07/01/2014 Daily Politics


07/01/2014

Jo Coburn has the top political stories of the day.


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LineFromTo

Good afternoon, and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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A Strategic Defence Review lacking in strategy, and driven only by the

:00:43.:00:46.

need to cut costs, says a committee of MPs. But, are more cuts heading

:00:47.:00:53.

the MoD's way? European judges say whole-life

:00:54.:00:55.

sentences for prisoners are illegal. The government must respond this

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week. So, is it time to stand up to the European Court of Human Rights?

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Want to see less immigration? Well, the government does. It's promised

:01:05.:01:09.

to get net migration down to less than 100,000 a year. But its

:01:10.:01:11.

Business Secretary says that target's unachievable.

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And, looking for a party venue? Look no further, the Palace of

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Westminster's for hire. But, should the right amount of cash really give

:01:22.:01:25.

you the right to hold an event in the mother of Parliaments?

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All that in the next hour. We're seven days in to 2014, and

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look who's kept his New Year resolution to come on the programme.

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Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy, welcome. Happy New

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Year. Let's start with the Chancellor's

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plans to cut ?12.5 billion from the welfare bill after the next general

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election. He wants the cut to come from working age welfare recipients

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rather than pensioners. And it's part of a ?25 billion package of

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cuts designed to get the public finances back in surplus by the end

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of the next Parliament. It's not a policy that George Osborne's

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coalition partners are signed up to, however. Before we come to Nick

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Clegg, is it feasible to cut another ?25 billion, is it desirable?

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In terms of feasibility, it is a tall political order. We have seen,

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even in the climate of austerity, and one hopes after the next

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election it will not be as Diana, how difficult it was for the

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government to constrain the growth of expenditure as opposed to real

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cuts. ?25 billion is a very tall I -- order. All parties agreed there

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will be a further squeeze of necessity. This is as much about

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politics as economic. It is a gamble to delineate the tram lines for the

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next election. Because George Osborne says it is

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popular with the public to trim the welfare bill even further, that is

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debatable, and also because he says it is not fair on working people to

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subsidise those on benefits. But the people who would be vulnerable to

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these further cuts are many people in work.

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This is the difficulty. You might say, Nick Clegg would say that. That

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Ed Balls would say that. It is the allies of Iain Duncan Smith, unnamed

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in newspapers today, who are saying, we are going back to the

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same people and penalising them again. Is this good electoral

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politics? It is not clear cut who George Osborne is battling when he

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talks about this. There is a legitimate argument, if you took

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more working families out of tax as has been successfully at our behest,

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or made them better off, that would reduce the welfare bill.

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Is it a monumental state to state now, as Nick Clegg has said, ?12

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billion coming from welfare? It is a monumental gamble on George

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Osborne. He wants to set out these very clear distinctions across the

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political spectrum early on. And put Labour in particular and ourselves

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on the back foot, saying, here are the figures. Doesn't it put the Lib

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Dems on the back foot? We have to turn this into an

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opportunity. Which is what Nick was beginning to do. To say, you need to

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constrain welfare but how do you do that? Surely by taking less people

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off welfare dependency by making them better off. You can use money

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more effectively. What about means testing pensioner

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benefits? I always have been in favour. Not

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just pensioners, it is ridiculous that people like us qualify, I speak

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as a Scot, where it is more accentuated in Scotland, for

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benefits you get for nothing. People... But the basic state

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pension should go to everybody? Yes, a sense of social equity, that

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has to be maintained. Now it's time for our daily quiz.

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This man has just received an MBE in the New Year's Honours List. So, our

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question today is, what service does he provide for the Prime Minister?

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Is it: a) Chef. B) Security guard.

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C) Hairdresser. Or d) Ski instructor.

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At the end of the show, Charles will give us the correct answer.

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I never know these ones. But today I do know the answer to this.

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I won't divulge it. Keep the drama going.

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What's the greatest threat facing our military? Is it terrorism? Is it

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cyber attack? You might be surprised to learn that, in fact, it's you.

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Specifically, it's the lack of public understanding about what our

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armed forces are for, that represents one of the greatest

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strategic threats to Britain's military. That's the view of a

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report published today by the Defence Select Committee. The

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committee's chairman, James Arbuthnot, also said the government

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lacks a clear defence strategy, and that the last Defence Review was

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dictated more by the need to cut the deficit rather than a proper

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assessment of what our defence needs should be.

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The proper process to take place needs to be a discussion in the

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country of what this security strategy should be. Followed by a

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process of a defence and Security review, hand in hand with a

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comprehensive spending review, so that they work out what the wish

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list is, and if it is necessary to change the security strategy of the

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country, then we need to be open about what we are giving up, and we

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need to say how we are going to give that up, rather than pretend we can

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do everything. In the last review, the government said we were going to

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do more with less. There comes a point where we can't do that, that

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point has been reached now. With me now are the former Defence

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Minister Gerald Howarth, the Shadow Defence Minister Gemma Doyle, and

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Charles Kennedy is still with us. Welcome to the programme. Do you

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agree with the committee the review was governed by the overriding

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objective of reducing the UK budget deficit?

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In part, that is correct. The nation faced a catastrophic situation with

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a budget deficit of ?160 billion, the MoD accounts were in turmoil

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with a ?38 billion black hole. So sorting out those finances is a

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continuing issue. But I think it is quite a tribute to the MoD and

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national-security council, which came out of the Strategic Defence

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Review, that they were able to produce a number of strategic lines.

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The committee is being unfair. They are contradicting that by

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saying it was a botch job because of the overriding objective of cutting

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costs which took away the element of strategy.

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I would answer that by reference to a number of specific things we did.

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We only had five months in which to do it. Was it rushed? Was there an

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alternative? Absolutely no choice. The Chancellor had to produce a

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comprehensive spending review by the 20th of October 2010. If he failed

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to do so, the international capital markets would not have believed in

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Britain's credibility. That would have stuffed us on a gigantic scale.

