20/11/2013 Daily Politics


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Good morning, this is the Daily Politics. Plans to re-organise the


army come under fire from conservative backbenchers. The


Defence Secretary's less than happy. He thinks they're putting the army


at risk and flirting with the enemy. We'll be talking to the Mutineer in


Chief. Shocking revelations this week about


Labour. No, I'm not talking about the Chairman of the Co-operative


Bank. The two Eds have never been to the pub together.


Most people want to play the property game. Trouble is, a lot


can't afford to. We'll be talking to one man who thinks cutting stamp


duty could help. And we'll be explaining why the good


people of Hull are celebrating. All that and more in the next 90


minutes. Including Prime Minister's Questions. And with us for the


duration, two men described as Westminster's fiercest attack dogs -


Conservative Party Chairman, Grant "Rottweiller" Shapps and Labour's


own pit bull, Michael Dugher. They look quite cuddly to me. Not as


cuddly as Molly. Welcome to the Daily Politics kennel. Now, first


this morning, let's talk about the army because Conservative MP John


Baron is a leading a small troop of fellow Tory MPs in a rebel amendment


to the Defence Reform Bill aimed at halting plans to increase the size


of the reservist force from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2018. The Government


wants to increase the number of reservists to help fill the gap


created by cuts to the regular army, which is being shrunk by 20% over


eight years. It is going down from around 102,000 to around 80,000.


This morning Philip Hammond had this warning for anyone wanting to pause


the recruitment of reservists. If it was carried, it would prevent us


from rolling out the offer that we are making for reserve first stash


better pension, allowances and training, investment in kit, and


that would be damaging. I am very much up for a debate about how we


are managing the reserve list programme. Parliament is interested,


I would expect to be scrutinised, but I do not think that pausing that


programme in anybody's interest. we hope to speak to the Tory rebel,


John Baron, but we seem to have lost him at the moment. So I will come to


you, Grant Shapps. Isn't the problem that the Government has started to


cut the size of the regular army but not yet increased the size of the


reservists, reservist recruitment is falling. There is a ?38 billion


black hole in the defence budget, when we came to power, you have to


do something about it. There is an argument between you about the size


of the black hole, but that was capital spending. To keep the troops


is current spending. We have to run the country and afford what we are


doing. We might have the fourth biggest defence in the world, but


these days you need drone 's, technical equipment, things like the


massive aircraft carriers, which are massive investments in themselves.


Wars are not necessarily fought in the same way with boots on the


ground, but increasing number of reservists, which used to be called


the TA. Now is not the time to have a vote in the Commons which prevents


the second part, which is all the vote would do, prevent us from


recruiting the reservists, which would be. We know you can cut the


army, governments of both political persuasions have done that for


years. We have no way of knowing that you can increase the


reservists, particularly because you will be asking them to do more and


be better trained than the old Territorial Army, meaning employers


need to give them more time. You can't guarantee you can deliver.


There are no absolute guarantees in life. The army can be an incredible


career. For reservists, they can be of enormous benefit to the


businesses employing them. I think businesses want the skills that


allow releasing them to be reservists will bring back. This


vote today is completely the wrong thing, simply for the reason that we


are set on this trajectory, the Army has accepted it, they have already


scaled back... the Army has no choice but to accept it, we live


under democratic control. It is not Labour policy to keep the regular


army at 100,000? We built it up to over 100,000. Grant Shapps was a


little confused. The government themselves have said they are not


making these changes for reasons of finance but for proper defence


reasons. We support these reforms, but all that is happening today, and


I think Philip and has mishandled this, all of us in Parliament have a


duty to the armed forces and defence, to make sure these


important changes go through and are manageable and feasible. It is all


right, but it is boilerplate. Under Labour, there would still be a curt


of around 82,000 in the Army, you would it attempt to hire these


reserve lists. -- there would be a cut to around 82,000 of the regular


army, and you would attempt to hire these reservists. We are getting


political criticism for doing this. It would be much more convenient


just to let it go through. But your Conservative former Defence


Secretary, only a couple of years ago, in my view, rightly, said you


cannot basically cut of the regular forces without having a very clear,


robust, transparent policy... You are saying the same thing. You are


voting against your own policy. Philip Hammond has refused to come


to the house to provide assurances... We have not had those


reinsurer service, that is all we are asking for -- we have not


heard... Had those reassurances. Since U2 are dancing on the head of


a pin, let's go over to somebody who disagrees with you. -- since new two


are dancing. John Baron, what are you trying to achieve? Paws on the


Army recruitment plans generally, because we want time for Parliament


to scrutinise the cost effectiveness and viability of these plans. Time


to pause, it needn't be a long delay, but the bottom line is,


pause, because so many things are going wrong. We have to check


whether the plan stacks up. We have widening capability gaps, rising


costs, reservist recruitment targets being badly missed, and that is


before we talk about the Herculean assumptions within the plans to make


the Army reserve ironwork. What you to Philip Hammond 's response to


what you are doing? He says you are doing down morale against the


reserve forces, and as a former Army officer you should know better than


most that any pause will leave a serious hole in our defence? There


are no shortage of scare stories. We have been told we are trying to


scupper the plans, we are trying to create Victorian age armies. All


untrue. Two years ago there was a very simple plan. Hold on to the


regulars until these reservists can take their place. Now it has


changed, we have an increasing capability gap between letting the


regulars go and recruiting reservists. With these amendments,


if successful, we are saying, let's pause and re-examine the plan, let's


make sure it stop up -- stacks up. When you say you want to re-examine


the plans, is that because you want to stop cuts to the Army's forces?


The debate today is about the reserves. At the regulars to one


side. A great bar of them have gone already. Recruitment of the regulars


is much easier than recruitment to the reserves stop let's pause on the


Army Reserve plans for a short period, examine these rising costs,


which could lead to false economies, examine the poorer recruitment


record which could lead to widening capability gaps. Parliament should


be scrutinising decisions that increasingly look flawed and that


they might lead to false economies. That is what we are trying to do.


