06/01/2016 Daily Politics


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Jeremy Corbyn's first Shadow Cabinet reshuffle finished


His allies say it was 'small but significant' as he moved


to eject dissenters and tighten his control over his frontbench.


But with junior ministers now resigning in protest,


has it underlined his authority - or reduced it?


It's the first Prime Minister's Questions of 2016 -


as the Labour leader and David Cameron square off,


will the PM be asked about his admission that he can't


get the cabinet to hold the line over the EU referendum?


Hospital patients have been told to prepare for disruption next week


when junior doctors strike after talks with the government


And we'll speak to the former MP who thinks it's time


the public what they really think. biting their tongues and tell


back, it's time for them to get rude.


All that in the next hour and with us for the whole


of the programme today it's the Conservative MP and former


And from Labour, a shadow minister who's survived unscathed


through a reshuffle so slow we've had time to watch most


And the new BBC adaptation of War and Peace.


It's Lisa Nandy and she is still the shadow energy


So after 36 hours the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle finally came to an end


at a quarter to one this morning, and the impact in the real world


I saw that it reduced Barack Obama to tears in the White House!


But Jeremy Corbyn has strengthened his grip on his front


bench and in key policy areas, even if not as much


Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn will remain in his job but has


agreed to agree with his leader, at least in public.


Maria Eagle was shunted from defence secretary to culture secretary,


replacing Michael Dugher who was sacked for "incompetence


The new shadow defence secretary is Emily Thornberry,


who unlike Maria Eagle opposes the renewal of Trident.


At midnight Pat McFadden was relieved of his duties as shadow


Europe minister, to be replaced by another Pat,


Well, Mr McFadden was given the push for showing "disloyalty"


to Mr Corbyn - let's have a listen to the shadow chancellor


John McDonnell and then Mr McFadden, both speaking


With Pat McFadden, unfortunately there was a series of times


when I think, to be frank, the views he had expressed


were undermining, challenging Jeremy's mandate, the overwhelming


mandate he has got from Labour Party members.


So Jeremy put a condition to Hillary that Pat McFadden had


Pat I think is immensely talented and he will make a major


I have been an MP for 11.5 years and I have never broken


So I don't think there is a question of loyalty at all.


But sometimes there is disagreement over issues, and Mr Corbyn has not


been happy with things I have said, especially about terrorism


Well, some Labour backbenchers have taken to Twitter


Backbencher Ian Austen said... The new MP Wes streeting said...


The former Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris


Jonathan Reynolds resigned following the reshuffle. In his resignation


letter, he says... speak to one of those backbenchers,


the MP Ian Austin who was a minister Isn't it a well established part of


the British political scene that if you are a member of the shadow team


Opposition, you should go? I don't Opposition, you should go? I don't


think any of the people who have gone have criticised the leader at


all. This has been a terrible process,


all. This has been a terrible reshuffle is for many years and it


is a complete shambles. A journalist told me that Hilary Benn, Pat


McFadden was going to be sacked, not for criticising the leader but


because they voted a different way on a free vote. I don't think it is


about loyalty at all. Last night, actually, the explanation from the


leaders' office was of incompetence and disloyalty. Nobody thinks that


Pat McFadden is incompetent and neither that either of


Pat McFadden is incompetent and been disloyal. Are you seriously


saying that nothing they have said could be construed as critical of


the Jeremy could be construed as critical of


that your position this morning? Michael Duggan is calling for


loyalty. When Jeremy Corbyn rang pats last night and told him he was


loyalty. When Jeremy Corbyn rang sacked, it was because he criticised


ISIS and said they were responsible alone for the terrorist attacks.


That has alone for the terrorist attacks.


international issues and terrorism ever since we were elected on the


same day ten years ago. -- Pat. ever since we were elected on the


is not about loyalty at all. Pat has worked


is not about loyalty at all. Pat has Michael and Pat leaving the front


benches is a big loss. Mr McFadden Michael and Pat leaving the front


was like and respected MP, and has been sacked for stating that


was like and respected MP, and has terrorists are to blame for


terrorism. I don't know why Pat was sacked, I have not heard from Jeremy


about it, and I have to agree with Pat and what he said in The Chamber


about ISIS and the fact Pat and what he said in The Chamber


is responsible for terrorist attacks but I know that Jamie


is responsible for terrorist attacks him about that as well. I can only


imagine they had a conversation last him about that as well. I can only


Jeremy had confidence in him and for some reason he appears to have


decided he does not. This happened in the last Parliament. Ed Miliband


sacked by an habit for the same reason. The Shadow Chancellor said


this morning that he had been sacked for disloyalty. I don't really know


why that has happened. Why has he been disloyal? I don't know. Was


about Michael? He was sacked for been disloyal? I don't know. Was


incompetence, we are told. Are you aware of anything he has done that


is incompetent? -- note. I work for aware of anything he has done that


Michael in the last Parliament and he is effective and a great


campaigner and a nice bloke. Are you sorry to see the back of both of


them? I don't think we have seen the last of them because I think they


will contribute from the backbenches. Michael in particular,


it became increasingly apparent over the last few months that Michael was


unhappy with the direction the party was taking and I think it is right


that he should have a very strong boys about the future of the party


but you obviously cannot do that from the Shadow Cabinet. Jonathan


Reynolds, another junior shadow minister, he has gone this morning


and resigned in protest, do you think there will be more


resignations? Who knows? This has been a terrible process and has gone


on for three days but before that we had weeks of speculation driven by


the leaders' office, and the whole long list of ministers who were due


to be chopped, and I think it has been a really terrible unedifying


spectacle. Once we get the shambles out of the way, we need to focus on


May and the local elections, we have big challenges. Jeremy was elected


to win back support for disaffected unhappy former Labour supporters. We


will be looking to win London and win it well, begin to win some


ground back in Scotland and do well in the local elections. Why did it


take 30 hours of meetings and almost three days to make the minor


changes? I don't know. My experience of reshuffle is... You clearly have


not been involved in the reshuffle! If you want to stay in your job,


keep your head down and stop I have been in my office board but 24


hours. One aggro did anybody call you? It was always meant to be a


limited reshuffle and it turned out to be that. What about the rumour in


Westminster that they dangled Defence in front of you? I have no


idea where it came from. I was never offered it and I never had a


conversation about it. Did the leaders' office ever have a


discussion with you about your position? They must have spoken to


somebody! Jeremy was talking to Hilary Benn. We know that but not to


you? He talked to Maria and Emily. I had made it very clear from the day


I got the job that I was thrilled to be doing it, I want to keep it. No


alternative for you? No. What is Hilary Benn's modus operandi? He had


long discussions with Hillary about future directions and policy. Maybe


you did not hear Mr McDonald this morning may he said if he wants to


do another speech like the one on Syria, he would have to do it from


the backbenches. Is that your understanding? No, I heard Hilary


Benn talking about it and he said there were no conditions put on his


job, and I know him and to be honest, I cannot imagine he would


have accepted a deal to stay in his job if he could not speak. From the


front bench? Yes. What I think they would have agreed is that they will


come to a collect view on major questions of the day which is right


and important stop do you think it is wise to put Miss Thornbury in


charge of Labour's defence policy on the very day that North Korea has


exploded a hydrogen bomb? Is it wise? The party makes policy and the


party position is that we will renew Trident. Is it your position? Is it


right to review it. -- it is right to review it. It has rights to


review how we spend the money and I am open to having a discussion. Does


the position of North Korea to explode a hydrogen bomb impact on


your future decision? You have to look at where the threat is


currently and the major threat is from ISIS, we have just spoken about


it. There was a big question about whether we spent that proportion of


our defence budget on Trident which has no answer to that challenge. The


military members have raised that question and I'm glad we have a


party leader who can explore it. He has made up his mind. He has not


imposed his view on the party. Collective decisions in the party.


