07/05/2014 Daily Politics


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Good morning. 365 days to go until the general election. You cannot


wait, but you will have to be patient! Labour and the Tories are


increasingly neck and neck. It is all to play for. What of the Lib


Dems? Then, the UKIP factor, which could put noses out of joint.


Ed Miliband claims he is much more intellectual is self-confident than


David Cameron. Downing Street says Ed Miliband is more self-satisfied.


Who will win the war of words at PMQs?


Has this man got too big for his boots?


In response to that question, the Prime Minister has finished, and he


can take it from me that he is finished!


And, tinkering with the syllabus, students look set to study Russell


Brand for English A-level, or are enough facts taught in school?


All of that and more coming up. With us, Nigel Evans and Sadiq Khan.


Welcome to both of you. First, let's talk about Nigel Evans,


last year he resigned as the Deputy Speaker and subsequently the


Conservative whip after he was charged with two indecent assaults,


five sexual assault and one rape. He was cleared on all counts, but last


week had the whip restored. The case highlights the Westminster drinking


culture. Nigel admitted that he had been an old fool and had behaved


drunkenly around young man. All had few admitted that the? No, but it


was easy gesture that I had, -- but it was said that I had. There is no


culture of being drunk, it does happen now and again, but that is


not the culture of Parliament. Once you were acquitted on all the


charges, there was still some commentary, he has been found not


guilty, but he has behaved stupidly. At times, no doubt I have, but when


you go through the torture of a public trial, the job of the


prosecution is to throw everything at you, including the kitchen sink,


so do not be surprised if some of the cutlery and dirty water sticks


on you. Personally, looking at everything, I wish it had never


happened. But the fact is I suspect I am the only politician that


Westminster who is happy at only getting 12 votes. Unless you are the


Lib Dems! The prosecution made a number of accusations on the


specifics of the cases against you, but you say they threw more at you


wider than that that was not true? It is the character assassination


that takes place during a trial, not just the prosecution. It is the job


to make it look as bleak as it possibly is. I had a treasury QC


against me, he was very good, I had to make sure I had equality of arms


and had a very good barrister as well. But when anybody dissects your


private life, you are standing there in a dock and people throw


everything that they possibly can, exaggerate and twist and light, and


you walk away an innocent man, but you are bruised and chastened, and


some of it does hurt. What has it done to you? What has changed?


Everything. I am far more caring than I ever was. My perception of


the police is not what it was, even before the Andrew Mitchell case, so


I am a bit more aware and weary. How were you treated on returning to the


Commons? They were superb. Throughout the 12 months, everybody


was brilliant on all sides. I told Ed Miliband that his guys had been


brilliant. Everybody has. I have had hugs from Glenda Jackson through to


George Galloway am a three to my own constituency. And David Cameron has


been superb. Just to face those allegations, normally a politician


does not want to be accused of six items in your basket when it says


five items only, so to get these things thrown at you, normally it is


career over. When the charges were pending, and during the trial, I


wonder whether some attitudes were more distant? No, I can say that


now. A lot of people were thinking come a dead man walking, or, there


are so many charges, one of them must stick, and even myself, winking


how credible it sounded and whether the jury will decide, we will acquit


him on most of it but he must have done something. But in the end, 12


good Northerners sat there, this to everything, looked at the evidence


and decided, no, this man is innocent, and I can only say how


grateful I am. When your life is in the balance like that, I watched the


foreman of the jury come in, he did not have any notes, and I thought,


he either knows which ones are guilty and innocent, or they will


all be the same. My heart was beating without me touching my


chest. When he started to go through them, there was almost a rhythm


there. The amusing thing is, between charges five and six, a phone went


off, and the judge stopped everything and said, could everybody


please make sure that their telephones are off? I thought, who


cares about mobile phones? The election is a year away, will you


stand again? That is plan A, there was never a plan B. Plan B would


only have come into place if I had been convicted of anything, and I


would have walked. What is the attitude of your party? The vast


majority are supportive, I walked around Clitheroe on the Monday


following the acquittal. People were lining up to shake my hand and pack


my bag. Do you think you will be reselected? Yes, I do. There will


not be a challenge? It depends how they operate. I have always left it


late, I have never thought they will be a problem. There is always


another duty to deselect, but I have left it to 12 people to decide my


fate once, I will now leave it to the members of my association who


will decide who their candidate will be at the next election. But I am


there if they wish. What is your attitude to your fellow Conservative


backbencher who played a key role in this whole matter, beginning the


process of law and ending up in court? I had a cup of tea with her


last week, we chatted through the issues, and all I can say is that we


had a very constructive and convivial chat, and we now look


forward to working together over the next months and years to come,


hopefully. Have you made up? Absolutely, we both see one


another's reasons, why she did what she did, given the evidence she was


given. But when she gave her evidence, she supported my case.


Should there be anonymity for those accused in this kind of case? It is


difficult. We know the arguments in favour of not having anonymity,


people can come forward. We have seen that with Stuart Hall and other


cases. It needs to be looked at. Perhaps by the Justice committee or


the Home Affairs Select Committee. I have got lots of questions, I do not


have all the answers, because I know how delicate the balance is. You are


not so keen on anonymity, your party? That's right. All of the


reasons why Nigel was treated the way he was is because in English law


there is a presumption of innocence, and he was presumed innocent and


treated that way by those people who know him, it is an important


principle. The reason why Nigel could persuade the jury he was not


guilty was because he had equality of arms, he had the means to afford


a good QC to defend him. One of my concerns is that the changes that


have been made mean other people who are not as fortunate as my job have


to go for a less experienced barrister, somebody who cannot do


the fantastic job that his QC did. But you are right about anonymity,


we think it is important there should be open justice, others could


come forward, but Nigel 's right to say that his case demonstrates some


of the difficulties that there are. You are numbered -- lumbered with a


big... ? Yes, I have spent the savings that I had, it is six


figures. You had to use an expensive QC? Yes, I had what I believed was


the best, and he was incredibly good. You need equality of arms. If


you do not have that, you could end up with a miscarriage of justice,


and that would be appalling. We are in election period, the Green


party are launching their local election campaign in Solihull. Their


leader Natalie Bennett joins me from there now. Welcome back to the


programme, this week you said the satisfaction with the three largest


parties is widespread # this satisfaction. But this illusion


voters are not coming to more of them are going to UKIP.