How much support you have? About 25 colleagues had signed on the


Conservative side. I understand Labour will support this amendment.


They have supported our previous debates on this, general debates.


There was a general debate only three or four weeks ago at the


Government could not muster one single vote on it side because it's


refused to answer questions. They have not come up with the answers,


that is why we are in this position. We have asked them to put a stop to


their plans for a short period while Parliament scrutinises things and


plans carefully on behalf of the taxpayer but also on behalf the


country. Thank you very much. You couldn't make it up even if you


were a fiction writer. The scandal that has been unfolding this week


about the former Co-op Bank chief, the Reverend Paul Flowers, embroiled


in a rent boys and drugs scandal involving the bank, the Methodist


Church and the Labour Party. But that is not the only thing that has


been troubling Labour this week. Trouble's brewing at Labour HQ at


Brewers Green. Every home brewer knows that getting the fermentation


right is key to success, No extremes or variations. Everyone working


together. But Labour are not getting it at all right at the moment.


Leaked e-mails show that there's trouble at the top between the two


Eds, Miliband and Balls. And then there's the shocking news that


they've never even been to the pub together. What do they do? Pint of


bitter, anyone? So will the new head brewer, Spencer Livermore, serve up


an enticing mix? He's taking charge of Labour's general election


preparations but his appointment effectively sidelines the party's


general secretary, Iain McNicol, who's so unhappy he's apparently not


talking to Ed Miliband. Add to the keg the ales of Paul Flowers, the


former Chairman of the Co-operative Bank, and it's no surprise that the


Labour party are struggling to come up with a brew they can palate


themselves, let alone sell to the general public. So is it worse than


flat. Is it downright bitter? Joining me now is Atul Hatwal, the


editor of Labour Uncut. Welcome to the programme. How bad is


it between the two Eds? It is not at the level of Tony Blair and Gordon


Brown, but it is difficult and deteriorating. The personalities are


bashing, are substantive policy differences. This is quite a serious


fault line. It is an open secret that they do not agree on


everything. If they can't find agreement over substance, is this


more important than agreement on personality? You have to get on with


the people you work with, you don't have two get on with them but you


have to have a decent working relationship. There is an open


secret that the teams, more than the individuals, are at loggerheads. One


of the things Ed Miliband wanted to do at the start of his leadership


was to express contrition for what he perceives as one of the past


public spending stakes for the last Labour government. Ed Balls was not


his first choice. Ed Balls has vetoed this, absolutely not, the


focus has to be on the Tories are not on the public spending plans.


That is a... An important distinction. Despite everything with


Cameron and Osborne ahead of Miliband and balls in the polling, I


think the fallout from that disagreement is coming through. Does


that mean he is trying to shore up his side and support his team by


bringing in Spencer Livermore? Spencer Livermore is a very


interesting appointment. There was a very famous falling out in 2007 over


the election that never was. Spencer Livermore 's appointment says that


Ed Balls will be on the outside loop during the general election


campaign, and particularly interesting is that if, when looking


at the succession for the Labour Party and who might be the next


leader, Yvette Cooper is the current favourite, Ed Balls' Y. She


potentially won't have a prominent role in the election campaign that


she might have done otherwise. The Spencer Livermore campaigners Ed


Miliband taking control of Labour HQ. Let's go back to the Co-op


Bank. When Labour knew the real reasons Paul Flowers had to resign,


why did it not inform the Co-op group? Well, I'm not aware that we


did know what was going on. The Labour Party in Bradford discovered


it and in London they knew about it. I knew it was part of a


deteriorating situation. I'm not sure that is correct, I don't know


if Labour nationally new one -- what had gone on. We were shocked when we


saw the reports, which is why we acted immediately to suspend him. Is


there not a case for investigating a cover-up, because Mr Flowers was


instrumental in staffing Labour's coppers with Josh? -- coffers with


dosh? He meets Mr Miliband on March the 6th this year and in April, 1.2


million is given to the Labour Party at a very good interest rate. And


then end of a 1.2 million at the same time is given from a trust


which is effectively part of the Co-op Bank. You telling me there is


no connection? We've had a relationship with the Co-op movement


for 100 years. We bank with them. Thousands of businesses and he was


watching this programme bank with them. But you are happy to be cosy


with a man who by this time was clearly a flawed character. This was


a man who to all intents and purposes was a method minister --


Methodist minister. The Tories were all over the Co-op is like a cheap


coat six months ago. We took the sky at face value. He was a church


minister. You had a cosy relationship will stop -- with Paul


Flowers. Why did Ed Miliband put him on their business Council when it


was clear he had no knowledge of business? He was chairman of a


bank, we didn't know about his allegations of criminality. He was


chairman of a bank who did not even know what the balance sheet was. But


we didn't know about any of these allegations. This appeared in a


select committee. When asked what was on the balance sheet, he said 3


billion. Turns out it was 47 billion. Why would you put someone


on an advisory council for business like that? We have all kinds of the


ball on these councils. I would rather have a relationship with the


Co-op Bank then all these shadowy businesses. The Co-op is now owned


by hedge funds, 70%. You cannot compare the Co-op Hank historically


to those banks that destroyed the economy. You are talking about the


serious allegations this weekend - the moment we were aware of that we


acted and we suspended him from the party. And now you have a bank


account owned by hedge funds. Egg balls got ?50,000 as well. An


unprecedented amount. How is that unprecedented? He got ?50,000 to his


office. We've not had anything from the Co-op Bank in over a year, by


the way. Nothing like the scale that was going to conservative offices


before. It was consistent with the rules. People get donations all the


time. Who else has got 50,000 from the Co-op? I'm not aware, but what


is your point? There is no significance to it. Why did Mr


Miliband's office regarded as a nightmare? This was adapt e-mail


from someone you should have known better. -- a daft email. I lived


through the interesting relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony


Blair. You cannot compare it. I work with Ed Balls and Ed Miliband very


closely and they get on extremely well. They have a good working


relationship. Do they agree with absolutely every aspect of policy or


time? Of course there are discussions, as there will be


between George Osborne and David Cameron. They didn't agree over HS2,


did they? That is not true will stop -- that is not true. They don't


agree over the third runway at Heathrow. You are asking between


their relationship now. Mr balls is in favour of the third runway and Ed


Balls threatened to resign over a third runway. You cannot get a


cigarette paper between them on policy. This is Miss chief. --


mischief. I work with both closely and they get on extremely well.


