30/05/2013 Question Time


30/05/2013

In London, David Dimbleby is joined by Anna Soubry MP, Alan Johnson MP, Diane James, Mehdi Hasan and Julian Fellowes, the writer and creator of Downton Abbey.


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Transcript


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London town. Welcome to Question Time.

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And good evening to you at home, good evening to our audience and how

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our panel, Labour's former Home secretary, Alan Johnson,

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conservative health minister, Anna Soubry, one of the rising stars of

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UKIP, Diane James, political director of Huffington Post UK,

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Mehdi Hasan, and the Tory peer and creator of Downton Abbey, Julian

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Our first question, Michael Kerr. Following the slaughter of Lee

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Rigby, should adopt a big rubber approach to the surveillance of all

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forms of communication? -- a Big Brother approach. I do not regard it

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as a big rubber approach, but if the questioner is inferring that we

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should adopt the communications data Bill, then I think we should. -- big

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brother. There was an important and constructive contribution by joint

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committee of both houses, because the bill was published in draft

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form. They pointed to a number of problems. They said the bill was

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widely drawn. But they said it still needed legislation. Intelligence and

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Security Committee, which are members of the house of parliament

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from both sides, and from all sides, chaired by Malcolm Rifkind, they see

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all of the MI6 and MI5 intelligence. Before you go further... They

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reported there was a problem that needed to be tackled by legislation.

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What would you like to see? It is not the content of communications.

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When people communicate by land line, or by mobile, security

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services have always been able to look at who was ringing who at one

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time, the duration of the call, nothing to do with the content. That

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is a completely different system that has not been changed. But, as

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new technology has advanced, there are new forms of technology and

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communication that are not covered by that legislation. And everyone

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who looked at this dash me, my successor, Theresa May, the

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intelligence and security committee, and even the joint

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committee of both houses - said this is a problem and it needs to be

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addressed. It has disappeared from the Queen's Speech, it seems,

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because the Liberal Democrats have vetoed it. It is nothing to do with

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Woolwich, incidentally. This would be an issue with or without

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Woolwich. It is hardly a knee-jerk reaction. It has been known for six

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years that there is a flaw in the intelligence services' ability to

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track was very necessary intelligence. 95% of all the cases

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that security services have tracked, seven people due to take

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off in planes to America, all of these other plots that have been

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uncovered, 95% of them were uncovered through this very form of

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tracking who was involved, who was ringing who, the jury should not the

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calls, not the content. This is nothing to do with the content. --

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the jubilation of the calls. said Theresa May should resign if

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she does not do this through. the Home Secretary. It is her

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primary responsibility to keep the public safe. She sees the need for

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this, we hear. Behind-the-scenes, and she argued for it on Sunday. I

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think it is so crucial to a Home Secretary's role that it is a

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resignation issue. If I was Home Secretary and I could not get this

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legislation through cabinet, and could not convince them, as the

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voice of the security services and the police in these circumstances,

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then I would not be able to do my job as Home Secretary. When you were

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Home Secretary, you did not do it. There must be a good reason. There

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is a very good reason, because I was Home Secretary in 2009 and there was

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an election in 2010. The way the government have approached this is

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the right way, publish a bill in draft before, give a year for

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committees to look at it, take a measured approach. We did not have

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time to do that before the election. Or you would have resigned? Yes.Is

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Ed Miliband in favour? Ed Miliband agrees with the amendments made by

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the joint committee, which are very important and were supposed to be in

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the legislation in the Queen's Speech but have disappeared. There

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is this loophole. I used to be a criminal barrister, so I am aware of

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what we can do, and the evidential benefit that there is in looking at,

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for example, contact between people on mobile phones. The mad mass of

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this is that you cannot get the same sort of evidence on the basis of

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people using the Internet. -- madness. It is not about the content

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but about the communication, the timing, the fact that if people, the

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intelligence forces and police, they put it together in a grid. It is

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extremely useful evidence to show conspiracy or joint enterprise. And

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I would like to see it am. And I think now is the time for all the

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political parties, because this should not be a party political

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issue, to sit down and work out a way that we can essentially tie up

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and secure this loophole so we can get what we want, without the

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legitimate concerns that people have about any encroachment of the state.

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Have you thought of ignoring the Liberal Democrats and going along

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with Labour? I do not think we should start to try and see this as

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damaging the coalition, frankly playing cheap party political

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politics. This is a national security issue. What is cheap about

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it? Saying that Labour and the Tories should gang up on the

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Liberals. That is not the approach at all. We need to sit down and work

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out a way of achieving what we all want to achieve. If you put the bill

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aside, Lee Rigby's killers were apparently known for being

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activists. Should they not have been under surveillance anyway, apart

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from the bill? It is a good point about the existing powers,

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surveillance techniques and flaws in the system. The very worst time to

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change your laws is in the immediate aftermath of what is a terrorist

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attack, or an alleged terrorist attack. This is the worst time to

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have knee-jerk responses. I was 100% with David Cameron may rare occasion

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last week when he said we should carry on with business as usual. And

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Alan Johnson is a voice of reason on many issues, but on issues of

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counterterrorism and Civil Liberties the last person we should take

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advice from is a former Labour Home Secretary. That is the sad truth of

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the matter. Even I think that is harsh! The coalition, for all of its

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faults, has done good work in terms of restoring Civil Liberties that

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were lost under 13 years of labour. Thank God for the Lib Dems standing

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up against this snooper's charter, whatever you want to label it. The

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Lib Dems have not exactly been people who have stood up for in

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recent years. But Nick Clegg is spot-on on this. You think this is

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an encroachment of Civil Liberties. You are going after everybody's

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e-mail. What happens in these situations is that it is innocent,

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ordinary people who get surveilled on, and the criminals and terrorists

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find the loopholes. So you believe security forces should not have the

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ability to track phone calls over landlines and mobile phones? I think

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a government that could not keep control of 25 million child benefit

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records on a CD and lost it in the post should not be entrusted with

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the data of the entire population. All government is negotiating the

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exchange of freedom for security, and you give up certain freedoms in

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order that you may be free to walk home at night, whatever it is. That

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is the whole basis of government. In this instance, it does seem to me

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that the existing situation, which is when they do have permission to

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go in, when they have some reason to suspect, all that is needed, and I

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am only speaking for one of the lobbies, is to loosen the rules that

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bind them. They can only hold information for 30 days, only do

