28/02/2013 Question Time


David Dimbleby chairs Question Time from Eastleigh, the former seat of disgraced ex-MP Chris Huhne and now the site of a fierce by-election battle between the coalition partners.

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Tonight we were live in Eastleigh with the polls close in the by-


election that set the two coalition parties set against each other and


saw UKIP apparently coming up on the rails. Welcome to Question Time.


Good evening to you at home. Good evening to our audience here.


Welcome to our panel. On our panel the Liberal Democrat Home Office


Minister brown brown Brown, lab's shadow leader of the Commons,


Angela Eagle, the Conservative MP, adviser to David Cameron, Claire


Perry, the former Tory MP, Neil Hamilton, who lost his seat over


accusations he took cash for asking questions if in the House of


Commons, a charge he denies. And he now sits on UKIP's National


Executive. And the radical left- wing film maker, Ken Loach.


APPLAUSE I should just say, obviously if we


get any news from the by-election, we'll bring it to you, and Andrew


Neil's programme follows Question Time and it will stay on air until


the result is announced. Our first question, from Jon Senior, please.


What lessons does the bruising election campaign in Eastleigh have


for the parties at the general election in 2015?


The election is over, so you can all speak your minds. I hope there


are people here who voted in the election. What lesson does this


election hold for the parties in the general election. Do you think


your party has beaten the stpwirs third place? I think Eastleigh --


Has beaten the Torys into third place? I think Eastleigh, there is


everything to play for for UKIP. Get used to UKIP, because we'll be


providing the real choice in 2015. Labour, Liberals and the


Conservatives are all led by euro fanatic leaders and are wholly


committed to membership of the EU, which stops us from doing so much


that we want to do - stopping open- door immigration and cutting taxes


and so forth. So you don't think we'll have a referendum on Europe?


The last time he reneged on the Lisbon Treaty. I'm personally sorry


for the amount of rubbish I have put through your doors and


contributed to your recycling. You must be happy that the caravan is


moving on. Apologies from all of us. You bored the electorate did you?


We welled the electorate. There are leaflets yesterdayisation, I've


made my mind up, just go away. That was good. Immigration, which is


down 30% year on year, but people are busy, they have busy lives.


They are not all tuning in to watch political programmes. We need to be


talking about the things that matter to people, the cost of


living and local issues. The lesson we should take away if we are


trying to talk about the big, important stuff like fixing Britain,


we have to keep making it relevant. No-one here tonight is going to go


home and say, hooray, the deficit is down. You are going to think


about filling your car. We should get into our constituencies and be


normal. Are you saying fuel duty is coming down? We've frozen it every


time... Sit coming down? Well, we've spent �5 billion helping


motorists, I would love it to come down. You think you have come third


to UKIP? I would love to see some fantastic, more fantastic women in


Parliament, across all parties. If we don't get Maria in we are


missing a chance to get in a really great candidate. If she hasn't won?


If she hasn't won. Do you think the Liberal Democrats have won, Jeremy


Browne? I don't know. Do you think? I hope we have. That's obvious too.


As everybody here will testify, the parties have fought themselves to a


bit of a standstill. I think the big message, you look at the


opinion polls, you look at the difficulties the parties in


Government have trying to get our country back on its feet in


extremely difficult times. You look at the circumstances, let's be


blunt about it, under Which? By- election was called. I don't think


anybody would think the Liberal Democrats have had a good week in


terms of national media coverage. Against that backdrop the big story


for me is not that the Liberal Democrats are crumbling away but


the resilience. We had the best candidate, I think that was


accepted by people who didn't even vote for him. We are here year on


year and day in and day out, not just flying the flag at election


time. I think people have appreciated that level of service


and the care we've shown to the people of that community. I hope


that is a winning combination and we'll show people tonight that the


Liberal Democrats are alive and kicking. I have one comment on the


literature that came round to. My mind it was lots of pretty pictures


mainly of candidates and sometimes of green fields. It said very


little. There was lots of paper with not a lot of information on it.


