18/12/2013 Daily Politics


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 18/12/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Morning, folks, and welcome to the Daily Politics.


A three-month wait for migrants to claim benefits in Britain will be


introduced in January, but will the change put off Bulgarians and


Romanians from coming here just weeks before restrictions on their


right to work are lifted? Prisoners serving short sentences


should get the vote - that's the conclusion of a committee of MPs and


peers. But not all of their colleagues agree.


Ed Miliband and David Cameron face each other across the despatch box -


we'll bring you the final exchanges of 2013 live.


And Olympic Gold Chris Boardman tells us why we need to make


Britain's roads safer for cyclists. The last programme of the year - but


we leave the best to last. Joining us for the duration shadow welfare


minister Chris Bryant and treasury minister Nicky Morgan - who better


to bring a little yuletide cheer to proceedings? Is that a quiz? Who


better? Not yet! First this morning, the Prime Minister's left it late -


the last Daily Politics of the year and only a few politics days until


Christmas - but if you're Romanian or Bulgarian and hoping to travel to


Britain for work on first January David Cameron wants you to know that


you won't be able to claim benefits here for at least three months. --


on January the 1st. Let's speak to our political correspondent Iain


Watson, who is in Brussels. How will you manage to do that in


what is left of this Parliament? Quite easily, simply by putting a


regulation in Parliament, secondary legislation to go forward on January


the 1st. Critics thought it would be impossible to rush this through. The


question is, how effective will it be? Clearly, he wants this past


before people can come from Romania and Bulgarians and get free access


to labour market is, some of his own MPs wanted to talk about putting


controls on for longer, he has batted that off until next month. He


will be able to deny British benefits to Bulgarians and Romanians


and anyone else coming from the EU for the first three months, there is


another route for them to get benefits and they could potentially


still come to Britain to seek work. This European Commission memo from


late last month made it very clear that they have the right to apply to


their home country to get their benefits exported, for their first


three months in Britain they can get benefits paid out Romanian and


Bulgarians level is. You might assume these are poverty stricken


compared to the rest of us, but the benefits system is quite generous.


Wages are lower in Bulgaria, for example, that benefits can be up to


60% of the average wage, around ?50 or ?60, not dissimilar to


jobseeker's allowance. They have also been speaking in Brussels about


whether it is a phantom problem or a real problem. The European


commission has been trying to get information, asking the British


government how many people come from elsewhere in the EU and claim


benefits, perhaps they are involved in abuse or fraud. The responses


that they got worse that there was too much should emphasis placed on


quantitative evidence. -- the responses that they got were that.


Perception is that there be unfairness, that people could come


to Britain and claim benefits, but perhaps we are a soft touch. The


perception is being addressed, rather than solid evidence, perhaps,


that we will be invaded by benefit tourists. Thank you.


Nicky Morgan, when will Parliament pass this legislation? Is no one


speaks against it when it is read this afternoon, it will be passed by


the time the house rises tomorrow. If somebody speaks against it? There


will have to be a debate, but I understand there is cross-party


support. There has to be one difficult person in the house? I


understand that this will go down, there have been lots of


behind-the-scenes discussions. There is a clear intent to tackle the


issue from January one. If somebody awkward decided to throw a spanner


in the works, you would not get it through in time for the house


rising? It has to be passed by the house... I think you are wrong, I


think it has to be both houses. The House of Lords finishes tomorrow. It


has to go through the same process in both houses. It has to go through


the House of Lords statutory instruments committee, which can't


meet now. I think it will go through. I have said it will be in


place by tomorrow night. In this Parliament already we have got


through legislation in one day, it is perfectly possible. The member


who object to it will have to explain it to their constituents. We


will find out, we will get our teams of gremlins panning out from the


building to checklists. But why'd you think it is late? As


Iain Duncan Smith said, he has been in discussion for two years with


fellow EU member states. We have taken time to get this right, to


listen to what people are saying, this is the way forward. We can get


this through, it is about tackling an issue of major concern. We are


down to the wire, Parliament has another day or a bit, the Lords are


already disappearing, having got their expenses before they go,


naturally. I am told that is what they do. If it is of such


importance, why wasn't it done at least a month ago? We have known


since 2004 when the last Labour government signed the accession


treaty and then accepted that the Romanians and Bulgarians would have


some time why they could not come through freely. We have known for


years, why have they gone to the wire? These regulations will work,


they will change the definition and they will stop people claiming out


of work benefits for three months after they get here? Do you expect


it to be a major deterrent? Yes, in the sense that people will be aware


of it. Britain is open for people who want to work, if you come here


with the intention of claiming from day one, that is not an option. I


think it will deter people. How many? Let's not get into numbers.


You could make it up as you go along. The last government proved


how clearly they underestimated the number... We know that, but you have


no idea how many people this will deter. It will be in place to


deter... Since we have learned that in the first three months they are


here, they can't claim British benefits, they can get benefits sent


from their home country, so why would they deter that? I am not sure


why people... Because they are looking for a job. If people have a


job lined up they are welcome to come here and contribute to the


United Kingdom and society. If they don't have a job lined up, the


signal goes out very clear, they are not welcome. You are basically just


tightening the existing rules, this is not a step change, it is


tinkering at the edges? Allah this is the first step, there are other


changes we are looking at, but it is an important step in place from the


1st of January. A number of colleagues have been talking about


child benefit and other benefits. What would you like to see? In


relation to further tightening the up? Child benefit is suggested to me


a lot, what can we do to make sure that people who move here cannot


claim child benefit? I want to see the clear message that we are


welcoming people who want to come here, and to work. There is a wider


issue about the renegotiation of our relationship with the EU, we will


hopefully get a majority Conservative Government after 2015


and put the whole issue of EU membership to a referendum for the


British people. Mr Cameron says he wants to restrict free movement in


the EU, even though free movement of labour and capital were at the heart


of the Treaty of Rome. Many people who don't like the idea of a federal


Europe or even Eurosceptics quite like the idea of free movement of


labour and capital. Do you have any idea what it would do? What does he


want? It is open for negotiation. Do you have any idea? Freedom of


movement of labour is right, but it is people coming to work, not claim


benefits. I have many thousands of hard pressed constituents working


very hard to payoff the tax system, they are not paying taxes for people


with no intention of working. So Europeans could come here or could


not play on welfare for a year, two years, five years? -- they could not


claim welfare? We will have to discuss that. The idea is that they


are coming to work and contribute. I understand that, nobody will argue


with that. We all want people to work and contribute, that is fine.


