20/11/2013 Daily Politics


20/11/2013

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

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army come under fire from conservative backbenchers. The

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

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

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Chief. Shocking revelations this week about

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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are managing the reserve list programme. Parliament is interested,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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massive aircraft carriers, which are massive investments in themselves.

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

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

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

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

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

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army, governments of both political persuasions have done that for

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

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

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be better trained than the old Territorial Army, meaning employers

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

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

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

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businesses employing them. I think businesses want the skills that

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allow releasing them to be reservists will bring back. This

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

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

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

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

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

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little confused. The government themselves have said they are not

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making these changes for reasons of finance but for proper defence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Army recruitment plans generally, because we want time for Parliament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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changed, we have an increasing capability gap between letting the

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regulars go and recruiting reservists. With these amendments,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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which could lead to false economies, examine the poorer recruitment

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record which could lead to widening capability gaps. Parliament should

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be scrutinising decisions that increasingly look flawed and that

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

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

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Conservative side. I understand Labour will support this amendment.

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

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

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

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

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

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their plans for a short period while Parliament scrutinises things and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Brewers Green. Every home brewer knows that getting the fermentation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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preparations but his appointment effectively sidelines the party's

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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think the fallout from that disagreement is coming through. Does

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

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bringing in Spencer Livermore? Spencer Livermore is a very

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

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

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

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campaign, and particularly interesting is that if, when looking

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

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

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

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she might have done otherwise. The Spencer Livermore campaigners Ed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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through the interesting relationship between Gordon Brown and Tony

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

:20:50.:20:55.

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

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

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

:21:04.:21:06.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:21:58.:22:07.

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

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

:22:12.:22:20.

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

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

:22:27.:22:37.

being a bit quizzical about it. How other Tories?

:22:38.:22:43.

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

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

:22:48.:22:53.

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

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

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

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across this country will stop we are unequivocal plea backing the

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

:23:25.:23:34.

of your own Government says voters think conservatives like you are

:23:35.:23:40.

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

:23:41.:23:44.

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

:23:45.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:58.

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

:23:59.:24:06.

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

:24:07.:24:18.

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

:24:19.:24:25.

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

:24:26.:24:31.

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

:24:32.:24:38.

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

:24:39.:24:41.

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

:24:42.:24:47.

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

:24:48.:24:52.

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

:24:53.:24:57.

determines Parliamentary constituencies. Andrew, I'm not

:24:58.:25:06.

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

:25:07.:25:15.

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

:25:16.:25:23.

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

:25:24.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:41.

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

:25:42.:25:48.

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

:25:49.:25:52.

country, we have many constituencies, we have lots of

:25:53.:26:00.

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

:26:01.:26:05.

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

:26:06.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:19.

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

:26:20.:26:22.

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

:26:23.:26:26.

little disturbed by this disruption to European harmony.

:26:27.:26:43.

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

:26:44.:26:48.

in what officials say was a "significant incursion" into

:26:49.:26:52.

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

:26:53.:26:55.

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

:26:56.:27:02.

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

:27:03.:27:09.

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

:27:10.:27:16.

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

:27:17.:27:20.

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

:27:21.:27:31.

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

:27:32.:27:35.

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

:27:36.:27:44.

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

:27:45.:27:51.

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

:27:52.:28:16.

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

:28:17.:28:43.

a conversation, it is another to translate accurate digital

:28:44.:28:44.

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

:28:45.:29:07.

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

:29:08.:29:13.

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

:29:14.:29:17.

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

:29:18.:29:19.

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

:29:20.:29:30.

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

:29:31.:29:44.

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

:29:45.:29:54.

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

:29:55.:30:00.

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

:30:01.:30:03.

can email us at [email protected] or tweet

:30:04.:30:05.

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

:30:06.:30:14.

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

:30:15.:30:22.

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

:30:23.:30:27.

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

:30:28.:30:35.

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

:30:36.:30:41.

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

:30:42.:30:44.

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

:30:45.:30:50.

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

:30:51.:31:34.

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

:31:35.:31:42.

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

:31:43.:31:46.

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

:31:47.:31:52.

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

:31:53.:31:59.

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

:32:00.:32:04.

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

:32:05.:32:12.