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We did not want in opposition to do this in months. We were denied the

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opportunity of longer. But I think that the establishment of the

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Council, a new institution, the decision to bring back our troops

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from Germany, the decision to prioritise current operations in

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Afghanistan. To look to future Force 2020, and create a template for our

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Armed Forces, that stands today. What you say about those priorities,

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bearing in mind the economic backdrop. Did they do a good job?

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The report does back up what we said, the strategic part was missing

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from the review. And strategy? The decisions about aircraft carriers

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which were reversed. Very little mention of certain regions. And,

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things to do with Nimrod. Really, we need, the next review had to be much

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more based on strategy. Of course you need a financial balance. That

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?8 billion is not supported by anyone except by Conservative

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defence ministers. It was far too rushed.

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Proper consultation did not happen. Aircraft carriers, that was a

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fiasco. The idea was that in the last Labour

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government, it produced a new design for the aircraft carriers, 65,000

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tonnes, the biggest built in British yards, capable of being retrofitted

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with catapults and equipment. We decided in office it would make

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sense to look at that possibility to be able to provide a propensity with

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the US. We were told it was ?250 million. Then, we discovered, it was

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?2.5 billion. Ministers are entitled to ask of those professionals in the

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MoD what you think you're doing coming up with an estimate which is

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one tenth of the ultimate figure. Do you think that the cuts that have

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been taken to the defence budget will lead to a disproportionate

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decline in Britain's place in the world?

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Yes, I do. That the cuts were too big? That is what I argued at the

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time. But, effectiveness possibility, let's call priorities.

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We were in coalition. Defence was not as high a priority. The Defence

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Review... And we are getting a 2015 review because what came out of our

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non-strategic defence review was we should as a nation review every five

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years. So it's all your fault!

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I was going to become symmetric until that last bit. It's not a

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priority for the Lib Dems and as a result the cuts were much deeper,

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the government perception changed? No. That was a telling example,

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commemorating last week the sad passing of John Fortune. I once

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asked him about biting comedy and he said the easiest comedy sketch ever

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is anything to do with defence. Because you don't have to crack a

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joke. You just tell the story. As they would at home if they were not

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outraged by ministers being told something would cost a certain

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amount but it was ten times the amount. What on earth are the civil

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service doing? It is laughable were it not so serious. The main point,

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it is very different focus? It's not a priority for the Lib Dems?

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We have had our differences with the Conservatives on items like

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Trident. That would have a massive effect within any defence budget. I

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think also, there is a question to be asked. We have been in Parliament

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long enough. I have never been satisfied as an onlooker we have had

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a proper assessment of what kind of nation are we? Principally maritime?

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Do we need land forces for future conflict? More into peacekeeping? I

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don't think so, incidentally. Speak to the Canadians and Irish.

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Looking to the future, should defence spending be ring-fenced?

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I think Charles is right and we do have to have this conversation.

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There is no minister in that department any more and that is

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very, very sad. When you are looking at spending across government

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departments, I don't think you can say defence should be treated in a

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different way. So there would be more departmental cuts to MoD

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spending? In 2015? From our point of view, we would need to see what the

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books are going to look like in 2015. It is not going to be

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protected as it is not protected in the way health is, so there will be

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further cuts? Well, we will try to persuade the Prime Minister, as I

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have been trying to do privately and publicly since I left office, that

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we make sure defence delivers security and protection of our

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interests in the times we live. I want to see an increase in defence

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expenditure, in fact. Is that really realistic? I don't know, Jo. But I

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believe in defence of the realm and I'd believe defence leverages

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influence. One of the key thing is this report questions is, what does

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the Government think, what do the parties think Britain's role in the

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world should be? David Cameron has made it clear and William Hague said

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in 2009 that Britain intends to help shape the world in which we find

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ourselves and I'd believe defence can help us shape the world. Does

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Labour accept Britain would have to have a smaller role on the

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international stage in a defence capacity if it will not spend the

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money? I think the world is changing and I think actually we are playing

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catch up a bit at the moment with the changes taking place in the

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world in a defence sense. I think we need to look more at how we prevent

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conflict and work to strengthen other nations' security. Thank you

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to you all. Now, it is just a few days since

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restrictions on Bulgarians and Romanians working in Britain have

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been lifted. We will not know exactly how many have come. And

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time. The Government has said it wants to cut net migration to less

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than 100,000 a year and a survey for a BBC documentary on BBC Two tonight

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indicates just over half of Britons want to see immigration cut by" a

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lot" . Nick Robinson is fronting that documentary. Welcome to the

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programme. One you are very familiar with! I am sorry I cannot be with

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you. Priam here finishing it off! -- I am. The truth about immigration,

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and I suppose the truth is, -- the question is, whose truth do you

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believe? That is right. People might say, who the heck do you think you

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are to pretend you know the truth? It was my view there had not been a

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proper political debate about this for many, many years and that those

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people, which ever side of the debate they are on, have for not

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being candid with the public about the downsides of their views, so on

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the one side, I think those who have argued for cuts in immigration has

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not really been pressed to think, what is the economic consequence of

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that? Would we be poorer as a result? And those in favour of

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immigration have not been pressed to say, what are the consequences for

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communities and individuals who find greater competition for jobs, wages,

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driving wages down, and also the change to the social fabric of Great

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Britain. So that was the purpose of doing this documentary. And what

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about views within government? Because we know they have had

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differences of opinion, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. But that

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quite controversial target that was set - is it now unachievable? I

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think it looks increasingly likely, and, more importantly, Vince Cable,

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the Business Secretary, has talked about its importance. The net

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migration is the difference between those coming into the country and

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those going out. David Cameron said he would get it below 100,000. I'd

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put it to the Business Secretary tonight that it might prove very

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difficult, and he agreed. It is not sensible to have an arbitrary cap

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because most of the things under it cannot be controlled. It involves

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British people emigrating and you cannot control that. It involves

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free movement in and out of the European Union. It involves British

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people coming back from overseas who are not immigrants but are counted

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in the numbers. So setting an arbitrary cap is not helpful. It

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almost certainly will not achieve the 100,000 level the Conservatives

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have set anyway, so let's be practical about it. That was Vince

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Cable, Business Secretary. For many years, it was considered something

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politically they to abuse object, immigration. -- politically

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controversial. Yes. He persuaded some people it was too dangerous to

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talk about it because it was somehow linked in with the issue of race and

:20:48.:20:58.

racism as well. -- it persuaded. But immigration is not about racial

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difference or religious difference. There are plenty with Asian

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backgrounds and Caribbean backgrounds who are just as

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concerned as those with white heritage as well. It has made it

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easier to have that conversation again. The leader of UKIP, Nigel

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Farage, says Enoch Powell distorted that debate, although he agrees with

:21:19.:21:22.

many of those warnings. I'd put it to him that he wasn't really being

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upfront with people and unless he was willing to say to them, yes, I

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am against immigration, but that will actually make you poorer. He

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replied he was willing to say it and then added this. I don't want to

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live in a country whose population is heading toward 75 million people.

