30/01/2014 Question Time


30/01/2014

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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Transcript


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

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Time. And welcome to you at home, to our

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Littlewood, and the comedian and feminist campaigner Kate

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Smurthwaite. As Matthew Oakeshott points out, he

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

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

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funeral in Scotland today unexpectedly and sent his apologies.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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to encourage entrepreneurs and investment, which is slow coming

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Blair was absolutely complicit in generating the wealth, doing deals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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economic lessee. You started attending that you have suddenly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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which new Labour never levied throughout their time in office.

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

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

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but this is about fairness and making sure everyone shoulders the

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

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

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

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

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for manoeuvre. No matter what you set the highest

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

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

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

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burden and make sure everyone contributes the same level of their

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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fairer economy. Miliband called that a responsible economy. Cameron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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stop fooling about with old-fashioned political gestures

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

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

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

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

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figures suggest that the top 85 wealthiest individuals in the world

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

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that further in favour of the wealthy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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country. Living standards have suffered because there has been a

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recession that we did not cause, because there was irresponsible

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

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people who claim to understand about economic summits in one important

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:21:31.:21:33.

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

:21:34.:21:37.

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

:21:38.:21:40.

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

:21:41.:21:44.

combination of the expected flooding and the impacts of global climate

:21:45.:21:46.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:23:19.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:25.

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

:23:26.:23:29.

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

:23:30.:23:34.

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

:23:35.:23:39.

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

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

:23:43.:23:45.

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

:23:46.:23:50.

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

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

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deal with Somerset, the problems with draining and dredging,

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

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got to get these powers and responsibilities back to ground

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

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

:24:16.:24:19.

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

:24:20.:24:23.

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

:24:24.:24:27.

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

:24:28.:24:35.

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

:24:36.:24:38.

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

:24:39.:24:45.

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

:24:46.:24:52.

was efficiently run. Were their criticisms of the Environment

:24:53.:24:57.

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

:24:58.:25:02.

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

:25:03.:25:06.

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

:25:07.:25:09.

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

:25:10.:25:16.

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

:25:17.:25:19.

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

:25:20.:25:23.

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

:25:24.:25:28.

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

:25:29.:25:34.

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

:25:35.:25:38.

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

:25:39.:25:41.

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

:25:42.:25:45.

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

:25:46.:25:48.

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

:25:49.:25:54.

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

:25:55.:25:58.

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

:25:59.:26:04.

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

:26:05.:26:09.

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

:26:10.:26:13.

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

:26:14.:26:24.

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

:26:25.:26:30.

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

:26:31.:26:32.

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

:26:33.:26:40.

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

:26:41.:26:43.

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

:26:44.:26:47.

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

:26:48.:26:50.

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

:26:51.:26:59.

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

:27:00.:27:02.

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

:27:03.:27:07.

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

:27:08.:27:10.

energy, when you have an international wholesale market and

:27:11.:27:12.

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

:27:13.:27:20.

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

:27:21.:27:23.

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

:27:24.:27:33.

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

:27:34.:27:37.

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

:27:38.:27:41.

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

:27:42.:27:45.

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

:27:46.:27:49.

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

:27:50.:27:53.

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

:27:54.:27:56.

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

:27:57.:27:59.

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

:28:00.:28:04.

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

:28:05.:28:08.

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

:28:09.:28:10.

climate change denier responsible for this problem.

:28:11.:28:15.

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

:28:16.:28:25.

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

:28:26.:28:30.

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

:28:31.:28:40.

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

:28:41.:28:43.

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

:28:44.:28:46.

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

:28:47.:28:50.

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

:28:51.:28:53.

right level while keeping it sufficiently affordable to stop

:28:54.:28:57.

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

:28:58.:29:08.

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

:29:09.:29:13.

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

:29:14.:29:17.

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

:29:18.:29:20.

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

:29:21.:29:23.

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

:29:24.:29:27.

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

:29:28.:29:31.

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

:29:32.:29:35.

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

:29:36.:29:41.

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

:29:42.:29:45.

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

:29:46.:29:50.

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

:29:51.:29:53.

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

:29:54.:29:57.

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

:29:58.:30:00.

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

:30:01.:30:05.

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

:30:06.:30:10.

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

:30:11.:30:14.

