19/01/2018 Daily Politics


19/01/2018

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LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to

the Daily Politics.

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The Justice Secretary David Gauke

drops his proposed legal

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challenge to the decision to free

the serial sex attacker Jon Worboys.

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We'll have the latest

on this breaking story.

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Theresa May and Emmanuel

Macron agree to speed up

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the processing of refugees

and migrants in Calais.

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So will this mean more unaccompanied

minors coming to Britain?

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Senior figures in the EU

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say Britain can always

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change its mind about Brexit.

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The UK Government say that

isn't going to happen.

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We speak to a senior EU politician

involved in the Brexit talks.

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And, the EU declares war...

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on plastic.

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But it shies away

from a plastics tax.

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So will its strategy work?

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All that in the next hour,

and with me for the whole programme

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today are Kate Andrews

from the Institute of

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Economic Affairs and Alex Barker,

Brussels Bureau Chief

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for the Financial Times.

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Welcome to you both.

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The breaking news today

is that the Justice Secretary David

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Gauke has announced he is not

going to pursue a legal challenge

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to the decision to release

the rapist John Worboys on licence.

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The Parole board announced

in December that the former black

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cab driver would be released

at the end of this month

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as its panel was "confident"

he would not reoffend.

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Let's listen to what Mr Gauke

said in the Commons this

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morning.

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Having taken considered and expert

legal advice, I have decided it

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would not be appropriate for me as

the Secretary of State to proceed on

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such a case. Honourable members will

appreciate I cannot expose the legal

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advice I have been given. I know

this will disappoint the victims in

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this case and members of this House.

Given the crimes for which he has

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been convicted, on a personal level,

I share those concerns.

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Our home affairs

correspondent Daniel Sandford

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joins me now.

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Victims will be disappointed, as

will others. Was he right to raise a

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judicial review in the first place?

His decision raised some eyebrows T

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idea of the Justice Secretary

reviewing his own Parole Board is

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something which is highly unusual.

We don't know the nature of the

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legal advice that David Gauke was

given. It does not prevent any of

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Jon Worboys's victims pursuing a

judicial review. We know two of them

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will certainly do that. They have

already gone through the process of

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exchanging letter with the patrol

board, warning of their intention to

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launch a judicial review. Papers

will be launched on Monday for that

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review. There's been assurances

given that Jon Worboys will not be

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released until that judicial review

decision has been considered. In the

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short-term, despite David Gauke's

decision today, there's no prospect

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of Jon Worboys being released

imminently. Not least of all because

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David Gauke has made it clear in the

Commons that he will consult with

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Jon Worboys's victims about the

conditions under which he would be

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released into the community. His

license conditions. He wants to have

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meetings with victims about that. If

he is released, then at least the

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licence conditions meet some of the

victims' expectations about where he

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may be allowed to live, go and what

he may not be allowed to do while on

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licence.

We don't know the reasons

behind the decision that they took,

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and the head of that board said that

he regarded the independence of the

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Parole Board as being extremely

important. What do you make of the

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announcement to review the

transparency of the Parole Board?

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That sounds as if it will be warmly

welcomed on all sides, not least he

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who leads the Parole Board. He said

he would like more transparency. He

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would like to be able to give some

reasons. What Gauke has padded out,

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not reasons for the decisions but

whether there should be more

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transparency around the process and

that key bid about making sure that

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victims were informed about

decisions, which wasn't the case in

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this case for some of the victims of

Jon Worboys. One of the

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controversial things about him is

he's managed to change his name to

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Jon Radford. He's lived in closed

conditions in Wakefield Prison and

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not been in open conditions prior to

this decision to release him out

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into the community.

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I'm joined now by the Chairman

of the Justice Select

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committee, Conservative

MP Bob Neill.

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So David Gauke is not seeking a

judicial review into the decision to

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release Jon Worboys. Should he have

floated the idea in the first place?

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Think think he should have to. I was

in the Commons before the statement.

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Handled with great care and

precision. Because of this, the

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public concern about the matter, it

was legitimate for him as Justice

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Secretary to say I will explore

every possible avenue to see if

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there is a legitimate grounds for

review. That is perfectly normal in

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many cases.

It is unusual for the

Justice Secretary to take their own

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Parole Board or look at the idea of

reviewing the Parole Board's

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decision and to say he'll not go

ahead because he's been told there

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is not a high chance of success, has

raised a lot of people's

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expectations.

He's applied the

correct test, as any proper lawyer

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should. That is to consider if there

is such an option, then get proper

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legal advice and act upon it.

Has

Jon Worboys, in your mind, served

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long enough in prison for his

crimes?

My personal view would be

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probably not. I don't have the

material that the Parole Board had,

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neither do I have the reasoning for

their decision. What is important is

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that David Gauke is widening that

review, specifically to include the

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opportunity to change the rules, so

that decisions are given. As your

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piece rightly said, Nick Hardwicke

is on record saying he would welcome

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that. That is an area we should push

for.

Would it not expose the Parole

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Board and its members to pressure

into making a different decision?

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Well, there is always that tradeoff,

isn't there, between the public

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interest and that turning in to

proper, to an improper measure

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degree of pressure. That is why Jon

Worboys is right to say he wants

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more transparency. He will welcome

the opportunity to explain decisions

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more while welcoming independence.

Other jurisdictions domain tan that

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balance. Do you welcome the decision

not to push for a judicial review of

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a man who has been a serial sex

attacker and will be released after

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serving less than ten years?

I fear

it would heighten the expectations

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of the victims if they don't think

they have evidence or cause to do

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this, then they really shouldn't. We

are so used to trial by media and

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trial by twitter we forget there is

a justice system and we don't have

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all the information available. My

biggest concern is it has been

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spread to people that he has

allegedly raped hundreds of women.

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There were only 12 accusations put

against him in court. We have not

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managed expectations as to what the

result will be. We need to believe

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women more when they come forward.

We need the evidence to lock people

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up for longer N this particular case

we cannot play the justice system as

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individuals.

How much blame needs to

be pushed at the door of the Crown

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Prosecution Service - it was their

decision not to take more cases than

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the 14 that ended up in court?

That

is a legitimate question. That

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should be asked. What I am

uncomfortable with is politicians

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getting a bit too close to these

kind of criminal processes. And in

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terms of the review, it is certainly

the case it should have been looked

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at. You have to question whether it

should have been flagged up as

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clearly beforehand. It would have

been perhaps more sensible to make a

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statement, having seen the legal

advice and said, I have looked at

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these options and taken it. But

there are different ways to handle

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something as sensitive as this.

Do

you think Jon Worboys is safe to be

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released?

I don't think any of us

are able to say that. We don't have

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the material before us that the

Parole Board had. Most would say it

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has been a surprising decision given

he was in closed conditions until

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now. The important point is the

Parole Board can only deal with him

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for the matters he's been convicted,

as could the original judge. That is

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an issue which has to be considered.