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There are some things in a society and the community that matter more

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than just money. Quality of life. Overcrowded Britain. Back of social

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housing. Youth unemployment. These are very real issues. Very dramatic

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comments there from him. When is it on? 9:30pm, BBC Two, and even your

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viewers want just politics. There are lots of real people in this and

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you can have a laugh at me running a pie stall trying to illustrate that

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people don't actually know the numbers of those coming into the

:22:14.:22:21.

country with a pie chart. Get it? Yes! I am joined by Tim Aker, Head

:22:22.:22:29.

of Policy at UKIP, and Charles Kennedy is still with us. Charles

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Kennedy, you said immigration is not something a Dutch auction on the

:22:33.:22:40.

back of UKIP should be indulged in. Are you out of step with the public

:22:41.:22:46.

mood? I would say by the records of public opinion, yes, but in

:22:47.:22:50.

politics, you have to be prepared to be that. Politics is the business of

:22:51.:22:54.

trying to persuade and change public opinion to what you think is a

:22:55.:22:57.

better viewpoint. I think we are all in the business of that. Where we

:22:58.:23:02.

find ourselves in a minority occasionally. It also has to be

:23:03.:23:06.

about reading public opinion. This debate, and are largely agree with

:23:07.:23:12.

Nick Robinson, it is a bit like Europe. The establishment did not

:23:13.:23:16.

want to discuss these matters. Well, in a healthy, vibrant democracy, you

:23:17.:23:21.

need to. And I think it is good thing we are. Those who take a

:23:22.:23:26.

different view from the Nigel Farage Outlook need to make that case

:23:27.:23:33.

robustly. There is conflicting research, as you know, but there is

:23:34.:23:37.

return should that -- research in the short term that indicates that

:23:38.:23:48.

there is a problem with low-wage and low skilled workers, those who were

:23:49.:23:51.

migrants themselves in the first place. Yes. You can argue this both

:23:52.:24:03.

ways. I think the key thing is, are we better in the internationalised

:24:04.:24:10.

world we live in as a multicultural society functioning well? I think we

:24:11.:24:14.

are and I think that is something to celebrate, quite frankly. What is

:24:15.:24:20.

wrong with that? I think it is a question of numbers and we made a

:24:21.:24:23.

promise we would cut immigration from hundreds of thousands down to

:24:24.:24:28.

tens of thousands. You are not going to achieve that, you? We have

:24:29.:24:31.

actually made a lot of restrictions... It was part of the

:24:32.:24:38.

agreement made with the EU, but just go on, are you going to achieve this

:24:39.:24:42.

net migration target of tens of thousands? We may do. It is a

:24:43.:24:48.

challenging target. I've thought we were on target six months ago and

:24:49.:24:51.

I'm worried we have been knocked off that target cause of problems in

:24:52.:24:56.

Europe with the currency and the numbers from Bulgaria and Romania.

:24:57.:25:00.

But think it is essential we deliver on that promise for migration. But

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you cannot do anything about it, Mark Reckless, because other member

:25:07.:25:13.

countries around the EU, we have free movement of people. Are you

:25:14.:25:16.

worried it is something you couldn't deliver? What is happening is,

:25:17.:25:22.

because of the problems controlling EU immigration, we are having to do

:25:23.:25:26.

more on non-EU immigration. And I say, why are we allowing... ? I

:25:27.:25:31.

don't think it helps our graduates domestic lead to let EU graduates

:25:32.:25:36.

stay on and get jobs after their graduation, constituting a third of

:25:37.:25:42.

graduate employment in London, or why we let some come and work for a

:25:43.:25:49.

very short time or why we allow domestic servants in from the

:25:50.:25:58.

European Union. Certainly the rhetoric from David Cameron and the

:25:59.:26:02.

Government, notwithstanding the Lib Dems, the Conservative side of the

:26:03.:26:06.

government, has been to try to limit in some way net migration and they

:26:07.:26:14.

are now at 182,000, I think. And though it may not be achievable,

:26:15.:26:17.

they have gone to some way to doing it and trying to restrict access to

:26:18.:26:22.

benefits for new immigrants. So in a way, they are doing the sorts of

:26:23.:26:26.

things you are promising. Well, we are shaping the agenda on this. IDSA

:26:27.:26:35.

without UKIP, we wouldn't have been having this discussion now. -- I'd

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dare say. It is continuity blow. We have had ten years of this. Ten

:26:43.:26:47.

years. And we have only been able to discuss it in the last two because

:26:48.:26:53.

of a political class and the cosies -- cosy consensus where they would

:26:54.:26:59.

not discuss it. When did you find out UKIP wanted a five-year

:27:00.:27:03.

moratorium on immigrants settling in the UK? We have been discussing this

:27:04.:27:09.

for a while. We discussed policy all the time at UKIP. Do you think that

:27:10.:27:16.

is a good idea? I don't think it is fair to say it was a reaction to

:27:17.:27:23.

