, if you are out you are out of the picture. We are your


biggest export market. The British market is absolutely crucial for


France, and for Germany, we are the biggest export market in the world


for those two countries and we will go on, doing business, regardless


whether we are in a political union. That an argument for reform which is


David Cameron is saying, if as you say we are so important from a trade


point of view, that is, that is the leverage for reform. It could be but


the only way a negotiation is would work you walk in carrying a big


stick and you say give me X, y and Z or we are leaving. The


stick and you say give me X, y and Z thedown you nay say they have looked


at the trading alternative, they have looked at Norway, Switzerland


and the benefits of leaving just aren't that good. We would have no


influence and we would have the costs Nay talked about the rest of


the world, and the Swiss model. Switzerland has got more trade deals


with other parts of the world than we do as members of the European


Union. It took nine years for them to renegotiate access to the single


market. Nine year sas long time. Switzerland are rich, they have got


more trade deals globally and the Swiss have recognised that Europe is


not if economic future of the world. We have to be global not just


European. What do you say to that? On reform,


what I hear here in this country, is that we need to put to tackle the


red tape, put down that we need to put to tackle the


more developed. What is the problem with e-commerce at the moment, we


have 28 different states, applying their own regulations, so Europe is


good in the sense it brings agreement. It was used for


environmental legislation and the reality is we finished up with


thousands of new laws, coming over the course of the last few year,


some Governments interpret them rather more fully and wholly than


others, but the fact is the source of legislation is Brussels. Do you


disagree, and can you, you don't have to, but can you point to the


fact that this ?62 billion in net benefit from EU membership, they are


confident about that figure. I have never heard such rubbish. You can't


say the CBI... They are discredited because they wanted us to join


say the CBI... They are discredited can't guarantee there wouldn't be


tariffed on 90% of exports If Mr Hollande wants French unemployment


to rocket he can consider tariffs. The German car industry is powful


within lobbying, they wouldn't allow Angela Merkel to contemplate


tariffs. Do you think that is true? I think you are missing the point.


Our priority is to be in a strong position enough, top negotiate a


good transatlantic partnership with the United States, and we are very


conscious we wouldn't be able do that these as a single country. It


is Europe with its 500 million customer, in one single market, in


faith of the US that can negotiate in a proper position. Switzerland


has done that with China. Iceland has done a free trade deal with


China and they have 300,000 people. China and they have 300,000 people.


the particular situations on the type of goods, the whole... You are


right the rules would change. We could scrap a whole load of


employment regulations on small industry, we could look at


environmental legislation more sensibly. Companies need stability.


You would re-open the whole book of negotiation and rules, it would


bring so much uncertainty. When productions fallen by 50%, is


stability being suck in a currency that is 20% overvalued for France


now? If that is stability I don't want it. If we are the fifth biggest


power, you are the six St. On that, oh dear. They always do. Don't they.


