Sarah Smith is joined by Peter Hitchens to discuss Theresa May's visit to Davos and the continuing fallout from the Presidents Club event.
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Hello and welcome to
The Daily Politics.
Bed occupancy rates at almost 95% -
11,000 ambulances were delayed
by over 30 minutes -
those are the latest perfomance
statistics from NHS England.
Can the health service survive many
more winters like this?
Crime recorded by the police
in England and Wales is up -
as are violent crime,
knife crime and sex offences.
But the official crime survey
suggests crime continues to fall -
so, which figures are right?
Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said
he left the party early
and the exclusive Presidents Club
won't be holding any more events
after revelations of sexual
harassment at their charity function
- but do women need more
protection against exploitation?
The government appoint a Muslim
woman to head up a new Commission
for Countering Extremism -
but why are some senior
figures in Muslim community
opposing her appointment?
I'll be talking to former
Conservative Cabinet minister
Sayeeda Warsi, who's
called her a "mouthpiece"
All that in the next hour,
and as Donald Trump,
Theresa May and the world's rich
and famous converge on a ski
resort in the Swiss Alps,
we've managed to keep one member
of the global elite captive
here in Wesminster.
It's the Mail on Sunday
columinst Peter Hitchens.
I've never been in the global elite,
Welcome to the programme.
And let's go straight to Davos,
where Theresa May is due to address
the World Economic Forum this
Our business editor,
Simon Jack, is there.
Simon what - is she going to say?
Well, she's going to start by making
some remarks on technology. She is
going to call on people to bring
more pressure on tech companies to
do more to remove extremist content
from the internet and to make it a
safer place and ideally to develop
artificial intelligence which means
that this content will automatically
come down, artificial intelligence
which will recognise messages. And
she will say that Britain wants to
be a big part of the AI development.
The eagle has landed, Donald Trump
is here, he arrived helicopter about
an hour rego. I think people will be
looking for one thing. - just how
special is our special relationship?
After they were holding hands at the
White House about a year ago,
relations have soured a little bit
and they've publicly clashed on
Twitter over Donald Trump's tweeting
some far right material from
Britain. Then there was the UK visit
- is he coming or isn't he? Is it
because he didn't like Barack
Obama's deal or is it because he
didn't think he would get a very
warm welcome? And the other thing,
and I can't overemphasise this
enough, is that whilst we've been
here, the darling of the economic
forum has become Emmanuel Macron,
and the reports are that Donald
Trump is going to offer Macron a
visit before he offers Theresa May
the same thing. And so when it comes
to the question, who do I call in
Europe? Is it the UK? At the moment,
that's not clear. Resume oblique,
even though you don't get to pick
your own topic in Davos, there must
be a lot of chat about Brexit?
she's going to be asked about the
negotiations and how they are going.
Philip Hammond was just on the main
stage and said they thought they had
made some pretty good progress and
they are hoping to get some kind of
transition deal framework wrapped up
by March which if true would give
businesses up to three years. And
the other thing is, once we are out
after 2019, what happens then? Is
Britain free to pursue its own trade
deals? The big rise for some would
be a trade deal with the US. The
Prime Minister was speaking to the
BBC this morning and she said, we're
up for it, they're up for it. But
some of Donald Trump's senior
ministers including the Treasury
Secretary and the economic Secretary
have made some positive noises that
there is an appetite to do that. So,
both sides are willing. As you will
know there's quite a lot of
questions about whether they are
able to do that within the confines
of Article 50. David Davis is
absolutely convinced that he has got
freedom after March 2019 to
negotiate with whoever it likes,
with the idea that you sign on the
dotted line when the transition
period is over. She will want to
accentuate those positive noises,
and we will be looking for the body
language between the Prime Minister
and the President of the United
Peter Hitchens, with us
today, for the duration - Theresa
May in Davos not exactly
centrestage, Simon Jack was telling
us - it feels as though this is part
of the continuing narrative of the
problems for Theresa May?
she doing there anyway? Davos was
described to me as finding the worst
restaurant d'you know and going to
it and listening to a man talking
about bitcoin in a Peter Ustinov
voice. What is she doing there,
presumably, if Donald Trump and
To whom? Theresa
May cannot go on a state visit to
the United States by the way because
she is not head of state. The Queen
would do that. Whereas President
Macron can. As for the special
relationship, I thought everybody
now knew that the special
relationship was a joke and a myth
and it does not exist and if she's
looking for it in Davos, she will
not find it there, either.
If she is
going to meet a Donald Trump, and
that has been hurriedly arranged,
for them in Davos, does she have to
try and restore better relations?
don't know what you can do. The man
is such a completely loose cannon
that it's impossible to know what he
would do next and what he would make
of any meeting at all and whether it
would benefit her not. In whose eyes
does somebody's outstanding improved
by meeting Donald Trump? I cannot be
alone in thinking that. It is a
baffling thing for politicians who
fail at home, they try to prance
around on the international stage
looking more important than they
are. And it doesn't seem to me to be
a wise thing to do, it seems to me
yet another, how shall I put this,
possible putsch against her are
Former Prime Minister
David Cameron is also in Davos and
he has been overheard by the
television cameras talking about
A mistake not a disaster, is what
David Cameron described Brexit as
jest of course you were on the other
side of the EU referendum, but are
you surprised to hear him say that?
