08/05/2014 Daily Politics


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Good afternoon and welcome to the Daily Politics. The Skull Cracker is


back behind bars but why was this violent criminal in an open prison


and allowed out on day release? Four big retailers and a major


restaurant chain have confirmed that they sell some halal meat without it


being labelled as such. Should we be told?


18 months after Lord Justice Levenson published his inquiry into


the culture and practices of the press, are we any closer to a deal


on regulating the press? We speak to a former Fleet Street editor. And


Indian mangoes are a former Fleet Street editor. And


best in the world so why has the EU banned them?


We speak to a top chef who said the ban needs to be listed lifted. All


that in the next hour. With us for the programme is Tony Gallagher, the


former editor of the Daily Telegraph, soon to return to his


former employer the Daily Mail. Welcome to the show. The so-called


Skull Cracker is back behind bars, a relief for everyone. Michael


Wheatley had been given 13 life sentences and was caught by police


yesterday following a raid on a building society in London. He had


absconded from an open prison in Kent on Saturday. The case has


started a political debate around the treatment of violent criminals,


with questions being asked about why Michael Wheatley was in an open


prison and subject today release. Attempts to reduce the prison


population mean that almost all criminals given custodial sentences


are eligible to be released after serving half their terms. But


Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said this week that early release


rules were undermining public trust in the criminal justice system. He


told MPs that in an ideal world, ten years would mean ten years. So could


the issue become an election battle ground? Reports suggest the


Conservatives will include plans to reform key parts of the criminal


justice system in their manifesto. Under the plans, offenders would no


longer be automatically eligible for release, but would have to earn that


right through good behaviour, and by taking part in rehabilitation


programmes. So are the proposals a good idea and could being tough on


crime be a vote winner all the parties at the general election? I


am joined by Conservative MP Nick Gibb and hopefully by Juliet Lyon


from the Prison Reform Trust. I understand traffic is causing a


problem for our guests. Well done for making it into the studio but


you have not got to come very far. First of all, your reaction. In


terms of hearing the news that somebody like Michael Wheatley was


in an open prison and on day release. I have an open prison in my


constituency. I am always struck by how many life sentence prisoners


there are in it. I don't think it is right for convicted murderers,


people with a violent background, to be sent to open prisons


automatically. At all? The Government is reviewing the


conditions that apply for early release and transfer to open


prisons. I hope as part of that review they will consider toughening


up those conditions. I do question whether somebody with a history of


violence is right to be sent to an open prison because when they do


abscond, and I have had two people absconding from an open prison last


year, one of whom has been recaptured and the other hasn't, and


it does undermine local confidence in having an open prison in your


community. Lots of the prisons are in Laurel, small communities and you


need the support of people living nearby for the prisons to remain.


You are astonished by the high numbers of violent offenders who are


in open prisons. But Michael Wheatley was an release on temporary


licence, which are granted to prisoners to help them settle back


into the community at the end of their sentences and he is just one


case. When you look at the figures of another person committing a


further offence while on release on temporary licence, it is still very


small. It was just 0.005%, which does not tally with your feeling


there being a large number of these types of violent offenders. There


were 200 abscondings last year. It is 20 if you extrapolate that to


Ford prison. These high profile cases alarm the public and that is


my concern. There is no doubt that high profile cases alarm the public


but is it the right thing to do to try and stop violent offenders when


they come to the end of their sentence and they are considered


eligible for day release? Should it be reviewed? Should they get that


right? Clearly something has gone wrong because the Skull Cracker


should not have been considered for early release and should not have


been sent to an open prison in the first place. He has inadvertently


done us a favour because he exposes the myth that people go down for


long terms and remain in jail for long terms. I suspect what we need


is some honesty in the sentencing policy going forward so when it says


ten years it means ten years and people can have trust in the system.


Why has the Government is not done anything to make the sentences mean


what they say? Chris Grayling is talking the talk but he is not


walking the walk. They have toughened up but this Government is


constrained. If you talk to any Conservative, they want tougher


sentences and honesty but the constraint has been the state of the


public finances. There is huge pressure within the Conservative


Party to have much more honest sentencing. Because it is wrong.


