Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by columnist Rod Liddle to discuss the chancellor's U-turn on National Insurance rises with Conservative MP Oliver Letwin.
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Hello and welcome to the Daily Politics.
Questions over the Conservatives general election campaign spending
have snowballed this morning, as the party is fined a record
Meanwhile, 12 police forces investigating local Tory campaigns
Chancellor Phillip Hammond is forced to drop a tax rise
, so where could the Government be forced to back down next?
With reports of student unions banning certain newspapers,
words like "man-kind" and even "sombreros", is free speech
really under threat at British universities?
And style, understatement, refinement - all things
you won't find in this limousine made for Donald Trump and about to
All that in the next hour and with us for the whole
of the programme today, someone I can assure you didn't
arrive here by limousine - not least because he'd quickly write
an article about the BBC wasting money - it's
Let's begin today with the news that the Conservatives have been
fined a record ?70,000 by the electoral commission.
This is one of a series of investigations into how the party
spent money at the 2015 general election and a number
It follows a long-running investigation into claims the Tories
may have broken electoral law by Channel 4 News, which in turn led
Well, don't worry, because JoCo is here with the details.
Political parties have to keep a record of all their spending
during election campaigns to make sure they comply with
The Electoral Commission, the independent watchdog
which oversees election expenses has fined the Conservatives a record
?70,000 for breaking election expense rules.
The Commission says there were "numerous failures"
in reporting the spending on three by-elections in 2014
These included missing payments of at least ?104,000 and ?118,000
that was either not reported or incorrectly reported.
A portion of that amount was recorded as national party
spending when it should have been written down as local
candidate spending, which has much smaller limits.
What's more Conservatries did not include the required invoices
or receipts for 81 payments to the value of nearly ?53,000.
The Conservatives have accepted the fine and said they made
Separately, a dozen police forces have sent files
to the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether charges
should be brought over how the Conservatives spent money
The Tories aren't the only party to feel the force
of the Electoral Commission, last year both Labour and the Lib
Dems were fined ?20,000 each for undeclared election expenses.
I spoke to Claire Bassett the chief executive
of the Electoral Commission earlier and I begain by asking
of the Electoral Commission earlier and I began by asking
her what she thought of the Conservatives claim
that they made an administrative error.
What we have found is a number of failings right across three
by-elections in 2014 and the UK Parliamentary general election
in 2015 that covered a number of aspects of the work.
We think these are unprecedented, the level we have seen,
and for that reason, we have imposed a ?70,000 fine
which is the highest we have ever imposed.
Would you have imposed more if you had had the scope to do so?
That ?70,000 actually represents five different separate fines
which have been added up, and certainly, at least one of those
we would have liked to have been higher than the maximum ?20,000
We think that level is just too low and that, in fact,
this could be seen as a cost of doing business for some parties,
particularly if you are spending millions of pounds at a general
We would like to see Parliament increase that,
certainly, so it is in line with other regulators.
Just to ask again about the administrative error
line, or justification, from the Conservatives -
do you think that is justified in terms of this explanation?
Well, what we have found, we examined the national party
spending return for the by-elections and for the general election
and what we found was numerous instances where campaign spending
was either inaccurately reported, missing, or not apportioned
properly and what that says is that there was a system failure
in how they were recording that spending and how those
So it is a significant failure and what it meant
is that we were actually unable to establish accurate
levels of what was spent in some areas, for example.
The whole controversy has centred around what actually
counts as local spending, local campaign spending
for a specific candidate in a specific constituency,
and national spending from the central office of a party
As far as you are concerned, what is the main difference?
What we have looked at is only the national spending,
Candidate spending returns are under a different regime
and that is what the police and the CPS are looking at.
But in terms of what we looked at, money spent on campaigning -
was it spent on the big national campaigns that were about getting
that party elected or were they about supporting an individual
candidate in a specific constituency to get elected?
I think that is the best way of summarising the difference.
How co-operative were the Conservatives?
Well, there have been some delays in completing the investigation
and those are largely down to difficulties we have had
obtaining information to carry out this investigation
and unfortunately, at one point, we did have to seek
Labour and the Liberal Democrats were also fined ?20,000 each.
The Conservatives have been fined significantly more.
Does that mean that the Conservatives were a lot worse?
It means the scale and nature was more serious.
The Conservatives' was also across the three by-elections
which wasn't the case in the other two.
But that fine also reflects the difficulty we had
in completing the investigation, the challenges brought
In the other two instances, both the parties very quickly
put their hands up and co-operated fully with the investigations,
which unfortunately was not the case here.
And we did ask to speak to the Conservatives and Labour
on this issue this morning, but neither want to
Maybe they are busy doing something else.
But let's talk now to our assistant political editor, Norman Smith.
He's outside the Conservative Party's HQ,
central office as it used to be known, in Westminster.