No. He did not really understand
what he was doing. And also he would
say that, wouldn't he? Before the
vote he would have said it was a
disaster. Now that it has happened,
he is quite rightly viewed by many
people as responsible for it and he
has to say it's a mistake. A mistake
not made by him, of course, but by
the British people for voting to
leave in the referendum which he
himself called! You voted to
leave... I didn't vote, I took no
part in the referendum, I hate
But you wanted Britain
to be in the EU?
I want Britain to
be independent but not in this way.
What do you make of how the
negotiations are going?
I was a
industry correspondent for many
years and it would be foolish to
imagine that negotiations will not
end at the last minute if they will
reach a conclusion, when the last
minute comes. The only question is,
what form the compromises take.
you would like Britain to stay close
to the single market and the
I think the Norway
option is the best one for us and I
think it would satisfy several
things. First of all it would avoid
the terrible consequences of
becoming a third country if we left,
which would be very, very difficult.
These aren't terrorists, these are
huge bureaucracies on the frontiers
which we would face if we became a
third country trading with the
European Union. And also, because of
the little-known but important
Lichtenstein option it would give us
the chance to control our borders as
This is what Brexiteers Mike
Jacob Rees-Mogg describe as being a
vassal state, not defining the rules
but having to accept them?
say that if he likes. But the
problem is this. 40 years of being
in the European Union, much of
Britain's muscle has atrophied, and
we really aren't in a very strong
position to march out into total
independence at the moment. And if
we tried to do so I think we might
stumble. It's perfectly sensible for
a politician who is making a name by
being a billeted on this issue to
speak like this. But the trouble is
there will have to be a compromise.
Those of us who take the future of
the country seriously, or even try
to do so, must wonder what sort of
compromises that could be, which
would suit both sides. This was not
a huge, overwhelming vote to leave,
it was a narrow one, and therefore
we have to accept there will be a
Now it's time for our daily quiz.
According to reports in the press,
Donald Trump told Theresa May
she could be like a world
question is - which one?
Was it a) Winston Churchill?
b) Margaret Thatcher?
C) Ronald Reagan?
Or d) Neville Chamberlain?
At the end of the show, Peter
will give us the correct answer.
This morning, NHS England
released the latest figures
on the organisation's performance.
In the week ending 21st January,
pressure on the service continued -
with 11,000 ambulance delays
of over 30 minutes -
and bed occupancy levels of 94.8%.
These figures are a very slight
improvement in comparison
to the previous set of weekly
figures when there was a bed
occupancy level of 94.90% of beds,
and 12,600 last ambulance delays
of over 30 minutes.
Labour have seized upon the issue.
Tonight, they will hold an NHS rally
outside the Houses of Parliament -
in support of "the heroes
that work there".
And yesterday at PMQs,
Jeremy Corbyn attacked
the PM about NHS funding, calling
the extra £2.8 billion pledged
in last autumn's
Budget "thin gruel".
Theresa May said the NHS had been
"better prepared" than ever before
for winter pressures,
and the Government was ensuring
that the NHS receives more funding.
But she faces trouble on her own
benches over the issue too -
Boris Johnson reportedly called
for extra NHS funding
at this week's Cabinet,
and backbenchers Jacob Rees Mogg,
Mark Pritchard and Nick Boles
have all said the health
service needs more money.
And frustration was vented by some
Tory MPs on Twitter -
including Johnny Mercer
and Sarah Wollaston -
after the PM deflected an invitation
by 90 MPs across the parties to set
up a cross-party group to enhance
sustainability in the NHS.
Joining us now is Carol Jagger,
who works at the Institute
of Ageing in Newcastle.
She has warned that we might be
underestimating the future increases
in demand on the NHS.
Thank you very much for joining us
on the programme. You've done
research which shows that as we're
living longer, with more complicated
conditions, our health care is going
to get more complicated as well?
Yes, I have. And if I can just say a
little bit about what we did... Al
model takes people aged 35 and over,
and with lifestyle factors, obesity,
smoking and physical inactivity, and
other factors, it simulates how
they're doing to age in terms of
accruing diseases. And yes, we found
that most of the increase will be in
what we term complex
multi-morbidity, four or more
And that is more context
to manage and it's going to cost
considerably more money?
Yes, it is.
But I think also it's about
organisation, too. It all boils down
to money but it is really, we will
need better training for health
professionals and longer
consultation times for GPs as well.
So, we talk a lot about funding for
the NHS, whether it's adequate or
not, and your warning us that we're
going to look at substantial
increases in the future - can the
NHS really ever have enough money?
think it has to be a longer term
plan double we've got at the moment.
It isn't something that we can just
shore up for a couple of years.
Basically our research is showing
that this is going to continue for
the next 25 and 30 years, and it
isn't going to get better. And
actually more worryingly, we also
found that people, younger people,
who are ageing into the older
population, are coming in with more
disease as well.
Thank you very much
for explaining that, Carol Jagger.
With me in the studio is Labour's
Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan
Ashworth and Tory MP Andrew
Murrison, who served in the Navy as
a medic for 20 years. Andrew, it is
clear that there is rising concern
amongst voters about the NHS, 40%
saying they think it is the most
important issue facing the
government - is the government
handling it well?