UKIP. We promise to... Under the Conservatives we never had that and

:27:24.:27:26.

we promised we would cut it back from the quarter of a million year

:27:27.:27:33.

we had under Labour to under 100,000. But you know as well of

:27:34.:27:37.

idea, Mark, that the only way to do that is to bring forward the debate

:27:38.:27:42.

now. Your leader is only prepared to kick the can down the road. The only

:27:43.:27:47.

way we can get control back of our borders is with this. So why are you

:27:48.:27:51.

supporting kicking the can down the road? To do this, we need a

:27:52.:27:57.

Conservative government to give a referendum... We must have a

:27:58.:28:01.

referendum. They need a Conservative government that will give them the

:28:02.:28:06.

referendum. Do you feel you are on the outside looking in? Yes! I am

:28:07.:28:12.

delighted and relieved! This is a clear blue and deeper blue water

:28:13.:28:19.

flowing through the studio! Support a referendum. I am very happy with

:28:20.:28:24.

the referendum. I would have had it 20 years ago for a start! We have a

:28:25.:28:29.

referendum this year on the future of one union, the United Kingdom,

:28:30.:28:34.

and after the May 2015 election, we will have another on the European

:28:35.:28:39.

Union, and that is, to me, seems sensible. Is the debate you have

:28:40.:28:44.

heard here about two parties trying to buy who will be tougher, is that

:28:45.:28:49.

identifying it as far as you're concerned or do we need to be

:28:50.:28:52.

discussed in detail policy about whether immigrants should be

:28:53.:28:57.

restricted from accessing benefits or whether we should have a

:28:58.:29:01.

moratorium? It is perfectly reasonable to have a debate on the

:29:02.:29:09.

specifics of policy and it isn't -- insulting to people's intelligence

:29:10.:29:15.

not to. It is as legitimate to express these who is as it is to

:29:16.:29:20.

rehearse my view. That's pick up on the point of Nigel Farage, that it

:29:21.:29:23.

would be better to be poorer because there is plenty of research which

:29:24.:29:27.

states from the GDP growth point of view that the country is actually

:29:28.:29:31.

better off as a result of immigration. It is one view put out

:29:32.:29:35.

by the national in shoot for economic research that says without

:29:36.:29:42.

immigration GDP will come down. -- national institute. I think the

:29:43.:29:49.

impact of immigration on the GDP per head tends to be quite small but

:29:50.:29:52.

lots of people who are perhaps better off benefit from employing

:29:53.:29:56.

cheaper immigrants, cheaper labour, and then those people look down on

:29:57.:30:00.

the rest of the population and said they were racist for not agreeing

:30:01.:30:03.

with them, and the rest of the population are very often competing

:30:04.:30:06.

with those people in the labour market and therefore are not as

:30:07.:30:10.

supportive of immigration as those who are better off. But it suggests

:30:11.:30:14.

it is short-term and long-term, more people in the population would

:30:15.:30:19.

benefit. How do you counteract that argument if the research states that

:30:20.:30:25.

in terms of GDP, which the Conservatives have made accordance

:30:26.:30:28.

stone of their policy, how does it work if Nigel Farage says we are

:30:29.:30:34.

going to be poorer? We are having these debates now, so let's have

:30:35.:30:39.

more research. Let's find out. The research now says that, but let's

:30:40.:30:44.

look at this. We have school place shortages, communities that feel

:30:45.:30:49.

uncomfortable. We are having this discussion now because three

:30:50.:30:52.

quarters of the British public want immigration reduced and we have 1

:30:53.:30:55.

million young unemployed people in this country, and that is a

:30:56.:31:00.

disgrace. But do you accept, as Nigel Farage does seem to, that we

:31:01.:31:05.

would be worse off from a GDP growth point of view if we don't have

:31:06.:31:07.

continued immigration of some sort? Statistics mean little to someone

:31:08.:31:17.

who has gone through Christmas without a job.

:31:18.:31:22.

Economically, it is arguable, but socially there is a big impact when

:31:23.:31:27.

it comes to hospitals, school places. This country doesn't have

:31:28.:31:37.

the room for these, for a lot more immigration?

:31:38.:31:40.

I do not accept that statement. If you look at the NHS, if it wasn't

:31:41.:31:47.

for a lot of labour at all levels within the NHS, then what is a

:31:48.:31:53.

creaking edifice would be in a state of genuine crisis.

:31:54.:32:01.

The reason so many people from Europe are coming to the UK is

:32:02.:32:05.

because our economy is doing better compared to the massive problems in

:32:06.:32:09.

the Eurozone. I think we can cut immigration to below 100,000 while

:32:10.:32:15.

still making it beneficial. We should have in people who we would

:32:16.:32:21.

benefit from, not those competing disproportionately with those

:32:22.:32:25.

struggling to get jobs. Vince Cable would argue by

:32:26.:32:27.

restricting non-EU immigration... Should life mean life for murderers

:32:28.:32:48.

and other serious offenders? It's an issue the government is having to

:32:49.:32:51.

grapple with, after a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. And

:32:52.:32:55.

it's just the latest example of the court in Strasbourg putting itself

:32:56.:32:58.

at odds with the British government. There are currently 52 criminals in

:32:59.:33:01.

England and Wales serving whole-life prison terms, which allow no

:33:02.:33:03.

possibility for parole. Different rules apply in Scotland. Judges in

:33:04.:33:07.

Strasbourg found in favour of three of those prisoners, all notorious

:33:08.:33:10.

killers, when it said their sentences breached human rights

:33:11.:33:12.

rules because they were not allowed a "right to review". David Cameron

:33:13.:33:15.

said he "profoundly disagreed" with the decision. But it looks like the

:33:16.:33:19.

government could try to comply with the ruling by replacing whole-life

:33:20.:33:21.

tariffs with US-style 100-year prison sentences. That would

:33:22.:33:23.

potentially allow offenders to have their sentences reviewed and

:33:24.:33:27.

reduced. The government is already considering how to respond to

:33:28.:33:30.

another ruling from the ECHR, after it said the UK's ban on prisoners

:33:31.:33:37.

voting is unlawful. For many, all this adds up to proof that the court

:33:38.:33:41.

in Strasbourg is overreaching itself. The former Lord Chief

:33:42.:33:44.

Justice, Lord Judge, said last month it threatened the sovereignty of

:33:45.:33:46.

