12/03/2018 Daily Politics


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12/03/2018

Labour's Margaret Hodge and Tom Tugendhat from the Conservatives join Jo Coburn throughout the programme. They look at allegations of bullying in Parliament.


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LineFromTo

Hello and welcome to

the Daily Politics.

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Dramatic developments

in the Westminster bullying scandal

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as allegations against

Labour's Shadow Work

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and Pensions Secretary

lead her to stand aside,

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and MPs call for an investigation

into John Bercow's

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actions as Speaker.

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As Theresa May convenes her

National Security Council,

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could we be close to the government

apportioning blame to Russia

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for the poisoning of a former

Russian double agent,

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Sergei Skripal, and his daughter?

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University lecturers

are entering their third week

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of strike action over planned

changes to pensions.

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We'll be on the picket

lines talking to staff

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and the students affected.

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Comic Relief raise millions

of pounds for charities

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across the globe and in

the UK but does it harm

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the image of Africa?

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One MP thinks so.

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He'll tell us why.

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A billion people reduced to just

one prevailing image -

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mothers, desperate, crying,

worried for their children.

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All that in the next hour,

and with us for the whole

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of the programme today

Dame Margaret Hodge,

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former Labour culture minister,

and Tom Tughendhat, the chairman

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of the Foreign Affairs

Select Committee.

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First today, bullying allegations

hang over Westminster this morning.

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In a dramatic development last

night, the Labour Party

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announced that Shadow Work

and Pensions Secretary

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Debbie Abrahams had stood down

from her front-bench role

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while bullying allegations

against her were investigated.

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She refutes the claims and hit back

at Jeremy Corbyn's office accusing

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them of ten months of "aggressive"

and "intimidating" behaviour.

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At the same time, some MPs

are calling for an investigation

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into the Speaker John Bercow

after allegations surfaced about his

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treatment of a clerk in his office.

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He also strongly denies the claims.

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Our political correspondent

Ben Wright can tell us more.

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Ben, can we go back to the Shadow

Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie

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Abrahams, before she was either

forced to step aside or decided to

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step aside herself. What is actually

going on?

Was very strange. Last

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night, suddenly the Labour Party put

out a statement that Debbie Abrahams

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had stepped aside while this

employment issue was investigated

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and almost immediately there was a

counter statement by Debbie

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Abrahams, completely taking Labour's

statement apart. She said that she

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had not agreed to stand down. She

completely denied any allegations of

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bullying and she accused some people

in the Labour leader's office of

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aggressive, intimidating and wholly

unprofessional behaviour. She said

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they had demonstrated a bully and

culture of the worst kind so she hit

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back really strongly. This thing

erupted out of the blue on what had

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clearly been an internal Labour

Party matter, and it has submitted a

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come public in the most edifying

way.

Have they fallen out, Debbie

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Abrahams on the leader's office?

I

think they clearly have, if you take

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Debbie Abrahams' statement at face

value. There is a real problem here.

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But she has been a member of Jeremy

Corbyn's team we think relatively

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harmoniously for the last two of

three years. She has been Shadow

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Work and Pensions Secretary for two

years and seen to be working well as

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part of the team but something has

gone very awry in how the Labour

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Party internally are handling what I

am told are more than two

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independent, separate complaints

about Debbie Abrahams' behaviour.

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She completely denies any allegation

at all that she has been involved in

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bullion. There has been no reaction

about this. We haven't heard from

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Jeremy Corbyn Debbie Abrahams but I

noticed in the last few minutes that

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Andy Burnham, Labour's mayor of

greater Manchester, said that Debbie

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deserve much better than this and

has been very loyal to the party

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over the years, so there is some

sympathy there from a senior figure

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in the party.

And a word on John

Bercow, the speaker, also facing

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allegations of bullying, which he

has denied. What is the development

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there?

You will remember last week

Newsnight ran a very big report on I

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think three MPs, one of whom was

John Bercow, accused of bullying.

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All three deny those allegations

very strongly but there is some

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pressure today on John Bercow, so a

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen has put down

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an early day motion, effectively a

Parliamentary petition, questioning

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whether John Bercow can continue

with his job as Speaker. He has been

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a very long-term critic of John

Bercow, it must be said. Separately,

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the co-leader of the Green Party,

Caroline Lucas, is hoping to get an

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urgent question called today because

she wants the complaints made by the

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former clerks to be heard about on

the floor of the chamber discussed

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and she wants clerks to be included

in the code of conduct that is being

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pushed through the Commons now, in

response to what have been months

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now of accusations of harassment and

bullying on the Parliamentary

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estate.

Ben Wright, thank you very

much.

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Well, joining me now

in the studio is Andrew Bridgen.

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He's the architect of a motion

in the House of Commons which calls

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for an independent inquiry

into the Speaker's actions.

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Welcome to the Daily Politics. Is

this effectively a no-confidence

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motion in the speaker?

No, I'm

hoping it is a motion that the house

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can get behind, even those who are

avid fans of John Bercow. The

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speaker has denied all the

allegations against him so it is an

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opportunity for him to clear his

name.

Isn't this just an excuse to

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get rid of him? You don't like him -

you have made that very clear.

He

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doesn't like me.

That may be the

case but you are the one button your

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weight behind this no-confidence

motion in him. Are you trying to get

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rid of him?

We're hearing lots of

allegations around Parliament,

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around harassment and bullying and

it is important, the speaker is

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crucial to the culture of the House

of Commons. I don't think we have a

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culture of endemic bullying and

harassment but the speaker has to be

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beyond approach and an independent

investigation into these very

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serious allegations against him I

think would clear the air.

Would you

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support this motion?

I am very

supportive of the speaker and I

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think he has done a very good job in

making sure backbenchers are heard

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and I support Andrea Leadsom's work

to make sure bullying is looked into

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throughout the house and died don't

think anyone is above it. I am

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supporting the work that Andrea and

the cross-party commission has done

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on trying to stop bullying.

You are

not going to sign this motion?

I

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have a policy of not signing early

day motions at all on the basis that

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they don't change anything and cost

money so I don't see the point.

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Well, what is the point?

Well, 158,

I think, cross-party MPs signed my

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motion about the TV licence. Were

scuppered House of Lords but we did

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get it into the bill. What is the

point? I think it needs to send a

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clear message from the house that it

will not be tolerated. Nobody has to

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come to work to be bullied or

harassed and that goes for everyone

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in Parliament, right up to Mr

Speaker, who was particularly

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important.

Do you agree that any

allegations have to be investigated?

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Let's look at John Bercow because he

decided over the introduction of the

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code of conduct around harassment

and bullying, so I have absolutely

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no doubt that if a complaint were to

be made against him he would go

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through the process. A complaint,

Andrew, as I understand it, has yet

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to be made, and you are well, well

known, decent man that you may be,

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to be utterly hostile to Mr Speaker.

I think he's been a great Speaker.

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He has modernised the house, he has

brought Parliament back to its

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rightful position of hearing debate

and holding ministers to account,

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and I don't think that you should be

using this to undermine a man whom

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you just don't like. I don't know

why but you don't like him.

I can

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accept that the speaker has many

good points and has made reforms

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around the chamber and procedures

that I am supportive of.

However, he

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has many negatives with him as well.

I think the Speaker has to be

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impartial and I think he has lost

that impartiality. When he came out

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and spoke about supporting Remain,

when he came out and said that the

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President of the United States would

be welcome in Westminster Hall, he

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is quite entitled to have those

views privately...

With the greatest

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respect, you are just demonstrating

the motivation for writing down the

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early day motion.

What has that got

to do with bullying?

This has

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nothing to do with bullying and

harassment, this is to do with your

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view of Mr Speaker. I have a very

different view. Has a complaint been

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brought against him? No, it hasn't.

