22/03/2016 Daily Politics


22/03/2016

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


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LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.

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The Belgian capital Brussels is under lockdown following a series

:00:39.:00:41.

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

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At least 28 are believed to have been killed,

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

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fugitive from the Paris terror attacks was seized in Belgium.

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The Belgian prime minister has called it a black day

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In London, ministers are holding an emergency meeting while security

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has been stepped up at British airports.

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

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

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

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

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

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damaged is the Chancellor and the government?

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And before the election the parties promised ?8 billion

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

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

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Liberal Democrat MP and former coalition minister David Laws.

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Welcome to the programme. Good to be with you.

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

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of coordinated terror attacks this morning.

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

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and the border with France has been closed.

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In a press conference the Belgian Prime Minister has said,

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

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

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But Belgian officials say at least 28 are dead.

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The government there has raised its terror alert

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The explosions come four days after Salah Abdeslam,

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

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Eurostar has cancelled all services between London and Brussels.

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Flights between the UK and Brussels are disrupted.

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

:03:00.:03:02.

meeting later today to determine Britain's response.

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

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

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Brussels airport and the metro system.

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Two blasts tore through the departures area of Zaventem

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

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A media report said that left at least 13 dead.

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An hour later, an explosion hit Maelbeek metro station,

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Transport officials said 15 died at the station.

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The airport and whole transport system have been closed.

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Well we can speak now to our correspondent Gavin Lee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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eyewitnesses who have been making their way through this business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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basically the baggage rapper who said he was personally involved and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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much. Brussels has been on a state of high

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alert since the terror It emerged that many of those

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

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

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

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

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evaded the authorities and went Salah Abdeslam was finally captured

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

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Minister, Didier Reynders, said that Abdeslam was preparing

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further attacks before he was arrested, declaring

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

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Affairs Analyst Tim Marshall. And Chris Lipscomb ahead of the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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against European unity. This symbolic stuff matters. Tonight the

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

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

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

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Belgium but the hallmarks of an attack like this targeting the

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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sector is consistently being targeted. What we have here is

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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explosions were in the departure lounge, which indicates a complete

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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security services are done in ensuring these types of incidents

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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police presence is going to be increased unsurprisingly in London.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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intelligence that there is an immediate threat but as a precaution

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

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presence of police at major airports. The casualties is an

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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much. George Osborne will face MPs

:17:29.:17:30.

in the Commons today to defend his Budget

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

:17:33.:17:35.

closed a Budget debate since Ken Clarke was in office -

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a sign perhaps of the pressure It comes after the resignation

:17:38.:17:40.

of Iain Duncan Smith as Work and Pensions Secretary,

:17:41.:17:46.

who criticised the planned cuts to disability benefit

:17:47.:17:48.

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

:17:49.:17:53.

to back down in the face of other potential rebellions.

:17:54.:17:56.

So is his Budget unravelling? Reforms to the Personal

:17:57.:18:00.

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

:18:01.:18:03.

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

:18:04.:18:07.

of Mr Osborne's commitment to reducing benefits spending

:18:08.:18:13.

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

:18:14.:18:19.

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

:18:20.:18:21.

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

:18:22.:18:26.

and perhaps sometimes in government Ministers have also confirmed

:18:27.:18:29.

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

:18:30.:18:37.

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

:18:38.:18:40.

on sanitary products. A Labour amendment calls

:18:41.:18:42.

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

:18:43.:18:51.

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

:18:52.:18:56.

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

:18:57.:18:58.

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

:18:59.:19:03.

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

:19:04.:19:10.

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

:19:11.:19:12.

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

:19:13.:19:21.

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

:19:22.:19:25.

Social Security Secretary And, of course, David Laws

:19:26.:19:27.

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

:19:28.:19:53.

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

:19:54.:19:57.

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

:19:58.:20:01.

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

:20:02.:20:05.

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

:20:06.:20:09.

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

:20:10.:20:15.

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

:20:16.:20:19.

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

:20:20.:20:23.

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

:20:24.:20:29.

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

:20:30.:20:34.

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

:20:35.:20:37.

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

:20:38.:20:43.

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

:20:44.:20:47.

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

:20:48.:20:50.

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

:20:51.:20:53.

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

:20:54.:21:02.

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

:21:03.:21:07.

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

:21:08.:21:12.

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

:21:13.:21:16.

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

:21:17.:21:23.

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

:21:24.:21:30.

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

:21:31.:21:35.

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

:21:36.:21:39.

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

:21:40.:21:44.

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

:21:45.:21:50.

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

:21:51.:21:53.

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

:21:54.:21:59.

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

:22:00.:22:04.

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

:22:05.:22:08.