Why? What we are seeing is, like in Solihull, where we are now looking


to become the official opposition to the Tories on the council, people


are turning to us. We are expecting to win new councillors up and down


the country in London, Liverpool, Bristol, Oxford and many other towns


and cities. We are growing councillors, we are seeing steady


and cities. We are growing ideas. The argument that we need


real change in a society that works for the common good. We have got


plans and policies, and people can see that. But last May, UKIP gained


139 councillors and received 23% of the vote, you gain five. Yes, and


among those, our first councillors in Cornwall, Essex, Surrey, Kent,


and in several places here in the West Midlands. From a solid base, we


are electing good people who are long-term campaigners, who are in it


for the long haul. I have not seen the figures for how many of those


UKIP councillors are no longer there, but there are quite a few. Do


you think people are put off because they have looked at Ryton, the UK's


only green council, which will not go down as an example of great


governance, and they have thought, if that is what you get, we will not


vote for them? If people look at the record of Brighton and Hove green


council as a minority administration, it has a long list


of achievements, from making it a living wage council to keeping all


of the branch libraries open. Too greatly improving the GCSE results.


We have got a proud record of achievement. If you look at the


issues that affect people's lives, we have proved that they are making


a difference there. In January, a vote of no-confidence in the


illustration was passed, after plans were put forward to raise the


council tax by 4.75%. Last May, many people remained -- remembered the


bin strikes, and have had to bring in mediators to calm infighting in


your group. Are you proud of that? We are a minority administration, a


vote of no-confidence is hardly surprising when you never had a


majority. What we have tried to do is put forward a proposal to have a


referendum for a 4.9% increase in council tax because we said the


money we are getting from central government is not enough to maintain


the quality of social care that we think the vulnerable and poor


deserve. Sadly, we could not give the people the chance to choose


that, but it is a sign of how we want to campaign and fight for real


change, in a society that looks after the most for rubble as well as


-- the most vulnerable in some of working for the top 1%. All of the


parties are talking about housing supply, how would you pay for it?


But we need to do is look at the nature of the housing programme, it


is to be affordable, council housing, on Brownfield sites. This


site has been sitting vacant for many years. What we need to do is,


if we build council housing, we could have borrowing, we cannot rely


on private developers any more, they are not building the homes we need.


One more year until the election, 365 sleepless nights! The


strategists will be tinkering with their campaign books over the next


12 months, and it is all to play for, with the pulse pretty close.


Although a tension is on the European and local elections that


are just around the corner, today, it is exactly a year until the


really big maypole. The general election on this month of May 2015.


The official campaigning period is around five weeks, but the reality


of a fixed term parliament means that the jostling for position has


already started. But there are plenty of trip ups ahead. Today, the


Institute of government warned that the Conservatives and Liberal


Democrats need to agree new rules for policy-making. Otherwise,


caution will prevail and insufficient work will be undertaken


in areas where the coalition partners disagree. It could be the


last time the UK dances to the same tune. Depending on the result of


Scotland's independence vote in September. It does not look like any


of the parties have found a winning rhythm. Labour only slightly ahead


of the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats well out of step


with the public. All three will be looking nervously over their


shoulder at the newest political move on the scene, UKIP. Now third


in the polls, with almost 60% of people voting for them in the


European elections planning to do the same in the general election, it


could be UKIP that decides who gets to dance into Downing Street.


Already 40% of those intending to vote for you in the European


election have no intention of doing so in the general election, so you


have already lost them. That were unnaturally happen in any election,


but I believe is our campaign grows, we will be able to bring more of


those people back. There is a key point about the polls and we are


seeing when we knock on the doors and are canvassing is there are a


lot of people who have not voted for a long time and they are drawn to


UKIP and our message and we will get them in the 2015 election. Critics


will say voters have always used the local elections and the Euro


elections as a chance to vote for a protest party. The argument we are a


protest vote has been thrown at as many times, but you have seen the


progression and shown it on your show on many occasions. People


believe they want their democracy and independence in Europe. They are


concerned about immigration as a whole and we have the most ethical


immigration policy. But there is no evidence beyond that, however well


you do in the European elections, to indicate they will go on and vote in


the general election? That is a contradiction. You have indicated


today that we have got 60% of those who are voting for us and the


European election and they will stay with us. In the last European


election polls suggested we would be doing very badly. But what you have


now is a much more significant numbers staying with us from a much


larger base and that is something you have to consider and the other


political parties know that. You have got a big event tonight. We


have Nigel's last speech on the tour where he has been going around the


country speaking to huge crowds. Tonight you will see a large


proportion of members from London and across the country coming to


stand behind Nigel along with myself and those who signed the letter that


was published in the Independent newspaper today to deal with the


question that we are a racist party. Tonight we will show you we


are not a racist party, we are an inclusive party from


are not a racist party, we are an backgrounds, religions, creeds and


colours. I like the Morris men. I would like to see more of that. It


especially for you. Welcome to Tom Brake, MP. Labour was on average in


the poll of polls 8% ahead of the Conservatives. You are now neck and


neck. What has gone wrong? I think this will be a very close general


election. I don't remember, I was in nappies, but the last time a


political party lost a general election and bounced back. Were they


disposable nappies? 1974 was the last time a party bounced back.


disposable nappies? 1974 was the if the polls tighten any more, the


Tories will be ahead? My prediction is they will be neck and neck. Those


who stay at home in 2010, we will persuade them why they should vote


Labour. The fact we are neck and neck is a tribute. You used to be


ten points ahead at one stage. We are about five or six points ahead


still. The most recent was you were one point ahead. Then neck and


neck, given the margins of error. There must be something about your


core message, this cost of living crisis, that is not resonating. We


got 29% of the vote in 2010. We have made huge progress on that. We have


got new members, activists, councillors, who are interesting and


exciting. We are making progress. If four years ago you would have said


after the second worst defeat in our history we would be competitive and


neck and neck, I would have bitten your hand off. Mr Cameron did not


even win the election. The last time a party bounced back was in 1974. In


1979 we were out for 18 years. In 1997, the Tories were out for 13


years and they only managed to get back in with the help of these guys.


