28/01/2016 Daily Politics


28/01/2016

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski and shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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Yesterday, the Prime Minister caused a kerfuffle with his comments

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about a 'bunch of migrants' in Calais.

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Overnight the Government's announced a ?10 million plan to help more

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unaccompanied Syrian child refugees, but is under pressure to spell out

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exactly how many extra children will come to Britain.

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Fresh from a court ruling against the so-called 'bedroom tax',

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the Government suffers another defeat in the House of Lords

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When they're not voting against the Government,

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peers have also been wondering why they get such a bad press.

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Do we all think they're ermine-clad champagne swillers with their snouts

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It's one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.

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most conspiracy theories aren't true - because people can't

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All that in the next hour, and joining us as our co-conspirator

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for the whole of the programme is our guest of the day Radek

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He used to be the Foreign Minister of Poland,and most recently

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he was Marshal of the Sejm in the Polish Parliament.

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Which means he was roughly Warsaw's answer to speaker John Bercow.

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First today let's talk about the Government's announcement

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overnight that Britain is to accept more children who've become

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separated from their families while fleeing the conflict in Syria

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If you've picked up some of this morning's papers that might not be

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Here for example is the front page of today's Mail with the headline:

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'PM: Why we must not take three thousand migrant children'.

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That figure of 3,000 has come from the charity Save the Children,

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who say that's how many children are alone and potentially in danger

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Well, last night the Government said it will work with

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United Nations High Commission for Refugees on a new initiative

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to resettle unaccompanied refugee children from conflict regions such

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And the Government says it will create a new fund of up to ?10

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million to support the needs of vulnerable refugee and migrant

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But it's not clear just how many more children the UK

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Our political correspondent, Vicki Young can hopefully clear

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Do we have any idea what the Government policy is? The Government

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are not putting a number on it, because they say they will take the

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advice of the aid agencies to identify the vulnerable children. If

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we look at the ?10 million fund, the Home Office minister said that money

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is partly to identify these vulnerable children. Then the Monday

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eye is used to -- money is used to reconnect them with their families.

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They will identify the children as vulnerable and try and establish, do

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you have a mother, a father, a grandparent in the UK or any other

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European country. If they do, they will try and get them back together.

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But also the money will be used for schooling, housing and possibly

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legal costs. But the Government are still sticking to what they said,

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they prefer to keep families together, but they want to take

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people from the camps in the region and not to bring in a policy that

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would act as a magnet for people to make this journey. I spoke to one

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Labour politician, who said they thought it was a bit of a muddle,

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because the Government was divided and there had been squabbling inside

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the Government. Has there been an indication of that. The question is

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whether it is above the 20,000 they have already agreed to settle. That

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is what was unclear. When you question ministers, they don't want

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to say it will be, because that is still unresolved and they have

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agreed they will take 20,000 Syrian refugees from the camps in the

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region in the next five year. But we can't know whether the more

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vulnerable children will be included. At the end of the day it

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is local authorities that will deal with the resettlement of children

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and they said the, the Local Government Association, what we are

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talking about is 16 and 17-year-old young men, boys and teenagers,

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they're the main numbers when we talk about vulnerable children,

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rather than toddlers and some of pictures we have seen from the

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camps, I asked the minister are you still saying you won't take people

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from the camps. They are waiting for a court case about whether they will

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have to take people from there and resettle them in the UK This

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announcement came from political pressure. Doo country like Britain

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and Poland have a duty to take uncompanied children and migrants?

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First for disclosure I was a refugee in this country at the time of the

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imposition of marshal law. I went back and became a friendly voice

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towards Britain. It is a generous country. You can look at this policy

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as a sort of investment in the future. Syria will one day be

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hopefully a peaceful country and some of these people will go back

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and will know British culture and be friendly to Britain. I also think

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British policy on this is sophisticated. You're taking people

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who are screened, who you will know something about. From the camps? On

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the continent of Europe we have a different order of magnitude problem

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of people who have come in and whose identifies and whose even countries

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of origin are difficult to establish. Should Britain be taking

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some of those people from Europe? I believe if every country in Europe

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made a commitment similar to Britain's we would be getting ahold

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of the problem. What we need to do and this what is the European

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Commission and the president of European Commission has appealed to

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do, we need a proper management of the external border of the Schengen

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group. Only then will we size up the size of problem. As the Schengen

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group, we are entitled to control who comes in. So you support the

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idea of individual governments erecting national borders. No, on

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the contrary to preserve the freedom of movement within Europe. It has

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gone. We need to establish the external perimeter that works. Who

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is to blame for the failure to come up with a comprehensive strategy to

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deal with this crisis? Well this is a classic case of establishing a

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system that benefits its members, like the eurozone, like Schengen. As

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long as every member enforces the rules. It only takes one member to

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break the rules for the system to be under strain. In both cases it is

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the came country. We need to go from a system of voluntary enforcement of

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the rules to a system where the rules are applied in the eurozone

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and the Schengen group. But unbelievable pressure on the borders

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of the countries that have faced the bruntd, in Greece and Italy. That is

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why we need a European border guard to come to the help of states under

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pressure. Poland and Finland have the longest external land bored. It

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would be in Poland's interest to call on the European border guards.

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Our border guards could help other countries. The Prime Minister

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described people in the camps as a bunch of migrants was the tone and

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language pejorative? Look, it's... Everyone of us have occasionally an

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unguarded moment. I think the British policy on this is helpful.

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Thank you. We have James Brokenshire, the Home Office

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minister. Let's try and find out what the Government policy is on

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refugees. Are we going to take in uncompanied refugee children? What

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we have announced today as you are probably aware is work that we will

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do with the UN to identify those who are orphan and separated and how we

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may see those children coming to the UK as a result where the UN

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identifies those vulnerable children and exceptional cases where they

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judge that is appropriate. Recognising that in the majority of

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cases they say that children are better to stay in the region where

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there is family and those connections and what is in the best

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interests of the children. Can you clarify what you mean by the region.

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Are we talking about uncompanied children who have made it into

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Europe or those in the middle eastern camps. There are two things.

