27/10/2015 Daily Politics


27/10/2015

Jo Coburn is joined by journalist Toby Young for the latest political news, including the defeat for the government by the House of Lords on the issue of tax credits.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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My Lords, they have voted, contents 289, not contents, 272.

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Unelected peers are accused of committing

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a "constitutional outrage" as they frustrate the will

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of the elected Commons on cuts to tax credits.

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George Osborne says the Lords will have to be "dealt with" - but how?

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The Chancellor also says he's in listening mode

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But can he save face - and money - whilst softening the impact

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Jeremy Corbyn cedes some control of the Scottish Labour Party -

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can it help turn around the party's fortunes?

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We'll be talking to the party's leader in Scotland, Kezia Dugdale.

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And it may have an appalling human rights record, but is Britain's

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relationship with Saudi Arabia too important to put at risk?

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All that in the next hour and with us for the whole of the programme,

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the journalist and writer Toby Young.

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Someone who loves causing outrage, constitutional or otherwise. Welcome

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to the programme. Good afternoon. In the past few minutes, the

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Chancellor has faced the Commons, and the first time since last

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night's defeat, at Treasury questions. Let's listen to some of

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the exchanges. On five occasions in the last decade have the House of

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Lords blocked a statutory incident, never on a financial matter, and we

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had a whole range of opinions from Lord Butler to constitutional

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experts telling us yesterday that this was unprecedented. It is

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something we are going to have to address, the Prime Minister has made

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that very clear and that is what we are going to do, in order to make

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that very clear and that is what we sure the elected House of Commons is

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responsible for the tax and spend decisions that affect the people of

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this country. This is not a constitutional matter. They will

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lose ?1300 a year. Given what happened in the other place last

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night, can I reassure the Chancellor that if he brings forward proposals

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to reverse the cuts to tax credits fairly and in fall, he will not be

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attacked by this side of the House. Indeed... Indeed, he will be

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applauded. But can he assure us that whatever proposals he brings

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forward, he will not support any that an independent assessments

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demonstrates will cause any child to be forced to live below the poverty

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line? John McDonnell ending that piece.

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With me now are the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith and

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David Davies, what do you want to George Osborne to do precisely in

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his Autumn Statement to mitigate the impact of the tax credit cuts?

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Directly or indirectly to stage this change. The problem is what George

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wants to do is to have the increasing minimum wage,

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wants to do is to have the wage, take on the burden from the

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taxpayers. The trouble was, all of the

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taxpayers. The trouble was, all of national minimum wage does not get

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to its proper peak until the end of the parliament. Just put them in

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step, it is simple, the parliament. Just put them in

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would be satisfied and you think your colleagues would be satisfied?

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Broadly, yes, that's right. Do you agree with that, or do you want

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something more radical, some sort of reversal in the tax credit cuts

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themselves, not just an extra bit of money or a staging of the transition

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to mitigate the impact of those cuts? We have argued for repeal of

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them and we will be voting against in a couple of hours' time for

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repeal and the reason is, David is right, it will mitigate part of the

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change, even if George Osborne were to raise the national minimum wage

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to ?9 20, his excellent ambition, by 2020, even if you were to do that

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immediately, people on average would be worse off as a result of the

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cuts. It won't offset the amount of money the average family is set to

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lose as a result of the tax credit changes. Throw in the childcare

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allowance, throw in the personal tax allowance, add them up and they will

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still be, on average, worse off, so it is a bit of smoke and mirrors. So

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there is a divergences in what you want to see changed. I rest my case

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that it is complicated. This is a very complicated system and we have

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got some fine tuning to do but the simple truth is the staging will

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deal with most of the problem. Was this really the way to do it, to

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take on George Osborne and the Government in this way? I mean, he

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had already said, or rather he had sent out people representing him to

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say he was in listening mode. Wouldn't it have been better to hear

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what he had to say? That was quite late on. I voted against this back

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in September and the difficulty was we had a statutory instrument. It is

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very technical again, but it is put to the House of Commons in take it

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or leave it form. If you really want to reform it, there is a

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Parliamentary procedure, an act of Parliament and you go through

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reform. You don't say, here it is and I will think about it after the

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event. It is too difficult important and complex. That was a mistake, a

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tactical and strategic error, if you are just looking at it from up a

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little Parliamentary terms from George Osborne's perspective, to

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give the House of Lords room to say this is not a piece of legislation

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that we are forced to vote on because it is a money matter, we can

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take it as a welfare matter. It wasn't announced in the manifesto,

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we can vote against it in all good conscience. The Conservatives did

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say in the manifesto that they would find ?12 billion of savings from the

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working age welfare bill, so I don't think you can say it wasn't flagged

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at all. This is what the Lords will say. It was clearly right to get

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this change through as quickly as possible because George Osborne need

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to reduce the welfare bill if he is to meet his deficit target of

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bringing the books into balance in this Parliament. It may have been,

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in retrospect, quicker to include it in a Finance Bill but I think that

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is because he didn't anticipate that the House of Lords would behave so

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outrageously. And this judgment on his part? -- a misjudgement. And

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this judgment perhaps, but he probably didn't think they House of

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Lords would try and supplant the Labour Party as Her Majesty's

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opposition, which it effectively had to do because the Labour Party has

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abdicated from that role. Toby, one issue here, this is not coming into

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effect until April, there was plenty of time to take it through. You

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probably would have tried to have an end a Finance Bill. That is my job.

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Frank Field motion on Thursday only asks the Government to reconsider

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the impact, and that is what they have agreed to do in the Autumn

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Statement, so why ask them to do something they have agreed to do?

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They have not said anything specific. Stage it, is what I am

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asking. You will find a number of Tory MPs standing up in that debate

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talking about the sort of thing they want to see, it should be productive

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for a Government. It seems needlessly rebellious given that the

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Chancellor has conceded and will reconsider the impact of the changes

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on the low paid in the Autumn Statement. This is the House of

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Commons, it is our job to represent our constituents. Some of them will

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lose quite a lot of money out of this, people who can't afford to, so

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it is not just, yes, we will do something, it is what you are going

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to do, what the detail is, what the grand strategy is. You will hear on

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Thursday Tories and Labour, I suspect, all parties, we want to see

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the deficit dealt with in this Parliament and there are ways to do

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this which don't have that effect and that is the proper way to do it.