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this for something or other, they cannot repeat the request. If we had

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a situation within the existing laws whereby once they have a reason to

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investigate and interfere and actually look at whatever somebody

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is doing on their computer, their telephone, whatever, but they are

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doing it unfettered and able to achieve a result, surely that is,

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apart from anything else, more realistic than trying to screen 60

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million people. This is one of the things, simply to make it easier for

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investigative forces, and to take away the current rules that restrict

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them. That would make a big difference. The Communications

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Bill, if adopted, would only solve the symptom of the problem of

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terrorism. The source of terrorism really is extremism. And that has to

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come down to the aggressive British foreign policy. We had an attack in

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the US, that bombings in France, and now in the UK. All of this had to do

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with attackers saying they were upset with the Western foreign

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policy. We will come to that in a moment. Then they bring in Diane

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James on the first point about surveillance. How on earth are we

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going to resource this is the bill goes through? Mehdi Hasan has made

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the good point that, quite frankly, governments of every colour have a

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lamentable record in terms of the way they have held the data in any

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form of security. The quality of the information, how that has been

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handled, as such. My understanding is that MI5 and MI6 have a budget

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which is under considerable threat from the austerity measures that

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this coalition government is bringing in. It is very well to say,

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and I would agree with the point that this is a gross intrusion of

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generalised Civil Liberties with no necessity. There is a small

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proportion of the population that does need monitoring. But if we

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suddenly embark on this huge, very costly exercise, without the budget

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to do it, it will fail at the first hurdle. This is not surveillance. We

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have to get this clear. This is not surveillance. It is about the sort

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of access to data which we currently allow with mobile telephones and

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landlines, and we merely seek to extend that to the Internet. It is

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not about surveillance. You are making a distinction. You are asking

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the Internet service providers to say, we keep track of all of the

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things that have been done but not the content. Absolutely, and it

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shows a Trail. And you can access that with permission from the Home

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Secretary, if you choose to. This is about the ability to get data, just

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as you can at the moment for mobile phones. It prevented a whole series

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of plots that you have read about, and that people have been tried and

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imprisoned for. If we have prevented lots of plots, why do we need a new

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law? If you look at the way we collected data, for example on

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mobile phones and landlines, it has been particularly successful in the

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prosecution, for example, of drug rings. It is incredibly important

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evidence which I have seen in court. It is an extension of that and it is

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really about filling in this loophole. It is not surveillance and

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it is not snooping. If you want to talk specifically about

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surveillance, you can do that otherwise we will widen it to the

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question that was put over here with a question from Edward Poole,

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please. Would we see fewer terrorist attacks in this country if we did

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not invade, or support the invasion of other countries? I do not know

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whether this particular Woolwich attack, would this count as one of

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the examples you are talking about? That sort of thing, yes. The short

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answer is, I think, yes. And I am glad of this question. I wrote an

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article on this subject today. I do not think foreign policy is the only

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factor in terms of motivating and radicalising people. To pretend it

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is not a factor and has nothing to do with it, as Boris Johnson and

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David Cameron were suggesting last week, I think that is mad. If you

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look at all of the people who have been captured in failed terrorist

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attacks, or after terrorist attacks, they all say the same

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thing. They all talk about invasions and occupations and support for

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dictators, and support for patients. At some stage, you have to ask, are

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we going to take seriously what they are saying? That does not mean you

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change foreign policy on the basis of their demands, and it does not

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mean they are justified in carrying out acts of violence, but it means

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if you want to take a multifaceted approach to preventing

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radicalisation, you have to put foreign policy in the mix. It cannot

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just be other issues and not foreign policy. The former head of MI5

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said, I warned the government that if we invade Iraq it will spur young

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British Muslims towards terror, radicalising young men. And now when

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you say that, you are accused of being some extreme anarchist, when

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the former head of MI5 and various intelligence agencies all warned us

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what our foreign policy would produce, and it has produced. The

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Woolwich case is sub judice, but the general point. My point is with

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regard to the total communication (Inaudible) community leaders and

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the politicians and the agencies which are responsible for this. I

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can see that the community leaders have not played their role that they

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were expected to play. I think there's a serious crisis there. They

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have to win the confidence of the community they are living in and to

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pass on these, their aspirations, their ideas to the politicians and

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to the people, the public in general, so they should know what

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they are thinking and what their feelings are about it. History has

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shown us that when you have disaffected often young people, they

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may be angry, they may have other troubles in their lives that they

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fall prey off on the radicalisation and to extremism and it can go to

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all sorts of appalling levels. I think when we look at, and we do

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have to be careful, because somebody has been charged, so we are in

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difficult legal territory, but it is an important matter this, because we

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know that too many, usually meals, in our Muslim community in

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particular, have been radicalised in this way and it has caused much

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upset and anger in the Muslim community, because the vast majority

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of that faith are decent, law-abiding, honest, good people. I

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just feel this with some passion, having seen two members of my

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constituency today who happen to be Muslims. They came to lobby me on my

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views on plain packaging of cigarettes, but I thought that this

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is a story worth repeating. At the end of our very interesting

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discussion they felt the need to apologise to me in some way because

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of their faith and to make the point to me that not all Muslims were like

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some that we've seen in recent events. And I interrupted them to

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say, you don't have to apologise at all for your faith, because good,

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sensible people in this country know exactly that the overwhelming

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majority of people of your faith are good, decent citizens and we are

:17:25.:17:35.
:17:35.:17:36.

proud to have you in our country. APPLAUSE

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When we talk of extremism isn't it more a case of lack of belonging for

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men, and the same thing that draws somebody towards Islamic radicalism

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is the same issue that draws someone towards gangs, the EDL or violent

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groups? We have a Corp group of young men with a lack of sense of

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belonging and it is not just about Islamic radicalism.

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APPLAUSE Alan Johnson, I would like to bring

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you back to the question: Would we see fewer terrorist attacks here if

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we didn't invade or support the invasion of other countries? Well,

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9/11 happened before any country was invaded there. Would still be

:18:25.:18:29.

jihadists around, I believe, with or without what happened. In terms of

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Kosovo, we went in to defend Muslims, who were being butchered. I

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think the argument there is we should have gone in earlier. So

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there'll always be people who want to make that link. And you can't

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divorce it from foreign policy. I agree with Mehdi on that. Foreign

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policy has to be part of the fix, but this kind of suggestion that

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this is all because of usually about the invasion of Iraq, I don't think

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that's the case at all. In fact you could make a very good case for

:19:03.:19:07.

looking at the Middle East if Saddam was still there, if you want to draw

:19:07.:19:11.

the kinds of what if questions and find a very difficult situation in

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the Middle East, as we are finding in Syria. I do enjoy lective quote

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quoting. In 20032 joint Joint Intelligence Committee told your

:19:25.:19:29.

