26/02/2014 Daily Politics


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Morning, folks. Sorry seems to be the hardest word for Harriet Harman.


But should she be uttering it at all? She certainly doesn't think so


even though the Daily Mail is saying she should have done more to sever


links between a civil rights lobby she worked for in the 1970s and a


paedophile rights group. Everyone wants lower energy Bills, including


British industry. The former Chief Executive at Grangemouth will be


here with a possible solution. Will this German Chancellor manage to


appease Conservative Euro-sceptics? Angela Merkel's in town this week


and "Call me Dave" certainly hopes so. And it's PMQs at midday. But do


you love it? Or loathe it? We've carried out the most extensive


scientific research known to mankind. I love it! Why? No blows on


both side of the House. Mr Speaker! Mr Speaker! A man of taste and


distinction. Yes, all that and more coming up in the next 90 minutes of


public service broadcasting at its cheapest. And with me for the


duration, because I'm all on my lonesome today, we've hired for a


pittance, in fact for absolutely nothing at all, the Justice


Secretary, Chris Grayling and the Shadow Scottish Secretary, Margaret


Curran. They're worth every penny. Every penny we have not paid!


Charming! Welcome. Now, first today let's talk about two stories that


have dominated today's front pages. In a moment we'll be talking about


John Downey, a former IRA member who walked free from court yesterday. He


was a prime suspect for the murder of four soldiers by the IRA in 1982,


but was effectively given immunity from prosecution by police and


officials as part of the peace process. But first on the front page


of the Mail today - the death of 40-year-old Andrew Young, who was


punched in the street and died. His killer, yesterday, pleaded guilty to


manslaughter and was sentenced to four years in prison. Chris


Grayling, is that a fair sentence? This is a repugnant crime, a


horrible situation, and my heart goes out to the family of Mr Young.


Most of the public will feel that justice has not been done. I always


ask people to be careful because none of us have sat through the


court hearing and heard the circumstances. It is quite a simple


case. This man sees a cyclist on the pavement. We are talking about


Bournemouth, not Glasgow! He says to this man, it is a bit dangerous to


ride your bike. A friend of the cyclist comes from nowhere and


punches him, he falls, he dies, and the man gets four years. You have to


be careful about forming a view of a case that we have not sat through.


In this particular case, I think it is right that the Attorney General


considers whether this sentence is too lenient. Let me clarify that.


The Attorney General is determining whether this case is too lenient?


Yes, that is correct. He is considering whether to launch a --


an appeal. He can go back to the courts and appeal against the


sentence and seek a longer sentence. That was the case with Stewart Paul


-- Stewart Paul. He may choose to do that in this case. I cannot say what


he will do but I think it is right and proper that consideration is


given. You promised that, quote, under this government, offenders are


likely to go to jail for even longer. That is the case. Not here


it is not. If you can punch someone in the street so hard that you can


kill them and then end up, in effect, serving two years, I am


afraid that the quote does not stack up. What do you say to the mother of


Mr Young? She calls the sentence a joke. One of your backbenchers calls


it outrageously lean. Under this government, more people are going to


prison and going for longer. What I would say to his mother, apart from


how desperately sorry I am for the situation... She does not want your


pity or sorrow, she once justice. She does not think this is enough.


You have also said that, quote, we are all angered by dangerous


criminals. This man will be released halfway through his jail sentence.


Is that right? He falls under the legislation we have before


Parliament at the moment. We are legislating at the moment and my


natural instincts tell me that ten years should mean ten years. I


cannot move to that in one go and I do not want a situation where people


who are a danger to the public are released automatically halfway


through their sentence. We are currently legislating so people


cannot be released before the end of their sentence. That is unless the


parole board judges they are not a threat to the public. I'm aware of


the difficulties but I would suggest to you that this is where the


Westminster elite disconnects with ordinary people. I cannot speak for


Chris Grayling but this situation is astonishing. It is astonishing that


it could happen in our community. As I understand it there may be a


mental health situation in all of this. The mental health situation is


on the side of the... Victim. We do not understand societies sometimes.


It shows you that we have do understand public opinion and the


outrage that people will feel over this, and the huge injustice. That


should be the imperative thing. Chris Grayling, egg give me a brief


reaction to the John Downey case. -- can you give me a brief reaction?


Something has gone badly wrong. The family is furious and do not think


that the justice system works in their favour. What happened was


horrible and terrible, but Northern Ireland, thanks to the efforts of


politicians over the last 20 years, is a much better place. We have


achieved a degree of stability in Northern Ireland. It is a better


place than it was. Now to Harriet Harman who's been having a bit of a


rough ride this week. She, her husband jack Dromey, and former


Labour Minister, Patricia Hewitt have been, at least they would


argue, the victim of a smear campaign by the Daily Mail. The


paper says all three of them should have done more to sever the


affiliation between the National Council of Civil Liberties - which


they all worked for - and the Paedophile Information Exchange.


Harriet Harman had this to say yesterday. Nothing I have done in


secret, there is nothing hidden to be discovered about me. I have been


in public life for more than 30 years and all of those years have


been about protecting the vulnerable, protecting women and


children, and that is why I find it unfair and offensive that the Daily


Mail should put smear and innuendo on me, as it somehow I have


supported those people that I have fought against. I think they are


wrong to be doing that and that is why I am speaking out. Please do not


keep asking me to apologise. I stand by it and fought to protect the


vulnerable. It was a vile organisation and regret the fact


that it ever existed. I supported laws to protect children and stand


by what I have done. And we're joined now by the Daily Mail's


Andrew Pierce. What has she done wrong? She said that the Paedophile


Information Exchange was swept away and was not influential with the


National Council of Civil Liberties. That is not the case. In 1979, a


year after Harriet joined, the chairman of the Paedophile


Information Exchange was serving as a councillor on National Council of


Civil Liberties. What has she done wrong? She was the legal adviser at


the time. She never made any attempt to sever the links between that body


and an organisation that was seeking to abolish the age of consent


altogether. I think it is extraordinary that she cannot admit


that it is wrong. I think she should apologise for it. She should feel


profoundly guilty that she was associated with it. They were taking


money from an organisation that was advocating sex with four-year-olds.


