23/10/2017 Newsnight


With Evan Davis. How should returning British IS fighters be dealt with? Plus the Jared O'Mara row, how AirBnB affects UK housing and Lady Trumpington reflects on her career.

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So-called Islamic State was driven from its own capital last week.


But hundreds of Brits had gone out to fight with them,


and so hundreds of Brits may now choose to return.


What sort of welcome should we offer them?


One minister talked of the need to kill them, some want


the British fighters kept out, some want them to be


We'll ask if we can distinguish between the dangerous


The great Airbnb debate - it's created a market in tourist


lets for spare rooms, but has it created a deregulated


So there are wards in Westminster where one in ten properties are


permanently in the short-let sector and that's not good.


This Labour MP has resigned a post on the Commons equalites committee


for stupid comments he made in his early 20s.


Should we forgive errors made 15 years ago?


Will anybody make it into public office if we don't?


And as Lady Trumpington says farewell to the Lords,


we ask her how she dealt with sexual harrassment in her day.


I think you curse them and it's quite possible to slap their face,


We don't know how many people have left Britain to fight


with so-called Islamic State over the last few years.


There is talk of 850 of whom half may have already come back,


That would leave hundreds still out there.


But if we don't really know how many, we can't know all their names.


And with Isis now pushed out of its own self-declared


capital city, Raqqa, we don't know where


the remaining ones are, or what they are currently


The only thing we do know is that we need some approach


One idea would be to ease them back into mainstream society.


But one government minister, Rory Stewart, said yesterday that


in most cases, they'll need to be killed.


He's clarified that he meant that they would fight


to the death, not that we should illegally assassinate them.


But Mr Stewart has prompted quite a debate.


Our diplomatic editor Mark Urban has been looking at it.


In the rubble of the self-proclaimed caliphate live the corpses


Some infamous figures like Sally Jones were reportedly


killed in the fight for Raqqa, but the fate of many is unknowable,


so in terms of the IS group, how many UK jihadists joined?


More than 800 tasted life in Syria and Iraq


with various groups, and many died, a feat


with various groups, and many died, a fate


which apparently the Government wishes would befall them all.


And we have to make sure that if they ever do return from Iraq


and Syria they do not pose a future threat to our national security,


but they have made their choice - they have chosen to fight


for an organisation that uses terror and the murder of civilians


How many are still with IS, that's very hard to know,


Figures compiled by the BBC suggest that of the 800 plus


who went out, at least 74 are believed to have died.


Around 400 are thought to have returned home,


with a few dozen of them convicted, but hundreds


The majority of the foreign fighters, and we will come to find


this out in the days ahead as we continue to work


through and clear Raqqa, but the majority of them, we


assess, were killed in the battle at Raqqa.


Raqqa, as an example, was a place where Isis could freely plot,


organise, resource, launch and export their terror.


They can't do that any more, and there are so few places now.


As a matter of fact, 95% of the territory that


Isis once held is now underneath partner controls.


Now the caliphate is almost extinguished,


There are many possible routes, from Turkey to Iran,


How likely are returnees to get back undetected?


I think that the UK agencies are probably going to be operating


on the presumption that they can't be confident, that they will do


their best but there can be no certainty that they are going


to identify and detain all those who might merit that.


There are difficult judgments for the security service.


Since some of them may have realised the folly of


their ways, and of course the summer's attacks in the UK didn't


involve anyone known to have been in Syria and Iraq -


It all adds to the complexity of the task facing MI5.


As well as those we are looking at today, risk can also come


from returnees from Syria and Iraq, and also the growing pool of over


20,000 individuals that we've looked at in the past,


MI5 has means of watching the returnees and grading


If you look at the individuals who went sort of early on, let's say


2011, 2012, the sort of first travellers out there, one could


argue, or one could believe the stories that they were going out


there very much to go and, you know, protect the Syrian people.


If you're going in 2015 to go join the Islamic


State, then you're joining a group that publicly has been decapitating


aid workers, that has been launching attacks in the West, that has


conducted all sorts of heinous activity, and so when you're looking


at an individual who has gone out then, you are clearly going to be


more concerned, than maybe someone who went a lot before.