Government if we invade Iraq we will Huyton threat to the Al-Qaeda of

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Al-Qaeda. Today you are saying it is not to do with Iraq. The point I

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made was 9/11 was nothing to do with the invasion of any country. It was

:19:39.:19:44.

an attack on America. Palestinians have been occupied for

:19:44.:19:52.

decades. The West supported Saudi dictatorships. You can't start the

:19:52.:19:59.

clock on 9/11 and forget the oppress eggs of the -- the oppression of the

:19:59.:20:04.

Middle East. I have to say, Alan Johnson hit the nail on the head

:20:04.:20:11.

precisely. Before 9/11, there was no question in our minds as a British

:20:11.:20:16.

nation of having an involvement with invading other countries. Our

:20:16.:20:22.

presence in our countries is as a result of what was even voiced by

:20:22.:20:28.

the man who is now standing accused of an awful crime last week. He

:20:28.:20:33.

said, or is reported to have said, "I want to start a war on London's

:20:33.:20:38.

streets tonight." We live in a surreal world. We've been at war for

:20:38.:20:42.

many years, and what we are doing is trying to protect our freedom and

:20:43.:20:51.

the safety of our nation. So the excuses given by radicals and

:20:51.:20:54.

terrorists is feeble. That was Michael Kerr who asked the first

:20:54.:21:01.

question. Julian Fellowes? For me the issue is not really that is

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terrorism the result of our intervention? If we were absolutely

:21:04.:21:09.

sure that our intervention was the correct thing and terrorism was the

:21:09.:21:14.

by product of doing the right thing it could be a much clearer issue.

:21:14.:21:19.

Agreed. I'm not sure what we think we are achieving with much of this

:21:19.:21:25.

invasion and involvement. We read today that Helmand province is as

:21:25.:21:31.

disturbed and the rest of it as we arrived, that's for every 2,000 for

:21:31.:21:35.

every man, woman and child in the country. I know it is not the money.

:21:35.:21:40.

The truth is if we are spending this money, seeing young men and women

:21:40.:21:45.

give their lives or be maimed or whatever, we've got to be sure we

:21:45.:21:50.

are achieving something. I think we would do much to go in with aid

:21:50.:21:54.

after a resolution has been reached rather than this inevitable stoking

:21:54.:21:59.

up of the whole thing. We are at the moment on the edge of it in Syria

:21:59.:22:04.

and we were told yesterday by our leaders if we arm the rebels it will

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take them towards the peace table. Well huh, the next minute that the

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Russian Russians come in with arms for the other side and were

:22:13.:22:20.

escalating a kind of proxy war. It seems to me we are amateurish in a

:22:20.:22:25.

way about this. We are dabbling in cultures that we don't understand

:22:25.:22:28.

and not getting the results we think we ought to achieve. The one thing

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all these countries have in common is the outsider who goes in to

:22:32.:22:36.

meddle is the bad guy. That's true across the board. We seem not to be

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able to take that on board. APPLAUSE

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The woman in the second row there. have to dis disagree with Mehdi

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Hasan actually. He is saying this radicalisation and the thoughts have

:22:49.:22:53.

existed for decades. However, what sticks out in my mind, and I'm 27,

:22:53.:23:00.

is 9/11. A lot of the people who are going out and becoming radicalised,

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being extremists, look at the gentleman last week. He is of my

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generation. This has happened since then. That's what you need to

:23:09.:23:13.

target. Yes it has been happening for decades but a lot of people have

:23:13.:23:19.

become aware of it only since 9/11. I agree. I was saying that Alan's

:23:19.:23:26.

point was that it had come out of the blue. It hasn't. It is not a

:23:26.:23:33.

controversial point. I think there's a direct correlation. The number of

:23:33.:23:38.

statements we've heard from young people who've turned to radicalism

:23:38.:23:42.

and extremism, what they are citing is quite frankly they want revenge

:23:42.:23:46.

and retaliation. Fundamentally we've made some very bad decisions I

:23:46.:23:51.

believe over the last few years. We followed the the US. We've been

:23:51.:23:55.

asked by the US to go into scenarios, war situations around the

:23:56.:24:01.

world with no good evidence. The weapons of mass destruction was one

:24:01.:24:04.

of the clearest misleading statements to get introduce that

:24:04.:24:10.

particular conflict. Syria could be the next one. We've got no

:24:10.:24:14.

justification, no jurisdiction and no interest. And every single time

:24:14.:24:18.

we follow what I believe is absolutely misguided policy we are

:24:18.:24:24.

going to fuel young people who listening to individuals, who should

:24:24.:24:28.

be deported, it is as simple as that. There should be none of this

:24:28.:24:33.

allowing them to stay here and still radicalise people on the streets, we

:24:33.:24:38.

are going to continue with the problem. I can't allow one of Mehdi

:24:38.:24:45.

Hasan's comments to go unchallenged. He said, I speak as somebody whose

:24:45.:24:54.

father fought at Monty Cass in inknow -- Monte Cassino in General

:24:54.:25:00.

Alexander's Army. He said Palestine had been occupied for a long time.

:25:00.:25:08.

46 years. I'm old enough to remember 1966, 1967, 1973. I don't know who

:25:08.:25:15.

the aggressors were but that is a totally unjustified comment. The

:25:15.:25:22.

State of Israel exists through the decision of the United Nations. This

:25:22.:25:26.

radicalisation by our going into other countries might be a fact, but

:25:26.:25:32.

we have to do what's right. We got rid of a dictator in Iraq, Saddam

:25:32.:25:37.

Hussein. The situation there might be wrong now, but we got rid of a

:25:37.:25:42.

dictator. If we do the same in Syria we risk doing the sill thing. The

:25:42.:25:48.

opposition there are just as radical as Assad, just as bad. However, we

:25:48.:25:51.

can't sit back and do nothing. We have to follow our beliefs. Thank

:25:51.:25:58.

you. I'm going to... I'm going to move on to Syria. We've got a

:25:58.:26:03.

question on Syria. Before we do, you can of course at home take part in

:26:03.:26:13.
:26:13.:26:25.

this debate either by using our # Or Chris lark, please. Is arming the

:26:25.:26:34.

