24/02/2016 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


the Prime Minister has done with the EU could be ripped up


Downing Street says it's irreversible -


Jeremy Hunt has claimed that there are 6,000 excess deaths


because the NHS in England doesn't have a proper seven-day service.


But did the Health Secretary use unpublished data to make the claim?


It's 15 years since foot and mouth caused chaos in the countryside -


but have we learned the lessons to cope with a similar crisis today?


The fresh faces of Parliament's new boys and girls -


but how hard have they worked since they were elected in May?


All that in the next 90 minutes and, of course,


Prime Minister's Questions at midday.


Public service broadcasting at its finest! PMQs will be live and


uninterrupted. MPs have been around for quite a while but have lost none


of their youthful enthusiasm. the Business


and Enterprise Minister Nick Boles - he's on the Prime Minister's side


and will be campaigning to remain And we have Labour's Gisela Stewart,


who is one of the small number of Labour MPs who will be


campaigning to leave. Much more on the EU debate later


but first, do 6,000 people really lose their lives every year


because the NHS in England doesn't That's the claim the Health


Secretary Jeremy Hunt made last summer to explain why


it was so important to introduce a new contract for junior


doctors in England - here he is on the Today


Programme last July. When you turn medicine into a Monday


to Friday profession, you end up with catastrophic


consequences for patients and in 2003 the then government


changed the contract to give consultants the right to say,


we are not going to do any The result is that now


if you are admitted on Sunday, you are 15% more likely to die than


if you are admitted on Wednesday. We have about 6000 avoidable


deaths every year. That is something that doctors


passionately want to change. Now, though, the BBC has seen


e-mails which suggest that Mr Hunt used unpublished data to make that


claim of excess death rates The BBC's Health Editor, Hugh Pym,


has the story and joins us now What is the essence of this row?


Well, it is a bit of Whitehall farce. Quite serious in its own way


because of the use of statistics. Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary


used the figure of 6000 access deaths happening among patients who


were admitted at the in England. Deaths within 30 days of admission.