Parliament, warning, "this is a court which is not answerable to

:33:47.:33:52.

anybody". The period for the government to decide what to do

:33:53.:33:55.

about whole-life tariffs runs out this week. And the Ministry of

:33:56.:33:58.

Justice says it will respond "shortly".

:33:59.:34:04.

I'm joined now by the Conservative MP and member of the Home Affairs

:34:05.:34:07.

Select Committee Mark Reckless, and of course Charles Kennedy is still

:34:08.:34:09.

here. Ian Brady, Rosemary West, Jeremy

:34:10.:34:13.

Bamber, notorious killers, are they being denied their human rights?

:34:14.:34:20.

It's not a matter of releasing them, but having a review after 25 years.

:34:21.:34:27.

They could be released. It's not for politicians to take

:34:28.:34:30.

that judgement. But there should be a right to review. This is

:34:31.:34:34.

misunderstood. This is not about opening cell doors to notorious

:34:35.:34:40.

people who need to be locked up for their own safety as well as others.

:34:41.:34:46.

You should have a review process. Interestingly, the European Court,

:34:47.:34:51.

again much misunderstood, is talking about an automatic right of review

:34:52.:35:00.

after 25 years. In English law, the standard is in fact 16 years. What

:35:01.:35:04.

the court is talking about is more punitive than the working practice

:35:05.:35:10.

in England. For many people, life should mean

:35:11.:35:15.

life. For those notorious killers, they should stay, they should die in

:35:16.:35:21.

prison. Life should mean life, but that doesn't mean an independent

:35:22.:35:25.

judge or panel should be able to review after a quarter of a

:35:26.:35:29.

century, the individual circumstances.

:35:30.:35:33.

An example, hypothetically, suppose somebody is terminally ill and have

:35:34.:35:38.

served 30 years. Suppose there is a prison riot and they save a

:35:39.:35:43.

warder's life, and they only have a few months left of their own knife.

:35:44.:35:48.

A judge might take that into account and say they should serve that, the

:35:49.:35:57.

rest of their term in liberty. Should there be some sort of legal

:35:58.:36:00.

right to a review? It sounds like when the Scottish

:36:01.:36:18.

government sent al-Meghari back to Libya.

:36:19.:36:28.

We come in Parliament, should decide. Ultimately, our top judge

:36:29.:36:35.

said this was quite compliant with the European Convention on Human

:36:36.:36:39.

Rights. Our courts have interpreted it that way. They only had to have

:36:40.:36:43.

regard to Strasbourg, they do not need to follow it. We should respect

:36:44.:36:53.

our own top judges. Personally, you would like to see

:36:54.:37:00.

them stay, regardless of who decides whole-life tariffs. Why shouldn't

:37:01.:37:04.

somebody as stated by Charles Kennedy, no matter how hard they

:37:05.:37:08.

work towards rehabilitation, their punishment should not change?

:37:09.:37:14.

The Lord Chief Justice looked at the case of David Oates, a cold-blooded

:37:15.:37:18.

murder of his former partner and daughter. It was planned. The judge

:37:19.:37:24.

said he took pleasure in the killing. There was no mitigation.

:37:25.:37:28.

The worst possible murder. It is important society has the ability to

:37:29.:37:33.

sake you must go to prison for the rest of your life. Belief in our

:37:34.:37:37.

criminal justice system would be undermined if that principle were

:37:38.:37:44.

bitten away. 2011, in England, 160 people were

:37:45.:37:54.

released for murder, of those, 26 had served less than ten years. That

:37:55.:38:00.

is nothing to do with Strasbourg, or the European Court, that is what is

:38:01.:38:05.

happening in domestic law. Why isn't the same outrage about that, if what

:38:06.:38:13.

Strasbourg is saying is invidious. I think Parliament should decide.

:38:14.:38:18.

You are happy with those decisions that Parliament has made leading to

:38:19.:38:22.

those statistics? I would like to see tougher sentencing more

:38:23.:38:26.

generally. And the issue life must mean life should hold. I believe we

:38:27.:38:35.

should... Given what is happening in our country, nothing to do with

:38:36.:38:39.

Strasbourg, why don't we abolish the court system in England? There is

:38:40.:38:43.

the European Convention, and the question of who decides. We have a

:38:44.:38:49.

mess where both of us are deciding. It is not clear. Other countries...

:38:50.:39:03.

Our judges have a better record than those European judges. We should

:39:04.:39:07.

follow our Lord Chief Justice and allow them to make decisions. As a

:39:08.:39:13.

country governed by our Parliament, that is a better system than one

:39:14.:39:17.

which this European court decides. There is a contradiction. If you

:39:18.:39:23.

pulled out of the European court, you would still have cases where

:39:24.:39:28.

people who should stay for life could be released. Our Lord Chief

:39:29.:39:37.

Justice upholds what Parliament passes. We only have two have regard

:39:38.:39:42.

to Strasbourg. Our Parliament doesn't even have two have regard.

:39:43.:39:50.

What about the compromise? We shouldn't be dancing around to do

:39:51.:39:55.

what the European Court says. Ministers may be trying to obey

:39:56.:40:00.

international law because the Prime Minister has issued a ministerial

:40:01.:40:04.

code. Under our system, you should only have two obey the law as

:40:05.:40:08.

determined by Parliament. How dangerous would it be if Britain

:40:09.:40:14.

pulled out of the European Court and convention? A disaster, we are a

:40:15.:40:21.

founding member. I like the phrase, our judges are better than anyone

:40:22.:40:29.

else. I am a member of the all party Parliamentary assembly of the

:40:30.:40:32.

Council of Europe. The one important vote I have is I get to vote for who

:40:33.:40:37.

these judges are from all other 46 countries. All the more reason for

:40:38.:40:43.

not following this decision. And I pay great attention... I was there

:40:44.:40:52.

when David Cameron addressed the Parliamentary assembly last year. If

:40:53.:40:58.

he had used phrases like, our judges are better... I said they were

:40:59.:41:02.

better than judges who had not been judges in their own country or had

:41:03.:41:07.

no legal experience. Let us leave it there.