But I use saying that if people come here, never mind the three months


when they become eligible, but they should not be eligible for welfare


benefits for a lengthy period of time? That is something we will have


to discuss and negotiate. The government view is very much that we


want people to come here. We have talked about contributing...


I am going to hear these words in my head all night. How many benefit


tourists are they? I will not take lectures from you on


immigration. We are not taking lectures from the Labour Party, who


quadrupled net migration. How many are we talking about? I am here to


answer questions from Andrew. Chris Bryant, your party is pretty much


experts on mass migration from the EU, that is your default subject


these days. What I want to ask is the rule restricting access to


benefits for three months was in place in 2004/5 when the Polish and


the accession eight, as they were known, were allowed to come. There


is no evidence that it deterred migrants? Strictly speaking, these


are not migrants, they are EU citizens exercising their EU right,


just as British people going to work in Spain or Poland or wherever else,


it is important that we bear that in mind. The country with the largest


number of people living outside their own home country is the UK,


but any of the others. So you welcome the arrival of Romanians and


Bulgarians as fellow European citizens? They have every right to


come here and work. What they don't have... And they don't have that


now, incidentally, is the right to claim benefits from day one. My


concern about what is happening today is that, in my experience, bad


legislation is always brought in very swiftly at the last minute and


without the opportunity for proper scrutiny. We have had months and


months where we have been saying you should be able to tighten the rules


of necessary. It should be based on evidence. If there are numbers we


are talking about of people claiming benefits from day one, as the


minister seems to think, we should be dealing with it. You support the


three-month rule, do you think it should be longer? I think it is


already three months, incidentally. Let's accept that for this


discussion, should it be London -- longer? It should probably be six


months, and we suggested that eight months ago. The government could


have done something about that eight months ago but it is only now,


literally at the very last minute in terms of Parliament, I suggest even


passed the midnight hour... You have known since 2004 that the Romanians


and Bulgarians are coming, you did nothing in government to prepare?


That is not true. Sorry to disagree with you. You are right in saying


that I think we got something wrong when we initially allowed Poland,


Serbia and Latvia and all of those... I am not talking about


them. You put nothing in place... You had plenty of time to put in


place new rules when the Bulgarians and Romanians extension ended, you


did nothing. Not true. We introduce the habitual residency test.


Reintroduced the extension to seven years from five years. Whether


government has failed, they have been the government for three years.


We have done that point. Just to clarify, six months would be Labour


policy? We said that earlier this year. I would be happy with six


months. Then we need to move on. But I want to see statistics. We all


like statistics. If we are fighting with the Phantom, we might be doing


the economy more harm than good. I don't think I was arguing with you


on that. Iain Duncan Smith's department has


said this regulation does not need to be laid in the Lords.


John Major said it is not proven evidence. Let's move on. You cannot


get the staff these days. Should prisoners be allowed to vote in


elections? The Prime Minister thinks they shouldn't. The European Court


of Human Rights says they should. Today the committee of MPs and peers


set up to look at the question has published its report... And it's


split. Oh dear! JoCo, what's happening?


Yes. There's been a blanket ban on prisoners voting in the UK since


1969. But back in 2005 the European Court of Human Rights decided in


favour of convicted axe murderer John Hirst, saying the ban was in


breach of his rights. Britain has been locked in a court battle with


the ECHR ever since, despite MPs voting by an overwhelming majority


to keep the ban in 2011. The government has been warned if it


doesn't comply, prisoners could claim compensation of more than ?100


million. But David Cameron insists they won't get the vote on his


watch, he says it would make him feel physically sick. The government


set up a cross-party committee of MPs and peers to look at what to do


next and today it's recommended giving the vote to all inmates


serving sentences of 12 months or less and to those within six months


of release. But the committee was split, with a minority group


insisting Parliament should be allowed to keep the blanket ban, and


arguing that the European court has over-reached itself.


Well we're joined now from central lobby by the committee chairman,


Nick Gibb, who wants to keep the ban. And by former Prisons Minister,


Crispin Blunt, who backed the majority view that some prisoners


should be given the vote. Crispin Blunt, why should they be


given the vote? We have got to see this issue within the context of the


European convention on human rights. If we choose to defy the courts and


stick by the rule of law, we need to denounce the convention and leave


it. We have to decide if prisoner votes is an important issue or not.


It isn't. There are weak arguments to give some prisoners a vote to


assist their rehabilitation. It will not deter crime, no one is thinking


about doing a crime and then does not do it because they will lose the


right to vote. The court is in the right place on the merits. And so


this is not really the right issue on which to defy the convention


itself. It is just not worth it, for the reasons outlined by Crispin


Blunt, it is not a deterrent, just a punishment in your view and you will


be in breach of international law. Is it worth it? Most people who are


sentenced to jail, lose their liberty and the right to take part


in society and therefore lose their right to take part in elections. The


European Court of Human Rights is taking another view. So the other


issue we have been considering is who should make these decisions.


