10/03/2017 Daily Politics


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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.


Theresa May backs her Chancellor on his National Insurance hike


for the self-employed but delays legislation for the change


So has the PM managed to kill off a backbench rebellion?


European leaders continue their summit in Brussels without Mrs May.


We'll get the latest from the meeting of the EU27


as they discuss the European Union's future post-Brexit.


MPs and peers should move out of parliament for six years to allow


urgent repairs costing ?4 billion to take place, that's the view


We'll hear from its chair, Meg Hillier, and an


And, tax returns, lordly sackings and budget numbers -


we look back on the political week, in just 60 seconds.


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


Jenni Russell who writes for the Times, and Iain Martin,


So, just 24 hours after the budget, Theresa May signals the possibility


of a re-think on Philip Hammond's national insurance increase.


We'll examine the options open to the Chancellor in just a moment.


First though, David Cameron finds himself in the thick of it


with comments he seems to have made while chatting to the Defence


Eagle-eyed ITV correspondent Chris Ship spotted the former


Prime Minister talking to Mr Fallon at yesterday's memorial service


for members of the armed services in Horse Guards Parade in central


Amateur lip-readers suggested Mr Cameron may have been commenting


on Philip Hammond's decision to break the Conservative's


manifesto commitment not to raise national insurance.


So can we know for certain what David Cameron was saying?


We're joined now by Tina Lannin, a forensic lip


And you've brought Bailey along as well? I have. Fantastic. I should


have brought iris Bailey along and they could have met. Anyway, let me


just ask you this - how accurate, before we look at it, is


lip-reading? It really does depend on the ability of the lip reader to


pick up what he's saying, the fluency of the language and also on


the quality of the TV clip, whether it's good quality and whether the


camera goes away from the speaker, whether the camera is shaky, blurry,


all that kind of thing. That would add to the difficulty if it was. But


if the quality is reasonably good, and we'll see it in a minute, a


professional lip-reader like yourself, we'd have a fair idea of


what was being said? Yes, I would have a fairly good idea. Somebody


who had been lip-reading everybody around them every day of their life,


you'll have a fairly good idea and I rely on lip-reading and I'm


lip-reading you now, I'm totally deaf but I can understand what you


are saying because I'm lip-reading. My lip-reading skills are quite


accurate. I would certainly say that. We are going to get your


professional opinion in a minute. We have had a number of amateur


opinions already. Can anyone lip read? I would have thought it's


really a skill, is it not? It is a skill, it's an art and everybody can


lip read to some extent but it's a question of how good you are and


that only comes with practise. I'm told we have got the best with


you, so let's have a look at the clip again and then we'll get your


expert opinion. Let's see what David Cameron's saying.


Tina, I would say that was pretty good quality there, not blurry, the


camera's not shaking, it's pretty good broadcast TV qualities,


slightly in the distance. So, in your professional opinion, what did


Mr Cameron say? I interpret him by saying breaking the manifesto


promise, how stupid can you get. So he did say, breaking a manifesto


promise, how stupid can you get? Yes. Right. Well, we thank you. Give


us your reaction to this professional authentication. First


of all, I'm amazed because I would look at that and wouldn't have a


clue, I would say it was just complaining about the weather. It


was a silly promise in the first place and it was the one that he


made. He made it, not thinking that his Government would ever have to


stand by it because he didn't expect to win the last majority with an


election and therefore be responsible for the policies that


followed. But they didn't tell us that at the time. For voters, a


promise is a promise. But it's a bit much for him to be the person


criticising. He thought he'd be part of a coalition. Theresa May is bound


by a promise that she didn't make. Nevertheless, I do think it was very


foolish of her Government to think that you could get away. Without the


big row that we have seen? But not eeven acknowledge that you are


breaking it, pretend it wasn't in the pledge and to look as though you


are splitting hairs. That's what didn't work, that's what made people


feel that they were dancing on the head of a pin. There's something


magnificent about that clip, it still looks as though Cameron is in


charge. He's summoning over the Defence Secretary saying, now look


here Fallon, what's all this rubbish. That's amusing. I think


Cameron's right to be angry. I think it's still a bit of a puzzle as to


what on earth the Government thought they were doing. I mean, you can


take the view that it's a stupid pledge, I understand that, and you


can take a wider view to rule out any income tax rises and national


insurance to freeze fuel duty. It seems in perpetuity, you are really


eroding the tax base. The point on trust is, they may have not once,


not twice, not thrice, but four times in this manifesto... And they


legislated on it. They excluded the self-employed from the legislation


but it looked as if they were putting it absolutely in a solid


form and it couldn't be taken away. The difficulty for this, for the


Government, is that this is a perfect storm really, in the fact


that it's not one group, the self-employed, but the


self-employed, the upper end who're paid via dividends, that runs from


white van driver and plumbers all the way through the economy at every


salary level so it's extraordinary that a Tory Chancellor didn't see


this. Are we being fair to Mr Cameron in the sense that we are


reading his lips from a distance, he's having a private conversation,


the cameras are on him. If you are in the public eye, we have to just


accept this, do we? You have to accept it. I believe Tina, but the


wider issue here is one about trust. In an era of alternative facts,


politicians have got to be trustworthy and they have to learn


that if you say something to the public, you can't wriggle out of it.