Are you saying that she should apologise for giving succour to


paedophiles? I am saying that the Paedophile Information Exchange, by


being affiliated to a respectable campaign organisation, helped to


promote a climate where paedophiles could flourish. Did she ever defend


it? I do not know. What she has ever done -- never done is called for the


links to be severed. Is there any evidence that the organisation


influenced what she stood for? Did she trials through -- did she try to


water down child pornography laws? I do not know. Everybody on the left


was looking for a more relaxed approach to pornography in the


1970s. Many people were. I am not sure that that meant that they


wanted a more relaxed approach to child pornography. Do you have any


evidence that Harriet Harman wanted a more relaxed approach to this? She


signed a document in 1970 which said there should be no prosecution


unless the child had been damaged. Is not every child damaged this?


This is... Look, the National Council of Civil Liberties, in


retrospect, she did not run its, and clearly, being associated with the


Paedophile Information Exchange was a stupid thing, but I am not sure


where Harriet Harman has do carry the blame for this. This is, surely,


just a tenuous smear campaign. We have asked Patricia Hewitt about


this. The police returned to Paedophile Information Exchange...


Who was the MP who were calling for the BBC to be more open question


what Harriet Harman. Sorry, I am desperate to get in. Can I say one


other thing? She now runs Liberty which succeeded National Council of


Civil Liberties. She said she was ashamed and disgusted by what the


National Council of Civil Liberties bid by being affiliated to a


paedophile organisation. I think what the Daily Mail has done is


outrageous. Harriet Harman has an outstanding record of 30 years'


work. Every member of the public would say that Harriet Harman stands


up women's' right. There is not a shred of evidence. Why did she not,


in her interview, simply say that it was clearly a mistake for Paedophile


Information Exchange to be allowed to affiliate with the National


Council of Civil Liberties? She was given so many chances and


opportunities to do so. At the time, Paedophile Information


Exchange were associated on the extreme margins... They had people


on the committees! There was a debate in the National Council of


Civil Liberties about freedom of speech. You can argue the mechanics


of that organisation, but they are saying, in them Mail, that there is


a link between Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange.


you are saying that because of the mechanics of the structure of that


organisation there is complicity on Harriet Harman's Park. Are you


saying she was in any way complicit with PIE? I am saying that by not


disaffiliated from that organisation, they got rid of PIE a


year after Harriet Harman left, she showed as a campaigner for women's


rights... Let's accept they should never have let PIE affiliate in the


first place, let's accept they were too slow to get rid of them, but do


you have any evidence that she was complicit with anything that PIE


stood for? We have never suggested Harriet Harman supports paedophilia.


In any way complicit is the key question. Has she been in any way


complicit? Do you have any evidence? Anyone who was running the


organisation at the time in a sense was complicit for not disassociating


with that group which supports paedophilia. That could be regarded


as an error of judgement, but it does not mean complicity. For which


I think they should all apologise. For what? For an error of judgement.


It is an error of judgement to sit on a committee with a man who was


locked up for paedophilia. A year after she joined the organisation


the chairman of the Paedophile Information Exchange was locked up.


It is like saying you should not be with the BBC because Jimmy Savile


was at his most rampart when he was in the BBC. You should not be with


the Daily Mail because that supports Hitler. You have made the


charge that Harriet Harman is complicit by some degree with


paedophilia because she was part of an organisation, that some extreme,


vile, terrible people have said... I have never suggested that Harriet


Harman in any way supported paedophilia. I think you should


apologise for that. You talk about the sexual exploitation of children.


It is a photograph. I will take no lessons from you on moral outrage.


Harriet Harman has clearly got issues to address. I do not think it


is right for me to get into those. Quite clearly back at that time the


National Council for Civil Liberties was infiltrated and influenced by


somebody with views most of us would find utterly repugnant. There is a


real danger in this country in a world where there is a bit of a


pressure culture where it becomes easy for groups to be hijacked with


people with their own agendas. Politicians and the media should be


much more scrutinising about who these groups are, and what the


agendas of individuals in them are. These are not people who are whiter


than white. We have put in it there. Where is your editor? Why are you


doing these interviews? He is busy editing the newspaper. I always


appeared to defend what I put on the front page. I will tell him you


missed him. Now, how do you like your PMQs? Sombre and serious? In


bed with a cup of cocoa? Feisty, fun and ferocious at midday on the Daily


Politics? Perhaps with a pina colada and a sardine sandwich? Well, the


event of the Parliamentary week has been getting a lot of stick lately


and last week the speaker himself wrote to Messers Cameron, Clegg and


Milliband urging them to clamp down on "yobbery and public school


twittishness". Mr Bercow said the tone of debate was putting the


public off. So does he have a point? Who better to find out than Giles


with his balls. So, we have brought the mood box to East London where it


borders two constituencies, one Lib Dem and one Labour to find out if


they like PMQs and all that argy-bargy. Do they like it or


loathe it? You don't mind the shouting? It is not hurting anybody.


Shall I put a bowl in Love it? Love it. They are not talking about the


British people are tall. It is a nuisance. Are you put off because


they shout at each other? Not really, no. They can have a good


debate, but not on camera. Do you never watch it? It is a load of


rubbish. The same as him, a load of rubbish. Who does she mean? If it


gets to the point, it is fine, but if not, they are being pompous. How


often do they get to the point? Not very often. The sun is not shining


on Parliament or me today, it is raining on our parade. I love it,


but I hate it as well. Prime Minister's Questions, do you watch


it and like it or loathe it? I watch it every now and then, but it is all


about personalities so I loathe it. It is about even Stevens and the


rain is coming in. It is rubbish. They are rubbish. Do they just shout


at each other? Exactly and they do nothing. I love it, trading blows on


both sides of the house, Mr Speaker, Mr Speaker. And the backbenchers.


