05/11/2015 Newsnight


05/11/2015

The Egypt plane crash, President Sisi's visit to the UK, airport security and the government's announcement of major changes to Higher Education.


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Flights to the UK from the stricken resort of Sharm el-Sheik will resume

:00:00.:00:07.

tomorrow, following the government's decision last night to suspend them.

:00:08.:00:13.

But has the diplomatic damage already been done?

:00:14.:00:17.

It made for an awkward press conference this

:00:18.:00:20.

afternoon between David Cameron and the visiting President Sisi.

:00:21.:00:23.

Has the Prime Minister embarrassed his guest?

:00:24.:00:26.

We'll ask the former Egyptian Foreign Minister.

:00:27.:00:37.

British officials raised concerns last year about the lax security in

:00:38.:00:44.

Sharm el-Sheikh and Cairo. One man's experience at Sharm

:00:45.:00:46.

el-Sheik airport may indicate why. We put the main suitcase onto the

:00:47.:00:48.

conveyor, checked the passports. Then went to the gate ready to board

:00:49.:00:51.

the plane and at no point did we And it's been called the most

:00:52.:00:55.

disruptive change to higher education for 20 years - a new green

:00:56.:01:04.

paper is published tomorrow on the We'll speak to the Universities

:01:05.:01:09.

Minister, Jo Johnston. As speculation about what caused it

:01:10.:01:23.

continues, the British Government's response to Saturday's air crash in

:01:24.:01:25.

Egypt has cast a diplomatic shadow over the state visit of Egyptian

:01:26.:01:32.

President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He claims that British concerns

:01:33.:01:37.

about safety at Sharm el-Sheikh airport, whence the doomed flight

:01:38.:01:40.

embarked for Moscow before breaking up over the Sinai Peninsula, killing

:01:41.:01:43.

all 224 people on board, were addressed ten months ago to

:01:44.:01:46.

the satisfaction of British Whitehall sources have told this

:01:47.:01:57.

programme they feared the situation had slipped back in recent months.

:01:58.:02:04.

Thousands of British tourists will fly back from Sharm el-Sheikh

:02:05.:02:06.

without the luggage tomorrow after David Cameron gave the go-ahead for

:02:07.:02:08.

air travel to resume. The Prime Minister's position also

:02:09.:02:11.

appears to have irked Russian president, Vladimir Putin,

:02:12.:02:13.

who contended during a phone call between the two men today, that

:02:14.:02:16.

countries should have waited for crash investigations to be completed

:02:17.:02:18.

before issuing any no-fly orders. Newsnight's diplomatic editor

:02:19.:02:21.

Mark Urban reports. With Egyptian exiles still angry

:02:22.:02:34.

about the way the army crushed the Muslim Brotherhood, this visit could

:02:35.:02:39.

easily have been dominated by discussion of human rights. The

:02:40.:02:43.

aircraft tragedy redefined everything and President Sisi was on

:02:44.:02:48.

the offensive today, pointing out Britain had checked out Sharm

:02:49.:02:52.

el-Sheikh's security earlier this year.

:02:53.:03:01.

TRANSLATION: Ten months ago, we were asked by our British friends to send

:03:02.:03:07.

teams to Sharm el-Sheikh airport to make sure all the security

:03:08.:03:12.

procedures there are well enough and provide the adequate safety and

:03:13.:03:15.

security for the passengers. And we understood their concern because we

:03:16.:03:22.

are interested in the safety and security of our nationals. The

:03:23.:03:28.

British experts, the President insisted had left satisfied. So

:03:29.:03:31.

while a further British team has re-examined security precautions at

:03:32.:03:36.

the airport, thousands of holiday-makers have been waiting to

:03:37.:03:40.

come home. Their journeys will resume with hand luggage only

:03:41.:03:44.

tomorrow. What caused Britain to stop, but wasn't serious enough to

:03:45.:03:48.

require major changes at this airport, or holds some other

:03:49.:03:56.

countries from carrying on flying? The government has cited secret

:03:57.:03:59.

intelligence to explain its decision, but such information

:04:00.:04:03.

rarely offers absolute certainty. That is why now, just as in June

:04:04.:04:07.

following the attack in Tunisia, some other governments are not

:04:08.:04:14.

matching Britain's advice to citizens to leave immediately. What

:04:15.:04:19.

one can conclude from all this? Mainly the British are far less

:04:20.:04:22.

willing to take risks in these situations. I act on the basis of

:04:23.:04:30.

intelligence I receive. I act on the basis of advice that I get. Of

:04:31.:04:35.

course, I cannot be sure, my experts cannot be sure that it was a

:04:36.:04:38.

terrorist bomb that brought down by Russian plane. If the intelligence

:04:39.:04:44.

is and the judgment is, that is more likely than not outcome, I think it

:04:45.:04:49.

is right to act in the way that I did. Sharm el-Sheikh security has

:04:50.:04:55.

been breached before. For example, with a wave of suicide bombings ten

:04:56.:05:00.

years ago. Egypt's responded by creating a large security zone

:05:01.:05:04.

around the resort. But in the past double macro years, fighting with

:05:05.:05:08.