People like you told me exactly the same thing about Mr Brown and Mr


Blair any time we raised it. Is it add? You would always play it down.


Of course, it turned out that it was much worse than even we bought. I


think people knew exactly what the relationship was. Forgive me for


being a bit quizzical about it. How other Tories?


Now, are the Tories out of touch? Does the party detract young voters,


like you and me? Does it have a problem with its image? Surely not!


Here's what one of your colleagues had to say yesterday. Nick Bowles


has always been one for regional board. I don't agree with him. I


travelled around the country all the time working hard with people all


across this country will stop we are unequivocal plea backing the


north-south rail line which does not have the support of Labour. A member


of your own Government says voters think conservatives like you are


aliens from another planet. I just don't agree with Nick on this. In


the end, you have to appeal as a party, as a Government, as people


who want to run the country. You have to appeal, which is why we are


looking to win seats everywhere. I confidently addict we will win in


Berwick-upon-Tweed next year. -- confidently predict. The fact is, in


Scotland, in northern cities, in much of Wales, you are aliens. In


Wales, we have been winning seats back. We have far more now than we


did in the previous parliament. In Scotland, I was just talking


yesterday too, admittedly, one MP, and we have a number of seats in


Scotland which have been coming our way. We've seen that in elections


for the Scottish Parliament. You got the same percentage of the boat as


you did in 1997. Well, as you know, percentage of the vote is not what


determines Parliamentary constituencies. Andrew, I'm not


trying to spin use online. You are no longer a national party. You are


a party of the South. That is not true. In my map of the country, we


are to win more after the next general election and I can hope for


a 300% increase. I will bet you now you will be lucky to hold on. You


will be lucky to win two more seats in Scotland. 50 quid. You're on. In


the north of this country, in Wales, when I look at the map of the


country, we have many constituencies, we have lots of


places where we very much hope to win next time. Our message is


simple. If you are the kind of person who works hard, wants to get


on in life, this is the Government for you. Conservatives on your side.


"Buenos dias a todos mis amigos". Good morning to all my Spanish


friends. We, at the Daily Politics, are a friendly lot. And we've been a


little disturbed by this disruption to European harmony.


That's Spain's RV Romon Margalef being challenged by the Royal Navy


in what officials say was a "significant incursion" into


Gibraltar's territory. Well, we would like to calm these choppy


diplomatic waters with a bit of news for the Foreign Office. Lean closer.


They're only after one thing. Yes, "la taza de la politica cada


dia!" They must have spotted one in our Gibraltar office. Well, sadly,


we'd like to help the diplomatic situation, but tough - there's only


one way we'll cede control of one of these beauties. And that's to listen


to Senora JoCo. We'll remind you how to enter in a minute, but let's see


if you can remember when this happened. What you have failed to


observe, which I must point out in all modesty, is that they would be


the first person in Number Ten to have a science degree will stop --.


A dialling tone. And that's quite an achievement. It's one thing to dial


a conversation, it is another to translate accurate digital


information. I don't know why they used a clip


with my co-presenter! I did one on telephones as well.


To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send your answer


to our special quiz email address - that's [email protected]. And you can


see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on our website.


I did just give the name the way, didn't I? BBC compliance will be all


over it. Anyway, we still have to pick the names out of a hat. Let's


have a look at what is happening at Big Ben. Yes, Prime Minister's


Questions is on its way. If you'd like to comment on proceedings you


can email us at [email protected] or tweet


your thoughts using the hashtag #bbcdp - we'll read some out after


PMQs. And that's not all - Nick Watt from The Guardian is here. What is


going to happen? Well, Nicolas Bowles, the son of Jack Bowles, said


Tories are still seen as a party of toffs. His father was decked --


director of The National Trust. And then obviously the embarrassment of


this e-mail sent by Ed Miliband's chief economic adviser describing Ed


Balls as a nightmare. Those are the gags. One substance, if I was Ed


Miliband I would want to get back to the main theme - cost of living.


I am sure we would all want to associate ourselves with the Prime


Minister's tribute. We will always remember their service to our


country. MPs from across the house will have grave concerns about the


nightmare unfolding at the Co-operative Bank. Does the Prime


Minister share my sense of disbelief that a person such as reverend


flowers, responsible as he was for such large sums of money, was ever


appointed chairman, and what can he do to find out how on earth that


happened? Constituents across the house will have people who hold


Co-op bonds read about what will happen to their investment. The


first priority is to safeguard this bank and make sure it is safeguarded


without using taxpayers' money. That must be the priority. The Chancellor


will discuss with the regulators what is the appropriate form of


enquiry to get to the bottom of what went wrong. But there are lots of


questions to be answered. Why was reverend flowers judged suitable to


be chairman of the bank, why won't alarm bells rung earlier? -- why was


Reverend Flowers judged suitable? It is important that anybody with


information provided to the authorities.


