27/02/2014 Question Time


27/02/2014

David Dimbleby chairs a discussion from Newport in Wales. On the panel are Anna Soubry, Rushanara Ali, Elfyn Llwyd, Jay Rayner and Melanie Phillips.


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Transcript


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And a big welcome to you as always at home, and welcome to the audience

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who will question the panel, who do not know what those questions are.

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Our panel tonight, Conservative defence Minister, Anna Soubry,

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Labour Minister, Rushanara Ali, Plaid Cymru's leader in Westminster,

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Elfyn Llwyd. Freelance columnist Melanie Phillips and novelist and

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food critic Jay Rayner. I would like to start with a

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question from Cynthia Jennings. Why is RBS paying bonuses when they have

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lost money? The Royal Bank of Scotland, owned by

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us, 83%, lost billions this year, paying over half ?1 billion in

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bonuses. Why? Jay Rayner. Because they are bankers, and they behave

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like bankers. We need banks. We have always needed them, just not the

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kind we have got. The surprise that greets the bonus season when it

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comes round mystifies me, because it is what they have always done, even

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when losing large amounts of money. They will say, if we don't pay

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bonuses we don't get the right people and if we don't get the right

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people we want make any money. They do not make any money anyway, but it

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is the way the banking system works. We have to decide what kind of

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banking system want. We heard the RBS boss justifying the bonuses on

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those grounds, where are people going to go? Is there a huge demand

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for bankers? I suspect there is a huge demand. So it is justified?

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There is an argument but they are floating between each other. The

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main issue for RBS is that they have continued trying to have an

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investment banking arm at the same time as a retail banking arm.

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Investment banking is a nice phrase for playing bingo, which they have

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been doing with taxpayers money for a long time, but they are not very

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good at it. Are you shocked? The bonus culture is lost on me, if I am

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honest. I have never been paid a bonus in my life. Some might say I

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have never deserved one, but I never worked in a business where they paid

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bonuses, so it is lost on me. I am pleased we put a cap on the RBS

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bonuses. A cap of ?2000. So how is it spending ?500 million on bonuses?

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You can buy shares and cash them in. The cap is 200% of income. I am not

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going to sit here and defend the banks when they do these things

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which seem incomprehensible, but I will say that I have no doubt that

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the reputation of our banks is such, possibly with great merit, that they

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do have problems actually recruiting and often retaining people. So I can

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understand why they will pay out these bonuses. You, over there, sir.

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If you look at the banking industry in context, they have been bailed

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out to the point of 1.2 trillion. We are having austerity forced on us

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across Europe as a result of that. And the industry still hasn't been

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reformed. There is still no ring-fenced between investment banks

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and retail banks, and they are still able to engage in casino practices

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with our money. Bankers have also been responsible for fixing the

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LIBOR rate, mis-selling PPI, bringing small businesses to their

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knees through dubious selling practices on interest rate swaps. It

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is time we had some proper legislation in this country and

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across Europe to regulate the banking industry.

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APPLAUSE Cynthia Jennings, what do you think?

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I think, across-the-board, if nobody got paid bonuses and got paid a

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reasonable salary, then the bankers would not be able to jump up to

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wherever they want to go. I think for a government owned bank that was

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partially owned, bailed out by the taxpayer, it is completely

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irresponsible to give those sorts of bonuses. And at a time when you have

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people queueing in food banks, high levels of poverty, I think the

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government needs to step up and take action against this kind of reward,

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which is completely unjustified when everyone else is suffering in this

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country. How would you do it? Your party is in power. You had 13 years

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to regulate and sort out the banks. You should take some responsibility.

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We have done. We introduced a tax. We have taken the LIBOR funding and

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we have given it to charities connected with the wounded, injured

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Armed Forces personnel. We have taken tough action. Is that why,

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today, people are getting bonuses, a partially owned government bank,

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people are getting bonuses? What would your policy be? We have made

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it absolutely clear that there should be a tax on bankers bonuses.

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That money should be used to get young people back to work. Nearly 1

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million young people out of work, that is unacceptable. Your

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government should act to stop this irresponsible behaviour. You made 11

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sets of promises. I hate to come between these warring parties, but

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if I can be evenhanded about this, I think both the Labour Party and the

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Tory party are just very frightened, once in government, of driving money

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away, particularly from London. It is a source of great regret to many

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of us that much of the economic activity, we measure progress of

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this country by the wealth of the City of London. It has become a kind

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of fetish, that this is where we are strongest, in making money out of

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money. Isn't that true? What do you do about it if it is true and it is

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where our money comes from? It would be very nice if this country was

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making things again. APPLAUSE

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And not making money out of money. How do you achieve that? Hang on.

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Not for long. Why should it be not for long. This is a counsel of

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despair. I don't believe Britain can never make things again. I think

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there is unpleasant about the whole fat cat obsession. If someone has a

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lot of money, then he should not have it almost by definition. I am

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concerned about that but I also think that the RBS, as people have

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said, it is taxpayer money. The taxpayer has bailed out this bank.

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This bank and others have done a great deal of harm to the economy.

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Ordinary people have suffered. They seem to show no sense of not

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responsibility, but even a sense of acknowledgement of the enormity of

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what they have done. You, in the pink shirt. It is not just

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unacceptable that these people are doing this. It is unbelievable that

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they can display such immense greed. I would like to see the two

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governments, the former government and the current government, who

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failed to curb these people. They are a powerful group of people and

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they need both parties to work together to curb the greed of what

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is an extremely avaricious group of people who are the true villains of

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our depression. APPLAUSE

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It is one thing to say that the Labour government did not regulate

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against the banks for 11 years, but you still have not.

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You are in government now and you still haven't. I will pick up on

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Melanie's point as well. It is not that they have got a lot of money,

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it is that they do not deserve it. I would agree with you when it comes

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to RBS, but there is a mood in the country that no one who has a lot of

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money deserves it. And this is very subjective. At what point do we say

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a person does not deserve it? This is a dangerous road to go down. At

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the point at which a banker is earning 100 times the wage of a

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cleaner, that is when -- that is when we say it is enough. Who says?

