27/10/2011 Question Time


David Dimbleby chairs from Winchester, with a panel including Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes, and Iain Duncan Smith, the secretary for work and pensions.

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Tonight, we are in Winchester, England's capital, until the


Normans invaded and therefore a very good place to debate our place


in Europe and anything else our audience wants to debate. Welcome


to Question Time. I'm joined here in Winchester


Cathedral by the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, the


Shadow Home Office Minister, Gloria De Piero, the leader of the UK


Independence Party, Nigel Farage, the Liberal Democrat MP, Jo Swinson,


and the Oscar-winning Julian Fellowes, who created the TV series,


Downton Abbey, and is a recently APPLAUSE


Our first question comes from Nigel Dallard, please?


In the vote on the EU referendum, why weren't MPs given the freedom


to represent the views of the public in their constituencies?


weren't they given the freedom, in other words to vote as they like,


yes? Yes. Iain Duncan Smith? Well, the...


reportedly said, according to today's papers. I thought I might


get away with it... "ever put me in that position again, that's it!"


haven't had that confrontation with the Chief Whip but that shouldn't


stop the press having a good time with it. So you didn't object to


the three line whip? What I discussed with the party was


another matter, but the general sense is I'm not going to get


caught up in that. The question is about why there was a three Lynn


whip and the Government takes the view, as the coalition, that the


position they've got on Europe is that this particular motion was at


the wrong time and really about the wrong issue. The motion itself was


a rather complicated motion that if in fact you tried to implement that


motion which had three or four different options inside it, it


would have been almost impossible. I think you can argue that it's a


mark of some respect that the Government says, look, it's a


serious motion, the Government position has to be on display, the


Government has to say if it's for or against it, the Government


decided it was against it, it thought it would be wrong at this


particular time when we've got the euro in crisis and us unsure about


what's happening, unsure about whether they'll be able to create a


rescue package. The reality is that Britain still gets caught by what


happens in Europe although they are out of the euro and I celebrate


that every day. Now is not the time to push for a set referendum, nor


is the time to get ourselves complicated with this motion. The


Government was going to vote against it, the Government in power


has the rigt to say to backbenchers, look, we don't think you should


vote for this -- right. Hang on, we are... Can I finish the point.


Having rebelled myself over Maastricht and Europe before, the


simple point is this... And defying a three line whip? Yes, if you feel


strongly enough about something, then you take that principal and


make a decision and those that did voted against. The thought that you


can bully and cajole everybody that did is nonsense. I didn't when my


moment was right and they didn't this time and that's fine. The


three line whip is about policy and they have to take their own choices.


When you were running for the leadership of the party, Mrs


Thatcher said of you, about that defying a three line whip, he put


his integrity before his ambition. Is this an occasion on which you


put your ambition before your integrity? No, I don't have an


ambition. I came into Government for one reason and one reason only,


to try and reform welfare and change society, that is my purpose


in being in here. I've spent the last eight years with the Centre


for Social Justice, trying to get to a position where we actually at


last could reform welfare to change that culture of entitlement and


dependency. That's why I'm here. When it comes to Europe, I'm clear


about my position, as is the Government. We believe there needs


to be a re-adjustment of that relationship. The question in front


of us on Monday, David, was very simple - do you think this motion,


which had two or three different items in it was the right motion to


put to the British public - the answer is no, I the do not think


that was the case. On a free vote, you would have voted against it?


my position was that it was the wrong motion and I retain that.


It's important for a Government to have an opinion and view and if


backbenchers feel strongly about that, that's fine, don't weep too


many tears about people making the choice, if they have the guts or


courage, call them to account. The woman in the third row there?


Arguably, a lot of the policies that come to Parliament are made up


by Parliament and by Government itself. As far as I'm aware, this


came from a pole that was suggested by the Prime Minister himself.


the public vote? By the public. Does that not prove that there was


a want from the public to have this referendum? And therefore why


shouldn't we? Nigel Farage, what do you make of the Government's


position? The idea that e-petitions could spark this, it was a great


idea, young people thought it was great, they could engage with the


process. And at the first time it succeeds, we get a debate on the


floor of the House of Commons, cynically, the three party leader


close down free speech, free voting on this issue and people will ask


themselves, is there any point in future in bothering to get


signatures on these e-petitions and that I think is really rather sad.


But the answer to the question is very simple - why no freedom of


vote - very easily, the political class in this country, all three


political parties who're represented here on this platform


have made their minds up. They've made their minds up that we must be


part of this new European state and the one thing they will absolutely


make sure we can never ever do is express our opinion on it. David


Cameron himself, the man who of course gave a cast iron guarantee


that he'd give us a referendum... That's rubbish. No, That's what he


wrote. Nigel, the Government's given the public a referendum on


any future treaty. I voted for that at Maastricht and they have a


referendum. Oh, please. So don't say they'll never have a vote on


anything. This is so weak. This is the game you play in which you try


and cast everybody as an extremist. Your leader wrote in the Sun


newspaper, I give you this cast iron guarantee that if I'm the


Prime Minister, the British will have their say on the


Constitutional Treaty. He's broken his promise and I must say, I think


Cameron, Clegg and Miliband are wrong. The last time we discussed


the most important constitutional question of our generation was back


in 1975. It's a long time ago. You have to be over 54. My parents


voted yes, they voted for a Common Market. Not for political union.


