25/10/2012 Question Time


25/10/2012

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Slough. He is joined by a panel comprising Vince Cable, Emily Thornberry, Claire Perry, Paul Nuttall and Mehdi Hasan.


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QUESTION TIME FKR Y895P/01 BRD000000

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2:38:242:38:31

Good evening, this week's Question Time comes from Slough.

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A big welcome to our audience here, and, of course, to our panel -

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the Business Secretary, Vince Cable,

2:38:502:38:52

shadow Attorney General, Emily Thornberry,

2:38:522:38:55

Conservative MP, Claire Perry,

2:38:552:38:58

the deputy leader of the UK Independence Party, Paul Nuttall,

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and, from the Huffington Post website, Mehdi Hasan.

2:39:022:39:05

APPLAUSE

2:39:052:39:08

Good. Our first question comes from Eamonn Barrett, please.

2:39:182:39:21

Eamonn Barrett.

2:39:212:39:23

With today's announcement on the GDP figures,

2:39:232:39:26

are we seeing the first signs of green shoots?

2:39:262:39:29

Paul Nuttall?

2:39:292:39:30

Well, I think, initially,

2:39:322:39:34

the figures look rather positive.

2:39:342:39:35

Let's thank God that we're out of recession.

2:39:352:39:38

Manufacturing is up,

2:39:382:39:40

unemployment is down.

2:39:402:39:42

But there are some negatives in there.

2:39:422:39:44

The construction industry seems to have bottomed out.

2:39:442:39:47

Youth unemployment is still around 20%,

2:39:472:39:49

which is totally unacceptable.

2:39:492:39:51

And I do question whether these figures are actually real,

2:39:512:39:54

because, if you think of the quarter that these figures were taken,

2:39:542:39:57

it was from July to September, when we had the Olympic bounce.

2:39:572:40:00

In fact, Olympic ticket sales amounted to, I think, 0.2% of GDP.

2:40:002:40:05

Although they're counted in these figures,

2:40:052:40:07

the ticket sales necessarily didn't take place at that point.

2:40:072:40:11

So I do worry that the figures are false

2:40:112:40:13

and I do worry that we will regress, afterwards.

2:40:132:40:17

But the real issue with our economy, at the moment,

2:40:172:40:21

is actually national debt.

2:40:212:40:23

That's more important.

2:40:232:40:25

Because, whilst you're sitting here, watching this programme,

2:40:252:40:28

and for the people at home,

2:40:282:40:29

in the hour that this programme takes place,

2:40:292:40:32

our national debt would have grown by 18.5 million.

2:40:322:40:37

That's 18.5 million, every hour.

2:40:372:40:39

It's about 450 million a day.

2:40:392:40:42

So, by 2014, we could have a national debt of 1.4 trillion.

2:40:422:40:47

And what we're doing is we're putting a noose

2:40:472:40:49

round the neck of our next generation.

2:40:492:40:51

We're putting a noose round the neck of our children

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and our grandchildren because they will have to pay off the debt

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this generation has built up. And I think it's unfair,

2:40:572:41:00

and national debt is something that we have to get hold of.

2:41:002:41:03

I'll go back to the question, I think it is positive

2:41:032:41:05

but I do worry that these are false figures.

2:41:052:41:07

-OK.

-APPLAUSE

2:41:072:41:10

Vince Cable, is that an accurate description

2:41:112:41:14

of the way the national debt is going?

2:41:142:41:16

Well, national debt is a problem,

2:41:162:41:19

but it's only one part of a much bigger picture.

2:41:192:41:22

To answer Eamonn's question,

2:41:222:41:24

I wouldn't use the phrase "green shoots."

2:41:242:41:26

It's been used, unfortunately, before.

2:41:262:41:28

I think it's encouraging,

2:41:282:41:30

particularly when you take it in conjunction

2:41:302:41:32

with some of the other things that have happened.

2:41:322:41:34

We've got employment growing, unemployment falling.

2:41:342:41:37

Admittedly, it's too high. We've got inflation falling as well.

2:41:372:41:41

The problem is that...

2:41:412:41:43

our problems, as a country, are very, very deep-rooted.

2:41:432:41:46

We had, what I would call

2:41:472:41:49

the equivalent of an economic heart attack four years ago,

2:41:492:41:52

the financial system almost collapsing.

2:41:522:41:54

It's left a dreadful legacy.

2:41:542:41:57

The banks still don't function properly.

2:41:572:41:59

We've got households, families that still have

2:41:592:42:02

too much debt in many cases, they're worried about spending.

2:42:022:42:05

The Government's inherited this enormous deficit

2:42:052:42:08

we're trying to deal with.

2:42:082:42:09

We've now got serious problems in some of our export markets,

2:42:092:42:12

particularly the eurozone,

2:42:122:42:13

which is partly what accounts for the bad news that we had today

2:42:132:42:16

on the vans being produced in Southampton.

2:42:162:42:19

So the problems are very deep.

2:42:192:42:21

Today's news is encouraging.

2:42:212:42:24

In the Government, what we have to do

2:42:242:42:26

is to try and stick to a sensible path.

2:42:262:42:28

That means partly concentrating on getting

2:42:282:42:30

the finances of the Government in order.

2:42:302:42:32

That's a big, long-term task, and it's difficult.

2:42:322:42:36

But, at the same time, trying to create growth

2:42:362:42:38

on a steady, sustainable basis.

2:42:382:42:39

When you say you won't use the word "green shoots,"

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do you mean you don't anticipate,

2:42:422:42:44

or can't promise that growth is going to go on upwards?

2:42:442:42:47

No, I can't promise. Because it's...

2:42:472:42:49

The phrase that the Governor of the Bank of England

2:42:492:42:51

used this morning is "zigzag."

2:42:512:42:53

That may be what happens.

2:42:532:42:54

There are major areas of weakness in the economy.

2:42:542:42:57

Construction, as Paul said, is one of them,

2:42:572:42:59

the banking sector is another. It's still in terrible shape

2:42:592:43:02

It's still not lending to small businesses.

2:43:022:43:05

Those are the things we've got to work on.

2:43:052:43:07

Eamonn Barrett, you're in the construction industry, aren't you?

2:43:072:43:10

Do you feel there are green shoots around?

2:43:102:43:13

I think things are picking up.

2:43:132:43:15

There's a lot of people I know who weren't working six months ago,

2:43:152:43:18

and now they're working.

2:43:182:43:20

Not full-time, maybe, but a few days a week, and jobs here, jobs there.

2:43:202:43:24

You know, it's definitely picking up, I think, anyway.

2:43:242:43:26

Mehdi Hasan?

2:43:262:43:27

Some of us have been asking the Government for a few months,

2:43:292:43:32

now, what is the Plan B, what's Plan B.

2:43:322:43:33

And we now discover that

2:43:332:43:35

Plan B is, basically, Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis,

2:43:352:43:37

using the Olympics to get this boost.

2:43:372:43:40

I don't get to say this very often,

2:43:402:43:41

but I'm with the deputy leader of UKIP.

2:43:412:43:43

These are false figures.

2:43:432:43:45

They have a one-off boost from the Olympics,

2:43:452:43:47

they have a one-off boost from recovering

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from the Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday.

2:43:492:43:51

The inconvenient truth is that,

2:43:512:43:53

if you look over the course of a year,

2:43:532:43:55

rather than a single quarter, we haven't grown at all.

2:43:552:43:57

There's been zero growth over the past 12 months.

2:43:572:44:00

The economy today is the same size as it was a year ago.

2:44:002:44:03

In construction, it's 2.5% down. The Government talks about healing.

2:44:032:44:06

David Cameron's been using the phrase "healing."

2:44:062:44:08

Odd kind of healing, if you see your doctor

2:44:082:44:10

and he said, a year after treating you,

2:44:102:44:12

"You're exactly the same as you were a year ago."

2:44:122:44:14

That's how much you've improved.

2:44:142:44:16

Because the medicine's not working, austerity is not working.

2:44:162:44:19

Some of us warned it wouldn't work, back in 2010.

2:44:192:44:21

In fact there was a guy, before the last election,

2:44:212:44:23

I think his name was...Vince Cable,

2:44:232:44:25

who said that if you cut too soon,

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you will tip the country into recession.

2:44:262:44:28

-That's true.

-Which is what happened.

2:44:282:44:30

-I wonder what happened to that man...

-I can explain!

2:44:302:44:33

-The reality on the ground...

-APPLAUSE

2:44:332:44:36

The reality on the ground is the Trussell Trust,

2:44:382:44:40

which runs 270 food banks in this country,

2:44:402:44:42

is feeding 110,000 hungry people over the past six months.

2:44:422:44:45

There's still 2.5 million people unemployed in this country,

2:44:452:44:48

that's on top of 1.4 million who are having to work part-time,

2:44:482:44:51

because they can't find full-time work.

2:44:512:44:53

The question was if these figures...

2:44:532:44:55

There aren't green shoots.

2:44:552:44:57

If I'm one of the long-term unemployed,

2:44:572:44:59

-these aren't green shoots.

-It's not going to go on getting better?

2:44:592:45:03

No, I think, next quarter, we won't see anything matching this.

2:45:032:45:06

I think there's a real risk, as many economists in the city warned,

2:45:062:45:08

of a triple-dip recession.

2:45:082:45:10

I think, what you have to look at is what's happening on the ground,

2:45:102:45:14

not one single quarter's figures.

2:45:142:45:16

OK. The woman in the fourth row, with spectacles on.

2:45:162:45:18

How do you suggest we maintain the momentum

2:45:182:45:20

gained by the Olympics for our economy?

2:45:202:45:22

How do you suggest we...

2:45:222:45:24

What, like having Olympics every year?

2:45:242:45:27

We only get it every 50 years,

2:45:272:45:29

so it's not really a viable growth....

2:45:292:45:31

If I could, I think this is probably the most important question,

2:45:312:45:35

so, well done on leading off on it.

2:45:352:45:37

Mehdi, for all your ranting, Mehdi, if this was a single data point,

2:45:372:45:42

there would be some questions around it.

2:45:422:45:44

There is a whole stream of good data that came out, this week.

2:45:442:45:48

We had employment falling, inflation falling...

