04/02/2014 Daily Politics


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Welcome to the Daily Politics. Today's top story, Labour discuss Ed


Miliband's plans for changing the party 's links with trade unions. As


a contributing jewel report into vogue as to vote rigging.


Limited budgets mean not all parts of the coast can be protected from


flooding. We will debate whether we should let us see back in?


A Conservative MP deselected by his constituency party, we will discuss


why Tory activists appear to be flexing their muscles. Should pubs


in England and Wales big event blanket permission to open late


during the World Cup? All that in the next hour, and with


us for the whole programme today is the independent crossbench peer


Julie Newberg who until 2011 was a member of the Liberal Democrats.


There is kick-off with the tube strike in London due to start at 9pm


this evening and last until Thursday. This morning the leader of


the train drivers union Bob Crow called the London radio station LBC


which was broadcasting a phone in show with Boris Johnson.


All we want is an opportunity to talk about the tube. We have not


condemned to score points, we want an opportunity to speak to the Mayor


of London about the problems. It is good of you to call on, Bob, and I


respect your position and the fact you are the leader of a very


important union in our country and our city. I have got to tell you,


the best way to engage with us and with me is for you guys, the RMT, to


call off the strike and then I will be more than happy, of course, to


sit down and talk with you. They were talking across the


airwaves, shame they haven't managed to sit down and talk together in


recent weeks to stop the strike action going ahead as Boris Johnson


would like. Should the laws surrounding strike action be


changed? It probably should be, in just the proportion of the papers


who are the Tube workers themselves voting for strike action.


I defend peoples right to withdraw their labour, there are a few


exceptions and I would say the fire service that can strike, they


probably shouldn't be able to. But clearly the Tube workers should be


allowed to strike if they decide to do so. It must be 50% or more,


because otherwise it seems the minority is holding Londoners to


ransom. It is incredibly irritating, and it does have a terrible impact


on the economy and in my view we should be clear if they are going to


do it they have got to have a good reason, they should sit and before


this. Should the law be changed? I would have thought so. What about


turnout in local and European elections because there will be


trade union members who have decided to go out on strike and say, MPs,


MEPs, sometimes elected with far lower thresholds than 50%? The


differences when you're voting in an election, there is an argument that


says people should have two vote, it should be compulsory. It seems to me


where it is a specific issue which is different from a general election


or a European election, the union is actually deciding to withdraw


labour, so the people who are part of union have to make a decision,


each of them throwing in a vote, I think. It is slightly different from


general elections. What about talks between the two sides? Why can't


there be some sort of mediation where they meet and compromise?


There has been some mediation but it all fell apart. There should be a


lot more talking before you get to the moment where they say we are


going on strike. It feels to me, and I thought the exchange between Bob


Crow and Boris Johnson suggested that, they haven't been meeting


regularly, why not? Time for our quiz and as we have


been discussing, from 9pm this evening London's Underground will be


hit by a 48-hour strike. What has Boris Johnson offered Bob Crow in an


effort to get him to sit down for talks? Is it a pina colada?


A pay rise for all drivers. The job of deputy mayor, or a pair of


Bermuda shorts? Plenty of time to think about it.


Today could be a historic one for Labour as the party discusses


changes to this link to the unions with Ed Miliband looking to scrap


the voting system that propelled him to power three and a half years ago.


A number of changes are being considered by Labour's governing


body, the National Executive including abolishing the electoral


college method and electing party leaders. Under the current system


the electoral college gives unions, party members and MPs one third of


the vote each. But Ed Miliband wants to change this to a simple one


member, one vote. Trade union members will have two become an


affiliated member of the party, in order to vote in leadership


elections by opting in and paying ?3 per year. Labour will hold a one-off


conference next month to approve the new rules, but it will not result in


any changes to the way policies are voted for at the party's annual


conference. The proposals are not just a political gamble for Mr


Miliband but a financial one as well. It is estimated the party


could face a drop in funding of ?5 million when the funding changes are


fully implemented within five years. Ahead of the meeting a confidential


internal Labour Party report into allegations of vote rigging in


Falkirk was leaked to the Guardian. Our political correspondent has all


the detail of this and he joins us now.