There are 30 million of us under the age of 54 who've never been


asked. I thought what happened in the Commons on Monday was a


disgrace. As yew rightly said, all three main


political parties whipped their members to vote against this.


Gloria De Piero, do you think that was the right decision by Labour,


given, as the woman there said, that this was the British public


saying they wanted a vote on this issue? Why weren't mens given a


free vote? I think the Labour Party were in exactly the right place and


the gentleman asked the question about, should you put the interests


of your constituents above a three line whip. I take my responsibility


as a representative, the MP for Ashfield, really, really seriously,


and I go out every week and I knock on doors in Ashfield and I


absolutely hand on heart say to you that, I'm not saying it never comes


up, it probably comes up genuinely one out of 100 doors and I will


tell you what people want to talk to me about, they want to talk to


me about their fears for the economy, about the fears for jobs,


about the fears for their children and there are also talking to me


about the lack of police presence. That is genuinely what I see. I was


in the chamber on Monday and, honestly, I've been an MP for 18


months, and I looked at the Conservative benchers and I've


never seen such passion, such electricity. You know, there were


points where I thought Halloween might have come early, people were


kind of almost frothing at the mouth at some point and I just


thought, you know what... Kate Hoey and people like that, you mean,


your own members? Excuse me. I heard one Conservative MP speak in


favour of his party leader and he got jeered from his own side.


do you deduce from this? I'll tell you something. If I saw a fraction


of the passion and the emotion that I saw on Monday night in that


chamber about having 16,000 fewer police officers, then maybe...


don't appear to be answering the question that Nigel Dallard asked


which was over 100,000 people asked for this debate. Why couldn't the


parties leave MPs to make their minds up. It doesn't matter how you


would have voted had you not been whipped, but your parties were told


how to vote? It's about leadership. I know that people have a Downer on


the political class, even if you don't like politicians. Let me say


this, business leaders, Trade Union leaders, if it was really that bad


for British jobs and British business, wouldn't they be leading


the cause, but they're not because they know it's the right thing to


do to stay in Europe for prosperity. You, Sir? Hypothetically, if


British was to leave the European Union and that would surely damage


our relationship with the other countries in the European Union who


we do an awful lot of trade with? We are going to talk about that in


a moment. That's not the question we are talking about now, which is


whether or not MPs should have been able to decide on a referendum or


not. We'll perhaps come back to that. You, Sir? If now is not the


right time, when is the right time going to be, Iain? I agree. Do you


want me to answer that? Yes. There's got to be a genuine


discussion about what our relationship with Europe should be


pand what that means in terms of the powers that Europe and we hold


-- and what that means. We are in danger of the euro going into


meltdown which would suck us down with it. What the Government was


worrying about, legitimately, was to start down the process of


suggesting at that time that there was a process of referendum leading


to all sorts of dislocations later to the rest of Europe would cause


all sorts of problems. This was not the time to start that process.


That was the reason why. Thank you. Jo Swinson, I want to put a quote


to you, this was from you in 2008, there's been a debate on Britain's


role in Europe for years without voters having had the chance to


give their opinion in the ball bot box. It's been over 30 years since


the British had a say. To deny them the vote would be a travesty of


justice and you voted against a referendum. Why? B -- ballot box?


voted on the manifesto which said next time there was a change


orpowers in a treaty to Europe from Britain, there should be a


referendum on our role within Europe. Not only have we stuck to


that, we've actually legislated to mean that that is what has to


happen. So, there will be a referendum if there is a future


change of powers between our relationship with the EU. To answer


Nigel's question directly - I mean first of all, I would say that


although parties whip, every MP I believe has to take responsibility


for the way they vote. It's not some kind of cop out to say, well,


I was whipped, because it's always a decision an individual MP can


make. Obviously, the Government and indeed the opposition presents a


programme that they are outlining and for that to have coherence,


they'll have a line that they will whip on so that you're not just


having a group of independents that aren't actually working together as


a team. But, each MP at each vote and decision still has the


responsibility and the right to make a different decision if they


think that is what was right. On Monday night, we had just had a


debt crisis summit on Sunday in Europe with a follow up due to


happen on Wednesday and, bearing in mind that, as Gloria says, the


issues that most of my constituents say they're most concerned about


are the jobs, the economy and their future, given that half of our


trade is with Europe and the EU and given that 3.5 million jobs in the


UK depend on the EU, I think in the middle of that debt crisis, our


priority has to absolutely be sorting out the eurozone crisis.


just to clarify the point - the petition from the British public


that was meant to incite a debate in the House of Commons... It did.


Does not mean that MPs should obey party discipline, in other words


it's not an invitation to a conscience fro vote by MPs? Free


votes should be that, on the matters of conscience. Every MP can


decide how they vote. Let's have another couple of members of the


audience. The man with spectacles? There were stories of aggressive


and abuse you have texts being sent by the whips to Members of


Parliament, I would like to know if the panel thinks that's sound


I think this is a difficult issue, because the crisis going on in


Europe is enormous at the moment. We are all pretending that these


bail-outs and thing will help, but it's very clear to almost all that


the only way of saving the euro is for the eurozone to essentially


become one country, with a single government. This is a huge change


in the make-up of Europe and the idea this would be a good moment


when we are facing this enormous development, if it happens, that it


would be a good moment to start talking about repatriating appeal


laws or straight cucumbers, I do believe that David Cameron is


committed to a referendum. I don't have any problem with that at all.