You have to be frank about why you are breaking a promise or you just


build cynicism. We showed you the clip again there. Tina, you have


settled one of the controversies of the week, we are very grateful to


you and Bailey for coming in. Bye-bye, see you soon, Bailey.


This row over the Government's plans to raise the rate of Class 4


National Insurance contributions is now in its third day.


Let's remind ourselves what's been happening.


In his budget speech on Wednesday, Philip Hammond said the changes


are necessary because the current lower rate of National Insurance


"undermines the fairness of the tax system".


But that left Tory MPs queuing up to criticise the government's plans.


Conservative MP Stephen McPartland said on this programme yesterday.


"We need to get a U-turn and we need one quickly."


Guto Bebb, a minister in the Wales Office


But Matthew Taylor, the former adviser to Tony Blair,


Mr Taylor is currently carrying out a government review looking at how


the state treats self-employed people and other issues.


Theresa May signalled last night that she and the Government


But Labour weren't pleased with that.


The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Theresa May should.


Let's have a look at what Theresa May said last night,


speaking at a press conference in Brussels.


And I think it is fair to close the gap in contributions between two


people doing the same work and using the same public


services to make the same contribution to wider society.


And then I think the final question you ask is is it progressive?


And the changes that will be built through on NICS


to Class 2 and Class 4, taken together, under those,


the lowest paid self-employed workers will be better off and half


the revenues raised will be paid by the best off, by the wealthiest.


We've been joined from Gloucester by the Conservative MP Neil Carmichael.


And in the studio by the director of the Resolution


Michael, the Prime Minister says she's in listening mode, so what do


you want to tell her? I first of all think it's absolutely


necessary for us to raise as much tax as we possibly can. This is the


time of Brexit and we are going to be needing extra money in the


long-term. The second point is, we've got to, however, make sure our


entrepreneurs, our consultants, those people who're basically


self-employed feel that the risks they take are ones which the


Government are going to acknowledge. I think that's part of a tailoring


review. What do you want to tell her on this - that's very general, I


asked you a specific question. Well, what I would say is that I think the


delay towards the autumn is wise. I think that tapering would be


appropriate because I think that there will be a group, as far as I


can see from the figures, that are going to be effectively asked to pay


a sizeable chunk. Which group would that be? That would be the high


earner chunk. The higher earnings who are employed are paying high


national insurance at the moment, so if you look at a management


consultant on ?52,000 a year, they would pay another ?600 or so. Yes.


On national insurance contributions a year, they are on over ?50,000 a


wouldn't be paying anything like the national insurance that an employee


would pay, particularly when you add in the employee contribution? But


you have to balance what a self-employed person isn't getting


through the benefits system or risk to his position or her position if


things went wrong. You've also got to factor in things like business


rates which might actually be a problem too. Everybody is paying


business rates. But the biggest amount of money in this country goes


on the Health Service and social care and welfare, if you are


self-employed, last time I looked you were entitled to the NHS. Yes.


And to social care, such as there is in this country these days, so why


shouldn't you pay a bit more? And I thought you were against them paying


more, which side of the fence are you on? I'm on the side of the fence


which in the long run we have to raise more revenue... You've said


all that, but what do you want us to do on NICS? What do you want the got


to do, what should the country be doing on national insurance What I


want the Government to be doing on national insurance is delaying a


decision which I think it's effectively said because we are not


voting on this until the awe Tim, quite rightly, between thousand and


then, we need a rebust look at the figures so that we can actually say


to those people affected that this is not going to be as bad as is


currently predicted -- autumn. So in other words there should be some


changes made in the next six months. But unless it's some kind of


compromise and, if your words, if it's not as bad as was outlined on


Wednesday, whatever compromise, if national insurance is to rise, it's


a breach of your manifesto commitment. It may not be as bad a


breach but it's still a breach? Well, you know, we said in the


manifesto we are going to stay in the single market and that's plainly


not going to happen, so... But you thought you were going to win the


referendum to remain too so things did change there. What's changed to


force national insurance contributions up? The politics have


changed, the economics have changed. We voted to leave the European


Union. That's going to have an impact on our membership of the


single market by simply saying we are not going to be in it. That's


clearly on the cards. So that is something which is at variance with


the manifesto and this too is add variance with the manifesto.


