30/01/2014 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Norwich, with a panel including Ken Clarke MP, Emily Thornberry MP, Lord Oakeshott, Kate Smurthwaite and Mark Littlewood.

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Tonight, we are in St Andrews Hall in Norwich, and welcome to Question


Time. And welcome to you at home, to our


audience who will be asking the questions, to our panel, who have


not the slightest clue what the questions will be. They are the


Conservative cabinet minister, Ken Clarke, Labour's Shadow Attorney


General, Emily Thornberry, Liberal Democrat peer and former City of


London investment manager, Lord Oakeshott, director-general of the


free-market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, Mark


Littlewood, and the comedian and feminist campaigner Kate


Smurthwaite. As Matthew Oakeshott points out, he


is still a City of London investment manager. We had announced that


Charles Kennedy would be here tonight but he had to go to a


funeral in Scotland today unexpectedly and sent his apologies.


Our first question from Jonathan Winslade. Will the revival of the


50p tax rate lead to the wealthiest individuals leaving the UK? If


Labour goes ahead with that policy, will it lead to the wealthiest


individuals leaving, Ken Clarke? Well, it would be a signal that we


were going back to a politically higher tax regime than we have had


for about 20 years, because it was only announced before the election


by the Labour Party. They did not have a 50p tax rate when they were


in office. And this is not the right time to be doing that. We are trying


to encourage entrepreneurs and investment, which is slow coming


because there is not confidence. We need to attract inward investment


and restore London as a financial centre, and attract investors to


make us a stronger manufacturing country. I think the message to the


outside world would be, it is the same old politics in Britain. No


doubt you would get some votes from those feeling hard up at the moment


but the national interest would, I think, be damaged. It is a pretty


old-fashioned, simplistic way to appeal for the votes of people


feeling a bit hard up, to tell them that you are somehow going to raise


vast sums of money from the rich. We never have in the past, and we do


not want to drift back into that again. What do you think? Once


again, we see the Labour Party being delusional with economic policy. We


are just seeing growth getting back to the levels of 2007. Do we want to


damage current and future leaders of business and get them to leave the


UK? Where does that leave our growth. Emily Thornberry. There are


two things that people say who are against it. First they say it will


not raise any money, and other people say it will hurt business. It


can't do both. The reason we think we should introduce the 50p rate is


because we are all in it together. Remember the Tories saying that?


When Cameron said that, he said that was why we should keep the 50p tax


rate, because when they were in opposition they said they would keep


it. When they got into government they gave the millionaire 's attacks


rake in which meant the average millionaire got ?100,000 tax break


each year as a result of lowering taxes. It seems to me that when


people's wagers are worth the equivalent of ?1600 less, every year


people are feeling poorer, prices are rising faster than wages, we are


all supposed to be shouldering the burden equally, and the richer


proportion of society is not. That is why we want to introduce a higher


rate of tax. The question, though, was whether it


would lead to the wealthiest individuals leaving the UK. I don't


believe it would. It has not in the past, and the reason it has not is


because actually Britain is a really good place for people to live. We


have a good, stable society, we have wonderful culture, good schools.