I am trying to explain how much we have managed to achieve. Is that any


good news for the Lib Dems? There has been good news in relation to


past elections. For instance in areas where there is already strong


Liberal Democrat representation. The Parliamentary seats we hold in the


council elections we have done well. There is a certain resilience of the


Liberal Democrat vote which I think national polls do not pick up. But


do you think your own party briefing paper thinks it is possible that you


could lose all of your MEPs in the European elections? I do not think


that is going to happen. Clearly the economy is showing strong signs of


recovery. There is a time lag between the figures looking positive


and people starting to feel the difference in their pay packets, so


to speak, and their pockets. We will see over the next 12 months that


will start to change around. We are already seeing wages increasing


greater than the rate of inflation. The recovery has been going on for


more than a year, it started in April, 2013. It is now made 2014 and


your poll ratings continue to slide. You are down to 9%. Interestingly in


the Nick versus Nigel debates, the polling satisfaction for neck out of


those debates was 30% for one and 20% for the other. The evidence in


the areas where we are strong and campaign hard is those national


polls which looked at the country as a whole. The way things are looking


it is going to be a very tough day for us, but interestingly the UKIP


element and the fact they take vote more substantially from the


Conservatives in a lot of councils were Lib Dems are fighting


Conservatives, that makes those results much less predictable. And


if the Conservatives lose seats in the local elections, which they will


do, and they come up with third in the European elections, which the


polls suggest you will, how many hours is it before your party goes


into headless chicken mode? I do not think that will happen. It will be a


difficult European election. The big question is what that turnout is


going to be like. We have heard what UKIP have said. It is going to be


low. When you say those who vote UKIP will be retained, the fact is


when it comes to a general election it is going to be who are we going


to vote for who will form the next Government? You are now a


backbencher and the backbenchers have the discipline not to go mad


when you come a poor third in the European elections. We will look at


the European elections is mostly an opportunity for people to protest


and that is what it is. We are not going to see a change of Government


the day following the Sunday results of the European elections. People


will dust themselves down after the European election results and start


to focus on the next 12 months ahead. You may remember I fought the


Ribble Valley by-election and I lost and it was the 30th safest seat in


the country. 12 month later I1. 12 months is a long time in politics.


It will be difficult for all the major parties. If you go from very


low expectations... You are happy coming third in Europe, you are


happy losing in Europe... What really alarms me is that all the


parties here agree there is a need to reform what happens at a European


level, but with the prospect of a large number of UKIP MEPs getting


elected who do not engage at all in Europe, the ability for the UK to


put across an agenda reform disappears and the country cannot


afford it. The public do not care. They do not mind voting for people


who are not going to turn up and that is a big question for all of


us. If you think UKIP is going to be a problem, wait until you see who


the Dutch, the Greeks, etc are about to send. The takeover of AstraZeneca


is likely to come up at PMQs and when it comes to drug deals it is


likely some MPs will be urging the Government to just say no. Before we


carry on, I need to inform you that this programme has also received a


hostile bid for one of its most coveted products. I don't mean Jo! I


imagine there will also be questions in the House on this shortly and MPs


will be itching to call for an enquiry. Yes, the rumours are true,


another programme has made a bid for the treasured Daily Politics mug. Is


there nothing these people wouldn't do to try to improve their ratings?


But fear not because there is one way, and only one way, that anyone


can get their hands on one of these beauties and that is to enter our


guess the year competition. Employees of Sky News are allowed to


enter. Maybe they could give it to Adam as a leaving present. He is not


actually leaving. We will remind you how to enter in a minute. Let's see


if you can remember when this happened.


# knock three Times on the ceiling if you want me.


Twice on the pipe if the answer is no.


# Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good...


# Sweet Caroline, I believe they never will.


# I wish that I could be a banner man.


# tap turns on the water, the waters flow, come and write the river, come


and write the sun. Send your answer to our special quiz


e-mail address. You can see the full terms and conditions on our website.


It is coming up to midday, let's take a look at Big Ben. It can only


mean one thing, PMQs on its way. If you would like to comment on


proceedings, please be polite because we are most of the time! You


can e-mail us or you can tweet your thoughts using the hash tag. As


always, Nick Robinson joins us as well. Pretty hard for the front to


avoid the AstraZeneca, Pfizer business. Vince cable said his legal


options were very limited yesterday but he said repeatedly he was not


closing down the options. I sat in the gallery and nobody seemed to


pull at that thread and say, what do you mean? What are your options?