Most people in Britain think those kinds of decisions are best made in


this building by people who are elected by the British people to


represent them and not by a group of judges in a foreign court. But


European convention was established to deal with the aftermath of the


horrors of the Second World War and the emergent common is blocked


terror. It is not meant to deal with the minutia right of domestic


politics. You have to stay firm and said to the European Court of Human


Rights, you have overstepped the mark and we need to see a reform of


that court, so they don't confront what is the established view of the


British people. What do you say to that, Crispin Blunt, it is no longer


fit for purpose? That is probably true, the court has overstepped the


mark in regards to this. This was an unwise judgement. But the court is


beginning to reform itself and was a meeting of the Council in 2012 which


began the process of reform of the court. There are signs being sent by


the Secretary-General of the Council of Europe who came to give evidence


to others, that the court is beginning to these issues. We have


to decide whether we will throw over the whole convention, whilst this


system is in the process of reform. Or let the process go on and see if


we will get more sensible judgements in future. What happens now? You


want the national parliament to decide, but what happens in this


stand-off? The government will respond to our committee's report


and they will bring forward legislation next year. It is up to


members of Parliament how they vote. No one can tell an MP or a peer how


they will vote and I think they will reject out of hand to move the


franchise to prisoners. The ball is in the court of the European Court


of Human Rights to reform itself. And the Brighton declaration went


some way, but nowhere near to the extent we need reform. There was a


case heard by the animal rights movement to try to get paid,


political advertising on our televisions. That was ruled out, but


it could have easily been voted in, changing the way we run elections in


this country. That cannot be the role of the European Court of Human


Rights. They need to reform themselves more substantially done


the Brighton declaration. The Prime Minister said, over his dead body,


he will not change his view? If we are going to stick by the rule of


law, we will have to denounce the convention because we will defy the


courts. If we don't do that, and we simply defied a court and not


denounce the convention, we are breaching our international treaty


obligations and we will have to pay compensation to prisoners every time


there is an election. Thank you both very much. Just on that word on the


Lords and benefits, it is a negative statutory instrument. I have never


heard of that. It becomes law without a debate or vote but maybe


an old by a resolution of either House. Because it has to go to the


Lords? No, it doesn't. Nicky, does the idea of giving prisoners the


votes make you physically sick? Not physically sick, but I am opposed to


it. If we don't, we will end up paying fines to prisoners, and 281


prisoners have already lodged compensation claims. I would rather


see the court reformed, but sometimes the principal is more


important. I did a documentary on this in 2012, the forms being made,


if any are very slight. I would say no to prisoners having the vote. You


would pick and choose what European rulings you would follow? I think


there comes a point, especially in this case when the UK as to say this


has gone too far. The Supreme Court ruled in not Tober earlier on this


year in the case of two prisoners that they did not have voting


rights. It may be called the Supreme Court, but it is not supreme. In


America, the Supreme Court is supreme, but are Supreme Court is


subject to European rules? That is another discussion. Would you be up


for leaving this court? As a former lawyer, you would have to think


carefully. But there is a principle at stake here. It is up to


Parliament to decide. I cannot see any justification for giving


prisoners the vote. We know you are against it. But the issue is do we


comply with the court or do we live with the consequence of paying


fines. Or do we leave the court altogether? I am not in favour of


giving prisoners the vote. But I don't want to leave the court. What


would you do? There is a third way in between. The courts's original


objection is to the blanket ban. In France, nearly every prisoner is


deprived of the right to vote, but the judge decides as part of the


sentence. Which is why I want to see the report that has been produced by


the committee. It is interesting because obviously, the surprise is,


the committee has said it is in favour of abiding by the ruling of


the European Court. What they have said is if you are sentence for less


than 12 months, you still get the vote. If you are coming to the end


of your sentence, in the final six months, you would get the vote. It


is pretty marginal, but it does meet the requirements of the European.


Would you go along with that? Maybe. I have not seen the report. I have


two instinctive reactions and they conflict with each other. The first


is, I am supportive of of our being subject to European rights. It was a


Brit who devised it in the 1940s. Maxwell Fyfe. And I think it means


British businesses and citizens can get... We are aware of the


conflicts. But let's say you are saying that you are going along with


it, but you would not go along with it? The Prime Minister's lying about


it making him physically sick is childish. People like to have a


clear line of reform. You would not go along with this compromise? The


committee was asked to look at what was possible, but they have made it


clear they do not support it. If this court had ruled in favour of


paid, political advertising, what would have you done? But it didn't.


It was only one vote. It is a hypothetical question. What would


you have done? I don't want to give prisoners the vote, I don't want


paid advertising on television but political campaigns. But you are


asking a hypothetical question. Now, Canadian politicians know how to


celebrate the festive season. That was the scene yesterday inside


Toronto City Council chamber, presided over by their controversial


mayor, Rob Ford. No, I'm sorry, there will be no dancing here! We'll


be doing that a little later on. But in the meantime we're warming up


with a Daily Politics mug of cheap plonk laced with sugar and spices.


You don't have to drink it, Chris. It does not look very nice. On the


licence fee! And it can be yours of course, well the mug, I am not sure


the mulled wine will survive the post.


And we'll remind you how to enter in a minute, but let's see if you can


remember when this happened. Oh my goodness, Martin Bell. He


could not be more wrong. I have decided to give the bank of England


operational responsibility for setting interest rates. His name is


Peter. To be in with a chance of winning a


Daily Politics mug, send your answer to our special quiz email address.


And you can see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on our


website. To all our friends at CNN who were watching the programme, the


mulled wine is in the post. It's coming up to midday here. Just


take a look at Big Ben. That can mean only one thing! Yes, Prime


Minister's Questions is on the way. And that's not all, Nick Robinson is


here. What is going to happen? I think


both leaders will want to talk about the same thing, the cost of living.


They will rehearse the battle they have been having for months, and the


battle they will be having for the next 18 months. So it will be deja


vu? Unemployment figures were pretty good? Both parties want to have this


row now. The fact, 41 months after... Let's go straight over to


the final PMQs of 2013. We should remember all our service


personnel around the world. Our country owes a huge amount to them.


This morning I had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others,


and in addition to my meetings in the house, I will have further such


meetings later today. Can I join him in his wishes to our


armed forces and all the public sector workers who will be taking


care of us over the Christmas period?


Mr Speaker, unless the Mrs Ely Omer bill is changed, 6000 victims who


were criminally and negligently exposed to asbestos at work will not


is received compensation. -- the mesothelioma bill? Would he rather


stand foreign assurance companies than innocent people? -- would he


rather stand for insurance companies?


The mesothelioma bill is a huge step forward. There has been no provision


for these people. Once the scheme is up and running, roughly 300 people a


year will receive approximately ?115,000 each. That is an important


step forward. I will look at what he has to say but I think we should be


proud that we are tackling this issue after a long delay. Will he


join me in saluting the courage of the hundreds of thousands of people


who have been peacefully processed and across Ukraine for the last


will he hold out the prospect of closer links with Europe in the


longer term, which is what the people of Ukraine want?