You do not want it to be polite? No, just as it is, just as it is. I love


the headgear. Sometimes you have to listen to other people. That is the


verdict from the market. When it comes to PMQs more of them love it


and loathe it and the San Francisco out as well. And Nick Robinson has


come to the party early. Why has the Speaker decided to make this


intervention? I think he genuinely feels that PMQs has got out of


control. One day I ended up in my old seat sitting above the House of


Commons in the press gallery and even I was shocked. I could not


hear. Occasionally you will see members of Parliament leaning back.


In the press gallery you have to lean forward and I had to do this to


hear what people were saying because it was that noisy. There was a sense


before Christmas that it was out of control. This is not new territory


for John Bercow. He made the comparison with the Bighorn that


used to play in the World Cup and he said it was as loud as that. Plenty


of people in the House of Commons think it is his fault, that he does


not have the respect of people on both sides of the house, so people


do not respect him when he stands up to tell them to shut up. Does he


have support among backbenchers? Or do they like PMQs the way it is?


There have always been two different cultures. There are some people who


believe the bearpit atmosphere is something that other countries envy.


As you travel the world with any prime minister the people around


them often say, we never a got our guys to say what your guys have


said. I have heard it in France and Germany. Leaders around the world do


not get scrutinised. On the other hand, there are other members of


Parliament who will say it looks like a rowdy, boys' club and it is


off-putting to people who do not have the self-confidence to take


part. It is off-putting to women who are there and they are shouted at in


the way that is not a part of normal dialogue. Women can do a lot of


shouting as well. Every leader says they will change it. David Cameron


talk about a Punch and Judy show and he discovered if he did not play


Punch and Judy, his backbenchers felt let down and people in


television would often not put him on the TV. There is an awful lot of


the processes at Westminster which are measured, sensible, intelligent


debate the kind people would want to see happen in Parliament and it gets


zero coverage. The only time the cameras turn up is at PMQs. I will


challenge you on that and this is an John Bercow's favour. Because he has


dragged ministers into the house to do urgent questions, when the news


comes up he says they have to explain what goes on, we are putting


more of that sober stuff on television. The select committees


are alive now. I accept some of the criticism from Chris, but when and


if the House of Commons is discussing what the country is


talking about, it gets on the television. There is a growing


distinction between the natural kind of debate and the pressure debate at


PMQs and the organised operation that sometimes they have too much


shouting down. I think that is different. There is a bit where it


is high octane and people are under pressure and everybody likes that


excitement, but there is a difference when you get to the


orchestrated shouting down and you do not get to the debate and there


is a shift towards that. It is Wednesday and it is nearly 12


o'clock and it is PMQs! No, it is Crackerjack. Crackerjack! Mr


Speaker, what on earth are you up to?


They have got some broomstick handles and they have got to get the


rings onto the handle, as many as possible at one time and put them on


the post at the end. There is John, Philip, Nicholas and Christian.


Ready, steady, go. Oh, you must work in a curtain shop. Look at him, that


is the quickest ever done. He has done it. There is a prize for you,


and for you and your prize is a Crackerjack pencil! Crackerjack! No


Crackerjack pencils. He was the small lad who we first saw on the


camera. He looked kind of cute. But if you want a Daily Politics mug,


you have to be in it to win it. Let's see if you can remember when


this happened. # Baby, give it up... You realise you are breaking


the law? Yes, I do, I better put it on. # Daddy is going to buy you a


dream to cling to... Modernise, work. # You were a war baby. This


means war, baby. You are watching the first edition of BBC


television's breakfast time. # I thought I heard your words... To be


in with a chance of winning, you can send your answers to our quiz e-mail


address. You can see the full terms and conditions on our website. It is


coming up to midday, there is Big Ben. It can only mean one thing,


Prime Minister's Questions is on its way. Would I be right in saying a


lot of people have turned anti-coalition this week? It is very


fashionable. The Daily Telegraph had a story that David Cameron might


rule out another coalition. But David Finkelstein said it was


lunacy. The story or the idea? But Ed McCluskey said Ed Miliband should


do the same. But it is not actually up to politicians what the election


result is. Should he ruled out a coalition? Our sole interest is on


winning an election and right. But should he rule it out? I do not


think that story is true. The only way this country gets what it once


is to win the election. You will not get from David Cameron or anyone


else except determination to win and you are not going to see a start a


debate about coalition. If you rule out coalition it is saying what you


have done for the last four years is the wrong thing. It is possible one


of these parties could come close and need the support of the


Democratic Unionists. There are all sorts of complicated setups that may


happen after an uncertain general election result. If you write down


no, never, will not do it, you are making life difficult. If Labour was


the largest party and a couple of votes shy of an overall majority


they would rather stick as a minority Government in the hope that


all the other smaller parties would rarely ganged up against a Labour


Government. I am fairly confident we will get a majority. What we will


not get is a German style grand coalition. Let's go over to PMQs.