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

:30:15.:30:23.

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

:30:24.:30:26.

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

:30:27.:30:34.

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

:30:35.:30:39.

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

:30:40.:30:42.

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

:30:43.:30:51.

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

:30:52.:30:55.

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

:30:56.:31:02.

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

:31:03.:31:05.

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

:31:06.:31:15.

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

:31:16.:31:21.

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

:31:22.:31:26.

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

:31:27.:31:31.

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

:31:32.:31:34.

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

:31:35.:31:38.

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

:31:39.:31:44.

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

:31:45.:31:49.

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

:31:50.:31:53.

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

:31:54.:32:03.

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

:32:04.:32:08.

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

:32:09.:32:11.

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

:32:12.:32:15.

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

:32:16.:32:29.

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

:32:30.:32:38.

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

:32:39.:32:41.

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

:32:42.:32:44.

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

:32:45.:32:55.

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

:32:56.:32:59.

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

:33:00.:33:06.

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

:33:07.:33:10.

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

:33:11.:33:13.

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

:33:14.:33:20.

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

:33:21.:33:27.

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

:33:28.:33:30.

able to have their citizenship revoked? This is this complicated

:33:31.:33:38.

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

:33:39.:33:42.

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

:33:43.:33:45.

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

:33:46.:33:51.

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

:33:52.:33:54.

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

:33:55.:33:59.

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

:34:00.:34:03.

conflated issues. Should foreign-born criminals be able to

:34:04.:34:10.

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

:34:11.:34:17.

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

:34:18.:34:23.

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

:34:24.:34:27.

saying there are no circumstances in which citizenship should not be

:34:28.:34:32.

revoked. Had Osama Bin Laden qualified for British citizenship

:34:33.:34:35.

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

:34:36.:34:40.

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

:34:41.:34:43.

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

:34:44.:34:47.

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

:34:48.:34:54.

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

:34:55.:34:58.

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

:34:59.:35:02.

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

:35:03.:35:07.

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

:35:08.:35:11.

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

:35:12.:35:16.

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

:35:17.:35:20.

am a bit worried about politicians making the decision rather than

:35:21.:35:25.

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

:35:26.:35:28.

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

:35:29.:35:31.

reasonable to revoke that citizenship. Emily Thornberry,

:35:32.:35:47.

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

:35:48.:35:50.

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

:35:51.:35:55.

amendments being rushed up overnight, announced on the today

:35:56.:35:58.

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

:35:59.:36:03.

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

:36:04.:36:08.

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

:36:09.:36:13.

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

:36:14.:36:16.

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

:36:17.:36:21.

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

:36:22.:36:25.

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

:36:26.:36:30.

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

:36:31.:36:43.

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

:36:44.:36:46.

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

:36:47.:36:50.

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

:36:51.:36:56.

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

:36:57.:37:01.

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

:37:02.:37:05.

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

:37:06.:37:08.

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

:37:09.:37:13.

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

:37:14.:37:17.

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

:37:18.:37:21.

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

:37:22.:37:25.

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

:37:26.:37:29.

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

:37:30.:37:33.

right to be protected. Those decisions are made within the

:37:34.:37:36.

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

:37:37.:37:40.

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

:37:41.:37:43.

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

:37:44.:37:48.

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

:37:49.:37:51.

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

:37:52.:37:55.

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

:37:56.:38:04.

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

:38:05.:38:13.

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

:38:14.:38:17.

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

:38:18.:38:25.

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

:38:26.:38:29.

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

:38:30.:38:32.

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

:38:33.:38:36.

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

:38:37.:38:42.

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

:38:43.:38:47.

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

:38:48.:38:52.

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

:38:53.:38:56.

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

:38:57.:38:59.

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

:39:00.:39:02.

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

:39:03.:39:08.

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

:39:09.:39:13.

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

:39:14.:39:20.

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

:39:21.:39:23.

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

:39:24.:39:35.

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

:39:36.:39:38.

Conservatives got themselves into today, where they had more positions

:39:39.:39:43.

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

:39:44.:39:47.

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

:39:48.:39:50.

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

:39:51.:39:56.

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

:39:57.:39:59.

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

:40:00.:40:03.

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

:40:04.:40:09.