When you hear a judge handing down a ten year sentence and you calculate


that he will be out in five, it is almost hoodwinking the public in


terms of the severity of the sentence being passed down. Do you


think the Government has done enough? I don't but they have been


hamstrung by judicial discretion. There was the case of an old age


pensioner knocked down by a single punch. The four year jail term meted


out to the attacker was considered adequate, despite the fact that many


people would feel that man should have gone to prison for a great deal


longer. Judicial discretion means that ministers are hamstrung to some


extent. They have done some things but the idea that ten years will


mean ten years, Chris Grayling will have a very hard time enacting that


policy. He has asked the Council to review it sentences for


manslaughter. That shows the direction of travel this Government


is taking. But if you are saying judicial discretion, are you saying


that shouldn't exist? Do we want a public vote on these things? For


political decisions to make them? That is dangerous. If we had public


voting, people would be hanged and drawn. The fact is that Chris


Grayling has a hard time convincing judges of the things he wants to do.


Quite often he can insist on something and have it overridden by


the Court of Appeal or Europe. But that the battle over mandatory life


sentences remaining mandatory and people being locked away forever. It


only replies to a very tiny number of people, the very worst offenders


in society, but there is a battle royal row over that in Europe at the


moment. Let's talk about Nick Clegg's report that he has written


today. He says a six-month sentence sounds tough but it is too harsh for


possession of a penknife, albeit possession of that knife for a


second time. Is he wrong? It is a question of judgement. We need tough


sentences for serious issues. What about possession of a penknife? It


can be. The case of a teacher being stabbed in school, why was that


people carrying a knife? Did he search for the knife in the school?


We need to send a clear message for society that carrying a sharp knife


with a view to committing a violent offence is a serious matter and we


should have tough sentences for these issues. Thank you.


The development of shale gas, which is extracted using the controversial


process of fracking, should be an urgent national priority. The House


of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has backed the Government's


commitment to shale gas, but says progress is being held back by


complex rules. Lord MacGregor chairs the Economic Affairs Committee and


joins me now. Why is it an urgent priority? Because the risks of not


going ahead as fast as we can very much greater than the very small


amount of risk involved in fracking. If we don't go ahead, we will not


get all the advantages that the American economy has had with


raising shale gas and oil. We have a real risk of energy in security.