:41:08.:41:08.

The general election of 2015 promises to be fascinating. And,

:41:09.:41:14.

less than 18 months out, there's still no clear indication of how any

:41:15.:41:18.

of the main parties will fare. It will be particularly crucial for the

:41:19.:41:26.

Lib Dems. Not only will they be going to the voters on the back of

:41:27.:41:30.

five years in coalition with the Conservatives, a significant number

:41:31.:41:33.

of their big beasts, people like Menzies Campbell, will be standing

:41:34.:41:36.

down. That in itself could have an effect on their chances of holding

:41:37.:41:39.

onto seats, as familiar faces are replaced with relative unknowns. So,

:41:40.:41:42.

five years on from Clegg-mania, just what might it mean for the party?

:41:43.:41:45.

Here's David. A changing of the guard, as familiar

:41:46.:41:51.

faces give way. They have seen hard times and glory days, what will

:41:52.:41:54.

their departure mean for the future of the party? The Lib reckon they

:41:55.:41:59.

have a secret weapon in a general election campaign, it is called

:42:00.:42:05.

incumbency. Once they get in, it is tough to get them out. They become

:42:06.:42:11.

familiar faces. With more than 10% of their MPs standing down and

:42:12.:42:15.

having been in coalition, will it still work in 2015? Big names

:42:16.:42:22.

standing down will have an impact on the Lib Dems. Essentially, they are

:42:23.:42:28.

based on the local relevancy of their MPs. Looking at inheriting

:42:29.:42:32.

seats, with the national polls showing them on just 8%, having been

:42:33.:42:38.

in government, they are going to struggle to hold onto seats,

:42:39.:42:43.

particularly Liberal Democrat- Labour seat where Labour can play

:42:44.:42:47.

that anti-government card. If that holds true, they could lose more

:42:48.:42:52.

than 30 seats. There are concerns about the big names who have been

:42:53.:42:56.

the face of unpopular policies. Being an AA Minister does have its

:42:57.:43:02.

benefits. Someone like Danny Alexander is aware of the

:43:03.:43:05.

difficulties that come from being the man in charge of the public

:43:06.:43:08.

purse strings. He is making sure there are sweeteners going the way

:43:09.:43:15.

of his constituents. He is being careful to play that game well. Even

:43:16.:43:21.

those standing down think the Lib Dems have brought benefits in their

:43:22.:43:25.

time at office. We all know government is a process

:43:26.:43:29.

of compromise particularly in a coalition. At the same time, you do

:43:30.:43:33.

get things done which you have been trying to do for many years. You are

:43:34.:43:39.

able to keep those promises to your electorate. Let me tell you, if you

:43:40.:43:43.

have the choice, then being in government enables you to deliver in

:43:44.:43:47.

a way you will never do in opposition. You can talk a lot, but

:43:48.:43:52.

you can't get things done. Could the Lib Dems's best hope be pride in

:43:53.:44:04.

their time in office? I don't think you can wash your

:44:05.:44:12.

hands of the coalition, but playing for the next three months they will

:44:13.:44:17.

be authentic. 2015 will be new territory for

:44:18.:44:21.

everyone but it could be toughest for the Lib Dems. They hope will be

:44:22.:44:25.

locally and nationally some of the achievements of their past will

:44:26.:44:29.

still be standing the day after they next go to the polls.

:44:30.:44:36.

Charles Kennedy, what you think of your electoral chances?

:44:37.:44:41.

Very tough. Excuse me, I am croaking a bit. Have some water. They were

:44:42.:44:46.

bound to be tough from the moment the coalition decision was taken.

:44:47.:44:50.

That would have been the case whatever way that had gone. Had

:44:51.:44:56.

there been a coalition or arrangement with labour. You'd

:44:57.:45:02.

probably have had a shot at Polmont but it would have been tough. I

:45:03.:45:06.

didn't support it at the time, I would have stayed in opposition.

:45:07.:45:14.

Most of my Parliamentary colleagues took the view understandably they

:45:15.:45:18.

didn't want that but wanted the long haul. I was never any doubt the

:45:19.:45:25.

press underestimate the resilience of this party. They don't understand

:45:26.:45:32.

this party. But, despite all the ups and downs, there have been plenty,

:45:33.:45:37.

once the ink was dry, this deal would see its way through.

:45:38.:45:42.

But you lost seats after the Cleggmania and there was talk of the

:45:43.:45:52.

Lib Dems being wiped out. Can they hold the same number of seats they

:45:53.:45:57.

have now? I think we can do that because if you look at the pattern

:45:58.:46:01.

of results, sure, we have had very bad set acts, but in areas where we

:46:02.:46:05.

have Parliamentary representation, we have been bucking that trend. In

:46:06.:46:10.

the main, that is. So we can certainly do that but there is a

:46:11.:46:14.

big, big communication job for us to do in the next 18 months in

:46:15.:46:19.

particular. We have two, possibly three big opportunities to do this.

:46:20.:46:24.

The Scottish referendum campaign in the autumn, between now and

:46:25.:46:28.

September, for once we are on the side of something which the polls

:46:29.:46:32.

suggest has majority support and we very much have to be in the vanguard

:46:33.:46:36.

of that. Secondly, on the European elections, which will be very tough

:46:37.:46:42.

indeed, with UKIP... You could do very badly there as well? Well, when

:46:43.:46:48.