I agree that we should pay tribute to those in Ukraine who want a


future link to Europe, and once the peace, prosperity and stability that


relationship would bring. -- and want the peace. The world is


watching what the Ukrainian author says -- authorities have done and


are contemplating doing. Mr Speaker, I joined the Prime


Minister in paying tribute to all of our troops serving around the world,


particularly in Afghanistan. Once again, they have turned our country


proud, shown the utmost courage and bravery. Our thoughts are with them


and their families this Christmas. Today's economic figures show a


welcome fall in unemployment, and for every person that gets back into


work at benefits not just them but their family as well. -- it benefits


just not them. But at the end of this year there more people than


ever before working part-time because they can't get the hours


they need. I think it is worth looking at an employment figures in


some detail, because I think they paint and encouraging picture.


Unemployment is down by 99,000, the number of people claiming


unemployment benefit has fallen by 36,000 this month alone, there are


250,000 more people in work, youth unemployment is down, long-term


unemployment is down, unemployment amongst women is down. We have


talked about a million more people in work under this government, it is


now 1.2 million more people in work. There shouldn't be one ounce of


complacency, because we still have work to do to get the country back


to work, and everyone back in work means greater stability for them,


later ability to plan for the future, great help for their


families. But the plan is working, let's stick at it and get an


employment down even further. He didn't really and some pacific


question. It is good our economy is creating more jobs, but too many


part-time, low paid or insecure -- he did not really answer my specific


question. Today's figures show what is happening to wages. Does he agree


that it is of concern that average wages are ?364 lower than one year


ago and ?1500 lower than at the general election? Let me talk about


full-time and part-time employment. Full-time employment has grown much


faster in recent months, and since the election, 70% of the new jobs,


and there have been millions of them, 70% of full-time jobs. -- are


full-time jobs. I agree we have to do more to put in place our


long-term economic van to keep the economy growing, but it is all very


well standing at the despatch box. He has said that there will be a


million fewer jobs. And we are still waiting for him to correct the


record about that. Of course, I want to see more money in people's


pockets. The only way we can do that is keep on with the economic plan,


keep cutting unemployment, keep taxes down, cut the deficit to keep


interest rates down. That is our economic plan. What is his? Let's


talk about his predictions. He said he would balance the books in five


years. He has failed. He said he would secure Britain's credit


rating, he has failed. And the worst prediction, he said he would be good


at Prime Minister. He has certainly failed at that. -- he said he would


be good at being Prime Minister. Order, order. Members on both sides


of the House need to calm down. It will take as long as it takes, as


always. Very straightforward. Isn't it interesting that they want to


talk about the cost of living crisis facing families up and down the


country least of all? That is because they know families are worse


off. How much higher is the average gas and electricity bill this


Christmas compared to last? Let us deal with the predictions. Order,


the question was asked, and the answer must be heard. Prime


Minister. They have a programme which will clearly lead to the


disappearance of a million jobs. Now we have 1.6 million more


private-sector jobs, 1.2 million more people in work, it is time he


apologised for his prediction of talking the economy down. He asks


about the cost of living, let us compare records on the cost of


living. They doubled council tax, we froze it, they put petrol tax 12


times, we froze it. They put up the basic state pension by 75p, we put


it up I ?15. Oh, we have a new hand gesture from the Shadow Chancellor!


I would have thought up to today's briefing in the papers the hand


gesture for the Shadow Chancellor should bye-bye! You don't need it to


be Christmas to know when you are sitting next to a turkey!


We will wait until colleagues can't down. I don't mind how long it


takes, I have all day if necessary. I thought that, just for once, he


might answer the question he was asked. Let's give him the answer,


energy bills are ?70 higher than one year ago. Despite all his bluster,


that is the reality. ?300 higher than when he came to office. The


cost of childcare is crucial for parents going out to work. Can he


tell is how much childcare has gone up this year? We are providing 15


hours of childcare, nursery education, for two, three and four


year old. He was never able to do that in government. It is all very


well making these promises, the only reason we can keep our promises is


we took tough decisions about the economy. We took tough and difficult


decisions to get the deficit down. We took difficult decisions to get


our economic van in place. The fact is, this Christmas the economy is


growing, 1.2 million more people are in work, exports are increasing,


manufacturing is up, construction is doing better, the economy is getting


stronger and Labour is getting weaker.


I tell you what, Mr Speaker, that was a turkey of an answer. Why


doesn't he just for once answer the question? Childcare costs have gone


up ?300, ?300 in the last year, nearly three times the rate of


inflation. He is doing nothing about it. There is one group he has helped


out with the cost of living this year. His Christmas card list. Can


he tell us... I know he does not like me asking, but can he tell us


someone earning over ?1 million a year, how much lower our taxes this


year compared to last year? The top tax rate and this government is


higher than it ever was under his government. The highest 1% of


earners are paying a greater percentage of income tax than they


did when he was sitting in the cabinet. Those are the facts. If he


wants to talk about what he has done on the cost of living, we have cut


income tax for 25 million people, they voted against it. We have taken


2.4 million people out of tax, they voted against it. We froze council


tax, they voted against it, we froze fuel duty, they voted against it. We


have a long-term economic plan. He ends the year with no plan, no


credibility, no idea how to help the economy. We all know his long-term


plan, to cut taxes for his Christmas card list and make everyone else


think all swim. That is his long-term plan. And I have got to


say... The usual low graders can make as much noise as they like. For


their own benefit, and I will say it again, however long it takes, right


honourable and honourable members will be heard. It is so simple it is


probably now clear. The more he reads out lists and statistics, the


more out of touch he seems to the country. This was the year that the


cost of living crisis hit families hardest. This was the year the


introduced the bedroom tax while cutting taxes for millionaires. This


was the year he proved beyond doubt he is the Prime Minister for the


few, not the many. He may not like the facts, but you can't hide from


them. The typical taxpayer is paying ?600 less, because we cut taxes. The


deficit is falling by a third because we took difficult decisions.


Today, for the first time in history, there are 30 million people


in our country in work. The fact is that, at the end of this year, we


have a recovery they can't explain, growth they said would never come,


jobs they said would never happen and, meanwhile, they are stuck with


an economic policy that does not add up under Shadow Chancellor they


can't defend. That is why the British people will never trust


Labour with the economy again. Order, order. We will just have to


keep going a bit longer. The right honourable gentleman will be heard.