Islamic militants further north has spread, making much of the Peninsula

:05:09.:05:14.

area and raising questions again about the resort's safety. I think

:05:15.:05:19.

the Egyptian authorities found themselves in a situation where they

:05:20.:05:25.

constantly try to make the case Egypt is engaged in a war on terror

:05:26.:05:31.

and the international security should support it or back it up.

:05:32.:05:35.

When questions are raised about civil rights abuses of human rights

:05:36.:05:40.

violations, they ought to remember they take place against the backdrop

:05:41.:05:46.

of war on terror. At the same time, pushing Egypt as a tourism

:05:47.:05:50.

destination, where things are fine and the country is very safe and

:05:51.:05:56.

this people ought to come. It is difficult to square that circle, to

:05:57.:06:01.

have those two narratives in play at the same time. Central to the past

:06:02.:06:06.

few days has been the intelligence gathered by agencies like GCHQ and

:06:07.:06:10.

its interpretation. Tonight, an American official contradict did the

:06:11.:06:15.

British government saying Britain has a much lower threshold in react

:06:16.:06:21.

to chatter and America's assessment as to whether it was a bomb hasn't

:06:22.:06:23.

been changed by recent intelligence. In a moment,

:06:24.:06:26.

we will be hearing from a member of President Sisi's delegation here

:06:27.:06:28.

in London, but first, let's get perspectives from Gabriel Gatehouse

:06:29.:06:31.

in Moscow and Lyse Doucet in Cairo. Gabriel, what have the Russians been

:06:32.:06:44.

saying today in response to these claims by Britain? The Russians are

:06:45.:06:49.

very much trying to pour cold water on any suggestion it was an act of

:06:50.:06:56.

terrorism. Russia's head of aviation suggested the British might have

:06:57.:06:59.

been indulging in fantasies. He says they would follow the fax and the

:07:00.:07:05.

best and would take several months. My colleagues here managed to speak

:07:06.:07:10.

to a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, who said she was shocked

:07:11.:07:19.

and surprised to realised the UK might be in possession that could

:07:20.:07:22.

shed light on this and suggested the UK might be following certain aims

:07:23.:07:28.

by not sharing that information. The big unspoken fear, of course, this

:07:29.:07:33.

attack was some sort of retaliation for Russia's involvement in Syria. I

:07:34.:07:38.

asked the Kremlin spokesman, if that turned out to be the case would it

:07:39.:07:42.

affect Russia's actions in Syria? He said bluntly, this situation has

:07:43.:07:48.

nothing to do with Syria. So it is an unspoken fear, as well as

:07:49.:07:54.

metaphorically for the public. What is the mood in Moscow? It is one of

:07:55.:07:58.

the biggest air disasters in Russian history, are the citizens not asking

:07:59.:08:02.

questions about the Syrian connection? It is the biggest air

:08:03.:08:09.

disaster in Russia's history. The citizens on social media are asking

:08:10.:08:14.

these questions, but extraordinarily, in the papers you

:08:15.:08:17.

will see almost no discussion of this. I read a 2000 word article

:08:18.:08:23.

today which discussed airline safety, the age of aircraft, whether

:08:24.:08:27.

foreign aircraft should be allowed to be used in Russia. Not a mention

:08:28.:08:31.

of the theory this might be brought down by a bomb. It may be, as one

:08:32.:08:37.

newspaper suggested, the British press is a little bit hysterical,

:08:38.:08:41.

more dramatic than the Russian press. But there is something else

:08:42.:08:46.

at work. For the first month at the Russia's intervention in Syria, it

:08:47.:08:49.

was broadcast daily on the television. It was almost Hollywood

:08:50.:08:55.

standards with drone footage set to music, showing Russia as the strong

:08:56.:09:01.

force that is tackling Islamic extremism, Islamic terrorism. All of

:09:02.:09:05.

that has been pushed to the back now. I think there really is an

:09:06.:09:09.

nervousness here, that if this does turn out to be some sort of revenge

:09:10.:09:16.

attack for Russia's involvement in Syria, opinion here will shift, not

:09:17.:09:21.

only for their support for their actions in Syria, but also for

:09:22.:09:27.

support for President Putin and the Kremlin itself. It was supposed to

:09:28.:09:31.

be something of a show these visit for the Egyptian president, it is

:09:32.:09:38.

not turning out verse. How much damage as this cause diplomatically

:09:39.:09:43.

away from the television cameras? It was always going to be a visit with

:09:44.:09:49.

sensitivities, but the sensitivities shifted to another level. It is

:09:50.:09:53.

undeniable the developments over the investigation into the Russian

:09:54.:09:59.

airliner have damaged, in a certain degree, the relationship between

:10:00.:10:04.