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I want to be clear. There are two elements. The first is the work with

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the UNHCR on areas of conflict. So outside of Europe and seeing where

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they have identified and advise us as the experts that there are

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vulnerable children who are in need and could benefit from coming to the

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UK and how we can facilitate that. That is over and above the existing

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commitment of 20,000 where we have seen around a thousand come to if UK

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before Christmas, around half of which were children. In addition we

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have provided a ?10 million fund that is aimed at supporting children

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within Europe. That maybe on things like shelter and counselling and

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medical things. But it is also to create systems, better systems, in

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place, to see that children are reunited with family elsewhere in

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Europe, building on existing regulations, the Dublin regulations,

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where EU countries can return people if they should have made an asylum

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claim in the first country and if there are people with connections

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they can be reunified. Are we going to accept refugee children who are

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uncompanied, who are already in the European Union. Is the United

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Kingdom going to do that? Under our Dublin regulations we have done that

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and we will continue to do that. It is ma mechanism. How many? I can't

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give you the numbers, because it is a question of establishing a family

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connection within the UK in the first place, a parent, a sibling,

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some close family member F you claim asylum in an EU country first and

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can show that link to another EU country then under the Dublin

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regulations you can go to that country to be reunified. So you're

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telling me you can't Thame us how many -- tell us how many uncompanied

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refugee children we have taken in and you won't tell me how many we

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are planning to take in? What I can tell you up to the year until

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September we had about 2,600 unaccompanied asylum seeking

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children in the UK. What I can't tell you... From the rest of Europe

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or not? That Would be from those who established in the UK and made that

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claim here. The probability is the majority would have come from Europe

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and it that is 2,600 that we are already processing and dealing with.

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How many of those are here? Those 2,600 are in this country who have

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made those claims and are unaccompanied asylum seeking

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children and are being processed and dealt with by local authorities. If

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we identified another 3,000 refugee children, uncompanied, who had close

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relations in Britain and were already in the EU, would we take

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them in? I think it's, from the indications we have, it is, it will

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be establishing that family connection and the numbers are

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relatively small to date. Because you have to show that you have got a

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family member who is here already. The reason it is done on this basis

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is to make request sure you don't make the situation worse and we are

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seeing children put out in advance to get family resettlement and the

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way people traffickers will exploit this. It is rather that you have to

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see that family person who is here already and if you're claiming

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asylum in another country you can be reconnected. It sounds light you

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want to make it as slow and complicated as possible. No, the ?10

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million that we have announceled is about getting better systems and

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providing support into country like Italy and Greece to see you can

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actually have better processing of claims. Some viewers may think

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instead of talking accuse systems, you should be talking about young

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lives that are in real danger to traffickers, drug dealers and

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abusers and this country should show some humanity and take 3 thousand

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uncompanied children. We are showing humanity by the work under our

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resettlement scheme, a thousand people, half were children. That is

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from the Middle East. I'm talking about in Europe. And dealing with

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the claims we have here and the ?10 million fund is about providing

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support to those children in most need and see they're getting the

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medical and the counselling, the accommodation support. As long as

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they don't come here? As I have said, we are playing our role

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clearly in supporting Europe on rescuing people and seeing that

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where there are reunion claims that are established that we are

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fulfilling our obligations to help children and our focus is doing this

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right. Not making the situation worse. Having the interest of the

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children at the forefronts and how our work as a UK we can be proud in

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helping thousands of children fleeing the war and doing it in the

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right way. Thank you. The question for today

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is all about motorcycle Our guest of the day has taken one

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well-known British politician Was it - a) Diane Abbott,

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b) Boris Johnson c) Jeremy Corbyn,

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or d) Nigel Farage? At the end of the show we'll give

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you the correct answer. The Government was defeated

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in the House of Lords again last night over plans to cut

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the benefits of people It's the second time this week,

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and it's just the latest in a series of defeats in the upper chamber over

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the Government's welfare reforms. Making work pay -

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that was the Conservative's mantra In last year's Autumn Statement,

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George Osborne reaffirmed the Government intends to make ?12

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billion worth of savings Currently going through the House

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of Lords is the Welfare Reform The Conservatives don't

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have a majority in the upper house On Monday, they were defeated over

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plans to redefine child poverty. Ministers had wanted to get rid

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of income measurements and use other indicators such as unemployment

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and low educational attainment. And yesterday the Government also

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lost a vote on plans to reduce the Employment Support Allowance

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by ?30 a week to encourage some Ministers also agreed to exempt some

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families from plans to limit Universal Credit benefits

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to only two children. Also yesterday, the Court of Appeal

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ruled against the Government over the spare room subsidy,

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or "bedroom tax". The legislation means families

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deemed to have too much living space would lose a proportion

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of their benefits, the idea being that it would free up

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housing for more tenants. However the court found that it

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discriminated against a domestic violence victim and the family

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of a disabled teenager, and the ruling could have

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implications for others Ministers have said

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they will appeal. In the Commons earlier this mornnig

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the Shadow Secretary of State asked an urgent question

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on the court ruling. We know there are people

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who need extra support. That's why we are providing

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local authorities with Discretionary Housing

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Payment funding. Local authorities are best placed

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to assess people's needs in their area, and

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identify where extra We have increased the amount

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of Discretionary Housing Payment available, and on top

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of the 560 million since 2011, we are providing an extra

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870 million over The people involved

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in these cases are receiving Discretionary Housing

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Payments, that is precisely why we have Discretionary

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Housing Payments, Mr Speaker, this ruling

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was on two specific grounds. However, can the Minister

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confirm that the bedroom He talks of Discretionary

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Housing Payments. His own government report admitted -

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dumped before Christmas - that 75% of victims do not receive

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DHP, three quarters of those hit by the bedroom tax are

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cutting back on food. Well, we're joined now by the Shadow

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Work and Pensions Secretary Owen Smith, and by the Conservative

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MP Chris Philp, he's a member And we did ask to speak

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to a minister from the Department of Work and Pensions but no

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offer was forthcoming. Chris Philp, the Court of Appeal has

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ruled against you in a case of a single parent who is subject to such

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domestic abuse that she had to install a secure panic room in her

:20:12.:20:17.

house, and also the case of a teenager with acute mental and

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physical disabilities. Why would you appeal against that ruling involving

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cases like that? Most people with disabilities are exempted from the

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removal of the spare room subsidy. A very small above cases, like the two

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you mention, have slipped through the cracks, and that is what the DHP

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is there to sort out. Both cases have been receiving discretionary

:20:41.:20:44.

housing payments. Take the case of the disabled grandson, he lost ?14

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per week when the subsidy was removed, but got given it back by

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the discretionary housing payment, leaving him where he started. So the

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system is working. The DHP is making up for those small mother of cases

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that have slipped through the cracks. Many people might wonder,

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when it involves such terrible cases, like a woman who was raped,

:21:07.:21:12.

beaten, needed a panic room, and a family with a mental and physically

:21:13.:21:18.

disabled teenager, they needed a spare room for overnight carers.