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Toby, let me put a question to you, because in the end, George Osborne

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and it seems you are blaming the Lords, calling it a constitutional

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outrage, but actually, this is what a lot of Tory MPs felt, they had

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stood up and made it very clear that they had a real problem with this

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tax credit cuts because of the impact on their constituents. We

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heard from David Willetts, even the Sun newspaper was criticising the

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Government, so in the end, the Lords did the deed but it was some people

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feel what a lot of people felt. If Conservative MPs felt they could not

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support this particular statue statutory instrument, they had three

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opportunities to vote against it, which is why it is outrageous that

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the unelected chamber has rejected it. All bills are voted on three

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times before they get to the House of Lords, it is another bogus

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argument. The House of Lords spoke for the country yesterday and 60% of

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people in Britain think George Osborne has got this wrong and we

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should not be penalising hard-working people for working

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hard, not balancing the books on their backs, which is why the House

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of Lords was dead right to reject this and the constitutional crisis

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is a total smoke screen. The House of Lords didn't straightforwardly

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rejected, they just said let's see if they plan to ameliorate it impact

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the first three years of its light, make the reforms to the tax credit

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system but don't let them kicking for three years, effectively nearer

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the election and have a greater penalty on the Conservatives. Would

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George Osborne be wrong to lessen the impact and should he stick to

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his guns? I think if he can find the way of meeting his deficit reduction

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target, finding those savings in the welfare budget that his party said

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they would find... And ameliorate the impact on those hardest hit, of

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course, but it is easier said than done. Do you think politically he

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should just stay firm, which is what some people are advising? It depends

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what you mean by state firm. He has already said he is going to look at

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way of ameliorating the impact on the hardest hit in the Autumn

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Statement and I don't suppose they will introduce another statutory

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instrument or include these measures in the Finance Bill until after the

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Autumn Statement. Which is the spot academics smart way to do it but the

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true that the moment is we don't know -- the smart way to do. The

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Treasury have never publish the interim figures and I have asked

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them several times. If we have those numbers, we can make a proper

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judgment and at the moment, we can't. There is one thing from a

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timing point of view and I will come to you in a moment, want ministers

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to delay the tax credit cuts or put in some sort of transitional stage.

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Over three years or in three years' time, that will be a year until the

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next General Election which will be then when the next cuts coming, it

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will be very difficult your party... I don't read the motion that way, I

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read it as changing year by year. In other words, each time the national

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minimum wage or the living wage goes up, you cut back on tax credits a

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bit more. That is why it is complex, but it is year by year, you can have

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a changing every year, that is one of the difficulties, but that

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doesn't put it all in for the General Election. John McDonnell

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said Labour would not make political capital out of this if George

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Osborne changed his mind. So we are not going to hear any criticism or

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mocking from the Labour Party since George Osborne has said he is going

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to do something about it? All you are going to hear from me is

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delighted that George Osborne has effectively admitted that he does

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need to revisit these plans, that it is going to hit the hard-working

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people of this country much harder than people had appreciated, that

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George Osborne and David Cameron lied to the British public when they

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said they weren't going to do this before the last election. That is

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why the House of Lords felt so strongly that they were able to make

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this statement. Is that making political capital out of it in the

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way the John McDonnell said he wouldn't? I am stating the truth.

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When a Prime Minister says on network television that he wasn't

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going to do something and then does it the other side... You are shaking

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your head. He was talking about child benefit. No, child tax

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credits. Did he lie? Do not talk over each other. David Davis, did he

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live? I don't think so, one of the problems was the Government started

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eliminating too many things and left a very small number of things to

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cut, that is where we ended up, but... Like pensions? I would prefer

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him to cut are things like free travel for pensioners. A lot of

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pensioners these days are quite well. We will have this conversation

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another time. Now the Mayor of London Boris

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Johnson not with George Osborne, his rival

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for the Conservative leadership - And he resisted the opportunity to

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have a sly dig at the Chancellor when he was asked about

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the tax credits defeat. I think George Osborne is absolutely

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right to want to reform a system that basically subsidises

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huge corporations, to the tune of billions

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of pounds of taxpayers' money. He is right to want

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to reform a system because what happens is they get

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their tax credits withdrawn as soon as they earn just a little

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bit more, and I think it is wrong of the House

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of Lords to get in the way of the sovereign expression

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of the will of Parliament. We're joined now by the

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Conservative MP Oliver Dowden, who, before the election, was one

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of David Cameron's closest advisors Welcome back. You may have heard

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David Davis talking about what he thinks the Chancellor should do,

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what do you think he is going to do to mitigate the impact of these

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cuts? I think the Chancellor has been very clear that first of all we

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need to stick with this overall direction of tax credit reform. We

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have to continue to reduce the deficit, both of which we promised

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during the election campaign. We promised to cut ?12 billion worth

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from welfare and get into a surplus but he has accepted there is a need

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appropriate time to do that is but he has accepted there is a need

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the Autumn Statement. You said he has been listening but he only acted

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after the defeat last night. It is interesting, this discussion.

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The measure was approved three times by the House of Commons than we had

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the extraordinary spectre of the Liberal Democrats, remember

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the extraordinary spectre of the fought against them in the election

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campaign, won the argument on welfare, they were reduced to eight

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MPs then welfare, they were reduced to eight

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legitimacy to use their welfare, they were reduced to eight

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the House of Commons to welfare, they were reduced to eight

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something introduced by a majority welfare, they were reduced to eight

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Government which was promised and clearly signalled

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Government which was promised and campaign. Are you

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Government which was promised and MPs were completely happy with the

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tax credit proposals MPs were completely happy with the

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opposition from people, from David MPs were completely happy with the

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Davis to David Willets, two backbench MPs and the Sun newspaper,

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that there backbench MPs and the Sun newspaper,

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your own site? Of course there was reservation to

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your own site? Of course there was properly debated in the House of

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Commons. We debated and opposition Day motion, the points were

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considered, but the considered view of the elected representatives,

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people who were elected by the electorate to go and represent them

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on matters of tax and spending, decided by a majority to endorse it

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and then unelected peers representing two parties, brand to

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be defeated in the last election chose to overturn it, and it is

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he giving you? The Chancellor has he giving you? The Chancellor has

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said all along he will listen, but he will not give in... Rightly or

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wrongly he has been forced to give in, he has pretty much accepted

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that. You will have to wait and see what he says in the Autumn

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Statement. He has been clear that we have a problem here, and the problem

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is that people on low pay have been paying tax on the minimum wage,

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having it recycled through the welfare system and then used to

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top-up their wages. So why doesn't he stick to his guns and take on the

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House of Lords? I think you will find he is sticking to his guns, to

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the principle that we have to reform tax credits. We cannot have this

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crazy situation where spending has gone from ?6 billion to ?30 billion.

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We need to deal with it and I think you will find he will deal with it.

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He said he would not budge and David Cameron said, we think the changes

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we have put forward are right, higher pay and lower taxes, but we

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-- but he has accepted they have to do something so he is, to some

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extent, not on the broad principle, going to have to give in and fold in

:18:06.:18:08.

what he wanted to do because of the defeats. Again, you made the point,

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which is that on tax credits we have a clear programme for reform. There

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are questions about the transition which the Chancellor has said he

:18:20.:18:23.

will address but on the fundamental principle, we promised to fight ?12

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billion of savings from welfare, ?4 billion from tax credits, we have

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defined it from there because if we do not it will be cuts to spending

:18:31.:18:36.

on health, maybe high taxes or Labour's position, which seems to be

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carrying on borrowing forever. I don't think you will find the

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Chancellor would embrace that. It was as a result of pressure put on

:18:45.:18:48.

him, it seems he made a mistake in the light of what has happened. It

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is a bruising defeat for the Chancellor personally, isn't it? As

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I said, it is a defeat from the unelected house, the House of

:18:58.:19:00.

Commons, the elected representatives, have endorsed him

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on three occasions. This is a major problem that the unelected house is

:19:05.:19:08.

designed to overturn us on a measure of tax and spend, going back to

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principles of no taxation without representation. That is why the

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problem comes from. If those unelected Labour and Liberal

:19:22.:19:23.

