22/01/2016 Daily Politics


22/01/2016

Jo Coburn with the latest political news and debate. Cristina Odone joins Jo to look at David Cameron's diplomatic push to secure a deal in Europe.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

:00:36.:00:38.

David Cameron is in Prague on the latest leg of his tour

:00:39.:00:41.

to drum up support for his plans for EU reform.

:00:42.:00:45.

The Prime Minister says he's not in a hurry,

:00:46.:00:48.

despite speculation that's he's still aiming for a referendum

:00:49.:00:50.

Meanwhile, the EU is facing bigger problems than Brexit as thousands

:00:51.:00:56.

of migrants continue to arrive daily - can Europe's

:00:57.:00:59.

They're no longer smoke-filled and now they let in women -

:01:00.:01:07.

we'll be looking at the role of gentlemen's clubs

:01:08.:01:09.

But just why would Germany be named the best country in the world?

:01:10.:01:27.

All that in the next hour and with us for the first half

:01:28.:01:30.

of the show is the journalist and broadcaster Cristina Odone.

:01:31.:01:33.

the Prime Minister has ordered ministers to clamp down on lawyers

:01:34.:01:44.

pursuing claims against veterans of the Iraq war.

:01:45.:01:47.

He's asked the National Security Council to draw up options to end

:01:48.:01:50.

what Number Ten called "spurious claims".

:01:51.:01:51.

Lawyers are continuing to refer alleged abuse by soldiers

:01:52.:01:54.

to the Iraq Historic Allegations Team, which has so far informed

:01:55.:01:58.

about 280 UK veterans they are under investigation for alleged abuse.

:01:59.:02:02.

Well, there are a number of steps I'm going to be examining.

:02:03.:02:09.

First is making sure that people cannot claim

:02:10.:02:11.

legal aid unless they are resident in the UK.

:02:12.:02:14.

We're going to look at the measures we can take against companies that

:02:15.:02:17.

We're also going to look at the conditional fee

:02:18.:02:24.

arrangements, the so-called no-win, no fee arrangements that some

:02:25.:02:27.

of these companies are entering into.

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So we will take whatever steps are necessary to make sure

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we shut down this industry that I think is treating people who have

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served their country in such an appalling way.

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Well we're joined now by Clive Baldwin.

:02:42.:02:43.

He's the senior legal adviser from Human Rights Watch.

:02:44.:02:47.

Welcome to the Daily Politics. As you've heard, David Cameron says he

:02:48.:02:54.

will take whatever steps to curb this industry. Is he right to do it?

:02:55.:02:58.

What the Prime Minister is wrong to do is to be making such statements

:02:59.:03:02.

when enquiries are ongoing. There is an independent investigation going

:03:03.:03:07.

on and the results of an independent investigation into the allegations

:03:08.:03:10.

of crimes. For the Prime Minister to step in now and say that all the

:03:11.:03:15.

allegations are spurious, talk about destroying an industry. He's not

:03:16.:03:21.

saying all of them but he is saying he wants to stamp out spurious legal

:03:22.:03:25.

claims against British troops who are serving their country. The broad

:03:26.:03:29.

principle - is that something you would support? The place to decide

:03:30.:03:33.

whether a claim is spurious or not is in the courts. But the industry,

:03:34.:03:39.

he is saying, itself, should be looked at very carefully. Not just

:03:40.:03:42.

individual firms are not just individual cases but he is calling

:03:43.:03:46.

it an industry. When your mind that is wrong? That is wrong. What do you

:03:47.:03:53.

think? I think places like human rights watch have done fantastic

:03:54.:03:57.

work, monitoring what is going on out in Iraq and other places. The

:03:58.:04:03.

British justice system, of course, whether it is the military or the

:04:04.:04:07.

civilian branch, should be totally accountable, but there is beginning

:04:08.:04:10.

to be a feeling that there are witchhunts going on, that lawyers

:04:11.:04:17.

are taking advantage of, and that this whole no-win, no fee mentality

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is about getting the this whole no-win, no fee mentality

:04:22.:04:25.

matter what, rather than the pursuit of the truth, which is what we like

:04:26.:04:29.

to think rule by law means. Do you want to respond to that? Rule by law

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must be pursued of the truth but it is important to say these

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allegations have that does come from the lawyers. They originally from

:04:38.:04:40.

the British media, which investigated ten years ago, from the

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Red Cross, who made reports that time saying they were very

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concerned, from people like a senior legal adviser of the Armed Forces in

:04:51.:04:53.

Iraq, who spoke at great length about this. And even public

:04:54.:05:02.

enquiries and though a particular in Greek rejected some claims, it found

:05:03.:05:08.

evidence of abuses going on. What about the point Cristina is making

:05:09.:05:11.

about the core of some of these claims, these no-win, no fee

:05:12.:05:15.

arrangements, that some people are being encouraged to come forward,

:05:16.:05:19.

that the number of claims has grown exponentially over the last few

:05:20.:05:24.

years, that that, in fact, is driving a different sort of momentum

:05:25.:05:28.

to claims that are made? No-win, no feed... I'm not an expert on this

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issue but as I understand it, it was partly brought in by the Labour

:05:34.:05:37.

government when it started cutting back on legal aid, so it is not to

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attack the messenger, it is more to say... And remember, this is a very

:05:44.:05:48.

special case. The UK had invaded and occupied part of Iraq, so was

:05:49.:05:52.

responsible for governing citizens. If those people made a claim, there

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has to be some measure of accountability. If the reports RIA,

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that legal aid is going to be clawed back, or they are not going to be

:06:01.:06:03.

made available to people who aren't resident in the UK, that is going to

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prevent people putting in claims at all. We obviously want everybody to

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have access to justice but there is a sniffing sense here that no-win,

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no fee is about the pursuit of money, rather than justice. But

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soldiers shouldn't be above the law, should they? Absolutely not. But on

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the other hand, I don't think lawyers should rule everything,

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either. Are firms like Leigh Day and others just ambulance chasers? Leigh

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Day and others have also been responsible for others. There was

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recently the case of people from a Miao Miao in Kenya in the 1950s,

:06:48.:06:53.

which took 15 years and in the end the British Government admit it on a

:06:54.:07:00.

mass scale because of litigation that was brought. Is important to

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say that the proper place for any allegations against lawyers is with

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the lawyers regulatory authority, it is not for the Prime Minister to be

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saying that while the allegation is going on. That does damage the

:07:15.:07:18.

appearance of rule of law. What do you say to the defence secretary,

:07:19.:07:22.

claiming there will be a fear of lawsuits which could then impede the

:07:23.:07:26.

effectiveness of British troops? Well, anyone who actually has gone

:07:27.:07:29.

above the law needs to fear those lawsuits. What you do need is a

:07:30.:07:35.

proper system of independent, speedy investigation, which can clear the

:07:36.:07:38.

innocent quickly and if anyone is guilty of war crimes, that they are

:07:39.:07:42.

held accountable quickly. It all needs to be speeded up. Thank you.

:07:43.:07:46.