This sort of figure has become central to the whole dispute with


junior doctors. Consultants are in talks with the government at the


moment and they are not happy to hear the clip and they take issue


with the suggestion they don't work at weekends because they say they


do. That 6000 figure was used in a speech last July and on the Today


programme, but when journalists got in touch they could not back up the


figure. E-mails we have obtained under Freedom of information


requests show a lot of toing and froing in the insuring weeks. One


e-mail saying, we will have to give a bland statement to neither confirm


nor contradict what the secretary was saying. There was a link but out


suggesting this came from a study in was saying. There was a link but out


2012 and the statistics authority also got involved to ask the


Department of Health to also got involved to ask the


figure. Jeremy Hunt's people say also got involved to ask the


that he got the figure directly also got involved to ask the


the head of NHS England's also got involved to ask the


Department Bruce Keogh and it was confirmed by NHS England but it was


not really based at the time on any published data. There was a study


published in September showing 11,000 excess deaths from Friday to


Monday, so it is a confused picture. A lot of toing and froing to find


out where the figures came from. The figures in the end came out and


increased if you take the figures from that particular study. Wasn't


there also a problem in that the author of the study hadn't actually


there also a problem in that the linked those deaths between Friday


and Monday to most baffling levels? That's correct, the study was put


out by academics to look at mortality data and came up with the


11,000 excess deaths between Friday and Monday, add missions within 30


days of admission, but they did not link it to any


days of admission, but they did not staffing might not have something to


do with it, but it might. Other studies have suggested it did have


something to do with staffing but it has become a central issue in the


junior doctors dispute. These has become a central issue in the


studies have been questioned a lot has become a central issue in the


but the people who wrote this from Birmingham in September are adamant


that they published it without any influence and it is what it is. How


that they published it without any announced? Well, this


that they published it without any noting our story and saying that it


raises noting our story and saying that it


government use of statistics in the row. Obviously a lot of distrust on


both sides, the Department of Health is adamant that the figures used by


the Secretary of State have been passed on by senior officials at NHS


England and they were totally robust. Yes, the sides seem as far


apart as ever with no sign of further talks, the first of the


348-hour strikes set to begin further talks, the first of the


weeks today, at the moment it looks like it will go ahead. Thank you


very much. We're joined now from Central Lobby


by the Shadow Health Minister, What do you make of this? The


Secretary of State has been caught manipulating the figures but he


Secretary of State has been caught then used that as a way to


Secretary of State has been caught junior doctors, imposing a contract


on them, and they are the very staff who do work seven days a week and on


whom we depend so much. This is a real concerning story because


whom we depend so much. This is a you are talking about people's


lives, and the impact a policy change has you have to do it on


lives, and the impact a policy basis of robust research which has


been peer-reviewed and he clearly just took the figure up without any


of that taking place. He is then using it to attack British doctors


and the NHS. It is dreadful behaviour. And for patients of


course it is raising concerns, but not in a sensible way, in a very


political way, attacking hugely important groups of staff in the


NHS. It certainly looks like Jeremy Hunt used these figures from a study


which had not yet been published. It was unfinished. But he hasn't


manipulated the figures, they stand, and in fact they are worse if you


take the figures from that study, initially he said 6000 excess deaths


but it was 11,000. He plugged it out of the air, didn't he, and then used


it as a way to attack doctors in the NHS? That is unacceptable. That is a


slightly different point. On the issue of mortality rates at the


weekend, what is clear from the story that we have just seen is that


we don't actually know the exact reasons. We know that in the past


patients who are more ill are often admitted at the weekend because if


you are less ill be NHS prefer to meet you during the week and you


need to get to the bottom of that. Before you go in for a major policy


change and start using it to attack junior doctors. Let's get your


reaction, we spoke about the figures but perhaps what would most offend


people is the idea that the figures were used as Philip Hunt has said,


to attack junior doctors when there was no proven link between that and


as he put it the staffing levels at weekends? No one is attacking junior


doctors, they do a vital job and work incredibly hard. Their current


contract sees many of their working too many hours, dangerously long


hours and we are trying to change that. The most important thing is


what you said, the final report said it was actually the weekend effect,


as it's known, 11,000 deaths, not 6000. The 6000 figure that the


Secretary of State got was from the NHS medical director. Before it was


published and finished? Politicians should not apologise for taking


advice from experts employed to advise them on what's going on. It


was not verified? If you talk to the statistics authority they say it


should be openly and equally shared publicly and he did not do that. He


used the figure in a report which had not yet been finished and then,


used it to actually play out in this dispute with junior doctors, saying


it is because we don't have a seven-day NHS and the report did not


say that. There have been 15 studies showing higher mortality rates at


the weekend of which this is the latest. The British public will be


interested in the final result, published in September last year,


actually 11,000 deaths are extra deaths that come at the weekend, and


they won't be critical of the Health Secretary who firstly is responding


to a clear manifesto commitment, this is not a new story, we had a


commitment to a seven days a week NHS. Because of this series of 15


studies showing weekend effects that meant that services people were


getting were causing... Was it right to say was because of low staffing


levels? You have to ask, what is different at the weekend? There


could be lots of other factors. You have to ask what is different and


the key thing is that staffing levels at all levels, not just


junior doctors as you yourself pointed out, at the consultant level


too, are different. Lots of people going at weekends because they are


doing more dangerous things at weekends? Rather than the more


routine ones in the week. Nothing to do with staffing? Bruce Keogh has


long felt that staffing is a contributor to unnecessary


additional deaths at the weekend. I think it is our responsibility as a


government to ensure that whenever you get ill, whenever you go to


hospital you receive the best care. That is what we are trying to do.


Philip Hunt, thank you for listening, you want an


investigation, shut the head of NHS England Bruce Keogh should resign?


No, he is a man of great ethics. I respect him. The person who should


consider his position should be the Secretary of State for not waiting


for verified research. The risk at the moment, apart from what this is


doing to junior doctors is that because the NHS is financially


distressed, the way in which they will deal with seven-day working is


that they will have to transfer staff from the weekday to the


weekend and if this is an issue of staffing, the risk is that mortality


rates could go up during the week, in order to compensate for what is


happening at the weekend. The policy is so ill thought out, it is so


politically driven. And it is using figures in an inappropriate way, and


the Secretary of State really needs to consider his position and what he


really needs to do to start with is to apologise to junior doctors, get


around the table and stop threatening to impose this contract


on them. What is your reaction? Ultimately we are here to serve the


British public who rely on the NHS and they clearly voted for a


manifesto policy to create a seven days a week NHS and it requires a


more even level of staffing patterns, not just for junior


doctors, but for nurses and consultants and that is what we will


do. There is no reason to apologise to anyone for seeking to do that. If


it is the case and it is so transparent, why was it so hard to


get these figures? Internal e-mails about what studies have been


published when is something that freedom of information requests...