Syrian rebels in our national interest? We started on this really,

:26:34.:26:39.

they have lifted the ban and Mr Hague suggests that it will

:26:39.:26:43.

accelerate them towards the peace table to know this is a possibility.

:26:43.:26:47.

I personally think Russia's joining in with the offer of other weapons

:26:47.:26:52.

rather make it clear that the danger is that we will be living this kind

:26:52.:26:58.

of proxy war. It is a very frightening prospect to me. Of

:26:58.:27:05.

course I understand that the President Assad is ghastly. I don't

:27:05.:27:13.

have any problem with that. I hope he falls resoon, but I'm not -- I

:27:13.:27:17.

hope he falls very soon, but I'm not keen on what the Chinese are doing

:27:17.:27:23.

in Tibet. Should we get on there? And when we finish invagd let's push

:27:23.:27:28.

off to Moscow and sort out Putin. Where does it end? One has to

:27:28.:27:33.

somehow keep a grip on areas where we do have a kind of responsibility.

:27:33.:27:38.

I suppose I do feel that. Sometimes there is a kind of historic

:27:38.:27:42.

responsibility to get in, but I think that kind of reckless just

:27:42.:27:46.

being the kind of policeman of the world, we can't afford it. But

:27:46.:27:53.

anyway I don't think anyone can, so for me it seems Mr Hague says we

:27:53.:27:57.

won't have any troops on the ground, but yes we will, because people will

:27:57.:28:01.

have have to explain how to work the weapons we were sending. He says it

:28:01.:28:05.

will go to the good rebels as opposed to the bad rebels. Yes,

:28:05.:28:10.

dear. These things are impossible. APPLAUSE

:28:10.:28:18.

I have a slight, just a qualifying admiration, I do rather admire Mr

:28:18.:28:22.

Hague and Mr Cameron for going with something that God knows would not

:28:22.:28:26.

be popular and certainly wouldn't be a question of governing for votes. I

:28:26.:28:30.

sort of like that in them but I think in this instance there's

:28:30.:28:34.

nothing for us there until at the end when we can go in with aid and

:28:34.:28:42.

help the new post-Assad state get settled and set up. OK. You Sir at

:28:42.:28:47.

the back. I'm finding the real problem is not so much arming the

:28:47.:28:52.

rebels, it is what happens very similar to the Americans and the Bay

:28:52.:28:55.

of Pigs arming the rebels is well and good but when it doesn't work

:28:55.:29:00.

out, what does the state do? That's the dangerous line that I find. If

:29:00.:29:04.

it doesn't work out arming the rebels, where does the state come

:29:04.:29:10.

in? Alan Johnson? The rebels are already armed. Syria is awash with

:29:10.:29:13.

weapons. The decision made this week wasn't about other countries in

:29:13.:29:17.

Europe making this decision. It was about Britain making this decision.

:29:17.:29:21.

It required unaninity to keep the sanction as, because the decision

:29:21.:29:26.

had run out after two years, the sanctions and the arms embargo were

:29:26.:29:31.

taken together. France was in an equivocal decision but the rest of

:29:31.:29:34.

Europe knew if they didn't go along with this they wouldn't keep the

:29:34.:29:39.

sanction as, because Hague would have vetoed it. The Americans are

:29:39.:29:42.

supposed to support arming the rebels but there is no chance of

:29:42.:29:45.

Obama or America doing it themselves. This is purely British.

:29:45.:29:49.

This is British arms that are going into a country that's awash with

:29:49.:29:54.

weapons. Julian is right. We don't know whether they are going to get

:29:54.:29:58.

to the good rebels, if you like. There is plenty of evidence that

:29:58.:30:02.

Assad does have a large proportion of the population on side. The

:30:02.:30:08.

Alawites for a start, from his sect. So I can't see how this will help

:30:08.:30:12.

the Syrian people. Leave aside is it in the best interests of Britain? Is

:30:12.:30:17.

it in the best interests of Syria, where we want to see a peaceful

:30:17.:30:22.

solution? There is no options here that are good options. William Hague

:30:22.:30:26.

is faced with a series of options, none of which is perfect, but this

:30:26.:30:30.

seems to me to be the wrong thing to do, at exactly the wrong time. It

:30:31.:30:35.

has led to a production from Russia. Although the idea of peace talks is

:30:35.:30:40.

tenuous, at least it was there for June and July. This seems to have

:30:40.:30:47.

scuppered that as well. You think it is something they are seriously

:30:47.:30:50.

considering, not just a matter of putting pressure by saying they

:30:50.:30:56.

might. I do not think it will put pressure, not with Russia stepping

:30:56.:31:01.

in with the most sophisticated air missiles in the world. Has it been a

:31:01.:31:07.

misjudgement? Not at all. One of the things we have to accept, and Allen

:31:07.:31:11.

has this wrong, is the fact that it was us and the French that wanted

:31:11.:31:15.

the embargo lifted, and quite rightly and properly so, because it

:31:15.:31:20.

gives us the opportunity, should we so choose, to supply weaponry and

:31:20.:31:25.

armament to those people who are fighting against Assad. We are not

:31:25.:31:29.

saying we are definitely going to do it, but we are lifting the embargo

:31:29.:31:34.

so that we have that there are. second point in the question, is

:31:34.:31:39.

arming the Syrian revels in our national interest? It comes back to

:31:39.:31:43.

the point the gentleman at the front made, sometimes you have to do what

:31:43.:31:46.

you believe is the right thing. Allen, in the previous answer,

:31:46.:31:51.

referred to Kosovo. There are other instances where we should have done

:31:51.:31:55.

things which we did not and to our great regret. What is your view on

:31:55.:32:01.

this one? Obviously, we want a proper they go shaded peaceful

:32:01.:32:07.

settlement. That is the way forward. We are putting in aid because we

:32:07.:32:10.

know that millions of people are being displaced. Many more tens and

:32:10.:32:14.

hundreds of thousands of people, innocent women and children inputted

:32:14.:32:19.

tiller, are being slaughtered. There is good evidence that this man is

:32:19.:32:23.

using chemical weapons against his own people. Forgive me, but I do not

:32:23.:32:27.

think we should sit back on that. I think we have a right and a duty to

:32:27.:32:33.

say this is not acceptable in the modern world. To put the question to

:32:33.:32:39.

you, I repeat again, is arming the rebels in our national interest? You

:32:39.:32:43.

have not answered. We have not got to that stage. We have lifted the

:32:43.:32:47.

embargo so that is an option we have. If we were to do it, as

:32:47.:32:52.