He's put it in the manifesto and I'm sure he means to deal with it


when the manifesto condition comes through, but the idea that this is


now a time to start fiddling, when we may be looking after a enormous


recession if the euro goes under and the last few days have not been


very encouraging. I think, in life, timing is everything. I'm as euro


sceptic as the next man - well, not probably as this next man - but


nevertheless, I think there is a moment where you have to allow the


Government to deal with the really important stuff. The woman here in


the third row. I think it's fine to have a referendum on Europe and the


British role in it, provided that the British voting public is


equipped with the information that they need to make an informed


choice. And the person up there. What good is David Cameron saying


that there will be a referendum if any more powers will be brought to


the EU, when the previous government signed the Lisbon Treaty


and a lot of our powers have gone to Europe? 75% of our laws. That is


just wrong, Nigel. Hold on. true. Wait, panel. Some years ago


the Irish government or the Irish people voted in a referendum


against part of the EU and for the next year they were bullied and


blackmailed and everything until they changed their mind. Isn't that


likely to happen to us? You don't think there is a merit in the


referendum, because the Government will have their way in the end?


think we have to be very careful. question now from Simon Davies.


Does the eurozone debt agreement mean the UK is now a second-class


citizen? Let me repeat this, because it is echoing here. Does


the eurozone debt agreement mean the UK is now a second-class


country in the EU? Jo Swinson? don't think it has to mean that,


but I think that the question that Simon's posing is one that it's


important for us to be disgusting, because there is a danger of that.


-- discussing, because there is a danger of that. The euro and the


zone is in a very, very difficult place at the moment. Last night's


deal was positive, but it's far from out of the woods yet. If the


euro is going to be able to continue and survive, then those


countries are going to have to come closer in terms of their tax and


spending and the way that their economies are running and obviously


some decisions and co-ordination between the 17 countries will need


to be done. There is a genuine danger that as one of the ten


countries not in the eurozone, that the UK could somehow be left out. I


think that as the negotiations go on, that is what is absolutely


crucial in Britain's national interest, to make sure that we get


that relationship right. Where are the threats that you foresee? What


is it that could do damage to us? For example, if it were to fall


into the habit that the decisions were being made by a sort of caucus


of the 17 countries, that they formed lines on a range of issues


that were nothing to do with the euro and the specifics of the zone,


then I think that would be not helpful. The Government is already


actually doing a lot to mitigate against this, so Ed Davey is


working with about 14 other countries on measures to increase


deregulation and to promote growth with like-minded countries and a


lot of that goes on and should continue. We need to build up those


relationships, but it's a good question. I think, if you like,


that is where the genuine debate needs to be have, to make sure


Britain plays a strong and leading role in Europe for the future.


Nigel, I'll come to you later. Gloria De Piero from Labour's point


of view, does it mean what has happened in Europe over yesterday


and over the last few days, mean we are in a position of a second-class


member of the EU? Not if we have political leadership. And by that I


mean that our Prime Minister is focused on getting around that


table, putting forward the British case, and not arguing with his own


MPs. My goodness, I can't honestly believe that we could be in this


position again, 18 months into a Tory Government. I remember when I


was in my youth in my teens seeing the Tories tear themselves over


this issue. The reason my interest in the zone working is because I


care about British jobs and British businesses. If a business here or


in my constituency is thinking can I take on some more workers or


perhaps could I expand? If they are making goods then they are going to


think about who they'll sell them to. You say it is important that


the British Prime Minister plays the strong hand in Europe. You


remember the French President, Sarkozy, saying to Cameron, "We are


sick of you criticising us and telling us what to do. You say you


hate the euro and now you want to interfere in our meeting." It's a


badge of honour. That sounds like someone playing a firm hand and


your leader says, "You spoke not just for France, but for Britain as


well." What did he mean? I suspect he was thinking for many Tory MPs


as well when he said, "You come along at the last minute and you


lecture us." Be serious, you say you want the Prime Minister to be


strong and he appears to do so and the French President objects and


the leader of the Labour Party says the French President is right.


think the point was that if you go around being so critical and


negative, actually, lowering your own MPs because your own position


depends on it, into that kind of false sense of security to think


that David Cameron might be up for renegotiating all these issues.


don't think we should interfere in the eurozone and give advice or say


what suits us? Yes, of course, we should. Say what you like about


Gordon Brown, when I was a reporter, the G20 - Who is saying what they


like about Gordon Brown? I was really proud to be a Brit, because


people were looking to Gordon Brown for a solution to a global


financial crisis and that made me proud. Not the Labour Party though!


That made me proud to be British and I would like to see that kind


of leadership from David Cameron. David, you said that my views would


The headlines: Stock market surge after Europe's leaders strike a


provoke the panel. I hope they do. deal to double the eurozone and


I think the political class in this rescue fund.