Thank you very much. Now, officers accused of giving


misleading accounts of a meeting with Andrew Mitchell are facing an


investigation by the police Watchdog. They will be called back


investigation by the police I have seen in 25 years and I have


been a Select Committee chairman myself. It hinges on the not telling


of the truth, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is


central to our judicial system and is the core of policing, and on two


occasion, these police officers have plainly not told the truth. So that


is why they have been recalled, which is unusual, to say the least,


and that is why I think the IPCC has takesen over the inquiry -- taken


over the inquiry and said it was fine but the conclusions are wrong,


and we are going to prejudge them. I am joined by the chairman of the


Home Affairs Select Committee Keith Vaz. Welcome to the programme. You


believe these police officers lied to you and your committee It is


important they come before the committee, and explain why the


evidence they gave to us did not -- sergeant. He did not


disclose the fact he has 13 previous allegations of misconduct, and in


respect of DC Hinton when asked about a reference to Teresa May he


said the transcript contained type graphical error, so what that


affected of course was the credibility of the answers they gave


us and therefore in effect it might affect the credibility of what they


said previously. So we are talking about their credibility, you are not


expecting them to radically change what they said, with regard to the


meeting they had with Andrew Mitchell. We will have to see what


they say, of course they are at liberty to say to the committee


anything they want to, about what happened at that meeting, but as you


know, we recommended specifically that there should be a case to


answer, for misconduct, the IPCC has worked with great speed to make sure


that there is going to be a hear, worked with great speed to make sure


hear from these officer, we will hear from the IPCC, because of


course when they came before us, they said we can't look at this


again, they then looked at our report and decided they could look


at it again, we want to know why. Do you think we will get to the bottom


of this? After all these Select Committee hearings, the Independent


Police Complaints Commission, now saying they will look at this


particular case, we still haven't had a response, of course, from the


CPS over the actual altercation and incident itself. To the lay man, it


must seem ridiculous in terms of testify time and resources that have


gone into this? Absolutely. When the police can conduct a murder


investigation very very quickly, one of the forces was the West Midlands


Police who centsly investigated a person -- recently, a person


Police who centsly investigated a third of a million pounds and


hundreds of police officers have been involved. Yes, I hope we will


have closure, as far as the Select Committee is concerned, we have a


degree of closure, we felt it was important that this should be done


independently and now the IPCC will be conducting this investigation.


What will happen if the officers don't take your, take up your kind


offer of apologising or saying they did mislead the committee. We will


refer them to the House for contempt proceed, that has a particular


approach, and that has a particular procedure, they will be asked to go


before the House and the House will take a view on it. So it will go out


of the hands of the Select Committee, and into the hands of the


House itself, which has happened only rarely, so I hope they will


take the opportunity of putting the record straight tomorrow. Because of


this threat, record straight tomorrow. Because of


very much this is a big opportunity for them to come before the


committee, to explain why we were misled to put the record straight


and to closure. That is the ultimate sanction? It is within the remit,


isn't it, so we are clear? At the end of the process, yes, that is the


case, but this will not happen tomorrow. This will be an


opportunity for them to put the record straight and the Select


Committee hopes very much that will happen. Watching this, I am sure you


have vaguely been aware of the plebgate saga, what is your view? I


can't comment on this specifics of the care, but by am impressed by the


roles played by the Select Committee, this one in particular,


but Select Committees hear in -- here in this country in if they are


a real counter power to the executive, and we with real powers


of inquiry, so I think that is a kind of model for the


spring to mind when you think of the UK Parliament which is no strange


irto controversy over the treatment of female member, it seems we are


not the only ones with problems over sexism. Take a look at this. The


National Assembly in France earlier in month, a French MP is making a


speech. You can't really hear on this recording but a male MP is


making clucking noises. Don't call me a chicken says


Veronique Massonneau, in France it means airhead. Let us go to the Dale


in Ireland where they are about to vote on a motion on abortion. Watch


what happens next. Cue #lapgate. A speech by the then Australia Prime


Minister Julia Gillard went viral when she got fed up of sexist


remarks. I was offenced when he went out in the front


day from this leader of the opposition S That went well. Her for


mentor Tony Abbott runs the country now.


I am joined Bihar ret Baldwin. What did you think of that played round


the world of Julia Gillard in the Australian Parliament? I am in full


empathy and I was sitting in the National Assembly when this incident


happened, to my female colleague who was considered as a chicken, by...


With the clucking going on. I think if you ask any female MP, at least


in France, I don't know in other country, she will have personal


stories to tell, I can give you mine, I have plenty, but one of them


is I was, I was asking mine, I have plenty, but one of them


why don't you go and breastfeed your children? Lady, what do you think of


that? Well I would say that our Parliaments are supposed to


represent the real world. We would be naive top think it doesn't exist


in the real world. In the workplace, I speak as someone, I would say


Parliament is more civilised than other working environments. How do


you respond to that, or do you respond? We do represent the people,


as you said, so we have to set an example, and I think it also, we


have to do it through the number of women sitting in Parliament, in


France we are at 26%, which is one in four, not equal, but not as bad


as here I think it is 22. It is not as bad as here. We have an equail


Government, 18 as bad as here. We have an equail


by the Prime Minister. A phrase that would never have been used to a man.