We need to leave it there. A busy morning and head. Thank you. --


ahead. Hospital patients have been told


to prepare for disruption next week as junior doctors in England prepare


for a series of strikes after talks Three strikes over the next few


months. The British Medical Association -


or BMA - agreed to cancel three strikes last month to re-enter talks


with the government over At this point the concilation


service ACAS was brought in - but talks have broken down


leading to strikes back on. Unless a deal is reached,


there will be a 24 hour walk out next Tuesday, followed by a 48 hour


strikes later in the month The strike action is likely to lead


to thousands of non-emergency operations and hospital


appointments being cancelled. The main sticking point


is around weekend pay Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has


offered to increase basic salaries by 11% at the expense of overtime -


he says this is needed to create But the BMA says the offer


would mean doctors working more weekends for no extra money


and junior doctors had been "left We can speak now to a junior doctor.


But first of all, Alan Duncan, Junior doctors say this will mean


more weekends for no extra money, leaving staff tired and demoralised.


Is it time now for he is hunt to make further compromises? No, I


don't think this is true, by the way. The BMA may be saying that but


I'm not sure they are fairly representing doctors. I don't think


they are fairly representing the interests of doctors. What happened


at the meeting, 17 points they had been discussing, and 16 have been


agreed. And so will there was the issue of weekends. What we said


clearly in the election was that we wanted a seven-day NHS, so you are


not at a disadvantage if you are ill... Doctors say it is not true


that they do not work at the weekends, they do. But the structure


is not the same at weekends. So often as a patient you are at a


disadvantage at the weekend, which is what we are trying to overcome.


So there is this final issue, about how we reject the payments. The


Government is offering 11% increase in basic pay and trying to even


things out so there is much more certainty and smoothness over


weekends. That is a good objective. The BMA walked out within an hour,


announcing almost in advance that they were going to strike. I am not


convinced even though we have gone to a Cas that they are negotiating


honestly and fairly in the interests of Junior doctors. Do you accept


that the junior doctors will lose out on a certain amount of pay?


There is that 11% increase but also a 31% average payment taken away for


unsocial hours. When you take it in the round, many junior doctors will


be worse off under the new arrangements, why would they elect


for that? My understanding is that it is not as clear-cut as you say. I


cannot sit here and say absolutely nobody will be worse off. I am not


involved in the details of these discussions. But I firmly believe


that the basic offer is designed to make sure that people are not worth


off, but that the structure of pay is much more rational across the


seven-day week. We can ask a junior surgeon now. Hopefully you just


heard Alan Duncan saying that you will not be worse off under the new


deal being offered by the government - is that the case? Firstly, in


answer to what Mr Duncan just said, I feel very happy and confident that


the BMA are fully representing and understanding the needs of junior


doctors. Secondly, Mr Duncan was talking about 16 out of 17 points.


Yesterday he was talking about 15 out of 16. They do not seem very


clear on this. Let's talk specifically about this issue - are


junior doctors going to be worse off in terms of pay as a result of


changes which the Government says it wants to bring in? I will put this


to you. If you take what they have been saying at pay -- at face value,


the 11% pay rise, and the other changes, I would say this to you,


you could double my pay, and I would say, take that money and buy me


another doctor. Buy me another nurse, another physiotherapist,


because I cannot increase seven-day services above what we already


provide without the support of my colleagues, my paramedic colleagues


and without more doctors. You cannot provide more with a finite number of


doctors. We are already profoundly deplete and already working at


maximum capacity. We cannot do more. Nevertheless we were happy to


negotiate and try and work with the Government to do this. But still


they are not listening to our absolute concerns over safety. I


will come back to Alan Duncan on those points. But in terms of


negotiation, the Government has moved, it would say, because it has


offered this 11% rise on basic salary - where has the compromise


being from your side? In terms of compromise, it comes down to


absolute safety just in simple terms, you have a financial amount


of jam, very thinly spread, over one piece of toast, and the Government


are asking us to spread that same amount over two pieces of toast. We


are trying to say, it does not matter which way you spread it, it


will not work. I have looked at all the detail from the negotiation and


all it comes down to is trying to mini plate us to do something which


ultimately we are trying to say is unsafe. We want to help, we want to


increase seven-day services. We would love to provide those services


for our patients. But without the appropriate resort is an support, it


will not be safe. It needs to be safe.


will not be safe. It needs to be Duncan, it is not just about the


deal for the junior doctors, it is that there is not the funding to


resource these services, there are that there is not the funding to


not even the numbers of doctors, never mount how much you are paying


them? That is somebody on the front line, she knows. With respect, that


is slightly different line of argument than the one you were


putting earlier about the negotiations. I totally accept that


the demand for health care is massive compared with any budget one


could give in order to provide the service one wants to. That is why


big choices have to be made about resources and


big choices have to be made about you allocate them. You do


big choices have to be made about they are not enough resources being


spent in order to make their jobs easier and safer for patients? Every


politician over the last 50 years will say, there is never enough


money for the NHS. There are always demands on health which outstripped


the ability of any government to pay for it. But we think that having


this increase, in what we want to put into the NHS, we are trying to


rationalise it over weekends. All put into the NHS, we are trying to


would say is, please get round the table, not walk out after an hour.


Can I just say Liz and because we have run out of time, are you


prepared to negotiate further on this? Only if our concerns about


absolute safety are less to. There is a huge disconnect with the


reality of what is going on on the front line.