The French President says Greece and every other class has got this


should not have been allowed to whole debt crisis completely and


join the euro. Greece says it is utterly wrong and the people's of -


not the source of the current - the peoples of Europe are waking


problems. Serial killer Robert Black is found


up to the fact that what we are doing in the name of saving the


guilty of the murder of nine-year- zone is making things far, far


old Jennifer Cardy, 30 years ago. worse. We are imprisoning countries


The canon of St Paul's cathedral in the south of Europe inside


something they should never have steps down over the handling of the


joined. It is leading to violence process camp on his doorstep.


would like the camps to move on because I think he has an effect on


small traders, ordinary people in the area, but I am not prepared to


sanction the use of force. Saving Bangkok from floods. Thousands of


people fully as an emergency five- and disorder on the streets. The


The French President says it is a British will have to be relegated


plan that has saved the world from to the status of a country likely


catastrophe. Markets around the globe have surged following the


deal to contain eurozone debt Switzerland. I thought it doesn't


sound too bad to me. If it means we crisis. It is hoped the agreement,


have the same terms of trade with reached by leaders of the 17 and


euros countries this morning, will Europe, that is good by me. If it


be enough to prevent the collapse means we are one of the richest


countries in Europe per capita that is good by me, and if it means we


can have referendums that are meaningful, but I would argue that


what we want to do is free trade with Europe and be good


neighboursened, but let's become not a second-class citizen. Let's


become a first-class country in the world. That is the future for this


country. Iain Duncan Smith. reality now, I think, is something


that those of us who are against the euro from the beginning and I


was and when I was leader I was pleased that we led the party never


to join and I never want the country to join, because I think


it's been enormously damaging to some of the countries in Europe and


they are in deep trouble as a result. I think the real issue here


is what has happened now is reality has struck. Today, -- That was


reality striking. You speak in a church tanned just happens! The


point is that reality has struck and it means you cannot have a


single currency without full, political union, which is where you


have centralised taxation and control from a centralised


organisation like the Government. The point about this is, that is


what will happen for the eurozone countries, so I don't think this is


an issue about being left behind for Britain, or relegated. The


reality is I don't recall that the United States has been relegated,


but they are not part of the euro and nor are lot of other countries


thank you very much indeed and Britain has the capacity to trade


and deliver for its own country, run by the people that are elected


by this country, but still at the same time, with a good relationship


with Europe and trading and co- operating. You don't have to go


into the euro to remain prosperous and self-governing and that's a


good idea. Probably in the First Division. Are you saying there is


no danger to Britain's position in the EU, which after all the United


States isn't, in those who are in the eurozone taking measureures --


measures that will damage us? these will be matters that are


hugely going to be debates and rows. David Cameron, for example, when he


was having this row with the French President, which I think was rather


wonderful moment when they snipped at him and they snipped for one


reason, because he had said that whatever else you do, the member of


the EU have a right and say over what happens next and that was the


point. He made that point and had that carried on Wednesday. The key


point is of coursual you'll have debates, but the reality is that


there will be two parts of Europe. There will be eurozone that has to


plunge deeper and those outside who will trade and co-operate but do


not want to plummet into the single currency, which the Labour Party


wants to do. I find it amazing that the Liberal Democrats, who voted


consistently that Britain should take up the euro, haven't


apologised for that. I think that many on the Labour side as well


voted we should take up the euro. Very haven't apologised for that.


Joining the euro would have been an awful mistake and I think the


Conservatives deserve full credit for not taking us into the euro.


What do you think about the position now? If Iain Duncan Smith


is right and it's got to become a political entity? I think Britain


needs to focus on improving productivity and getting industries


-- rather attracting leading industries. I think that is the


thing that will rescue Britain. question of second-rate status in


Europe? None at all. Julian Fellowes. Nigel reminds me of the


man who was asked for directions and said, "If I would you, I


wouldn't start from me." The truth is this, this is where we are. It


is becoming as Iain Duncan Smith said, very clear, that the eurozone


is going to have to effectively become one country with state


differences like in America or whatever, but it is going to be one


country. I think that is quite wrong for Britain. I do not think


we would be content in that relationship and if the price of


staying out of it, is to be viewed as some kind of second thing, it's


a price we have to pay, but I don't think it's a done deal, because the


new Europe that emerges will be different. We will have a different


relationship. We'll have the States in it and the States not in it. I


think we will be happier, not in it. Thank you very much. We must move


on. If you want to tweet toify, remember our hash tag: -- tonight,


remember our hash tag is: James Kirkwood has the next question.