He claims he was doing it from the advert, Indeed. Anyone can judge. It


is an issue of representative take, it is slightly shocking, that of the


women in Parliament, here, although Labour is in the opposition, more


than half of the women in Parliament are Labour. We only four women in


the Cabinet, we have something like 42% on the Shadow Cabinet. We have


need to get the voice of women in leadership positions if we are going


to deal with this issue. Our party had a woman Prime Minister and she


was Prime Minister for 11 years and was regardeds as one of the greatest


the country has had. I do agree that in terms of the at mo fear in


Parliament. You can't go into politics unless you are prepared to


put up with the insults that go your way, they go in the direction


put up with the insults that go your with that? Do you think it should be


enshrined in law, or should there be 50% of candidates being enshrined in


law? In law, politicians are exempt from the Sextus commendation act, so


you can positively discover late in favour of women. I think we should


all aspire to have half of our politicians being women. -- from the


sex discrimination act. I think it can be a slow way to change things,


but I am strongly against all women short lists, because I would like to


say that I am here on my merit, rather than... I am here on my


merit, but I was selected from an all women short list. All women


short lists have transformed Parliament, and transforming


Parliament by getting more women into its changes what we do. I


Parliament by getting more women you brave, rather than just talking


about the size of the bombs on the bullets that you use. So, there is a


cultural shift, a different tone of conversation, from having women


there, but if, as it is enshrined in law in France, and have a certain


representation, you still get those incidents in Parliament, of people


being rude to you, so in a way, that in itself does not change, does it?


So is it just something you have to put up with? No, but in the


long-term, it creates an environment. Men who use that kind


of behaviour will be seen as violating, and doing gender


discrimination. When you look at the number of Tory candidates selected


so far, out of 51, only 15 are women. My


so far, out of 51, only 15 are if they do not respect the law on


putting an equal number of candidates in elections. I think you


cannot put a law on women wanting to come forward and be politicians.


Apparently about a third of the people who put their names forward


in the Conservative Party are women, and about a third of them get


selected proportionately. So there is nothing to suggest that it is


disproportionate to the number of people who aspire to become an MP.


Isn't one of the reasons why fewer women aspire because they see fewer


women in politics? And one of the things that we, as women


politicians, have a responsibility to do, is to end this macho


environment in which women work, which puts off young women from


wanting to stand, from wanting to lead. Caroline Flint, a Labour


minister at lead. Caroline Flint, a Labour


strong as Julia Gillard never has to go through the horrible experiences


that she enjoyed before she made that brilliant speech. Thank you


very much, all of you. Thank you, Axelle Lemaire, for being my guest


today. Now for a look at The Week Ahead. The cost of High Speed Rail


two comes under scrutiny tomorrow by Parliament's Treasury Select


Committee, with evidence to be heard from economists and infrastructure


experts. Later in the day, MPs on the Defence Committee will hear from


the Secretary of State, Philip Hammond, on Future Army 2020, the


strategic plan for the UK's armed forces. Wednesday is Prime


Minister's Questions. Will energy prices return as the issue of the


day? It is a subject which has dominated in recent weeks. There


will be no PMQs next week as Parliament will be in recess. On


Thursday, the heads of the three UK intelligence agencies will appear


before the Intelligence and Security Committee in Parliament.


And we are joined from College Green by Kevin Schofield from the Sun, and


the Guardian's Rowena Mason. On HS2, first of all, David Cameron is


trying to make a clear dividing line from Labour, saying that people will


see Labour as betraying the north of England if it withdraws support for


HS2, so it is this a clever tactic? Yes, well, today coming he set out


plans in a speech at the CBI to ask Sir David Higgins, the chairman of


HS2, to cut costs on the ?42 billion project. It comes after Labour has


turned the screws, really, on the Tory party, over HS2, saying that it


will not give the project a blank cheque. It


to pull support because that money could be spent better elsewhere?


