14/04/2016 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Jeremy Corbyn's made his first major intervention in the EU referendum


campaign with the socialist case for staying in.


The Labour leader still isn't the European Union's biggest fan,


but he says his party overwhelmingly backs membership


So will his intervention give a boost to the campaign to remain?


The government's plans for expanding academy schools have run


We'll ask one former Education Secretary if ministers


Is being Chancellor the trickiest job in Whitehall?


We've got the latest in our series looking at how to do


And Ellie's been to meet the latest addition to the diplomatic corps -


but like many experienced politicians, he's already


Palmerston, what are your thoughts on Britain leaving the EU?


All that in the next hour and with us for the whole


of the programme today is the veteran documentary


He's profiled leading political figures from Edward Heath onwards,


and if it's worth talking about in Westminster or Whitehall,


First today, let's talk about Jeremy Corbyn,


who this morning has been making the case for staying


It's been a while coming and it wasn't exactly a passionate


love-letter to the EU, with a series of caveats


about the need for socialist reforms, but he argued


that it was better to stay in and fight for change.


Of course he voted against membership of the common market


at the referendum in 1975, but we're told he's


So will it give the In campaign a much-needed shot in the arm? This


was Mr Corbyn speaking earlier. The move to hold this referendum


more been more about managing divisions in the Conservative Party


but it's now a crucial democratic opportunity for people


to have their say on our country's future and the future


of our continent as a whole. As Alan explained,


the Labour Party's overwhelmingly for staying in because we believe


the European Union has brought investment, jobs, and protection


for workers, consumers and the environment and offers


the best chance of meeting the challenges we face


in the 21st-century. Labour is convinced that a vote


to remain in is in the best Jeremy Corbyn there. Michael


Cockerell you covered the 1975 referendum and many senior Labour


politicians voted against membership of the EEC as it was then. Jeremy


Corbyn has said he has been on a journey, are you convinced by his


conversion? It has been a rapid conversion, he was talking about the


EU as brutal last September, to do with Greece. Many of the people have


made the journey the opposite way from 1975, people like Norman


Tebbit, who were in favour of us staying in, becoming a great


sceptic. He is doing an unusual journey. Clearly it was something I


think when he became leader he thought that this was a battle he


could not win. The whole of the Labour Party voted unanimously... He


is doing it through gritted teeth? I am not sure there is absolute


passion and conviction in this conversion but you do what you have


to as a leader. I thought he made rather a good speech in the


wonderful art deco building of Senate house, the headquarters of


London University, and he made a speech with a number of clever jabs


at David Cameron. It is ironic that number ten had been putting great


store by this speech, hoping because of how the polls had tightened, that


Jeremy Corbyn could help it swing their way so there are just as many


people who are politically fluid into what they want and whose side


they are on. We will talk more about how vital his role may


Well, let's see now if Mr Corbyn has convinced one Labour Eurosceptic,


the MP Graham Stringer, who's campaigning to leave the EU.


Welcome to the show, are you disappointed with Jeremy Corbyn?


Disappointed but not surprised. I have talked to him and it was clear


he has decided as leader of the Labour Party to go in for party


management and management of his relationships with the trade unions


rather than his core beliefs. Every time I voted against these issues,


he has been in the same lobby as I have been and I have no reason to


believe he has changed his core beliefs. You don't think he has


changed his mind coming is doing this through gritted teeth as I


said? I think it is about 40 management, he can fight on only so


many grounds. He is obviously in a minority in the parliamentary Labour


Party, the majority of the trade unions take this view and I think he


thinks it's not worth the fight but it's dangerous and a mistake, what


he's doing. I don't think Labour voters, when you look at them and


those who left us at the last two elections, many of them are


Eurosceptic and I don't think they appreciate an argument that in


effect support the Conservative Prime Minister and Chancellor who


are one of the main causes of austerity and cuts in this country.


If you feel he would be happier in your camp, could you have done more


to persuade him to be true, as you believe, to his own beliefs? I think


a situation he was in, he made that decision under pressure from the


Shadow Cabinet and the trade union leadership just after he was


elected. When he had made that decision, he was going to stick with


it. I'm sad about it and I think it is a mistake for the Labour Party,


which has a history of getting the European Union wrong. I tried to


persuade Ed Miliband, if we had gone for a referendum at the last


election, we would not have a majority Conservative government. We


undoubtedly lost 12 or 14 seats because Labour voters who wanted a


referendum voted Conservative or Ukip. Number ten are counting on


Jeremy Corbyn, ironically from their perspective, to help them win this


referendum because arguably trust in David Cameron has been damaged to


some extent recently. Do you think he will be a forceful weapon for the


remain side? I certainly hope not. I think the media know and most Labour


voters know that his heart is not in this campaign. The argument he is


using a quite poor about trying to form an anti-austerity allowance in


Europe when the euro is one of the main causes of deflation and


austerity across the continent which is causing huge unemployment. As he


has said, brutality against the workers in Greece. That has a


knock-on effect in this country. I think he will not persuade Labour


voters to vote the support a Conservative Prime Minister and


Chancellor of the Exchequer who are wreaking havoc on our communities.