Some of the IS fighters slipped away. They are hunted now but among


them, or the ones who have already returned, will long worried the


counterterrorist community. Richard Barrett is a former British


diplomat and intelligence officer, now a terrorism expert involved


in countering extremism. What is your guess as to what


proportion of the returnees comeback regretting having gone and what


proportion come back fired up with a mission to attack home? It is very


hard to assess. About half have come back, so about 400, maybe. That is


probably true in Denmark and Sweden. In other countries in the EU it is


more like 30%. But EU wide, there has been about 5000 people go and


therefore you have 1200 coming back, that is quite a lot of people to


deal with. He might think, even if only 1% of the dangers and field


with the ideology, if you like, what do you do? Do you lock all of them


up or can you tell the difference between the ones who come back ready


to just reintegrate into normal life? You have to make that


assessment. How do you make that assessment? You have to examine when


they went and why they went, because the date it is important. And why


they came back and when they came back, because that is also


important. If they came back about 2014 when the caliphate was


declared, you might say they were disillusioned and disagreed with


what was going on and made a mistake. But if they lasted until


the fall of Raqqa, they were obviously more committed to the


cause. But that doesn't give you the answer either because they may have


gone wanting to join the Islamic state, not necessarily to train to


come back as a domestic terrorist, they are two different things in my


view. But having been subject to the ideology, they may come back all


fired up, ready to do something stupid here. What do you think our


approach should be? The great thing about our country and the great


thing about terrorism is that we have this stick to our values and we


mustn't let terrorism undermined those values. Therefore, people who


comeback must be treated according to the rule of law. Must be treated


like any person suspected of criminal activity. There has to be a


criminal investigation and during that investigation, what do you do


with them? If you put them in prison, is it legal? But if they go


in, they might radicalise other people in prison. If you leave them


outside, and they do something, people will say, what the hell was


going on. The answer is going to be expensive, leaving them out and


watching what they are doing. I don't know how many officers it


takes to follow one person, but we are talking probably more than we


have got? It is enormously resource intensive. This is what all


governments in Europe understand and that is why there is little action


so far to address this problem of returnees, so hopefully they won't


come back. I was going to say, that is the hope. A lot of people are


saying it would be better if they have died out there, is that your


view? It isn't going to happen, some of them are going to come back, many


are back already. What will you do now? You can't escape the problem by


the hoping it doesn't care. I suppose you might call it social


work, which you intensively coach and look after them, nurture them to


a peaceful existence. Does it work, is that more expensive than


surveillance? It will work with some, but I don't think it will


change the mindset of people, but it will change their behaviour. It is


important to disengage them from violent activity and change their


views on how society should be. We all have our own view on how society


should be and it is only when we impact our fellow citizens with


violence, we make a problem. As a former senior intelligence person,


how useful are the ones who returned, comeback disillusioned, if


you like, are they ready to shop their mates, is it how that works?


Some may do that and that will be invaluable if they can point out the


people who were members of the Islamic state and people like Jihadi


John, we want to identify those people quickly because they have


committed serious crimes. You don't want them wondering about free.


Richard Barrett, thank you very much.


The Labour MP Jared O'Mara, who won his Sheffield Hallam back


in June by beating Nick Clegg in that very studenty seat,


has resigned his place on the Commons Equalities Committee


over some comments of his which surfaced today.


They'd been left on various internet forums.


Apologies for any offence, but I'll give you a taste of the remarks -


there was reference to having an orgy with the pop band


Girls Aloud, there were comments on fat women and he referred to gays


as fudge packers, and driving up the Marmite motorway.


As I say, he has apologised and resigned from the Equalties


Committee, but here's the thing - these comments were made 15 years


Should we really hold him to account now for those views?


Or should there be a statute of limitations on speech crimes,


trails of which are inevitably left all over the web?


It's a problem that the millennials might find cropping up


We have asked two political writers to talk this through with us. First


on Jarrod O'Mara himself, should he have resigned? Absolutely. No


question, he cannot be seen to be taking a qualities issue seriously


before he has really explained and thought through his previous


comments. He has apologised for them and they were 15, 13 years ago?