People enjoy a good life living in Britain. In the end, those that move


away tend to come back because Britain is the best place to be. I


just want to come back to that gentleman about his question about


whether the wealthiest, it would encourage them to leave the UK. To


be honest, the wealthiest are not contributing to this country anyway,


because all the wealth is stashed offshore. I don't think we are


taxing the wealthiest in enough. People at the very bottom are


suffering and struggling, and that step is not going anywhere near to


redressing the balance in this country. Emily said there are two


criticisms of bringing back the 50p rate. One that it will not raise


money, and the second that it will harm business, and they can't be


true. I'm afraid they are both true. If you are to believe the


independent experts, the Institute for Fiscal Studies, this might raise


?100 million. That is thereafter guess. That pays for about 70


minutes of government expenditure. I do not know how the Labour Party


will fund the rest of the annual government budget. It will harm


business, not for the reasons the question implied. It is not as if


you bring in a 50p rate and everybody earning over ?150 flees


the country and gets the first flight out. ?150,000. They are not


going to flee the country overnight. Some of them might decide to leave,


I guess. It is more question of a multinational company thinking,


shall we relocate more people to London, to Singapore? It might be


that they decide to go to Singapore. It might be people who are doing


very well in their 50s and 60s. Am I going to work next year or retire


early? There are a multitude of reasons why it would dis-


incentivise people at the high-end. We are in a global economy and if


you want to help business and see the risk -- the recovery secured,


bear in mind the top 1% of earners in this country pay 30% of income


tax receipts at the moment, maybe not enough as you up -- as far as


you are concerned, but it is 30%. If you put the rates up far higher, you


will not get the money to spend on the poor and other things we want to


help this country with. I would like to pose a question to Emily


Thornberry. Do you think this country, the voting population, do


you think we are stupid? Look what happened under new Labour. Tony


Blair was absolutely complicit in generating the wealth, doing deals


with Murdoch, Bernie Ecclestone, generating all this wealth. Tax was


lower under new Labour. I find it incredible to think that raising the


tax will make you think you are more electable. Just tell me, how


electable work Michael foot and Neil Kinnock when they were leading the


Labour Party. It is total rank socialist hypocrisy. It seems to me


that the problem we have is that the current government has decided it


needs to save money and has turned and hit the poorest and most needy


in the most brutal way. The Labour Party are saying, and I think it is


a fairer and nothing to say, that what we need to do is to start


taxing some of the richer, to increase taxes, but these things


back up. Lots of countries have a 50%, or a higher top rate of tax,


and there is not a flood of people leaving. I think they are right to


do that. But both groups are missing the fact that there is a third group


of people who pay virtually no tax, the very highest earners in our


society. Almost one third of the world's money sits in tax havens,


and we continue to support that. That is where we need to access the


money and stop supporting. Matthew Oakeshott, we will bring in Emily in


a moment but the accusation was that the 50p tax rate is a politically


destructive move. I don't think it is. You are in favour. What really


matters is wealth. I remember the argument, we brought in our policy


of a mansion tax through houses of over ?2 million. We had talk about


people leaving the country. I don't believe it. Frankly, if people are


going to leave because the top rate of income tax is 50p, rather than


45p, I don't want them in this country, frankly. What is more


worrying too big is less than serious business is not what the top


rate of tax is but the increasing threats we are getting not just from


UKIP but the UKIP wing of the Tory party that we might leave the


European Union. That would really destroy jobs and hit investment.


What you have got to do is to have a tax, as Kate said, a tax that people


cannot avoid. That is why we must have wealth taxes. That is where the


really big difference is. It is not on income but on wealth. The Liberal


Democrats had a virtually tied vote at our conference. Most of us are


simple that it to a 50p rate, but we do not think it is the key thing.


The key thing is to tax wealth and deal with tax dodgers. What is the


Liberal Democrat view about how much it would raise? Well, the general


evidence is that most people think it would raise a bit. And there is


no evidence, I think... What is a bit? 100 million, 200 million. That


is enough? No one is saying it would not raise any money. I think it is


important, when things are so difficult, that there is a message


of fairness. At the key thing is to deal with the enormous inequality in


wealth in this country. -- but the key thing is to deal with the


enormous inequality in wealth. The amount it would raise must be


important. Answer that gentlemen, it is a destructive socialist policy


that will lose the election. If it is going to raise 3 billion a


year... The Tory line seems to be, don't tax people too much, otherwise


they will avoid tax. don't tax people too much, otherwise


they It seems to me that the role of government is that you set a tax


rate and make sure that people do not avoid tax. Another question we


ought to ask tonight, and Cameron was asked this three times at Prime


Minister 's questions, is is it the Tory policy to lower tax rates to


40p. He has not answered. I don't know if you can help. 40p was the


new Labour rate. These high rates of tax were abolished by Nigel Lawson


as we got into the modern era and developed a competitive economy. Our


big task now is to develop a modern, competitive economy to attract the


right kind of investment to this country. Throughout new Labour's


period, the top tax was 40p. It was a few weeks ago, head of an election


in which you were doomed, that you put it up. The only reason you are


announcing a change is that you are trying to get back to a responsible


economic lessee. You started attending that you have suddenly


been converted, after four years, to the idea of tackling the deficit and


the debt. I am in favour of that. We are well on the way, with Labour


voting against us every time we do it. They are not prepared to say how


they will match us and get us into surplus, how they are going to


tackle the deficit and debt. The only thing they have is this the aft


idea that you raise 100 million or so by going to a level of taxation


which new Labour never levied throughout their time in office.