But vote today? Yes I did. Were you torn between the 14 parties?


didn't vote for any of the minor contenders. Although some of them


had very interesting points they clearly weren't going to get in and


it would've been a wasted vote. Personally I regret that Chris


Huhne is not still standing. I think he was a politician of great


significance, with what I felt was a very strong view which I agreed


with on climate change and energy policy. I think we've lost a


considerable personality there. APPLAUSE Angela Eagle? Well, I


don't think anyone could say that this is our biggest ever prospect


in the country. I think we would have a majority of 362 if we had


taken Eastleigh, but what we've done is fought a vigorous campaign,


gone around and talked to a lot of people about the things that matter


to them. There is no doubt that immigration's been a big issue in


the campaign here. We've had discussions about what we can do to


deal with that, to bring it down, to ensure that no foreign worker


should take a job at less than minimum wage and be exploitsed and


forced down people's wages, that we can deal with exploitative agencies


who only employ foreign people and bring them in. What lessons does


this campaign... To get out on the doorstep, to talk, listen and react.


Clare wants Maria to win but I think that it is a lot more


important than that for the Conservative Party. This is they


are 16th target Lib Dem seat. They need to win this seat, so they can


win the next election. I think it's 258 on our list, so if the


Conservatives tonight fail to take the seat and the circumstances that


Jeremy's alluded to, the difficult times they've been having, that


would be a worrying result for them. I also think... Hold on a second


Angela. If the Conservatives come third they've got a right to be


very worried. This is only informal but the latest tweeting from a


Liberal Democrat councillor is the Liberal Democrats have held the


seat and UKIP is second. Last time the Conservatives won an an overall


majority, last time they came second and now they are fourth.


do think it is much more serious than this. The Westminster tittle-


tattle we are listening to is what puts people off politics. APPLAUSE


I think there's a lot of people in this country who share a lot of


thoughts. They hate the break-up of the NHS. They hate the


privatisations and the outsources and the labour agencies and the low


wages. They hate the mass unemployment. They hate the casual


destruction of the environment that we see, and the gentleman referred


to. And there isn't a broad movement, a broad party that they


can vote for. People spend a lot of time saying, who are we going to


hold our nose and vote for? We need a broad movement on the left the


one thing I have in common with Neil is UKIP have done it for the


right. I disagree with everything that UKIP stands for... APPLAUSE


But, we need a broad movement of the left. It is now time it came


together. How would you get that? Every time the party moves to the


left, historically it seems to have lost votes. Well, I think there are


a number of things that should happen. The unions should stop


paying money to a party that's going to kick it in the teeth. The


Labour Party is a market economy party. It won't look after the


interests of working people, so I think the Labour Party should cut


off that tap and we should start again like they started over a


century again and form a new Labour Party. There'll be a problem,


because there was an a protecting the NHS candidate here, who I'm


sure said good things, and a good trade union canned day. But they


get no presentation. Every time I turned on the BBC or ITV to see the


election discussed, you never saw that point of view. There's got to


be a determination that the left has its voice, because it is


has its voice, because it is excluded at the moment. APPLAUSE


The gentleman alluded to the surprising number of independent


and minority parties that stood in this election. We've heard there's


a possibility that UKIP may have surprisingly come second - sorry


Neil. I love you too! Is that a simpton of perhaps the electorate


being sick of the big three parties? That so many people stand?


Absolutely is. There a certain frustration. There is a huge degree


of voter alienation in this country. I entirely agree with Ken. The vast


majority of the people of this country have lost faith in our


political system. When I was young, 85% of the country voted in the


general election. Last time it was down to 60%. The lifeblood of


political parties has been sucked out. They no longer represent real


people. Ken was right this, Westminster tittle-tattle, they are


all Westminster politicians, not all, Clare wasn't, but there is so


much careerism in politics today, you don't have the trade unions in


Parliament. Yes you do. Not so much as in the 1960s. The big lesson of


what lesson are we going to learn is that politicians have got to be


real again and not be in this bubble in Westminster wholly remote


from real people. We get your point. Third is what we are told


Conservatives are going to be. What will the effect of that be on the


Tory Party and on the Prime Minister? The last time the


governing party won a by-election was during the Falklands war, when


10, you talk about mass unemployment, unemployment is


coming down. Whereas the apology from Labour for the appalling


things that happen under Labour's what? I accept that politics is


broken. These people have been in Parliament a longer time than me.


We need people to come in who are committed to transparency and want


to fix Britain. If we look at what is happening between our two


parties who came together in the national interest, things are


improving. It is tough medicine. is not working. Growth is


increasing and employment -- unemployment is coming down. Growth


is not increasing. Wait, we will come to the economy in a moment.


Let me hear from a couple more members of the public. The problem


is that there is no alternative, is there? Pick Aberdyfi UKIP because


it is different. Batman people have voted for UKIP because it is


different. But Labour, Conservative and the Liberal Democrats are just


different colours. There is no real choice.