:21:19.:21:21.

That's what they were asking for. Does that need to be discretionary?

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Surely in a welfare state, that should be automatic. It's completely

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reasonable they should have the money available and it's been made

:21:31.:21:34.

available by the Housing fund. I think there are 231 out of the

:21:35.:21:43.

initial 8000, now 500,000 cases, in terms of the domestic violence

:21:44.:21:49.

cases. The cases that are very serious are getting the money. They

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are not, unfortunately. The truth is that the government produced their

:21:55.:21:58.

own evaluation of the bedroom tax, coming out just before Christmas. It

:21:59.:22:04.

says that categorically, 75% of the 450,000 families affected by the

:22:05.:22:07.

bedroom tax, don't get any discretionary housing payments. In

:22:08.:22:13.

this instance, Paul Rutherford and his family were lucky enough, and

:22:14.:22:19.

the other person, whose identity we don't know, a rape victim, were

:22:20.:22:24.

lucky enough to get these payments. However, in the first instance, Paul

:22:25.:22:28.

Rutherford's family were refused. They appealed and got it, but it

:22:29.:22:33.

wasn't about the money they were losing, the ?14, which would have

:22:34.:22:36.

been a lot of money, it was about the principle. They were brave

:22:37.:22:39.

enough to go through with this. I have met this family, a loving and

:22:40.:22:47.

lovely couple, looking after 15-year-old Warren, and it's

:22:48.:22:49.

extraordinary the government are going to be Supreme Court to appeal

:22:50.:22:56.

this. It's indefensible. The rules are unclear on discretionary

:22:57.:23:03.

payments. They are only paid in arrears, and they only cover part of

:23:04.:23:07.

the costs and sometimes they have to reapply. Some of these families,

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don't they have enough to worry about without going through this as

:23:11.:23:15.

well? In the case of Mr Rutherford, it covered all the ?14. The

:23:16.:23:21.

discretionary housing fund, its ?870 million this Parliament, enough to

:23:22.:23:25.

take care of 200,000 people like Mr Rutherford. There are plenty who can

:23:26.:23:28.

be helped out. The principle of the subsidy is right. 500,000 people

:23:29.:23:34.

were receiving extra money for rooms they were not using, which doesn't

:23:35.:23:38.

apply for people receiving housing benefit in the private sector. It's

:23:39.:23:41.

a point of fairness, why should people in public housing get a

:23:42.:23:44.

better deal than those in private housing. And where people occupy

:23:45.:23:49.

flats and houses that are too big, when we have families in overcrowded

:23:50.:23:53.

accommodation, it makes sense to move people around, so that families

:23:54.:23:57.

who need extra rooms can have them. Around 15,000 people so far have

:23:58.:24:00.

moved into small accommodation because they didn't need a larger

:24:01.:24:09.

flat. The government is saving about ?1 million per day in payments as a

:24:10.:24:17.

result, that could pay for 18,000 nurses. If it were true, that might

:24:18.:24:26.

be the case. But Chris can't tell you this, if the Minister were here,

:24:27.:24:30.

they would be able to tell you that only 5% of people have been moved.

:24:31.:24:35.

The truth is there are not sufficient flats and one-bedroom

:24:36.:24:38.

houses for people to move to. We now have the problem of local hot

:24:39.:24:42.

authorities with too many two and three-bedroom houses. The

:24:43.:24:46.

fundamental question is, it's not the matter of pounds, shillings and

:24:47.:24:50.

pence, they are relatively small amounts of money, but it's the moral

:24:51.:24:54.

question of discriminating against people who are doing a service to

:24:55.:24:58.

the country, looking after relatives who might be a burden on the state

:24:59.:25:02.

otherwise, and it's a complete red herring, and a total short term lack

:25:03.:25:08.

of efficiency to punish these people and diminish their ability to look

:25:09.:25:11.

after their relatives. You are dealing with some of the most

:25:12.:25:14.

vulnerable people in the country with the greatest needs. Why not

:25:15.:25:17.

make life a bit more simple for them? It's very hard to write

:25:18.:25:24.

legislation in Westminster that covers every single individual

:25:25.:25:27.

circumstance. Just scrap it, get rid of it. About 0.1% of cases slip

:25:28.:25:33.

through the net and they are being taken care of by discretionary

:25:34.:25:36.

housing payments. Such is the cases we have discussed. The payments were

:25:37.:25:46.

automatic beforehand, and now it's something to worry about. There is

:25:47.:25:51.

always the fear you will not go through this discretionary process.

:25:52.:25:58.

We heaping extra concern on people who already have their hands full

:25:59.:26:03.

with human problems? The alternative is to scrap it entirely, as Owen

:26:04.:26:08.

Smith is suggesting. That would then mean people in public housing are

:26:09.:26:12.

getting a better deal than those in private housing, which is unfair,

:26:13.:26:15.

and it would mean a number of people who don't need to live in larger

:26:16.:26:19.

houses are living in those larger houses and flats. I think this is

:26:20.:26:22.

the most effective way of dealing with a significant problem. I

:26:23.:26:26.

completely accept Mr Rutherford should receive this money, the

:26:27.:26:30.

difference between us is the mechanism for transmitting the

:26:31.:26:33.

money. I think the discretionary housing payment system is the best

:26:34.:26:38.

way of doing that. Chris, the court ruled yesterday that this is

:26:39.:26:41.

illegal. The Court of Appeal said that not only is this wrong, it's

:26:42.:26:45.

illegal and discrimination. If they are still getting the money, but

:26:46.:26:49.

through a different mechanism, which we can agree or disagree is a weaker

:26:50.:26:53.

mechanism or more fraught with difficulty, but if they are still

:26:54.:26:57.

getting the money they would be entitled to under the previous

:26:58.:27:00.

housing benefit system, why would it be illegal? Because it's

:27:01.:27:04.

disseminated. That's the point they made. -- because it's Scrivener 83.