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

:32:13.:32:19.

happened? Constituents across the house will have people who hold

:32:20.:32:24.

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

:32:25.:32:27.

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

:32:28.:32:34.

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

:32:35.:32:40.

will discuss with the regulators what is the appropriate form of

:32:41.:32:44.

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

:32:45.:32:50.

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

:32:51.:32:55.

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

:32:56.:33:01.

Reverend Flowers judged suitable? It is important that anybody with

:33:02.:33:07.

information provided to the authorities.

:33:08.:33:14.

I joined the Prime Minister in paying tribute to warrant Officer

:33:15.:33:19.

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

:33:20.:33:23.

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

:33:24.:33:27.

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

:33:28.:33:38.

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

:33:39.:33:41.

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

:33:42.:33:46.

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

:33:47.:33:52.

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

:33:53.:33:58.

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

:33:59.:34:02.

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

:34:03.:34:08.

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

:34:09.:34:19.

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

:34:20.:34:22.

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

:34:23.:34:29.

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

:34:30.:34:33.

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

:34:34.:34:38.

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

:34:39.:34:43.

are increasing the money that is going to local councils for

:34:44.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:57.

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

:34:58.:35:00.

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

:35:01.:35:06.

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

:35:07.:35:10.

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

:35:11.:35:15.

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

:35:16.:35:20.

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

:35:21.:35:27.

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

:35:28.:35:35.

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

:35:36.:35:38.

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

:35:39.:35:49.

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

:35:50.:35:54.

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

:35:55.:36:00.

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

:36:01.:36:05.

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

:36:06.:36:10.

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

:36:11.:36:16.

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

:36:17.:36:21.

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

:36:22.:36:26.

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

:36:27.:36:34.

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

:36:35.:36:40.

policy, it is a night out with Reverend Flowers!

:36:41.:36:53.

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

:36:54.:37:03.

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

:37:04.:37:08.

backbenchers, and backbenchers who wants to speak should be

:37:09.:37:13.

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

:37:14.:37:20.

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

:37:21.:37:22.

raked and they are just the people I can

:37:23.:37:43.

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

:37:44.:37:49.

when he said this, the single biggest problem facing the

:37:50.:37:53.

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

:37:54.:37:59.

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

:38:00.:38:03.

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

:38:04.:38:12.

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

:38:13.:38:17.

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

:38:18.:38:20.

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

:38:21.:38:25.

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

:38:26.:38:30.

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

:38:31.:38:36.

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

:38:37.:38:42.

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

:38:43.:38:47.

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

:38:48.:38:52.

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

:38:53.:38:57.

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

:38:58.:39:01.

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

:39:02.:39:05.

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

:39:06.:39:11.

house and asks for enquiry after enquiry into the culture and

:39:12.:39:14.

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

:39:15.:39:23.

absolutely frightened of it. An interesting week to talk about

:39:24.:39:27.

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

:39:28.:39:33.

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

:39:34.:39:37.

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

:39:38.:39:43.

interesting thing in this fascinating exchange of e-mails.

:39:44.:39:49.

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

:39:50.:39:55.

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

:39:56.:40:00.

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

:40:01.:40:09.

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

:40:10.:40:13.

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

:40:14.:40:17.

close friend the Planning Minister is right.

:40:18.:40:33.

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

:40:34.:40:39.

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

:40:40.:40:43.

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

:40:44.:40:52.

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

:40:53.:40:55.

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

:40:56.:40:59.

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

:41:00.:41:04.

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

:41:05.:41:13.

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

:41:14.:41:25.

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

:41:26.:41:31.

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

:41:32.:41:36.

British people do not have to live through it.

:41:37.:41:45.

My right honourable friend will recall visiting the London Gateway

:41:46.:41:51.

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

:41:52.:41:55.

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

:41:56.:42:00.

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

:42:01.:42:08.

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

:42:09.:42:10.

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

:42:11.:42:14.

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

:42:15.:42:23.

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

:42:24.:42:26.

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

:42:27.:42:32.

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

:42:33.:42:38.

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

:42:39.:42:41.

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

:42:42.:42:45.

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

:42:46.:42:49.

the very worrying statement by the attorney general for Northern

:42:50.:42:52.

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

:42:53.:42:56.

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

:42:57.:42:59.

