22/03/2016 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


The Belgian capital Brussels is under lockdown following a series


of explosions at the airport and on the city's metro system.


At least 28 are believed to have been killed,


The blasts began early this morning, and come just days after the main


fugitive from the Paris terror attacks was seized in Belgium.


The Belgian prime minister has called it a black day


In London, ministers are holding an emergency meeting while security


has been stepped up at British airports.


David Cameron says the UK government will do everything it can to help.


We'll bring you all the latest developments throughout the show.


George Osborne is to come to the Commons to defend his Budget.


He'll confirm he's dropped planned cuts to disability benefits,


but how will he fill the ?4.4 billion gap and just how


damaged is the Chancellor and the government?


And before the election the parties promised ?8 billion


But were health bosses persuaded to lower their demands by Number 10?


And joining us for the programme today it's the former


Liberal Democrat MP and former coalition minister David Laws.


Welcome to the programme. Good to be with you.


So, the Belgian capital of Brussels has been hit by a series


of coordinated terror attacks this morning.


At least one of them reported to be the result of a suicide bomber,


and the border with France has been closed.


In a press conference the Belgian Prime Minister has said,


Brussels airport and the city's metro system have been targetted.


Reports of the number of people killed are varying and rising.


But Belgian officials say at least 28 are dead.


The government there has raised its terror alert


The explosions come four days after Salah Abdeslam,


a key suspect in the Paris attacks, was captured in the city.


Eurostar has cancelled all services between London and Brussels.


Flights between the UK and Brussels are disrupted.


In London, the Prime Minister is to chair an emergency COBRA


meeting later today to determine Britain's response.


So what do we know about the Brussels attacks so far?


Well, as we've been saying, several explosions have struck


Brussels airport and the metro system.


Two blasts tore through the departures area of Zaventem


airport shortly after 7 o'clock this morning UK time.


A media report said that left at least 13 dead.


An hour later, an explosion hit Maelbeek metro station,


Transport officials said 15 died at the station.


The airport and whole transport system have been closed.


Well we can speak now to our correspondent Gavin Lee.


Gavin, can you just tell us what the scenes where like earlier on today?


Yes, this was just before 8am in the morning. The first reports they were


two explosions inside the atrium, the check-in area of Brussels


airport. We've to eyewitnesses. I'm about 400 metres from the airport,


this is a very familiar area for anyone arriving. It's just the


immediate departures area, all of it sealed off now. I have spoken to


eyewitnesses who have been making their way through this business


area, the business quarter of the airport, going to a sports hall now


for information. What they are saying is they were two bombs within


about seconds of each other, possibly 30 seconds, and it was by


the check-in desk number six, a huge check-in terminal, immediately


people started to run. A group of schoolchildren from Belgium were


travelling to Prague and said they were trying to clamber out but


people were running on top of each other. I spoke to the man who is


basically the baggage rapper who said he was personally involved and


heard shouting in Arabic. He went to the scene to pull out seven people,


a number of them died in his arms. He described it, in tears, how he


was trying to help in vain and all around at the moment, we are seeing


police trying to escort people. Flights landed in Brussels at this


time, people were in panic, being told to get out quickly, and the


airport is completely closed. Every few minutes we hear the ambulances


and Fire Services continuing to go in. No confirmation in terms of how


many have died. The Prime Minister here Charles Michel said it is


scores, violent attack and will have more details as soon as possible.


