30/04/2014 Daily Politics


30/04/2014

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Good morning. This is the Daily Politics.

:00:35.:00:36.

Westminster loves the prospect of a juicy by-election.

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But Nigel Farage has said he won't stand in the seat vacated

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by former Tory MP Patrick Mercer, and you can hear the sighs of

:00:44.:00:47.

So can the Conservatives win their first by-election

:00:48.:00:56.

Once again UKIP is dominating national politics.

:00:57.:01:04.

The polls say they're on course to clean up at the European elections,

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but can they seriously threaten the major parties when it comes to

:01:08.:01:10.

It's the first PMQs since MPs have been off on their Easter holidays.

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We'll bring you all of the action live at noon.

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And now that gay couples can get married, why can't straight couples

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We'll speak to the campaigner who wants equal opportunities to bloom.

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And with us for the next 90 minutes, two MPs who haven't let a little

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thing like a tube strike keep them from our studio here in Westminster.

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It's the International Development Minister Alan Duncan.

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He was once described as the closest thing the Conservatives

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And by Shadow International Development Secretary Jim Murphy.

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As a leading Blairite he was just close to Peter Mandelson.

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Let's start with the story that's had Westminster

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buzzing this morning, it's the by-election caused by

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The former Conservative Shadow Minister was filmed last year

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apparently offering to ask questions in Parliament for cash.

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The Westminster committee that rules on this sort of thing had, it seems,

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decided to suspend him for six months.

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Mr Mercer, who resigned the Tory whip last

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year, has decided it's time to go. Here he is.

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What has happened has happened. I am ashamed of it. Therefore, I am going

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to do what I can to put it right for the constituency of Newark. I am

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going to resign my seat, in God's County of Nottinghamshire, in the

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town of Newark. I hope that my successor, who has been well and

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carefully chosen, will be the Conservative candidate.

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His resignation means a by-election in his seat of Newark

:03:08.:03:12.

in Nottinghamshire, which sparked immediate speculation that one

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Nigel Farage might be tempted to throw his hat into the ring.

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It's a solid Tory seat but if one thing could strike fear

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into Conservative hearts, it a challenge from the UKIP leader.

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Well they can breathe a sigh of relief at Number 10,

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because he's not doing it. Here he is speaking this morning.

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It was only 12 hours ago that Patrick Mercer stood down. I haven't

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had long to think about it, but I have thought about it. We are three

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weeks away from the European election, at which I think UKIP

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could cause an earthquake in politics. And from that we could go

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on and win quite a lot of parliamentary seats. I don't want to

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do anything that deflects from the European election campaign. I am not

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understand in this by-election. So Nigel Farage isn't standing

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in the by-election in Newark. Was he right to go immediately? I

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think so. It was actually an opportunity for him to put a stamp

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of some decency on the mistakes he made earlier. On a personal level, I

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think what he has done he has done well, clearly, good for him. You

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don't think it was motivated by bitterness, revenge on his own

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party, the Conservatives? Not at all. I think the tone of the

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statement you played just now shows that it was done in the spirit of

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decency and the rest that the report was so damning that it would have

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suspended him for six months. So he just thought, I'm out. Are you

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relieved Nigel Farage is stunning? I think the voters of Newark are

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relieved. It would have become a bit of a circus. The purpose is to elect

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a member of Parliament to represent the constituency. I don't think he

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would have won, I don't think he will win any seats at the next

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election. Are you going to win the by-election? I think we will. We

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will find it hard, the candidate has been in place for a number of

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months. He's increasingly well-known in Newark. I think we have a head

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start in that sense, so I think we will hold it. I think it will remain

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a good, solid Conservative seat. It is a big Tory majority, by-elections

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are predictable. Is this the generation? The seat has changed

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since we last held it. The boundaries were changed. It is a

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different seat, with the same name. It's a different constituency so it

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would be very tough for Labour to win this. They will put up a good

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effort, but it's tough for us to win it. It is probably good for the

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voters that Nigel Farage hasn't brought the caravan and the circus

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to Newark? I think they need to find a new member parliament, debate the

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big issues, free from the scandal on over recent months. We're going to

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continue talking about UKIP. He's not standing in that by-election.

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But they're still expected to do well in next month's European

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elections, the party itself likes to predict it'll top the polls.

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So are they, as the big parties may hope, a one-hit

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UKIP have consistently doing well in the polls ahead of the European

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actions. The latest TNS survey has

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the party nine points ahead of Labour, most pollsters put them

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in front of the Tories. But until now

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the party hasn't made a breakthrough at Westminster, managing second

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place in a number of by-elections. Greater scrutiny has seen

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a series of local candidates expelled from the party over

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allegations of racism. Yesterday, council candidate

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William Henwood agreed to leave UKIP after remarks he made on twitter

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saying comedian Lenny Henry should But Nigel Farage has insisted these

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views aren't welcome in the party and says it would be a disastrous

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mistake for other political parties He's promising

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a political earthquake in May, but the real test for the party will be

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if they can sustain their support They think they can do it by taking

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votes off the three established parties, the Conservatives,

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Labour and the Lib Dems. So, is UKIP just a flash in the pan,

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or are they here to stay? Let's speak now to

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the academic Matthew Goodwin, Farage's decision not to stand in

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Newark. Was that a mistake? I -- I don't think it was. A lot of voters

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there have been to university, they have financial security, and UKIP

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doesn't have the impressive record there that it does in places like

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Eastleigh. He will stand in a seat where he had a chance of getting

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elected. He will have a reputation for bottling it now, in Eastleigh

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and Newark? Would Ed Miliband stand in a seat that he wasn't sure of

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having a good shot of winning? Nigel Farage has been running private

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polling in seats along the East Coast, Boston, Skegness, these are

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the seeds he's looking at, not Newark. What about local elections?

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Is this where he's going to put their efforts in terms of picking up

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council seats? In many respects, the really interesting elections are the

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local elections, the European elections. A lot of them are going

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to come in European elections, Dudley, Bolton, is this going for

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Labour strategy that he has locked onto, is it working? Are UKIP doing

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damage in these areas? It's going to be interesting, particularly given

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that UKIP are going to use those elections to decide where to throw

:09:48.:09:55.

their resources in 2015. What do you think? How successful will they be

:09:56.:10:00.

in those Labour heartlands? Well, we have just wrote a book on UKIP. We

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have analysed 6000 UKIP supporters and tracked them since 2004. This

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narrative that UKIP support is just coming from ex-Conservatives, it is

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to simply stick. Prior to 2010, more UKIP support was coming from Labour

:10:15.:10:18.

voters. They are well-placed to do some damage in Labour areas. Not

:10:19.:10:22.

perhaps in 2015 but over the longer term. My feeling about 2015, the

:10:23.:10:27.

prospect of UKIP winning seats is going to be difficult, but it's not

:10:28.:10:32.

outside the realm of possibility. Do you really think there is any chance

:10:33.:10:37.

of them winning a Westminster seat? Is that more likely to be up against

:10:38.:10:42.

a Conservative challenger than a Labour one? Possibly. That is

:10:43.:10:48.

likely. But UKIP need the seats where the boat is spread across the

:10:49.:10:52.

three parties, ideally, where there is a split. But they need seats

:10:53.:10:55.

where they are working locally. Look at Eastleigh. UKIP would be throwing

:10:56.:11:03.

candidate into there. I have run the numbers on some of the seats, some

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of the local councils they are contesting in London. They are

:11:08.:11:12.

throwing lots of candidates at the local elections. They are trying to

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get the message across to voters that they are here, in British

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politics, they are campaigning and knocking on doors. To that extent,

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we have not seen an insurgency of this significance for a generation.

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It's going to be an exciting year in British politics. We are joined now

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by Tim Aker, UKIP head of policy. Alan Duncan, the second poll now

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this morning putting UKIP ahead in the European elections on 36%. You

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are down at 18%. How worried are you buy that? I think everybody would

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admit that UKIP are expected to do very well in the European elections.

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Twice as well as you? That is the main issue. In addition from drawing

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from all parties, they have become a repository for general discontent,

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which happens in the middle of any Parliament. We are not in the

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middle, we are four fifth away through it? This is the point, I

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think this will be their peak and I don't think there will win any seats

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at the general election. You would think that the Labour Party would be

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making the weather in it is politics in this stage of Parliament and they

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are not. People have turned to UKIP for displeasure. In the European

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elections. Exactly, but in the general I think we are back to

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largely a two party fight. I think we have every prospect of winning

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the next election with an outright Conservative majority. What is clear

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is that Ed Miliband is not making political weather and is facing

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difficulty within his own party. Says a man on 18% in European polls!

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But even Labour are nine points behind UKIP? Out of politeness, I

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was not going to laugh at that analysis. The idea it is Ed

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Miliband's fault that you are getting 18%... It's a silly point

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from a serious person. There was a poll at the weekend that but UKIP

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about three points ahead. This one puts them nine points ahead of you.