Would Jesus have cleared the temple of demonstrators? St Paul's. Julian


Fellowes. I think it's rather harsh to alone line them with money


lenders. This is a difficult issue, because you have got two points,


one, do we like the fact we live in a country where you are allowed to


protest against the Government or policy without any reper


suggestions? Yes, we do. However, the other one is do they have the


right to spoil the place, to spoil Parliament Square and spoil St


Paul's and so on? You are weighing the two up. It's a tricky one. I'm


not completely convinced that St Paul's played it correctly and that


the health and safety considerations precipitated their


actions, but nevertheless, even if they did, in the end what is more


important that a place of beauty is kept charming for tourists and


everything else and I don't that is unimportant, but is it more


important than the right to protest without the fear of midnight


arrests and police thumping over APPLAUSE


The health and safety concerns are obviously very much in the


forefront of St Paul's Cathedral's mind. The first on the list was the


risk of walking into or tripping over guy ropes attached to trees,


ballards and lampposts. Jo Swinson, what do you think of this snfpblgts


I certainly understand the anger the protestors are feeling -- I


certainly understand the anger the protestors are feeling. You


understand about the massive pay differentials we see in the


corporate world and the duflttys people face because of the debt


crisis that we are facing in Europe and the problems in our own country


-- difficulties. It's a very, very difficult time and absolutely


Julian is right, people have the right the to protest. What is sad


about this case and seeing the interview with Dr Fraser who'd


resigned earlier on today, came across incredibly honourable,


thoughtful and who couldn't deal with this on his conscience, at the


same time not criticising his colleagues. What is said is that I


don't think it's actually doing anyone any good any more. It's


clearly not good for St Paul's, it's not good for the local


shopkeepers and traders who are losing out and who I'm sure are not


actually the target of the people who're protesting, but I think it's


almost getting to the stage where it's not even helpful to the


protestors because what are we discussing tonight - the location


and whether or not they should be in St Paul's and perhaps if they


were able to come to an agreement to move to a different location,


the focus could be again on what they are protesting about and the


real issues, rather than this row. What is a useful protest and what


is not? I do not think it's up to the police to decide and go in, but


I think it would be helpful if people could get round a table and


recognise that if they were to agree to move to another location,


they might get the discussion on the media back into the discussions


they are protesting about, rather than the fuss about St Paul's.


Sir? The reaction of the people running St Paul's, I remember as a


child being a cockney born and bred and still proud of it, that it


never closed during the war. Why now? These people do not threaten


St Paults's -- St Paul's like bombs and rockets did. Why are we doing


this? There is absolutely no need for it. Iain Duncan Smith, do you


want to answer that? I'm with the gentleman here. I am responsible,


by the way, for health and safety, so I just want to say something.


They're often blamed for all of this, but no-one checks with health


and safety whether or not there is a risk so I don't know but I must


say, I'm suspicious about the fact that the general public can't be


allowed to negotiate their own way into St Paul's without causing


problems. That's the first point, so I think sometimes it's like


Wimbledon during the summer when they close the mound and said


health and safety when the Health and Safety Executive said don't be


stupid, people have been sliding down grassy slopes with rain for


years, so let's get this in perspective. The second thing I


want to say is that, I think the issue - I agree with Julian to a


point - but when does it stop being a protest and become simply a way


of life. And, in Westminster, in Parliament Square, it's ridiculous.


They've been camped out there. When you ask them what they are doing,


most aren't there on a protest, they're there because that's the


place to be. The result of all of it, it's become a desecration of


Parliament Square and it's time for them to move on and we get silly


about it. The other thing I want to say, about St Paul's, which I find


strange. When we looked at it through the heat cameras, we found


that so much for their protests, when it got a bit dark and cold,


they went home. I don't know why St Paul's didn't go out, clear the


area overnight and give the tents to the real homeless.


APPLAUSE You, Sir? I personally find it


highly ironic that the Government of this country provides weapons


and air supports to violent protestors in other countries, yet


does everything it can to discredit peaceful protests... It hasn't done


anything of the sort, they've been there for three years. What you


just said wasn't true, the tents that showed up on the heat imaging


cameras were ones that had gas heaters inside. Nigel Farage?


we are in Winchester Cathedral, and how would you feel, as residents of


Winchester, if the new Dale Farm was set up outside the gates and


you couldn't have come to this show or to worship on a Sunday. You


would be angry about it. So the answer is that Jesus would have


cleared them away on the basis that they were stopping religious


services from continuing and because I feel that so many of the


people that are there, getting back to Ian's point, actually are the


sons and daughters of daddy who's a successful banker in the city and


they go home to Hampstead in the evening and come back with a packed


lunch mummy's made them the next day. The elements aren't genuine. I


hope they are removed and the absolute deadline before we get


tough ought to be Remembrance Sunday because if they were still


there, and if there was a problem with Remembrance Sunday services


going ahead, that really would be wrong.


APPLAUSE The woman up there?


Yes? Nigel Farage criticises his perceived lack of democracy in


Europe, yet when there is true democracy on the streets, you want


it gotten rid of. No, I'm happy with protest, absolutely happy with


protest. I mean, surely we want protest, but to we want religious


services in one of the most important churchs in this country


stopped? I don't think we do. That's not reasonable protest.


Gloria? When I was in my teens, I went on a lot of demos, slept out


in protest at the homeless and you know, it's part of my political


awakening and I respected people's right to do their thing, obviously


lots of people don't have time to protest in that way but still feel


incredible anger about the fact that we continue to pay for the


mistakes of the bankers while they seem not to be suffering so much.


That is why, for instance, we are saying, as a Labour Party, repeat


the bankers' bonus tax and get 100,000 young people back into work.