You're right, by
far and away it's the biggest issue
in my constituency mailbag at the
moment. I think the garment has
approached winter pressures, which
we have had for the past 30 years,
quite well this year. We've had
advanced planning, more money going
in, and it has been handled I think
That is a very
short-term issue for the winter, but
chief executive of NHS England says
he needs £4 billion more and he's
not getting it?
Yes, well I think
you should let pitch and a number of
my colleagues are saying the same,
notably Boris Johnson, obviously. I
have been arguing for more money for
the NHS for a very long time. But I
think Carol Jagger is absolutely
right, it's not just about the sum
total of money going into the NHS,
which lags well behind other
countries in Western Europe I have
to say, but it's also about how we
structure the NHS and what we do
within it, we must consider it on
preventative health as well.
preventative health as well.
money is a part of it though and
your manifesto pledge they would be
an increase in spending for every
year of this Parliament but the
National Audit Office says once
adjusted for age, money will fall
this year rather than increase.
There is more money being spent and
more activity than ever before.
there is more need than ever before.
Yes, there is, and Carol's comments
are worrying because we are and in
the 70th of our NHS, there needs to
be a root and branch above party
consultation on where we go from
Jonathan, you didn't sign the
letter calling for a cross-party
commission on the NHS because --,
did you. Is this because you think
the NHS are already doing a good job
I don't need to be in a cross-party?
No, that is not it and I know that
what my colleague saying about
demanding more money is actually the
case. But this is about choices to
make and I am sceptical that the
government would make the decisions
to give the NHS the funding it
really needs. Historically, and we
are at the 70th anniversary,
historically, the NHS for 62 years
to 4% uplift year by year. For the
last eight years, it's gone through
a tight financial squeeze of a 1%
uplift, giving us the crisis we have
seen on our TV screens, BBC news...
But the NHS wouldn't be getting that
1% -- that 4% uplift you were to
have won the election? You were
promising about 2%.
promising five billion and I would
have been considerably more than the
Conservatives. But we do need a
long-term plan for the National
Isn't that why you
need to take the politics out of it
and have some kind of cross-party
commission that looks at the beach
beyond the lifetime of this
government had restructuring the
I think the problem is the last
royal commission we had was under
Harold Wilson's government had no
one thing is it really came up with
a long-term plan for the NHS when
they did it in the 70s.
mean it couldn't be done better now.
One of the proposals we have, you
know we have the Office for Budget
Responsibility, is generally
respected, people accept its
analysis, we believe we need
something like that by health care
to recommend to government and give
independent reports on the funding
needs of the NHS, the staffing needs
of the NHS, to allow government to
put in that long-term planning which
we do agree is needed. I just don't
think the Royal commission would
give us answers on time.
need to be 's party cooperation in
looking at the beach of the NHS?
really think there does need to be
and the public expects there to be.
The report Jonathan is referring to
has largely been implemented over
the years and it's not right to say
because Royal commissions of the
past had taken a long time and been
expensive, they need to be in the
picture. We need to be sure this is
within a very tight timeline. Within
two years, a report which is
authoritative, which is what a royal
commission lens. It is certainly not
partisan. The public wants that,
they want politicians to come
together and agree something that is
closest we get to a national
religion in this country. If there
is one thing that unites the parties
in Westminster, it is the National
Health Service. I promise you this,
at the next general election, it
will be at the forefront of people's
Peter Hitchens, cross-party
co-operation on the future of the
NHS. It is -- is it the only way
Yes, I think we are all
tired of Labour saying they are the
only ones able to save the NHS. The
Conservatives are not trying to
destroy it even if that is what the
media says. The whole approach
becomes needlessly adversarial
because they make the relationship
bad. We had 18 years of
marketisation and 13 years of
splurge. The truth is that we could
spend the entire GDP on the NHS and
it still doesn't work. A Royal
commission could look at the huge
need for preventative health. The
hospital near where I live, you
approach it three two concentric
rings. One is of people smoking and
the next is a car park. These are
two contributors to ill-health. The
lack of exercise, with terrible
provision for public transport
meaning people drive. The second is
lifestyle choices which make people
ill. Somehow or other, I would
personally suggest tax incentives to
keep people healthy and fit, somehow
or other you have to do something
about that. Then there is the final
thing, which is that for the past 50
years now, all governments have been
attacking the family and trying to
substitute with it for the state.
The care of the old which used to be
done by families is now invariably
loaded onto the health service at
the end of peoples lives and that is
a great deal the reason we have
problems every winter. There needs
to be some recognition that the
destruction of the family, the De
Kooning particularly of women
particularly into paid work has been
actually a mistake and we can't
substitute it either by the health
service, the welfare system or
Some radical ideas
there from Peter.
Someone has got to
Is this something that
government ever consider, ideas as
radical as this?
Golly, I thought
Jonathan was going to go first. I
like radical and blue sky thinking.
Some of the points made I would
agree with and sympathise with but
look, I am a politician and I'm a
practical person and want something
done within a reasonable time frame.