Sir Malcolm Bruce. I can give the House something to cheer about. Will


the Prime Minister welcome the fact that investment in our oil and gas


industry this year will reach billions of pounds. Is he aware


there is a report that says we need collaboration between government and


industry to unlock three to 4 billion barrels of oil worth ?2


million which would otherwise be left under the sea? He makes an


important point because this is an excellent report. We want to


maximise the returns in employment and investment in the North Sea. In


recent months we have seen encouraging sign of greater


investment in the North the, not least because of the decisions taken


by the Chancellor to bring into play some of these marginal fields. Does


the Prime Minister understand that even if Dr Richard Haass dozens,


that agreement and consensus are desirable, but will be impossible to


achieve and viewed in the unionist community as dilating art essence of


Britishness as Northern Ireland seeks to strengthen its position in


the United Kingdom are not weaken it? What I will say is, we all agree


Richard Hass is carrying out an important and difficult task,


looking into the issues of parades, flags and the past. I have met with


Richard Hass, he is an impressive individual, we should let him do is


work and judge him on the results he produces. Everyone will look at this


process with give and take to bring the communities together.


Unemployment in my Peter borough constituency stands at 5.5%, the


lowest since the financial crisis and there are 1800 fewer JS say


claimants. But there are too many young people who are jobless and


lacking any skills. Will the Prime Minister give an early Christmas


present to Peterborough people by deciding on our technical college? I


know the education secretary will look closely at the technical


college. But the news on youth unemployment is better, 19,000 down


this quarter. The claimant count is falling, but there is a lot more


work to do and we should look at the work experience programmes which


seem to have one of the best records and reducing youth unemployment and


encourage businesses to get involved in this work experience programme.


With the Archbishop of Canterbury reminding us of society's


responsibility towards the support of the poor and the vulnerable and


the Archbishop of Westminster criticising the inhumanity aspects


of government policy, does the Prime Minister regret as we approach


Christmas, his government's retreat from the compassionate conservatism


he used to adopt? I don't accept what he says. There is nothing more


compassionate than getting more people into work. The best route out


of poverty is work. What we can see is 30 million people in work. I


enjoy debating and listening carefully to the archbishops. I


don't agree with what the Archbishop of Westminster said about


immigration. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Mr Speaker. The


people of Suffolk have enjoyed a cracker of a Christmas present with


the excellent news of the A14. Does he agree that calls to abandon the


government's long-term economic plan for the other side to borrow more


will raise taxes and mortgages for the hard-working people of this


country? Can I congratulate my honourable friend on her ingenious


way in ensuring she is called regularly in debates in the House.


On that note, a happy Christmas to you as well, Mr Speaker. She has


been very clear in her campaign against the toll on the A14, and I


am glad we have settled that issue. But she is right to say the biggest


threat to our economy would be to abandon our plans. We are getting


the deficit down, interest rates are still down and people are getting


back to work. The biggest risk is more spending, the biggest risk that


got us into this mess. In November I visited a wrought college in my


constituency. They are collecting food to help needy families over


Christmas and will have a foodbank on the school site in the New Year.


What shocked me is a young girl aged 15 who arrived just before my visit


who had not eaten all weekend because there was no food in her


house. How does the Prime Minister expect that young girl to fulfil her


educational potential? We have to do all we can to help families into


work and that is what we are doing under this government. We have to


make sure we protect the income levels of the poorest. That is why


the child tax credit is up ?390 under this government, protecting


the money that goes to the poorest people of this country. Experts say


that Labour's energy price freeze an announcement would raise prices in


the short term... Order, order. Opposition members should not yell


at the honourable gentleman when he is asking his question. Experts said


Labour's energy price freeze announcement would raise prices in


the short term and protect the big six by freezing new investment.


Since then prices have gone up and the National Grid says half of new


investment. I am struggling to find anything that relates to the Prime


Minister in his question. So we will proceed with Mr Gordon Marsden.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. Has the Prime Minister to relax with his family


and friends, will he spare a thought to my constituents in black girl


whose Christmas is mired in the incompetence and random cruelty of


the benefit sanctions. My casework on this includes the woman denied


job-seeker's allowance for doing voluntary work at one local branch


of a national charity rather than another. Will his New Year


resolution be resolving this chaos on sanctions and non-universal


credit? The best thing we can do all constituents is keep on with the


economic plan that is generating more jobs in our country. If we look


at the north-west, the number of people employed is up by 37,000


since the election. Unemployment has fallen by 29,000 since the election.


We need to keep on with that while making sure the benefit system works


for those who need it. But he does not do his constituents any favour


by talking down the economy. Will the Prime Minister paid tribute to


Norfolk's emergency services who have done such a great job in


tackling the recent floods and repairing the damage. Floods that


were potentially worse than six years ago that killed 300 people.


Does he agree special mention should be made of the two local newspapers


who campaign tirelessly and raised money for the appeal. Can he tell


the House what government can do? He is right to raise this issue. I was


impressed when I went to Norfolk to see not only the amazing


contribution the emergency services had made, but local newspapers in


highlighting this issue to help people prepare for what was to come


and also the flood coordinators and people who work voluntarily. I was


impressed I what I saw in terms of what the lifeboats had done. The


enormous wave that swept through their station but they were able to


get out and get their and help people. What because we put money


into flood defences we were able to protect more homes that otherwise


would have been affected. Ministers have admitted to be that completing


personal independence claims. My constituents, Cathy is still waiting


to have a decision made on her claim. She had an appointment


yesterday with an assessor who did not turn up. Why is the Prime


Minister and allowing cancer patients to suffer because of


incompetence of his government. I am willing to look at the KC mentions.


I am happy to look at the individual case to see what could be done. The


number of unemployed claimants in my constituency has fallen to 439, the


third best performing constituency in the country. Will he join with me


in congratulating local businesses for the role they have played in


this? I am happy to congratulate local businesses, but what we are


seeing and what Labour predicted would not happen is a private sector


led recovery. For every job lost in the public sector we have seen three


or four created in the private sector. We must keep up this


economic environment. At the last election many of my constituents


believe the Prime Minister when he said there would be no third runway


at Heathrow. They are now faced with the threat of not only a third


runway, but a fourth runway. People losing the homes, schools being


demolished and people having to dig up their dead in the local cemetery.