In a similar vein, getting to their election campaign, all the three


main parties did sound very scripted. On the campaign trail,


they all sounded similar. I would like to congratulate the Labour


candidate. I did not vote for him, but at least he came across as


fallible, funny, interesting and willing to talk about his own


agenda. And a loser at! I will take one more point and then go to


another question. Actually, the Labour Party candidate, I thought


the quote in his book about Margaret Thatcher was the most vile


thing I have ever heard. How anyone could put that is beyond me. Then


we had the Conservative candidate, who gave us a potted history of


Roman Eastleach, which made the Eastleigh residents laugh with


gusto, because it was just a field. Who did you go for? Lib Dem. Well,


I would have done. I am actually a Lib Dem councillor. A planted


audience! If we get any more news from the by election fund, I will


let you know. Let's have this question from Michael Fitzgerald.


Following the loss of the triple A rating, isn't it time we stepped


down the austerity and concentrate into on growing the economy? Let's


stick to the Ohuruogu about whether the Government should change its


policy with the loss of the trouble a rating. Was not trade too many


statistics that are incomprehensible to anyone except


the person who using them. Claire Perry? Well, nobody is celebrating


that we have lost a measure of Britain's responsibility. But the


question I constantly wrestle with and one of the reasons I came into


politics is, we know we had a borrowing crisis. We can either


borrow more, and I would love to hear Angela explain how borrowing


more means you borrow less, all we can tackle this deficit so our


children don't have to. Since the election, the global growth


forecasts have been downgraded. We have had a head wind of slow growth


across the world that has hit Britain's ability to grow. But the


government is trying to stop spending money on things that don't


deliver value and focus forensically on investment in


infrastructure. We are seeing it here and in the south-west. We are


spending half a billion quid in terms of new rail links to the


south-west. We are spending an enormous rail in -- an enormous


amount on CrossRail and high-speed rail. And we have created a million


jobs in the private sector since the election. It is slow and


difficult, but it is working. did you lose your trouble a rating


if it is working? If you read the small print, it says that if we did


not have this commitment to sorting out Britain's problems, the rating


would go down even further. If you want to join in this debate, get in


touch. We have a put a panellist tonight, the blogger Mark Wallace.


His day job is head off the Media Institute of Directors. You can


text commenced to us. Press the red button to see what others are


saying. Claire Perry says we are losing a measure of our credit


rating. But it is a measure that her party said it was important.


Surely this is a complete failure of the government's policy?


other side of the coalition, take up the cudgel? Like every Western


economy, we have a huge fight on our hands. The question is, are we


up for that fight as a country, or are we running away from it? Do we


lose our nerve? I think we have to be up for that fight, because all


of these countries across the western world have a pretty dire


economic outlook. Unless governments show the resolve to get


to grips with that and balance the books, the situation will get worse


rather than better. When this coalition government was formed in


2010, almost three years ago, for every �3 the Government was raising


in tax, it was spending �4. That is completely unsustainable. Whether


it is your household, your business or your country, you can't live


beyond your means indefinitely, so we are having to turn that round,


and we are making progress. The deficit is down by a quarter. About


a million jobs have been created in the private sector. We have low


interest rates. But will this be achieved overnight? No., and nor is


it being over -- achieved overnight in other countries across Europe.


There is a general election in Italy this week. I don't think they


will be able to form a coherent coalition government that can get


to grips with their problems. We have in this country. But for all


the rhetoric, it was George Osborne who made this the first of his


eight conditions for the economy. It was he who said the triple-A


rating was what he would be judged by. The two major economies that


have the top rating are Germany and Canada, and there are other two


countries that have got to grips with their deficit. Angela Eagle?


We now have two governments boat people talking about this, but the


loss of the trouble -- the triple-A rating is a total humiliation for


the Chancellor. He has failed the test he set himself as the number


one priority in the Tory manifesto, and that is because his economic


policy is failing. He has flatlined the economy, there is no growth


because he sucked the life out of the economy. What would you do?