Forget about Miss Saigon, The Phantom Of The Opera

:07:47.:07:54.

or Les Miserables - there's a new musical opening

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in London soon that is sure to break box office records,

:07:57.:07:58.

So our question this morning is, what particular part

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of the Labour leader's life is the musical concentrating on?

:08:04.:08:05.

A - his alleged motorcycle holiday with Diane Abbott?

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the correct answer later in the show.

:08:09.:08:18.

So, speculation about when an EU referendum takes place rumbles on.

:08:19.:08:23.

Plenty of people in Westminster are putting their money on a date

:08:24.:08:26.

in late June, but that depends on the outcome of an EU

:08:27.:08:29.

And David Cameron's hopes for a deal next month took a blow

:08:30.:08:38.

as French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said that discussions

:08:39.:08:41.

Last night David Cameron responded, saying that he was in no hurry

:08:42.:08:47.

to hold the referendum if the deal on offer from the EU

:08:48.:08:50.

Meanwhile, speculation continues about which cabinet ministers

:08:51.:08:54.

might split from the Prime Minister

:08:55.:08:56.

and campaign for an "out" vote regardless of the reforms.

:08:57.:09:00.

Here's Eurosceptic Cabinet Minister Theresa Villiers

:09:01.:09:02.

This is a crucial question and I'm proud of the fact that it's

:09:03.:09:08.

a Conservative government that are giving the people

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of the United Kingdom the choice to vote on our relationship

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We all need to wait for the outcome of the referendum...

:09:15.:09:21.

If nothing is brought back, you will be voting to get out?

:09:22.:09:26.

Well, certainly no one is happy with the status quo.

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The Prime Minister isn't, the government isn't

:09:33.:09:34.

and, frankly, I think there are many people across this country

:09:35.:09:37.

who would agree that the European Union needs

:09:38.:09:38.

It needs to become more competitive, it needs to be fairer

:09:39.:09:42.

Well, we don't know what he's going to come back with,

:09:43.:09:46.

if anything, but if he comes back with nothing you will be

:09:47.:09:49.

Well, the government will obviously take a view...

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You. You.

:09:52.:09:53.

We need to wait and see what the outcome of

:09:54.:09:55.

the negotiation is and then the reality is that every man

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and woman in this country has the choice.

:09:59.:10:00.

Home Secretary Theresa May, who has so far refused to pick

:10:01.:10:02.

a side, was yesterday seen lunching with leading Eurosceptic Liam Fox,

:10:03.:10:05.

prompting rumours that she could still be persuaded to back

:10:06.:10:07.

And there are plenty of other big public figures wading in this week.

:10:08.:10:12.

First the Pope called for Britain to stay in, while this morning actor

:10:13.:10:15.

Michael Caine told the Today programme he was backing Brexit.

:10:16.:10:21.

You've now got in Europe a sort of government by proxy of everybody,

:10:22.:10:28.

And I think unless there's some extremely

:10:29.:10:35.

significant changes, we should get out.

:10:36.:10:40.

It all means David Cameron has a lot of work to do

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if he is going to secure a deal that he can take to the country

:10:44.:10:47.

as evidence of why we should stay in Europe.

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Today he leaves the World Economic Forum in Davos to travel to Prague.

:10:50.:10:53.

Our correspondent Eleanor Garnier can tell us more.

:10:54.:11:00.

So, Eleanor, another pit stop and David Cameron's tour of European

:11:01.:11:05.

capitals. These visits just for show? Well, he's done so many of

:11:06.:11:11.

them, hasn't he? There are only four weeks to go until the EU leaders are

:11:12.:11:15.

going to be in Brussels and trying to find consensus on this and at the

:11:16.:11:19.

moment, the deal is far from done, so he's got a lot of hard work to do

:11:20.:11:23.

before mid-to-late February. The Czech Republic has been one of the

:11:24.:11:28.

most outspoken countries over David Cameron's plans for that four-year

:11:29.:11:33.

ban on EU migrants claiming in work benefits. The government there is

:11:34.:11:37.

firmly opposed to anything that might undermine the principle of

:11:38.:11:42.

freedom of movement and, of course, firmly opposed to anything that

:11:43.:11:45.

might discriminate against its own citizens. Having said all that, it

:11:46.:11:50.

does want the UK to stay in the use. It has said that it is willing to

:11:51.:11:54.

find a solution but clearly they just haven't got to that point just

:11:55.:11:59.

yet and that is why David Cameron is on his latest stop of his diplomatic

:12:00.:12:04.

tour. And there's been a change of tone, hasn't there, in the last week

:12:05.:12:09.

or so, from David Cameron and, it seems, George Osborne in terms of

:12:10.:12:13.

timing of the renegotiation and then a referendum? I know they haven't

:12:14.:12:16.

given explicitly a date but it did sound like it could happen this

:12:17.:12:20.

year. Now he's in no hurry to get a deal. Is that an admission that his

:12:21.:12:24.

timetable has now been thrown off course or is that part of his

:12:25.:12:28.

expectation management? It is definitely expectation management.

:12:29.:12:33.

If, like you and me, you've been playing very close attention to what

:12:34.:12:36.

ministers have been saying last week or so, you might have concluded a

:12:37.:12:41.

deal was very close to being done because George Osborne said just at

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the end of last week the essential pieces of the deal were falling into

:12:45.:12:48.

place. The Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, said recently that a June

:12:49.:12:54.

referendum was quite possible. So we have this growing sense of momentum,

:12:55.:12:58.

this optimism, and almost inevitability that a deal in

:12:59.:13:02.

February would be done and I think David Cameron could have ended up

:13:03.:13:06.

extremely red-faced if he'd got to the February summit and it didn't

:13:07.:13:11.

deliver a deal. So we saw some very clear expectation management

:13:12.:13:14.

yesterday and on top of that, we also heard, as you pointed out from

:13:15.:13:19.

french fry minister Manuel Valls, saying more time was needed for

:13:20.:13:24.

discussion and a deal at any cost would not be acceptable. -- French

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Prime Minister. I think the tone has changed over the last week or so.

:13:29.:13:34.

Thank you. We're joint by Robert Oxley from the Vote League campaign.

:13:35.:13:38.

David Cameron told French TV last week that he feels deeply European

:13:39.:13:42.

so that means is going to campaign to stay in. I do think it is quite

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clear that the Prime Minister made his decision a long time ago that he

:13:47.:13:50.

was going to campaign to stay in at all costs and I think the

:13:51.:13:53.

renegotiation has effectively become an expectation management game. It's

:13:54.:13:57.

become a very trivial exercise in renegotiating our relationship but

:13:58.:14:01.

it isn't going to bring powers back, it isn't going to solve the problem

:14:02.:14:04.

is that the Prime Minister said were absolutely key. The independent

:14:05.:14:09.