Thank you. I would agree with you, Nigel, about Remembrance Sunday. We


respect your right to protest, but please also respect our right to


pay tribute to those who've paid the ultimate sacrifice. And allowed


you to protest, exactly. The man in the spectacles there? I would like


to understand how sitting in a tent with a mask on, hurling abuse at


people going to work is actually helping the global economy? OK. And


you, Sir? I think Jesus might scratch his beard at being asked


for �14.50 to go into St Paul's in the first place.


APPLAUSE On that note, let's move on.


Rosalind Barnes, please? Can the prison system cope with an


increase in mandatory and life sentences?


These are the new sentences that Kenneth Clarke announced today for


violent or sexual offenders on the one hand having mandatory life and


on the other hand youths with knives getting a mandatory prison


sentence. Can the system cope? It was Labour, of course, that


introduced what are called indeterminate sentences where you


just, as Ken Clarke was saying, stay there until you're given


parole and he thought this was a tougher and better route. Is it in


your view? It's not tough enough, in my view, and let me tell you why.


What Labour did... Not tough enough it's less tough than what Labour


done? It is less tough and I'll tell you why. If somebody had


committed a very serious crime, I'm talking paedophiles, serious sexual


assaults, murder, then you go to prison. It was our view that you


should not be released from prison until you could prove to the Parole


Board that you would no longer be a danger.


And, you know, not very many people passed that test and so it concerns


me that what Ken Clarke has said today, and actually he's had to be


dragged kicking and screaming to this position, is taking away that


check, so he's saying, if you commit a serious crime for the


second time, then you will have a life sentence that.'s removing a


very precautionary measure and a protection that we introduced. On


knife crime, if I may go on to that - what David Cameron said during


the election is that if you are found with a knife, you will go to


prison. Today, that has changed to, if you are found threatening


somebody with a knife and if you are between 16 and 18 or over 16


years old, you would go to prison. So I'm interested also in what


happens if you are 15, if you have been carrying a knife per say. If I


could just make one final point. I'm quite concerned about the


sounds that I'm getting from this Government on crime and law and


order. 16,000 fewer police officers. They're going to scrap antisocial


behaviour orders, they are making it harder to erect CCTV. This is


not what people are telling me in my constituency. I don't believe


it's where the British people are. Can the prison system cope was the


question in increased sentences? You have to make the prison system


cope because I don't think people want the Government interfering a


lot in their lives. I think Governments have one responsibility


to the people they represent to provide prosperity and to keep them


safe and so I would be horrified actually if this was a cost-cutting


measure tofuer people in prison. That would be a really terrible and


very serious mistake. You think fewer people will be in prison as a


result. Jo Swinson, do you agree with that? Will it lead to spewer


people in prison? It's not clear, but it could lead to more -- fewer


people. Ken Clarke presented what Labour did as a Spain on the


justice system in Britain? Indefinite sentences are basically


yes, locking people up potentially indefinitely and, I think the


problem with that is it's been used in so many more cases than it was


expected to be used when Labour introduced it. If fact, from the


point of view of the victims and their families, that also creates a


massive uncertainty. When I've spoke to victims of serious crime


in my constituency, one important thing for them is to actually have


some kind of understanding and idea of the the offender is going to be


released, when they are going to be released and to know what is


happening. This creates a huge amount of uncertainty. I think it's


better to move to a situation where there's more certainty. I'm not


convinced actually about the use of mandatory sentencing. That's not


about saying that we are soft on crime. I think it's about saying


that we politicians in the House of Commons aren't necessarily always


best placed to decide what the sentence should be. We have a


judicial system. That's why we call them judge, because they're there,


they've listened to all of the facts, they understand the context


and they, I believe, are best placed to decide. You know, there


are always difficult cases and special circumstances and


thankfully in these proposals, and it may be in the small print but I


do understand that judges will still retain some discretion.


it's not mandatory at all? understanding is that if there is


an early guilty plea, a 16-year-old under certain circumstances, the


judge may decide that actually, sending them to prison at a cost of


something like �100,000 a year, where there's an 80% reoffending


rate might not be the best thing for society and indeed for that


individual. I would like to see us actually having a situation where


if a 16-year-old is carrying a knife and acting in that way, that


we get to a situation as soon as possible where they are not, where


they can become a functioning member of society and sadly, I do


not have great faith in our prison system for actually doing that.


APPLAUSE The woman there in the third row


from the back. As a victim of crime, I actually


believe that the criminal should get the sentences that are handed


out to them and actually we should be stronger on that. If we build


more prisons, we'll create some employment opportunities and keep


crime off the street. So when you hear the words "mandatory sentence"