I joined the Prime Minister in paying tribute to warrant Officer


Ian Fisher of 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment, who died serving


his country and all of our thoughts are with his family and friends. Can


the Prime Minister tell us how his campaign is going to save the


Chipping Norton children centre? -- children's centre? I support


children's centres across the country, but in spite of difficult


decisions made across the country, the number of children's centres has


reduced by around 1%, and like all MPs, I fight very hard for services


in my constituency. They are going around saying that children's


centres are safe and there is no threat to them. But things are so


bad he has even signed a petition in his own area to save his local


children's centre. Is the petition addressed to his local Tory


council, or is he taking it right to the top? There are more people using


children's centres than ever before in our country. The figures are,


because he does not want to give them, there are 3000. The point I


will make is this, the government can hold its head up high because we


are increasing the money that is going to local councils for


children's centres, that is what is happening under this Government. We


all wish him luck in his fight as a local MP. Imagine what he could


achieve if he were Prime Minister of the country. I think we have


established these double standards in Oxfordshire. Let's take another


example. In Tory Essex, their proposal... I know they don't care


about children's centres, but they should listen. In Tory Essex, their


proposal is to cut it 11 centres and downgrade 37, with the hours they


stay open falling from 50 week to as little as five. So fewer centres,


fewer staff, few hours. How is that doing what he promised before the


election, to protect and improve sure start? For the first time


ever, 15 hours of childcare for every three and four year-old in


this country. That never happened under Labour. Free childcare hours


for every disadvantaged two year-old, that never happened under


Labour. And tax free childcare under this government is coming, that


never happened under Labour. And we have upgraded the child tax credit


by ?420. That is what is happening. Let me be clear, one policy we won't


adopt, labour's policy of funding more hours through the bank levy. I


will tell you why. They have already spent its ten times over. There it


is. Jobs guarantee, VAT cuts, more capital spending. This isn't a


policy, it is a night out with Reverend Flowers!


Mr Speaker... Mr Speaker... Let's talk about the people he associates


with. Let the house, down. I am concerned, as always, about


backbenchers, and backbenchers who wants to speak should be


accommodated. -- left the house calmed down. He has nearly taken


five -- he has taken nearly ?5 million from a man whose company


raked and they are just the people I can


talk about. Didn't the Planning Minister have it right yesterday


when he said this, the single biggest problem facing the


Conservative Party is being seen as the party of the rich? How


extraordinary that, on today of all days, he wants to talk about the


people he associates with and takes money from? This bank, driven into


the wall by this chairman, has been giving soft loans to the Labour


Party, facilities and donations to the Labour Party, trooped in and out


of Downing Street under the Labour Party, still advising the leader of


the Labour Party, and now we know that, all along, they knew about his


past. Why did they not bring to the attention of the authorities a man


who has broken a bank? I think we can take it from that answer that he


doesn't want to talk about his Planning Minister. Where is the


Planning Minister today? Only last January, he was praising him to the


rafters, saying he was leading the debate. I think the House should


hear more from him. He says the Tory party stand for people who work for


private equity and make a tonne of money. He is right, isn't he? We


have finally found a public enquiry he doesn't want. He comes to this


house and asks for enquiry after enquiry into the culture and


practices of those and bad, but when it comes to the Co-op Bank, he is


absolutely frightened of it. An interesting week to talk about


people on the front bench. He has referred to his own Shadow


Chancellor as a nightmare this week. I'm sorry, I hate to say I told you


so, but I have said this for three years. That is not the most


interesting thing in this fascinating exchange of e-mails.


Labour's head of strategy - yes, they have one! - replied, when did


built to last become part of our thing? Their policies, I agree, are


built to self-destruct in about five seconds. What he has shown


comprehensively today is he has no answers on the cost of living crisis


facing families up and down the country. That is the truth. His


close friend the Planning Minister is right.


He says, many people don't like the Tory party and don't trust their


motives. He says the Prime Minister is not the man to reach them. What


he is really saying is that this Prime Minister is a loser.


What this proves, Mr Speaker, he can't ask about the economy because


it is growing. He can't ask about the deficit because it is falling,


he can't ask about the number of people in work closet is rising. He


can't even ask about banking because he is mired in his own scandal.


Order, the answer must and will be heard. Too weak to stand up to his


trade union paymasters, and his Shadow Chancellor. We know it would


be a nightmare, that is why we are dedicated to making sure that the


British people do not have to live through it.


My right honourable friend will recall visiting the London Gateway


ports in Thurrock, but is he as upset to hear that I am that Unite


are picketing the potential clients of that port, and encouraging sister


unions to block ships that will dock there. Is this not more evidence


that they cost jobs, not save them? Visiting the London Gateway port is


one of the most compelling things I have seen in recent years about


Britain's industrial relations, it is an extraordinary investment which


will be of huge importance, bringing jobs directly and indirectly. She is


right about union intimidation and bully boy tag X. It is right that


Unite and the Labour Party take part in that review. -- bully boy


tactics. I am sure he will agree that the victims of terrorism


deserve not just sympathy with our full support and help and must be at


the core of any process dealing with the past in Northern Ireland. Even


the very worrying statement by the attorney general for Northern


Ireland overnight, made on his own account and behalf and without


consultation, does he agree that there can be no question of an


amnesty for any terrorist atrocities and crimes, and that all victims of


terrorism deserve truth and justice? Let me agree with what he said,


which is the words of the Northern Ireland attorney general are very


much is own words, not at the behest of anyone else. The Government has


no plans to legislate foreign amnesty for crimes committed during


the Troubles. Richard Haass is currently consulting with all the


Northern Ireland parties on issues from the past, as well as the


atrocities. The General Synod is meeting today


and will hopefully find a way to enable women as soon as the to be


consecrated as bishops in the Church of England. If this is successful,


will my right honourable friend and the Government support amendments to


the Bishops' Act, to ensure that women can be admitted to the House


of Lords as soon as possible rather than new women bishops having to


queue up behind every existing diocesan Bishop before we can see


women bishops in Parliament? He follows these matters very closely.


His question is extremely important. I strongly support women


bishops and I hope the Church of England takes this key step to


ensure its place as a modern church in touch with society. There is a


seniority rule for bishops going into the House of Lords. The


Government is willing to work with the church to see how getting women


bishops into the House of Lords can be achieved as soon as possible.