George Osborne think tank have said that they will have not much affect

:14:10.:14:14.

on immigration, so I think David Cameron is very much replicating

:14:15.:14:18.

what Caine's movies. Is gone off to Europe, tried to do a smash and grab

:14:19.:14:22.

but is ultimately coming home empty-handed. You thought about that

:14:23.:14:26.

on the Michael came from. Christine, you are in favour of Britain

:14:27.:14:30.

remaining in the EU. Do you think David Cameron is going to get a

:14:31.:14:35.

thing substantial or is this a bit of a Charente? I think this is an

:14:36.:14:38.

amazing courtship and it's not going to lead to any kind of seduction.

:14:39.:14:44.

But I think that what has been very interesting is seeing the Prime

:14:45.:14:48.

Minister himself, who seems to be in a rush not only to get the

:14:49.:14:54.

referendum going but to force an election this summer. I think he is

:14:55.:14:59.

now kicking the ball into the long grass. Do you actually think he's

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doing that or do you think he's going to come back after that summit

:15:03.:15:05.

and say, it's fine, I've got something, let's have a referendum

:15:06.:15:09.

in June. I think we are looking at 2017. Do you agree with that? Do you

:15:10.:15:13.

think it is being kicked into the long grass or do you think this is

:15:14.:15:17.

part of the showmanship of hard work and struggle and he will come back

:15:18.:15:18.

with something he feels he can sell? in it's there is a constant exercise

:15:19.:15:30.

in expectation management. We have to be ready to go as soon as

:15:31.:15:36.

possible. The government want to of the actual we want to keep a number

:15:37.:15:45.

of the voices who quite clearly see the interference at brussels and who

:15:46.:15:49.

are unhappy about it, but they are being kept it does not leave you

:15:50.:15:56.

much time to start a campaign if it is June, or had the support of those

:15:57.:16:08.

Eurosceptic cabinet until the re-1 of the things we have on our side is

:16:09.:16:23.

we are building but you have to you have to that without being in the EU

:16:24.:16:28.

Britain will be a smaller and less significant player on we are quite

:16:29.:16:38.

clear, that to leave the EU, we will do a free-trade deal. We are your's

:16:39.:16:42.

largest market and you do not have to be a political member of the EU

:16:43.:16:49.

to trade with Europe, despite that goes back to my point about the

:16:50.:16:53.

grassroots network. We are building that up, we have got street stalls,

:16:54.:16:58.

we had 32 last weekend and we will have 150 in January have put out 2

:16:59.:17:06.

million leaflets in the on the other side they do not have grassroots

:17:07.:17:16.

support, are there risks to stay people will look at the recent

:17:17.:17:21.

crisis of the euro? We are not part of the euro, but it impacted people

:17:22.:17:36.

will think it could be a risk to I think Scotland if they and with in

:17:37.:17:43.

the EU for trading we are stronger partners, I we are going to showing

:17:44.:17:56.

up in Germany and as do you think people are getting more engaged

:17:57.:18:03.

political arguments and referendums it is really only in the last few

:18:04.:18:09.

have become engaged. Do you think people are getting

:18:10.:18:29.

People like Tim and Cymru and other observers and commentators who are

:18:30.:18:36.

really excited but I'd be the general public is -- Tim Montgomery.

:18:37.:18:41.

Why do you think Theresa May was having lunch with Liam Fox? I think

:18:42.:18:45.

they will be chatting about what is going on. They are being told to

:18:46.:18:49.

keep the primers to's line. Do you thing she is discussing what she can

:18:50.:18:54.

say and do? I can't speak for what Theresa May thinks about this issue.

:18:55.:18:57.

I'm sure she will at the appropriate time. I think we are talking to the

:18:58.:19:02.

Cabinet and we hope that Cabinet members will... Who are you talking

:19:03.:19:06.

to? Tim Montgomery says there are five. What we do see at the moment

:19:07.:19:12.

is that the campaign is slightly shaping up to be an establishment

:19:13.:19:16.

coming out to back staying in the EU at all costs despite there being

:19:17.:19:21.

very few changes, where as those at the grassroots network and people

:19:22.:19:24.

who have seen the interference and cost of Brussels will be on the

:19:25.:19:27.

other side. I'm quite happy if we are on the side of the people rather

:19:28.:19:33.

than the establishment. Do you have a problem Cabinet ministers are only

:19:34.:19:37.

allowed to talk in coded language until this negotiation is completed?

:19:38.:19:48.

Those Cabinet who want to stay in the EU, they are allowed to but on

:19:49.:19:53.

the other side they are being told to keep quiet until the maximum

:19:54.:20:04.

about what is achievable. The Donald Tusk letter said David essentially

:20:05.:20:14.

not much, but the fundamental change he Labour should get a free

:20:15.:20:30.

vote the it is are you going to be on the phone I cannot confess to

:20:31.:21:07.

Now, if I said I was off to a club after the show

:21:08.:21:10.

think my Friday night had started early.

:21:11.:21:12.

But here at Westminster that could also refer to London's

:21:13.:21:15.

to men, and they've played a big role in shaping

:21:16.:21:20.

Giles has been off to the smoking room to find out more.

:21:21.:21:23.

It's worth reflecting that whilst a lot of modern

:21:24.:21:27.

politics is done inside a 19th-century building,

:21:28.:21:31.

Parliament, a lot of it is also done on our

:21:32.:21:34.

So why have I come to the smoking room of the National Liberal Club

:21:35.:21:40.

They don't, obviously, smoke in here any more.

:21:41.:21:43.

Well, because clubs have always had, and to a certain extent still do,

:21:44.:21:47.

There's the Great Fire of 1834, which not only devastates Parliament

:21:48.:21:56.

but for the next 30 years, Parliament is a building site,

:21:57.:21:59.

and you can't run the country from a building site,

:22:00.:22:02.

so a lot of the functions that we now associate

:22:03.:22:04.

with Parliament happen because MPs go in exile into their clubs

:22:05.:22:07.

and they are literally running the country from London clubs.

:22:08.:22:11.

So Parliament's been a building site.

:22:12.:22:13.

Well, Parliament starts to commission club

:22:14.:22:20.

architects, people like Charles Barry, who's best-known

:22:21.:22:22.

for the Reform Club, for the Travellers Club,

:22:23.:22:24.

and they asked for a new Parliamentary building

:22:25.:22:26.

that's basically modelled on a London club,

:22:27.:22:28.

because they've spent 30 years getting used to all the creature

:22:29.:22:30.

comforts and all the conveniences of a London club.

:22:31.:22:33.

So this is why the Parliamentary estate has smoking

:22:34.:22:35.

And have clubs played any role politically

:22:36.:22:40.

The nature of clubs, the nature of their being

:22:41.:22:45.

designed with these small, conspiratorial alcoves,

:22:46.:22:48.

and that element of plausible deniability, as a plotter's

:22:49.:22:51.

paradise, is such that when these sorts of things have happened -

:22:52.:22:54.

and I'm thinking for instance of party leadership

:22:55.:22:57.

campaigns that have been plotted in clubs -

:22:58.:22:59.

but the people involved tend to disclaim them very quickly.

:23:00.:23:02.

The National Liberal Club clearly wears

:23:03.:23:04.

its political colours but today, many members are interested,

:23:05.:23:08.