I had meetings with colleagues and in addition to my duties in the


House, I will have further duties today. I rang the Prime Minister for


his answer but we should congratulate Team GB on their


success in the Winter Olympics. HSBC have announced that bonuses of ?2.3


billion will be paid to the Chief Executive. When ordinary British


families face a cost of living crisis, is it not time for this


government to listen to Labour and tax bonuses to get the young people


back to work? Let me join the honourable gentleman in


congratulating Team GB for their best medal performance since 1924 at


a Winter Olympics. It was a huge honour to welcome them to Downing


Street to have an explanation of how skeleton and curling works. On the


issue of bank bonuses, they are well down from the appalling situation


that was left by the last Labour government. What we need to see is


the proper control of all form of pay. What I do not want to see and


what I think we will get from the party opposite is focusing only on


bonuses. You can claw-back bonuses but you cannot claw back pay. Does


the Prime Minister recognise that it is part of the job of church leaders


to challenge government about policy. Will he discuss with them


measures to get out of poverty? There is nothing particularly moral


about pouring borrowed money into systems that can trap people in


poverty. I think my right honourable friend, who was a church man


himself, talks perfect sense. There is nothing immoral about running up


deficits, out-of-control welfare Bills, and if we do not deal with


the problems, the whole country will be poorer. We should listen to the


former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, who said that the


church should be wary of the dangers. I think serious politicians


have to engage in this and this should go for everybody. Mr Speaker,


I joined my honourable friend and the Prime Minister in congratulating


Team GB on their brilliant performance. As the threat of floods


passes, there are still thousands out of their homes, the Somerset


Levels are underwater, and farms are struggling to recover. The committee


on climate change has said that the government investment in flood


defences has fallen. In light of this, does the Prime Minister think


it is right to revisit the plans for investment in flood defences? We


will look carefully at this. We set out spending figures all the way out


to 2020, which are major investments in flood defences. As the waters


reside, and as the Environment Agency look at what happened, we can


review it and see what new measures are necessary. Let me repeat the


point. In this four-year period, overall float spending has gone up.


-- flood spending. This is what the UK Statistics Authority has said:


Government funding for flood defences was lower in real terms


during the current spending period than the last. The only way you


claim otherwise is by ignoring inflation and by claiming credit for


the money that other organisations spend. Why does the Prime Minister


not admit it? They have cut flood spending and he has been caught out!


If you take the period 2010 to 2014, the spending has been 2.4 billion


more than the 2.2 billion in the previous four years. If you take the


five-year period of this Parliament that the spending has been higher


than the previous five years. I think having this debate is slightly


pointless. The whole country should be coming together to deal with


flood defences. The fact is that from the moment he turned up in a


flooded village with a Labour candidate beside him, he has missed


judged the mood of the country. -- misjudged. First of all, if it is a


simple choice between the UK Statistics Authority, people will


believe the Statistics Authority. The question of how much to invest


in flood defence depends on the assessment of risks posed by


man-made climate change. He said this: It is easy to do the softer


things like riding your bike, visiting glaciers, and rebuilding


your House to make it green. It is only clear you mean it when you do


the tough things as well, like telling the truth about climate


change. What is the truth about climate change? The truth is that


this government has eight programme to reduce carbon right across the


economy. -- a programme to reduce carbon. We have started! Compared to


the government he left, the carbon emissions are down 14%. Let me


return to this issue of floods defence spending. The people of this


country will want to know this. He is committed to a 0% Spending


Review. That means a a 0% well not match the spending in 2016, 2017 or


all the way to 2018! What total nonsense and he knows it! It is very


interesting because someone who is in opposition wanted to talk as much


as he could about climate change is now wanting to get off the subject!


Will he just set out, for his party and the country, his views about


man-made climate change? I believe man-made climate change is one of


the most serious threats that this country and the world faces. That is


why we have the world's first green investment bank here in Britain.


That is why we are building the first nuclear power station for 30


years in this country. That is why we have cut carbon emissions by 40%


since we came to office. That is why we set out carbon budgets in this


country. They talk a good game about it, but it takes people to come in,


govern effectively and deal with it! Excellent. We are getting somewhere.


I agree with what he's said about the importance of climate change.


The reason this matters is because there are people in the most


important positions in his government, going around,


questioning climate change. This is what the Environment Secretary said:


People get very emotional about this. People should accept that the


climate has been changing for centuries. The energy minister, when


asked about climate change, said this: You are not going to draw me


on that. I have not had time to get into the climate change debate. He


is the energy minister, Mr Speaker! Will the Prime Minister clarify, is


he happy to have climate change deniers in his government? You come


to the House of Commons and praise the Prime Minister for his


commitment to climate change! I like the new style. This is refreshing.


This government has a solid track record of cutting carbon, investing


in nuclear, having the biggest renewable energy programme in this


country, and for the first time in a long time we are on track to meet


our renewable targets. The whole country will have heard that he


cannot answer the question about whether you need to believe in


man-made climate change to be part of his government. He has gone from


thinking it is a basic part of his policy to a matter of individual


conscience. He would say it was his passion above all else. Order! The


questions and the answers will be heard however long it takes. Those


who are exercising their vocal chords should calm down. There was a


long way to go. If we are going to protect the people against the


dangers they face, we cannot have doubt and confusion in his


government. They need to rediscover their past convictions and get real


on climate change! You can measure the courage of convictions by the


act in government. There is the investment in renewables, there is


the investment in nuclear. He talks a good game but did not achieve


anything when he was in office. Mr Speaker, the most serious form of


denial, is the denial of renewables. What is the plan for long-term


investment? That is the requirement for climate change. Nuclear power.


Long-term investment like fixing our economy. That is what this


government is doing. All he does is get up and deliver a lot of hot air.


Can I ask my right honourable friend 's if he can return to public


concern at work? Can he get advice on the whistle-blowing report, and


see whether he can bring people together in government and look at


their recommendations and stop people being persecuted before the


Baby P case? The public interest the closure act 1988 protects most


workers from being unfairly dismissed when they report a matter


of concern. We have strengthened this in 2013 and we will always


backed whistle-blowers when reporting poor standards in large


organisations. We are happy to make sure that he discusses with the


relevant ministers any further step we need to take in this direction.