Britain and Egypt. As one of the senior members of President CC's

:10:05.:10:09.

delegation said to me, it is supposed to be a partnership. You

:10:10.:10:15.

have to look at both sides. David Cameron has to come out and put the

:10:16.:10:18.

interests of the dish tourists first, but he said what about our

:10:19.:10:23.

tourism industry, the millions who depend upon it? Why didn't they show

:10:24.:10:27.

an understanding that we should have come to an agreement before the

:10:28.:10:30.

statement came out as to what could be done? I understand after

:10:31.:10:36.

residents CC's delegation arrived in London, there were hours of

:10:37.:10:40.

discussion back and forth from others from the delegation to try to

:10:41.:10:43.

come to some understanding. The Egyptians said, couldn't there be an

:10:44.:10:48.

announcement of a suspension of flights for 24 hours. The British

:10:49.:10:54.

said it wasn't enough, there are 20,000 tourists and we need to be

:10:55.:10:58.

clear. I understand it was the Prime Minister who said, we have asked the

:10:59.:11:01.

Egyptians to take a certain amount of steps. Egyptians said they have

:11:02.:11:06.

carried them out, it wasn't good enough for Britain and they decided

:11:07.:11:11.

to take the dramatic announcement. Britain would have liked David

:11:12.:11:14.

Cameron and President Sisi to come out and announced this is our joint

:11:15.:11:18.

plan of action. The Egyptians said, no. I pushed back and said we simply

:11:19.:11:24.

cannot make up political statement. We need to discuss the technical

:11:25.:11:28.

side and the implementation. We're not going do it. There was a strain,

:11:29.:11:35.

but it has to be underlined, both countries know, both governments

:11:36.:11:37.

know, there is too much at stake and they have to work together. As one

:11:38.:11:42.

member of the British government said to me, all of this has touched

:11:43.:11:46.

some very raw nerves on the Egyptian side and it will be raw for some

:11:47.:11:48.

time. Thank you both very much. Mohammed al-Orabi is in the UK as

:11:49.:11:51.

part of President Sisi's delegation. He's a former Foreign Minister

:11:52.:11:54.

of Egypt. When did President Sisi find out

:11:55.:12:05.

what David Cameron was planning to do because we heard the announcement

:12:06.:12:10.

of the cessation of flights while the delegation was in the air? I

:12:11.:12:15.

don't ring so. My information is saying President Sisi received a

:12:16.:12:20.

telephone call from the Prime Minister of written, David Cameron,

:12:21.:12:25.

the day before his departure to the UK. We don't know the content of

:12:26.:12:30.

this telephone call. But I guess as the two leaders had information,

:12:31.:12:37.

exchanged information on that regards, and I think President Sisi

:12:38.:12:43.

was determined to fulfil the visit and to come and argue, to listen and

:12:44.:12:49.

give also his points of view to the British government and try to solve

:12:50.:12:54.

the matter. To be clear, you think he flew here in the knowledge are

:12:55.:12:58.

Prime Minister was about to effectively ban flights from Cairo

:12:59.:13:07.

and Sharm el-Sheikh? No, the decision was taken yesterday evening

:13:08.:13:12.

from the British side. The David Cameron told our president there is

:13:13.:13:14.

some information about a certain case. Has he shared that

:13:15.:13:22.

intelligence? I am not sure. How come the president is coming here

:13:23.:13:25.

today and he received a telephone call from the British Prime Minister

:13:26.:13:30.

and I think they had a discussion about this matter. It has been a

:13:31.:13:35.

little embarrassing for the delegation to arrive in a country as

:13:36.:13:39.

backcountry's leader and answers to the people who live here they are

:13:40.:13:43.

not safe to fly to your country? It is not an embarrassment, but in this

:13:44.:13:50.

kind of relationship between two friendly countries, I guess we are

:13:51.:13:53.

open to receive some criticism every now and again. Also you had the

:13:54.:14:00.

patience to listen to us and to listen about our worries on

:14:01.:14:05.

different issues. We had many confrontations during the

:14:06.:14:09.

discussion, many issues on the Middle East. You know, we are living

:14:10.:14:14.

in a volatile region. Egypt's is sitting in a turbulent sea. Due to

:14:15.:14:20.

the wisdom of the president, I think we managed to overcome these

:14:21.:14:27.

difficulties for the last, I would say 17 or 18 months. You describe it

:14:28.:14:34.

as a turbulent region and we have two UK aviation experts who flew in

:14:35.:14:38.

yesterday and have apparently informed the Prime Minister, it's

:14:39.:14:42.

not safe. You cannot guarantee the security of British tourists at all,

:14:43.:14:47.

by the sounds of it? I don't think this is the absolute judgment. Egypt

:14:48.:14:54.

is always open for security delegations from European countries

:14:55.:15:01.

to check the measurements of security at airports of Egypt's, not

:15:02.:15:04.

just Cairo and Sharm el-Sheikh, but other regions. We didn't receive any

:15:05.:15:15.