There hasn't been a cover-up by NHS England? Report was published in


September 2015, showing 11,000 excess deaths, not the 6000 that was


the tentative figure that Bruce Keogh and buys to the Secretary of


State about. Will Labour be supporting the next three strikes?


We want to see the juniors getting back to work and we want to do that


through a settlement. Yes, but will you be supporting the strikes? John


McDonnell said he was always committed to them. I am always wary


of industrial action because of impacts on patients but equally on


the government side, they have to start talking to the juniors again


and have to take away the threat of imposing the contract, there is two


weeks to go before the next industrial action will take place,


that is time for the government to sort this out and sit down again


with the juniors. It doesn't sound like you will be advocating Labour


to support the strikes from your position? I never want to see


industry at action in the health service but I do want to see the


government trying to sort this out. We are at great risk here, these


junior doctors are really committed people and we are at great risk of


losing their commitment and many of them to the NHS. For goodness sake,


let's try to sort it out in the two weeks we have got. Will you be


supporting the strike and should Labour support them? Philip is right


that the patients have to come first and the responsibility is to make


sure the hospitals keep going. We support the junior doctors in


pushing for a settlement and this has undermined their trust in the


government that they serve. Now, his wife says he hates


house plants and quiche. We've also learned today why


the Justice Secretary and confirmed 'outer' Michael Gove is not so keen


on the deal his friend, David Cameron, has done


on our EU membership - telling the BBC it could be struck


down in the European Courts. Downing Street are insisting


the that changes the Prime Minister has negotiated are "irreversible" -


but it's the latest in a series of questions that have surfaced


about the deal the PM brought back The PM returned from Brussels last


weekend, saying that the UK's new status within the EU would offer


the country "the best The deal includes restrictions


on EU migrants' benefits, an opt-out from the concept


of "ever closer union" and more financial protection


for the City of London. But it's unclear whether


restrictions to benefits will dissuade EU migrants


from coming to the UK and help the Conservatives


meet their manifesto pledge to bring migration down to


the tens of thousands. The PM insisted the deal gives


Britain "special status" in the EU. But there are question marks over


whether the deal could be overturned And today the Justice Secretary said


the terms of the agreement could be challenged in the European


Court of Justice. What David Cameron has got


is an agreement amongst It's an international


law declaration. I don't for a moment discount


that but, ultimately, it is a matter of


the European Union law and British law that only treaties


have effect and that because these agreements that have been reached


are not yet treaty changes, the European Court of Justice


could take a different view. Downing Street says that the


European court and justice has to take these changes into account


because it is an agreement. We understand that. But taking


something into account is not the same as being bound by it. The


European court could rule against some of these changes if it was


asked to do so. I think if you look at what the Cambridge professor of


EU law, who I think is called Dashwood, said, it is very clear. He


said it is absolutely Begovic binding in the same way as other


agreements that affected Denmark and, I believe, the Netherlands.


It's going to be registered with the UN. What was interesting when I read


what he said, he said it has the same status as the treaty. That is a


treaty between the 20 member states so in the eyes of the UN it has the


same status. But it isn't an EU treaty until it has been through the


treaty ratification process. But that is to symbolism. You aren't


going to go to the UN to litigate it there. The issue is that because


these changes are not part of the treaties - they've been agreed


outside of the treaties - the fundamental job of the European


court is to interpret the treaties. That's what's legally binding on the


take a case to the ECJ saying that take a case to the ECJ saying that


might want to choose - welfare for migrants also an - are not


consistent with the treaties, the ECJ could rule against you. With


consistent with the treaties, the respect, you are not a lawyer, I am


not a lawyer and Michael Gove is not a lawyer. But I'm paid to ask


questions and you are paid to answer them but what is the answer? The ECJ


questions and you are paid to answer could rule against you because of


the changes not being part of the treaties. The answer is very clearly


as spelt out by the current attorney general, the previous attorney


general and the Professor of EU law at Cambridge University, which is


that these are legally binding agreements between the 28 leaders of


these nation states, that the European Court of Justice would


absolutely need to respect those agreements and follow those


agreements and, indeed, previous at agreement stop Bob let me finish.


