05/03/2014 Daily Politics


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Morning folks and welcome to the Daily Politics.


A date is set for the big Clegg-Farage bout, but Nick Clegg


can't wait to land the first punch as he lays into UKIP, saying it's


the Lib Dems who'll really deliver EU reform.


The waters are subsiding, but how did politicians come off when they


waded into the floods crisis? Just two weeks to the budget, is


drinking wine and spirits such a sin that it deserves such hefty taxes?


And parking tickets, speed cameras and overflowing bins - can anyone


bring an end to the annoyances of everyday life in Britain?


All that coming up in the next 90 minutes of the very finest public


service broadcasting. And joining us, two people who are not the least


bit annoying - in fact, they are going to keep you entertained with


their easy manner and witty repartee for the duration of the programme:


the Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles and the Shadow Europe


minister, Gareth Thomas. Welcome to the programme. Good to be here.


Could you say that with a bit more enthusiasm? !


First this morning: What's the impact of immigration on British


jobs? Well, the Government has used figures which claim that for every


100 immigrants that arrive here, 23 British jobs are lost. But the BBC's


Newsnight programme has claimed that the Government is suppressing a


report by civil servants which says that the impact on British jobs is


much smaller than that, and it would be "politically awkward" to publish


it. Here's Theresa May making that 23 jobs for 100 immigrants claim in


a speech in December. We asked the advisory committee to


look at the effects of immigration on jobs. They found a clear


association between non-European immigration and employment in the


UK. Between 1995 and 2010, the committee found and associated


displacement of 160,000 British workers. For every additional 100


immigrants, they estimated 23 British workers would not be


employed. There is a zero displacement fallacy and Government


must never make that mistake again of falling for it. Eric Pickles, why


is Downing Street sitting on a report suggesting the impact of


immigration is much less than first thought? For Gibney, it is not


sitting on a report. The report is not ready, and when it is, we will


publish it. -- forgive me. Theresa May looked for independent figures,


those figures came up and went through rigour, and this report will


also go through a degree of rigour. In terms of sitting on the report,


we knew some of the conclusions were around at Christmas time. They were


leaked at that point and we still haven't seen the report, which is


why there is a suggestion Downing Street is sitting on it. It is not


finished, I've not seen the report, I will be interested in the report.


As far as I know, the Prime Minister has not seen the report. Well, we


have been told that the figure in terms of impact on jobs for British


workers is virtually mill. -- nil. I have no way of judging whether that


is an accurate interpretation. If it does come out with that sort of


guidance, will you change your policy? We will look and see how


rigorous these figures are. I think that has to be an understanding of


the relationship between migration and benefits. We have a tradition of


welcoming people into this country who can contribute to national


wealth. We need to understand controlled immigration is a good


thing for this country. What isn't a good thing is uncontrolled


immigration. Over the last couple of years, we will have seen a big


influence of people coming to London. Last time I looked, we were


the sixth largest French city, bigger than Bordeaux. Do you accept


one of the main tenets for your claim for immigration is based on


the fact that many jobs are being taken by immigrants, as your


Government puts it? Our point is we believe immigration should be


controlled. We've gone through a decade or so where immigration was


not terribly well controlled. What we need to ensure is that as the


economy starts to grow, our population has the necessary skills


and knowledge to take up jobs. That is not putting up a ring paints


backtrack fence around our borders. We appreciate people who can come


and contribute. Can I ask why the Home Secretary made much of that


original report in 2012 which seem to show there would be 23 fewer jobs


for every 100 people coming? She said, it is clear from this report.


But if you read the statistical caveats in this report from two


years ago, the report says, results are statistically insignificant when


outliers are removed from the data. That means you take away figures


that look a bit dodgy. It went on to say, the results may not be robust.


That was in the original result, yet your party made so much political


significance out of it and never made mention of those caveats. The


report was published, it is there on websites for people to read. But the


Home Secretary said it is clear that it is 23 for every 100. When you


read this report, it is far from clear. To reason made a point, it is


in the report. Nobody at the time suggested it was wrong. They did. A


research tank the day after it was published put out a huge analysis of


this and blue enormous holes in it. So it is not right to say that, I'm


afraid. Can I ask about the net migration figure? Do you still think


you should be trying to get that to tens of thousands when it is


currently over 200,000? I think we need to knowledge the figure is


going to vary enormously. But I think it is important we do continue


to press down on non-EEC migration figures. It is our aim to achieve


it. Really? You are going to be able to get down from 212,000 when you


cannot control the bulk of immigration from the EU? It is our


aim to get down non-EU figures. If we were to get some control over EU


figures, the loss would be to Britain. There are many British


workers overseas. I think controlled immigration is a very good way...


Well, the figures have gone up. There are fewer criminals being


deported, fewer people being found in being deported. The conclusions


of the report are virtually out there, Vince Cable says the report


is completed and should be published. Surely within the next


couple of days these reports could be published and could inform the


debate about immigration any more sensible way then clearly Theresa


May with her speech. Gareth, your record on immigration is


unbelievable. There were ten years of uncontrolled immigration. I've


made it clear that when this report is ready, it will be published.


Actually, the numbers in terms of immigration are going in the wrong


direction according to your own figures. The number of deported


criminals and illegal migrants being deported is going down. On the issue


of employment and wages being undercut, we know you have to tackle


some of the abuses being revealed in the labour market. One area where we


know there are problems is the care sector, where agencies are being


used to recruit people from aboard. We need to make that illegal. We


need to tackle the lack of enforcement over the minimum wage.


There have only been two prosecutions since 2000. How many


were there under Labour? I don't know exactly, but they were better.


We've got the figures, it wasn't. Fewer than ten. And they weren't


prosecutions, they were cases raised with people abusing the system.


Now, the date for the big televised bout between Nick Clegg and Nigel


Farage was announced today - it will be on BBC Two on Wednesday two April


at 7pm. But some early salvos are already being fired. This morning,


Mr Clegg made a speech on Europe in which he attacked UKIP MEPs as lazy


and effective. Here's what he had to say.


Martin Horwood from the Liberal Democrats joins us from outside


Parliament, and UKIP's Roger Helmer is in Brussels. Mr Clegg criticises


Nigel Farage for not voting opera Nona -- often enough in the European


Parliament. It turns out they vote more than Mr Clegg. Well, he is the


Deputy Prime Minister, what is their excuse? Well, he is the leader of a


big party X might you cannot criticise other people for voting


when you yourself vote less. Lib Dem MEPs and the liberal group across


Europe have a much better record and that is what you should compare it


with, not Government ministers in this country who are obviously


undertaking a lot of other duties and obviously don't turn up to lobby


every day. Mr Clegg was my big new idea is you should close down the


Strasbourg bit of European Parliament. Hardly a new idea, most


people think it should be, but the French don't and the French have a


veto. Explain to us how Mr Clegg will overcome the French veto. I


think we do just have to build a consensus. There is a consensus


already. Not in France, there isn't. We need to build up the pressure.