Equally, when those prosecution

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decisions are taken that has to be

done independently of political

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pressure. And it has to meet both

what is called an eve den shall

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test. Is there enough evidence to

prove the offence and a public

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interest test. Now we don't know

what was decided and why at those

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circumstances. But it is always

possible, of course, that if further

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victims were to come forward and the

evidence was credible and compelling

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and met the eve den shall test, then

there is no time limit on bringing

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prosecutions of this kind. You are

right, we have to be very calm about

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it. I think David Gauke was right to

say, look we will look at all

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avenues, but equally having the

advice, no doubt informed to buy

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that and by the fact of the material

he had to expand his enquiry. The

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position of the evidence relating to

other individuals depends on each

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individual case.

Thank you.

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After President Macron's visit

to the UK, the British Government

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has made a renewed pledge to allow

more child refugees

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to come to Britain.

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It's one of the key

parts of the agreement

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between France and the UK

to strengthen co-operation.

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But the scheme to bring children

to the UK under what was called

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the 'dubs amendment' ran

into problems last year,

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and some councils say they're

already struggling to look

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after the number of child

refugees who arrive here.

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Here's Emma Vardy.

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Despite the dismantles of the camp

in Calais, charities say there are

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hundreds of child refugees stranded

in France, making dangerous attempts

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to travel to the UK.

We have seen a

big increase in the numbers either

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making their own way here, both

across the channel and on planes

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flying into Heathrow, which is in my

own borough and those who have come

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to the UK, where they have a family

connection but it turns out that

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family member is not able to look

after them, and that means they

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become the responsibility of the

local council.

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Refugee children with family

connections in Britain have a legal

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right to come here. And now Theresa

May has agreed with President Macron

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that more unaccompanied children in

France will be accepted into the UK.

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Local councils tasked with looking

after child refugees when they reach

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Britain say they are facing a

shortfall.

The funding that's

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available from Government in the UK

is around half the cost to councils

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of looking after refugee children.

If there is going to be a big

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increase for services that already

are under significant pressure then

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there needs to be the money to pay

for the foster carers and the

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children homes required.

Since 2016,

200 children have been brought to

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the UK under the Dubs amen meant,

which allowed those without family

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connections to come. The initiative

stalled. Many children who were

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eligible seemingliless behind.

The

problem is the hasn't committed to

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what it did 18 months ago and what

Parliament voted for with the Dubs

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Amendment. We know there are 200

local authority

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local authority places for lone

child refugees. It may be this is

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the Government agreeing to do what

it promised to do some time ago.

The

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amendment faced significant

criticism in some newspapers, with

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questions over the age of the

children who came and the legitimacy

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of their claims. Despite the war in

Syria being believed to be one of

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the key factors behind the refugee

crisis emerged many of the children

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came from African countries.

Do the public feel generous enough

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in these economic times to feel like

we are supporting more child

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migrants?

There has always been a

strong tradition in Britain of

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helping those fleeing persecution,

from the kin der transport, from

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generations ago and there's been

strong support across the country in

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making sure we carry on doing that,

particularly for those who are the

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most vulnerable. There have to be

proper checks in place. It has to be

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effective in the system. We've seen

local authorities coming forward to

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offer places, but instead they have

stood empty.

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The British Government says it also

wants to provide more opportunities

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in people's countries of origin to

try and prevent so many making the

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dangerous journey to France and the

UK in the first place.

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I'm joined now

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We're joined now from Nottingham

by the Conservative

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MP Andrew Bridgen.

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I am very concerned. We've had a

policy of helping refugees in the

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region. We have given more aid to

the Syrian crisis refugees in the

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region than the rest of the European

Union added together. And also that

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we use our efforts to take the most

vulnerable people who cannot make a

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journey across Europe from those

camps. And bring them to the UK.

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I do feel that if we announce we are

going to take more lone child

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refugees in, we are merely chucking

petrol on to the fire and we'll have

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more people taking the risk of that

very dangerous journey, placing

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themselves potentially in the hands

of unscrupulous people traffickers

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who care nothing of their welfare. I

feel we'll be doing the wrong thing

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for all the right reasons.

When the

amendment was first agreed and then

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in fact was dropped, the number of

3,000 unaccompanied minors was the

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figure that was talked about.

Britain has only so far taken around

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220. Do you really think that

Britain's done its bit in taking,

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you have talked about vulnerable

people who have fled their

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countries, surely unaccompanied

children and child refugees are the

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most vulnerable?

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We shouldn't be encouraging them to

make the journey. The most

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vulnerable people are the ones who

are too unwell to make the long

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journey across Europe, and they are

the people we should be helping and

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that has been the government

position. Let's say again, we have

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put more aid into the Syrian refugee

crisis in the region than any other

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humanitarian project in the history

of the country and we have put more

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money in than every country in the

European Union added together.

But

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if there are countries willing to

take unaccompanied children who have

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fled war zones like Syria and they

are already on the continent, why

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should Britain not do its bit?

It

has said it would take more. Because

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we will be exacerbated --

exacerbating the problem and we will

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have more vulnerable young people

who will make the journey in the

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hope they will be settled in the UK

and have a new life here.

So you are

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against the government policy on

this?

I am for common sense and

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looking at human nature and doing

the right thing not only for the

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people of the UK but also the those

vulnerable refugees. It would be

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doing the wrong thing for the right

reasons.

Do you accept Britain has

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to do its bit because it has to be

the price of Brexit and getting the

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sort of deal that the government

would like to see, taking in Maud

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refugees and paying for the

privilege of having customs

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officials in France is the price

Britain has to play in getting the

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deal -- has to pay.

That is the

price we are all paying for the

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irresponsible decision from Angela

Merkel to basically advice -- invite

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the world into a borderless Europe.

It was in the world, it was Syrian

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refugees.

It was axing mostly from

North Africa as your report pointed

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out, it was economic migrants -- it

was actually. The blame lies with

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Angela Merkel and she is paying the

political cost because she is too

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toxic for anyone who wants to form a

coalition government with her in

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Germany.

That wasn't the question I

asked, but is this the price the

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British government will have to pay

after the meeting between Emmanuel

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Macron and Theresa May, that by

paying a bit of money to keep our

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border guards over in France and by

taking more unaccompanied child

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refugees we will get a better deal.

I am all for a good bilateral

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relationship between us and our

neighbours. We have do stick to the

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agreement, that is not an EU

agreement, its an agreement we made

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with the French government that

suits both parties and there will

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have to be some give and take but I

wouldn't want to publicise the fact

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that by people making that dangerous

journey across Europe and placing

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themselves in extreme danger that

they will enhance their

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opportunities of getting into the

UK.

So you would like to close the

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borders to unaccompanied child

refugees?

I think it would be the

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most humanitarian thing to do for

them in particular. If you look at

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all of the grievances, and you claim

shelter in the first safe country

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you get to, are we alleging that

France is not a safe country?