Democrat peers had not voted against the Government, this would be law

:19:24.:19:26.

now. But it is a bruising defeat all the same. He had a programme, he was

:19:27.:19:29.

confident about it, he said he would not change, the Treasury were public

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consistently in saying they would push ahead with this despite

:19:33.:19:36.

resistance before last night from within the party, and he is having

:19:37.:19:40.

to change tack. At a personal level, you know him, this is difficult for

:19:41.:19:46.

him? Nobody wants to lose a vote in parliament, and that is what has

:19:47.:19:50.

happened. As I said, it is a vote in the Lords, but I think you will find

:19:51.:19:55.

the Chancellor remains absolutely committed to what we promised in our

:19:56.:19:59.

election manifesto, which is to move from a low wage, high tax, high

:20:00.:20:04.

welfare economy to a high wage, lower tax and lower welfare economy,

:20:05.:20:08.

and the Chancellor will absolutely stick to that, and I would imagine

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he is more determined than ever, seeing the way in which unelected

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members of the House of Lords... Was he always intending to make changes

:20:21.:20:23.

in the Autumn Statement? The Chancellor has said all along he

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will listen to people and the appropriate moment to take on board

:20:27.:20:29.

those concerns is the Autumn Statement. So he always had it in

:20:30.:20:33.

mind that he would perhaps spend some money somewhere, ease the

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transition to these tax credit cuts in the Autumn Statement? He, in your

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mind, had already decided he would do that? Members of parliament

:20:43.:20:46.

raised somebody to make concerned about transition measures. The

:20:47.:20:49.

Chancellor said all along he would listen to those concerns, and I

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think he will bring forward measures to deal with that. Right, do you

:20:58.:21:00.

think, then, that he should have come out himself to say that more

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clearly? He sent out his emissary is, if you like, at the weekend, we

:21:04.:21:06.

heard from Nicky Morgan talking about this, would it have been

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better if George Osborne himself had stood up and said, I am going to do

:21:10.:21:14.

something? You saw him speaking in the house today... Know, before. The

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House of Lords seemed pretty determined to abuse their powers to

:21:22.:21:24.

frustrate the Government willy-nilly. There would not have

:21:25.:21:28.

been any different if George had come out. We will never know, of

:21:29.:21:31.

course, but do you think it would have been better for Tory MPs to

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have heard George Osborne stand up and say, I will deal with this in

:21:36.:21:39.

the Autumn Statement? I think we will see on Thursday, won't we? We

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will see what happens with Frank Field's motion on Thursday. I think

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it is unlikely. On that listening point, I remember being at the 1922

:21:50.:21:55.

committee where he stood in front of Conservative MPs last week and said

:21:56.:21:58.

he was listening so it is not true to say he has not signalled he will

:21:59.:22:01.

listen. Although that was not public, it was a private meeting.

:22:02.:22:07.

What do you think this does to his leadership ambition? David Cameron,

:22:08.:22:11.

I'm glad to say, has said he will remain Prime Minister until the

:22:12.:22:15.

end... We all know what he has spoken about. Does it damage it for

:22:16.:22:20.

him? What people will see is a Chancellor that is determined to

:22:21.:22:23.

deliver on promises to reform welfare, and if we don't give it

:22:24.:22:28.

now, we have rapid growth in wages, falling unemployment, and national

:22:29.:22:31.

live in wage, future generations will not thank us for not grasping

:22:32.:22:36.

the nettle of welfare reform. The Chancellor will grasp that metal and

:22:37.:22:39.

people will thank him for it. The elections for the new leader of the

:22:40.:22:44.

Conservative party are a very long way off. That is true. Thank you.

:22:45.:22:49.

The question for today is, which celebrity peer was flown in

:22:50.:22:53.

from New York to vote in last night's debate?

:22:54.:23:01.

Was it Alan sugar, Julian Fellowes, Fluellen Benjamin or Andrew Lloyd

:23:02.:23:05.

Webber? At the end of the show, Toby will

:23:06.:23:06.

give us the correct answer. Now, the Government has said that

:23:07.:23:10.

there are clear constitutional issues that they say will

:23:11.:23:12.

"need to be dealt with" after the series of votes in the Lords last

:23:13.:23:15.

night which included two defeats. The first vote last night was on the

:23:16.:23:19.

Lib Dems' fatal motion rejecting the This was won comfortably by the

:23:20.:23:24.

Government - just 99 voted in favour Next was an amendment proposed

:23:25.:23:30.

by a crossbench peer, Baroness Meacher, to delay the cuts and send

:23:31.:23:41.

the proposals back to the Commons On this, the Government suffered

:23:42.:23:44.

its first defeat with the motion Finally,

:23:45.:23:49.

peers voted on Labour's amendment to stop the cuts until the Government

:23:50.:23:56.

designs a compensation scheme for This motion was also passed -

:23:57.:23:59.

the Government losing narrowly with 289 votes for the motion

:24:00.:24:06.

and 272 against. The Conservatives are well short

:24:07.:24:13.

of a majority in the House of Lords with just 249 peers out

:24:14.:24:16.

of a total of 816. The Lords have been increasingly

:24:17.:24:19.

rebellious in recent years - the coalition Government suffered

:24:20.:24:23.

almost 100 defeats in the Lords And the new Conservative Government

:24:24.:24:26.

has already been defeated 19 times in the Lords in the five months

:24:27.:24:34.

since the general election. But this is the first time

:24:35.:24:40.

in 100 years that the second Chamber has voted down a financial package

:24:41.:24:43.

backed by the Commons. Here's a taste of yesterday's debate

:24:44.:24:46.

in the House of Lords. I have been to see the Chancellor

:24:47.:24:52.

this morning at Number 11. And I can confirm that he would

:24:53.:24:56.

listen very carefully were the House ..in the way that it is precedented

:24:57.:25:00.

for us to do so. My motion clearly leaves the matter

:25:01.:25:14.

in the hands of the elected House. The justification for

:25:15.:25:17.

a delay is that the House of Commons will have a full-day debate on

:25:18.:25:24.

these issues, as I said, on I understand that dozens

:25:25.:25:27.

of Conservative backbenchers are urging the Chancellor to adjust

:25:28.:25:29.

the tax credit reforms to protect Yes, there have been three votes

:25:30.:25:32.

on tax credits in the House of Commons won by the Government, but

:25:33.:25:35.

Conservative MPs, not me, say they did not have the information they

:25:36.:25:46.

needed when they voted for the I hear that many

:25:47.:25:49.

of them are now livid about this. The fact is there was a vote in

:25:50.:25:52.

the other place last week, there was a clear majority and not a single

:25:53.:25:57.

Conservative member voted in the The point is this was

:25:58.:26:01.

a budgetary matter and budgetary matters are the prerogative of the

:26:02.:26:09.

elected House, and that is a most This was designed to reduce

:26:10.:26:12.

the budget deficit, which everybody agrees has to be

:26:13.:26:15.

eliminated on all sides All those arguments pale

:26:16.:26:18.

into insignificance when compared to the greater argument, the argument

:26:19.:26:28.

that the general public, millions of people outside of this

:26:29.:26:32.