This is a colossal waste of money. It is just one example of how we can


still tackle waste. We know that, no one disagrees with you on that. Name


me one mainstream ranch politician that thinks that should be closed.


Well, it is in the treaty that the Strasbourg parliament is part of the


process. So this needs to be on the political agenda and we are trying


to do that. We are saying there are things that can be tackled. Could


you name me one mainstream French politician that think that


Parliament should be closed? The top of my head, no. That's because there


isn't one. We need to look at areas where the EU can focus more


resources on creating British jobs, fighting cross-border crime and


environment. Roger, you get paid a fair bit with decent expenses for


growing -- going to Brussels. Don't you think you should do some work


for it? My voting participation rate in the Europe where -- European


Parliament is better than the average of Lib Dems. The


participation rate is actually double Nick Clegg's participation


rate in London and he lives near his Parliament wearers Nigel Farage has


to travel eight hours to get to Strasbourg. So these comparisons are


outrageous. One other point to - we in UKIP are much more focused on


what is going on in Britain in Europe, and if you look at our 150


or so councillors, a recent study in the times of the four major parties


showed that, of those parties, UKIP councillors have the top rate of


participation and Lib Dem councillors have the bottom. What do


you say to that, Martin? We're not talking about councillors, we're


talking about MEPs. But he said his voting record is on average better


then Lib Dem MEPs. Well, he must be an outlier. You get as a whole has


the worst record of any British and European party, and they are paid to


fight Britain's corner in the European Parliament. They are not


doing it. We are paid to serve the interests of our electors. Our


electors in UKIP voted for us because they want is to get Britain


out of the European Union and work. Your leader served our interests by


not turning up to the European fisheries meeting apart from one


meeting in an entire year. That was when he was lecturing everyone else


about how terrible European policy was.


UKIP voted the right way on that issue. Nigel Farage, as has been


rightly pointed out, is the leader of a large and growing political


party and he has enormous calls on his time. I have never met a man who


work so hard or deliver so much value. Let me tell you how


representative democracy is supposed to work, it is not to advance your


poetical party but to do a job of work. That is what we do here --


your political party. We are doing what our electors want us to do and


you will find that out on May the 22nd. Do you agree with Paul


Nuttall, number two in your party? It says, my attendance record is


flaky to say the least but so what, I treat Brussels with the contempt


it deserves. I treat Brussels with a fair measure of contempt. They're in


mind that we have a different objective. The Lib Dems want to


build Europe and sit in dusty committee rooms passing European


laws and maxing out on daily allowances. We are concerned about


arguing the case and spreading the message at home. Some of our MEPs


have more emphasis on the work in Brussels, some have more emphasis on


the work at home. The voters are the people who decide if we are doing a


good job. We have a Euro election on May 22 and I think you may find that


the voters agree that we are doing the things they elected us to do.


Martin Horwood, at the last election, your party said, Liberal


Democrats think we should have a real vote. It should be in or out of


Europe, that is the vote we want. Yet when George Osborne proposed


that in the cabinet yesterday, Lib Dems opposed it. He proposed a


referendum bill which we have ready had in this Parliament, based on


Conservative Party policy. We did support and in-out referendum at the


time of the Lisbon Treaty and we will continue to support it under


similar circumstances. You are frightened to death of it. We are


not, we proposed it. Why don't you want one now? We proposed it not


when the Lisbon Treaty was going through but at the time and we would


do that again. What is wrong with having one now? The timing, as we


know, is not right. We are not looking for a referendum to pave the


way for exit from the European Union. Why not have a real vote now?


At the time, most other parties were not supporting an in-out referendum.


We have consistently supported an in -out referendum. Conservative Party


policy at the time was to have a referendum only on particular


transfers of power. We went along with that in the coalition and we


have legislated for that. We have spent an enormous amount of


government time and Parliamentary time for baiting a government bill,


then a Tory Private Members' Bill. I think we have more important things


edge time debating a government bill.


There is room, if the Lib Dems want to change their mind. We could put


this into the Queen's Speech. I could leave the programme, to be


Prime Minister, we could make an announcement straightaway. They


haven't found time for the legislation to put .7% of gross


national income being devoted to international development as


promised in the coalition agreement. That would be my first preference.


If he agreed to that, would you agree to a referendum? We haven't


got time for the international developer built, then I don't see


how we can create time for a third attempt... Mr pickles says he can


offer the 0.7%... Will you therefore agree to a referendum? We have never


objected to the principal. He is offering what you wanted. Let me


finish. We have never objected to the principle of a referendum. I did


not oppose the referendum bill that went through recently. We just


disagreed with the detail. We'll have different formulas, we don't


support the one the Conservatives have come up with -- we all have. We


will not be agreeing to the bill they are proposing. What kind of


in-out referendum would you like? This is the same position we have


had since the Lisbon Treaty. When there is a transfer of power, or if


there is a transfer of power, presented as part of the treaty


change, we would have an in-out referendum. We did not have that.


When the Lisbon Treaty went through, we supported it at the time


and the Conservative Party did not support us. The Lisbon Treaty was


job done by the general election campaign. In the general election


you are still saying, Liberal Democrats think we should have a


real vote, in or out. At the time of the treaty, we supported an in-out


referendum. And in the election campaign. The election manifesto


said the same thing. At the time of the transfer of power we would


support an in-out referendum. Don't expect us to pave the way for


something that will damage British jobs and our ability to fight


cross-border crime, to protect the environment. Rubbish, rubbish,


rubbish. Let me bring in Labour. Will you ever come out for a


referendum? We support the 2011 sovereignty act. If there were to be


a further transfer of power to Brussels it is right there is a


referendum and British people are asked if they want to support the


transfer of power. But not in-out. We don't support the idea of an


in-out referendum fix for 2017. For similar reasons to those that Martin


has expressed. Perhaps best underlined by the engineering


Federation yesterday who made clear that the uncertainty that that


referendum is causing is a ready having an impact on investment


decisions by British business. The engineering employers Federation,


their businesses spoke yesterday about the way in which investment


decisions... Give me an example. I don't have the detail. Don't you


think you should have the detail before you make the claim? It was


reported in The Financial Times, a perfectly reputable newspaper. That


is not the point, can you give me an example of one company who has said


they will not invest until the referendum is in -- is resolved. I


can't but perhaps the question is to those business organisations. There


are a series of business organisations, the CBI as well as


the F. We know in terms of construction,


soap manufacturing, the motor industry has never been better, in


terms of what is happening on the ground, I can't see any evidence. I


will have a look at The Financial Times piece. Will you come first in


the European elections? We have every chance, we are working hard in


that direction, we can't afford to give up and be complacent but I


think we will create an earthquake in British politics. Let me send you


a book on the management of expectations. Thanks to both of you.