It's

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not normally the first country that

the refugees have got to.

But France

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have taken the decision to join the

Schengen area so they have no

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borders.

Let's move on to the

decision by your government's

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Justice Secretary David Gauke not to

seek a judicial review into the

0:19:130:19:16

decision to release John Worboys,

the Black cab rapist. Do you agree

0:19:160:19:21

with the decision?

I can understand

the frustration. I can understand

0:19:210:19:27

David Gauke has taken legal advice

and it's probably not correct for

0:19:270:19:30

the government to take this action.

Whether he is representative of his

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many victims, that is a different

matter. I can absolutely understand

0:19:350:19:42

the frustration of his many victims

as they will feel that relatively

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justice has not been done and he has

not served longer enough, but as one

0:19:460:19:50

of your contributors said, the main

problem was that he was only

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prosecuted for 14 cases at the time

when it could have been many more

0:19:550:19:59

than that. So the parole board have

treated him and the courts have

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treated him giving him a sentence

related to the crimes for which he

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was prosecuted. That will not feel

like justice to the tens and tens of

0:20:060:20:11

his victims.

Do you think he should

have raised the idea at all before

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he had the legal advice?

He may have

raised expectations for the victims

0:20:160:20:21

but at the end of the day if there

is a judicial review and I think the

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crowd funding will deliver that for

the victims then the objective can

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be achieved and as Bob Neill said

not long ago, there is an

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opportunity for other cases where

there is compelling evidence where

0:20:350:20:38

he could be retried for cases for

which he was not originally

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indicted.

Thank you for joining us.

I am joined by the shadow home

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secretary Diane Abbott. Your

response to the decision from David

0:20:490:20:53

Gauke?

I haven't seen the legal

advice that David Gauke has

0:20:530:20:57

received. What I do say is that I

support the victims's wish to

0:20:570:21:04

procure a judicial review and I

think it is just a shame that they

0:21:040:21:10

are having to crowd fund to pay for

it. Surely they should have the

0:21:100:21:15

support anyway. But I wouldn't want

to comment on the decision from

0:21:150:21:19

David Gauke because I don't know the

advice he received. What we are

0:21:190:21:23

calling for is an end to end review

of the whole process and more

0:21:230:21:29

transparency with parole board

decision-making.

So you support his

0:21:290:21:32

extension to have a look at the

parole board decisions and how they

0:21:320:21:36

made? But much has been made of the

fact that the prosecution at the

0:21:360:21:41

time was bungled. How much blame do

you put on the prosecution service

0:21:410:21:45

at the time for only bringing 14

cases to court, one for rape, when

0:21:450:21:50

102 women made allegations against

John Worboys and many victims were

0:21:500:21:55

told he would be inside for life, so

don't worry.

I think we have to look

0:21:550:22:00

forward. We have two understand how

wrong it is that the victims have

0:22:000:22:06

two crowd fund to pursue a judicial

review and we have to do have more

0:22:060:22:14

transparency about parole board

decision-making.

Do you also think

0:22:140:22:17

the police and prosecution service

have to listen to victims more

0:22:170:22:20

because then more cases would have

been brought forward and then the

0:22:200:22:23

judge would have given a longer

sentence, perhaps, and the parole

0:22:230:22:27

board would not have had the

discussion to release him in under

0:22:270:22:30

ten years?

We don't know the detail

of what happened when the decision

0:22:300:22:36

was taken to prosecute John Worboys

for what was a relatively small

0:22:360:22:42

number of offences. So it would be

unwise to make statements about

0:22:420:22:49

that. But more generally, it seems

to me that the police and the

0:22:490:22:56

prosecution authorities need more

resources to enable them to take a

0:22:560:23:03

really thorough approach to cases

like this.

But isn't it that

0:23:030:23:06

decision that has actually landed

the parole board and the government

0:23:060:23:11

in the situation it is in today?

I

would say that they need the police

0:23:110:23:16

and prosecuting authorities to have

the resources to have a really

0:23:160:23:21

thorough look at cases like these in

the future.

We wanted to talk to

0:23:210:23:26

also about child refugees and

migrants. We have seen the footage

0:23:260:23:29

of the camps in Calais, but why

should Britain taking more

0:23:290:23:33

unaccompanied minors? Isn't it just

fuelling an incentive for more

0:23:330:23:40

children to make a dangerous

journey?

You have seen the footage

0:23:400:23:44

but I have actually visited the

camps in Calais and I cannot

0:23:440:23:47

overstate the horror of the

conditions. The so-called Jungle was

0:23:470:23:53

cleared but now hundreds more have

come back and are in horrific

0:23:530:23:57

conditions. And we have a moral

responsibility to child refugees.

0:23:570:24:03

And this disagreement between

Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May

0:24:030:24:07

means both sides are stepping up to

their responsibilities to refugees

0:24:070:24:11

and that is obviously a good thing.

The British Red Cross save 220 child

0:24:110:24:17

migrants have arrived in the UK so

far because of the amendment, and

0:24:170:24:22

the government amended -- ended that

last year and set a limit of 480

0:24:220:24:28

children. In your mind, is that an

arbitrary figure and should the CAP

0:24:280:24:31

be lifted?

It's a completely

arbitrary figure. The number of

0:24:310:24:36

child refugees we take should be

determined by need, not by an

0:24:360:24:41

arbitrary figure. Thereau local

authorities who are willing to take

0:24:410:24:44

these children. It seems

extraordinary to me that people

0:24:440:24:47

should be arguing the toss about

saving children from the awful

0:24:470:24:54

conditions in Calais at the present

time.

So you think there should not

0:24:540:24:58

be a limit at all? We could take

thousands if that is the need?

I

0:24:580:25:02

believe it's about need. We cannot

have an arbitrary cap but both sides

0:25:020:25:07

have to step up to their

responsibilities. One of the

0:25:070:25:11

problems on the French side is that

it takes an inordinately long amount

0:25:110:25:14

of time to apply for refugee status

if you are in France. Under

0:25:140:25:20

voluntary organisations dealing with

the issue believe that the French

0:25:200:25:25

themselves could do more but I would

not set an arbitrary amount on the

0:25:250:25:29

number of desperate children we

welcome to this country.

Just stay

0:25:290:25:32

with us for a moment while I turned

to my guests. Kate Andrews, do you

0:25:320:25:36

think it should be as Diane

described, a case of taking in

0:25:360:25:41

unaccompanied child refugees on the

basis of need with no limit?

We have

0:25:410:25:45

to be realistic about what we have

the resources for. If you bring in

0:25:450:25:49

thousands and thousands of

0:25:490:25:58

thousands and thousands of people

and you cannot help them because you

0:25:580:25:59

don't have the resources it's hard

to see how that would benefit them

0:25:590:26:01

but I agree with Diane Abbott that

the number we are taking currently

0:26:010:26:04

is too low. We are talking about

children, not economic migrants.