More developments on Labour. Hilary Benn's team up in arms over claims


that he has agreed to a six point feel not to criticise Mr Corbyn. It


is a lie, says one of Mr Ben's supporters. Whereas the Jeremy


Corbyn team are telling us that Mr McFadden was not sacked for opposing


terrorism. That is one, he was sacked for disloyalty on several


accounts to the new leadership. Now it's the New Year


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The Year on our website. It's coming up to midday here -


just take a look at Big Ben - Yes, the first


Prime Minister's Questions And that's not all -


Laura Kuenssberg is here, and she's been joined by the Labour


MP and shadow foreign affairs Laura bring us up to speed


with what's happening This is a moving story? Absolutely,


claims of lies on all sides this morning. 48 hours of blunt spoons,


rather than sharp knives, really. There is huge upset at the way this


has been handled, do not underestimate that. Massive upset


among the shadow cabinet and Shadow ministers who have decided to stay


on this and especially over the way Pat McFadden's departure was


handled. A lot of people think he has been unfairly treated. That is


denied of course by Jeremy Corbyn's team. The way this has unfolded


between last night and today, it has led already to the resignation of


the Shadow Rail Minister Jonathan Reynolds, and it has also led others


to be considering walking out of the door, and one of them is Stephen


Doughty. I have just written to Jeremy Corbyn to resign from the


front bench. I agreed to serve on Jeremy's front bench for a number of


reasons. I had well-publicised differences with him on foreign


policy and defence and security. But I recognised the mandate he had been


given by the party, and I also have areas where I wholeheartedly agreed


with him. Why have you resigned, question make on many issues,


including climate change another's. But fundamentally I agree with


everything Pat McFadden said, about not being seen to develop a


narrative that somehow the West is was possible. I had to look at my


own conscience in this situation, and when an individual like that has


been singled out for a sacking for words which I completely agree with,


I think it is the honourable thing for me to do to tender my


resignation. But Jeremy Corbyn's people say this to McFadden was not


fired for his remarks about terrorism, he was fired for


disloyalty to the leadership. Well, it is simply not true. It is really


sad actually the number of lies and unfortunate statements which are


coming out from the leader's office about this situation. I was with Pat


just after he was informed, and it was very clear what were the reasons


for his sacking. He is a team member, are not extremely principled


individual, who has always been clear about his own views, but he


has always loyally served the party. When an individual like that and my


own colleague is singled out for views which I also hold myself, I


think it is only honourable for myself also to leave the front


bench. You saying that we should not believe what we're being told by Mr


Corbyn's team? It is up to you what you think. I think that things which


are being briefed out this morning are simply not true. Undoubtedly


they will do it about other individuals, about me. One reason I


agreed to serve under Jeremy was actually his comments about the new


politics, about being open and transparent and straight talking.


And that seems to be the case for the first few weeks and months. I


was perfectly content with that even on areas where I disagreed with him.


His decision to give a free vote on Syria was absolutely right. But


unfortunately there is a tendency of some of those around him and within


his team to be conducting some pretty unpleasant operations against


certain people. And there are others as well. In addition to Pat McFadden


and Mr Dugher? It is extremely regrettable is, some of the stuff I


am aware of. When it comes down to issues of national security and


defence and terrorism, I have got very, very firm views on these


things, and many colleagues do as well. We cannot be seen to be


equivocating overdose. When an individual like Pat is singled out


for his views on those very issues, then it is a matter of conscience


for me. Given that I would have said exactly the same things, I cannot


continue on the front bench in that situation. What do you say to that?


I am sorry to see you go but I am excited about the fact that you


might come and do some more stuff on climate change. But I guess I would


also say as well that if I thought that Pat had been sacked because of


his views on Isil and the West and terrorist attacks, then I would be


agreeing with Steve. But that is what he thinks. Hang on, Alan. I


completely agree with his view on that. But I would say, so does


Jeremy Corbyn. How do you know that? Because I have spoken to him about


it. Are you saying that McFadden's views and Jeremy Corbyn's views on


terrorism are as one? No, but... Of course they are not. That was the


whole point of Jeremy Corbyn putting together a broad best shadow cabinet


and front bench, which he still has. Hilary Benn and Jeremy Corbyn have


got differences of opinion over things like Syria. They have been


very clear about that and they are keen to continue to work together to


reach the right answer. But at the end of the day there is not a single


Labour MP that I know of who thinks that the West


Labour MP that I know of who thinks terrorist attacks but we


Labour MP that I know of who thinks You have broken the story that there


is another shadow minister going, Stephen Doughty - do we expect more


today? I do. Maybe not very many, maybe not huge figures, very well


known to the public, but I think there will be at least two, maybe


more, who follow what Stephen Doughty has decided to do the course


of today. There will always be disagreement in Jeremy Corbyn's


Labour Party. He has the right to reshuffle his team, that is


absolutely important to remind. But after a very messy reshuffle, this


is a extraordinary. We have got different people publicly in the


same political party accusing each other of lying. Over very


fundamental things. I think there is a fundamental issue here. For me,


issues of national a fundamental issue here. For me,


defence though beyond party politics and internal machinations. And


personal point-scoring and settling, which has


personal point-scoring and settling, For me that is a very serious issue.


personal point-scoring and settling, that these are issues which go


beyond internal politics, then we will be in a very difficult


situation. You are will be in a very difficult


Nandy? Because I agree with Steve completely that this goes beyond


party politics. We have to go over to Prime Minister's Questions now.