It is called optimism! The waters are subsiding but how did


the politicians fare when they waded into the floods at the height of the


crisis? Here was Eric Pickles on The Andrew Marr Show last month. We made


a mistake, there is no doubt about that. We perhaps relied too much on


the Environment Agency's advice. I think we recognise now that we


should have done... We should have dredged. It is important that we get


on the process of getting those people back into their houses. We


are able to do some serious pumping but at the moment the level is too


high. Don't you think ministers should apologise to farmers who said


you need to dredge now? I will apologise, I apologise unreservedly


and I am sorry that we took the advice that we did. Eric Pickles is


still here, do you still blame squarely be in by at agency rather


than ministers taking responsible at sea? -- responsibility. There is now


a growing consensus on the need to dredge the Somerset Levels, they


were man-made, but that does not mean to say dredging is appropriate


everywhere. I have worked closely with the bar and agency for the last


month. I have seen what they are doing -- with the Environment


Agency. In Parliament and on that programme I praised the work of the


biomed agency. Given that there is a consensus -- I praised the work of


the Environment Agency. People were suggesting we should have dredged,


perhaps we should have paid more attention to them. Sometimes in


government, we are kind of reluctant to say sorry. It is a compensated


situation. Fortunately the levels are likely to drop. -- complicated


situation. If you look at different rivers, different measures will be


necessary. We will still have ground water for months to come. Do you


think at the time, there was too much of a blame game? Too much


finger-pointing going on between ministers, including yourself, when


people were just revelling to keep their places dry? It was not the


intention. I accepted I made a mistake of answering the question,


which sometimes politicians should not do. There is now a consensus


around what needs to be done. Owen is back... Are you friends with Owen


Paterson again? Never ceased to be friends. We reported he was cross


about you grandstanding, as he called it. We remain friends, the


condition here's -- he is suffering from isn't to my wife is suffering


from minor how difficult it is and he is doing a fantastic job to be


back. We have an apology to make. I am


afraid that there's been a serious breach of security here at the Daily


Politics. One of the programme's presenters walked into the building


here at Westminster earlier this morning carrying unconcealed


documents which were caught on camera by waiting photographers.


Amongst those documents was the answer to today's Guess the Year


competition. It has come to our attention that the photograph is


doing the rounds on Twitter. Here it is for any of you tempted to cheat.


Don't get too excited - we've blurred out the date.


Yes - I apologise - I've offered my resignation to the BBC - but was


told I would have to endure the on-screen humiliation of having my


misdemeanour revealed on telly instead. Good job nothing like that


ever happens in government, hey, Eric? I am happy to accept your


resignation. I am happy you don't employ me! I do indirectly. That was


very quick! We'll remind you how to enter in a minute, but let's see if


you can remember when this happened. If some of my former colleagues are


to be believed, I must be the first minister in history who resigned


because he was in full agreement with government policy. British beef


is safe. # I've got the power. I can no


longer follow Solly the mandate of the Communist Party of the Soviet


Union. -- To be in with a chance of winning a


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


that's [email protected] And you can see the full terms and conditions


for Guess the Year on our website - that's bbc.co.uk/dailypolitics.


It's coming up to midday here - just take a look at Big Ben - and that


can mean only one thing: Yes, Prime Minister's Questions is on its way.


It is a beautiful spring day and Nick Robinson is here. Patrick Rock,


a senior adviser, he had to resign over allegations of child abuse


images, he has been arrested but not charged. Jonathan Ashworth MP writes


to the head of the civil service, when was Number ten first made aware


of these allegations? When was the Prime Minister first made aware?


When were you as Cabinet Secretary made aware? What advice did you


give? A lot of unanswered questions. There are. When you are


in opposition and you want to keep a story running, you always say there


are a lot of unanswered questions. That is what Eric's party did when


they were in the opposition. What is at the root of this is that we do


not know the timeline of when Patrick Rock was arrested and


dismissed. There was a three-week gap between it and the news


emerging. Some newspapers feel very strongly that after the Leveson


enquiry, all the talk that police were too close to the press, there


is an increasing policy of keeping the media in the dark about ordinary


police operations. The question underlying all of this detail is was


there a deliberate attempt by people close to Patrick Rock and the police


to keep this quiet, in the hope that he was cautioned and never charged,


because he has not been charged. I think that is what underlies many


questions about who knew what and when. Jonathan Ashworth says, how


much time passed between Number ten first becoming aware and Patrick


Rock being spoken about them, the police being alerted and Mr Rock's


resignation. Some commentators have thought it is a strange situation


for a democracy where someone who is at the heart of government can be


arrested and it takes a long while for anyone to know about it. That is


right, there is secrecy built into this and it causes concerns. It may


get raised by a backbench Labour MP Joan Prime Minister's Questions. It


won't be raised by Ed Miliband will stop my hunch is that it will be


Ukraine that is the subject he deals with.