First of all, let's have a look at these reforms. Labour making big


player of the fact they are reforming the party, one member, one


vote. Does the influence of the unions diminished under these or is


it smoke and mirrors? It depends who you ask. What began


with a bar room brawl involving Eric Joyce, the MP for Falkirk, almost


two years ago, has rolled on ever since then through Joyce saying he


would stand down as a member of the Labour Party, to the whole row


around for quick and allegations of vote rigging, in this confidential


report. At the heart of it is the central question about the role of


the trade unions. The party made the case that by changing the leadership


election rules to one member, one vote, it means people are certain


people, will not have multiple votes and therefore ordinary party


members, whether they have joined directly or through an affiliated


union, will have their individual say. Others say that because of the


potential for Labour to be starved of funding because of these changes,


they would be more reliant on the unions to go knocking on their door


and say can you throw some pennies in our part one did not elections,


round -- in our pot when general elections, round?


--, and investigator went to Falkirk to


try to find out the situation. Members were pressurised into


competing direct debit forms, members signatures were forged.


There is evidence they were forged on application forms or direct


debits, they make the case that ultimately members were recruited in


an attempt to manipulate party processes, that is essential,


overarching conclusion. On one occasion a batch of 40 obligation


forms was received by the party with a letter for Len McCluskey stating


Tom Watson, senior Labour MP who happened to employ Karie Murphy,


saying they are OK. Labour and the Unite General secretaries agree


these will be processed. You get a sense of just how involved those


senior figures from the union and the Labour Party are involved in


this whole process around Falkirk. The real concern from Labour that


there are practices going on that simply were unacceptable, machine


politics as Ed Miliband called it. Unite all of it, they say the whole


thing is a stitch up, and misrepresentation of Karie Murphy,


Stephen Deans, they are furious. With this is the former Labour Home


Secretary Alan Johnson. I am sure he is equally across all the detail.


Let's take the details of the reform. It is about Labour breaking


its links with the unions. Is it not the case unions will still have 50%


of votes at the party conference, nothing changes there, and union


members could outvote party members when it comes to voting for the


leader, so what has changed? Who said this was about breaking the


link with the unions? I have been arguing for 20 years, ever since


John Smith introduced the first tranche of reforms that that


relationship which is precious and important and we should never lose,


would be much healthier if members made a conscious decision, union


members of affiliated unions, made a conscious decision to pay the


political levy, but as the system at the moment, and opt out system, and


take that one step further and make another conscious decision to the


associate members of the Labour Party is really further even than I


thought we would go 20 years ago. An affiliated member will now have the


same rights in terms of the leadership election. We allow


students in, pensioners. 2.7 million people we are talking about. The way


we detail what you pay to be a Labour Party member is a matter for


us. It would be ridiculous and I didn't argue this other time if you


turned ?3 50 affiliate into a ?45 membership fee. I hope they go on to


beat members but these are cleaners, hospital porters, train drivers.


These working people. It is absolutely important to have them as


an associate member and it was never about breaking the links with the


unions, it was about strengthening them.


In your mind reducing the amount of influence union leaders have over


their members and therefore as a Labour Party policy. Only in the


sense that I call them ghost in the machines, levy paying members are


pushed around as numbers, 1 million year, 1000 there. And their views,


as I found out, are very different to what activists tell you their


views are. That wasn't reflected. The important point about this is


each of these associate members will be attached to a constituency party.


It will be the Labour Party that controls the ballots for


leadership, the Labour Party involves them in our local


campaigns. Not a trade union general secretary who with all June respect


in this day and age cannot decide how that this thousands of members


then. -- with all due respect. Would it have been healthier to break that


influence the bit more by stopping the big unions having so much say on


forming policy at conferences? And Miliband said last July he will


start an opt in system, rather than opt out. That has ramifications for


the vote of confidence because these people are signing to be levied


payers and the vote of confidence will depend on a number of people


who make that decision, but our policy for a long time is no longer


15 minute debates about Middle East by the seaside, it is in a national


policy forum where trade unions have a third of the vote and that is very


healthy. Except we were just hearing there from our reporter and Len


McCluskey, if you take the financial hit which is going to come in


somewhere, you cannot predict by how much, the Labour Party and the


Labour leadership will be more reliant on the funds from the


political funds, from the unions and union leaders themselves, they will


control the amount they give later the -- Labour. The principle has to


come first. How much to think will be lost? Lots of people would


contribute to the Labour Party on the basis of a much healthier


relationship, one member, one vote. We cannot be sure of that, but I am


proud of my leader for taking the principal decision. Because of the


hit you are going to take, and maybe over time you will recoup some of


that lost money if people are attracted to the idea of opting in


as Labour Party members, but what about the reliance on the unions who


will still have a large amount of money and they will control it? I


hope the trade unions contribute to the Labour Party, they formed it.