House are considering today. That being statements given

:26:33.:26:37.

during the course of the And, in particular, Mr Cameron,

:26:38.:26:40.

who deliberately misled the British public, and the British public would

:26:41.:26:55.

regard what he said now as a lie. It's not a constitutional crisis,

:26:56.:27:01.

that is a fig leaf possibly disguising tensions in the Commons

:27:02.:27:06.

between members of the Government. My Lords, we can be supportive of

:27:07.:27:08.

the Government and give them what they did not ask for, financial

:27:09.:27:13.

privilege, or we can be supportive instead of those three million

:27:14.:27:17.

families facing letters at Christmas telling them on average they will

:27:18.:27:23.

lose up to around ?1,300 a year. I say to the Government that these

:27:24.:27:33.

proposals are morally indefensible. OTHER MEMBERS:

:27:34.:27:39.

Hear, hear. It is clear to me

:27:40.:27:40.

and I believe to very many others that these proposals blatantly

:27:41.:27:46.

threaten damage to the lives A flavour of last night's debate

:27:47.:27:48.

in the Lords Vernon Bognador, is talk of a

:27:49.:27:59.

Paul Tyler Vernon Bognador, is talk of a

:28:00.:28:13.

constitutional crisis over Vernon Bognador, is talk of a

:28:14.:28:20.

problems, firstly with the Lords rejecting a financial

:28:21.:28:20.

problems, firstly with the Lords which, as you said a few moments

:28:21.:28:22.

ago, which, as you said a few moments

:28:23.:28:26.

years. But secondly the question over whether the fact Labour and

:28:27.:28:30.

Liberal Democrat peers outnumber the Conservatives enabled the Lords to

:28:31.:28:35.

become no longer a revising chamber but an opposition chamber, which is

:28:36.:28:38.

not appropriate for an unelected house. It is not appropriate, you

:28:39.:28:42.

have changed what the basic role of the House of Lords is? The chance

:28:43.:28:48.

bungled this. If he wanted to keep it as a financial measure he could

:28:49.:28:52.

have, as David Davis said a few minutes ago here, he could have

:28:53.:28:53.

amended the Finance Bill, which minutes ago here, he could have

:28:54.:28:57.

would have remained firmly in the Commons, or introduce a tax credit

:28:58.:29:02.

Amendment Bill, and it was made clear during our debate yesterday.

:29:03.:29:06.

What he did was try to get a short cut to put it into secondary

:29:07.:29:09.

legislation, which we had every right in the House of Lords,

:29:10.:29:14.

repeated endlessly, it does not matter what the subject matter is,

:29:15.:29:17.

we have every right to vote down and SI. How do you argue with that? It

:29:18.:29:25.

is not unlawful for the Lords to reject regulations but they do it

:29:26.:29:28.

rarely because the Parliament act, which restrict the powers of the

:29:29.:29:32.

Lords, does not apply to regulations. When it was passed in

:29:33.:29:37.

1911 there was very little secondary regulation. Precisely because the

:29:38.:29:41.

Lords have this supreme power in regulations, they ought to use it as

:29:42.:29:45.

an unelected chamber very, very rarely. It is a kind of nuclear

:29:46.:29:50.

option and in fact, until recently, the 1960s, the Lord never rejected a

:29:51.:29:54.

regulation, and since then very, very sparingly, and it makes it even

:29:55.:30:06.

more serious when it is a financial matter on which the privilege of the

:30:07.:30:08.

Commons is absolute. In terms of reviewing the Lords, this rapid

:30:09.:30:11.

review that is being used by the Government, what are the options

:30:12.:30:14.

available? There is talk of swamping the Lords of Conservative peers but

:30:15.:30:17.

I think that would be foolish, especially when the Government is

:30:18.:30:21.

thinking about reducing the size of the House of Commons. It would be

:30:22.:30:24.

odd to reduce the elected chamber and increased the unelected

:30:25.:30:29.

chamber! The right thing would be to put the convention into statutory

:30:30.:30:34.

law so things were precluded -- so the Lords were precluded by law from

:30:35.:30:37.

doing what they did last night. Do you support that and agree it would

:30:38.:30:41.

not be a good look to swamp the House of Lords with 100, 150 Tory

:30:42.:30:46.

peers to end the fact they do not have a majority?

:30:47.:30:50.

It is the nuclear option. The difficulty the Government faces is

:30:51.:30:57.

if it decides in to pass primary legislation to limit the Lords'

:30:58.:31:03.

ability to delay legislation, to include statutory instruments, then

:31:04.:31:06.

the Lords could then vote against that, they could use the Labour and

:31:07.:31:10.

Lib Dem majority to vote against it and the Government would have to

:31:11.:31:13.

invoke the Parliament act and the whole thing could take two years and

:31:14.:31:16.

in the meantime, the Government's legislative programme for which it

:31:17.:31:21.

has won a clear mandate, would be frustrated by the unelected chamber.

:31:22.:31:24.

So do you think drastic action should be taken? I think it remains

:31:25.:31:30.

to be seen. The Lords, it is not just what they did yesterday, last

:31:31.:31:33.

week they breached the Salisbury Convention as well when they

:31:34.:31:37.

rejected the proposal to end subsidies for onshore wind farms

:31:38.:31:43.

which, again, was unprecedented. That is nonsense. The Salisbury

:31:44.:31:46.

Convention was killed off in 2006. The joint committee said it was

:31:47.:31:50.

obsolete and boathouses agreed. We keep hearing about the unelected

:31:51.:31:54.

Lords. The coalition Government brought forward a Bill to deal with

:31:55.:31:57.

this issue and as killing bag of loot Ken Clarke has said, the

:31:58.:32:05.

obvious thing to do is, we have heard this, unelected chamber,

:32:06.:32:08.

unelected chamber, Ken Clarke says the 2012 Bill, which has a large

:32:09.:32:13.

majority in the House of Commons but was stymied by a combination of

:32:14.:32:18.

Labour and Tory rebels... So are you effectively admitting you are taking

:32:19.:32:20.

advantage of the situation to advance a Lib Dem proposal that was

:32:21.:32:24.

rejected in the last parliament? It wasn't the Lib Dem proposal, it was

:32:25.:32:28.

the coalition Government, supported by the Prime Minister and the

:32:29.:32:31.

Chancellor. At the insistence of Nick Clegg. Not at all, it was in

:32:32.:32:36.

the Conservative manifesto. We ought to be having a review of the

:32:37.:32:39.

relationship between the two houses. This particular issue, as I

:32:40.:32:43.

have just explained, is because entirely the Chancellor is trying to

:32:44.:32:48.

take a short cut. OK. But we should use the opportunity to think better

:32:49.:32:52.

about the relationship. Until the House of Lords becomes an elected

:32:53.:32:55.

chamber, if that is what you want, how can you justify something that

:32:56.:33:01.

was clearly in the manifesto, something like abolishing the

:33:02.:33:04.

onshore wind farms. That is not the issue, the issue was

:33:05.:33:09.

is it important that the House of Lords as the House of Commons to

:33:10.:33:11.

think again, which is critical to the Constitution. The whole idea of

:33:12.:33:15.

having two Houses of Parliament is they should be a second look on

:33:16.:33:20.

issues of this sort. Is it an issue that Tory majority governments are

:33:21.:33:23.

not necessarily used to having a case where they are not the majority

:33:24.:33:27.

in the House of Lords? I understand that during Tony Blair's time, there

:33:28.:33:30.

were quite a lot of the beats and there certainly have been fatal

:33:31.:33:34.

motions in the past to kill of legislation is -- quite a lot of

:33:35.:33:40.

defeats, but this is the real politic of having two houses on the

:33:41.:33:43.

right to flex their muscles. Let's have a look... Let's forget about

:33:44.:33:48.

what it is for, that is how it works. The Conservatives were very

:33:49.:33:57.

careful not to abuse it when there was a Labour Government in order to

:33:58.:34:01.

not undermine the validity of the House of Lords but Labour and Lib

:34:02.:34:07.