Does the Prime Minister understand the depth of the hurt among Vic


Tims' families and the deep sense of public outrage across the country as


a result of the outcome of the John Downey case? He needs to understand


that for a official letter to trump shoe protest process is deeply


offensive to the public in this country. Willy now scrap these get


out of jail free letters immediately, and will he do


everything in his power to reverse the despicable decision in the John


Downey case so that justice can be done for the family of the breed? --


First of all, I understand the deep feelings of the families feel and


the fact that the person responsible is not going to be tried. Our first


thought should be with those 11 soldiers and their families and


friends. It may have happened 32 years ago, but anyone who has lost


someone in a situation like that will mourn them today as they did


all those years ago. It was a dreadful mistake and a mistake we


need to have a review of to make sure this cannot happen again.


Whatever happens, we have to stick to the principle that we are a


country and a Government under the rule of law. My right honourable


friend has taken swift action to help communities and I welcome the


?10 million flood relief fund for farmers. But some are at risk from


Environment Agency scaremongering to reduce land drainage and reduce


pumping stations. Can my right honourable friend ensure it the


growers in my constituency that the necessary protections will be given


to their land and in order to react properly, this Government is


planning for the long-term security of this industry. I am glad she is


advertising to have farm is the availability of the ?10 million fund


that will be available to those who have lost the use of productive


land. The point about farmers and landowners being nervous about


dredging their land because of rules is a good one. The pendulum swung


too far against dredging and that will change. It is not the whole


answer to the problems she discusses, but it has a proper part


in properly managing the landscape. Mr Speaker, the tragic death on a


Birmingham Street of Sarah Childs devastated her family and shocked


the community, a much loved sister and daughter. She was killed and her


sister Claire, who was pregnant, was severely injured by a speeding


driver doing 64 miles an hour who got four years in prison. Does the


Prime Minister agreed the time has come to look again at the sentencing


of those who kill with a car? First of all, my heart goes out to his


constituents and the family of the constituent who was tragically


killed. I think it is right to look again at motoring offences and the


penalties that are given. I have discussed with the Secretary of


State and I am sure he will be listening carefully to what the


honourable gentleman has said. The response of NHS Wales to Sir Bruce


Keogh's e-mail about a video response. Is the Prime Minister is


astounded as I am that NHS Wales thinks the cheap medical director of


England and the Royal College of surgeons' views are not legitimate?


Will he worked with the leader of the opposition to try to get his


party in Wales to reverse this decision? It could save lives. The


honourable lady makes a very important point. Sir Bruce Keogh's


views should be respected and listened to by the NHS in Wales. The


Royal College of surgeons are saying there are people on NHS waiting


lists who are dying in Wales because the waiting lists are too long


because the NHS is not being properly managed and funded and


reformed in Wales. That is a matter for the Welsh assembly Government.


Will the Prime Minister accept the overwhelming humanitarian case for


guaranteeing long-term support to victims and survivors of terrorism?


If so, will he agreed to meet with me, Colin Parry and survivors of the


7/7 London bombings who have benefited from the services of


survivors for peace programme which is now faced with imminent closure?


In doing so, will he remember his pledge that survivors of I am very


It is a unique charity and it does an extraordinary job. We want to


make sure that all these institutions can continue their


excellent work and I am happy to hold this discussion with her. We


all want to see a more balanced economy. Does the Prime Minister


agree that today's stonking upward rise in business investment, over


9%, shows that British entrepreneurs are rising to this challenge? My


honourable friend makes an important point. Right across this house, and


many experts have been saying what we need is a balanced recovery, one


that sees increases in exports as well as consumption, one that sees


increases in investment from business and the upgrading of the


GDP figures showing an increase in exports and a very large increase in


business investment is hugely welcome for our country. Given


yesterday's court revelations of a secret scheme, does the Prime


Minister believed that as well as the parties in Northern Ireland


progressing the elements following the hardest talks that there is a


need for transparency regarding the confused and shabby ways that the


past was dealt with, and remembering that Downing Street was involved in


this matter. The talks made good progress and they were trying to


deal with difficult issues in Northern Ireland in terms of flags


and parades and the most difficult issue of all, the past. She wanted


to point the finger apparently at Downing Street. I would argue that


when it comes to dealing with things like the bloody Sunday inquiry, that


Downing Street is very happy to play its role in helping to bring parties


together and make sure that we continue with peace in Northern


Ireland. Given what the Prime Minister has called the leader of


the opposition's new approach and Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit


tomorrow, does he think there is something we can learn from her


about an even broader base approach to coalition that would unite the


whole country? In circumstances he would have to give red meat to them


and read meat to us, it would mean we could leave the Liberal Democrats


where they belong. My admiration for Angela Merkel is enormous. There are


many things she has achieved that I would like to copy, not getting


re-elected. But the one thing I do not want to copy is I think the idea


of a grand coalition is a bit too much for me. What steps will the


Prime Minister and Government take to insist the National Crime Agency


assist the people trafficking police? The National Crime Agency do


not have free rein in Northern Ireland. The honourable gentleman


makes an important point. I have been impressed by the work the


National Crime Agency is doing. It has got real strength and numbers in


terms of being able to tackle organised crime. It is bad for


Northern Ireland that it is not able to properly operate there. I hope


that over time it will be possible to make progress and it would be


good for Northern Ireland and good for our fight against organised


crime. May I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your new role


as Chancellor of Bedford University? In the last three


years... In the last three years, 99 brave soldiers have given their life


for this country in Afghanistan. In the same period of time 264 British


women have been murdered at the hands of men and over three quarters


of those women were stalked before they were murdered. Will the Prime


Minister give a guaranteed that this Government will introduce


legislation to protect women from that fate in the future,


particularly given the ease that stock was have to begin their


stopping activity by social media and the Internet? I am grateful for


what might honourable friend says. Stocking is an appalling crime and


it can destroy lives and we have to crack down on it. We have introduced


a new offence to make absolutely clear the view we take of it. The


new laws are equally applicable to online cyber stalking and


harassment. And the CPS has published guidelines regarding


information sent by social media. I am happy to write to her with the


detail of all the things we are doing and to see if there are


further steps we can take. When the Prime Minister was asked about the


bedroom tax last March he said, what we have done is to exempt disabled


people who need an extra room. Now that we know that people with


terminal illness who cannot share a room, those who have to store


equipment, such as dialysis machines, and families with severely


disabled children who need occasional respite are all subject


to this pernicious tax, would he like to revise that answer and to


apologise to the disabled people to whom he gave false hope? This is a


basic issue of fairness, that people who are renting in the private


sector do not get additional money for rooms they do not use, so it is


not fair to have a different set of rules in the social sector. But we


have a large discretionary payment system in order to help families


like the ones she mentions. Does the Prime Minister agree with me that


the increase in jobs, or stopping increase in jobs, in the private


sector is leading the UK's economic recovery and helped by the range of


engineers, manufacturers and retailers who are employing people


and sending their exports around the world? My honourable friend is


absolutely right. We have now got 1.6 million new private sector jobs


and there are 1.34 million people employed in our country. We have


seen a growth in employment in every region in the country. Some are


growing faster than others. But one of the indicators of economic


success is weak in, week out, the leader of the Labour Party comes to


the House of Commons and cannot talk about the economy or jobs and


investment and growth, because all the things he said would never


happen are happening in our economy. Could the Prime Minister focus on


the fact that the company doing the work capability test was to give up


and could it not be changed back to the medical evidence of the


consultants of those who are applying? It costs money for


appeals. The contract was awarded by the last Labour Government. Of


course we are now discussing and debating with the company had this


should be taken forward. But we need in this country a way of determining


whether people are fit for work or not. When it comes to the issue of


sanctions in our benefit system, it is right people who are offered a


job and do not take a job face a sanction. That will be the toys at


the next election. One party in favour of hard working people and


another party obsessed by bigger and bigger benefits. Britain's Armed


Forces are the best and as we are witnessing taking essential action


in flooded areas. Prime Minister, please recognised the folly of


reducing the size of the Armed Forces and stop sucking full-time


service men and women. This gives me the opportunity of praising the


extraordinary role that armed services personnel have played


during the floods in our country over the last week. What we have


done is removed the ?38 billion black hole that we were left. That


meant taking difficult decisions over the size of the Army, navy and


air force. We now have a top-flight defence budget in terms of spending


anywhere in the world and we are coming to the end of all the


redundancy schemes so we can point loudly to the extraordinary


investment we can be making a new aircraft carriers, in hunter killer


submarines, in aircraft, in the best equipment that any Armed Forces


could have anywhere in the world. I met a man called really, who is 24


years old. He lost his job a year ago and had to resort to going


through supermarket skips to find out of date food so he could eat. --


belief. -- belief. Why will the government not offer him a job? What


we are doing for Billy and thousands like him is offering jobs and hope.


Honourable members opposite come here week after week to try and say


that this country is poorer or worse off under this government. Let me


remind hope what it was like in 2009. There were a million more


people in poverty, 500,000 more children in poverty, 150,000 more


unemployed people, and 750,000 more people claiming benefits. Yes, there


is more to do but we have a proud record of giving people jobs and


hope. Just over a week ago, I joined school pupils and asked them what


they would like to ask the Prime Minister, and one of them wanted to


know why the government keeps on making so many new laws. Could the


Prime Minister tell my young constituent what he is doing to


reduce the burden of legislation? I think he has a promising future in


this place, that is the attitude we need. This is going to be the first


government since the war that leaves office, at the end of its term, with


fewer regulations in place than at the beginning. That is because of


the excellent work by the business department who has done a brilliant


job of taking legislation of business. There has not been an oral


statement to the House about the future of Stafford Hospital, given


that it is expected that the University Hospital of North


Staffordshire will take on the running of the site. Will he accept


that there was a funding gap of ?39 million capital costs, ?4 million


revenue cost, and make sure that there will be the opportunity to


question the government and that these changes will not go through at


the expense of the health of the people of North Staffordshire? A


statement is being made today about the future of the hospital. It has


been a difficult issue to deal with, the appalling situation that we were


left with. I am sure there will be opportunities to debate within the


House, but I think she will see that there are good steps being made, and


hard work will be put into make sure it is possible to continue with


consultant led maternity services so people can have their babies


delivered in Stafford Hospital. That is what I want to see and the Health


Secretary will set out the proposals later. There will be opportunities


to debate this and the failures of Stapp -- Stafford Hospital. Millions


of Londoners were inconvenienced earlier this month by the


underground strike which was only supported by 30% of the union


members. Will my right honourable friend agreed to conduct a review to


increase the threshold so pointless strikes are outlawed? My honourable


friend makes a good point. When you see how many people rely on these


essential services, the time has come to look at what changes we can


make. One of the problems we have seen is that despite requests, the


party opposite have not condemned the strike. We were told, Mr


Speaker, that they were heading for divorce, but I think they are going


to renew their vows! That brings us to the end of Prime Minister's


Questions. While it was taking place, we have learned that the


president of the Russian Federation has put his forces on alert. He did


this act 2pm Russian time. That is according to the Russian defence


minister. We understand that Vladimir Putin has ensured the


combat readiness of his forces in Russia. This is different to the


full-scale mobilisation that it could lead to that. -- but it could


lead to that. This is obviously due to events in Ukraine. Nick, I want


to come back to why this was not raised in PMQs, but what do you know


is happening in Russia? This announcement was made by the defence


Minister. According to Reuters, it is not the first time this has


happened. There have been a number of these. When you hear it


initially, people think, my goodness, but it could be sabre


rattling. The Government's National Security


Council met and was discussing the issue of Ukraine. On the one hand


you have got the European countries worry about funding for example and


have to try and get the democratic process back on step, led largely by


the Germans. On the other hand, I am told, the Government ministers were


at that stage discussing Russia's options. One option they discussed


was the possibility Russia would send in troops to protect Russian


speakers. There are a large number of Russian speakers in the Crimea.