0:26:040:26:06

Andrew's point about being more

transparent is well taken and it has

0:26:060:26:09

to be made clear, but especially

after Brexit, if Britain wants to

0:26:090:26:13

maintain its status in the world it

needs to step up to the moral duty

0:26:130:26:17

of helping those who need it most.

Do you think when it came to the

0:26:170:26:21

meeting yesterday that Emmanuel

Macron somehow has the whip hand in

0:26:210:26:26

dictating terms on things like

paying for officials in France and

0:26:260:26:29

also Britain, in his mind, doing

more to take in unaccompanied

0:26:290:26:34

children?

The interesting thing is

he retreated a bit from his hard

0:26:340:26:39

position before the election

campaign in France where he wanted

0:26:390:26:42

to rip up the agreement entirely and

he has taken stick in France for not

0:26:420:26:48

getting enough money from the UK and

enough commitment on the refugee

0:26:480:26:51

side. I think it will be interesting

on the UK side to ensure that level

0:26:510:26:57

of engagement in taking on the

responsibility is there to protect

0:26:570:27:03

disagreement, because the debate

starts in France about why the

0:27:030:27:10

border different to the UK, that

might be difficult to content.

Do

0:27:100:27:14

you believe that freedom of movement

needs to continue even after we

0:27:140:27:17

leave the EU and what checks, if

any, should there be on those coming

0:27:170:27:21

in?

The government has agreed with

our position that there has to be a

0:27:210:27:26

transitional period when we leave

the EU and as part of that

0:27:260:27:31

transition period we will stay

within the single market and the

0:27:310:27:35

customs union. If we are in the

single market, there will be a

0:27:350:27:41

measure of freedom of movement but I

return to the argument that we

0:27:410:27:45

should be taking more of these child

refugees and there can't be

0:27:450:27:50

thousands of them because the wrong

thousands of people around Calais,

0:27:500:27:53

and I think that is a way of ducking

our moral responsibilities.

Thank

0:27:530:27:57

you very much.

0:27:570:28:00

Much of the focus so far

in the progress of Brexit has

0:28:000:28:03

focussed on Westminster where MPs

have voted to trigger Article 50,

0:28:030:28:05

and where Parliament continues

to discuss and amend the EU

0:28:050:28:08

Withdrawal Bill.

0:28:080:28:16

We have also seen action

in Brussels, with seemingly endless

0:28:180:28:21

negotiations and press conferences

featuring Michel Barnier

0:28:210:28:22

and David Davis.

0:28:220:28:23

But at some point,

the action will move

0:28:230:28:25

decisively to Strasbourg,

where MEPs will, according

0:28:250:28:27

to to the Article 50 process,

have a say over the final deal,

0:28:270:28:30

including any transitional

arrangements.

0:28:300:28:31

So we may want to pay heed

to what MEPs are saying on Brexit,

0:28:310:28:35

and especially the largest group,

the European People's Party.

0:28:350:28:37

This centre-right grouping used

to include Britain's Conservatives,

0:28:370:28:39

but relations have been frosty

since David Cameron pulled his party

0:28:390:28:41

out of the grouping.

0:28:410:28:42

Joining me now is the Polish

MEP Danuta Hubner.

0:28:420:28:46

She chairs the European Parliament's

Constitutional Affairs Committee

0:28:460:28:50

and is also on the Parliament's

Brexit steering committee.

0:28:500:28:56

A busy lady then with all of those

committees to look out for.

Brexit

0:28:560:29:02

did generate a lot of work for me.

I

am sure. What is the European

0:29:020:29:07

Parliament's role in Brexit?

It is

important because at the end of the

0:29:070:29:11

process with the transition, and

when October or November comes on

0:29:110:29:17

the deal is finalised, we will have

do proceed through something where

0:29:170:29:23

we have do approve and say yes or

no, accept or reject.

So you have a

0:29:230:29:31

power of veto over the deal agreed

between the EU and the UK?

It is

0:29:310:29:37

interesting you are using the words

veto because we never think of it as

0:29:370:29:42

that. We can look and say no and say

there is no deal and then the cliff

0:29:420:29:48

edge comes.

Do you think that really

is a possibility? If Michel Barnier

0:29:480:29:53

and the other EU countries and the

UK government have said yes to a

0:29:530:29:56

deal then Parliament would say no?

Just to avoid that situation we have

0:29:560:30:02

organised herself in parliament in

such a way that we make everybody

0:30:020:30:05

feel we are part of it and we have

access to information and we have

0:30:050:30:09

the Brexit weekly meetings and all

of the big groups of more than 500

0:30:090:30:14

people voted yes to the last

resolution so we are doing

0:30:140:30:18

everything to avoid such an

unexpected final outcome.

So it

0:30:180:30:23

would be unexpected but possible?

0:30:230:30:30

Our feeling of responsibility to our

our citizens.

What are the red lines

0:30:330:30:42

for you and your fellow

parliamentarians, particularly in

0:30:420:30:45

this EPP when it comes to the the

goshations?

Well, we -- the

0:30:450:30:49

negotiations? Well we resented our

red lines with regards to it is

0:30:490:30:54

Seines. We see it is meeting the

criteria and the necessities we

0:30:540:30:58

have. Then I think also for us, what

is important really is that the

0:30:580:31:06

integrity remains in tact. So we all

be become smaller after the Brexit,

0:31:060:31:10

but we want to keep the European

Union not undermined by this

0:31:100:31:14

process.

How powerful is the

European Parliament in this?

The

0:31:140:31:19

Parliament's power over the years

has been growing a lot. It is canny

0:31:190:31:27

at looking at procedures like this

and ensuring the voice is heard

0:31:270:31:31

throughout the process. That is what

is happening. There is another ow

0:31:310:31:35

their the Parliament has, which is

interesting, which is bringing, ask

0:31:350:31:43

the courts to look at what deal

there is. Is that possible?

We can

0:31:430:31:47

do it. If you remember last year we

had the discussion on the deal with

0:31:470:31:51

Canada. We have voted whether we'll

go to the court or not. That's why

0:31:510:31:56

we are avoiding a situation which

might emerge at the end. This lack

0:31:560:32:02

of feeling that this is something we

want to say yes to. That we are

0:32:020:32:05

involved throughout the process. We

are contributing to the European

0:32:050:32:09

positions, but we are helping Michel

Barnier every week to discuss

0:32:090:32:15

Brexit. We feel we are having

control over the whole process.

On

0:32:150:32:21

the citizens' rights you mentioned

just a moment ago, do you agree with

0:32:210:32:24

others in the EU that any citizens

from the European Union that come to

0:32:240:32:28

Britain right up until the end of

the transition period should have

0:32:280:32:31

leave to remain indefinitely?

Well,

that is our position that we

0:32:310:32:36

understand - the transition period

is just a prolongation of what we

0:32:360:32:40

have, so we would continue with the

rights for the Brits on the

0:32:400:32:45

continent and for us continentals

here and then the transition means

0:32:450:32:49

if, that the rights are maintained.