Parliament is supposed to hold our trust. It's not just the women and


equality is select committee, it isn't just a body to scrutinise


bills and talk about law, it represents the body of the British


people as we face up to what are very serious issues of


discrimination in the world today. It is impossible for us to have


faith in that committee while it holds people like Jarrod O'Mara, and


people like Philip Davies, the controversial Tory MP. We're not


here to discuss Philip Davie is. He's not here to defend himself. Do


you agree with it? I don't think he should lose the Labour whip and he


shouldn't stand down as an MP. But it's not just any select committee,


it is about women and equalities. I am sure we will come back to that in


a second, and he was in his early 20s when he made those comments. If


you are a child, you are an idiot, but at 22, 23, you are an adult.


Does this reflect his current personality and views towards


homosexuality or women? I don't think we have seen enough to prove


they don't. There is a question to answer about his views today based


on those comments back then? Until we see otherwise, yes. He's not


someone who is known for his great feminism. There are other


controversies over him. I don't fundamentally disagree, but Jess


Phillips, chair of the women's Parliamentary Labour Party said she


talked to him today and she does accept his apology and things he was


genuine. She is not known for being a tolerance of misogyny.


Tell me what the rules are. What age do we forgive, what age do you start


having to take response to the? If he was 17, we would probably forgive


his crimes, but 22, do be or not? What are the rules? Set them out


because this will come out time and time again. That is the thing. I'm


not entirely sure and that is why I think the Jared O'Mara story is


interesting and we will look back on it. We have not really had this


until now. These young people who grew up on the Internet, became


MPs... Have left their trail all over the place. Of course, and if


someone said some stupid things at 14-15, I would say that was clear,


unless it was quite extreme Nazi stuff, you know, it would have to be


really a torrent, and anything from sort of mid-20s on words I think is


clear-cut again, but early 20s, I think it is a bit weird,


case-by-case basis. Into just both of us as millennial writers who have


no problems putting ourselves over the Internet, and there are things


in our careers we may disagree about, and something to even be


embarrassed about, but as writers I would say that Marie and I both


explain our political journeys, we talk about the way in which we have


changed our minds and that is quite an important part of being a writer


in the public sphere, demonstrating that ability, and my answer to your


question, if MPs have embarrassing tales online, what they will have to


do in the future is right at the beginning, we are also in an age of


transparency, so embrace that, they need to 'fess up up, and that is


basically good PR advice, 'fess up before folks find it. If he had


said, I had written all this nonsense in the past, all this


rubbish, would that have made a difference? If it had not been


exposed... I think so, yes, but that being said I would argue that not


everyone our rage can remember everything they have posted before,


and I know that because I looked at my early Facebook account recently,


and was quite higher -- horrify. How can you confess when you don't


exactly know what you have posted... We are all delighted that AOL


Instant Messenger shut down this week! Your older viewers may not


realise this but we have a lot of memories of that, we millennial 's.


Talking about redemption for people who have gone out to fight with Isis


in Syria. Are we overblowing speech crimes in the great pantheon of our


career mistakes? I don't think so. What would that say to women and


LGBT people, that this person said this incredibly offensive stuff, not


just silly jokes that were on the line, but genuinely offensive stuff?


It would send such a message, I think, to say it is sort of fine. So


I think him resigning from the committee while remaining as MP and


apologising is kind of a decent way to do it. Speech crimes, the problem


is in the phrase they are, you said two words, and I think it was about


ten. A more open society would be one in which we accuse people less


often of speech crimes but we could also have intelligent debate about


changing our minds. Thank you very much indeed.


Of all the services the internet can provide, Airbnb is perhaps


In case you haven't encountered it, it is where people turn their spare


rooms into overnight accommodation for tourists.


The easy matchmaking between renters and rentees has


Not great for hotels, but for everybody else


Well, Airbnb has scaled up - from just being a simple way


for homeowners to earn a bit of pocket money, to also being


a platform for professionals to run money-making property portfolios -


and to do so outside the regulations facing hotels.


For some neighbours of Airbnb properties, the service


We'll debate its merits shortly, but first our technology editor,


David Grossman, looks at the Airbnb phenomenon.


Like the low-cost airlines before them, short-term letting apps


like Airbnb are making travel more affordable for people.


They get to stay in interesting places, and as the slogan says,


And if property owners can make a few quid too, who's complaining?