He also has a port there. Also they could pull the plug on the financing


of the Ukraine. They have frozen the 15 billion. Does it not strike you


that it is a parochial nature that Ukraine was not raised once during


Prime Minister's Questions? I appreciate that this news broke


while it was going on, but we are taking a major forum policy


position, and we are being asked to step up to the plate and provide a


lot of money. -- foreign policy. Why would not a single MP raise this as


an issue in Parliament? It goes back to the discussion we were having


about the nature of PMQs. It is increasingly backbenchers playing a


party game so that everybody things they are on the side of their party


leader to try and get over that day's partisan points. People stop


thinking for themselves. There was, to be fair, a big statement by the


Foreign Secretary on Ukraine. This is PMQs, live on network


television. That is right. Surely on that, the first thing to say is that


we had a long statement on Monday in front of a full House. You are


talking about serious issues. The Leader of the Opposition, the man


who wants to be Prime Minister, surely the question to be asked is


why was he having a bizarre conversation about climate change


when, actually, there are bigger issues to discuss? There was a major


international issue that confronts Europe and it is an issue that


involves our foreign policy, the European foreign policy, and because


we contribute to the IMF and the EU, which is money is being asked for


through these institutions. That is right. Just because it was not


raised at PMQs, I do not think people do not understand the gravity


of the situation. Flooding should dominate PMQs as well. We can say


for sure that flooding has been pretty well covered. This is not an


either or argument. No, I do not want to do that. I am sure they will


come back to it in another statement. I do think that the UK


Parliament has looked at the issue and will continue to do so. I think


we need to be careful. Do we have a view? Do the MPs have of view? Do we


have a view under what conditions we should lend Ukraine money and what


assets we should demand as security? They are talking about 30


billion or so. I would not read into the fact that it did not come up


today. There was some discussion around George Osborne's


discussions. The economic interest of Ukraine, we must intervene in


that to protect the interests of the country and look at the geopolitical


balance that is now emerging as one of the big issues. Events are moving


so we have to be temperate in how we deal with matters. You agree with


the Prime Minister? Climate change is one of the most serious threats


facing mankind. The truth is that what Ed Miliband was trying to do


today was drive wedges between those who believe strongly in climate


change and those who are unsure. I asked you if you are in agreement


with the Prime Minister that climate change is one of the most serious


threats? It is clearly an issue for us. Is it one of the most serious


rates for mankind? Around the world, it is having a major impact on


different societies, and therefore, investment on things like flood


defences... But do you believe that man-made climate change is one of


the most serious threats facing mankind? It is an issue. The price


of bread is an issue! Why does he think that anybody cares outside the


Westminster Circle? John Hayes. He uses these toxic phrases like,


denier. What is a denier? Somebody that does not recognise that climate


change is one of the most significant challenges we face as a


country, and that governments have to take action now to protect us. If


the government was to say that there is no question that the climate is


changing and man is contributing to that change, would that be a denial?


Somebody who denies that it is a global challenge... That is not what


I said but would it be a denial but Mark if you are sceptical about


man's involvement in this, is that a denial? Yes, that is a denial. If


you say, I am in no doubt that the Prime Minister is warming -- on the


planet is warming up, that I am not sure by how much it is warming up,


and the predictions may be alarmist, is that a denial? Yes. The key point


that Ed Miliband was making and one that is relevant is the fact that


the environment will not take a briefing on climate change experts


in his own department. He will not receive official briefing. We know


already that there is no scientific do not think that the scientific


Minister... Do not think he should take a meeting from his officials? I


think it is relevant. Your final thought? One thing that is important


is the court case that the Prime Minister was asked about to do with


the bombing. The two representatives of the Democratic party said there


should be no more of these. He did say he understood their anger and


thought it was a mistake but when he was asked to say that they should


not happen in the future, he clearly did not say it. He took a tougher


line on strikes and implied there may be a change in the law on the


number of people who vote in essential services. The cost of gas


and electricity has been a big political issue ever since Ed


Miliband said he would help consumers with their bills by


capping prices. But it is also a problem for industry, particularly


energy heavily intensive industry. Tom Crotty from INEOS, which owns


Grangemouth, says the high prices are damaging the industrial sector.


This is his soapbox. Welcome to Grangemouth, one of the biggest


industrial sites in the UK. The plant uses more energy than


Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen combined. This piece of kit, the


cracker, is at the heart of the site and it produces basic raw


materials. These chemicals are the basic building blocks of everyday


products. But industry like this is threatened. The UK has some of the


most expensive energy in the world, not helped by Government taxes. It


is making Grangemouth uncompetitive. Heavy industry in the


UK spends much more on energy costs and our counterparts in Europe.


Paying more for our energy than our rivals is simply not sustainable


long term. In Germany, industrial energy costs are capped. 20 years


ago in the UK and Germany, manufacturing accounted for 23% of


GDP. In Germany it is the same, but in the UK it has fallen to 11% and


much of this is accounted for by our uncompetitive energy costs. There is


one other possibility for lower energy prices in the UK and that is


shale gas. It is cheaper than other energy sources and it is driving a


manufacturing boom in the United States. There are over 1 million


Shell gas wells and the USA will be self-sufficient in energy by 2020.


The UK has got to embrace shale gas. We at INEOS will be the first


company to import shale gas from the United States and this area will be


filled with shale gas from the US. But it is not enough. We need to be


able to produce shale gas and we have huge reserves of it. If we do


not address the heavy costs for industry, we will not have industry.