However, there is a club that was, is and,

:23:09.:23:12.

one imagines, always will be a political beast -

:23:13.:23:16.

the dining room of Torydom on earth, you might say,

:23:17.:23:18.

It was founded for that express purpose.

:23:19.:23:24.

There is a very marked political element and there

:23:25.:23:27.

is a political committee that organises a programme of speakers

:23:28.:23:32.

and policy discussions and very usefully, as far as the Tory Party

:23:33.:23:38.

is concerned, the political committee is responsible

:23:39.:23:41.

for a political fund to help candidates in marginal

:23:42.:23:45.

constituencies during general election campaigns.

:23:46.:23:49.

It might not look it but clubs have modernised.

:23:50.:23:52.

Women may not be on the walls but are full participating

:23:53.:23:56.

And though the hours are more social than serious business,

:23:57.:24:01.

the tradition of political discourse is still

:24:02.:24:03.

They are absolutely beautiful, but are they not just relics of the

:24:04.:24:26.

past? What is wrong with a relic? We should not Botox the London

:24:27.:24:29.

landscape free of all wrinkles and tiny little, strange initiation

:24:30.:24:39.

rites. Those wooden panelled rooms still smell of cigar smoke. They

:24:40.:24:45.

will never get rid of that after all the years of smoking. They are

:24:46.:24:51.

wonderful. But do you think there should be meant only clubs? As long

:24:52.:24:57.

as we can have women only clubs. Have you been to any of these? And

:24:58.:25:04.

one of the best dinners I ever had was at the Beefsteak Club. It was

:25:05.:25:12.

the late Evelyn Waugh who was the guest and she invited me along and

:25:13.:25:16.

we had to sit on a very long table with all the club members in a

:25:17.:25:21.

completely democratic fashion. I was seated next to a minister and over

:25:22.:25:26.

there was a barren something or other and there were actors, it was

:25:27.:25:31.

fantastic. I am sure it was. Political deals were done in these

:25:32.:25:35.

clubs, not so much today. It seems to be a place to socialise with

:25:36.:25:40.

people who think the same sort of thing about politics, but not any

:25:41.:25:47.

more. Do you think it is where politics is done? No, it is not, and

:25:48.:25:54.

yet the influence peddlers peddle their wares and I wonder if maybe

:25:55.:25:59.

David Cameron at the Carlton club overhears somebody topping, a

:26:00.:26:03.

captain of industry may be says Goldman Sachs could come and spend

:26:04.:26:13.

?1 million. Is that right? If you overhear something in a social

:26:14.:26:14.

setting, why not? Now, world leaders have been

:26:15.:26:17.

gathering in Davos in Switzerland this week, and what else

:26:18.:26:20.

would they be discussing than whose According to a survey unveiled

:26:21.:26:22.

at the gathering in the Alps, the answer is Germany, with the UK

:26:23.:26:26.

coming in a respectable third. It's apparently based on a range

:26:27.:26:29.

of factors including cultural influence, entrepreneurship

:26:30.:26:32.

and economic influence. Well, we wanted to find out more,

:26:33.:26:35.

and being ever fond of a cliche we sent the German journalist

:26:36.:26:38.

John Jungclaussen off I am a German living in London and

:26:39.:26:59.

have lived here for many years, but this week I am asking if I have made

:27:00.:27:03.

the wrong choice. A poll has been published which says Germany is the

:27:04.:27:08.

best country in the world. Britain only came in third.

:27:09.:27:09.

Is Germany right to be voted the best country in the world,

:27:10.:27:13.

No, it should be somewhere where it is sunny all

:27:14.:27:18.

Isn't there are around 300 countries in the world?

:27:19.:27:24.

I'll take German beer, maybe notches it up to the top ten.

:27:25.:27:35.

Oh, yeah, they're better than German sausages.

:27:36.:27:40.

But I've grown up with British sausages.

:27:41.:27:53.

As a lorry driver you have travelled through a lot of countries, why is

:27:54.:27:59.

Germany the best country in the world? Because it is very strict.

:28:00.:28:07.

I am glad you've finished the sausage. Were you surprised that

:28:08.:28:20.

Germany came top? At the sausage? No, Germany came top. No, actually.

:28:21.:28:26.

Germany has been in the news for the last few years as a leading force in

:28:27.:28:30.

the European question in the European crisis. Angela Merkel was

:28:31.:28:37.

on time magazine. The migrant prices brought the country into the

:28:38.:28:39.

headlines. It makes sense that people talk about Germany and read

:28:40.:28:46.

about Germany more and talk about it more in everyday news. It is not a

:28:47.:28:51.

surprise. Looking at the factors they included, cultural ones,

:28:52.:28:57.

economic influence. Suddenly an economic influence and

:28:58.:29:03.

entrepreneurship as well. Cultural factors, best in the world? Not only

:29:04.:29:13.

cultural factors, but my Institute publishes its own prosperity index

:29:14.:29:18.

and Germany comes 14 and Britain ranks 15th. But the reason Germany

:29:19.:29:23.

does not do as well on our prosperity index is because you do

:29:24.:29:26.

not have such an entrepreneurial spirit or start-ups. Start-ups are

:29:27.:29:31.

more expensive in Germany than in Britain. We have got more doers and

:29:32.:29:39.

shakers. The flip side to that is of course Germany relies on family run

:29:40.:29:46.

company 's who make Germany the export champion because they produce

:29:47.:29:52.

the goods that the Chinese want. Is it not about manufacturing? The

:29:53.:29:57.

manufacturing prowess of Germany stands out, rather than the get up

:29:58.:29:58.

and go? I agree although if you look at the

:29:59.:30:07.

Volkswagen scandal about diesel emissions, Germany can also do

:30:08.:30:14.

software. I tell you what I thought was very interesting, and I think

:30:15.:30:18.

that this is really Angela Merkel's incredible gift to her people... I

:30:19.:30:26.

think there is now the good German. The German people have now started

:30:27.:30:30.

to feel really proud, even though they have all their headaches and

:30:31.:30:36.

they are wondering, are we right in being so welcoming? But boy, oh,

:30:37.:30:42.

boy, have they crafted a new national character and it is the

:30:43.:30:46.

noble German, rather than the nutty German. Do you think they have been

:30:47.:30:49.

able to deal with the past in a way that they can move on? Absolutely.

:30:50.:30:56.

And when I compare it to what we are doing to ourselves with these road

:30:57.:31:03.

stretches and hurt Celso drew because of a colonial empire, I

:31:04.:31:09.

think Germany is the way to go. Every country needs an inspiring

:31:10.:31:16.

figure at the top but it is also history. I think the Fuhrer has now

:31:17.:31:21.

finally vanished in the mists of history. It is the next-generation.

:31:22.:31:26.

The people who are about to get interested in politics now don't

:31:27.:31:29.

even remember the fall of the wall, which is 25 years ago, so it really

:31:30.:31:36.

is... Moving back. The news that Germany is now the best country in

:31:37.:31:41.

the world - enough to draw you back home? Maybe for the summer holidays.