It is dangerous for the Labour Party to take this position. Thank you


very much. Well, we're joined now


by Chris Bryant, he's a former Europe minister and current member


of Jeremy Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet. Jeremy Corbyn's heart is not in this


campaign, as Graham Stringer said, he will not be able to persuade


Labour voters to vote for remain or come out at all. I couldn't hear


much of what Graham was saying but I guessed what he was going to say


anyway. Most of the Brexit campaigners have been desperate to


be disappointed by anything that comes along. If you look at Jeremy


Corbyn from 1975 until the leadership campaign, his track


record has been sceptical of the EU and not a fan. The point I was going


to make was that... The Labour Party movement has been phenomenally


united on this issue apart from a couple of small trade unions, they


nearly all have had vote and decided to stay in. Unison with the latest


this week, people thought they might have gone the other way. Party


policy has been united on this and for me, I have all been passionate


pro-European, I come to that with the particular animus and I think


Wales in particular, in my constituency, we would be stuff if


we were to lose. I think it is important that Jeremy and other


sceptics, historic and genuine sceptics, have been on a journey and


changed their mind. I honestly think that people who come on TV and says


Jeremy doesn't believe a word of this, I don't think that's Jeremy.


He doesn't say things he doesn't believe, that is the reason he won


the leadership of the Labour Party. If you look at what he has said


until very recently, it does not sound authentic and it does not


sound like this conversion is heartfelt. He voted against the


Lisbon Treaty in two dozen eight, during the leadership campaign he


refused to rule out campaign to leave the EU -- 2008. He talked


about Greece as we heard from Michael Cockerell but what I'm


saying is the journey... I understand, you think he's lying. I


think it is unusual for the BBC to do that but I think we should


take... We are using the facts of what he has said. Am I allowed to


say anything? You accuse me of saying I don't believe him but some


of your colleagues don't so how will it persuade Labour voters if some of


your own party don't question we have been on the doorstep a great


deal. In my constituency we have assembly elections for the Welsh


assembly and a lot of Labour voters say, what do you think about the


referendum, because they are genuinely uncertain. I think for


some of them, be strong, passionate argument I would want to make about


how we can tackle the big issues like climate change, international


terrorism and crime and so want without being part of the EU, those


carry weight with them but for some others it is Jeremy's version which


is different. It is a different argument from mine but in the end it


comes down to a simple thing which is on the Labour Party membership


card, that we achieved far more by a common endeavour than by going it


alone. Has he left it too late? If he is going to be so persuasive, it


is late in the day, we only have ten more weeks. We have ten more weeks!


To be honest, we are very focused on the assembly election in my


constituency so much as I would like to talk about Europe every day until


the 23rd of June because I feel very passionately about it, I think it is


important you have all those different wings of the Labour Party


barbed a tiny marginal element, arguing in favour of remaining in --


apart from a tiny element. I don't like David Cameron, I would like to


get rid of him as pie ministers tomorrow or last year but... --


Prime Minister. I'm not sharing a platform or not it would come and


making a different argument. When we came to power in 1997, one of the


things felt strongly here was that we wanted to sign up to the social


chapter. It doesn't quite exist in the same way now but it guaranteed


workers rights, it enhanced LGBT writes, a whole series of things,


and we did that in 1997 and the Tories have been trying to step


aside from that and that is one of the reasons we want to stay in. How


enthusiastic did you think Jeremy Corbyn sounded in that speech? Did


you think it was full throttled enthusiasm and warmth? You have me


on that because I was speaking in the House of Commons throughout the


speech so I have not heard or even read the speech. I have books to


Jeremy about this issue and I know he believes that Britain will


achieve best and Labour constituencies will do best and the


people that Labour wants to represent with the best if we remain


in the European Union. In terms of the polls, which are very tight, and


we know they can be wrong, you say there are ten weeks to go, if Jeremy


Corbyn is going to save the day come do you expect to see him out between


now and the 23rd of June, even ahead of assembly elections, campaigning


vigorously for remain? He will be campaigning for In. When will we


hear from him again? You clearly have a mindset on this, you clearly


have a mindset. Why don't you just take him at his word? He has said he


wants us to stay in, the whole of the Labour movement apart from a


tiny proportion want us to stay in the European Union and we do so on


Labour arguments, not Tory arguments. If you take a single


issue on climate change. How can you possibly try to pretend this country


is a hermetically sealed unit? How can you do it on international


crime? The people campaigning to leave don't like the European Arrest


Warrant... You're making the argument for staying in. So is


Jeremy. I'm asking if you have full faith and trust? Yes, I have full


faith and trust. Until recently he was hugely sceptical. I have not


seen the whole speech, I talked to him before he made it, yesterday and


the day before, he has described a journey he has been on and there are


people in this country who are passionate like me and have -- have


always been convinced but there are 19 to 25% of the population who are


still wondering which way to go and I think Jeremy's voice will carry a


great deal of weight with a significant proportion of those.