Security problems of getting energy from Russia and elsewhere in an area


of the world which is pretty dangerous. The security risks


long-term of that supply of gas drying up a very great for us. There


are huge benefits to the public as a whole. The energy price, the effect


of shale gas and oil, industry will benefit, the environment will


benefit. The benefits are huge but the problem is that at the moment we


are being delayed by too many organisations having different


deadlines. The regulatory organisations have not got enough


coordination so it is difficult for companies to go ahead and do the


experimental drilling to see what shale gas we have got. I want to


know how far down the line we have gone of fracking to start with but


let's talk about the benefits. You talk like you know them already,


using America as a comparison. It is clear we are not America in terms of


size, scale, and potential damage to the environment and countryside. Is


it a fair comparison? I am not making a comparison with America, I


am just saying they have got huge benefits already by going ahead so


well. The benefits for us would be less than the United States and we


don't know until we do experimental drilling, and we have not done any


yet, how much potential is there. Some people estimate several decades


of gas supply and we have to find out. The benefit is to our


industries. America lost lots of energy intensive industries when


energy prices were high. Shale gas and oil has allowed these industries


to go back to America, with huge employment benefits. There will be


benefits with having their supply of our own. The opportunities are great


but we are not getting an fast enough to realise them. Why has the


exploratory stage not even got under way? You talk about complex


difficulties. I don't need to go into the detail but what is the main


block even to find out if there is shale gas? It is very complicated


for companies to apply for exploratory drilling. Since the


embargo on fracking was removed in 2012, we have not yet had an


application letter loan approval for experimental drilling. We make


proposals for not weakening the regulatory environment, because that


is important and we have a very good one, but streamlining it so that


companies will know how long it will take to go through the process, so


that there is better coordination between the agencies that deal with


the different aspects. Thank you for joining us. Marcus Adams has started


a campaign group in his local area in Sussex against fracking. Welcome


to the programme. You heard the benefits. Lord MacGregor says we


have to get on with it. Why do you disagree? I think the priorities


expressed in the report from the Lords that was published today are


frankly wrong. The primary responsibility should be to protect


people's health and the environment because once they are damaged, there


is no going back. Any oil and gas in the ground has been there for


millions of years and another couple of months waiting at ensuring that


we have an appropriate regulatory regime in place, that can be


properly monitored, I think is the right priority. You're not against


fracking per se, even though you talk about health risks. We heard


there that they believe the risks are extremely small. Contamination


to the water table, for example, and other environmental concerns. But


you are not against fracking in itself? I have to say that the more


research I have done, the more concerned I am. I'm very sceptical


that fracking can be undertaken safely. There is a wealth of


evidence coming out of America from creditable sources, universities,


the American Association of Paediatricians, identifying major


health risks to people living in proximity to fracking sites. Do


those concerns worry you? They would worry me if I was living next door


to a fracking site and that is the key difference here. Public opinion


has not been mobilised for fracking in a way that means it will take


place any time soon. That is partly, I think, because although George


Osborne has tried to minimise the tax burden for the firms in


question, not nearly enough has been done for local communities. They


have been offered a tiny amount of money to consider fracking in their


community. I perfectly understand by Chris Adams's concerned about what


is happening in his backyard. -- Marcus Adams. The financial


inducement is so minimal that why put up with the disruption? And if


you did not live in an area where they are possibly going to be


drilling for shale gas, would you mind? I don't want it in my back


garden and I don't want it in anyone's back garden. In my village


it equates to ?25 a head, so derisory. There is no amount of


money that could be given to compensate for the catastrophic


impact that it would have on the environment. This is in the South


Downs National Park, an area of outstanding natural beauty, a very


rural environment, and people chose to live there for those reasons.


They don't want mass industrialisation on their doorstep.


But do they want the lights to go out. This argument of energy


security is a myth. We get gas from Russia and Norway and soon the US


will start to export gas. It is incredible that any gas removed


through Fracking would be sold on the European market to the Germans


and French, who currently have a moratorium in place. This is about


money for a few people who have invested in this industry, not about


energy security. It George Osborne making a mistake by laying so much


stock in this being a game changer when it cannot be compared to the


kind of benefit that America has seen. It cannot and the idea that it


could be a game changer is probably a mistake. The energy firms have


been clear that it will not lead to a reduction in the price of your


bills. I wish I shared that complacency that we are fine on the


point of view of energy security. We know that Russia is frankly a rogue


state and if there was a problem in the Middle East, how easy would it


be to get supplies. So I think we need to get on with it but the


incentives for communities need to be massively upgraded. Literally one


mile down the road from where this post site is, the South Downs


National Park authority has refused permission for a solar farm. That is


a green energy. No one can understand that. The motivation for


extracting gas by hydraulic fracturing is about money. It is a


few people and mostly foreign financial backers hoping to make a


large amount from this. What about the political side, is this a


mistake for the Conservatives? I think so. There was an opinion poll


that said 74% of people were against changing the trespass laws. And I


have always been a Tory supporter. I think for Mr Cameron this could be


what the poll tax did for Mrs Thatcher. Is that overstating it? I


think it is. It is terrible for the areas where this is happening and


there is political damage for a sitting Conservative MP but perhaps


not for the country at large. Well Andrew Tyree represents your


constituency and he supports Fracking. Will you stand against


him? He does support Fracking but in this case he has lodged an


objection. He is open about this. He is in favour of Fracking but he is


not against high-rise locks but he said he would not want it close to


Chichester Cathedral. But perhaps if there was more compensation and it


was not in your back yard, would you be objecting in quite the same way


as Mac I absolutely would. A lot of people are object to or not because


they are ill informed. The Minister for energy has found time to spend a


day in Blackpool with this industry and people from the government


cannot find time to address the real concerns of people who will be


affected by this. And the mechanisms of Fracking, you can only extract


oil or gas from a very small radius. So we would need tens of thousands


of bees across the country and in that sense everyone is it. So I


think it will be a significant political issue in the coming years.


But you think it will still go ahead, once the companies have got


over the bureaucratic process, whatever those publications are


before they can start, do you think it will go ahead at a pace? I do but


I think the government has to do a lot more to mobilise public opinion


on its side. The process that we saw I just the tip of the iceberg. And


when people are mobilised they can stop something happen. So until the


government decides to take the battle on public opinion I fear it


will be an uphill battle, but I do think it will go ahead. And the --


do you think we will see more widespread protests? I think so. And


would I be willing to stand as an MP against it, I absolutely wood. And


not just on the anti-fracking ticket, I think people are generally


feeling disenfranchised. We had a case recently where West Sussex


County Council granted permission to Cuadrilla for exploratory work,


completely ignoring overwhelming public opinion against it.