Through three years of the 50p tax rate, ?10 billion was raised. That


is the numbers, OK. We can bandy around numbers as much as we want


but this is about fairness and making sure everyone shoulders the


burden. Let me have the man in spectacles. There is no


manufacturing in this country, we are not building our own stuff, not


making this and that, bringing in products, how we generating our own


money? We are so privatised that we have no room, Nouveau. -- no room


for manoeuvre. No matter what you set the highest


rate of tax at, someone will find a way of getting round it. If you want


a fairer society, pick a flat rate, clamp down on tax evasion and


avoidance, clamp-down on business practices designed to reduce the tax


burden and make sure everyone contributes the same level of their


income, whether a street sweeper or Google. What about the 50%? You


would not have it? It is pointless. Get everybody to contribute the same


amount of their income and cut down on avoidance. now the recovery has


started to take base, I think people have a very short memory. At the


heart of the financial crisis, when the Coalition Government came in and


basically picked it up, two things were said by both party leaders, by


Ed Miliband and David Cameron, the fact that it was time to build a


fairer economy. Miliband called that a responsible economy. Cameron


called that a moral economy. Both of them said this was our chance to do


this. Hasn't happened? I think what has happened now, with the recovery


is that has been forgotten. I think Labour are trying to, if you look at


their policies, they are talking about energy companies, OK? They are


talking about the 50p tax, they are talking about all sorts of things


that talk about the person on the ground and supporting them, trying


to reclaim some of the wealth. But I think that the conservatives,


unfortunately, have forgotten about what Mr Cameron said. At 45p, our


top tax rate is higher now than it was the round Gordon Brown's entire


period as Chancellor of the Exchequer. I mean, we are in a


serious situation in this country. We are slowly getting back to


recovery, it's very hard work, we got to be competitive. We have to


stop fooling about with old-fashioned political gestures


like this. Can I just return on that? No, we have heard from you.


The man above you? It seems naive that people seem to lose track and


think the only way to keep the wealthy happy is to allow them to


keep more of their wealth, while those at the bottom server. Recent


figures suggest that the top 85 wealthiest individuals in the world


have more money than the bottom 70 billion. People say we have to push


that further in favour of the wealthy.


We are going to go back to the question then move on to another


one. I think Ken Clarke's comment about people being a bit harder


shows how elitist and out of touch this government is. It's insulting.


People are having to survive on food banks. You have ministers laughing


about it. I'm not laughing about it. In Parliament, they were laughing


about it. We inherited the problem and we are tackling it. I'm


explaining that in the modern world a 50p tax rate will not help. Doing


what we are doing now, creating a competitive economy, it is the only


way you're going to raise the living standards of ordinary people in this


country. Living standards have suffered because there has been a


recession that we did not cause, because there was irresponsible


mismanagement of the economy in the last arcade. -- decade. I think


people who claim to understand about economic summits in one important


point. When you allow the wealthy to have a bit more money, they put it


in the bank with the other money they have already got. If we have


learned one thing from watching benefits Street, it is that people


will wait until midnight to get hold of it, they spend it within 30


minutes of getting it. If we wanted to get the economy moving, injecting


more money at the top, where it goes into savings, does nothing. We need


to inject money at the bottom, where people need it, they will spend it


and put straight into the economy. That is why we have been


concentrating on taking millions of people out of tax at the bottom,


moving up the tax threshold, with our policies to make sure that


happens. As you say, and pensioners also, they are the people that spend


the money and get jobs going. What is the justification of supporting


the bedroom tax? We are all in it together and people have got to pay


that? It is not fair. It seems to be fair to attack the poorest, but


somehow it is not fair to expect the richest to pay more. A last word


from the person who set the question question mark we have had two embers


of the people saying people will not leave the country. We have had a


property boom in London from people coming from other countries. If we


get rid of them, we are not going to have the money to help the people at


the bottom. I don't think people coming and pushing up house prices


in London is helping anyone. I think it is really hard to live in London,


those under 40 cannot afford to live in London, they cannot afford


council properties or to be able to buy. I think having a boom in the


economy based on house prices in London and the south-east is not


sustainable growth. They are not moving to London, they are buying


blocks of flats and leaving them empty. Was it high taxes in France


that made London the sixth most French city, as it is claimed now?


There are more French people living in London and Bordeaux, because of


tax. I think there are a lot of British people living in Bordeaux as


well. People move around. One of the reasons we have a lot of French


people in my part of London is because of the banking sector. Why


not go for a 75% tax rate? That is what Hollande has gone for. 50p is


fair, because there is a crisis. And because everyone should... At home,


you can join in this debate and all of the other topics we go through


through text and Twitter. I don't know what you've heard is, tweeting?


Twittering? I always say twittering. You can also text comments. You can


use the red button to see what other people are saying.