Actually for the same reason, that we are needing to find more money to


prepare a cushion for whilst we prepare to leave the European Union.


They're linked. Stick with us, you will get a chance to sort out your


ear piece too. We are spending ?400 million gives


the self-employed a tax cut, abolishing class 2, the flat rate,


?150 a year that all self-employed pay. That is why the losers are only


over ?16,000. It's not about raising money. This is about saying we have


a fundamental problem in the tax system and we need to keep up with


the world of world which is working -- world of work. The key thing you


you were talking about, about the people being entitled to use the NHS


and the social care, the real issue is the state pension. Historically,


the reason why people pay lower national insurance, the


self-employed, is they used to get a better pension. That has been ended.


They get the same pension as employees and, as a result, the gap


on the national insurance needs to be closed.


Right, but it may be true, as your foundation, I think it's been said


too, that if you are earning less than ?16,000, you are unaffected by


this. Some people will be better off. The real increase, the example


of the management consultant that I gave, they're in the top 50% of


households, but there are a group of people who'll be paying more,


earning between ?16,000 and ?25-?26,000 a year, but they are the


just about managing classes, so why put any extra burden on them since


your own foundation's said the living standards are now going to be


squeezed even without this. Why put a further burden on them no matter


how small? That is a good point, Andrew. What you are getting at


there... What is the answer? I'll come to it. Policies are difficult.


They have pros and cons, you have probably already done them. If tax


rises in particular, unless you are a saint, you don't want to


particularly have any less money in your pocket, so would I ideally like


a policy that somehow had a fairer tax system between self-employed and


employees and didn't lead to any extra money being taken on the


earnings and salaries you are talking about - yes. Is that


possible in the real world and is it responsible for people who want a


better country to ignore those ambiguities - no. For three days,


your party, your government, has had a complete kicking, even in the Tory


press, is it worth it for another ?200 million a year. That's not even


a rounding error? I think it's worth having the debates. I said is it


worth it for ?200 million. The Chancellor will drop that down the


back of the sofa on a Friday afternoon. Well, you say that to a


school struggling to pay an extra teacher and you would think, well


?200 million will go some distance. It would help make sure that the


national funding formula had a better floor than currently is


projected and so on. So ?200 million is... It's worth all this political


pain then? Well, I think what we have to do is take the whole budget


together, you know. This is more than just this issue about national


insurance contributions. It's about actually rebalancing the economy


towards being more productive and so on, so that does matter. The key


point about the fairness angle is still a relevant one. We have to


bear in mind that the employment patterns are changing and the


taxation system really has to reflect that. But you are a Tory,


you are meant to be in favour of people being self-employed and


entrepreneurial and not dependent on the state. Why is it the policy of a


Tory Government to say, you are going to have to pay more tax in the


form of national insurance, but in return the state will give you more


benefits. Isn't that what the Labour Party is meant to believe? Well,


those benefits are around sort of conditions if you fell out of your


position as a self-employed person. I think that's fair to recognise


that there are risks there. You've actually already answered your own


question because you... That doesn't happen very often... The more


youern, the more you'll pay, because down at the ?16,000 level you


wouldn't pay at all and you would benefit. One more thing because you


are struggling with that ear piece, and I'm grateful for you sticking


with it, but let me ask you one more thing. I'm still not clear what you


want to Government to do compared to what the Chancellor announced and we


are going to have until autumn to decide that, but do you get the


sense there is compromise in the air that what the Chancellor announced


will not in the end be what is legislated for in the autumn? I


think there's scope for compromise, that's helpful. That's what we need.


This is about tapering and levels and we have some discussions, six


months in order to have them, the argument is on the table. The


principle is one we'll salute. The Prime Minister said that last night.


It's just a question of how we do it. I think that is what the


discussions will be around during the course of the period up to and


including the final vote when this is decided in the autumn. Let me try


one more time with you - what would you like the Government to do to


make this acceptable to you and some of your colleagues? Make absolutely


clear what self-employed people will be benefitting from if changes are


made in the Taylor review and doeth we don't know exactly what they are


but that's an important aspect. This is two sides of the same coin. It's


paying for something but knowing what you are going to get in return


so there needs be clarity there and there isn't any clarity really at


the moment. Also this issue about tapering, that's an important word


in this conversation. I don't know what it means though in this


context. What it means is that we'll probably have a situation where the


introduction of this scheme was more gradual and less... But it is


tapered at the moment, it's only 1% starting next year then another 1%


starting the year after that, it's a gradual introduction. That's why I'm


everysizing there should be more discussion about that. More


tapering? Yes, I think so. -- emphasising. Anyway, I'm sure we'll


discuss more about this as the summer comes about. I can hardly


wait! Plenty to talk about. Thank you very much! Thank you and thank


you again for dealing with that pesky ear piece that you've got


there! What do you think of this? I think Torsten Bell should be


advising more on this. Most people think they work is unpredictable and


they don't get holiday pay or sick pay. There seems to be radical


disadvantages and it seems to be radically unfair to say your life is


the same as a working person. So his argument about saying you are


getting an equal state pension now and you never had that before is a


much more powerful argument than anything else that has been put


forward? Iain We should acknowledge there is a bias on the part of


newspaper columnists and freelance journalists. Disproportionate... Who


is going to speak up for the self-employed? To the barricades.