Russian lake is a major retail park which will create 2000 new jobs. My


listening campaign and the local Telegraph have supported this


proposal. In nine years in Parliament, I've never known of a


development to have so much public support. Could the Prime Minister


used his best efforts to ensure the outcome of the public enquiry is


announced as soon as possible? I know my honourable friend campaigns


vigorously for job creation and his local constituents. I'm sure years


where I'm not able to get involved in specific planning decisions but I


understand a decision will be made as soon as possible. That will


involve the secretary of state taking into account all points of


view. Mr Speaker, the whole House and country have been watching


events in the Ukraine with great concern. Does the Prime Minister


agree Russia's actions violate Ukraine's sovereignty and


territorial integrity and without justification? Does he further agree


these actions deserve to be condemned unreservedly across the


international community? I agree that what Russia has done is


completely unacceptable. We should be clear about our national interest


and our aim in all this. Our national interest is that we have an


interest in a world where the rule of law is upheld and territorial


integrity is expected. We should be clear our aim is to deter further


action and to de-escalate the situation. He is right to say the


action by the Russian Government should be condemned by the whole


world. I'm sure we agree there needs to begin to new pressure on the


Russian Government, but all members will welcome the talks that are


going on as we speak between John Kerry and the Russian Foreign


Minister. Given the fragility of the situation on the ground, does the


Prime Minister believes one important outcome for these talks is


if they lead to direct high-level talks between Russia and the


Ukraine's to de-escalate this situation, the most important thing


is a forum for discussions in which both parties can speak to each


other. There have been some contacts between Russian and Ukrainian


ministers. This morning, there are meetings taking place in Paris


covering other issues as well, but that has been some progress in


putting together a contact group, an idea I proposed to the Polish Prime


Minister back in January, to start having a group of countries around


Russia and Ukraine to encourage such dialogue to take place. That is the


single most important thing. Clearly we all hope for a good outcome from


those talks, but the EU also has a crucial role to play. Does he agree


be you must show it is up to the task of dealing with the biggest


security crisis on this continent since Kosovo? Given the issues


raised about the UK's position from the leaked Downing Street document,


can the Prime Minister tell me what he will be tailored billing --


tabling tomorrow? It is important the EU shows a unity of purpose at


tomorrow's leaders meeting. What we need to do is be clear that the


status quo we are faced with today, where Russian troops are outside


their bases in the Crimea, is an acceptable. As I've said, costs and


consequences need to follow. That is why we'd suspended preferences --


preparations for the G8 meeting. It is hard to see in these


circumstances how a G8 meeting could go ahead. We've withdrawn royal and


ministerial visits to be Paralympic Games. There are further options we


should consider, but we also need to consider what extra steps, extra


political, economic and bloom at it steps, to discourage Russia from


taking further steps in terms of disrespecting the territorial


integrity of Ukraine. I completely share his view on the G8 and other


issues mentioned. When he was leader of the opposition in 2008, at the


time of the invasion of Georgia, he said Russian armies cannot margin to


other countries while Russian shoppers carry on shopping in


Selfridge's. Does he agree that we should look at asset freezes and


travel restrictions on designated individuals so that Russia is clear


about the consequences of its actions? When we look at the


diplomatic steps we can take, nothing should be on the table. --


off the table. We've already taken steps to making sure corrupt


Ukrainian oligarchs are dealt with appropriately in the UK. I think


there is a steps we need to take a next -- in respect of the current


situation, and then agree with our European partners, and I will be


speaking to Mr Obama this afternoon, about further steps. I'm sure he


will push for as broad an agreement as possible and I welcome that. Let


me ask him about Ukrainian support. Does he agree that the way forward


is providing them with their support, while making it clear that


their Government needs to be inclusive and protect the rights of


the Russian speaking population within the Ukraine? And does he


further agree there is no reason for rushing to believe that


strengthening ties between the EU and Ukraine does not have to be at


the expense of Russia's I agree it is important that should not be seen


as a tug-of-war. We should be in favour of the people of Ukraine


being able to decide their own future. In my view, this has been as


much about Ukraine wanting to lean towards the as wanting to get rid of


their appalling levels of corruption may pad to put up with in the


Government. -- they've had to put up with. Two important points have been


made. They must make sure they have an inclusive step -- set of


institutions and laws that do not discriminate against minorities or


Russian speakers, but also that we stand ready, as members of the


European Union, as leading players in the IMF, to help the Ukraine in


its time of need. There are all sorts of steps Ukrainian Government


will have to make to make that possible, but if they can do that,


we should stand by them. I welcome that. Let me say this. All of us


recognise this as a delegate and dangerous moment for international


security. It is the combination of diplomacy, resolve in the


international community and support for the Ukrainian Government and


Ukrainian self-determination that is the best hope for ensuring an end to


this crisis. I can assure the Prime Minister that the Government will


have our full support. I'm grateful for what the Right Honourable


Gentleman has said this morning. Just as we need to see tomorrow a


voice of unity and clarity from the countries of the European Union


Daschle not always easy when there are 28 countries around the table -


but it is also welcome when there is a unified voice going out from this


House to say to the Russian Government, what you have done is


wrong and should not be allowed to stand. Last week, a judge sentenced


a man to nine years in prison for causing the death by dangerous


driving of two teenage girls. Given that that amounts to objectively for


years per life, does the Prime Minister agree it is high time we


looked again at the maximum sentence for causing death by dangerous


driving? First of all, I congratulate my honourable friend


for a happy news on the weekend. I'm sure members across the House want


to join me in that. The point she raises is an issue that was raised


at prime ministers questions last week. As I said then, I think it is


important the Chancellor looks at what more we can do to ensure we


send the clearest possible message about this being unacceptable. Last


July, the Prime Minister rightly promised legislation regarding


Internet rape porn. So canny explain why clause 16 of his criminal


Justice Bill does not ban simulated child abuse or stage rape online?


The Honourable Lady has a long record of fighting on these issues


and a ban on rape porn is being carried through. I will look


carefully at the issues she is raising now. I think we do have a


good record of putting in place stronger Internet filters, working


with the industry to make sure searches for unacceptable terms


can't be made, and for separate legislative steps like banning rape


porn. I will look carefully at the specifics. In 2009, there were 610


18 to 24-year-olds in Chester who were out of work and claiming


jobseeker's allowance. Last month, that number was halved. This week is


National apprenticeship week. We'll Prime Minister congratulate


employers who are creating apprenticeships and jobs so we never


again see the massive waste of young talent? My honourable friend is


right to raise national apprenticeship week. It is an


important week to advertise to businesses large and small the


advantages of taking on apprentices. What we will see during this


parliament is 2 million apprenticeships start. That is what


we are aiming for. 1.6 million have already taken place. As he says,


unemployment in his own constituency has fallen, as has the claimant


count, but we want to see smaller firms coming forward and taking on


their first apprentice. In 2006, a seven-year-old girl and her brother


died of carbon monoxide poisoning, caused by a faulty boiler at their


hotel in Greece. Their father and his partner narrowly escaped with


their lives. After seven agonising years, the inquest into their deaths


is about to begin, but the legal aid agency has refused funding to be


legally represented at being quest. On Friday, Thomas Cook tried to


prevent the Kong -- the inquest from even taking place. Will the Prime


Minister meet with me and the parents to hear why it is imperative


the parents are legally represented at this inquest said the fullbacks


are what -- full facts are learnt surrounding their children's deaths?


I do remember this absolutely tragic case and it is appalling it has


taken so long for the inquest to take place. When you've lost a


child, you want to know the answer is and whether it could have been


prevented, and that lessons will be learned for the future. I'm very


content to arrange the sort of meetings she is talking about a help


in this case and make sure the Foreign Office, who do, I think, an


excellent job of helping people when they are dealing with overseas


issues, is doing all it can. In Braintree, an employment has


dropped, and youth unemployment has dropped 6.3% to 4.4% since 2010.