Right. Obviously that Britain would

0:32:490:32:53

accept rules from the European Court

of Justice under those terms. Do you

0:32:530:32:58

think the European Parliament could

stymie a deal that is brought?

It is

0:32:580:33:02

possible. I am hearing optimistic

stuff here which is great. A no deal

0:33:020:33:07

scenario, we often talk about it in

the context of the UK. Of course it

0:33:070:33:10

would be very bad for all countries

involved. At the moment the question

0:33:100:33:13

is, where is the give and take going

to be? Is the UK going to be willing

0:33:130:33:20

to compromise to allow people to

come and stay indefinitely if it

0:33:200:33:22

means they can export more services

more freely than we have the

0:33:220:33:29

Canadian-EU deal. These questions

will be asked. If everyone is trying

0:33:290:33:32

to get to a deal, hopefully we can

get to something both parties can

0:33:320:33:37

live with at the end of the day.

We

have to clearly admit which don't

0:33:370:33:42

have to make a besprok agreement for

the transition. We have to continue

0:33:420:33:48

the same obligations that the UK has

a member-state and the same rights.

0:33:480:33:52

There is a small difference you will

not participate in the institutional

0:33:520:33:56

functioning of the European Union.

So no bespoke deal for the

0:33:560:34:01

implementation period because

there's no time. What about a

0:34:010:34:05

bespoke trade deal for the UK. Is

that possible?

This have l be at two

0:34:050:34:10

same times, the stages - one we will

need between now and October, more

0:34:100:34:14

or less the decision of the UK, what

type of future framework the UK

0:34:140:34:19

would be in favour of. And see that

we are also happy with this type of

0:34:190:34:23

proposal.

So you could see a bespoke

deal?

For the future, we can, yes,

0:34:230:34:27

we have to accept that we... We know

very well what the UK does not want

0:34:270:34:32

to have. But we don't have yet a

clear idea of what the UK would like

0:34:320:34:37

to have after the transition.

Thank

you very much.

0:34:370:34:44

For the next half an hour we're

going to be focusing on all matters

0:34:440:34:47

EU-related as MEPs have been meeting

in Strasbourg this week

0:34:470:34:50

for their latest plenary session.

0:34:500:34:51

So here's our guide

to the latest from Europe -

0:34:510:34:53

in just sixty seconds.

0:34:530:35:01

The EU declared war on plastic. The

commission's new strategy aims to

0:35:010:35:08

unlaw single use plastics by 2030.

No mention of a move to tax. The

0:35:080:35:13

Bulgarian President has ended the

country's plans to MEPs in

0:35:130:35:16

Strasbourg. The first time Bulgaria

has taken charge of the rotating

0:35:160:35:22

post. The EU council President got

all weepy about Brexit. Tweeting,

0:35:220:35:28

our hearts are still open for you.

We all send texts like that late at

0:35:280:35:33

night.

Jean-Claude Juncker wondered if it

0:35:330:35:39

could be reversed using Article 49.

Romania has a new President. The

0:35:390:35:43

third in seven months. She will be

the first country's PM if approved.

0:35:430:35:53

The breakthrough in German

negotiations, the initial deal is

0:35:530:35:57

called an excellent result. We will

see.

0:35:570:36:01

Does Jean-Claude Juncker think it is

reversible - Brexit?

0:36:110:36:19

He says it is important it could

happen.

What is he actually getting

0:36:210:36:25

at?

Their ideal outcome of

0:36:250:36:36

at?

Their ideal outcome of this is,

well for Donald Tusk what has been

0:36:370:36:42

built up.

Between now and October?

Yes.

What about Jean-Claude Juncker?

0:36:420:36:47

Is he talking more about the UK

changing its mind once it has left

0:36:470:36:51

and then rejoining?

He mentioned

Article 49. That's the process that

0:36:510:36:59

Moldova would be... And it is a

pretty rough road. You're looking at

0:36:590:37:06

accepting the Euro, accepting things

like not having a rebate. I don't

0:37:060:37:09

think that is necessarily the path

that the British public would want

0:37:090:37:13

to go down.

What is your reaction

hearing these two important people

0:37:130:37:18

within the EU, the commission

President, saying, yes, our hearts

0:37:180:37:23

are still open and council

President, you can come back or not

0:37:230:37:26

leave at all.

There are a few things

going on here. Alex is completely

0:37:260:37:30

right it is not in their interest to

see the system they have built and

0:37:300:37:34

invested in, so very much, to lose

one of their most important members.

0:37:340:37:38

And so there is still the sense they

don't want to give other countries

0:37:380:37:42

the assumption it is an easy

process, that it is something they

0:37:420:37:45

could do. To the sweeter talk, I

think this is getting closer to when

0:37:450:37:50

the negotiations are going to get

nitty-gritty. Both sides want to be

0:37:500:37:53

seen playing nice. There was that

hard-ball gameplayed in the

0:37:530:37:57

beginning. Now you want to paint

yourself open as getting a deal. If

0:37:570:38:02

you don't, it will be catastrophic

for many, many countries involved.

0:38:020:38:06

Does it sound like they are not

accepting the decision though that

0:38:060:38:09

Britain made with the referendum?

No. I don't think so. Certainly

0:38:090:38:13

there's some people you could talk

to in Brussels who think the idea of

0:38:130:38:17

reversing shouldn't happen and hope

it doesn't. But if it came to it,

0:38:170:38:24

and the UK, for whatever kind of

circumstances ended up changing its

0:38:240:38:29

mind, the 27 would think what better

valuation for our project than a

0:38:290:38:33

country trying to leave and then

deciding it can't. I think the road

0:38:330:38:38

back would probably be quite smooth.

And also the person saying this and

0:38:380:38:41

where you are saying it from matters

very much. We talk about a second

0:38:410:38:45

referendum in the UK, that has much

more political weight. Politicians

0:38:450:38:49

in Westminster have been instructed

by their people and their public to

0:38:490:38:52

carry forward something. When people

do it from other countries it has a

0:38:520:38:56

slightly different ang. You would

say -- angle. You could say they are

0:38:560:39:01

not respecting the referendum. They

are being generous. They are saying,

0:39:010:39:05

let's keep the conversation going.

0:39:050:39:11

Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar led

a debate on the 'future

0:39:110:39:13

of Europe' with MEPs

in Strasbourg this week.

0:39:130:39:15

That's a future, of

course, without the UK.

0:39:150:39:17

So were there any shots

across the bows regarding Brexit?

0:39:170:39:20

Adam Fleming gives us his hot take

on the Irish Pm's speech....

0:39:200:39:25

The New Year means new thinking. And

the European Parliament is holding

0:39:250:39:29

big debates about the few xur of the

EU, with EU leaders. First up is the

0:39:290:39:37

Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar. He wooed

the Parliament with references to

0:39:370:39:45

big figures past and present.