Previous such agreements with exactly the same legal statements...


Which the European Court of Justice several times. You said something


very interesting. You said that the European court will be bound by


these changes. Bound by these changes would you like to reconsider


that? Let's just think about how judges and courts work. They aren't


specifically bound by any particular thing. They have to take into


account all of the laws that prevail... They are bound under


European law by the treaty changes. They are bound by the content of the


Treaty of niece, the Treaty of Lisbon, all the other treaty changes


that have gone through the convention. These changes have not


gone through treaty change. That is why you have put into the agreement


that at some stage they bust become part of treaty change. -- they must.


I put it to you so you can maybe reconsider what you said that until


they are part of treaties, the European court is not bound to


follow them. It is only bound to take them into account. I don't


agree with that and I don't accept that. The job of courts is to


interpret the law. In the case of the European Court of Justice, it


interprets the treaties. It isn't bound by the treaties, it interprets


them. It is the application of the provisions of those treaties to


specific instances. It is also their job to interpret those treaties in


the light of other agreements, such as this agreement. This agreement


will shape their interpretation of the European treaties. Are you


saying today that the changes the Prime Minister has agreed have equal


legal status as the contents of the European treaties? I'm not saying


that, nor did I say that at the first. I am saying that they are


bound to take them into account in their interpretation of the


treaties, as they have done before, and that these are legally binding


agreements which can only be changed through the consensus, which would


include, therefore, the agreement of the UK government, which, of course,


we would never give. Gisela Stuart, what is your take? I used to be a


lawyer and I have negotiated treaties. Ask yourself this question


- if this agreement was as legally binding as we are given to believe,


why would the 28 member states ever go through the pain of treaty


negotiations? They've got to be different, otherwise you wouldn't


bother about these things. It's very interesting that the Prime Minister


is using his words very carefully, both to his treaty changes and to


the effect of ever closer union. Within his own narrow definitions,


he is right, except that the European Court of Justice doesn't


work that way. It's not a British common law court. They also have


within their re-met a juicy to further, deeper integration. It is


fundamentally a Federalist court. It doesn't have the kind of political


checks and balances which is courts have got. It's the classic British


story with Europe. We look at it, only half understand it, tell half


the story and draw the wrong conclusions. The Prime Minister who


promised us fundamental treaty changes, because he knew that unless


it is a treaty change it will only be taken into consideration, now


realises he can't get it. You mentioned Denmark. 80 times now the


Danish provisions have been overruled. That was my point to you


and you denied that. The agreement that the Danes thought they had, in


the end to the European court of overruled them - I don't know the


exact figure - but it turned out not to be as cast-iron as the Danes


thought. You only have to read the Danish media to find that out. But I


don't quite understand what you're driving at. What we have here is we


have the maximum legally powerful agreement that 28 member states can


achieve... Without changing the treaties. And within that maximally


vis-a-vis powerful statement, there is very high up a provision that


treaty changes will be made to incorporate the effect. But we know


there will be no treaty change. You mentioned Professor Dashwood. The


legal adviser to the European institutions said it will not be


binding. Our last judge to the court actually said that until it is a


treaty, we cannot even promised that it will be binding. Yes, they can


take note but the prime minister gives the impression that this


cannot be changed. The European Court of Justice is not the only


actor in the European firmament. It is the ultimate arbiter. We have the


20 governments, we have the European commission and we have the president


of the European Parliament, who have all agreed to the provisions. They


are all junior to the rulings of the European court. But the European


court has to take into account the agreements they reach. Let me


broaden this out a bit. I want to put something up on the screen.


You'll like this. I'm trying to educate! Here is what you said on


October 20 14. This is about immigration.