Not like hedge funds which which money into the Tory party and got a


tax cut. It is not about making it look as if it is some kind of


transaction. Do you think this is going to transform, as Alan Johnson


and Ed Miliband and others feel it is this relationship between the


unions and party members and labour? We know each other well. You started


this 20 years ago and I think this is another step on a road which the


Labour Party has found difficult to take. Which is one member, one


vote. I think there will be a financial hits, but I don't know how


much. The contribution people who opt in will have to make will be


larger than ?3 50. Some of that will be tricky for a lot of people. Do I


think it is a good idea to go down this path, yes I do? I was part of


the Labour Party as a student. I do think this is improvement. The


problem is I don't think it goes far enough, even now. Let's look at


Falkirk. It has been leaked. The party refused to publish it last


September. There was no evidence to suggest rules were breached. This


morning that report has been leaked by the Guardian and we know members


were recruited without their knowledge and signatures were forged


on Labour Party application forms. They published it online, I have not


even read it. We heard it from our reporter, and it is listed here,


members were recruited without their knowledge. Shouldn't people be


disciplined? The police looked into this and dropped it. As far as the


Labour Party's procedures are over Falkirk, I will leave it to them. We


are going onto a by-election. If Falkirk have acted as an accidental


catalyst for these changes, well done Falkirk. What about the trust


of people into candidate selection? It does nothing to improve that.


It's completely undermines it. If you have serious allegations and


conclusions that have been found in this report? The reason why the


report was not published is that people gave evidence to the Labour


Party in confidence. And if people give and are told it is


confidential, first you will get to the truth quicker and you don't let


them down by publishing it. Do you think they should have published it?


No, I don't. As a non-expert on Falkirk, looking at how small the


story is to date, certain newspapers tried to blow this up into the crime


of the century, it was dealt with and has gone on to mean huge changes


to the party. I did try to read it this morning. I have to say it is


ethical to read. -- difficult to read. The issue about the forgery of


signatures is serious. I'm not saying other parties don't have


that, but it is serious and you have to take it seriously. There is this


strange thing, I think it happens in the three main party -- parties, you


can receive membership as a present. Why you would want membership of a


political party as a gift, I don't know. But it looks like people have


been pressured into doing something they don't want to do. Let's talk


now to the Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps.


Labour is finally saying it has a healthy relationship with the


unions, you have one member, one vote. All the things the Tories have


been asking for, you must want to congratulate Alan Johnson and his


colleagues? The unions will be handed a lot more power, the union


barons anyway, because they will have a political fund they will be


able to give cash to Ed Miliband two when he is struggling and carry on


buying their policies and their candidates, as happened in that


Falkirk report. It is much more serious than you think, Alan by the


way and involves 40 other seats as well. It means they can carry on


selecting the leader. For the viewers watching this programme, Ed


Miliband is, who said he was going to stand up to this stuff cannot


stand up to those union barons, and there's no chance he will stand up


for you, me and people watching this programme when it comes to cutting


the deficit or getting welfare and immigration under control. Families


will find his weak approach to this will affect their future. Are you


worried that Labour could become a mass membership party as your


numbers dwindle? Our numbers are not dwindling. What are they now?


174,000. We don't ordinarily let people who join for ?1 vote. I hear


Alan Johnson saying that the Labour Party does. In the end it is right


to have this opting in system. So many different things, but one of


the key recommendations is that unions don't automatically sign


people up for labour associations as happens at the moment. People should


opt in instead. Lots of union members, a councillor in my area, is


a union member and he is a conservative. As long as people get


the choice of which political party they send those affiliation fees to.