There was an interesting thing the Chancellor said in the budget about


how technology is reshaping the economy and he says he's going to


come back to it. This would have been almost fine if he'd said let's


have a proper review of how employment is structured, headed not


by someone like Matthew Taylor with instincts always to raise taxation.


You never know... I don't think that's fair. The answer, heaven


know, mite come back to reduce the national insurance of the employed


and maybe spend a little less and borrow a little less. Balancing the


budget into the 2030s. Yes. It's already been kicked sideways, so why


not? ! It's become very complicated. Life is complicated. But our tax


system is complicated. The tax guide is taller than you now and you are


quite tall. Why do we have national insurance, it's just income tax by


another name and yet there's no talk any more among policy-makers at the


top level of just rolling the two together and simplifying things It's


not exactly the same in one big way. You pay income tax but you don't pay


national insurance. You look like you're... You are wasted in the


resolution foundation, you should be in the diplomatic corps! But you


would be paying a lot more money. I understand that. That may be the


case, but you would have to then live with some consequences. The


over 65s in real terms are doing much better than people in their 20s


and 30s at the moment. It's an unnecessary complication and you


could come up with a formula which rolled the two together. It's not a


hypothecating tax any more. George Osborne asked the office for similar


police officercation, which was designed for reasons you are


highlighting. They did a report, they say it could be done,


complicated ways of doing it and the Government said no, thank you, have


you met the over 60s. So we have given them a lot, a triple lot as


well -- a triple lock. We can help deal with the self-employed. Can I


ask a question, do you have any idea how much you would raise if you


taxed people like Andrew, the over 65s. Andrew would raise a lot of


money! That's very easy to find out. Would it be more than ?200 million


do you think? Oh, billions! There we are, we have solved the problem. One


billion from Andrew and billions from the rest of the population.


Thank you for coming in and we'll see you again around 2026 when


you'll probably be getting your pension. Look forward to it. And the


taxes will have gone up. I'll be speaking to Matthew Taylor on the


Sunday Politics this Sunday on this very issue and we'll look at some of


the principles behind this problem of how do you tax the self-employed,


indeed, how do you stop the tax base from eroding with the decade coming


up when the demands on health, social care and other things are


going to be huge. Today EU leaders are meeting


in Brussels in the new Europa But the question is what has that


building been nicknamed? At the end of the show,


Iain and Jenni will give So, the EU summit in Brussels


continues today without Theresa May. The remaining 27 leaders are due


to discuss the future development Our correspondent Ben Wright joins


us now from Brussels. Ben, Mrs May's not there, I assume


Brexit is not high up the discussions at the moment because


Article 50 hasn't been triggered. So what are they talking about? Well, I


think there's party planning going on this morning, the 27 sitting


around working out how this big event they're planning for the 25th


in Italy is going to work which they want to look like a huge show of


unity by the European Union to mark 60 years since the Treaty of Rome


was signed. So they'll be talking about that today. They'll be talking


about recent plans put forward by the European Commission President


Jean-Claude Juncker for the ten year plan. Various option force the


future direction of the EU. And I imagine too, oh to be in that room,


I mean they'll probably be talking about Brexit. They are not talking


about negotiations in public, they won't do that until Article 50 is


triggered, but once Theresa May does that and writes her letter to the


European Council, then the EU 27 then have to work out their


negotiating mandate. How they are going to approach these talks and


those talks have been going on behind-the-scenes and I'm sure they


are touching on it this morning. Is there a sense of you covering a


Marie Antoinette party there, as you talk about that and Geert wilders is


against the EU on the hard right, marine Le Pen is doing far better


than her father, will almost certainly be in the next round of


the French elections and four out of five big parties are against the


euro. Do they ever think about any of that?


Thoreau Trump into the mix as well. The great American ally of the EU,


the USA, has decidedly gone wobbly since Donald Trump entered the White


House. Their access then shall challenges wherever you look. --


existential challenges. I think they got to get the tone of the party


quite right which is why they don't want Theresa May to trigger Brexit


in the immediate days before all the media days after this big event in


Rome and that has been made quite clear. To the British government.