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You? Who draws the line, and on what basis? We have vast inequality in

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this country. I can't believe you are backing bankers on this. There

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is huge inequality in this country. I am not backing bankers in these

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bonuses. Not the bonuses, but the huge pay that they get. It is

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indefensible. APPLAUSE

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Some people blame the banks for everything, but hearing news as we

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did today, I am not surprised. Because they are actually taking us

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for a ride. Part of my function is to try to negotiate with banks for

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small loans for small businesses in my patch. They are closing down

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viable businesses at the same time as they are pushing money into their

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bankers' pockets. If it is the argument that if you do not overpay

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them disgustingly they will work elsewhere, OK. The way to deal with

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that, in my view, is to have a pan-European ruling. All European

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countries come together and say, we are not having it. They want to make

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an X it for the Far East, good luck to them. Can I just say this. There

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has been an attempt to deal with them but it is not working. For

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example, HSBC have announced this week that they will be to bring

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similar bonuses to their top people, but calling it an extra salary. It

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will not be a bonus but an increase in salary. But if you do not do it

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on a pan-European basis, it simply will not work, in my view. I am not

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an advocate for bankers. None of my best friends are bankers. But I

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think we need to inject some realism. The whole of the global

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free market system is invested in banking. All your pensions and

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mortgages are invested in banking. We have built a system on banking.

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The idea that we would have it on a pan-European scale would not change

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anything. They will move to the States, to Switzerland. It might

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take an age to get an agreement but it is worthwhile otherwise they will

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continue to take us for a ride. If the European come together and

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discuss - I was in a conference in Athens fortnight ago discussing

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various things. Why don't we prioritise this issue and deal with

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it on a pan-European basis? We will move on because we have a lot of

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questions. You can join the debate. A question from Jonathan Sherwood.

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Should the deals made with the IRA still provide immunity from

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prosecution for alleged terrorists? This, in the light of the Downey

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case that came before the courts this week. Should the deals made

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with the IRA still provide immunity from prosecution? You will forgive

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me if I sound like the lawyer I used to be before I got elected, but it

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depends on the nature of the promise made. Downey should never, in any

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event, have been made anything like the promise he was made. Why? First,

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because there was clear involvement by him in an excerpt -- in an

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explosion that cause people to be murdered. In any event, there was

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also a warrant for his arrest because of the evidence against him

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for this attack and this awful crime. And there was a warrant out,

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and all they had to do, which I am assuming they did not do, and this

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is what this judge leading choir in will discover, they only had to find

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out from The Met whether or not there was a warrant outstanding

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against any of them. They should have made those checks. I am

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assuming they did and something happened, but if they had done and

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had got the proper information, then they would never have given him this

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letter that enabled him, therefore, to come to this country on the basis

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that there will was no warrant for his arrest. The Northern Ireland

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Secretary says these letters do not amount to immunity, exemption or

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amnesty from arrest. So what are they about? Your government has been

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issuing them as well as the previous one. There were two sets. The first

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set were issued in 2007-2008. Downey is one of those 183. These letters

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say to people that there is no reason to believe that there are any

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warrants out against you. Downey's position seems to have been in

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relation to the fact that, having come into this country, he is then

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arrested, and effectively, from what I can gather, the reason why the

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judge stayed the indictment, stopped the proceedings was because

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effectively the state had said to him, we will not arrest you if you

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come to the country. That is what you are doing with these other

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letters. The second set, I have not seen the content. That is what

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Theresa Villiers is referring to and we have to accept that she has seen

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the content and she says they do not amount to a promise not to

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prosecute. So what is the point of them? I do not know. It may be that

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these letters are different. Elfyn and I are both lawyers, so we have

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an understanding of the peculiarities and I accept it is

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often very difficult to explain and for people to understand how a

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promise by the state to a man like Downey, who was charged with very

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serious offences, evidence against him, we end up having to stay the

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indictment. The question was whether the deals made with the IRA should

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provide immunity from prosecution? As I understand it, and I was

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listening very careful to Dominic Grieve in the house the other day

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when he went through it very carefully, what he was saying was

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that these letters said that we are not currently interested in any

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misdoings that you might have done and that is about all. They were a

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snapshot in time. I agree with Anna. What we need to do, I do not think

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you can withdraw them, it is not relevant any more, but whether there

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is a case to investigate each and every one of these people again, I

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do not know. I want to say this. All the parties in Northern Ireland were

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furious about this and I can understand that because of the

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nature of the awful crime that this man is alleged to have perpetrated.

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Having said that, evidence is now coming out that the policing board

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in Northern Ireland, which is comprised of every party in the

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Northern Ireland political system, were aware of these letters some

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time ago. In fact, back in 2010, if not before. So, it is not something

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which has suddenly been sprung on them. The question is, should they

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provide immunity? The point of the letter at the time was an

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interpretation of the peace agreement, where they said, at this

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moment in time, we are not interested in you as being a

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potential... Why would you write that to someone? It was in order to

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carry three parts of the Belfast agreement. Nothing anybody in this

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room says tonight will make the pain of people who have lost someone in

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the trouble is any better, nor will it make it any worse. -- the

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Troubles. It is a deep and dark wound. But war is hard, peace is

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even harder. At a time when the negotiations were going on, those

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who issued these letters thought they had a chance. The thing that is

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slightly distressing, if this had never come to light, if there had

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not been the warrant held by Scotland Yard, if this turned up 20

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years down the line, it would end up as a footnote to the history of

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peace in Northern Ireland. Justice is an important thing but so is

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peace. You in the spectacles. Perhaps it is not Peter Robinson who

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should be resigning but the people who drafted the letters in the first

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place. I'm just wondering, if you are creating a peace process, you

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have to be able to trust the other side's word. The second that we

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start going back against promises that are made, how will we ever

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create peace in the future if no one is going to trust our government?