At a complaint is brought against

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him, he will undergo the very

processes he himself introduced.

You

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know very well that the person in

question has not made a complaint,

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it is those around her. One of the

reasons for that is that

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whistle-blowers are treated

tremendously that the House of

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Commons, as you both well-known.

So

what is it you want investigated

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exactly?

The allegations of bullying

that have been made against Mr

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Speaker to be investigated

independently.

You want to look at

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whether or not he has been partisan

on Europe, which in my view he

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hasn't been.

What about these

allegations, though, Margaret Hodge?

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Let's go through all the

allegations. The fact we are talking

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about it is really good. Five years

ago, certainly when I was a

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minister, we managed those

situations where there was

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harassment and bullying. We managed

to them. The idea that you can now

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complain and be open about them is a

force for good and there are

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processes in place... I support,

actually, the demand that this

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should cover clerks of the house as

well as people working for MPs.

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Perfectly sensible idea and it is a

good thing we're talking about this.

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What about Debbie Abrahams, Shadow

Work and Pensions Secretary? There

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has been this row in the Labour

Party, saying that she has to step

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aside while investigations are

carried out about bullying

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allegations against her. Does she

deserve to know exactly what is

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being levelled against her?

I don't

know the details so it is a slightly

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uncomfortable position. Debbie

Abrahams has done a good job in

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highlighting what has gone wrong,

particularly with Universal Credit.

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Lethargy has helped the Government

to account on that. If there are

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allegations, they should be

investigated. It is that there are

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now up counter allegations from her

against the leader's office and I

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have to say we were told there was

going to be a kinder, gentler

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politics in the Labour Party. I am

not sure whether we are witnessing

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that. All the allegations should be

properly investigated and all people

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should be held to account dock

How

many people have signed the early

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day motion?

I only laid down about

half an hour ago.

So nobody has

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signed it so far?

I have signed it.

That is good to know.

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Now it's time for our daily quiz.

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Transport for London have banned

a poster from appearing at Tube

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stations because they argue it

breaches their rules on

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"images or messages which relate

to matters of public

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"controversy or sensitivity."

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So, our question today is,

what was the poster?

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Was it a job advert

for leader of Ukip?

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A commercial to tempt young people

to join Conservative?

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An advert for Corbyn memorabilia?

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Or an attempt to entice

businesspeople to move

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France following Brexit?

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At the end of the show,

Tom and Margaret

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will give us the correct answer.

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I hope so, anyway!

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The National Security Council -

that's a cabinet committee made up

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of senior ministers and chaired

by Theresa May - has been meeting

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this morning in Downing Street

to consider the latest information

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on the poisoning of Sergei

and Yulia Skripal.

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And the Prime Minister is reportedly

preparing to make a statement,

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perhaps as early as this afternoon,

implicating Russia in the attack

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and setting out retaliatory

measures, which could include

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expelling Russian diplomats

and revoking the visas of Russians

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in Britain with links

to the Kremlin, financial measures

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to freeze Russian assets in the UK,

coordinating a response with allies,

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particularly EU countries

and the United States,

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bolstering the presence of UK troops

and other Nato forces on the Russian

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border in Eastern Europe,

and refusing to send officials

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and dignitaries to the World Cup

in Russia this summer.

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Now, before we discuss the political

consequences let's get the latest

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on the ground from Salisbury.

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Leila Nathoo is there.

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What has been the reaction from

members of the public in Salisbury,

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who have now been asked to wash

their clothes, in guidance that has

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come nearly a week after the event?

Yes, this is guidance that has been

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given because traces of this deadly

nerve agent have been found in two

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locations, the restaurant and pub

that the Skripal are known to have

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visited before they collapsed, and

this place behind me. About 500

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people who visited the Zizzi

restaurant and the Mill pub have

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been asked to take the precautionary

advice and wash their clothes, wiped

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down any items like phones or

glasses, and bag things that need to

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be dry cleaned. This has come a week

after the incident. Officials say

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there is no risk, no need to be

alarmed, it is just a precaution and

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as they get new information, the

advice changes. But I think there is

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some concern and anxiety among

people we have spoken to who have

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been to the restaurant and the pub

that this advice has come a bit late

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in the day as far as they're

concerned. They feel if there is a

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risk, why weren't they told earlier

and if there is, why are they being

0:14:460:14:49

told to take these measures now? But

I think the investigation is

0:14:490:14:55

focusing really before Zizzi because

we now know that the Skripals were

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contaminated when they got to that

restaurant. The table they sat at

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has been destroyed, it was so

contaminated, so there are separate

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decontamination operations taking

place around the city centre in

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different locations to try to make

sure that is completely free of that

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nerve agent but clearly, people

who've specifically gone to that

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restaurant and pub will be most

concerned.

Leila Nathoo, thank you.

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And Vicki Young is outside

Downing Street for us,

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where the Prime Minister has

convened her National

0:15:240:15:26

Security Council.

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So, I'll be expecting the Prime

Minister to point the finger of

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blame at the Russian state?

Downing

Street are being very tight-lipped

0:15:310:15:37

about all of this. I think she is

determined to see clear evidence

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before she does anything like that.

They've been in that for about an

0:15:410:15:45

hour and a half, including senior

figures like Amber Rudd, and Theresa

0:15:450:15:49

May has been under pressure from

some in her own party and from

0:15:490:15:52

people like Mr Johnson to give a

robust response. I think she wants

0:15:520:15:58

to make sure the police and security

services have had time to do their

0:15:580:16:01

job to do it properly and to come

forward with the evidence that she

0:16:010:16:06

needs. And pointing the finger of

blame at Russia is one thing but of

0:16:060:16:10

course what group would that mean?

Would it mean the Kremlin and

0:16:100:16:14

President Putin? It could be KGB or

former KGB agents, could be

0:16:140:16:19

something to do with the criminal

underworld and it is that thing she

0:16:190:16:22

needs to be sure of. They've

promised ministers there would be a

0:16:220:16:26

robust response of it is proven

Russia is behind this but to make it

0:16:260:16:31

meaningful, really, Britain has to

act alongside other countries, it

0:16:310:16:34

could be other members of the

European Union, it could be Nato. If

0:16:340:16:39

that is to happen, they certainly

will want to see clear evidence, so

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I think that is why there has been

this cautious approach. Amber Rudd

0:16:420:16:46

talked about clear heads and they

want to be very sure they are sure

0:16:460:16:54

of the facts before they make the

announcement.

0:16:540:16:56

Joining us in the studio

is James Nixey, he's the head

0:16:560:16:59

of the Russia programme

at the foreign affairs think

0:16:590:17:01

tank, Chatham House.

0:17:010:17:02

Do you welcome a cautious approach

from the Prime Minister and Home

0:17:020:17:04

Secretary over this?

Caution is

prudent. You don't want to

0:17:040:17:10

miscalculated and have a cataclysmic

response by Russia. At the same

0:17:100:17:13

time, what has been proven is that

the successive policies towards

0:17:130:17:20

Russia, what we have seen

consistently, is protection of

0:17:200:17:25

well-managed, Kremlin linked

interest to have links to UK

0:17:250:17:30

solicitors, lawyers, bankers,

accountants etc. I think now is the

0:17:300:17:33

time to begin to exterminate these

in order to protect ourselves. This

0:17:330:17:39

is a chemical weapons attack, an act

of terrorism and need to -- needs to

0:17:390:17:47

be called out as such.

Do you agree

with that?

I think it is a terrorist

0:17:470:17:54

attack, similar in kind as well as a

nature to other terrorist attacks

0:17:540:17:59

we've had. The fact there is a

British policeman in hospital, there

0:17:590:18:03

are two attempted victims in

hospital and many hundreds of people

0:18:030:18:07

are having to take precautions for

fear of getting further harm, we can

0:18:070:18:12

see this is a very, very mass

attack, a group of people who did

0:18:120:18:17

this had no care at all for the

safety of British people.