I was leader, I remember one weekend we came fourth in the European

:46:49.:46:52.

elections, which was a disaster. We came second on the same day of

:46:53.:46:57.

polling in the English local elections and beat Labour and we won

:46:58.:47:02.

one if not two sensational Parliamentary by-elections, so we

:47:03.:47:05.

can survive bad results but the challenge is, to be pro-, and

:47:06.:47:12.

unambiguously pro-European, because that is our niche market. What about

:47:13.:47:19.

the brand? Because the editor of the magazine says it is a toxic brand,

:47:20.:47:24.

partly because of tuition fees but other things as well. He uses the

:47:25.:47:28.

evidence that you have not been able to, as the party, select all your

:47:29.:47:32.

candidates, and by now normally that would have happened. This is for the

:47:33.:47:37.

next election. Groves of people have gone to Labour since 2010 and that,

:47:38.:47:42.

in the end, will inhibit you having anything like a strong performance

:47:43.:47:47.

as you did in 2010. -- droves of people. Well, if you remember, we

:47:48.:47:52.

were due to be in the process of a very controversial people with the

:47:53.:47:56.

new Parliamentary boundaries, which got scrapped last year because of

:47:57.:48:04.

all sorts of internal Parliamentary vaccinations. On the brand issue,

:48:05.:48:10.

yes, we took some very big knocks. Tuition fees, in my view, was the

:48:11.:48:14.

biggest, and Nick Clegg has apologised for it. However, I was

:48:15.:48:20.

interested looking at some of Lord Ashcroft's most recent polling,

:48:21.:48:24.

where it showed, and this is where we can work and we have potential to

:48:25.:48:28.

work with the grain here, is that we are still trusted on things like, if

:48:29.:48:33.

you ask the question, is the heart in the right place? Largest single

:48:34.:48:38.

group of respondents say yes. But the polling figures are terrible.

:48:39.:48:43.

Yes. We have to translate those value judgements about us into

:48:44.:48:46.

practical support but we have campaign opportunities to do it.

:48:47.:48:54.

Just to confirm, you are standing, are you? I have been reselected! The

:48:55.:49:01.

electorate willing, my hat will be in the ring next time and eye will

:49:02.:49:05.

be back! Thank you for clarifying that. -- I.

:49:06.:49:09.

Ed Miliband's described them as spreading like an epidemic, and

:49:10.:49:12.

tomorrow Labour will use an opposition day debate to discuss the

:49:13.:49:15.

regulation of fixed-odds betting terminals. Currently, bookmakers are

:49:16.:49:18.

allowed up to four of these machines per branch on which punters can bet

:49:19.:49:23.

up to ?300 a minute. But Labour argues this is causing more and more

:49:24.:49:26.

bookmakers to open on the high streets. They want councils to be

:49:27.:49:30.

given powers to limit the number of bookmakers allowed to open in an

:49:31.:49:34.

area and regulate how many machines are allowed on the premises.The

:49:35.:49:37.

Government is waiting for a study into the machines' effects before

:49:38.:49:41.

deciding on the matter. Joining me from Birmingham is the Labour MP Tom

:49:42.:49:44.

Watson, who's campaigned on the issue.

:49:45.:49:50.

Tom, why not wait for that study to deliver what the impact has been of

:49:51.:49:55.

these machines? Well, Jo, the problem with the study is, it is

:49:56.:50:00.

like waiting for the polar ice caps to melt! We have been waiting years

:50:01.:50:04.

for this. And the Government, in their tri- annual review of stakes,

:50:05.:50:08.

has decided the simple way to deal with these machines to reduce the

:50:09.:50:20.

stakes from ?200 down to ?100, that is not the way to do it. Give local

:50:21.:50:29.

authorities the power to rule that if there is anti-social behaviour

:50:30.:50:33.

problems, give them the powers to ban them. That is the debate

:50:34.:50:39.

tomorrow. What impact do you think, anecdotally, if the study is still

:50:40.:50:43.

looking at it, and I am told by Charles Kennedy that the review

:50:44.:50:47.

should be concluded early 2014, so you should be expecting it fairly

:50:48.:50:52.

soon, but what sort of impact is it having on communities? It is great

:50:53.:50:57.

to have Charlie Kennedy back, by the way! He talks so much sense. And

:50:58.:51:01.

what the resolution tomorrow is about is he is probably inspired a

:51:02.:51:05.

bit by the Lib Dems, whose own conference past policy in this area

:51:06.:51:09.

in September, so the Lib Dems have made their mind up on it and I'm

:51:10.:51:13.

hoping we can unite around the issue of a resolution tomorrow, though I

:51:14.:51:18.

have not seen it yet. I'm hoping my front bench will be clever in the

:51:19.:51:22.

way they word it so it gives the Lib Dems an opportunity to express their

:51:23.:51:26.

support. The real argument is, there is an emerging body of evidence and

:51:27.:51:31.

it doesn't need a gambling charity report to see that these machines

:51:32.:51:35.

are being used for money-laundering, that there is an increasing amount

:51:36.:51:39.

of violence within bookmakers and nearly 180 callouts to the police

:51:40.:51:47.

every week from bookmakers, predominantly from gamblers smashing

:51:48.:51:50.

them up who have lost too much money. And there is also a body of

:51:51.:51:55.

evidence that says these machines are creating gambling addicts and

:51:56.:51:58.

that is something Parliament should act on. And we never should have

:51:59.:52:02.

licensed these machines in the way we did in 2005 and we should put the

:52:03.:52:06.

matter right as quickly as possible. So that was when Labour

:52:07.:52:12.

was in power, then? Yes. I'd feel duty bound to continue with this

:52:13.:52:16.

campaign because I was on the bill that allowed the licensing of these

:52:17.:52:19.

machines to go through. And it is time all MPs -- at the time all MPs

:52:20.:52:27.

let these machines go through sort of on the nod. We basically drop the

:52:28.:52:32.

ball on this one and didn't understand the impact this

:52:33.:52:34.

technology would have on the high street. Now is the time to put it

:52:35.:52:39.

right. Thank you. Charles Kennedy, you woman should there. Are the

:52:40.:52:43.

Liberal Democrats going to support this? Tom is so kind and it seems

:52:44.:52:49.

dishonourable to not go along with him! He is right, the 2005 act is

:52:50.:52:56.

what gave life to this problem. But we do have the review. Don Foster,

:52:57.:53:02.

the Lib Dem government minister, and onto recently he became our Chief

:53:03.:53:07.

Whip and the deputy Chief Whip, he set up the review and a flow was

:53:08.:53:11.

pointing out, it is reporting early this calendar year. -- and as I was

:53:12.:53:21.

pointing out. I hope the review will endorse it and it seems this is

:53:22.:53:25.

slightly putting the cart before the horse. It is procedural rather than

:53:26.:53:31.

any other sort of disagreement. Thank you.