Is there anything in this agreement that would produce more control over


immigration? Clearly, we are bound by the freedom of movement and so in


my constituency there are lots of people... Is there anything in this


agreement that will allow more control? I will answer this question


in my way if you give me a bit of time. In my constituency there are


lots of people who come here under the freedom of movement and the


freedom of movement means that any European citizen can come here to


work, to take a job, just as I went to Germany and also got a job. What


is clear from this agreement is that those who were attracted to coming


to the UK by the prospect that their incomes will be topped up by in work


benefits, or by child benefit that they can send back home to their


home country that would be paid at UK levels, those attractions are now


going to be substantially removed... How many people do you think that


will affect? I don't know because it is a dynamic position. You said you


don't know so let me ask you a question... There are several


thousand people receiving tens of thousands of pounds in additional


income from benefits. It would be strange to me if that wasn't


impacting their decision. Except that at the same time with the other


hand, your government by the end of this decade will have introduced the


most generous national minimum wage in the European Union. That will be


just as big a pull factor for people to come as the marginal negative


push factors that you are talking about. That is just the blunt truth,


isn't a? So you were right - you still have no control over


immigration. We have an influence on it through restricting access to


British in work benefits. But it is marginal. Well, you can say it is


marginal. No, the OBR has said it is marginal, the president of the


European Parliament has said it is marginal, economists have said it is


marginal. I will give you the final word. If me and economist of


repeatedly said it won't be marginal. We will see what happens.


What I know that my constituents don't want to see is people getting


something for nothing, people who have not paid into our system


receiving benefits. They have much less of a problem with people who


are working hard and getting a salary. We will probably becoming


back to this after PMQs. You will get more of a chance. We need to


move on. Now, forget the


Eurovision Song Contest. The musical battle could


to be about to hot up The "remain" side have


yet to release a song - as far as we know -


but here's how a supporter of the Grassroots Out campaign


is hoping to inspire voters, In the interests of balance,


if someone wants to produce a "remain" theme song we'll


be happy to play it. I hope it's different. Have you got


one up your sleeve? And if you're worried that there's


a danger the arguments over our EU membership might be being dumbed


down, we have a contest right here on the Daily Politics to really


excite your cerebral cortex. That is just under your arm. That


can only mean one thing, a chance to hold this.


We'll remind you how to enter in a moment but first,


What are you going to do when we run out of old money?


Blimey, I don't know what I shall do.


We think we should have C Grade, which is skilled labour.


To be in with a chance of winning a Daily Politics mug,


send your answer to our special quiz email address


Entries must arrive by 12.30 today, and you can see the full terms


and conditions for Guess The Year on our website


It is coming up to midday. We are running a little let. Big Ben is


behind me. It has gone midday so not only are we vote, Prime Minister's


Questions is late. Laura Coombs burgers here. I have a feeling Mr


Corbyn may not go on Europe. I have a feeling he may not. He may talk


about health today. I'm very sad that I missed the debate about the


niceties... As Will Michael Gove's entire interview be up on the


website later today. Just look at some thing else slightly different.


For Jeremy Corbyn's team, fascinatingly, I think some of them


are rather pleased that all of this is giving them some breathing space


to carry on with what they want to do, which is not to focus on Europe


but focus on what they are trying to do in the party. Let's go to the


House to find out. Here is Prime Minister's Questions.


The family and friends of the victim.


The house will be aware of the dreadful accident at Didcot


power Station, one died and three are


missing and the whole House will want to send


The family and friends of the victim.


And emergency services dealt with the incident with typical


professionalism. The Health and Safety Executive will find out what


led to the tragedy. This morning I had meetings with ministerial


colleagues and others and I shall have further such meetings later


today. I would like to associate myself and the people of Wiltshire


with the Prime Minister's sentiments about Didcot. Wiltshire has


successfully integrated a number of Syrian refugees including babies and


children that would have otherwise frozen or starved to death in the


camps. There has been delays in introducing more to the area. Can


the Prime Minister say what more he can do and can he look into it and


also outline what can we do to fulfil our moral duty to these


desperate people? Let me first pay tribute to Wiltshire Council and


many councils up and down the country who have done lives in job


in integrating taking in Syrian refugees and their families, finding


them homes and schools and I hope in time jobs too. If you look at what


has happened across Europe in terms of the resettlement programme,


actually Britain has done far better than any other country in terms of


this sort of resettlement programme, we said 1000 by Christmas and we


have delivered 1000 by Christmas. First of all I will make sure she


can meet with the Home Office to talk about how we can make sure this


system works well, we will continue to invest in the Syrian refugee


camps, not least with the $11 billion we raised that the landmark


London conference, and we will continue to do what we can to


deliver 20,000 Syrian refugees we said we would take into our country.


Thank you, Mr Speaker. I want to echo the Prime Minister's tribute to


all of the emergency services in dealing with the major incident in


Didcot. Our thoughts are with the families of the person who died and


those of the families who are missing and injured and we should


always make


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