observations whatsoever for the last ten months. Including the British

:15:16.:15:22.

side. So, it was a bad incident to have this kind of accident and we

:15:23.:15:29.

are so sorry the Russians lost their lives in this accident. We also

:15:30.:15:34.

appreciate any efforts exerted by any government to guarantee the

:15:35.:15:38.

safety of their citizens. We really appreciate what David Cameron took

:15:39.:15:45.

to maintain the security of the British people. We're not against

:15:46.:15:48.

that, but the thing, I think is premature. By our government? You

:15:49.:16:00.

think David Cameron move to early? Too early, we didn't check out the

:16:01.:16:05.

black box of this plane. You have seen our report this evening and I

:16:06.:16:08.

spoke to a woman who flew back on Saturday and her son walk through

:16:09.:16:11.

the baggage check without having a 2 litre bottle of liquid notice. We

:16:12.:16:17.

heard from one tourist who didn't even have his bags checked at all.

:16:18.:16:21.

It paints a very ugly picture and to describe the Prime Minister's

:16:22.:16:26.

caution as premature seems perhaps a little disingenuous? Haps, but the

:16:27.:16:33.

basics of his decision on information suggesting it was an

:16:34.:16:39.

explosive device on the plane, that was the statement by your government

:16:40.:16:45.

and by the Americans. The Americans may be tracking back slightly from

:16:46.:16:49.

that position, but you have no knowledge or understanding of

:16:50.:16:54.

decisively where David Cameron got the idea that it was increasingly

:16:55.:16:57.

likely, which I think was his phrase? We don't know from what

:16:58.:17:04.

source he had this information. You began by portraying the visit as

:17:05.:17:11.

cordial and successful? It was. Despite not knowing why the Prime

:17:12.:17:13.

Minister has effectively banned people?

:17:14.:17:26.

In the meantime, as your correspondence from Cairo said,

:17:27.:17:34.

British tourism is 1.5% of our GDP. It is a great loss. I look forward

:17:35.:17:39.

to hearing more from you, Ambassador.

:17:40.:17:41.

Whatever conclusions the investigations arrive at and

:17:42.:17:42.

whatever transpires politically, it's clear that airport security has

:17:43.:17:45.

Newsnight has learned that improvements implemented at Sharm

:17:46.:17:49.

el-Sheikh airport, in response to British concerns just

:17:50.:17:54.

under a year ago, were feared by officials to have

:17:55.:17:56.

According to Whitehall sources, there were particular issues with

:17:57.:17:59.

baggage handling and access to restricted areas.

:18:00.:18:04.

Newsnight's Nick Hopkins has been investigating the claims

:18:05.:18:07.

and examining the broader question of whether airports can ever be

:18:08.:18:10.

If it was a bomb that brought down Metrojet flight 628,

:18:11.:18:15.

the question is, how did it get through Sharm el-Sheikh airport?

:18:16.:18:21.

As passengers prepare to fly out tomorrow, stories emerged today

:18:22.:18:28.

Claims of guards nodding off and playing Candy Crush on their phones.

:18:29.:18:37.

An official asked for ?20 in Stirling to jump the queue.

:18:38.:18:46.

We literally avoided the whole queue, we went right to the front.

:18:47.:18:56.

And then we put the main suitcase onto the conveyor, we checked the

:18:57.:19:00.

passports. We then went to the checkout, to the gate, ready to

:19:01.:19:05.

board the plane, and at no point did we have our bags or our person

:19:06.:19:10.

checked and only then did we realise the magnitude of what had happened.

:19:11.:19:16.

President Sese conceded Britain had checked security at Sharm el-Sheikh

:19:17.:19:26.

this year. -- President Sisi. As things improved, officials feared

:19:27.:19:29.

the situation had slipped again in recent months.

:19:30.:19:33.

There was on ongoing programme to help Egyptians in any way we could

:19:34.:19:38.

to improve security and we worked very well together, they were

:19:39.:19:43.

extremely appreciative. Egypt was very grateful. These decisions are

:19:44.:19:51.

not taken lightly at all and the history of the entire system in

:19:52.:19:54.

Whitehall has looked at security in Egypt over the last years and the

:19:55.:19:58.

premise is already taken a direct interest in cell. Leaves me in no

:19:59.:20:03.

doubt this is a very heavily considered decision and in my view,

:20:04.:20:07.

it must be well founded. The Army at Heathrow, after 9/11,

:20:08.:20:12.

airport security was transformed, liquids were banned and shoes were

:20:13.:20:16.

x-rayed. Queues were ever longer. But some experts say it is not fair

:20:17.:20:21.

to single out Sharm el-Sheikh. I actually do not think that

:20:22.:20:25.

security at that airport is necessarily worse than at many other

:20:26.:20:29.

airports around the world and it is very easy with hindsight to focus

:20:30.:20:33.

all our attentions on that one location when we know that there are

:20:34.:20:38.

huge limitations to the security systems around the world. Not only

:20:39.:20:43.

in the Middle East, not only in Africa, but even in the Western

:20:44.:20:45.

world. In June this year in America. Under

:20:46.:20:51.