Condemning terrorist attacks will not be a part of holding office? I


would say to my honourable friend that condemning terrorist attacks is


an essential component of aspiring to high office in this country and


that should the the case whether you are a shadow minister or Minister of


the Crown, and it is worth recalling what it is. Terrorists are entirely


responsible for their own actions, nobody forces anyone to kill


innocent people in Paris, blow nobody forces anyone to kill


the underground, behead innocent workers in Syria, he was absolutely


right to say that! Frankly, it speaks volumes that he cannot sit in


the Shadow Cabinet with the Leader of the Opposition. Thank


the Shadow Cabinet with the Leader Speaker. I would like to


the Shadow Cabinet with the Leader firefighters, mountain rescue


services, the police, armed services, engineers and workers, the


Environment Agency, and local government workers, and all the


volunteers, for all the work they did in


volunteers, for all the work they people on the floods that affected


this country. In January 20 14th following the devastating floods


this country. In January 20 14th that time, the Prime Minister said


and I quote, there are always lessons to be learnt and I will make


sure they are learned. -- 2014. Were they learned? Let me join the Leader


of the Opposition in thanking the emergency services, the police, the


Fire Services, the search and rescue teams who went around the country to


Fire Services, the search and rescue areas that were flooded, the


military, and as he says, what we saw was communities coming together


and volunteers carrying out extraordinary work. Having seen my


own constituency very badly flooded in 2007, having had floods while


Prime Minister, a number of lessons have been learnt. The military came


in far faster than before. The scheme was funded at 100%, more


money was got to communities more quickly. A lot of lessons have been


learnt. Are there more to learn? I am sure there are, there always are


and that is why I will review everything. As we do that, we will


make money available because we have a strong economy to build flood


resilience in our country. In 2011, ?190 million defence of floods was


cancelled, 1000 homes in Leeds was flooded in recent weeks, the


government is still only committed to a scaled-down version of the


project worth a fraction of its total cost when the Prime Minister


claimed money was no object in flood relief. When he meets the Leeds MPs


in the near future, will he guarantee the full scheme will go


in the near future, will he ahead to protect leads from future


flooding? -- Leeds. It is worth putting on record before we get on


to flood defence that this was the wettest December for over 100 years,


and actually, in Leeds and Yorkshire, it was the wettest


December ever on record, and that is why rivers in Yorkshire, it


including the Aire in Leeds was a metre higher than it has ever been


in stock in terms of floods defence is, no floods defence schemes have


been cancelled since 2010. The investment in flood defences was 1.5


billion in the last Labour government, 1.7 billion in the


government I lead is a Coalition Government, and will be over 2


billion in this Parliament. It has gone up and up and up and it has


gone up as we run an economy where we are able to invest in the things


that our country needs. One more point. Let us not forget this... We


inherited the Darling plan for our economy. A plan for 50% cut in


capital spending and DEFRA was not a protected department. We protected


that flood spending and increased it, something Labour would not have


done. Of course rainfall was excessive, of course the river


levels were high, but the Prime Minister has still not answered the


question on the Leeds flood protection scheme. I will give him


an opportunity too. In 2014, Cumbria applied for funding for new schemes


in Keswick and Kendall and both were turned down, both areas were flooded


again in the last few weeks. Does the Prime Minister believed that


turning down those schemes was also a mistake? We are spending more on


floods defence schemes is stacking up a whole series of schemes. Let me


make this point. If he is going to spend ?10 billion on renationalising


railways, where is he going to find the money for flood defences? The


idea that this individual would be faster in responding to floods, when


it takes in three days to carry out a reshuffle, is laughable! -- him.


Since I walked into The Chamber this morning, the Shadow Foreign Minister


has resigned, the Shadow Defence Minister has resigned, he could not


run anything! It is very strange that when I have asked a question


about Leeds floods defence, and Cumbria floods defence, the Prime


Minister still seems unable to answer. Canny now tell us if there


is going to be funding for those schemes? In October, Professor Colin


Mela, he warned the government about funding cuts to flood defences in


Yorkshire being formally discontinued in the future. Would


that be a mistake or so? Is he going to reverse the cut in the defence to


make sure that those cities and areas are protected in the next


round of floods which will no doubt come? We have increased and continue


to increase the spending of flood defences. We are spending more in


this Parliament, and for the first time, it is a six-year spending is


active which is ?2.3 billion extra on flood defences, money which would


not be available if we trashed the economy in the way he proposes. Of


course, after every incident of flooding, you go back and look at


what you have is then, what you have built, what you are planning to


spend, planning to build, and you see what more can be done, but the


head of the Environment Agency was clear that he had the money


necessary to take the action necessary, but we can only do that


with a strong economy, an economy that is growing, where more people


are in work, more people are paying taxes, we have got the strength to


solve this problem of floods and we will do it in a proper way. The


Prime Minister still has not answered on Leeds, on Cumbria, on


the warning from Professor Mellor, and like him, last week, I met


people in Yorkshire were affected by flooding and I met a young couple,


Chris and Victoria, whose home had been flooded over Christmas. It was


not very funny for them. This young couple lost many of their


possessions. Photos, children, toys, schoolwork, and they have the foul


stench of flood water in their homes as many families do in this country.


They are asking all of us wholly legitimate questions. Why was it


that the insignificant pump capacity of the barrier, alerted to in 2013


by a government report, was not dealt with and those pumps were not


upgraded, thus people were flooded in York and their possessions and


homes damaged? Those people want answers from all of us and in


particular from the Prime Minister. I have the greatest sympathy with


anyone flooded and we have to do what it takes to get people and


communities back on their feet and that is why we have put record sums


in more quickly to help communities in Cumbria, in Lancashire, and now


in Yorkshire, and we will continue to do that. On the question of the


pumps, that was about to be tended for extra investment and that


investment will now go ahead because the money is there. We are putting


in the money, we are putting it in more quickly, the military got


involved more quickly and to the couple who got flooded, we are also


doing something that previous governments have talked about but


never achieved and that is to have an insurance scheme so every


household in our country can get insured. That is not being done


before. Our lessons being learned? Yes. Are there more lessons? Yet.


But we do not need a lecture from the honourable gentleman! -- yes.


The reality is that flood defence scheme after flood defence scheme


has been cancelled, postponed or at stop many more homes have been


flooded, and too many lessons have been ignored. Why can't the Prime


Minister support our call for a coordinated cross-party approach to


flooding that looks at everything including Upland management in


making people's homes more flood resilient, and more protection


schemes properly funded? Does the Prime Minister agree with this? The


Fire and Rescue Service who have done a great job over the last few


weeks in all parts of this country, should now be given a statutory duty


to deal with loads to help us through any crisis that might occur


in the future? When he has worked out how to coordinate his own party,


perhaps he can have a word with me. On the issue of a statutory duty,


everybody knows what they have to do when let's take place, that is why


there was a magnificent response from the emergency services, the


Fire Services, the emergency rescue services, they have are backing to


do the vital work, and we will go on investing in flood defences, we will


increase the money on flood defences because we have a strong economy and


strong country that can back the action needed. 2016 is the 400th


anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. Does the Right Honourable


friend agree that our country should unite to commemorate his work best


at their special events at the RSC. The Shakespeare birthplace trust are


renovating the sight of his home, and his school is opening the


original classroom. Can I invite the House and the whole world to come


and celebrate the greatest living writer? I apologise for almost


interrupting his celebrity. The 400th anniversary of the death of


Shakespeare. Everything he has given to our language and culture and to


the world, it will be a fantastic moment for people to come and


Great Britain and come and see Stratford, and all the other places


that Stratford, and all the other places


with Shakespeare. Shakespeare provides language for every moment.


Consider what we are thinking about at the moment. There was a moment


where it looked like this reshuffle would go into the 12th night! It was


a revenge reshuffle so it was going to be as you like it! We can can


conclude that it has turned into a comedy of errors, perhaps much ado


about nothing! There will be those who worry that Love 's labours lost.


Thank you. Thank you for the warm welcome. Mr Speaker, the health


service is the role but junior doctors in Scotland are not banning


to strike next week. Why does the Prime Minister and the Scottish


Government has good relations with junior doctors and his government


does not? And now to the Scottish play! It raises an important


question and we have taken a different approach to the government


in Scotland. We have increased spending on the NHS by more than the


government in Scotland and that is the right approach but we are


determined to deal with the issue of having a genuine seven-day NHS.


Everybody knows, doctors know, patients know it, the BMA knows it,


there is a problem with the NHS at the weekend, and one of the ways to


correct that is to make sure we have new contracts, including with junior


doctors, to make sure not that they work longer hours, and in fact under


our plans, many will work less hours. Not to reduce doctors' pay.


No one who works legal hours will see a cut in their pay. 75% of


doctors will see a rise. This is a good deal for a good NHS and I'm


sure in Scotland they will at it as well.