2:45:482:45:51

-MEDHI:

-Part-time jobs.

-..the deficit down by 25% since the election.

2:45:512:45:55

We're coming out of the biggest recession

2:45:552:45:57

we've had in Britain, in peacetime history.

2:45:572:46:00

And we are dealing with it. We are starting to see real growth.

2:46:002:46:03

Yes, the Olympics contributed to that.

2:46:032:46:05

We had the highest rate of business creation ever,

2:46:052:46:08

in this country, last year.

2:46:082:46:10

This is real growth, being generated by the private sector,

2:46:102:46:13

who've created over a million jobs since the election.

2:46:132:46:16

It is real growth. It might be choppy going forwards, but it's real growth.

2:46:162:46:19

Can I just say, though...

2:46:192:46:20

Are the Olympics partly public sector investors?

2:46:202:46:23

That may have something...

2:46:232:46:25

So maybe we need more public sector in this?

2:46:252:46:27

It may explain some of the construction drop off.

2:46:272:46:30

APPLAUSE

2:46:302:46:32

As a government that's undertaking

2:46:322:46:34

all of the really big infrastructure projects

2:46:342:46:36

that have been ducked by the last Labour government -

2:46:362:46:39

renewing sewers, putting in high-speed rail, all the tough stuff,

2:46:392:46:42

it doesn't buy you many votes, but it's the right thing to do.

2:46:422:46:44

Can I just say this? Who, actually, will go home tonight

2:46:442:46:48

and talk about the growth figures and the deficit?

2:46:482:46:50

We won't. We'll go home tonight,

2:46:502:46:52

and talk about the fact that the cost of living is still tough,

2:46:522:46:55

it's 60 shopping days till Christmas,

2:46:552:46:57

people are having to start paying utility bills,

2:46:572:46:59

cos we've got a cold snap coming.

2:46:592:47:01

What we have to keep doing

2:47:012:47:03

is relentlessly focusing on the cost of living.

2:47:032:47:06

Because, in my constituency, we don't talk about the deficit and borrowing,

2:47:062:47:09

we talk about what's coming into our households, and what's going out.

2:47:092:47:12

That's why freezing the council tax, freezing fuel duty,

2:47:122:47:15

these are the things that actually make a difference

2:47:152:47:18

in people's pockets.

2:47:182:47:19

-APPLAUSE

-The woman, there.

2:47:192:47:22

As a trade unionist, I object

2:47:232:47:27

to the Government ranting, all the time, about,

2:47:272:47:29

"The Labour Party did this, the Labour Party did this."

2:47:292:47:32

We need to look back at when Margaret Thatcher

2:47:322:47:35

sold off all of the social housing.

2:47:352:47:38

I agree, we've bought our house,

2:47:382:47:39

and I think it's a good opportunity.

2:47:392:47:42

But, it was all flags and whistles.

2:47:422:47:46

Now, there are people

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who can't even afford to live in their own homes.

2:47:482:47:51

There's no social housing, and you expect us to believe you?

2:47:512:47:55

I'm sorry!

2:47:552:47:56

Do you believe the figures

2:47:562:47:58

that show that the double-dip recession may be over,

2:47:582:48:01

or do you think things are going to get worse?

2:48:012:48:04

-I think the figures they put out today are a load of lies.

-OK.

2:48:042:48:08

And the woman in red?

2:48:082:48:10

APPLAUSE

2:48:102:48:11

I just wanted to take Claire Perry up on the fact

2:48:112:48:14

that she just said that the deficit was down by 25%.

2:48:142:48:17

Isn't that a complete fallacy?

2:48:172:48:19

I remember watching another news programme, produced by the BBC,

2:48:192:48:24

and they suggested that, actually,

2:48:242:48:26

the data point that George Osborne collected the data from,

2:48:262:48:30

gave this impression that the deficit was down by 25%,

2:48:302:48:33

but, actually, if we wait until the end of the year,

2:48:332:48:35

the deficit's only down by 2.5%.

2:48:352:48:37

Emily Thornberry, would you like to comment on that, and the issue of

2:48:372:48:40

whether the whole thing is a load of lies, in your view?

2:48:402:48:43

Which is the point that was made.

2:48:432:48:45

I think this is good news. I do think it's good news.

2:48:452:48:49

I think 1% growth is good news.

2:48:492:48:51

The reason it's good news

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is because we're coming out of a recession.

2:48:522:48:54

Why are we coming out of a recession?

2:48:542:48:56

Because we've had a second recession.

2:48:562:48:58

We've had a double-dip recession. Why have we had that?

2:48:582:49:01

That's because of choices this Government has made.

2:49:012:49:03

There's only been two countries in the G20 that have had

2:49:032:49:06

a double-dip recession, and one of those has been ours.

2:49:062:49:08

What worries me, is this good news

2:49:082:49:10

will just result in this Government becoming even more complacent.

2:49:102:49:14

They'll sit back and say,

2:49:142:49:15

"Everything's working, everything's fine.

2:49:152:49:17

"We don't need to invest in social housing,

2:49:172:49:19

"We don't need to make sure that we have more jobs for young people."

2:49:192:49:22

Forgive me, but when have you heard anybody said that?

2:49:222:49:25

When have we ever said...?

2:49:252:49:26

Do tell me whether you're going to be investing in social housing.

2:49:262:49:29

Under your government,

2:49:292:49:30

social housing dropped to the lowest level since the 1920s.

2:49:302:49:32

Social housing is one of the biggest problems in my constituency.

2:49:322:49:36

A third of my casework is people who cannot find affordable housing,

2:49:362:49:40

thanks to the disastrous legacy your government left.

2:49:402:49:43

We are doing all we can to build social housing,

2:49:432:49:46

it's the biggest problem facing young people today

2:49:462:49:48

is they can't buy a house or find anywhere to rent.

2:49:482:49:50

You should be apologising, Emily, for your track record.

2:49:502:49:53

APPLAUSE

2:49:532:49:56

In the area that I represent,

2:49:572:50:00

40% of the people in my constituency live in social housing.

2:50:002:50:03

What we did see, over the time of a Labour government,

2:50:032:50:05

since you raise it, Claire, was all the social housing

2:50:052:50:08

in my constituency got done up. It was in the most disgusting state,

2:50:082:50:11

frankly, when the Tories came out of government, and we did it all up.

2:50:112:50:14

I don't think we built enough

2:50:142:50:15

and I think, when we're coming out of a recession,

2:50:152:50:18

what we should be doing is making good decisions

2:50:182:50:21

about how we invest in our infrastructure,

2:50:212:50:23

and we should be investing in our infrastructure by building homes,

2:50:232:50:26

and building homes, particularly, for youngsters.

2:50:262:50:28

I am concerned about long-term unemployment,

2:50:282:50:31

and long-term unemployment amongst the young.

2:50:312:50:34

You know that, in Berkshire, which frankly is a mixed area,

2:50:342:50:37

it has a lot of posh bits, but nevertheless, 12 months ago,

2:50:372:50:40

100 youngsters had been claiming JSA for a year.

2:50:402:50:43

Do you know how many are claiming it now, in Berkshire? 400.

2:50:432:50:48

And 100 of those are in Slough.

2:50:482:50:50

If you are a youngster, if you're 18,

2:50:502:50:52

and you claim benefits for a whole year,

2:50:522:50:54

and you're not able to get a job,

2:50:542:50:56

it will make a huge difference to your life.

2:50:562:50:58

And those mums and dads who've done their best to bring up children

2:50:582:51:01

as best they can, and push them out into the world,

2:51:012:51:03

and the world is just saying, "No, sorry, don't need you.

2:51:032:51:06

"Have you have a younger brother?

2:51:062:51:07

"We might be interested in five years' time."

2:51:072:51:10

That is the tragedy of this recession.

2:51:102:51:12

It is really urgent that we invest now.

2:51:122:51:14

APPLAUSE

2:51:142:51:16

A couple more points. Go on, the man, there, in the middle?

2:51:162:51:20

Thank you. During an earlier recession

2:51:202:51:22

at the beginning of the '90s, which was also quite a bad one,

2:51:222:51:26

not as bad as this one, but, for the years up until 1997,

2:51:262:51:31

the Labour Party said, "Oh, things are still getting worse.

2:51:312:51:34

"Nothing's getting better, we're in recession."

2:51:342:51:37

They ridiculed John Major they ridiculed Ken Clarke,

2:51:372:51:39

they ridiculed Norman Lamont.

2:51:392:51:41

And, lo and behold, about four or five years after...

2:51:412:51:45

..they suddenly thought that, now Labour was in power,

2:51:472:51:50

things have turned round, are getting better.

2:51:502:51:52

Actually the statistics were so far out of date...

2:51:522:51:57

as to be laughable.

2:51:572:51:59

What we need are accurate statistics,

2:51:592:52:01

independent statistics, which we should be getting now.

2:52:012:52:05

-They are, sir. Sorry to interrupt you.

-But are they any more accurate?

2:52:052:52:09

We set up the Office for Budget Responsibility,

2:52:092:52:12

not necessarily something Gordon Brown

2:52:122:52:14

and the previous government believed in,

2:52:142:52:16

to try and address the problem that the Treasury made up the numbers.

2:52:162:52:20

Now we have an independently-verified set of numbers...

2:52:202:52:24

They might well get revised...

2:52:242:52:26

Which the Prime Minister is ticked off for announcing in advance...

2:52:262:52:29

He didn't announce it...

2:52:292:52:31

On the OBR - the Office of Budget Responsibility

2:52:312:52:33

predicted in 2010, two years ago,

2:52:332:52:35

that, by now, we would have had 4.6% of growth. 4.6%.

2:52:352:52:40

Do you know how much growth we've had over two years? Claire?

2:52:402:52:44

-We've had...

-0.6% versus 4.6%. That is a failure.

2:52:442:52:47

Claire, I'll curtail your contribution

2:52:472:52:49

in favour of Vince Cable. You are both part of the same coalition.

2:52:492:52:52

And he is a far more senior member.

2:52:522:52:54

He's not a senior member, he's the Secretary of State...

2:52:542:52:57

There is a striking irony.