William Hague has made clear, it would be done in a very cautious and

:32:52.:32:56.

sensible and responsible way. It is a difficult situation, nobody is

:32:56.:32:59.

going to pretend it is anything other, and it is hugely complicated

:33:00.:33:05.

as well. Do you mind if I just make the point that William Hague appears

:33:05.:33:08.

the only individual in the UK at this point in time who thinks arming

:33:08.:33:13.

the rebels, whether it is a diplomatic ploy for a month or so,

:33:13.:33:17.

or whether it does actually deliver weapons, he must be the only

:33:17.:33:21.

individual who thinks that is going to resolve this, or in any way help.

:33:21.:33:26.

I can almost imagine somebody saying, how are we going to take the

:33:26.:33:30.

weapons to make sure they are allocated to the right rebel? Who is

:33:30.:33:33.

going to be the right rebel, and when is that right rebel going to

:33:33.:33:39.

start talking to somebody in the UK and leading to Morag, is eight here?

:33:39.:33:43.

It is just a ridiculous piece of policy. -- more radicalisation here

:33:43.:33:51.

in the UK. We will go there, we will arm the rebels, they will take over

:33:51.:33:54.

the government and then in 20 years when we are not happy with them, we

:33:54.:33:58.

will have to kick them out again. It is absolutely ridiculous. They are

:33:58.:34:06.

sovereign. There are no good options in Syria, that is true. There is an

:34:06.:34:08.

old saying that whoever fights monsters should see to it that they

:34:08.:34:13.

do not become on in the process. Usher shall Assad is a monster who I

:34:13.:34:17.

load. I loathed him when the US government was rendering terrorists

:34:17.:34:23.

to Damascus to be tortured by their secret police a few years ago. His

:34:23.:34:26.

regime is responsible for much of the violence in Syria, but many of

:34:26.:34:30.

the rebels have come monsters in their own right. The Syrian

:34:31.:34:35.

revolution began more than two years ago as an Arab spring style protest

:34:35.:34:40.

against tyranny but it has morphed into something else, hijacked by six

:34:41.:34:47.

Terry thugs, ex-military, foreign jihadists, gangsters. The UN,

:34:47.:34:49.

Amnesty International, read the reports about what the rebels have

:34:49.:34:55.

done, some of them - torture, beheadings, use of child soldiers.

:34:55.:34:59.

There have been reports they have also used chemical weapons. A few

:34:59.:35:04.

weeks ago some of us watched a foreign -- a rebel commander cut the

:35:04.:35:08.

heart out of a dead man and bite into it, and yet a few weeks later

:35:08.:35:13.

our Foreign Secretary pushes the rest of the EU into lifting an arms

:35:13.:35:16.

embargo so we can potentially supply arms to his allies. So that we can

:35:16.:35:22.

supply arms to rebels who include a group that has openly pledged

:35:22.:35:27.

allegiance to Al-Qaeda. Let me get this straight, at home we are

:35:27.:35:31.

fighting against extremism and countering radicalisation. Abroad,

:35:31.:35:34.

we are sending bombs and bullets to radicals and extremists, we are

:35:34.:35:43.

planning to. That is not just double standards, it is insanity! I would

:35:43.:35:47.

like to say that I support the arming of the rebels. The reason I

:35:47.:35:52.

support it is because the reason Assad has been so successful in

:35:53.:35:56.

killing his own people is because of the support that he has had from

:35:56.:36:02.

Russia and China, and those are two powers that do not seem to worry how

:36:02.:36:08.

many people get killed if they are pursuing their own interests. I

:36:08.:36:12.

think it absolutely right for us to now start to draw a line in the sand

:36:12.:36:17.

and say that we are not accept ting any more of this support and

:36:17.:36:21.

killing, that we will stand up and say that what is happening in the

:36:21.:36:26.

Syria, supported IVs powers, Russia and China, is wrong, and we are

:36:26.:36:34.

going to start to try and reverse this process. -- supported by these

:36:34.:36:39.

powers. Surely, arming the rebels is

:36:39.:36:42.

fuelling the fire. As you mention, we do not know where the materials

:36:42.:36:47.

will go to. I would also say that previous interventions have failed.

:36:47.:36:52.

Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. We are leaving them in a bigger mess than

:36:52.:36:58.

we found them. But mainly, is it any of our business? Is it our business

:36:58.:37:03.

for the government to say that we have a right to get involved? Your

:37:03.:37:11.

job is to represent Britain and put our interests first.

:37:11.:37:15.

Is there a worry that this action may cause a bigger international

:37:15.:37:21.

war? That is my worry on this matter. Yes, absolutely. They are

:37:21.:37:27.

talking about this tenuous John Kerry goes over to Russia, they talk

:37:27.:37:32.

about getting a peace conference, some diplomatic efforts underway. It

:37:32.:37:37.

is essential that Russia is around that table, and Iran. They are

:37:37.:37:40.

arming the Assad regime. It is essential to get all of the players

:37:40.:37:46.

round that table. By the actions that William Hague is taking, he

:37:46.:37:52.

does run the risk - I would not accuse William of doing this

:37:52.:37:55.

deliberately - but it does run the risk of escalating the whole arms

:37:55.:38:02.

race. And that means you are in a worse situation than before. It is

:38:02.:38:06.

all right saying, put in more arms on the rebel side. There are plenty

:38:06.:38:10.

of countries arming the rebels, but what is our object if? Our objective

:38:10.:38:16.

is a peaceful solution. You do not get that by putting more weapons in

:38:16.:38:21.

and killing more Syrians. It is keeping our options open. Let's

:38:21.:38:31.
:38:31.:38:33.

leave that and come back home, clearly domestic issues. Does the

:38:33.:38:39.

fact that patients are more likely to die at the weekend demonstrate

:38:40.:38:43.

the NHS's gradual deterioration? This survey showed you had a better

:38:43.:38:47.

chance of living if you were operated on on a Monday than on a

:38:47.:38:53.