The Scottish Government has been investing record levels in the NHS


in Scotland and it also works very hard to have the best possible


relations with the doctors and nurses and NHS staff. Would the


English Health Secretary speak to his Scottish colleague to learn how


to resolve the situation in England and stave off strike action, which


no-one wants to see, least of all Julia doctors? There should always


be good discussions between the Health Secretary in the United


Kingdom government and health ministers in the devolved


administrations. Obviously, one thing we think is important when we


make a decision to increase funding in the NHS, as we have done, ?19


billion more in this Parliament, that has consequences for Wales and


Scotland and Northern Ireland under the bonnet formula. And of course I


find it very depressing that the Welsh have decided under Labour to


spend less than we are planning to spend, and Scotland has done the


same thing. The local economy in my constituency, Bolton West, continues


to strengthen, great businesses relocating and growing in


Westhoughton. We are also seeing heritage trading frames investing ?1


million in equipping a new factory in Lostock, another company winning


new contracts and recruiting more staff in Norwich. Will the Prime


Minister agree with me that the northern powerhouse is not just


about our great northern cities, it is also about our Great North Run


towns? My honourable friend is absolutely right. It is instructive


that members opposite do not want to hear good news about businesses and


investment which is happening in the economy. Sometimes it can sound as


if the plan for a northern powerhouse is all about the cities.


Our view is that by linking up the cities, you also helped the towns


and the rural areas because you are rebalancing the economy and


increasing opportunity in the north of our country. In 2014, in response


to the flooding of the Thames Valley, the Prime Minister said that


money would be no object. In the light of his cuts to the flood


offences, his cuts to the fire and rescue service, his cuts to the


Environment Agency, can he say the same to the people of Leeds, of


Rochdale, York, of Whitby and of Teesside, or is it one rule for his


constituents, and another for ours in the north? She is completely


wrong about the funding, as I have explained in great detail. What we


put in place under this government is not funding at 85% of what a


council spends, but 100%. So what I said absolutely stands good. Thepm


has always been a staunch supporter of the Welsh TV channel S4C, so


could he use this opportunity to reinforce the future of the channel


and the commitment to safeguard its funding? I am happy to do that. S4C


is an important part of our broadcasting structure and it is


very well liked in Wales. We will meet the spirit of our manifesto


promise to make sure this continues to be a very strong channel. With


homeownership down to its lowest level in a generation, down every


year since he became Prime Minister, why did Tory MPs vote against


Labour's amendments to the housing bill last night, which would have


protected the publicly funded discount for new starter homes for


future buyers? Isn't that better value for money for first-time


buyers and for the taxpayer, you saw no? Well, the proposal. The homes is


a Conservative Party proposal put into our manifesto, opposed


throughout by the Labour Party. This is only happening because we have


listed a majority and put a housing bill through this House of Commons.


We are taking every step we can to help get more people on the housing


ladder. In London we are seeing Help to Buy now funding 40% of the homes


people want to buy, rather than 20%. We will see 200,000 starter homes


built during this Parliament. Because we are managing the economy


properly, interest rates are low and it is easier for people to get a


mortgage. With our help to save skin, people can put aside money to


help them with their deposit. We are on the side of the homeowner, and


above all those people who want to get on the housing ladder.


Mr Speaker, on Boxing Day, the village of crust and in my


constituency suffered the worst floods in living memory. We had


damage to schools, homes and businesses. Will my right honourable


friend join with me in praising the efforts of everybody who pulled


together to protect their community and will he ask is honourable friend


the member for Penrith and The Border to review the decision by the


Environment Agency to switch off the pumps in that particular place?


First of all let me pay tribute to her constituents, who worked around


the clock to help each other in what were appalling floods, with this


incredibly high-level of rainfall. Let me join with her in thanking the


emergency services again for all the work they did. After floods like


this there are always questions about which pumps were used, which


flood gates were opened, what decisions were made by the experts


on the ground. And it is very important, having seen many


communities flooded in my own constituency, to hold meetings in


the community to go through those decisions and work out what lessons


can be learned and whether the right decisions were made. I absolutely


pledge that that should be done if we have announced ?40 million for


the work across Lancashire and Cumbria for helping people out. And


we will make sure that the flood alleviation money for households and


businesses, the scheme is that we set up after 2013, that the money is


paid out as it can be. Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. In the light


of last month's Paris climate agreement, in which all countries


promised to keep global warming well below 2 degrees, does the Prime


Minister agree that we must now urgently begin the process of


strengthening the EU's 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target to


50% below 1990 levels at the very least a position which he argued


for, I am glad to say, at the European Council? First of all let


me join her in once again recognising that Paris was a very


big step forward. Previous agreements, like at Kyoto, did not


include action by China or America. And now, you have got all the big


emitters as part of the deal. We did argue that the EU should go further.


We achieved I think a very aggressive package for the EU, but


that was the best that we could do in the circumstances. I think the EU


agreement helped to bring about the general agreement. Nobody should be


in doubt that Britain is playing a very major role. Let me give you one


statistic. I know there is a great interest in this house about solar


panels. I asked the question the other day, what percentage of solar


panels have been installed in Britain since this government took


office in 2010, expect it might be 50 or 60%. The answer is 98%.


Yesterday it was announced that the Foxhill housing zone in Bath would


receive ?313,000 of government funding to help kick-start work to


build thousands of new homes in the city. Would the Prime Minister agree


with me that this funding will help to reverse the lack of new building


under the party opposite and unable struggling families to get onto the


property ladder? I am delighted to hear about that development. The


fact is, we have built 700,000 houses since this government came to


office but there is a lot more to be done. Sometimes it might involve


specific planning permissions orders agreements between councils which


need to be sorted out. But we should not forget that the developers and


house builders will only go ahead with house-building if they believe


it is a benign economic environment with a strong and growing economy


and stable interest rates. That is the key to the success in housing.


The Prime Minister promised to cut the number of government special


advisers and the Chancellor wants to limit pay increases to public sector


employees to 1% of. So how does he possibly square that with now having


26 more special advisers than in 2010 and a 42% pay increase for the


Chancellor's own personal image consultant? There are fewer special


advisers under this government than there were under the last


government. Will my right honourable friend agree with me that it is more


than a matter of regret that the new Shadow Defence Secretary has seen


fit to take a donation from the immoral, thieving and ambulance


chasing lawyers leader a who, together with public interest


lawyers, specialise in hounding out brave service personnel in Iraq with


spurious claims? Is it time that we removed the latter from the


pernicious clutches of the Human Rights Act and honoured our


manifesto commitment for a British Bill of Rights? Taking his questions


in turn - yes, we should honour our commitment for a Bill of Rights and


I look forward to making progress on that. I think this organisation


Leigh Day, does have some that. I think this organisation


to answer. They were deeply involved in the inquiry where a


to answer. They were deeply involved claims completely fell apart and


there was it seems evidence which could have shown that those


there was it seems evidence which were false. I do think that it is


instructive that we have lost Shadow Secretary of State -2


believed in strong defence, who believed in strong defence, who


and instead we have got somebody believed in strong defence, who


apparently who takes funds from Leigh Day. I think that leaves us


with Leigh Day. I think that leaves us


Speaker, frankly, it goes to a bigger truth, which is, one day this


we shovel I suppose will be over, and we will be left with a


collection of and we will be left with a


doubt, who signed up to unilateral nuclear disarmament, who signed up


to backing up taxes, debt and spending, and one of the left-wing


programmes in living memory. This is a collective act they would have


taken part in. We should not be asking if the Leader of the


taken part in. We should not be Opposition would be happy about lead


central. The question is, what on earth is the member for lead central


and others doing in this Labour Party government? The Prime Minister


may be aware that there is also a Shakespeare connection to Knowsley,


where midsummer night dream for example was written, amongst other


place. I wonder whether he will lend his support to the proposal for a


Shakespeare of the north, which will complete the triangle of the Globe


theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, and Knowsley, as a celebration of the