Norman, so a record fine from the Commission and now all eyes on the
Crown Prosecution Service. Because that will establish as to whether
this breach of the election rules was deliberate. It was a tactic by
the Conservative Party, in effect to give them an advantage in key
marginal seats by enabling their candidates to spend more. Now, the
electoral Commission are saying this is not something they investigate,
this is beyond their jurisdiction. They simply do not know what the
intent was, whether it was honest administrative error, as
Conservative officials here insist, or whether there was a deliberate
intent to give Tory candidates a key advantage in those critical wards.
But, I mean there is no getting away, I think, from the severity and
almost anger, you sense from the Electoral Commission at the way the
Conservative Party responded to this investigation, the fact they had to
get a court order to obtain the key documents. And there is also one
telling paragraph towards the end of the report where they say they fear
there was "a realistic prospect that Conservative candidates did indeed
have an advantage." Now that is clearly, I suppose the smoking gun.
Whether this at the end of the day was simply poor book keeping or
something else was going on. Norman that's Tory headquarters behind you
there in our shot. How worried are they in that building? ? Well, I
think they have to be worried. I mean these are very, very serious
suggestions and they are just allegations, let's be honest. I mean
their response so far, it seems to me, to be rather desperately
suggesting that really this as big news as we seem to think it is, this
was down to some administrative mistakes. They suggest the amount of
money involved is comparatively small compared to their overall
election spend. 0.6%. They say they have never been fined for this sort
of thing before. They are also crit of the electoral -- critical of the
Electoral Commission, taking a swipe at them, suggesting they need to
review the way they go about their work. But clearly we need to wait
until the police conclude their inquiries to get more details as to
whether this was deliberate and whether there was intent behind the
abuse of rules. Busy say. Rod Liddell how serious is it for the
Tories? Very serious. The laughable thing is Labour hasn't making as
much hay as it as they should be. You could, at the least, if the
smoking gun is found, as Norman say, demand a rerun of the by elections,
even though the general election superceded, in the Will the defence
of dome crasscy. The reality is the spend per constituent... It is quite
small It is quite small, it could have a significant difference.
Labour may not be making as much of it as you think they should because
they got fined. It was ?20,000. The Tories have ?7 o 0,000 and it is a
record -- ?70,000 Yes but we have been looking into the Tory with more
alack right and vigorous. And of course, Ukip. I think they got down
and Labour. Ukip are being investigated but we haven't heard
from the Electoral Commission from them. But Labour and the be Lib Dems
are caught up in an investigation too. The reason they are keeping
quite quiet. The obvious thing to ask for is a rerun of the
by-elections, in terms of democracy, what is the last thing that Jeremy
Corbyn wants now? Probably and more late Thursday nights for us More
late Thursday nights for you. Those are the words
of Chancellor Philip Hammond in this morning's Sun,
as he explains the Government's decision to perform a U-turn
on its planned rise in National Insurance only a week
after he announced it at the Budget. The toxic mixture of being seen
to break a manifesto commitment, opposition from Tory MPs,
the newspapers, and crucially, to the plan and Mr Hammond had to go
the despatch box yesterday to eat a fairly big
serving of humble pie. It is very important,
both to me and to my right honourable friend,
the Prime Minister, that we comply not just with the letter but also
the spirit of the commitments Therefore, as I set out in my letter
this morning to the chairman of the select committee,
my right honourable friend, the member for Chichester,
I have decided not to proceed with the class four NICs measures
set out in the Budget. There will be no increases
in National Insurance contribution The genuinely self-employed
carry real financial risk I know that a Conservative
government really wants a tax system that will support risk takers
and growth creators. Will the Chancellor commit to work
with colleagues over the coming months who believe it is time
to take a holistic and simplifying view of personal taxation
for the self-employed which will support
wholeheartedly those who build Might the Chancellor consider
to make up the loss in revenue to bear down on those employers
who force their employees into self-employment
against their wish, destabilise their lives
and thereby get out of paying National Insurance contributions,
as all good employers do pay? As a slavish supporter
of the Government, I am in some difficulty because my article
robustly supporting the Chancellor's early policy
in the Forest Journal is already Having been persuaded
of the correctness of the course he is now following,
I merely needed an opportunity Joining us now is the former
Minister for Government A Welcome back to the programme. Now
you were involved in drawing up the Tory manifesto for 2015. It stated
four times there would be no rise in national insurance contributions.
Did you forget to send a copy to Philip Hammond? I'm not responsible
for sending copies of manifesto for anybody. I suspect what was
happening was the Treasury was focussing on the legislation that
then happened and that legislation specifically tied down income tax
and the ordinary national insurance you and I play as employees but
didn't tie down the self-employed such. I suspect they focussed on
that. You know civil servants keep an eye on the manifesto as W they
read through it and gut it before parties come into power and yet we
learn that Mr Hammond wasn't even sure that this was a Conservative
manifesto pledge until he heard the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg say it in
this very studio. That's remarkable. It is not as remarkable as it would
be if it had not been translated into law... One particular type of
National Insurance was put into law, the manifesto did not discriminate.