Let's have a question from Chris Lambert. If you have chosen to live


below sea level in Somerset, is it reasonable to assume that you will


be flooded? If you've chosen to live below sea level, is it reasonable to


assume you'll be flooded? When people bought their homes,


nobody said, I'd like to live next to the sea, where is the sea? Up


there? There are places below sea level but they have been reclaimed


land, a lot of projects in place to make liveable over hundreds of


years. What we have now is a situation where some of those


defences have not been maintained, rivers have not been dredged, that


have been dredged for many years, and where protections and barriers


have not been maintained. What we are seeing is that now the


combination of the expected flooding and the impacts of global climate


change mean that people are much more at risk than they have ever


been. At the same time, we have an Environment Secretary who will not


confirm he even believes in climate change. He has slashed the budget


for climate change and it is... -- climate change initiatives, we have


initiatives working out where it is going to be, it includes carbon


capture and all of that stuff, that is about half what we spend on the


Queen and that is what we are spending on what scientists around


the world agree is the single greatest danger to the future of the


human race, that is appalling. Is it reasonable to assume that you


will be flooded? I think it is reasonable to expect people assume


they are taking a risk of that. I live in a high crime area in London,


I am aware I am running a higher risk than most people that I will be


mugged, stabbed or whatever. That is part of the risk of the place I


choose to live in. That doesn't mean that I don't have sympathy for the


people afflicted by this. Yes, but people who choose to live... In


places which flowed, -- flowed, the solution is not to have Owen


Paterson, however he sent a man he may be, and the Environment Agency


in Whitehall trying to coordinate all of this. What we need to get


back to is to give the powers to the local communities and the local


councils to deal with particular local problems. My local area would


have a crime problem, not a flooding problem. Somerset will have a


flooding problem and less of a crime problem. There has been a lot of


criticism of the Environment Agency and you used to be their press


spokesman. Do you think they are a good outfit? Do they do a good job,


do they work their socks off, like Lord Smith does? I think they do


their best, but I don't think they are set up the right way. How you


deal with Somerset, the problems with draining and dredging,


whatever, from an office in Whitehall, is ridiculous. We have


got to get these powers and responsibilities back to ground


level. It is not a criticism of the Environment Agency, it is a


criticism of the structure. It should not be organised by a cabinet


minister in Whitehall. You have to put these powers on the ground.


Allow people to raise the resources and spend the resources on combating


these problems at local level. The woman up there? There was flooding


in Norfolk recently as well. David Cameron actually came to see the


flooding there. There was an example of local people actually managing


that situation. Local flood wardens were able to coordinate it, and it


was efficiently run. Were their criticisms of the Environment


Agency? I don't know, but it was well run by local people and saved a


lot of disaster. Over the last few weeks, we have seen a lot of local


people in all of these areas that have been flooded in the


south-west. They mostly come out with the same historic information,


that they have always known that when rivers were dredged all the way


down to sea level that this was never a problem, even when we had


torrents of rain. When have the so-called experts who are paid a


huge sum of money in their salaries, when they going to start


taking notice? With great respect, I think it has become a bit of a


modern cliche that every time we have a disaster, and no doubt this


is a terrible disaster for people living there, they must be having an


absolute nightmare time for the past few weeks, somebody has to be


blamed. I don't blame the inhabitants, that is for sure. It is


famous wetland. The background is that they have had more rain there


than anybody for 100 years. And it is still raining. You know, it is a


once in 100 year episode. Nobody can find in historic times such heavy


rainfall in January. When this is all over, of course, you need green


checks burps, actually, to examine what more can be done. -- drainage


experts. In perhaps a sensible way. I am not an expert in land


drainage. I understand why the locals are clean to things like


saying, oh, you should dredge the rivers more frequently. If it would


make a difference, I think that is highly controversial. Obviously you


need to dredge them occasionally. This is a real tragedy, a


consequence of a freak... Well, not a freak, it is the kind of thing


that happens now and again. It is the winter, it is wet, it has


rained. I don't know if we can put it down to climate change. I have


noticed some windmills, solar panels, I have noticed energy bills


going up and people saying we are going to have a political price on


energy, when you have an international wholesale market and


we are trying to reduce carbon levels. I do think the present fewer


or about Somerset, who is to blame, somebody has to be summoned and it


is lynch mob stuff. I don't think it is relevant to the people suffering


there. I believe in climate change. How much more evidence do we need?


We just had January, the wettest month in this country ever. Clearly,


the pressure is building up. Answering the question, many people


in many parts of the world live at sea level or below sea-level. The


question is if it can be managed and if you are having many more floods


and than you used to. You buy a house for a long time. To me, the


evidence is building up quite quickly that we are having far more


variable weather and far more problems. We have got to face up to


this and deal with it. It will not just be Somerset, but all sorts of


places in all sorts of ways. It is actually pretty shocking you have a


climate change denier responsible for this problem.


Who are you saying it's a climate denying charge? Isn't he extremely


sceptical about it? The Prime Minister seems to think he is rather


convinced. That is excellent, news to me. You are agnostic, Ken Clarke?


No, no. The little egret is now eight common bird across the country


and I used to get excited when I saw it in southern France. We have


policies in climate change. It's difficult, energy policy. You've got


to get the balance right between getting down carbon emissions to the


right level while keeping it sufficiently affordable to stop


praising all of our businesses out of international markets. We are


engaged in that, seriously. A flood, every flood, to turn it into a


political judgement. It's not every rainstorm and every flood. We have


had one of the wettest winters for 100 years. You keep breaking all of


the records. It keeps happening again and again in different parts


of the country. The reason for that is because of climate change. It is


not global warming. People like the idea, well, global warming, I will


be able to grow olives in my back garden. It is not like that. It is


unpredictable, major weather changes and we need to make sure that we are


up for it and we are protected. The government is doing a good job on


this commie thing? I think somebody who is unable to have a cull in


badgers in charge of defending is against this major change in climate


is not necessarily the best policy. I know he was going to have a


review, a concrete policy, he said, in six weeks time. The Prime


Minister said last night he was going to call in the army. The army


arrived and went home again. This is policy-making by photo opportunity.