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Despite what Theresa Villiers said, you think these letters are promised

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not to prosecute. I cannot say what the letters say, we have not seen

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them. Downie said what they said. If the letters themselves state that

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there is a promise against prosecution and I am not saying that

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they do, obviously, the situation is a disgusting situation in the first

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place, if that is what the letter says, if we as a country are ever

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going to negotiate peace, people have to be able to believe in the

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promises we make. The second we start going against those promises,

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our credibility as a peacemaking country is destroyed. Do you agree

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with him, Melanie? I do not agree with this gentleman because the

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arguments here are making -- he is making, is that the end justifies

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the means. You do bad things in the case for the greater good. The

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greater good was peace in Northern Ireland. But you can see from

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today's amazing jitteriness from the government, and the threat of the

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dissolution of the power-sharing executive, that the piece is very

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fragile, it is conditional. The fear is that if this power-sharing

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executive collapses, we will go back to violence. It is like a sort of

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protection racket. The point about these letters as I understand it is

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this, it is not a promise, it is not immunity... I want to pick up one

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thing because I think you are missing the point. It is not just

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about the peace in Northern Ireland, it is a large issue. We deal with

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international incidents, terrorist organisations all round the world.

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If we are saying in this one case it is acceptable to say promises we

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made to create peace can be broken just before they have come to light

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in a certain way, all of a sudden, any promise we make in the future

:20:20.:20:24.

becomes incredible so you can therefore not create peace. The

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point I was going to make is it is not a promise. As I understand it,

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it was a nod and a wink to keep the peace process on track, nod and a

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wink to a set of individuals who were on the run. They are called on

:20:38.:20:43.

the runs. Why were they on the run? Because they were suspected of

:20:44.:20:48.

terrorist activity. This letter said it explicitly, at this moment in

:20:49.:20:51.

time, there is no evidence against you and we are not seeking any

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evidence against you. In the case of John Downey, this was incorrect. The

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Metropolitan police were seeking him. But that to one side. They are

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saying, a nod and a wink, chaps, you can basically live your lives, we

:21:09.:21:12.

are not coming after you. The question is is that acceptable? I

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would say it is not acceptable. Justice denied can never produce a

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just society. The piece is conditional. There is still a threat

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of violence. You say promises must be kept and I agree with you and

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that is why this case was thrown out. The promise was made to this

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man John Downey. He thought he would come to England without a problem

:21:37.:21:41.

and that is why the judge said, you cannot carry on with the trial. But

:21:42.:21:45.

the promise was made behind the backs, as far as one can see, behind

:21:46.:21:51.

the backs of parties to the peace process. They would never have

:21:52.:21:57.

accepted it. In April 2010, there was a meeting of the Northern

:21:58.:22:02.

Ireland policing board were these were, this matter was raised and at

:22:03.:22:06.

that meeting there were three members of the DUP. They did not

:22:07.:22:13.

discuss it with others. Hang on a second, I want to hear from

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Rushanara. Clearly, a mistake was made in this case. With the review

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that has been announced today, it has got to look into this issue. I

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would know that if I was a family member of the victims I would want

:22:31.:22:34.

justice. But at the same time, we have to recognise that the Northern

:22:35.:22:38.

Ireland peace process has secured freedom from terrorism, freedom from

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conflict and we have got to keep our eye on that issue, because as a

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country, as a nation, we are better protected because of it. The

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injustice that these families have faced needs to be addressed and that

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is what the enquiry will need to look at. You, sir. Just one question

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here, can we afford to put our troops in danger, by making promises

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not to prosecute? Because our troops who are out there today, their

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families who are out there today, are we going to make similar

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promises with the government in power today or governments in the

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future? Are you against the promises being made, no amnesty of any kind?

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Is it peace at any cost? I think everyone has had to say so I am

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going to move on. We have many questions. Jean Holloway, please. Is

:23:37.:23:44.

it not time that Harriet Harman came out and apologised for her links

:23:45.:23:46.

with the Paedophile Information Exchange? Melanie Phillips. I think

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it is a good development what happened today, that Patricia Hewitt

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who was running the National Council for Civil Liberties, during this

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period when the Paedophile Information Exchange was associated

:24:07.:24:12.

with them, has said very clearly that it was wrong, we were naive, we

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should not have had them as part of the National Council for Civil

:24:19.:24:21.

Liberties and I apologise. If Harriet Harman had said that at the

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beginning, there would be no story. This whole furore ER I'm afraid has

:24:25.:24:30.

been fuelled by Harriet Harman going of the deep end, being the raises,

:24:31.:24:36.

accusing the newspapers of accusing her of stuff they had not accused

:24:37.:24:41.

her of and above all, do denying that there was a problem with the

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National Council for Civil Liberties having the Paedophile Information

:24:48.:24:50.

Exchange is one of its members. I am at bit baffled about why she did not

:24:51.:24:54.

to say what Patricia Hewitt has said today. It is an interesting

:24:55.:24:59.

historical issue and I think it has some relevance to today, that

:25:00.:25:03.

progressive opinion in those days, and I remember, I remember when they

:25:04.:25:10.

were associated and I remember the unease around that whole issue at

:25:11.:25:15.

the time. But there was then a climate, on the progressive side of

:25:16.:25:20.

politics, on the left, which was assessed with rights. And it did not

:25:21.:25:25.

draw a distinction between the rights of adults and the rights of

:25:26.:25:29.

children and the whole issue of sex was mixed up with rights and

:25:30.:25:33.

everyone had a right to everything, and children had rights. The whole

:25:34.:25:37.

thing was framed in terms of rights. We find it hard to

:25:38.:25:41.

understand this. I am old enough to have lived through it. It was a kind

:25:42.:25:46.

of madness. I thought it was mad at the time. Children, in my view, do

:25:47.:25:51.

not have rights to sexual activity. We as adults, have a duty to

:25:52.:25:55.

children to protect them while they were children. This was the terrible

:25:56.:26:00.

confusion of the time. I think that confusion has bled into all kinds of

:26:01.:26:05.

attitudes which persist today. We today have this great anxiety, now

:26:06.:26:14.

about paedophilia. Then it was not called paedophilia. Then it was

:26:15.:26:20.

called... Love among children. It was presented in the most disgusting

:26:21.:26:26.

way. But the point was, progressive circles accept it, because it was

:26:27.:26:32.

all bound up, and the Paedophile Information Exchange gentleman, Mr

:26:33.:26:35.