Given the Labour leader has decided to say that he would not block the


bid, but there should be other tests applied to it, it seems to me Ed


Miliband has to tease out what David Cameron is up to. But if in the end


you cannot block the bed, and the test would be an interesting


exercise, but if the test has failed and you cannot block the bid, you


will look stupid. The question is whether you can link Government


contract, in terms of the tax breaks, the patented box, or via the


NHS, whether you can link all that sort of business that a new company


combined would do via the Government with them keeping their promises. It


could never apply to Cadbury because the Government doesn't buy


chocolate. But the pharmaceutical business depends incredibly heavily


on Government regulation, tax policy and in this country on a Government


owned and run National Health Service. It will be interesting to


see whether Cameron is considering that. If this was to be blocked, it


would be largely a European matter. It would get referred to the


European Commission. Although this does not meet the test of plurality


on competition, the French managed to block a yoghurt


I shall have further meetings today. As the father of three daughters, I


am sure that the entire house will share my deep concern for the more


than 270 Nigerian schoolgirls held captive in that country. The only


so-called crime which they face is that they aspired to receive an


education. Would he set out for the house the step that this government


is taking to ensure that we help to ensure their release as soon as


possible? My honourable friend speaks for the whole House and


country, I am the father of two young daughters, and my reaction is


the same as his and any parent in this land or in the world, it is an


act of pure evil, it has united people to stand with Nigeria, to


help find these children and return them to their parents. We have made


repeated offers of help to the Nigerian government, I will speak to


the Nigerian president this afternoon, and will again say that


we stand ready to provide any assistance, working very closely


with the US. We already have a military training team in Nigeria,


we have counterterrorism experts, and we should be proud of the role


we play, where British aid is helping to educate 800,000 Nigerian


children, including 600,000 girls. It is a global issue, there are


extreme Islamists around who are against education, against progress,


against equality, and we must fight them and take them on. Let me begin


by associating myself with the Prime Minister's remarks on the situation


in Nigeria. On our proposal for three-year tenancies in the private


sector, can he tell us when he expects to make the inevitable


journey from saying they represent dangerous Venezuelan style thinking


to saying they are quite a good idea? I have not had the time to


study the rent-controlled proposals, but I am sure he can lay them out


for us. Let me be clear. If there is an opportunity to find longer term


tenancy agreements to give greater stability, a proposal made at last


year's Conservative conference, then I am sure we can work together. But


if the proposal is for rent controls that have been tried all over the


world, including in Britain, and have shown to fail, that is a very


bad idea. Even by his standards, this is a quick U-turn. Last week,


the chairman of the Conservative party was saying this was all back


to Venezuela, completely wrong, but the community secretary has


supported these proposals. How will we make it happen? I have got some


good briefing on these proposals from Labour MPs. Here they are!


Let's begin with the housing minister, you think she would


support the policy, she says, I do not think it will work in practice.


Then, moving over to the Department for local government, where the


shadow Secretary of State says this, we do not want to return to rent


controls, because the rental sector is meeting a demand for housing. The


authentic voice of Venezuela! Then, the head of the select committee, a


Labour MP, the member for Sheffield, he said, rent-controlled is not


feasible. There we have a Labour policy completely unclear about what


it is, but the one thing that is clear, Labour MPs do not back it.


All he shows is that he has nothing... Order. It has to be said


every week. However long it takes, a simple exercise in democracy, the


question will be heard, and the answer will be heard. It is


incredibly simple. All he shows is he has no idea about this incredibly


able that issue facing the country. There are 9 million people renting


in this country. Our proposal is to say there should be fixed three-year


tenancies, is the norm, for those people with predictable rent


changes. That is the proposal. Many people across the country think this


is for the first time a party addressing the issue they face. Can


he explain what is wrong with going from one year tenancies with


unpredictable rent rises, to three-year tenancies with


predictable rent a? Why has the Conservative Party even up on


millions of people who are generation rent? We want to build


more houses so we have a better rental sector with more affordable


rent. As I said to him in my first answer, if there -- if this is about


new tenancies that give longer-term security, yes, if it is about


mandating from the centre and destroying the housing market, no.


The problem I have with his policies is they all come from the same


place. They come from the Unite union. They said the nationalised


railways, he wants to. They said, let's have old-style rent controls,


he wants them. The problem with rent controls is


he wants them. The problem with rent for rent, their candidates are, and


their leader is. Thank you. The Prime Minister will


be as encouraged as I am that unemployment in my constituency is


down by almost a third since the last election. However, the future


for almost 1000 workers related to the power station in my constituency


is less certain. Will he meet with me to make sure we have a future for


this asset in my constituency? I am happy to meet with him and discuss


this, it is welcomed what he says about the fall in unemployment,


which we can see right across the country. Employment is growing


fastest not in the south-east, but in Wales, it shows the recovery is


increasingly more broadly based. I know about the problems at the power


station and the demand for further action, as has been agreed at Drax.


I have two world-class hospitals in my constituency. The Secretary of


State for health has decided that Hammersmith will lose its accident


and emergency, charring Cross will be demolished, losing all consultant


emergency services, including accident and emergency and the


country's best stroke unit. Will he stopped his Health Secretary putting


my constituents' lives at risk? What we are doing is making sure the NHS


is getting more money, it will get 2.4 billion this year, 74 million


than a year before. If you remember, his own party was Mike policy was to


cut the NHS, like they are doing in Wales. The changes being made there


are backed by clinicians and local people, and we want to see the NHS


improved, as it does under this government. Does he agree that you


keep's policies are based on fear, fear of the world, feel of


foreigners, and is a great trading nation, we should embrace the


world, and if anybody comes to my constituency and goes to hospital or


to the nursing homes or to the farms or to the building sites, they will


see the great contribution being made to our communities and to the


growth of our economy by fellow EU citizens. He is absolutely right,


Britain has benefited from being an economy that is open to investment


and open to people coming who want to contribute and work hard here. I


agree with what he says about UKIP, so much of their view is we do not


have a bright future, I believe that we do if we get our deficit down,


our economy growing, invest in apprenticeships, we can be one of


the success stories of the 21st-century. We are making


progress, that is how we challenge their worldview. There is deep


concern in the British business and scientific community about the


proposed takeover of AstraZeneca by two, it would have an impact on


British jobs, investment, export and science. The Business Secretary said


he is not ruling out intervention. What type of intervention is under


consideration by government? I agree with what he said yesterday, but let


me be clear, the most important intervention we can make is to back


British jobs, science, research and development, medicines and


technology, and that is why I asked the Cabinet Secretary and my


ministers to engage with both companies, right from the start of


this process, and I make no apology for that, because we know what


happens when you do not engage, when you stand back, say you are opposed


to everything, what you get is abject surrender and no guarantees


for Britain. We are fighting for British science, it is a pity he is


trying to play politics. Let me say first of all, it is good to hear he


agrees with the Business Secretary. He said this, one of the government


was Mike options will be to consider using our public interest test


powers. There needs to be a proper assessment of this bid. The Business


Secretary said he was open to doing this. This could be done through


this House, and we would support making that happen. Will he agreed


to do it? The assessment that I want is from the business Department on


this deal or, as there is not an offer on the table, any subsequent


offer. I will judge all of these things about whether it expands


British jobs, investment and science. I worry the point may be


lost in the debate. He thinks he is clever, we all know that, but he may


have missed this point. Britain benefits massively from being open


to investment. Nissan is producing more cars than the whole of Italy.


Jaguar Land Rover under Indian ownership has created 9000 jobs in


the West Midlands since I became Prime Minister. Vodafone and


AstraZeneca have benefited from the backing of an open country to go out


and build and purchase businesses around the world. There is more


inward investment into Britain today than the rest of the EU combined.