Friday. Anna Soubry. Statistics show a fact but do not give the

:38:53.:38:57.

explanation and the understanding behind the facts. The NHS medical

:38:57.:39:02.

director, who is a heart surgeon by training, explained that when he was

:39:02.:39:06.

operating as a heart surgeon, he would often have his most

:39:06.:39:10.

difficult, most risky patients put into his surgery on a Friday, quite

:39:10.:39:15.

deliberately, because he was not in surgery on a Saturday and Sunday.

:39:15.:39:19.

The cause of the weekend, people would spend longer in intensive

:39:19.:39:25.

care, and because he was not in surgery, he was available and able

:39:25.:39:30.

to give them more attention over the weekend. Why do more people die when

:39:30.:39:35.

operated on on a Friday? If you put more of your risky patients in on a

:39:35.:39:41.

Friday, they run the risk, being risky, of unfortunately not

:39:41.:39:45.

surviving the surgery. It is not as simple as saying, if you go in on a

:39:45.:39:49.

Friday you run a higher risk because there is some failing in the system,

:39:49.:39:54.

there is something wrong in the staff. It could be because you are,

:39:54.:39:58.

in any event, more at risk of not surviving from your operation, that

:39:58.:40:02.

you have been put there on a Friday specifically so that you can be

:40:02.:40:06.

given extra care. But there is another story involved in this. It

:40:06.:40:12.

is something that Sir Bruce Keogh is looking at, and that is making the

:40:12.:40:16.

best use that we possibly can of our NHS, so that it reflects the real

:40:16.:40:21.

lives that most of us live. That means looking at whether or not we

:40:21.:40:25.

could do much better by having more parts of our hospitals open at the

:40:25.:40:29.

weekend. If you have ever been in the unfortunate situation of going

:40:29.:40:33.

into accident and emergency on Sunday night - and you may think I

:40:33.:40:37.

am speaking from experience dash and then you are admitted but you cannot

:40:37.:40:42.

have a scanner, because that part of the hospital is not open until

:40:42.:40:46.

Monday, and so you wait in a bed on Sunday night until Monday comes

:40:46.:40:51.

along. Because there is such a backlog Hamid cannot have the scan

:40:51.:41:00.

on Monday, so they send you home. -- you cannot have the scan. So we

:41:00.:41:04.

could have potentially much greater improvement in our NHS. That is what

:41:04.:41:09.

this is about. Do you agree that gradual deterioration is not the

:41:09.:41:13.

issue? This was analysis done by Doctor Foster at Saint Mary's

:41:13.:41:19.

Hospital. They were looking at planned surgery, elective surgery,

:41:19.:41:22.

not emergency care, but people planning to have a hip replacement,

:41:22.:41:30.

etc. The mortality rate overall is something like 0.6%. It is tiny.

:41:30.:41:34.

Over three years, they looked at the people who had died, that tiny

:41:34.:41:38.

proportion, and equated it with this issue about the weekend. Anna Soubry

:41:38.:41:43.

is right. I have plenty of political issues with her and her government

:41:43.:41:49.

about the NHS, but this is not one of them. I goes you will find there

:41:49.:41:53.

are reasons why the patients who are having a leg of surgery, the ones

:41:53.:41:58.

least likely to come through our operated on later in the week. --

:41:58.:42:03.

having elective surgery. This must not be pumped into another attack on

:42:03.:42:08.

the NHS, as if people are dying on the operating table in huge numbers

:42:08.:42:17.

at elective surgery. APPLAUSE

:42:17.:42:22.

It seems that Anna Soubry was valued into a seven-day hospital, with

:42:22.:42:27.

scanning and having scans available on Saturday and Sunday. One of the

:42:27.:42:30.

main problems with more scanning facilities is that you need to put

:42:30.:42:40.
:42:40.:42:40.

more money in. The current climate, is that possible? Thank you for the

:42:40.:42:44.

observation you have made. I would like to pick up on his point that he

:42:44.:42:47.

has plenty of issues with the current coalition government's

:42:47.:42:51.

policy on the NHS. When this reform was launched, part of it was that

:42:52.:42:58.

the NHS had to find, before 2015, 20 billion in efficiency savings. I do

:42:58.:43:04.

not know about you, but efficiency savings to me equals costs. Costs in

:43:04.:43:09.

the NHS means you start to reduce things. One of the areas identified

:43:09.:43:14.

very early on, and the audit commission costed this, was that 5

:43:15.:43:19.

billion would be on staff alone. When you take staff out of the

:43:19.:43:23.

system, they cannot man the equipment, cannot be on the wards,

:43:23.:43:27.

cannot be doing surgery. So I go back to the question, which I

:43:27.:43:32.

welcome, that this is a direct correlation. If you affect the NHS

:43:32.:43:37.

in that way, and you supposedly ring fence it, when it is not being ring

:43:37.:43:42.

fenced at all, you start to see problems. The accident and emergency

:43:42.:43:46.

issue is just one of them. In the last few weeks we have had the

:43:46.:43:50.

nonemergency number, and others. It just shows that it is seriously

:43:50.:43:57.

creaking. �20 billion of efficiency savings was introduced under the

:43:57.:44:00.

last government. This had cross-party agreement, and it is

:44:00.:44:05.

ways of making sure money in the NHS is better spent. Forgive me, but it

:44:05.:44:09.

is not about cuts, but about making sure you move money to better areas

:44:09.:44:14.

and spend it more efficiently. On staff, there are more doctors than

:44:14.:44:17.

before and the cuts that have been made in staff is to managers and

:44:17.:44:21.

bureaucrats, which I would have thought you would have approved of.

:44:21.:44:26.

Clinical Commissioning Group's have led to this. You take out one

:44:26.:44:30.

element, primary care trusts, and you immediately launch into Clinical

:44:30.:44:34.

Commissioning Group's, putting doctors into a situation where they

:44:34.:44:38.

are trying to deal with bureaucracy when, quite frankly, they ought to

:44:38.:44:42.

be treating patients. They are the people commissioning the services,

:44:42.:44:46.

which is why we are seeing such an improvement in commissioning,

:44:46.:44:49.

because we have trusted health professionals to do it. There are

:44:49.:44:55.

many examples of where it is working exceptionally well. I am more than

:44:55.:45:01.

happy to share them with you. essential truth of this is whether

:45:01.:45:05.

or not more people die at the weekend, and I don't know enough

:45:05.:45:10.

about it. We all have a better chance of surviving our illnesses

:45:10.:45:16.

before there was an NHS. The fact is that the NHS is a marvellous element

:45:16.:45:21.

of life in this country. Of course it is going through a crisis, it has

:45:21.:45:25.

to deal with far more people, the treatments are more expensive and so

:45:25.:45:31.

on. It is difficult to manage that. But this is a real area, Anna is

:45:31.:45:35.

asking for a cross-party solution. We all want the same thing - an

:45:35.:45:40.

efficient NHS that runs well and the rest of it. Surely this is one area

:45:40.:45:42.

where the political parties could put their differences to one side

:45:42.:45:49.

and work together as to what the NHS needs and the support it should get.