Borrow more? Stop interrupting me. The issue here is that the


government's policy is failing. Claire, you say there have been a


million jobs new created, but you have sacked 520,000 people from the


public sector. You have reclassified 200,000 people from


the education sector into the private sector. So one-in-five of


the half million extra jobs there are are actually fiddled. But there


are more jobs. And there are over a million people who want more powers


and are under-employed. They are suffering from squeezed living


standards. What would you do? have no policy. Claire, let me


check this. -- let me chair this. You may get on very well with the


Speaker, he will get on less well with me if he did accept my


chairmanship. You can't talk over of the body. She is doing a pretty


good job so far. We have to have a fiscal stimulus. We need to try to


get people back to work. We have to cancel the tax cut for millionaires


that is coming in in April. And we have to introduce a 10 pence tax


rate. Do you borrow more, or not? There is good borrowing and bad


borrowing. If you borrow to invest in infrastructure, to build houses,


to put unemployed construction workers back to work, to create a


place where homeless people can live, that is good borrowing. If


you borrow �212 billion extra because your economic policies are


failing and the economy has ground to a halt, that is bad borrowing.


So your response would be to borrow more. You have to borrow more in


the short term, to put people back to work, to create infrastructure.


Claire Perry said they were investing in rail. All of that


investment is in the next Parliament. High Speed 2 will not


happen until the mid- 2020s, and not finish and which the North


until 2035. That investment will not get us out of the difficulty we


are in now. She alight introduce an air of reality into this


discussion? The reason why the Government has lost its triple-A


rating is because the ratings agency think they have not got to


grips with the deficit. And they are right. You would think there


would have been massive cuts from the way this discussion has gone.


Actually, government spending has increased since the last general


election. It was 670 billion in 2010. It is 730 billion this year.


This year, the deficit will still be �130 billion. These are colossal


sums of money. We can't go on burning money in this way. Hard


decisions have to be taken. Angela Eagle's policy is preposterous, to


borrow our way out of debt. That is not what I said. I said there is


some good borrowing for investment. If we had a Labour government


committed that, you would not have a double A rating, you would have a


double Z rating from the ratings agency. And that would make it more


expensive for everybody to borrow. It would be the kiss of death for


the economy. Jeremy was right in pointing out that Canada and


Germany have got the triple-A rating because they have got to


grips with their financial problems. They have got surpluses. Let's hear


from some members of our audience. The lady said we need to get more


construction jobs in this country. But I am unemployed, and I look on


the JobCentre website for jobs, and I would say almost half of the jobs


are for construction and places. The most available jobs are for


construction and nurses. So there are obviously places for people to


work. If you are building the high- speed railways and things like that,


you are not making jobs, you are just moving people off from some


two others. But non-jobs suitable for you? No. I could not go and


start bricklaying. Let me go back to Angela's point


about good borrowing and by a boring. What was the past Labour


government's boring, good or bad? Well, the issue here is that if you


are going to borrow money to do things that helped the country in


the future like build infrastructure projects at very low


interest rates, capital expenditure, that is a good thing. So the Brown


borrowing was good borrowing, was it? It re-equip the economy. We did


not have a recession and a banking crisis in 38 countries because we


spent too much on schools and hospitals. It is a massive failure.


Osborne said there was a test. He failed. The structural deficit has


also gone down the pan, but only through creative -- the deficit has


gone down a bit, but only through creative accounting. They are


failing on every front. But the economy lives in people, not just


in statistics and people's speeches. It lives in people. We have an


economy in a terrible state. There are 2.5 million people out of work.


1 million of them are young people. What future are we given to them?


And of course, there are all these cuts. The 1000 richest people since


the crisis began, their wealth has increased by �155 billion. The


range of inequality is massive. And meanwhile, the bottom 10%, the


poorest families, through these cuts, their average income has been


cut by 30%. This is 30% of nothing. People are living on air. So yes,


we have to change. We need a whole new economic strategy that gives


people a decent way of life. We are not doing it at the moment. And the


free market will not do it. It cannot do it. You never hear


politicians talking about full employment now. Never, because they


know they can't provide it. And if we can't give our kids the prospect


of a secure life with work, then Ken, I think it is an interesting


concept, but what is it we want people to do? Do we want to grow


our way out of this recession? By the way, the right thing to do,


Angela, would be to put something aside when the times were good.