It is very unfortunate. You can't just say the army arrived, two


Majors arrived. If that is the army, we are in real trouble. It will be,


soon. We heard he had called in the army, than we see that it was two


Majors that went home. This is not the way we should be running things.


The problem is what Ken Clarke has just said - I have noticed windmills


and solar panels. We have not noticed the greenest government in


history. We were told that and we didn't get it. We have an enormous


energy Bill, green levies, a big investment in offshore wind and


solar going ahead, a pattern of subsidies. And fracking as well. We


have a serious policy on climate change which is interrupted by daft


pumice is about fixing the energy price. -- daft promises. Our weather


is not going to change. What are we going to do to help these people? We


have millions of pounds put into foreign aid, but what about English


aid. Can't we have a big bucket for all of these extra taxes going to


English aid to support these people? Some of them can't afford insurance


because they are on the poverty line. Some of them have not got


houses. When are we going to help our own people? You would give a


large sum of money to people in Somerset as an area in special need?


People are talking about wealth taxes, but we need a new bucket for


ordinary people, when we have not got enough money to help ourselves.


You in the third row. With the increase in what is called global


warming, wouldn't people see that, I guess, that things like this are a


much higher possibility, and shouldn't things have been put in


place such as flood offences, or the need to stop this?


The grey-haired man. Well, it is not what it was when you were born,


exact early! When I was 11, doing geography at high school I learned


that flood lanes were for floodwaters. When are we going to


stop building houses and factories on flood planes, which pushes water


further down the system? The man in the brown jacket. I think it is a


strange thing to complain that we are not giving enough money in


English aid, when things like Syria are happening right now. Yes,


flooding is terrible, but as the question pointed out, you accept


that the risk by living on a flood Lane. If you are Syrian, you have


not accepted to be in a civil war. -- you accepted the risk by choosing


to live in a flood plain. Should foreign-born criminals be


able to have their citizenship revoked? This is this complicated


thing. There was a proposal from the Home Secretary that citizenship


should be taken away from people born outside this country who then


came in, and she was told it was not support. Also through the House of


Commons today, there was an argument about whether you can say, if you


are found guilty of a criminal offence, that you are entitled to a


family life and can therefore stay in this country. They are two


conflated issues. Should foreign-born criminals be able to


have the dish citizenship revoked? -- British citizenship. I bow to no


one in support of human rights and Civil Liberties. But I think in


certain circumstances the answer to this question is yes. I am not


saying there are no circumstances in which citizenship should not be


revoked. Had Osama Bin Laden qualified for British citizenship


presumably we would sought to revoke it. That does not mean you kick


people out for being shoplifters, but it means there needs to be a


test under which, in certain circumstances, if you were not born


here and have been granted British citizenship, it can be removed. To


the supplementary point about under what terms can we expel you from the


country, again, I think that is a relatively high test, but if you


have earned British citizenship, or qualified for it by means other than


being born here, you have actually been granted a privilege as well as


a right. I think that river which can and should be revoked in certain


circumstances. You need to make sure it is fairly done, not arbitrary. I


am a bit worried about politicians making the decision rather than


judges, but yes, I reckon if you are given citizenship and you miss


behave in a criminal fashion to an intolerable level, then it is


reasonable to revoke that citizenship. Emily Thornberry,


Shadow Attorney General. I was in Parliament today and I have to say


was really confusing as to what on earth was going on. We had


amendments being rushed up overnight, announced on the today


programme, others being handed in in handwritten script. We had people in


Parliament saying, I do not even know what we are debating. It is on


a piece of paper outside. If I go outside I cannot be in the debate.


So it went on. You have the Home Secretary saying the amendment was


illegal, as far as her advice was concerned. You had Dominic Raab


saying that the Home Office advice was that it was legal. The Prime


Minister was saying he would like to support the amendment but could not.


And so it went on. We had all of these different things. What do you


think? What I think... The point I was trying to make work that the


chaotic way in which it was being dealt with in Parliament today is


not the way of dealing with it. And what is your answer to the question?