As a former editor of the Daily Telegraph, Tony here was one of the


key players in the negotiations between the government and the press


over how to implement the recommendations of the Leveson


Inquiry. But ever since Lord Justice Leveson delivered his conclusions,


politicians and journalists have been unable to agree on how to


regulate the press without compromising press freedom. Adam


Fleming reports. It is the story that keeps on running. How much


should the state have to do with the press. Lord Justice Levenson heard


from pretty much everyone during his enquiry into the media a couple of


years ago. The attitude seems to be utterly cavalier. What does it


matter. You are famous you are asking for it. At midnight running


down a dark street on my own with ten big men chasing me. And the fact


that they had cameras meant that that was legal. But take away the


cameras, what have you got. I did not sleep for three nights. You


replay everything in your mind thinking, that makes sense. When his


final report was published he recommended a new system of


oversight. The key thing that papers should continue regulating


themselves but with an independent body overseeing them. Cue the


political wrangling. After some tortures negotiations involving


late-night pizza and Kit Kat, cross-party support coalesced around


a Royal Charter, a piece of paper issued by the Queen. It established


a recognition panel, a watchdog for the watchdog, if you like. That went


down badly with the newspaper industry who sought as a threat to


their independence. They pressed ahead in setting up their own


regulator which will start work this summer. We are promised it will have


more teeth than the old press complaints commission and recently


they hired Alan Moses as its first chair. He was the judge in the


Solheim murder trial. But some newspapers are not signing up. The


Guardian, Independent and the Financial Times. The FT said they


will set up their own process for handling complaints and crucially,


the body is not seeking recognition from the recognition panel


established under the Royal Charter. Confused? At times like these we


need a guru to explain what it means. The government are currently


saying they have no further role in this but will be called upon I'm


sure to stand by their pledge and pledges given by all other party


leaders, that they will implement Levenson in full. There has to be an


independent recognition system so they are headed for a collision of


some sort. And if that crashed does happen, the thorny issue of


regulating the press will be right back on the front page.


Joining me now is former Liberal Democrat MP, Evan Harris, who


campaigns for Hacked Off, the group which wants tougher press


regulation. And represents the suppress abuse. -- the victims of


press abuse. How is IPSO any different? Well the new body will


have the power to levy fines of ?1 million. It will have investigative


powers and be the most draconian body imaginable for the national


newspapers and they will live in fear of it. That is more funny but


also shocking. History teaches us, and Levenson said this, every time


there has been a scandal, the press say do not worry, we will sort it


out, we have got this new thing which will deliver everything that


the public want from us. And every time it turns out to be a sham. Lord


Levenson said this time, that produced their own thing, keep self


regulation, keep politicians out. But there has to be something that


says this is not a creature of the industry, it is effective and fair


and will provide arbitration and apologies, front-page apologies for


front-page libels. IPSO Does none of those things, by its own admission.


It will not have the power to direct apologies and everyone in the


public, I cannot find anyone who does not think that the regulator


should require newspapers when they have got it wrong, to apologise in


the same way as the crime was committed. That is what the press


would expect of the banks, of doctors, of lawyers. And rightly so.


I think Evan Harris has let the cat out of the bag inadvertently.


Politicians should not be able to direct the press. He wants to be


able to direct front-page apologies. Not me, an independent regulator. It


would be more passionate to say that Evan Harris, former Liberal Democrat


MP who had a problem with his expenses and was exposed, who is a


member of a party involved in the two biggest sex scandals of the year


and also represents a party that has no natural supporters on Fleet


Street. That has nothing to do with it. Say that to the people but I


represent, people who agree with me that there is no change. I was the


MP responsible for abolishing the blasphemy law which protects free


expression. My point is that you have a direct interest in this and


the MPs that wanted the Royal Charter... Let us just clarify and


come back to the issue of independence. You can trade insults


on both sides. He has slipped into the Daily Mail tactic of going for a


personal attack instead of debating the issue. Let us come back to the


issue of independence. IPSO, why cannot you seek some kind of


independent recognition that would be compliant with Levenson. By not


doing that do not play into the arguments being put forward by Evan


Harris that you're just going to be the same as the press complaints


commission before that, which will not have the trust of the public.


The key phrase is freedom of speech. You cannot have anything like a


little bit of regulation or a little bit of free speech. Either you have


free speech or you do not. There is no fence about incitement to crimes,


you said there should be no libel laws. Not at all. You chose to


apologise on page two for a full page spread attacking JK Rowling who


happened to have given evidence in the Leveson Inquiry. You libelled


her, you lost that case, you tried to stop them making a statement in


open court. And you buried the apology tucked away on page two. And


you want the new regulator to continue to allow that. But in a


sense of the system worked, there was an apology there was a fine and


they had to admit they were wrong. JK Rowling can afford good lawyers.


I'm speaking about ordinary people who dare not take on the press with


30 pockets. The press have to answer some serious questions. I pay


testament to what Tony did with the story about the MP expenses. Will


you now as deputy editor of the Daily Mail give an assurance that no


Daily Mail journalist will ever have to sign a gagging clause when they


leave the Daily Mail and you will not enforce any debt you have


imposed on them so far. I'm not working at the Daily Mail, I cannot


speak for them. I no longer read the Daily Telegraph, I am between jobs.


