08/05/2014 Daily Politics


08/05/2014

Jo Coburn is joined by former Daily Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher to discuss the top political stories of the day.


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

:00:40.:00:46.

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

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

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

:00:56.:01:01.

being labelled as such. Should we be told?

:01:02.:01:04.

18 months after Lord Justice Levenson published his inquiry into

:01:05.:01:08.

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

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

:01:14.:01:16.

Indian mangoes are a former Fleet Street editor. And

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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started a political debate around the treatment of violent criminals,

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

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prison and subject today release. Attempts to reduce the prison

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population mean that almost all criminals given custodial sentences

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

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Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said this week that early release

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

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

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the issue become an election battle ground? Reports suggest the

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Conservatives will include plans to reform key parts of the criminal

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

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

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right through good behaviour, and by taking part in rehabilitation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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terms of hearing the news that somebody like Michael Wheatley was

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

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

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

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

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automatically. At all? The Government is reviewing the

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conditions that apply for early release and transfer to open

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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right? Clearly something has gone wrong because the Skull Cracker

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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public finances. There is huge pressure within the Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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longer. Judicial discretion means that ministers are hamstrung to some

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

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

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

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manslaughter. That shows the direction of travel this Government

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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sentences remaining mandatory and people being locked away forever. It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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should have tough sentences for these issues. Thank you.

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

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

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of Lords Economic Affairs Committee has backed the Government's

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

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complex rules. Lord MacGregor chairs the Economic Affairs Committee and

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

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

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

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get all the advantages that the American economy has had with

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

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

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of the world which is pretty dangerous. The security risks

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

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

:10:29.:10:32.

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

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

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are being delayed by too many organisations having different

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deadlines. The regulatory organisations have not got enough

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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industries. America lost lots of energy intensive industries when

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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for companies to apply for exploratory drilling. Since the

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

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application letter loan approval for experimental drilling. We make

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proposals for not weakening the regulatory environment, because that

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

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

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that there is better coordination between the agencies that deal with

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

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

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

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

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

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frankly wrong. The primary responsibility should be to protect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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there that they believe the risks are extremely small. Contamination

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

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

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

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

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evidence coming out of America from creditable sources, universities,

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the American Association of Paediatricians, identifying major

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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money that could be given to compensate for the catastrophic

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

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

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

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They don't want mass industrialisation on their doorstep.

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

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

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

:15:54.:15:58.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:16:38.:16:41.

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

:16:42.:16:45.

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

:16:46.:16:51.

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

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

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incentives for communities need to be massively upgraded. Literally one

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

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

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

:17:18.:17:22.

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

:17:23.:17:27.

few people and mostly foreign financial backers hoping to make a

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

:17:33.:17:37.

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

:17:38.:17:46.

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

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

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

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

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there is political damage for a sitting Conservative MP but perhaps

:18:14.:18:21.

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

:18:22.:18:23.

constituency and he supports Fracking. Will you stand against

:18:24.:18:29.

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

:18:30.:18:36.

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

:18:37.:18:40.

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

:18:41.:18:47.

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

:18:48.:18:53.

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

:18:54.:18:58.

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

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

:19:05.:19:12.

day in Blackpool with this industry and people from the government

:19:13.:19:17.

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

:19:18.:19:21.

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

:19:22.:19:27.

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

:19:28.:19:31.

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

:19:32.:19:36.

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

:19:37.:19:43.

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

:19:44.:19:46.

over the bureaucratic process, whatever those publications are

:19:47.:19:52.

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

:19:53.:19:56.

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

:19:57.:20:03.

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

:20:04.:20:07.

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

:20:08.:20:12.

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

:20:13.:20:17.

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

:20:18.:20:22.

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

:20:23.:20:30.

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

:20:31.:20:33.

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

:20:34.:20:38.

feeling disenfranchised. We had a case recently where West Sussex

:20:39.:20:46.

County Council granted permission to Cuadrilla for exploratory work,

:20:47.:20:50.

completely ignoring overwhelming public opinion against it.

:20:51.:20:59.

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

:21:00.:21:02.

key players in the negotiations between the government and the press

:21:03.:21:05.

over how to implement the recommendations of the Leveson

:21:06.:21:07.