Don't let's put that at risk. He does not understand, this is simply


about something very straightforward, having an


independent assessment of this bid and whether it is in the national


interest. I want to ask him the question again, because it matters


to people across the country, is he ruling out all ruling in using the


public interest test on this takeover's we could make it happen.


His Business Secretary could make it happen, and we would support it. If


he does not take action now, and the bid goes through without a proper


assessment, everybody will know that he was cheerleading for this bid,


not championing British science and industry. I think it is deeply sad


that the leader of the opposition makes accusations about cheerleading


when what the government was doing was getting stuck in to help British


science, investment and jobs. Doesn't it tell you everything


that, given the choice of doing the right thing for the national


interest, working with the government, or making short-term


political points, that is what he chooses to do? We might ask why the


public interest test was changed in the first place. It was when they


were sitting in the Treasury. They wrote the rules, they sold the gold,


they saw manufacturing client by a half, and we will never take


lectures from the people who wrecked our economy. Will the Prime Minister


confirmed that under his leadership this country will never spend less


than the NATO recommended minimum of 2% of GDP on defence? We are


spending in excess of 2%, 2% of GDP on defence? We are


only countries in Europe to do that. The Greeks are spending ahead of 2%


not on the things that are useful for NATO. We should continue to make


sure we fulfil all our commitment in terms of defence spending. Will the


Prime Minister urgently meet again with me and fellow MPs to find a way


forward on consultant led, maternity services to be run by the University


Hospital in Stoke on Trent? The Right Honourable Lady has asked me


about this in the past. Despite all the difficulties I wanted to make


sure there was an opportunity to have a way for having consultant


led, maternity services. People who live in our major towns want to be


able to have their babies locally and it is important we do that. I am


regularly updated and I would be happy to meet with a delegation of


Staffordshire MPs if it is necessary to drop further at this point. Last


week, Boston consulting group published research that found in


Britain to the number one competitive manufacturing country --


whole of Western Europe. It is number four globally behind China,


the United States and South Korea. Does my right honourable friend


agree this is the sort of company we should be keeping an further


evidence that our strategy to rebalance the UK economy towards


manufacturing and the West Midlands and other regions is working? I am


grateful for what might honourable friend says because for the first


time in a decade all three main sectors of the economy,


manufacturing, services and construction, have grown by 3% in


the last year. Manufacturing is important in itself, but also


because so much of it can be traded and we want to see Britain invest


more. The moves made by my right honourable friend in the budget are


very much dedicated towards that angle. We must remain the open


economy that will encourage people to invest in our manufacturing base.


Later this meet -- week the opening stages of the Giro d'Italia will


take place in Northern Ireland and along with the Tour de France coming


to Yorkshire, these sporting events allow us to showcase our region and


wrote the local economy. But as we seek to build a more prosperous and


better future for all of our people in Northern Ireland, it is important


that the suffering and hurt of victims is never forgotten? Whether


it is one years ago or ten years ago or 42 years ago, justice must be


pursued and the police must be allowed to follow the evidence


wherever it leads. First of all, can I agree with the right honourable


gentleman about the importance of these sporting events. The one in


Northern Ireland and the Tour de France in Leeds which will be great


for Yorkshire and the United Kingdom. We should do as much as we


can to promote these. He raises an important issue about terrorist


victims. We discussed over trying to secure greater assistance from Libya


over Semtex. We should be proud of the fact that a free country has an


independent judiciary and legal system and police service. They


decide who to arrest, who took Western and two to charge and that


is how it must remain. Dementia is one of the biggest challenges facing


our country. Will he join with me in congratulation the Alzheimer's


Society to raise awareness and challenge the stigma? Will he ensure


that there is a new dementia strategy at the end of the year


because the current one ends this year, so we can ensure people with


dementia get the support they need? We have turned the zero on Number


Ten into the dementia flower today to help boost the importance of


raising awareness about this issue and to encourage more people to


train as dementia and friends. It is about investing in research and


science, dementia friendly communities, and also making sure


our hostels and care homes better treat people with dementia. I will


perhaps write to him about the update to the strategy. 100,000


people are already dead in Syria. Others are dying as we are here


today. They need help desperately. We have talked about humanitarian


help. What on earth are we doing about it? The right honourable lady


is right. Britain is the second largest, bilateral aid donor in


terms of humanitarian aid going into Syria. We are helping to feed,


clothe and house people in Turkey, Lebanon and elsewhere. She raises


the important point about getting aid into Syria. More is being done


on that, but it is extremely difficult because of the security


situation. We will continue to do what we can. As we mug the Centenary


of the First World War it is a national disgrace that the graves of


Victoria Cross winners are derelict. As the patron of the Victoria Cross


trust, we pledge ?100,000 to help restore the graves and the Sun


newspaper have highlighted this campaign. As the Government have


managed to match fund every penny raised, will the PM join me in


urging people to go online and donate and ensure we have fitting


memorials for the bravest of the brave. I think the Sun newspaper did


a good job of highlighting the importance of this issue. The


Communities Secretary has announced ?100,000 funding for the Victoria


Cross which will go to restoring the grave of Victoria Cross recipients.


Local authorities will put up paving stones for people who have won the


Victoria crosses in their area. The most important thing we are doing is


the huge, multi-million pound investment going into the Imperial


War Museum which will open this summer and it brings the First World


War to live in an extraordinary way and that is at the heart of our


commemorations. My constituent's disability means he needs a


specially adapted bed, so it cannot share a room with his wife, but they


are hit by the bedroom tax. Can the Prime Minister explain why the


Government is punishing him for his disability? We have the


discretionary housing payments for exactly this sort of case and the


money has been topped up, so there is no reason for people to be


disadvantage. AstraZeneca is Macclesfield's greatest employer, so


I shared constituents' concerned about the Pfizer bid. I welcome


steps from the Government. But what further steps are being taken to


strengthen those commitments and to safeguard highly skilled


manufacturing jobs in Macclesfield? I am grateful for my honourable


friend's remarks. There are 2000 people employed in his constituency.