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

:43:00.:43:07.

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

:43:08.:43:12.

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

:43:13.:43:16.

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

:43:17.:43:22.

no plans to legislate foreign amnesty for crimes committed during

:43:23.:43:26.

the Troubles. Richard Haass is currently consulting with all the

:43:27.:43:30.

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

:43:31.:43:37.

atrocities. The General Synod is meeting today

:43:38.:43:41.

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

:43:42.:43:47.

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

:43:48.:43:54.

will my right honourable friend and the Government support amendments to

:43:55.:44:02.

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

:44:03.:44:06.

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

:44:07.:44:09.

queue up behind every existing diocesan Bishop before we can see

:44:10.:44:15.

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

:44:16.:44:20.

His question is extremely important. I strongly support women

:44:21.:44:24.

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

:44:25.:44:28.

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

:44:29.:44:33.

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

:44:34.:44:36.

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

:44:37.:44:41.

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

:44:42.:44:45.

Does he believe that the proposal from the conservative free

:44:46.:44:49.

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

:44:50.:44:56.

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

:44:57.:45:09.

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

:45:10.:45:12.

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

:45:13.:45:20.

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

:45:21.:45:25.

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

:45:26.:45:30.

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

:45:31.:45:36.

honourable friend for raising this issue. The Government thinks credit

:45:37.:45:40.

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

:45:41.:45:44.

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

:45:45.:45:50.

also regulating properly for the first time payday lending through

:45:51.:45:53.

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

:45:54.:46:02.

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

:46:03.:46:06.

save the children has highlighted the importance of early years of

:46:07.:46:09.

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

:46:10.:46:16.

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

:46:17.:46:24.

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

:46:25.:46:29.

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

:46:30.:46:38.

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

:46:39.:46:41.

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

:46:42.:46:53.

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

:46:54.:46:56.

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

:46:57.:47:02.

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

:47:03.:47:12.

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

:47:13.:47:20.

implemented and the hospital will provide a service that gives access

:47:21.:47:24.

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

:47:25.:47:32.

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

:47:33.:47:41.

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

:47:42.:47:49.

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

:47:50.:47:54.

Honourable Gentleman and everyone in Hull in celebrating this great

:47:55.:47:57.

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

:47:58.:48:03.

celebrate the birthplace of Wilberforce. Philip Larkin was the

:48:04.:48:19.

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

:48:20.:48:29.

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

:48:30.:48:40.

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

:48:41.:48:46.

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

:48:47.:48:51.

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

:48:52.:48:54.

discuss a review of business rates to encourage future growth,

:48:55.:48:57.

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

:48:58.:49:05.

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

:49:06.:49:10.

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

:49:11.:49:19.

businesses are running. We are running a Government scheme which

:49:20.:49:23.

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

:49:24.:49:26.

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

:49:27.:49:30.

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

:49:31.:49:35.

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

:49:36.:49:46.

agree with his planning minister back when modern Britain looks at

:49:47.:49:49.

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

:49:50.:49:56.

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

:49:57.:50:04.

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

:50:05.:50:09.

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

:50:10.:50:14.

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

:50:15.:50:19.

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

:50:20.:50:28.

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

:50:29.:50:41.

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

:50:42.:50:45.

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

:50:46.:50:51.

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

:50:52.:50:56.

issue of concern. The French president visited Israel earlier

:50:57.:51:01.

this week to discuss this matter with Israeli counterparts and

:51:02.:51:03.

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

:51:04.:51:10.

Prime Minister be visiting Israel to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue

:51:11.:51:16.

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

:51:17.:51:20.

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

:51:21.:51:25.

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

:51:26.:51:29.

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

:51:30.:51:36.

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

:51:37.:51:44.

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

:51:45.:51:47.

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

:51:48.:51:52.

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

:51:53.:51:57.

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

:51:58.:52:06.

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

:52:07.:52:13.

Surely there is some merit from the Northern Ireland Attorney General

:52:14.:52:17.

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

:52:18.:52:23.

and effort chasing crimes committed decades ago where the evidence is

:52:24.:52:28.

difficult to establish, the justified grievances of victims

:52:29.:52:32.

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

:52:33.:52:40.

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

:52:41.:52:45.

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

:52:46.:52:49.