You are right it did not but the lauded. When the law was going
through, the Labour Party said we were doing it to fulfil the
manifesto commitment. It was what it was mainly aimed at. The manifesto
was not consistent ultimately with what Philip Hammond did. As a matter
of history, we will all recall, what was going on was there was a big
hoo-ha about raising income tax and the suggestion that the ordinary
National Insurance would be raised. Nobody thought it actually referred
to the class two, three, four NICS. We were meant to work that out? A
senior adviser to Mr Cameron said it was an idea you thought up on the
hoof at the last minute, and emptied it in the election grid and you
said, make a promise not to raise income tax, National Insurance, VAT.
Long history, a question of whether Ed Miliband would raise taxes, the
suggestion he would raise National Insurance instead. Would the Tories
raise it as well? In retrospect, it would have been better if it had
been more carefully phrased so in that, rather than just... So that it
could have exempted what Philip Hammond is trying to do. Fact is
fact. As we are now, it is right that we come back to this issue in
the next Parliament after a review. Fiasco, shambles? No, no. Three
weeks from now, you will not remember what it was about. I can
assure you I will! Be in no bad about that! You will be on to the
next big thing. There are some big things and this is quite a small
thing. The big-ticket item is the question of whether the Budget needs
to be fiscally neutral. Philip decided rightly it should be. It
will now have to be done in a different way. We might forget it or
put it to the back of our minds if you do a U-turn on something else,
now you have shown you are an easy target for backbench treasure. What
is the next? New schools funding, grammar schools? Probate charges
which are going to shoot through the roof? I am charmed you think I am
the representative of Her Majesty's government. I was dismissed a year
ago. You going to defend them even though you will probably come back
and say they were right to change in four weeks? I am happy to defend
rational policy-making. I think the change Philip Hammond made was
rational even though it contradicted the manifesto. I know it is
extremely difficult to judge all of these things. There will be changes
of course. The big issue is whether in general the Government is taking
us in the right direction and it is. It has poisoned the well between ten
and 11. Mr Hammond's acolytes off the record briefed that the people
around the Prime Minister are economically illiterate. The
consequence is these people who have never been known not to bear a
grudge, they go for Mr Hammond and force him into having to back down.
It is not yet at the Tony Blair- George Brown shade of things but it
is not great. Compared to what happened for many years... That was
not good for the country. This is not good for the country. I do not
actually think there is a breakdown at all. I do not know the intimate
detail but my impression is that actually both Philip and Theresa
will find a good way of operating. Tony Blair and George Brown managed
to run a government without operating. If you were Jean-Claude
Juncker or any of the other negotiators, you would look and say,
this government is a pushover, give them pressure and they capitulate.
It hardly suggest that when you get to something that really matters
like the Brexit negotiations that you will be able to stand up. If
that is a mistake that EU negotiators make it will be a very
serious mistake because Theresa May is no pushover. Challenged by the
House of Lords on a much bigger issue, she robustly stood up for the
position she was taking and the House of Lords backed down. If you
are asking the question, will Theresa May stick up for her
position on the EU Brexit? She will and very powerfully. I have
negotiated with her for 16 years and I almost always lost. Explain to me,
you said to me that this policy, the one announced in the budget, was
rational. But it was counted out in the manifesto and the rational
policy which was introduced last week is now no more. By definition,
that makes your government is rational. No. It means there was a
rational policy which it was not possible to pursue because the
manifesto was badly worded. It was a mistake. The moral case, if that is
as you are saying, it would have been to say, we were did the
manifesto wrongly, the policy stays. Between us, I would have preferred
it to be said. You backing the U-turn or sticking with the
pre-U-turn policy? The pre-U-turn policy was good. It will have to
come back in a different form. Sticking to the exact words of the
manifesto is an important issue because at the next time we issue a
manifesto, people need to know it is what we will do. I want to move on
to election expenses, your party has been fined a record ?70,000, you
failed to declare ?276,000 of expenses. Can nobody count in Tory
Central office? As you observed earlier, all three political parties
were found to have accounting systems which were not... Not like
you both. The inaccuracies were in the three by-elections as well, it
is a larger fine. All parties should obviously have accounting systems
which are perfect. The Electoral Commission said the scale was
completely different for the Conservatives, the scale and scope
of the issues concerning the Conservative Party election
expenses. And they could not get anything out of you. They were not
trained to get anything out of me! The parties should always cooperate
with the authorities -- they were not trying to get anything out of
me. The Electoral Commission said your party was guilty of
unreasonable and uncooperative conduct. At one stage, to get
central office to release information, they had to go for a
court order. There is law here and what parties are obliged to do is
break the law and part of that is to have accounting systems that work,
we should have that, it is an embarrassment... Given that the
accounting systems were pretty dodgy... Not Baggio, wrong. -- not
dodgy. I will not accept that they were dodgy. It suggest someone was
intentionally... We do not know. We both know, we all know, that the
prosecuting authorities, the police, are properly looking at it. Why
didn't you call operate? I suspect the accounting systems were just
wrong. It was clear you had made mistakes, intentionally or not, that
is a matter for down the road. Why didn't you call operate? I think the
party did have to cooperate will stop unreasonable and uncooperative
conduct. You delayed the investigation for months. When you
say, I did not delay anything... The party delayed the investigation for
months. I suspect there are many different accounts of exactly what
went on. The important point is, we should not have been in this
position. If the accounts had been perfect, this would not happen.