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

:22:09.:22:17.

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

:22:18.:22:25.

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

:22:26.:22:31.

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

:22:32.:22:37.

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

:22:38.:22:40.

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

:22:41.:22:46.

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

:22:47.:22:52.

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

:22:53.:22:56.

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

:22:57.:23:03.

Duncan Smith. The canonisation of Iain Duncan Smith is perhaps

:23:04.:23:06.

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

:23:07.:23:13.

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

:23:14.:23:16.

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

:23:17.:23:22.

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

:23:23.:23:26.

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

:23:27.:23:30.

Conservative Party, the current Chancellor and Prime Minister and

:23:31.:23:36.

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

:23:37.:23:40.

commission ruled himself out of any leadership contest because

:23:41.:23:42.

everything he does will be interpreted through that prison, is

:23:43.:23:46.

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

:23:47.:23:52.

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

:23:53.:23:56.

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

:23:57.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:06.

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

:24:07.:24:11.

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

:24:12.:24:17.

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

:24:18.:24:21.

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

:24:22.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:32.

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

:24:33.:24:37.

Duncan Smith may be missing the Liberal Democrats because it was

:24:38.:24:43.

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

:24:44.:24:50.

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

:24:51.:24:53.

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

:24:54.:24:58.

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

:24:59.:25:00.

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

:25:01.:25:04.

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

:25:05.:25:15.

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

:25:16.:25:16.

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

:25:17.:25:21.

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

:25:22.:25:25.

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

:25:26.:25:31.

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

:25:32.:25:34.

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

:25:35.:25:40.

conservatives? Is compassionate conservatism dead or was it ever

:25:41.:25:46.

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

:25:47.:25:49.

Security and took these issues extremely seriously. I got by

:25:50.:25:57.

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

:25:58.:26:04.

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

:26:05.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:16.

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

:26:17.:26:20.

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

:26:21.:26:26.

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

:26:27.:26:31.

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

:26:32.:26:35.

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

:26:36.:26:40.

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

:26:41.:26:43.

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

:26:44.:26:51.

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

:26:52.:26:56.

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

:26:57.:27:01.

unprotected departments and especially one with such a huge

:27:02.:27:06.

budget? The ballot in this budget was wrong. Compassionate

:27:07.:27:09.

conservatism is the difference between rhetoric and reality,

:27:10.:27:15.

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

:27:16.:27:18.

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

:27:19.:27:24.

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

:27:25.:27:27.

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

:27:28.:27:32.

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

:27:33.:27:36.

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

:27:37.:27:42.

resignation yesterday, his successor said behind every statistic there is

:27:43.:27:46.

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

:27:47.:27:52.

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

:27:53.:27:58.

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

:27:59.:28:02.

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

:28:03.:28:06.

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

:28:07.:28:11.

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

:28:12.:28:16.

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

:28:17.:28:24.

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

:28:25.:28:29.

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

:28:30.:28:33.

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

:28:34.:28:38.

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

:28:39.:28:45.

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

:28:46.:28:50.

curbing growth of disability benefit and the increase in our conservation

:28:51.:28:54.

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

:28:55.:29:00.

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

:29:01.:29:03.

the Chancellor in the programme. Thank you both.

:29:04.:29:08.

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

:29:09.:29:11.

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

:29:12.:29:14.

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

:29:15.:29:18.

because, among a number of rather explosive claims,

:29:19.:29:20.

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

:29:21.:29:23.

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

:29:24.:29:26.

Well we'll be talking more about that particular claim

:29:27.:29:29.

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

:29:30.:29:32.

David Anthony Laws, Liberal Democrats, 18,865.

:29:33.:29:38.

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

:29:39.:29:42.

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

:29:43.:29:47.

particularly in the coalition negotiations in 2010.

:29:48.:29:52.

David was absolutely crucial to that.

:29:53.:29:53.

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

:29:54.:29:57.

details and he fought like a tiger really for his two

:29:58.:30:01.

and a half billion pound People Premium.

:30:02.:30:03.

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

:30:04.:30:07.

And who knows how that relationship might have developed?

:30:08.:30:12.

He became the Chief Secretary of the Treasury but,

:30:13.:30:14.

17 days later resigned following an expenses scandal.

:30:15.:30:19.

The last two days have been the longest and certainly

:30:20.:30:22.

and remained a close adviser to Nick Clegg.

:30:23.:30:29.

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

:30:30.:30:33.

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

:30:34.:30:37.

close to Nick's thinking right through the coalition.

:30:38.:30:41.

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

:30:42.:30:43.

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

:30:44.:30:47.

in his book with whom it was possible to disagree

:30:48.:30:51.