I very much welcome Jeremy Hunt's
10-year time frame, far more
realistic than the five-year one we
have been dealing with up to this
point. We have to work with society
and what people want and expect in
the 21st century. Lifestyle,
absolutely important. Smoking has
gone down quite significantly in
recent years. The great driver of
health inequalities is gradually
being addressed. But there are other
health-related lifestyle issues and
I think particularly obesity, so it
would be a mistake in any review
simply to look at how to patch
people up when they become sick. We
also need to look at why they become
sick and how government can do
things that aren't going to make
matters worse, because we need to
remember government interventions
have a habit of making things worse
rather than better.
Labour argue a
great deal about the funding for the
NHS and we could pick through the
numbers and show that actually even
the Labour Party wasn't promising
the annual 4% uplift that the NHS
traditionally gets but this goes
beyond money, doesn't it? Is it not
a mistake to be constantly
criticising the government for the
funding they are giving the NHS
funding they are giving the NHS and
not looking at some of the
underlying structural issues?
Absolutely, there are loads of
fundamental issues which need to be
attacked. Funding is a fundamental
issue, as indeed is staffing at the
social care system. The two are
interlinked because as we have heard
there are lots of elderly people
trapped in hospitals. I would say
driving a lot of that is the £6
billion worth of cuts, not the
beginning of women into the world of
work as Peter described it. I
actually think women working is a
good thing and more women should be
encouraged into the world of work.
didn't say anything about equal
I think the problem around
social care and lack of care for our
elderly is not to do with women
being in work. Why don't some of the
men is that home to look after them?
Fine by me if you can persuade them
to do it.
to do it. I am only opposed to the
huge pressure on women to go out to
paid work when in many cases they
would rather be at home raising
This is a
significantly contentious debate but
at the debate for another day, I'm
afraid. We will have to leave it
The Home Office has appointed
a Muslim human rights campaigner,
Sara Khan, to lead a new commission
to counter extremism.
Labour say the appointment fails
to acknowledge that most
Muslims have no confidence
in the government's
Adding to the criticism is former
Faith and Communities
minister Baroness Warsi.
I spoke to her earlier
from our Leeds studio and began
by asking her why she thought
Sara Khan wasn't qualified
for the role.
I'm sure Sara is a perfectly nice
human being but this is a very
important role, one which will
determine the kind of country that
our children will grow up in. For
that role, there are certain
characteristics which are essential
for the person leading in that role
and one of those is that this person
has to be independent, somebody who
can robustly challenged communities
and robustly challenged government.
Why do you think Sarah Khan would
not be independent?
I think there is
a whole plethora of reasons about
how Sara came about, the campaigns
she has run, the book she wrote, who
was it written by? How much of this
has been done at the bequest and
behest of the Home Office? And
agencies attached to the Home
Office. It is important to me that
whoever comes into this comes in in
a position of strength. This person
will to challenge communities, take
on some of the cup issues. This
person has to be deeply respected
and connected to the communities in
which he operates.
criticism of her two day then is
undermining that and will make her
I made my views clear
about this appointment months ago, I
wrote about it and put an extract of
that out yesterday. I have been
talking about the importance of this
role and how important it is that we
appoint the right person. Remember,
Sarah, this person is going to have
to do have some really tough
conversations from a position of
strength where someone may not be
agreeing with that person but they
will have to have a discussion. This
person will have to engage broadly
and deeply with all communities and
sadly Sara has been an advocate of
the government's policy of
disengagement which has meant more
and more people, individuals and
activists, have been considered
beyond the pale and have been
disengaged. For these and another --
a number of other reasons, it is
that the government have the
opportunity to make a very good
appointment, and there were some
very good candidates in the final
run to this role, and they chose not
to do so.
Are you disappointed it
wasn't you, is that partly why you
feel like this?
I can only be
disappointed if I had applied and I
didn't apply because I did not feel
I have the time for it. But there
were good people in the running,
including a prosecutor who took on
the greening gangs and to contact
issues that questioned and prayed
communities. That is the type of
person we needed in this role.
Someone independent, brave,
experienced, somebody with great
gravitas in this area. Sadly, that
is not the route the government
chose to take.
You have also been
very critical of the government's
anti-terrorism policy, prevent. You
have said it is toxic and should be
paused. You still feel that way?
view is that we need something in
our countries -- counterterrorism
policy that does people upstream
underway to terrorism. But what is
clear and this is not just my view
but the view of counterterrorism
services, police, academics, across
the political divide, when many
people look at this and say it is
time for an independent review of
prevent. It's a view that I hold and
that many practitioners who practice
capital letter prevent need a
One of the people you
mentioned actually supports Sara
Khan's appointment and says he does
not see how she can't be independent
because she criticised the
I can only go by my own
experience and I have known of Sara
and her sister who is an official at
the Home Office for nearly 15 years.
I have seen their journey over time,
they're changing views about Islam,
how they manifest it, wearing the
huge up, not wearing a jab, this is
something I have been involved in
over the years and knowing what I
know, having worked inside and
outside of government, I am
disappointed by this appointment
because I think it will hinder not
help our appointment.
this appointment of another Toby
Young moment on twitter. Does that
mean that you think Sara Khan can't
contain -- can't continue in this
appointment is not in the past,
appointments have been made and when
it becomes clear the appointment was
not the right appointment, the
government has reconsidered and I
sincerely hope the government will
reconsider this appointment.
this morning, I have been speaking
to people who engage in prevent work
at the grassroots level and two
people have said to me that this
appointment will actually make their
life and their job more difficult.