This will hand the unions even more power and Ed Miliband has failed on


the test he set himself to take on those union barons and is handing


them more control. For ordinary people, the unions are in control of


the Labour Party and that means Ed Miliband is looking out for their


bosses are not for you. Let's talk about a man who served as UKIP's,


wealth spokesman for a year and is the former leader of a kidnapping


gang in Pakistan, as was revealed by BBC Newsnight last night. He was a


member of the Conservative Party in 2008 and left and joined UKIP. I


should just add, he attempted to rejoin the party last week after


having been the UKIP spokesman. Because he is a spokesman for


another party we rejected that application. We have a letter


welcoming him rejoining the Conservative Party from the 30th of


January. " I am delighted you have taken the decision to help turn


Britain around by becoming a member of the party". Why did he receive a


welcoming letter? We reserve the right to scrutinise the application


and before that person is fully accepted we can take a decision on


their membership will stop he is not now a member of the Conservative


Party. He has had a letter from the lead Deputy Chairman, so this will


not be automatic saying, I am just dropping you a brief e-mail saying I


am delighted you have rejoined the Conservative Party. If somebody goes


online and joins the party, which I hope many of your viewers will


today. Well done, you have got your plug in. You go into an automatic


system and you will receive some letters. But reserve the right to


scrutinise anyone's membership and he is not a member of the party as a


result of that. And in fact, anyone who is associated with another


party, we would always look very carefully, particularly when someone


has been speaking as a spokesman this and else, in this case UKIP.


When he was a member of the Conservative Party, it was shortly


after he was convicted and jailed, was that a mistake? Anyone is


welcome to join the party ordinarily unless we have reason to


investigate. Then they would become a member and that would be it. What


has happened more recently in the last week, there has been reason to


be concerned about this particular member and we have reacted as we


described. We were talking earlier in the programme about strike rules


bearing in mind there will be a chip strike this evening. Do you think


those rules should be changed? For commuters, of which I am one on a


Wednesday morning, to wake up and not be able to use the tube as you


should be able to is ridiculous. Should the rules be changed? I am


very sympathetic to the idea we need to do more. Given the discussion we


have just had, if Labour and the leader came out now and were


absolutely clear they condemn this strike it does not help anyone, let


alone people... Do you think strike rules should be changed? I am


sympathetic to look at these issues, the first thing is to stop


the strike that will start tomorrow. One thing that would be very helpful


and put a bit of distance between Labour and the unions, is if they


would come out and condemn this strike. Thank you very much.


Yesterday, the long serving Conservative MP was officially


deselected by his constituency party in Suffolk. He is the second


conservative in the last week to be told by local party Minden --


members they will not be a candidate next year. He spoke to a BBC


reporter after the vote. I think it is right for the whole membership of


my party to vote whether I would be the candidate or not. It was a knife


edge result and I respect the outcome and I will give my full


support to my successor. After 30 years as an MP, it should not end


this way? You take part in democracy and you don't know how elections


will come out, sometimes you win them, sometimes you lose them. We've


been joined by Paul Goodman who is editor of the Conservative Home


website and used to be a Conservative MP and by the


Conservative MP Anne McIntosh, who was deselected by her local


constituency party last week. Welcome to the Daily Politics. Why


were you deselected? I am obviously disappointed at the outcome of the


ballot which does seem to be the result of some ungentlemanly


behaviour which has brought discredit to the Conservative Party.


I am delighted this is going to be looked into so I don't wish to


comment at this stage. When you say it is being looked into? By the


highest ranks of the Conservative Party. Is this about a fallout


between you and a person in your constituency? So it would appear.


Can I make a general comment about why it is so important to have


Conservative associations? It exists under the Conservative constitution


to elect councillors, MPs and MEPs and after the election to support


them. My association is a very new one. The seat was only reconstituted


on a boundary change in 2010. I was told in 2009 by the preferred


candidate, who has - and now it has become public knowledge who the


preferred candidate is, that has now happened. The whole party voted you


out? I was voted out of the constituency of 11,000 voters. But


within the association? I don't want to pre-empt the results of an


enquiry and draw too many parallels but we had a very favourable enquiry


in June last year, supported by the board of the party. If the results


of that enquiry become more public knowledge, we might have seen and


more different run of the ballot. I have had no personal disagreement


with the overwhelming majority of the members of my association, the


wider public. I had huge messages of support from them. Why has she been


deselected? Is the association flexing their muscles? I don't know


about that specific case because I have been in Yorkshire. But we do


see a trend affecting associations which sees more and more MPs being


treated as constituency workers. There is also a general fall in


their status which has happened since the expenses scandal. Without


making any comment, that is feeding through generally into the body


politic. I don't know what happened up there and I could not comment.