Yes, it is fairly tempting, I think, for Ed Balls, when we are talking


about ?42 billion, and for a party which is struggling to shake off its


spendthrift tag, if it was to say, we're not going to spend this money


on this project, we are going to spend it on other things, like maybe


house-building or bringing down the national debt, it must be very


tempting, which is why Ed Balls has thrown out a few feelers, and given


very broad hints that he is thinking about pulling Labour's support for


it. I think there is tension between him and Ed Miliband over whether or


not Labour will ultimately support HS2. What is your prediction? I


think when push comes to shove, I think when push comes to shove, I


not to. It is going to be a tight one, but when push comes to shove, I


think Labour will probably just support it, with extreme caveats.


Let's turn our attention to Falkirk, and allegations of vote fixing.


Rowena Mason, there is now a twist in the story that one of the


complainant is apparently did not withdraw evidence, as had been


claimed, so what do you make of it all? It is still very confusing.


There are lots of claims and counterclaims, and we have not


really had a full explanation from the people in the middle of the


story, who originally complained, about exactly what has gone on. An


interesting twist this morning is that Johann Lamont, the Scottish


Labour leader, seemed to open the door to possibly Labour


reinvestigating the allegations, and so


reinvestigating the allegations, and to publish the internal report. Tom


Harris, the former label transport minister said last night that...


They are probably right, insofar as the Labour Party would not normally


publish internal reports, however, given the ongoing controversy about


this issue, basically, it looks as though they have got something to


hide, unless he does choose to publish it. It is starting to


reflect quite badly on the Labour leadership. Thank you both very


much. I have been joined by Labour's Anne Begg, Malcolm Bruce from the


Liberal Democrats and by the Conservative MP Anne McIntosh, for


the rest of the programme. Welcome to all of you. As we have been


hearing, the saga around the Labour selection in Falkirk has once again


raised its head. Yesterday's Sunday Times includes


raised its head. Yesterday's Sunday union, at the centre of the


controversy, gave his reaction. The truth of the matter is, this is a


trap being laid by Tory central office. Of course it is! They are


the ones who are making the demands, and of course, the media, the Daily


Mail, the Sunday Times, are you telling me they are not the


Conservative mouthpiece in the media? They are laying traps for Ed


Miliband, and Ed Miliband should not fall into those traps. Anne Begg, is


this just a conspiracy of what Len McCluskey calls the Tory press, and


Ed Miliband is falling into the trap? Well, I do not think the Tory


press will help, but I think this is a problem of our own making. It is


not our finest hour. Having said that, it is very much an internal


matter for the Labour Party. It is for the Labour Party to get to the


bottom of this, to make sure that whatever happened in Falkirk does


not happen again. whatever happened in Falkirk does


MSP who had to stand down because he was found to be a wife beater in the


courts. And there was no call at that time for the SNP to publish any


internal reports. Or would it help lay this to rest? I do not know,


because I am not party to this. In fact, most people are not. A lot of


it is speculation in the newspapers. But I think it is an issue for the


Labour Party. It is something they are going to have to look at and


continue to look at, both to make sure that this is laid to rest, but


also, we need to get on and get a good candidate select it, for the


people of Falkirk. In your view, has the Unite union abused its power in


Falkirk? I think they did things which were over the line in terms of


what they were allowed to do. In terms of what? Interestingly


what they were allowed to do. In they have joined the Labour Party.