Would the Prime Minister agree with me that the Chancellor's long-term


economic plan is working? And following the recent success, will


you join me in thanking Braintree District Council and job centre plus


for all they are doing in encouraging local businesses to hire


young people? My honourable friend has a very strong track record of


campaigning and fighting for these issues. He co-founded a campaign,


and let's recognise the fact we have created 1 million new jobs under


this Government. One thing my honourable friend was pushing for


was under 21 's should not have to pay national insurance contributions


when they are employed. That is something brought in to the Autumn


Statement which I think will make a huge difference. The Braintree jobs


there has also made a huge difference. I noticed the opposite


party seemed to groan as soon as falling unemployment was mentioned,


but it is falling, and it is a welcome sign. Does the Prime


Minister share my astonishment at a decision announced yesterday that


trans-Pennine express, which covers train services across the whole of


the North of England, is to lose one in eight of its trains, which are to


be transferred to Chilton rail for the greater comfort and convenience


of commuters in the south of England? Isn't that your


constituency? LAUGHTER


JEERING Is he aware that the trans-Pennine


services are already amongst the most overcrowded in the country?


HECKLING There is quite a simple matter of


courtesy, the right honourable gentleman will be heard however long


it takes so the quicker people remember their manners, the better.


I say to members opposite, this may be a laughing matter to them, it is


certainly not a laughing matter to people in the North of England.


Could he bear in mind that this decision has been made without the


agreement of the train operating company, but by Porter Brook and the


leasing company. The Prime Minister! Order! I was fair to the right


honourable gentleman but the question was, frankly, too long. I


will look very carefully at the point the right honourable gentleman


raises. We have announced plans to electrify the trans-Pennine railway


line which I think will make a big difference. We are going ahead with


the northern hub that will also make a difference. These are big steps


forward. I hope he won't find it too cheeky if I point out that the line


that he and I use, the Cotswold line, has also received a lot of


extra investment under this government and he now enjoys a


double track line when he makes his journey from my constituency into




Thank you, sir. Not me? Not Hugh! Another time, if the honourable


gentleman is lucky -- not you! Can I put on record my thanks to the Prime


Minister for the efforts he puts in to securing export orders, but can I


ask is assurance that his government will leave no stone unturned in the


pursuit of exports to pursue -- support apprenticeships and highly


skilled jobs. It was a huge pleasure to see the quality of the


apprenticeships that BAE Systems are offering in building the Typhoon


aircraft. I can give him my assurance that I will go on banging


the drum for British exports, including defence exports. We had


very good progress with the order from an -- from


I was criticised by the party opposite for taking defence


contractors on trade missions overseas. They don't think it is


appropriate, I think it is appropriate, we should stand up for


our defence industry and defence jobs. Cook the Prime Minister and


the speculation over the future of the Hunting Act by confirming he


doesn't instance to use a statutory instrument to repeal or amend the


act by removing the limit on the number of dogs that can be used?


This will quite properly be a matter for the House of Commons. As he will


know, what has happened is a group of Welsh and other members of


Parliament have looked at a particular problem of pest control


in upland areas of Wales and other parts of the country, they are


making a proposal. It will be properly examined by the Department


and the House of Commons will be able to decide. Further to my


honourable friend's question and during National apprenticeships


week, we should celebrate the fact that in the last year, half a


million people began an apprenticeship, nearly double the


number who started in 2009-10. We should not rest there. Does the


Prime Minister agreed we need to do more to incentivise schools to


promote apprenticeships and to do more to get employers to come


forward, particularly for young people? My honourable friend speaks


with great commitment because of his chairmanship of the education select


committee. The point he and I have discussed is we need to make sure we


are giving the clearest possible information to young people in


schools about the choices they can make. I think the academic path of


A-levels and UCAS and universities has been well set out and


understood, including by Britain's teachers. We need it as well


understood what the opportunities are for vocational education and


apprenticeships, not least because you don't have to choose long-term


between the two, you can carry out an apprenticeship and carry out a


degree earning and learning at the same time. This year is the EU year


of tackling food waste. Given the absolute scandal of up to 40% of


food being wasted in this country, and huge numbers of people going to


food banks because they can't afford to feed themselves and their


family, will the Prime Minister throw his weight behind this


initiative and support efforts to reduce food waste in this country?


It is important to tackle the issue of food waste and a number of


important debates have been held in this house and Westminster Hall


about this issue. The most important thing in terms of helping people


with weekly budgets is to make sure we keep growing the economy, getting


people back to work, creating jobs and keeping taxes down so they have


more of their own money to spend as they choose. Over the last few


months in Somerset, we have had a dead huge of press, media and film


cameras which has now receded and is barely a trickle but this lunch is


still with us -- we have had a deluge. But the floods are still


with us. Long-term local management of the rivers cannot be met within


the constraints of local government finance. Will he commit to me that


whatever needs to be changed, will be changed, in order to give a


sustainable management for the future? I would commend all of the


Somerset MPs for working together extremely well, ringing together the


local agencies, local councils, farmers and others to come up with


the right long-term solution for the people of Somerset -- bringing


together. I agree the cameras and press have departed and it is


important we don't take our eye off the important issue of training the


Somerset Levels. I am getting regular reports and I look forward


to seeing the report from him and other colleagues. We have known for


months that are A departments in our hospitals are in trouble but now


we find that almost 30,000 ambulances are stuck in queues


outside hospitals -- have been stuck in queues. Does the Prime Minister


regret not having had a grip on this more quickly? The point I would make


is that we have met the A targets more times this winter than when the


shadow health secretary was sitting in the cabinet with responsible for


the NHS -- responsibility. I would commend what A departments have


done because they are coping with around 1.2 million more A


attendances every year than when we can to power in 2010. I think they


have Do You Feel What I Feel doesn't work and they are doing it on the


basis of having not only many thousands more doctors, but I can


tell the house there are more nurses in the NHS than at any time since


the 1940s and it is a record the government can be proud of.


The village of Barrow has fewer than 300 houses, the local authority has


given permission for over 100 houses but the planning inspector has


overturned a refusal of the planning authority and will impose 504 more


houses into that village, against the wishes of the local MP, local


authority and local people. Will my right honourable friend look again


at the workings of the working Inspectorate to ensure that from now


on, the planning inspector puts the wishes of local people at the heart


of the localism act as he intended? I will look very carefully at the


specific incidents that the honourable member brings to the


house. Under the localism act, local authorities are able to produce a


local plan and get that agreed, which will give local people greater


control over what is built and where. In the meantime, things are


judged against the national planning policy framework which does have


protections for green belt. It does insist on going out with Brownfield


development and it does take into account pre-existing local plans. If


that needs to be clarified, clarify it we will. First the government


told Northern councillors to stop doffing their caps in the hopes of a


hand-out. Then the High Court ruled that government cuts in European


funding for Liverpool and Sheffield were illegal. What does this say


about the government? What I would say to the honourable lady is of


course, Liverpool, the city she represents, has huge needs in terms


of funding. I believe the funding it gets reflects those needs. If you


look at the spending per dwelling in Liverpool, for 2014, it is ?2595 per


dwelling. Obviously the needs for her constituency are much greater


than the needs of my constituency. But it is a full ?700 more per


dwelling than is spent in my constituency. So I don't believe


that the people of Liverpool are being short-changed. They are


properly funded for the services that they need.