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If this poll turned out to be true, and we don't know, it's from months

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ago, if it did, that would be a poor second for Labour? These polls are

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all over the place, the trend is clear, UKIP at the European

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elections are in a strong position, for various reasons. Partly they are

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drawing support from all parties, mostly from the right, the

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Conservative Party. The Conservative Party are going down to 18%. They

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are also feeding into a sense of the political system... Sort of

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anti-politics? The system is broken, you are all the same. Unfortunately,

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perhaps inevitably, European elections have been seen as a way of

:13:52.:13:56.

sending a message to the political class. I not complacent about that,

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I wish it was not the case. It doesn't seem to matter what you

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throw at them, it is not sticking. I don't think it is a matter of

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throwing things at them. Here is my view, you can call them all of the

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names that they want, you can expose the undoubted racist is inside their

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party, they know there are racists inside their party, dreadful people

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with horrible ideas. But Nigel Farage seems to be applying for a

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different job from that which Ed Miliband and David Cameron are

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applying for, judged by a separate standard. A more mature,

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analytical, grown-up analysis. No matter what problems the country is

:14:36.:14:42.

facing, UKIP are not the solution. The party leadership consistently

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denies it is racist. And yet, consistently, somebody pops up. It

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is like what -- wack-a-mole. Having to resign for saying that Lenny

:15:02.:15:06.

Henry should emigrate to a Black Country. Another man in your

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manifesto appears to be Islamophobic. You seem to harbour

:15:12.:15:15.

quite a few? And they are dealt with. How did they get there? We are

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talking about two people out of over 200 candidates. We take a firm line,

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you can't be a former member of the BNP and stand for UKIP. Labour take

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former BNP councillors and now they are Labour councillors. It should be

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applied evenly. You spoke about the Bates, why did Nigel Farage not get

:15:44.:15:48.

a debate from David Cameron? Why did he not have the courage of his

:15:49.:15:51.

convictions to stand in there and get into the debate? My point is

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about how you have a mature conversation about the problems

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facing the country, beyond slogans, beyond cliches. In a world where

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change is the one constant, the idea that you can sentimentally appeal to

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an old sense of British Empire, the cultural conceit of the past, it's

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true massively subsisted. I think we have to have a conversation about

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the genuine solutions to the problems the country faces. Does it

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matter how you can do in the elections? It matters. Most people

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in the UK feel the European Union makes too much of our law. This in

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the lands that is needs to be redressed. That is why David Cameron

:16:52.:16:55.

wants to negotiate and have a referendum. UKIP just goes further

:16:56.:17:03.

ahead in the polls. You will only get a referendum, which is the core

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of the UKIP message, by voting Conservative. If you do not, nobody

:17:07.:17:13.

will offer the British people a referendum. You talk about

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renegotiation and reform, today we are being told that are challenged

:17:19.:17:23.

on the financial transaction tax has failed. Every time we have raised an

:17:24.:17:28.

objection, we have been beaten back. People are coming to us because we

:17:29.:17:33.

want a flexible relationship. We can only do that outside the treaties

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and outside the European Union. I agree with you that things need to

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change. I also agree that it would be despicable if the challenge we

:17:43.:17:48.

have had on the financial transaction tax is turned down.

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Deciding that tax is something for Westminster. David Cameron believes

:17:54.:17:57.

in new membership and he has said he will vote to remain a member. You

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say you will give us a referendum. But you referendum is going to come

:18:03.:18:08.

out and say we are staying in the European Union. Are you interviewing

:18:09.:18:20.

them or refereeing it! Do you agree with Maurice Glass man, recently

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regarded as one of Ed Miliband's policy gurus, that the rise of UKIP

:18:27.:18:31.

will hit Labour in the heartlands? I don't agree with him. I think there

:18:32.:18:36.

will be Labour voters in what people sometimes call Labour heartlands.

:18:37.:18:39.

But I don't think it will hit Labour. John Cruddas has said the

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UKIP thing is not some sort of shooting star. This is the point I

:18:49.:18:52.

was making any. Holiday sets changed all sorts of reasons. There has been

:18:53.:18:58.

a demise of deference in Britain. That is not a bad thing. The

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deference the BBC was held in, the NHS, various churches, bankers...

:19:04.:19:09.

Perhaps the Armed Forces and the Royal family are the only two

:19:10.:19:13.

institutions to retain some deference from the people. In

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Britain, politicians generally have a bad name. If you do as badly as

:19:24.:19:29.

the polls suggest, and finish second, is there a possibility that

:19:30.:19:33.

you will reopen your party's consideration on Arab membership of

:19:34.:19:39.

Europe -- a referendum on our membership? No I'm not going to

:19:40.:19:45.

speculate. Our policy is pretty clear. If there is a change in the

:19:46.:19:54.

balance of treaties... Are you going to come first? The trends are going

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very well. Postal votes go out soon and things are looking very good.

:20:02.:20:05.

Now, in case you hadn't noticed, it's election season.

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And today it's turn of the English Democrats to have

:20:10.:20:14.

They're launching their campaign for the European elections

:20:15.:20:18.

from the village of Fobbing in Essex, the site where the

:20:19.:20:21.

Peasants Revolt started in 1381. Why, I hear you ask?

:20:22.:20:23.

Well, they say they are leading an English Revolt against the

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And they've even got a catchy campaign song.

:20:27.:20:33.

# This is the land of the free

:20:34.:20:46.

# Where the white cliffs meet the sea

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# A thousand years of kings and queens

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# Oxford and Cambridge, English law, Charles Dickens and Bobby Moore

:20:51.:20:53.

# Drake and Nelson sailing the seven seas

:20:54.:21:00.

We are joined by Robin Tilbrook. We have been talking about UKIP. You

:21:01.:21:10.

once had talks with UKIP. And you, I think, were offered the job of

:21:11.:21:15.

deputy leader. Do you ever regret not joining? No, I don't. UKIP is

:21:16.:21:23.

about Britain and Britishness rather than about England. That is the

:21:24.:21:33.

important thing. Of course, Nigel Farage claims their manifesto was

:21:34.:21:40.

drivel and nonsense. The recent thing we have had about whether he

:21:41.:21:44.

is going to stand and get rid of their candidate in Newark, shows

:21:45.:21:49.

that actually their party is all about Nigel Farage rather than about

:21:50.:21:56.

the politics and serious politics and so on. Really the only thing

:21:57.:22:02.

that they are dealing with is the fact that people are increasingly

:22:03.:22:07.

sceptical about the merits of being in the EU. I agree with that aspect

:22:08.:22:14.

of their policy. The formula seems to be working, certainly. Do you

:22:15.:22:19.

agree that UKIP, whichever way you look at it, has stolen your thunder?

:22:20.:22:27.

No, I don't think so. What has happened is that people in England

:22:28.:22:30.

are waking up to the idea of being English. If the Scots feel Scottish

:22:31.:22:38.

and Welsh feel Welsh, how can the English be British all on their own?

:22:39.:22:44.

In the 2011 census we had 32 million people, over 60%, say they were

:22:45.:22:49.

English only. In the year of the Scottish Independence Referendum,

:22:50.:22:53.

clearly we have got something to say that UKIP is not interested in

:22:54.:22:57.

saying. They are, as one of your earlier commentators mentioned,

:22:58.:23:02.

rather nostalgic for the old days of empire and so on. And we are simply

:23:03.:23:09.

not that sort of party. We are the English nationalist party. If

:23:10.:23:13.

Scotland votes for independence, will you disband your party? No. We

:23:14.:23:19.

still think England needs to be properly represented in the

:23:20.:23:24.

political process. Part of the reason why we do not have the fair

:23:25.:23:27.

treatment by the British establishment is because the English

:23:28.:23:30.

have not been fighting their corner. That is why we have a situation

:23:31.:23:35.

where there are a prescription charges for free in Scotland and

:23:36.:23:40.

Wales, but we pay for them. We have to pay for residential care for the

:23:41.:23:45.

elderly. That is why our students have to pay ?9,000 a year when

:23:46.:23:49.

Scottish students go for free. We have not been arguing our corner as

:23:50.:23:53.

English people effectively and we need a political party to do so. You

:23:54.:24:00.

are launching your party's campaign. With 1.8% of people voting

:24:01.:24:05.

for you at the last elections, are you ironic? Will No. I don't think

:24:06.:24:14.

we are. We are saying left the English role begin. We had a

:24:15.:24:22.

campaign spend of under ?25,000 in the last elections. If you were to

:24:23.:24:24.

compare that with any other political party, our results of just

:24:25.:24:34.

short of 300,000 votes shows that we were actually achieving far more

:24:35.:24:37.

volts per pound than any other political party. -- votes. We are

:24:38.:24:46.

better prepared this time. It is an interesting way of putting it. Thank

:24:47.:24:47.

you. Well, it's not just the English

:24:48.:24:51.