As we've seen from taxi apps like Uber, the sharing economy isn't


In terms of short-term letting apps like Airbnb,


the evidence is that it's starting to have a profound impact in some


local housing markets, and on the experience


Our research shows that it's primarily a London problem,


but it's very definitely a growing problem in other large cities,


with a tourist interest, so Manchester is seeing a lot


of growth, and in Glasgow and Edinburgh we're particularly


The London Borough of Westminster is particularly hard-hit,


with an estimated 5000 properties taken out of the traditional


It is taking homes away from people who might


otherwise be living there - on scale.


So there are wards in Westminster where one in ten properties


are permanently in the short-let sector, and that's not good.


To be clear, no one is saying that a property owner shouldn't be


able to let a room out, or go away on holiday


and let their flat-out - that's all absolutely fine.


It's the increasing professionalisation of this


This is what a real hotel looks like, regulated to have


minimal impact on locals, because - however welcome to a city


- short-term visitors don't make great neighbours.


It's been going on for couple of years now, and it has got


to the point recently where we've wanted to move away from it.


This neighbour of a busy short-term-let flat


in London doesn't want to be identified


because she is frightened of repercussions.


You don't know who's around you, you don't know that when you come


home at night you're going to get a good night's sleep.


It's just irritating when you're just dropping off,


to have a sudden reminder, oh, yeah, your neighbours


are Airbnb - they're back now, they're going to keep you awake.


Often, the first sign of a property moving over to short-term letting


is the appearance outside of these - key boxes.


Getting complete data from Airbnb is extremely hard,


but we've analysed the website to find out how many hosts let out


That may be an indication that they're operating as a business.


In London, we found 12,428 entire homes run by multi-listing hosts.


That's 37.5% of all entire Airbnb homes in the city.


London's top ten hosts ran a total of 1634 entire home


In Edinburgh we found 1794 entire homes run by multi-listing hosts.


That's a third of all Airbnb entire homes in the city.


Edinburgh's top ten hosts ran a total of 302 entire home


In Bristol, we found 226 entire homes run by multi-listing hosts.


That's 30% of all the entire Airbnb homes in the city.


Bristol's top ten hosts ran a total of 127 entire home


Unlike residential properties, mortgages on holiday lets qualify


for mortgage interest tax relief, and the returns can be two


or three times as big as conventional letting.


So much so that instead of buy to let, people are now setting up


hugely lucrative rent to let businesses.


It's increasingly common for landlords to rent property out,


and find that property is sublet, either with their consent -


although perhaps not with their entire understanding -


or entirely without their consent, in what you might choose to call


a sort of rent arbitrage, in that I pay you the market rent


from an ordinary let property on the family market.


If I then put it on Airbnb on the holiday let market,


for the same period of time, provided I can keep it full,


I will get more money from Airbnb and so I can guarantee to pay


you a set sum of money and make a profit on the difference.


It's possible to construct vast portfolios of property in this way,


creating virtual hotels complete with a check-in desk.


It's one of the most popular nightspots in the capital.


It's where groups of people come for a curry and a night out.


And it's also one of the hotspots for Airbnb -


there are lots of properties listed around here, many of them run


I've checked into one, or at least I've booked it.


I've been e-mailed some instructions of how I have to check in.


I have to go and pick up the keys from a shop which is,


When I got there, the shop - well, it didn't feel


More like just a guy sat behind a desk with a big ledger in front


of him with all the bookings for different places.


My name was on there, he checked my ID, he gave me


the keys, he gave me the instructions how to get there.


Floor's a bit creaky, but apart from that it


In fact, it says in the welcome folder that the entire building -


nine flats - are available from the same Airbnb hosts.


But whatever this place is, it clearly isn't somebody's home.


This place has been kitted out - the whole building has been


Looking for evidence of any wrongdoing is very tricky.


Since 2015 property owners in Greater London have been legally


allowed to short-term let somewhere for a maximum total of 90 days


It makes it virtually impossible for us or anyone else,


like the local authority, to prove what's going on.


The problem is that it's not actually an offence


to breach planning control, unless you're told to stop


breaching planning control, so they have to be caught and told


to stop, and then caught again breaching the being told


to stop and carrying on, so you have to catch people twice.


Although Airbnb has introduced restrictions on people letting out


somewhere in London for more than 90 days, it's a simple matter to list


on one of the many other short-term letting sites.