There should be gagging clauses in the press. To what end? I do not


think they should be. I'm bluntly unaware of such gagging clauses


relating to the behaviour of journalists and newspapers. To come


back to the press complaints commission. IPSO, it is going to be


in the same offices. Do we know how many staff it will have? That is


being worked on at the moment. It will be quite substantial, it will


be funded by the industry and have very strong powers. Newspapers are


frightened of the prospect. There are in mind that the press is


already heavily regulated with libel laws, the impact of the bribery act


being felt in newsrooms across the country. It did not stop the kind of


injustices that was heard during that no enquiry and people still


doubt it will be able to prevent a repeat of that. No one is looking to


defend what happened to sienna Miller but frankly that is a matter


for the police. IPSO, it has the same direct is as the press


complaints commission. The same company number, the same premises.


The same way of attritional mediation. The only independent


review of whether it complies with everything but Lord Levenson


wanted, a whole series of things, said it failed on 26 out of 38. It


is the press complaints commission all over again. I do not blame the


press for wanting to carry on as before. There will not be serving


editors on IPSO, the industry being run by the boys in it. Effectively


it is, because the appointments committee for IPSO contains Rupert


Murdoch's most loyal Lieutenant, the editor of The Times, himself found


to be wanting by the courts. Everson said there should be no direct


influence of the industry on the appointments. -- Lord Leveson. Why


don't you allow this to be inspected and audited by an independent body


and given the seal of approval? I think it will be transparent and it


will be audited and the work will be open. How? Audited by who? You


rightly don't think MPs should audit themselves so why should the press?


Without the Guardian and the Financial Times and the Independent


signing up to IPSO, doesn't that take away some of its credibility at


the beginning? It is less than ideal that the national press is not


united behind it. We will see what happens with the Guardian and the


Independent. The Financial Times has decided to go its own way, not least


for inconsistency. Everybody agreed the Press Complaints Commission


failed and it had those newspapers on its side. It has sunk below the


water line before it launches. The public will never trust any


regulatory system that rejects independent oversight. If you have


nothing to hide, why are you fearful of exposing the press regulator to


something like what you propose for the other industries that you quite


rightly should be holding to account? Isn't there a contradiction


there? No. This is not an issue that convulses the public in the way it


convulses Hacked Off. You will not tackle this issue in your papers and


that is the problem. I am welcoming our viewers in Scotland who have


been watching First Minister's Questions now.


Thank you. Yesterday, UKIP held an event in London to dispel charges


that it is racist. Nigel Farage said that the handful of candidates who


said stupid and offensive things did not represent the party and that the


event was a pivotal moment. The meeting, designed to highlight


UKIP's female, black and ethnic minority candidates, was disrupted


several times by protesters. Nigel Farage was in defiant mood. Let this


picture of me on the stage with these wonderful men and women from


all their different backgrounds and their United believe in being


British and being part of this country and wanting this country to


be free, independent, self-governing and proud, let this be UKIP's


moment. The reason we have taken this abuse over the last few weeks


is that for the first time in 100 years, a new, national, political


party has come along that has got the establishment rattled. We have


got them scared. Nigel Farage there. Joining me now is his right-hand


man, deputy leader Paul Nuttall. Welcome to the programme. Why do you


think you attract so many people with views that most people would


consider unpalatable for a political party and you yourself consider


unpalatable for a political party? I don't think we do. Hang on. All


political parties attract certain types. Some very strange people


indeed. The difference with us is that we deal with the problems that


we have. We deal with it swiftly and we kick them out. Only 0.3% of our


2350 candidates have been found to have a problem. We have dealt with


it. Unfortunately I could not attend the event last night but I have been


told it was fantastic. If you have to have an event, and you look at


Nigel Farage surrounded by candidates were black and ethnic


minority groups, doesn't that suggest there is a problem if you


have to make such a big deal about it? The media have made a problem


for us probably since 2004. I think it was the Independent that cold as


the BNP in blazers. It has continued from there. -- that called us. There


is a sitting Conservative that used to be part of the BNP, and a Liberal


Democrat being done for racially aggravated assault, and the


Conservatives have somebody being done for machete and immigrants. You


don't read about this in the newspapers, but if you substituted


those words will UKIP it would be front-page news. UKIP should not be


so thin-skinned. It is a sign that they are threat the established


political class that proper scrutiny is being applied to the candidates


for the first time. Their processes have been found wanting and they


have a larger number of head-bangers and other parties, which shows that


they are a virgin party and it shows that they are being tested and taken


seriously in a way they were not previously. I agree, actually. It is


about being on the top table. So don't moan. I don't think you can


call it scrutiny because it should have an even playing field and it is


looking like a witch hunt. The one thing people don't like is seeing


the smallest boy in the playground being bullied. It might work in


America and Australia but not in this country and it is


counter-productive. You have blamed a small lots of people in the party,


you have dealt with it, and you say there are similar cases in other


parties. It is not just other people on the sidelines of your party.


