04/02/2014 Daily Politics


04/02/2014

Jo Coburn is joined by Baroness Neuberger to discuss the Labour Party's changes to its relationship with the unions as well as all the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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

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

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a contributing jewel report into vogue as to vote rigging.

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

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

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

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

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in England and Wales big event blanket permission to open late

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

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us for the whole programme today is the independent crossbench peer

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

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

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

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

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which was broadcasting a phone in show with Boris Johnson.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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would like. Should the laws surrounding strike action be

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

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who are the Tube workers themselves voting for strike action.

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

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

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

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

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because otherwise it seems the minority is holding Londoners to

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

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

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

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

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turnout in local and European elections because there will be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bermuda shorts? Plenty of time to think about it.

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

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

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

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

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body, the National Executive including abolishing the electoral

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college method and electing party leaders. Under the current system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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internal Labour Party report into allegations of vote rigging in

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

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the detail of this and he joins us now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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people, will not have multiple votes and therefore ordinary party

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members, whether they have joined directly or through an affiliated

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

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

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

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

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

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--, and investigator went to Falkirk to

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try to find out the situation. Members were pressurised into

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competing direct debit forms, members signatures were forged.

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There is evidence they were forged on application forms or direct

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

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an attempt to manipulate party processes, that is essential,

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overarching conclusion. On one occasion a batch of 40 obligation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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there are practices going on that simply were unacceptable, machine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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John Smith introduced the first tranche of reforms that that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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same rights in terms of the leadership election. We allow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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unions, it was about strengthening them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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It will be the Labour Party that controls the ballots for

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leadership, the Labour Party involves them in our local

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Labour leadership will be more reliant on the funds from the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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were recruited without their knowledge and signatures were forged

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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now to the Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps.

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Labour is finally saying it has a healthy relationship with the

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

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

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

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

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

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buying their policies and their candidates, as happened in that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the deficit or getting welfare and immigration under control. Families

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

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worried that Labour could become a mass membership party as your

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

:20:32.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:44.

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

:20:45.:20:48.

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

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the key recommendations is that unions don't automatically sign

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

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

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

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

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

:21:20.:21:23.

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

:21:24.:21:27.

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

:21:28.:21:31.

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

:21:32.:21:35.

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

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

:21:43.:21:45.

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

:21:46.:21:53.

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

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

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

:22:08.:22:10.

another party we rejected that application. We have a letter

:22:11.:22:16.

welcoming him rejoining the Conservative Party from the 30th of

:22:17.:22:22.

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

:22:23.:22:26.

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

:22:27.:22:34.

welcoming letter? We reserve the right to scrutinise the application

:22:35.:22:37.

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

:22:38.:22:42.

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

:22:43.:22:47.

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

:22:48.:22:55.

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

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

:22:59.:23:03.

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

:23:04.:23:09.

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

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

:23:15.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:26.

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

:23:27.:23:30.

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

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

:23:37.:23:42.

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

:23:43.:23:44.

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

:23:45.:23:51.

welcome to join the party ordinarily unless we have reason to

:23:52.:23:55.

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

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

:23:59.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:09.

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

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

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

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

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

:24:31.:24:37.

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

:24:38.:24:44.

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

:24:45.:24:49.

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

:24:50.:24:55.

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

:24:56.:25:02.

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

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

:25:06.:25:10.

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

:25:11.:25:16.

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

:25:17.:25:23.

Yesterday, the long serving Conservative MP was officially

:25:24.:25:26.

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

:25:27.:25:31.

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

:25:32.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:41.

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

:25:42.:25:45.

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

:25:46.:25:53.

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

:25:54.:25:57.

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

:25:58.:26:02.

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

:26:03.:26:06.

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

:26:07.:26:11.

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

:26:12.:26:14.

website and used to be a Conservative MP and by the

:26:15.:26:17.

Conservative MP Anne McIntosh, who was deselected by her local

:26:18.:26:19.

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

:26:20.:26:28.

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

:26:29.:26:32.

ballot which does seem to be the result of some ungentlemanly

:26:33.:26:35.

behaviour which has brought discredit to the Conservative Party.

:26:36.:26:39.

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

:26:40.:26:45.

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

:26:46.:26:48.

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

:26:49.:26:55.

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

:26:56.:26:59.

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

:27:00.:27:05.

Conservative associations? It exists under the Conservative constitution

:27:06.:27:13.

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

:27:14.:27:19.

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

:27:20.:27:26.