Look, they know that this is a very difficult time for the European


Union. Is no getting around that at all. And that will colour their


approach to Brexit. People around here, you hear them saying it's all


very well for the UK to keep saying they would get the best deal for


Britain but people here are saying they would get the best deal for the


European Union and one which acts as a warning to others not to leave the


club. In the absence of specific about what the European Union are


going to put on the table, that's what you have to go on. But we don't


know if there is agreement among the 27 about what the best deal for the


remaining European Union would mean. We don't know if the polls agree


with the French, in fact, we're pretty sure they don't. We don't


know what Emmanuel Macron's idea would be, or Mr Schultz, if he was


to become the Chancellor. I don't know what a good deal would look


like for all 27 to agree on. You are absolutely right, we also hear that


Germany is certainly trying to restrain countries who want this to


be sort of a process of punishment for the UK. The Germans are very


worried about what might happen to the City of London if there is a


punitive approach taken on the question of financial services for


instance, but each country has different interests which is why


there is a suspicion here that the EU, sorry the UK may try to divide


and rule a bit when negotiations begin. And they think the EU was


very aware of that and at the moment is stressing they are going to go


into this as one united bloc. Certainly after the Malta summit all


EU leaders were stressing that they would be negotiating as a bloc and


the UK would not be able to peel off individual countries and played to


individual interests. One final thing, coming out of negotiators


negotiating as a bloc. Some in the British government are saying that


once Article 50 is triggered, a deal, not much will happen, because


of all the elections I mentioned, but a deal on reciprocal rights will


be done quickly for EU nationals here and UK nationals in the rest of


the EU. And that will partly be done to keep Eastern Europe on board and


they do think that that will happen quickly, but then there will be a


hiatus as the French elections get underway followed by the others. Is


there any indication about where you are that the EU may be on board for


this too? Look, not in concrete terms, but I think it would make


sense. There is an eagerness in the UK to get this done and they went


conceded outside the formal negotiations and I think the feeling


is within the EU the same approach has to be taken so it could well be


that has taken off the table quickly and then the EU knuckles down and


work out how it's going to negotiate but you are right. I think we can


expect a lag until proper negotiations begin. We've got to


expect to get the elections out of way first. Until the summer,


actually. There was a tussle going on here between the council, the


leaders, and the commission about the priorities and certainly the


feeling of the commission want this issue around money sorted very early


on. They think there is this bill, the numbers are disputed, perhaps,


and it needs to be settled before you can move onto other aspects of a


negotiation including a possible parallel talks on traditional trade


agreement. What's going to be fascinating of the next few weeks is


trying to work out who is winning that fight between the institutions


in the European Union as they approach this negotiation. Thank you


very much, good to talk to you in Brussels. Ben finishes on what is


going to be putting the EU reciprocal rights to one side and


the British government has become confident it can do a good deal on


that, but then nothing else. There is then, we've done that, on the


other hand, this demand between the Europeans saying you have got to


saddle the Brexit divorce bill before we talk about free trade. If


you speak to our government is a deal-breaker and they won't do that.


They want the two things to go in parallel. At the same time, there's


no way the British government will get itself into a situation where it


says how much do you want? Call it 30, said Lon 45, dear is a large


cheque and let's talk about future terms. It's a nonstarter. The reason


the government has talked in much blunter terms about no deal being


better than a bad deal, preparing people for the possibility of hard


Brexit, the reality is, which the analysis illustrator, if it was a


straightforward deal between Germany and the UK, that's not


straightforward but much easier to envisage how such a deal could be


concluded. The Germans are terrified of the eurozone being disrupted. The


eurozone debt machine, 75% of it, is run out of London, so they want...