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

:21:08.:21:09.

politicians and journalists have been unable to agree on how to

:21:10.:21:12.

regulate the press without compromising press freedom. Adam

:21:13.:21:19.

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

:21:20.:21:24.

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

:21:25.:21:29.

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

:21:30.:21:33.

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

:21:34.:21:39.

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

:21:40.:21:46.

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

:21:47.:21:50.

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

:21:51.:21:56.

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

:21:57.:22:01.

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

:22:02.:22:06.

final report was published he recommended a new system of

:22:07.:22:12.

oversight. The key thing that papers should continue regulating

:22:13.:22:14.

themselves but with an independent body overseeing them. Cue the

:22:15.:22:19.

political wrangling. After some tortures negotiations involving

:22:20.:22:26.

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

:22:27.:22:29.

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

:22:30.:22:34.

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

:22:35.:22:40.

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

:22:41.:22:42.

their independence. They pressed ahead in setting up their own

:22:43.:22:47.

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

:22:48.:22:50.

more teeth than the old press complaints commission and recently

:22:51.:22:54.

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

:22:55.:23:00.

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

:23:01.:23:04.

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

:23:05.:23:09.

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

:23:10.:23:12.

the body is not seeking recognition from the recognition panel

:23:13.:23:19.

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

:23:20.:23:22.

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

:23:23.:23:27.

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

:23:28.:23:30.

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

:23:31.:23:35.

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

:23:36.:23:41.

independent recognition system so they are headed for a collision of

:23:42.:23:46.

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

:23:47.:23:50.

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

:23:51.:23:56.

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

:23:57.:24:00.

campaigns for Hacked Off, the group which wants tougher press

:24:01.:24:06.

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

:24:07.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:35.

powers and be the most draconian body imaginable for the national

:24:36.:24:39.

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

:24:40.:24:53.

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

:24:54.:24:59.

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

:25:00.:25:03.

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

:25:04.:25:07.

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

:25:08.:25:12.

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

:25:13.:25:18.

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

:25:19.:25:23.

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

:25:24.:25:28.

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

:25:29.:25:36.

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

:25:37.:25:40.

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

:25:41.:25:45.

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

:25:46.:25:48.

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

:25:49.:25:54.

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

:25:55.:26:00.

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

:26:01.:26:06.

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

:26:07.:26:13.

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

:26:14.:26:20.

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

:26:21.:26:27.

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

:26:28.:26:34.

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

:26:35.:26:37.

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

:26:38.:26:44.

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

:26:45.:26:47.

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

:26:48.:26:58.

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

:26:59.:27:04.

MP responsible for abolishing the blasphemy law which protects free

:27:05.:27:10.

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

:27:11.:27:15.

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

:27:16.:27:18.

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

:27:19.:27:29.

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

:27:30.:27:32.

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

:27:33.:27:46.

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

:27:47.:27:50.

independent recognition that would be compliant with Levenson. By not

:27:51.:27:56.

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

:27:57.:28:00.

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

:28:01.:28:03.

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

:28:04.:28:08.

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

:28:09.:28:12.

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

:28:13.:28:18.

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

:28:19.:28:23.

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

:28:24.:28:29.

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

:28:30.:28:37.

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

:28:38.:28:41.

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

:28:42.:28:46.

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

:28:47.:28:52.

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

:28:53.:28:57.

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

:28:58.:29:04.

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

:29:05.:29:07.

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

:29:08.:29:12.

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

:29:13.:29:16.

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

:29:17.:29:24.

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

:29:25.:29:26.

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

:29:27.:29:31.

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

:29:32.:29:37.

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

:29:38.:29:42.

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

:29:43.:29:46.

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

:29:47.:29:53.

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

:29:54.:29:58.

relating to the behaviour of journalists and newspapers. To come

:29:59.:30:02.

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

:30:03.:30:09.

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

:30:10.:30:15.

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

:30:16.:30:17.

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

:30:18.:30:22.

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

:30:23.:30:26.

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

:30:27.:30:31.

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

:30:32.:30:37.

injustices that was heard during that no enquiry and people still

:30:38.:30:41.

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

:30:42.:30:46.

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

:30:47.:30:51.

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

:30:52.:30:55.

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

:30:56.:31:00.