2:52:572:52:58

When we had bad news, the last few quarters,

2:52:582:53:01

most of our critics rushed out and said,

2:53:012:53:03

"This is a complete disaster, the figures were obviously right."

2:53:032:53:07

Now we've got good figures, our critics say,

2:53:072:53:09

-"They're obviously fixed!"

-APPLAUSE

2:53:092:53:12

-MEHDI:

-They're inflated.

2:53:122:53:14

If I could deal with the criticism I had a few moments ago

2:53:162:53:19

about cutting too fast.

2:53:192:53:21

I did say that, and I would still say that.

2:53:212:53:23

The Government has a very difficult balancing act.

2:53:232:53:27

And you got it wrong.

2:53:272:53:29

No, we have to cut our deficit.

2:53:292:53:32

It is massive, the biggest in the developed world.

2:53:322:53:35

An enormous budget deficit - we have to deal with it.

2:53:352:53:38

If we do it too fast, you're right, you do drive the economy down.

2:53:382:53:41

If you don't do it fast enough,

2:53:412:53:43

you lose the confidence of the people lending to you.

2:53:432:53:46

Striking that balance is extraordinarily difficult.

2:53:462:53:48

The bit of austerity that did the biggest damage

2:53:482:53:52

was in 2009-10.

2:53:522:53:55

I think the then-Chancellor slashed the public investment,

2:53:552:53:59

in the things Claire was talking about. Infrastructure.

2:53:592:54:02

That has done terrible damage to the construction industry.

2:54:022:54:05

We've steadily rebuilt that.

2:54:052:54:07

We have to get the budget deficit under control.

2:54:072:54:10

We argue it should be done over a six-year period.

2:54:102:54:12

You may argue that that is too quick.

2:54:122:54:15

The Labour Party have said it should be over seven years. Big deal(!)

2:54:152:54:18

Forgive me, Vince, but they haven't said...

2:54:182:54:21

Emily, you may say we've got it wrong...

2:54:212:54:24

If I get a word in edgeways.

2:54:242:54:26

You've said you would like to cut the deficit. What would you cut?

2:54:262:54:29

Name one thing that the Labour Party has supported us on

2:54:292:54:31

-in terms of reductions...

-Emily, a brief answer.

2:54:312:54:35

I think we should be responsible when it comes to cutting back money

2:54:352:54:39

that we are investing in the police force.

2:54:392:54:41

I think you are cutting the police force far too much.

2:54:412:54:44

We've lost 6,000 front-line police officers.

2:54:442:54:47

And crime is at its lowest level...

2:54:472:54:49

-Emily.

-If you want me to answer, let me answer.

2:54:492:54:52

If you go and cut investment in police officers,

2:54:522:54:55

you were warned that you would lose front-line police officers.

2:54:552:54:59

I think the question was, "Where would you cut?"

2:54:592:55:02

What we've said is we would cut investment,

2:55:022:55:05

cut the money we pay to the police force,

2:55:052:55:08

in line with that which has been advised,

2:55:082:55:10

which would not result in cuts in front-line police officers.

2:55:102:55:14

That is the difference between what you're doing,

2:55:142:55:17

which is going too far and too fast

2:55:172:55:18

and resulting in a double-dip recession.

2:55:182:55:21

Of course we have to pay back the debt and the deficit,

2:55:212:55:24

but we have to do it in a responsible way

2:55:242:55:26

-that keeps us together as a country.

-We must go on.

2:55:262:55:30

I must ask the panellists to speak slightly less long,

2:55:302:55:34

or at slightly less length,

2:55:342:55:35

so we can get more members of the audience in.

2:55:352:55:38

And the panellists can come back on each other.

2:55:382:55:40

If you want to join in the debate tonight,

2:55:402:55:43

on Twitter, you can go there...

2:55:432:55:45

We have our Twitter panellist there.

2:55:502:55:52

You can text comments.

2:55:522:55:54

You can press the red button on the...thingy...

2:55:542:55:58

-to see what others are saying.

-LAUGHTER

2:55:582:56:01

-What do you call that? A "zapper"!

-The remote.

2:56:012:56:04

The remote... I thought you tapped the red screen... Anyway.

2:56:042:56:07

Let's go onto another question.

2:56:072:56:09

Angela Kirk has this one.

2:56:092:56:12

Is the proposal to limit Child Benefit to the first two children

2:56:122:56:15

fair and reasonable?

2:56:152:56:17

This is a proposal that Iain Duncan Smith has been making,

2:56:172:56:22

these last two days.

2:56:222:56:24

He made a speech this evening saying that the benefits system

2:56:242:56:27

promoted destructive behaviour,

2:56:272:56:29

and, on the Today programme, he said,

2:56:292:56:32

"My view is that you need a cap on child benefits at two children.

2:56:322:56:37

"For those who begin to have more than, say, two children,

2:56:372:56:41

"you should stop it."

2:56:412:56:43

Is it a good idea for the Government to do this?

2:56:432:56:46

Is the Government going to do it? Emily Thornberry.

2:56:462:56:49

Well, I think... I don't really know where to start with this.

2:56:492:56:53

I think it is absolutely extraordinary

2:56:532:56:55

for politicians to go around pontificating

2:56:552:56:57

and telling people how many children they should have.

2:56:572:57:00

I think people have children for love, not for money.

2:57:002:57:04

It is extraordinary. I do think it's a distraction technique.

2:57:042:57:07

I think it is trying to distract the public

2:57:072:57:09

from what this government is actually doing.

2:57:092:57:12

Iain Duncan Smith has agreed

2:57:122:57:14

to cut another £10 billion from the welfare budget.

2:57:142:57:17

That's at the same time

2:57:172:57:20

as them giving £40,000 tax cuts to millionaires.

2:57:202:57:24

So they give the millionaires £40,000 and they expect the poorest

2:57:242:57:27

to be making their contribution by another £10 billion.

2:57:272:57:31

How can it be that they can start making decisions

2:57:312:57:34

about how many children people should have and start penalising people?

2:57:342:57:37

Presumably...

2:57:372:57:39

Is there a difference between telling people how many children

2:57:392:57:41

they can have, as in China,

2:57:412:57:43

and not giving benefit to families with more than two children?

2:57:432:57:46

Is there a difference?

2:57:462:57:48

APPLAUSE

2:57:482:57:51

If you're the fourth child born into a poor family,

2:57:532:57:56

and your family are therefore getting no money, is it your fault?

2:57:562:58:00

Should you be in a family that's even poorer?

2:58:002:58:03

What do they expect people to do? Starve their children?

2:58:032:58:06

What are they expecting here?

2:58:062:58:08

Surely we should have a government that cares about child poverty,

2:58:082:58:11

that wants to do something about it,

2:58:112:58:13

that doesn't start trying to penalise people

2:58:132:58:15

because of the choices they've made. APPLAUSE

2:58:152:58:18

It seems to me the most dreadful thing.

2:58:182:58:20

We talk about how they wanted to move away from being "the nasty party"

2:58:202:58:23

but it strikes me this is exactly from that stable.

2:58:232:58:26

Paul Nuttall?

2:58:262:58:28

SCATTERED APPLAUSE

2:58:282:58:30

I must say, I must pay tribute to Iain Duncan Smith.

2:58:302:58:34

This is a guy who knows his brief.

2:58:342:58:36

He spent eight years researching this before he went into government.

2:58:362:58:40

-He refused to be moved in the reshuffle, as well.

-Yes.

2:58:402:58:43

He understands his brief.

2:58:432:58:45

I don't agree with much that the Coalition does,

2:58:452:58:47

but I do believe that they are getting this right

2:58:472:58:50

on welfare and benefits.

2:58:502:58:52

Under Labour, welfare exploded.

2:58:522:58:54

It rose by 60% between 1997 and 2010.

2:58:542:58:59

It was unsustainable.

2:58:592:59:01

It's cost each household, in tax, £3,000 a year.

2:59:012:59:05

But what we must be careful of doing

2:59:052:59:06

is we shouldn't stigmatise people on welfare.

2:59:062:59:10

There are graduates coming out of university who can't jobs.

2:59:102:59:13

There are people who are being affected by the cuts

2:59:132:59:16

who are coming out of work and can't get jobs.

2:59:162:59:19

However, there is a growing underclass in this country.

2:59:192:59:24

You know, I'm from Bootle,

2:59:242:59:26

which is one of the poorest constituencies in the country.

2:59:262:59:29

We have the lowest life expectancy in England.

2:59:292:59:33

And I see it every day.

2:59:332:59:34

You've got one family who live there. Dad goes out to work,

2:59:342:59:38

maybe on the docks, maybe in a factory.

2:59:382:59:41

Mum goes out, stacks shelves in ASDA. They live within their means.

2:59:412:59:45

They make that decision.

2:59:452:59:47

Then you've got the family next door on benefits,

2:59:472:59:50

who still have the flat-screen television, still have a car

2:59:502:59:53

and can afford to go on holiday once a year.

2:59:532:59:57

What it's doing, this system,

2:59:572:59:58

is creating resentment within the working-class community

2:59:583:00:01

and splitting the working-class community.

3:00:013:00:03

APPLAUSE

3:00:033:00:05

Can I just say...?

3:00:093:00:10

Paul, I'll come back to you.

3:00:103:00:12

The gentleman in blue and then the woman in red.

3:00:123:00:15

I think the issue is parental responsibility. I've got a son.

3:00:153:00:18

I wouldn't bring another child into the world

3:00:183:00:21

if I couldn't afford to pay for a second child.

3:00:213:00:23

Absolutely.

3:00:233:00:25

I think it's a naive view...

3:00:253:00:27

APPLAUSE

3:00:273:00:29

It's a naive view to say that people

3:00:293:00:32

bring children into the world for love, because...

3:00:323:00:34

it's a fact, some people have children simply to claim benefits.

3:00:343:00:38

It's unfortunate,

3:00:383:00:39

but successive governments have not anything about it.

3:00:393:00:43

The woman in the third row from the back, with spectacles.

3:00:433:00:47

It's all very well to say that people should limit their families,

3:00:473:00:49

but what about the family with three or four children now,

3:00:493:00:52

who suddenly would find their Child Benefit cut?

3:00:523:00:54

Are they supposed to throw a child into the bushes and just keep two(?)