Democrats launching their European The SNP have also been making

:24:52.:24:55.

their pitch to the voters We haven't been able to speak to

:24:56.:24:59.

anyone from the party this morning. But luckily for us, and for you,

:25:00.:25:04.

the SNP's expected to have a second campaign launch, this time

:25:05.:25:07.

for its manifest, and we'll bring Now,

:25:08.:25:11.

Andrew here has been a busy boy over the Easter recess, clocking up some

:25:12.:25:18.

air miles with a trip to Australia. Yes, he's such an avid fan of the

:25:19.:25:22.

Royals, he just couldn't stay away! I'm very pleased to say, though,

:25:23.:25:28.

that he found time to send There they all are having

:25:29.:25:32.

a wonderful time! Anyway,

:25:33.:25:37.

while he was away he was showered This is Prince George

:25:38.:25:40.

we're talking about. A giant cuddly bilby, His first

:25:41.:25:45.

bike And a customised surfboard. But there's one special gift

:25:46.:25:48.

the third in line to And there's no chance

:25:49.:25:51.

of one turning up at Kensington Palace unless they enter

:25:52.:26:00.

our Guess the Year competition. We'll remind you how to enter

:26:01.:26:03.

in a minute, but let's see if you

:26:04.:26:06.

can remember when this happened. This is the magnificent first

:26:07.:26:24.

birthday present for the social Democratic party.

:26:25.:26:48.

To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug, send your

:26:49.:27:30.

answer to our special quiz email address, that's [email protected]

:27:31.:27:33.

And you can see the full terms and conditions for Guess The Year on our

:27:34.:27:37.

There was another famous by-election in that clip. That is one of the

:27:38.:27:46.

clues. It is coming up to midday. Glorious day in London. That can

:27:47.:27:50.

only mean one thing. Prime Minister's Questions on its way. If

:27:51.:27:53.

you would like to comment on proceedings, try to be polite! You

:27:54.:28:04.

can e-mail. We will read some out later. Nick Robinson is here. They

:28:05.:28:14.

have been away for a while. What does Ed Miliband go on? What does he

:28:15.:28:23.

pick from a cornucopia of subjects? We cannot talk about Nigel Farage

:28:24.:28:26.

and UKIP. There is no UKIP representative. The last thing

:28:27.:28:32.

either militant or Cameron will want is give more publicity to UKIP. Can

:28:33.:28:40.

he do zero hours? He could do that. Care homes. Could he do what is on

:28:41.:28:46.

the front page of today's Independent, which is about the

:28:47.:28:52.

Royal Mail float scandal, alleged? The suggestion there was a behind

:28:53.:28:55.

the scenes deal in which the mate of the Government, in particular George

:28:56.:29:02.

Osborne's brother-in-law, somehow got preferential treatment in the

:29:03.:29:08.

floating of Royal Mail. Ed Miliband had quite a successful Prime

:29:09.:29:13.

Minister's Questions on that? Heeded. I know that the

:29:14.:29:22.

Conservatives deal with UKIP by not talking about UKIP. The Royal Mail

:29:23.:29:33.

is really interesting. That has really been working. They are only

:29:34.:29:43.

at 36% in the latest poll! I was involved in a little run-in with

:29:44.:29:45.

Nigel Farage. The times tried to have a go. So far he has turned all

:29:46.:29:52.

that publicity to his own benefit. But as the cliche goes, a week

:29:53.:29:59.

is... Is politics much different after the Easter break now than it

:30:00.:30:05.

was before? The polls are roughly Labour several percentage points

:30:06.:30:10.

ahead. It is a solid lead. It is not a big lead. The important thing is

:30:11.:30:14.

the long-term trend. It is lower than it used to be. The polls have

:30:15.:30:23.

closed. I think what has really changed is journalists on wasps...

:30:24.:31:00.

These tragic deaths reminders of the continued commitment and sacrifice

:31:01.:31:09.

of our Armed Forces. I know that our deepest sympathies are with their

:31:10.:31:12.

families at this time. I'm sure the whole house will want to join me in

:31:13.:31:17.

paying tribute to Anne McGuire who was stabbed to death in her Leeds

:31:18.:31:26.

classroom on Monday. He was a much loved teacher who worked at the

:31:27.:31:30.

school for 40 years. She cared so much about her pupils that she came

:31:31.:31:34.

in on her day off to prepare them for exams. Our thoughts are with her

:31:35.:31:42.

family, and her pupils in Leeds who have been devastated by this

:31:43.:31:46.

tragedy. A criminal investigation is underway and anything that can be

:31:47.:31:51.

done to get to the bottom of it will be done. In addition to my duties in

:31:52.:31:57.

this house, I will have further meetings later today. I associate

:31:58.:32:04.

myself with the tribute to the service men who lost their lives

:32:05.:32:07.

last week. And to Anne McGuire, who lost her life in the classroom

:32:08.:32:22.

situation he spoke about. The Government decision to travel

:32:23.:32:24.

tuition fees will cost taxpayers more. Is this a symbol of the

:32:25.:32:34.

long-term plan? Is enabled another expansion of higher education. Fewer

:32:35.:32:45.

people would apply to university, they said, those forecasts were

:32:46.:32:53.

wrong. Unlike other countries, we put in place a system for tuition

:32:54.:32:57.

fees that means we can't expand universities and go on winning in

:32:58.:33:05.

the global race. I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the

:33:06.:33:08.

whole house for paying tributes to the five men who recently died in

:33:09.:33:30.

Afghanistan. The loss bears heavily on his parents and family. I'm sure

:33:31.:33:40.

the Prime Minister would like to join me in praising all of our

:33:41.:33:46.

reservists and sometimes, sadly, pay the ultimate price.

:33:47.:33:58.

that we have born in Afghanistan. This looks like it was a tragic

:33:59.:34:02.

accident and we will get to the bottom of what happened. He is

:34:03.:34:07.

absolutely right to mention how reservists serve alongside their

:34:08.:34:19.

regular colleagues. As we go forward and expand our reserves, I hope

:34:20.:34:24.

everybody, particularly businesses, the public sector, local councils

:34:25.:34:28.

and others, including the civil service will do everything they can

:34:29.:34:33.

to make sure reservists are supported.

:34:34.:34:49.

I would like to associate myself with the Prime Minister's comments.

:34:50.:35:04.

These deaths are a tragic and poignant reminder of the sacrifices

:35:05.:35:08.

made by our Armed Forces, including reservists, serving our country with

:35:09.:35:12.

bravery and distinction. All of our thoughts go to the friends of those

:35:13.:35:18.

who knew those that we lost, including the honourable member. We

:35:19.:35:21.

share his loss. Our deepest sympathy goes to the families of those

:35:22.:35:30.

killed. I would also like to pay tribute to the teacher Anne McGuire,

:35:31.:35:33.

murdered in her classroom on Monday. This was an appalling tragedy. She

:35:34.:35:43.

was an inspiration to those that she taught and our thoughts are with her

:35:44.:35:46.

family, friends and the teachers and pupils of the school. Mr Speaker,

:35:47.:35:51.

yesterday, for the first time, we got to know the names of some of the

:35:52.:35:55.

16 investors, including hedge funds is, given preferential access to one

:35:56.:36:01.

third of Royal Mail shares. How were these lucky few chosen? We had an

:36:02.:36:13.

exercise in privatising the Royal mail that has been a success for our

:36:14.:36:18.

country. A business that lost ?1 billion under Labour has paid money

:36:19.:36:24.

back to the taxpayer and is making profits. The people we should be pro

:36:25.:36:32.

-- praising the employees of Royal Mail. No answer to the question.

:36:33.:36:44.

Only he would want congratulations for losing the taxpayer ?1 billion.

:36:45.:36:56.

These investors were given 18 times more shares than other bidders on

:36:57.:36:59.

the basis that the National Audit Office believed they would provide a

:37:00.:37:12.

stable, long-term basis. What assurances were they given that they

:37:13.:37:15.

will hold the shares for the long term?

:37:16.:37:34.

there was some sort of agreement. A business that lost money, that he

:37:35.:37:43.

tried to privatise and failed its now making money and employees are

:37:44.:37:52.

shareholders. The reduction in the deficit, here's reduced to

:37:53.:38:01.

complaining about a successful privatisation. I'm raising an issue

:38:02.:38:11.

about the rip-off of the taxpayer that the richest people know when

:38:12.:38:17.

they see it. The reason this matters is because... The orchestrated

:38:18.:38:24.

barracking is very predictable and incredibly tedious, but it will not

:38:25.:38:27.

stop us getting through. It will just take a bit longer. Take a

:38:28.:38:32.

tablet if necessary. It matters because the scale was grossly

:38:33.:38:38.

undervalued. The shares are now worth ?2.7 billion. Who cashed in?

:38:39.:38:44.