The same way of attritional mediation. The only independent

:31:01.:31:07.

review of whether it complies with everything but Lord Levenson

:31:08.:31:11.

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

:31:12.:31:17.

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

:31:18.:31:22.

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

:31:23.:31:33.

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

:31:34.:31:39.

it is, because the appointments committee for IPSO contains Rupert

:31:40.:31:43.

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

:31:44.:31:48.

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

:31:49.:31:52.

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

:31:53.:31:57.

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

:31:58.:32:01.

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

:32:02.:32:05.

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

:32:06.:32:12.

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

:32:13.:32:17.

Without the Guardian and the Financial Times and the Independent

:32:18.:32:22.

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

:32:23.:32:27.

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

:32:28.:32:31.

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

:32:32.:32:35.

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

:32:36.:32:41.

for inconsistency. Everybody agreed the Press Complaints Commission

:32:42.:32:46.

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

:32:47.:32:52.

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

:32:53.:32:55.

regulatory system that rejects independent oversight. If you have

:32:56.:33:00.

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

:33:01.:33:05.

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

:33:06.:33:09.

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

:33:10.:33:14.

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

:33:15.:33:20.

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

:33:21.:33:24.

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

:33:25.:33:27.

been watching First Minister's Questions now.

:33:28.:33:33.

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

:33:34.:33:37.

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

:33:38.:33:42.

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

:33:43.:33:46.

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

:33:47.:33:51.

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

:33:52.:33:55.

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

:33:56.:34:00.

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

:34:01.:34:04.

all their different backgrounds and their United believe in being

:34:05.:34:07.

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

:34:08.:34:13.

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

:34:14.:34:20.

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

:34:21.:34:24.

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

:34:25.:34:29.

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

:34:30.:34:34.

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

:34:35.:34:38.

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

:34:39.:34:42.

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

:34:43.:34:46.

consider unpalatable for a political party and you yourself consider

:34:47.:34:51.

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

:34:52.:34:56.

political parties attract certain types. Some very strange people

:34:57.:35:00.

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

:35:01.:35:05.

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

:35:06.:35:12.

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

:35:13.:35:16.

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

:35:17.:35:21.

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

:35:22.:35:24.

Nigel Farage surrounded by candidates were black and ethnic

:35:25.:35:27.

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

:35:28.:35:31.

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

:35:32.:35:37.

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

:35:38.:35:42.

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

:35:43.:35:51.

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

:35:52.:35:56.

Democrat being done for racially aggravated assault, and the

:35:57.:36:00.

Conservatives have somebody being done for machete and immigrants. You

:36:01.:36:03.

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

:36:04.:36:11.

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

:36:12.:36:15.

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

:36:16.:36:20.

political class that proper scrutiny is being applied to the candidates

:36:21.:36:24.

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

:36:25.:36:27.

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

:36:28.:36:31.

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

:36:32.:36:35.

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

:36:36.:36:43.

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

:36:44.:36:48.

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

:36:49.:36:52.

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

:36:53.:36:55.

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

:36:56.:36:59.

America and Australia but not in this country and it is

:37:00.:37:02.

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

:37:03.:37:06.

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

:37:07.:37:11.

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

:37:12.:37:15.

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

:37:16.:37:20.

London is experiencing a Romanian crimewave and people should beware

:37:21.:37:24.

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

:37:25.:37:29.

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

:37:30.:37:36.

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

:37:37.:37:39.

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

:37:40.:37:45.

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

:37:46.:37:51.

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

:37:52.:37:55.

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

:37:56.:37:59.

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

:38:00.:38:04.

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

:38:05.:38:12.

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

:38:13.:38:16.

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

:38:17.:38:20.

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

:38:21.:38:23.

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

:38:24.:38:28.

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

:38:29.:38:31.

system that provides complete equality, like Australia. A points

:38:32.:38:35.

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

:38:36.:38:43.

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

:38:44.:38:45.

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

:38:46.:38:52.

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

:38:53.:38:55.

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

:38:56.:38:59.

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

:39:00.:39:04.

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

:39:05.:39:08.

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

:39:09.:39:15.

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

:39:16.:39:18.

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

:39:19.:39:24.

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

:39:25.:39:27.