There is this nationalistic use of language. Nigel Farage has said that


London is experiencing a Romanian crimewave and people should beware


if a Romanian family moves into their street. That is divisive


language, isn't it? But it is true. But is it nationalistic language and


divisive? It is true. A huge percentage is committed by Romanian


gangs. If that is not a crime waves, I don't know what is. Would


you say it is xenophobic to make that kind of statement even if you


believe it is true? No, it is true. But is it xenophobic? To talk about


all nations of people. I am not saying if it is right or wrong. But


can you access that even if the Tim Raikes this has not been correctly


used, is the party xenophobic about foreigners? -- the term racist has


not been correctly used. No. If you look at our policy it is utterly


anti-racist. We just want a points -based system for everyone. If you


are an Indian brain surgeon it can be very difficult to get into this


country but a low skilled migrant from Eastern Europe can come and


claim benefits and work willy-nilly. That is not correct. We want a


system that provides complete equality, like Australia. A points


-based system. If you have the skills that we need, please come and


work. It is not racist. Let's talk about the local elections. One of


the big things we have talked about is a lack of a base for UKIP. You


get headlines for this sort of event and talking about the EU, but you


are not breaking through on the bread and butter issues that local


people have. You admitted that last time. Has it changed? We had the


local election launch this morning. I think UKIP has changed over three


years. It has gone from being strictly EU focused to focusing on


local Government. In 2013 we got 147 people elected to county councils up


and down the country and they are doing a fantastic job and they have


the highest attendance record of any political party as counsellors. We


are putting more candidates forward than ever before. I think we will


get hundreds of councillors elected on May the 22nd. There is an


admission from UKIP that they have not made breakthroughs up until now.


They have not got enough representation at a local level. Do


you think that will change in the local elections this time? We know


about the European elections. I think it will. I don't think they


will have a single MP in 2015 but if they get the local breakthrough, the


danger for the Conservatives will be feet and boots on the ground in 2015


to do enough damage and denied Tory MPs a majority. They will not be a


mass force in local Government but they are a dangerous force from the


point of view of the Conservatives. Do you think UKIP is a blip? I don't


actually. I think it is one of the most interesting political


phenomenon is we have seen in recent years. Attacks on Nigel Farage have


backfired so spectacular because he is seen as the anti-politics


candidate, none of the above. The problem they are having, it is all


being ignored by the opinion polls. People want to give a bloody nose to


political parties of any stripes, and Nigel Farage effectively


represents none of the above. You do need a breakthrough at local


elections otherwise it is just Nigel Farage and Hugh, to a lesser extent.