Does he believe that the proposal from the conservative free


enterprise group, supported by 42 of his MPs, to put VAT on food and


children's clothes, shows the true face of the party he leads? I don't


support that policy. I recently joined a credit union in my


constituency which will help a lot of people to ensure they don't have


to go to payday lenders. What more can the Government do to encourage


credit unions and anybody who has a few pounds to spare to put away, to


take the trade away from all four payday lenders? I'm grateful to my


honourable friend for raising this issue. The Government thinks credit


unions are a very big part of the answer to the problems of payday


lending. We've invested a lot of money into credit unions. We are


also regulating properly for the first time payday lending through


the new regulator and we are prepared to look at all the steps


that can be taken will stop --. The Prime Minister will be aware that


save the children has highlighted the importance of early years of


children's development. Does the Prime Minister accept that the


closure of sure start centres is having a negative impact? I would


challenge those figures. The pot of money for children's centres was 2.3


billion in 2012 but it is going up to 2.5 billion in 2014. There are


3000 children centres open. Only 1% have closed. I think the Government


has an excellent record on this front. Now that the changes to


Enfield A and maternity services has been given a green light by


local GPs, can the Prime Minister confirm that Enfield is getting


increased primary care funding and that the hospital is getting 20 47


access to urgent care? 24/7 access. I understand the strategy has been


implemented and the hospital will provide a service that gives access


to GPs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Increases in primary care


funding is part of our plan to expand the NHS. We'll Prime Minister


join me in congratulating the good people of Hull for winning the city


of culture 2017? I'm absolutely delighted to join with the


Honourable Gentleman and everyone in Hull in celebrating this great


award. I think it is a very exciting opportunity. We will be able to


celebrate the birthplace of Wilberforce. Philip Larkin was the


librarian. Peter Mandelson is the hype -- high Sheriff, but everybody


has their cross to bear! I'm sure it will be a huge success for Hull and


for Humberside more generally. 600 new business start-ups have


registered last year. In preparation for small business Saturday on the


7th of December, would my right honourable friend meet with me to


discuss a review of business rates to encourage future growth,


especially in London where rates are very high? I'm very happy to discuss


this issue with my friend who always stand up the small businesses and


enterprise. I think it is a real success story, an excellent 4000


businesses are running. We are running a Government scheme which


has got off the ground very quickly. There are concerns about business


rates and I am happy to discuss those without. May I encourage all


colleagues to take part in small business Saturday? It is a brilliant


initiative which worked very well in the US. Does the Prime Minister


agree with his planning minister back when modern Britain looks at


the Conservative Party, they see old-fashioned monolith? We've had


interesting interventions from front bench is past and present. A tweet


has just come in from Tony McNulty, the former Labour security minister,


saying, the public are desperate for a PM in waiting who speaks for


them, not a leader of the opposition indulging in partisan Westminster


Village knock-about is. So, I would stay up with the tweets. I referred


to the House of registers of members interest. Order! I want to hear the


words being spoken. I referred the House to the register of members


interests that I recently returned a delegation to Israel. On both the


Israeli street and in the corridors of power, Iran remains a number-1


issue of concern. The French president visited Israel earlier


this week to discuss this matter with Israeli counterparts and


appears to a clearly understood the legitimate concerns. When will our


Prime Minister be visiting Israel to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue


and other regional concerns? First, I thank the Honourable Gentleman for


his question. I know there are many in his constituency who care deeply


about this issue. I will never forget the visit I made as leader of


the opposition and I look forward to visiting, I hope, next year. When I


went to Israel, I also visited not only occupied East Jerusalem is but


other areas of Palestine as is proper. But I do understand the


concern is ready to have about the potential Iranian nuclear weapons.


That is why I spoke to the President last night to make clear that we


want an outcome to bees talks which takes a run further away from the


nuclear weapons. -- these talks which takes Iran further away.


Surely there is some merit from the Northern Ireland Attorney General


that rather than a occurring -- rather than incurring huge expense


and effort chasing crimes committed decades ago where the evidence is


difficult to establish, the justified grievances of victims


should be addressed in other ways so that Northern Ireland can move on


from its hideous past. I have great respect for the right Honourable


Gentleman's views on this issue. I do think it is important to allow


Richard to do his work on parades and flags and dealing with the past.


Clearly, the dealing with the past part is the most the gold of the


three will stop -- the most difficult of the three. The police


should be able to bring cases if they can. It is dangerous to think


you can put some sort of lock on that. But we are all interested in


ways for people to reconcile and come to terms with the past so they


can bring together a shared future for Northern Ireland. The people and


businesses of Suffolk are driving economic growth in the East of


England Show. But they are increasingly fearful that the


proposed A14 road toll will put it at a serious disadvantage compared


to other counties. Can I ask my honourable friend if he will


seriously be considered the current proposal? -- seriously reconsider.


The important point is, we want new roads to be built. There are


shortages on capital expenditure will stop that is why I think the


idea of having a toll for some new roads is an idea properly work --


worth looking at. People coming to terms with their loss have no terms


or rights in this country to paid employment leave. Many other falls


back into work party soon after the death of a child. Will the Prime


Minister look into extending to give parents the legal right to have time


to grieve? I'm very happy to look at that. Having suffered this


experience myself, as a member of Parliament it is possible to take


some time to stand back and have a look at what has happened because


colleagues are ready to step in and do what they can. This is a very


important point, let me look at it and get back to him. As I told my


honourable friend when I last looked at this issue, if we want a proper


deterrent, we need the best, that means a permanent at sea gesture.