:31:42.:31:44.

But you're staying put in Britain? I think I might stay here. Thank you

:31:45.:31:48.

very much. It's time now to find out

:31:49.:31:51.

the answer to our quiz. The question was, which particular

:31:52.:31:53.

part of Jeremy Corbyn's life His alleged motorcycle holiday

:31:54.:31:56.

through Eastern Europe? Please tell me that it is the ride

:31:57.:32:14.

with Diane Abbott in Eastern Europe! Oh, I think it is! I think I've seen

:32:15.:32:21.

the picture of the motorcycle. I love it! Does that mean you're going

:32:22.:32:27.

to be getting tickets, Cristina? You bet. I'll invite both of you! I

:32:28.:32:34.

would like to see the production of the manhole cover story, how that

:32:35.:32:39.

could be staged. That will be the sequels, especially for you.

:32:40.:32:43.

Coming up in a moment, it's our regular look at what's been

:32:44.:32:47.

For now it's time to say goodbye to Cristina Odone.

:32:48.:32:51.

For the next half an hour, we're going to be focusing on Europe.

:32:52.:32:56.

We'll be discussing the migrant crisis still gripping the EU

:32:57.:32:59.

and the fraught relationship between Brussels and the new

:33:00.:33:01.

First, though, here's Ellie Price with our guide to the latest

:33:02.:33:04.

In the week the World Economic Forum named Germany as the best country

:33:05.:33:13.

in the world to live in, the Chancellor, Angela Merkel,

:33:14.:33:15.

faced more pressure over immigration policy.

:33:16.:33:19.

The EU lifted sanctions on Iran after the International Atomic

:33:20.:33:22.

Energy Agency certified it had restricted its sensitive nuclear

:33:23.:33:26.

Multilateral and national economic and financial

:33:27.:33:30.

sanctions related to Iran's nuclear programme are lifted.

:33:31.:33:35.

The EU steel industry cannot rely on public funds

:33:36.:33:37.

to survive, says the Competition Commissioner, while not ruling out

:33:38.:33:40.

further anti-dumping measures aimed at China.

:33:41.:33:44.

The French president Francois Hollande set out to ?2

:33:45.:33:47.

billion job creation plan in an attempt to lift France out

:33:48.:33:50.

of what he called a state of economic and social emergency.

:33:51.:33:53.

The EU criminal database is to include non-EU

:33:54.:33:56.

citizens in an attempt to reduce the risk of another

:33:57.:33:58.

And in the UK, 10 million homes received a pro-Europe campaign

:33:59.:34:03.

Leave campaigners kindly offered to return

:34:04.:34:07.

And with us for the next 30 minutes, I've been joined

:34:08.:34:16.

by the Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope and the UKIP MEP

:34:17.:34:18.

Let's talk first about one of those stories mentioned there,

:34:19.:34:30.

and that's campaigning beginning to heat up ahead of Britain's

:34:31.:34:33.

How is looking to you now? The Prime Minister is in no hurry. Manuel

:34:34.:34:39.

Valls says there is still a lot of work to do. I think there is a lot

:34:40.:34:43.

of work to do but I think the Prime Minister has made a lot of progress.

:34:44.:34:46.

I'm talking to people in Europe every day and the feedback I'm

:34:47.:34:51.

getting is very positive. On which areas? Particularly in relation to

:34:52.:34:54.

the question of freedom of movement. That is a tricky one and that has to

:34:55.:34:59.

be sorted out and I think he is making progress in his discussions.

:35:00.:35:04.

Equally well on the question of the terms, like ever closer union. I

:35:05.:35:07.

think that is making progress in getting the right kind of terms and

:35:08.:35:11.

the right kind of agreements. Which way will you vote? I will see what

:35:12.:35:16.

the Prime Minister comes back with. If he can give us a positive

:35:17.:35:19.

outcome, and I'm pretty confident, more confident than I was, I will

:35:20.:35:23.

support him and I will support remaining in the EU. As it stands

:35:24.:35:29.

now, you would vote out? I wouldn't vote out. I will wait to see what

:35:30.:35:32.

the terms are but I'm very positive in my view. It is not just what

:35:33.:35:37.

Britain can get out of this deal, it is what happens from then on. If the

:35:38.:35:41.

other countries in Europe are going to take part in the process the

:35:42.:35:45.

prime ministers negotiating, that's got to be good news for Europe as

:35:46.:35:50.

well as for ourselves. If people like Timothy Kirkhope have been

:35:51.:35:54.

persuaded by this negotiation process, you're not going to see

:35:55.:35:57.

many Conservatives like him voting for Brexit. Sitting on the fence is

:35:58.:36:02.

bad for your help. I remember asking you last year why David Cameron

:36:03.:36:07.

isn't actually negotiating fundamental free movement and you

:36:08.:36:10.

said it was silly. We are hearing lots of Conservatives saying one

:36:11.:36:13.

thing at home and going into the European Parliament and saying a

:36:14.:36:17.

different thing. He is not calling for free movement to be reformed or

:36:18.:36:23.

ending the rights of people who have been attracted by this migrant

:36:24.:36:27.

crisis to come to the UK. The ?20 billion we give to the EU every

:36:28.:36:30.

year, nothing about stopping that. There is no change. It is just

:36:31.:36:35.

shadow-boxing. Do we think it is owing to be in June? Sooner the

:36:36.:36:40.

better. Sooner the better but Tim is wrong about something he says. Do

:36:41.:36:45.

you know how it take to get a passport in Germany? Eight years.

:36:46.:36:49.

Ten years in Italy. Five years here. You just don't know your facts. That

:36:50.:36:53.

hasn't stopped the mass immigration... We are going to talk

:36:54.:36:57.

about immigration in just a moment so you can hold your fire.

:36:58.:37:00.

The EU is in the grip of a migrant crisis and it's not

:37:01.:37:03.

This week the International Monetary Fund predicted that 1.3 million

:37:04.:37:07.

migrants could arrive in Europe every year.

:37:08.:37:08.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that Europe's migration

:37:09.:37:11.

crisis poses a direct threat to the future of the EU.

:37:12.:37:14.

And there's evidence that Schengen, that's the EU's passport-free travel

:37:15.:37:17.

zone, of which the UK isn't a member, is already unravelling

:37:18.:37:21.

as member states reintroduce border controls to try to stem the flow

:37:22.:37:25.

of people fleeing conflict zones in the Middle East and elsewhere.

:37:26.:37:29.

In August last year Hungary built a fence along the border

:37:30.:37:33.

with non-Schengen country Serbia, blocking a railway line used

:37:34.:37:35.

In September, Austrian authorities imposed border controls at the main

:37:36.:37:44.

Later that month, the German government imposed border

:37:45.:37:49.

The next day, Slovakia placed 220 police officers along its borders

:37:50.:37:54.

And the Netherlands temporarily reinstated border

:37:55.:38:00.

In October, Hungary built a razor-wire fence along

:38:01.:38:07.