Last year I met the surgeon Tim Underwood who leads the outstanding


sufferable cancer team at Southampton General. --


surgery is gruelling, and many people are unaware that persistent


heartburn and difficulties swallowing can be a symptom of this


type of cancer. Will he commit to raising awareness of this terrible


disease and ensure the NHS as the chance to diagnose it earlier. How


we raise the awareness of cancer has an important effect in terms of


early diagnosis. A pilot is being run in the north-east and Cumbria to


raise awareness of this type of cancer, and we are committing more


than ?350 million of additional funding to support early diagnosis.


The key is making sure more people have their cancer discovered from


trips to the GP and their own inspections and self-awareness,


rather than finding out these things in emergency, often when it is too


late. There is almost 1 million young people unemployed in the UK,


more than 1 million people on zero our contracts. In my constituency,


people are ?1811 worse off since 2002. How does the Prime Minister


have the audacity to suggest that his party is a worker 's party? Let


me give him the figures for the north-east since the last election.


There are 24,000 more people in work in the north-east since the last


election. There are 40,000 more private-sector job since the last


election. Unemployment has fallen... He is shouting because he


doesn't want to hear the answers about the long-term economic plan.


The honourable gentleman should not be shouting, he has asked the


question, let him hear the answer. He could be asking about the massive


expansion that Nissan in Sunderland provided jobs in the north-east, the


new Hitachi train factory that will be built. All of this shows the plan


is working and frankly, more important than these figures is the


fact that every single job means another family with a pay packet, a


stability, security and peace of mind that this government is all


about. A small family run business in


Felixstowe is taking an as this. Adding to an excellent scheme and


announcement by BT they are creating 100 new apprenticeships. Would my


right honourable friend agree that earning while you are learning is


great for young people in Suffolk and they are building the skills


that are vital to deliver our long-term economic plan. I would


certainly agree. The big companies in Britain are taking on apprentices


in larger and larger numbers and that is hugely welcome. I think the


challenge is to encourage the small and medium-size enterprises of


Britain to take on apprentices, too. We need to make it simple, we need


to make sure it pays and we need to advertise to promote to these


companies what a great job apprentices can do. To coincide with


today's launch about youth unemployment, figures have been


published in the House of Commons library which showed that despite


the figures just quoted, the dole queue for under 25 still reaches


from London to Edinburgh. Does the Prime Minister think that reflects


the success in this policy? Would he be prepared to meet to discuss


long-term solutions? Of course there are still too many people unemployed


in our country but there are 1.6 million new private-sector jobs, 1.3


million more people in work, big cuts in unemployment, big reductions


in claimant count and almost half a million fewer people reliant on out


of work benefits. That is what we want to do and we haven't forgotten


the record of the Labour Party. Unemployment rose by nearly half a


million, female and implement rose by 24% and use and implement went up


by 45%. They should be making an apology instead of giving lectures.


In recognising British success at the Oscars, with the Prime Minister


join me in congratulating Bournemouth University and the arts


university, where over 50 graduates helped with the design effects for


that amazing British film, Gravity. Does it not prove that Bournemouth


leads the way in digital media, as a great tourism destination, and also


does amazing party conferences as well... He is right about all of


those things. Bournemouth University does have excellent courses that


have helped to build up the British postproduction and facilities


industry which is now so busy helping to create these blockbuster


films. It is very good to see that not only are we winning Oscars for


British films but the British Judeo 's are -- studios are full to


bursting point and the postproduction industry is leading


the world. We need to go on backing this industry. That is why my right


honourable friend the Chancellor has been making steps with things like


elbowing the computer games industry, -- helping the computer


games industry and continuing to back the important film tax credits.


Recently is Coast ambulance service, a private company, has gone bust,


owing thousands of pounds in wages to hard-working staff -- East Coast


ambulance. But the prime Minister agree that the best way to protect


patients, staff and NHS resources is to extend Freedom of Information to


private companies bidding for contracts and stop the invasion of


our NHS by predatory private health care companies. I will look


carefully at the individual case he raises. This government is putting


?12.6 billion into the NHS and I don't believe we should rule out


saying other organisations cannot help to deliver NHS services with if


we look at the hinge in Brook Hospital in Cambridge it is


providing better services because of the changes we have made. I will


look at the Freedom of Information request but I think it is important


we have a health service that can access the best of private, public


and voluntary. It is good news that the Prime Minister has apparently


resuscitating plans for a recall the bill but can he confirmed he intends


to push ahead with a genuine system of record and not fall back on the


Deputy prime minister's Bill and which is recall in name only and


would not empower voters in any meaningful sense at all. I fear it


will be difficult to satisfy my honourable friend on this point. I


think we should take the draft clauses as the starting point for


what I think would be an excellent reform, that we committed to in our


manifesto, in the coalition agreement. That is to say that if


members of Parliament are seriously in breach of standards and judged to


be so, they shouldn't have to wait for a general election to receive


the verdict of their constituents. Exchange between the two


frontbenchers dominated by Ukraine and by consensus. Both agree


something must be done although neither had much of an idea what


that something should be. The leader of the opposition in Plyed --


implied a tougher line, but that is what you tend to do when you are in


opposition, just as Mr Cameron did over the invasion of Georgia. So a


low-key, consensual PMQ and I think some of you did not like it. It


provoked a mixed response. Beginning with the positive, one viewer said


this was a rare occasion when both leaders looked and talked like


proper, democratic politicians. On Twitter, one person said, it is like


they have grown up this week. But Philip Jones tweeted, boring


questions from Ed Miliband on Ukraine, and another Tweet said, the


dullest PMQ in history. Someone else said, Ed Miliband did not ask


anything of substance, he may as well have not been there. Sometimes


you cannot win. At least the Ukrainian issue was addressed last


week -- this week, which it failed to do last week. It is still very


hard to pin down, when they say there will be consequences, what


these consequences will be. In part, that is because countries are


defending their own interests. That document is seen outside Downing


Street made clear Britain did not want our trade sanctions or stop


Russians investing in the City of London. And in part it is because


there simply isn't agreement. I think the Government and the US are


of the view it would be a disaster for different countries to announce


different things at different times. There has to be agreement.