:45:49.:45:55.

APPLAUSE I'm not argue arguing against

:45:55.:46:01.

cross-party agreement. But when even the Royal Colleges don't support the

:46:01.:46:05.

reforms, when David Cameron had to call a pause in terms of the launch

:46:05.:46:10.

of the reform bill, haven't you really got a problem? You can have

:46:10.:46:17.

cross-party support but when you haven't got the mechanics joined up,

:46:17.:46:22.

I believe you've got a problem. Mehdi? I'm astonished to turn up to

:46:22.:46:27.

Question Time and finding myself agreeing with UKIP on every issue

:46:27.:46:31.

tonight. You can't have a cross-party consensus with some of

:46:31.:46:37.

the things going on in the NHS. I'm with Julian, I'm a great fan of the

:46:37.:46:43.

health service. But costs. Labour put in a lot of money to the NHS and

:46:43.:46:47.

did improve quality. No doubt about that. But a lot of that money was

:46:47.:46:50.

sucked up into salaries, the salaries of doctors, GPs and

:46:50.:46:53.

consultants. We have some of the highest paid doctors in the world.

:46:53.:46:58.

You look at any international league table. When it comes back to the

:46:58.:47:03.

weekend point, and I'm not an expert on the weekend figures, it seems to

:47:03.:47:08.

be the case that if you have weekend care surely there should be a

:47:08.:47:12.

consultant covering hospitals at all times given what those consultants

:47:12.:47:20.

are paid. I don't see why we shouldn't expect consultant-led

:47:20.:47:30.
:47:30.:47:30.

treatment at the weekend. The out of film for cuts - efficiency savings.

:47:30.:47:38.

�20 million and the opposition bring in this unnecessary topdown

:47:38.:47:44.

reorganisation, which nobody wants, which cost costs three to �4

:47:44.:47:50.

billion, on a pointless reorganisation. A couple of points

:47:50.:47:56.

from the audience. One of the issues being debated on the Conservative

:47:56.:48:01.

policy this forum this week was to try and save money for the NHS by

:48:01.:48:05.

restricting access to a GP and limiting the amount of times you can

:48:05.:48:10.

visit your general practitioner. How is that improving the NHS and the

:48:10.:48:15.

health of the nation It one idea among many and it is not my party's

:48:15.:48:20.

policy and it will never come to fruition. I was one of the

:48:20.:48:24.

bureaucrats made redundant from the NHS. I know from a lot of the people

:48:24.:48:30.

I worked with, a lot of people lost their jobs at the PCTs at massive

:48:30.:48:35.

public spent, with massive redundancy package as, and they've

:48:35.:48:40.

been hired back to do the same jobs as they did before. Have you been

:48:40.:48:50.

hired back? I work you GP's surgery now. Diane's policy is to have

:48:50.:48:53.

elected county health boards. If there was ever a ridiculous idea,

:48:53.:48:57.

that was it. You can't have politicians micromanaging the

:48:58.:49:05.

commissioning of services. The evidence is clearly emerging that

:49:05.:49:08.

they are proving to be extremely beneficial. We are seeing a

:49:08.:49:12.

different approach to commissioning and in a way that we haven't seen

:49:12.:49:17.

before. But public satisfaction in the NHS is falling under your

:49:17.:49:21.

Government. This is led by the people at the sharp end. Doctors and

:49:21.:49:24.

nurses and other health professionals are now controlling

:49:24.:49:28.

those services and having a direct impact. It is for the benefit of

:49:28.:49:33.

patients. Soubry sushgs you have made your -- Anna Soubry, you have

:49:33.:49:39.

made your point and we will come back to it in six months no doubt.

:49:39.:49:44.

Does the position on the UK's benefits policy mean it is finally

:49:44.:49:52.

time to get out of the EU? This is the report that the EU is

:49:52.:50:02.
:50:02.:50:03.

going to take the UK to court on benefits. Cue Diane James. Of course

:50:03.:50:10.

it is. What better example of the Prime Minister claiming he is going

:50:10.:50:15.

to go to Brussels and repatriate powers and do this, that and the

:50:15.:50:20.

other and there it is, it is almost as if he has been whacked around the

:50:20.:50:25.

cheeks with a wet fish and told to go back and do his homework. It is

:50:25.:50:29.

not something that he has got a leg to stand on quite frankly.

:50:29.:50:35.

Employment law, right of access to all EU residents, cross-boundaries,

:50:35.:50:40.

are it is there enshrined in law. You've got equality. You can't

:50:40.:50:44.

fiddle with it. You either come out and start again and do your own

:50:44.:50:50.

thing or stay in the party. I think it was one of the European heads who

:50:50.:51:00.
:51:00.:51:01.

said the UK always has this issue, is it goes on to the playing field

:51:01.:51:05.

and plays wrong sports. You think the British Government will lose

:51:05.:51:10.

this case? I believe it will.Do you believe that? No, I don't believe

:51:10.:51:18.

that. It has been tested in the UK courts on several occasions and it

:51:18.:51:24.

does not breach EU law. Someone in the commission is awe kip member,

:51:24.:51:27.

because they are trying to help them at the moment. The simple fact is

:51:28.:51:32.

this. The residents test we give to workers coming here is to ensure

:51:33.:51:38.

that they have a spend a period of time here before they can claim

:51:38.:51:43.

benefits like JSA. That's because we have a means-tested system. In other

:51:43.:51:47.

European Union countries people go there. Don't forget Brits move to

:51:47.:51:52.

other parts of Europe all the time. After Poland and Italy we are the

:51:52.:51:57.

third biggest workforce in Europe. When we go to work in their

:51:57.:52:01.

countries we have a contributory system, so you can't access benefit

:52:01.:52:04.

until you've contributed so much. It is the same thing but done in a

:52:04.:52:09.

different way. And that has been the case that the UK courts have upheld

:52:09.:52:13.

all the time. It is one of the reasons why Europe needs to change.