And at the beginning of this year, Sweden introduced checks

:38:08.:38:16.

on the Oresund bridge, which links the country with Denmark.

:38:17.:38:19.

While Denmark imposed border controls with Germany.

:38:20.:38:26.

We are joined by a Labour MEP and my other guests are still here. Showing

:38:27.:38:35.

is dead, isn't it? It is in deep trouble and Manuel Valls was

:38:36.:38:38.

absolutely right to say that this is an existential crisis and is a deep

:38:39.:38:42.

crisis. The problem with what he's saying is that he is a Prime

:38:43.:38:45.

Minister of a big country and it is only the big countries that have the

:38:46.:38:49.

assets to do something about it. When he says it's the EU, the EU has

:38:50.:38:53.

limited assets to do anything, institutions, that is. They are

:38:54.:39:02.

minimal assets. It is not a big agency but a bunch of civilians

:39:03.:39:06.

doing a job and minimal budgets. It is the big countries that can do

:39:07.:39:10.

something. Whatever your view on the migration crisis, whether you think

:39:11.:39:15.

Germany was a pull factor, whether you generous about the migration

:39:16.:39:20.

crisis, in the end, to deal with this, to have a tough external

:39:21.:39:26.

border, for example the border agency, to have relocation, whatever

:39:27.:39:30.

your view it is the countries like France, the big countries, who will

:39:31.:39:35.

have to do something now to create integrity on our external border and

:39:36.:39:39.

to create an organised and compassionate response. There is no

:39:40.:39:42.

other way out of this. Even if Germany had not done what it has

:39:43.:39:46.

done, we would have had a global crisis. Would it have been on this

:39:47.:39:51.

scale? Let me tell you the reason why. 85 the centre of referees in

:39:52.:39:55.

Turkey are living outside camps. Even if Turkey was helping us now,

:39:56.:39:58.

they would not be able to control the situation. Would quotas have

:39:59.:40:04.

been a more efficient way of working through this migration crisis? Lets,

:40:05.:40:09.

for argument's sake, say we would still have had large numbers of

:40:10.:40:13.

people coming from the Middle East and parts of North Africa... Quotas

:40:14.:40:19.

would have meant there would have been regulated system, that each

:40:20.:40:23.

country in the EU would have taken a proportionate number of migrants and

:40:24.:40:29.

then both of the Dublin agreement, where refugees have to seek asylum

:40:30.:40:32.

in the country they arrive in, and Schengen would have continued to

:40:33.:40:36.

function. The key point is the renegotiation of Dublin, of the

:40:37.:40:39.

agreement, but retaining the basic principles we seem to have lost. I

:40:40.:40:42.

don't know whether Claude agrees with Yvette Cooper's remarks that

:40:43.:40:47.

Schengen should be disbanded but all I'm saying is that I don't think so.

:40:48.:40:50.

I think the key thing is to get the nuts and bolts right. The nuts and

:40:51.:40:54.

bolts and the principles applying to people who arrive at the external

:40:55.:40:58.

borders of the EU. We are not part of Schengen but the external borders

:40:59.:41:02.

are important to us. Can Greece and Italy coach with those numbers? They

:41:03.:41:07.

will need more resources and that is part of what we would propose. They

:41:08.:41:10.

need help but once they have had help, there should be no question

:41:11.:41:14.

about maintaining that principle that the first safe country that

:41:15.:41:18.

people arrive that has to be the country that processes applications,

:41:19.:41:20.

otherwise it becomes chaotic and that is what has been going on, I'm

:41:21.:41:24.

afraid, with a lack of resolve by some countries. Do you agree with

:41:25.:41:28.

that principle that the Dublin convention should stay put and

:41:29.:41:31.

should be reinforced? You should claim asylum in the first safe place

:41:32.:41:35.

you get to. If your houses on fire, you don't go looking down the

:41:36.:41:38.

street, you go to the first has to call the emergency services. Is that

:41:39.:41:42.

practical when you have Greece with people arriving in numbers they

:41:43.:41:46.

have? The German chancellor said, come come all. These countries...

:41:47.:41:54.

Germany should pay up. Do you agree with Yvette Cooper that Schengen

:41:55.:41:57.

should be dismantled? That her view. If you dismantle it, you need

:41:58.:42:01.

something in its place. There is broad agreement about Dublin because

:42:02.:42:05.

the commission is now consulting about scrapping Dublin and replacing

:42:06.:42:09.

it with Dublin four. There is broad agreement because it is natural to

:42:10.:42:13.

claim in the first country you arrive in. If you take that away,

:42:14.:42:17.

you need to replace it with something pretty sensible. At the

:42:18.:42:20.

moment, the commission are not coming up with that. And Schengen,

:42:21.:42:24.

what Yvette Cooper is saying is that it is now de facto dying but these

:42:25.:42:28.

freedoms are at the heart of Europe and they matter and there is no

:42:29.:42:31.

point in her saying it is dead without saying what we replace it

:42:32.:42:37.

with. Without Schengen, is that the beginning of the end of the EU,

:42:38.:42:41.

which is what Manuel Valls said? No, I disagree entirely about that. That

:42:42.:42:48.

is what Tim wants. The point about Schengen is it has always had within

:42:49.:42:51.

it the ability to reintroduce borders when there has been pressure

:42:52.:42:55.

or an emergency. That is what some countries are doing. The key point,

:42:56.:42:59.

we come back to it, the nuts and bolts. We are all feeding our ideas

:43:00.:43:04.

for the new Dublin agreement. That is coming in until March so I'm

:43:05.:43:07.

surprised that there is so much speculation about saying what Dublin

:43:08.:43:11.

is going to be stop it isn't decided at all and I'm convinced that that

:43:12.:43:14.

basic principle of people being dealt with at the first safe country

:43:15.:43:18.

will be maintained and that is the key to it all. But even if Germany

:43:19.:43:22.

and an Le Merkle hadn't said refugees, you are all welcome, would

:43:23.:43:27.

we be in a totally different situation? -- Angela Merkel. There

:43:28.:43:33.

has been movement across different European states will border controls

:43:34.:43:37.

to be reinstated but there is a borders crisis in the European

:43:38.:43:40.

Union, there was a crisis of free movement and I'm still waiting to

:43:41.:43:43.

hear why David Cameron will not let sheet free movement. Why is heating

:43:44.:43:48.

with benefits? You called renegotiating free movement stupid.

:43:49.:43:56.

It is a basic principle which assists us in normal circumstances

:43:57.:44:01.

through our trade and our exchange of services and skills. It is vital

:44:02.:44:05.

for the British interests that we have freedom of movement. But should

:44:06.:44:08.

it be suspended while this migration crisis is going on? There will be

:44:09.:44:12.

many people who say, once these migrants are within Schengen, and I

:44:13.:44:16.

don't know how many years it takes for migrants or refugees to gain

:44:17.:44:20.

some sort of citizenship, they are free to move anywhere else. Refugees

:44:21.:44:23.

do not have freedom of movement. Please remember that. All these

:44:24.:44:28.

refugees that Ukip are frightening us about, the scaremongering

:44:29.:44:34.

nonsense are that is not the same thing. They cannot have free

:44:35.:44:39.

movement now, the refugees, so that is not an issue. Do you think Manuel

:44:40.:44:43.