Dems have not been like that. Because we have independent members

:34:08.:34:10.

of the House of Lords who are not members of any party, one of the

:34:11.:34:13.

successful amendments was a move by a crossbencher, Lady Meacher. But

:34:14.:34:18.

your leader Tim Barron has described the Lords as wholly undemocratic you

:34:19.:34:23.

are not democratically accountable, as you have said yourself, you want

:34:24.:34:28.

an elected chamber, but you are frustrating the will of an elected

:34:29.:34:32.

Government. That in itself appears hypocritical at the very least. It

:34:33.:34:36.

is the fact is political life, that is our job, what is the point of

:34:37.:34:41.

having a second house? With these particular responsibilities, we are

:34:42.:34:43.

supposed to be there to look at these issues were now put before us.

:34:44.:34:47.

In the Chancellor did not want that, he had other routes he could

:34:48.:34:54.

take and he bungled it. Are you overstepping the mark and

:34:55.:34:56.

overreaching yourselves and in the end, you will bring about a head-on

:34:57.:34:59.

collision with the Commons? It will be extremely important that Mr

:35:00.:35:02.

Cameron, who has kept his counsel on what would be the effective way to

:35:03.:35:06.

deal with this issue, how he will come forward with proposals for the

:35:07.:35:09.

long-term reform at the House of Lords. Any tinkering would be absurd

:35:10.:35:14.

at this stage, we have to do what they themselves committed themselves

:35:15.:35:17.

to into elections, and that was wholesale reform of the House of

:35:18.:35:23.

Lords. Do you agree with that? I think Paul Tyler is right that this

:35:24.:35:26.

raises the whole issue between the House of Commons and the Lords and

:35:27.:35:29.

whether we should have an elected House of Lords. An elected House of

:35:30.:35:33.

Lords would have powers that the unelected House of Lords doesn't

:35:34.:35:36.

have but that would not solve the constitutional problems and could

:35:37.:35:40.

worsen them. In Australia, you had a huge constitutional crisis between

:35:41.:35:44.

the elected Senate and the elected lower house in 1975 because the

:35:45.:35:48.

elected Senate refused to give the Government funds, and it ended very

:35:49.:35:52.

controversially when the Governor general sacked the Prime Minister.

:35:53.:35:56.

The question is, do we want these kinds of conflicts here and on what

:35:57.:36:00.

basis would the upper house be elected? Liberal Democrats say it

:36:01.:36:03.

would be on a federal basis but Britain isn't really a federal

:36:04.:36:07.

state. We have parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

:36:08.:36:11.

but not in England. Do you think the Government has the appetite for

:36:12.:36:14.

that, again, the sort of programme of reform to the Lords? I think the

:36:15.:36:19.

likeliest way in which they will deal with these troublesome Lords is

:36:20.:36:25.

to introduce a bill in which they limit the powers of the Lords even

:36:26.:36:29.

further and of the Lords reject that... You can understand why

:36:30.:36:34.

because it wasn't just yesterday, there have been other examples and

:36:35.:36:36.

you are putting forward another fatal motion this evening which

:36:37.:36:42.

kills off the legislation. We asked -- we are asked specifically by

:36:43.:36:45.

Parliament specifically to do so. It is different to last night, it is

:36:46.:36:50.

our job to do this by law, in statute. Is that true because this

:36:51.:36:55.

is to do with individual electoral registration and there is a fatal

:36:56.:36:59.

motion on cuts to asylum seeker benefits. Is it the right of the

:37:00.:37:05.

unelected house to do this? The Lords can survive only if it

:37:06.:37:08.

exercises a sense of self restraint. It can ask the Government to think

:37:09.:37:12.

again, that is absolutely right. But if they determined Government wants

:37:13.:37:15.

to proceed, the Lords has to give way, it shouldn't go beyond that.

:37:16.:37:20.

There is a great danger I believe now that the Labour and Liberal

:37:21.:37:23.

Democrat peer are using it as a chamber of opposition, having lost

:37:24.:37:26.

the election, trying to frustrate Government policy through the upper

:37:27.:37:35.

house. What do you say to that? That is what it will look like, eight

:37:36.:37:39.

MPs, no standing in the House of Commons in terms of exerting

:37:40.:37:41.

opposition, this is where you can do it? The practical politics is it is

:37:42.:37:45.

our job. Are you doing it with such relish because you can? No, I was

:37:46.:37:49.

involved with the House of Lords before this Government and we have

:37:50.:37:52.

had to do this job regularly, but with a coalition Government and

:37:53.:37:55.

previously. I think you can look forward to more of those. You are

:37:56.:38:00.

saying you have just asked the Government to think again and if it

:38:01.:38:02.

does and comes back with more of the proposal to reform it, will you

:38:03.:38:06.

accept it? I don't think it will come to it, because it will be dealt

:38:07.:38:12.

with with some amendment to some specific bill. Coming back to the

:38:13.:38:16.

finance aspect, the Treasury were briefing last week that the House of

:38:17.:38:20.

Lords should be suspended. Frankly, the last person who tried to stop

:38:21.:38:23.

the House of parliament doing its job was King Charles I. I think a

:38:24.:38:28.

little respect for history would show it wasn't a clever thing to do,

:38:29.:38:32.

he lost his head. That wasn't reasoned, of course, but thank you

:38:33.:38:35.

very much for that slightly ominous N.

:38:36.:38:37.

Jeremy Corbyn has struck a deal with the Scottish Labour

:38:38.:38:40.

leader, Kezia Dugdale, allowing the party in Scotland more autonomy.

:38:41.:38:42.

It's a controversial plan to turn around

:38:43.:38:44.

the party's fortunes in Scotland after they lost all but one of their

:38:45.:38:47.

Kezia Dugdale addressed Labour MPs at their weekly meeting

:38:48.:38:51.

in the Commons last night, and our Scotland political correspondent

:38:52.:38:53.

What did they say? Well, she certainly got polite applause at the

:38:54.:39:04.

beginning and the end of the address. There were some questions

:39:05.:39:08.

during get from MPs that were concerned that autonomy of the

:39:09.:39:12.

Scottish Labour Party may mean that the United Labour Party, the

:39:13.:39:15.

Unionist Labour Party, comes to an end. She says that is not the case

:39:16.:39:20.

and this is about devolution and not a division of the UK party. There

:39:21.:39:26.

were also questions from some MPs about the policy diversions that

:39:27.:39:30.

this may mean in future, for instance on issues like defence, the

:39:31.:39:35.

nuclear deterrent, for one, and taxation, which is another issue

:39:36.:39:39.

which may it, in the end, mean that Scotland and the rest of the UK

:39:40.:39:42.