you answer Ken Loach's point? your market economic system, will


you ever see full employment again? Are we going keep training kids in


the right things, getting manufacturing, you are talking down


the British chi. We are exporting more British cars now. Do you want


to employ nerve the state? We've tried that, under Labour in the


state, we have to have private sector growth daging us out of the


recession. -- dragging us out of the recession. If AAA is not bad at


what point is the rating bad that the Government would worry about


that, an A or a B? I take that question was rhetorical. You don't


seem the realise that the practical results of losing the AAA rating at


the moment is that in the local area we are losing 800 jobs at Ford,


which no politician fought for... APPLAUSE Not a single one of you


fought for that, the unemployment ratings in the cities have gone up,


so that unemployment rating sucks as well. APPLAUSE Straight away on


the back of that credit rate dropping, we lost was it 26, 26 out


of 28 housing associations had their credit rating dropped the


other day, so they are not a good investment. There is not going be


no more social housing built. the BBC had its credit rating


dropped, the properties in London and Salford have had their credit


rating reduced because they didn't know what's going to happen to the


BBC. I want to go on to another question. This is from Anjelica


Finnegan, please. Is the British political system a safe place for


women to work? APPLAUSE


The allegations against Lord Rennard, the former chief executive


of the Liberal Democrats, that led to this allegation, that he


absolutely denies. Jeremy, Brown, is the political system a safe


place in the light of everything we've been hearing? The question is


clearly aimed, as you just say David, at the revelation which have


been extensively covered in the media this week. Let me put it like


this. When I joined the Liberal Democrats I joined the Lib Dems,


this makes me a career politician, when I was 18 years old. I joined


the Lib Dems because I believed in the values of the party. I believed


in liberalism. I believed that you could combine being responsible


with the economy with having an enlightened, compassionate,


generous-spirited society where people could be free but also


realise their full potential. I want people who share those


instinctive Liberal values, regardless of whether they are men


or women, or their ethnicity, their age or whatever else it might be,


to feel they can join the Lib Dems, be a Lib Dem councilor or stand for


Parliament, and if there are people in this case, women, who feel they


couldn't pursue their Liberal instincts within the Liberal


Democrat party that is profoundly wrong and at source of great regret


to me and the party as a whole. We are now going to have two inquiries.


One into the specific allegations and one into our internal


complaints procedures. In a way there is no more I can say about it


at this stage. Those inquiries have to run their courses. Lord Rennard


has denied the allegations that have been made. Obviously it is


only reasonable that everybody concern should have a fair hearing


as part of that process. We are very committed to making sure that


people who share our Liberal values and instincts should have a home in


the Liberal Democrats. Do you think Nick Clegg handled it well? He


seemed to be all over the place, saying one thing and then another.


For me the rolling media story about who said what to whom at what


point isn't the central feature. To me, the central feature is that the


women who make these allegations, understandably feel upset. They


feel aggrieved. They are allegations that we take seriously.


That's why Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have set up these


two inquiries. They will be full, thorough inquiries and we will get


to the bottom of the truth. Obviously we want to make sure the


Liberal Democrats is a party that is appealing to women as well as


male members. I hope and believe that will also help the political


culture right across the board. I'm not just saying this to deflect


attention, but I don't think this is a situation that's unique to one


particular party. I hope it leads the wider cultural change. I don't


believe you are taking it seriously actually. I don't think the way


obviously with Nick Clegg trying to avoid it was taking it seriously. I


don't think this is just going to be a problem in the Lib Dems. I'm


doing a PhD in politics and teach a lot of students parliamentary and


constitutional politics in Britain. I don't know what to tell some of


the girls in my class, because I don't think they are going to have


the right opportunities to pursue a career this politics and I don't


think I would encourage them either. Angela Eagle? I think it is


unacceptable that women are put in this position and it shouldn't be


tolerated in any political party in any workplace and in our society


more generally. This is an issue that's often not talked about. It


needs to come to the surface and be dealt with. Women who are victims


of this need to be taken seriously and treated with respect. All too


often in many workplaces and in many instances we know that women


are basically pressurised into not saying anything, because they know


the consequences for them will be worse than the consequences for the


perpetrator. This is about the behaviour of men. In many ways men


need to stop and think about that and see that's unacceptable. We


need to develop different norms in our society. If this issue and the


way that it has come out helps us do, that all the better, but there


are too many places in our society that are male dominate, where the


power structures are male dominated and where this unacceptable


behaviour to women goes on and is tolerated. We need to put an end to


it. APPLAUSE And do you include the Labour Party in those strictures?


I've just said it happens everywhere. We've all got to ensure


that we've got the right processes in place to put a stop to it. I


think that it's far less tolerated in some places than others.