May I realise -- reassure my right honourable friend that excellent


answer will remain on my website for as long as it takes the pledge to be


filled. I notice he uses the words "conservative only". Only reassure


the House that never again will the Dems allowed to obstruct or delay


the signing of the contract, and will he undertake to sign those


contracts at the first possible opportunity? Firstly, investment in


our nuclear deterrent has not ceased. We're taking all necessary


steps to make that main gate decision possible. We've had the


alternative study which did not come up with a convincing answer. I don't


think I would entirely satisfy my honourable friend even if I gave him


a submarine to park off the coast of his constituency. I rather fear that


is true. If the Prime Minister aware that,


according to the Economist, Britain is now 159th lowest in the world in


terms of British -- business investment, just behind Paraguay and


what Marla? -- and Guatamala? Can you please tell how is when, under


his esteemed leadership, Britain can expect to catch up with them? I can


only conclude the right Honourable Gentleman has been out on a night


with the reverend flowers. In the first six months of this year,


Britain has received more investment than any other country anywhere in


the world. Has my right honourable friend taking the advice opposite,


what would have been the impact of fuel and the impact this would have


had on families? If you look at the cuts and freezers in fuel duty that


we have made, fuel duty would be 30p a leader -- a litre higher. It would


be a nightmare. His own education Department says he has closed 578


children centres. How is this protecting sure start? Well, I gave


him the figures. There are 3000 such centres ( -- open and only 1% have


closed. Ashton Manor Brewery in my constituency has invested ?10


million in creating lots of jobs. The OECD has upgraded the forecast


for Britain while downgrading the global forecast. Is it my honourable


friend's view that reducing debt is the way to get the economy moving,


not getting more debt like the party opposite? I'm grateful to my


honourable friend and what he says. If you look at the OECD forecast out


this week, you see a massive increase in the forecast for UK


growth over the next couple of years. The party opposite don't want


to talk about the economy. Because they told us we were then to lose a


million jobs. We gained a million jobs! The nightmare of the Shadow


Chancellor wants to talk about everything else! Let me just remind


him of this important point. This is relevant to the issue of debt. Ken


Livingstone said this: Gordon Brown was borrowing ?20 billion a year at


the height of the boom in order to avoid having to increase taxes


because he wanted to increase public spending. It was an act of


cowardice. That is the daymare. We are also hearing ranting from the


nightmare! Order! Order! The Honourable Lady has a right to but


her question and to be heard when she does so. That is what is going


to happen. The Housing Association is landlord to some of the poorest


in my constituency. It recently voted its chief executive in


noncontractual redundancy payoff of ?397,000. Will the Prime Minister


join me in condemning the board's action and asking it to be repaid


and invested in much-needed tenant services? I'm very happy to look at


the case because some of these payoffs are completely unacceptable.


We need to make sure local authorities properly take


responsibility for stopping such payoffs. In other parts of the


economy, we are making sure that if people are re-employed having taken


these payoffs, they have to pay back the money. Does my right honourable


friend agree that a key element of the success of the plan for the


reserves would be if my right honourable friend could join


together with the leader of the opposition and inspire employers


that the success of this plan, because there is no other plan, is


in the national interest? I completely agree with my right


honourable friend. This is an important programme for the future


of the country. I understand concerns about this, but if we pass


the amendment, that would simply stop is investing in our reserves


and improving our reserves rather than changing the overall stance. I


have noticed Labour are staying Dashti Burdett a statement today -


-- they put out a statement today that they are not calling that any


specific programmes to be shelved. I think it is naked opportunism. Can


the Prime Minister explain to this House why he deleted his pledge from


the website? What we promised is we would not cut the NHS and we


haven't. We made absolutely clear before the last election we would


have to make difficult decisions, but it is because of those difficult


decisions deficit is coming down, employment is growing, our economy


is doing better, and if we followed the advice of the party opposite we


would have more spending, more borrowing, more debt. Order!


The questions came from all over the place. We got to name-calling about


who bankrolled the parties and the people they mix with. We got an


historic first, the first tweet to be tweeted during PMQs actually read


out in almost real time. Former Labour minister Tony McNulty


tweeted... It was slightly critical of Mr Ed Miliband. Lo and behold,


the Prime Minister had a copy. Obviously somebody is in their


monitoring between. Somebody handed it to the Prime Minister. We will be


quoted, next week! The viewers agreed, it was a bit all over the


place. John in Leeds said, Ed Miliband has been driven into a


corner with the questions he can ask, he is unable to talk about the


economy because it is improving, if he speaks about the banks he is on


dangerous ground. Will from Oxfordshire, just awful. The team at


choreographed David Cameron's performance must realise it is


getting worse and worse. Jackie in Bristol says that those men should


grow up and stop throwing stones at glasshouses, what a pointless


exercise. No wonder nobody wants to vote and Russell Brand never has.


Another e-mail says could somebody tell the Speaker to stop ruining the


atmosphere of PMQs by rudely interrupting party leaders in full


flow? Geoffrey says the fact that Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have never


been to the pub together shows what chaos there would be if Labour came


to power. I thought it was interesting the number of issues


that came up that we had already discussed, it was like a replay of


the Daily Politics! Nick, what did you make? It was a bit all over the


place, but there was a very important announcement by the Prime


Minister saying there will be an investigation into what went on at


the Co-op. You have the chairman of the bank, approved by the FSA, who


did not note the size of their assets. He thought it was ?3


billion, it was ?47 billion. The Co-operative Bank is part of the


co-operative movement which is part of the Labour Party. Ed Balls got


money from the movement. Reverend Flowers' appointment was approved by


the FSA, which was set up by the last government and is no longer in


existence. It didn't even go to a second interview. The person


involved in improving Reverend Flowers got a job on the Co-op


board. I think he had a pretty rigorous interview to get onto the


board, but not to be made chairman. He is intelligent but does not know


much about banking. Rather than going on who is bankrolling whom,


they should stick with living standards?