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

:27:27.:27:37.

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

:27:38.:27:42.

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

:27:43.:27:55.

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

:27:56.:28:02.

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

:28:03.:28:07.

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

:28:08.:28:12.

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

:28:13.:28:18.

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

:28:19.:28:23.

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

:28:24.:28:27.

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

:28:28.:28:34.

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

:28:35.:28:39.

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

:28:40.:28:45.

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

:28:46.:28:49.

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

:28:50.:28:56.

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

:28:57.:29:01.

their status which has happened since the expenses scandal. Without

:29:02.:29:10.

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

:29:11.:29:13.

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

:29:14.:29:19.

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

:29:20.:29:30.

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

:29:31.:29:33.

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

:29:34.:29:38.

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

:29:39.:29:44.

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

:29:45.:29:49.

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

:29:50.:29:55.

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

:29:56.:30:01.

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

:30:02.:30:06.

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

:30:07.:30:12.

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

:30:13.:30:17.

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

:30:18.:30:24.

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

:30:25.:30:29.

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

:30:30.:30:32.

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

:30:33.:30:36.

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

:30:37.:30:45.

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

:30:46.:30:50.

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

:30:51.:31:06.

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

:31:07.:31:11.

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

:31:12.:31:14.

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

:31:15.:31:18.

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

:31:19.:31:25.

is very reminiscent of the relationship between synagogues,

:31:26.:31:29.

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

:31:30.:31:32.

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

:31:33.:31:37.

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

:31:38.:31:40.

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

:31:41.:31:49.

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

:31:50.:32:00.

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

:32:01.:32:07.

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

:32:08.:32:09.

privileged position being the chairman of the committee that

:32:10.:32:12.

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

:32:13.:32:18.

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

:32:19.:32:26.

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

:32:27.:32:30.

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

:32:31.:32:35.

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

:32:36.:32:42.

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

:32:43.:32:48.

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

:32:49.:32:50.

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

:32:51.:32:53.

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

:32:54.:33:02.

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

:33:03.:33:06.

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

:33:07.:33:10.

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

:33:11.:33:14.

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

:33:15.:33:17.

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

:33:18.:33:21.

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

:33:22.:33:28.

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

:33:29.:33:32.

2015 but a noticeable number, particularly women recently, have

:33:33.:33:34.

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

:33:35.:33:40.

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

:33:41.:33:44.

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

:33:45.:33:49.

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

:33:50.:33:55.

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

:33:56.:33:58.

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

:33:59.:34:06.

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

:34:07.:34:08.

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

:34:09.:34:13.

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

:34:14.:34:19.

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

:34:20.:34:23.

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

:34:24.:34:27.

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

:34:28.:34:31.

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

:34:32.:34:37.

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

:34:38.:34:43.

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

:34:44.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:50.

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

:34:51.:34:55.

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

:34:56.:34:58.

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

:34:59.:35:03.

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

:35:04.:35:06.

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

:35:07.:35:10.

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

:35:11.:35:15.

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

:35:16.:35:19.

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

:35:20.:35:24.

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

:35:25.:35:29.

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

:35:30.:35:35.

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

:35:36.:35:39.

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

:35:40.:35:44.

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

:35:45.:35:50.

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

:35:51.:35:54.

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

:35:55.:36:01.

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

:36:02.:36:03.

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

:36:04.:36:07.

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

:36:08.:36:15.

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

:36:16.:36:18.

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

:36:19.:36:22.

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

:36:23.:36:25.

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

:36:26.:36:33.

worth having. Paul Goodman is still with us and we

:36:34.:36:37.

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

:36:38.:36:40.

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

:36:41.:36:44.

to say about why you are not standing.

:36:45.:36:49.

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

:36:50.:36:56.

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

:36:57.:37:00.

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

:37:01.:37:06.

environment where whips are borrowing you and telling you what

:37:07.:37:10.

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

:37:11.:37:16.

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

:37:17.:37:21.

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

:37:22.:37:25.

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

:37:26.:37:28.

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

:37:29.:37:33.

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

:37:34.:37:37.

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

:37:38.:37:44.

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

:37:45.:37:48.

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

:37:49.:37:54.

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

:37:55.:37:58.

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

:37:59.:38:01.

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

:38:02.:38:05.

is an environment that actually we all get satisfaction from.

:38:06.:38:11.

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

:38:12.:38:14.

enough. I think a possible explanation is

:38:15.:38:18.