Remember, this is four days after the arrest of Salah Abdeslam, three


kilometres from here in Molenbeek and right now, people are continuing


to leave the airport as quickly as possible. Gavin, thank you very


much. Brussels has been on a state of high


alert since the terror It emerged that many of those


involved in the Paris attacks had Back in November, terrorists killed


130 people and injured many more in a series of gun and suicide


attacks at various sites in Paris. Most of the terrorists died


in the attacks but two of them, Salah Abdeslam and Mohamed Abrini,


evaded the authorities and went Salah Abdeslam was finally captured


on Friday in an anti-terror raid And on Sunday, Belgium's Foreign


Minister, Didier Reynders, said that Abdeslam was preparing


further attacks before he was arrested, declaring


that he was "ready to restart Joining me now is the Foreign


Affairs Analyst Tim Marshall. And Chris Lipscomb ahead of the


National counterterrorism security service. Welcome to you. Is it your


belief than that, although Salah Abdeslam was captured, that the cell


was done operating? He warned of further attacks and in the end, it


showed the capability were still there. Very much so but not only


that, the Foreign Minister and lawyer said he is cooperating. What


does that tell people in hiding? He's telling more about us. The


moment the Foreign Minister said we've uncovered a new cell, they


knew they had to move. Now, if you are doing that deliberately to


stampede them because you're watching them and you can take them


when they move, that's one thing, but if you've just accelerated their


operation, that's another thing. The second point, the Belgian


intelligence service, very brave people doing a hard job, but they


are not the a team, and the last bit is that they are also so removed


from the communities in which they need to be working within and they


are not there. It does seem incredible that even Salah Abdeslam


was captured four months after a massive manhunt and he was up the


road. Two miles up the road with a beard. He was


road. Two miles up the road with a because the local guys in the


takeaway knew him, and two miles away from Molenbeek and for two


Manse, he lived like that. They haven't got the connections in the


communities they need to have. -- two months. They are blind and deaf


and behind, so how do you capture someone if you are blind and deaf?


They are extraordinarily behind. The prime ministers said, he feared what


was going to happen is was always going to happen because they had no


idea what was going on it in an area which is a hotbed for jihadists. But


it is also a sign the bombers are showing they can still terrorise at


city like Brussels, which is now in lockdown. You can't get in or out by


train or plane, move around inside it, and what the bombers have done


is hit targets very deliberately. If it's true it was the American


Airways check-in, next to the Starbucks in the airport, you fit


the symbols of the USA, which they are after. Those are the reports,


aren't they? The Metro station hit was not random. That is because it


is right next door to the EU headquarters and so it is a blow


against European unity. This symbolic stuff matters. Tonight the


Eiffel Tower will be had in the colours of the Belgian flag as a


sign of unity because these bombs are designed to break unity.


Francois Hollande has that it's an attack on Europe, not just on


Belgium but the hallmarks of an attack like this targeting the


transport system, but obviously we have seen and is a reminder of July


the 7th and the Madrid bombings but different to Paris? I would defer to


someone who knows more about that sort of thing, but they know their


tradecraft and there is a report which came out a couple of days ago


from the USA which mention the Paris attacks, these people are properly


trained. For example, you buy a phone in the morning, as in concept


make one focal, throw it away. That takes knowledge and training. -- one


phone call. Just before I come to you about the style of the attacks


and the security services, they are not quite up to the job facing them


at the moment, we can also report there is one British person injured,


but no fatalities. First of all come on the transport network, and that


causes maximum mayhem. Yes, it does and weeks in the transport networks


across the world being attacked time and time again and the aviation


sector is consistently being targeted. What we have here is


something we have seen before in Moscow. The Moscow airport was


actually blown up by someone being able to walk into that terminal with


a suitcase bomb, so this is not new. I'm a bit disappointed actually that


we have not really learned some of the lessons, we know from fact if


you want to secure a building as an example, you put the security on the


outside of the building, not in the middle of it, because it's too late


by the time it got to that point. One thing which struck me is the


explosions were in the departure lounge, which indicates a complete


breach of security within the building, not just on the outer


building. It's not really a breach of the allow people to walk into


airports with suitcases, that's what we do. Some airports around the


world like Istanbul and India, where the threat is different, will do a


security search regime on the external parts, so you can only go


into the terminal if you have your ticket and your bags are searched.


Maybe we have got to move towards that in the West. Do you think we


should? What that does do, I think we saw it after the liquid bombs in


Heathrow, if you are in single file and backed up around, there still


may be an attack full to be dumped have that density of casualty you


have inside the airport terminal this is referring to. That's one


thing to be looked at by people all over the world including this


country full is are we going to change the way you check in? David


laws, your thoughts on what's been going on today? Horrendous, a


reminder of how well we've done so far in this country and how well the


security services are done in ensuring these types of incidents


have happened so far but we can't be complacent about that. The number of


targets to protect against in an environment where people are per to


take their own lives makes this job very, very difficult. We can't be


sure, even with better levels of skill and wisdom we have in this


country that we won't, at some stage, have this type of offence


committed in the UK. We will talk later on about the balance between


security and dignity, but Boris Johnson has already said that a


police presence is going to be increased unsurprisingly in London.


Would you like other specific things to be done immediately to try and


keep people safe at British airports and train stations? The people who


are the real experts, MI5, the police, will give that judgment of


the Government and the Government will act sensibly. We know that this


risk was there one year ago, a month ago, and will be there in a year's


time so we should not overreact to individual incidents. We know this


is a permanent risk we will have to live with for many years and we


ought to be thinking forward even when things like this are taking


place. Let's talk about the security services. They are not the a team.