which is used by Ken Clarke on the one hand and then Jo saying that


the judges will have the freedom to decide whether or not to impose,


are you happy with that? No. I think our sentences are far too


light actually and the criminals actually get off way too lightly


and we should be harder in our society. Nigel Farage? I think


agree with that. I must say, having studied this Government on crime


and punishment, Ken Clarke's position is bizarre. On the one


hand, he seems to be arguing that virtually nobody should be going to


prison, now he's talking about mandatory sentences. I think this


is because of the pressure that Theresa May has put on him. Theresa


May does say some quite sensible things from time to time. Can't


think where she gets her lines from. The question, can the prison system


cope with this new mandatory sentencing, if indeed it's to


happen at all, the answer is no. One thing that we just have not


done is, we haven't recognised that the criminal base in this country


has increased massively over the last few years. There are lots of


reasons for it and it's very regrettable, but I think the


British public are sick to the back teeth of every single week reading


about people who've been given lengthy sentences, as the lady just


said, have not served them and have then gone on to reoffend. And these


are some of the worst crimes that we can possibly talk about. We have


to recognise that that base is much bigger than it used to be and we


need to embark upon a fairly substantial prison-building prom


and we need to give people tough sentences and make sure they serve


them. Let's have some deterrents in I'm not sure why this has come up


recurrently. I don't think the prisons could actually accommodate


more life sentences, so the next thing will be a deterrent, but if


you look at America they have the death penalty and their crime rate


is much higher than ours, so I can see no other way of that working,


but what we really should look at is rehabilitation and also looking


into - Some states in America have the penalty and some don't and I


would agree, there is no evidence that it is much of a deerer rent,


but what the Americans have done is to recognise that whilst


rehabilitation for first-time offenders is vital, there is a


certain amount of society who just cannot be cured and what they have


done is to embark 25 years on an extensive prison-building programme


and violent cuem in America has halved over the last -- crime in


America has halved over the past 25 years. You are saying the criminal


base has expanded hugely and you are saying there is a tiny


proportion who you can't reach out to. No, there is no inconsistency


there. To say that the solution to that problem, if you are taking the


view, is to just build more prisons and lock more people up, that is an


incredibly way of dealing with that. It doesn't help society. It does.


It doesn't, because it ultimately doesn't help society. What we need


to do is get people rehabilitated, as the lady says. You cannot


rehabilitate all of the criminal classes. Wouldn't it be refreshing


that all politicians actually say what they are going to do when they


are in opposition and when get into power they do it, so we make


manifestos legal and binding and then the panel would agree that it


would encourage younger voters to start believing what politicians


say and encourage voters to believe politics would become relevant


again. There was an example David Cameron talking about knife crime


in 2007 and you can go on quoting Labour saying thing in the --


things in the last 13 years, and they don't action. They say one


thing, get into power and say something else. I don't agree with


Gloria about indefinite sentences, but I agree with everything else.


There is a kind of pact between the people and the Government that they


will be protected from crime. One of the arguments that doesn't wash


at all is the cost. The 100,000. Governments waste money like water


pouring over Niagra. Thing of the wars we don't want and the quangos.


There are millions going out. We need to feel that the justice


system is on our side. And that it is protecting us from criminals.


The idea that you can argue the cost when so much is being spent on


things we couldn't care less about, I can't wear that at all. The cost


is not just financial - APPLAUSE


It is also to society. Of lives being wasted that could be


productive. The other part of the government must speak. Iain Duncan


Smith. I must say, sometimes this debate seems to get polarised into


either tough on criminals or soft on them and therefore you are wrong.


The truth is if people really understood would we lock up in


prison they would understand a huge amount of why we have got so many


people in prison. The truth is most of them are men in prison and it's


men mostly in prison, who are drug and alcohol abusers and the vast


majority can't read or write properly. They can't apply for jobs.


They are incapable of expressing themselves. They have mental health


problems and they come from massively dysfunctional and broken


homes and probably watched most of their mums or women in their lives


being beaten up by violent men all through their life and they copy


that from them. That is the group from which we draw our criminals


and prisoners. Until we face up to to the fact that you will never


arrest and lock up your way out of this problem, that the purpose of


criminal justice is to stabilise the issue, but then we need to do


more and the point what Ken is trying to do now is these sentences


are about being fair and stabilising that problem, but now


we have to attack the problem, right at the earliest stages, with


far too many dysfunctional and broken homes breeding kids going


into crime and it's violent. We have to tackle that. That has to


start much earlier. We in Britain have not bothered with that at all.


If you took 10% of those who go back into prison a second time, you


would almost automatically release prison numbers and have much more


spaces in Britain. -- prison. Yes, you have to be tough with violent


and per petual offenders, but the truth is most of those in prison


should have been dealt with at school, in their families, in their


homes and until we face up to that, we will never solve this problem.