Do you think Jeremy Corbyn will get the Labour vote out? Because now


there are reports saying that will be the critical factor and could


affect the result. It could well be the article factor but there's also


another factor from his speech. Because he said were the reasons has


changed his mind is because he now sees a reformed EU, if they can do


it in the way he wants, as furthering the cause of socialism,


so if you voted to stay in, you will further the cause of socialism and


further Jeremy Corbyn's career, so it could actually be


counter-productive. You get Labour votes but you switch off Tories and


people who are inclined to vote for Ukip. That's always a difficulty in


a referendum with people from different prodigal parties were


different mindsets, coming with different arguments, but all I would


say is, even the big prodigal parties, we know they are a


coalition, the Tory parties, the first past the post system, but the


truth is, a series of different parts if you like that are leading


to the same conclusion and that's why I think Jeremy's speech today


are so important because he's not, like me, I couldn't make my speech


but we are saying the same thing and saying it to Labour voters. One


thing about Jeremy and the speech. Not his body language but his


clothes, he was clearly making a speech to the Labour Party because


he was wearing his old light coloured cream jacket. You have just


been elevated to our sartorial correspondence. Who are you speaking


to today? I'm wearing a dark suit. Seeing as you accuse me of having a


fixed mindset before this interview started, very unfairly, she said,


why have anti-EU articles been deleted from Jeremy Corbyn's


website? I have no idea. It's disappeared from this website. I


have absolutely no idea and you know perfectly well I have no idea. I


can't even challenge you on whether its true what not. I have absolutely


no idea. Would you do that, delete things? There are things in my past


I would love to delete I'm simply not going to go there. What a shame


we don't have time to do that. The reasons he's deleting it is because


solidarity with David Cameron, David Cameron before the last election


deleted all his speeches and articles up until 2014. We have


reached a political balance. We would be stuffed as a country,


cutting off our noses to spite our face. Finally I've persuaded you.


Thank you, Chris. The question for today is what has


Jacob Rees-Mogg auctioned off b) A signed photo of him


and Margaret Thatcher. d) Latin lessons given


by Rees-Mogg himself. At the end of the show Michael


will give us the correct answer. Chris Bryant will go for all of


those, I think. Without a Conservative majority


in the House of Lords, the government is having a hard time


getting some major pieces of Last night the Housing Bill,


which is meant to introduce several manifesto commitments,


suffered the latest in a series of upsets at the hand


of Labour, Liberal Democrat The wide-ranging bill will introduce


starter homes for first time buyers at discounts of 20%,


force councils to build more houses, makes high earners pay more


for their social tenancy, and loosen planning rules


for brownfield land. The first of this week's defeats


would make starter home owners repay a proportion


of their discount when they sell up, to make sure funding


is still available to properties The second defeat stops


the government allowing Whitehall to set the targets for the number


of homes required rather And last night a third defeat


ensured that any payment to the Treasury from the forced sale


of council homes would be subject to parliamentary


scrutiny and approval. The government was forced to make


further concessions, promising to reflect on an amendment


that ensures each high-value home sold off is replaced like-for-like,


accepting an amendment that protects rural areas from the forced sale


of council homes and providing additional safeguards


over bad landlords. There are three more days of debate,


starting next week. Labour have promised further


opposition, describing the Bill as "half baked",


"extreme" and "not fit for purpose". We did ask to speak to a minister


about their Housing Plans However we are joined


by Bob Kerslake, he's a crossbench peer and president


of the Local Government Association and chairman of the Peabody


housing association. And we're joined


by Andrew Griffiths. He's a Conservative MP


and was on the committee looking Welcome to you both. Do you accept


criticism from labour that this bill is not fit for purpose? Not at all.