And it can't carry on like that. -- and you. We know that local


elections are the Trojan Horse for Westminster. Paddy Ashdown was


brilliant in the way he demonstrated that. Two thirds of our vote comes


from people who don't vote Conservative. We are now taking more


votes in the North of England than ever before and we are making


serious inroads into the big areas like Liverpool, Manchester and


Newcastle. The reason UKIP is so exciting is because we are the


outsiders. It is not like the SDP in the early 1980s because they all


came from within the establishment and they had all been laboured


cabinet ministers. We are the outsiders and we are shaking up


British politics. Thank you. Earlier we were talking about the


arrest of the so-called Skull Cracker Michael Wheatley and how he


was able to abscond again after he was given 13 life sentences for


raids on banks and building societies in 2002. He had gone on


the run twice in the past, and each time he staged a series of violent


robberies, before he was caught and re-jail. He absconded from Stanford


Hill Broken -- open prison in Kent. I am now joined by Juliet Lyon from


the prison reform traffic. Well done for battling your way through the


traffic and making it. Were you surprised to hear that someone like


that was in an open prison? No, that is the purpose of open prisons. They


are designed for people who have served a serious offence and a


seriously long sentence, and the point is that they unable to be --


people to go from a closed world back to society. It is at the end of


a long sentence when people readjust and are assessed by staff so I was


not surprised. He was considered for parole after eight years despite


having 13 life sentences. I don't know his individual case. I think he


served something like 12 years, beyond the minimum term that he had


been given certainly. 12 or 13, I think. But should violent offenders


like murderers and sex offenders be banned from open prison? Is it not a


good idea to consider anybody who has considered that -- committed


that kind of crime? It is the opposite. You need an open prison


system in order for people to come out safely into the community and


the vast majority of people do. In a prison population of 84,000, fewer


than 50 are serving whole life tariffs, and they will stay in


forever and everyone else will come out. I would rather in terms of


public safety see somebody come out in a series of steps, rather than


simply walking out of a prison gate, hearing it slammed behind


them, and going out to find work and housing and contact their family,


all of which will cut reoffending rates. Open prisons test people out


in the community. What do you say? That is common sense but


unfortunately the Skull Cracker is a bad example. Something went wrong in


the system for him to go to the open prisons so soon. Nobody doubts the


value of the open prison but clearly the Skull Cracker should never have


been a candidate for the open prison. Not at this stage anyway.


Are people scrutinised carefully so that they do not get these rights


automatically? Indeed they don't. I hope this case is not typical


because people are assessed very thoroughly. They have to be assessed


by the parole board, which is a very thorough process. They have to be


assessed within the prison and they need approval of the governor. Cases


like this are signed off by the Secretary of State for justice.


There will be a series of checks and balances. This person will have gone


through all that and has ended up absconding. The point I want to make


is actually this is an unusually safe system. If you look at release


on temporary licence and at 2012, there were 485,000 days served in


the community by people released on temporary licence, which would


include the two men from Brixton prison who served time in our office


and worked diligently and hard, in a very good way. Out of that number, I


think it was only 0.005%... Yes, that was that statistic that I used


earlier. Only that small percentage was a failure. So one case can ramp


up the media reaction which destroys what the prison service is trying to


do in a balanced and sensible way. Thank you. Now, Marks and Spencer,


Tesco, Morrisons and the Co-op have confirmed that their lamb imported


from New Zealand is halal-slaughtered. Yesterday The Sun


newspaper revealed that all chicken served in Pizza Express restaurants


was halal, although not labelled as such. We were hoping to be joined by


Dr Shuja Shafi from the Muslim Council of Britain. But he has also


been thwarted by the London traffic. Are you shocked by the the


revelation that supermarkets are serving halal meat without it being


labelled? I was. Anyone walking into a supermarket now concede that their


food is traceable. You can trace the origin of the cut of beef dating


back to the BSE scandal so it was surprising to discover that most of


the halal products are not labelled as such. Do you think people have


been duped, to use the word that was reported in some newspapers? I think


that is perhaps overstating it. I think there is a lack of


transparency and the supermarkets should be labelling them eat


accordingly. We cannot afford to be pretty, if you're killing an animal


it has got to be a bloody and brutal business. But the products just need


to be labelled. How do you think we have got to situation where we have


supermarket change that chains as well as food outlets actually


serving food without explaining how it was killed? I think there is a


gap in the legislation which means they do not have to explain all of


that. It seems that a number of them have chosen the option of default


halal meat because they know there is a small constituency very


concerned about that. Most people are not offered one way or the


other. I think if there was just clear labelling they would get


themselves out of this pickle. If not this will only end badly for the


supermarket. The horse meat scandal saw a collapse in the sale of ready


meals. Last week a ban on the import of


Indian mangoes was brought in by the EU following an outbreak of fruit


flies. Leicester East MP Keith Vaz told David Cameron during PMQs that


hundreds of businesses in this country were losing out because of


the ban. It was imposed because of fears that the flies could


contaminate home-grown tomatoes and cucumbers. Here's what Keith Vaz had


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


effect. As a result hundreds of businesses in Leicester and


throughout 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 have his first conversation with the new Indian


Prime Minister. Will he do his best to reverse this ban so we keep the


special relationship with India which he and his predecessors have


worked so hard to maintain and so we can have delicious mangoes once


again. There are concerns about particular cross contamination in


terms of British crops and British interests so we have to make sure


that that is got right. But I understand how strongly he feels and


how strongly the Indian community feel in this country and I look


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


now is Vivek Singh, an Indian chef and founder of one of Westminster's


culinary hot spots, the Cinnamon Club. Thank you for bringing us this


delicious food, all Mango based. What is your reaction to the ban,


bearing in mind that this could be a risk to British crops. Correct and


on that basis alone, that aspect of it is something to be taken


seriously. But we deal with food and one of the big reasons why London is


a global food capital is because of its ability to bring in the very


best produce from all over the world. And these mangoes are just


one of these things, it is such a short season and so wonderfully


appreciated everywhere. And we have gotten used to those mangoes for so


many years. So you want the ban to be lifted immediately? I would like


to be, subject to certain things being met. If we can get assurances


that certain processes can be put into place, where pest dangers could


be minimised, I would like to see off on so mangoes on the menu. Do


think that the ban is to do cranny in the smack -- draconian? I do. I


know that there is a trade in contraband mangoes taking place at


the moment! Are they so popular? They are popular in the Indian


community, usually popular as well in the foodie community mainly


because the season is so short. They cannot be replicated anywhere else.