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

:40:10.:40:17.

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

:40:18.:40:19.

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

:40:20.:40:24.

this particular proposal is actually not about the courts taking

:40:25.:40:28.

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

:40:29.:40:35.

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

:40:36.:40:41.

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

:40:42.:40:46.

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

:40:47.:40:48.

have many amendments and protections. We need to be very

:40:49.:40:54.

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

:40:55.:41:02.

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

:41:03.:41:07.

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

:41:08.:41:12.

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

:41:13.:41:15.

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

:41:16.:41:20.

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

:41:21.:41:24.

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

:41:25.:41:32.

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

:41:33.:41:36.

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

:41:37.:41:39.

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

:41:40.:41:43.

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

:41:44.:41:50.

them around the world? Secondly, there is something absolutely

:41:51.:41:52.

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

:41:53.:41:56.

Secretary has used. One minute we were talking about foreign

:41:57.:42:00.

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

:42:01.:42:06.

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

:42:07.:42:09.

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

:42:10.:42:21.

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

:42:22.:42:26.

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

:42:27.:42:29.

rights against dictatorial governments around the world and it

:42:30.:42:32.

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

:42:33.:42:38.

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

:42:39.:42:43.

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

:42:44.:42:49.

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

:42:50.:42:51.

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

:42:52.:42:55.

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

:42:56.:43:00.

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

:43:01.:43:05.

would consult my very good friend the Attorney General, Dominic

:43:06.:43:10.

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

:43:11.:43:13.

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

:43:14.:43:17.

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

:43:18.:43:23.

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

:43:24.:43:26.

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

:43:27.:43:32.

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

:43:33.:43:36.

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

:43:37.:43:40.

sure the businessmen you were speaking to enjoy your company but

:43:41.:43:43.

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

:43:44.:43:48.

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

:43:49.:43:52.

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

:43:53.:43:58.

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

:43:59.:44:01.

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

:44:02.:44:04.

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

:44:05.:44:08.

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

:44:09.:44:14.

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

:44:15.:44:21.

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

:44:22.:44:28.

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

:44:29.:44:31.

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

:44:32.:44:39.

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

:44:40.:44:43.

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

:44:44.:44:47.

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

:44:48.:44:52.

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

:44:53.:44:55.

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

:44:56.:45:04.

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

:45:05.:45:12.

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

:45:13.:45:16.

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

:45:17.:45:20.

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

:45:21.:45:25.

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

:45:26.:45:29.

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

:45:30.:45:32.

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

:45:33.:45:36.

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

:45:37.:45:40.

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

:45:41.:45:43.

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

:45:44.:45:47.

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

:45:48.:45:51.

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

:45:52.:45:53.

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

:45:54.:46:01.

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

:46:02.:46:04.

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

:46:05.:46:08.

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

:46:09.:46:12.

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

:46:13.:46:17.

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

:46:18.:46:20.

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

:46:21.:46:30.

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

:46:31.:46:35.

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

:46:36.:46:38.

seekers were already in Britain, which compares very favourably with

:46:39.:46:42.

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

:46:43.:46:46.

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

:46:47.:46:50.

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

:46:51.:46:55.

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

:46:56.:46:59.

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

:47:00.:47:03.

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

:47:04.:47:06.

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

:47:07.:47:14.

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

:47:15.:47:18.

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

:47:19.:47:23.

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

:47:24.:47:27.

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

:47:28.:47:34.

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

:47:35.:47:39.

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

:47:40.:47:42.

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

:47:43.:47:50.

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

:47:51.:47:55.

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

:47:56.:47:59.

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

:48:00.:48:02.

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

:48:03.:48:06.

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

:48:07.:48:10.

humanitarian effort by trying to identify the most vulnerable

:48:11.:48:16.

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

:48:17.:48:25.

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

:48:26.:48:28.

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

:48:29.:48:31.

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

:48:32.:48:36.

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

:48:37.:48:40.

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

:48:41.:48:43.

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

:48:44.:48:49.

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

:48:50.:48:52.

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

:48:53.:48:57.

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

:48:58.:49:01.

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

:49:02.:49:06.

enormous. 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Syria

:49:07.:49:10.

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

:49:11.:49:16.

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

:49:17.:49:24.