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

:30:52.:30:58.

going into the Department for Education and David at one stage

:30:59.:31:03.

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

:31:04.:31:07.

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

:31:08.:31:11.

Michael hid in a toilet to avoid him.

:31:12.:31:14.

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

:31:15.:31:18.

relationship with Boris Johnson, a man whose leadership intentions

:31:19.:31:20.

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

:31:21.:31:24.

than take advice from his old Lib Dem colleagues.

:31:25.:31:28.

David Laws played David Cameron in rehearsals for The Leaders Debate

:31:29.:31:31.

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

:31:32.:31:37.

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

:31:38.:31:41.

than David Cameron was in the first debate.

:31:42.:31:43.

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

:31:44.:31:49.

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

:31:50.:31:52.

That figure was revised down to a slightly more manageable

:31:53.:31:58.

eight billion after Mr Laws says a certain amount of pressure

:31:59.:32:02.

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

:32:03.:32:09.

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

:32:10.:32:14.

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

:32:15.:32:26.

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

:32:27.:32:30.

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

:32:31.:32:33.

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

:32:34.:32:37.

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

:32:38.:32:42.

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

:32:43.:32:46.

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

:32:47.:32:50.

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

:32:51.:32:54.

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

:32:55.:32:58.

with a higher assumption for efficiency savings and a lower

:32:59.:33:02.

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

:33:03.:33:07.

Conservatives in number ten put pressure on Simon Stephens to revise

:33:08.:33:11.

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

:33:12.:33:16.

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

:33:17.:33:19.

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

:33:20.:33:22.

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

:33:23.:33:27.

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

:33:28.:33:34.

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

:33:35.:33:37.

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

:33:38.:33:43.

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

:33:44.:33:48.

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

:33:49.:33:52.

range of increases in NHS budgets, implied comments supplying between

:33:53.:33:58.

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

:33:59.:34:04.

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

:34:05.:34:06.

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

:34:07.:34:11.

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

:34:12.:34:14.

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

:34:15.:34:21.

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

:34:22.:34:26.

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

:34:27.:34:30.

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

:34:31.:34:34.

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

:34:35.:34:38.

denial that actually is what politicians and journalists call a

:34:39.:34:41.

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

:34:42.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:56.

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

:34:57.:35:00.

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

:35:01.:35:08.

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

:35:09.:35:12.

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

:35:13.:35:18.

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

:35:19.:35:25.

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

:35:26.:35:36.

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

:35:37.:35:45.

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

:35:46.:35:50.

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

:35:51.:35:54.

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

:35:55.:36:01.

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

:36:02.:36:04.

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

:36:05.:36:09.

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

:36:10.:36:15.

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

:36:16.:36:21.

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

:36:22.:36:24.

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

:36:25.:36:29.

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

:36:30.:36:34.

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

:36:35.:36:39.

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

:36:40.:36:44.

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

:36:45.:36:49.

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

:36:50.:36:52.

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

:36:53.:36:58.

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

:36:59.:37:00.

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

:37:01.:37:04.

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

:37:05.:37:09.

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

:37:10.:37:14.

five-year review relies upon efficiency gains, high efficiency

:37:15.:37:22.

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

:37:23.:37:26.

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

:37:27.:37:31.

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

:37:32.:37:37.

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

:37:38.:37:41.

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

:37:42.:37:47.

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

:37:48.:37:51.

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

:37:52.:37:59.

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

:38:00.:38:04.

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

:38:05.:38:08.

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

:38:09.:38:12.

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

:38:13.:38:19.

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

:38:20.:38:22.

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

:38:23.:38:28.

Responsibility, totally independent, to look at these efficiency

:38:29.:38:35.

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

:38:36.:38:39.

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

:38:40.:38:44.

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

:38:45.:38:48.

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

:38:49.:38:53.

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

:38:54.:38:57.

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

:38:58.:39:03.

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

:39:04.:39:07.

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

:39:08.:39:12.

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

:39:13.:39:16.

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

:39:17.:39:21.

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

:39:22.:39:27.

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

:39:28.:39:32.

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

:39:33.:39:37.

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

:39:38.:39:41.

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

:39:42.:39:44.

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

:39:45.:39:47.

in Brussels and talk about how the British authorities

:39:48.:39:50.

have responded. The Home Office says this morning

:39:51.:39:51.

it's introduced a heightened There are additional security checks

:39:52.:39:53.

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

:39:54.:39:58.

Britons in Belgium to stay We're expecting Home Secretary

:39:59.:40:07.

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

:40:08.:40:14.

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

:40:15.:40:29.

Minister of Belgium to give our sympathies and condolences to the

:40:30.:40:32.

Belgian people and we absolutely stand with them at this very

:40:33.:40:36.