David Cameron says today it is hard to see, I think was the phrase he


used, how the G8 summit should go ahead. Yesterday, the Italian


Foreign Minister said he thought it could go ahead. Unless they can


agree, it is no use the prime ministers saying anything. Germany


didn't say it shouldn't go ahead, but he said it is our chance to talk


to Mr Putin. And the German factor is important. Not only have


historically the Germans been in favour of a more diplomatic approach


to Russia - Berlin is not that far from the Black Sea, so there are


historical reasons, there are also economic and political reasons. The


German Foreign Minister comes from the social Democratic party, he is


an alley of the former Chancellor who is on the board of gas problem


-- Gazprom. Having said that, pushed by Ed Miliband with this quote,


Russian armies cannot march into other countries while Russian


shoppers march into Sainsbury's, the Prime Minister did say there would


have to be more actions. My guess is there will be targeted sanctions on


certain individuals in the Russian Government to do with their visas


and assets being frozen. And now would it be left at that? Just a few


individuals? Well, there is encouraging news that there has been


contact between Ukrainian and Russian ministers. We need to see


things de-escalate. The second important thing, following on from


what Nick said, is EU Council of foreign ministers is meeting


tomorrow, and that provides an opportunity to get a more


co-ordinated response. Well, it provides an opportunity, but will it


do anything? The Germans are the key in this because they have the


biggest trade relations with Russia, as Nick said, they are


hugely dependent on Russian oil and gas. And a third of all European


union exports to Russia come from Germany. In the first nine months of


last year, 27 billion euros from Germany alone - three times what


America exports to Russia - at a time when the German economy is


struggling to recover from recession. Well, the German economy


is probably one of the strongest in Europe. The British economy is


growing faster. I think the point of Germany is I would hope it


recognises the importance of sending a strong message. What would you


like that message to be? There needs to be clarity about the timetable


and steps we need to see from President Putin. He needs to know


the European Union would be as one around a series of diplomatic events


such as attendance at the G8, and he needs to know there would be


agreement around issues such as travel and these bands. -- and visa


bands. So that sense of risk. Do you think he cares? In the past, I think


he is recognised there is a significant relationship with the


EU. So there are economic risks for him. What is the risk he is running?


He has a huge surplus because he sells oil and gas. No European


leader can see its country run out of gas, so where is the risk? The


risk is from other parts of the Russian economy. Many Russian


businesses trade with the European Union and will not want to break off


those relationships. Actually, there are now many. Most of Russian


exports to the EU are oiling gas. That's it. When did you last by


something that was made in Russia? -- oil and gas. That's it. When did


you last buy something made in Russia? There's been a whole series


of things, you mentioned Georgia, problems in Moldova. Russia is


surrounded by former states who are attempting to weaken it. What


penalty did the pen name -- Kremlin paid full backing to chunks of


Georgia? -- pay for bagging two chunks of Georgia? We now know they


are seeking to recreate the influence it had before. But that


was not intended. It was only the image sure departure of the


president. Which Mr Putin in the press conference yesterday said was


the rightful leader and should be returned to power. Nobody apart from


him thinks that he is the rightful leader. Well, he is the one matters!


What are the sanctions? I still don't understand, what is the


punishment for Vladimir Putin for pursuing a policy that may not have


been planned, but he is pursuing now nevertheless? Well, we have to act


together. Military sanctions are utterly out of the question. Can you


hear them in the pocket that hard? His machine, his cronies, can you


hit them hard by freezing the assets? Well, they are on average


20% poorer than there were on the weekend because of the ruble. That's


the kind of point I'm making, creating a more unstable position


for the regime. The dictatorship in Belarus is going to face social


pressures. I've been to the Ukraine and number of times, I can remember


the enormous optimism in the early 1990s. It has fallen into my asthma


of corruption. -- into a miasma. There is a sense that you do not


hold a meeting unless you are going to say something at the end of it.


And you have to do something at the end of it. I thought it was


interesting the Prime Minister was saying he'd had meetings with


Chancellor Merkel and the French president. I don't know whether that


was together or separately at this stage, but it suggests to me there


will be awareness among those leaders that they cannot afford to


go to Brussels for an emergency summit on Ukraine having issued


those kinds of condemnations and not then have something substantial to


show for it. You may be right, Andrew, people may say, is that it?


But I think they know people want them to say some link. John Kerry


yesterday, the US secretary of state, sounded as if he was partly


putting pressure on Europe, but partly beginning to gain confidence


Europe might just be about to do something, which would be hitting


two things. It would hit Russia's international standing. The Sochi


Summit is actually quite important to give them the money he spent for


the Winter Olympics. And also hitting the lives of people around


him. I agree with you, it is hard to seek trade sanctions. It was


interesting that after the Russian stock market went into freefall and


the ruble hit its lowest level in recorded history, even though the


Kremlin spent 10% of its massive reserves trying to prop the ruble


up, Mr Putin announced a stand-down of the Army on the border with East


Ukraine. So that would suggest it did have an effect. It might not be


sanctions, but the finances do play a role for Mr Putin. We shall see.


One final point is we can't see it here but my colleagues are tweeting


about it. The wife of the Prime Minister was in the gallery watching


Prime Minister 's questions. We think she's only done it once since


David Cameron was Prime Minister. Maybe she fancied seeing how he was


getting on. Always nice when the wife turns up.


Who remembers what now seems like a quaint tradition on budget day? Ken


Clarke, at the despatch box with a whiskey, Geoffrey Howe sipping a gin


and tonic. Andrew, you might even remember Disraeli with his brandy.


Who writes this?! More recent chancellors, however, including


George Osborne, have had just a glass of water to keep the thirst at


bay, as in budget after budget since 2008 they have raised duty on wine


and spirits by inflation plus 2%. In our soapbox this week, wine critic


Peter Richards puts the case for calling time on the duty escalator.