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

:52:50.:52:54.

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

:52:55.:52:59.

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

:53:00.:53:09.

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

:53:10.:53:12.

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

:53:13.:53:18.

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

:53:19.:53:21.

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

:53:22.:53:27.

businesses of Suffolk are driving economic growth in the East of

:53:28.:53:36.

England Show. But they are increasingly fearful that the

:53:37.:53:42.

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

:53:43.:53:48.

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

:53:49.:53:51.

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

:53:52.:54:07.

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

:54:08.:54:09.

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

:54:10.:54:16.

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

:54:17.:54:29.

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

:54:30.:54:33.

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

:54:34.:54:38.

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

:54:39.:54:45.

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

:54:46.:54:52.

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

:54:53.:55:00.

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

:55:01.:55:03.

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

:55:04.:55:06.

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

:55:07.:55:10.

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

:55:11.:55:21.

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

:55:22.:55:25.

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

:55:26.:55:37.

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

:55:38.:55:39.

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

:55:40.:55:46.

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

:55:47.:55:50.

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

:55:51.:55:57.

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

:55:58.:56:00.

contracts at the first possible opportunity? Firstly, investment in

:56:01.:56:08.

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

:56:09.:56:12.

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

:56:13.:56:17.

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

:56:18.:56:23.

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

:56:24.:56:28.

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

:56:29.:56:43.

is true. If the Prime Minister aware that,

:56:44.:56:46.

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

:56:47.:56:53.

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

:56:54.:57:03.

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

:57:04.:57:09.

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

:57:10.:57:19.

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

:57:20.:57:26.

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

:57:27.:57:29.

Britain has received more investment than any other country anywhere in

:57:30.:57:45.

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

:57:46.:57:49.

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

:57:50.:57:59.

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

:58:00.:58:05.

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

:58:06.:58:17.

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

:58:18.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:32.

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

:58:33.:58:46.

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

:58:47.:58:48.

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

:58:49.:58:55.

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

:58:56.:58:59.

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

:59:00.:59:04.

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

:59:05.:59:11.

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

:59:12.:59:17.

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

:59:18.:59:20.

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

:59:21.:59:25.

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

:59:26.:59:29.

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

:59:30.:59:40.

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

:59:41.:59:47.

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

:59:48.:59:54.

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

:59:55.:59:58.

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

:59:59.:00:01.

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

:00:02.:00:15.

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

:00:16.:00:46.

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

:00:47.:00:52.

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

:00:53.:01:00.

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

:01:01.:01:04.

in my constituency. It recently voted its chief executive in

:01:05.:01:09.

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

:01:10.:01:14.

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

:01:15.:01:18.

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

:01:19.:01:25.

the case because some of these payoffs are completely unacceptable.

:01:26.:01:29.

We need to make sure local authorities properly take

:01:30.:01:33.

responsibility for stopping such payoffs. In other parts of the

:01:34.:01:38.

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

:01:39.:01:41.

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

:01:42.:01:52.

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

:01:53.:01:57.

reserves would be if my right honourable friend could join

:01:58.:02:01.

together with the leader of the opposition and inspire employers

:02:02.:02:06.

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

:02:07.:02:12.

in the national interest? I completely agree with my right

:02:13.:02:16.

honourable friend. This is an important programme for the future

:02:17.:02:21.

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

:02:22.:02:26.

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

:02:27.:02:31.

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

:02:32.:02:35.

have noticed Labour are staying Dashti Burdett a statement today -

:02:36.:02:46.

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

:02:47.:02:51.

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

:02:52.:02:57.

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

:02:58.:03:06.

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

:03:07.:03:11.

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

:03:12.:03:14.

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

:03:15.:03:20.

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

:03:21.:03:24.

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

:03:25.:03:27.

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

:03:28.:03:43.

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

:03:44.:03:51.

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

:03:52.:03:58.

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

:03:59.:04:04.

out in almost real time. Former Labour minister Tony McNulty

:04:05.:04:10.

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

:04:11.:04:15.

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

:04:16.:04:19.

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

:04:20.:04:26.

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

:04:27.:04:31.

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

:04:32.:04:35.

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

:04:36.:04:39.

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

:04:40.:04:44.

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

:04:45.:04:49.

choreographed David Cameron's performance must realise it is

:04:50.:04:52.