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

:38:19.:38:22.

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

:38:23.:38:26.

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

:38:27.:38:30.

professional politician who is paid by the taxpayer and is a

:38:31.:38:34.

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

:38:35.:38:36.

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

:38:37.:38:42.

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

:38:43.:38:46.

are sometimes expected to be ministers. Maybe that is something

:38:47.:38:49.

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

:38:50.:38:55.

between the issue of being a professional politician which I

:38:56.:38:58.

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

:38:59.:39:04.

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

:39:05.:39:10.

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

:39:11.:39:15.

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

:39:16.:39:19.

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

:39:20.:39:22.

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

:39:23.:39:28.

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

:39:29.:39:33.

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

:39:34.:39:37.

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

:39:38.:39:41.

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

:39:42.:39:48.

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

:39:49.:39:55.

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

:39:56.:40:00.

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

:40:01.:40:03.

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

:40:04.:40:14.

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

:40:15.:40:17.

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

:40:18.:40:23.

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

:40:24.:40:28.

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

:40:29.:40:34.

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

:40:35.:40:38.

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

:40:39.:40:42.

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

:40:43.:40:49.

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

:40:50.:40:53.

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

:40:54.:40:56.

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

:40:57.:41:01.

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

:41:02.:41:05.

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

:41:06.:41:09.

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

:41:10.:41:13.

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

:41:14.:41:17.

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

:41:18.:41:22.

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

:41:23.:41:27.

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

:41:28.:41:31.

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

:41:32.:41:36.

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

:41:37.:41:39.

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

:41:40.:41:43.

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

:41:44.:41:49.

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

:41:50.:41:54.

Later today Laura our guests along with several other Conservative MPs

:41:55.:41:58.

from the conservative modernisers group will publish a mini manifesto

:41:59.:42:01.

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

:42:02.:42:07.

been surprised about this coming from the outside, government seems

:42:08.:42:12.

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

:42:13.:42:16.

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

:42:17.:42:24.

at growing the economy, but not necessarily ensuring it is

:42:25.:42:28.

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

:42:29.:42:33.

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

:42:34.:42:36.

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

:42:37.:42:41.

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

:42:42.:42:48.

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

:42:49.:42:51.

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

:42:52.:42:58.

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

:42:59.:43:03.

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

:43:04.:43:07.

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

:43:08.:43:15.

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

:43:16.:43:30.

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

:43:31.:43:38.

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

:43:39.:43:44.

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

:43:45.:43:52.

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

:43:53.:43:57.

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

:43:58.:44:03.

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

:44:04.:44:09.

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

:44:10.:44:12.

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

:44:13.:44:18.

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

:44:19.:44:24.

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

:44:25.:44:29.

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

:44:30.:44:33.

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

:44:34.:44:36.

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

:44:37.:44:51.

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

:44:52.:44:55.

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

:44:56.:44:59.

Last week the Home Office decided against issuing blanket permission,

:45:00.:45:02.

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

:45:03.:45:04.

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

:45:05.:45:08.

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

:45:09.:45:11.

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

:45:12.:45:18.

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

:45:19.:45:23.

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

:45:24.:45:27.

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

:45:28.:45:31.

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

:45:32.:45:36.

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

:45:37.:45:41.

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

:45:42.:45:52.

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

:45:53.:45:55.

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

:45:56.:45:59.

Abatement Society. Why shouldn't these decisions be

:46:00.:46:02.

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

:46:03.:46:08.

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

:46:09.:46:14.

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

:46:15.:46:20.

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

:46:21.:46:26.

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

:46:27.:46:29.

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

:46:30.:46:34.

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

:46:35.:46:39.

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

:46:40.:46:49.

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

:46:50.:46:53.

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

:46:54.:46:58.

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

:46:59.:47:05.

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

:47:06.:47:10.

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

:47:11.:47:17.

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

:47:18.:47:20.

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

:47:21.:47:26.

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

:47:27.:47:31.

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

:47:32.:47:35.

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

:47:36.:47:42.

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

:47:43.:47:49.

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

:47:50.:47:54.

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

:47:55.:47:59.

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

:48:00.:48:06.

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

:48:07.:48:12.

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

:48:13.:48:20.

conjunction with the Local Government Association and the

:48:21.:48:24.

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

:48:25.:48:27.

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

:48:28.:48:31.

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

:48:32.:48:37.

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

:48:38.:48:40.

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

:48:41.:48:44.

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

:48:45.:48:52.