It's really difficult to track how these landlords


are using the different sites, and so we can't really judge


whether they are moving properties around across different platforms,


but we know anecdotally that this has been reported,


and so it's something that if we had this availability to share the data


across the platforms, and they worked together


with the GLA, this is something that we would be able to keep


Well, I think that the Government needs to accept that local


authorities have to have legal powers to act to ensure that


when people are letting short lets, that they notified.


when people are letting short lets, that they notify.


If you have a notification it makes it much more straightforward then


for a local authority to be able to monitor, make sure


that the law is being upheld - it doesn't stop people letting,


Other cities and countries are far further ahead in regulating


Airbnb declined our request for an interview, but said


they already go far further than any other platform


in making sure their listings comply with the law.


This may not be much comfort to those trapped


on the other side of the wall, or the floor, or the ceiling, from


I'm nervous that it's just going to turn into a strange hotel


situation, in all the blocks, without any regulation


Really, it feels like your block is changing?


I am concerned that as we see this go on, if nothing changes,


the block will just turn into a hotel.


Well, Airbnb have given us a statement.


"We are good partners to London and have


introduced automated hosting limits to help ensure home sharing is good


news for everyone, and that growth is responsible and sustainable.


We are pleased to lead our industry on this matter and urge policymakers


to ensure other platforms act responsibly in London,


It is not just a problem in London, though.


Joining us now in the studio are Roddy Campbell


from Shared Economy UK, the trade body for the UK's sharing


economy, and founder of the website Vrumi which allows householders


But in Liverpool we're joined by the Labour councillor


Laura, let's start with you. Short lets, what sort of problems do they


cause for your? Do you get a lot of complaints as a councillor? It is a


recent phenomenon in our city in Liverpool, certainly moving out of


the city into the more residential areas, but we have seen summers of


absolute mayhem, where residents have had to call the police, naked


men running down the street playing football, stag parties and so on


going on, and of course in a city with a lot of student residents


really do value that quieter time they used to get in the summer,


which is now filled with hen and stag parties completely without any


regulation. As Europe is just short, we would welcome home sharing that


is genuine, but this is undeclared businesses not paying tax -- as


Europe is just showed. But the tourists coming in, that kind of


behaviour, it could happen in a hotel. If they want to run out and


play football naked at night, isn't it the same thing? I wouldn't think


so because the hotels would be staffed and this is completely


unstaffed and unsupervised, and these are small terraced streets I


am talking about, not big country manners or something. Four bedroom


terraces with 20 people for the weekend, it creates mayhem for the


neighbours and other residents. Roddy Campbell, that is effectively


a lot of what is going on location. Businesses setting these up to defy


the regulations? I don't know how you make the leap,


London is my main area, that is where I operate my business in. Am I


allowed to set up a hotel in London where ever I want. They are hotels


about stuff? There are plenty of regulations for short-term lets. How


those are in force and whether they are enforced is another question.


Enforcement issue for you guys, you are the council, it is your job?


There are no regulations. We can't enforce anything, there are no


regulations. There are minimal regulations in London, but outside


of London we don't even have the 90 day restriction. We are asking home


sharing sites to share their data with local authorities so we can


regulate them and ensure minimum standards and have have a 90 day


cap. Sharing the data so nobody can run their business for more than 90


days and a 90 day national limit would sort out the professionals?