These are people who are engaged in
the government's own prevent work. I
spoke to a civil servant this
morning who said the advice was that
this appointment would make things
more difficult in the fight against
We will have to leave it
there. Thank you, Baroness Warsi.
We are joined now in the studio by
Dame Louise Casey. Thank you for
coming in. Is Sara Khan the right
person for this job?
Yes, and to be
fair, whoever was appointed, no
matter who they were, would face a
barrage of criticism, and probably
in many areas of the country, people
going thank not someone is in the,
who is we are cracking on. I think
some of this is incredibly
unedifying. If only powerful Muslim
women and not Muslim women would
come together and get behind the
extremism commission and behind Sara
Khan's appointment, that would be a
much better way forward. The woman
hasn't even started yet, and when
Baroness Warsi was appointed, she
herself took some criticism from the
same sort of cohort at that time. I
wish she was onside and supporting
and making this work, because
whoever is in the job...
argument is that Sara Khan is not
able to be independent enough of
government, because she's been so
close to the Home Office in the
I find that extraordinary,
really. Sara Khan, she is her own
woman and she will say exactly what
she thinks needs to be done. She's
fearless, feel is around politics
and frankly around some of the stuff
she has had to put up with.
try and get her on today but you
I am a poor
substitute, but the fact of the
matter is that it's just not right
on the day that a long process will
have been gone through, this will
have had ministerial support, I
would imagine it is an appointment
made very much by the Home
Secretary. We need to get behind,
leave aside all this personality
stuff. It's not where we need to be.
There is a job that needs to be
done, Sara Khan has got the job, I
think she will do it really well, we
should be supporting her.
I just can't really support the idea
that there should be a moment
official tasked with dealing with
extremism. The word extremism is no
business of the government to define
any opinion and whether it be
extremist or not and trying to stamp
it out. If people commit crime then
they should be prosecuted and
punished for it if convicted. But
the whole idea of a government
having opinions on people's opinions
is repulsive to me and I am amazed
that we can sit here discussing it
in a country which has until
recently been reasonably free. It is
simply not the job of the state to
interfere in what people think. What
they do is another matter.
Incitement to violence is another
matter. But if we accept this, then
then it is not at all unforeseeable
that is not a very long time I could
be classified as an extremist,
subject to government investigation
and supervision and who knows what
else. I really am amazed that the
way in which people give up the
liberties which it took centuries in
this country to obtain.
Louise Casey address that - is this
a commission looking at what people
think or what they do?
I am not a
No, you're not
but we're discussing the appointment
And Sara Khan today has not been
a government official. I think it
would be crazy to think that we
don't have a problem in this country
of the extreme far right getting
more extreme, getting more members.
It would be crazy to think that we
don't have people in this country
that right now as we sit here think
that the young girls that died in
the Manchester Arena bombing attack
had it coming to them. That
actually, in the name of something,
that actually that was an acceptable
way and people think that...
on, I don't know what you mean by
In all other areas of
crime, we prevent pitch but we don't
have laws about what people think in
this country. It is not laws about
what people think, it's about a...
What do you mean by acceptable,
What I mean is there are young
people who are growing up and start
talking in classrooms and with their
friends about things that we would
find very, very close to what is
criminal, and if that was around...
We are in at the moment some kind of
constant for Rory over the
boundaries between what is
acceptable conduct for me in
published life and in private life
and where they cover those
boundaries of. I do not see anybody
questioning that debate.
be but... I question any menace to
freedom of speech and thought,
because these things are very
important and they are very easily
lost. And they are usually very
easily lost on a strong emotional
tide such as the one which you've
just been expressing, of these
people discussing opinions. I think
a lot of people's opinions are
disgusting, but they then must be
challenge in a debate. It is not the
role of the state to prosecute
people for what they think. Anything
short of incitement to. Although we
do not have a first amendment in
this country I think we should
practice as far as possible the
rules which follow from that. Which
is, you can say what you like short
of shouting fire in a crowded
theatre falsely. And I think we
should stick with that. I'm amazed
at the way in which, particularly on
the pretext of fighting terrorism,
which actually the government is not
very good at, actually, we introduce
laws and procedures which are
actually based on the idea that
there are somethings we are not
allowed to think.
We understand what
you think about that, Peter. Louise
you were also in the antisocial
behaviour tsar and we have got new
crime statistics out today which
show that violent crime and other
offences as recorded by the police
have risen sharply. Robberies up by
Overall crimes recorded
by police in 44 forces
across England and
Wales rose by 14%,
while violent crime
increased by 20%.
Robberies surged by
nearly a third - 29%.
In the same time period,
knife crime was up by 21%.
And sex crimes also
increased by 23%.
This must be of concern to you?