:53:32.:53:34.

Now, would you like to get married in a neo-Gothic palace on the banks

:53:35.:53:39.

of the River Thames? As long as you don't mind the odd MP photo-bombing

:53:40.:53:43.

the wedding pictures, that is. Or perhaps you're a business wanting to

:53:44.:53:46.

hire out a function room in the heart of Westminster to really

:53:47.:53:50.

impress your clients? Well, it's all now possible thanks to the House of

:53:51.:53:53.

Commons authorities, who have begun renting out a number of the historic

:53:54.:53:57.

rooms in Parliament for the first time.

:53:58.:54:01.

But what exactly is on offer? Well, members of the public can hire the

:54:02.:54:07.

Pugin Room, which seats 30 people for just ?900 an evening.

:54:08.:54:11.

Or for a bigger gathering, you could opt for the vast Portcullis House

:54:12.:54:15.

glass atrium, which can be rented for ?9,000 on a Saturday and can

:54:16.:54:18.

hold up to 450 people. And what food's on offer? Well, a

:54:19.:54:22.

Westminster cream tea will set customers back ?24 a head, or for

:54:23.:54:25.

the more extravagant, there's House of Commons champagne available at

:54:26.:54:26.

?40 a bottle. The idea behind all of this is for

:54:27.:54:35.

the Commons to generate more revenue to pay for repairs and upkeep of the

:54:36.:54:39.

buildings, but some argue it's just commercialising a public institution

:54:40.:54:44.

to the highest bidder. I'm joined now by the Labour MP Paul

:54:45.:54:48.

Flynn, who's in favour of the hiring-out of Parliament, and by the

:54:49.:54:51.

Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who opposed the commercialisation of

:54:52.:54:54.

Parliament when it was proposed in 2012. What is wrong with it, Robert?

:54:55.:55:02.

Welcome. Well, they wanted to originally charge for going up Ben

:55:03.:55:08.

and I'd put a stop to that because the first issue is about respect and

:55:09.:55:12.

equality and we should have respect for Parliament. It is at the base of

:55:13.:55:16.

our democracy and it should be equal to all citizens, not just if they

:55:17.:55:20.

are rich enough to hire it out. And also, there are savings that can be

:55:21.:55:24.

made elsewhere as well. Thirdly, I think we are in danger of making

:55:25.:55:30.

Parliament a theme park. We are opening a Pandora's box. Why not

:55:31.:55:34.

have roller-coaster 's and other things? This is central to our

:55:35.:55:38.

country and I have a rented view about Parliament. We are the

:55:39.:55:42.

greatest Parliament in one of the greatest countries in the world and

:55:43.:55:46.

we should treat it as such. Robert, what do you say to that? It is

:55:47.:55:54.

deserted. Members are not there on Tuesday evenings or Wednesday

:55:55.:55:57.

evenings, nothing happening at the weekend. We have this huge asset and

:55:58.:56:03.

we should be doing it in a democratic way. Prices should be at

:56:04.:56:06.

a level where everybody can have a go and there has to be some kind of

:56:07.:56:13.

lottery to have a go. It should be used by everyone. It is a marvellous

:56:14.:56:17.

place to have a wedding, for instance. And everyone should have

:56:18.:56:22.

at least a chance, then paying costs which would be similar to a

:56:23.:56:28.

first-class hotel. In terms of the practical level, the building is

:56:29.:56:33.

crumbling in parts, as I am told. If it is not being used to its full

:56:34.:56:37.

capacity and you want to retain and maintain it, then isn't that a

:56:38.:56:41.

sensible way just to make some money and allow people to use it

:56:42.:56:46.

recreationally? But the reality of this if there will be some people

:56:47.:56:49.

who use it for having a cream tea and weddings, and good luck to them.

:56:50.:56:55.

But the majority who can afford to hire it will be corporate and it

:56:56.:57:00.

should be for the people. It should not be for big business by big

:57:01.:57:06.

business. MPs have been dodging this and they are underused in

:57:07.:57:09.

Parliament. People use it to the greatest extent for big business and

:57:10.:57:13.

lobbyists and it should be open to the public and everyone should have

:57:14.:57:17.

the chance to use it. It is a wonderful building. It should be

:57:18.:57:21.

open to the public and it should be free to walk around. They are even

:57:22.:57:25.

talking about charging... But if they want to have their wedding...

:57:26.:57:31.

The public already pay taxes for Parliament should be able to walk

:57:32.:57:35.

around it. This is not a museum or hotel. It is the place of our

:57:36.:57:41.

democracy. On the sort of romantic notion it should be for the people

:57:42.:57:45.

and of the people, what do you think? I am genuinely sitting on the

:57:46.:57:52.

fence listening to the argument. Hate to be a traditional Liberal

:57:53.:57:58.

Democrat! When I assumed the capitalist Conservative would be all

:57:59.:58:02.

in favour of opening up the place to maximise the profit and then my good

:58:03.:58:04.

socialist friend here from the Council of Europe would be against

:58:05.:58:10.

it. I think I'd tend towards the more romantic view, have to say,

:58:11.:58:16.

because Paul's argument is interesting but the same argument

:58:17.:58:18.

should apply to Buckingham Palace as well, shouldn't it? Indeed. There

:58:19.:58:25.

was the suggestion that the royal palaces, there are eight of them,

:58:26.:58:29.

and one of them has 600 rooms, that they should be open to the public.

:58:30.:58:34.

Very quickly, the answer to our quiz, the man who received the MBE

:58:35.:58:38.

in the New Year's honours list, what service does he provide for the

:58:39.:58:43.

prime minister? He is Sweeney Todd! A close shave! Not quite Sweeney

:58:44.:58:48.

Todd! But he is the hairdresser. Many thanks to all of you,

:58:49.:58:52.

particularly you, Charles Kennedy. The one o'clock News is starting on

:58:53.:58:55.

BBC One now. Goodbye.

:58:56.:59:01.

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