Do you agree with that? The ones in Brussels? Yes, I've been to Brussels


and spoken to police officers over there and they felt quite hindered I


Government and actually what they were... It's very complicated, lots


of police forces, they have got very different communities and some of


them have 75% Muslim origin, so it's difficult for them to penetrate and


get the intelligence they need. Clearly, if Salah Abdeslam was able


to stay on the run for four Munns, that's incredible. They will be very


disappointed if things like that happened in the UK. You agree they


are not doing enough, the security services, and leaving their country


exposed? There's obviously a problem there. They obviously need to learn


a few lessons. We are good at terrorism in the UK because we have


so much experience. Experience is something can't just get overnight.


They will have learned lessons from this. There was an issue with people


being able to move around the continent are very easily. That is


clearly a problem and something the whole of Europe based on a cat. I


think we can actually hear Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London giving


his response certainly while the security meeting has been going on.


Let's listen to Boris Johnson. Kallis it looks as though they may


be one UK casualty, details on that are very sketchy at the moment. The


most important thing to get across is we have no reason to think there


is any reader across from what has happened in Brussels to the UK, no


intelligence that there is an immediate threat but as a precaution


and for the purposes of reassurance, there has been a stepping up of the


presence of police at major airports. The casualties is an


injured person, not a fatality, that's the latest report we have


been hearing. Would people will ask is, where do we go from here? --


what people will ask. All of the capital cities in Europe must be


even more worried than before. He has not raised the alert but the


profile of being aware stop he knows that after couple of days, that will


diminish. I do think that is for public consumption. He went to great


pains to say there is no intelligence to suggest... It's a


reaction to what has happened in Brussels. So the UK is not under any


more threat than it was yesterday all will be tomorrow, that's just


for a couple of days, people feel better, you will see some extra


police, and this is happening all across Europe. Where it will play in


is debate about communications, the intelligence bill, and how much


phone traffic you can monitor because that was key to the Paris


attacks, the phone traffic. That will play into the debate and also


the political debate about security in this country. And also the new


referendum debate, although I don't want to go there. Thank you very


much. George Osborne will face MPs


in the Commons today to defend his Budget


and his handling of the economy. It's the first time a Chancellor has


closed a Budget debate since Ken Clarke was in office -


a sign perhaps of the pressure It comes after the resignation


of Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary,


who criticised the planned cuts to disability benefit


as "deeply unfair". As well as that, Mr Osborne has had


to back down in the face of other potential rebellions.


So is his Budget unravelling? Reforms to the Personal


Independence Payment, or PIP, had been due to save a total


of ?4.4 billion from the welfare budget by 2020 as part


of Mr Osborne's commitment to reducing benefits spending


by ?12 billion a year. Yesterday, the new Work


and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb said the cut had been scrapped,


adding that, "Behind every statistic there is a human being,


and perhaps sometimes in government Ministers have also confirmed


they will not oppose calls to scrap the so-called "tampon tax"


when the issue comes to a vote. VAT is currently charged at 5%


on sanitary products. A Labour amendment calls


for a zero rate of VAT. Mr Osborne will confirm that the EU


has agreed to concede on this. And finally, the Government has


backed down on the so-called solar tax in the face of Tory rebels


and Labour MPs who are trying to block a rise in VAT on solar


panels and home insulation. The current rate is 5%,


but the European Court of Justice Tory rebels want to give two fingers


to the ECJ but it could mean a legal headache for the Chancellor


in the run-up to the EU referendum. Well, we're joined now by the former


Social Security Secretary And, of course, David Laws


is a former Liberal Democrat Chief Was it a clock up, the changes to


PIP? Doesn't handle well. I had a rule at the DSS, any difficult


decision to take should never be a surprise, it should be trailed well


in advance, discussed well in advance. It meant that if you


disgusted well in advance, you heard some of the criticism beforehand and


you could modify what you are going to do, and secondly, when you did it


people were prepared for it. The British people are actually quite


rational for it, if you prepare the case, they will accept it. If you


bounce it on them, they won't. So you saying these were the right


changes? I'm sure there is a problem and we address that problem, but


even now, I don't know what the changes were they were proposing to


address. But they have now been dropped. If it was a mistake of


presentation, you agreed with the substance, then you are to some


extent at odds with the new Secretary of State in there said


very clearly, these are not going to happen, they will be no more attempt


to take money from the welfare budget. Exactly. Is that right or


wrong? It is a correct description of what he has said! I think it is


on the wise for us to ring fence every budget in government, and


especially the biggest -- I think it is unwise. I don't what many taken


away from disabled people who need it, but I want us to ensure we have


benefits that go to those most in need -- I don't want to take money


away. But listening to the debate yesterday and following Iain Duncan


Smith's resignation and the sentiment he expressed, that your


party was no longer being fair, that the cuts were falling on those


people who could least afford it, while tax cuts were being given to


be better off. Is that fair? That was a risk the Chancellor chose to


run. I was asked beforehand whether I would cut top rate of income tax


and I said that you need a very strong case for doing so, and it


would be important to do so only you could justify it in the of


everything else. And he failed to do that? Manifested. That is career as


Chancellor, had been damaged so much that he struggle to continue? I'm


sure he will continue as Chancellor. Reshuffle could come along, he could


be moved. I am asking you as a guest, representing the Tory party.