Feminism, that word, we have made progress in some places more than


others The Labour Party we have women-only short-lists. We've had


some big instances about women's advancement and equality in the


Labour Party. I think we are further along than many places. We


are often derided for it though. Harriet Harman has been a doughty


fighter for women's rights. In all her years in Parliament and she is


derided as Harriet "Harperson". We were all called Blair's Babes,


Cameron's Cuties. The way that politics is covered is not


respectable. Women need to be treated with respect for their own


political ideas. Until we change our culture it is very hard to get


51% of people in this country who've a right to be many politics


and change the culture of our politics, which is what we all need


to do. If we can do that, we can change our country far faster and


in a far more profound way than we have today, so let's get to it,


women, and sort this out. APPLAUSE I would like to ask, how do you


actually, how do you propose that you go about doing that? I believe


a few years ago you tried that and you were hit by a legal pursuit I


believe in trying... The women-only short-list. Yes. We changed the law


and we are now legal. I think the fascinating thing, if this had been


a female of any note there would have been lots of commentary about


her meerns, her age. This chap is not a looker, -- about her


appearance, her age, this chap is not a looker. I agree with ang lamb.


I think this is an endemic problem in all institutions that don't have


enough women in it. Ladies, I don't care what political party you are


part of, just get involved. If our voices aren't there, nobody else is


speaking up for us. That is the only way it changes. I think 50-50


is the system I was selected under. I think that's fair. We don't have


enough women coming through the political system of all ages, of


all types. That's what we have to change. Back to your original


question, yes it is safe to go into politics. I would rather be a


female MP in Britain than in Italy or Afghanistan. But we can do a lot


better than we are doing now, so please, ladies, get involved and


get your voices heard. Men have to change too. The Liberal Democrats


turned a blind eye to this didn't they? Nick Clegg's recollection is


just the fact that he turned a blind eye to it, and did the senior


Lib Dems. That will be true in the Savile case as well. There is


something else, it is not just the treatment of women but people


aren't owning up to it or seeing it in the workplace and doing


something about it. Ken Loach? The only thing I would add to what


Angela says, which I agree, with it is about power. It is a form of


bullying. It is the abuse of power by people who are no in a superior


position against people in an inferior position in the hierarchy.


They fear for their jobs. They fear for their careers. They feel that -


- they fear that something bad will happen to them in the organisation,


and that's wrong. It's the abuse of power. I think there are cases


where women have been involved. I don't think it is... Mainly men, I


grant you. Whether the guy was good looking or not isn't the point. Was


a cheap shot. APPLAUSE We've got to be much more serious than that. It


is an absolute evil in big organisations and we've all seen it


at different times. Angela is right. Everyone has to stand up and say


this is not on. I agree, there has been a bit of a cover-up. We can't


lump all sex scandals together. This is not ped fillia. It is not


the Savile -- this is not paedophilia. It is not the Savile


issue. Plainly they are not. Ken, do you think something's happened


as a result of the Savile exposures, which is that has been followed by


more and more allegations of various kinds of sexual harassment


which we had never heard before. could well be that. The danger of


that of course is that there is then a witch-hunt. That's also a


danger, because people are innocent until they've been proved guilty.


We must not forget that as well. APPLAUSE You Sir. I think the issue


about a "zero tolerance" towards sexual discrimination isn't really


contentious. It's a very important point, I don't want to dismiss it,


but I don't want to use it as an excuse to ignore that feg lied. I


think in this age when the trust between the trust and the


politicians at an all-time low. Chris Huhne was a liar, despite


what the gentleman said earlier. Nick Clegg lied and we shouldn't


ignore that. What was his lie? said he didn't know anything about


it and it has emerged that he does. That's unforgivable and people need


to say, that's wrong. After his I'm sorry video, it doesn't really feel


like he is. APPLAUSE Jeremy Browne, you can answer that specific point,


that he lied. My understanding is not that. My understanding is that


the differentiation that Nick Clegg made was between understanding


broad rumours that were within an organisation or hearing those


rumours and knowing about specific allegations that he could act on.


There's a distinction between those two. But I've already said that any


person who feels that they have Liberal values and wants to pursue


that through the Liberal Democrats but doesn't feel able to for


whatever reason, including this reason, that's wrong and that's why


we are having these inquiries and we want to change that culture if


it economists. I'm up front about that. We need to learn from what's


happened. Neil Hamilton? I have a rather Newcastle sideline to this.