It should be agreed by them! It is in those circumstances that I think


the Unite union have overstepped the mark. Because they are using


bullying and intimidate three tactics as well? There was coercion


and fraud and vote rigging. They were cleared of wrongdoing, of


course. We do but if somebody was saying that they wish to make a


witness statement, and they were not heard... But that is a matter for


the police. My understanding is that the Labour Party had not seen the


e-mails. Those have been handed over to the police. So, if there is


corruption and wrongdoing and illegality, and that is a matter for


the police. illegality, and that is a matter for


was dropped on the basis that people at the centre of the case withdrew


their evidence, so now, should it be reopened? I want the party to get to


the bottom of what exactly happened. Whether it should be published is a


different matter. But obviously I think there is an issue for the


party, which must get to the bottom of it. It is only by doing so that


they will make sure this does not happen again. Will that be enough,


Malcolm Bruce? First of all, I think it is a problem for the Labour


Party, in terms of its public perception. Any party which may


appear to be a partially owned subsidiary of another organisation,


like a trade union, has a problem. It is treating the voters with a


degree of contempt. I think what Labour have got to address is, if


they want to be a national party, they have


reinforces that belief. I think if that was true, then Malcolm is


right, but as I said, the unions, in regard to the individual selection


of candidates, have much less power than they have ever had at any time


in history, partly because of one member, one vote. This is why they


have resorted to this tactic of trying to get more members who they


think will vote that way. But actually, Labour Party members are


very good at making up their own mind, and they can be quite contrary


at times. The perception is that the unions are up to their old dirty


tricks again. The unions would say it is the fault of the Tory press


who are making it up. The press pick up a story, you can't blame them.


The Tory press were not to blame. You are seeing an, a dispute


The Tory press were not to blame. finest hour, it has shown us in a


bad light. That is why they have to get to the bottom of it and make


sure it doesn't happen again. Moving on quickly, plebgate, are you happy


the officers are coming back before the Select Committee? Yes I am happy


that the Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking


into allegations of misleading a House of Commons Select Committee


and also the public, on a number of issues, I think the whole incident


is highly regrettable, and the sooner we can put this to bed the


better, both for the British public and Andrew Mitchell himself, for his


own police authority at the -- authority at the time to question


his intelty. Would you like to see him back in Government? Yes in a


very senior position. How does it make the police look? My committee


was shadowing or monitoring Andrew Mitchell so I got to


was shadowing or monitoring Andrew lied about, so if that is the case,


clearly, we have to get to the bottom of it and the Select


Committee is determines to do so, that is why they have called the


police back presumably. Most police do a fantastic job but it doesn't


help their reputation... One of my colleagues said not even who has the


resourced that Andrew Mitchell had. Let us leave it there Ed Miliband


has confirmed that a future Labour Government would offer businesses


tax breaks if they paid the living wage, that is the benchmark based on


the amount an individual needs to cover the basic cost of living.


Private firms would be able to claim back a third of the cost. Not all


Labour supporters are fans of the plans. We are joined by John


McTernan who was Tony Blair's political secretary. What isn't it a


good idea? The national minimum wage, which the Labour


good idea? The national minimum London is ?8.80 an hour which is a


40% increase or more on the national minimum wage, I don't think you can


increase wages that much without destroying jobs and there is a study


by the Resolution Foundation who say if you implement it across the


country, it would lead to 300 thousand gloung people losing their


job, and I don't think we can afford that. Is that because you don't want


to take the leap all in one go? It is something you would say


politicians should d pyre to, to that level of living wage over time?