O'Carroll, said perfectly correctly, and I remember this at the time, he

:26:36.:26:38.

said the problem was not that Harriet Harman supported

:26:39.:26:43.

paedophilia, not that she supported the PIE. In fact, she came onto the

:26:44.:26:48.

scene in the NCCL quite late on in this saga. The problem was it was

:26:49.:26:52.

mixed up with the whole gay rights agenda and people could not talk

:26:53.:26:57.

about paedophilia without talking about gay rights. Jay Rayner. If you

:26:58.:27:03.

think Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt and Jack Dromey back in the

:27:04.:27:06.

70s thought paedophilia was a really good thing, then hold them in utter

:27:07.:27:11.

contempt, never vote for the Labour Party again, throw them out.

:27:12.:27:15.

Personally, I can't help but see this as just the Daily Mail taking

:27:16.:27:19.

its revenge on a bunch of people they do not like. The 1970s was a

:27:20.:27:25.

strange time. You were on the left back in the 1970s as we all

:27:26.:27:29.

remember. My memory goes back that far. This is not about the rights

:27:30.:27:33.

and wrongs of paedophilia which we know is an obscenity and the way

:27:34.:27:36.

things were done in the 70s is bizarre. It is about the Daily Mail

:27:37.:27:42.

paper. The nearest we have to aid Paedophile Information Exchange is

:27:43.:27:47.

the Daily Mail website and its pictures of kids. It is true. I just

:27:48.:27:56.

think we need to understand this as another bit of anti-left, and to

:27:57.:28:03.

Labour propaganda by the Daily Mail. -- antilabour propaganda. You have

:28:04.:28:13.

not said whether she should apologise and is her reluctance to

:28:14.:28:17.

apologise because they see the Daily Mail as an antilabour organ. The

:28:18.:28:23.

story was in Private Eye many years ago, it is not new. The editor of

:28:24.:28:28.

the Daily Mail sees it as a great way to have a go at people in the

:28:29.:28:33.

Labour Party. You go back to the 70s, there are lots of things we

:28:34.:28:38.

could apologise for. The Daily Mail could apologise for supporting the

:28:39.:28:42.

black shirts back in the 30s if they like. It would be childish to ask

:28:43.:28:50.

them to do so. This story has only come out because of the Jimmy Savile

:28:51.:28:55.

affair. This is why it has been brought to our attention. It is

:28:56.:28:57.

nothing to do with the Daily Mail. They may have made an issue of it.

:28:58.:29:02.

Do you think it is legitimate to raise it? Because of that case there

:29:03.:29:08.

is no investigating back to that time which is why the story is out

:29:09.:29:13.

now. I did the Daily Mail have done a good job bringing it out. Anna

:29:14.:29:23.

Soubry. I do think Harriet Harman has handled badly. If she had come

:29:24.:29:28.

out and done all that the story would have gone away. It says a lot

:29:29.:29:33.

more about our attitudes. I am really not interested, if I may say

:29:34.:29:37.

in the fight between the Daily Mail and Harriet Harman, they can sort it

:29:38.:29:41.

out themselves, but I do not think she and Jack Dromey have done

:29:42.:29:45.

themselves any favours. I think it says more about the enormous change

:29:46.:29:50.

during my lifetime and the time at the bar towards child abuse and

:29:51.:29:55.

paedophilia. There is a much greater understanding, not only what an

:29:56.:29:59.

awful wicked thing it is, but the appalling damage it does to

:30:00.:30:03.

children. I have read some of those documents and Melanie is right. You

:30:04.:30:07.

have to read some of those documents that say there is not much harm if

:30:08.:30:11.

it is done to a child. It is the stuff of madness. The other thing we

:30:12.:30:15.

now know about paedophiles is Howard could be coming they are. I suspect

:30:16.:30:23.

Elfyn like I, have had the misfortune of representing

:30:24.:30:26.

paedophiles. I can assure you, I do not like to stereotype but I think

:30:27.:30:29.

we can with paedophiles, the things they do are bad and evil enough in

:30:30.:30:34.

themselves, but their wickedness and cunning, the way that they will in

:30:35.:30:38.

the their way into the affections of a child or a mother, that they will

:30:39.:30:44.

then commit this horrible abuse, and it is sickening, but it is a

:30:45.:30:48.

terrible perversion of that child as well. What do you make of the

:30:49.:30:57.

documents submitted in 1976 to Parliament which said activities

:30:58.:31:04.

willingly engaged in with an adult do not do any identifiable damage?

:31:05.:31:11.

Appalling. Absolutely disgusting. There is no point saying it was

:31:12.:31:16.

different in the 1970s. It was disgusting them, and it is

:31:17.:31:22.

disgusting now. Rushanara Ali, come to the defence of Harriet Harman. I

:31:23.:31:27.

have listened very closely to what everyone is saying here and it is

:31:28.:31:32.

clear that PIE was a vile organisation that tried to

:31:33.:31:36.

infiltrate and successfully infiltrated NCCL at that time. All

:31:37.:31:40.

of the things that people have said highlight the manipulative nature of

:31:41.:31:44.

paedophile organisations and paedophiles. But let's be clear,

:31:45.:31:50.

Harriet Harman has spent a lifetime campaigning for women and children

:31:51.:31:54.

and their rights. And the idea that she would condone and paedophiles is

:31:55.:31:58.

completely wrong and baseless. And there is not a shred of evidence to

:31:59.:32:03.

suggest otherwise. That is why I agree with Jay, that there is a

:32:04.:32:09.

political angle to this, there is a dimensional which is that the Daily

:32:10.:32:13.