European-wide candidates for the

0:39:450:39:49

parliamentary elections.

I suppose a

Europe-wide list for the European

0:39:490:39:52

Parliament. I'd like to get people

in cafes and Naples and restaurants

0:39:520:39:58

in Galway, talking about the same

election choices. Perhaps that's an

0:39:580:40:03

ambitious idea, but it is one we

should strive for.

The EU needed to

0:40:030:40:10

be ambitious too about skurt tu,

cutting the cost of medicines,

0:40:100:40:13

helping the rest of the world, but

there were limits to integration.

0:40:130:40:17

Whatever our future holds, Europe

needs to be competitive

0:40:170:40:20

economically. And one of the ways to

ensure this is by allowing

0:40:200:40:26

competition among member-states. I

think this is particularly important

0:40:260:40:31

for peripheral and less developed

countries, whose domestic markets

0:40:310:40:35

are small and need inward

investment. My strong view is that

0:40:350:40:40

national taxes that fund national

budgets should be determined by

0:40:400:40:44

national Parliaments and

Governments.

That led to raised

0:40:440:40:49

eyebrows because Ireland is

notorious for low rates of

0:40:490:40:52

corporation tax and it has been

taken to court over a deal with

0:40:520:40:56

Apple.

You would say that Ireland

should be able to find ways to make

0:40:560:41:02

up for geographic disadvantage. The

alternative cannot be between a

0:41:020:41:08

one-size fits all taxation system

that would work for the central core

0:41:080:41:13

European countries to the detriment

of everyone else and a no-holds

0:41:130:41:17

barred tax competition we have right

now.

Of course there was an enormous

0:41:170:41:21

elephant in the room - Brexit.

As

the negotiations move forward into

0:41:210:41:27

phase two, we will continue to rely

on your support and solidarity, as

0:41:270:41:30

we work to ensure that what has been

promised in theory is delivered in

0:41:300:41:34

practise. And there can be no

backsliding on this.

0:41:340:41:39

So, it is important that these

commitments are fully reflected in

0:41:390:41:43

the legal text of the withdrawal

agreement and firmly embedded in the

0:41:430:41:47

UK's future relationship with the

European Union. Whatever shape that

0:41:470:41:51

ultimately takes place. And for my

part, I hope that the new

0:41:510:41:55

relationship that exists between the

United Kingdom and the European

0:41:550:41:59

Union is as close and as deep as is

possible.

But how close are

0:41:590:42:03

relationships with the UK?

When you

think that nearly 50% of exports

0:42:030:42:09

from Irish-owned companies go to the

United Kingdom and agriculture in

0:42:090:42:13

some sectors, it is as high as 90%,

you potentially have quite a lot to

0:42:130:42:19

lose. And yet, and yet, despite the

fact that no-one should be fighting

0:42:190:42:27

harder for a genuine rounded trade

deal than you, that doesn't appear

0:42:270:42:31

to be the case.

His name in the visitor's book - Leo

0:42:310:42:38

Varadkar's Eurovision on the

records. The other leaders who have

0:42:380:42:42

signed up to give Is include the

Prime Ministers of Portugal and

0:42:420:42:46

Croatia and the big one - Emmanuel

Macron, of France, due here in

0:42:460:42:50

April.

0:42:500:42:53

I'm joined now from Dublin

by the Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness

0:42:530:42:55

who was by her Prime Minister's

side on Wednesday.

0:42:550:43:01

Welcome to The Daily Politics. Sam

mi Wilson said Leo Varadkar was

0:43:010:43:07

naive, arrogant and inexperienced

for siding with the EU over the UK

0:43:070:43:11

in the Brexit negotiations. What do

you say to him?

Indeed and he used

0:43:110:43:15

another term for which he later

apologised for. I disagree with all

0:43:150:43:19

of that. I think on the performance

of the Taoiseach's speech, about the

0:43:190:43:24

future of Europe, he was anything

but. He was very clear, very

0:43:240:43:29

focussed on the issues and he didn't

dodge the hard questions. You played

0:43:290:43:33

that piece around taxation, he was

able to respond by saying there were

0:43:330:43:37

other member-states who have a

higher rate of tax. When it comes to

0:43:370:43:43

exemptions, etc, they collect less

tax, and the rates are lower. He

0:43:430:43:47

dealt comprehensively with the range

of issues. I am not sure how Mr

0:43:470:43:52

Wilson came to that viewpoint.

Perhaps he had it anyway and felt he

0:43:520:43:55

had to reflect it. The world has

moved on from that type of politics,

0:43:550:43:59

I would hope. What happened this

week in Strasbourg was very

0:43:590:44:04

significant and hugely important for

Europe. Leo Varadkar was the first

0:44:040:44:08

leader of the country, of the EU 27

to put his case forward and he had a

0:44:080:44:13

set-piece of his speech which was

well received. I thought more

0:44:130:44:19

importantly the responses and the

humanity of his responses and how he

0:44:190:44:24

articulated the special relationship

between the UK and Ireland, where he

0:44:240:44:28

said his mother and father met in

the UK, fell in love, got Mary and

0:44:280:44:33

one of his sisters lives there and

they are UK it is Seines but Irish

0:44:330:44:38

as well. -- UK citizens but Irish as

well. The reaction has been very

0:44:380:44:45

positive.

Sam hi Wilson was pointing

to the -- Sammy Wilson was pointing

0:44:450:44:50

to the fact that Ireland was used as

a stick to beat the UK in phase one.

0:44:500:44:56

The issue of the Irish border was a

red line during that first phrase

0:44:560:45:01

and for a moment looked like the UK

would play hard ball on it. Once the

0:45:010:45:07

offer was upped by the UK Government

it seemed the EU settled the matter

0:45:070:45:10

very quickly. So, were you really

used in that first phase?

Gosh, I

0:45:100:45:16

think that is a very cynical and

incorrect interpretation of the work

0:45:160:45:20

we all did going up to the end of

last year.

But it wasn't resolved.

0:45:200:45:26

The Irish border issue wasn't

resolved. That was the point. They

0:45:260:45:29

said it had to be resolved before

phase one and it wasn't.

0:45:290:45:38

I think you are wrong in that. It

was clear there would be no return

0:45:380:45:42

to a hard border. I spent hours last

night with the Irish medical

0:45:420:45:47

Organisation talking about

cross-border collaboration after

0:45:470:45:50

Brexit and that is a serious issue

not just the politics but for people

0:45:500:45:54

on the ground. When we look at the

future it's around issues like

0:45:540:45:57

health care and access to medicines

and medical devices which UK

0:45:570:46:02

citizens should be really concerned

about because it has been quite

0:46:020:46:07

astonishing number of pharmaceutical

companies that have been in my

0:46:070:46:09

office in Brussels pleading with me

to understand their situation and

0:46:090:46:14

they are worried about being able to

continue if there is a clean, or

0:46:140:46:19

clean is not the right word, but a

severe deal and no good relationship

0:46:190:46:23

at the end of all of this process.