Whose fault is it? They have been reported to the police. As has the
opposite number in the Lib Dems. It is the correct thing to do. The
accounting systems were wrong. The fact is, 70,000 is a slap on the
wrist. You need to have a blue ball and get some Tory hedge funds
supporter, have little Jemima and Hamish some work express for a --
work express for a couple of days. You are making it into a major
political thing. The real disincentive for parties which will
force them to keep proper accounts is the fact you have terrible
problems in the media and with the public if you don't. The real thing
is that 12 police forces are reporting your party to the CPS. I
suspect they will clear the party of any wrongdoing in that sense. 12
police forces are wrong? All 12? We do not know what they said. You must
not prejudge these things. You are... We don't know what the
outcome is. I suspect it will be to clear them. I am saying it is wrong
not to have proper accounting systems. What actually keeps the
parties honest in that respect and make sure they do do their job
properly is the amount of exposure that goes on if you don't. That is
more important than a fine. Shouldn't we go and run the
by-elections again? You can do what you like! Sorry to be the moral
arbiter on this programme, wouldn't that be the moral thing to do? It
would be silly for someone to do that. They need to see what happens
with the prosecuting authorities. Having a moral arbiter is a pretty
new thing to have in politics! Oliver Letwin, thank you very much.
Now, let's talk a little further about that Government U-turn
on the rises in National Insurance contributions.
It was announced shortly before PMQs yesterday, which didn't give
Labour's Jeremy Corbyn long to work out how to exploit the climb-down.
But it also caused problems for some on the Conservative side,
including the International Development Minister, Rory Stewart,
who had been defending the tax rise in this very studio just before
It is important to understand that the majority of self-employed
people will not be worse off as a result of this measure.
The pension benefits have gone up over time and the reason for the
discrepancy is gone. It is important to understand
that the majority of self-employed people will not be worse off
as a result of this measure. So, if you're on, for example,
?17,000 a year, like the majority of my constituents, you would be
?309 better off in terms of your tax It sounds to me as though
the Government has made a difficult decision,
which I think is the right decision, which is that we have to keep
to the spirit of the manifesto. Amazing how quickly the U-turn is
can change people's mines! We're joined now by Tom Newton-Dunn
from the Sun and by Kate McCann It was a big screeching U-turn. It
was. Record-breaking. We have never had the main tax policy of a budget
collapse within seven days. Six days. That is true. The credibility
of the Chancellor? It has not helped him a huge amount. I would say he is
damaged but this is far from terminal. Rumours of Philip
Hammond's demise and sacking in the summer are grossly exaggerated. The
truth is the PM and the Chancellor are an old married couple and like a
lot of old married couples, there is not a lot of love left but they will
go on together. Speak for yourself! The last Tory manifesto was before
his time, he said, before the time of the current leadership, it does
not really wash, does it? It does not. I do not think Oliver Letwin's
comments will wash either, him saying we were only talking about
class one NICS. We have all had to learn the differences! It is
disingenuous to make that argument. It gets to the heart of the problem
which is that you should not put things like this in the manifesto
because National Insurance is of -- is a massive revenue raiser. Massive
learning curve, what have we learnt about this government? What does it
say about Theresa May and Philip Hammond? We have learned they are
seriously capable of major screw ups. We will get to the bottom of
this eventually. I am told there is a great story at the time of the
making of the decision. The original tax rise or the U-turn? The original
tax rise. Philip Hammond is an excessive physical disciplinarian,
he has to make the budgets balanced and find ways of paying for things
that will not come out or borrowing so he won the original battle to pay
for the 2 billion of social care and Oliver Letwin could have tried to
explain how on earth he left Philip Hammond with the hospital pass of 1
million ring fences. He won the original battle and it went terribly
wrong and Number 10 say they predicted it in advance, hence why
then forced a pretty rapid U-turn. We know from that that decisions are
made in Number 10 far too quickly and informed and there is another
element, putting all of this into the wider perspective, the Tory MPs
are talking about this today, the sheer workload on top of the
Chancellor and the PM, Brexit, Donald Trump, the fiscal problem,
how to pay for social care and the NHS, and the Scottish referendum.