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

:40:37.:40:41.

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

:40:42.:40:45.

stand together against these appalling terrorists and make sure

:40:46.:40:52.

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

:40:53.:40:53.

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

:40:54.:40:56.

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

:40:57.:40:58.

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

:40:59.:41:04.

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

:41:05.:41:10.

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

:41:11.:41:13.

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

:41:14.:41:19.

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

:41:20.:41:26.

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

:41:27.:41:30.

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

:41:31.:41:34.

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

:41:35.:41:39.

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

:41:40.:41:46.

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

:41:47.:41:48.

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

:41:49.:41:53.

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

:41:54.:41:57.

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

:41:58.:42:03.

essential to deprive them of territory from which to organise

:42:04.:42:06.

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

:42:07.:42:11.

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

:42:12.:42:17.

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

:42:18.:42:21.

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

:42:22.:42:26.

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

:42:27.:42:32.

security and liberty, particularly when legislation on the

:42:33.:42:35.

investigatory Powers Bill is now going through Parliament, does that

:42:36.:42:39.

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

:42:40.:42:44.

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

:42:45.:42:49.

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

:42:50.:42:52.

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

:42:53.:42:56.

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

:42:57.:43:04.

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

:43:05.:43:09.

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

:43:10.:43:14.

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

:43:15.:43:19.

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

:43:20.:43:27.

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

:43:28.:43:33.

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

:43:34.:43:35.

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

:43:36.:43:41.

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

:43:42.:43:45.

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

:43:46.:43:50.

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

:43:51.:43:53.

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

:43:54.:43:59.

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

:44:00.:44:05.

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

:44:06.:44:08.

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

:44:09.:44:14.

when we look at what happened in Belgium with

:44:15.:44:17.

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

:44:18.:44:20.

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

:44:21.:44:22.

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

:44:23.:44:28.

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

:44:29.:44:33.

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

:44:34.:44:37.

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

:44:38.:44:41.

make sure that he supports and promotes multiculturalism. Molenbeek

:44:42.:44:46.

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

:44:47.:44:50.

reached the stage where the Belgian authorities are now stepping back

:44:51.:44:54.

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

:44:55.:44:59.

something similar. I think we are having excellent committee relations

:45:00.:45:03.

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

:45:04.:45:08.

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

:45:09.:45:12.

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

:45:13.:45:16.

Brussels. But by listening to communities and taking proper

:45:17.:45:18.

evidence and then will make recommendations.

:45:19.:45:23.

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

:45:24.:45:31.

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

:45:32.:45:34.

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

:45:35.:45:41.

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

:45:42.:45:46.

sure the security services have the powers to investigate communications

:45:47.:45:54.

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

:45:55.:46:00.

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

:46:01.:46:03.

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

:46:04.:46:10.

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

:46:11.:46:15.

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

:46:16.:46:21.

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

:46:22.:46:25.

but we were concerned sometimes that the Conservatives were trying to

:46:26.:46:27.

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

:46:28.:46:33.

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

:46:34.:46:37.

you put communities and the leadership of the Prevent agenda and

:46:38.:46:43.

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

:46:44.:46:46.

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

:46:47.:46:52.

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

:46:53.:46:57.

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

:46:58.:47:01.

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

:47:02.:47:04.

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

:47:05.:47:11.

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

:47:12.:47:15.

were required to deliver security and the overall objective of making

:47:16.:47:20.

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

:47:21.:47:25.

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

:47:26.:47:29.

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

:47:30.:47:32.

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

:47:33.:47:37.

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

:47:38.:47:42.

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

:47:43.:47:46.

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

:47:47.:47:53.

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

:47:54.:47:56.

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

:47:57.:48:06.

Now this week sees the start of official campaigning ahead

:48:07.:48:09.

Yesterday we told you about the local elections happening around

:48:10.:48:12.

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

:48:13.:48:15.

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

:48:16.:48:19.

on Thursday 5th May to elect representatives

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The Scottish Labour party have 38, Scottish Conservatives 15

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Liberal Democrats 5, Greens 2 and there are 3

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

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

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

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Joining me now from Edinburgh is our correspondent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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those new powers, and some interesting news, higher rate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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about the independence word. And BBC Wales' political

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correspondent Daniel Davies is with us from the Welsh

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Assembly in Cardiff. Do you expect any surprises in the

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

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polling data and some see the predictions published this morning,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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an outright majority here. The Tories and applied country are

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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First Minister. Downing Street has just confirmed

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

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

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

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

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could even influence the EU referendum. But the politicians it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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there is, however good the surveillance, in all these

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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airport stop there were two explosions, a smaller expression and

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

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

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

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

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over on BBC One now.

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