:27:05.:27:14.

Chris said all disabled people are exempted. That isn't true. The very

:27:15.:27:22.

case brought before the court was against disabled adults. Disabled

:27:23.:27:26.

children are not exempt. That's discriminatory and that's why it's

:27:27.:27:36.

illegal. If I'm looking after a disabled adult, then I still qualify

:27:37.:27:40.

for the housing benefit. That's right. Looking after a disabled

:27:41.:27:46.

child, why would you make that distinction? The presumption when

:27:47.:27:52.

the rules were written a couple of years ago, is that the parents would

:27:53.:27:56.

look after a disabled child, and you wouldn't need the room for a carer.

:27:57.:28:01.

In this case the disability was so severe room for a carer was needed.

:28:02.:28:06.

Looking back at the whole scheme, it's encouraging people to go into

:28:07.:28:11.

work. As a result of this reform and other welfare reforms, hundreds of

:28:12.:28:14.

thousands of people in the last five years have moved off welfare and

:28:15.:28:19.

into work. It saves the taxpayer money, and more importantly, it

:28:20.:28:23.

gives people a way out of poverty. Let the finish on two general

:28:24.:28:26.

questions. First of all for Chris Philp. As I see from the government

:28:27.:28:32.

figures, they are still looking for ?12 billion of welfare cuts by 2020.

:28:33.:28:37.

Can you give us an idea of where that money will come from? The

:28:38.:28:41.

welfare Bill currently going through Parliament, and it had its report

:28:42.:28:45.

stage in the House of Lords yesterday, will find 70% of that ?12

:28:46.:28:50.

billion of savings. For example, by introducing a welfare cap, so you

:28:51.:28:55.

can't get more than ?23,000 per year in London... That doesn't give you

:28:56.:29:01.

very much. It's an enormous bill. It freezes benefits for people not

:29:02.:29:04.

disabled in the next four years. Will this reduced 12 billion? It

:29:05.:29:10.

will produce 70% of it. More importantly, we are getting people

:29:11.:29:13.

off welfare and into work. Figures out last week showed we have record

:29:14.:29:17.

employment in this country. Unemployment is down to a 10-year

:29:18.:29:20.

low, so getting people off welfare and into work is important. One more

:29:21.:29:26.

question. Has Labour given up on welfare reform? Could you give us an

:29:27.:29:30.

example of where Labour would reform welfare? Can I start by answering

:29:31.:29:36.

Chris's question? We don't have time. Some of the money will be from

:29:37.:29:45.

taking money away from working families. For billion pounds will

:29:46.:29:50.

come away from working families. You are against the 12 billion cuts.

:29:51.:29:54.

Could you give an example of a major welfare reform Labour would make? I

:29:55.:29:59.

wouldn't offer the corporate welfare to Google that the government is

:30:00.:30:02.

offering. That's not the answer to my question. So you have given up on

:30:03.:30:07.

welfare reform? The bottom line is, we should not engage in a Dutch

:30:08.:30:12.

auction with big government on the deal for poor families like the

:30:13.:30:15.

Rutherford Coral. I'm not interested in engaging in that conversation. In

:30:16.:30:25.

four years' time, what will welfare reform that lacklustre market will

:30:26.:30:26.

look very different in the Labour. To its critics, the new conservative

:30:27.:30:31.

government in Warsaw is transforming Poland into a nationalist,

:30:32.:30:34.

anti-Western, A series of reforms to the country's

:30:35.:30:35.

courts and media have even provoked It seems like there's a protest

:30:36.:30:39.

in Poland pretty much every weekend. Last Saturday, it was about

:30:40.:30:47.

the government's plans The weekend before,

:30:48.:30:49.

it was about an overhaul of media regulations, which saw loads

:30:50.:30:54.

of staff at the state And before Christmas,

:30:55.:30:56.

protesters were hopping mad about changes to the

:30:57.:31:01.

Constitutional Court. It follows last year's elections,

:31:02.:31:03.

when the coalition led by the centrist Civic Platform

:31:04.:31:07.

was replaced by Law and Justice - right-wing, Eurosceptic,

:31:08.:31:12.

and popular with Catholic voters The party is chaired

:31:13.:31:13.

by the former Prime Minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, with the new PM,

:31:14.:31:21.

Beata Szydlo, there to provide She was hauled to the European

:31:22.:31:27.

Parliament in Strasbourg last week It's different reforms

:31:28.:31:31.

to what many countries, many governments, did, or usually do

:31:32.:31:34.

when they get into power. But here they did it very quickly,

:31:35.:31:37.

and many reforms at the same time, which gives the impression that this

:31:38.:31:41.

party is kind of taking a firmer grip of the institutions and state

:31:42.:31:45.

than the new government usually do. The leader of Law and Justice's

:31:46.:31:51.

MEPs, told me that his party was just redressing the balance

:31:52.:31:54.

from the last government. The European Union is facing

:31:55.:31:58.

challenges by Schengen, immigration, the euro,

:31:59.:32:02.

Brexit, Greece. So I think that what the majority

:32:03.:32:07.

who should take decisions on the Polish constitution

:32:08.:32:20.

are called, whether it is a simple majority or qualified majority -

:32:21.:32:26.

come on, this is not really a big That's not how it's seen

:32:27.:32:29.

by officials at the European Commission, who are using new powers

:32:30.:32:33.

to investigate whether Poland The Poles could lose their voting

:32:34.:32:36.

rights at EU summits as a result. David Cameron's MEPs are allies

:32:37.:32:42.

with Law and Justice, and he's cosied up to the PM as part

:32:43.:32:49.

of his renegotiation. He needs her, but she's not signed

:32:50.:32:52.

up to his plans to limit benefits Could that possibly be why we have

:32:53.:32:56.

just announced we will be sending 1,000 British troops to Poland

:32:57.:33:07.

to help them stand up friendly next-door neighbour,

:33:08.:33:10.