My answer is that people have different and competing rights. We


have a universal declaration of human rights which is universal, it


is in the title, and everyone should have rights, no matter how


despicable they are, no matter how much we hate them. They have rights,


and we have rights, too. We have rights to be protected against these


people. They have rights to have a family life, and their children have


rights to have a parent. If I was the child of a foreign-born


criminal, I would want my father around, and the court would need to


decide whether my right to have a dad was greater than someone else's


right to be protected. Those decisions are made within the


courts. What they were trying to do today was pass laws that would not


allow the courts to make decisions. It seems to me that these are


difficult, delicate issues that need to be debated carefully. And the


chaotic way in which the government were doing it today was more about


posturing and trying to get the right headlines in a chaotic party


that cannot hang together on this issue. To Reza May was talking about


terror suspects, stripping them of citizenship. -- to Reza May. What we


have said is that we cannot have overnight this sort of clause being


put before parliament without being able to look carefully at what it


means. Does it mean somebody who is Somali born, come to Britain, has


British nationality, has gone off and Fort Al-Shabab, come back and


raise money for Al-Shabab and then gone back to Somalia and then we are


trying to take away citizenship, that might be one circumstance. The


point is, how do you pass a law... Would that be justifiable, in your


view, to strip them of citizenship? I think it is something we need to


think about. I think it is something that we need to consider because of


the right that we have to protect ourselves, but we need to make sure


that when we pass laws in relation to issues as difficult as that, we


get it right and we do not pass something that the Dangerous Dogs


Act, which we passed in a moment of, we have to do something, and passed


a law which is bad. These rules are very difficult and have to be got


right. We have just had a very long and complicated example of how


Labour, and it was even worse under Tony Blair, do not know where they


stand on Civil Liberties. I am not defending the position the


Conservatives got themselves into today, where they had more positions


than the Kama Sutra in Parliament this afternoon. We had Labour and


the Lib Dems voting one way, the Tory government abs staining on


something they said was illegal, others voting against. But I must


say, it would be good if Labour could say more clearly which civil


rights they believe and what they don't. We believe in the human


rights act which we introduced into law. I am saying, as the audience


can see, that you have spent a long time not saying where you are. I am


trying to... You spent a long time talking about Parliamentary


procedure which no one is interested in. I think people should know that


this particular proposal is actually not about the courts taking


citizenship away, but the Home Secretary being able to. Are you in


favour or not. I am very doubtful about it. No, I am not. It is only


if people are made stateless. This is just the kind of thing that comes


out, that we in the House of Lords have to look at very carefully and


have many amendments and protections. We need to be very


careful. You teased her for not having a view. What is your view on


that issue? I am very sceptical indeed. That does not mean anything.


She gave an example of somebody from Somalia who had fought for


Al-Shabab, raised money in Britain, gone back to Somalia. In those


circumstances, would you agree that citizenship should be withdrawn? It


could be. You would need a lot of safeguards and I do not want this


done by the Home Secretary. I want it done in the courts. First of


all, I think this debate is horrible. If people commit crime in


this country, we should deal with it in this country. This is different


if people want them extradited overseas. What is our role as a


responsible global player, to say we do not like people so we will send


them around the world? Secondly, there is something absolutely


frightening in the language I have just heard and the language the Home


Secretary has used. One minute we were talking about foreign


criminals, and the next minute we were talking about terror suspects.


As soon as we are deporting people because we suspect them of something


they have not been convicted of, it is us who are the criminals. Do you


agree with that, Ken Clarke? I am very proud of our record on the rule


of law, protecting human rights. We take a very strong stand on human


rights against dictatorial governments around the world and it


would be ridiculous if we abandon our standards in this country,


saying it was all for the Chinese but not quite the same here. I was


at a meeting with businessmen in Ipswich today. If this comes forward


as a proposal, I will recall, when I studied international law, my


understanding was you could not make people stateless. You were not


allowed to say you would not take your own citizens back. If this is


actually a proposition that's going to be put forward and develop, I


would consult my very good friend the Attorney General, Dominic


Grieve, and ask for his opinion, and ask him to satisfy me that we were


doing so in a way that was compatible with the rule of law. And


I don't think he would give a long, rambling don't know, like his


opponent. He would have been able to read it through properly, not to be


expected on the basis of a couple of hours to make a decision. That is


what you were doing today. I know you weren't there. You used to be


Lord Chancellor. Your advice today would have been quite welcome. I am


sure the businessmen you were speaking to enjoy your company but


it would have been good for you to have been in Parliament, because the


Tory party were in disarray. I don't think your only problem was that you


did not have time to read it. Your obvious problem was that you didn't


know what to say. I made perfectly clear that we need more time to


consider it properly, and thank goodness we have the House of Lords


that will have more time to consider it rapidly. You should not be trying


to pass legislation like this as fast as you did. It is wrong. It was


not being proposed today, not being put forward. Just leave the


Parliamentary procedure to my. Just for a moment. We almost that


politicians can talk forever about that. It is so much easier than


talking about the issue of and support. I find it really worrying


that the pair of you can't be clear about your stance on this issue and


how all you can talk about is how chaotic it is in parliament. Why is


that? Why can't you be quite clear about it? I don't think we need to


go any further down that road, we have seen the evidence. We have ten


or 15 minutes and I would like to get a couple more questions in. Amy


Rust. Is the UK Government doing enough to help Syrian refugees?