work of Shakespeare? I think this sounds like an excellent proposal.


We should not try and constrain Shakespeare to Stratford. We should


make sure this is a national, indeed international, celebration, so I


will look carefully at the proposal he makes. In Derbyshire, the county


council have announced plans to cut four care homes including Hillcrest


in my constituency, as well as some sheltered housing. This is clearly


an attack on the elderly and vulnerable in Derbyshire by an


authority with a proven track record of wasting taxpayers' money. Will my


right honourable friend look at this dismal situation to ensure all


Derbyshire presidents have access to good levels of care? I am happy to


look at that problem. Obviously, this is a Labour-controlled council


taking these decisions. What I would urge them to do is to look at the


proposals that we made in the spending review, at the fact that


councils are now able to use a surcharge on council tax to fund


additional social care, and to recognise that their job instead of


playing politics should be serving local people. Last year, the IMF


warned income inequalities is the most defining challenge of our time.


It is getting worse and it slows economic growth. By last night,


FTSE-100 chief executive is well have been paid more for five days


work than the average UK worker will be paid in the whole of 2016,


getting a pay rise of nearly 50% last year while the average worker


had a pay rise of less than 2%. So, will the Prime Minister support the


high pay centre's back and Asians for organisations to publish data on


the ratio of top pay to average pay? -- recommendations fully I am a


great supporter of these things. But since I have become Prime Minister,


income inequality has actually fallen, whereas it went up under


Labour. One of the biggest rings wasn't doing to help with income


inequality is, for the first time ever, to bring in a national living


waged. This is the year that we are going to see people paying no tax


until they have earned ?11,000. This is the year we will see a national


living waged at ?7 20. Those are big advances in helping the low paid in


our country. I would like to pay tribute as well to the countless


numbers of people and organisations who helped out during the recent


floods. Yesterday, I spoke with the chairman of the new insurance scheme


and I know that people who have been hammered by the floods will welcome


the fact that their premiums will be quashed and that they will not meet


eye-watering excesses. But he told me that it will not cover any houses


built since 2009 and it will not cover businesses, either. Will the


Prime Minister look again at the scheme to make sure that it is


properly comprehensive? We are looking very carefully at this,


particularly on the issue of businesses. We have had a number of


anecdotal stories from small businesses saying it is going to be


very difficult to get insurance. Meanwhile the insurance companies


are telling us they will not turn down any small businessesso we need


to get to the bottom of this before we get the final introduction of the


scheme in April this year. It was good to welcome the Prime


Minister and his Excellency the President of China, Chester airport


in my constituency recently to talk about investment. But what is in the


northinterest and the nation's interest is extra runway capacity in


the south-east. Why does the Prime Minister continue to procrastinate?


Can I thank him and everybody in Manchester who helped to welcome the


Chinese president at the excellent lunch in Manchester and the very


good visit to Manchester airport? In response to his question, I would


say that the environmental audit committee of this house, and indeed


the author of the original report, Howard Davies, have both said that


the problems of quality to raise new questions which the Government has


to answer. I am in favour of answering those questions and then


making a decision. Two years ago I think tomorrow, the House lost a


superb parliamentarian and much loved colleague in all parts of the


house. The honourable gentleman's predecessor, Paul Goggins. We


remember him with affection and respect and we think fondly of his


widow and their three children, who are all wonderful human beings and


we wish them well for the future. Thank you, Mr Speaker. My


constituency was decimated by the recent floods. It was reported in


the Bradford Telegraph And Argus earlier this week that the Bradford


district would not receive any of the extra funding the Prime Minister


announced for Yorkshire for flood defences. Will he take this


opportunity to confirm that that is not the case, that whatever money is


necessary to protect my constituency from future flooding will be spent?


And if he is struggling to find the money, the all could use money from


the overseas aid budget, because I am sure he believes that victims


flooding in Shipley should not be disconnected against in terms of


victims of flooding in other parts of the world? We will do what it


takes to make sure that families and communities and businesses can get


back on their feet. That's why we have invested record sums more


quickly into the affected areas. We have learned the lessons of previous


floods, where sometimes the schemes have been too bureaucratic and too


much time has been taken. Whether it is building bridges, repairing


roads, building flood defences, examining where the water went this


time and what more can be done, we will make sure that work is carried


out in Bradford, as everywhere else. Is the Prime Minister aware of the


valuable work of the National Wildlife Crime Unit not just in


enforcing the law but in promoting animal welfare and as part of the


international effort against the trade in endangered species? Is he


aware that the funding for it expires in a couple of months, and


DEFRA and the Home Office have yet to make a decision to continue it?


Can I ask him to prevail upon his right honourable friends to make


sure that this extremely important and valuable work is continued? My


understanding is that we HAVE kept the funding for this organisation.


It does important work to mystically and overseas. I will look very


carefully at what he suggests. I think there is still a decision to


be made about the future. My right honourable friend knows that the


legacy of thalidomide stills hangs over more than 500 people in our


country today. In the last Parliament, Mr Speaker, the Prime


Minister signalled very strong support to get a fair and just


solution to their problems. Can I invite my right honourable friend in


this Parliament to renew that pledge and to work with the all-party group


to ensure a just outcome? I am happy to make that clear. In the last


Parliament I met with some of my own constituents who have been affected


by thalidomide and they had a number of things they wanted


parliamentarians to do and a lot of people got behind their campaign. I


am happy to continue to work with them in this Parliament. Order.


Jeremy Corbyn to all lessons on the floods and whether the government


was investing sufficient money. And whether it is doing enough in the


future to stop it happening again. The Prime Minister pointed out that


Mr Corbyn had been in Malta while some of the floods were going on and


stop he did not point out that when his constituency was under water in


2007 he was in Africa. There were a number of Shakespearean quotations


from the Prime Minister about the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. Love


Labour's lost, as you like it, a comedy of errors was another one.


