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.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by the international development minister, Alan Duncan and Labour's international development secretary, Jim Murphy to discuss the Newark by-election as well as live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions and the latest political news, interviews and debate.

The Guess the Year competition closes at 12.30pm during the live broadcast of this programme.


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