Valls has inflamed the situation with what he's said, because

:44:44.:44:47.

inaccuracies about the status of refugees and migrants and who can

:44:48.:44:52.

actually move, not only within Schengen but beyond, then starts to

:44:53.:44:56.

get into the media narrative? He is in my party and I will see, yes he

:44:57.:45:01.

has. There is no point in stating a problem and not saying what the

:45:02.:45:05.

solution is. On Monday we have an Amsterdam council. You should be

:45:06.:45:09.

sending ministers there to deal with the solution. This was an example

:45:10.:45:13.

where refugees at the moment have a certain status, they don't have

:45:14.:45:17.

immediate free movement. What the member states with the assets and

:45:18.:45:19.

resources need to do with the problem we currently have is get to

:45:20.:45:23.

work and sort out what we do about the relocation and the external

:45:24.:45:27.

border because that is not going to go away. The other issues - Dublin,

:45:28.:45:33.

Schengen - get some settlement on this. Irrespective of what we think

:45:34.:45:37.

about what Germany did or did not do because we have a problem right now.

:45:38.:45:40.

The big countries need to stop saying what the accidental problem

:45:41.:45:44.

is. And start coming up with solutions.

:45:45.:45:48.

Relations between the EU and Poland, the sixth largest economy

:45:49.:45:51.

in the union, have soured over controversial media

:45:52.:45:53.

and judicial reforms introduced by the new government in Warsaw.

:45:54.:45:56.

The Eurosceptic Law and Justice Party swept to power

:45:57.:45:58.

And this week the Polish Prime Minister was called to Strasbourg

:45:59.:46:04.

to explain herself to MEPs at their monthly plenary meeting.

:46:05.:46:06.

What could possibly make you think Poland's new Prime Minister doesn't

:46:07.:46:14.

Prime Minister, would you like the EU...

:46:15.:46:19.

Would you like the EU to butt out, Prime Minister?

:46:20.:46:24.

In Poland, there have been protests because the government's sacked

:46:25.:46:27.

loads of staff from the state broadcaster and it's appointed

:46:28.:46:30.

a load of sympathetic new judges to the constitutional courts.

:46:31.:46:35.

The European Commission's now investigating, using new powers

:46:36.:46:38.

to check that member states are upholding the rule of law.

:46:39.:46:42.

Let me show you just how heated this whole

:46:43.:46:45.

Look at the front cover of this Polish news magazine,

:46:46.:46:50.

which shows various senior figures from the EU,

:46:51.:46:53.

like the president of the parliament Martin Schulz and Chancellor Merkel

:46:54.:46:55.

In the Strasbourg chamber, Beata Szydlo used history to make

:46:56.:47:01.

TRANSLATION: Poland's history has been a troubled history.

:47:02.:47:07.

Our fathers and grandfathers gave them blood for freedom,

:47:08.:47:10.

for us to be part of a united Europe, but they also spilt blood

:47:11.:47:15.

for the freedom of other European nations.

:47:16.:47:18.

to speak our own opinions, to fight for the right

:47:19.:47:24.

We achieved that and we are not going to have that taken away.

:47:25.:47:30.

Her main tormentor was the leader of the liberal group,

:47:31.:47:33.

Guy Verhofstadt, who raised the spectre of Vladimir Putin.

:47:34.:47:37.

The inconvenient truth here is that Mr Putin doesn't

:47:38.:47:39.

He wants to destroy European unity and what's happening

:47:40.:47:48.

While the man from the Commission tried to sound calm.

:47:49.:47:54.

All members of the European Union have

:47:55.:47:57.

signed, of their own free will, and ratified by their national

:47:58.:48:03.

parliaments, European treaties, thus entering into obligations

:48:04.:48:07.

as far as maintaining the rule of law is concerned.

:48:08.:48:14.

But what about law and justice's parliamentary allies,

:48:15.:48:16.

It is quite strange that they choose this

:48:17.:48:21.

For example, when countries broke the stability and growth pact,

:48:22.:48:25.

When countries like Greece do not play their role in defending

:48:26.:48:31.

the external borders of the Schengen under the agreements they signed,

:48:32.:48:34.

they don't come in, but suddenly you have more

:48:35.:48:36.

Eurosceptic government and they decide to use this procedure.

:48:37.:48:39.

For supporters of the Polish government

:48:40.:48:44.

outside, some who'd travelled by bus for 16 hours for this,

:48:45.:48:47.

it's a question of where power lies - with the US institutions

:48:48.:48:51.

or with the individual member states.

:48:52.:48:54.

If the Commission rules the Polish Prime

:48:55.:48:59.

Minister's acting undemocratically, she faces the prospect

:49:00.:49:01.

of losing her right to vote at future summits.

:49:02.:49:04.

Oh, and she still wouldn't answer my questions -

:49:05.:49:07.

Prime Minister, did you have a good trip to Strasbourg?

:49:08.:49:16.

Well done for trying, Adam. Doesn't the EU have a right to investigate

:49:17.:49:25.

and look at what is going on in Poland? It does, it can have its say

:49:26.:49:30.

like any democratic chamber, but there is something untoward about

:49:31.:49:33.

dragging an elected Prime Minister to the parliament and put them on

:49:34.:49:37.

the naughty step and say, do not do this. The European Union has had its

:49:38.:49:42.

troubles with democracy. It has asked companies to vote again. Maybe

:49:43.:49:48.

it should get its house in order. All EU member states have signed up

:49:49.:49:52.

to the idea that the commission can investigate whether countries are

:49:53.:49:57.

upholding the rule of law and the Law And Justice Party in Poland are

:49:58.:50:01.

threatening that. Does the EU have a right to do what it is doing? The

:50:02.:50:08.

commission has a right to investigate any allegations about

:50:09.:50:13.

treaties. You support it? No, what I say is Poland is one of the most

:50:14.:50:19.

lively democracies now and since it through of the Soviet Union and it

:50:20.:50:23.

has developed its politics in a lively way. The last party in power

:50:24.:50:29.

did not like the new party getting a majority and ever since then they

:50:30.:50:33.

have been trying to cause problems. I do not know what the answer is,

:50:34.:50:34.

all I know is the Polish government I do not know what the answer is,

:50:35.:50:39.

have very good reasons for doing what they have been doing and I

:50:40.:50:43.

think the commission should investigate, but the European

:50:44.:50:47.

Parliament, which is taken upon itself all these clever

:50:48.:50:50.

investigations based on a political approach, I think that is not the

:50:51.:50:53.

right forum. The reports are that the Law And

:50:54.:50:59.