12 of the 16 so-called long-term investors made a killing with

:38:45.:38:46.

hundreds of millions of pounds within weeks. Yesterday, the

:38:47.:38:52.

representative of the bank that sold the shares said there was an

:38:53.:38:57.

understanding, and I quote, with those investors. He said there was

:38:58.:39:01.

an understanding. That is what it says on the record, with those

:39:02.:39:04.

investors, about their long-term commitment to Royal Mail. Why were

:39:05.:39:12.

they allowed to make a fast buck? We are getting lectures on taxpayer

:39:13.:39:19.

value from the people that sold our nation's gold at the bottom of the

:39:20.:39:26.

market! He talks about ripping off the taxpayer, when it was here that

:39:27.:39:31.

left an 11% budget deficit after the biggest banking bailout in

:39:32.:39:36.

Britain's history. These are exactly the argument is that Michael foot

:39:37.:39:39.

made about the privatisation of the National freight Corporation.

:39:40.:39:46.

Exactly the same arguments as Neil Kinnock made about British Telecom

:39:47.:39:50.

and British Airways. It pleases the backbenchers, excites the trade

:39:51.:39:55.

unions, but it is utterly meaningless. Is he recommitting to

:39:56.:39:59.

renationalise in the post office? No, of course not. It is just plain

:40:00.:40:04.

to the gallery because he can't talk about the success of our economy. --

:40:05.:40:10.

playing to the gallery. Mr Speaker, he should listen to members of his

:40:11.:40:15.

own side, the member for Northampton South. What did he say yesterday?

:40:16.:40:19.

This privatisation had let people down. The interest is of the

:40:20.:40:22.

taxpayer were not taken into account. He called it unethical and

:40:23.:40:26.

immoral and he is nodding his head. That is what his own side thinks of

:40:27.:40:33.

it. Now, he talks about the postal workers. He talked a lot about the

:40:34.:40:38.

postal workers. This is very interesting. There were no

:40:39.:40:41.

conditions on the hedge funds, but there were conditions on other

:40:42.:40:47.

groups like the postal workers. Can he explain why postal workers were

:40:48.:40:50.

told they could not sell their shares for three years, but hedge

:40:51.:40:53.

funds is were told they could cash in on day one? The post office

:40:54.:41:00.

workers were given their shares and it is right there were given their

:41:01.:41:04.

shares. Let's celebrate the popular capitalism, let's celebrate. I

:41:05.:41:11.

believe in empowering workers. We now have 140,000 workers that got

:41:12.:41:14.

those shares. In terms of the risk to the taxpayer, he ought to reflect

:41:15.:41:24.

on... Order! There is far too much noise in the chamber. Mrs Taggart, I

:41:25.:41:30.

would say to you that you are an illustrious product of the

:41:31.:41:41.

Cheltenham ladies College! I cannot believe that they taught you to

:41:42.:41:46.

behave like that! Prime Minister? You are right that there is a lot of

:41:47.:41:50.

history in this shouting, because, of course, in the past, with these

:41:51.:41:54.

privatisations, we have the shouting of Neil Kinnock, Prescott, Jack

:41:55.:42:00.

Straw, over Easter I was looking at Labour's candidates. Son of Kinnock

:42:01.:42:07.

is coming here. The son of Prescott wants to come here. It's the same

:42:08.:42:12.

families, with the same message. It is literally the same old Labour.

:42:13.:42:16.

That is what is happening. He asked about... He asked about taxpayer

:42:17.:42:23.

value. This is what the National Audit Office found. The National

:42:24.:42:29.

Audit Office said privatisation has reduced taxpayer risk to support the

:42:30.:42:34.

universal Postal Service. This is a good deal for taxpayers because this

:42:35.:42:40.

business was losing 1 billion. It is now paying money, paying taxes,

:42:41.:42:45.

gaining in value, good for our country, bad for Labour. Mr Speaker,

:42:46.:42:49.

the post office was actually making a profit when they privatised it.

:42:50.:42:54.

What have we discovered today? One rule for postal workers and another

:42:55.:42:58.

rule for hedge funds is. Who runs these hedge fundsthey have been very

:42:59.:43:04.

coy about this, none these hedge fundsthey have been very

:43:05.:43:10.

Chancellor's best man. It is one rule if you deliver the

:43:11.:43:13.

Chancellor's best man speech, another rule if you deliver the

:43:14.:43:20.

Chancellor's post! What this shows, he can't talk about the deficit

:43:21.:43:24.

because it's falling. He can't talk about the economy because it is

:43:25.:43:28.

growing. He can't talk about jobs because there are 1.5 million more

:43:29.:43:33.

people in work. So, he is painting himself into the red corner by only

:43:34.:43:38.

talking about issues that are actually successes for the

:43:39.:43:42.

Government, but appeal to the trade unions, the left wing is behind him

:43:43.:43:46.

and the people who want to play the politics of envy. That is what is

:43:47.:43:51.

happening in British politics, everybody can say it. Nothing to say

:43:52.:43:54.

about the long-term economic plan that shows that button is on the

:43:55.:44:00.

rise and Labour is on the slide. Mr Speaker, what we know is that there

:44:01.:44:03.

is a cost of living crisis in this country. Oh, you say, they don't

:44:04.:44:08.

think there is a cost of living crisis? Why not? Because they stand

:44:09.:44:15.

up for the wrong people. The more we know about this privatisation, the

:44:16.:44:18.

bigger the fiasco it is. A national asset, so that -- sold at a

:44:19.:44:29.

knock-down price. Everything about this privatisation stinks. Six

:44:30.:44:33.

questions and not a mention of GDP. Not a mention of what happened while

:44:34.:44:38.

we were away in terms of employment figures. Not a mention of the fact

:44:39.:44:41.

the deficit is getting better. We know that he has got a new adviser

:44:42.:44:47.

from America. Yes, he has. This is what he is being advised to say. Let

:44:48.:44:52.

me share it with the house, I think this is excellent advice. He says

:44:53.:44:57.

this, there is a better future ahead of us, but we must not go backwards

:44:58.:45:01.

to the policies that put us in this mess in the first place.

:45:02.:45:26.

that question, the prime minister has finished. And he can take it

:45:27.:45:31.

from me that he is finished. Doctor Liam Fox. From the cyber attacks in

:45:32.:45:44.

Estonia to the invasion of Georgia, to recent events in the Crimea, we

:45:45.:45:48.

have seen a clear pattern of behaviour from the Kremlin. The West

:45:49.:45:52.

has allowed itself to allow wishful thinking to take the place of

:45:53.:46:02.

critical analysis. Given defence exports to Russia in recent years,

:46:03.:46:05.

isn't it about time that these were targeted for EU sanctions? I think

:46:06.:46:11.

my right honourable friend is absolutely right. We have set out a

:46:12.:46:16.

clear set of sanctions in terms of Russia's behaviour towards Ukraine.

:46:17.:46:20.

We have taken a series of steps so far in terms of putting asset

:46:21.:46:25.

freezes and travel bans on named individuals. We have taken

:46:26.:46:29.

diplomatic and other steps. We have set out stage three sanctions we

:46:30.:46:32.

should think should be taken if further incursions of Ukraine are

:46:33.:46:42.

made. We believe restrictions on arms sales should be a part of that.

:46:43.:46:46.

The Prime Minister promised by the end of this Parliament one third of

:46:47.:46:50.

his women -- 's Cabinet will be women. We now have only three out of

:46:51.:46:57.

22 of his department run by women. Does he agree with the new Culture

:46:58.:47:01.

Secretary that this is because government appointments should

:47:02.:47:06.

always be made on merit? What I said was that I wanted to see one third

:47:07.:47:10.

of my front bench ministers being women at the end of a Conservative

:47:11.:47:15.

government. We have made some important progress in terms of the

:47:16.:47:18.

number of people on the front bench. I have to say, with respect to my

:47:19.:47:24.

coalition partner, in terms of Camelon numbers, the Liberal

:47:25.:47:27.

Democrats need to do a bit more to pull their weight on this particular

:47:28.:47:30.

issue. I hope to make further progress.

:47:31.:47:44.

Reverting to the subject of Royal Mail, as the leader of the

:47:45.:47:52.

stockbroking firm which brought British Gas to the market, and as

:47:53.:48:01.

the author of the praise -- phrase ask Sid, may I tell the prime

:48:02.:48:08.

Minister that the criticisms of the way the Royal Mail launch was

:48:09.:48:13.

handled by the party opposite, shows their total ignorance of city

:48:14.:48:14.

markets. The fact is that when you are trying

:48:15.:48:33.

to make an immense sale, you have to take infinite trouble to find people

:48:34.:48:40.

who are to underwrite it. And they are not able to prophecy what stock

:48:41.:48:46.

markets are going to be like one week ahead. And therefore, the

:48:47.:48:55.

prudent way in which this was handled was very sensible,

:48:56.:49:04.

because... Order! People should not gesticulate

:49:05.:49:11.

at the right honourable gentleman. If your issue fails, those

:49:12.:49:17.

institutions responsible for its launch our ruined.

:49:18.:49:25.

The father of the house makes an important point, which is when you

:49:26.:49:28.

are privatising state-owned industries, if you sell them for

:49:29.:49:32.

less than the price set out, it is written off as a failure. If you

:49:33.:49:37.

sell it for more, you're accused of undervaluing the business. That has

:49:38.:49:42.

always been the way. That is what Labour said with respect to British

:49:43.:49:46.