Our approach is based upon trying to secure the best possible deal in


terms of jobs, investment and science. That is why it was right to


ask the cabinet secretary to engage with Pfizer. I find it extraordinary


we are being criticised for this. There is no offer on the table, but


the commitments made so far are encouraging in terms of completing


the Cambridge campus, making sure 20% of the combined companies' total


is in the UK's workforce going forward and it mentions substantial


manufacturing facilities in Macclesfield. Because of the


patented box we have introduced, the company would look at manufacturing


more in the UK. But I am not satisfied, I want more. But the way


to get more is to engage and not to stand up and play politics. I know


the Prime Minister has raised the important issue around the awareness


of mental health. Can he explain why since 2011 there is a 30% drop in


mental health beds in the NHS? Is it right mental health patients are


having to travel up to 200 miles? What matters is the quality of


provision and parity of esteem between physical health and mental


health. We have not solved every problem, but we have put into the


NHS mandate proper parity of esteem and proper targets for some of the


talking therapies that are vital in terms of mental health. Measuring


the output of our NHS purely by the number of beds is not a sensible


approach. The Government is making a substantial investment in renewing


and expanding the nation's infrastructure. There is a real need


to get more people into engineering so they will have long-term skills.


Will my right honourable friend assure me this Government will do


all it can to inspire the next generation of engineers? I know he


has been campaigning very hard to get the HS2 Academy to go to Milton


Keynes because there is a vital bit of skilled work that needs to be


done. The key thing about these investments, whether it is


Crossrail, the Olympics, HS2, is to plan in advance about the skills we


need so we can help people wanting to take on those skills. Today the


Chancellor and the Minister for schools have launched a campaign


which is all about encouraging young people to get into Stem subjects and


to stay in them because there is a falloff from GCSE up to a level,


particularly in physics. I am delighted to see the Prime Minister


is wearing his dementia friends badged today and I congratulate the


Alzheimer's Society on their commitment to get ?1 million over


the next year. Will he commit today to commit personally to put a


scandal to low wages and zero hours contracts for dedicated home carers


who look after people with dementia in our country? Let me praise the


right honourable lady for her work on dementia and the work she has


done to spread awareness about this. On the issue of 15 minute working


times, this is an issue for local councils. My own local council has


decided to stop these 15 minute visits because they believed you


cannot get any meaningful work done. On zero hours contracts we are


the first Government to have a proper review into this and we are


very unhappy about exclusivity clauses that do not allow you to


work elsewhere. But it is important to make sure our care system has got


people inside it who are caring and understanding about the problems of


dementia. We have both been through the very short dementia training


course. I need a refresher. With 1.3% growth in manufacturing in the


last quarter and strong performances from local firms in my constituency,


does the Prime Minister agree that one key element of the long-term,


economic plan is the need to improve... The need to further


strengthen our skills base so these firms can continue to grow and work


hard for Britain and generate exports? The key part of the


long-term plan is to rebalance our economy away from purely the South


East and toward manufacturing, exports and investment. He has


played his part by organising a festival for manufacturing and


engineering in Stroud. We have to inspire a new generation to think of


these careers and the subjects they should be studying in school and


university. Last Thursday the EU ban on the import of Indian mangoes took


effect. As a result hundreds of businesses in the UK will suffer


millions of pounds of losses. There was no consultation with this house


and no vote by British ministers. Next week he will be having his


first conversation with the new Indian Prime Minister. Will he do


his best to reverse this ban so we can keep the special relationship


with India and so we can have our delicious mangoes once again? I know


how much the honourable gentleman cares about this, so much that he


delivered a tray of mangoes to ten Downing St missing the deadline so


they could safely be consumed by people inside. This is a serious


issue. The European Commission has to look on the basis of the science


and the evidence. There are concerns about cross contamination in terms


of British crops and British interests. I understand how strongly


he feels and how strongly the Indian community feels and I look forward


to discussing it with the new Indian Prime Minister. With the Prime


Minister join me in congratulating the world-class furniture


manufacture to locate in Leamington. It was based on our rich industrial


heritage. Well he also paid tribute to local businesses that have


created jobs and reduced the number of DSE claimants in Warrington by a


remarkable 54% since May, 2010. I congratulate my honourable friend


for the decline in unemployment in his constituency. It is notable what


he says about furniture factories because these are the sort of


businesses that were going offshore. We are seeing a slow trend of


getting businesses coming back to Britain, investing and expanding in


Britain. We must do everything we can to encourage this, whether it is


keeping taxes down, cutting national insurance, training more apprentices


and investing in infrastructure. My constituent's son has recently


returned from serving in Afghanistan. Does the Prime Minister


think it is right she has to pay the bedroom tax to keep a room available


for him to stay in at home? If the spare room subsidy extension does


not apply, there spare room subsidy extension does


discretionary housing payment which is another way of dealing with this


and I would hope that Scunthorpe Borough Council would take up the


offer the service sector grew at its fastest level. Does this demonstrate


we must stick with the long-term economic plan? It is right, we have


to stick to the long-term economic plan and for him to be called on


Wednesday shows that plan and for him to be called on


that anything you can wear. The Prime Minister will know that over


365 people in Northern Ireland were given the royal prerogative of mercy


despite ten years of violence. Could he give a commitment that these


names will be made public? If the Queen takes the time to sign 365


names, surely the public and the victims have the right to know? What


I would say to the honourable lady is there were difficult decisions


that were taken principally by the last Government at the time of the


various agreements that involved very difficult choices, hard choices


that had to be made in order to try and build a platform for peace and


reconciliation. I am happy to look at the specific point she says and


to reassure her in a letter. I do not want to unpick decisions taken


at a difficult time to give us the peace we enjoy today. The Chief


Medical Officer warned we are misusing antibiotics that we risk to


turning to the 19th century environment where routine operations


carry a grave risk of death. The World Health Organisation issued a


similar warning. On that basis, it surely is madness we continue to


allow so many antibiotics to be used in our factory farms. We know it is


contributing to resistance. My honourable friend raises an


extremely serious problem that is global in its nature and could have


unbelievably bad consequences in terms of antimicrobial resistance


leading to a minor ailment is not being properly treated. One of the


problems is the current way research is done by pharmaceutical companies


is not necessarily bringing forward you antibiotics in the way we need.