Since 2014 in particular, we have
seen increases and those statistics
are robust John White is not about
extra reporting or awareness. It is
very clear that on that particular
criminal offence, that actually that
is going in the wrong direction. And
my own view, and Peter will probably
disagree with this as well, is that
I actually think it is time for us
to step back and think, what is
happening and we know that this is
largely an urban problem, it is a
specific problem in London. If we
asked the police which wards, they
would be able to tell us which
wards. I think the solution does not
lie in constant policing and
enforcement of. We do need
enforcement and policing, one of the
things I'm worried about is the
reduction of police officers and
resources, particularly in the
magical authors and police --
particularly in the Metropolitan
Police but nevertheless we ought to
know what is happening in those
families and in their lives, why
some of them are dropping out of
school, why some of them think
carrying a knife is in their
interest, why we are allowing
predatory, nasty gangs to take hold
in some of these wards and not
having a bigger response than we
have at the moment. There needs to
be a line in the sand, and I don't
It has been said that knife
crime is going to be a top issue but
actually some more imaginative ideas
like the violence reduction unit
which operates in Glasgow, where
knife crime has been falling
substantially - why are they not
Apart from the fact I
think that the Metropolitan Police
are actually very concerned about
resources in policing at the moment.
I think the other thing is that we
need to find, what started in
Scotland, and I saw your piece on
Sunday, and I was aware of that
work, but we need to find a
different approach. And one of those
different approaches is actually
going into the families where we
know that this is a problem and
trying to work out how we can stop
siblings and others growing up in
those families making the same
mistakes. And I think that is not a
policing issue, it is where things
like family intervention, which I
did Andrew Labour, troubled
families, which I
families, which I did under the
Conservatives, needs to be at the
forefront. You need a different
approach to these things, and it IS
interference, in terms of family
life, because at the moment we have
too many deaths.
Is that too much a
state interference in family life?
No, the state is entitled to
interfere where there is exactly the
point. But it would seem to me to be
a hugely unexamined aspect of these
crimes, and that is the increasing
almost epidemic use of mind altering
drugs in certain parts of society,
which the state does nothing
whatsoever to prevent. The
possession of drugs is virtually
unprosecuted in this country now
that the process which has been
going on for 40 years which has
excellent rated in recent years,
effectively letting people off. I
have to just mention as well, going
back to the other subject, you
almost always find mind altering
drugs present in the lives of people
who are involved in terrorist
outrages, whether that would be
marijuana or some Chris should
drugs, or steroids, they are almost
invariably present. I have been
studying this very carefully for
some years and they're there. These
are a subset of violent crime which
is unusually closely studied. But
the refusal of the authorities to
attempt to deal with the possession
and use of mind altering drugs lies
behind an awful lot of this.
agree with that. I think that is
part of the problem with how this
becomes a left-to-right, polarised
debate. We know where the level of
knife crime is very high. Win over
wards in London in particular,
probably Greater Manchester and
Liverpool as well. We know that
there are nasty, predatory gangs
that are at the top end of crime and
they sweep people into it, quite
often young people have not got
brilliant results in school, quite a
lot of them are excluded, they're
not in school, and underneath all of
this, it involves a much more
difficult conversation with
ourselves about how we help those
communities, and it -- in a
significantly different way to how
we do it at the moment. We need to
stop this, particularly on knife
crime, somebody on the left saying
it is an outrage and then somebody
on the right... We need to find a
pragmatic way forward. We have too
many deaths of young men in
particular on our streets in London.
Why won't you consider the drugs
issue? You mentioned children in
school dropping out and... Ask any
teacher and you will find that in so
many cases, particularly where
they're bright, the point at which
they drop out is the point at which
they've started using drugs. The
areas that you've named, are these
areas that are free of drugs, that
have no cannabis farms in them? They
are overflowing with drugs, why are
you not making the connection?
one of the issues that is at play.
One of the other jobs I've been
responsible for is homelessness,
where again drugs is a prevalent
part of what happens to people who
are on the streets as is the use of
alcohol. I'm not suggesting it is
not an issue, of course, but that is
not going to get the knife crime
statistics and the lives of young
people made safer in London and
nationally if we just take one
issue. We have to look at it in the
round. And finally, the more people
that keep dissing Prevent, the more
people lose confidence in it, and so
the public, who are not part of...
The counter-terrorism strategy, the
more that people keep undermining
it, the more difficult it is for the
police officers and civilians to do
That sounds like an
argument against free discussion.
Prevent is a
huge topic which we will need to
discuss at another time.
A director at the Department
for Education has resigned.
The Families Minister
was summoned to Downing Street
to explain HIS presence at a charity
event run by the Presidents Club
at the Dorchester Hotel
in London last week -
where hostesses were reported
to have been sexually harassed .
where hostesses were reported
to have been sexually harassed.
Nadhim Zahawi said he left the event
shortly after 9.30 when he said
he "felt uncomfortable",
but said he did not see any
of the "horrific" events reported.
He also tweeted that he would never
attend a men-only function again.
The government were asked to respond
to an urgent question on the story
What the Department for Education
needs to do, and in fact
all departments, all public bodies
in fact, needs to do is to make sure
that this sort of behaviour
isn't going on anywhere.
It has to not be tolerated.
It's not just about forcing people
to do the right thing.
It's actually about
I noticed that the organisation
wishes to put it
on to the individual
members where actually what happened
was that women were bought as bait
for men who are rich men not a mile
from where we stand,
as if that is an
It is totally unacceptable.