Airways, British Telecom, British Aerospace... They opposed every

:49:47.:49:51.

single move to build a strong competitive private sector in our

:49:52.:50:00.

country and that continues today. A constituent from Mitchum would

:50:01.:50:03.

like to be a police man but is only working part time and cannot afford

:50:04.:50:07.

the TACSEA needs to pay to join the Metropolitan police. His mum and dad

:50:08.:50:11.

our foster carers and they would like to give it to him if they had

:50:12.:50:17.

it. If my constituent is capable of passing the academic, fitness and

:50:18.:50:20.

testing requirements of the police, why should his bank balance stop

:50:21.:50:25.

him? When did becoming a Metropolitan police officer become

:50:26.:50:27.

an aspiration for the few rather than the many? The honourable lady

:50:28.:50:33.

has asked questions about what she calls the bobby tax. First, it is

:50:34.:50:39.

not a tax. It is not a barrier to recruitment. And recruitment is

:50:40.:50:43.

taking place in the Metropolitan police. That is what is happening.

:50:44.:50:47.

We see people being recruited. As is happening, members who want to join

:50:48.:50:52.

the Metropolitan police are able to get assistance with this

:50:53.:51:02.

qualification they now require. Last week marked the Bard's birthday. And

:51:03.:51:12.

here your apartments, last night, young Stratford scholars staged some

:51:13.:51:22.

of Shakespeare's works. Mr Speaker, could this right honourable man, the

:51:23.:51:26.

captain of our state, lend his help to make our national poet's breaths

:51:27.:51:35.

a national day? And could he shared with the house what Shakespeare

:51:36.:51:39.

means to him? Can I thank my honourable friend for that

:51:40.:51:43.

beautifully crafted question about the anniversary of Shakespeare's

:51:44.:51:47.

breaths. It is a moment for celebration all across the world,

:51:48.:51:50.

where it Shakespeare's works are getting a wider understanding and

:51:51.:51:55.

distribution. I will not attempt the court that he has brought out in his

:51:56.:51:59.

question. But I would say to any politician, if you read Henry V's

:52:00.:52:05.

speech at Agincourt, if that does not inspire you, I cannot think what

:52:06.:52:10.

it does. Wembley publish the regulations to introduce standard

:52:11.:52:14.

packaging for tobacco products, and ban smoking in cars with children

:52:15.:52:19.

present? I cannot prejudge the Queen's speech, but we want to take

:52:20.:52:26.

action and we will. Textile, engineering, food and drink

:52:27.:52:29.

manufacturing our booming in Huddersfield. For example, one

:52:30.:52:38.

fabrics company is producing the upholstery for Boris's Route Master

:52:39.:52:41.

buses, which have been very busy this week. They are creating jobs

:52:42.:52:45.

and apprenticeships. Willie prime Minister praised them the other

:52:46.:52:49.

local firms that have agreed to attend my first ever jobs fair in

:52:50.:52:53.

Holmfirth on Friday the 20th of June? First of all, let me pay

:52:54.:53:00.

tribute to my honourable friend for holding these jobs face. -- fares.

:53:01.:53:08.

There have been real benefits. Businesses pledge apprenticeships,

:53:09.:53:12.

pledged to take people on. What we have seen since the recess is a

:53:13.:53:16.

series of figures in our economy. Growth now running at over 3%. 1.5

:53:17.:53:21.

billion of our fellow countrymen and women in work since this government

:53:22.:53:27.

came to power. Installation at an all-time low. Business confidence at

:53:28.:53:32.

its highest level since the early 1970s. There is more work to do.

:53:33.:53:37.

There is absolutely no complacency. The long-term economic plan is well

:53:38.:53:42.

on its way. Before he was elected the Prime Minister said that if

:53:43.:53:46.

elected he would put a wind turbine on ten Downing St. Last week he

:53:47.:53:54.

announced his party wants to end support for offshore wind, even

:53:55.:53:56.

though the Government survey this week showed that 70% of the public

:53:57.:54:02.

supported. What changed his mind? We have seen a massive increase in

:54:03.:54:15.

offshore wind in our country. I think the question then is, is it

:54:16.:54:18.

right to continue to overrule local planners and local people? Is it

:54:19.:54:23.

right to continue to put taxpayers money in after you have built out

:54:24.:54:28.

that onshore wind? I don't believe it is. The manifesto will make that

:54:29.:54:32.

clear from local communities to say. Other parties will have to make

:54:33.:54:38.

their own choices. In the last few weeks in Eastbourne, over a of

:54:39.:54:43.

private investment has been announced. Unemployment is almost

:54:44.:54:48.

20% down compared to this time last year. In short, in Eastbourne we are

:54:49.:54:54.

coming through tremendously successfully from the difficult

:54:55.:54:58.

economic downturn. Does the prime Minister agree that were Eastbourne

:54:59.:55:04.

goes, the UK follows? I am glad to hear that Eastbourne is leading the

:55:05.:55:10.

way, particularly on apprentices. Our target is for 2 million. We want

:55:11.:55:16.

to see a particular expansion of the higher-level apprenticeship schemes.

:55:17.:55:19.

It is a major part of delivering the long-term economic plan. I'm sure

:55:20.:55:26.

the prime Minister has read the report by the all-party group on

:55:27.:55:31.

ticket abuse, which set out how consumers are getting a raw deal

:55:32.:55:35.

from the secondary market. The question is, whose side is the Prime

:55:36.:55:42.

Minister on? This new Culture Secretary who placed ticket touts as

:55:43.:55:49.

classic entrepreneur is -- praised... I have not seen the

:55:50.:55:53.

report. I will have a look at it and discuss it with my right honourable

:55:54.:55:59.

friend, whom I welcome to the cabinet. I noticed Labour seems to

:56:00.:56:03.

criticise its appointment. I am not sure on what basis they were doing

:56:04.:56:07.

that. I think he will do an excellent job for our country. Very

:56:08.:56:11.

happy to study the report she mentions. The number of unemployed

:56:12.:56:18.

job-seekers in Bristol has fallen by 25% in Bristol has fallen by 25% to

:56:19.:56:24.

do. I am hosting a jobs fair this Friday. In the light of the

:56:25.:56:33.

Chancellor's welcome commitment to full employment, what else is the

:56:34.:56:36.

Government doing to make this aspiration a reality? We have seen

:56:37.:56:42.

1.7 million private sector jobs created, far outstripping the loss

:56:43.:56:47.

of public sector jobs. We have seen an increase in full-time work, which

:56:48.:56:51.

I think is very welcome. People often want to work more hours than

:56:52.:56:56.

they are currently able to. In terms of driving further employment

:56:57.:57:00.

growth, I think the clear message is that businesses have the ?2000 of

:57:01.:57:04.

their national insurance bill, which will help people to take on new

:57:05.:57:09.

employees, there is a cut in business rates. And from next year,

:57:10.:57:14.

anybody under 21 will not have to pay any national insurance

:57:15.:57:17.

contributions. We want to see more people in work. And to raise even

:57:18.:57:22.

further that less full of aspiration in our country. -- level. Nuclear

:57:23.:57:30.

power is an important component of the UK energy mix because it

:57:31.:57:33.

produces large amounts of electricity with little CO2. This

:57:34.:57:38.

government calls itself the greenest government ever, but has ceded

:57:39.:57:42.

control of the nuclear energy policy to foreign countries. What will his

:57:43.:57:46.

government do to ensure that nuclear power stations such as Hinkley

:57:47.:57:50.

Point, which is already five years behind schedule, are brought

:57:51.:57:56.

online, on-time? I have two say to the honourable gentleman, I am sure

:57:57.:57:59.

he has a constituency interest in this, the last Labour government was

:58:00.:58:07.

in power for 13 years and never built a nuclear power station never

:58:08.:58:11.

made any progress in moving towards doing it. Under this comment,

:58:12.:58:17.

Hinkley Point is going ahead. Exciting developments in Anglesey. I

:58:18.:58:20.

believe there is the opportunity of more. That is what we are doing.

:58:21.:58:24.

Putting our money where our mouth is, making sure we have nuclear

:58:25.:58:30.

power providing high-quality power which is...

:58:31.:58:36.

The Peterborough effect is back. Business confidence is returning,

:58:37.:58:39.

unemployment is falling and more new jobs are coming to my constituency.

:58:40.:58:44.

Much of the new prosperity relies on infrastructure spending financed by

:58:45.:58:50.

private pension funds. Does he share my regret that Labour's... Estimated

:58:51.:58:58.

to have amounted to ?118 billion last week not only wrecked private

:58:59.:59:06.

pensions, but hobbled vital private sector infrastructure investment in

:59:07.:59:11.

our country for a generation? I am delighted to hear about the

:59:12.:59:12.