Tom Crotty is with us. Let me put your point to these politicians. You


are always talking, both of you, all parties, we need to rebalance the


economy and go back to manufacturing and look after heavy industry. What


do you say? That was an interesting film, but in principle we need to be


careful about shale gas. I would not rule it out. We need to look at the


regulation of it. He is making the general point that because of


policies both of your parties have pursued, including the Lib Dems,


which have forced energy prices up ever since the 2008 climate change


act, you are making life difficult for heavy industry that employs over


800,000 people in this country. I could provide a list of the savings


that could be given to Scottish and British business as a result of the


energy freeze. Give as an example? I have not got that in my hand, I do


not have that recall, but they would save as much energy as household


would. He is just freezing it. If the costs increase, he will save


something. What do you say? Wii I am a strong supporter of lower tax, and


I want to see tax cuts for businesses. He will know the scale


of the challenge we are dealing with. The solution to this is what


he has described. I want us to move ahead with shale gas. It has


transformed the situation in the United States. We have got huge


reserves, it is inexpensive for industry and the public and it will


take pressure of businesses and pensioners struggling with their gas


bills. What do you say to them about the existing tax and the Green taxes


and the extra costs, the closing down of cheap coal stations, what do


you say to them? Where we are is as a result of a lack of industrial and


energy policy over a long period of time. In Germany they had through


the last 25-30 years that it would protect its heavy industry come what


may. But at the cost of households. The cost of electricity is going


through the roof, Germans say it is a luxury good. They know how


important heavy industry is, but ordinary Germans are paying through


the nose. During winter 300,000 of them get cut off. There are


undoubtedly trade office. Germany has chosen to say what we need is an


industry that supports our economy and through that we can support our


people and those people can afford to live. Do you think Shell gas


avoids that trade-off? Let's come to shale gas. It can give you a


security of supply because it is under our own ground, but unlike


America where the gas market is a separate, hermetically sealed market


where they can set their own prices, we are part of a world


market and our gas would be at world prices, it would not be cheaper. I


agree entirely. This is not about suddenly we get cheap gas. This is


about having abundant supplies. We cannot get the gas we need today.


The North Sea does not have the right sort of gas we need to make


chemicals. For the chemical industry this is transformational. The US


industry is currently investing $71 billion in new plant and that is the


sort of transformation it could bring about. You have got to have


chemicals and steel and aluminium. Thank you for that. They are rolling


out the red carpet for Angela Merkel tomorrow. She is going to address


both Houses of Parliament and have tea with the Queen. That will


probably be in German as well. Compare that to the pie and a pint


given to the French president Francois Hollande last month. We


have seen the difference. Chancellor Merkel is being treated as a VIP


because David Cameron sees her as his best chance to renegotiate the


European Union treaty. Mrs Merkel does want reform although in part


she wants closer integration to protect the euro zone from any


future financial crisis. It has been reported, however, that she is


willing to give Mr Cameron some concessions. There could be limited


opt outs on certain EU regulations like the Working Time Directive and


the treaty could be revised to ensure those countries like Britain


who do not have the euro are protected in the single market.


Finally, EU regulations could be implemented in a less prescriptive


and intrusive way, although that all may not be enough for some. Earlier


this week Mrs Merkel's chief spokesman was quoted as saying, "The


expectations in the press are clearly too high." And he meant the


British press. With me now is John Jungclaussen from the German


newspaper Die Zeit. That quote is right, isn't it? She may want to


help Mr Cameron, but she can fulfil the Eurosceptic expectations? That


is absolutely true. The problem one -- is one of timing and diplomacy.


Remember when Gordon Brown arrived late for the signing of the Lisbon


Treaty... Intentionally. Intentionally. Now the Brits cannot


get out of the treaty quick enough. For someone in the club who wants to


rewrite the rules, they may have support, but to do it within a time


frame they have set that is unlike any time frame the EU would ever


met... 1917, sorry 2017, 1917 was a while ago! 2017 is the problem. It


cannot be done in that time. The last thing Mr Cameron wants is


another referendum in the same year as an election. The other problem is


her new Foreign Secretary, who, when he saw William Hague, made it very


clear he was essentially a more committed European than Angela


Merkel and less likely to pave the way for an agreement. Having a grand


coalition with the social Democrats is a constraint on Mrs Merkel as


well. Absolutely. But Angela Merkel has some challenges in the old


Franco German alliance which was at the core of Europe since the Treaty


of Rome is fraying at the edges. There is a big question over whether


the French economy stays with Northern Europe or drifts of and


becomes a Club Med economy leaving Mrs Merkel with Northern Europe. She


would like Britain to be there. Absolutely. Increasing


competitiveness, essentially German and Britain followed the same model


and Britain is recognised as an important partner. But if you


approach the table and sit down in a grumpy mood and say, we have to


change now and very quickly, then that is not seen as being very


helpful. We are being told the First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter


Robinson, will resign because of the judicial review case over the IRA


bomber. Francois Hollande does not want to give you anything and Mrs


Merkel will not be able to give you as much as she would like because


she is in coalition with the German Labour Party. This is the start of a


process. The reality is the European Union is changing. As a result of


the Europe presses, the European states are going to have to take


significant steps toward integration in order to deal with the crisis.


Britain is not part of that and we are not part of that process, but we


are in the EU. But it cannot all be done by 2017. If we are in power


there will be a referendum in 2017 and if we have not got to a position


where there is a new relationship, the British public will have the


freedom to vote to leave. The choice will be for our European partners


who they want to accept the nature of the changes that are taking place


and find a way for Britain to coexist with a euro zone area that


is becoming more integrated? Or do they want to leave it to our


electorate to decide? I am confident we have to win the election first


and we then can make good progress. We have made progress because we


have run out of time. I had so much to say. Time to put you out of your


misery for Guess The Year. It was 1983, the year of the election.


Margaret, you get to press the button. The winner: Thank you for


joining us. Thank you to our guests. The one o'clock News is on BBC One


and we will be back tomorrow night and tomorrow also with the Daily


Politics. Goodbye.


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