I suspect he will stay in post. Conceivably, he might be moved to


the Foreign Office but I don't think so. Has a damaged his longer-term


ambitions? It has damaged them but not destroyed them. As I said


yesterday, ending Smith has done more, if you like, to help people


who claim benefits than Labour has done over the last five years -- in


Duncan Smith. The canonisation of Iain Duncan Smith is perhaps


premature, there's lots of damage he has done, but returning to your


points about the Chancellor, I think that really this resignation letter


and the condition within it that the decisions that were taken, were


taken from political reasons and not national interest, is a devastating


accusation to make from a former leader, if I may say so, of the


Conservative Party, the current Chancellor and Prime Minister and


George Osborne, his future, if you want to stay as Chancellor


commission ruled himself out of any leadership contest because


everything he does will be interpreted through that prison, is


this purely a political decision in order to advance his own leadership


campaign, rather than something in the national interest? We have a


situation where six days after the budget, the Chancellor is having to


come in front of the House of Commons to rewrite his budget. There


is a lying there in the red, ?4.4 billion of expenditure, which can't


explain, where that is coming from -- there was a lying there in the


red book. Are they going to cut other budgets? They seem to have


ring fence the Department for Work and Pensions yesterday, what is the


explanation for what they going to do? Has the budget unravelled? It's


a total and utter mess. There I say that both George Osborne and Iain


Duncan Smith may be missing the Liberal Democrats because it was


decisions like this, the PIP cuts... You were happy to sign off to the


bedroom tax as Liberal Democrats. But I can tell you that over the


course of the last Parliament, they were a range of welfare cuts


proposed by the Treasury, vetoed by the Liberal Democrats, and I think


you Duncan Smith would probably still be in government had we still


be there to veto this. The problem with these PIP changes, I don't


think it's the detail of the PIP adjustments, it is this contrast


between a budget that cut capital gains tax was above the richest


people in the country, increased a prudent opportunity for those who


have expensive, well-paid lawyers, at the same time as imposing welfare


cuts on people with low incomes, and that has always been a blind spot


for both George Osborne and David Cameron. Is it a blind spot for


conservatives? Is compassionate conservatism dead or was it ever


alive? It's not dead, I was Secretary of State for Social


Security and took these issues extremely seriously. I got by


without any rebellions at all. But you were famous but your little list


as well! I wasn't compassionate people who were taking money that


was intended... Cheating the system. Including politicians in that list.


Read using expenses claims wrongly. I was always in favour of getting


the money, not the fraudsters but to people who really needed it. Where


would you get the money from? There is ?4.4 billion, you would just add


that to the deficit? We are barely six days after the budget and the


government can't even explain where it is getting the money from. John


McDonnell set out very clearly what our fiscal rules would be if we get


into power in four years and three months' time. But we are six days


after the at it and the government can't explain... Would you support


ring fencing yet another department, meaning more pressure on other,


unprotected departments and especially one with such a huge


budget? The ballot in this budget was wrong. Compassionate


conservatism is the difference between rhetoric and reality,


compassion is the rhetoric, conservatism is the reality. If you


look at the budget, it diverted resources away from the poorest in


society towards more affluent and it targeted the disabled and those most


vulnerable in our society, and that is the reality of the thinking, and


as Iain Duncan Smith pointed out, it was a political choice made on the


basis that, these are the people who don't work for us. Following the


resignation yesterday, his successor said behind every statistic there is


a human being and sometimes in government perhaps we forget that.


George Osborne forgot that, did he? He would have to ask Stephen Crabb


if he was directing his remarks at the Chancellor. I think politicians


as a whole can talk in big numbers and forget the individual people


behind it. It's important always the present what you're doing in the way


it's going to impact on the vulnerable, the needy, individual


family and household, not just as statistics. On the minus side, the


solution is to drop the capital gains tax changes which could weigh


something like ?3 billion... If that was cancelled by the Conservatives,


it could send out a positive message and fill that hole. In 2010, George


Osborne put up capital gains tax saying that was needed... Actually


there is an identity between the mat of money the Chancellor to find from


curbing growth of disability benefit and the increase in our conservation


to the European Union since the last budget. So we're saving money... So


was it to keep Tory MPs on-board? Anyway, we again to hear a bit of


the Chancellor in the programme. Thank you both.