Peterborough effect, employment rising, unemployment falling, more

:59:13.:59:18.

people taking on apprentices and businesses expanding. That is what

:59:19.:59:23.

we see around our country. 29 minutes into Prime Minister's

:59:24.:59:28.

Questions, not a single Labour member has mentioned GDP, our

:59:29.:59:31.

economic plan, growth in our country. They do not want to talk

:59:32.:59:34.

about it because they conceive the economy is getting better under this

:59:35.:59:40.

comment. Will the Prime Minister make representations in relation to

:59:41.:59:46.

the cases of two princesses held under house arrest in Saudi Arabia

:59:47.:59:50.

for more than ten years, who have been refused access to food for more

:59:51.:59:55.

than 40 days as a result of speaking to the Western media? Would he agree

:59:56.:59:59.

that human rights and women's rights should be the priority in our

:00:00.:00:04.

relationship with Saudi Arabia? I read the report and I share her

:00:05.:00:08.

concern. I will look into it further. In terms of our relations

:00:09.:00:12.

with all countries, we do give proper priority to human rights and

:00:13.:00:15.

the rule of law. We raise these issues with all countries will meet.

:00:16.:00:24.

Could I gently tell the Prime Minister about -- that Liberal

:00:25.:00:26.

Democrat women not only pull their weight, but are perfectly ready and

:00:27.:00:36.

willing to punch above their weight. I recently hosted the premiere of a

:00:37.:00:45.

hard-hitting film about the honour culture and what can be done to

:00:46.:00:49.

girls and women in its name. I know that issues of female genital

:00:50.:00:55.

mutilation and forced marriage are hugely important to my right

:00:56.:00:57.

honourable friend, so would he please consider viewing the film and

:00:58.:01:02.

showing it at the girls's summit he is hosting in July? I think the

:01:03.:01:08.

honourable Lady... First of all, could I thank for the work she does,

:01:09.:01:13.

particularly on women in enterprise? The point I was making

:01:14.:01:17.

is that I know all parties in this house want to see greater gender

:01:18.:01:21.

equality in terms of representation, present in

:01:22.:01:24.

government etc. And all parties have made progress. My party has made

:01:25.:01:29.

progress. There is more we want to do. Specifically on her concerns

:01:30.:01:35.

about female genital mutilation. We are taking huge steps this year in

:01:36.:01:39.

raising the profile of those issues. I pay tribute to the leadership

:01:40.:01:42.

shown by the Foreign Secretary. Also, as a country that has met its

:01:43.:01:49.

targets of aid going -- of GDP going in aid, we are able to push this

:01:50.:01:53.

site up the agenda, which we will do over the course of this year.

:01:54.:02:01.

Yesterday, Ukrainians and Scotland Road to Alex Salmond expressing

:02:02.:02:04.

disgust and astonishment at the First Minister's statement that he

:02:05.:02:11.

admired President Putin. Wildie the premise to of the Scottish Ukrainian

:02:12.:02:17.

community and labour, in condemning those statements, which support a

:02:18.:02:26.

regime which oppresses its own minority groups and silences

:02:27.:02:31.

critics? I agree wholeheartedly with the honourable lady. I think that

:02:32.:02:35.

what Alex Salmond said was a major error of judgement. I think all of

:02:36.:02:40.

us in this house should be supporting the Ukrainian desire to

:02:41.:02:44.

be a sovereign independent country, and to have the respect of the

:02:45.:02:47.

international community and party leaders for that ambition. This

:02:48.:02:55.

morning I met with a charity campaigning for defibrillators in

:02:56.:03:02.

schools. Will my right honourable friend congratulate North

:03:03.:03:04.

Lincolnshire Council, who worked with myself and the honourable

:03:05.:03:08.

member for Cleethorpes, and this year committing money to a programme

:03:09.:03:12.

of up to 50 community public access defibrillators that will save lives?

:03:13.:03:20.

Towns like an excellent campaign. We have taken a lot of steps forward in

:03:21.:03:23.

terms of making sure this sort of equipment is more readily available.

:03:24.:03:28.

If you can find people who have suffered a heart attack, you can

:03:29.:03:32.

save lives in that golden hour when it first strikes. It sounds an

:03:33.:03:39.

excellent. I pay tribute. Over the last 12 months, the use of

:03:40.:03:46.

food banks has increased by 93%. Social landlords report that rent

:03:47.:03:52.

arrears have gone up by 8.4%. Wildie prime Minister accept that the

:03:53.:03:57.

Government's own policies are driving up debt and poverty in

:03:58.:04:02.

places like Knowsley? -- would the Prime Minister accept? Clearly the

:04:03.:04:08.

best route out of poverty is work. We should welcome the fact there are

:04:09.:04:12.

1.5 million extra people in work. Yes, food bank usage has increased.

:04:13.:04:19.

Not least because food banks are advertised and from promoted, not

:04:20.:04:23.

least by Jobcentre plus but also by local authorities. But if he wants

:04:24.:04:29.

to deal in facts, the proportion of people struggling to buy food in the

:04:30.:04:33.

UK has actually fallen since before the great Labour party recession. I

:04:34.:04:37.

know that members opposite want to make this argument about poverty and

:04:38.:04:41.

inequality in Britain. But the statistics do not back them.

:04:42.:04:45.

Inequality has fallen, compared with when they were in office. There are

:04:46.:04:50.

fewer people in relative poverty and fewer children. The picture they

:04:51.:04:54.

want to paint, because they can't paint a picture of an economy that

:04:55.:04:58.

has not grown, they cannot a picture of people not getting jobs, the

:04:59.:05:04.

picture they are trying to paint is wholly false. With the service

:05:05.:05:08.

sector, the manufacturing sector and the construction and manufacturing

:05:09.:05:13.

sector all growing at 3% plus, would the prime Minister agree that the

:05:14.:05:17.

economy is well on the road to recovery and rebalancing as well?

:05:18.:05:22.

I'm grateful for the question. The recent figures did show that

:05:23.:05:27.

manufacturing was one of the fastest-growing sectors of our

:05:28.:05:31.

economy. I welcome that. What the Chancellor said so powerfully in his

:05:32.:05:34.

budget is that we are not resting on our laurels and saying the job has

:05:35.:05:40.

been done. There is more work. We need to manufacture more, we need to

:05:41.:05:45.

export more, we need to save more and invest more. We have policies

:05:46.:05:53.

that promote all those things. Fiona McTaggart. As the Prime

:05:54.:06:01.

Minister 's seen the survey which shows that two thirds of local

:06:02.:06:06.

councils are either dimming or cutting their street lights at

:06:07.:06:09.

night? Does he think that women are feeling safe in their local

:06:10.:06:12.

communities at night under his government? I have liked all

:06:13.:06:18.

honourable members who take part in election campaigns, been lobbied on

:06:19.:06:20.

this issue on both sides of the argument. I think it is an issue for

:06:21.:06:25.

local determination. I want to see good street lighting. We should

:06:26.:06:28.

listen to the arguments from the police and others. I congratulate my

:06:29.:06:38.

right honourable friend and the Chancellor on the long-term

:06:39.:06:40.

prosperity. In areas like Saint Albarn is barely one house is under

:06:41.:06:47.

?250,000. Can we look at stamp duty threshold is to help young people

:06:48.:06:51.

get on the housing ladder? We're very happy to look at the issues she

:06:52.:06:55.

races. The weapon that we have used to try and help young people who do

:06:56.:07:00.

not have rich parents but who can afford mortgage payments, is Help to

:07:01.:07:04.

Buy. That helps them to get together that deposit. The Labour Party

:07:05.:07:15.

should be welcoming this scheme. It is expanding aspiration and growth

:07:16.:07:18.

in our country. That is what they should be promoting.

:07:19.:07:19.

Order. Minister in mid-flow. That didn't

:07:20.:07:37.

stop him from overrunning by seven minutes. Must be a record! The

:07:38.:07:58.

leader of the opposition, a lot of reaction to the question of that

:07:59.:08:03.

sale. Mr Cameron doesn't answer questions to the favouritism of his

:08:04.:08:07.

wealthy buddies. Geoffrey says embarrassing to watch the Prime

:08:08.:08:10.

Minister constantly avoiding answering questions. Raymond Hartley

:08:11.:08:13.

says, how many of the Cabinet are involved in hedge funds is? Is there

:08:14.:08:18.

any of finding out. Geoffrey Brooking from Hampshire says David

:08:19.:08:22.

Cameron is yet again is spot on to point out the success of Royal Mail.

:08:23.:08:31.

They have exposed how they have gone back to the old Labour that began

:08:32.:08:36.

under Gordon Brown. David Axelrod, the man to advise Ed Miliband, he

:08:37.:08:41.

sure has his work cut out to turn Ed Miliband into Barack Obama.

:08:42.:08:46.

Questioning a successful privatisation is crazy. While we

:08:47.:08:53.

work in during that production of Prime Minister's Questions, a new

:08:54.:08:56.

opinion poll has come out on the European elections for ITV News. It

:08:57.:09:03.

puts UKIP on 38%, up from the poll we were talking about this morning.