Tim Yeo said it was about policy issues. He was candid about his


stance on climate change... If that is the case, why wasn't Crispin


Blunt who was up in front of a reselection ballot in Reigate where


his sexuality was said to be the issue, why wasn't he deselect it? I


think with these cases, the member of Parliament and the association it


is a bit like a marriage. Sometimes it goes well, sometimes it breaks


down. It is hard to generalise. Was it about policy in your case? I was


told immediately after the ballot, which was a great surprise to


everybody... Did you think you would come through? I think the party


expected me to come through and as I said, ungentlemanly behaviour which


I think the party has promised to look into. But it was a case I am


still on the candidate's list and I can apply for any seat. One way


forward would be to have an open primary and let the residents decide


who they want to go forward in this case. The important thing to whole


site off, it is not for the association for the number of --


member of Parliament should meet. It is for the member of Parliament to


be elected and be a servant of the country, constituency and the


association. Clearly there is a right for association, I don't want


to speak about the specifics. There must be the possibility for


associations or constituency members if you like, of a particular party


to say we don't want you to carry on. It is a bit like a marriage. It


is very reminiscent of the relationship between synagogues,


compilations, and their rabbis, or churches and their priests. There is


something about the chemistry of the relationship, very often. I do think


ultimately they ought to be able to decide, but it has to be fairly and


due process and I think all of that needs testing out. Do you think it


has changed? Is it also about some Tory MPs being out of touch, or not


in line with their Tory activists? We fell into disrepute over the


expenses issue. And there is no, no on outside interest. I am in a


privileged position being the chairman of the committee that


relates closely to local interest, but if you get a policy on a free


vote which in fact on same-sex marriage, I came to my policy


decision on my own back, but if I had voted any other way I would have


had even greater problems in the constituency. What are you going to


do? I am not good to give a running commentary, I will not let the


machinations of the party... I am keeping an open mind. If I felt I


had done anything wrong, there is a question of my standing in the


community, allegations have been made about me I have not been able


to repeat and I take a long-term view on that.


Never mind being deselected, and for that matter never mind losing your


seat at the next election, suddenly it seems many MPs just will not


bother with the whole thing at all in 2015. A number of politicians


from all parties have decided to stand down. Focus has been placed on


a number of Conservative women who have announced that recently. Giles


has been talking to two MPs about why being an MP can be harder than


you think. Many MPs are planning their every election campaign for


2015 but a noticeable number, particularly women recently, have


decided not to bother. They are standing down. What might


make an MP feel it is not worth it? Charlotte Leslie will fight 2015 she


has found it tough from the marathon of trying to win in 2010. They


scrape you of the tarmac, and dump you in this machine of Parliament.


If you had to devise somewhere to make people who worked in a place


out of touch you couldn't do much better. On what other planet would


you have promotions, but there is openly not based on merit but other


considerations, on what planet would want to be able to bully the


workforce in the way the expectation is the whips do it? It is just mad.


For those who want to get out into their constituency being tied to


Westminster votes gets in the way. It is quite reasonable to wait for


six hours in the chamber to make a speech, speak for six minutes, which


changes absolutely nothing, and sometimes you do feel like a sheep


going through the sheep dip. You don't feel very much more than a bit


of lobby fodder. It is important we hold government to account regularly


but do need to be here every week? Perhaps once a month we should have


a week where we work in the constituency. There could be


different ways to do it. Then you get back to your constituency at the


last thing you want them to say is we never see her now she has gone to


London. Thursday night, you hit the ground running, Friday, Saturday,


Sunday you are out there in your constituency doing as much as


possible. Monday comes around again and you are exhausted. It is not


just be a new MP. For one who wants to leave after 14 years to be


something else, being in opposition come be tricky. If you are in


opposition it is much harder work to get changed so that makes a


difference. But as an individual MP you can still do things in


opposition, it is just a bit soul breaking when you find all the time


everything you want to do gets slapped down. The expenses row is


still toxic, even for those never involved. The public can be harder


and harsher, and told one MP's wife was backed up. Recess is often busy


but seen as holiday, but MPs do get it. I can see why people don't like


politicians, and I am one. We all go on television and we think it is


clever not to answer the question when you're sitting at home wanting


them to answer the question. She is admitting things many others have


said to me that she is using a voice to do what she came in to do what


she came into view, change things. You can and should be in a position


to change things and you can't replace that. That is the most


fantastic thing, I wouldn't change it for the world. That is a prize


worth having. Paul Goodman is still with us and we


have been joined by Laura Sandys is who has announced she is not


standing in the next election will stop I don't know how much you want


to say about why you are not standing.