Do you

0:18:170:18:20

expect the Prime Minister to point

the finger of blame at Russia and

0:18:200:18:24

Vladimir Oudin?

I am for the simple

reason this is a nerve agent. They

0:18:240:18:30

are difficult to make and very

difficult to store and they are even

0:18:300:18:34

more difficult to transport so the

idea anybody except eight state

0:18:340:18:38

actor had control of this and access

to it and would have been authorised

0:18:380:18:42

to deploy it is laughable.

Do you

agree with that?

Absolutely. Nerve

0:18:420:18:48

agents state property under state

control.

So what about retaliatory

0:18:480:18:52

measures? You've made criticism of

government is protecting well

0:18:520:18:55

moneyed Russians here. So, hit them

where it hurts? In the pocket?

0:18:550:19:00

Absolutely because those people have

links back to Vladimir Putin. The

0:19:000:19:04

squeeze has repercussions. One can

have a much more coordinated cyber

0:19:040:19:13

response, European response, Nato

response even. It can even be

0:19:130:19:16

brought up at the UN Security

Council. In the realms of cyber,

0:19:160:19:21

military sphere and diplomatic

sphere, of course, we don't want to

0:19:210:19:24

cease diplomatic relations.

So, you

wouldn't send them all home?

I

0:19:240:19:28

wouldn't but I'd send those home

with proven links to other

0:19:280:19:32

affiliations other there -- other

than their designated affiliations.

0:19:320:19:37

Would that have other repercussions?

I completely concur with what has

0:19:370:19:41

been said so far but I think we have

to go deeper. It has now become the

0:19:410:19:46

jurisdiction of choice for dirty

money. Associated with organised

0:19:460:19:51

crime, criminals, all those sorts of

people. I think there is a not we

0:19:510:19:58

could do pretty quickly to try and

make us less likely to have...

For

0:19:580:20:06

example? There are 85,000 properties

in the UK today that are owned by

0:20:060:20:13

shell companies, mainly located in

tax havens.

Many of those Russian

0:20:130:20:17

health. If we had the public of

beneficial ownership of properties

0:20:170:20:23

which Cameron and Osborne promised

in which this government is delaying

0:20:230:20:27

until 2021, that would be one thing.

Two, we are very lax in how we allow

0:20:270:20:33

companies to be incorporated in the

UK. I know this is going on a bit

0:20:330:20:38

but it is important. Many companies

choose Britain. If we look at the

0:20:380:20:44

Scottish limited partnership, this

is a structure that was set up to

0:20:440:20:47

help farmers in Scotland in vest in

their land. There is an analysis

0:20:470:20:53

been done which shows that people of

importance, whatever it is called,

0:20:530:21:02

in the analysis done, only 4% of

them were British people and the

0:21:020:21:06

actual people who incorporated those

companies would Russians, Ukrainians

0:21:060:21:10

and people from Belarus. These

structures being used by people in

0:21:100:21:15

Russia and elsewhere to hide dirty

money and we should go...

Has the

0:21:150:21:19

government failed in terms of making

get too comfortable for wealthy

0:21:190:21:23

Russians to choose London as a place

to settle?

I agree with Margaret, I

0:21:230:21:27

don't think we've gone far enough. I

think dirty money not only allows

0:21:270:21:35

others from, frankly, questionable

jurisdictions to hide their ill

0:21:350:21:37

gotten gains here but it also

corrupts the system were trying to

0:21:370:21:40

protect and what we've got to do is

demonstrate the city is absolutely

0:21:400:21:45

the heart of the international

financial system and in order to do

0:21:450:21:47

that we've got to show we are clean,

honourable and law-abiding. 99% of

0:21:470:21:53

business is so what we are talking

about is sorting out a very small

0:21:530:21:57

amount of all the people who invest

in London. We need to do with

0:21:570:22:03

trusted people.

Should money donated

from wealthy Russians, unless the

0:22:030:22:08

Conservative party can prove the

source of that funding, should it be

0:22:080:22:12

returned?

If they are British

citizens and it is donated by

0:22:120:22:16

British citizens, I'm not a believer

that you should search for prior

0:22:160:22:20

affiliations. Refugees come from

around the world and become British

0:22:200:22:23

citizens if it is lawful British

citizens. If it is however

0:22:230:22:27

associated to an oligarch who is

still a Russian citizen and it is

0:22:270:22:32

done through a front, absolutely

not.

The Prime Minister said she was

0:22:320:22:35

going to suck from a long spoon.

Wouldn't it be business as usual?

It

0:22:350:22:40

shouldn't be. I'm afraid I'm not

involved in raising money.

We can go

0:22:400:22:47

tougher on political donations. I

think the extent of the exposure in

0:22:470:22:51

the Sunday Times yesterday, over

£800,000 going to the Conservative

0:22:510:22:56

party, suggest we should look again

at individual donations to limit the

0:22:560:23:03

influence that people will think

that buys.

Will that work? Is there

0:23:030:23:08

a risk that actually there are

people here, like Roman Debrunner

0:23:080:23:13

Fitch, people who would be put off

to invest if we make it too

0:23:130:23:18

difficult?

That is correct and it

will have a negative effect on us.

0:23:180:23:22

It will affect the balance of

payments. We are not over exposed to

0:23:220:23:26

the Russian economy but in order to

protect our national security, we

0:23:260:23:31

will have to incur some smaller

sacrifices. It will hurt them more

0:23:310:23:34

but it will hurt us as well.

She

will never get economic sustainable

0:23:340:23:41

growth and prosperity on the back of

dirty money so while there might be

0:23:410:23:45

a short-term instant impact, in the

long-term the integrity of our legal

0:23:450:23:49

and financial systems is far more

important.

What about Russia today?

0:23:490:23:53

Should any moves be made about that?

It is extraordinary that information

0:23:530:24:00

warfare by a hostile state and an

organisation that has breached its

0:24:000:24:04

broadcasting licence on numerous

occasions still has not... Still is

0:24:040:24:10

able to broadcast free. That is a

matter for Ofcom. I hope they are

0:24:100:24:14

looking at it very carefully because

this is running, and isn't just

0:24:140:24:18

Russia today but it is also another

company in Edinburgh.

Do you think

0:24:180:24:24

we can achieve up anything with crop

money?

You can do a lot more. You

0:24:240:24:30

can do an affectation of the

Americans act, which deals with

0:24:300:24:34

Kremlin Russians. Unexplained wealth

orders, money laundering orders.

The

0:24:340:24:40

Labour Party said they tried to

amend the sanctions on intime

0:24:400:24:45

money-laundering to add a close and

led to this act only for it to be

0:24:450:24:49

blocked by your party.

There are

many people on my side, including

0:24:490:24:52

Andrew Mitchell and me who have been

pushing for these orders. I'm not

0:24:520:24:59

going to go through the details of

the wet amendments and political

0:24:590:25:03

chicanery goes through the Commons

but what I will say is there are

0:25:030:25:06

many of us that have often pushed

for this and are still pushing for

0:25:060:25:09

this this is not a party matter.

Margaret and I agree on this that we

0:25:090:25:12

need to be much clearer on this and

what we need to do is do as James is

0:25:120:25:18

saying. We need to be hard line in

making sure London isn't a

0:25:180:25:22

playground for wealthy oligarchs who

are the aristocrats of a new tourist

0:25:220:25:25

regime.

Let's look at the reports

that's

0:25:250:25:33

that's been published today in which

the term global Britain cannot just

0:25:330:25:35

be a slogan. What do you mean by

that?