The minimum wage has been allowed by the coalition to fall in value and


it should be increased. There is no doubt there is a case for that, but


the living wage is, is a campaign which on the one hand we are told by


the. Ka painers it is wrong to pay people at that level, on the other


hand if you say it will cost some businesses to


hand if you say it will cost some this. I think Brown and the Tory


Governments before this got this right, some people have low wages


and they should be topped up by the Government through tax credits or


through family credit or through as dung proposes through Universal


Credit. That is the right way to reward people in low paid work


rather than force them to become unemployed. Anne McIntosh, do you


agree with that? Is it better that people, some people just say and


accept those lower wages and the state, funded by the taxpayer


subsidises that low pay with benefits? What we have done is taken


25 million people out of tax so they don't pay tax until ?10,000 so you


can earn ?10,000 from April next year. Would you rather not have the


living wage and continue to top up with benefits? I


living wage and continue to top up now, not to lose people, but not to


replace people when they leave their work. Hasn't that been the economic


reality, the low wage part-timer, it has been better than loosing your


job, if John McTernan is right and he uses the figures there would be


300,000 job lost. The same argument was used with the introduction of


the minimum wage, and it didn't come to pass, but I think Anne has missed


the point, the government is paying out to supplement the incomes of


these people. Anybody who is paying tax is not the group we are talking


about. So people are getting paid less, that get it topped up by the


state. But what if the business can't afford to carry... Well, at


the moment, the people who are carrying it are the British


taxpayer. It is the cost of carrying it are the British


to supplement people? Surely Liberal Democrat, the onus should be on the


employer, more should be on the employer so the state doesn't have


to keep paying. The problem is... What about the Liberal Democrats? We


are in favour of the living wage in principle. We think large companies


should be transparent. My own council is committed to it. You


can't confuse the minimum wage with the living wage, one is a legal


requirement, the other is an aspiration to recognise, that is the


sort of money people in full-time work would hope to have, to have a


live wage. People should be encourage to pay it. The Labour


Party's ideas are worth looking at but you shouldn't confuse the two.


There was a lot of reaction against the minimum wage at the time. Some


small businesses will say we can't afford to employ people that the


level. Some Biggs businesses are afford to employ people that the


people living in poverty have an adult in work, that is not right. We


need do something about it. The best thing to do is introduce the living


wage. That in a single policy decision can actually make sure that


people who are in work, actually are lifted out of poverty. At the moment


that is not happening. It is important not to confuse the two.


There is one thing that all our three guests have in common. Well,


apart from all being huge fans of the Daily Politics, who writes these


scrips? . They all chair Parliamentary skit tis. It is an


increasingly high profile role. First, let us remind ourself of


recent Select Committee moments. I suggest you can give an apology for


spinning a yarn to the press to get someone out of high public office,


that is what you were motivated to do,


following the laws that are there. How can the profits be fair when


people can't afford to pay for their energy? Do you accept that you are


responsible for this whole fiasco? What point did you find out


criminality was endemic at the News of the World? Committee will note


you have had to apologise given you claim not to have seen a document


which you I believe authored, so... I think. To draw an inference... We


immediate to take it with a pinch of salt. Feisty stuff. Let us get the


thoughts of our chairs. Let us put you under the spotlight. Malcolm


Bruce how come they have improved so much, the reputation of the dusty


Select Committee, it seems to have gone? I think all Select Committees


have a gone? I think all Select Committees


they want to be there, they have something to bring to the table.


That makes us much more effective and beyond the reach of Government.


So we are more independent. That added a lot to our strength and


indeed the impact of what we do. Does it result in any real change


though? Yes, I think the right reforms in the last Parliament which


have been introduced this Parliament, give us not more power,


and therefore a more prominent national platform. We have the power


to amend legislation, so prescrutiny you get a detailed idea, I have to


say as a member of a coalition, the prominent coalition party, it can be


uncomfortable sometimes in screws nicing a department which is so


important to my constituency, to try and help them to get the policy


right, but gps Does that mean you have to ask tough questions? No


right, but gps Does that mean you and enforced. Let us take that


issue, do you think it easier to be a member of a Select Committee if


you are not the party in power? I don't know because I have never been


in that situation. But, of course, the majority on the committees from


the Government party, but I say to them, and it is the position I took


as a backbencher, I want my Government to get it right, and if


there is something the Select Committee can illustrate or point


to, that could be a disaster in the making, sensible Governments and


sensible departments will listen, I hope to some of the things. Do MPs


Grandstand? Do you have to watch if some of you committee members start


taking over and become a celebrity? It is worrying if you have a high


profile witness like the Secretary of State they might be exposed.


Really we now have the opportunity of State they might be exposed.


we reach decision by consensus. The most effective Select Committees are


the ones who are able to put the political different, leave them at


the door and work together. We try to aVoight voting in the committee.


There have been fairly high profile case. An amendment comes along where


something disagrees and you negotiate it. The department will


often wait for a committee report before it finalises a policy and


accepted the reputation, because it is based on objective evidence, not


the prejudice of 11 member, we brought that evidence in from


outside. Who is the best chair in the business? It is difficult to


say. They are all our favourites as Bruce forsite would say. Thank you.


I will be back tomorrow with all the


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