Now our guest of the day David Laws has written a book


in which he spills the beans on life as a Lib Dem minister in government


David Cameron probably won't be reading it on his Easter holidays


because, among a number of rather explosive claims,


it says that Downing Street leant on the boss of NHS England


to get him to reduce the amount of funding he said the health


Well we'll be talking more about that particular claim


in a moment, but first here's Ellie with a look at his account of life


David Anthony Laws, Liberal Democrats, 18,865.


David Laws was not amongst the lucky Lib Dems who kept their seats


He'd been an MP for 14 years and a key figure in the party,


particularly in the coalition negotiations in 2010.


David was absolutely crucial to that.


He was the guy who was forensically obsessing about all of the policy


details and he fought like a tiger really for his two


and a half billion pound People Premium.


I remember the set-to between him and George Osborne across the table.


And who knows how that relationship might have developed?


He became the Chief Secretary of the Treasury but,


17 days later resigned following an expenses scandal.


The last two days have been the longest and certainly


and remained a close adviser to Nick Clegg.


Mostly by e-mail, mostly very, very quietly and covertly and most


people wouldn't have known about it, but his analysis was always really


close to Nick's thinking right through the coalition.


And anyway, a couple of years later, he was back


A department headed up by Michael Gove, a man he describes


in his book with whom it was possible to disagree


By 2013, Michael Gove tried to ban Lib Dem officials from even


going into the Department for Education and David at one stage


was trying to meet Michael Gove and he refused to meet him,


cancelled again, cancelled again, so David went to his office.


Michael hid in a toilet to avoid him.


David Laws' book appears that if the book on David Cameron's


relationship with Boris Johnson, a man whose leadership intentions


he's said to be petrified off but maybe the PM could be do worse


than take advice from his old Lib Dem colleagues.


David Laws played David Cameron in rehearsals for The Leaders Debate


in 2010 and I helped him prep for that particular role.


He was actually so good at playing David Cameron that he was better


than David Cameron was in the first debate.


David Laws also claimed that the NHS boss Simon Stephens had originally


called on the government to chip in an extra ?15 billion


That figure was revised down to a slightly more manageable


eight billion after Mr Laws says a certain amount of pressure


An insider view that's caused quite a stir now it's got out.


And we're joined now by the former Conservative health secretary,


You made that claim. How did you find out? Were you at the meeting it


was said? I was in Government talking to people who knew what was


going on and this is at the end of 2014, Simon Stephens took it on


himself, to create an argument about how much parties should put into the


NHS in the next Parliament and came up with a figure of about ?30


billion. His view was that half of that could come from efficiency


savings and the rest needed to come from the Treasury. And then he


confronted the Tories in Downing Street, who said the figure of 15


billion was not going to be delivered and he ought to come up


with a higher assumption for efficiency savings and a lower


figure of ?8 billion from the Treasury. It's a serious claim. Did


Conservatives in number ten put pressure on Simon Stephens to revise


down his figure? In the months running up to the general election,


I was not Secretary of State, Jeremy was, and David was not was in the


health department, and I do remember him saying anything about this


during the general election campaign. You don't think there's


any truth? We know what happened. In October before the election, NHS


England 's job was to set out... It set out the parameters of the extra


cash it might need and actually you can look at it, it said between


eight billion and 21 billion. It didn't mention 8 billion in the


report. The implication five-year forward view, when you look at the


range of increases in NHS budgets, implied comments supplying between


eight billion and 21 billion. I am told, Simon Stephens could've... It


was a large range, Simon Stephens asked for 8 billion because he


believed that was the largest amount the Government was willing to. So


they did make it clear, Downing Street, they wouldn't be able to


commit more than 8,000,000,007 the end he was given a de facto... I am


told Simon Stephens has had this publicly, confirmed the game in the


last few days, he asks for ?8 billion. He didn't ask for 15


billion. It's interesting what they have said since the revelations of


come out of the weekend. What they have put out is what looks like a


denial that actually is what politicians and journalists call a


non-denial denial, saying no, there's nothing here. We've made it


clear it would be between eight and ?21 billion. That figure, though,


when was that figure used? I only remember the eight billion and 30


billion over a five-year period. You can read it in a five-year forecast.


Go back and read it. It's not there. Go back and read and the proportions


under a scenario of flat real terms cash, real terms increases per


person or maintaining a proportion of GDP. When you look at the NHS


today, we know 8 billion is not going to be enough. That, to me is


clear. That 8 billion requires you to assume efficiency savings will be


three times the average the NHS has achieved in the last parliament.