What I meant by it, or what

0:25:350:25:40

the group meant by it, is that we

need to do more than simply have a

0:25:400:25:45

slogan. We need to have the detail

of the resources behind what it

0:25:450:25:49

means. For example, one of the

things we have seen since the Brexit

0:25:490:25:54

vote is that we need to reinvest in

bilateral relations in Europe. That

0:25:540:26:01

is absolutely right but I don't

think what anybody expected was that

0:26:010:26:06

assets that come from China in order

to be invested in the European 27,

0:26:060:26:11

it doesn't strike us as global

Britain so what does global Britain

0:26:110:26:13

need? Can you put meat on the bone

so that we understand what you are

0:26:130:26:18

aiming at. I use selecting rules

-based institutions like the Asian

0:26:180:26:24

infrastructure investment bank? Are

you selecting individual bilateral

0:26:240:26:27

relations and where is the resource

coming from?

You seem to blame the

0:26:270:26:31

foreign office who you say has lost

its way and there is problems with

0:26:310:26:34

leadership at the top.

One of the

things we've noticed is we haven't

0:26:340:26:38

had the clarity we require from this

and I think it is up to leaders to

0:26:380:26:42

provide clarity so I am hoping we

will get that.

Do you have faith in

0:26:420:26:46

Boris Johnson to deliver that?

Boris

Johnson is an amazing campaigner and

0:26:460:26:51

has an amazing voice so I hope he

uses to what is at the moment are

0:26:510:26:57

refused -- a confusing situation.

Thank you.

0:26:570:27:02

Now, it's already been a busy week

and its only Monday lunchtime.

0:27:020:27:04

Let's take a look at what else

is happening this week.

0:27:040:27:06

As we've just been discussing,

Caroline Lucas from the Greens hopes

0:27:060:27:09

to be granted an Urgent Question

on allegations of bullying

0:27:090:27:11

in the Commons, while Tory MP

Andrew Bridgen is calling

0:27:110:27:14

for an independent inquiry

into allegations made

0:27:140:27:15

against the Speaker John Bercow.

0:27:150:27:17

Tomorrow, the Chancellor

presents his Spring Statement.

0:27:170:27:21

There'll be no Red Box,

or rabbits out of hats we're told,

0:27:210:27:24

but we'll be watching closely,

live here on the Daily Politics.

0:27:240:27:29

On Wednesday, it's the weekly

showdown between Theresa May

0:27:290:27:32

and Jeremy Corbyn at

Prime Minister's Questions.

0:27:320:27:34

The PM is then set for more tough

talk with the first ministers

0:27:340:27:38

of Scotland and Wales,

over the EU Withdrawal Bill.

0:27:380:27:41

On Friday, the Conservative

Party's Spring Forum gets

0:27:410:27:44

under way in London.

0:27:440:27:45

And, at the weekend,

Russia goes to the polls

0:27:450:27:50

to elect a new President.

0:27:500:27:51

The results are expected Sunday

evening, but there are few prizes

0:27:510:27:53

for guessing who'll win that one.

0:27:530:27:56

We're joined now by Kate McCann

from the Telegraph and Steve

0:27:560:27:58

Hawkes from the Sun.

0:27:580:28:03

Welcome to both of you. How much

pressure is the speaker under?

I

0:28:030:28:10

think John Bercow is under a

significant amount of pressure this

0:28:100:28:13

morning. As you mentioned earlier

there is an urgent question down but

0:28:130:28:18

officer he gets to decide whether it

is heard about his behaviour and the

0:28:180:28:22

behaviour of a couple of other MPs

highlighted in the Newsnight

0:28:220:28:26

investigation. It's worth looking at

what is going on behind the scenes

0:28:260:28:30

because John Bercow originally said

he'd stop being the speaker in June

0:28:300:28:33

of this year when he had served

almost two full terms. After that,

0:28:330:28:37

he quietly said he'd like to carry

on for longer which annoyed quite a

0:28:370:28:41

lot of MPs, both on the Labour side

and the conservative side who feel

0:28:410:28:44

he should give up his seat and let

somebody else have a turn. There is

0:28:440:28:50

a lot of that rumbling along

underneath all this talk about

0:28:500:28:52

bullying and what he has or hasn't

done in his office as speaker.

0:28:520:28:57

Steve, Russia, how big test of

Theresa May's leadership will be the

0:28:570:29:01

response of the government to what

has happened in Salisbury?

Very big.

0:29:010:29:06

If you see the Evening Standard,

Amber Rudd is talking about a

0:29:060:29:09

powerful response to Russia, and the

Kremlin, so it is all building up to

0:29:090:29:14

quite a big showdown in the Commons,

if this statement does,. There was a

0:29:140:29:19

Security Council meeting at 11am,

and it is about the proof, how

0:29:190:29:23

decisive it as it was a Russian wet

job, as they call it, and how far

0:29:230:29:30

you can go into expelling people,

sanctions or diplomatic sanctions.

0:29:300:29:35

And also Jeremy Corbyn's response.

Last week he was act by the

0:29:350:29:40

commonest party so his response will

be fascinating.

Let's talk about the

0:29:400:29:44

spring statement because this will

be a pared down event. Because it is

0:29:440:29:48

new and the big showpiece will be

later on in the year in the autumn.

0:29:480:29:53

What are we going to expect from the

Chancellor?

Not very much. We were

0:29:530:29:58

talking about what we might be

highlighting this week and we almost

0:29:580:30:02

forgot the spring statement entirely

because it is probably going to be

0:30:020:30:05

boring.

Don't say that! We have a

special programme on it tomorrow.

0:30:050:30:14

Don't hold out too much hope! Philip

Hammond is not called Spreadsheet

0:30:150:30:19

fill for nothing. We're not

expecting any particularly big

0:30:190:30:23

announcements at although we may see

things like consultations about

0:30:230:30:26

plastics and whether he may or may

not banned chewing gum or try to tax

0:30:260:30:30

chewing gum. But we're not expecting

anything big, we're not expecting

0:30:300:30:34

Philip Hammond to rock the boat and

he has robbed himself and the

0:30:340:30:38

Government of the ability to change

the narrative of where the

0:30:380:30:42

Government is going. He could have

done something really big and

0:30:420:30:46

exciting and set Theresa May on a

path which took a back to her Number

0:30:460:30:49

Ten speech when she said it was all

about the just about managing people

0:30:490:30:52

but he has decided not to do that

and we are going to have to wait

0:30:520:30:56

until the autumn to hear big news

from the Chancellor.

Is that a

0:30:560:30:59

mistake? I know it is a relatively

low-key event enters a big

0:30:590:31:05

announcements but he could have set

something out about the narrative on

0:31:050:31:08

austerity or not austerity.

For all

the talk, there will be a few people

0:31:080:31:13

talking about it tomorrow. There

will be more about Brexit

0:31:130:31:14

contingency spending, a bit more

about the national living wage,

0:31:140:31:18

which will go up in April but I

think this will be more one for the

0:31:180:31:22

geeks. Most of the play tomorrow

will be a forecast from the OBR. We

0:31:220:31:28

expect borrowing to be about 8

billion lower this fiscal year and 4

0:31:280:31:34

billion lower next fiscal year,

which gives him a bit more with

0:31:340:31:36

room. That is what the economists

are looking for, the borrowing, and

0:31:360:31:40

how low that goes on whether the

Chancellor will get edged back

0:31:400:31:43

toward the surplus. In November they

wrote off the chances of that until

0:31:430:31:48

2025 so the detail is going to be

quite interesting.

I will be

0:31:480:31:51

standing up for all the geeks, then!

Thank you both for joining us today.

0:31:510:31:56

Now, lecturers at universities

across the UK are entering

0:31:560:31:58

their third week of strike action

in a dispute over changes

0:31:580:32:01

to their pension plans.