It is to do with family issues. No big decision is 100% right. It is


with regret. But we move onwards and upwards. As Charlotte right? The way


she described it at the beginning, lobby fodder, who works in an


environment where whips are borrowing you and telling you what


to do other promotions are not done on merit, who would do it --


bullying you? There needs to be a review of how Parliament works. It


needs the Institute of government to look at this. How do we ensure


people who come in mid-career, if you come in very young it becomes


normality. If you come and much older it becomes a fourth career. We


have got a bit of a crisis with certainly people in mid-career who


are finding just the place a little bit odd, a little bit lacking we


need to look up what gives a professional environment, what is a


professional way to achieve things stop do you not think it is run


professionally? It has evolved over many years but doesn't accommodate


well those people who have come from different careers. If we are trying


to ensure there is that diversity in Parliament, we have got to ensure it


is an environment that actually we all get satisfaction from.


There were major changes to the way Parliament is one, it is clearly not


enough. I think a possible explanation is


the commons are still stuck between two worlds. It is done between the


old world where you are an elected representative, you got your money


from the unions or private business, and the New World where you are a


professional politician who is paid by the taxpayer and is a


constituency worker. To my mind the Commons still hasn't really sorted


out the tension between those two roles and you have got MPs who are


there expected to be constituency workers, but at the same time they


are sometimes expected to be ministers. Maybe that is something


that sooner or later Parliament has got to sort out. They I distinguish


between the issue of being a professional politician which I


think Parliament sits extremely well, and being somebody who hasn't


had a profession outside. In some ways the difference in what I would


call normality is quite extreme. But they are other people politicians


say they want to attract. What about the question of women? It clearly


isn't just a question of women, although there are these


conservative women who are new MPs in 2010, disappointing for the


Conservative party they are standing down. Is there a particular issue


for women? I am a member of the House of Lords, I was a Lib Dem


working peer, I am now a crossbencher because no peak until


you what to do so it is preferable. -- nobody can tell you what to do. I


think when you listen, actually listen, it sounds a bit like a bear


pit. Maybe the people who started right at the beginning, professional


politicians, you get in you and to it. Particularly women coming in in


mid-career, they think what is going on here? I don't see this as women's


issues. I have been a little bit amazed by the media obsession with


his woman business because if you look at the people stepping down


none of us have got children, we are not facing their source of family


issues. We expect our environment to respect ourselves. I think we will


know more at the end of the Parliament when we see who is going.


It is worth pointing out in a little about women, there are at least


three conservative male MPs going early, James Arbuthnot is going, he


could stay. Charles Hendry, they are all in their 50s who are going. That


is telling you something about what is happening in the Commons. I


didn't like the change to the professional politician model, it


wasn't for me, which is why I went. Undoubtedly I think in a row about


the deselection is, and in the issues we are discussing, you are


seeing in the background is the question about what it is members of


Parliament should be. One of the MPs said to me it is fine if you have


got an issue to Champion, if you come in as a backbencher and within


months you can concentrate on something to make your name, for


example. Is that key? It is key for some people. Others come and they


very much want to make their way up the ladder, the junior ministers, or


ministers. The way Parliament is working is that sort of person is


going to go through the system quicker, they need to come in and


leave faster stop your Nokia to have so many voices of experience who can


talk about what has gone before and what you can learn from the past.


Later today Laura our guests along with several other Conservative MPs


from the conservative modernisers group will publish a mini manifesto


about business and the environment stop what is it all about? We have


been surprised about this coming from the outside, government seems


to be obsessed with GDP. Topline sales. There is no work, no mention


even in the corporate plan of profit. What we are doing is looking


at growing the economy, but not necessarily ensuring it is


competitive. We are launching this manifesto. What we are looking for


is to get profitability, more high profile within government, resource


productivity, we are obsessed with Labour productivity. We should be


looking... Labour productivity is down. We should be bearing down on


the inputs manufacturing, steel, inputs and resources we are putting


into manufacturing, rather than this obsession with productivity. We want


people in work. We must increase our competitiveness. The idea is to make


this happen? We want a new business sector, remade in Britain,


recycling, turbo-charging that whole area. We also want to ensure we have


got waste as a concept needs to move from death row which is a negative


department -- Defra, and get more out of less. And the green agenda?