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

:48:53.:48:56.

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

:48:57.:49:02.

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

:49:03.:49:06.

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

:49:07.:49:12.

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

:49:13.:49:20.

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

:49:21.:49:31.

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

:49:32.:49:35.

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

:49:36.:49:42.

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

:49:43.:49:48.

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

:49:49.:49:52.

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

:49:53.:49:57.

sure it is properly controlled and people are properly controlled.

:49:58.:50:08.

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

:50:09.:50:13.

to answer questions about the government's response to the

:50:14.:50:16.

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

:50:17.:50:21.

figures showed Somerset received more rainfall than it normally would

:50:22.:50:28.

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

:50:29.:50:32.

January and February exacerbated the situation by preventing water from

:50:33.:50:35.

flowing out to sea resulting in rivers overtopping their banks and

:50:36.:50:42.

flooding the surrounding land. Emergency services and Environment

:50:43.:50:47.

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

:50:48.:50:51.

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

:50:52.:50:57.

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

:50:58.:51:01.

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

:51:02.:51:05.

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

:51:06.:51:12.

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

:51:13.:51:24.

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

:51:25.:51:29.

Burrowbridge yesterday morning with the river again breaching the banks,

:51:30.:51:36.

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

:51:37.:51:39.

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

:51:40.:51:46.

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

:51:47.:51:50.

some cynicism about whether this would happen in practice.

:51:51.:51:59.

This morning the head of the Environment Agency for England again

:52:00.:52:01.

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

:52:02.:52:05.

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

:52:06.:52:10.

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

:52:11.:52:14.

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

:52:15.:52:19.

Munt. Rob Duck, the chairman of the

:52:20.:52:23.

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

:52:24.:52:28.

country because we cannot protect both? Unfortunately we cannot

:52:29.:52:35.

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

:52:36.:52:41.

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

:52:42.:52:46.

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

:52:47.:52:51.

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

:52:52.:52:56.

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

:52:57.:53:02.

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

:53:03.:53:05.

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

:53:06.:53:15.

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

:53:16.:53:22.

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

:53:23.:53:25.

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

:53:26.:53:29.

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

:53:30.:53:36.

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

:53:37.:53:41.

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

:53:42.:53:44.

need to take protective measures. When the Environment Agency came

:53:45.:53:53.

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

:53:54.:53:59.

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

:54:00.:54:04.

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

:54:05.:54:07.

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

:54:08.:54:12.

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

:54:13.:54:19.

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

:54:20.:54:31.

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

:54:32.:54:34.

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

:54:35.:54:38.

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

:54:39.:54:44.

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

:54:45.:54:50.

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

:54:51.:54:55.

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

:54:56.:55:02.

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

:55:03.:55:07.

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

:55:08.:55:14.

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

:55:15.:55:17.

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

:55:18.:55:23.

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

:55:24.:55:28.

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

:55:29.:55:34.

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

:55:35.:55:39.

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

:55:40.:55:44.

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

:55:45.:55:49.

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

:55:50.:55:54.

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

:55:55.:56:00.

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

:56:01.:56:06.

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

:56:07.:56:15.

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

:56:16.:56:17.

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

:56:18.:56:23.

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

:56:24.:56:28.

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

:56:29.:56:33.

particularly about the Somerset Levels and this is land reclaimed

:56:34.:56:37.

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

:56:38.:56:43.

ridiculous. They are established communities. There has been

:56:44.:56:46.

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

:56:47.:56:50.

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

:56:51.:56:54.

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

:56:55.:57:01.

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

:57:02.:57:08.

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

:57:09.:57:16.

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

:57:17.:57:22.

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

:57:23.:57:27.

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

:57:28.:57:31.

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

:57:32.:57:37.

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

:57:38.:57:40.

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

:57:41.:57:45.

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

:57:46.:57:51.

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

:57:52.:57:57.

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

:57:58.:58:02.

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

:58:03.:58:04.

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

:58:05.:58:10.

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

:58:11.:58:15.

flood Lane, why? Thank you very much.

:58:16.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:25.

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

:58:26.:58:29.

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

:58:30.:58:32.

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

:58:33.:58:39.

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

:58:40.:58:46.

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

:58:47.:58:50.

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

:58:51.:58:58.

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

:58:59.:59:01.

Jo Coburn is joined by Baroness Neuberger, Britain's second female rabbi to discuss the Labour Party's changes to its relationship with the unions as well as all the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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