I think I may be the only member on the panel who was arrested on


suspicion of rape. True. It was a false allegation. One thing you can


never say about the Hamilton household, it is not dull. The girl


ended up serving a prison sentence for perjury and perverting the


course of justice. I believe that the anti-dleevian attitudes which


have been -- antediluvian attitudes which have been exposed. It raise


as few eyebrows. And you get extraordinary responses to these


allegation, such as the one reported in this evening's Evening


Standard, a Liberal peer, said apparently if this sort of


behaviour was really found to be a resignation matter about half the


male members over 50 would not be seen. Well, that doesn't seem to be


to be the appropriate response to what are very serious and


distressing allegations. It is that kind of attitude which should be


Exeter patiented in this country. Are there any women here who fear


they have been harassed in the professions in this way? I have


been harassed, and I worked as a social worker. It was a colleague


who was inappropriate. As I was getting into my car, and I wound


his head in the window. Then I reported it to my female line


manager, and something was done about it. But it was sad to find


out I was not his first victim. But what I would like to say to Jeremy


is, I am surprised you have not been watching the news. If you had


been, you would have seen this playing out. What Nick Clegg said


was a lie. He said, I know nothing about it. But yes, he did. So I can


only say to you, if I believe you, we would both be wrong. What I mean


by that is, I am right, you are wrong. I watched it. Let me go back


to the gentleman's point. I don't want us to focus on the political.


The BBC got itself into a huge turmoil over the Jimmy Savile


affair. There are victims here. We have to sort out the problem. We


should not get galloping down a political who said what to think.


The problem is that crimes have potentially been committed. There


is a culture that is not healthy, and that is the issue to deal with,


not the political nonsense that goes around it. Is it right for


Brussels to cap bankers' bonuses? This is the attempt to announce


today that they will try to cap bankers' bonuses, unless


shareholders decide they can have twice their salary. Is it right for


Brussels to do this? Neil Hamilton, you have strong views about Europe.


Thus the reality of the European Union. If David Cameron thinks he


can renegotiate all sorts of powers back from Europe, here is an issue


which goes to the heart of the City of London's interests, which the


Government has concentrated she strongly on defending and got


nowhere in the negotiations. It will not achieve its purpose,


because the trouble with the laws of this kind is that people will


always find their way around them. We may be able to cap bankers'


bonuses, but a likely consequence of this will be that they will push


up their basic salaries, which will make life more difficult for the


banks, because their fixed costs will increase significantly. And it


will be difficult for them to get flexibility to iron out the impact


of changes in the economic cycle. They like paying by bonuses,


because that is a performance- related element of pay. Looking at


it from the bank's point of view, if the choice is between increasing


people's salaries by a colossal amount and only paying them when


the banks make profits, it is sensible for the banks to choose


the latter rather than the formal. You also have a peculiar situation


where banking is a highly competitive global business. So it


is very footloose and fancy-free. With internet trading, these things


can be done from anywhere. You have global banks with people doing


exactly the same job in Tokyo, New York, Singapore, London. And people


in London uniquely are having their salaries capped, so where are these


people going to go? Away from London, and that means we are all


poorer. Paying these bonuses has seemed preposterous at times, but


the Treasury has been the biggest beneficiary in the tax which is


charged upon them. If we lose all that, we as individuals will be


poorer. This is yet another example of politicians in Europe, none of


whom have the slightest experience of what they are doing, who are


legislating in a way which will cost the earth for us. Their only


qualification is that they support the euro, the biggest financial


calamity in the entire Continent. Calm down! Jeremy Browne, as a pro


European, can you throw light on this? If this is under the Social


Policy, article 151, there is a provision that nothing should apply


to pay. In other words, is it permissible for Europe to say that


they will control the pay of bankers? My understanding is that


they say this is not pay, this is extra to pay, so it is within their


remit. It is not pay? I am not here to answer on behalf of the European


Commission. But money that I hand to you in return for your work, I


wonder what that is? I agree. I am in the strange position of agreeing


with a lot of what Neill said. It might look superficially attractive


to a lot of people who are understandably angry about the


behaviour of bankers and their seeming contempt for wider society.


But I am not sure it will achieve the objectives that some people


hope it will. At the moment, somebody who is paid �1 million for


the �2 million bonus, does that mean their bonus will go down to �1


million? No, it means they will get the overall same take-home pay they


did before. There is an ideological distinction between nationalised


banks and none-nationalised banks. Nationalised banks should behave


much more like public servants and be much more respectful towards the


taxpayers who pay their salaries. But I don't think the government,


whether in Brussels or London, has the business of telling private


companies that do not rely on the state how much they should pay


their employees, as long as they pay them over the minimum wage. And


a Euro centric point - within a generation, Europe will have 5% of


the world population and 10% of the world economy. There is a big world


out there in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, New York. London is one


of the most important cities in the world. It is important that we


understand that we are competing in a global environment. I don't want


to drive away wealth creators who contribute to our economy. It is


not just the richest, it is people on lower pay, to our detriment.