He asked about Sure Start. David Cameron confirmed there are just


over 3000 Sure Start centres, he did not say that around 578 have been


closed and he promised not to close Sure Start centres. That is a cost


of living issue. The cost of nursery places has gone up 30%, families are


on average ?1600 a year every year... It is a cost of living


issue. What can you tell us about this enquiry into the Co-op? The


Prime Minister will ask the Chancellor to work with the


regulatory authorities. People trust this bank. It has always been the


bank which claims to do ethical banking. It now transpires that they


were doing very seemingly unethical loans at low interest rates to


organisations. Organisations without the balance sheet or the assets to


support alone. Clearly there is a question to answer. If this is the


mess that Labour R.N. With their own banking arrangements and facilities


and between Ed Balls and Ed Miliband, can you imagine what it


would be like if they were running the country? -- if this is the mess


that Labour is in with their own banking arrangements. I assume it


will not be a party political enquiry? It is very important for


people who invest with that bank and bank with them know that a bank


which seems to have gone off track is brought back on, to reinsure


interest is -- reassure investors. The people who bail it out will help


would capitalise the balance sheet and will end up owning 70% of the


Co-op Hank. After what has happened this week, these hedge funds may say


that the bank is tarnished, the brand is in real trouble,


particularly since its unique selling point was the ethical nature


of its business. If these hedge funds do not proceed with the


recapitalisation, which is about ?1.5 billion, the Bank of England


will have to they lit out? I don't want to preserve the Tate further


issues for the bank, but it is clear that rings have gone wrong -- I


don't want to precipitate. The takeover of Britannia, it then


seemed to go into further difficulty. How do you end up with


leading figures as Reverend Flowers, as it turns out, seems to have known


nothing about banking. We need to understand that. I don't think you


are a Co-op MP, you are a Unite MP? I am a member of a trade union, like


many people, some of whom vote Tory. I bank with the Co-op. The party has


historic relations with the Labour Party, questions need to be asked.


If it is not to be a political enquiry, there is a really good


story from the Guardian, the Co-op Bank have had around 30 meetings


with one of your ministers, Mark Hoban. Presumably it will involve


that content? Reign I don't far -- I don't think Mark Hoban has taken


huge loans. The Britannia deal did not work well. Then it went for the


630 Lloyds branches. That is what Mark Hoban was meeting them about.


Then we discovered this huge hole, Lloyds discovered it. When Lloyds


started the due diligence process at the early stages, can this bank


afford these branches? It discovered it couldn't. The Portuguese chief


executive of Lloyds Bank discovered there was a huge hole in the balance


sheet. Labour is on the defensive on the Co-op, its funding and so on,


but why do so may hedge funds give you money? We ask people to support


the party. Thousands of ordinary people join up, but also businesses


and investors. Why? Because they want to see this country being


pro-business, pro-jobs, and growing. It does not matter whether you give


is ?1 or ?1 million, you don't get... You don't buy a policy, you


don't... Hold on a second. You don't buy dinner at Downing Street? You


don't get to choose candidates or the leader. So you get nothing for


it? Let me take you up on that. The hedge funds give you millions of


pounds, but you say it does not buy policy, but you then cut the tax on


hedge funds. We have introduced a... Why did you do that? We have


introduced a ?2 billion annual tax levy on banks, more than you guys


did. You say they cannot buy policy. I am not saying there is a


correlation, a causation, but I look on the one hand that you are getting


millions of pounds from hedge funds, and earlier this year you cut the


tax on hedge funds. Ordinary people will think, hey, there has to be


something going on? This is a big business in Britain. Hedge funds,


the City, all of that. We have been very clear that banks need to pay


and contribute more, they are paying ?2.5 billion more each year. By and


large, banks do not give you money. You only RBS, you are not getting


money from Lloyds and Santander. I was asking about hedge funds. You


said you can't buy policy. If I am hedge funds, I give you ?1 million,


a few months later, I am off to the races, you cut my taxes. You can't


buy policies by giving money. There was the tax cut. That is different


from a system where you select the leader, install candidates... Unless


you are the person who was the head of JCB, unless your name is Adrian,


the venture capital who wrote a report on hiring and firing. What


the Prime Minister was doing was giving an opportunity to donors to


write report that were then being considered for policy, in many


cases. If you are telling me that companies like JCB, an enormous


British success story, don't on their own accounts disburse...


Deserve... Their helicopter is put at the disposal of the Prime


Minister. I think we will have to leave it there. Nick, I will see you


on Sunday morning on the Sunday Politics. Your cheque will be the


post, blank as usual. Not the Co-op! Fatboy Slim and some rather nice


fish and chip shops. Philip Larkin, John Prescot, and the


Humber Bridge. Would Hull ever get the international status it


deserved? This morning, the people of the city chewed their collective


fingernails, hanging on the words of Culture Secretary Maria Miller as


she announced who would be chosen as the UK's City of Culture 2017. It


was Hull. So were they pleased? RAUCOUS CHAIRING. -- CHEERING. I do


think they might have been pleased. And Hull's most famous MP, former


Home Secretary Alan Johnson, joins us now from Central London. Sorry,


John Prescott! It is good to see you in the daylight, Alan! Wider using


Hull got it? It was a terrific bid. It was not just detailing all the


great cult shall heritage, whether Andrew Marvell, Larkin, the Hull


Truck Theatre, The Beautiful South or any of that, but it is focusing


on the future, how City of Culture can create jobs and regenerate the


city. Hull has not had it easy recently? It was the biggest port in


the world, and the fishing industry collapse. They have been struggling


back from that. It is good in its own right to be a city of culture,


but you think it is a contributor towards the economic regeneration of


the city and the surrounding area? It is part of a plan. Whether we


have it or not, this would go on. A gallery, bringing HMS illustrious


into the city, the fruit market is being regenerated in terms of arts


and crafts at that rep. I think this is why the judges unanimously


supported Hull, it fits into that plan. We did not just bid for City


of Culture and there is nothing out there, it is a real vision for the


future. We have a little test, let's see how up you are. I think you will


do all right. Which poll it was the librarian at the University of hole


for 30 years? Philippa log in. -- Philip Larkin. Which pop and top the


charts in 1986 with their single Caravan Of Love. Housemartins. Which


Hull born actress is probably best known for being on the BT adverts?


Maureen Lipman. I hope... Hope Michael Portillo is watching! You


can see the personification of culture in the person before you.