Making sure we don't use more than we need to. Getting some spin off


businesses as a result. Is this the Tory modernisers fight, the answer


to comments? It is a recasting of the low carbon, green economy. We


have always been determined to save the Green economy is about improving


bottom-line figures. What we don't believe in is GDP, and


old-fashioned, 1970s, the British Leyland, is really the way to judge


our economy. We need to be competitive and efficient. Are you


challenging climate change sceptics in your party? That is a different


issue to this report. It is key people develop policy of the back of


evidence for stop and it happens that 90% of scientists believe in


man-made climate change. I am certainly not the expert that will


question them. A few in my body think they know climate science


better than the 98% of scientists. In Should pubs in England and Wales


be allowed to open extra late during the football World Cup this summer?


Last week the Home Office decided against issuing blanket permission,


saying that it doesn't count as an exceptional, one-off event. But


yesterday David Cameron reversed that decision and there's now going


to be a fresh consultation. In a moment we'll debate the issue. First


though, here's what members of the public thought about the Home


Office's original decision. People want to sit in the bar and


spent time with their friends and family and watch the football. You


don't get the same atmosphere watching it at home. A couple of


jars and watch it with your mates. People aren't going to go out on the


streets and wrecked things. On the government side, the economy, pubs


need all the income they can get. It will be a massive blow because we


will lose a lot of revenue. We've been joined by Brigid Simmons from


the Beer and Pub Association, and Gloria Elliot from the Noise


Abatement Society. Why shouldn't these decisions be


taken locally, surely in some places it would be appropriate for some


pubs to open late and some not? Absolutely. There is the temporary


event notice which every single pub and licensed premises in England and


Wales can extend -- applied to to extend their hours. I don't know


what the fuss is about because if they apply now there is plenty of


time to get the extension and the council would have enough time to


think if it is appropriate or not. They know their local pub better


than anyone. I you signed up to that? The cost to each pub is ?25.


We are still closing 26 pubs a week. We have had help from the Prime


Minister on beer duty and I hope we get more help this year. We need to


support the pubs. People can apply for temporary notices. But on the


14th of June, England against Italy does not start until 11pm when the


pubs are closing. What do you say to that? They have got to think about


the residents living close by, many of which are not football fans and


have to go to work on the Monday morning. The foot wall is lovely,


everyone is looking forward to it, the Italian match. You just don't


want the pubs to be open? Yes, I shall be there at my local pub


because it is an exciting match. But the point is, if there is not soft


touch management in place taking care of the residents as well so the


right are given the extension, not the badly managed pubs. It is to


protect everybody. Why should there be some kind of national, central


blanket guidance? It does seem excessive. That is the law, if you


give national extension you have to give it to all premises. We actually


issue noise control guidance and we have issued in local conjunct -- in


conjunction with the Local Government Association and the


police, guidance to make sure pubs are well managed during the World


Cup. If we don't allow it to be watched in pubs, people will watch


bigger screens set up by local authorities and that is much more


difficult to control. They will buy supermarket alcohol and they won't


eat food. Food sales during the Diamond Jubilee and the royal


wedding went up, more than beer sales. I can see the profitability


from the pub's point of view and that is a lot of money that will be


deprived from pubs who are struggling? I don't think there


should be a national decision, it should be a local decision. If local


authorities decide to put up a big-screen dash and I take the point


that it can cause disruption and have unruly people around, but you


can have unruly people around pubs. We know the World Cup comes round.


It is not a one off is it? It is not a one off, we should have done this


for the Olympics, we didn't. Tourette's did not come to central


London as a result. -- tourists. We need to support an industry that is


struggling. This is one good way of doing it and we will work as cloaks


Lee as we can with the Home Office, police and local authorities to make


sure it is properly controlled and people are properly controlled.


Yesterday, the Environment Secretary was called to the House of Commons


to answer questions about the government's response to the


flooding in Somerset. Here are some highlights. Recent Met Office


figures showed Somerset received more rainfall than it normally would


have received over an entire winter. The high tides experienced in


January and February exacerbated the situation by preventing water from


flowing out to sea resulting in rivers overtopping their banks and


flooding the surrounding land. Emergency services and Environment


Agency staff deserve our thanks. Despite these efforts it is clear


the residents in Somerset have been badly let down. When the water first


rose it took too long to provide the pumps and other assistance they


needed. We have seen meeting after meeting but little coherence to the


government's strategy for dealing with this crisis. We have had


nothing but help from the Secretary of State. COBRA has done a great job


and I am very grateful to the Secretary of State. As I stood in


Burrowbridge yesterday morning with the river again breaching the banks,


the residents of Burrowbridge, I had to say, expressed relief to me the


Prime Minister committed in this House on Wednesday to the river is


being dredged. But I had to say to the Secretary of State, there was


some cynicism about whether this would happen in practice.