You think these mistakes will become more frequent as a result? Four
crises pretty tough to deal with and it is almost inevitable the wheels
will come off on one of them. We talked briefly before with Oliver
Letwin about if they folded under pressure over this issue, in
physical terms, ?2 billion, what will be the next thing they will
fault over? Problems with the schools funding already. The
government whips are worried about the bus services Bill which sounds
boring but lots of backbench MPs are upset about that, cutting bus
services in local constituencies. The wider problem is exactly what
you say, what it means for party discipline. Tory MPs have
effectively become the official opposition. Jeremy Corbyn is not
holding Theresa May to account. We saw that yesterday. The U-turn was
forced by the Tory backbenches. It is not anything to do with the
Labour Party. In terms of Tory backbenchers, we
demonstrated with Rory Stewart, he had to about-turn on air and Dominic
Raab was defending the policy after the Budget, how upset will they be,
in terms of having defended a policy that then makes them look stupid
when it is dropped? Very upset. There is the policy mess and the
communications handling of it. To have a mid-rapging Government
minister, live on television and not telling him, no-one bothering to
ring up and say - don't go too strong on this, we are about to pull
the rug from under your feet. Although a letter was sent. Why does
number ten not know we have a minister live on air defending this.
It wreaks of a shambles. Let's talk about Labour, Jeremy Corbyn had to
respond. He had about 20 minutes or so when this became apparent that
the Chancellor was going to drop these tax rises on national
insurance contributions and it seems he did not handle it W what impact
does that have on Labour and the Government? The impactd on the
Government is to cheer them up immensely. There is, as Kate says,
there is no official Opposition effectively. No attempt to hold
Theresa May to K he simply cannot do it. All he can do is wish everybody
a happy St Patrick's Day. An, enanity. So, off Labour Party where
the majority of the Labour MPs do not like him and are clubbed
together because the alternative could be worse than Corbyn and an
electorate which also does not like him and mistrusts him even more than
it mistrusted Ed Miliband. It is absolutely disastrous. And I can't
see any way out of it at all in the short term. You know, this is going
to go on for two years. Thank you both very much.
We are getting reports of a shooting in the French down of Grasse in the
Cote d'Azur. We don't have any details yet. Implications is that it
is a terrorist incident but we don't yet know.
Are universities restricting free speech?
The practice of "no-platforming", where individuals are banned
from speaking on campus, aren't new, but there have been reports that
an increasing number of people and activities are being restricted
over questions of sexuality, race and gender.
Jenny Kumah's been back to university to find out more.
University - a place for debating, challenging ideas and analysing
But campuses also strive to be places where all students feel safe
and able to get involved without judgment and intimidation.
It seems these two ideas are causing conflict on campus.
There is growing concern that some student unions are becoming
increasingly restrictive as they try to balance
allowing free speech with protecting different groups.
There have been a number of high-profile incidents recently,
like one union banning Mexican hats from a freshers' fare
for being racist, and some unions have banned cross dressing for fun.
Here at Queen Mary University of London, the Free-Speech Society
isn't happy that a vote has resulted in a ban on the Sun,
the Daily Mail and the Daily Express being sold at union-run shops here.
Why shouldn't students be able to purchase them on campus
and discuss the ideas and challenge them if they don't like them
We should have that debate and have those discussions,
but banning them or banning the sale of them doesn't help
The student union told me there is no one available
to give an interview today, but they have just e-mailed me
a statement and they say this is a commercial boycott
and the union should not tolerate hateful
discourse in its venues, including in the
But questions have also been raised about student unions
Six groups are not allowed a platform on campuses
But recent decisions to exclude some high-profile
Feminist writer Julie Bindel was barred from speaking
They said her views on trans people would incite hatred.
And a National Union of Student representative refused to share
a platform with gay rights activist Peter Tatchell, accusing him
Your party's long history of anti-Semitism, homophobia and
When you have got a massive platform in the media and elsewhere
suggesting that your freedom of speech has been curtailed
by you not being invited to a student union event,
Students are exercising their freedom of speech
by calling out and disagreeing with certain views.
But last October, police were called to the University College London
when things got heated as pro-Palestinian supporters
protested about a former Israeli soldier's talk.
A university report found individuals planned to stop
the event and created an intimidating atmosphere.
This week, Baroness Deech called on the Government to write
to university authorities to urge them to make sure that
their self-governing, democratically-elected student
Universities need to act promptly when the law is broken and deal
with the offending students quickly, otherwise the students will go down,
it will be the end of term, and the situation will not
Baroness Deech says she is considering putting
forward an amendment to the Higher Education Bill
to strengthen free speech at universities, but the Government
insists there are already sufficient laws in place.