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

:04:53.:04:58.

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

:04:59.:05:02.

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

:05:03.:05:06.

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

:05:07.:05:12.

atmosphere of PMQs by rudely interrupting party leaders in full

:05:13.:05:18.

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

:05:19.:05:21.

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

:05:22.:05:26.

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

:05:27.:05:29.

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

:05:30.:05:33.

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

:05:34.:05:40.

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

:05:41.:05:44.

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

:05:45.:05:51.

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

:05:52.:05:56.

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

:05:57.:06:00.

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

:06:01.:06:08.

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

:06:09.:06:16.

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

:06:17.:06:22.

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

:06:23.:06:27.

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

:06:28.:06:33.

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

:06:34.:06:42.

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

:06:43.:06:45.

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

:06:46.:06:51.

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

:06:52.:06:54.

they should stick with living standards?

:06:55.:07:01.

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

:07:02.:07:06.

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

:07:07.:07:12.

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

:07:13.:07:17.

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

:07:18.:07:24.

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

:07:25.:07:30.

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

:07:31.:07:36.

Prime Minister will ask the Chancellor to work with the

:07:37.:07:39.

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

:07:40.:07:45.

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

:07:46.:07:52.

were doing very seemingly unethical loans at low interest rates to

:07:53.:07:57.

organisations. Organisations without the balance sheet or the assets to

:07:58.:08:03.

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

:08:04.:08:09.

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

:08:10.:08:15.

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

:08:16.:08:17.

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

:08:18.:08:23.

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

:08:24.:08:27.

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

:08:28.:08:32.

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

:08:33.:08:36.

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

:08:37.:08:46.

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

:08:47.:08:50.

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

:08:51.:08:55.

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

:08:56.:09:01.

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

:09:02.:09:03.

particularly since its unique selling point was the ethical nature

:09:04.:09:08.

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

:09:09.:09:14.

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

:09:15.:09:18.

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

:09:19.:09:22.

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

:09:23.:09:28.

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

:09:29.:09:35.

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

:09:36.:09:40.

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

:09:41.:09:47.

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

:09:48.:09:58.

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

:09:59.:10:04.

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

:10:05.:10:11.

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

:10:12.:10:16.

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

:10:17.:10:19.

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

:10:20.:10:23.

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

:10:24.:10:34.

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

:10:35.:10:40.

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

:10:41.:10:52.

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

:10:53.:10:57.

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

:10:58.:11:02.

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

:11:03.:11:05.

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

:11:06.:11:11.

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

:11:12.:11:21.

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

:11:22.:11:26.

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

:11:27.:11:31.

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

:11:32.:11:38.

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

:11:39.:11:44.

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

:11:45.:11:50.

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

:11:51.:11:58.

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

:11:59.:12:03.

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

:12:04.:12:12.

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

:12:13.:12:15.

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

:12:16.:12:23.

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

:12:24.:12:28.

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

:12:29.:12:37.

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

:12:38.:12:41.

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

:12:42.:12:45.

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

:12:46.:12:50.

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

:12:51.:12:58.

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

:12:59.:13:02.

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

:13:03.:13:07.

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

:13:08.:13:13.

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

:13:14.:13:18.

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

:13:19.:13:22.

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

:13:23.:13:27.

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

:13:28.:13:33.

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

:13:34.:13:39.

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

:13:40.:13:45.

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

:13:46.:13:51.

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

:13:52.:13:56.

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

:13:57.:13:59.

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

:14:00.:14:07.

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

:14:08.:14:11.

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

:14:12.:14:19.

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

:14:20.:14:25.

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

:14:26.:14:30.

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

:14:31.:14:34.

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

:14:35.:14:37.

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

:14:38.:14:40.

Humber Bridge. Would Hull ever get the international status it

:14:41.:14:43.

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

:14:44.:14:46.

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

:14:47.:14:49.

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

:14:50.:15:01.

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

:15:02.:15:21.

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

:15:22.:15:24.

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

:15:25.:15:30.

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

:15:31.:15:39.

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

:15:40.:15:44.

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

:15:45.:15:50.

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

:15:51.:15:55.

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

:15:56.:16:00.

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

:16:01.:16:06.

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

:16:07.:16:12.