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

:39:28.:39:33.

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

:39:34.:39:36.

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

:39:37.:39:40.

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

:39:41.:39:44.

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

:39:45.:39:49.

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

:39:50.:39:53.

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

:39:54.:39:57.

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

:39:58.:40:02.

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

:40:03.:40:07.

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

:40:08.:40:11.

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

:40:12.:40:17.

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

:40:18.:40:19.

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

:40:20.:40:26.

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

:40:27.:40:30.

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

:40:31.:40:37.

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

:40:38.:40:43.

political parties of any stripes, and Nigel Farage effectively

:40:44.:40:46.

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

:40:47.:40:50.

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

:40:51.:40:57.

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

:40:58.:41:04.

elections are the Trojan Horse for Westminster. Paddy Ashdown was

:41:05.:41:07.

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

:41:08.:41:12.

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

:41:13.:41:15.

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

:41:16.:41:19.

serious inroads into the big areas like Liverpool, Manchester and

:41:20.:41:23.

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

:41:24.:41:28.

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

:41:29.:41:30.

came from within the establishment and they had all been laboured

:41:31.:41:35.

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

:41:36.:41:40.

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

:41:41.:41:43.

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

:41:44.:41:46.

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

:41:47.:41:51.

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

:41:52.:41:57.

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

:41:58.:42:03.

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

:42:04.:42:15.

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

:42:16.:42:19.

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

:42:20.:42:22.

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

:42:23.:42:27.

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

:42:28.:42:31.

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

:42:32.:42:36.

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

:42:37.:42:44.

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

:42:45.:42:55.

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

:42:56.:43:00.

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

:43:01.:43:05.

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

:43:06.:43:09.

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

:43:10.:43:13.

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

:43:14.:43:17.

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

:43:18.:43:23.

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

:43:24.:43:30.

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

:43:31.:43:34.

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

:43:35.:43:39.

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

:43:40.:43:43.

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

:43:44.:43:47.

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

:43:48.:43:51.

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

:43:52.:43:55.

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

:43:56.:44:00.

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

:44:01.:44:07.

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

:44:08.:44:13.

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

:44:14.:44:16.

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

:44:17.:44:25.

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

:44:26.:44:28.

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

:44:29.:44:31.

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

:44:32.:44:39.

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

:44:40.:44:43.

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

:44:44.:44:47.

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

:44:48.:44:51.

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

:44:52.:44:54.

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

:44:55.:45:00.

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

:45:01.:45:04.

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

:45:05.:45:07.

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

:45:08.:45:15.

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

:45:16.:45:20.

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

:45:21.:45:26.

the community by people released on temporary licence, which would

:45:27.:45:29.

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

:45:30.:45:33.

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

:45:34.:45:41.

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

:45:42.:45:49.

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

:45:50.:45:53.

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

:45:54.:45:57.

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

:45:58.:46:04.

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

:46:05.:46:06.

from New Zealand is halal-slaughtered. Yesterday The Sun

:46:07.:46:08.

newspaper revealed that all chicken served in Pizza Express restaurants

:46:09.:46:12.

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

:46:13.:46:22.

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

:46:23.:46:29.

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

:46:30.:46:32.

revelation that supermarkets are serving halal meat without it being

:46:33.:46:39.

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

:46:40.:46:46.

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

:46:47.:46:53.

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

:46:54.:46:57.

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

:46:58.:47:04.

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

:47:05.:47:09.

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

:47:10.:47:12.

transparency and the supermarkets should be labelling them eat

:47:13.:47:15.

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

:47:16.:47:21.

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

:47:22.:47:27.

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

:47:28.:47:33.

supermarket change that chains as well as food outlets actually

:47:34.:47:38.

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

:47:39.:47:43.

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

:47:44.:47:47.

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

:47:48.:47:50.

halal meat because they know there is a small constituency very

:47:51.:47:56.

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

:47:57.:48:00.

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

:48:01.:48:03.

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

:48:04.:48:09.

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

:48:10.:48:13.

meals. Last week a ban on the import of

:48:14.:48:17.

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

:48:18.:48:20.

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

:48:21.:48:23.

hundreds of businesses in this country were losing out because of

:48:24.:48:28.