Before we move on. More reports of what is happening in France. Several
people seem to be injured in a shooting incident at a French
school. A gunman son understood to have opened fire at a high school in
Grasse, about 30 minutes north of Cannes on the Cote d'Azur. The
headteacher is said to be among those wounded. So we are getting a
little bit more of a picture there, but still a lot yet to come through.
Going back to the story we did the film on now. We are joined by author
and journalist Kate Welsh. Welcome to the programme. A recent free
speech survey by Spike said 94% of UK universities have censored free
speech in the past year, some have no platform, people like Germaine
Greer, Roger sth Scruton and a human rights' activist called Miriam
Namasi. Are you happy? I don't believe it is censorship. I think
freedom of speech is the right to accept the consequences of that
speech. That means if certain institutions don't want to promote
or give you a platform to say these things, then you have to accept
that. Really? Yes, I do. That's not curtailing freedom of speech? No, I
don't think it is. But people... People like Germaine Greer. But you
have taken away the freedom of these people to speak at the university?
They can speak wherever they like. But it freedom of speech is not
freedom to be invited wherever you want. What is the point of a
university if you don't allow a variety of views to be expressed? A
variety of views, that's absolutely fine. Clearly not if you are
Germaine Greer. I think - students are being asked to pay increasingly
higher fees. I think that if they object to people like Germaine
Greer, Julie Bindel and others being given, frequently pretty hefty
speaking frees and a plot form at their universities. Julie Bildel
does not take fees for that and she has worked for 30 years raising
awareness of violence against women and done so, you know, thanklessly
and for her to be bored from universities, simply because she has
a different view to you or so. People in that university about
transgender issues is a disgrace, as it is with Peter Tatchell. Hold on,
hold on. Let Kate Welsh come back. Just to save money. It is ludicrous.
I think Julie Bindel has done some fantastic things for women's issues,
I will not decry that. I believe she has frequently incited hatred
against transgender people. She hasn't. She has defended them. I
have heard her do it. She has done it to me of I have spoken to her
about it. She has supported trapped gender people. She look test notion,
a scientific fact that someone who has transitioned from a man to a
woman is still, technically, essentially, a man. The issue is not
right or wrong, the issue is shouldn't you be able to hear the
views on both sides of the argument. The Lincoln university, the student
union t banned the university Conservative Association from social
media because the Association had point odd out that the university
had a low ranking what enit came to free speech. This is getting
ridiculous I don't think that is on the same par as criticising who is
being invited to speak at universities or to say that a
democratically elected student union, preferring not to sell papers
like the Daily Mail. Why would you do it at all? Why are you scared
of... ? I'm in the remotely scared. Isn't a university exactly the place
where there should be this cross fertilisation of ideas of political
opinions, a breadth of ininformed opinion, of contentious opinion, of
things which you might find difficult to accept and things which
I might find difficult to accept. That's what should happen at
university. Surely that's point? But freedom of speech and freedom of
expression for minority groups has traditionally been oppressed or made
difficult to access by people who criticise their ability to exist,
like Julie Bindel with transpeople. She doesn't criticise that. We havep
been around that. The principle at issue is here is not the rights or
wrongs of any of the issue, it is that a of university, if you are
lucky enough to get to one, is one of the view times in your life when
you can go along and hear every view under the sun, but, in fact, what is
happening now, is that the views are being channelled into a very narrow
tunnel and if you are outside of that with your views, you don't get
in? I think it is a very exciting time to be a student right now. I
graduated ten years ago, we didn't - the progressive movement that's
flowering now was reallip only in bud then but I think students are
turning around and saying no to bigotry and hate speech. Well they
can go to meetingsings and say that. It is a main or the doing that. It
is the minority in the student unions doing that. I speak to
someone with a kid at university. He said all this rubbish, this idiocy,
this politically correct nonsense has no purchase whatsoever amongst
the wider student body. It has a purchase only amongst the perenlely
active amongst the political groups within there. . Who are generally
from oppressed groups. Universities have been a safe place for straight,
white men. We are seeing now an increase, a levelling of the playing
field for other voices to be heard. You are stopping other people's
voices being heard. That will mean removing the platform from one
person and giving it to someone else. Well, a women removing it from
a gay woman. City University in London, a who runs a well-known
journalism course, voted to ban the Daily Mail and The Daily Express.
Running a journalism course, fabulous The Daily Mail and
journalism don't go hand in hand. That is your view. That doesn't give
you a vote for banning them They are saying that in this specific campus,
they are not banning it anywhere else. Where people are studying
journalism. If you don't like the Daily Mail, I can understand that,
but... It is commercial boycotting. There was theed a am Smith institute
support recently which suggested, I think that 85% of university
lecturers tended to the left, were liberals, tended to the left. Sure
but that's always been the case. That's regularly the case, pretty
much. Back in the '60s they did this comparison it was something like
60%, still a majority but nothing like the hegonomy within those
universities now, is all from this sort of left, liberal, censorious,
intolerant and there are tearian. Well that's your view as well. Sthoo
yes, I have just said it. Yes, in terms of viewpoint, it isn't
generally accepted by everyone that that is the view at universities.