The Prime Minister then went on to talk about less hours for doctors


which showed he has not quite mastered Shakespeare's language! Why


was the 190 million flood scheme cutbacks? This is a classic Andrew


Neil question, expecting me to know everything! My understanding is that


it was not cut back but the Environment Agency decided not to go


ahead with it because it would cause flooding elsewhere. You have to be


careful about making accusations. David Cameron, in saying that this


is how floods spending has gone up and will go up, as clearly held the


floor against original request was for a ?190


million flood defence and it original request was for a ?190


made to the government in 2010. It original request was for a ?190


was not turned down by original request was for a ?190


will now receive ?33 million which will not cover, actually, part


will now receive ?33 million which the city which was flooded recently.


The bit that was flooded get no extra defence. Look, this is an


The bit that was flooded get no don't know the exact details of the


decisions taken on don't know the exact details of the


the Minister, but Liz truss gave the answer is in great detail in 90


minutes and was very convincing in the way she did, as was David


Cameron the Prime Minister. the way she did, as was David


remember what she said? I was not there for all of it. It is the


issue, looking at the there for all of it. It is the


the e-mails and questions raised in the House today, people are


unbelievably concerned. Mark said David Cameron failed to


legitimate questions that Jeremy Corbyn asked on the government


handling of flood defences and government priorities. David said, I


find it rich for David Corbyn to stand up


find it rich for David Corbyn to fortnight to show his face in York.


find it rich for David Corbyn to Malcolm said, what a disgrace, all


our politicians are out of touch with the country. And yet said,


Jeremy Corbyn looks and with the country. And yet said,


a bumbling old lefty. This from Andy... I have never seen anything


as durable as David Cameron's performance today. Legitimate


questions were derided by Jeremy Corbyn. The sycophantic Tories do


nothing to raise the status of the House, physically on the issue of


floods. Don said, what are the useless politicians going to do? To


floods. Don said, what are the time they banned phones and tablets


from The Chamber? They are constantly in use and very annoying.


The Speaker let the men and now they all use them. Parliament should be


about listening. Not playing around. People are reading speeches on iPad.


They should People are reading speeches on iPad.


the quill pen! The Prime Minister claimed that


there were fewer special advisers and political appointments than the


last government. Well, there were 74 special advisers in July 2009 under


Mr Brown. It seemed a lot at the time but the run now 100 and three


under this government, as of November 20 14. The figure may be


higher. The Prime Minister was talking about the previous Coalition


Government of which he also led, but they had more special advisers


because the Lib Dems had their load as well. What happens, special


advisers have a terrible reputation in the press is people who do


ghastly deeds. People in the opposite of say they will cut


numbers but then they get into power and find them very useful. It has


happened before and it's happening now. We also understand that Kevin


Jones has quit the Shadow Cabinet. I think it is quite likely that others


in the shadow defence team who were being asked to serve under Emily


Thornberry who opposes renewing new killer deterrence may follow him


through the rest of the day -- nuclear. It is the official policy


to back Trident but that is the opposite of what Jeremy Corbyn wants


to do. The next seemed to unravel is that members of the defence team who


will serve -- won't serve a -- under somebody who is taking the opposite


view to them. The pro-Trident policy isn't going to last, is it? Let's be


realistic. The leader of the Labour Party is against it. The new Shadow


Defence Secretary is against it. The person hurt in to do the defence


review with that Shadow Defence Secretary, Mr Livingstone, is


against it. The NEC is appointed with people who are moving against


it, and there will certainly be a vote at the Labour Party conference


which could easily vote against it. That is the direction of trade,


isn't it? Yes, that is the context of all of this and that is one of


the reasons why there is this sort of race amongst Jeremy Corbyn


supporters to try and take over as much of the party machinery as they


possibly can before you get to that conference vote in September.


Remember, though, one important thing in all of this, there are some


big influential backers of Trident because of jobs and that includes a


lot of unions and that is one of the reasons a health Jeremy Corbyn win


this leadership race. There is disquiet about getting rid of it but


it is an important achievement of the reshuffle which has been messy


and has had some very dramatic and terrible consequences this morning


in terms of broken trust and hurt feelings. He has moved to neutralise


a very big row which was coming down the tracks very quickly, which was,


how will Labour cope with the boat to come in the House of Commons over


whether to renew Trident? He has moved to neutralise that with some


success but he has not been able to move his very big target, the Shadow


Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn. I am glad you brought that up. We are


being inundated with briefings from Hilary Benn's people, saying,


nothing has changed army has not agreed to conditions commonly


carries on as before. -- nothing has changed, he has not agreed... What


did they talk about drawing that time, then? -- during. Jeremy Corbyn


is very, very fond of discussion. Drawing the one-to-one meetings,


there were not conversations about how his role which change, and yet


we have this briefing now from those around Jeremy Corbyn that there is


some kind of New World order in how things will operate. -- during the


Shadow Chancellor also said there will be this situation where anybody


on the front bench wants to say something that is not Jeremy


Corbyn's position, hang on a minute, I am just going to shuffle up to the


backbench and say what I really think. It is not a sustainable


position. Hilary Benn says he will not do that. I don't want to add to


the speculation on this because it has got out of hand but one thing


that is missing from this discussion is the fact that it is quite a big


change, not just for the Labour Party but for British politics. The


biggest change we have seen in my political lifetime. What is the


change? A change in leadership and change in the direction of the


party, and at the same time, don't forget that Jeremy and many members


of the Shadow Cabinet did not know each other very well before this


started and one of the rings that has happened over the last few


months is that we have been working through that and getting to know one


another. -- things. It has been them reaching an agreement on how they


work together going forward and it sounds like they have managed to do


that. I am sure there are no conditions. Would he resign if it


came to the next big confrontation on something like air strikes or


Trident? Would you expect Hilary Benn to resign? In the end, he is a


principled man and if they could not reach an agreement, keyword, but


what they did yesterday was find a way to mutually work together in a


respectful way. -- keyword. We do not know what the roles of this are.


And, indeed, Mr Benn himself. You have two figures on the record


saying two different things. The Shadow Chancellor John McDonald is


saying there is a new modus operandi. Hilary Benn is a new set


of conditions and ways of working, a bit like -- collective working.