It is appalling that that
continues and I support
the minister and her response.
We all have our duty to do to make
sure that those dinners
don't ever happen again.
They chose to treat the hostesses
in this way, to make them parade
across the stage in front of men,
to make them wear black
skimpy outfits and specify
the colour of their underwear.
They chose to ask them
to drink before the event.
Does she agree all of the organisers
including the Presidents Club
and all of the private companies
involved in organising this should
be investigated for breach
of the law and breach
of the charity rules?
Cross-party is absolutely
the word and maybe that
work starts from today.
Some men, especially
rich and powerful men,
feel entitled to women.
They view their bodies
as playthings and they thinnk
that lecherous pawing
and groping of women
is acceptable behaviour.
That a charity is prepared
to facilitate that behaviour
as long as wealthy men
are opening their cheque-books
May I suggest to the minister
that this is more than a collective
misjudgment, that this
is a deliberate sticking up of two
fingers to those that they perceive
as being the PC culture.
So, pretty clear what MPs thought up
the Presidents Club event. Peter
Hitchens, our US outraged?
I am not
surprised but I am a puritan and
perhaps a prude and I find events of
this kind as repulsive as anybody
and more repulsive than some. What I
am interested to see it but having
long opposed the permissive society
of which this is an aspect, I am at
last having allies among the left
wing feminists who have seemed
critical of this in the past. This
is a factor of it.
It seems that
something has changed because this
may not have made the headlines it
did yesterday that had happened a
It is interesting to see
the Financial Times entering scooped
journalism. But no, it wouldn't have
This follows on from Harvey
Weinstein and all of this. Does it
mark a major shift in which we will
get critical of all sorts of things
that have been going on, maybe even
to the discomfort of you?
know. It is possible. It is also
possible that it could be another
occasion for people to stand up in
public and say how good they are. I
was at the cinema at the weekend and
I had to sit through a pre-film film
watcher with all sorts of great and
good person saying they were against
something like this. Sure, they can
say that, but the problem -- the
question is, do they really oppose
the changes in our society which
have taken place over the last 40 or
50 years which lead to this? We used
to have a situation where there was
lifelong marriage and the
respectable chastity. These are
supposedly respectable people
behaving in a very disrespectful way
in an expensive London hotel.
Theresa May has said that she
thought that kind of objectification
of women in this case had been left
behind. She talks about it and it
obviously hasn't because we have lap
dancing clubs all over the place,
the Chippendales performing, it's
not just women.
The people who own
them used to give money to the
I don't know if
they still do. Will we see a shift
away from a gentrification? -- a
shift away from objectification?
not sure. It would have to be an
enormous shift. What is it that the
and I have to call them this
politically correct critics in this
case, what is it that we need in law
to prevent this happening again?
Now, defence spending has
been in the news again
after Sir Nick Carter,
head of the army, warned
earlier this week that Britain's
military risked falling behind that
of its potential enemies
without additional investment.
His comments come amid widespread
speculation about possible cuts
to personnel and equipment and calls
to increase defence spending to 3%
of GDP from some MPs.
But what about Trident -
out nuclear missile deterrent -
which will soon need replacing?
Would the money spent
on a replacement be
better spent elsewhere?
Here's my guest of the day,
Peter Hitchens, on his soapbox.
Britain's defence policy
is like a man who spends so much
on insuring himself against alien
abduction that he can't afford
cover for fire and theft.
Army chiefs have been warning this
week that our conventional defences
are frighteningly short
of equipment, men and money.
But what they won't say in public
is that a major reason
for the squeeze is the vast expense
of building four new Trident
hugely bigger than this 1960s relic,
HMS Ocelot, veteran of countless
top secret missions
against the Soviet Union.
Unlike Ocelot here, the new Trident
boats are museum pieces before
they've even been laid down.
Like her, they're Cold War
weapons but built 30 years
after the Cold War ended.
Elaborate, complex and huge,
they were designed to deter
the enormous Soviet armies
in East Germany, which
long ago melted away.
And they're a superpower weapon,
decades after we cease
to be any such thing.
If we were a superpower,
we could make our own missiles
rather than lease them from the USA,
as we more or less do.
Israel, a country with many
irreconcilable enemies and under far
more risk of attack than we are,
doesn't have anything
like so elaborate or costly.
So, why should we?
The choice isn't between
Trident and nothing.
The new submarines will come
in at somewhere between £31
billion over 35 years -
the government estimate -
or £175 million, if you DON'T
believe the government estimates,
as I tend not to do.
You can't help thinking that some
of this money will come out of funds
that could otherwise be spent
on usable, conventional weapons.
The Tories, and Labour Blairites,
think Trident is a very useful
weapon with which to attack Jeremy
But everyone in government knows
that many in the military privately
think it a vainglorious
waste of money.
Field Marshal Lord Bramall,
too old to care what politicians say
or do, openly says what many
in the military can only think -
that we should get rid of it.
Nobody can call Lord Bramall
a pacifist or a defeatist.
He's living proof that
there's a good, hard,
patriotic argument for disposing
of this usable monstrosity, before
-- unusable monstrosity, before
it destroys our real defence system.