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

:16:13.:16:17.

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

:16:18.:16:21.

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

:16:22.:16:27.

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

:16:28.:16:32.

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

:16:33.:16:36.

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

:16:37.:16:42.

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

:16:43.:16:46.

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

:16:47.:16:52.

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

:16:53.:16:58.

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

:16:59.:17:04.

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

:17:05.:17:10.

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

:17:11.:17:22.

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

:17:23.:17:32.

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

:17:33.:17:36.

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

:17:37.:17:48.

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

:17:49.:18:04.

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

:18:05.:18:16.

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

:18:17.:18:23.

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

:18:24.:18:34.

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

:18:35.:18:38.

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

:18:39.:18:49.

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

:18:50.:18:59.

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

:19:00.:19:05.

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

:19:06.:19:12.

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

:19:13.:19:23.

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

:19:24.:19:25.

expensive business what with mortgage fees, moving costs and

:19:26.:19:29.

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

:19:30.:19:32.

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

:19:33.:19:36.

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

:19:37.:19:40.

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

:19:41.:19:43.

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

:19:44.:19:47.

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

:19:48.:19:50.

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

:19:51.:20:02.

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

:20:03.:20:05.

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

:20:06.:20:14.

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

:20:15.:20:19.

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

:20:20.:20:26.

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

:20:27.:20:36.

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

:20:37.:20:40.

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

:20:41.:20:47.

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

:20:48.:20:51.

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

:20:52.:20:59.

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

:21:00.:21:08.

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

:21:09.:21:13.

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

:21:14.:21:18.

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

:21:19.:21:23.

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

:21:24.:21:27.

discourages elderly people from downsizing. It distorts the House

:21:28.:21:32.

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

:21:33.:21:37.

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

:21:38.:21:42.

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

:21:43.:21:47.

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

:21:48.:21:52.

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

:21:53.:21:58.

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

:21:59.:22:05.

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

:22:06.:22:11.

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

:22:12.:22:15.

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

:22:16.:22:20.

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

:22:21.:22:31.

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

:22:32.:22:34.

moving. There was powerful new evidence coming out that shows

:22:35.:22:41.

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

:22:42.:22:45.

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

:22:46.:22:49.

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

:22:50.:22:55.

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

:22:56.:23:00.

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

:23:01.:23:08.

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

:23:09.:23:12.

was possible to encourage enough additional activity that the

:23:13.:23:17.

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

:23:18.:23:23.

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

:23:24.:23:27.

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

:23:28.:23:34.

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

:23:35.:23:38.

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

:23:39.:23:43.

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

:23:44.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:55.

of how the number of transactions responds really strongly to the

:23:56.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:08.

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

:24:09.:24:15.

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

:24:16.:24:18.

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

:24:19.:24:22.

whatsoever with increasing the threshold and cutting the rates,

:24:23.:24:28.

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

:24:29.:24:30.

Conservatives before the last election. George Osborne promised to

:24:31.:24:36.

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

:24:37.:24:45.

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

:24:46.:24:49.

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

:24:50.:24:53.

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

:24:54.:25:00.

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

:25:01.:25:06.

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

:25:07.:25:09.

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

:25:10.:25:22.

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

:25:23.:25:25.

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

:25:26.:25:31.

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

:25:32.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:43.

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

:25:44.:25:50.

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

:25:51.:25:58.

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

:25:59.:26:01.

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

:26:02.:26:05.

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

:26:06.:26:13.

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

:26:14.:26:19.

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

:26:20.:26:28.

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

:26:29.:26:36.

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

:26:37.:26:42.

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

:26:43.:26:47.

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

:26:48.:26:51.

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

:26:52.:26:58.

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

:26:59.:27:08.

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

:27:09.:27:12.

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

:27:13.:27:21.

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

:27:22.:27:24.

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

:27:25.:27:32.

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

:27:33.:27:41.

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

:27:42.:27:45.

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

:27:46.:28:03.

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

:28:04.:28:14.

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

:28:15.:28:21.

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

:28:22.:28:28.

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

:28:29.:28:33.

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

:28:34.:28:37.

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

:28:38.:28:40.

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

:28:41.:28:46.

Superwoman. So do join us then. Bye bye.

:28:47.:28:51.

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