APPLAUSE How long will that take? Which is


an answer to a question other than the one that was asked. I would


like to go back to that. Perhaps if the conditions in the prisons were


slightly less enticing they wouldn't want to go back and some


of the elderly patients in our hospitals I think feel they are


serving a prison sentence. APPLAUSE


Very briefly, Iain Duncan Smith, are the measures that Ken Clarke


has announced going to lead to an increase in the prison population


and to use the question, account prison system cope? The system will


cope, because it has to and the reality of the sentences, firstly,


the indeterminate. What do you mean by it has to cope? We have to


protect the public. Are we going to build more prisons? Hold on. That


is the number one priority to protect the public and


indeterminate sentences were terrible, because it gave nothing


to the prisoners. We know all that. Can the prisons expand? Yes, that


is what the Government has to do, make sure that it allocates the


resources to make sure that there are places. The reality is this is


two-pronged. One, you have to deal with the violent criminals and


punish them and what is given in the sentences, if a person is


picked up who has done a violent attack and had a ten-year sentence


before and subsequently does another one, then he is saying it's


only because of the skill of the surgeons he wasn't done for murder,


so now that person needs to do life. I think that is reasonable. That is


about to getting to those who are violent, but you need to try to


resolve the problem we have, which is we are on a line producing


criminals from these dysfunctional and broken homes. That is the real


issue. Thank you very much. We have five minutes or so left. Another


question. This is from Sam Fox who a sixth form student. Now that


university applications have fallen this year, is it still correct to


have raised student tuition fees? The interesting figures show that


university applications have dropped by 9% and it may be because


of the fees. If you could all be brief on this, because of the time


we have. Jo Swinson, you were one of those Liberal Democrats who said


there wouldn't be any fees and as a Scottish MP, you voted for England


to have fees, whereas Scotland, as we know, with the amount of money


that comes from gnd, doesn't need to have them, -- England, doesn't


need to have them. I can be succint. Not many issues there. Do you think


it's correct still to flout the manifesto you stood on and continue


to raise the fees? In an ideal world, this wouldn't be happening


and if we had a Liberal Democrat government we would have been able


to implement all of the manifesto. The voters spoke and said 650 MPs


we'll give you 57, so that meant we weren't able to do everything we


wanted to do. Plus, we are in a situation where there is a massive


budget deficit and at the time of the election the deficit was 13%,


which is was the same as Greece, so if we weren't going to take strong


action there would be serious consequences. I do think we need to


get across that people can go to university. I think there is still


a job to be done here, because people won't be paying upfront and


be paying until they graduating and earning more than �21,000 and they


will be paying less per month than they do under the current system.


It is a more progressive system. Under ideal circumstances it


wouldn't be what we are doing, but in a very difficult set of


circumstances and having to be in a coalition, we have made it as


progressive as we can. Briefly, everybody, Julian Fellowes. I think


our education system is in a bad way. I think we have devalued


degrees at universities. I think we have a good education minister and


good people from the left and right trying to help him and I hope he's


successful, but if you are asking me do I find it surprising that


people do not want to start their working life tens of thousands of


pounds in debt, for a degree that no longer guarantees a job, no, I


don't find it surprising. APPLAUSE


Gloria De Piero. I was the first person in my family to go to


university and it changed my life, so I don't want to give young


people a downer. It changed my life. I would be really concerned if this


9% drop are the people like me, who managed to change their lives by


going. What Ed Miliband has said and it kind of relates to the point


that the guy in the blue shirt med earlier about politicians and their


promises and how you have to keep to them and he said he would be the


first to underpromise and overdeliver. What we have said, we


know that we can't promise everything, but we have said there


will be a limit of �6,000 rather than nine. I know it's not perfect,


but it's a step in the rye direction and I think it will help


more people to get there. You Sir, there. I'm a student at sixth form


college and I handed in my application a couple of weeks back.


Everybody is taking a hit, why shouldn't the students also? Iain


Duncan Smith, briefly? I think the gentleman there who has just spoken


pretty much sums it up. The fact is we have a huge debt crisis. We have


a real problem and we have to sort that out. The reality is that


university does change your life. It does give you options. The


reality here is that somehow you have to fund it. I think on balance,


that this is a reasonable thing to do. You don't have upfront fees and


you won't start paing back until �21,000. I know it's -- paying back


until �21,000. I know it's difficult. We were in a difficult


position and we have to resolve it. The woman there. With less people


going to university, does it mean there will be higher unemployment


and what will be done to get more people into jobs? It may well. Look,


it's no surprise at all, is it, that we have got a situation now


where through the 7% that go to the private and public schools, they


are dominating public life in a way they have ethey haven't done for


over 50 years and my worry about this drop in applications is that


in many cases it will be the very bright people from poor families


who they by cannot -- who think we cannot take on this risk and there


is less as a result of the policies and education policies, in many,


many cases, bright children from the poorest backgrounds will not


achieve their very best. That is a big mistake. We can't afford to


waste these brains. A couple of points from you up there and then


you. Isn't it the case that the number of applications going to the


top universities has gone up? People are making the decision if


it's in their financial interest to go to university they'll pay the


extra fees? Then the woman there. How will the Government ensure that


�9,000 a year will mean a quality degree, rather than some of the


standards today? You Sir. Do you think it's acceptable that English


students have to pay �9,000, while in Scotland they get it for free?


Quite. We come back to that another day. Thank you very much. We have


to stop. Question Time next week, it's part of something called


Parliament Week which is intended to create a better understanding of


the democratic process. We are going to be actually broadcasting


from inside the Palace of Westminster, where the state trials


of everyone from Charles I to Guy Fawkes took place. Where President


Obama and the current Pope both spoke. They are not going to be on


the panel. In their footsteps will come the Home Secretary and Ed


Balls and Shirley Williams and two others as yet unknown. The week


after that, we'll be in Newcastle. If you want to join the audience,


David Dimbleby chairs the debate from Winchester, with a panel including Downton Abbey writer and creator Julian Fellowes; Iain Duncan Smith, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; Gloria De Piero, Shadow Home Office Minister; Jo Swinson, Liberal Democrat MP, and Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP.

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