3:00:543:00:57

Claire Perry?

3:00:573:00:59

Mrs Kirk, you may be better informed than me.

3:00:593:01:01

I think IDS was talking about the overall benefit package,

3:01:013:01:05

not Child Benefit.

3:01:053:01:07

Child Benefit is already being restructured.

3:01:073:01:10

It's not going to be paid

3:01:103:01:11

to the richest 15% of families in the country.

3:01:113:01:15

The average salary of people in my constituency is £25,000.

3:01:153:01:19

I don't think it's fair to tax those people

3:01:193:01:21

to pay child benefits to MPs like Emily and I.

3:01:213:01:24

"Child-related benefits," was his words.

3:01:243:01:27

I do agree with the gentleman in the blue,

3:01:273:01:29

it's in the question of fairness.

3:01:293:01:31

I don't think it's fair that families on benefits...

3:01:313:01:35

I don't want to stigmatise. I disagree with you, Paul -

3:01:353:01:37

you can't stigmatise and characterise people in certain ways,

3:01:373:01:40

but it is not fair that the decisions they make

3:01:403:01:43

are different from the decisions that people in work have to make.

3:01:433:01:47

Many people think very hard about the cost of bring up the child,

3:01:473:01:50

the cost of moving house,

3:01:503:01:52

what it would cost to provide an extra bedroom.

3:01:523:01:55

What Iain Duncan Smith is saying is people on benefits

3:01:553:01:58

should be making those same sorts of decisions.

3:01:583:02:00

Is it fair and reasonable, in your view,

3:02:003:02:03

to limit these child-related benefits?

3:02:033:02:06

I think it is fair and reasonable.

3:02:063:02:08

I would want to see the transitional arrangements, though.

3:02:083:02:10

Of course, you wouldn't expect families who already have

3:02:103:02:13

three or four children to suddenly lose it.

3:02:133:02:16

You would want to provide a very strong signal, going forward,

3:02:163:02:19

and making sure it is transitional.

3:02:193:02:21

It is fair that people on benefits

3:02:213:02:24

have to think the same way as people in work.

3:02:243:02:26

We want people on benefits to move into work,

3:02:263:02:28

not to be on benefits for a lifetime.

3:02:283:02:30

APPLAUSE

3:02:303:02:33

Mehdi Hasan?

3:02:333:02:34

I think the Government has a wonderful new slogan,

3:02:343:02:37

"Tough on babies, tough on the causes of babies"(!)

3:02:373:02:40

HANDCLAPS

3:02:403:02:42

I was astonished at where this coalition goes with these policies

3:02:423:02:46

and where it comes up with these policies

3:02:463:02:48

Paul, with respect, you say we have a system that creates resentment.

3:02:483:02:51

No, we have politicians who create resentment,

3:02:513:02:53

when they talk about people with flat-screen TVs and holidays.

3:02:533:02:57

Let's cut through the myths and lies for a second.

3:02:573:03:00

In this country, Iain Duncan Smith is talking about poverty,

3:03:003:03:03

child poverty and welfare.

3:03:033:03:05

In this country, six out of ten children who live in child poverty

3:03:053:03:08

live in working, not work-less households,

3:03:083:03:11

but we stigmatise them as living in lazy, feckless households.

3:03:113:03:14

-APPLAUSE

-As for large families,

3:03:143:03:16

which Iain Duncan Smith talked about on the Today programme,

3:03:163:03:19

if you look at his own department's figures,

3:03:193:03:22

there are 40,000 families claiming out-of-work child-related benefits

3:03:223:03:26

who have five kids or more. Which is 3% of the total.

3:03:263:03:30

In fact, 80% of people claiming child-related benefits

3:03:303:03:34

have two kids or less.

3:03:343:03:35

Let's not generalise,

3:03:353:03:37

based on Daily Mail scare stories about one woman with ten kids.

3:03:373:03:40

The gentleman in the audience,

3:03:403:03:42

I take your point about your own situation. But if, tomorrow,

3:03:423:03:45

thanks to this government's mismanagement of the economy,

3:03:453:03:48

you lost your job, would you want to lose your benefits

3:03:483:03:50

through no fault of your own? Would your child have to suffer?

3:03:503:03:53

That's not what I said.

3:03:533:03:54

My point was that people need to take more responsibility.

3:03:543:03:57

But what if you lose your job?

3:03:573:03:59

If you lose your responsibility, you are a viable case.

3:03:593:04:01

It should be done on a case-by-case basis,

3:04:013:04:04

not, "I have five children, I get this much money."

3:04:043:04:06

That's not what I said.

3:04:063:04:07

Paul Nuttall, you want to come back

3:04:073:04:10

on the point Mehdi said about your characterisation... ?

3:04:103:04:13

I think you'd have to be mad to claim

3:04:133:04:14

that there isn't a significant underclass in this country.

3:04:143:04:18

I'm mad.

3:04:183:04:20

I'm telling you,

3:04:203:04:21

there is a significant underclass in this country

3:04:213:04:23

and it has been borne out of a benefits and welfare system which...

3:04:233:04:28

It is borne out of unemployment! It is borne out of unemployment!

3:04:283:04:32

4 million people in this country are looking for work.

3:04:323:04:34

One at a time! Mehdi, you've had your say.

3:04:343:04:37

Let him reply to the attack you made.

3:04:373:04:39

Whoever set it up didn't mean it to be set up like this.

3:04:393:04:42

What we've got at the moment is a benefits system

3:04:423:04:45

which should be a safety net for the needy, but in some cases,

3:04:453:04:49

and I hasten to say, in SOME cases, what it's become is a career path

3:04:493:04:53

and a vehicle for people who just don't want to work.

3:04:533:04:55

APPLAUSE

3:04:553:04:57

-Can I come back to that?

-No, in a moment, you can.

3:04:573:05:01

Vince Cable, is this a proposal that you support?

3:05:013:05:05

No, and if that is the proposal, it wouldn't be fair and reasonable.

3:05:053:05:08

It isn't Government policy. I don't think that's what he said.

3:05:083:05:12

If you're talking about Child Benefit, Claire accurately described

3:05:123:05:16

the way we are changing it - to withdraw it from high earners.

3:05:163:05:20

If you're talking about Child Tax Credit,

3:05:203:05:22

which is what people get when they're in work,

3:05:223:05:25

and, as Mehdi said, most people who are poor are in work...

3:05:253:05:29

Child Tax Credit has been significantly increased.

3:05:293:05:32

So hold on, you are in the Government with him,

3:05:323:05:36

at Work and Pensions,

3:05:363:05:38

and what he said on the Today programme was,

3:05:383:05:41

he suggested a cap on child-related benefits at two children.

3:05:413:05:45

Well, we don't agree with that.

3:05:453:05:47

So that won't happen, you'll block it?

3:05:473:05:49

We've made it clear we will not go along with welfare cuts

3:05:493:05:52

-which are unfair.

-And you deem two-children families...?

3:05:523:05:56

That is almost certainly right.

3:05:563:05:58

Sorry, just to get this absolutely clear.

3:05:583:06:01

It's unfair because it says, "Two children and that's it"?

3:06:013:06:05

Yes. That's exactly right.

3:06:053:06:07

What we do feel, I would say this,

3:06:073:06:10

Iain is a very decent, humane and good minister.

3:06:103:06:14

The principle he is trying to address,

3:06:143:06:16

and has done since we came in,

3:06:163:06:18

is that it is fundamentally unfair for people

3:06:183:06:21

to be better off out of work than in work.

3:06:213:06:23

That's the fundamental unfairness that he is trying to deal with.

3:06:233:06:26

We are trying to deal with that through welfare reform,

3:06:263:06:29

through the universal credit.

3:06:293:06:30

Iain deserves as lot of praise for what he's done in that respect.

3:06:303:06:33

This particular proposal -

3:06:333:06:35

I don't know whether this is kite flying

3:06:353:06:38

-or a misunderstanding of what he said - wouldn't be acceptable.

-OK.

3:06:383:06:42

Emily, briefly if you would then we must move on.

3:06:423:06:44

Some members of the panel are labouring under this misunderstanding

3:06:443:06:48

about the number of people who are working and also getting benefits.

3:06:483:06:51

You talked at the beginning of the programme, sir,

3:06:513:06:54

about how some of your friends

3:06:543:06:55

are starting to work, but they are working part-time.

3:06:553:06:57

The only way in which people can work part-time

3:06:573:06:59

and make ends meet in somewhere like Berkshire

3:06:593:07:01

is if they're getting housing benefit,

3:07:013:07:03

tax credits and child benefit.

3:07:033:07:06

They do their best to get a job.

3:07:063:07:08

They are striving away,

3:07:083:07:10

but the idea that some government then turns around and says,

3:07:103:07:13

"I'm sorry, but you're on benefits and you've got two children.

3:07:133:07:16

"We're going to have to start taking your money away." What is this about?

3:07:163:07:19

This is not about a party that is interested in one nation.

3:07:193:07:22

Can I say one other thing?

3:07:223:07:24

I hear what Vince says

3:07:243:07:26

about this brave new world that IDS is bringing in.

3:07:263:07:30

Everyone within Westminster knows

3:07:303:07:32

that the Universal Credit is in trouble...

3:07:323:07:34

-CLAIRE:

-That's not true.

-..their IT programme is over budget.

3:07:343:07:38

It is coming in much later.

3:07:383:07:40

We also know that there were all sorts of rumours

3:07:403:07:42

about them trying to sack IDS,

3:07:423:07:44

Frankly, this is a distraction.

3:07:443:07:45

This is him desperately trying to hold onto his job and saying,

3:07:453:07:48

"Look, David Cameron, I can push us up in the polls..."

3:07:483:07:51

-Oh, really?

-"..by coming out with this sort of nonsense."

3:07:513:07:53

You can answer that point. Is he trying to hold onto his job?

3:07:533:07:56

-Is he in danger of being sacked?

-IDS recognises the problem

3:07:563:08:00

that we have five million people of working age

3:08:003:08:03

receiving benefits in this country.

3:08:033:08:05

We created 2.4 million jobs under Emily's government

3:08:053:08:08

and half of them went to people who came from abroad...