0:32:010:32:02

Staff say they will be almost

£10,000 worse off per year

0:32:020:32:04

if the changes come into force

but university management say

0:32:040:32:07

the pension scheme has a £6 billion

deficit which can't be ignored.

0:32:070:32:10

Ellie has been out on the picket

lines taking the temperature.

0:32:100:32:14

Nice weather for ducks this morning.

0:32:140:32:16

And, it would seem,

striking lecturers.

0:32:160:32:17

We are outside Senate House

at the University of London,

0:32:170:32:20

and I've got my own striking

lecturer.

0:32:200:32:22

Why are you striking this morning?

0:32:220:32:25

We are striking to defend

the pensions that people

0:32:250:32:27

who work in universities -

lecturers, librarians,

0:32:270:32:31

others who work with them -

have felt were guaranteed for years

0:32:310:32:33

and are now being threat

and with a cut of up to 50%.

0:32:330:32:37

But what you're being changed

from is a guaranteed benefit

0:32:370:32:39

when you get your pension

to a guaranteed contribution system,

0:32:390:32:42

which is what most of the private

sector is on, and the universities

0:32:420:32:45

say that because there is a big,

black hole, in essence,

0:32:450:32:49

they can't afford your pensions,

so it needs to change.

0:32:490:32:51

There is no black hole.

0:32:510:32:53

The Vice Chancellors know this.

0:32:530:32:54

They themselves have

complained about the way

0:32:540:32:55

the calculations have been done.

0:32:550:32:57

There is plenty of money

to guarantee the pensions that

0:32:570:32:59

people felt they were entitled

to when they started

0:32:590:33:02

in the profession,

sometimes decades ago.

0:33:020:33:08

We've seen a number

of these strikes already.

0:33:080:33:10

What's going to happen

if there is no resolution?

0:33:100:33:13

We hope there will be

a resolution this week.

0:33:130:33:15

There are talks at Acas.

0:33:150:33:16

If not, we will still strike

to the end of the week, and, then,

0:33:160:33:19

if there is no resolution

beyond that, more strikes

0:33:190:33:21

will happen in the summer.

0:33:210:33:23

They will happen when students

are taking their exams.

0:33:230:33:25

And it may be that some people

will end up without the degree.

0:33:250:33:28

Some students may not graduate

if the employers don't come around

0:33:280:33:31

to do what's reasonable

and to deliver what

0:33:310:33:33

they've promised.

0:33:330:33:35

Greg, thank you very much.

0:33:350:33:36

Well, it's quite serious stuff.

0:33:360:33:38

I think we can move around now

and find, sorry to interrupt,

0:33:380:33:41

the pet student here.

0:33:410:33:42

Now, Nisha, you're supporting

the lecturers here, even though

0:33:420:33:44

we've just heard you might not

get your degree, or some students

0:33:440:33:47

might not get their degree.

0:33:470:33:49

Well, I think the changes that

are happening at the moment

0:33:490:33:51

to the pension scheme are something

that affects students

0:33:510:33:53

in the long-term.

0:33:530:33:54

You're not worried, though?

0:33:540:33:55

You're paying £9,500, you're losing

a number of teachers...

0:33:550:33:58

£16,250.

0:33:580:33:59

I'm an international student.

0:33:590:34:00

Even worse!

0:34:000:34:02

How do you justify that, then?

0:34:020:34:04

The thing is, I don't think fees

should exist at all in education.

0:34:040:34:06

I'm completely against fees.

0:34:060:34:08

And I think that there are other

questions that these strikes

0:34:080:34:10

are raising right now.

0:34:100:34:12

Because the university sector has

effectively been brought

0:34:120:34:15

to a standstill this has been

a really great opportunity

0:34:150:34:17

for students to start questioning

why is it I have to pay

0:34:170:34:20

for my education?

0:34:200:34:21

Thank you very much.

0:34:210:34:22

Let me take you over

here to the other important

0:34:220:34:25

part of this strike,

which is the tea station.

0:34:250:34:27

And I think we've got...

0:34:270:34:28

Hello, have you had any students

who are a bit annoyed that they've

0:34:280:34:31

lost their teaching days

and they are paying all this money?

0:34:310:34:34

I think it's astonishing how

supportive the students have been.

0:34:340:34:36

Maybe there are some

who don't say anything,

0:34:360:34:38

cos they realise they're not

going to get a good reception,

0:34:380:34:41

but nearly everyone is on board,

they recognise why the lecturers

0:34:410:34:43

are doing this, so, yeah,

it's been really great

0:34:430:34:46

to have their support.

0:34:460:34:47

All right, thank you very much.

0:34:470:34:48

It looks like there might be a bit

of brownie left, so, you know,

0:34:480:34:51

far be it to be involved but this

strike could continue

0:34:510:34:54

to the end of the week,

and into the summer, who knows.

0:34:540:35:01

Ellie trying to dip into the

sustenance there!

0:35:010:35:03

Joining me now is Keith Simpson.

0:35:030:35:04

He's a lecturer at City University

0:35:040:35:06

and a member of the University

and College Union, who are

0:35:060:35:08

organising the strike.

0:35:080:35:09

And we're joined from Nottingham by

the pensions expert John Ralph.

0:35:090:35:12

We did invite Universities UK,

the group who represent universities

0:35:120:35:15

in the dispute, onto the programme

but they didn't have

0:35:150:35:17

anyone available.

0:35:170:35:18

But I'm delighted that you two are

here. First of all, Keith Simpson,

0:35:180:35:22

how do you justify potentially

depriving students of their degrees

0:35:220:35:26

and, in broad terms, their

education?

I think the situation is

0:35:260:35:31

that we have taken this industrial

action to make sure that students

0:35:310:35:34

are not deprived of education.

This

is about your pensions.

It is but it

0:35:340:35:40

is also about education generally.

We have also taken industrial action

0:35:400:35:44

that we think shows the employers we

are serious about this, and that

0:35:440:35:47

this will resolve the matter as

quickly as possible. When we started

0:35:470:35:52

this dispute, vice chancellors

across the country were saying that

0:35:520:35:55

there was no resolution possible,

that there was a massive black hole.

0:35:550:36:00

Now quite a lot of them of come out

saying that there is room for

0:36:000:36:04

negotiations and talks, and that is

exactly what we are going to do.

0:36:040:36:08

That is what is happening at Acas

today and we hope that this dispute

0:36:080:36:12

is over before the end of the week.

Do you agree with Keith Simpson? Is

0:36:120:36:17

he right to say there is a

resolution that is possible? You

0:36:170:36:23

have advised employers, including in

this sector. What of the scale of

0:36:230:36:28

the pension problem?

I have followed

pension schemes for many years and

0:36:280:36:31

as far as this is concerned, there

is more misinformation and

0:36:310:36:34

disinformation than I have ever seen

before. Of all the three parties

0:36:340:36:40

that are involved, USS the pension

scheme, you the union, and Unico,

0:36:400:36:45

the employers, they're all in denial

to various degrees. And I'm sorry to

0:36:450:36:50

correct you, the deficit is not £6

billion. The deficit in the last

0:36:500:36:55

published, audited accounts of US S,

March 2017, was £17.5 billion. My

0:36:550:37:03

concern is that all the three

parties, for different reasons, are

0:37:030:37:06

in denial about the extent of the

problem. They're all throwing up

0:37:060:37:11

smoke screens. I don't know what the

answer is but from a technical

0:37:110:37:15

forensic point of view, we need to

have the facts on the table, and the

0:37:150:37:19

facts on the table are people living

longer, real interest rates are

0:37:190:37:23

going down, therefore the cost of

providing pensions is going up and

0:37:230:37:26

that affects all employers. Added to

that, in the case of USS, the huge

0:37:260:37:33

deficit, the largest deficit, 17.5

billion, though we have ever seen

0:37:330:37:37

any UK pension scheme, is

self-inflicted. USS don't want to

0:37:370:37:41

own up to that. It is self-inflicted

because the last ten years or more,

0:37:410:37:45

they have been at the casino and it

has not paid off.