Labour Party have different policy positions. Now, the MPs that emerged

:39:43.:39:48.

from the meeting did not seem entirely convinced that they had

:39:49.:39:51.

heard everything that they needed to about this, but Kezia Dugdale's

:39:52.:39:56.

pitch to them was that if Labour's fortunes are to be turned around in

:39:57.:40:00.

Scotland in time for next May's Scottish elections, she needs more

:40:01.:40:03.

autonomy for the party and she needs to be able to set policy positions

:40:04.:40:08.

to decide on candidates and not be a branch office of London, which, of

:40:09.:40:12.

course, one of her predecessors accused the party of being. If the

:40:13.:40:16.

changes are to go ahead, how would it

:40:17.:40:19.

changes are to go ahead, how would terms of setting up, if you

:40:20.:40:25.

changes are to go ahead, how would rest of the UK's

:40:26.:40:25.

changes are to go ahead, how would Dugdale, I think, will argue it is

:40:26.:40:28.

not a Dugdale, I think, will argue it is

:40:29.:40:32.

a devolution of the party, it wouldn't be completely independent,

:40:33.:40:37.

she says, but it would have control over its affairs over policy

:40:38.:40:41.

positions, that it would be able to depart actively to decide at Party

:40:42.:40:47.

Conference, positions that may be different to a UK party. She says we

:40:48.:40:53.

will have to go to the NEC, the Scottish executive, and a special

:40:54.:40:57.

conference before it is approved, but she signed the deal with Jeremy

:40:58.:41:00.

Corbyn, a statement of intent and they say that is the road down which

:41:01.:41:04.

they think they want to go, despite the concerns of some in the party.

:41:05.:41:06.

Tim, thank you. And the Scottish Labour Leader,

:41:07.:41:07.

Kezia Dugdale, Kezia Dugdale, just listening to

:41:08.:41:16.

that, you want more autonomy for the Labour Party in Scotland. Has that

:41:17.:41:21.

been prompted by the Labour Party swapping one North London leader for

:41:22.:41:27.

another? No, I would say it has been caused by the fact that we lost all

:41:28.:41:30.

but one of our seeds in the General Election and it is my job as new

:41:31.:41:35.

leader here in Scotland with a huge mandate to turn around the fortunes

:41:36.:41:38.

of my party to listen to that very strong message the people of

:41:39.:41:42.

Scotland sent us. There is a perception, fair or otherwise, that

:41:43.:41:45.

were too long the Scottish Labour Party was run for London by

:41:46.:41:50.

Westminster and it simply has to change. That is why I have made the

:41:51.:41:54.

case of a more autonomous Scottish Labour Party, said decisions around

:41:55.:41:58.

policy, directions we take, are made here in Scotland by me and my team

:41:59.:42:01.

and I think that is what voters in Scotland would act rapidly to

:42:02.:42:06.

expect. I had taken it to the Labour Parliamentary party to say this is

:42:07.:42:10.

not an Independent Labour Party, I didn't spend two and a half years to

:42:11.:42:14.

campaign for a no vote in independence referendum for a

:42:15.:42:17.

separate party, this is about devolution, the Labour Party

:42:18.:42:20.

devolving power within its own structures and I think it is high

:42:21.:42:23.

time we took up that opportunity. We will come up to some of the policy

:42:24.:42:27.

decisions that you might have to go your separate ways on, but sticking

:42:28.:42:32.

with Jeremy Corbyn, he has been the MP for Islington North since the

:42:33.:42:36.

early 1980s. You would accept he is hardly going to be any more popular

:42:37.:42:40.

in Scotland than Ed Miliband was, he doesn't really have any connection

:42:41.:42:44.

to Scottish Labour, does he? I think you have made a very rational

:42:45.:42:49.

judgment about Jeremy Corbyn. Both Jeremy and I want our respective

:42:50.:42:52.

leadership contests, the party membership in Scotland is on the

:42:53.:43:00.

up, we now stand at 30,000... Do think that as a result of Jeremy

:43:01.:43:04.

Corbyn? It is a result of both was putting forward radical suggestions

:43:05.:43:07.

to change the fortunes of our party and I look forward to working with

:43:08.:43:10.

him. The reality is I have to set out a different pattern here in

:43:11.:43:15.

Scotland to determine the Pappas and the Scottish interest and it is

:43:16.:43:19.

about strengthening the UK Labour Party. Tim Reid referred to the

:43:20.:43:22.

strong difference between something that is an act of devolution and

:43:23.:43:25.

something viewed as division. This is entirely about the principle of

:43:26.:43:30.

devolution, the idea of getting more power into Scotland so we can

:43:31.:43:34.

determine our own fortunes. Do you agree with your predecessor Joanne

:43:35.:43:37.

Lamont that Scottish Labour has in the past been treated like a branch

:43:38.:43:42.

office? As I said in my opening remarks, there is no doubt that that

:43:43.:43:49.

is a very strong perception people have in Scotland. It is not about

:43:50.:43:52.

what politicians thing, it is what is happening on the doorsteps in

:43:53.:43:54.

communities around the country. We were sent a thumping message in May,

:43:55.:43:57.

we have to get that message, we have to reform and renew our party and I

:43:58.:44:01.

won the leadership election here with 72% of the boat with a mandate

:44:02.:44:04.

to do exactly this, to make a more autonomous Scottish Labour Party --

:44:05.:44:10.

of the vote. But I also promised to re-democratise the party and we go

:44:11.:44:14.

into the conference this weekend with a lively programme to do things

:44:15.:44:17.

differently and I am excited about that. I am also excited to lay out

:44:18.:44:22.

my radical platform for how I intend to transform this country. Let's

:44:23.:44:25.

talk about policy issues, what happens when you disagree with

:44:26.:44:29.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell on a policy over a non-devolved issue.

:44:30.:44:32.

On Trident, for example? What happens? I have a mandate from the

:44:33.:44:40.

party membership here to re-democratise our conference and I

:44:41.:44:42.

am welcoming the prospect that there might be a debate on Trident this

:44:43.:44:47.

weekend. What happens if you end up with two different policies question

:44:48.:44:51.

mark come next election, voters are a Scottish MP are faced with a

:44:52.:44:54.

Labour candidate that will be standing for a party with two

:44:55.:44:58.

different positions on a key policy, how does that work? I do understand

:44:59.:45:03.

this question and I have faced this over the last few days. You are

:45:04.:45:07.

focusing on a hypothetical which we may face bore or five years down the

:45:08.:45:10.

line but let me answer it specifically. We are going to create

:45:11.:45:15.

the space for our party membership to have a debate on this particular

:45:16.:45:18.

issue this weekend. Should it be the case that in five years' time,

:45:19.:45:22.

hypothetically, that we are in a different position to the rest of

:45:23.:45:25.

the UK party then like many other countries across Europe that operate

:45:26.:45:29.

the federal type solution, there will be a process for working

:45:30.:45:33.

through it. It is not new in terms of being a concept. It is new for

:45:34.:45:39.

the Labour Party. I signed the statement of intent with Jeremy

:45:40.:45:42.

Corbyn yesterday about the direction of travel, the relationship between

:45:43.:45:45.

the Scottish Labour Party and the UK Labour Party. There is now, I have,

:45:46.:45:49.

prospect for debate across the whole of the movement about what might

:45:50.:45:53.

happen in Wales, across England and other parts of the country. The end

:45:54.:45:57.

point of this would be next year's Party Conference, when any real

:45:58.:46:02.

changes might take place, that is 11 months where various stakeholders,

:46:03.:46:06.