-- undercover agents from homeland security but screeners to the test

:20:52.:20:56.

at dozens of the nation's begin -- busiest airports and they failed

:20:57.:21:00.

miserably. The scams fails to pick up in 67 out of 17 tests guns.

:21:01.:21:08.

Security experts have told others security at Sharm el-Sheikh can be

:21:09.:21:11.

poor but maybe not for the reasons you might imagine. They describe a

:21:12.:21:16.

culture of deference from airport security staff towards travellers

:21:17.:21:20.

which means that some people do not get checked and challenged. It is

:21:21.:21:27.

equally possible that if this was a bomb, it was an inside job. The

:21:28.:21:32.

official report could take months and the controversy is unlikely to

:21:33.:21:33.

The Sinai Peninsula, the eastern part of Egypt that joins

:21:34.:21:40.

the country to Israel, is the home of Sinai Province, the IS affiliated

:21:41.:21:43.

militant group who claim to have downed the Russian airliner.

:21:44.:21:47.

Here to explore who they are, and how the Egyptian authorities have

:21:48.:21:50.

Part of the Egyptian presidential delegation, Mohammed al-Orabi. This

:21:51.:22:04.

woman is living in exile after being sentenced to death under the current

:22:05.:22:13.

government. And from the USA... I will begin with you. Have the

:22:14.:22:19.

policies of President Sisi had an effect upon terrorist activities or

:22:20.:22:25.

encountering extremism? I think a heavy-handed security approach in

:22:26.:22:30.

Sinai and elsewhere in Egypt has proven to be a failure. And quoting

:22:31.:22:35.

President Sisi himself before the military coup of 2013 when he was

:22:36.:22:42.

addressing the Army, he himself said that a heavy-handed security

:22:43.:22:47.

approach in Sinai would backfire. And it would turn Sinai into a

:22:48.:22:56.

would-be South Sudan. And this is probably, he forgot about that. And

:22:57.:23:00.

I think the current policies, they are precisely contributing to this

:23:01.:23:05.

scenario. Tell me about those policies, what you mean by

:23:06.:23:10.

heavy-handed? What I mean is a misguided security approach in

:23:11.:23:16.

Sinai. As a recent report by humans rights watch suggests the current

:23:17.:23:23.

the current policies in Sinai target civilians -- Human Rights Watch.

:23:24.:23:25.

They displace thousands of civilians, at least 10,000 civilians

:23:26.:23:30.

have been displaced from their homes which were demolished by the

:23:31.:23:41.

military of Mr Sisi. And at the same time, we can see the continuing rise

:23:42.:23:47.

of militant insurgency in Sinai and even in the heart of Cairo we have

:23:48.:23:56.

seen bombings carried out for which Isis has claimed responsibility. So

:23:57.:23:59.

we see concrete evidence that the current security policy of the

:24:00.:24:06.

regime is counter-productive. Concrete evidence, is the claim,

:24:07.:24:17.

Ambassador. No, I beg to differ. I do not think so. If you will let us

:24:18.:24:22.

look to the situation in Egypt now, this is what we had during our

:24:23.:24:29.

meetings here in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

:24:30.:24:32.

Everybody is praising the fact that Egypt now is on the way to having a

:24:33.:24:39.

stable country. To have law and order inside the country. Yes, we

:24:40.:24:45.

have some terrorist attacks here and there, especially in Sinai, but I

:24:46.:24:50.

think the Army and police, they are capable to tackle these issues. It

:24:51.:24:55.

will take some time. And don't forget, a lot of infiltrations

:24:56.:25:01.

happen after the revolution of January the 25th. So Sinai is a safe

:25:02.:25:07.

haven for many terrorists from different countries. And different

:25:08.:25:15.

factions. The ramifications of that still being felt today. Let me go to

:25:16.:25:18.

somebody with less of a vested interest than my other guests. Could

:25:19.:25:23.

you tell me how easy it is to get a clear picture of what is in Sinai?

:25:24.:25:28.

It is quite difficult to get a clear picture of what is happening in

:25:29.:25:33.

Sinai. There has been a ban on reporting from Sinai so it is very

:25:34.:25:36.

difficult to get concrete information. But it is also very

:25:37.:25:42.

difficult to jump into the kind of claims being made and I suspect the

:25:43.:25:46.

truth is fall somewhere in the middle. It is difficult to say the

:25:47.:25:51.

current policies are going to read to radicalisation but it would be

:25:52.:25:55.

very foolish to discount the fact they could be. So I honestly think

:25:56.:26:02.

the best thing to do, the only thing to do is to say it is very possible

:26:03.:26:06.

they could be contributing to this. Although in the fact of the province

:26:07.:26:13.

of Sinai which was formed in about 2011, they predate the current

:26:14.:26:17.

revulsion and they started in 2011 -- revolution. They did mostly

:26:18.:26:23.

attack Israel until President more sleep when they switched their

:26:24.:26:29.

attention to security personnel -- resident more sleep. How feasible is

:26:30.:26:35.

it for a territory like Sharm el-Sheikh to remain safe for

:26:36.:26:40.

visitors? It depends where you are. In the province of Sinai, they

:26:41.:26:46.

operate mostly in North Sinai and most tourism happens in the cell.