Emily Thornberry? I think we are doing the right thing in terms of


the money that we are giving to the campus. I think most of the refugees


have gone to the nearest country, places like Jordan and Lebanon.


Those places are poor countries and it is right for us to give the


amount of aid that we are to make sure that the camps are run as well


as they can be. There are people who, even though on the face of it


it may be a safe haven, going to Jordan, are so vulnerable because


they have been raped or because they are youngsters who do not have any


parents and they need to have more protection than the camps can give.


The United Nations has said there was very vulnerable people should be


sent to rich, Western countries are unaware they can be given more


assistance than they will do in a camp in Jordan. I think it was sad,


in the circumstances, that the British Government didn't sign up to


be one of those countries that would happily give a place to those


refugees. We have a great tradition of giving refuge to people and I


think it was a shame we didn't. I'm glad that the government has had a


change of heart and I pay tribute to the charities that have campaigned


so hard to make sure we finally do the right thing. And what the Home


Secretary said... I don't want to bandy about these figures, what the


Home Secretary said on Tuesday was that 3500 Syrian refugees and asylum


seekers were already in Britain, which compares very favourably with


most other countries involved in the scheme. I don't know if that is


true. Ken Clarke? Saw the country is said to be taken several hundred or


1000 are counting asylum seekers. -- some of the countries. As you say,


we have several thousand here already. The answer to the question


is that we will take several hundred, we are working with the


United Nations on identifying the most vulnerable. There is no point


in counting heads and taking the first 500 that line-up. Also, bear


in mind, we are miles ahead of most of our allies and friends in the


world in the effort we are putting into the humanitarian assistance in


Syria. Only America, only the United States of America has put more money


and funding, and effort, into what is going on in Syria. Some of these


countries that have signed up to the UN saying they would take 500 have


so far given scarcely anything to the humanitarian effort. You need


both. It is a terrible thing that is happening. There is a real politic


reason for it. Those people saying look after our own people, someone


earlier was saying it is always overseas aid, but these are


dangerous parts of the world and your moral behaviour, the fact that


you help, might ease the political tensions. The main thing is to take


in the vulnerable, paying our share, to what we're doing on the


humanitarian effort by trying to identify the most vulnerable


people. That is what we are going to do. I agree, they are in trouble,


right? But that is not our problem. We are helping them when we have got


people who are homeless in that country that can't afford to eat.


Shouldn't the money be going on our own people? Don't shout him down,


what is your point? That we shouldn't be sending aid to Syria?


I'm not saying we shouldn't help them at all, but we have problems in


our own country. We should be helping our own. That's interesting,


but I don't think we can wash our hands on what is happening there. I


think we do need to take our share. The question was, are we doing


enough to help Syrian refugees? My answer is no. I am proud that Nick


Clegg has announced we are going to take some, but the scale is


enormous. 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Syria


by this awful war. 2.4 million were seeking asylum just recently. I


really hope that we do do more than quite a few hundred. Germany, not


much different from us, they have pledged 7000 people, the Americans


haven't set a limit at all. I hope that we will do more. Mark


Littlewood? If you are going to have an international aid budget,


emergency relief, not giving the Indian government more than it


spends on a mission to Mars. Emergency relief is what it should


be spent on. I have some sympathy with what Matthew said. Let's be


honest, the people that we could give refuge to in the United Kingdom


are likely to be the elderly, the injured, the sexually abused, the


infirm. It is not in our narrow interest to let them in. On this


occasion, I think humanitarian concerns out trump our interests. I


agree with the things about the British aid, we do have to help our


homeless, but everybody's country affect everybody else's. All


economies are intertwined. If you ignore problems in foreign


countries, you are pretty much ignoring the aid that we could get


through economic growth, because it is just... It is ignorant. I'd like


to ask Kenneth Clarke why the Tories took so long to have Syrian


refugees. Can you be brief? We talk about a week. We didn't say 500, we


took a week to do it. But we are miles ahead of everybody else in


intervening in humanitarian problems. You said you weren't going


to. You said the money that you were sending over to the surrounding


countries was sufficient and you're not go to take anybody in. You will


remember that we have been pushing you on this, so have the charities.


Good, you have finally made the right decision, but you should have


done it straightaway. You should not have needed pushing. It's great we


are doing something, it is great we are taking some. As Matthew points


out, it's nowhere near enough. We will take 500 of the most


vulnerable, what are we going to do when the 501st person turns up and


we say, we don't think you have experienced another rape for


torture. We need to take the people that make it to our shores that need


our help. That is part of our responsibility as part of the United


Nations. I think it is shameful that the Conservatives have been


negotiating with the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees. We


should going to them and saying what can we do to help? We want to be


part of the global solution, a global player, and we should be


helping a lot more than that. On top of taking a lot more than 500 Syrian


refugees, we also need to have a really long, hard look at our asylum


process, and one of the things I do is somewhere in London teaching


English to asylum seekers that have come to London. I work with women


that have been in the UK from places where they have been raped, in the


Congo, they have come to the UK because of their sexuality, from


places like Russia and Uganda. They have been kept waiting for eight,


ten years. They have been locked up for no good reason. They have been


treated despicably and been left destitute over and over again. Until


we stop doing that, we have no place telling the United Nations what we


should and should not do. We have to sort our own house first and make


sure we treat everybody with the human rights they deserve.