3:08:083:08:12

Hang on a second.

3:08:123:08:13

You can go on for hours about the many problems,

3:08:133:08:16

the question is, is IDS just saying this?

3:08:163:08:19

Vince Cable said it might be kite-flying, is it?

3:08:193:08:22

IDS is 100% committed to resolving the very tough problems we have.

3:08:223:08:28

We have an incredibly complex, badly-structured welfare system.

3:08:283:08:33

You think his job's safe?

3:08:333:08:35

The most popular thing we have done is introduce a welfare cap

3:08:353:08:38

that means people on benefits can't earn more than those in work.

3:08:383:08:42

Emily voted against that. It's shocking.

3:08:423:08:45

The man in the third row, please. And then we must move on.

3:08:453:08:48

And then the woman there, yes.

3:08:483:08:49

I'm not a UKIP man but I do agree with Paul Nuttall on this.

3:08:493:08:54

He mentioned the term resentment

3:08:543:08:56

and it's causing resentment amongst the working classes.

3:08:563:08:59

That is true,

3:08:593:09:00

but I think the bigger resentment that people are not looking at is...

3:09:003:09:04

We're talking about trying to shave off tens of billions,

3:09:043:09:06

but the hundreds of billions, possibly even trillions

3:09:063:09:10

that are avoided in terms of taxation

3:09:103:09:13

and I think that should be...

3:09:133:09:15

-CLAIRE:

-Absolutely.

3:09:153:09:16

-All right.

-That should be the very, very incisive focus.

3:09:163:09:19

There's quicker wins there if there's the willpower to do it.

3:09:193:09:24

Claire said at the beginning

3:09:243:09:25

that we should back off the financial sector,

3:09:253:09:27

-there is always some protectionism going on...

-Oh, no, not quite.

3:09:273:09:30

-..and that I find more resentful.

-All right.

3:09:303:09:33

The woman there in red, who I said I would come to.

3:09:333:09:37

What I was going to say was

3:09:373:09:38

they could recoup a lot of money

3:09:383:09:41

by hitting hard at people who defraud the benefit service

3:09:413:09:46

instead of nowadays, they just get a slap on the wrist.

3:09:463:09:49

All right. The woman at the back, in the back row.

3:09:493:09:53

Good evening, bearing in mind

3:09:533:09:55

that we have the highest number of single mothers in Europe,

3:09:553:10:00

why should single women who choose to become pregnant,

3:10:003:10:03

get free housing and benefits,

3:10:033:10:06

whereas other young people work hard, pay tax

3:10:063:10:11

-and can hardly afford a one-bedroomed home?

-OK.

3:10:113:10:14

APPLAUSE

3:10:143:10:18

And you, sir.

3:10:183:10:20

I was wondering where you are getting these numbers from?

3:10:203:10:23

I got a sense that the Conservative government

3:10:233:10:26

is speaking the numbers that are suitable for them,

3:10:263:10:29

but the real numbers,

3:10:293:10:31

the numbers that are showing the problems for everybody

3:10:313:10:33

is somehow being hidden or brushed under the carpet all of the time.

3:10:333:10:40

What do you mean? The statistics are wrong?

3:10:403:10:42

The statistics are being picked up by certain...

3:10:423:10:46

The good statistics are being picked up, but proper statistics

3:10:463:10:49

are not being brought up into the air and discussed.

3:10:493:10:52

We have to leave it there. We have many more questions.

3:10:523:10:56

I would like to go on to one from Catherine Sharpe, please.

3:10:563:10:59

Has the BBC been fatally damaged in the public's mind

3:10:593:11:03

as a result of the Jimmy Savile scandal?

3:11:033:11:06

-Claire Perry.

-D'you know, the more that comes out,

3:11:063:11:10

as somebody who used to love Jim'll Fix It,

3:11:103:11:12

the more disgusting and distressing actually the situation is.

3:11:123:11:16

Frankly, the man was a predatory paedophile

3:11:163:11:20

who plied his trade for 40 years

3:11:203:11:22

under five successive director generals.

3:11:223:11:25

I don't think it's particularly helpful now to have a firestorm

3:11:253:11:28

over who knew what when in the Newsnight programme.

3:11:283:11:31

The thing I find most worrying,

3:11:313:11:33

and I think it's the same in the Rochdale grooming cases,

3:11:333:11:36

is the voices of the victims I think have been completely ignored,

3:11:363:11:39

and I am sick to death

3:11:393:11:41

of young women coming forward years later for whatever reason,

3:11:413:11:44

not feeling that they could be believed or listened to

3:11:443:11:46

and that, I think, is the real tragedy.

3:11:463:11:48

I want to focus on that and make sure that doesn't happen again.

3:11:483:11:51

The BBC is doing too much navel-gazing

3:11:513:11:55

over who knew what when.

3:11:553:11:57

Mehdi Hasan.

3:11:593:12:00

For the first time in my life,

3:12:023:12:03

I literally agree with every single word

3:12:033:12:05

that Claire Perry just said.

3:12:053:12:07

We'll get you voting Tory one day, Mehdi.

3:12:073:12:09

Not quite, because a lot of your fellow Tory MPs

3:12:093:12:11

are pushing the anti-BBC banner.

3:12:113:12:12

I agree with you, the BBC has clearly failed in many areas -

3:12:123:12:15

there's two investigations going on.

3:12:153:12:17

Let's wait for their results.

3:12:173:12:18

I suspect the BBC won't come out so well out of either of them.

3:12:183:12:22

Let's not be distracted by this media navel-gazing,

3:12:223:12:24

whether Panorama is leading on Newsnight,

3:12:243:12:27

Newsnight is leading on Panorama, the Ten O'Clock News is leading on both.

3:12:273:12:30

It's absolutely absurd the kind of journalists obsessing over the BBC.

3:12:303:12:33

Whatever they did wrong, and we don't know what they did wrong,

3:12:333:12:37

George Entwistle and Peter Rippon did not sexually abuse children,

3:12:373:12:40

Jimmy Savile did.

3:12:403:12:42

Jimmy Savile got away with it, those women were abused and ignored.

3:12:423:12:45

We need to focus on how he got away with it and -

3:12:453:12:47

I'm sorry if this sounds cliched - to stop such things happening again.

3:12:473:12:50

That surely is the priority here, giving those women voices.

3:12:503:12:53

Trying to get closure, trying to get some justice,

3:12:533:12:55

and I'm glad the CPS this week

3:12:553:12:56

has actually come out with practical things that it'll do

3:12:563:12:59

to try and investigate these crimes and stop this from happening again.

3:12:593:13:02

This is not a media regulation story, this is a child sex abuse story.

3:13:023:13:06

The woman there.

3:13:063:13:08

In this vast media industry,

3:13:123:13:14

I think Jimmy Savile is just the tip of the iceberg

3:13:143:13:16

because as the two women in the panel here...

3:13:163:13:19

I don't think he is the only one.

3:13:193:13:21

There are many men, most men are in the top jobs here

3:13:213:13:25

and this is what they do to most women and what do they say to them?

3:13:253:13:29

"If you do this, that's how you'll stay on the job."

3:13:293:13:31

That's the main reason why they kept their mouths closed.

3:13:313:13:34

This is an assumption I'm making, but...

3:13:343:13:37

MEHDI: A pretty big one!

3:13:373:13:39

..as an inspiring journalist, it's quite scary,

3:13:393:13:42

because you hear these kinds of stories and you are scared.

3:13:423:13:46

You're like,

3:13:463:13:47

"What'll happen next if a person like Jimmy Savile

3:13:473:13:50

"did something like that?"

3:13:503:13:52

Paul Nuttall.

3:13:523:13:53

I think the one thing that's upset me really

3:13:543:13:56

about this story over the past couple of weeks,

3:13:563:13:59

is that people are talking about it

3:13:593:14:00

as if that was the culture in the 1970s.

3:14:003:14:04

But look, paedophilia isn't about culture,

3:14:043:14:06

paedophilia is a serious crime and it needs to be knocked out.

3:14:063:14:11

But in terms of the BBC, I agree with John Simpson.

3:14:113:14:16

I think the BBC is facing the biggest crisis

3:14:163:14:19

that it's faced in the past 50 years.

3:14:193:14:22

Now we have got people passing the buck,

3:14:223:14:25

people trying to pass the blame onto people

3:14:253:14:28

who are lower down the food chain, shall we say, in the BBC.

3:14:283:14:31

I haven't lost confidence in the BBC,

3:14:313:14:33

I've lost confidence in the BBC hierarchy.

3:14:333:14:35

I feel as if there's a bit of inevitability about this now.

3:14:353:14:41

Like the Andrew Mitchell case, I think it's gone on too long.

3:14:413:14:45

It's only going to get bigger and in the end, heads will roll,

3:14:453:14:49

and I suspect it will end up with the director general having to go.

3:14:493:14:52

But, look, the real point in this is that 300 people have come forward

3:14:523:14:57

and said that they have been victims.

3:14:573:14:59

They're the people we should be focusing on

3:14:593:15:01

and we should wish the police well in their investigations

3:15:013:15:04

because there are perpetrators still out there

3:15:043:15:06

who need to be brought to justice.

3:15:063:15:08

Now, what do we do with Savile himself?

3:15:083:15:11

His gravestone has been removed.

3:15:113:15:13

We've had street names which have been taken down.

3:15:133:15:16

I would suggest the next move in how to deal with Jimmy Savile

3:15:163:15:19

would be to strip him of his knighthood.

3:15:193:15:21

It'll take a change in the law. Let's do it.

3:15:213:15:23

Strip him of his knighthood and also,

3:15:233:15:24

let's get the Catholic church

3:15:243:15:26

to do away with his papal knighthood to boot,

3:15:263:15:29

because that man needs to be punished even in death.

3:15:293:15:31

You, sir, on the gangway there.

3:15:363:15:37

Do you think that everyone in entertainment,

3:15:393:15:41

dealing with young children, should have a CRB check?

3:15:413:15:45

-Vince Cable, I'm sure they do, don't they?

-I'm sure they do.

3:15:453:15:48

If they're employed they will have CRB checks.

3:15:483:15:51

Can I just go back to the original question, which Catherine asked?