:26:47.:26:50.

But if you are talking about a terrorist strike, it could happen

:26:51.:26:56.

anywhere. You do not have to be standing in the middle of North

:26:57.:26:59.

Sinai fulsome thing to happen, it could happen anywhere. It is going

:27:00.:27:04.

to be difficult to get the Egyptian government to sit down and say, we

:27:05.:27:10.

are going to stop battling Isis because that is a serious security

:27:11.:27:14.

situation. On the other hand, the Egyptian government has mostly been

:27:15.:27:19.

in reactive most -- to mud for the last 4.5 years so I do not know

:27:20.:27:23.

there is a long-term plan. -- reactive mud. Would you fly there

:27:24.:27:30.

tomorrow? I am flying in a couple of weeks so yes. I am an Egyptian, so

:27:31.:27:36.

it is home, so I fly there all the time and I am not the best person to

:27:37.:27:40.

answer! I have never found myself in a situation before where one studio

:27:41.:27:44.

guest has been sentenced to death and a regime of which another studio

:27:45.:27:49.

guest is a member. Are you comfortable with that? No, of course

:27:50.:27:54.

not. She is Egyptian and I guess she is able of course to refuse and try

:27:55.:28:00.

to refuse that judgment, that verdict. She comes back, I guess she

:28:01.:28:07.

will face a fair trial. And now we will have a new Parliament. This

:28:08.:28:12.

Parliament will have a human rights committee which will defend these

:28:13.:28:21.

people and that is why... Would you go back to a country that had passed

:28:22.:28:27.

a sentence of death on you? I do not know why she had this kind of

:28:28.:28:31.

verdict. What kind of crime she did, I do not know your case. If you do

:28:32.:28:36.

not know about the case where President Morsi has also been

:28:37.:28:40.

sentenced to death, let us not speak about that. What do you think is a

:28:41.:28:45.

member of Parliament about overall 170 Members of Parliament who were

:28:46.:28:52.

elected in the previous first critically elected Parliament after

:28:53.:28:55.

the revolution, what do you say about 170 of them now in jail? At

:28:56.:29:01.

least three of them have died inside because of the lack of medical care.

:29:02.:29:06.

Do you think that is acceptable, as somebody who is representing the

:29:07.:29:11.

so-called elected Parliament? Yes, I guess everybody knows they face a

:29:12.:29:17.

fair trial and we cannot just say something against our judicial

:29:18.:29:22.

system in Egypt. Those people, they face a fair trial and everybody

:29:23.:29:30.

knows that in Egypt. The problem that... We are looking always to

:29:31.:29:40.

govern you to kill you. The people of Egypt refuse this kind of manner

:29:41.:29:46.

and they went out to the streets on June 30 and the Army supported this

:29:47.:29:55.

kind of action. But we are looking to her and other Egyptian citizens

:29:56.:29:58.

and they should be subject to a fair trial and they should get their own

:29:59.:30:04.

rates immediately. This is not something to dispute. She is an

:30:05.:30:10.

absentee, I guess, that is why she got this maximum sentence, I guess.

:30:11.:30:15.

This is my feeling. But I do not know exactly what happened. How

:30:16.:30:19.

about, over 1,000 people have even handed down a death penalty in a

:30:20.:30:24.

matter of hours? Without a single bit of evidence.

:30:25.:30:28.

Many were involved in many kind of crimes. We are lifting the lid on

:30:29.:30:35.

issues to, located to explore in the current context. Ambassador, many

:30:36.:30:36.

thanks. Thank you. More than half

:30:37.:30:42.

of UK graduates are in jobs not deemed to demand a degree,

:30:43.:30:44.

according to research published this summer by the Chartered Institute

:30:45.:30:47.

of Personnel and Development. Yesterday, meanwhile, students took

:30:48.:30:49.

to the streets of London to protest, amongst other things,

:30:50.:30:54.

about the ever-increasing debts they An interesting time, then, for the

:30:55.:30:55.

new-ish Minister for Universities and Science to unveil a green paper

:30:56.:31:02.

designed to increase student numbers But that's what Jo Johnson

:31:03.:31:05.

will do tomorrow. This is how the Robins Report,

:31:06.:31:09.

which called for the great expansion Well, not surprisingly

:31:10.:31:18.

the report that says an educational The report gives a blunt warning

:31:19.:31:27.

that if the government doesn't do the right things immediately,

:31:28.:31:32.

future educational plans will be Tomorrow, Jo Johnson,

:31:33.:31:35.

the universities minister, He proposes to increase student

:31:36.:31:41.

choice by making it easier for new colleges and universities, including

:31:42.:31:46.

profit-making ones, to set up This follows on from

:31:47.:31:51.

the coalition's plans and there's a I greatly welcome

:31:52.:31:59.

the proposal that we create a lot more new universities

:32:00.:32:03.

because into those you can get a shake-up of tradition and try out

:32:04.:32:06.

new ideas which is the only way we The so-called alternative sector is

:32:07.:32:09.

already quite big Including maintenance grants, around

:32:10.:32:15.