MPs, MSP is, party members, unions, can come to the fore and talk about

:46:07.:46:10.

how we might want to resolve the rare occasions where positions might

:46:11.:46:11.

be conflicted. You say they are rare occasions and

:46:12.:46:19.

you have time, which is true, but did you put pressure on Jeremy

:46:20.:46:25.

Corbyn and John McDonald to change the fiscal charter? I spoke to them

:46:26.:46:29.

and put forward my views on that. I don't profess to save that my view

:46:30.:46:34.

was the thing that made them change their minds. I paraphrase, but you

:46:35.:46:40.

say something like if they did not change their mind it would be

:46:41.:46:43.

explosive as far as you are concerned in Scotland and the SNP

:46:44.:46:46.

would make a? I did not use those words. I made the case about strong

:46:47.:46:56.

anti-austerity measures. That it was not their position, was that? A few

:46:57.:47:02.

machinations around that and it wasn't exclusive to the Labour

:47:03.:47:08.

Party, but let me put it this way, I have regular conversations with

:47:09.:47:11.

colleagues and friends across the Labour movement, I am in direct

:47:12.:47:15.

contact with Jeremy Corbyn, Tom Watson, the rest of the team, all

:47:16.:47:19.

the time. We are part of one movement, we are determined to turn

:47:20.:47:22.

around the fortunes of the Scottish Labour Party and build a Labour

:47:23.:47:27.

Party fit for the future. It is a massive opportunity. The principle

:47:28.:47:31.

of devolution must apply. You say there are rare instances, which

:47:32.:47:36.

areas of policy do you think you will need the freedom to disagree

:47:37.:47:39.

with the National party? Look at the example that we will face in the

:47:40.:47:44.

next few weeks around tax credit and welfare reform. Soon we will know

:47:45.:47:47.

which of those powers are coming to the Scottish parliament but I would

:47:48.:47:51.

like the position to set out those new powers and design our welfare

:47:52.:47:55.

system and security system in Scotland that protects the people in

:47:56.:47:58.

Scotland based on their needs. I will have the freedom to do that, it

:47:59.:48:05.

is a good thing. But when you disagree with the leader of the

:48:06.:48:09.

Westminster party, how will Scottish leaders vote in parliament? This is

:48:10.:48:14.

an 11 month process, we will look at how to work through things when

:48:15.:48:17.

there is complete. But the principle is sound, it is fundamentally about

:48:18.:48:22.

devolution. The Labour Party has had different positions on education for

:48:23.:48:28.

16 or more years. These are devolved issues, it is really where these

:48:29.:48:32.

things are... But the principle is the same. It is different with a

:48:33.:48:37.

non-devolved issue. Looking at your predecessors as leader of Scottish

:48:38.:48:42.

Labour, Wendy Alexander, Johann Lamont, Jim Murphy, they presided

:48:43.:48:46.

over the party during a period of decline. What makes you different? I

:48:47.:48:51.

understand how big a task there is ahead. I was not unaware of that

:48:52.:48:56.

when I put my name forward for the job, but I love my party and I

:48:57.:49:01.

believe it has a bright future. The values of the Labour Party are as

:49:02.:49:04.

relevant now as they have ever been. The challenges and

:49:05.:49:07.

opportunities of the future can be realised and that is why I put my

:49:08.:49:10.

name forward, because I want to turn around the fortunes of my party. I

:49:11.:49:15.

have worked with a number of Labour leaders at close quarters, I have

:49:16.:49:27.

seen these events close hand and have learned from that. All of those

:49:28.:49:30.

people you name I would still call friends and close colleagues who

:49:31.:49:33.

provide me with advice, and I know I am not alone, I have a strong team

:49:34.:49:36.

of MSPs in the Parliament, a growing movement of party members and

:49:37.:49:38.

supporters across the country who believe in the party and our values

:49:39.:49:41.

and beliefs we have the answers to nationalism and will set out those

:49:42.:49:43.

bright ideas for the future this coming weekend at the party

:49:44.:49:45.

conference. I am upbeat and optimistic about my party's future.

:49:46.:49:50.

Isn't it the reality that voters in Scotland, having experienced

:49:51.:49:55.

devolution, see the SNP at far more effective at bashing the Westminster

:49:56.:50:00.

Government and getting more the Labour and will continue to vote in

:50:01.:50:05.

the SNP in Scotland and, well, differently down in Westminster,

:50:06.:50:10.

obviously, but that will be the situation? What a travesty to assume

:50:11.:50:14.

the one purpose of the SNP is to bash the Government in Westminster.

:50:15.:50:18.

We sit in an incredibly powerful parliament just 500 metres from

:50:19.:50:22.

where I am sitting now. A ?30 billion budget, powers over health,

:50:23.:50:27.

education, welfare powers, tax powers, powers to transform the life

:50:28.:50:30.

chances of people the length and breadth of book and treat and after

:50:31.:50:33.

eight years of the SNP Government the gap in other schools between the

:50:34.:50:39.

richest and poorest pupils is the widest it has ever been. A flagship

:50:40.:50:43.

hospital in Scotland where one in four people which more than four

:50:44.:50:49.

hours to be seen in A The record of the SNP Government has to be

:50:50.:50:52.

exposed and understood across the United Kingdom, it is about far more

:50:53.:50:57.

than Westminster obedience. Kezia Dugdale, thank you.

:50:58.:51:02.

The problem that the Corbyn fans have is they said during his

:51:03.:51:06.

campaign that the reason Labour fared so badly in Scotland in May is

:51:07.:51:11.

because they did not embrace the same anti-austerity politics that

:51:12.:51:14.

the SNP did. Actually, now that Corbyn is leader, it does not look

:51:15.:51:19.

like Labour will fare any better in the Scottish regional elections next

:51:20.:51:23.

year. Well, we will have to see. The Tories don't really have anything

:51:24.:51:27.

either. It looks like Labour will wipe out, Corbyn will make no

:51:28.:51:32.

difference. To me, it feels like advanced damage control, we are

:51:33.:51:37.

intending to devolve power to the Labour Party in Scotland, let Kezia

:51:38.:51:40.

lead that, it is not our fault. The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

:51:41.:51:42.

isn't short of critics - in the right-wing press, in the

:51:43.:51:45.

left-wing press, in the Conservative And now

:51:46.:51:49.

he's got some in the Middle East. the Ministry of Justice scrapped

:51:50.:51:59.

a ?6 million deal to provide prison Here's the message Jeremy Corbyn

:52:00.:52:02.

delivered to David Cameron during ..threatened

:52:03.:52:12.

with the death penalty for taking part in a demonstration

:52:13.:52:40.

at the age of 17 and, while you're about it, terminate that bid made by

:52:41.:52:44.

our Ministry of Justice to provide prison services for Saudi Arabia,

:52:45.:52:47.

which would be required to carry out the sentence that would be put

:52:48.:52:51.

down on Ali Mohammed al-Nimr. Although many might agree with

:52:52.:52:59.

Mr Corbyn, is it unwise to upset one Middle East? Conservative MP Alan

:53:00.:53:11.

Duncan think so, but journalist James Bloodworth says we should not

:53:12.:53:14.

be shy about human rights. They join me now.