3:15:513:15:55

"Is the BBC fatally damaged?"

3:15:553:15:57

It is damaged, but not fatally.

3:15:573:16:00

I would say in its defence,

3:16:003:16:01

what other media organisation in the world

3:16:013:16:04

would put out a programme attacking itself,

3:16:043:16:06

which is what it did with the Panorama programme?

3:16:063:16:09

I mean, rather brutally exposed the complete failure.

3:16:093:16:11

I think the public almost certainly do wonder

3:16:113:16:15

what on earth these extraordinary highly-paid executives were doing

3:16:153:16:18

in making such a complete crass mishandling of this.

3:16:183:16:21

But that isn't the central problem and I agree with the other speakers,

3:16:213:16:25

the real issue here is not the programme

3:16:253:16:28

that the BBC didn't put out and the editorially bad decision.

3:16:283:16:32

The real appalling thing

3:16:323:16:33

is how this man operated for three decades or longer,

3:16:333:16:37

enormous cases of abuse.

3:16:373:16:39

The real scandal, which I think really does need investigating

3:16:393:16:43

is why was it that in 2009, when he was still alive,

3:16:433:16:47

the Crown Prosecution Service had a lot of evidence in their hands,

3:16:473:16:53

they had the evidence of people like that very brave woman, Karen Davies,

3:16:533:16:56

the cancer sufferer who explained brutally what had happened,

3:16:563:17:01

and yet, they didn't prosecute and that really does need pursuing.

3:17:013:17:06

I agree with the panel on the broader question

3:17:063:17:08

that it isn't about who said what to whom in the BBC

3:17:083:17:12

the real crime here is that paedophilia,

3:17:123:17:15

on an epic scale, was tolerated.

3:17:153:17:17

People turned the other way, prosecutions were not pursued

3:17:173:17:20

and that's the really deep scandal.

3:17:203:17:22

The person up there on the top right-hand side, yes.

3:17:233:17:27

Thank you. Just widening this slightly

3:17:273:17:31

to the broader issue of BBC governance,

3:17:313:17:34

I think I heard Chris Patten give a talk a day or two ago

3:17:343:17:40

where he was very apologetic and supportive of BBC management.

3:17:403:17:45

I thought the role of the BBC Trust

3:17:453:17:47

was to act as the guardian of the licence payer

3:17:473:17:52

and I don't see that

3:17:523:17:53

they are maintaining a sufficiently independent position on this.

3:17:533:17:57

They seem to be acting purely as cheerleaders for BBC...

3:17:573:18:00

The management line,

3:18:003:18:03

as opposed to the viewer and licence fee payer.

3:18:033:18:07

Emily Thornberry.

3:18:073:18:08

There's a couple of things I want to say about this.

3:18:083:18:11

I don't know how many people here watched the Panorama programme,

3:18:113:18:14

but it was really harrowing to watch.

3:18:143:18:17

I thought watching Karin Ward give the evidence that she did

3:18:173:18:22

and also the little boy who had been a Cub Scout,

3:18:223:18:25

who'd been on Jim'll Fix It

3:18:253:18:27

and him being picked out by Savile and having a ribbon put round him

3:18:273:18:30

and then taken back to a dressing room and being abused

3:18:303:18:33

was something I won't ever forget.

3:18:333:18:35

I also thought that what was really shocking

3:18:353:18:39

and more shocking than anything that has been happening recently,

3:18:393:18:41

was when he was going around on Nationwide and he had a bus,

3:18:413:18:45

and he was using the bus to take kids into the back and abuse,

3:18:453:18:48

rumours were going round saying something was going on

3:18:483:18:51

and it was taken up to higher management, and, somehow or other,

3:18:513:18:54

higher management only spoke to other people on the floor,

3:18:543:18:56

they didn't speak to the people on the floor below

3:18:563:18:59

like the people who had been around

3:18:593:19:01

and who actually might be able to tell them one way or the other,

3:19:013:19:04

and turned a blind eye, and so it continued.

3:19:043:19:06

It continued for decades, and I agree, you know what?

3:19:063:19:09

-I agree with you, Claire.

-Thanks.

3:19:093:19:11

This may be the only time I ever will!

3:19:113:19:13

But I agree with you that, actually,

3:19:133:19:15

we should be focusing first and foremost on the victims.

3:19:153:19:17

I'm really disappointed in the Crown Prosecution Service

3:19:173:19:20

for letting down these victims.

3:19:203:19:22

You know, when evidence comes forward,

3:19:223:19:24

I'm really shocked that they did not go ahead with prosecuting,

3:19:243:19:27

and it's for that reason that I wrote, in my capacity as Shadow AG,

3:19:273:19:31

to Her Majesty's Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service

3:19:313:19:34

the day after the stuff came out and asked for an independent inspection.

3:19:343:19:37

That is being investigated now?

3:19:373:19:39

It's being investigated by the CPS.

3:19:393:19:41

It's a little bit like the BBC doing an investigation of itself

3:19:413:19:44

or the health service doing an investigation of itself,

3:19:443:19:46

or Broadmoor doing an investigation of itself.

3:19:463:19:48

I think that Harriet Harman is right,

3:19:483:19:51

we need to have a larger investigation

3:19:513:19:53

and we need to look at the sexualisation of 15-year-olds,

3:19:533:19:57

the way in which girls are not taken seriously.

3:19:573:20:00

The way in which we treat them

3:20:003:20:01

and, frankly, it is not something that simply happened in the '70s

3:20:013:20:05

and has not happened since, we just need to see it from Rochdale.

3:20:053:20:09

We need to see Rochdale and see that when we get vulnerable victims,

3:20:093:20:12

they need to be treated with particular care

3:20:123:20:15

and with some responsibility.

3:20:153:20:17

To see these people come forward and say,

3:20:173:20:20

"I feel so guilty about what happened.

3:20:203:20:22

"I feel as though it was my fault.

3:20:223:20:23

"If only I'd complained,

3:20:233:20:24

"many other generations would not have been abused."

3:20:243:20:27

-That's appalling to hear that.

-The man with a beard in the middle.

3:20:273:20:30

Where are we going to find the Hercules

3:20:303:20:33

to clean out this Augean mess that we have in the public sector?

3:20:333:20:36

We've got the BBC investigating itself

3:20:363:20:38

over covering up of paedophilia.

3:20:383:20:40

We've got MPs with their snouts in the trough again!

3:20:403:20:43

We've got all sorts.

3:20:433:20:45

We've got coppers and the Hillsborough thing's come out again.

3:20:453:20:47

We can't get away from it

3:20:473:20:49

until we find some way of actually really going in

3:20:493:20:52

and shaking everything down, root and branch,

3:20:523:20:54

and kicking this wickedness out.

3:20:543:20:56

I think the BBC's investigations are independent.

3:21:023:21:05

They've appointed outsiders to do it.

3:21:053:21:07

It's a firm of lawyers who are used for handling the firestorms

3:21:073:21:10

that you normally get when things like this happen.

3:21:103:21:13

They are hardly independent cos I was reading today,

3:21:133:21:16

one of the biggest clients of these lawyers who are doing it is the BBC!

3:21:163:21:20

Can I just say...? I mean,

3:21:213:21:23

it's not just the BBC who've got to answer questions here,

3:21:233:21:26

it's the CPS, it's the national press, actually.

3:21:263:21:29

Because there was...

3:21:293:21:31

The rumours were well known.

3:21:313:21:33

We know the national press looked at it in 1992 - a certain newspaper,

3:21:333:21:36

and it was dropped for legal reasons.

3:21:363:21:38

Five police forces were investigating Savile

3:21:383:21:40

and I think the NHS has questions to answer

3:21:403:21:43

for giving him the right to roam round Leeds.

3:21:433:21:45

They gave him a bedroom in Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

3:21:453:21:48

And an office in Broadmoor, which is outrageous.

3:21:483:21:51

All of these organisations have got questions to answer,

3:21:513:21:54

it's not just the BBC.

3:21:543:21:55

We'll go on.

3:21:553:21:57

I'll take a question from Taj.

3:21:573:22:00

But just before I do, the chairman of the Conservative Party

3:22:003:22:03

complained that, when he was on Question Time two weeks ago,

3:22:033:22:07

he was give an brief by the BBC

3:22:073:22:10

about what he should say about the BBC.

3:22:103:22:13

I've had no briefings, I want to reassure you.

3:22:133:22:15

Good. I'm glad to hear it.

3:22:153:22:17

-I wouldn't listen anyway.

-Good.

3:22:173:22:19

SCATTERED LAUGHTER

3:22:193:22:21

Taj, please.

3:22:213:22:23

Should David Cameron give the European Court the two-finger salute

3:22:233:22:26

by not granting prisoners the right to vote?

3:22:263:22:29

It's a curious position on this right to vote,

3:22:293:22:32

because the Prime Minister says "over his dead body"

3:22:323:22:35

will prisoner get the right to vote and, at the same time,

3:22:353:22:38

his own Attorney General is saying...

3:22:383:22:40

Advising a committee that, actually...

3:22:403:22:42

Let's just quote the words,

3:22:423:22:43

"It could be thrown out by the Council of Europe,

3:22:433:22:46

"compensation claims will be made

3:22:463:22:48

"and Britain will be seen by other countries

3:22:483:22:51

"as moving away from our strict adherence to human rights laws."

3:22:513:22:55

So, it looks as though Prime Minister and Attorney General

3:22:553:22:58

are rather at loggerheads, Vince Cable. What's your view?

3:22:583:23:01

-I don't think so.

-Oh! Really?

3:23:013:23:03

He doesn't need to give the European Court the two-finger salute,

3:23:033:23:06

because the European Court are not arguing

3:23:063:23:08

that prisoners should be given the vote.

3:23:083:23:11

They're saying that not all prisoners

3:23:113:23:12

should be excluded from having the vote,

3:23:123:23:14

which is a very, very different proposition.

3:23:143:23:17

I mean, I totally agree with the Prime Minister

3:23:173:23:19

that when people are put in prison, they lose their liberties

3:23:193:23:21

and one key liberty is the right to vote. He's absolutely right,

3:23:213:23:24

and that's the way Parliament has voted.