This is a comprehensive package that will set out what we said we would


do in our manifesto. This is about increasing homeownership, meeting


the aspirations of people across the country, survey after survey says


86-88% of people want to own their own homes. They aspire to be a


homeowner. What has happened to home ownership in the last few years? For


a long period of time, home ownership has been falling. I'm


pleased to say actually we have been able to hold to that and it is now


stable. Clearly, we need to do more. That was under Coalition Government


and Tory governments. My frustration is what we're seeing in the House of


Lords at the moment, wealthy people who own their own homes, trying to


prevent other people from getting on the housing ladder. Is that what you


are doing? Not at all. I'm in favour of homeownership. But the way to


more homeownership is to build more houses. That is the basic thing. We


need to be doubling the amount of houses we build an essentially,


that's why homeownership is fallen because... The bill is not stopping


homes being built, is it? It's helping in some respects but it is


really problematic, it's helping some people access homeownership, at


the expense of people who come at the moment, could never afford to


buy and desperately need affordable rented accommodation. It helps one


group at the expense of another and that's where the concerns are most


strong. Because we cannot shut out people on low incomes from the


opportunity of decent housing. Isn't that the sort of problem, the crux


of the criticism which has come about this bill, the priorities are


wrong? Nobody would disagree broadly with the principle of people wanting


to own their own homes but not if means whole sections of the


population are still going to be in substandard housing, will never be


able to afford own home or private rents are going to continue to soar


and they could be kicked out? What this bill does is address all of


those things. It speeds up the ability to build homes, it makes


homes more affordable for first-time buyers particularly. What rate are


we talking about? ?450,000 in some cases, that's not affordable. That


is a cap, so in a pace like my constituency, Burton, starter home


would be ?100,000 so with a 20% discount, that would be about


?80,000. That is affordable to many people. What's wrong with that? The


starter home is now being built at the expense of what was previously


being built, affordable rented, and the other thing the Lords have not


liked is the top-down centralised nature of the way things are being


done. So a percentage of every single site, 20%... On average,


affordable housing has been 22%, you don't need to be a great


mathematician to see that this will displace people. We need starter


homes, actually. What we must not do was have one group helped at the


expense of another. People really understand that. It is clear from


the opposition and concession after concession you had to make, this


bill was not properly scrutinised and there is a wealth of opposition


and powerful arguments being made against aspects of this bill and


that was your failure. Not personally, but you didn't


scrutinise before it went into the House of Lords. That's simply not


true. There has been concession after concession. Of course, we are


working with people who have concerns over the bill to find


something which works for everybody, but this was thoroughly scrutinised.


We sat until almost 2am. Time isn't necessarily the amount of time...


Let me coming there. I can't let that point ago. If you scrutinised,


I don't know what you did because this is a framework Bill. The


massive details simply not available. That's what the Lords


have got so upset about. In my view, we have a great Secretary of State


who is wanting to address the issues but we can't get away from the fact


that this bill was simply not ready and much of the frustration in the


Lords, on all sides, not just Labour and the Lib Dems, we haven't had the


essential details with which to make the decisions, so that's another big


issue, fairness is one of the lack of readiness is another. Let's pick


up on those issues because the government has now promised to


rethink this idea and make an amendment on the one like-for-like


replacement for each council home sold under for sale, which you


weren't going to do beforehand, so that would have meant fewer council


homes making payments to the Secretary of State is from the


forced sale of council homes will now be having a council approval.


That should have been thought about. We said throughout the bill we were


going to do one-for-one replacements. In fact, in London, we


are doing two for one. I beg your pardon... Let me make my point.


We've said from the very beginning we going to do one for one. Under


the new scheme, we are doing far in excess of that. We have committed to


doing two for one in London because they recognise the pressure on


London housing. All we have done with this concession is part of that


on the face of the Bill. What I would say about social housing,


local authorities have in their headroom ?3.2 billion to go and


build social housing. We would encourage them to do that. The


previous Coalition Government Biltmore council housing in its


period -- Biltmore. This is a government delivering on social


housing. Let me ask about the preparation and scrutiny because do


not have to accept some of the blame for this bill being described as


half baked because you were overseeing housing policy admittedly


last year at the committee 's garment? Not this bill. This is a


post-election bill I had no part of. I thought was announced in 2014 you


were the permanent secretary. We have to differ on that point. Is he


right, though? What was announced in 2014 was a different policy, starter


homes, exception brown field sites, but it became during the election


process, a replacement for affordable renting and that's where


the problems of started. Completely different project. Let me just deal


with this question raised about the scrutiny of the Bill. It really has


not have the proper analysis and we have not had the detail on it. I


think that is a very big issue. You have got to sit alongside other


policies so, in future, instead of secure tenancies for those who live


in social rented, they will be given a maximum five years, these are big


issues. It will impact on ordinary people. There are priorities and the


government made clear its priorities. Before the election with


a manifesto. There has been some criticism of your role and whether


there is a question of a conflict-of-interest because you are


chairman of the Peabody Housing Association and one of the


criticisms made is extending the right to buy to those tenants. Do


you accept that? The housing associations have done a deal with


governments so if this is just about my role with Peabody I could


reasonably say a deal has been done. My deal with local authorities and


the impact on them, that is more my role in local government, I'm most


concerned about the impact on the opportunity for ordinary low income


people to access the party and a home. That's what bothers me. Do you


accept there will be more opposition to this bill? No, before the House


of Commons another strong majority. You don't have a majority House of


Lords. Exactly right and it's frustrating when manifesto


commitment the general public voted for being blocked by the unelected


house. I'm going to have to finish there unfortunately. We are seeking


to revise it and amend it. Absolutely right. Maybe we'll have


you both back on again at the next stage. You are booked!