They essentially don't want the Eurozone settlements disturbed at


least not in the short term, but it becomes apparent from the European


Parliament is saying that even if you get a deal like that done, and


Germany and Britain, but two largest competitors agree, it can go to the


European Parliament and be voted down, so I think the government have


consciously prepared people for the possibility of chaos on the


continent and a deal, even if it agreed, somehow being vetoed. The


way ahead is as clear as mud. Yes, life in politics is, located but we


haven't seen anything yet with the interests of all institutions and


the 27 nations all quarrelling with one another and, of course, if you


turn around to the EU and say we're not interested in settling the bill,


much of it for the pensions of British people who have worked in


the EU and much of it is also for the costs of ongoing EU programmes


in Britain which won't wrap up overnight... That we could deal


with. We don't know about the pensions. It will be put at the


difficult for a government to agree to a massive bill for pensions for


EU bureaucrats whose pensions are three times the average wages in


Britain. I'm not saying it's not difficult but if you're standing


firm and saying we're not going to cooperate, than the one thing you


did from those 27 nations is the feeling that we are not just an


almighty irritant that is delaying everything they want to do with the


EU over the next couple of years. I think it is accepted that we will


have to settle, but in what order it happens? What's impossible to


envisage is the government paying the money before it has any idea


what the deal is. The money will become a Thorogood payment to access


payment to EU access -- sorry but payment. There's a difference


between three years, for his contribution from the UK which


settles the programmes we got into before the referendum. A big


difference between that and an ongoing payment. I think that is


probably, year after year, payments something Tory backbenchers would


not stomach. Now it has asbestos, leaks,


fraying electrical cables and the whole place is at high risk


of a catastrophic failure. No, I'm not talking about the Daily


Politics studio but rather, that other World Heritage Site,


the Palace of Westminster, home Now today the Public Accounts


Committee has said the Palace should be vacated while urgent restoration


work is carried out. Parliament's spending watchdog


argues that moving MPs and peers down the road rather than keeping


them on site during a renovation is the most economic


and efficient option. The Public Accounts Committee


is backing a call by a joint parliamentary committee for a full


decant of the palace, meaning it would be closed for six


years while work is carried out. This option, which would see MPs


move into a temporary debating chamber in the Department of Health


and peers to the QE2 conference centre, would


cost around ?4 billion. A partial decant -


vacating first the Commons and then the Lords -


would take 11 years and add approximately


?500 million to the cost. While keeping everyone on site


during the repairs would mean it was 32 years before


the work was completed. The PAC pointed out that also


between ?50 million and ?60 million was already being spent


on maintaining the building every year and urged parliamentarians


to have a vote on the options sooner rather than later, pointing out that


further delays may add up to ?85 million a year to the bill


for capital costs. And I'm joined now by the chair


of the Public Accounts And the Conservative MP


Shailesh Vara, who wants MPs to remain in the Palace,


moving over to the House of Lords The cheapest option and the quickest


option, if it could be described as cheap, is for everybody to get out,


right? Absolutely. That would take how long? The estimate is six years


but you've got to make the decision in principle. The full business case


we worked out will deal with this uncertain issue but we've known,


having major projects that the Public Accounts Committee looks at,


there's good evidence to do it in one hit, rather than dribble it out


over a long period of time, and that sort of thing will add costs just


like if you had a house extension. If the cost of moving the peers out


and moving the MPs to the Lords while you get on with all of it,


that side of the Palace, I'd put this in quotes, only 500 million, it


would be advertised over 11 years now, so it's about 50 million a


year, which, in the scheme of things, given the spending, is not


huge, but that symbolically be more acceptable that the MPs would stay


in a chamber which looks a bit like the one they have got, just rather


more glittery? These are not actual costs, let's be care about that. It


means they have done some work to analyse what the costs will be and


to extrapolate like that, quite robustly, but to do a proper


business case on the project you can't be sure of all of these


figures. They are pretty robust as they can be at this stage which is


why we need to settle on one because the cost of doing the business case


is quite something. From our experience, get on with it.


Crucially, make a decision. A bit like the one we've taken for the


third runway at Heathrow. Exactly, you raise the case in point. We have


a bit of a habit of delaying long-term decisions but we got to


get on with it. What is your view? It needs to be done urgently, but


when you've got an eight acre site, there is room for Parliament to set


on the premises, on the Palace, while work is being carried out. All


of Parliament? I think both houses Oskars Melbardis addressed one has


has a footprint. That important for a number of reasons. At the time of


Brexit, in the years after Brexit, we will be out there on the


international scene trying to curry favour, make closer friendships with


other countries, secure favourable trade agreements and where will we


be operating from? Basically a Portakabin in the courtyard of the


Department of the government, and also it's important to remember that


in the longer run, the costs are neutral whether we decamped or we do


it quickly. Clarify one thing. I understand the plan that you get the


Lords to move, because nobody really cares where they go, and you move


the Commons into their chamber but if you keep both, what would you do


with them? That's one of the options, Andrew. You have raised it.


If you can't move the Commons into the Lords and the Lords into the


Commons, where would they go? The other option is keep both of them


and Westminster Hall could be an option. It is vast and massive and


the reason that the joint committee report says we shouldn't have the


House of Commons there is the slabs on the floor are weak. That is an


absurd reason. It's been around for a long time. As far as the roof is


concerned, it is so high, they can conveniently build a dome around it.