53,000 people got loans for courses at alternative providers in 2013,

:32:16.:32:22.

up from 6,500 students in 2010. Some

:32:23.:32:28.

of these colleges are rather grand. Keep an eye out though,

:32:29.:32:31.

other colleges have offered poor courses and may even have been used

:32:32.:32:34.

for loan fraud. This green paper isn't all

:32:35.:32:39.

a continuation of coalition policy. Before 2015 it had been assumed

:32:40.:32:41.

students acting on their own as consumers would drive up

:32:42.:32:44.

teaching quality. The Office for Fair Access which

:32:45.:32:45.

monitors admissions and the Funding Council for England, which deals

:32:46.:32:55.

with the cash, they will be replaced It will do the work

:32:56.:32:59.

of its predecessors but combine it with a focus of students' needs

:33:00.:33:05.

and teaching quality. The intention is that this

:33:06.:33:08.

regulator, alongside student demands Universities that the Office for

:33:09.:33:10.

Students considers to offer good teaching, will be allowed to raise

:33:11.:33:16.

their fees in line with inflation. This isn't quite the Robins report,

:33:17.:33:20.

but it's still a very significant A little earlier, I spoke to Jo

:33:21.:33:25.

Johnson, the Universities Minister. I asked him why we needed all

:33:26.:33:33.

these new private universities. Well, we have

:33:34.:33:40.

a great higher education sector in this country and we want there to

:33:41.:33:42.

be more competition so there is Consumers benefit in any market

:33:43.:33:46.

from competition because it puts providers under pressure to continue

:33:47.:33:51.

to lift the quality Universities are no different

:33:52.:33:53.

in that respect. We want to make it easier for new

:33:54.:33:58.

entrants to come into the higher education market and offer wider

:33:59.:34:01.

choice of provision so more students There were reports that people

:34:02.:34:05.

educated to degree level, graduates, were not finding work that was

:34:06.:34:15.

traditionally graduate-level So you could be perhaps creating

:34:16.:34:17.

more candidates with qualifications while the jobs that demand

:34:18.:34:23.

the qualifications are stagnant? There is a need from employers

:34:24.:34:26.

and our economy to have more These are the jobs which are

:34:27.:34:31.

powering growth in our economy. We need skilled employees

:34:32.:34:37.

to power our growth. But, there are too many cases,

:34:38.:34:41.

unfortunately, where employers are finding

:34:42.:34:45.

graduates coming out of universities that don't have the skills they need

:34:46.:34:48.

and there is a skills shortage That's precisely why we are today

:34:49.:34:52.

bringing forward these proposals to reform higher education,

:34:53.:34:56.

so it delivers more value So that it drives up the quality

:34:57.:34:59.

of teaching, so that students benefit and

:35:00.:35:04.

employers get the graduate with the So how will the new proposals

:35:05.:35:07.

prevent a repetition of, for example, the London School of

:35:08.:35:12.

Science and Technology, which the Guardian investigated last year with

:35:13.:35:16.

some undercover filming which found some students saying, if you want to

:35:17.:35:19.

take the student loan money and not come in, they are getting

:35:20.:35:22.

paid so they don't give a... Well I can't repeat the word

:35:23.:35:26.

the student used, we will say "hoot" for the purposes of this exchange,

:35:27.:35:29.

how can we be sure we won't see We have a quality assurance

:35:30.:35:32.

regime which is robust and catches Attendance is a criteria

:35:33.:35:38.

and is closely scrutinised by the Quality Assurance Agency and that

:35:39.:35:45.

is then taken into account by the Home Office when looking

:35:46.:35:50.

whether to renew, or not, a university's license to bring

:35:51.:35:52.

in international students. 20% of students registered in these

:35:53.:35:58.

places are not even turning up. 50% of some EU students aren't even

:35:59.:36:01.

eligible for the degree they're signed up to

:36:02.:36:04.

get at the end of the course. And that's the kind of abuse the

:36:05.:36:07.