Russia? We're joined now by the Conservative

:33:11.:33:14.

MP Daniel Kawczynski. He was born in Poland,

:33:15.:33:16.

and our guest of the day was a minister belonging

:33:17.:33:19.

to the party that was defeated by Law and Justice at last

:33:20.:33:21.

year's Polish elections. And we welcome viewers in Scotland

:33:22.:33:33.

at this point. The Government is accused of attempting a political

:33:34.:33:37.

takeover of the constitutional court in Poland. So no wonder the EU is

:33:38.:33:43.

investigating them? Well, I think it is important for politicians like

:33:44.:33:49.

myself to engage with the Polish people in the United Kingdom, there

:33:50.:33:57.

are over 800,000 Poles living here. Their view is it is too early to

:33:58.:34:02.

assess this government and they think the law and justice party is

:34:03.:34:08.

trying to recalibrate the court, because it was very top heavy.

:34:09.:34:14.

Parliament's dismissed five elected judges. It is illegal. Well my

:34:15.:34:19.

understanding is they have referred themselves to the Council of Europe

:34:20.:34:24.

and the Venice commission is investigating this. And an outcome

:34:25.:34:29.

of their report will be published next month. I'm interested to know

:34:30.:34:35.

what the results will be and I think at that juncture it will be

:34:36.:34:39.

appropriate to publish when we know what they come up. Isn't this a

:34:40.:34:45.

redressing of the balance of law and justice Party, they have got rid of

:34:46.:34:49.

people who are opponents, icht was stacked with supporters of your

:34:50.:34:55.

government. Well law and justice won a democratic election with 38% of

:34:56.:35:00.

the vote. They have a six member majority in Parliament and they're

:35:01.:35:06.

entitled to rule. What they're not entitled to do in my view is to

:35:07.:35:11.

change the rules. In your previous item we had the British system of

:35:12.:35:18.

judicial review of legislation and in Poland the constitutional court

:35:19.:35:21.

does that. We were in power for eight years, so a number of

:35:22.:35:27.

appointments came up, just as in the US Supreme Court, past majorities do

:35:28.:35:33.

matter. If you paralyse the constitutional court, then that is

:35:34.:35:37.

serious. Also having a small majority doesn't entitle you I think

:35:38.:35:43.

in the British system to purge all the managers and journalists of BBC

:35:44.:35:47.

or to change the rules of selection in the civil service and to

:35:48.:35:54.

politicalise them. But I agree the Venice commission is the right body

:35:55.:36:01.

to pronounce on this, because the EU peer review process is a new one and

:36:02.:36:07.

untested. Is this what is going on, purging in the media, dismantling

:36:08.:36:11.

the civil service, challenging the rule of law, that is what the

:36:12.:36:16.

government is doing there? No, I think it is important to recognise

:36:17.:36:21.

that this is the first time that any political party has received a

:36:22.:36:26.

majority of its own within the Polish Parliament. That is the first

:36:27.:36:29.

time it has happened since the fall of communism and the law and justice

:36:30.:36:34.

party have the presidency and won the presidency and the Parliamentary

:36:35.:36:38.

elections. So this is the first time under any political party is in a

:36:39.:36:43.

position to make more substantial constitutional changes. Are they

:36:44.:36:47.

though illegal and a challenge to democracy? The Government has given

:36:48.:36:53.

itself the power to hire and fire the heads of public TV and Europe.

:36:54.:36:58.

Europe says that is unacceptable in a genuine democracy. I think again

:36:59.:37:02.

talking with the Polish people in London, I think there is a concern

:37:03.:37:08.

or what has been conveyed to me by members of the Polish communities is

:37:09.:37:12.

there a concern about this sheer scale of foreign control of the

:37:13.:37:17.

Polish media and there are real tensions and worries about that and

:37:18.:37:24.

the law and justice party is seeking to address that. We both want what

:37:25.:37:30.

is best for Poland, if something is being done unconstitutional, then

:37:31.:37:36.

the Venice convention can ajute Kate. You don't agree with the EU

:37:37.:37:41.

investigating and the Prime Minister being called to the EU to be give

:37:42.:37:50.

given a dressing down. There is a concern about some of language being

:37:51.:37:56.

used by people like Martin Schultz that is considered to be defamatory

:37:57.:38:02.

to Poland. It is a country that until recently had no freedom at

:38:03.:38:07.

all. When it comes to European institutions trying to dictate the

:38:08.:38:13.

will of a democratic government, of course issues of concern are raised.

:38:14.:38:17.

Should the EU just back off Poland and this new government and there

:38:18.:38:29.

were claims that she return a hero. There was out thes as to similar --

:38:30.:38:34.

doubts as to similar actions by the government of Hungary. But we are a

:38:35.:38:40.

family of democratic nations and peer review is a mechanism we use in

:38:41.:38:47.

the eurozone, we look at one another's budgets and we are

:38:48.:38:51.

entitled to look at one another's institutions and behaviour. And

:38:52.:38:57.

maintaining democratic standards is an important part of what it means

:38:58.:39:02.

to be a part of European Union. Is it fair that Poland has used the

:39:03.:39:08.

UK's EU renegotiation as leverage for UK troops to come to Poland to

:39:09.:39:14.

beef up the military presence there and deter Russian aggression? That

:39:15.:39:18.

is something I challenged the Prime Minister on on the floor of the

:39:19.:39:26.

House a few weeks ago. I am very prosupporting Poland, being the only

:39:27.:39:29.

British member of Parliament born in Poe land. I challenged the Prime

:39:30.:39:32.

Minister on this, because it is worrying for me if Poland is trying

:39:33.:39:38.

to conflate its security issues with our own renegotiation with the EU

:39:39.:39:43.

and much as I understand their wish and desire to have a permanent NATO

:39:44.:39:51.

base east of Warsaw to show the Russians that we are serious about

:39:52.:39:57.

protecting Poland, I don't believe the issues should be conflated. That

:39:58.:40:03.

is for discussion within NATO and not the renegotiation. I said that

:40:04.:40:06.

strongly to the Prime Minister. Thank you.