And if we bear in mind of the

0:46:230:46:28

consequences of that then the

politics has to work, so I disagree

0:46:280:46:32

with your interpretation. I must

finish this point. Anybody who would

0:46:320:46:37

use the border in Ireland

politically and incorrectly would

0:46:370:46:42

certainly be no friend of Ireland

and we have enormous support in the

0:46:420:46:46

European Parliament and elsewhere

around the border question because

0:46:460:46:51

Europe's is a peace project.

And I

said there was a lot of support from

0:46:510:46:55

the EU but that seems to dissolve in

terms with an issue and so in what

0:46:550:46:59

way has the Irish border issue been

resolved as there is a guarantee of

0:46:590:47:04

a hard border, but the question is

about what will happen in terms of

0:47:040:47:08

the trade deal and in terms of how

regulations and customers will be

0:47:080:47:13

looked at in the future because the

draft agreement it said the UK would

0:47:130:47:18

propose specific solutions to look

at the situation of Ireland. It was

0:47:180:47:24

not resolved. It was kicked down the

road.

I would interpret it

0:47:240:47:30

differently and I would disagreed

vigourously with your interpretation

0:47:300:47:33

that once the money was sorted then

the Irish question was practically

0:47:330:47:37

dismissed. I think that's an

appalling interpretation of what

0:47:370:47:41

happened and the text of what is

agreed, the bottom line in this text

0:47:410:47:46

this was referred to as well, we

would not to wait hard border on the

0:47:460:47:51

island of Ireland and arrangements

would have to be made, and we don't

0:47:510:47:54

know how the talks will develop and

we have not got a transition

0:47:540:47:59

agreement reached yet in order that

there is none of that difficulty

0:47:590:48:02

around the border. And of course, if

the United Kingdom continues on the

0:48:020:48:09

path of wanting divergences in the

United Kingdom has a problem in

0:48:090:48:12

meeting its commitments, which are

made in the withdrawal agreement

0:48:120:48:16

which has to be written into legal

text. My finish.

But I must go to my

0:48:160:48:23

other guests.

Very briefly, you are

right in saying that it is not

0:48:230:48:31

absolutely written and sealed, but

the context and the support and

0:48:310:48:33

commitment is there.

A lot of people

would disagree with the idea that it

0:48:330:48:39

has been completely resolved. Do you

think this issue has been resolved?

0:48:390:48:44

The draft agreement puts the UK and

Ireland on a collision course as it

0:48:440:48:50

it -- respects of the customs union

and Ireland's -- place in those two

0:48:500:48:56

institutions while maintaining there

is a soft border. Can that happen?

0:48:560:49:00

There are all sorts of

contradictions in that paper. But it

0:49:000:49:03

has to be read very carefully. There

is no solution at the moment but

0:49:030:49:07

they have set out a framework of the

steps one has to go to in trying to

0:49:070:49:11

find the solution and all of the

parts that are contradictory

0:49:110:49:17

promises that the UK were making to

itself about the integrity of the UK

0:49:170:49:20

and the parts that Ireland is

interested in were bilateral

0:49:200:49:26

promises about what happens in the

circumstances where you cannot find

0:49:260:49:29

a solution and there we have

alignment and it will be an almighty

0:49:290:49:33

fight.

That is where the battle line

will be drawn is of the solution is

0:49:330:49:39

written into the agreement, and even

the raid McGuinness says we have not

0:49:390:49:42

got to the final endpoint, then the

UK will have to maintain full

0:49:420:49:48

alignment, which of course is what

it says it does not want to do. The

0:49:480:49:52

UK government is looking at managed

divergences. Would that work for the

0:49:520:49:57

party?

It might be what ends up

happening but no one has agreed on

0:49:570:50:02

the definition of the alignment so

it's impossible to know if it's been

0:50:020:50:06

agreed or, in many peoples minds,

that wasn't what the term was

0:50:060:50:09

supposed to be used for. I think

idea that there would be no hard

0:50:090:50:13

border means it has been solved is

not the case. Neither side wanted a

0:50:130:50:18

hard border so that's not a new

piece of information. And I think it

0:50:180:50:23

was used as a scaremongering tactic.

But it was always ridiculous to

0:50:230:50:27

think the issue could be sold before

we knew what the trade agreements

0:50:270:50:30

would be. It's nearly impossible.

If

everything relating to the Irish

0:50:300:50:34

border when it comes to the future

trade agreement was in full

0:50:340:50:38

alignment, would you agree to the UK

diverging in other areas?

It depends

0:50:380:50:45

on what you mean by divergences.

There is dispute about that and what

0:50:450:50:49

other areas are talking about.

Example in health, and this has not

0:50:490:50:54

been discussed in the UK because

there's a lack of around

0:50:540:50:57

pharmaceuticals and the fact that

the European success story about

0:50:570:51:03

registration and control the supply

of these things, if the United

0:51:030:51:07

Kingdom were to divert John those

sorts of issues there would be real

0:51:070:51:11

problems, so if the UK, when it

looks at certain sectors and perhaps

0:51:110:51:16

all sectors will understand better

that divergences not mean something

0:51:160:51:19

is improved and in fact means it's

much more difficult for us to

0:51:190:51:24

continue, and remember we are close

neighbours. We don't want a

0:51:240:51:29

divergences of the relationship. We

want that to be strong but we are in

0:51:290:51:32

the difficult position that the UK

decision is being respected and the

0:51:320:51:40

leader did say that the support of

the colleagues would be required as

0:51:400:51:44

we moved into these next and more

difficult phases.

So is there much

0:51:440:51:48

work to do?

An enormous amount of

work. The work we did last year is

0:51:480:51:54

not, if you like, the toughest part.

The hardest part is yet to come. For

0:51:540:52:00

example, the transition arrangement

this might be problematic. After

0:52:000:52:05

March 2019, as I see it, the UK will

leave but remain until 2020 when, at

0:52:050:52:11

that point, there will be the shape

of a new relationship summit we

0:52:110:52:14

thought last year was tough, because

you better bat and pad down the

0:52:140:52:19

hatches because this will be more

difficult.

Thank you for that happy

0:52:190:52:24

New Year message we'll have to look

forward to.

It's not something I

0:52:240:52:26

want to say but sometimes you have

to speak the truth.

0:52:260:52:36

Now, this week the European

Commission declared

0:52:360:52:38

itself a leader in the war

on plastics - by launching a drive

0:52:380:52:41

to clean up the plastic choking

oceans and filling landfills.

0:52:410:52:43

But what's in their self-described

'holistic' Plastics Strategy?

0:52:430:52:45

The European Union wants

to ensure every piece

0:52:450:52:47

of packaging on the continent

is reusable or recyclable by 2030.

0:52:470:52:50

2030 is also the target

for their aim of recycling half

0:52:500:52:52

of all plastics waste

generated in Europe.