I have met with the Chief Medical Officer to discuss this. There are a


number of steps we can take here in the UK and I hope to say something


about it soon. Yesterday the Secretary of State for business,


innovation and skills said he was working with civil servants to


ensure that any securities during the proposed takeover of AstraZeneca


could be made legally binding. Does the Prime Minister back this? The


more we can do to strengthen the assurances we are given, the better.


But the only way you will get assurances is by engaging and


getting stuck in with those companies and I find it


extraordinary the Labour Party chooses to criticise us for that.


The Pfizer bid for AstraZeneca is driven by tax advantages. Has the


Prime Minister spoken driven by tax advantages. Has the


Government over changes to their tax law? Pfizer mentioned in a letter to


me that the patent box is a positive reason for wanting to invest in


Britain and to examine whether they could increase manufacturing. The


way it works is you only get the low tax benefit if you make your


investment and research in the UK and then exploit that research by


manufacturing in the UK. We should be incredibly hard-headed about


this. It is an advantage that Britain is a low tax country. We


used to bemoan the fact companies were leaving because of our high


taxes. Now they want to come here. But that is not enough, we want the


investment, the jobs and the research that comes


Ed Miliband split his questions into two, the first were on Labour's


plans for rent, not rent controls, they say, but plans to extend the


leases and make the increase in rent more predictable. That was the first


part. When he came back, it was about what the government position


is, and what the Labour Party's position is, on Pfizer's bid to take


over AstraZeneca. The Prime Minister made a remarkable claim, edge did


not seem right, that Nissan in Sunderland alone produces more cars


now than the whole of Italy. We got into checking that, and amazingly,


the Prime Minister is right. Italy produced 388,000 cars in 2013,


Nissan in Sunderland reduced half a million. Who would have thought? It


is a great fiat! Oh, dear! You try to act in the best traditions of


public service broadcasting, trying to see if it was true, and admitting


that he was right, and this is what you have to say! Lots of reaction to


those subjects, one person said, the rent in this country is diabolical,


even in Housing Association properties. The building quality


does not warrant such a large sum of money. One person says, Ed


Miliband's Internet seems to have failed him, rent control is a bad


idea, not supported by most of the public. One person says, Ed Miliband


is going on the right issues but using the wrong words and tone. He


must start being human. One person says, there should be emergency


legislation to introduce full public interest powers in the case of major


mergers. One person said, with regard to AstraZeneca, it is a


British company but it is not owned by Britain, shareholders must be


given the ultimate decision will stop --. One person said, I am in


despair of David Cameron's ducking and diving, not answering questions


apart from those from his backbench flunkies. That is a good word! I can


see the light in your eyes shine! Over to queue, Nigel Evans! I would


have been won last week, but the speaker just missed me. It is quite


interesting, the sound and fury from both front benches that AstraZeneca.


I am not clear what other side things should be done. Labour Party


think they can use the public interest test. All of the law around


takeovers was changed by the last Labour government to more narrowly


defined when you can intervene about banking, media takeovers and


national security. The Labour Party believe there is still some


possibility that you could intervene using the public interest test. I


was just reading up on this, Vince Cable, many years ago, said, when


the law was passed in 2002, it will now become almost a matter of course


for large mergers to be referred for examination. Very different from


what he is saying now. He said yesterday in the House of Commons,


the law is narrow, but we would need clearance by the European


commission. So it looks as though both government does not rule out


the possibility of intervening, David Cameron ignored the


questions, I suspect because they still discussing behind the scenes


what they can and can't do, and the Labour Party say it will possible


without spelling out how and why their legal view is that this is


possible. There would be a danger as a result of the narrower public


interest test that resulted from the changes the last Labour government


made, that if any British government tried to enforce it, by and large,


if it is not a competition basis, there is little ground, unless it is


a national security issue, but if the British government tried to use


that test, such as it is, it would almost certainly be litigated by


Brussels. As regards the 2002 at, it is sufficient to deal with the


concerns that Ed Miliband talks about. Vince Cable talked about


changing legislation, there is a vehicle going through to do that.


AstraZeneca are important to our country, it is an important science


base, it is not an -- not a normal company. Is it in our interest for


this company to be taken over and for jobs to be lost, or for research


and develop and to close down? Pfizer have form, not just in Kent,


but in Sweden as well. Vince Cable seemed to accept this. The point Ed


Miliband was asking, do you agree with your Business Secretary, and if


so, what are you going to do about it? We are willing to work with you.


If you have the public interest power, you would stop the takeover?


It is a test. You say to Pfizer, these are our concerns and


indicators, can you assure us you are satisfied? This is the


difference between a gentleman's agreement and getting reassurance


that is binding and will hold firm about jobs being kept and research


and develop and taking place. Is this a good thing or a bad thing in


general? I suspect this is all quite sensitive, it is not just working


out what you can and can't do. We are talking about share prices. It


is perfectly open, there may be sensitivity for the shareholders,


but we can say what we like. Absolutely, but I can understand why


do you have to be sensitive about the share price. It goes back to the


car industry, I remember when I is rolled when Jaguar Land Rover were


taken over, if they're going to be any British owned, never to be any


British owned, new factory at the end of the day? The fact is, we are


producing and selling more cars than before. It is not a worry as to who


owns it, it is a worry as to whether the jobs will be preserved and the


research and of element maintained. AstraZeneca, Macclesfield,


producers, I am told, 2% of the UK's exported goods. For people who


do not know why pharmaceutical matters, that is why. What should


children be taught in school and how? Hardly a new question, but one


that continues to preoccupy politicians, teachers and parents.


For our soapbox this week, we hear from one ex-London teacher, Daisy


Christodoulou, who believes that the education system is failing children


by prioritising experience over learning hard facts.


Silence! The lesson has started. Sit up. Pay attention. Repeat after me.


Education has come along way since the days of classrooms like these.