:40:07.:40:10.

David Cameron was due to head to Sweden and Denmark this week

:40:11.:40:13.

to talk to his opposite numbers about his plans to renegotiate

:40:14.:40:16.

But yesterday, Downing Street announced that the trip

:40:17.:40:19.

has been cancelled - instead, the Prime Minister

:40:20.:40:21.

is off to Brussels to meet European Commission President

:40:22.:40:23.

It's been interpreted as a sign that the PM has had to make

:40:24.:40:27.

a last-ditch appeal to Mr Juncker, who isn't exactly his best friend,

:40:28.:40:30.

in the hopes of striking a renegotiation deal ahead of next

:40:31.:40:33.

Well, our Brussels correspondent Ben Wright can tell us more.

:40:34.:40:48.

Are these talks in some difficulty, or is this just part of normal give

:40:49.:40:59.

and take in the build up to a deal? Well part of cunning choreography

:41:00.:41:02.

that allows Downing Street to say in the teeth of great opposition they

:41:03.:41:07.

wrestled a great victory for Britain? I don't think so. It is

:41:08.:41:13.

difficult to work out why the trip to Scandinavia was abandoned in

:41:14.:41:19.

favour of a trip to Brussels to see Jean-Claude Juncker. No 10 said it

:41:20.:41:23.

is not a panic move and officials are not speculating here. We know on

:41:24.:41:31.

across the four baskets that David Cameron is basing hiss renegotiation

:41:32.:41:40.

there are difficulties. Particularly the benefits and migration issue. A

:41:41.:41:45.

deal has not been done. Officials in the European council are trying to

:41:46.:41:49.

come up with a set of draft conclusions to send around European

:41:50.:41:53.

capitals at the start of next week. That will trigger two and a half

:41:54.:42:00.

weeks of very public negotiation and haggling ahead of council meeting

:42:01.:42:05.

here in three weeks time. It gets going in earnest next week and then

:42:06.:42:09.

we will have a better idea about what is on the table and what David

:42:10.:42:12.

Cameron has managed to get. Thank you.

:42:13.:42:27.

Radek Sikorsky, what would you accept on migration. There are

:42:28.:42:35.

complicated issues and the new government is trying to introduce in

:42:36.:42:40.

Poland universal child benefit, that is very expensive and this

:42:41.:42:44.

discussion about whether some people will not go to work and take care of

:42:45.:42:54.

the children. But first, I think we should remember that the 800,000 or

:42:55.:42:59.

so Polish people who live here have come here to work. Not to claim

:43:00.:43:03.

benefit. But we are talking about in work benefit, until they're working

:43:04.:43:08.

they may be getting in work benefits the government wants to restrict it,

:43:09.:43:12.

I'm trying to determine, given Poland has a major say in this, what

:43:13.:43:18.

you would regard as a reasonable restriction? What would be

:43:19.:43:25.

reasonable would be for Britain to make its welfare system more

:43:26.:43:31.

European. If you Neil, Andrew, lost your job and came to Poland to seek

:43:32.:43:39.

for a job, we couldn't give you housing or unemployment benefit from

:43:40.:43:42.

day one. You would have had to have a job. Many people will say we were

:43:43.:43:47.

the first welfare state, why should we have to change our state, to suit

:43:48.:43:53.

European standards. You're welcome to do so. But don't complain it is

:43:54.:44:00.

costly, because it is. Ours is more focussed on people who have made the

:44:01.:44:04.

contributions and... You know wir not going to change our welfare

:44:05.:44:09.

state anywhere enough in time in time for a renegotiation. So is it

:44:10.:44:14.

possible? I think you can and you may change it, provided it is done

:44:15.:44:19.

possible? I think you can and you in a nondiscriminatory fashion. It

:44:20.:44:21.

won't be done before the referendum. By the time of referendum, you will

:44:22.:44:26.

also not change European treaties, all you will get from Europe in the

:44:27.:44:30.

process of this is the political agreement to do the kinds of thing

:44:31.:44:34.

that David Cameron needs to persuade the British people to vote yes. I

:44:35.:44:40.

think we should give him what we can within the treaty. The backdrop to

:44:41.:44:48.

the referendum, and it is causing Downing Street concern, because they

:44:49.:44:51.

don't like what the backdrop could be, the EU is in real trouble, it is

:44:52.:44:57.

in crisis over the migrant issue. The French Prime Minister said that

:44:58.:45:02.

the EU is in grave danger. Why should Britain stay in an unstugs in

:45:03.:45:05.

grave danger? Why should Britain add to those

:45:06.:45:17.

European woes? It's a self-inflicted problem. When Europe and some of the

:45:18.:45:22.

member states of weekend, Britain could lead Europe on issues such as

:45:23.:45:27.

foreign policy, defence, single market, services. Europe is learning

:45:28.:45:32.

for British leadership. By having this referendum you are depriving

:45:33.:45:37.

yourself the authority. That's the Foreign Office language. The fact is

:45:38.:45:41.

Britain can't give leadership on these issues, not a member of the

:45:42.:45:46.

euro or Schengen. Your Polish colleague has said that Schengen

:45:47.:45:54.

could face collapse, and everything that has been tried on the European

:45:55.:46:00.

migrant crisis has failed. So far 414 have been reallocated. Europe

:46:01.:46:06.

did seem to be in a real mess, as this referendum takes place in this

:46:07.:46:11.

country. And that's why we don't need Britain leaving, and adding to

:46:12.:46:15.

the problems. I don't think it would be in Britain's interests. Half a

:46:16.:46:23.

millennium of British policy was to prevent the continent uniting to the

:46:24.:46:29.

exclusion of the United Kingdom. The consequences for Scotland, Ireland,

:46:30.:46:32.