Within. Last time we did that it was a real success! I want to get your


response. What do you make of that? It's a nice idea but it's really


impractical for the Westminster will, by the time you add the


equipment to support everybody, there are structural issues. And it


is a World Heritage site, that's the oldest most historic part of the


Palace. The government is responsible for the World Heritage


site and it is an internationally iconic building, so it unthinkable


we don't do anything about it. Doing nothing is not an option but we need


to move on. Your suggestion is very complicated and could be very


costly. It does mean the building would effectively be at a full


commission for at least 11 years whereas the do it fast option is the


public could get back into it quicker, and is for the public, too,


not just MPs. Its tax payers money. Their time estimates are based on


one shift per day, 95. If they did three shifts, and much of the work


is underground, cables and electable cables and so on, they will have to


work with lights anyway, so the time frame can be shortened


substantially. The other important thing to remember if I'm saying we


do this this summer. The full decamped option says we should all


decamped in six years' time and in the meantime, we continue to spend


?600 million for patch up work and it is a complete waste of money. It


would be crazy to start this summer because they got a full properly


worked out spec. You can start some of the work. If you are building an


extension at home, you wouldn't allow people to shift the agenda.


You would have a clear spec. There is other work going on. That's


partly because we haven't made the decision up to now and we can't be


held responsible. We need to plan it. I want to come back to the


decision process in a moment. Let me get Jenni's reaction? I'm in almost


full hearted agreement with you, which doesn't happen very often. I


find myself thinking that you are absolute lit right that it matters


particularly at a tame of Brexit. Do you think both Chambers would stay


or move out? Inclined to think, to let go of all the rituals that go


along with Parliament, is part of Britain's sense of who we are and


what matters. They'll be in a different thing. It's like a


Portakabin. Not really. Slight exaggeration but it's worth some


delay in order to have the continuity of keeping the Commons in


one part of the Palace of Westminster. I'm not being


knowledgeable here, just emotional. A lot of decisions are. You could


also, as part of deech luges and making sure Parliament reengages


with the country, you could move the Lords to Scunthorpe. Steady on! I


have to say... That would be expensive. I find myself disagreeing


with Jenni on the question of ritual and I never thought I would say


this. 20 years ago I would have even rated that place but I would go for


a complete demolition actually. Of all the buildings? Apart from


Westminster Hall. Westminster Hall where Charles I was tried and


William Wallace. Wouldn't we end up with the international courts with


that, it's a World Heritage Site. I'm only half joking in that I think


that the people who work in that building overestimate, overstate the


public's affection for the building and I think a lot of the flummery


that takes place in the Commons under the name of ritual and


tradition is actually like a 19th version of the 17th century fake


version. I find myself in the unusual position of being in a


modernised process. But you still knead a building to do all the work


in. The building is not going to be knocked down, despite what Mr Martin


says. That may breach BBC impartiality rules but I think


that's a safe bet. We have enough problems with the existing options.


Tell us briefly, what is the process, is it the Commons that


determines this, both Houses determine it, what happens?


Ultimately because the Commons is the primary chamber, but the


Government determines when the vote will take place and how that vote


will happen. If you go for more than one option now, what we were


concerned about is that then you have to work up two detailed


business plans rather than just one. Do you do one at the same time or


the other, or go for all the evidence so it shows to us which is


the most cost effective and start work on that. When do you expect the


decision to be taken? There have been indications that it could be


before Easter but the Government have lots on their plate at the


moment, I'm not holding my breath. We have got to move on, we cannot


keep delaying the decision. Thank you very much.


This May, people living in six city regions will get to vote


These are new posts the government is insisting areas have to have


if they want powers transferred from Westminster to


In the West Midlands, the mayor will have an annual budget


of around 40 million and responsibility for transport,


housing and job creation projects over an area stretching


Jenny Kumah's been to Birmingham to meet the people


?92 million of skills and transport projects. It's all parts of plans to


boost the region 's flagging economy. And fuel the so-called


Midlands engine. Philip Hammond also went to Birmingham city centre to


see this man. He's a former boss of John Lewis. And standing as the


Conservative candidate for West Midlands Mayor. Iver and John Lewis


for Lily ten years, enjoyed a hugely, but this is a real


opportunity so I want to lead the region I grew up in the region I


return to. You got a target to eradicate youth unemployment by the


end of your term in 2020. Yes, that is achievable. We've reduced it by


20% over the last four years. The way we will achieve that is by


focusing new money, new activities on that. But this is a traditionally


strong Labour area. And labour is fielding one of their most


experienced politicians. He used to be a Birmingham MP who stood down


beef because you want to be the city's Mayor but the election never


happened because people voted in the referendum against the idea of


having one. He's now an MEP and his mayoral campaign slogan has echoes


of the leave campaign. I've been using this phrase for seven years,


is because it was Sisley expresses exactly what it is that we are and


we need to do. If it was appropriated last year by some other


people for another purpose, that's not my problem and I'm not going to


stop using the phrase that I have been using for years to say what has


to be said about my place. We are going to take back control of the


West Midlands from London. Jeremy Corbyn, is yet help or hindrance to


your campaign? My concern is not who is the leader of the Labour Party.