Mail has a campaign against certain senior figures in the Labour Party.

:32:14.:32:17.

First it was Ed Miliband, an attack on his father, and now Harriet

:32:18.:32:21.

Harman. These allegations are baseless. Harriet has set out her

:32:22.:32:29.

role in NCCL. We have to remember that when a paper goes this far in

:32:30.:32:35.

attacking someone, despite her record, despite the work she has

:32:36.:32:38.

done championing children's rights, that worries me deeply. She could

:32:39.:32:43.

have said these things. I paid tribute to a lot of the work she has

:32:44.:32:47.

done and I pay tribute to your last government for its work on rape and

:32:48.:32:51.

enabling children to give evidence. That is why I think she has handled

:32:52.:32:58.

it badly. Tricia Hewitt apologised. Shami Chakrabarti apologised. Why

:32:59.:33:03.

didn't she apologise? Harriet has expressed regret. With respect,

:33:04.:33:11.

there is a difference between Shami Chakrabarti, who has an officer of

:33:12.:33:17.

Liberty, who has probably justifiably apologised. You are

:33:18.:33:21.

dealing with Harriet Harman who, at the time, was a fairly junior lawyer

:33:22.:33:29.

acting for the NCCL. She did not actually say we will affiliate to

:33:30.:33:33.

the PIE, or whatever. But she was there as a lawyer. It would have

:33:34.:33:37.

been better if she had said, I was a junior lawyer and I had nothing to

:33:38.:33:40.

do with affiliating them but it was a big mistake and I regret that

:33:41.:33:46.

mistake. But asking her to apologise is like asking me to apologise for

:33:47.:33:51.

the First World War. I will take one more point from the man at the back.

:33:52.:33:58.

Isn't there two points here? One, you put yourself in public office,

:33:59.:34:01.

you have to accept whatever is written about you. Secondly, you

:34:02.:34:05.

tell me any politician that will stand up and apologise when they are

:34:06.:34:11.

wrong. They don't. Yes, they do. If they don't, they should. They will

:34:12.:34:17.

find an excuse, always, never apologise to the public. Anna

:34:18.:34:21.

Soubry, have you ever apologised? Yes. For what? I am sure I have

:34:22.:34:31.

because I make so many mistakes. What you said about Nigel Farage,

:34:32.:34:36.

did you apologise for that? I did. We won't repeat it. Repeat it,

:34:37.:34:45.

please. We will not. Politicians do apologise. Trust me, the Daily Mail

:34:46.:34:48.

also is horrible things about Tories. Melanie has often said

:34:49.:34:56.

horrible things about me. They have not attacked the dead father of a

:34:57.:35:00.

Conservative leader. Let's move on. Has Britain lost control of its

:35:01.:35:09.

borders? Presumably in light of today's news that net immigration is

:35:10.:35:13.

up 200,000. Would that be right? Yes. Well, I don't think it has lost

:35:14.:35:22.

control, but everybody thought there would be an influx from within the

:35:23.:35:25.

European Union. There is free movement, after all. We must also

:35:26.:35:31.

remember that there are hundreds of thousands of British people in other

:35:32.:35:35.

countries within the European Union as well, so it works both ways.

:35:36.:35:39.

Didn't the Prime Minister say he would get it down to tens of

:35:40.:35:45.

thousands. Yes. What has gone wrong? I don't know. I don't sign up to his

:35:46.:35:51.

agenda and don't have any truck with the Conservative Party on this

:35:52.:35:54.

issue. I think there is room for inward migration and if we are to

:35:55.:35:58.

allow free movement within Europe, it works both ways and we need

:35:59.:36:01.

people to come in and work in various jobs that, actually, local

:36:02.:36:05.

people don't want to take up. APPLAUSE

:36:06.:36:13.

Of course, we benefit from it. But to answer your question, it seems to

:36:14.:36:17.

me that there is something radically wrong in the thinking of the Prime

:36:18.:36:21.

Minister and the border agency, if he was thinking that it's going to

:36:22.:36:24.

come down to tens of thousands in the next couple of years, when it's

:36:25.:36:29.

actually gone up to 200,000, just as bad as it was under the Labour

:36:30.:36:37.

government. You said just as bad. In his terms. Are you in favour or

:36:38.:36:43.

against it? I am not against it. You did use the word bad. You are quick

:36:44.:36:49.

today, David! If we are going to have free movement, it works both

:36:50.:36:55.

ways, that is the point. What do you think? If you look at the figures

:36:56.:36:59.

superficially, it is frightening but if you do the maths in terms of

:37:00.:37:03.

extrapolation it is not as bad as you think. The main concern is that

:37:04.:37:06.

the Southeast will get clogged up and infrastructure and transport

:37:07.:37:12.

will get stasis. David Cameron's whole policy on migration, trying to

:37:13.:37:16.

stop it, was dog whistle politics for the rump of his party and its

:37:17.:37:20.

xenophobic fears. I live in Brixton, south London, which has one

:37:21.:37:25.

of the highest proportions of visible ethnic minorities in Western

:37:26.:37:28.