Ulster, would be severe. We need to stick together. Is the back in its

:46:33.:46:38.

worst crisis? There is an accumulation of crisis and we need

:46:39.:46:41.

to resolve it through leadership, and we need leadership from Britain

:46:42.:46:42.

also. Is the House of Lords

:46:43.:46:44.

being systematically undermined That was a view expressed

:46:45.:46:46.

in the Upper Chamber last night, as peers said the public

:46:47.:46:50.

were being given a distorted view of them as ermine-clad champagne

:46:51.:46:55.

swiggers with their The world is changing,

:46:56.:46:56.

our circumstances are changing. We are being systematically

:46:57.:47:07.

undermined and ridiculed. Some of it is our own fault,

:47:08.:47:12.

but I do think most of it is not, and we have to be prepared

:47:13.:47:15.

to fight our own corner. And nobody will pay any

:47:16.:47:19.

attention to us if we don't. Caricatures abound -

:47:20.:47:22.

ermine clads, swilling champagne, swanning around your lordships'

:47:23.:47:25.

house at the taxpayer's expense. That might sell newspapers,

:47:26.:47:30.

but it doesn't give any A highly distorted

:47:31.:47:32.

myth is relentlessly peddled of everyone

:47:33.:47:37.

with their snouts in the trough, greedily pocketing ?300

:47:38.:47:40.

a day for turning up. We're joined now by the peer

:47:41.:47:45.

who called the debate, Robin Hodgson, who wants to see

:47:46.:47:48.

the House of Lords do more How? Most large organisations and

:47:49.:47:59.

companies have what they call a rapid rebuttal unit to deal with

:48:00.:48:05.

issues of fact. Not about political bias, that's completely different,

:48:06.:48:10.

but about real events that are misreported and extorted. There is

:48:11.:48:13.

already a press office already for the House of Lords. It's a very good

:48:14.:48:18.

press office, but it is not as proactive as it is reactive. We put

:48:19.:48:24.

out a very sensible piece of research, and they do spend late in

:48:25.:48:27.

publicising and ensuring that you and others know about it. But they

:48:28.:48:31.

are not empowered to deal with stories that break. Are they not

:48:32.:48:35.

empowered? Details of the House of Lords press office are there online

:48:36.:48:41.

to help journalists, covering the House of Lords and the works of the

:48:42.:48:45.

Lords and committees. Surely that could incorporate what you want. It

:48:46.:48:51.

might be in the writing, but it is not in the facts. The reality is

:48:52.:48:55.

that stories are left to run, and are not corrected. I emphasise these

:48:56.:49:01.

are stories about fact, not political activity, which is a

:49:02.:49:04.

different matter. Rather than the Lords investing more resources into

:49:05.:49:09.

self-promotion, which is what you're talking about. I'm not, it's not

:49:10.:49:13.

self promotion at all. It's about making sure we have the accurate

:49:14.:49:18.

facts. It's not self-promotion and it's important it shouldn't be self

:49:19.:49:20.

promotion. It's about making sure the real facts of what the house

:49:21.:49:25.

does are reported. Why don't you club together with your own money

:49:26.:49:28.

and establish this instead of expecting the taxpayer to pay for

:49:29.:49:33.

it? I'm not sure any organisation in the country expects its own members

:49:34.:49:37.

to pay for a rebuttal unit. But you have a press office, which you don't

:49:38.:49:42.

think does its job, so you want this unit, you get ?300 per day, each

:49:43.:49:46.

chip in the ?50, and you have a rebuttal unit. We could do it for

:49:47.:49:50.

you! I'm sure you would do very well. We would do it for less! Have

:49:51.:49:58.

there been complaints about the quality of champagne? There has

:49:59.:50:03.

never been a complaint about that. There was a headline, a tizz about

:50:04.:50:11.

fizz. That was written by the Economist, not our headline.

:50:12.:50:17.

Wouldn't it be better to make sure your debates more topical, for

:50:18.:50:21.

example. If you are worried about positive media attention for peers?

:50:22.:50:28.

We have a range of topical debates. Who decides if they are topical? I'm

:50:29.:50:31.

not suggesting we should promote political activities. These are

:50:32.:50:35.

about things like champagne, that picture behind you will appear once

:50:36.:50:40.

in at State opening. The rest of the time we are wearing suits, like I am

:50:41.:50:44.

now, and that's how we work. But you don't publish that, it's too

:50:45.:50:56.

one-sided. There is a genuine problem with the Lords, and I speak

:50:57.:51:01.

as a former speaker, of not so much information being correct, and

:51:02.:51:04.

individual members don't have the resources to take people to court,

:51:05.:51:07.

to publicise things and correct the information. It's in the public

:51:08.:51:12.

interest for information about public institutions to be correct,

:51:13.:51:15.

and it's not enough to rely on individual members, and you need

:51:16.:51:21.

such a rebuttal. What about recruitment? Is it not in your role,

:51:22.:51:26.

you were a speaker, but the leader of the house should be doing this

:51:27.:51:30.

sort of thing for you? I have three jobs already. It's obviously a very

:51:31.:51:34.

popular job. We dissed want to see the colour of your money. I want one

:51:35.:51:40.

of those roads. -- one of those ermine clad robes.

:51:41.:51:43.

Now who thinks the moon landing was faked?

:51:44.:51:45.

That JoCo is part of a secretive order running the country?

:51:46.:51:52.

Well, some of the most popular conspiracy theories have taken a bit

:51:53.:51:58.

of a knock this week, thanks to new research from one

:51:59.:52:01.

academic at Oxford University who's come up with an equation that

:52:02.:52:04.

suggests that many conspiracies, if they existed, would unravel.

:52:05.:52:06.

It's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

:52:07.:52:17.

OK, so this is probably the best-known conspiracy theory,

:52:18.:52:25.

that Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were not actually here on the moon.

:52:26.:52:28.

In fact, they were in a high-tech studio, not dissimilar to this one.

:52:29.:52:31.

Because I'm not actually on the moon.

:52:32.:52:34.

Which is a shame because I had wanted to plant a flag.

:52:35.:52:38.

But space is a popular frontier when it comes to a conspiracy,

:52:39.:52:42.

especially when space seems to come to you.

:52:43.:52:45.

We have all heard of Roswell and Area 51, and what may or may not

:52:46.:52:48.

In fact, such are the numbers of people interested in this stuff,

:52:49.:52:54.

that David Cameron spotted a gap in the market.

:52:55.:52:57.

During the 2010 election campaign, he pledged more government

:52:58.:53:00.

The truth, and the votes, are out there.