Nobody serious in the NHS believes that that is deliverable. Did you


put that figure in your party 's manifesto? We firstly by the way


didn't realise until two months after and Simon Stephens published


this, what had actually gone on. When we did, we not only committed 8


billion, at least 8 billion, secondly, Norman Lamb, the health


spokesman at the time, wrote to the other two parties spokespeople,


Jeremy Hunt for the Tories, and Andy Burnham for labour, and said, we


need a completely independent review of the NHS finances for the next


Parliament to make sure it is totally independent and ask up to


it. In the end, you also underestimated or didn't know what


was going on? Once we were clear the 8 billion was essentially a fixed


figure and not a serious figure, we put in our manifesto that we thought


we needed a complete review, independent review of what the real


efficiency savings should be and that's the answer to this dispute


now. Get the Office for Budget Responsibility... No, that's not the


answer, the answer to the question is, what the Government and most of


the political parties said at the general election, is to take the NHS


England own plan and deliver it. My point about 8 billion is the


five-year review relies upon efficiency gains, high efficiency


gains even the last Parliament, we met what is called the Nicholson


challenge. It was a big couldn't do it. The idea the NHS for five years


can deliver efficiency gains of 15 billion and end with 22 billion was


always a stretch. My point is, it isn't about taking it out of the


hands of NHS England. What is important is to give NHS England the


backing of the plan. Andrew Lansley, it's worrying, isn't it? This is a


row about big figures about the NHS, and you have admitted 8 billion was


not going to be enough. It's a real terms increase but, compared to


demand, it's going to be incredibly difficult. It's also about trust and


how will the voters be able to trust NHS England or the Government if


this is the story which comes out after a general election? It's not


accurate. But you're also admitting it's not enough so there's a dispute


and nobody will know what the truth is. Get the Office for Budget


Responsibility, totally independent, to look at these efficiency


assumptions and come sensible. I'm not criticising Simon Stephens. He


will face questions from the select committee but he will shift things


from a situation all the parties were talking about, protection, to


getting ?8 billion more but the problem is he didn't get what he


really needed, which was ?15 billion and we need now to air that fact


that the 8 billion was never realistic to get the NHS funding. Do


you think that would work? If this dispute was resolved more money


would be given to the NHS? All of us are accountable and Simon Stephens


is accountable as Chief Executive to Parliament, not just to Government.


The point is, he has set out a plan and it does require funding for


social care, and the Government through the council tax increases as


given that, efficiency gains, and if they can't be realised on the scale


required, of course, the consequence cannot be that the NHS feels it can


deliver quality for patients. The answer has to be how are we going


to... So you agree those efficiency assumptions are not credible? Thank


you both for coming in. Now let's go back to events


in Brussels and talk about how the British authorities


have responded. The Home Office says this morning


it's introduced a heightened There are additional security checks


on some flights, and at key ports The Foreign Office has advised


Britons in Belgium to stay We're expecting Home Secretary


Theresa May to make a statement later, and a short while ago


we heard from the Prime Minister. I've just spoken to the Prime


Minister of Belgium to give our sympathies and condolences to the


Belgian people and we absolutely stand with them at this very


difficult time. These attacks in Belgium and they could just a tax in


Britain or in France or Germany or elsewhere in Europe and we need to


stand together against these appalling terrorists and make sure


they can never win. We that was the Prime Minister.


We're joined now by the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee


Crispin Blunt, and the chairman of the Home Affairs Committee,


Welcome to you. Your thoughts after what's happened? Obviously our heart


goes out to all the people caught up in this. The important thing is the


well rehearsed plans need to go into place and there needs to be a proper


assessment here which is being done by COBRA and in Brussels they will


be going through their emergency plans in the event of like this,


which I have been anticipating. In terms of what action should now be


taken, we have heard Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London increasing


police presence in the capital and no doubt action will be taken at


ports and at airports. How long should that go on for in your mind,


Crispin Blunt? That is a matter of the threat assessment and that's


what we have intelligence agencies for, to make assessments of what


measures are required but the key strategic thing is not to overreact.