0:52:520:52:54

To do this £881,000 will be invested

every year until 2020

0:52:540:52:57

in research to modernise plastics

production and making recycling

0:52:570:52:59

processes more efficient.

0:52:590:53:05

Frans Timmerman, the

Commission Vice-President,

0:53:050:53:07

said the strategy hopes to eliminate

non-degradable single-use items such

0:53:070:53:09

as coffee cups, stirrers,

cutlery and drinking straws.

0:53:090:53:17

And one Commissioner,

Guenther Oettinger,

0:53:170:53:20

last week floated the idea of a tax

on single-use plastics to fill

0:53:200:53:23

Brexit-shaped holes in the EU budget

after 2020 last week.

0:53:230:53:29

And while the Plastics

Strategy doestn't commit

0:53:290:53:30

to a plastics tax, it

says it will "explore

0:53:300:53:33

the feasibility of introducing

measures of a fiscal nature

0:53:330:53:35

at the EU level"

0:53:350:53:42

I'm joined now by Apolline Roger

from the environmental law

0:53:420:53:44

firm Client Earth.

0:53:440:53:46

Do you welcome this strategy?

We do.

I think it is a landmark commitment

0:53:460:53:52

to tackle plastic pollution which is

very good news, of course. What we

0:53:520:53:56

also think is that maybe the last

strategy did not go far enough to

0:53:560:54:01

recognise that plastic is a

pollutant. It is a pollutant for the

0:54:010:54:05

environment but also for health. I

think a lot of people understood the

0:54:050:54:09

seriousness of the pollution that

plastic causes for the environment.

0:54:090:54:16

Everybody has watched the blue

planet.

But as a visible aspect of

0:54:160:54:20

plastic pollution.

How far should

they have gone with their strategy?

0:54:200:54:25

What would you have liked to have

seen?

They did very well in that

0:54:250:54:30

understanding the action is needed

today and not tomorrow and they did

0:54:300:54:34

promise that some single use plastic

or some very dangerous plastic might

0:54:340:54:38

have to be banned and the commission

promised that micro-plastic will be

0:54:380:54:43

banned and also that degradable

plastic will be banned, so that is

0:54:430:54:49

good news and we are for that very

closely but we think may be more

0:54:490:54:53

could be done to phase out single

use plastic. We all have to take

0:54:530:54:58

responsibility for single use

plastic.

Less than £1 million per

0:54:580:55:04

year, all round about that, for

improving the recyclability of

0:55:040:55:07

plastics. In the whole scheme of

things, it's not that big a figure.

0:55:070:55:12

Do you think this is a virtue

signalling or will achieve

0:55:120:55:15

something?

I think there can be

virtue signalling in this given the

0:55:150:55:19

fact that the comprehensive strategy

is to tackle recycling and to make

0:55:190:55:23

it easier and plastic more easy to

recycle I think this is actually

0:55:230:55:27

quite a good step and I'm happy they

haven't gone straight in for a tax

0:55:270:55:31

because once you go for a big brunt

of that but what they are doing is

0:55:310:55:39

being quite practical note think

likely in the near future plastic

0:55:390:55:43

will be phased out anyway. We are

living in an age of tech and

0:55:430:55:47

innovation but to tackle it now and

make it more easily recyclable is a

0:55:470:55:50

good thing.

Do you think there

should be a Europewide plastic tax

0:55:500:55:53

on single use items?

Tax has an

advantage and we saw that with a

0:55:530:55:59

plastic bag tax which had a positive

impact, so that is quite good. But

0:55:590:56:03

what you have to understand with tax

is that they focus on the consumer

0:56:030:56:07

and we all have to take

responsibility for plastic

0:56:070:56:11

pollution. Think about it. If you

want to make courgette soup and you

0:56:110:56:15

are going to the supermarket and you

want to buy several courgettes you

0:56:150:56:18

will have to buy them three by three

and wrapped in plastic. Why is that

0:56:180:56:23

the case? Supermarkets here have a

responsibility and a tax would be

0:56:230:56:29

interesting in that.

So you're not

really promoting the idea of attacks

0:56:290:56:33

at this stage?

I think it can be

useful but I think it would be

0:56:330:56:37

better to get action from the market

first.

It could fill the hole, the

0:56:370:56:41

money raised from a plastic tax

across Europe, that Britain is going

0:56:410:56:45

to leave when it leaves the EU.

That

is quite a big plastics tax.

There

0:56:450:56:51

is a lot of plastic.

Well, yes. They

are just endlessly creative about

0:56:510:56:58

trying to find new ways of raising

money and they are normally knocked

0:56:580:57:02

back by the member states. You pick

on things that are not popular.

0:57:020:57:08

Plastics, pollution, bankers,

foreigners, but ultimately something

0:57:080:57:14

like plastics taxation, you have to

do it as a national level. It's

0:57:140:57:18

politically sensitive and aware it

works in some countries, fine, but

0:57:180:57:22

some others will never agree.

Across

the 27 or 28 while the UK are still

0:57:220:57:28

part of it. Just briefly on the

target you mentioned, is it

0:57:280:57:33

achievable by 2030 with all plastic

to be recyclable? Is it achievable?

0:57:330:57:37

I'm not sure it's achievable and I'm

not aware of in the industry. If you

0:57:370:57:44

go to supermarkets and you force

them to use something that will be

0:57:440:57:46

more expensive than plastic, again

that will be pushed onto the

0:57:460:57:50

consumer so doing this at the

national level is more helpful

0:57:500:57:53

because they can gauge what their

response will be. A lot is going to

0:57:530:57:57

happen in the next ten years and

decade or more, and who knows?

Let's

0:57:570:58:02

hope. Do you think it is achievable?

The first thing would be to ban

0:58:020:58:09

dangerous plastics. The plastic has

to be recyclable but you cannot have

0:58:090:58:14

dangerous substances in it because

if not you will find them in other

0:58:140:58:17

products. That is a first step. The

commission is aware of it and the

0:58:170:58:21

strategy does show it but quick

action is needed.

Now, at this

0:58:210:58:26

point, will the EU dropped the idea

of an EU wide tax?

Sometimes

0:58:260:58:32

policymakers are leading the public

in an area, but I think they have

0:58:320:58:36

seen a gap open public opinion and

they have to fill it, and China, we

0:58:360:58:40

talked about this, but they made an

important decision about not buying

0:58:400:58:43

in foreign plastic and taking a kind

of plastic we were sending for

0:58:430:58:49

recycling. That will change things

and they will have to move quickly.

0:58:490:58:54

Thank you for coming in. I don't

think there's any plastic on the

0:58:540:58:57

table.

0:58:570:58:59

That's all for now,

thanks to all my guests.

0:58:590:59:02

Jo Coburn is joined by Alex Barker from the Financial Times and Kate Andrews from the Institute of Economic Affairs to discuss John Worboys, Brexit and Boris Johnson's proposed bridge across the English Channel.


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