What does he say to those who have lost their faith in him? I don't


accept what he says. We said there would not be a third runway and we


have stuck with that promise. We have a report being done by Howard


Davies. It is a very good interim report. I think people should read


that report before they start shouting across the House of Commons


in an inappropriate way. Order, order. I know what I am doing, I


don't need any help. A reference was made to treatment of constituents


not to observations made in respect of members of the House. I am clear


on that and the procedure is clear as well. In the north-east, all 29


constituencies have heard -- seen an increase in apprenticeships since


2010. I opened an engineering Academy in Hexham. Does he agree


with me that it is only by the provision of better skills and


apprenticeships we will improve the living standards of young people


today? He is absolutely right, I saw for myself what a difference the


apprenticeships and extra funding has made. We want to share this


across the country. In the North East, unemployment has fallen this


quarter. 28 thousand more in work since the election, but we have


further to go and stick with the economic land. Is the Prime Minister


concerned in the detail of the small print of the Autumn Statement that


by the end of this Parliament, levels will be lower. If he looks at


disposable income, it is higher than it was between 1997 and 2010. In


spite of slow wage growth we have cut taxes. You can only cut taxes if


you take difficult decisions about the deficit, difficult decisions


about spending and we have not had support from the party opposite for


one single of those difficult decisions. Cut the Prime Minister


help get justice for my constituents who want to know why an


investigation into the meetings had by the former transport secretary


have not been reported on this bike for months of waiting and assurances


that I would have the answer. The honourable lady was referring to the


member for Chipping Barnet. She has taken up this issue and I am sure


she will get an Ansa shortly. Mr Speaker, on a slightly more seasonal


notes, may I probed the Prime Minister on the revelation contained


within the Autumn Statement that over this Parliament, borrowing is


forecast to be 198 billion pounds more than originally planned. Will


he accept his pledge to balance the books by 2015 has all the


credibility of some proposal to build an airport on a nonexistent


islands in the middle of a bird sanctuary in the Thames estuary? He


always brings a flavour of pantomime to proceedings. If he is worried


about the deficit, if he is worried about borrowing, he should look in


front of him, rather than look behind him. We haven't had one bit


of support on anything we have done to cut the deficit. If he is worried


about the deficit, why does his party propose to put it up? It is


good news a record number of people are in work. But there was another


milestone this week where we reached 2 million new pension savers, thanks


to auto enrolment. Is that another example of how this government is


taking long-term decisions? She is right to raise auto enrolment. It


means more people are saving for their retirement which means more


stability and ability to plan for their future. There are so many more


people in work this Christmas last and they can plan better for the


future. Now that the Prime Minister has declared mission accomplished in


Afghanistan, will he guarantee non-Avar brave servicemen and women


who have served their will face redundancy when they come home? I


was praising the role of the Armed Forces. They have carried out the


tasks we asked them to and they have done it with professionalism and


skill. They will be able to leave that country with their heads held


high, secure in the knowledge we have put in place what is necessary


to stop terrorism and terrorism training camps to return to that


country. Today there are fewer people out of work in Worcester than


when unemployment peaked under Labour. 700 businesses likely to


benefit from the extension of small business rate relief. Can I urge the


Prime Minister to do everything he can to help the high Street and


remove burdens on businesses creating jobs? It is great news what


is happening in Worcester and not only is unemployment down but


vacancies are up, which is good news for the future. In terms of the high


street we have taken important steps forward in terms of the rent rebate


-- rate rebate. And the ?2000 employment allowance which means


they don't have to pay their first ?2000 of national insurance


contributions and that means businesses all over the country can


take on more people. Further to the questions from the honourable member


from Saint Albans, for months were passed in serious allegations were


made that the Northern Ireland secretary broke the rules during her


time as transport Secretary. Will the Cabinet respond before the House


rises for Christmas recess? I have seen a copy of the response and it


will be sent in the next few days. I welcome the Prime Minister's


acceptance something needs to be done to stop the EU migrants


accessing British benefits. But would he agree with me that what he


is proposing, which will probably be found illegal by the European Court,


is spitting in the winds when it comes to the problem we face, that


the only way to get control of our borders and control of benefits


system is to leave the European Union? I don't share his pessimism.


The steps we are taking, including this announcement that people coming


to the UK cannot claim benefits within the first three months, we


are taking these steps by looking at what other countries in the EU do. I


want to make sure the right of free movement is not abused. There is a


right to work in different countries but they should not be a right to


claim in different countries of the EU. But we need to do more in future


and the lesson we learn is the mistake Labour made to give


unfettered access to our labour market when Poland and others joined


the EU which led to 1.5 million people coming to our country, was a


profound mistake. Average household incomes will be lower in 2015 than


in 2009. Is the Prime Minister concerned and what will he say to my


constituents who are struggling with the cost of living crisis caused by


his government's policies? The first thing I would say is we are raising


to ?10,000, the amount people can earn before they pay income tax.


That is worth ?705. The cause of the progress we have made, disposable


income made this year is higher than any year between 1997 and 2010. The


members opposite might not like these facts but it is worth


remembering why we are in this situation in the first place. He


should not have to shout to make himself heard. Prime Minister. The


point I was making is the reason we are in this situation is this


achieved for fiscal studies said we have happen biggest... They should


be apologising for that before moving onto the next question.


Christmas in Syria will be defined by stopping grief and horror in sub


zero temperatures. I encourage the Prime Minister to keep focus on


humanitarian relief in Syria and encourage the rest of the


international community to reach the demand for ?4 billion of assistance


and make sure it is more imaginative and generous? I am grateful for him


raising this issue before Christmas. That is where our thought should be.


It is a huge humanitarian crisis. The first thing I would say, Britain


can be proud of the fact that at 500 million, we are the second bilateral


donor in terms of aid going to Syria and neighbouring countries and


helping people in those camps. We should be encouraging other


countries to step up and make sure we fulfil our moral obligations to


these people who will be suffering at Christmas time.