Home Secretary and the Department of Business have been driving out

:36:08.:36:10.

in the system so we have a higher education sector that is genuinely

:36:11.:36:14.

offering great education to people Would you send your children

:36:15.:36:16.

to one of these colleges? Where there is high quality

:36:17.:36:26.

education, we should be encouraging people to go to university,

:36:27.:36:30.

it is a life-changing experience I am not sure

:36:31.:36:33.

whether that is a yes or no? I'd love

:36:34.:36:39.

my children to go to university, but These institutions are possibly

:36:40.:36:41.

funded by private equity? There are lots of routes in life,

:36:42.:36:46.

university is one route. You can choose apprenticeships,

:36:47.:36:49.

you can choose many paths, University is one of a number

:36:50.:36:53.

of possible routes. Where there is high quality

:36:54.:36:57.

education, university can be completely life changing and on

:36:58.:37:00.

average, people who go to university see lifetime earnings ?100,000

:37:01.:37:03.

greater than those who don't. The Home Secretary has told some

:37:04.:37:07.

perhaps 240,000 non-EU students who perhaps would have

:37:08.:37:12.

the qualifications you describe as desirable to industry, have to

:37:13.:37:16.

go home as soon as they graduate. It doesn't seem to fit

:37:17.:37:19.

in with your vision? We have a system

:37:20.:37:22.

of higher education that is open. We have no limit on the number

:37:23.:37:25.

of international students that can There is one

:37:26.:37:28.

international student... But they get sent home at the end,

:37:29.:37:35.

according to Theresa May's plans. International students have

:37:36.:37:38.

the right to stay here and work in this country, provided they have

:37:39.:37:41.

a graduate job to work in. Do they have to go home

:37:42.:37:43.

and apply for the job? No, they have four months in

:37:44.:37:46.

which to find a graduate job, which Most undergraduates are using

:37:47.:37:49.

their time at university to think about the kinds of things they want

:37:50.:37:54.

to do afterwards. They then have a further four months

:37:55.:37:57.

after graduation in I mean, I understand your vision,

:37:58.:38:00.

I just wonder how it becomes more And the Prime Minister, of course,

:38:01.:38:09.

likes to talk a lot We're giving potentially

:38:10.:38:13.

performance-enhancing education to international rivals, who will then

:38:14.:38:17.

go home and compete against us. Well, we welcome international

:38:18.:38:21.

students and I'm pleased that They are up 4% this year

:38:22.:38:24.

on last year. China is sending more students

:38:25.:38:29.

to Britain than ever before. There are some countries

:38:30.:38:31.

which are seeing declines. I think we have a work regime

:38:32.:38:35.

which is actually competitive and it enables students who are

:38:36.:38:43.

capable of finding graduate work within four months to stay in this

:38:44.:38:47.

country and continue their studies. Yours is a government dedicated to

:38:48.:38:50.

the reduction of debt and yet we are putting stuff on the

:38:51.:38:53.

balance sheet with student loans that could, by some accounts, see

:38:54.:38:56.

a huge increase in the total owed. Can you rule out a toughening up

:38:57.:39:00.

of repayment plans for the students Well, we are personally consulting

:39:01.:39:04.

on changes to the student loan repayment scheme

:39:05.:39:12.

and consultation is ongoing. It's important to remember the

:39:13.:39:14.

context in which we live right now. We are addressing

:39:15.:39:19.

our fiscal situation. We have a commitment to balance

:39:20.:39:22.

our books by 2019/2020, and ensuring that our financial

:39:23.:39:28.

support to our universities is on a sustainable footing, which is

:39:29.:39:30.

an important part of that business of getting our public finances onto

:39:31.:39:33.

a sustainable footing. So you're not pledging not

:39:34.:39:39.

to freeze the threshold? As I said, we are consulting

:39:40.:39:42.

on that mechanism. You can understand why some students

:39:43.:39:47.

who have signed up for a financial loan under terms and conditions that

:39:48.:39:50.

were established might feel a little aggrieved that the terms and

:39:51.:39:54.

conditions then subsequently shift. We're waiting for the results

:39:55.:39:57.

of your consultation. We are consulting

:39:58.:40:00.

on that change right now. We will take the responses

:40:01.:40:02.

into the consultation, of course, But you've got to remember

:40:03.:40:05.

the context, which is that we need to balance our

:40:06.:40:09.

books by 2019/2020, and ensuring that our universities are on

:40:10.:40:12.

a sustainable footing and properly The Coalition Government, of course,

:40:13.:40:15.

trebled tuition fees. What we are committing to is to say

:40:16.:40:19.

that where universities are offering high-quality teaching, they will

:40:20.:40:29.

in due course, in 2017/2018, be able to increase their fees only in line

:40:30.:40:33.

with inflation, and inflation is But that is out commitment

:40:34.:40:39.

so that our good universities that are offering high-quality teaching

:40:40.:40:45.

don't see their revenues eroded Over the course of this Parliament

:40:46.:40:47.

then, you can, as the Minister responsible, rule out any increase

:40:48.:40:53.

in tuition fees, a higher threshold? What we are doing is proposing to

:40:54.:40:57.

allow an increase in line only with inflation,

:40:58.:41:03.

which is presently well under 1%. What we are proposing today is to

:41:04.:41:08.

only allow increases in line with

:41:09.:41:15.

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