:52:13.:52:17.

Leaving Europe, in the economic mess we are in at the moment, with a

:52:17.:52:21.

world that's increasingly dependent on regions to punch their weight, I

:52:21.:52:25.

can think of nothing more self-destructive that we could do.

:52:25.:52:32.

Would you like Labour to call... APPLAUSE

:52:32.:52:36.

Would you like Labour to call for a referendum before the election so

:52:36.:52:44.

that the public can have their say? No. Now is not the time to increase

:52:44.:52:52.

uncertainty in the British economy and for British business. This is...

:52:52.:52:59.

It might increase certainty nightn't it? You would have to have a debate.

:52:59.:53:02.

Perish the thought! What I'm saying is we should be concentrating on

:53:02.:53:06.

growth in our economy, getting young people back to work, recovering from

:53:07.:53:12.

a terrible economic mess and having an in/out referendum on the European

:53:12.:53:16.

Union would actually jeopardise that. Julian Fellowes? I don't know

:53:16.:53:20.

whether we are going to win or lose this. The Alan thinks we might win

:53:20.:53:25.

it and I hope we do, but I think there is a more central issue. The

:53:25.:53:29.

whole thrust of European history over the last few centuries has been

:53:29.:53:34.

driven by the desire for people to chrome the way they are Gordon, and

:53:34.:53:41.

to have their voice heard by their governors. We have, in the ti we

:53:41.:53:46.

have got ourselves into a situation where even if 100% of the population

:53:46.:53:50.

of this country don't want something or do want something, that doesn't

:53:50.:53:55.

mean it will happen. I don't believe, I agree with Alan, I don't

:53:55.:54:01.

believe in leaving Europe. It seems the completely wrong time and very

:54:01.:54:05.

destabilising and the rest of it. But I also believe that David

:54:05.:54:10.

Cameron's desire to renegotiate is realistic. He sees it as a good

:54:10.:54:13.

thing but appreciates that the terms we are living under are no longer

:54:14.:54:19.

acceptable. But his instinct and I think it is a perfectly reasonable

:54:19.:54:25.

one is first to see if they can be made acceptable, if they can be

:54:25.:54:30.

renegotiated so we do feel we control our own Government, that we

:54:30.:54:34.

are a free country. It is only after the failure of that effort that we

:54:34.:54:37.

should even be having a conversation about whether we should stay in.

:54:37.:54:43.

That's what I think. A brief point. I think it is quite ghastly what

:54:43.:54:47.

we've heard today but I do believe that the UK is right on this matter.

:54:48.:54:52.

The UK is particularly right on this matter and I agree with Alan Johnson

:54:52.:54:57.

and Anna Soubry that the UK has policies in place that shouldn't be

:54:57.:55:02.

Tam personed with. To leave the EU at this time would be particularly

:55:02.:55:07.

destabilising to the markets. It is important that we remain for the

:55:07.:55:13.

prosperity of our nation. Mehdi Hasan, do you think it is an own

:55:13.:55:23.
:55:23.:55:23.

goal for the commission? In terms of emboldening UKIP. In response to the

:55:23.:55:26.

questioner, no of course we shouldn't pull out of the EU if one

:55:26.:55:30.

legal decision goes against it. I'm not a lawyer. I want to make two

:55:30.:55:37.

wider points. One is to echo what Alan said. There are two million

:55:37.:55:43.

Britons working and studying in the EU, 800,000 in Spain alone, able to

:55:43.:55:46.

access benefits on contributory principles. It is not just one way

:55:46.:55:50.

traffic. Don't believe all the hype in your newspapers this morning.

:55:50.:55:55.

It's a two-way road. And secondly, please, let's not use these

:55:55.:56:00.

decisions or stories to scaremonger about the role that migrants play in

:56:00.:56:05.

our society, especially in relation to the benefits system. All of the

:56:05.:56:10.

studies show that migrants pay in more in tax than they take out in

:56:10.:56:16.

benefits. They are less likely to be on the benefits system... I have to

:56:16.:56:26.

stop you there. And less likely to abuse the NHS. So UKIP, please stop

:56:26.:56:32.

demonise demonising them whether it is Bulgarians... We are into injury

:56:32.:56:39.

time. Alan is right in his analysis. In the was a rule introduced in the

:56:39.:56:42.

1990s and tested in the Supreme Court. Other countries support us.

:56:42.:56:49.

We've supported other countries. The Austrians for example. You are

:56:49.:56:53.

interrupting me and I didn't interrupt you. He is right in his

:56:53.:56:57.

analysis. We need to renegotiate. We need to look at the way of doing

:56:57.:57:00.

things in the European Union better. I think there is a groundswell of

:57:00.:57:04.

opinion throughout the EU that's in agreement with us. So I look forward

:57:04.:57:08.

to 2015, the return of a Conservative Government, and we'll

:57:08.:57:13.

enter into all of that and then have a referendum. I hope we vote to stay

:57:13.:57:16.

in the European Union but we need to have that referendum so we can lance

:57:16.:57:24.

this boil once and for all. Time's up. Apologise Apologises to those

:57:24.:57:29.

who wanted to get in on this. We had, if we had an hour and a half I

:57:29.:57:35.

would bring you all in. But we can only do an hour. We are going to be

:57:35.:57:41.

in Blackburn next week. Douglas Alexander will be on the panel for

:57:41.:57:46.

Labour. And the writer and historian AN Wilson will be there. The week

:57:46.:57:51.

after that we'll be in Edinburgh. Watch out if you can think of coming

:57:51.:57:55.

to it. 16 and 17-year-olds only, because the first time in the United

:57:55.:57:58.

Kingdom they are going to have a vote in the election for the

:57:58.:58:01.

vote in the election for the referendum on independence. In

:58:01.:58:07.

Edinburgh two weeks from now. Just 16 and 17-year-olds. And if you are

:58:07.:58:14.

any age in Blackburn frankly, you are welcome to come. Apply via our

:58:14.:58:20.

website or call. My thanks to our panel here, to all

:58:20.:58:25.

On the panel in London are Conservative health minister Anna Soubry MP, Labour's former home secretary Alan Johnson MP, UKIP prospective candidate for European Parliament Diane James, political director of the Huffington Post Mehdi Hasan and Julian Fellowes, the writer and creator of Downton Abbey.


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