Well, deficit is

0:37:450:37:51

even bigger, £17.5 billion.

John

seems to make a living by on and

0:37:510:37:57

wrecking people's pensions.

Are you

saying he is wrong? That figure is

0:37:570:38:00

incorrect?

I am not a pensions

expert. I went directly to the

0:38:000:38:06

people that I think do know

something about it, the professors

0:38:060:38:09

that work at city University's

business school. Some of them are

0:38:090:38:12

actuarial scientists and they say

that the U UK position is very

0:38:120:38:18

negative and that this situation can

be resolved. I am not an expert.

0:38:180:38:23

John Grimes on all of these

programmes saying these things.

0:38:230:38:27

There is no black hole, and the

pension is actually getting more in

0:38:270:38:32

every year than is taken out of it.

It has got a long-term future, and

0:38:320:38:38

UK universities are something to be

proud of. They're not going to

0:38:380:38:41

disappear. We have some of the

leading universities in the world.

0:38:410:38:46

This is a sustainable pension fund

and you see you have put forward

0:38:460:38:53

proposals that we are talking about

at Acas that will make sure it is

0:38:530:38:58

sustainable for the future.

Answer

that criticism and your reputation

0:38:580:39:01

in saying that you are wrong on

this.

I hope I don't need to defend

0:39:010:39:07

my reputation. The 17.5 bigger is

not a figure that I have calculated

0:39:070:39:11

or estimated. It is in the published

report and accounts, done on exactly

0:39:110:39:16

the same basis that the other 5000

pension schemes on the UK have to

0:39:160:39:20

prepare their accounts. What

surprises me is that anybody thinks

0:39:200:39:26

that universities can be immune to

the changes that are happening -

0:39:260:39:30

repeat, people living longer, real

interest rates are lower. Look at

0:39:300:39:34

the 5000 pension schemes in the UK.

Most of them have already closed and

0:39:340:39:38

moved from defined benefit to

defined contribution and I have to

0:39:380:39:42

say, that includes the pension

schemes of a lot of the individual

0:39:420:39:46

universities so if you are a

clerical employee at university you

0:39:460:39:50

are in a different scheme and the

lot of those aboard a close.

Do you

0:39:500:39:56

support the strike, Margaret?

I

think this is an issue... Let me

0:39:560:39:59

deal with the actuarial position

first. I think that would be

0:39:590:40:02

agreement across the two parties as

to the precise actuarial position.

0:40:020:40:06

These judgments so they should both

do it and then they should get on

0:40:060:40:09

and negotiated top I agree that

people are living longer, interest

0:40:090:40:13

rates are low and therefore moving

from defined contribution... From

0:40:130:40:18

benefits to a contribution system is

important. But at the back of all of

0:40:180:40:23

this, it sticks in the gullet, at

the same time as academics who are

0:40:230:40:26

not well paid are being asked to

give up their pension, you have vice

0:40:260:40:32

chancellors on huge, hefty sums of

money which will give them very,

0:40:320:40:36

very generous pensions when they

come out of...

Do you agree, Tom

0:40:360:40:44

Tugendhat? Do you have any sympathy

for this strike or do you think

0:40:440:40:47

people like these should get back to

work?

I have a huge sympathy while

0:40:470:40:52

students losing education, I have

huge sympathy for people who planned

0:40:520:40:55

the future and find out is not going

to be as it appeared. But the

0:40:550:40:58

reality is that we are living longer

and that is a great thing, it gives

0:40:580:41:02

grandparents time with their

children, a lot of people a lot more

0:41:020:41:08

time with families, and that is

fantastic news but it does mean we

0:41:080:41:11

need to change the way we do things.

Can you think of any other strike

0:41:110:41:14

that has happened as a result of

closing a final salary scheme that

0:41:140:41:16

has resulted in a change?

I can't see any change that has

0:41:160:41:22

happened where we are talking about

a thriving, multi-billion

0:41:220:41:25

contributions of the British

economy.

So you don't take on board

0:41:250:41:28

the whole point about living longer,

but these schemes are much more

0:41:280:41:32

expensive as a result of that?

People are living longer but,

0:41:320:41:37

actually, that is one reason why you

should have a good pension, because

0:41:370:41:40

I think, as Margaret said, we are

not well paid. University lecturers

0:41:400:41:45

and support staff don't go into this

to make lots of money. We have not

0:41:450:41:50

got a generous pension scheme even

now. We are defending something that

0:41:500:41:55

is good but is not the best. The

teachers' pension scheme is much

0:41:550:41:58

better than ours at the moment and

if we see the decline in our

0:41:580:42:03

pensions scheme, how are we going to

recruit the brilliant academics that

0:42:030:42:08

are actually making this a success

across the world? After Brexit we

0:42:080:42:12

will need to have the best

researchers, the best universities,

0:42:120:42:17

to compete.

We have to finish it

there. John Ralfe and Keith Simpson,

0:42:170:42:21

thank you very much.

0:42:210:42:24

Now, staying in higher education,

a graduate is suing her former

0:42:240:42:26

university for giving her

what she called

0:42:260:42:28

a "Mickey Mouse degree."

0:42:280:42:29

Fiona Pok studied

International Business Strategy

0:42:290:42:30

at Anglia Ruskin University,

in Cambridge, but she says

0:42:300:42:32

that the claims in the prospectus

about high-quality teaching

0:42:320:42:35

and excellent career

prospects were overblown.

0:42:350:42:36

And she joins us now.

0:42:360:42:41

In particular, what do you think

Anglia Ruskin misrepresented in the

0:42:410:42:44

prospectus?

In my opinion, the

University misrepresented the course

0:42:440:42:50

as to the quality of the course and

also what kind of resources they

0:42:500:42:55

have. They misrepresented the

prospect of a career, what kind of

0:42:550:42:59

job or what area you will end up in,

working in, after you graduate from

0:42:590:43:04

the course.

Have you had any joy

with getting a job, having

0:43:040:43:07

graduated?

Well, I know a lot of

people misunderstood that I have not

0:43:070:43:14

been able to get a job at the thing

is, the main point is, they

0:43:140:43:19

exaggerated the prospects of a

career, studying with them, and also

0:43:190:43:23

they exaggerate how connected the

network the has with, like,

0:43:230:43:31

regional, national or international

companies because at that time they

0:43:310:43:35

say they will help students or

graduates to find employment in a

0:43:350:43:40

lot of the big companies because

they have a connection with them.

0:43:400:43:43

What I found was so misrepresented

is, when I finished my study I

0:43:430:43:49

signed on at the career advice

bureau and tried to get some career

0:43:490:43:52

advice to see if any job

opportunities that I was hoping to

0:43:520:43:57

land on, and I find out the only

source they had was copy and pasted

0:43:570:44:01

from other companies, the

recruitment agencies already

0:44:010:44:05

available on the internet,

accessible by the public.

How much

0:44:050:44:08

are you suing them for?

I am suing

them for over £60,000.

And you think

0:44:080:44:15

that is justified, for students to

decide the quality of teaching and

0:44:150:44:18

whether it is satisfactory? You

graduated with a first, I

0:44:180:44:23

understand. Is it really the

responsibility of Anglia Ruskin to

0:44:230:44:26

guarantee you a job in the way you

have just outlined?

I think you

0:44:260:44:31

misunderstood. I am not saying they

have to guarantee me a job but they

0:44:310:44:34

have no right to make empty promises

if they have no capacity to deliver

0:44:340:44:38

them.