Justice Party has replaced judges and executives and broadcasters to

:51:00.:51:08.

restore values. Is that I worry? That is up to Poland. No one else

:51:09.:51:13.

has a mandate to interfere. If the Polish people do not like it, they

:51:14.:51:20.

will vote. But it stuffed the court with its own appointees. Someone is

:51:21.:51:26.

saying they are trying to read the balance because the media and the

:51:27.:51:29.

courts were packed with people from the previous government. There is

:51:30.:51:36.

nothing wrong with that? I watched the debate and many of my colleagues

:51:37.:51:41.

feel the commission has a role in this, as it did with Hungary in

:51:42.:51:48.

addressing alleged breaches, we can do it and it is there, but it does

:51:49.:51:55.

backfire when you have this enormous theatre. She got the last word. She

:51:56.:52:01.

put her hand up and said, Mr President, can I have the last word

:52:02.:52:04.

for the sake of Poland and my nation? Timmermann 's made a great

:52:05.:52:10.

play for the treaties and the rule of law and these breaches are of

:52:11.:52:19.

concern... Alleged breaches. Alleged breaches. She ended up looking like

:52:20.:52:24.

the heroine, they ended up looking like the bad days. Does it make you

:52:25.:52:30.

feel queasy? It is probably not the way to do it to happen this court of

:52:31.:52:34.

public opinion where you target the country. When they got Alexis

:52:35.:52:41.

Tsipras it was like a show trial. They were waiting to take a swing at

:52:42.:52:47.

him. They all get on their high horse. Does it have the desired

:52:48.:52:55.

effect? It has the opposite effect. She left happily and she came

:52:56.:53:00.

willingly. She was treated with respect. The arguments were

:53:01.:53:03.

powerful, you sign up to these things. It was not a deviation from

:53:04.:53:15.

the law. She volunteered to come. That is the point. And then we had

:53:16.:53:19.

then might as well. The problem with all of this is you have many laws

:53:20.:53:24.

which could be breaching treaties, so we have to get away from the

:53:25.:53:32.

commission examining this and the theatre where it backfires. What

:53:33.:53:37.

happens now? The commission investigates. Meanwhile, the

:53:38.:53:41.

parliament will be going around making allegations with certain

:53:42.:53:44.

political groups about Poland, it is on their agenda. Poland will not be

:53:45.:53:52.

able to change things in the meantime? No, the European Union

:53:53.:53:58.

will complain and moan about it, but then they will find some other

:53:59.:53:59.

bogeyman. Now it's time for the latest

:54:00.:54:03.

in our series Meet the Neighbours. Today we're looking at one

:54:04.:54:14.

of the newer EU members states, Here's Adam again, and he's been

:54:15.:54:17.

sizing up the Romanian The Ceausescus, the husband and wife

:54:18.:54:21.

dictator duo who ruled Romania Now it is the country's parliament,

:54:22.:54:39.

the biggest in the world apparently, They rolled out the red

:54:40.:54:47.

carpet for me after Romanian MPs gave us

:54:48.:54:54.

permission to film. The first thing you notice

:54:55.:54:59.

is it is like a museum They got this idea of having these

:55:00.:55:01.

beautiful lamps and once they were visiting France in the 70s

:55:02.:55:10.

and they visited Versailles and Madam Ceausescu was impressed

:55:11.:55:16.

and she thought it would be great And how about his and hers

:55:17.:55:19.

matching staircases? The steps were smaller than usual

:55:20.:55:30.

because the Ceausescus were unusually short and liked

:55:31.:55:32.

to make a big entrance. Those curtains weigh

:55:33.:55:35.

a tonne you know. In this place you can

:55:36.:55:38.

walk for miles. All that marble makes

:55:39.:55:41.

this the heaviest Parliament is not sitting

:55:42.:55:47.

today so the corridors are pretty quiet, but Romania

:55:48.:55:50.

went through a political A fire in a Bucharest nightclub

:55:51.:55:53.

which claimed 16 lives led to the resignation

:55:54.:55:58.

of the Prime Minister Talking of epic, check

:55:59.:56:00.

out the ballroom. There is room for a symphony

:56:01.:56:09.

orchestra and you can get a sports As a Romanian person how do

:56:10.:56:14.

you feel about this building The first thing, we didn't need such

:56:15.:56:19.

a building in those days. It was built with a great

:56:20.:56:29.

effort, so that is what I need to appreciate myself,

:56:30.:56:32.

the effort of the people who have worked with this building,

:56:33.:56:36.

as there were more than a million people involved in

:56:37.:56:40.

this grand project. I should say the urban myth is that

:56:41.:56:44.

Ceausescu wanted this skylight to open so his helicopter

:56:45.:56:47.

could land in here. If he couldn't escape that way,

:56:48.:56:51.

there was always the spooky Is it true that down

:56:52.:56:54.

here there is a nuclear bunker? Yes, it is true, not

:56:55.:56:58.

only one but two of Sadly Top Gear beat us to it,

:56:59.:57:01.

they staged a race down And here is our final stop,

:57:02.:57:06.

the grand balcony with a specially lowered parapet so that Ceausescu

:57:07.:57:12.

looked nice and tall when he addressed

:57:13.:57:15.

the Romanian people Of course he never did that

:57:16.:57:17.

because his regime collapsed before this massive

:57:18.:57:21.

building could be finished. That was Adam. That building is

:57:22.:57:36.

enormous. Do we underestimate how bad the histories of some of these

:57:37.:57:42.

newer members of the EU have been? How difficult it has been for them

:57:43.:57:46.

to come into a club where there are countries like Britain, France and

:57:47.:57:50.

Germany. But the interesting thing is to see them recreating their

:57:51.:57:55.

history. I have noticed that. People talk about the EU becoming a single

:57:56.:58:01.

block, but as long as you have got countries like Romania, Poland and

:58:02.:58:05.

Czechoslovakia coming in, throwing of Russian history and creating a

:58:06.:58:09.

real history of their own, a pride in their country, that is a good

:58:10.:58:14.

safeguard. Is it realistic to have countries that are so wide apart

:58:15.:58:19.

where the disparity seems to be so huge, not just in economic terms,

:58:20.:58:27.

but in cultural terms? I cannot imagine the horrors of living under

:58:28.:58:31.

communism will stop anything we have got now is better than what they

:58:32.:58:35.

went through. If the people want in these countries to join the euro,

:58:36.:58:41.

that is for them, it is for the people to decide. Variety is a good

:58:42.:58:45.

and positive thing about the EU. That is all we have got time for.

:58:46.:58:49.

From all of us here, goodbye. Celebrate a country

:58:50.:59:10.

4,000 years in the making. Let your New Year start with a bang

:59:11.:59:12.

and visit an explosive new China.

:59:13.:59:18.

Jo Coburn with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

Journalist and broadcaster Cristina Odone joins Jo for the first half of the programme to look at David Cameron's diplomatic push to secure a deal in Europe and the government's plans to crack down on lawyers filing claims against British troops.

German journalist John Jungclaussen discusses why a new survey puts Germany as the best country in the world and Giles Dilnot looks at the political history of gentlemen's clubs.

In the second half of the programme, Jo discusses the latest news from Brussels with Ukip's Tim Aker and Timothy Kirkhope from the Conservatives.


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