The leader of the SNP in the Commons, where of course


the party is the third largest group, used his regular question


to the Prime Minister yesterday to challenge the government's


efforts to crack down on tax avoidance.


To make his point, Angus Robertson deployed a striking statistic.


3,250 DWP staff have been specifically investigating benefit


fraud whilst only 300 HMRC staff have been systematically


I will look carefully at his statistics but they sound


So was the Prime Minister right to question the statistic?


With us to shed some light on the matter is Will Moy,


Was Angus Robertson correct with his statistic? He had a point but not as


big as the point he was trying to make with it. The Prime Minister


went on to say that there were 26,000 people in HMRC dealing with


compliance and enforcement and that is true but Angus Robertson was


focused on rich individuals, not Starbucks and the rest of it, he was


focusing on the rich people. There are more than 3500 people dealing


with and that fraud at the DWP and the nearest comparable figure is 700


people in HMRC dealing with the tax affairs of people earning more than


150,000 a year and have more than ?1 million to their name. Where did he


get the statistic from? It was not correct, the point was being made


but it was not accurate so where did he get it from? His broad point that


there were more people working directly on benefit fraud and tax


evasion among individual rich people is correct but his figures were


wrong. His DWP figures were slightly out of date and with HMRC, he has


found the 300 people dealing with people who have between one million


and ?20 million to their name, there are another 400 people dealing with


high net worth individuals, more than ?20 million to their name so


combined there are 700 people dealing with what you might call the


super-rich. I understand you put this to the SNP, what was their


response? I have not heard back on the detail. I don't know what they


would say about the figures. The 300 he is using it a fair figure, it is


just a subset of the total. The DWP figure is just a little out of date.


We are expecting a response so we will bring it to viewers tomorrow.


Stay with us. The impact of statistics like that can be powerful


and making a moral equivalent judgment that there are ten times


more staff dealing with the poorest in society than super-rich evading


their taxes so how important is it to be accurate? It is important if


you can be found out within the next day or even the same day on social


media. People can Google it themselves quickly and say he has


got it wrong so it is very important, especially... He was not


actually making a partisan political point, it was more a Whitehall


point. But it was interesting what has been just said. It was the


famous Tory Victorian by Minister Disraeli who said there are lies,


dammed lies and statistics. It is a favourite phrase of politicians and


journalists alike! Will Moy, thank you very much.


Now, the Chancellor George Osborne is often spoken of as a future


Conservative leader, but in a YouGov poll in this morning's


Times found that in a straight choice between Mr Osborne


and Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister, Mr Corbyn


It's perhaps a reminder that the job of Chancellor is a tricky one


at the best of times, and can easily finish


Here's Giles Dilnot with the latest in our series, so you want to be


Could you be responsible for the entire British economy,


how much we spend, how much tax we collect and how much money every


So, you want to be Chancellor of the Exchequer.


The fun of the Treasury is that you are right at the heart


of government so if you are a real political addict, I think


the Treasury is the one you want to go to.


The Treasury is the most disliked department in Whitehall


Within three months of me being there we had the first run


on a bank for over a century and if the world is in meltdown,


running around like Corporal Jones doesn't really help that much.


You should never panic until it is absolutely


That was the only job I wanted, to be Chancellor.


It was one I felt that everything I had done in my previous career


It is also, at any time, probably the most important


Jill Rutter, who was a senior civil servant and now


at the Institute for Government, agrees being Chancellor


is a powerful position but it's more complex than that.


The unique thing about being Chancellor is you are likely to get


You will see yourself as the number two in government but actually


you can call on the resource and the big battalions


of the Treasury so it's quite often possible for you to outgun the Prime


The hidden secret about the Treasury is actually, if the economy


is going OK, there is not much you have to do so one


of your choices is what you do with all that spare time,


Totally different, though, if you find yourself


in the middle of a crisis when it is all hands on deck,


People think you are sort of driving a car and you press


Actually it is much more complicated than that.


You are dealing with the consequences, one, of things


totally beyond your control, two, insofar as decisions effect


the economy, you're dealing with the consequences of decisions


made probably 18 months, two years before.