They spoke mostly about the economy, as Nick Robinson predicted. A lot of


youth unemployment and part-time jobs for people who want to work


full-time, and then they have moved on to Labour 's theme for the second


half of this year, the cost of living. We have heard it all before.


I am not sure we heard anything new, that it was a reprise of what we


have been hearing for quite some time. What did the viewers make of


it? One said that if Cameron's government has achieved so much, why


are the British people feeling so poor and worse off now than in 2010?


But on Twitter one viewer USA's, as usual Ed Miliband is flailing about


like a plucked and cooked Christmas turkey.


-- one viewer says. Jim in the neat and says that Miliband and the


Labour Party have nowhere to hide. Most of their predictions have been


proven wrong. David from black than things that after today's very rowdy


performance, the MPs must have come to the house straight from the bar.


Peter says, watching PMQs confirms my opinion that Parliament should be


culled to two had and 50 members on ?100,000 each. -- culled to 250


members. I think the House of Lords should be culled to 250 members. 800


and rising. The political debate has started to


change with the change on the economy. Most news is pretty good


now, that is likely to continue into the first part of 2014. I suspect


the Chancellor, in the March Budget, will up the growth rate further as


he did in the Autumn Statement. Labour's fallback position is to


talk about who is benefiting from it. Can that be sustained through


2014? If it fits in with people's experiences. The Labour Party is


counting on the fact that lots of people watching this programme and


politics in general are feeling squeezed. There is a debate about


the figures, the Labour Party has a figure of ?1500, a drop in average


earnings since the last election. It does not take on tax cuts or factor


everything in, there would still be a cut but it would be slightly


lower. The Prime Minister uses a figure which no one I know users,


the Institute for Fiscal Studies says it is misleading, but it is


official data. He talks about real household disposable income. He is


taking, effectively, the aggregate, all of the income is of all of the


people of the country, and they are going up. Frankly, it is very


interesting but it tells you nothing about how households are feeling.


Overall, real household income has gone up because they're more


households, but the population is rising and the only way to measure


the living standards is made per capita basis. We have talked about


this before, I spoke to some backroom Tories, they are investing


in next year. Their view is that the per capita real disposable household


income will go up, so by using the figure now they are trying to give


its currency and flavours so that when the figure goes up so well they


can say, hey presto, it is actually going up. Part of the squeeze on


living standards that Labour quite rightly points two has been caused


because the Bank of England keeps missing its inflation target.


Inflation has been consistently higher than the 2% targets at a time


when wages have been static or barely rising. The significance this


week of the 2.1% inflation was that they were pretty close to the


target. There is the accidental squeeze through price increases and


there is also a completely deliberate party policy. The whole


point of 's territory, how do you control the size of the public


sector, one way of doing it is cutting public sector wages. If


public sector wages go up less than the rate of inflation, which the


government is in favour of and, interestingly, the Labour Party said


they would match, their household incomes go down because wages are


not keeping up with inflation. When will living standards rise?


Increases have been forecast from next year, but we recognise that


times have been tough and it would be wrong to give the impression that


people in Westminster are completely unaware of the fact that people have


suffered a squeeze in living standards. The Prime Minister said


the point about the fact that we have suffered the largest recession


in 100 years, our economy contracted by over 7%, it is taking to which


feeds to household budgets. The income figure he also includes the


benefits and tax cuts. The wages figure alone does not recognise


that. It is important to know that households receive wages, of course,


but there are other sources of income, particularly benefits. But


the national statistics on the real household incomes take everything


into account, but also incomes to universities and charities. Why? I


think you are right, it is a broader... It makes it unreliable.


Here is a political question. Will living standards by May 2015 be


higher than in May 2010? I think it is hard to make that addiction. I


would love to be able to say yes -- I think it is hard to make that


prediction. I am well aware that you would like to say yes! Will they or


won't they? The OBR is forecasting that living standards will go up.


URA Treasury Minister, the OBR does not forecast. It forecasts that


sometime in the second half of 2014, wages will start to pull ahead of


prices, that is not saying that overall living standards will rise.


I was going to say that the OBR is forecasting an increase in wages, I


was about to say that before I was interrupt did. -- interrupted. Why


did you get it so wrong over jobs? Your leader predicted a loss of a


million jobs since the Tory led coalition, you got it completely


wrong. Just as when we introduced the national minimum wage, David


Cameron predicted a loss of a million jobs and we put 2 million


into the economy. So shouldn't you have learned from that? So having


made a ridiculous prediction which was totally wrong, your answer is


that David Cameron made 115 years ago? Predictions are not normally a


wise territory for politicians. You got it completely wrong. David


Cameron's prediction for this Parliament was that they would have


got rid of the deficit by the end of the Parliament, but now we know that


there will be... So politicians are useless? Sometimes I watch... Please


let me finish one sentence, Andrew. Just one. I am almost always in the


chamber for PMQs, I found it quite depressing watching it from outside.


When you are in now you get caught up with the shouting and the noise,


but watching it from out side, I think it is really depressing. We


love it. The volume is louder than it ever has been. I would love to


ban questions which say, with the Prime Minister agree with me? Would


the Prime Minister congratulated the following people? You were saying,


of course, he is going to. How many jobs have been created since 2010? I


don't know, I know that in my own constituency... 1.6 million. 400,000


lost in the public sector, so the net is 1.2 million. Your leader said


we were going to lose a million, you were out by two point 8 million.


Almost as bad as your Polish immigration figures. In my


constituency there is about to be another run of cuts, my local


authority has to find millions of pounds worth of cuts.


ALL TALK AT ONCE We can take as long as we liked...


We can't, unfortunately. We should clarify at this point before we move


on that the former prisoner John Hirst who we were talking about, who


challenge the ban on prisoners voting in the European Court, was


jailed for manslaughter, rather than murder, as I said earlier. Now,


something slightly different. One city, 13 days, six deaths. Last


month's grim figures for cycling fatalities in London may be


relatively unusual, but cycling groups say they highlight an all-too


common problem. British roads are not safe enough for cyclists - and


it's time that central government and local councils did more. Chris


Boardman is policy adviser for British Cycling, the national


governing body for the sport. He also just happens to be an Olympic


gold medallist and has more than one Tour de France yellow jersey to his


name. We'll talk to him in a moment but, first, here's his soapbox.