They have released a statement

saying, "We are well aware of the

0:44:380:44:44

claims made by this former student

and robustly defending the current

0:44:440:44:49

litigation". Has the university been

supportive in your concerns?

What do

0:44:490:44:54

you mean?

I mean, have they

understood... Before you decided to

0:44:540:44:57

take the action to sue, did you talk

to the university about your

0:44:570:45:02

concerns?

Of course. I have been

talking to them for over six years.

0:45:020:45:06

Internal complaints, external

complaints procedure has been gone

0:45:060:45:11

through, so there was no other thing

I could do.

All right, thank you

0:45:110:45:15

very much for joining us.

0:45:150:45:18

Comic Relief - or Red Nose Day

as it's better known -

0:45:180:45:21

has raised over £1 billion

for charities around the world

0:45:210:45:23

since it began 30 years ago.

0:45:230:45:24

Its subsidiary, Sport Relief,

returns this weekend,

0:45:240:45:26

encouraging the public

to "get active, raise money

0:45:260:45:28

"and change lives".

0:45:280:45:29

But Labour MP David Lammy questions

whether it's doing enough.

0:45:290:45:32

This is his Soapbox.

0:45:320:45:35

KLAXON

0:45:350:45:36

CHEERING

0:45:360:45:39

From this weekend, thousands

of Britons will be raising

0:45:400:45:44

money for Sport Relief,

a biannual telephone that asks

0:45:440:45:49

Britons all over the country to part

with their cash to help

0:45:490:45:53

poverty stricken Africans.

0:45:530:45:59

Sport Relief and Comic Relief have

tattooed images of poverty in Africa

0:45:590:46:02

into our national psyche to such

an extent that few of us can escape

0:46:020:46:06

the guilt of not donating.

0:46:060:46:12

A billion people reduced to just

one prevailing image -

0:46:120:46:17

mothers, desperate, crying,

worried for their children,

0:46:170:46:22

and children with swollen

bellies, hungry.

0:46:220:46:25

This is not to say that dire

poverty is not persistent,

0:46:250:46:31

or that images of suffering is not

the most effective

0:46:310:46:33

way to raise money.

0:46:330:46:36

But Sport Relief surely

has to be different.

0:46:360:46:42

Life expectancies are up over 10%

in 37 African states.

0:46:420:46:48

Economic growth in the 11 largest

sub-Saharan countries

0:46:480:46:52

was double the world

average in the past decade.

0:46:520:46:57

The Nigerian film industry,

Nollywood, has overtaken Hollywood

0:46:570:47:00

as the world's second-largest

movie-maker.

0:47:000:47:06

Sport Relief should be helping

to establish the people of Africa

0:47:060:47:10

as equals to be respected,

not as victims to be pitied.

0:47:100:47:15

So, rather than getting celebrities

to act as tour guides,

0:47:150:47:19

why not get Africans to talk

for themselves about the continent

0:47:190:47:23

and the problems that they know?

0:47:230:47:26

CHEERING AND APPLAUSE

0:47:260:47:31

Sport Relief

and Comic Relief should do more

0:47:310:47:33

to challenge their audience.

0:47:330:47:36

Challenge their audience not just

to feel guilty but to feel angry.

0:47:360:47:42

Angry that despite the wars that

plague the continent,

0:47:420:47:46

the international world places more

restrictions on bananas

0:47:460:47:48

than they do AK-47s.

0:47:480:47:54

Get their audience thinking

about trade and about governance.

0:47:540:47:58

Don't just present a reservoir

of poverty but help people

0:47:580:48:01

understand what sustained

change really means.

0:48:010:48:05

So, this year, let's have a debate

about the big issues -

0:48:050:48:09

trade, dictatorship,

debt, education -

0:48:090:48:13

in the continent of Africa.

0:48:130:48:15

Of course the fundraising

is worthwhile but the Red Nose Day

0:48:150:48:19

formula is tired and hugely

patronising to the people

0:48:190:48:22

of a great continent.

0:48:220:48:28

David Lammy is here,

as is Ben Maitland,

0:48:280:48:30

a spokesperson for Comic Relief.

0:48:300:48:37

It's tired and hugely patronising.

What do you think about Comic Relief

0:48:370:48:42

and Sport Relief?

We wouldn't accept

that and we've been looking at the

0:48:420:48:46

very issues David is talking about

and we are constantly seeking to

0:48:460:48:49

change how we make our funds. We are

very excited and proud of the

0:48:490:48:53

changes we've been making and we are

going to see for the first time real

0:48:530:48:58

focus on local voices and local

heroes be they community health

0:48:580:49:03

workers or nurses, talking about the

work they're doing. Equally it is

0:49:030:49:07

important remember Sport Relief is

50% is spent here and 50% is spent

0:49:070:49:15

internationally. In particular over

the last couple of weeks, we've been

0:49:150:49:19

really proud of the public debate,

exactly the type of debate David

0:49:190:49:22

talks about, that both Zoe Ball and

Greg James have sparked about mental

0:49:220:49:28

health.

I'm always amazed about the

amount of money raised and the

0:49:280:49:35

generosity of people here. Doesn't

it prove it works? It is all very

0:49:350:49:40

well questioning whether or not it

is the right tone, or should we talk

0:49:400:49:45

about trade and dictatorship, but

this is raising money for poor parts

0:49:450:49:48

of the world and it works.

It

doesn't work if it compounds the

0:49:480:49:53

problem is. My constituents are not

am elated about Sport Relief and,

0:49:530:49:57

grief because many of them come from

African countries and they know

0:49:570:50:01

that, as Leeds University knows that

British primary school children,

0:50:010:50:07

their formative impressions of

Africa come from Red Nose Day and

0:50:070:50:10

what they talk about people who are

starving, people who are poor and

0:50:100:50:15

victims.

Are they not accurate?

We've just heard that Sport Relief

0:50:150:50:19

and Comic Relief are happy to use

British voices articulating on

0:50:190:50:23

behalf of themselves in relation to

British poverty. They don't use that

0:50:230:50:28

in relation to Africans and their

issues which is what they need to be

0:50:280:50:31

pushed on.

It is those local heroes,

albeit in Kenny or Sierra Leone,

0:50:310:50:37

that will be at the heart of the

forms we are making. They will be

0:50:370:50:42

talking about our partnerships. We

have a generational opportunity to

0:50:420:50:49

eradicate an appalling disease and

we're working with global partners

0:50:490:50:53

and local workers on the ground, and

telling their story.

The important

0:50:530:50:57

thing to remember with Comic Relief

and Sport Relief is the platform

0:50:570:51:01

they have from the BBC is immense,

no other charity gets hours and

0:51:010:51:06

hours of programming and television

to influence the dish public. No one

0:51:060:51:11

wants to knock charity but let's

remember that the dire spread

0:51:110:51:15

communities right around the world,

let's educate the public, why is it

0:51:150:51:24

when people think of Nigeria think

of somewhere that is war-torn, not

0:51:240:51:29

with downtown Lagos with huge

buildings. And what role do

0:51:290:51:35

charities play in perpetuating an

image of swollen bellies, children

0:51:350:51:38

with flies running around them? Last

time on Comic Relief, you had three

0:51:380:51:44

black children die over the hours.

You wouldn't have done that if it

0:51:440:51:47

was Britain. But it was OK because

it was a black child. That is the

0:51:470:51:52

thing we have to question.

Well, I

think it is right we continue to

0:51:520:51:58

change and evolve and we put local

voices at the heart of what we show.

0:51:580:52:02

Ed Sheeran? He isn't local, Izzy?

We

will see differences in how our

0:52:020:52:08

films are made this year. We

currently fund 1,000 different

0:52:080:52:13

charities and organisations here and

around the world and our obligation

0:52:130:52:17

is to continue raising money so we

continue that vital work to make

0:52:170:52:21

sure the money gets to people who

needed.