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

:48:29.:48:31.

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

:48:32.:48:43.

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

:48:44.:48:48.

effect. As a result hundreds of businesses in Leicester and

:48:49.:48:51.

throughout the UK will suffer millions of pounds of losses. There

:48:52.:48:55.

was no consultation with this House and no vote by British ministers.

:48:56.:48:58.

Next week he will have his first conversation with the new Indian

:48:59.:49:04.

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

:49:05.:49:08.

special relationship with India which he and his predecessors have

:49:09.:49:11.

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

:49:12.:49:16.

again. There are concerns about particular cross contamination in

:49:17.:49:22.

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

:49:23.:49:26.

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

:49:27.:49:30.

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

:49:31.:49:34.

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

:49:35.:49:38.

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

:49:39.:49:41.

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

:49:42.:49:49.

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

:49:50.:49:55.

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

:49:56.:50:01.

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

:50:02.:50:07.

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

:50:08.:50:11.

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

:50:12.:50:15.

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

:50:16.:50:20.

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

:50:21.:50:25.

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

:50:26.:50:30.

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

:50:31.:50:37.

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

:50:38.:50:41.

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

:50:42.:50:48.

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

:50:49.:50:55.

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

:50:56.:51:03.

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

:51:04.:51:09.

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

:51:10.:51:14.

community, usually popular as well in the foodie community mainly

:51:15.:51:20.

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

:51:21.:51:26.

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

:51:27.:51:34.

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

:51:35.:51:40.

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

:51:41.:51:45.

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

:51:46.:51:51.

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

:51:52.:51:56.

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

:51:57.:52:01.

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

:52:02.:52:04.

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

:52:05.:52:09.

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

:52:10.:52:16.

cannot be ignored by the Indian authorities are saying that they

:52:17.:52:20.

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

:52:21.:52:26.

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

:52:27.:52:33.

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

:52:34.:52:40.

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

:52:41.:52:46.

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

:52:47.:52:57.

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

:52:58.:53:00.

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

:53:01.:53:05.

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

:53:06.:53:09.

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

:53:10.:53:14.

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

:53:15.:53:19.

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

:53:20.:53:27.

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

:53:28.:53:38.

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

:53:39.:53:46.

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

:53:47.:53:53.

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

:53:54.:53:59.

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

:54:00.:54:11.

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

:54:12.:54:15.

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

:54:16.:54:20.

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

:54:21.:54:25.

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

:54:26.:54:31.

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

:54:32.:54:37.

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

:54:38.:54:43.

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

:54:44.:54:53.

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

:54:54.:55:01.

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

:55:02.:55:10.

Ken Clarke pops down regularly and has his own table.

:55:11.:55:17.

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

:55:18.:55:22.

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

:55:23.:55:27.

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

:55:28.:55:36.

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

:55:37.:55:45.

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

:55:46.:56:03.

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

:56:04.:56:13.

Vivek, York favourite political customer at the Cinnamon Club was

:56:14.:56:18.

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

:56:19.:56:24.

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

:56:25.:56:30.

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

:56:31.:56:34.

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

:56:35.:56:41.

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

:56:42.:56:47.

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

:56:48.:56:55.

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

:56:56.:57:00.

five. Mainly because your worst nightmare having lunch with a

:57:01.:57:05.

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

:57:06.:57:09.

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

:57:10.:57:14.

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

:57:15.:57:19.

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

:57:20.:57:28.

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

:57:29.:57:33.

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

:57:34.:57:39.

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

:57:40.:57:45.

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

:57:46.:57:49.

hopefully we will learn something interesting and no one will overhear

:57:50.:57:55.

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

:57:56.:58:04.

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

:58:05.:58:07.

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

:58:08.:58:11.

year in one restaurant they had locked Tony Blair and Peter

:58:12.:58:15.

Mandelson in a private easement area and cleared the restaurant until

:58:16.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:27.

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

:58:28.:58:35.

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

:58:36.:58:43.

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

:58:44.:58:47.

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

:58:48.:58:50.

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

:58:51.:58:54.

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

:58:55.:58:55.

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

:58:56.:59:07.

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

:59:08.:59:13.

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

:59:14.:59:15.

Shock value sells.

:59:16.:59:18.

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