it more that RBS, who have made a colossal loss of 500 bn because of


its PPI misselling, pays �250 million for bonuses? That is a very


good point, but it is a different point. I want to stick with the


idea of capping bonuses. The man at the bank? Thank you, Neil, for your


original point. If Chris Huhne had taken your advice on speeding


points, we would not be having this by-election. The scary thing is,


you mentioned Mr Cameron negotiating in Europe. The last


time we negotiated there, we ended up paying more from the EU budget,


while Germany paid less. I am pro- European. But if I work as a car


dealer and I sell 10 cars and my colleague cells two cars, I expect


to earn more than my colleagues. As long as it is performance related,


I have no problem with it. In and it's surprising how the rich have


to be tempted to work with salaries of millions, and the poor have to


be driven to work for nothing, or else their benefits will be cut?


Neil gave a very long explanation of why banking is an unsatisfactory


way off organising the way we decide what we produce, how we are


paid and how the world is run. This casino banking is actually just


gambling by a very rich people, with your lives and my life. That


is why we need a new system. The banks should be taken into public


ownership. Then we direct what we should produce, and we do it in a


fair way and protect the environment and live properly. RBS


is mainly owned by the people. As the gentleman says, it is behaving


very inappropriately, to use the current term for bad behaviour.


They are paying vast sums to their employees. So is the EU doing right


by try to cut the bonuses? You, the EU is absolutely doing right. The


EU is wrong in many respects, but in this respect, support it. Angela


Eagle, do you support this? First league, it should not have taken


the EU to be doing this, we should have been sorting out the bonus


culture with our banks more effectively than this Government


have done so far. Do you approve of what Brussels are doing? It is an


interesting idea. Do you approve of it? We have got to get a handle on


this bloated bonus culture. When Neil Hamilton says it is all


performance-related and we have got RBS making a �5 billion loss last


year and paying themselves 600 million in bonuses, it is a funny


definition of performance. Is it Labour policy to support this?


want the government here to sort it out. They should have been doing


this earlier. We have a very large financial sector in the City. What


we do here will be far more effective than what the EU can do.


We need to get international agreements to kill the bonus


culture, and we need to deal with casino banking. It is not in this


country's interest to have banks that are so bloated, gambling with


money and our futures. We have to bring banking back to Kerrin about


its customers. Let me bring you back to the question. The Prime


Minister says he is worried about this proposal to cap bonuses


because of its effect on the banking industry here. Are you


worried by it? He has to ensure that he can do a deal in Europe


that deals with the bloated banking culture and ensures that this


country can be properly looked after. He has no allies in Europe.


He was in a minority of one. He should be demonstrating that we can


put a stop to the bonus culture here, and they have failed. Today


we had Boris Johnson defending bonuses. I must stop you. Claire


Perry? I sit here, and I am absolutely gobsmacked by some of


the things you say. Bonuses tripled under your government. The British


banking industry was one of the most lightly regulated industries


in the world. I worked in financial services. A bid to get good


bonuses? No. Never has so much been paid to so many for doing so little


on your watch. We have to regulate it properly, which we are doing, to


ring-fence the casino banking from the commercial banking. You have


made virtually no progress in three years. Please stop interrupting.


They are not lending. This is an industry that employs 1 million


people and generates �100 billion a year in taxes, which funds the


public services we all want. Is it right or wrong for Brussels to do


this? Brussels does not have a financial services industry.


Britain has the biggest financial services industry in Europe, and we


need to regulate it properly. It is not up to Brussels. They are just


trying to grab the British powers. It was the bankers who got us into


this mess, so if dropping their bonuses makes them go abroad, I say,


good. Our time is up, so we must end there. Andrew Neil is on your


next with a special election edition of This Week. They will


have the results of this by- election, which we have been trying


to guess at. They will be on to the early hours until the results come


through. Next time, Question Time will be in Dover. We will have


Melanie Phillips and Bob Crowe among our panellists. The week


after that, we will be in Cardiff. To come to either programme, apply


David Dimbleby chairs Question Time from Eastleigh, the former seat of disgraced ex-MP Chris Huhne and now the site of a fierce by-election battle between the coalition partners. The panel includes minister for crime prevention Jeremy Browne, Labour's shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle, Conservative MP for Devizes Claire Perry, former Conservative MP and now a member of UKIP's national executive committee, Neil Hamilton and the film director Ken Loach.

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