These beautiful surroundings of the South Downs and I am at Hambledon,


England's oldest commercial vineyard. It is one of nearly 450


vineyards in the UK and a make up part of a Wine and spirit industry


that is worth ?20 billion to our economy. The Chancellor has said


that he wants to support growth and employment. So he should be toasting


this vibrant sector. But instead, with every budget committee raises


the amount of tax we pay on wines and spirits through an alcohol duty


escalator. Effectively punishing business, the wider economy, and you


and me, the consumers. Taxation now accounts for a whopping 57% of the


price of your average bottle of wine. It is even more for sparkling


wine and spirits. If the escalator domains in place, tax on wine will


increase by 30% by 2018. It is undoubtedly true that alcohol


can contribute to a number of social and health problems. But overall,


alcohol consumption in this country is in long-term decline. Plus, when


it is consumed sensibly, as the majority of us do, it cannot only be


good for your health but it gives great pleasure, brings people


together and acts as a profoundly civilising rather than anti-social


force. The trade also has an economic benefit. An independent


study found that scrapping the alcohol duty escalator would


generate an extra ?230 million for public finances, and create 6000 new


jobs. But raising duty again this year would actually produce less


revenue and cost jobs. UK drinkers pay more duty than Germany, France,


Italy, Spain and Poland combined, despite drinking less. It is time


for government to take a sober look at the facts and call time on duty.


And from the vineyards of the South Downs to our studio here in


Westminister - but without even a glass of bubbly for us, we're joined


by Peter Richards. One of the issues is that alcohol has become more


affordable, hasn't it? By 2010, alcohol was 20% more affordable than


in 1980 so one could say, what are you complaining about? If you asked


most people on the street if the price of alcohol has gone up, you


would get the same answer, absolutely. I hear it from a lot of


people. From my experience of working on Saturday kitchen, my job


is to find affordable wines for people. When I started eight years


ago finding a good affordable wine at ?67 was pretty easy. -- six or


?7. The general impression if you look back 20 years ago, there is a


lot more variety out there and a lot more good wine that is more


affordable than it used to be. Things are getting better but if you


took to businesses who are trying to sell this stuff, it is increasingly


difficult for them to do business -- if you talk to businesses. I was


talking to one wine producer who said there will be three results.


First is that prices go up, the second is that quality is lowered


and the third is I start looking for a different market to sell my wine.


That what worries me, there is a danger that we lose our status as


one of the best places to enjoy wine in the world. That is historically


what Britain has done best and I think it is in danger. Because of


the Chancellor's policies it is fundamentally counter-productive,


you lose more money than you gain. What do you say to that, that it is


counter-productive? At the point of it, probably for health reasons and


also to raise revenue, is working against you. We made a number of


changes to make it easier to have a cheaper pint. We are a couple of


weeks away from the Budget. I can't think of anything more career


limiting for a member of the Cabinet to suggest anything with regard to


taxation. You don't think Peter will get his wish? Taxation is rightly a


matter for the Chancellor. You are going to make a deal earlier on in


the programme. I realised I had exceeded my authority so to do that


twice on the same programme... Why are wine and spirits being treated


differently to beer? I think beer was regarded as the local, able


traditional drink in Britain. -- a more traditional drink. 42% of what


is sold in pubs and bars is wines and spirits. You are still not going


to tempt me... Is it because wine is too middle class? I drink wine and I


am not middle-class. Is that why it is treated different league? --


differently? The Chancellor took the view to beer which was widely


welcomed. Community pubs remain open. The gentleman makes a


reasonable point but I don't want to give any indication that I know what


the Chancellor may or may not do with regard to wine duty. Does PETA


have a case? I think he has a case and I agree with his suggestion that


they should be a proper look at the economic arguments. I think when new


evidence comes forward, you should always look at it. Like Eric, I


think it would be career limiting for me... They are so timid on this


programme. We are shifted by nature. You say it is good for your health,


it was brought in because there were fears about the cost of people who


did drink too much, who abused alcohol and the cost to the NHS and


the taxpayer, do you not think that is still a pertinent case? You


couldn't deny that alcohol can contribute to social and health


problems for it is only sensible to say that. If you look at the facts,


and it is important to look at the facts, it is not necessarily a clear


origin between controlling price and abuse. I would also say -- not


necessarily a clear correlation. I would also say alcohol abuse has


gone down and the incidence of industry and King have reduced. --


incidents of binge jinking. -- drinking. I think we should get


legislators and the goal industry and the health lobby together,


rather than having this disparate dynamic, to try to work towards a


sensible way of moving forward on the health front and not penalising


the vast majority of consumers who drink alcohol responsibly. According


to Reuters, President Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace


Prize... Who says satire is dead... Another 200 have been nominated, I


don't think Paddy Power will make in favour but he has nevertheless been


nominated. Since he became Communities


Secretary in 2010 our guest of the day, Eric Pickles, has made a number


of populist pledges. Try saying that after a few drinks. Mr Pickles has


backed weekly bin collections. In 2011 he said it was "a fundamental


right for every Englishman and woman to be able to put the remnants of


their chicken tikka masala in the bin without having to wait for two


weeks for it to be collected." In July last year he proposed a


grace period of 15 minutes for people parking on double yellow


lines. Mr Pickles has also pledged to ban fixed cameras and so-called


"spy cars" used to catch people parking illegally. And in November,


he endorsed a number of proposals designed to help lower council tax


rates - one of which was the suggestion that councils should use


sheep instead of lawn mowers. That was one of many, it was not


number one. That'll shear a few pounds off the budget. Eric Pickles


is still with us here in the studio. How is the weekly bin collection


coming on? We have protected 6 million people so they get


collections weekly. We have introduced new changes in building


regulations to ensure that we don't have been blight. 70% of bins are


now collected fortnightly. It is a matter of for the local authority


but I have removed the inevitability of fortnightly collection. It had


disappeared in Northern Ireland, just about disappeared in Scotland.


You are not responsible for Northern Ireland or Scotland. The country you


are responsible for is called England. 70% of ins are still


collected fortnightly. We have only been in office a little while. Four


years. The canned -- context, a weekly basis. -- the contracts come


up on a weekly basis. Do you want to do parking? The ban on fixed cameras


and Spike cars, you said below could be changed before Easter -- spy


cars. You said the law could be changed. Government can't act by


diktats, all of these things we put out for consultation. The


consultation has just ended, I am carefully considering it. I ought to


make an announcement imminently. It will happen before Easter? I can't


prejudge what I am going to say. Why not? You know what imminently is? In


your case, no. Are there lots of sheep boy is it still silence of the


lambs? -- or is it? We did suggest a lot of other things about joint


poetry and but I'm glad you enjoyed the sheep! Now, it's time to put you


out of your misery and give you the answer to Guess the Year - yes, it


was 1990 - Geoffrey Howe resigning was the clue. Eric - press the


button. Well done, Larry, the mug is yours.


OK, that's all for today. Thanks to our guests. The One O'Clock News is


starting over on BBC One now. We'll be back tomorrow at noon with all


the big political stories of the day. Do join us then. Do we know


what we are doing? No, but we will both be here.


I will be here on Friday. I won't be! Bye-bye.


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