We are in a war with so-called Islamic State and it remains


essential to deprive them of territory from which to organise


these kinds of attacks and then you have to have a domestic policy which


is then making sure it is more difficult for them to have people in


our community who are going to be capable of mounting these kinds of


attacks. We will hear from the Home Secretary later on today. She is


expected to give a statement. In your mind now, the balance between


security and liberty, particularly when legislation on the


investigatory Powers Bill is now going through Parliament, does that


need to be revisited in terms of tipping the balance further toward


security? Not in respect of what happened today. That is something


which is, of course, subject to parliamentary scrutiny, Bill going


through Parliament. That we hope to hear from the Home Secretary at our


committee, due to appear this afternoon. The key issue now is


secure in the Borders. Making sure, exactly as Crispin has said, this is


well practised. We have the best counterterrorism expert in the UK,


there are currently 2000 suspects that they are watching, they will


continue to do so and we must offer full support to the Belgian


authorities. There is Europol, which we support, which brings together


the countries of the EU, there is Interpol, the National Crime Agency


and the counterterrorism command, there is no question that we are


properly equipped in order to deal with the situation. But, as Crispin


said, we need to be vigilant. The public have a role to play in this,


they need to feed information, any information they can, but we must


never give in to the fear that the terrorists wish to make sure that we


suffer from. They want to make sure we are fearful of going about our


normal business. So we need to make sure we deal with that. How


important our community relations yet again in this country, because,


when we look at what happened in Belgium with


when we look at what happened in home-grown terrorist, as a number of


them were in the previous Paris attacks, and they have been


criticised for not dealing with the problem areas, Molenbeek, what is


the state of community relations here in trying to deal with our own


potential home-grown terrorists? We live in the most multicultural


country in the world. We have a Prime Minister who is very keen to


make sure that he supports and promotes multiculturalism. Molenbeek


I don't think that happen in our country because it would never have


reached the stage where the Belgian authorities are now stepping back


and staying this is the scent of jihadists, we should have done


something similar. I think we are having excellent committee relations


and the committee is looking at counterterrorism... It's been


criticised. Certainly, people have been critical but we will bring our


report out in a measured way, not in response to what happened in


Brussels. But by listening to communities and taking proper


evidence and then will make recommendations.


The Labour Party and SNP abstained on the second reading of the bill,


Andy Burnham says it there were key aspect he was unhappy with. The


Liberal Democrats called the Labour Party doubtless. What I would say is


the challenge is to get things right. We have to be willing to make


sure the security services have the powers to investigate communications


as they are in today's world, not yesterday's, and target people who


are serious risks of committing terrorist activity, but we're also


trying to protect freedoms we enjoy, without ending up is a police state


where law-abiding citizens... Do you think this bill is doing that? I


think when we were in coalition with the Conservatives, there were big


tensions over this issue. We took the security concerns very seriously


but we were concerned sometimes that the Conservatives were trying to


overreach themselves and the powers that they gave... It's not just


about legislation, it's about bringing communities with you. If


you put communities and the leadership of the Prevent agenda and


not make them suspicious, you have a better chance of finding out where


people are hiding and what they are doing. For someone to stay three


months in Belgium, four months, and not be found, that's something the


Belgian police need to look at. We need to make sure we engage with


those communities. Are the elements in government that actually want to


restrict liberty is too far, to take this issue too far, and will use


incidents like this do so? There is a tension on this between those who


were required to deliver security and the overall objective of making


sure we are delivering our security, to preserve our liberties. So this


measure is going through Parliament, it will get proper examination in


that light, and the same debates would have taken place within


government in bringing the proposals forward. Those are the tensions you


have in a free society, and it is essential in fighting this threat


that in our society, we do not drive people away from cooperating with us


by appearing to be on the wrong side of the fence. In the end they will


be whole communities who would be the best ally of the security


services, of containing and addressing this threat. Thank you.


Now this week sees the start of official campaigning ahead


Yesterday we told you about the local elections happening around


England, but today here's our guide to the national elections taking


Voters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland go to the polls


on Thursday 5th May to elect representatives


The Scottish Labour party have 38, Scottish Conservatives 15


Liberal Democrats 5, Greens 2 and there are 3


In Wales, Labour are the largest party in the Welsh Assembly holding


Her party - the Democrat Unionists, are currently the largest party


in the coalition government - and they hold 38 Assembly seats.


Joining me now from Edinburgh is our correspondent


So the SNP look like they can't be touched in these elections? That is


what the polls suggest at the moment, the SNP are going for an


historic third term here but this is going to be an interesting election.