However, that is not to say everything about modern education is


perfect. Pupils leave school still facing serious difficulties with


literacy and numeracy. When I started working as a teacher, I saw


the impact of this. One of the main reasons it is happening is because


modern methods assume you can teach skills and you do not have to bother


about facts. But there are some facts you simply have to learn


before you can progress. Here we have a map of the British


Isles. And right here is London. Over the last 50 years we have


discovered evermore about how our minds work. Everybody has a limited


working memory, a maximum of seven new items. Any more and we get


overwhelmed. That is why we cannot just rely on the Internet and that


is why it is important to memorise things. You commit it to long-term


memory, leaving valuable space in working memory, and that is why it


is easier to solve a maths problem when you know your times tables. But


many prominent educationalists and Government agencies were giving


advice that ran counter to this evidence. They dismissed that


learning as being outdated, but that is not true. Learning facts does not


have to look like this. There are plenty of modern and engaging ways.


Memory is vital for learning. It is time for modern education to learn


that lesson. And Daisy Christodoulou who is currently Director of


Research and Development at the ARK Academy chain of schools joins us


now. You say you saw the human impact,


what was that human impact? There is an assumption you can achieve


expertise and get top grade, but you do not have to worry about mastering


facts and learning them very well. That is not the case. Modern


education is not fact free. My kids have to learn spelling is by road


and there are times tables. They do have to learn them. There are lots


of teachers doing great things and teaching facts. The problem for me


is, unfortunately there is an awful lot of advice and in some cases man


patient of practices which are not about learning the facts and getting


the fluency. I think that is what I am worried about. Unfortunately, the


advice teachers get does not back it up. Where is that voice coming


from? Where is that direction coming from because of technology we can


Google everything we need to know? That is widespread and not just in


education, almost across the board in society. With smartphones we do


not have to learn anything. There is a general tendency across society,


but there are some education departments and some Government


agencies, think and make some teachers more frightened to teach


facts because they are worried about what Ofsted inspectors say. Do you


think Michael Gove is trying to rectify that problem? It is more


than a party political issue. There is a clear scientific consensus


about facts. It would be good for that concerns us to be better


known. What is the best way to learn facts? A lot of research shows


having teacher led lessons helps. There was a big study done in


America in the 60s and 70s which showed a method of direct


instruction was successful. As well as recognising we need to learn


facts, we have to accept teacher led ways of doing it is not bad. They


can be inspiring. Do you think it was helpful for Michael Gove to


describe the educational establishment as a blog? All of us


as MPs value greatly what they do in our own schools. Independent grammar


schools, academies and other schools all do a brilliant job from what I


can see in my patch. So you did not really agree with him. It is an


amorphous blob. I am not as good. It is rare for us to have a guess of


the rare calibre as baby, take a look at her in action in University


Challenge. Which two European stains I had the


smallest landmass in the world divided by two nations? France and


the Netherlands. What is the surname of the cricketing family...? Hadley.


What two firms followed reduce in the environmentalist area? Which


newly formed party led by Edward Olmert...? Academia. It you enjoy


that? I hope you are feeling nervous. We have only got a few


seconds. We have got some questions and you can all join in. Do not


delay. What year was William Shakespeare born? 1564? Sorry, am I


allowed to join in? What is the capital of Azerbaijan? Backward?


What is 12 times 13. Wii 166. Know, 56. What is the most abundant


element in the human body? Water? No, what are. Who is the longest


serving British Prime Minister? Robert Walpole. How long did he


serve? 14 years? You are not getting points for imaginative answers? Did


you know that, Daisy? Note. You have got to learn and memorise these


facts. For how many years? 20 years and 314 days. Did and answer these


questions? Daisy, thank you very much. Now, since we have a former


Deputy Speaker on the programme we thought we'd ask if the current


speaker, John Bercow, was getting rather too big for his boots. Last


week he made the headlines after cutting short the Prime Minister at


PMQs. In fact, Mr Bercow makes the headlines rather a lot. Here he is


in action. Order! Order! You really are a very over excitable


individual. You need to write out 1000 times, I will behave myself at


PMQs. His role is to nod his head in the appropriate places and to fetch


and carry notes, no noise required. The Government Chief Whip has


absolutely no business whatsoever shouting from a sedentary position.


Try to calm down and behave like an adult and if you cannot, if it is


beyond you, leave the chamber and get out, we will manage without you.


He tends to behave as though every exchange is a conversation with her.


With the honourable lady answer, it could have done, it didn't. Order! I


have not finished. Order! In response to that question, the Prime


Minister has finished and he can take it from me he has finished. It


is interesting when you bring it all together. We are treading on


eggshells because we would all try to catch the eye of the speaker. But


it is a difficult job. The house gets a bit noisy at times and I know


the only time I sort of lost it a bit was against Ian Austin when I


shouted order, order and Glenda Jackson came up to me and said even


I stopped talking and I was in my office! It is a huge problem. I


cannot think of any speaker in modern times who has behaved like


that. No, and he is getting a lot of publicity. The barbed bit at the end


of Simon Burns' question where he said, I hope he will get an


opportunity to answer it in full, was directly in relation to John


Bercow stopping David Cameron last week in giving a full response. No


love lost. Is there not a sense that because this is broadcast on network


television and other channels, that there is a bit of grandstanding


going on? A bit of theatre and almost everybody in the house can be


accused of some form of grandstanding at some time. John


gets the focus of attention because he is in the referee's chair. Does


he not get the focus of attention because it is serial behaviour? It


is a rowdy house and you have to keep it in control. John does it in


his style. We have gone through the entire order paper. Under Michael


Martin if you were below question seven, the chances of you getting


selected were very thin. John makes sure more backbenchers get to ask


questions. Why is he not more popular? I'm not sure how unpopular


he is. What he has done as a speaker is give the legislature more powers


to give and hold the executive to account. He is a tough task master.


He is always looking to his right, the Conservatives. Look at Fiona


McTaggart last week, you can edit in all sorts of ways. We all feel


slighted when we are not chosen. We are going to put you out of your


misery and give you the answer to guess the year. It is 1971. Press


the red button, Nigel. This is the winner. That is it for today. Jo


will be on her own tomorrow. I am out filming. BBC One news is


starting now. Goodbye. Sorry, what?


I gotta get off the show. ..galling things you have done in the


short time that we have known you...!


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