Nigel, now Lord, Lawson, alongside his Prime Minister,


Margaret Thatcher, pushed through huge economic changes


in the 1980s but even he admits you can't know it is going to work.


When you become Chancellor, you are conscious of the fact


that it is you who has to take the decisions and in real


life, you never know for sure that the decisions


You believe they are, you think them through very carefully,


but in this world you can never have absolute certainty.


For Ken Clarke, however you dress it up, how successful anyone has been


at driving the economy is something of a moot point.


It is a combination of growth and low inflation, that is the holy


And absolutely nobody has delivered it since the war for anything other


The classic British pattern has always been to make a complete


Horlicks of the thing and when it finally collapsed,


you find yourself in a sterling crisis, you are forced to devalue


and the Chancellor is sacked or moved sideways or you move


The Bank of England would not have lent us any money


if we were in an unstable financial position.


Alistair Darling had to face just such a calamity and when it came,


the clock was ticking faster than we might imagine.


When things get out of control and people are panicking,


that is when governments start to shake.


I received a call from the then chairman of RBS to say


that the bank, RBS, was haemorrhaging money.


We did have a rescue plan ready to go.


He said, well, maybe two or three hours.


That was when it struck me that whatever decision we took,


and we had to take it within minutes, would make


a profound difference, never mind to the government's


fortunes, but frankly to the country because if RBS had gone down,


the cash machines would have gone off, the drawers would have closed


and every other bank would have come down with it.


Crises aside, one event, for a Chancellor, is fixed


I got someone to help me write a speech because you have to be


a bit careful of the language you use.


I couldn't do my usual thing of getting up with a few notes


because I would suddenly change the markets by using


And on budget day I used to go out to enjoy it.


I had absolutely worked God knows what hours


for the previous six months, the entire department was pretty


Budget day, you are presenting it, you are selling it, the British


turn their annual budget into a bit of a circus for some bizarre reason.


All the waving the red box about, drinking the whiskey off


Lord Lawson says the budget razzmatazz may seem odd


A lot of people think how antiquated and stupid all this ritual


is but in fact it is very good for one day of the year to be able


to focus the minds of the people on not just the budget measures


but also on the economic policy of which they are a part.


Delivering the budget, controlling the money,


To Norman Lamont, that makes a Chancellor a cut


If I may say something that will annoy some people,


I think it is probably much more demanding being Chancellor


of the Exchequer or Prime Minister than it is Foreign Secretary.


The Foreign Secretary won't like me saying that


but I remember Jim Callaghan, who was both Chancellor


and Foreign Secretary, said the latter was a doddle.


It seems the price to be paid for being in charge of the money


is that your political capital is spent managing it


all and your stock as a politician ultimately rises or falls on how


Most memorable Chancellor for you in recent times? I think Roy Jenkins


with a pretty powerful Chancellor because he inherited the aftermath


of the devaluation when Jim Callaghan was moved to the Home


Office and they swapped jobs and the economy was in a real mess. Another


one is Denis Healy, he had the IMF coming... A begging bowl! He said,


of all the jobs he did, it was the only one that kept him awake at


night. The amount of work, sheer hard slog you had to do in that time


was unbelievable he said. And the other way around, I remember Mrs


Thatcher said to Nigel Lawson, Nigel, you must get your hair cut,


the markets won't trust a long-haired Chancellor! It might


take more than a haircut! I asked Ken Clarke about the Treasury, this


famous secret institution and he said, it was full of first-class


brains from Oxford and Cambridge, we had these wonderful debates like all


souls College in Oxford, brilliantly argued, brilliantly articulate and


totally out of touch with the real world. That is very reassuring when


they are running the country! What about the chances of the top job?


Let's look at George Osborne, are you selling shares in brand Osborne


at the moment? The chances for a top job for a Chancellor have not been


very good. There have been a couple. John Major, Gordon Brown, Jim


Callaghan. He did all the great offices of state. Winston Churchill


in the 1920s. You don't necessarily get the job, it is slightly like the


fly on the oxcart we'll come if the economy is going welcome the flight


thinks he is pushing the oxcart. So what are the chances for George


Osborne? Ask me that on the 24th of June because everything in the


kaleidoscope of British politics will become a little clearer. You


have a get out of jail free card! The Government yesterday


defended its plan to force every school in England to become


an academy in the face of criticism from both the Labour Party


and its own backbenchers. The proposal has led to teachers


calling for a one-day strike and the Local Government Association


has said the move defies reason. Let's have a look at some of the


debate from the Commons yesterday. The Government's plan has been met


with such concern even by the very school leaders they claim to be


supporting because it is a bad It is yet another policy from this


government that obsesses with school The academies programme


takes our core Conservative belief that public services should be run


by front-line professionals. That means heads, teachers


and governors running our schools. International evidence shows


that the autonomy of schools is linked to improved performance


and school accountability As a Conservative, I also believe


in choice so could she outline to me the downside of allowing academies


or schools to migrate organically, if they choose to, to academy


status, rather than imposing a compulsory and arbitrary


Not one person there has had the courage to stand up and say


there is fundamentally something totally inaccurate in the motion


today, claiming that she and our government are trying to ban


the role of parents on governing bodies in schools.