:53:15.:53:17.

Did Jeremy Corbyn influence the Prime Minister's decision to cancel

:53:18.:53:19.

the present contract? Prime Minister's decision to cancel

:53:20.:53:23.

I do think so but I Prime Minister's decision to cancel

:53:24.:53:26.

stuck with the contract because I think if we can be

:53:27.:53:29.

stuck with the contract because I reforming their present it is a good

:53:30.:53:32.

thing. We had someone who was supposedly going to be lashed, I

:53:33.:53:34.

don't think it was going to happen but that is what our local headlines

:53:35.:53:38.

said, and if we were part of it we would be in a better position to

:53:39.:53:42.

influence the judicial decisions. The bigger issue, though, is that

:53:43.:53:46.

the whole of the Middle East is a mess and if you just have this

:53:47.:53:50.

megaphone self-righteousness you risk making it messier, and the

:53:51.:53:54.

Saudi regime is far more moderate than their own people, and if you

:53:55.:53:57.

want to bin the regime and replace it with a sort of non-democratic

:53:58.:54:03.

Isis all over Saudi Arabia, you would very, very quickly regret

:54:04.:54:07.

having done that. Do you think it risks making it messier, the

:54:08.:54:11.

situation of relations with Saudi? It depends how far you go. We should

:54:12.:54:16.

not advocate overthrowing the Government in Saudi Arabia but I

:54:17.:54:20.

would like to see less of the obsequious treatment of the Saudi

:54:21.:54:23.

royal family by the Government. We had to be half flying of the British

:54:24.:54:28.

flag when King Abdullah passed away. Saudi Arabia is the largest arms

:54:29.:54:33.

market for British arms companies. I think Jeremy Corbyn is right to draw

:54:34.:54:37.

attention to that. But at the same time I think he has his own problem

:54:38.:54:41.

with a lack of consistency in that he stands on platforms with outfits

:54:42.:54:47.

supported by the Iranian Government, and is also soft on Putin's Russia,

:54:48.:54:52.

so it is about consistency. Sticking with Saudi Arabia, you say this

:54:53.:54:58.

megaphone politics is not anything that could prevent the abuse of

:54:59.:55:02.

human rights, all the lashings of a young boy, or a grandfather. Isn't

:55:03.:55:06.

anything that stops that a good thing? I'm not saying one should not

:55:07.:55:11.

talk about it, discuss it, tell them what you think in private. All I'm

:55:12.:55:15.

saying is that simplistic grandstanding like we heard from

:55:16.:55:19.

Jeremy Corbyn, let's intervene to stop the lashing, is total fantasy.

:55:20.:55:23.

What you have got to be here is realistic, you have to be realistic

:55:24.:55:26.

about the nature of resumes in that part of the world, their history,

:55:27.:55:31.

what you can and cannot change, and what would replace what is there now

:55:32.:55:36.

if there were a vacuum that needed to be filled. Aren't you tiptoeing

:55:37.:55:41.

around the regime here, somewhat? No, you need a lot of understanding

:55:42.:55:45.

about the nature of Saudi society, the people themselves but also the

:55:46.:55:50.

regime, where they rule with a measure of consent in the sense that

:55:51.:55:53.

if they don't have collected approval by quickly replaced. There

:55:54.:55:57.

is quite a lot going on now within the regime which we will not know

:55:58.:56:00.

about which is straining a lot of the stability we are seeing. What

:56:01.:56:04.

sort of relationship should we have with Saudi Arabia? I have many of

:56:05.:56:09.

the same reservations as James about human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia,

:56:10.:56:13.

the fact women are not allowed to drive, bloggers are routinely

:56:14.:56:17.

prosecuted, in some cases flogged and so forth, but the risks of

:56:18.:56:21.

withdrawing from our relationship with Saudi Arabia is that we lose

:56:22.:56:25.

any possible positive influence we might have, and I think there

:56:26.:56:36.

should, qualified response is better -- Margaret and I think a measured,

:56:37.:56:40.

qualified response. Was it right to drop the prison contract? I think it

:56:41.:56:46.

was, considering how unjust it is. People would have read it as us, if

:56:47.:56:51.

you like, being involved, even at a distance, to some of the abuses that

:56:52.:56:55.

go on in the presence? It is a difficult decision of whether to

:56:56.:57:01.

become involved or not with a regime like that. When I was a minister we

:57:02.:57:05.

try to have a lot of processes with regimes like that, you could say,

:57:06.:57:09.

don't go near them because it is a messy process, or try to make it

:57:10.:57:13.

better. It is a difficult moral call, and absolutism in these

:57:14.:57:17.

issues, and I agree with Toby, is actually a bad position to hold.

:57:18.:57:21.

James, would things change dramatically under a Jeremy Corbyn

:57:22.:57:26.

leadership? I think so. If he does win, which is unlikely at this

:57:27.:57:30.

point, if he does win a general election things would change, but I

:57:31.:57:35.

think the danger is it would go to buy the other way, so you would lose

:57:36.:57:37.

cooperation with Saudi Arabia on things like Bashar al-Assad, on

:57:38.:57:42.

terrorism, but Jeremy would be too soft on countries like Iran and

:57:43.:57:46.

Russia, which is another side of the human rights abuse coin, I think.

:57:47.:57:51.

You have worked in oil producing countries in the past, Saudi Arabia

:57:52.:57:54.

is the biggest, does it come back to oil and money? Oil if it viable

:57:55.:57:58.

commodity, it does not matter what we say to Saudi Arabia, if prices go

:57:59.:58:03.

up and down it is the same for everybody so there is no direct

:58:04.:58:05.

benefit that comes from talking about oil with Saudi Arabia, no

:58:06.:58:10.

special flow or supply at a special price. It is equal misery. So what

:58:11.:58:16.

is the point of flattering them and keeping them onside? The point is

:58:17.:58:20.

the Middle East matters to us. Of course oil does matter, try doing

:58:21.:58:24.

without it! But for us to be in the mix with golf countries and

:58:25.:58:28.

roundabout, like Yemen and the nearer Middle East with Palestine

:58:29.:58:32.

and Israel, it is essential, I think, that we are a respected voice

:58:33.:58:36.

in the mix, and if we withdraw by saying, you are all bad, Little

:58:37.:58:40.

Britain becomes even smaller. Does it make a difference on terrorism? I

:58:41.:58:48.

think it does, we are not privy to all the information, but at the same

:58:49.:58:52.

time Saudi Arabia spreads messages across the world... I have to

:58:53.:58:57.

quickly get to the quiz. Can you remember the question?

:58:58.:59:00.

The question was, which celebrity peer was flown in from New York

:59:01.:59:03.

Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was. I love the idea of him being flown in all

:59:04.:59:13.

the way from New York, it has a sort of glamour about it. People have

:59:14.:59:17.

criticised him, saying he has gone to great lengths to vote for the tax

:59:18.:59:21.

credit cuts, but the Conservatives had a whip in operation, they had to

:59:22.:59:25.

do that in response to the whipping of the Lib Dem and Labour peers. You

:59:26.:59:29.

got it in! That is it from us, goodbye!

:59:30.:59:32.

Jo Coburn is joined by journalist Toby Young for the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the defeat for the government by the House of Lords on the issue of tax credits.


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