:09:04.:09:11.

Labour still on 27. So, UKIP now has an 11 point lead over Labour. The

:09:12.:09:16.

Tories are on 18. UKIP are 20 points ahead. As you watch premises

:09:17.:09:23.

questions, arguing about this, you see this poll coming out, you feel

:09:24.:09:29.

there is a disconnect between Parliament and what is happening to

:09:30.:09:34.

opinion in the country? There is, be slightly wary about the polls. The

:09:35.:09:37.

big argument among pollsters is whether you do certain to vote or

:09:38.:09:42.

not. Some pollsters only go with people who say they are certain to

:09:43.:09:47.

vote in European elections, other go for likely to vote. The difficulty

:09:48.:09:51.

is that this is probably certain to vote. In other words, the people

:09:52.:09:56.

most motivated to go out and vote are people that already know they

:09:57.:10:00.

are UKIP supporters. If you only measure those people, you guessed --

:10:01.:10:11.

get the highest figure. I think it's interesting to note that. When you

:10:12.:10:14.

look at the trajectory of the polls, it is one way? Extraordinary,

:10:15.:10:23.

in a sense I think it is the main political parties, they haven't

:10:24.:10:25.

defined what the elections are about. In a way, if you know nothing

:10:26.:10:30.

about the European elections, the system means that people almost

:10:31.:10:34.

never know who their MEP is, you have a bunch from each region, Nigel

:10:35.:10:40.

Farage has clearly said it is about sending a message about either

:10:41.:10:44.

getting out of Europe or having a referendum. Try summing up in a

:10:45.:10:47.

phrase, a sentence, what the main parties think European elections,

:10:48.:10:52.

not the whole of politics, but European elections are about and you

:10:53.:10:55.

will struggle. They have not have their launches yet. They are about

:10:56.:11:00.

to start in the next couple of days. Let's come back into this Royal Mail

:11:01.:11:06.

story. It resonates. There were 16 referred buyers of the Royal Mail

:11:07.:11:10.

stock when it was floated. They were made preferred and they were given a

:11:11.:11:13.

lot more shares than anybody else because they had agreed that they

:11:14.:11:18.

would be long-term investors, that they would provide stability to the

:11:19.:11:23.

ownership of the Royal Mail. Once they agreed that and got these

:11:24.:11:27.

shares, a number of them sold their shares. Isn't that something of a

:11:28.:11:32.

scandal? The issue is that they paid the full price. The Post Office sale

:11:33.:11:37.

had been resolved for the best part of 25 years. When you are selling a

:11:38.:11:40.

businesslike that, you don't know what the strike price should be. A

:11:41.:11:44.

lot of people said this business, even though it is earning profits

:11:45.:11:47.

now, it is going to crumble. Ditching the price was a difficult

:11:48.:11:51.

banker judgement. So, there was a danger that people would not want

:11:52.:11:54.

the shares at all and it was undersubscribed. I think in order to

:11:55.:12:02.

get off the tranche... Preferred bidders had already been told they

:12:03.:12:05.

could get the shares and they indicated they would buy them.

:12:06.:12:10.

That's 16, they played a major role in determining the price. They were

:12:11.:12:15.

the people that told the government that the price should be 300 and

:12:16.:12:19.

30p. They got that on the basis that they would be long-term holders of

:12:20.:12:25.

the stock. Large numbers of them dump the stock at a higher price

:12:26.:12:29.

when it went up. That is not right? If it went the other way, you would

:12:30.:12:35.

have been to sizing us for not having a successful flotation. Let's

:12:36.:12:39.

consider the position. People say, yes, give us a turn on the stock and

:12:40.:12:44.

we'll be long-term shareholders. By the way, we think the price should

:12:45.:12:48.

be about 330. They get the shares and sell at a profit. They broke

:12:49.:12:53.

their word to the Government. Why shouldn't the Government do

:12:54.:12:56.

something about that? I'm not familiar with the terms and

:12:57.:13:00.

conditions. I've just told you. You have told me things on this

:13:01.:13:03.

programme in the past that don't turn out to be true, there is form.

:13:04.:13:10.

Let's hope the National Audit Office, you can call them liars. 16

:13:11.:13:13.

of the investors bought shares and were allocated larger percentages of

:13:14.:13:19.

their orders and other investors, reflecting the expectation they

:13:20.:13:22.

would form part of a stable, long-term and supportive shareholder

:13:23.:13:30.

nest. Half of the shares were sold off within a few weeks of the

:13:31.:13:34.

privatisation. That is the National Audit Office. Doesn't mean they have

:13:35.:13:41.

to hold their shares indefinitely. Two weeks? There was a market that

:13:42.:13:47.

did not previously exist, which would not happen if we did not have

:13:48.:13:51.

the liquidity offered by these participants. They created a new

:13:52.:13:53.

marketing Post Office shares, which is what happens when you have a new

:13:54.:14:00.

company. These people were given allocations of a lot more shares

:14:01.:14:03.

than anybody else because they indicated they were long-term

:14:04.:14:08.

investors. Then the moment they saw a quick profit, they dumped the

:14:09.:14:12.

shares and they were hedge funds is, sovereign funds were involved as

:14:13.:14:19.

well. The Government let them get away with it? Because they made an

:14:20.:14:24.

early commitment to take the shares, that is why they were granted them.

:14:25.:14:27.

It was up the strike price, which everybody paid, 330 pence. I'm not

:14:28.:14:34.

familiar with all the details, I'm not in the department, but that is

:14:35.:14:38.

what I think happened. It was a successful flotation which had been

:14:39.:14:41.

sitting around for 25 years and resolved. It is now a successful,

:14:42.:14:46.

privatised business that had never happened over 20 years beforehand.

:14:47.:14:53.

Is it that hedge funds get a preferential position because they

:14:54.:14:57.

promise to hold onto shares, they then dump them in two weeks to get a

:14:58.:15:02.

quick profit? I'm not in a position to know the details of the agreement

:15:03.:15:06.

is reached. It's not for me to pass judgement on the way you are asking.

:15:07.:15:12.

Would Labour consider renationalising the Royal Mail? We

:15:13.:15:15.

would not have privatised it. This has been a public ownership since

:15:16.:15:20.

the days of King Charles the first. You thought of privatising part of

:15:21.:15:25.

it? Part of it, we said we would keep it in public ownership. It's

:15:26.:15:31.

gone, you not bringing it back? We can't commit to that. Something

:15:32.:15:37.

about this stinks. You have a system where the government said, we will

:15:38.:15:45.

lock out speculators and spivs, and they seem to have opened the door to

:15:46.:15:47.

them and given them privileged access. It doesn't seem to have been

:15:48.:15:57.

a construction -- contractual understanding, it seems to be... Ida

:15:58.:16:02.

know if they are social circles, friends, there seems to be a

:16:03.:16:06.

gentleman 's agreement, where those that invested have not stuck to it

:16:07.:16:09.

and walked away with millions of pounds. The problem is that there

:16:10.:16:13.

seems to be one rule for the ordinary investor, the man and woman

:16:14.:16:17.

in the street that invested ?750 of their hard earned money, and these

:16:18.:16:21.

investors who have walked away in days with millions of pounds. The

:16:22.:16:30.

Prime Minister did not want to engage in any part of any of the

:16:31.:16:32.

questions. We had a mention of engage in any part of any of the

:16:33.:16:38.

questions. We had a mention selling of gold and this and that. I thought

:16:39.:16:42.

he was going to go back to Clement Attlee! He was desperate not to talk

:16:43.:16:49.

about the detail. It was striking. His only defence is that he got rid

:16:50.:16:56.

of it. He knows he is very vulnerable to the idea of what Ed

:16:57.:17:00.

Miliband called a sweetheart deal. The idea of a golden ticket. One

:17:01.:17:08.

rule for one and one for the others. The great question that hangs over

:17:09.:17:12.

politics is that when Ed Miliband highlight something like that, do

:17:13.:17:18.

voters say, yes, will vote Labour, or you are all the same as each

:17:19.:17:24.

other? Thank you. What should happen to

:17:25.:17:41.

civil partnerships? Peter Tatchell gives us his take on the future of

:17:42.:17:58.

this relatively young institution. Flowers, chocolate and champagne.

:17:59.:18:02.