How is it vital if it

0:52:210:52:25

continues a perception of a kind of

imperialist colonialist... You seen

0:52:250:52:30

the problems charities have found

themselves in where there is a

0:52:300:52:34

perception of who is accountable?

How is their scrutiny? How do you

0:52:340:52:39

hold yourself up to the best of your

intentions? Those are the big issues

0:52:390:52:44

that are emerging for International

development.

And that is exactly how

0:52:440:52:48

we found grassroots organisations to

make sure that money goes where it

0:52:480:52:54

is needed most. So we seek money

from grant-making so we ensure there

0:52:540:53:01

is a strong voice in what we do.

What about the issue of trade? What

0:53:010:53:05

would you like to see governments

to?

We need a transaction tax. And I

0:53:050:53:11

think the international development

charities should be very public

0:53:110:53:14

about that. There are problems in

the ways big institutions like the

0:53:140:53:19

EU are set up that put a

stranglehold on African countries.

0:53:190:53:23

You should be up against it for

lobbing politically as well as

0:53:230:53:27

saying give money.

Would you be

comfortable doing that?

We are not a

0:53:270:53:31

political organisation and we are

proud not to be. I'm part of the

0:53:310:53:35

generation that grew up with Comic

Relief and remember the first Red

0:53:350:53:38

Nose Day back in 1988 so what we've

done is bring a whole generation of

0:53:380:53:43

people back into these issues you

haven't paid much attention before

0:53:430:53:47

and we are proud of that. And to see

how people we've inspired are

0:53:470:53:54

engaging is great. Amnesty

International have a stronger

0:53:540:53:56

political voice and they do it

better than we should.

I think that

0:53:560:54:02

relief is something we've done is a

government and we've done it in a

0:54:020:54:05

targeted manner because what we

don't want to do is giving debt

0:54:050:54:08

interest into a dictator but to a

country that is growing. David was

0:54:080:54:13

right because he talks about trade.

One of the things were doing is

0:54:130:54:17

we're rethinking our trade you

disease-mac policy. I'd like to see

0:54:170:54:23

Barry is coming down to trade with

countries like Ghana and run wonder

0:54:230:54:26

that have done and commenced amount

of reform locally and are poised to

0:54:260:54:32

exploit this link with the United

Kingdom. I'd like to see those

0:54:320:54:35

countries getting richer.

Isn't

there a problem to attaching

0:54:350:54:40

conditions to aid with the poor

parts of Africa because they may

0:54:400:54:42

have a dictator? A lot of these

countries are run by dictators and

0:54:420:54:45

you deprive the countries of the

money you need.

We should challenge

0:54:450:54:50

corruption where ever it exists but

I would say a very simple thing that

0:54:500:54:53

we could do which could help even

more than you do through charitable

0:54:530:54:57

giving and that is another amendment

to the bill we were talking about

0:54:570:55:02

earlier on money-laundering. If we

had transparency in our overseas

0:55:020:55:07

territories, our tax havens, at a

stroke you to stop money being

0:55:070:55:16

exported by those dictators into the

tax havens. These poor countries

0:55:160:55:22

lose three times as much in money

from tax avoidance as they gain in

0:55:220:55:27

development aid.

On that, thank you

for coming in.

0:55:270:55:30

There's just time before we go

to find out the answer to our quiz.

0:55:300:55:33

The question was which poster have

Transport for London banned

0:55:330:55:35

from their Tube stations?

0:55:350:55:36

Was it...

0:55:360:55:38

A job advert for leader of Ukip?

0:55:380:55:39

A commercial to tempt young people

to join Conservative?

0:55:390:55:42

An advert for Corbyn memorabilia?

0:55:420:55:43

Or an attempt to entice

business people to move

0:55:430:55:45

France following Brexit?

0:55:450:55:46

So, what's the correct answer?

0:55:460:55:49

It's got to be France.

You're right!

You're so pleased with yourselves

0:55:490:55:55

and good for you.

0:55:550:55:56

Yes, a spoof lonely hearts advert

telling British businesses

0:55:560:55:58

to contact Mr Norman D

to avoid post-Brexit tariffs

0:55:580:56:03

has appeared online but banned

by Transport for London

0:56:030:56:07

on the grounds of "public

controversy or sensitivity."

0:56:070:56:09

The advert, released

by the Normandy Development Agency,

0:56:090:56:12

which promotes growth in the region

of northern France,

0:56:120:56:15

seeks "hot entrepreneurs" and boasts

"You will find the process

0:56:150:56:19

"as smooth as our Camembert

or our oysters, for that matter."

0:56:190:56:24

French journalist

Marie Le Conte is here.

0:56:240:56:29

It is actually quite funny, isn't

it? Do you think transport for

0:56:290:56:33

London has had a sense of humour

loss?

I think they did. I am

0:56:330:56:38

entirely biased on this because my

family is from Normandy, but I

0:56:380:56:42

thought it was

0:56:420:56:48

thought it was very funny. The Brits

can dish it out but can't take it,

0:56:490:56:50

clearly.

It is a light-hearted

attempt, but do you think it will

0:56:500:56:52

work?

I'm not sure and I mean it

with love. Normandy isn't the most

0:56:520:56:54

exciting bit of France.

It does seem

to be cheeky, audacious at the very

0:56:540:57:03

least. Or may be imaginative by the

local Mormon tea Council.

It is and

0:57:030:57:08

they make a valid point that there

is so much incentive for businesses

0:57:080:57:13

in the UK, and businesses might be

looking to move somewhere else, so

0:57:130:57:18

there is a real pointer.

Is it a

false promise? All this idea of

0:57:180:57:23

smooth camembert and oysters and

coastal walks. Do you think it is

0:57:230:57:30

really fake news?

I mean... Not

really. The one thing I'll say is

0:57:300:57:36

the weather is basically the same in

Normandy as in the UK so no big

0:57:360:57:40

changes there. It isn't fake news.

Businesses would be perfectly happy

0:57:400:57:45

in Normandy should they want to move

there.

Right, you two, is transport

0:57:450:57:49

for London not joining in the fun?

Or is there a serious point? I think

0:57:490:57:54

they've taken it too hard here. I

think Normandy is a fantastic place

0:57:540:57:59

freight holiday but not the centre

of business as London is. Each to

0:57:590:58:06

their own. I don't know any

camembert manufacturers in London

0:58:060:58:10

but perhaps I'm wrong. Oyster growth

is actually coming back to the

0:58:100:58:13

Thames.

What would your

counterproposal be? What would you

0:58:130:58:20

do to make sure British

entrepreneurs stay here?

I think

0:58:200:58:22

they should move to Kent.

English

cheese is coming into its own at the

0:58:220:58:27

moment so it may well be our version

of camembert is the as tasty as the

0:58:270:58:31

French but I think transport for

London have gone too far. This is

0:58:310:58:36

Brexit, we are expecting competition

with people who have been partners,

0:58:360:58:39

they are now our competitors. We

should not be surprised.

You have

0:58:390:58:45

left me hungry with camembert,

oysters and English cheese. Thank

0:58:450:58:47

you all very much.

0:58:470:58:49

Thanks to our guests.

0:58:490:58:50

The one o'clock news is starting

over on BBC One now.

0:58:500:58:53

I'll be here at noon tomorrow

with all the big political stories

0:58:530:58:56

of the day.

0:58:560:58:57

Do join me then.

0:58:570:58:58

Labour's Margaret Hodge and Tom Tugendhat from the Conservatives join Jo Coburn throughout the programme. They look at allegations of bullying in Parliament, get the latest on the nerve agent attack and speak to Labour MP David Lammy, who argues Comic Relief is failing Africa.