3:23:243:23:26

What the European Court has said

3:23:263:23:29

is that not everybody should, as a matter of principle, be stopped.

3:23:293:23:33

At the moment, there are people, for example, who are in prison

3:23:333:23:35

for not paying fines who are allowed to vote.

3:23:353:23:38

I would have thought there are other cases too.

3:23:383:23:40

I mean, I was recently had an open prison in Lancashire

3:23:403:23:44

and before people are released, who are threat to the public,

3:23:443:23:47

they're allowed home at weekends.

3:23:473:23:48

I mean, you've got some people who are half-in, half-out of prison.

3:23:483:23:53

It scarcely requires enormous imagination

3:23:533:23:56

to see how the principle which the European Court laid down

3:23:563:23:59

could be honoured in the law.

3:23:593:24:01

-"It makes me physically..."

-So, the two positions are not in contradiction.

3:24:013:24:04

David Cameron - "It makes me physically ill

3:24:043:24:06

"to even contemplate having to give the vote

3:24:063:24:09

"to ANYONE who is in prison."

3:24:093:24:11

Well, people in prison at the moment can vote if,

3:24:113:24:14

I think in some specific cases, if there is a fine default.

3:24:143:24:17

-So he's wrong?

-As a matter of fact.

3:24:173:24:19

No, I share his indignation at the idea that extreme cases,

3:24:193:24:23

whether murderers or rapists or whatever,

3:24:233:24:26

shouldn't be treated the same as everybody else.

3:24:263:24:28

-No-one is proposing that.

-But nobody is actually proposing that.

3:24:283:24:31

What the European Court has ruled

3:24:313:24:33

is that there shouldn't be a blanket ban

3:24:333:24:36

and that seems to be sensible and right and balanced

3:24:363:24:39

and something that could be entirely reconciled with his position,

3:24:393:24:43

which is mine, and the views of Parliament.

3:24:433:24:46

Emily Thornberry? You're the Shadow Attorney General.

3:24:463:24:50

There was a big vote against prisoners getting the right to vote.

3:24:503:24:54

Last year, I think it was.

3:24:543:24:57

Do you think Cameron is right and should say, "No, absolutely not"?

3:24:573:25:01

or is Dominic Grieve's argument right, that...?

3:25:013:25:04

I think I would start with...

3:25:053:25:07

It's Labour's position that we are against the idea

3:25:073:25:10

of convicted prisoners having the right to vote.

3:25:103:25:13

It's Parliament's view, and frankly, it's the public's view as well.

3:25:133:25:16

Now, in my role as Shadow Attorney General,

3:25:163:25:19

I obviously also have to give legal advice

3:25:193:25:21

and so my legal advice would be that the European Court is saying

3:25:213:25:25

that it is wrong for us to have a blanket ban,

3:25:253:25:27

that we would be in breach of our international obligations

3:25:273:25:30

if we didn't do something about this and therefore, indeed,

3:25:303:25:33

ministers would be in breach of the Ministerial Code.

3:25:333:25:36

I mean, you have to, as Attorney General, tell the Prime Minister

3:25:363:25:39

or the Leader of the Opposition these truths.

3:25:393:25:43

Because these are truths

3:25:433:25:45

and we need, as lawyers, to be able to give them that advice.

3:25:453:25:49

I mean, there is developing a doctrine,

3:25:493:25:53

which is called the margin of appreciation,

3:25:533:25:55

which is basically saying, we all sign up to the European Convention,

3:25:553:25:58

we all say that there are certain basic standards

3:25:583:26:00

that they must comply with but Europe is beginning to understand

3:26:003:26:04

that countries do have different cultures, different backgrounds,

3:26:043:26:07

different politics and, over the years,

3:26:073:26:09

there have been a number of decisions

3:26:093:26:11

in relation to prisoner voting

3:26:113:26:13

and they are beginning to, more and more, understand

3:26:133:26:15

that there is a margin of appreciation.

3:26:153:26:18

I mean, I just don't think the European Court

3:26:183:26:19

are going to go to the wall on this for Britain.

3:26:193:26:22

-Ah! So you'd defy them?

-If you compare...

-Is that what you mean?

3:26:223:26:25

You're doing lawyer's talk, or Shadow Attorney General's talk.

3:26:253:26:28

You asked me as Shadow Attorney General,

3:26:283:26:30

and I'm telling you the advice I would give to Ed Miliband.

3:26:303:26:33

If he said, "It sticks in my craw to give a vote to a prisoner,"

3:26:333:26:36

-you'd say...

-I'd say, well, for 13 years,

3:26:363:26:39

we did not give votes to prisoners

3:26:393:26:41

and, as a politician, as well as a lawyer,

3:26:413:26:43

-my politician's advice would be different.

-OK.

3:26:433:26:45

So, there's lawyer's advice and politician's advice.

3:26:453:26:48

As Shadow Attorney General, you straddle both horses,

3:26:483:26:50

that's why I've said my lawyer's advice is one thing,

3:26:503:26:53

political is another.

3:26:533:26:54

-As we discovered during the run-up to the Iraq war.

-No. Now, now...

3:26:543:26:57

APPLAUSE

3:26:573:27:02

Well, I agree with the Prime Minister on this.

3:27:033:27:06

It makes me sick to my stomach,

3:27:063:27:07

the idea that prisoners should have the vote.

3:27:073:27:09

But what makes me more sick

3:27:093:27:11

is the fact that our own sovereign Parliament,

3:27:113:27:14

our own elected representatives, have voted to say no

3:27:143:27:18

to votes for prisoners and, actually,

3:27:183:27:20

we're being told we have to do it by a court

3:27:203:27:23

which actually isn't even in this country, by judges who are faceless.

3:27:233:27:26

It's absolutely wrong.

3:27:263:27:27

APPLAUSE

3:27:273:27:31

Claire Perry?

3:27:313:27:32

-Sorry.

-Can I just make another point on this?

3:27:323:27:34

Look, criminals have broken their contract with society.

3:27:343:27:37

Society should break its contract with them.

3:27:373:27:39

Now, here's the interesting point on this.

3:27:393:27:41

At no point in the European Convention of Human Rights

3:27:413:27:44

does it mention votes.

3:27:443:27:46

In fact, it was the Atlee Government that made sure it wasn't mentioned.

3:27:463:27:50

We're in a situation now in this country,

3:27:503:27:52

where the only people who can't vote are peers...

3:27:523:27:55

..felons and lunatics.

3:27:563:27:58

Now, I can see all sorts of legal wrangles coming,

3:27:583:28:01

cos where are we going to go?

3:28:013:28:03

The logical conclusion is we give prisoners the vote,

3:28:033:28:06

we give lunatics the vote.

3:28:063:28:08

Some could say that the lunatics run the country, but there we are.

3:28:083:28:11

All right.

3:28:113:28:12

Here's a big point. What are we going to do, David?

3:28:123:28:15

Are we going to defy the fines or are we going to leave the ECHR?

3:28:153:28:19

Because we can't! I'll tell you why.

3:28:193:28:21

Because to be a member of the European Union,

3:28:213:28:24

you have to be in the European Court of Human Rights.

3:28:243:28:26

At it's things like votes for prisoners

3:28:263:28:28

which actually make people more sceptical about Europe

3:28:283:28:31

and it's one of the reasons why more people want a referendum

3:28:313:28:34

on our membership of the EU.

3:28:343:28:36

APPLAUSE

3:28:363:28:38

It's not, of course...

3:28:383:28:39

Well, you can argue about how concomitant it is

3:28:393:28:41

with membership of the Union.

3:28:413:28:42

Taj, you asked the question, what do you make of the answers?

3:28:423:28:45

Vince Cable said that it's not all prisoners

3:28:453:28:48

are going to be banned from voting.

3:28:483:28:51

But, you go to prison for having committed serious crimes

3:28:513:28:54

against society, so you forfeit your right to have a say

3:28:543:28:57

in who should be running our country.

3:28:573:28:59

I just want to say,

3:28:593:29:01

the European Convention on Human Rights itself

3:29:013:29:03

is a very good piece of law, but for far too long, for far too many years,

3:29:033:29:08

some decisions have been devoid of common sense

3:29:083:29:12

-and the human responsibilities.

-Mehdi Hasan.

3:29:123:29:14

I don't agree. I don't think people go to prison for serious offences,

3:29:143:29:18

I think there's a bigger question here.

3:29:183:29:20

We lock up far too many people for all sorts of minor offences,

3:29:203:29:22

for all sorts of non-violent and trivial offences...

3:29:223:29:25

We have one of the highest per capita prison populations

3:29:253:29:27

in Western Europe, so I don't even buy the argument.

3:29:273:29:29

Not everyone in prison is a crazy psychopath

3:29:293:29:31

and no-one is suggesting giving the crazy psychopath votes.

3:29:313:29:34

So, Vince is right there, this is about blanket bans.

3:29:343:29:37

And your question was about giving a two-fingered salute to the ECHR.

3:29:373:29:40

I mean, if Vladimir Putin is watching Question Time

3:29:403:29:43

on iPlayer Catch-up and he heard your question, he'd be delighted.

3:29:433:29:46

If the President of Belarus was watching, he'd be delighted too.

3:29:463:29:49

We can't go around saying,

3:29:493:29:50

"We want to give two fingers to international human rights law,"

3:29:503:29:53

and lecture the rest of the world

3:29:533:29:54

that they must follow the same human rights law.

3:29:543:29:56

That's deeply hypocritical. And as for Paul's point

3:29:563:29:59

about how unpopular it is and sovereign judges,

3:29:593:30:02

just a couple of weeks ago, Theresa May was keeping Gary McKinnon

3:30:023:30:05

in this country, a hugely popular move,

3:30:053:30:07

on the basis of human rights legislation,

3:30:073:30:09

on the basis of the ECHR.

3:30:093:30:11

So, suddenly it's wonderful, and suddenly it's the enemy.

3:30:113:30:14

APPLAUSE

3:30:143:30:15

OK, I'm going to stop you.

3:30:153:30:17

Is there somebody with their arm up there? No.

3:30:173:30:20

All right, you, Sir. And then I will come to you, Claire.

3:30:203:30:22

I'd just like to call Paul up on...