You have got a supporter here, clearly. How much damage with the


band do to the industry here? Well I do not want to trivialise the issue


by saying we would lose out on six weeks of Mango deserts on the menu.


But it is a big industry, there are so many farmers. The business is


worth millions and it has been seriously affected. The only upside


is that my Indian friends back in India have plenty of mangoes to try


this season. If there is a risk and we have got a problem with fruit


flies coming in on the imports and that could affect British produce,


is that not a serious enough issue to be taken to task with Mac it


cannot be ignored by the Indian authorities are saying that they


have tackled that issue. If you try other varieties of Mango they're not


nearly as nice. Tell us what these are. This is Mango and cardamom. But


it has been made with tinned Mango puree. You just have to use your


imagination a little bit. The Indian mangoes, mangoes generally are


considered the king of all fruit but the Indian varieties are the king of


all. Unbelievably delicious. But if the authorities said they have to


look into these things then surely it has to be taken seriously. If it


is short-term, and they said they are working closely with their


Indian partners, if it is short-term, with it do any lasting


damage? Not really except that the season itself is very short, the


window is just a few weeks. So I hope it does not take too long to


have get it resolved. Perhaps we should not have the desert first!


This is a Mango chutney knee. This is a savoury application. You can


lean across so I do not drop it. And I will give you another spoon to


try. It is amazing. The only thing I have a problem with is how to cut


the mangoes in the first place. They are messy. I will try it after the


programme! Thank you very much for bringing in this amazing food. And


we will move on. Tony Gallagher, as well as being a high-profile


newspaper editor is also a dab hand in the kitchen. In between editorial


jobs he recently spent a few weeks working as a chef in a London


restaurant. There has always been a close link between politicians and


fine dining. He is Charles still not with the rundown of the top five


eligible restaurants. -- political restaurants. At five the Hungarian


hang-out in Soho. The social scene for socialists who want to be seen


dining out. The Gay Hussaar. At number four, Kennington tandoori.


Ken Clarke pops down regularly and has his own table.


At number three and within smelling distance of the House of Commons is


the Cinnamon Club. This posh with Mr Indian is the place for hush-hush


chats. Great food and make sure that someone else's pain. At number two,


the heart of culinary Tory land, in Belgravia. Opposed brand you'll


visit to the cigar terrace is de rigueur. Granita at number one.


Gordon Brown opted for the humble pie that took ten years to digests.


Vivek, York favourite political customer at the Cinnamon Club was


Mac who has not been to the Cinnamon Club was Mac we are very lucky. We


are talking about famous political characters. Is it a fun being a


restaurant in the heart of Westminster? Do you see and hear


things that are juicy? Personally not, I'm down in the kitchen. But we


do get a lot of people coming to the restaurant expecting to bump into


politicians and famous people. Your favourite lunch? In terms of


political restaurants it would be none of the above, none of those


five. Mainly because your worst nightmare having lunch with a


politician is that there is a newspaper hack at another table. And


when your story emerges later they can trace it back to that


politician. So I try to find places that are off the beaten track where


I will never run into other members of the political and media class. So


is that the secret? I'm danger of being unkind but the political class


do like traditional places. A lot of red meat. If you want to fine dining


you have to go off the beaten track. You go out of Westminster these


days? I do. I tend to go to places where the food will be brilliant,


hopefully we will learn something interesting and no one will overhear


a conversation. Who is the most entertaining to take out? I had


dinner with Boris Johnson last year and the entire restaurant stood up


to applaud him on the way out the door which was a revelation. Last


year in one restaurant they had locked Tony Blair and Peter


Mandelson in a private easement area and cleared the restaurant until


they had left. What it is to be famous! Boris has caused the most


drama, people stop eating when they see him. This is the one thing we


find with the Cinnamon Club, no one stops! That's all for today. Thanks


to our guests. Andrew may have left me today, but he will be on BBC One


tonight for This Week with Ruby Wax, Dan Hodges, James Landale, Diane


Abbott, Miranda Green and Michael Portillo at 11:35pm. And he will be


here again at noon tomorrow with all the big political stories of the


day. Goodbye. It's shocking it'd happen


in a public place. I don't find it funny,


but I don't find it offensive. It really is vile.


Shock value sells.


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