Which New Zealand novelist won this year 's man Booker prize? Eleanor


Catton. Who painted three studies of louche and Freud recently sold for


?142 million? -- of Lucian Freud. That was Francis Bacon. They became


the first woman to conduct the latter night of the BBC Proms this


year? Marian Alsop. And which star of the only way is ethics is


appearing on this year 's I'm a celebrity? It's good to know pop --


politicians have their finger on the pulse. Apparently his name is Joey


Essex. Did he change his name by deed poll? Who knows. Alan, are you


going to get stuck into this city of culture? Yes, in a sense, the hard


work starts here. We had look what has happened in Londonderry and we


will try to emulate that. Now, buying a new home is an


expensive business what with mortgage fees, moving costs and


legal costs, not to mention the cost of the House itself. But if you're


buying a place for ?125,000 or more then you'll also have to write a


cheque to the Treasury to pay Stamp Duty Land Tax. Home owners have to


pay a percentage of the total purchase price, but as the value of


properties rise, many are finding themselves with a bigger and bigger


Stamp Duty bill. The think tank the Taxpayers' Alliance wanst to see it


cut. In this week's soapbox, their chief executive, Matthew Sinclair,


explains why. You can't buy a real House with


Monopoly money. It often takes years to assemble and deposit. So why does


the taxman make it that much harder? Stamp duty used to be 1% of


the value and only paid on above average properties. Now, people have


to pay 3% on ordinary family homes, not just made their mansions. --


Mayfair mansions. With rising House prices, more of us are being stung


by these higher rates. Purchasing a little greenhouse of our own is


becoming more unaffordable. It is the largest cheque we will ever


write but it does not raise a lot of revenue. It is only about 1% of the


taxes the Government takes in one year. The reason is obvious. Fewer


people move as costs rise. So you could cut stamp duty with very


little impact. Even in the most affordable parts of the Monopoly


board, like Old Kent Road, punitive rates still apply. Stamp duty makes


it much harder for young people to buy a home and start a family. It


discourages elderly people from downsizing. It distorts the House


market so much that two major recent reviews of the tax system called for


it to be abolished. It makes it harder for people to move to new


places for new jobs. In this game, the only winner is the taxman.


Increase the threshold, reform the structure, or simply cut the rates.


However he does it, it is time for the Chancellor to cut this unfair


double tax. Let's pick up on your point about public finances. I think


people would argue that points. ?6.9 million collected last year, ?7.7


million predict this year. It is not going to pay back all the deficit,


but in austerity times, it is a lot of money. But it is a tax on


transactions. The more people move, the more get paid. Therefore, what


we've done by putting in place high rates is discourage people from


moving. There was powerful new evidence coming out that shows


higher stamp duty rates mean lower numbers of transactions. That means


they undermine their own revenue. The higher the rates get, the fewer


the transactions, the more you are trying to take a big chunk out of a


smaller pie of transactions. The impact on revenue would be much more


limited. Those figures are billions not million. I looked at this when I


was housing minister will stop in order to try to find out whether it


was possible to encourage enough additional activity that the


Treasury still got the money. The truth is, 6 billion is not small


change. What about the point that if you lowered it, you would get more?


When we modelled it, we never found that that was the case. I think


there are lots of taxes that we would rather get rid of, but the


truth is we have to do that by cutting expenditure and carrying on


the programme of deficit reduction. Since you were housing minister, we


have for the first time in all its evidence to give us a concrete sense


of how the number of transactions responds really strongly to the


stamp duty rate. Given that there are so many other things people do


when they move, so many purchasers, so many other transactions that


create tax receipts, it does not mean there will be no cost of doing


this. But there are loads of ways... We think ultimately it should be


abolished. But in the meantime, there would be nothing wrong


whatsoever with increasing the threshold and cutting the rates,


reforming the crazy structure. It was a big issue with the


Conservatives before the last election. George Osborne promised to


abolish stamp duty for almost all first-time buyers. I think this was


the 2007 policy. The previous Government brought that in and then


ran for a while. Actually, we found it was costing the Treasury quite a


lot. One interesting thing is that things like the Help To Buy scheme


coming in which is helping people get onto the housing ladder, that


has a much higher impact. Whenever we modelled it we've not managed to


show that the Treasury would still collect the money. It is an


interesting issue. A year ago, one option we had was to do something


around stamp duty for first-time buyers will stop if we're honest,


this is a symptom of something that is wrong with the housing market. We


need to bask increase supply. That is the thing. But while we're


waiting for that to come along... Well, house-building completions are


now at their lowest peace building levels since the world war. They've


gone on 29% in the last year. When George Osborne told the Cabinet,


we're going to have a nice at all housing price boom - we don't want a


House price boom, we want a house-building boom. It is not true


to say we are building fewer houses. Actually, this does happen


to be an area I know something about. Remember all those e-mails


that came out? 150,000 new homes have been built and planning


permission is up. The 1920s lowest holding level was the level from


your Government beforehand. I agree we need to build more and that is


something we are doing. You did not have a great record in 13 years.


Most Labour politicians would agree that you did not build enough. Back


chaps, can we expect any movement on this in the autumn statement? --


Grant Schapps. There is a very practical Help To Buy scheme so that


now people don't have to stump up ?60,000. They can get a deposit with


?10,000. Where going to tax people and then were going to say, but you


can borrow more money from the bank to work up for it. It is of long way


from taking responsibility. We need to do something about this cost.


Thank you. Now, it's time to put you out of your misery and give you the


answer to Guess The Year. It was 1979. Grant, would you press that


red button now, please. Ken Clarke! But with no last letter on there.


Here is Andrew in 1976 talking about the breaking up of written.


It is not quite as simple as the budding tartan shapes would make us


believe. Who is that? OK, that's all for today. Thanks to our guests. The


One O'clock News is starting over on BBC One now. We'll be back tomorrow


at noon with all the big political stories of the day. We'll be joined


by Nicola Horlick, the business woman who was once described as


Superwoman. So do join us then. Bye bye.


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