:53:01.:53:04.

MUSIC: Jailhouse Rock by Elvis Presley.

:53:05.:53:08.

Another conspiracy magnet is this guy, the suggestion being that

:53:09.:53:11.

For a start, lots of people say they've seen him

:53:12.:53:16.

On the flipside, there's a theory that Paul McCartney,

:53:17.:53:21.

who appears to be alive and kicking, is in fact, dead.

:53:22.:53:25.

The claim is he died in the 1960s and was replaced by a look

:53:26.:53:28.

The proof - well, have you ever tried playing

:53:29.:53:32.

There are plenty of conspiracy theories relating to politicians.

:53:33.:53:46.

the assassination of John F Kennedy.

:53:47.:53:51.

But there was another one about a more modern day President,

:53:52.:53:53.

that Barack Obama wasn't actually born in the USA,

:53:54.:53:56.

He ended up dramatically proving the so-called birthers wrong

:53:57.:54:02.

Why he didn't do it when everyone else was asking for it,

:54:03.:54:10.

There are those who say one of the biggest conspiracies

:54:11.:54:16.

of all is right here in the seat of power.

:54:17.:54:19.

That those in charge are part of an extraterrestrial,

:54:20.:54:21.

shape-shifting reptilian-humanoid elite.

:54:22.:54:22.

DAVID CAMERON VOICEOVER: The aspersion you are trying

:54:23.:54:27.

to cast, I think, is completely ridiculous.

:54:28.:54:43.

Tony Gosling is a journalist who investigates conspiracy theories.

:54:44.:54:50.

Conspiracy theories would involve so many people, that it would be

:54:51.:54:53.

impossible to keep them secret overtime. David Grimes, who has done

:54:54.:55:01.

the research, is a physicist, really good at that stuff, but he's not a

:55:02.:55:05.

social scientist and I don't think he's looked at the background of how

:55:06.:55:10.

conspiracy theories are being used. Since the JFK assassination you

:55:11.:55:13.

mentioned, the New York Times in the 80s did a Freedom of information

:55:14.:55:18.

request and they found the word conspiracy theory, and the concept

:55:19.:55:21.

of it, was a weaponised term they could use in order to put down

:55:22.:55:25.

criticism of the Warren commission, that was investigating Kennedy's

:55:26.:55:30.

death. Our jobs as journalists is to sort the wheat from the chaff, not

:55:31.:55:34.

to mix them up, which is what they want to do. Our job is also to

:55:35.:55:39.

establish facts, and we do that by people coming forward. If the JFK

:55:40.:55:44.

assassination was a conspiracy, or the landing on the moon was a

:55:45.:55:49.

conspiracy, so many people would have been involved, that somebody at

:55:50.:55:52.

some stage would have spoken to people like you or me, but it's

:55:53.:55:57.

never happened in any credible way. Not necessarily with JFK, because

:55:58.:56:02.

the FBI and CIA are involved, spies and detectives. And they don't leak?

:56:03.:56:09.

The whole part of their job is to keep secrets. That's part of the

:56:10.:56:16.

job. How do we know about the 12 assassination attempts against Fidel

:56:17.:56:22.

Castro? One of the reasons we have seen a big increase in conspiracy

:56:23.:56:25.

theories recently, partly the Internet, and also we have seen

:56:26.:56:29.

things like chemical trails, and I would dismiss these things, but it's

:56:30.:56:33.

partly the government's mental-health cut. I think there are

:56:34.:56:37.

a lot of problems out there for people who are looking to something

:56:38.:56:43.

to latch onto and see it as a conspiracy. Things like the

:56:44.:56:46.

Bo-lieving club running the country, that's not a conspiracy, that's

:56:47.:56:58.

happening. -- the Bullingdon club. Cecil Rhodes was in that club. What

:56:59.:57:06.

real conspiracy do you believe in? What's the biggest conspiracy that

:57:07.:57:12.

you think might be true? The Edward Snowden revelations about the

:57:13.:57:14.

security services are really good. Here in Bristol, perhaps it's a bit

:57:15.:57:20.

different to London, but we love conspiracies. All of the best seem

:57:21.:57:24.

to come out of fear. What's the biggest you believe to be true with

:57:25.:57:31.

evidence? All the biggest stories have started as conspiracy theories,

:57:32.:57:34.

and then it's a wrestle the see if they get out into the public. My

:57:35.:57:38.

favourite is the builder Berg conference, the conferences started

:57:39.:57:50.

by a former SS officer in 1960s. This is the oil barons and financial

:57:51.:57:55.

managers of the world meeting together to select our politicians

:57:56.:57:58.

will stop I think nowadays elections are not about policies, but more

:57:59.:58:08.

about psychological warfare. Bilderberg selects our politicians?

:58:09.:58:11.

We should have a word with them about doing a better job.

:58:12.:58:15.

There's just time before we go to find out the answer to our quiz.

:58:16.:58:18.

Which well-known British politician has been taken for a ride

:58:19.:58:20.

Was it - a) Diane Abbott, b) Boris Johnson

:58:21.:58:24.

c) Jeremy Corbyn, or d) Nigel Farage?

:58:25.:58:26.

So Radek what's the correct answer?

:58:27.:58:30.

It was Boris. Why? Because we are friends. Where did you go? We were

:58:31.:58:43.

going round my constituency in Poland, where I thought that for

:58:44.:58:48.

once, I would be the star. We went into the main square. It was a

:58:49.:58:50.

conspiracy! That's all for today,

:58:51.:58:51.

thanks to our guests. The one o'clock news is starting

:58:52.:58:53.

over on BBC One now. I'll be back at 11:45pm

:58:54.:58:56.

tonight for This Week, where I'll be joined by Labour MP

:58:57.:58:58.

Caroline Flint This is the FA Cup,

:58:59.:59:01.

and anything can happen. The FA Cup fourth round.

:59:02.:59:03.

It's a stunner!

:59:04.:59:14.

Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by former Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski to discuss unaccompanied refugee children, David Cameron's EU renegotiation talks and Poland's relationship with the EU. They also talk to shadow work and pensions secretary Owen Smith about the series of welfare defeats the government has suffered and debate conspiracy theories.


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