Europe. I am used to a city which has many nationalities. The great

:37:29.:37:32.

thing about people who migrate is that they usually do it for good

:37:33.:37:36.

economic reasons. They want to work. To come up with a facile

:37:37.:37:41.

version of that, I am delighted with the arrival of Polish painters and

:37:42.:37:44.

decorators because they turn up on time, do a good job and then they

:37:45.:37:48.

leave. Unlike the British ones. These are people who are energetic,

:37:49.:37:53.

want to be here and want to work. They get paid and they pay into the

:37:54.:38:02.

tax kitty and we benefit from it. As the daughter of someone who came

:38:03.:38:08.

here in the 1960s labour shortage, I recognise the positive contribution

:38:09.:38:14.

people make to our country. And the strength in our diversity. And we

:38:15.:38:20.

saw that in the 2020 Olympics, the best show on earth. We thrived in

:38:21.:38:26.

our diversity. But there are major concerns about jobs, about youth

:38:27.:38:30.

unemployment. I see that in London and around the country. What's

:38:31.:38:35.

important is that we need confidence that the immigration system is going

:38:36.:38:40.

to work for both our economy, but also making sure people feel secure,

:38:41.:38:44.

people don't feel that change is happening too fast. That's a big

:38:45.:38:49.

challenge. That means we have to focus on making sure people who are

:38:50.:38:53.

able to work in our own country get the jobs they need, but at the same

:38:54.:38:57.

time it's a give-and-take, as Elfyn has said already. If we want a free

:38:58.:39:03.

and open Europe, where we benefit, 50% of our trade is with Europe,

:39:04.:39:08.

that means we will need to accept a level of freedom of movement between

:39:09.:39:14.

our countries, both people coming in and out. But that has to happen in a

:39:15.:39:18.

sensible way. We have to have a sensible approach to immigration.

:39:19.:39:22.

What brought your family from Bangladesh? My father came here in

:39:23.:39:27.

the 60s during a labour shortage, his skills shortage. He worked in

:39:28.:39:34.

manufacturing. He worked in the catering industry and later he

:39:35.:39:39.

worked, in fact, for a company in the east End of London that made

:39:40.:39:44.

hosepipes, garden hose pipes, which went bust, sadly after the ban on

:39:45.:39:54.

hosepipes. You talk about having to be careful about immigration. Did he

:39:55.:39:58.

find problems when he came in the 60s? Yes, he experienced huge

:39:59.:40:02.

amounts of racism and discrimination. I am proud to live

:40:03.:40:06.

in a country where that is ancient history now and written is a much

:40:07.:40:12.

more open and inclusive society. -- Britain. Melanie and I would not be

:40:13.:40:20.

here if it was not for economic migration because we are descendants

:40:21.:40:29.

of migrants into Britain. And me. Jay is entirely correct, but I think

:40:30.:40:36.

describing people who have concerns about the level of immigration,

:40:37.:40:39.

speaking as the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants,

:40:40.:40:42.

describing people with concerns about immigration in terms of dog

:40:43.:40:46.

whistle and xenophobic is a great insult to the millions of people who

:40:47.:40:49.

have genuine and decent concerns about this.

:40:50.:40:54.

APPLAUSE Because, you and I both know, and

:40:55.:41:01.

probably everyone around this table knows that immigrants bring a great

:41:02.:41:05.

deal to the party, to the National party. They have contributed

:41:06.:41:09.

enormously in all kinds of ways to our society, for the better. But we

:41:10.:41:14.

are not talking about immigration in the abstract. We are talking about a

:41:15.:41:21.

situation where if you have such large numbers coming in that public

:41:22.:41:25.

services are simply overwhelmed, and, as somebody has said, it is

:41:26.:41:30.

bottom heavy, so much concentrated in the south that it creates an

:41:31.:41:33.

economic imbalance, using the cards do it. How many towns the size of

:41:34.:41:38.

Peter Brewer or whatever have we got to construct in the next few years

:41:39.:41:42.

to accommodate the numbers coming in? The real problem is not a

:41:43.:41:48.

question of ethnic minorities. It is not a question of wonderful Polish

:41:49.:41:52.

builders. We can all swap these stories. The issue is this, to do

:41:53.:41:58.

with the European Union. The European Union's founding principle

:41:59.:42:02.

is the free movement of labour. The European Union is founded on the

:42:03.:42:05.

principle that basically national boundaries have to give way for the

:42:06.:42:09.

greater good. We can all have a discussion about that founding

:42:10.:42:14.

principle, but the fact is that the countries of the European Union are

:42:15.:42:20.

variously in difficulties over this principle. Chancellor Angela Merkel

:42:21.:42:25.

said today, freedom of movement remains one of the greatest

:42:26.:42:29.

achievements of the EU and should be preserved. So it's not going to

:42:30.:42:34.

change. This is the problem with being a member of the European

:42:35.:42:38.

Union. Mr Cameron pretends that he is going to solve this while

:42:39.:42:41.

remaining a member of the European Union. If he calls it a dog whistle,

:42:42.:42:48.

you are whistling in the dark! I am not sure of the analogy, but I think

:42:49.:42:53.

politicians should be honest with us. If you sign up to a club whose

:42:54.:42:57.

founding principle is the free movement of peoples, that is the

:42:58.:43:00.

rule you accept. If you don't want it, you have to get out. There isn't

:43:01.:43:09.

an alternative. I think Elfyn made a very good point, that he said that

:43:10.:43:17.

people don't want to do the job that immigrants are coming in to do. If

:43:18.:43:21.

they don't want the job, they lose their benefits. It's as simple as

:43:22.:43:29.

that. There was a person arguing with you. We are sending the wrong

:43:30.:43:34.

messages with these jobs. We are educating our children that if you

:43:35.:43:37.

start at what we class as a lower job it is not the right thing for

:43:38.:43:41.

you. We should be saying to our children, they are jobs that you can

:43:42.:43:45.

strive to better yourself, can learn and move on, but we are dismissing

:43:46.:43:48.

them as jobs that are not worthwhile taking. Jobs for the Polish, in

:43:49.:43:56.

other words. Any jobs. It is a job to move on from. In the checked

:43:57.:44:05.

shirt at the back. It is not a matter of people not wanting to do

:44:06.:44:09.

the jobs but the fact that they are advertised abroad and not in the UK.

:44:10.:44:14.

Really? There has been a lot of truth in that. Under the last

:44:15.:44:19.

government we had completely unfettered migrants coming in from

:44:20.:44:22.

the European Union. There were agencies advertising in Poland and

:44:23.:44:27.

other countries. We have sought to make sure we don't do that and it is

:44:28.:44:33.

not allowed. I saw adverts today for theme park ride operators in the

:44:34.:44:39.

mania. How did you see an advert in the mania today? I went on a

:44:40.:44:49.