Hilary Benn is saying, I have not been muzzled. You cannot both be


right. Most people around the country are seeing the headlines in


newspapers and will not pay attention to the tiny details but


for a political party to work, you have to have trust, people who can


work together, we believe you can be a team, and in the last 48 hours,


although Jeremy Corbyn has flexed his muscles and shown his authority,


in some ways, there have been -- there has been chaos around it, the


thin strands of trust that have been, some of them are snapping all


over the place in the does the Shadow Cabinet not better reflect


Jeremy Corbyn's views and in a sense, he has tightened his grip on


those key issues, not on Syria, but certainly on Trident? That is why I


say he has achieved one thing, which is neutralising the row over


Trident. A defence team will be along the lines of what he wants to


do. He has shown to assert his authority to some degree but for


things to work and for the party to be able to hold together, rather


than just become a much smaller, tighter band of people gathered


around Jeremy Corbyn... It is a strange situation where we we know,


as we have been told several times, the official Labour policy is in


favour of renewing Trident and yet we know that that is not the


direction that Mr Corbyn once. In a sense, this is why this has had


such wider appeal, for the many people who have signed up to be a


part of this, and we must not forget that, but he believes that the real


way of changing things is not in this Square Mile, it is not on the


green benches, not in the House of Commons, it is by having a


grassroots movement around the country, about expanding the way the


NEC makes policies, and there is that kind of extra-Parliamentary bit


about it. That is part of what he has been doing with Trident. He has


been very honest about his own personal views but he has not


imposed personal views but he has not


And that is quite significant. Were you aware of a number of your shadow


cabinet colleagues being prepared to resign if Mr Benn was fired? No. Was


that the case, Laura? That is what I was told by several of them, no


question. Now, people can say they was told by several of them, no


they really have done it if it came to pass? I spoke to many


they really have done it if it came colleagues across the shadow cabinet


and none of us had colleagues across the shadow cabinet


that there was a lot of briefing and speculation


that there was a lot of briefing and Hilary Benn getting sacked and about


a revenge reshuffle and Hilary Benn getting sacked and about


whip being moved, and in the end, none of that happened. I'm not sure


there was ever any none of that happened. I'm not sure


to happen. So why did it take almost two days for almost nothing to


happen? I think Jeremy wanted to have a chance to meet with people


and discuss things with them. He did not meet with you. It turned out the


media predictions just were not correct. Of course there is always


frenzied speculation, but the message from people close to Jeremy


Corbyn unquestionably was, he wanted new faces at defence - he has got


that, which is a success for him. And he has wanted a new face also in


charge of foreign policy. And he hasn't got that bit. And that


message was being conveyed. That was being conveyed by


message was being conveyed. That was now going to be allowed to go its


message was being conveyed. That was way after the deal is done and the


referendum campaign is are going to go? I am a mild,


non-frothing outer. My first act in the nineteen seventies... I am


asking you about this one, not 1975. Which way will you vote? I have just


told you. I am probably an outer. For me,


told you. I am probably an outer. pull a pretty big rabbit out of the


hat. I'm not sure the agenda he pull a pretty big rabbit out of the


put forward to try and get reform would suffice for me because I think


they would suffice for me because I think


benefits and movement of people. The key thing is, who makes our law. And


I think at the moment too much of our law is made by this artificial


construct, of Europe. This is the day when the Labour Party suddenly


labelled itself dysfunctional. Not at all. We are united Europe, unlike


you, and focused on the interests of the country, unlike you. We


certainly are. And we have got a new Shadow Europe Minister, in Pat


Glass, who has campaigned for a long time... Having got rid of a very


good, competent person in Pat McFadden, who is a great guy. He is,


but Pat Glass... The Prime Minister said on special advisers that there


were fewer than under the previous government, whether he was referring


to the coalition government... There are currently 92. There were more


than 100 and the coalition. Under Mr Brown there were 74. So there are


Fuhrer advises under Mr Brown Van there are now under Mr Cameron. Just


to clarify that. Can you name every single one of them? I will have to


write them all down! You will win a mug if you can!


Now, you might not realise it to look at the mild-mannered


exteriors of Lisa and Alan here, but underneath they and many other


MPs are seething with pent up rudeness they are desperate


They're probably just waiting until they no longer


Well, here's the former Labour MP Tom Harris with his soapbox...


It is hard to believe, I know, but sometimes it seems that people


go out of their way to be rude to politicians.


And sometimes, not often enough as far as I am concerned,


Graham Jones MP recently received an e-mail from a man who told him


that by voting for military action in Syria, he would have the blood


of tens of thousands of innocents on his hands.


And with refreshing northern directness, Graham replied,


I once had to physically remove a constituent from my advice surgery


because he had been particularly abusive.


And I told him that he would not expect to receive any help


Unfortunately, to my lasting regret, I never actually told him


In a country where honesty and transparency and the right


to protest, like this one behind me, are valued above all others,


it is significant, nay depressing, that our elected representatives


must avoid telling the truth to their constituents,


especially when that truth is what they actually think of them.


MPs have to take it, not dish it out.


It is their job to sit and listen and do as they are told


by the people who after all pay their very generous


If you want to tell your MP that he is murdering


But don't be offended if in return he tells you that


you are an appeaser of murdering, fascist, rapist, torturing scum.


Oh, and thanks so much for taking the time to write.


It is time for politicians to fight back.


Don't hold back in this interview, Tom. Tell us what you really think!


Is this the result of pent-up anger that you have wanted to unleash on


those constituents while you were an MP? It probably is! Did it do you


any good, raising your voice occasionally? It did not do me any


harm. I remember the occasion that I referred to when I had to physically


throw somebody out of my surgery. I was re-elected by an even bigger


majority after that. But you were not in a marginal seat? No. I think


part of the vast experience that I have is that people are generally


respect for and nice. So, you are talking about a few people here.


Sometimes you get abuse. But there is a low level of passive aggression


which sometimes you have to deal with. When you are out with your


family and people feel they have the right to come up to you and just be


a little bit undermining in front of your family and your kids. I guess


it is completely unacceptable. Are you being thin skinned on this


issue? I mean, was ever thus, people get very upset about issues of war


and peace, the economy, benefits, whatever it is. Isn't that your job


to kind of soak it up a little bit? No, it is not. I think MPs have got


as much right to be treated with respect, not deference, in the same


way as a GP or a head teacher should be treated with respect. If people


are rude to you I think it is perfectly acceptable to offer the


same level of rudeness back. Do you do that, Alan, if a constituent is


rude to you in that sort of way? Yes, you either humour it and brush


them off, but if somebody is consistently rude, yes. What I find


has completely changed, setting aside the deep vulgarity of social


media, is actually the e-mail, which has made people fire things off in


the dead of night, and they are very aggressive in their language. Quite


often I go back and say, I refuse to correspond with you until you are


prepared to be polite and considerate in your tone deaf I have


had to do that more and more over the last five years. Lucy, you are


relatively new MP, but do you think people have become more rude since


then? I think social media means people correspond in ways that they


would not. Also I think people shout at you because they are frustrated.


Tom compared it to the GP or the headteacher. You learn to work out


when people are actually just really, really frustrated and how to


handle that and help them climb down. Have you ever been frightened


in surgeries? You are a big chap, Tom... I am not! Would you ever be


scared and intimidated? I did have one constituent who came to see me


in a rage, demanding that I intervened because he had been


turned down for a gun licence because of an anger management


problem. I was not so much frightened as very clear! What did


you say? And very concise! Tom Harris, thank you very much. Let's


put you out of your misery and give you the answer to need guess the


year. The year was 2007. Steven Webster from Hemel Hampstead, well




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