We have got a few minutes left. Victoria Group, -- Hook. Is banning


smoking in cars with children and infringement of our personal


freedoms? Mark Littlewood, you are a smoker? I am. It's absurd. Hardly a


week goes by without some further restriction on tobacco. I'm not sure


if you are aware in the audience for the viewer at home, smoking tobacco


can be bad for you. Are you aware of that? Most people are generally


aware of that fact. It's fairly unpleasant to smoker on people that


don't like the smell. It might even have some modest, effects on them.


But the idea that the state should regulate whether or not you smoke in


a car is absolutely mad. I think an increasingly, there is basically a


squad of these health nut jobs who are rolling out, day after day, yet


another restriction on tobacco. The argument is that children have no


option, they are sitting in a car and their parents stop smoking, they


can't move away. It is if you want the Labour Party public-health


minister to basically be the parent of your children or whether we're


going to trust parents to drive cars to make those decisions themselves.


I speak as an ex-smoker. I know that I could not have given up without


the smoking ban in pubs and clubs. It was so hard, such a hard thing to


quit. And yet almost every smoker I... But let's talk about the


banning cars. If you smoke in a car with the windows closed, the density


of that smokers about 11 times what you use to get in a crowded, smoky


pub. I think it is of fears that children should not be there. You


are right, most results will parents would not do that. So let's just


pass a law to make sure that the small number of irresponsible


parents also can't do that. Matthew? I actually voted for this ban in the


House of Lords last night. And it won. Can I say one thing to mark?


It's not just about smoking, he says the state can't regulate, they


deregulate people using mobile phones in cars. I don't think people


should be smoking in cars, they should be concentrating on driving.


Hang on, you said you don't think people should be smoking, they


should be concentrating on driving? You would ban adults from smoking in


cars alone? The key point is the damage to


children. I'm afraid I see this morning that Nick Clegg does not


agree on that. But my wife is a doctor and I'm afraid if I have a


choice between defying my leader and defying my wife, there is only ever


going to be one winner. It would not be the first time you have defied


your leader. No, but it would be the first time I defied my wife. Since


we are all admitting our status as smokers or not, I am currently a


nonsmoker and have not smoked this year. I hope I will be able to


continue that. I never wanted to be the sort of is nonsmoker that


dictated to the people and told them what to do. Therefore, I voted


against banning smoking from pubs. And I was wrong, actually. I think


it is right, and I have thought about it somewhat. I also think that


smoking in a car and provincial in at risk, because children are


particularly at risk when they are younger and their lungs have been


formed, you did not smoke in a car with children, and I think it should


be banned. If you smoke with an adult in the car, they can say, put


the cigarette out or I will get the tube. Children are not able to do


that. I was smoking on the way here, it is probably very wise to


advise people don't do it when you've got children in the car. We


do keep creating new traffic offences. I don't think our traffic


police are going to be concentrating an enormous effort in racing up and


down the motorway peering into cars trying to see if there is a child


in. We do create too many traffic offences and I really think it is


gesture politics to pass this kind of thing. They will probably find


two or three people every year, when they are unlucky enough to have a


policeman spot them. Helps change people's perceptions and behaviours.


Sorry, if we go to talk about the lobbyists, Conservative Party and


tobacco, are there not some other things we should mention? You think


this is political? Not at all. You are obsessed! Not at all. Not at


all. What I am saying is that there may be public-health lobbyists that


have a view on what is best for smoking, but if we are going to talk


about lobbyists is influencing Government with relation to tobacco,


we should talk about the plain packaging and the fact that this


Government continues to sit in bed with tobacco companies.


That is for another programme. Our hour is up. We are going to be in


chilling in Kent next week with Tessa Jowell, David Starkey is going


to be there and George Galloway, together on the programme. I know, I


know! I was not warned. The week after that we are going to


be in Scunthorpe. If you would like to be there, you can go to the


website. The addresses on the bottom of the screen. Or you can the


telephone number. If you are listening to this on BBC, you can


continue the debate on Question Time Extra Time. It just leaves me to


thank our panel very much, all of you who came here to take part in


this programme from The Holes in Norwich, good night. -- Halls.


David Dimbleby presents the topical debate from Norwich. On the panel are Conservative cabinet minister Ken Clarke MP, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry MP, Liberal Democrat peer Lord Oakeshott, comedian and feminist activist Kate Smurthwaite, and director general of the Institute of Economic Affairs Mark Littlewood.

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