Every single secondary school in my constituency is an Academy


and they all have parents on governing bodies.


So can we please have a compromise at the end of this process


by which county councils will not necessarily be forced to give up


control of their small primary schools?


It is essential in rural areas that we keep them open.


I know she wants to proceed in a compromise not forcing


Call me old-fashioned but I'm of the view that if you've got


a well governed school running well, just leave it alone and let it


Joining us now is former Education Secretary, Lord Baker.


Welcomed with the show. Let's pick up on that last point. If it ain't


broke, why not leave schools if they are doing fine under local authority


control? In the light of the debate yesterday, I thought Vicky Morgan


will be taking soundings amongst her backbenchers. I think she will


listen to their concerns to see how she can meet them. I'm not against


it. You are a big fan of them. In the 1980s I said at the first 16


schools technology colleges but I did it slowly. You constantly make a


school become independent unless the headmaster is capable of running it.


With a budget, appointing staff, buying his own equipment, it takes a


lot of time to get into that, so I believe in the inevitability of


gradual loss. If the policy wrong, imposing it on schools? I think that


will be modified to some extent. How do you do that without just having


to retreat completely? The way to do it is to coax them because when


Labour left office, the coalition started in 2010, there were 200


academies and now there are 4700. The law has not been changed. People


had seen the advantages. In some cases, a well-run Academy can


improve basic standards of schools, so I would let that processed,


generate that more actively, as it were, and the rot problems of


course. Like small rural primary schools. I would let it alone. I'm


in favour of academies. I would encourage more of their development.


The school I'm setting up are technically all academies,


Independent. Do you think it is not conservative to force and impose


this, when you should give people choice? At the end of the day, I


think there are great problems which are now so many academies, you got


to have some intermediate bodies between the departments of the


academies, because the department could not run 24,000 schools. It


could not even run one school and that's why the Academy trust... It


would make it less central in that sense but do you feel the


government's intention to remove the obligation to keep parent governors


is also misguided? I do think so because I think parent governors at


a great deal. You heard the MP from Gloucester saying exactly the same.


All his schools are academies in his area. With parent governors on it. A


parent governor is part of the local community. Certainly my colleges


have parent governors. You would like that bit too dropped? Yes,


modified. A lot of modification on this policy. Do you accept by


literally renaming a school, making it an Academy, it doesn't


necessarily make it a good school, does it? It's not a question of


names. An Academy is good but would be better if the managing team, the


head and the governing body, are determined to make it better and


know how to do it. That's why I believe the inevitability of gradual


as is the way to do it. You have to train people, governing bodies,


Headmasters, in this, so they understand the complexity of running


a school. You can't change most schools easily into an Academy


because most complex area is the finance. The sustainability of


financing. It's very, very, located. Were you surprised by the number of


Conservative backbenchers who criticise this policy? No, MPs take


a great interest in education. They go to schools, see the parents and


children and are very involved. Do you think those are showing more


rebellion in the Conservative backbenchers? Some of them are


rebelling any case about the referendum. Do you think that has


allowed them to be a little more vocal? It is an emotive force. I'm


interested in Ken Baker talking about the inevitability of gradual


loss, because that's the famous Roman general, fabulous, after whom


the Fabian Society, when I strike, I strike hard, the inevitability of


it. I was also struck by how partisan this whole debate about


education is. If you think about going back to when Kenneth was


Education Secretary and subsequently Tony Blair wanted to make education


one of his issues, he said education, education, education. The


following week, John Major was so worried about that, he said, on this


platform last week, Tony Blair said his priority was education,


education, education. Well, they are my three priorities for government


but not necessarily in that order. That's quite a good joke. Do you


remember that? I would love to take education out of politics. Really?


Yes, the colleges I'm setting up are supported by all three parties and I


was conscious to get Labour to supported and the Liberals because


those are the changes which survive and our colleges will survive. I


think teachers might sign up to it being taken out of politics. They


hate all that tinkering. And the unions. Some teachers are very


politicised, no doubt about that. Thank you.


Now, we often talk about moments of political theatre or high


drama at Westminster, but next week it will be playing


In what's claimed to be the first ever performance of a Shakespeare


play in the Houses of Parliament, members of the public


are being invited in to watch a new production of this history


play Richard II, Shakespeare's story of power and plotting


This version has been reworked as a modern


Westminster power struggle, but let's have a listen


to the play's most famous speech, as performed by John Gielgud.