But why are huge chunks of our public services being determined by


people in London who don't know anything about the West Midlands?


Other parties are determined not to make a two horse race between


Conservatives and Labour. Essentially we've had a few


surprises in politics recently. Brexit and Trump. Was always a


chance we might make a lucky third one and I'm absolutely in it to win


it. The Mayor will chair the combined authority board and if we


get a Labour Mayor my view is nothing will change. If we get a


Conservative Mayor nothing will happen. If we get a Lib Dem Mayor I


believe I can be a real unifying voice, I can bring together a


cross-party consensus. I think they should consider voting Green because


traditionally Labour have let people down here. If you look at the map 25


years ago the least well-off areas and a map now, it is completely


unchanged. I don't think any of the other candidates explain a position


which appeals to ordinary people. That's what the Communists are


standing. That's all the politics of how much of the candidates know


about the local area? We decided to test them with our West Midlands


quiz. The first motorised funeral was held in Coventry. Funeral? But a


good claim to fame so let's go for true. Correct. True. Wolverhampton


is the youngest city in Europe would under 25 accounting for nearly 40%


of the population? I would say false, I think Birmingham is younger


than one Bampton. -- Wolverhampton. Correct. Lawn tennis was first


played and invented in deadly over 100 years ago. That is false.


Edgbaston. Probably false, it sounds a soft southern game to me. The


answer to who would be the first West Midlands Mayor will be


available after the vote on May the 4th.


And we're joined now by the BBC's Midlands Political


I think there's a lot of interest in this Mayor for the West Midlands


because you seem to have a real race on your hands there, don't you? We


absolutely do. There is a sense some of the other ones in major cities


north of here look a little bit like a foregone conclusion whereas here,


to some extent, yes, this is the first of a new kind of election,


there is nothing directly, no particular experience from the past


to draw on, although the police and crime commission on elections are a


little bit like it. It is a much more personality focused campaign,


so the usual party political rankings, are not a complete guide


as they have been in the past about, having said that, yes, we have a


genuine contest here between some well-known candidates with


reasonably high profiles locally and nationally. We are hearing


expressions of confidence certainly from the Conservative and Labour


sides, the Conservatives point out that some research by the Centre for


cities suggest that they only need a 4% swing to them from the way the


results stacked up in 2015 general election for them to win this one,


but Labour on the other hand say if you simply look at the vote from a


general election, you find this is strongly a Labour area but, as we


know, party politics have moved on a lot since then. Patcher, do people


feel this is a coherent region with Birmingham at the heart of it? --


Patrick. Do people in Wolverhampton feel they belong to the same region


as the people in Coventry? The politicians make it a region but do


the people? That's a very important point because for the political


leaders to whom you refer to, to get this historic agreement as it was


hailed at the time, bring together the great tribal fiefdoms of the


Black Country and Birmingham, it was seen as a thing at the top but


frankly, there was great resistance, not just amongst the people, but


local councillors. You are accused of re-venturing into the


relationship between turkeys and Christmas but nevertheless you have


put your finger very much on point and the key thing to remember in all


of this is David Cameron and George Osborne said if you wanted the


maximum level of devolution, you had to have what they call the focal


point for accountability right at the top around whom people could


rally, and the evidence of... In fact two referendums in Birmingham


and one in Coventry, the experience of an elected Mayor in Stoke were


they had a referendum and voted it down, is that there is active


popular hostility to this, so we have the ironic situation that in


the name of local democracy, the government has imposed what looks to


many critics like a top-down solution. OK, Patrick, it's good to


have a race on your hands so we look forward to coming back to and you


can tell us how the race is going. Just time now for a bite-size


review of the political Jeremy Corbyn's tax return raised


more questions than it answered. It seemed he'd missed off his pay


for being leader of the opposition. Labour said it was there under


a different heading. A two billion euro takeover


of Vauxhall prompted job worries but the new boss said its two UK


factories will stay open. Michael Heseltine was one of 13


Tory peers who demanded To ensure that Parliament


is the ultimate custodian Ministers were defeated,


and Lord Heseltine was fired PMQs was a riot for the PM


despite Jeremy Corbyn's efforts to embarrass her over social care


funding deals in Surrey. And, no surprises,


promised Philip Hammond. Inside the red box


there was a surprise for his own backbenchers -


a rise in national insurance. There's just time before we go


to find out the answer to our quiz. Today EU leaders are meeting


in Brussels in the new Europa So the question was what has that


building been nicknamed? they call of the Space Egg, I don't


know why. Anyway that's enough for today.


I'll be back on Sunday with the Sunday Politics.


The thing that's so clear is that it's 100% honest.


We're right in the middle of the action.


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