And we are joined in the studio now
by the chair of the Defence Select
Committee and of course Peter
Hitchens is still here. Thank you
very much for coming in, Julian
Lewis. What did you make of Peter
Hitchens argument there that
basically the money being spent on
Trident would be much better spent
on conventional weapons and building
up the army.
Unfortunately, we are
nowhere near of spending enough on
defence irrespective of the
contribution that Trident's
expenditure of 31 £241 billion spent
over a considerable number of years
would make any difference to. I
always say to anyone using this
argument, if you think that we would
scoop up the money that otherwise
would be spent on our ultimate
insurance policy against nuclear
aggression, namely the Trident, if
even call that would go back into
defence, you are being unrealistic.
We have a commitment to spend 2% of
GDP on defence as part of our Nato
membership, so surely the money for
Trident would have to go back in?
The 2% commitment gets right to the
heart of the issue. The 2%
commitment is nowhere near enough.
In the ten long years of the Blair
government, I was shadow defence
Minister for the Conservatives and I
spent a lot of time arguing that
they weren't spending enough when
they were spending 2.5% of GDP. Even
when, Peter's point and it's a good
point, that the Cold War came to an
end at the end of the 1980s, then we
were spending 4.5% on defence. Even
after we took the peace dividend
cuts, in 1995 to 1996 we were
spending 3%. This would be a drop in
the ocean and we would be losing our
ultimate insurance policy.
lot of things are a drop in the
ocean, if you like. The army is
suffering from a serious recruitment
crisis and I think one of the issues
that if they have closed out what's
up their recruitment officers. The
cost is tiny and it is trivial in
itself, but the Army now is smaller
than France was allowed after being
defeated after Germany. The Navy is
in a terrible crisis because of many
things, not just the overspending on
aircraft carriers that we can't use
and the fact that all these ships
don't work and can't move. It also
doesn't have enough people and it
has been losing over the years many
experienced NCO type people of the
type we can't replace and these are
not expensive things, but the drain
of money into Trident is one of the
main reasons why these things are
happening and will continue to
happen for 30 years to come. The
question is, do we need this thing?
Also, I think it's part of national
growing up. We really do need to
understand that we are an important
country but we're not a superpower
and we should start behaving as one.
We have the chance to pull out
before renewing it at fast expense
and that would be a very useful
moment of recognition of what we
really need to be. What do we really
need an army for? What do we need an
army for? What do we need a before?
What shape should they have? But
that needs a moment of profound
reflection. The fact the Cold War is
over would be a good starting point
for that discussion. I am sure we
could spend more, but within what we
do spend, transferring the money we
spend on this to conventional force
would make more sense.
Can I just
say, we were not a superpower at any
point during the Cold War and we
spent on average 5% of GDP on
But Peter's point is not
about spending. It's about nuclear
weapons as a status symbol.
I hope I
have established that our defence
spending is so woefully low that
until we get to the point where we
have the Defence Secretary, and we
might just have one now, who is
prepared to say that we need to be
spending more in the order of 3% of
GDP, this sort of argument will make
no realistic difference. And you
know what, Michael Fallon who
defended the government blind
through all his years of -- as
Secretary of State for Defence now
have an article saying, do you know
what, we need to be spending at
least 2.5% of GDP? I think we are
winning that argument, Peter, let's
not divert onto Trident for the
money point of view. The argument
for Trident is simple. It is not to
deter the major armies of the Soviet
Union during the Cold War. Trident
is to ensure that no country can
ever be misled into thinking that it
could blackmail us into surrender by
the threat of using nuclear weapons
against us which we would have no
means of retaliating for. Even one
Trident submarine is able to inflict
such damage in retaliation, not only
is it unacceptable, it is
unavoidable. It is not a panacea, it
does not meet...
I disagree with
I will continue if I can. It
does not deter every form of
military threat but what it does do
is deter military attack which you
would not be capable of defending
against without it.
As you well
know, British nuclear weapons were
initially developed after discussion
with the Americans, due to a
situation where they were made very
angry. The building was specifically
to demonstrate that we were still
important. Then this deal was
dependent on the Americans for our
missiles. Then it became an issue of
whether we could describe -- destroy
Moscow. The initiation of these were
so we could continue to destroy
Moscow. These submarines...
have to leave it there. Thank you
very much for coming in, Julian
There's just time before we go
to find out the answer to our quiz.
The question was which world famous
politician did Donald Trump say
Theresa May could be like?
A) Winston Churchill
B) Margaret Thatcher
C) Ronald Reagan
or D) Neville Chamberlain?
So Peter, what's the correct answer?
I don't know, but when they are
being rude to other politicians,
they normally say Neville
Chamberlain. But probably Winston
Apparently it was Winston
Churchill. He had just watched a
film and apparently said Theresa May
have the potential to be just like
That's all for today.
Thanks to our guests.
The one o'clock news is starting
over on BBC One now.
Sarah Smith is joined by Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens. They discuss Theresa May's visit to Davos and the continuing fallout from the Presidents Club event. Labour's Jon Ashworth and Andrew Murrison from the Conservatives discuss the future of the NHS, and Baroness Warsi talks about Sarah Khan's appointment as head of the Commission for Countering Extremism.