Romanian job site. On the internet. Some of you will have remembered the

:44:50.:44:53.

scare stories put out by other political parties and you will know

:44:54.:44:56.

it has not been the case. The reality of it is that the majority

:44:57.:45:00.

of people, overwhelmingly, the majority of people who come to our

:45:01.:45:05.

country come here to work and contribute. You are happy with

:45:06.:45:11.

200,000, not worried. Let me finish. Get to the point. You want me to get

:45:12.:45:16.

to the point you want me to make. Get to the point of the question. We

:45:17.:45:22.

have regained control of our borders when it comes to non-EU. We have had

:45:23.:45:27.

a significant drop in the number of people coming from non-EU countries.

:45:28.:45:31.

We have done a good job there, particular in getting rid of the

:45:32.:45:34.

phoney colleges, which were supposedly having people who were

:45:35.:45:39.

students. We have done that well. We have also made sure that we have not

:45:40.:45:42.

have the supposed flood of immigrants coming in from Romania

:45:43.:45:46.

and Bulgaria. Those have proven to be scare stories. Just two points.

:45:47.:46:00.

Maybe one. People are trying to make out that the British youngsters do

:46:01.:46:06.

not want the jobs. I have got a youngster who does want a job. He

:46:07.:46:11.

has got the same problem that this man said, the British youngsters do

:46:12.:46:17.

want to work. The agencies are bringing in loads and loads of

:46:18.:46:21.

people from these different countries and they are working on

:46:22.:46:31.

contract to these companies and they do not employ them full-time.

:46:32.:46:36.

Part-time workers are cheaper. One area that I am familiar with is

:46:37.:46:41.

agricultural work and seasonal work like fruit picking. They said they

:46:42.:46:46.

gave up five years ago and they could not get a workforce here which

:46:47.:46:50.

is why the advertised abroad because people did not want the work here.

:46:51.:46:56.

My son has a applied for three or four jobs, he is on skilled but he

:46:57.:47:01.

cannot get a job because the agencies of filling the jobs with

:47:02.:47:05.

remaining and Polish and various other immigrants that are coming in.

:47:06.:47:11.

Agencies bring them over. What kind of jobs are you thinking of? I am

:47:12.:47:18.

thinking of unskilled Labour. That is partly true. There is some truth

:47:19.:47:22.

in what you say, sir, definitely. But there is the other side of the

:47:23.:47:28.

coin as well. I know of many catering establishments in mid and

:47:29.:47:31.

North Wales who cannot fall of Norma NATO get local people involved in

:47:32.:47:38.

catering. -- love or money get local people involved. They do not want

:47:39.:47:42.

the hour for the pay. I am not making it up. The young people from

:47:43.:47:50.

that or Poland take the jobs. Accept that but you realise these agencies

:47:51.:47:57.

are buying the jobs up in bulk. You made the point and the man there? I

:47:58.:48:03.

do not think immigration is a problem. I think integration is the

:48:04.:48:08.

problem. In this capitalist society there is competition for jobs. If

:48:09.:48:12.

immigrants want to come over and compete for the jobs, fair game, I

:48:13.:48:16.

do not think there is a problem with it. No problem? I wanted to return

:48:17.:48:25.

to the comments the gentleman made earlier about his son. I see, every

:48:26.:48:31.

day I meet young people, nearly 1 million young people are unemployed,

:48:32.:48:35.

and we need to make sure that we do not lose another generation because

:48:36.:48:40.

they are not getting the help they need. We have youth unemployment

:48:41.:48:51.

falling now. The gentleman said his son needs help. What is important is

:48:52.:48:55.

the government steps up and addresses this issue. Let me finish.

:48:56.:49:01.

Because otherwise you end up with this false if you like, conflict.

:49:02.:49:07.

Sometimes there is a genuine issue. I saw it during the Olympics when my

:49:08.:49:12.

constituents, young constituents were struggling to get jobs and the

:49:13.:49:16.

companies that were contracted did not reach out enough to local

:49:17.:49:21.

people. We have a government that needs to take responsibility and

:49:22.:49:26.

encourage companies to recruit locally first. So you want to stem

:49:27.:49:29.

the flow of immigration is what you are saying? You want to stem the

:49:30.:49:34.

flow of immigration by encouraging people to employ local Labour first

:49:35.:49:38.

so they would be no demand for people from Bulgaria or remaining? I

:49:39.:49:42.

am saying we need to do more to help our young people get back to work

:49:43.:49:46.

and at the same time we have to make sure that as part of the European

:49:47.:49:52.

Union, we have a responsibility for free movement of Labour, just as our

:49:53.:49:57.

people can move between countries. We have a responsibility to young

:49:58.:50:04.

people. My biggest concern is every aspect of education and health is

:50:05.:50:10.

overcrowded. We cannot afford to have all these people coming in

:50:11.:50:15.

here. And use there with the moustache and the beard. You can

:50:16.:50:21.

talk all day about these different stories about immigration. The

:50:22.:50:24.

bottom line is immigration benefits this country. It is evident that

:50:25.:50:31.

immigration is a benefit to this country. You can scaremonger as many

:50:32.:50:35.

people as you like, it will not work. The real reason this country

:50:36.:50:39.

is going down is because of the bankers who take the massive bonuses

:50:40.:50:47.

and people who do not pay tax. And the woman there. Why with an

:50:48.:50:54.

increase in our population are we having a deep crease in our health

:50:55.:50:59.

services? In Wales you have a problem with your health service.

:51:00.:51:05.

And the problem you have is you have a Welsh Assembly that is not doing

:51:06.:51:08.

the job it should be doing with your health services. They haven't met an

:51:09.:51:17.