This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.


This nurse, this teeming womb of royal kings,


feared by their breed and famous by their birth, renowned


for their deeds as far from home, for Christian service and true


chivalry, as is the sepulchre in stubborn Jewry, of the world's


This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,


dear for her reputation through the world.


Well, we're joined now the co-directors of the play,


Sorry, I was listening to it so intently. You got a lot to live up


to. Yes, it's one of Shakespeare's best plays and we hope to do it


justice. How is it a modern take? We do a lot of work with Shakespeare in


schools around the country with our theatre company and we find that


these plays, when done right, they do connect and engage with all


generations and transcend the generations in society. Amazingly,


Richard II and his history plays are about society, about power, who has


it, who is losing it, and in a sense, these plays speak to


politics. They are relevant for today. Absolutely, it's a power


struggle. A power struggle between someone who believes he deserves to


be king and someone else who believes they would be a better


leader than the one currently in power. Why do you decide to staged


in the House of Commons? We felt, when we found that the rules had


changed recently to allow the public to apply to put on events in the


House of Commons, we thought what better way to commemorate the


anniversary of Shakespeare's death to literally put one of his greatest


political thrillers at the centre of national politics. What do you think


it will add to the atmosphere? I think it would give it an immediacy.


We are doing it in the members dining room off the Central Lobby


but in the Commons and the Lords, and it feels like the type of room


where plots are made. Skulduggery goes on! That room is amazing. How


have you adapted it and made it relevant and resonate for younger


audiences? It's still very much Shakespeare's play, written entirely


in his verse, the changes we have made have been more to follow


through the lines of history from the settings Shakespeare had. To


modern political landscapes, so for example, there was a joust


originally which we thought what would be the modern equivalent of


that and it would be a TV debate, a public debate. Who is in your joust?


Bolingbroke, the charismatic Challenger and Thomas Mowbray, who


has some questions to answer about a mysterious political death. You have


filled so often in the Houses of Parliament when they finally let you


in. How do you think this will work? Are you pleased this is the sort of


cultural activity being staged? Absolutely. The House of Commons,


you go in there, it's built on the site of William the Conqueror 's


first palace, and it reeks of history around every corner. There


is plotting going on. You feel, you smell the conspiracies going on and


you watch people. People watching as they walk through the new part of


the House of Commons, portcullis house, you see he's talking to him


and all that kind of thing. It is living theatre and when you say


about the joust, every week, Prime Minister's Questions is a joust. I


have to leave it there but good luck. Thank you. Come and see it. I


would love to. There's an invitation.


Now, there was a big new appointment at the Foreign Office yesterday.


Nothing to do with a government reshuffle, but the arrival


of a new cat which caused a bit of a stir across Whitehall.


It's a tale which starts on the mean streets of London.


But it ends well, for this is a cat that's found its place in one


of the great offices of state, the Foreign Office.


And a name to befit the role - Palmerston.


They are after a mouser because I do understand


that they have a pest problem, but they're also very keen


to have a companion cat for all the people who work there,


and we think he'll fit the bill for both very well.


He's really confident, he's really sociable,


he loves people, but he has what we call a really high play


drive and he loves to stalk toys and chase toys and pounce on toys,


which suggests that he'd also like to exhibit that


Obviously this is an important role for anyone in the Foreign Office


so I think it's fairly crucial we ask Palmerston what his views


are on some of the big issues of the day.


Palmerston, what are your thoughts on Britain leaving the EU?


No diplomatic car, but the formerly feral feline turned ministerial


mouser mog was officially announced to Whitehall.


Palmerston has only just arrived here in the Foreign Office,


but seems to be fitting in very well to ministerial life.


He refused to do an interview any shots with the assembled world media


here, but I have been given a statement


A cat a few words. Do you think Palmerston will settle into the


Foreign Office? There are lots of mice and the Foreign Office as one


of moles. Yes, exactly. He's got a big job to do. I was thinking about


making a film about animals and politics. It could be called


Political Animals. There is a thing. There's just time before we go


to find out the answer to our quiz. The question was what has


Jacob Rees-Mogg auctioned off Was it his nanny, a signed photo


of him and Margaret Thatcher, one of his beautifully cut suits,


or Latin lessons given So, Michael, what's


the correct answer? Jacob Rees Mogg, I said he's a


member for the 18th century and he said far too late. 16th century.


Latin lessons. It's not, it is tea with his nanny, can you believe?


That is at Fortnum and Mason 's and it went for ?5,000 at a fundraiser.


Excellent. You said it was auctioning off his nanny? That's it.


Goodbye from us.


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