This morning the head of the Environment Agency for England again


warned that his organisation's budget can't be stretched to protect


every single coastal area at risk of flooding. So should we abandon flood


defences in some areas? We're joined from Dundee by Professor Rob Duck


who's an expert on flooding, and in our studio is the Somerset MP Tessa


Munt. Rob Duck, the chairman of the


Environment Agency says we need to decide whether to protect town or


country because we cannot protect both? Unfortunately we cannot


protect everywhere and we will have two sacrifice some land. Which land


would you sacrifice? We have reclaimed land from the sea over


centuries. We have got to look at what we have used it for, how we


have and bank debt, drained it and so on. That is land the sea would


formerly have inundated and is no longer able to do so. We have to


look at perhaps returning some of the land back to the sea in order


that our cities can be properly protected. Do you accept that, Tessa


Munt? I don't. There has to be a decision made? One has to protect


life and property, but you cannot write off the whole of rural


communities in this country. I have been asking every year for some


recognition to be given to the value of the land. Of course in my area we


are in a flood plain and everybody accepts there will be some flooding


for a time. It is a matter of getting the water off the land, they


need to take protective measures. When the Environment Agency came


along on Boxing Day last year sorry, the year before last, he was trying


to protect his nursery business in my constituency and put a physical


barrier up out of the silt that had built up in the drain he lives a


James Hunt two, he was served with a notice for court action for trying


to protect his business. It is madness. Tessa Munt is saying we


cannot abandon our communities in the way you are implying? I would


not wish to abandon rural communities but we have to look at


some of the land we have claimed from the sea in the past and


consider returning these two marine inundation. One of the problems is,


we have reduced the capacity of water, or the capacity for water


that comes in on the in flowing tide, and there isn't sufficient


volume for it to flow into. If that coincides with high run-off from the


lands, a storm surge coinciding with that, that is when we have problems.


Our efforts have to be concentrated in the cities. That is going to


happen again and again, so sitting there and saying we cannot let it


happen is not realistic. It is costing ?100,000 a week to pump off


the water from farmland, is it affordable? It is, we have to take


reasonable steps to protect everybody. Why don't we build town


houses or houses on stilts as there have been in Bury Saint Edmunds and


other places, so your stuff that is movable like your car, is at a low


level so you don't lose your carpets and your furniture every time. What


about returning some of the reclaimed land? It is not realistic.


We should be able to give some protection. In Highbridge there are


perfectly good sluice gates. We have to make sure when the tide is coming


in it does not come in and hit, and we can pump over the top. Is it


affordable? We don't know the implication of future weather


patterns, so we don't know if it is affordable. I am not sure whether we


can tell that. We may have to make some hard choices. I have a problem


with the tone of this debate that is going on. We have been talking


particularly about the Somerset Levels and this is land reclaimed


hundreds of years ago, not stuff reclaimed two weeks ago, it is


ridiculous. They are established communities. There has been


something wrong with the tone in the way people have been talking about


that. The Environment Agency and others who have not even sympathetic


reflection on what is happening to those people. Are you unhappy with


the government's response? I am happy something is being done. Is it


too late? Of course it is, we had flooding in April. So you can't be


very happy? It is better to have something and nothing isn't it? This


is a catchment area that has several rivers and I accept the fact some of


them are canals that our dog, but there are natural rivers and


problems that have not been solved for up to 15 years. How much would


it cost to defend our coastal areas if this weather will continue in


years to come and possibly get worse? I don't think I can give you


a sensible answer. It would cost way beyond anything we could possibly


afford. We have to be selective, we have got to make choices. I should


also add, we know the Somerset Levels have been drained since the


13th and 14th century, but we have been claiming land in other areas


from the sea since the Second World War. So there are areas where we


have been doing it comparatively recently. We are building on the


flood Lane, why? Thank you very much.


There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz. The


question was, from 9.00pm this evening London will be hit by a


48-hour tube strike. But what has London Mayor, Boris Johnson offered


the union boss, Bow Crow, if calls off the strike and sits down with


him for discussions? Answer is A. I may be wrong. I would have thought


the deputy mayor ideas not a bad one. I don't know what the answer


is. It is a Pina Colaba, you are right. That is all for today. Thanks


to my guests. Andrew and I will be back tomorrow. Good buy.


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