A targets since 2009. It is a Labour-controlled Welsh Assembly, it

:51:18.:51:19.

is failing you, it is not spending the money, you have people on

:51:20.:51:24.

waiting lists and I hope the people in the rest of the country look at

:51:25.:51:31.

what Labour does with the NHS, compared with what we do in England,

:51:32.:51:38.

you can trust the NHS in our hands, we have increased the amount of

:51:39.:51:43.

money, the budget has gone up, I promise you that. Ever heard of mid

:51:44.:51:49.

Staffordshire? That was not on our watch. Weight, everyone. That was

:51:50.:51:56.

not the question but since the lady there raised it, just briefly, from

:51:57.:52:02.

Labour's point of view, you are under constant attack in the House

:52:03.:52:05.

of Commons for what has happened here in Wales and the way the Welsh

:52:06.:52:10.

Assembly has cut back on the NHS. What you say? First of all, let's

:52:11.:52:15.

look at the situation in Wales. There are 3 million people and the

:52:16.:52:18.

Conservative Party keeps comparing the rest of the country with Wales.

:52:19.:52:22.

There are clearly issues and the Welsh Government is dealing with

:52:23.:52:30.

that. Let's focus on, let's look at the context. I am not going to say

:52:31.:52:37.

that there is an improvement to make. You almost better than

:52:38.:52:43.

anybody. -- there is not an improvement to make. Under this

:52:44.:52:50.

government's watch, a back door privatisation effort and they do not

:52:51.:52:53.

like to talk about what they are doing in the rest of the country but

:52:54.:52:58.

the NHS is being decimated. Anna's parties responsible for that and she

:52:59.:53:12.

and her party... I do not want to be unkind but obviously, I know the

:53:13.:53:15.

more about the Welsh health service than you do. But I say that with

:53:16.:53:23.

respect. Point number one, our colleague in Westminster has said

:53:24.:53:27.

that at least six hospitals in Wales have disturbingly high mortality

:53:28.:53:37.

rates and should be investigated. So far, nothing is happening. In the

:53:38.:53:43.

First Minister's own constituency, a lady was dealt with terribly in a

:53:44.:53:47.

hospital. Her medicine was poured away and she subsequently died. He

:53:48.:53:53.

had known about that since 2010, 2012 are not done very much about

:53:54.:53:57.

it. The short fact is, you may save there is only 3 million people but

:53:58.:54:02.

the 3 million Wales deserve as good a service as anybody else.

:54:03.:54:11.

The point is, I will give you one statistic, a snapshot, for people

:54:12.:54:20.

waiting for surgery heart in England, there are 60 people. In

:54:21.:54:26.

Wales, it is 185 and rising. That is not good enough. Do you agree with

:54:27.:54:31.

all this? You feel Wales is hard done by? I think the health service

:54:32.:54:38.

Wales is appalling. I know about it because I have worked on it and I am

:54:39.:54:42.

a victim of it. It is absolutely outrageous. The length of the

:54:43.:54:46.

waiting lists, the standard of care when you actually get in bed

:54:47.:54:52.

clutches, my biggest fear is actually becoming ill and growing

:54:53.:54:56.

old because it is appalling. Who do you blame for this? I am not a great

:54:57.:55:02.

fan of the Welsh Assembly, I did vote against it. I think the money

:55:03.:55:06.

that was spent to build the Senate in the beginning and the money it

:55:07.:55:10.

takes to maintain this structure with the Assembly Members, all that

:55:11.:55:14.

money could be going into health and education. Could I direct this

:55:15.:55:28.

question to Rushanara? You say it is being sorted out why are people

:55:29.:55:34.

you'll being sent to England to get treatment? It is important that the

:55:35.:55:39.

Welsh Government text responsibility and this issue is addressed. What is

:55:40.:55:42.

important is we recognise, the national government keeps using

:55:43.:55:50.

Wales to divert attention from the wider problem and crisis facing the

:55:51.:55:56.

NHS. That includes an A crisis up and down the country, in

:55:57.:56:00.

constituencies across London, where I am based and there are big issues

:56:01.:56:08.

for the NHS. Has the money being cut in England on the same scale as it

:56:09.:56:14.

has in Wales? The figures suggest a 10% cut in Wales and a slight

:56:15.:56:25.

increase in England. Though Welsh amount has declined. What is

:56:26.:56:32.

important is we focus on recognising that our NHS and the staff in the

:56:33.:56:40.

NHS overall should not be attacked. In Wales, A have not hit their

:56:41.:56:46.

targets since 2009. The Welsh Assembly have the power to make a

:56:47.:56:49.

big difference to the NHS Wales and are not using it. We have to come to

:56:50.:56:57.

a close. A point from you, sir. Makes me laugh that you try and

:56:58.:57:01.

blame the current government for the problems. In Wales we have a

:57:02.:57:05.

stranglehold by the Labour Party. It is about time that Wales woke up and

:57:06.:57:16.

stopped voting the Labour Party in. And very briefly, I will take a

:57:17.:57:20.

point from you but it has to be quick, please. I think we have a

:57:21.:57:25.

lackadaisical Labour government happy to blame the Tories in

:57:26.:57:28.

Westminster and the Tories who do not give a dam about Wales because

:57:29.:57:34.

they will not get any milage here. We need an alternative. On which

:57:35.:57:41.

note we come to the end of our hour. Next week we will be in

:57:42.:57:45.

Barking in East London. We will have Michael Heseltine on the panel,

:57:46.:57:53.

Rachel Rees, Simon Hughes and Amanda Patel. A week after that we will be

:57:54.:58:01.

in Nottingham. If you would like to come to barking or Nottingham, then

:58:02.:58:08.

come to our website. If you are listening on radio five the debate

:58:09.:58:13.

goes on. Here in Newport, thanks to our panel. Until next Thursday, from

:58:14.:58:18.

all of us here, good night.

:58:19.:58:23.

David Dimbleby presents Question Time from Newport in Wales. On the panel are Conservative defence minister Anna Soubry MP, Labour's shadow education minister Rushanara Ali MP, Plaid Cymru's Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd MP, restaurant critic and novelist Jay Rayner and columnist Melanie Phillips.


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