Well left-wing view is. Thank you very much. We'll move on.
Now, it's been another interesting week for Ukip,
after they were forced to deny on Tuesday that they had suspended
former donor and founder of the Leave.EU campaign,
Mr Banks had previously donated ?1 million to the party,
but in recent months, he had been very critical of the new Ukip
leadership and of the party's only Westminster MP.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Banks tweeted that his Ukip
He claimed this was because he had accused the current Ukip leadership
of not being able to "knock the skin off a rice pudding".
And also confirmed he would be setting up his own "movement" -
calling it Ukip 2.0 the force awakens - on Twitter.
A Ukip party spokesman instead said that Mr Banks
had not been suspended but that his membership lapsed
in January and he "chose not to renew, despite reminders".
Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell, who isn't exactly best
friends with Mr Banks, made the slightly barbed response,
"It's always very sad when one of Ukip's 40,000 members leaves
the party for whatever reason," he said.
And we are joined now by the Ukip MEP, Bill Etheridge.
Welcome to the programme. Is the party trying to silence Arron Banks?
Ukip does not silence anyone, we are often in the headlines for debating
things voraciously between us. You could not silence Arron Banks if you
wanted to. Has he been suspended? His membership lapse. There is no
hard feelings for the leadership towards Arron Banks and I would hope
the other way round either. Even though he has been critical of the
currently. Paul Nuttall? Arron Banks does not say things in a politically
correct way. He did a fantastic job in the referendum. I wish him well.
Relations cannot be that cordial or he would not be setting up a new
movement, he would be staying with Ukip. He has been speaking about a
new movement for some time. It will not be competing with Ukip, as I
understand it. It will be called the patriotic alliance and we have heard
today from Mr Banks's spokesman that it will be launched the day after
the May elections. Good luck to him. Democracy. You said relations are
still cordial and there are no hard feelings, that does not smack of
cordial relations if you go and set up a rival party. You can have a
difference of opinion. He can do whatever he wants. He is a very
political guy and that is great. Do you support him in his venture?
Would you consider joining? No, I am Ukip until the end and I am going to
be a part of it until the end. If it is called Ukip 2.0, the force of w
is, Star Wars and allergies, doesn't it feel as if Ukip is at war with
itself or not with itself, with another party? -- the force awakens.
He did a cross-party organisation and his aim was very similar to ours
and he has been a great help, a donor and many other things and I am
very grateful. Are you welcoming this new party adding to the colour
of democracy? No, it sounds ludicrous. The title of it and the
way it has been presented. The thing which Ukip is often prone to,
occasional bursts of amour propre. There is a huge deficit in this
country, a vast number of people are not prepared to vote for Jeremy
Corbyn's Labour Party and they are not prepared to vote for what has
become a shambles of Ukip, what we saw at Stoke and Copland. There are
all of the votes out there looking for a conduit. Ukip is effectively
dissolving. That is how it seems to me. I am not going to sit here next
to you of all people and say, we did a great job in Stoke. It was
disastrous. However, it does not mean we cannot improve and learn
from it. There is a whole range of things we can do. This country needs
a party that is more about lower taxation, smaller state, less
politically correct. I do not think that appeals to many of the Labour
voters in the north. Moving on election spending, as you know,
files have been sent to prosecutors and the Tory party has been fined
?70,000 by the Electoral Commission for issues to do with the election
expenses. In theory, as Rod Liddle raised earlier, there could be a
by-election. Why haven't you asked for one in South Thanet? We are
waiting to see how things develop. I would love to see one and I think we
would come up very strong. You could have challenged it at the time? The
party is watching and seeing how it develops. If there is not unity, we
will go at it, all guns blazing, and we would have a very strong
candidate. You would support Nigel Farage Rennie again? Great
politician. Did you listen to his interview with Marine Le Pen? I have
not listened to it yet. It will be good, I am sure. When I spoke to him
about Marine Le Pen a while ago, he distanced himself from the French
presidential candidate, she was not that then. He said, we do not want
anything to do with her. Why is he cosying up to her now? There are
fundamental differences in policy between Ukip and the National Front.
Many of them. It was right not to go into a grouping. For Nigel to speak
to another patriotic leader in Europe, have discussions, that is
perfectly legitimate. Now they are friends? Nigel is friendly with lots
of people, it does not mean they are on the same page politically. There
is an arguing for saying Theresa May should speak to her as well. An
intruder burst into the high school in southern France and open fire.
The town hall in Grasse saying it is not a terrorism incident, it
involved students. The BBC News Channel will keep you abreast of
developments during the day. Theresa May has just been speaking about the
second independence referendum for Scotland which has been proposed by
the Scottish Nationalists. She has said, now is not the time. Just now
we should be putting all our energies into making sure we get the
right deal for the UK and Scotland in our negotiations with the EU.