Take a look around you, you can see that our streets are not designed


for people who want to work -- walk or get around by bike. For the last


50 years we have been prioritising cars, buses and lorries above all


else on the roads. Now we have massive congestion problems, over


35,000 deaths a year from obesity related illnesses and emissions


targets we are failing to meet. What most people don't know is that in


the 70s, Copenhagen was heading in exactly the same direction, but they


took a bold decision to prioritise walking and cycling and make that


their preferred modes of transport. Now 36% commute by bike.


HGV vehicles are involved in more than 20% of the accidents involving


bikes in this country. That rises to 55% in the capital despite being


just 5% of the traffic on our roads. Most of those accidents occur at


junctions. We need to see national government bring in legislation that


sees HGV 's fitted with safety equipment that eliminate line spots.


Local authorities should follow example set by Dublin or Paris where


the largest HGV vehicles are restricted from moving in the city


in peak hours. It does not have to be complicated or expensive to make


life safer and more attractive to cyclists. Less than a mile from the


busy junction we have just seen, they have used planters to segregate


cyclists from the traffic. It is a technique that has been used in New


York. The humble bicycle could prove an incredible powerful tool in


making our country and is a place to live. If we did choose to prioritise


walking and cycling as the preferred mode of transport, it could have a


massive impact on health. It just needs the political will to do so.


The Prime Minister committed to cycle prove all roads and junctions.


There is no time like the present to turn those words into actions. And


Chris Boardman made it safely back home after his London cycle ride. He


joins us from Liverpool. One of the things I noticed, you


were not wearing a helmet? Can I sidestep this question because


otherwise we will spend the interview talking about it. Viewers


will want to know. To make cycling safe in this country we need more


people riding bicycles. Cycling is something we do with normal people


in normal clothes, the same thing they do 400 miles from here.


Statistically, ten times around the planet per cycling death. The fact


we were talking about the news, cycling deaths, however tragic, is


still a very safe way to get around. Culturally, the problem is not


enough people cycle so there is not much appreciation the cyclists on


the roads. But cyclists here are quite aggressive when they are


cycling to work. It does not make it genteel like it is in Copenhagen and


Amsterdam. Does there need to be a change in the way we approach this


subject? It is the wrong thing to be talking about. This was debated in


1994. -- 1997. The National cycling body was set up, that did not work


very well. We have a Commons commission looking into cycling


safety. All the information is there, all that is missing is the


political will to do something. All the proof is there to show there is


no logical reason not to promote this mode of transport. In New


York, a 250% increase in cycling because the political will was there


to make it happen. You push more people to cycle, despite the


headlines recently. But in terms of practical things you can do, what


about banning heavy goods vehicles at peak periods? Because of those


deaths, there are some positives that have come out of those


tragedies, because a lot of measures are taking place and London is at


the forefront of pushing those measures through. Chris Boardman,


thanks very much. Do you think people should wear helmets when they


are cycling? Personally, yes I do. If I were cycling I would feel more


confident. But HGV vehicles are in the mood -- news at the moment and


the government is doing more to make sure they can see in blindspots.


With emission targets, some are banned at peak times already. There


have been debates, and you could not have a more pro-cycling Mayor of


London van Boris Johnson? But compared to other cities, not that


many people cycle compared to Copenhagen and Amsterdam? I don't


like cycling around London. I cycle a bit around the Rhondda Valley and


the valleys of South Wales. We have opened new track so people can see


that as a viable alternative for getting to work. You let him get


away without answering the question on the helmet. If he was a


politician you would have said, " typical politician". Whether helmets


make it safe or not, he would have gone on about that. There is


political will. It is not a party political issue, we have published a


manifesto for cycling which lays out things, a clear timetable for heavy


goods vehicles, so there are no blindspots and they are safer. And I


think there is the will to do that. We have got to move on. We were


bombed a lot during the Second World War and we build a lot of things and


a lot of London is still difficult and impenetrable for cyclists. 2013


has been a bitty political year. What five stories got the most


attention of BBC online this year? In a one off special return, he we


have top of the political Pops. After his 2012 budget went down like


an off pasty, the Chancellor hoped this year it would see his political


ambitions born again. Cuts, tax health for the poor and growth


anybody would be disappointed with. A slap in the face, big bounding


box, Nigel Farage celebrates local election success for his party or


the swivel eyed loons as some people have put it.


The Prime Minister kicks Internet search engines in the Google and


tell them to get tough on children's access to online porn. He


said technical issues were not a decent excuse for inaction and they


should all their fingers out. Syria, and a sad day for the Prime


Minister. He was hoping to march his troops to the top of the hill and


offer military action if the optometrist turned tyrant did not


stop using chemical weapons. But he was defeated in the Commons when to


many of his own men had a conversion on the way to Damascus and jumped on


the military bandwagon. And this year's number one. Baroness


Thatcher, the most iconic post-war Prime Minister, often respected by


many and deeply disliked by some, dies and sees her legacy widely


discussed in coverage of her state funeral. Some wanted to make a


ding-dong, but more wanted the iron Lady to rest, not rust in peace.


We were talking about predictions the 2014, but are running out of


time. I have some presents to give. Nicky, this is for you. Very kind.


Don't mention it. Is this on BBC expenses, paid for by the licence


fee payer. What have you got? Housing bubbles. This is for you.


The does not fit. That includes pensions. How could you. Manchester


City. I will have the red and white of Manchester United around my neck.


What is the difference, it is Manchester? I think the difference


is we have won the championship 20 times. The great joys about being


homosexual is you do not pretend to have two be interested in football.


It is about football, I thought it was about the city itself. Guess the


year was 1997. Chris, press the button. Well done. Do you think he


will want the scarf as well? Ok that's all for 2013. Thanks to


all our guests especially Nicky and Chris. The One o'clock News is


starting over on BBC One now. The Daily Politics will be back on sixth


January for the start of a bumper year of politics. But I am on BBC


One tomorrow night for the last This Week of the year when I will be


joined by Nigel Farage, Diane Abbott, Michael Portillo, Miranda


Green, Quentin Letts, Kevin Maguire and Nick Watt.


Merry Christmas!


Download Subtitles