There is a lot of laws on data protection and data sharing. But we


can pass a law on that? If they pass a law on that then yes. We can't


enforce the rules at the moment because somebody could put 90 days


on one site, and 90 days on another. In London, that is illegal and they


can be prosecuted for that and after they have been warned by the local


authority, they can be fined for that. But the point is, we have to


make it easier for the authorities to levy the fine against the rule


breakers because they have to be able to catch the rule breakers to


levy the fine. It is difficult for them to watch a property for 180


days or 91 days. Can I ask about the scale of this? When people are


talking about rogue minicab company is, if there are two rogue drivers


in the fleet who are not getting their tax and insurance done, it is


not a problem. But if there is a thousand, then it is a problem. The


numbers went through very fast on your tape, there are 226 properties


your tape, there are 226 property job people identified as


multi-property operators in Bristol and it was 1600 in London out of 3.3


million households. The idea this is a massive business... The buy to let


businesses big. Private renting is a huge business and the short term


rental is a sliver of that business. Let me put that to Laura. The


numbers are relative to the size of Liverpool or London and we talking


about a small industry? Absolutely, but it is growing very fast and the


complaints are growing fast. We don't know where they are, we have


landlord licensing in Liverpool and we work hard to get that across the


city so we can regulate the private rented city. -- sector. This is


coming in below the radar, should these people be paying council tax,


or business tax? We don't know where they are until we get the complaints


in and then it is too late. Airbnb said we want to see everybody's


income and then we can regulate the industry better. As a trade


Representative Association would you support that? I am speaking as the


owner and founder of a business roughly similar to Airbnb. I know


hate Chim RC and the Treasury have had conversations about what can and


can't be done and what is right, and being on the board, Airbnb have had


endless meetings with Treasury and HMRC about what can and can't be


done. In the end they are a platform, like me having my make-up


done by your very nice make-up man. He takes in travelling actors


through his website. I am sure he pays his tax, declares it. Would he


expect travelling actors to reveal his income to the taxman? Probably


not. Local authorities are picking up the cost of this. We could run


this a bit longer because it raises a lot of issues, but we have got to


leave it there. People love to complain


about politicians, but you won't hear much grumbling


about Baroness Trumpington. She's a Tory member of the House


of Lords, appointed back in 1980 During a career as a minister


and a peer, Trumpington has been independent of thought and has


always been one to She has also been mischievous,


for example, she famously directed a V-sign at Lord King,


when he remarked upon her age Her life chronicles much


of the history of the 20th century. She once worked for David


Lloyd George on his farm. She is the sort of person


for whom the words national But today, her 95th birthday,


she is stepping down from the Lords. They have been marking the end


of her era with a party this evening, here is a picture


of her celebrating with Prime Minister John Major


and the Lords Speaker. I sat down with her on Friday,


to talk about her life I began by asking her


whether life is better now Well, better for those


who have money. I think it's amazing the way people


climbed out of the mud Well, I can think of


Betty Boothroyd, for instance. She was a great success and she had


to fight to begin with. Another big woman in your life


was Margaret Thatcher of course? And you still think


of her with affection because you often argued with her,


I think? But that was my value


to her and she realised But if I didn't agree


with her about something, I said so. It gave her a chance to know what


the opposition might say to her. Important in politics not


to have all the yes men What about the issue


of women in politics? Because a lot has changed


in your lifetime. And a lot has changed since you were


in the Lords, which was 1980. How should women deal


with men who are interested Because it is a big issue today,


a lot of women are very angry about it, how should women react,


slap them in the face go I think you curse them and it's


quite possible to slap their face. One of the big changes


between men and women between your young life and now is,


men just used to grope women Because women have


learned to fight back. Really, women used to be


terrified of making a fuss. If the man deserves it, he deserves


to have a public fuss made of him. Just tell me about David Lloyd


George, because he was one What about this thing


with him measuring you up? You are a young girl working


on his estate and he's taking a physical interest


in you, correct? Anyway, I was much too frightened


and shy at that time to object. Of course, you worked at Bletchley


in the Second World War as part When Churchill visited us he said,


you are the birds that laid the golden eggs,


but never cackled. And that was the important thing,


was that we never talks. Tell me about this episode


in the House of lords, this is one you were very famous


for, which was Lord King, made some reference to your age


and you did the V-sign at him? And then the survivors


of World War II started to look pretty old as well,


as my noble friend, the baroness reminded me,


I believe claiming to be Now on some stories, you weren't


really making every sign, Now on some stories,


you weren't really making a V-sign but on other accounts,


you knew very well, you knew I did know, because I thought


he was insufferable. Trumpington, we associate anything


with Trump with the president How extraordinary the Americans


are to have let him get away... Well I won't say what


I was going to say. Can I ask what you are going to miss


most as you leave the lords and say farewell on that long period


in your life? I will have permission to sit


on the steps of the throne and I will be able to eat meals


there, but I won't be a member You will miss them and I'm


sure they will miss you. Baroness Trumpington,


thank you so much. And that is all we have time for. I


will be back tomorrow but until then, good night.


Good evening. One thing we won't be in


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