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

:49:25.:49:27.

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

:49:28.:49:35.

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

:49:36.:49:51.

emergency relief, not giving the Indian government more than it

:49:52.:49:53.

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

:49:54.:49:59.

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

:50:00.:50:02.

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

:50:03.:50:06.

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

:50:07.:50:13.

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

:50:14.:50:24.

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

:50:25.:50:38.

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

:50:39.:50:42.

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

:50:43.:50:46.

economies are intertwined. If you ignore problems in foreign

:50:47.:50:48.

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

:50:49.:50:53.

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

:50:54.:51:03.

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

:51:04.:51:11.

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

:51:12.:51:17.

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

:51:18.:51:20.

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

:51:21.:51:25.

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

:51:26.:51:28.

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

:51:29.:51:32.

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

:51:33.:51:37.

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

:51:38.:51:39.

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

:51:40.:51:47.

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

:51:48.:51:50.

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

:51:51.:51:55.

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

:51:56.:51:59.

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

:52:00.:52:02.

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

:52:03.:52:06.

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

:52:07.:52:10.

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

:52:11.:52:12.

negotiating with the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees. We

:52:13.:52:15.

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

:52:16.:52:19.

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

:52:20.:52:23.

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

:52:24.:52:27.

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

:52:28.:52:32.

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

:52:33.:52:35.

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

:52:36.:52:38.

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

:52:39.:52:42.

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

:52:43.:52:45.

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

:52:46.:52:49.

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

:52:50.:52:54.

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

:52:55.:52:58.

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

:52:59.:53:01.

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

:53:02.:53:03.

sure we treat everybody with the human rights they deserve.

:53:04.:53:10.

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

:53:11.:53:27.

smoking in cars with children and infringement of our personal

:53:28.:53:31.

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

:53:32.:53:38.

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

:53:39.:53:41.

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

:53:42.:53:46.

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

:53:47.:53:50.

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

:53:51.:53:52.

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

:53:53.:53:58.

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

:53:59.:54:04.

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

:54:05.:54:07.

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

:54:08.:54:14.

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

:54:15.:54:17.

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

:54:18.:54:24.

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

:54:25.:54:26.

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

:54:27.:54:29.

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

:54:30.:54:35.

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

:54:36.:54:38.

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

:54:39.:54:42.

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

:54:43.:54:48.

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

:54:49.:54:54.

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

:54:55.:54:59.

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

:55:00.:55:02.

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

:55:03.:55:06.

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

:55:07.:55:16.

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

:55:17.:55:21.

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

:55:22.:55:26.

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

:55:27.:55:29.

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

:55:30.:55:32.

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

:55:33.:55:45.

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

:55:46.:55:50.

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

:55:51.:55:52.

cars alone? The key point is the damage to

:55:53.:56:01.

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

:56:02.:56:07.

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

:56:08.:56:11.

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

:56:12.:56:18.

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

:56:19.:56:22.

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

:56:23.:56:28.

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

:56:29.:56:31.

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

:56:32.:56:35.

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

:56:36.:56:38.

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

:56:39.:56:42.

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

:56:43.:56:48.

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

:56:49.:56:52.

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

:56:53.:56:54.

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

:56:55.:56:57.

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

:56:58.:57:04.

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

:57:05.:57:08.

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

:57:09.:57:14.

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

:57:15.:57:20.

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

:57:21.:57:24.

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

:57:25.:57:28.

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

:57:29.:57:32.

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

:57:33.:57:36.

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

:57:37.:57:40.

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

:57:41.:57:47.

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

:57:48.:57:51.

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

:57:52.:57:57.

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

:57:58.:58:00.

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

:58:01.:58:08.

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

:58:09.:58:19.

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

:58:20.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:25.

about lobbyists is influencing Government with relation to tobacco,

:58:26.:58:28.

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

:58:29.:58:31.

Government continues to sit in bed with tobacco companies.

:58:32.:58:38.

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

:58:39.:58:44.

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

:58:45.:58:49.

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

:58:50.:58:50.

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

:58:51.:59:00.

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

:59:01.:59:05.

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

:59:06.:59:08.

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

:59:09.:59:15.

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

:59:16.:59:22.

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

:59:23.:59:34.

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

:59:35.:59:39.

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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