The language of love, weddings and civil partnerships. Civil

:18:03.:18:09.

partnerships, introduced in 2005, finally give legal recognition to

:18:10.:18:13.

lesbian and gay couples. But it was not real equality. The ban on

:18:14.:18:20.

same-sex marriage remained until this year. Today same-sex couples

:18:21.:18:24.

have the option of two forms of official recognition. Marriage and

:18:25.:18:30.

civil partnership. Opposite sex couples only have the option of

:18:31.:18:38.

marriage. That discrimination is against heterosexuals. In its public

:18:39.:18:41.

consultation, the Government said over three options for the future of

:18:42.:18:47.

civil partnerships. Scrapping them and forcing existing civil partners

:18:48.:18:53.

to convert to marriage. Stopping new civil partnerships being registered

:18:54.:18:57.

but retaining existing ones. And keeping civil partnerships and

:18:58.:18:59.

opening them to opposite sex couples. That is the option I have

:19:00.:19:02.

been campaigning for a since 2005. Many same-sex and opposite sex

:19:03.:19:20.

couples do not like the sexist and homophobic history of marriage. They

:19:21.:19:24.

dislike the antiquated language of husband and wife. While marriage is

:19:25.:19:31.

right for some, for others, a civil partnership is more egalitarian and

:19:32.:19:38.

modern. Of the same-sex couples who have already had a civil

:19:39.:19:42.

partnership, many entered into at precisely because it was not a

:19:43.:19:47.

marriage. To forcibly convert their civil partnership into a marriage

:19:48.:19:50.

would violate their wishes and the contract they agree. The evidence

:19:51.:19:57.

from the Netherlands is that since civil partnerships have been open to

:19:58.:20:02.

all, many opposite sex couples have taken advantage of the opportunity.

:20:03.:20:10.

In fact, today, most Dutch civil partnerships are between opposite

:20:11.:20:15.

sex couples. Rather than scrapping civil partnerships, we should

:20:16.:20:20.

celebrate and extend them to all. It is simply a matter of equality.

:20:21.:20:28.

And Peter Tatchell joins us now. The debate about this though was about

:20:29.:20:35.

equality. Civil partnerships were a stepping stone to marriage. Why

:20:36.:20:41.

would you want to go back to those? Now we have civil partnerships. Now

:20:42.:20:45.

we have many thousands of couples in civil partnerships, I think it would

:20:46.:20:48.

be wrong to force them to switch to marriage. That is not what they

:20:49.:20:53.

agreed. Since same-sex couples have the right to civil partnerships, why

:20:54.:21:02.

shouldn't heterosexuals as well? David Cameron supported same-sex

:21:03.:21:05.

marriage because he believed inequality. If that is true, the

:21:06.:21:10.

principle should also apply to civil partnerships. David Cameron said he

:21:11.:21:15.

allows -- believes allowing civil servants -- civil partnerships for

:21:16.:21:23.

opposite sex couples would undermine marriage? Civil partnerships and

:21:24.:21:29.

marriage are very similar. Savour -- civil partnerships have the same

:21:30.:21:34.

commitments. I do not see how they are undermining marriage. I think

:21:35.:21:37.

they actually strengthen the principle of legal rights and

:21:38.:21:40.

responsibilities because lots of heterosexual couples are not

:21:41.:21:44.

married. They are cohabiting. If they do not want to get married,

:21:45.:21:48.

they do not agree with the institution of marriage. If they're

:21:49.:21:50.

given the option a civil partnership, many would take the

:21:51.:21:54.

option. That would give them legal rights etc. Do you think this is a

:21:55.:22:01.

major issue now after the battle for gay marriage? Is this a fight worth

:22:02.:22:08.

having? Absolutely. It is an important fundamental democratic

:22:09.:22:10.

principle that we should all be equal before the law. Any

:22:11.:22:15.

discrimination is wrong. In the Government's on consultation, the

:22:16.:22:20.

public were asked if civil partnerships should be opened up to

:22:21.:22:26.

opposite sex couples. 61% said they should. Only 24% said no. Clearly

:22:27.:22:33.

there is a majority public support for allowing heterosexual couples

:22:34.:22:37.

the choice of a civil partnership. Alan Duncan, you are in a civil

:22:38.:22:41.

partnership. Should straight couples be able to do the same? The

:22:42.:22:47.

inequality, and hence the disadvantaged Peter is referring

:22:48.:22:52.

to, as between a civil partnership and a heterosexual couple getting

:22:53.:22:58.

married in a registry office, is so minuscule and immaterial, this is

:22:59.:23:02.

really dancing on the head of a pin. I regarded as unnecessary

:23:03.:23:07.

because it is not really doing anybody any harm. There is an

:23:08.:23:10.

argument for saying that all marriages should be consummated, if

:23:11.:23:15.

you like, on a civil basis and you can add your own religious bit on

:23:16.:23:19.

top if you want. Then everybody is equal from the start and you can

:23:20.:23:22.

stick your religious gloss on the quality of faith. It is not really

:23:23.:23:29.

what you and I think. We know that a substantial number of heterosexual

:23:30.:23:36.

couples would like a civil partnership. If you look at New

:23:37.:23:40.

Zealand and the Netherlands, where civil partnerships are open to

:23:41.:23:44.

everybody, today the majority of civil partnerships in the

:23:45.:23:47.

Netherlands are between straight couples. 10% of straight couples

:23:48.:23:51.

choose a civil partnership rather than marriage. It is only 10% but

:23:52.:23:55.

why shouldn't a 10% minority have the right to choose? Isn't it an

:23:56.:24:03.

anomaly? Isn't that an orchestrated policy in that sense? Would straight

:24:04.:24:13.

couples go for it in reality? Would they be clamouring for it? I think a

:24:14.:24:20.

sizeable minority would. Ten to 15%. The principle in democracy is that

:24:21.:24:24.

we should all be equal before the law. We would not be having this

:24:25.:24:27.

debate if the law was discriminated against black and Jewish people.

:24:28.:24:33.

People think there is -- we can get away with it because it is among gay

:24:34.:24:38.

people. We have got civil partnerships. Let's open them up.

:24:39.:24:47.

The campaign was about equality. If civil partnerships are good enough

:24:48.:24:51.

for same-sex couples, why shouldn't they be for opposite sex couples?

:24:52.:25:00.

Lets have equality for everyone. You have convinced Jim Murphy.

:25:01.:25:14.

Now it seems you're nothing at Westminster these days if you

:25:15.:25:17.

haven't imported a highly-paid election guru from overseas to

:25:18.:25:19.

The Lib Dems have one from South Africa.

:25:20.:25:24.

And Labour's new one is from America.

:25:25.:25:26.

The press likes to call them gurus because it makes them sound

:25:27.:25:29.

a bit mysterious, and because it's a better fit for

:25:30.:25:32.

Here's Adam's guide to the political guru.

:25:33.:25:43.

If somebody owns the word kuru, it is the founder of seekers. A big

:25:44.:25:54.

achievement for a former accountant. Rasputin was Russia's greatest love

:25:55.:25:57.

machine and shadow we advise or to the sour. The Beatles turned to a

:25:58.:26:06.

Maharishi for spiritual guidance. At Westminster, Keith joseph was the

:26:07.:26:11.

very modern model of a major guru, providing the intellectual basis for

:26:12.:26:16.

Thatcherism. Across the Atlantic, Karl rove did the same thing for

:26:17.:26:22.

America. And now we have a triumvirate of foreign-born gurus

:26:23.:26:28.

here. Lynton Crosby from Australia got Boris re-elected Mayor of

:26:29.:26:33.

London. The Lib Dems imported a South African. And here is the

:26:34.:26:38.

newest recruit. David Axelrod, borrowed from Barack Obama. Why do

:26:39.:26:50.

they hire them? The gurus said that the true gurus shows you the way.

:26:51.:26:57.

Jim Murphy, what is the point of paying a 6-figure sum to an American

:26:58.:27:00.

to advise you had to win an election? He has hardly ever been to

:27:01.:27:04.

this country and knows nothing about Britain. None of the parties have

:27:05.:27:10.

got a monopoly on campaign initiative tactics. The Lib Dems got

:27:11.:27:16.

their South African guy. These guys have got their Australian. Lynton

:27:17.:27:22.

Crosby has fought an election here before and lives here for a great

:27:23.:27:27.

part of the year. David Axelrod may struggle to find Britain on a map! I

:27:28.:27:33.

don't think so. He understands elections. He has been brilliant for

:27:34.:27:40.

Iraq Obama. That is the reason! Barack Obama and the politics of

:27:41.:27:43.

optimism, I think this will be a welcome injection. You have hired

:27:44.:27:55.

somebody called Jim Messina, another American. He is going to stay in the

:27:56.:27:58.

United States throughout. He will have his finger on the pulse in

:27:59.:28:04.

Scunthorpe, one T? We are so interconnected across the world. I

:28:05.:28:08.

believe in the public meeting, the big speech, the intellectual and

:28:09.:28:14.

ideological arguments. Now it is a consumer process. I am sure the guys

:28:15.:28:18.

you hired will be able to watch it on Skype. Thanks to the speaker I

:28:19.:28:31.

cannot continue this conversation! The year was 1982.

:28:32.:28:40.

Stuart Badger from Kidderminster. Well done.

:28:41.:28:42.

Thanks to all our guests, especially Alan and Jim.

:28:43.:28:46.

The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now.

:28:47.:28:49.

Jo will be back tomorrow at noon with all the big political stories.

:28:50.:28:57.

It's shocking it'd happen in a public place.

:28:58.:29:20.

I don't find it funny, but I don't find it offensive.

:29:21.:29:24.

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