Quite different from the ones we have had before, because of the new


powers the Scottish Parliament now has, it's all going to be about tax


and yesterday Nicola Sturgeon laid out what she's going to do with


those new powers, and some interesting news, higher rate


taxpayers, on 40p rate, if you are earning more than ?43,000, in


Scotland you will be paying ?323 more because Nicola Sturgeon is not


passing on the Chancellor's raising of the threshold up to 45,000, they


will not go up to rate either, that has been ditched, the basic rate of


income tax will be frozen as well. So this election is all about tax,


Labour have been saying these proposals, the SNP have bottled it,


the Lib Dems have said they are timid because those parties are


pressing to raise taxes, an extra penny in the tax, mostly going to


education. Do you think this will filter down in enough time to the


electorate? This election really has... Scottish politics has changed


so much since that date in September 20 14. Everyone coalesces now around


the issue of independence, whether you are pro union or pro


independence. People will not really be voting for these proposals but


how they want to see Scotland in the future, whether that's part of the


UK or whether that's an independent Scotland. So these proposals what


filter down to people but the debate here has changed, it's all still


about the independence word. And BBC Wales' political


correspondent Daniel Davies is with us from the Welsh


Assembly in Cardiff. Do you expect any surprises in the


results of these elections in Wales? As it happens, we had a new batch of


polling data and some see the predictions published this morning,


showing that Labour's position as the biggest party here looks assured


the time being at least, the other parties have just over six weeks to


try and change that. But this new golf poll showed that Labour are


likely to remain the biggest party. However their support has slid


noticeably in Wales, down 14 points on a similar poll in March 2011,


just before the last election stop so they would lose some seeds,


pulling away from the threshold of 31, which is what they need to form


an outright majority here. The Tories and applied country are


locked in a battle for second place. Attention turning to what will


happen after polling day, will there be a coalition to oust Labour from


office? At the moment it's difficult to see circumstances in which that


will happen, unlike in Scotland, there is no one big opposition party


threatening to displace Labour, the opposition is split ideological, so


Labour are looking at a position where they can hold onto power, to


take the next election but one, an unbroken period of 21 of a Labour


First Minister. Downing Street has just confirmed


that one British National is known to have been injured in the bomb


attack in the airport on Brussels. Our foreign affairs analyst has


joined us. We were talking earlier and discussing the response here, as


you said, it will have an impact on the investigatory Powers Bill and


could even influence the EU referendum. But the politicians it


will all be about security and tightening that, do you think now


they will feel in a position that they can extend security further


than perhaps would have been palatable a few months ago? No,


because it didn't happen here. If it did, they would. The investigatory


Powers Bill is pretty tight as it is, they pushed it quite underway


already and I did not detect in the discussion you had with various MPs,


any real need to push it much further. I think it's going to go


through, the civil Liberties people think it has already gone too far,


so I think it's good to go through anyway and this particular event


isn't good change that. What about the terrorism cells we were talking


about at the beginning? Clearly the capability is very much there, how


do you deal with that? Is this the way we're going to have to live


lives for the future? This is the way, we have been and we will be for


many years to come, when David Cameron said it was a generational


struggle, that's what he meant, I think Tony Blair said it. How to


deal with it, I think it is twofold. The UK police at the moment are


appealing to any Brits that were caught up in either of the


explosions, can they please send us footage. They are doing that for two


reasons, they will go through all the footage, see if they see


anything adjusting send it to their Belgian counterparts, and see if


there is anyone they recognise in that. I mention that because the way


to combat it is through unity, and Corporation. The Belgians are behind


the game, they need to get ahead of the game. I always come back to


this, like a broken record... Unless you defeat the ideology, you will


simply get the next Isis. Do you agree that however much security


there is, however good the surveillance, in all these


countries, you will never be able to stop it unless you can deal with the


ideology? Yes, you have to go to the root of this, the ideology, and not


react just to individual instances, whether in the UK or abroad, but


understand that this risk is going to be therefore many years and


maintain as high a level of security as possible, rather than reacting to


events when it's too late. What about the weaponry? I understand it


was a sort rifles used in the Paris attacks, and they will put online?


-- assault rifles. The Czech Republic has an awful lot of spare


Kalashnikovs, AK-47s, you can get them for ?200. Surely that is being


dealt with? The dark web, the intelligence of this is trying to


get into that... On my phone, I have an app and I can talk to somebody


else on it and it scrambles it and as far as I know, this app I have,


the intelligence services cannot as far as I know, this app I have,


break it yet. You could make not meant about Civil Liberties, but the


fact is they can't. -- you could make an argument. Also, this is why


the border issue will come back into the equation, these people have been


travelling around the Schengen zone... Isn't that the end of the


Schengen zone for the foreseeable future, not just because of the


attacks but also migrant crisis, it is lent itself to the fear too many


people travelling around a big area? Quite clinical when you don't have


the benefit we do of the English Channel, it is much more difficult


to control, one of the things we have done is to restore entry and


exit checks, which will make it easier to monitor people. These are


some of the dreadful pictures, look at the damage and devastation at the


airport stop there were two explosions, a smaller expression and


then tragically, people ran into the direction of the larger explosion --


a smaller explosion. We will need eg with these scenes today, I'm afraid,


the mayhem in Brussels. That's all for today.


Thanks to our guests. The One O'Clock News is starting


over on BBC One now.


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