That is my job as Prime Minister. Right now, we should be working
together and not pulling apart, we should be working together to get
the right deal for Scotland and the UK. That is my job as Prime
Minister. For that reason, I say to the SNP, now is not the time.
Argument developing as to when the next referendum for Scottish
independence should be. The Prime Minister saying not one Brexit
negotiations going on. -- not while. Now, if you're a fan of cars
with plenty of leather, gold, wood-panelling and high-tech gadgets
- it sounds a bit like Jo-Co's Austin Allegro -
then you could be in for a treat this weekend because a limousine
that was made for one Donald J Trump Introducing the ultimate
Trump-mobile. In 1988, this luxury limo was
designed exclusively by Cadillac to carry The Donald around
his business empire. But for the last ten years,
it's been in this mechanic's yard in the little less
glamorous Gloucester. It's now owned by Craig Ayres
who says he saved it from the He knew I was interested
in Cadillacs and limos I knew it was something different,
I bought it there and then and drove Rumour has it Trump made
a deal with Cadillac to This was a prototype but the plans
were abandoned and Trump just kept It's different to drive
than anything else. You don't drive a Cadillac,
you pilot one. It had a lot of features
on there well ahead of its Everybody looks at it,
a lot of people like it. When this car was built,
no expense was spared. It was designed to cater
for Trump's every mood. Its rosewood interiors housed
a once state-of-the-art TV, VCR and even
afax machine. The roof was heightened
for extra space, and the personalised branding left nothing
to the imagination as to who might Howdy, young lady,
what do you want to know? What was it like being
owned by Donald Trump? It was pretty hair-raising,
let me tell you. There's a lot of beautiful women
that's ridden in me, I tell you. I hope I can find another
owner to love me. The car is up for auction on Sunday,
so, soon, someone else can Joining us now is the design critic
and author, Stephen Bayley. This limousine, the auction estimate
is between 10- ?12,000. I believe everything we buy tells stories
about us. It probably betrays us. You can see this in Trompe's
properties. Churchill once said about, we shape our buildings and
our buildings shaped us. Here we have a man who wants to live on a
golf course. Someone once described golf as the last refinement of the
suburban mind. Here you have a man, the leader of the free world,
dedicated himself to it. There are other paradigms where a president
might live, Frank Lloyd Wright, on the Prairie, the could have chosen a
heart. -- hut. The first television interview he did after he won the
election, he was sitting on the Louis XVI Simon King golden throne.
-- Sun King. How will you liberate the dispossessed of Kentucky?
Someone once said there was a marvellous line about the woman who
did all of Henry Frick's collecting for him, he introduced new American
money to old French furniture. There has always been that sort of thing
in American taste, you project status, the Cadillac, gold helps,
French references help. The Cadillac, the stretch limo, there
was a time, in the 80s and 90s, that was not an unusual sight in New
York. The thing unique in having that. It was a commodity stuff for
midtown Manhattan. It has rather changed now. You do not see the
stretch limos so much now, even in New York. Were they ever considered
good taste? No, I do not think so. I would be prepared to bid for the car
except it is not quite bling enough. I want it to offend people. The
problem is, these cars may work on the avenues and streets of New York,
they do not work on the Ben Delaney is of the Home Counties. -- bendy
lanes. It is a projection of tasteful stop he has a lot of taste
and it is always bad. It is 70s, is it? What about Donald Trump's taste?
I am told an MOT comes with it for a couple of months. If the tax comes
as well, I am in! You have your own flag on the door! I think it is a
rather beautiful car and I do not like cars very much. Is it
snobbery...? Yes, of course it is. He seems to be assessed with gilded
stuff. There is the strange thing in Trump Tower, I was speaking about
his preference... Trump Tower, the interior, the lobby is designed to
be waterfalls and gold and escalators, reflective surfaces
often used by people insecure in their tastes in order to project,
his apartment, I have not been invited but I have seen pictures,
that was designed by one of the people who worked on his casinos.
The president, golf and casinos, his parameters for interior design.
Heaven for him! In most parts of America, that will impress them.
The one o'clock news is starting over on BBC One now.
I'll be back here tonight on BBC One after Question Time for This Week,
with Michael Portillo, Liz Kendall, Agnes Poirier,
historian Kate Williams and Andrew Rawnsley.
I'll also be back at noon tomorrow with all the big political
The psychiatrist was a figment of his imagination.
You never live in the moment any more.
Can we find her before he does something?
If anything were to happen to her, Charlie...
Andrew Neil and Jo Coburn are joined by columnist Rod Liddle to discuss the chancellor's U-turn on National Insurance rises with Conservative MP Oliver Letwin. Plus the fine imposed on the Conservative party for breaking election spending rules and whether free speech is being curbed on university campuses.