3:30:223:30:24

Did you call people

3:30:243:30:26

who are sectioned under the Mental Health Act "lunatics"?

3:30:263:30:29

Because that's quite offensive.

3:30:293:30:31

Hate to be... Hate to...

3:30:313:30:33

It does stipulate quite clearly that the people who can't vote

3:30:333:30:36

-in this country are peers, felons and lunatics.

-All right.

3:30:363:30:40

Claire Perry.

3:30:403:30:41

Um, the European Court of Human Rights was set up by Britain

3:30:413:30:45

as a way of preventing genocide ever happening again in Europe.

3:30:453:30:49

It was a fine and noble aim

3:30:493:30:50

and it has strayed so far from that remit, in my view.

3:30:503:30:53

I had the pleasure of being part of the UK delegation

3:30:533:30:56

to the European Council.

3:30:563:30:58

You think our money is being wasted there with people talking nonsense.

3:30:583:31:01

You're right, that's what's happening.

3:31:013:31:03

On this issue, I have to say,

3:31:033:31:05

I am slightly in the wishy-washy camp of thinking

3:31:053:31:07

prisoners who are being rehabilitated

3:31:073:31:10

perhaps could earn this right.

3:31:103:31:12

It's part of becoming a responsible citizen again.

3:31:123:31:15

But what I want is that decision to be a sovereign decision here.

3:31:153:31:18

It is a decision for British politicians and British courts.

3:31:183:31:21

And frankly, Mehdi, you talk about Russia and Belarus,

3:31:213:31:23

the scale of human rights abuses going on

3:31:233:31:26

amongst other countries in Europe pales...

3:31:263:31:28

My point was you can't pick and choose

3:31:283:31:30

which bits you want to put two fingers up to.

3:31:303:31:32

I think that given that the court has a multi-year backlog of cases,

3:31:323:31:36

we would be reasonable in doing what the Prime Minister says,

3:31:363:31:39

which is, it is a decision for us. Come on, sue us, bring it on.

3:31:393:31:42

All right, thank you very much. We've got only a few minutes left,

3:31:423:31:46

but we've got UKIP here, we've got the Liberal Democrats,

3:31:463:31:49

we got the Tories here, we've got political commentator, Mehdi Hasan

3:31:493:31:52

and we've got the Shadow Attorney General.

3:31:523:31:54

We've got a question from Aidan Watson.

3:31:543:31:56

And we only have a few minutes to answer it.

3:31:563:31:58

In recent polls,

3:31:583:31:59

the Liberal Democrats have come out as fourth behind UKIP.

3:31:593:32:02

Should they leave the coalition

3:32:023:32:03

before they lose whatever support they still have?

3:32:033:32:05

Yes. Vince Cable.

3:32:053:32:07

No, we're not going to leave the coalition.

3:32:073:32:10

We've taken on a very challenging, very difficult task.

3:32:103:32:13

The country faced a major emergency two and a half years ago,

3:32:133:32:16

a serious economic crisis.

3:32:163:32:18

We felt we should contribute to that and provide stable government

3:32:183:32:21

over five years.

3:32:213:32:22

There are many things we disagree with the Conservatives about

3:32:223:32:25

and we'll continue to argue with them,

3:32:253:32:27

but the core purpose of the coalition remains intact.

3:32:273:32:29

What about slipping behind UKIP?

3:32:293:32:31

Yes, well, we'll see whether the UKIP party win 50-plus seats

3:32:313:32:34

at the next general election.

3:32:343:32:36

I suspect they won't. But let's argue that when we come to it.

3:32:363:32:39

We think we have a good record and we will defend it,

3:32:393:32:42

and I think the public will understand

3:32:423:32:44

that we did something difficult, but right,

3:32:443:32:46

and that will be recognised when we come to the next election.

3:32:463:32:49

OK. Paul Nuttall.

3:32:493:32:51

Might be the Tories that ought to leave the coalition

3:32:513:32:53

if they see you making headway, shouldn't they?

3:32:533:32:56

Well, we'll talk about that down the line.

3:32:563:32:59

I mean, UKIP is the fastest growing political party in Britain.

3:32:593:33:01

We're polling now around 10% to 12% quite regularly in opinion polls.

3:33:013:33:07

We're expected to do well in the Corby by-election.

3:33:073:33:10

In fact, we're fielding more candidates

3:33:103:33:12

in the police commissioner elections than the Liberal Democrats.

3:33:123:33:16

That sort of tells us where we are at the moment,

3:33:163:33:19

and we're projected to go on and win the 2014 General Election...

3:33:193:33:21

Sorry, European election. Well...! LAUGHTER

3:33:213:33:24

Let's see where we are in 2015. It could be very interesting indeed.

3:33:243:33:28

Mehdi Hasan, is it time for the coalition to break up?

3:33:283:33:31

-Purely in self-interested political terms?

-Yeah...

3:33:313:33:33

Do you think Vince is right to stick with it?

3:33:333:33:35

Vince points out that UKIP won't win 50 seats at the next election.

3:33:353:33:38

The problem is, Vince's party won't win 50 seats at the next election,

3:33:383:33:41

that's the problem.

3:33:413:33:43

Come the autumn of 2014, as Lib Dem MPs in marginal seats

3:33:433:33:46

are staring into the abyss, the cry will go up,

3:33:463:33:48

"Call for Vince, call for Vince,"

3:33:483:33:50

and I think there'll be a great moment there

3:33:503:33:52

to see if they have the backbone to get rid of an unpopular leader,

3:33:523:33:55

try and get in another leader who used to be quite popular

3:33:553:33:58

and then, get a bit of a bounce, a bit of a honeymoon period.

3:33:583:34:01

If they time it right, they might be able to save themselves.

3:34:013:34:04

Otherwise, I suspect, they're heading for meltdown.

3:34:043:34:07

-Claire Perry.

-Well, the economy, back to Eamonn's first question,

3:34:073:34:10

-the economy is healing, we are dealing with the deficit.

-0% growth.

3:34:103:34:14

We came together because we were facing

3:34:143:34:16

the biggest peacetime economic crisis this country has ever seen,

3:34:163:34:20

thanks to the totally irresponsible...

3:34:203:34:21

-Yeah, we get the speech.

-You made it worse.

3:34:213:34:23

Are you alarmed by the rise of UKIP?

3:34:233:34:25

Look. Paul, forgive me,

3:34:253:34:27

what is your policy for cutting the deficit?

3:34:273:34:30

-You don't have one.

-Hang on. Whoa, whoa, whoa.

3:34:303:34:33

-LAUGHTER

-Don't ask him!

3:34:333:34:35

Claire, just make a political point,

3:34:353:34:38

what is your view of the rise of UKIP and the effect it will have?

3:34:383:34:41

I think UKIP is a natural...

3:34:413:34:43

It is a tough, slow recovery,

3:34:433:34:47

and UKIP is unnatural protest place for many people to go,

3:34:473:34:49

who could never bring themselves to vote ever again for Labour,

3:34:493:34:53

given the wreckage that was wrought on the country.

3:34:533:34:55

It is a natural protest.

3:34:553:34:57

Vince, I know I'll be fighting against Liberal candidates,

3:34:573:34:59

we will wish each other well, but the coalition will last until 2015.

3:34:593:35:02

And you have no time for UKIP?

3:35:023:35:05

Well, I... UKIP...

3:35:053:35:06

UKIP have a lot of time for the Tories.

3:35:063:35:09

-They keep wanting to flirt with you and...

-Really?!

3:35:093:35:11

David Cameron called them "loonies, closet racists".

3:35:113:35:14

I think the issue...

3:35:143:35:16

I think the issues around Europe really concern

3:35:163:35:19

far more people than, certainly, the Labour Party realises.

3:35:193:35:22

I am not concerned about the rise of UKIP.

3:35:223:35:25

Emily Thornberry, you're out of all this, of course, cos you're...

3:35:253:35:29

-How long have I got?

-You've got about 45 seconds.

3:35:293:35:31

OK, in 45 seconds, I'd say, of course they've got to leave the coalition.

3:35:313:35:34

They will not be forgiven unless they do.

3:35:343:35:36

They've been propping up this Tory government for too long.

3:35:363:35:39

Without them, we'd not have had changes to the health service.

3:35:393:35:42

Without them, we'd not have had changes to tuition fees

3:35:423:35:44

or having these terrible cuts.

3:35:443:35:46

APPLAUSE People will never forgive them.

3:35:463:35:49

And it's about time they pulled out. People want another government.

3:35:493:35:52

We'd like to have an election.

3:35:523:35:53

Let's get ourselves a proper government

3:35:533:35:55

that will deal with this deficit and debt in a responsible way.

3:35:553:35:58

-In a responsible way and get us out of the recession.

-Incredible.

3:35:583:36:01

-That's what people want.

-How?

3:36:013:36:03

Thank you, not least for finishing in 45 seconds. You can come back.

3:36:033:36:06

Our time is up. Next week we're going to be in Central London,

3:36:063:36:09

as America gets ready to elect a new president.

3:36:093:36:11

We've got Jerry Springer, the controversial television presenter.

3:36:113:36:14

He used to be mayor of Cincinnati for the Democrats.

3:36:143:36:17

We've got the former Foreign Secretary, David Miliband,

3:36:173:36:20

Ed's brother,

3:36:203:36:21

and we have a prominent, but as yet unnamed,

3:36:213:36:23

Mitt Romney supporter there with us, to see balance.

3:36:233:36:27

So, that's next week.

3:36:273:36:28

The week after that, we're going to be in Bexhill, in Sussex.

3:36:283:36:31

If you'd like to come to either Central London, or to Bexhill,

3:36:313:36:34

just visit our website, the address is on the screen there.

3:36:343:36:37

Or call us...

3:36:373:36:39

Thanks you for watching. Thanks to our panel.

3:36:423:36:44

Thanks to all who came to Slough to take part.

3:36:443:36:46

Until next Thursday, from Question Time, good night.

3:36:463:36:49

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

3:37:113:37:14

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Slough. He is joined by a panel comprising business secretary Vince Cable, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, Claire Perry, UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall and Mehdi Hasan, political director of the Huffington Post website.


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