08/05/2014 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents from Southampton. Taking questions from the audience are Grant Shapps MP, Chuka Umunna MP, Shirley Williams, Nigel Farage MEP and Caroline Lucas MP.

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Tonight, we are in Southampton, and welcome to Question Time.


Good evening to you at home, welcome to our audience, who will be putting


questions to the panel who do not know what the questions are until


they hear them. Two weeks until the local and European elections, so we


have five politicians on the panel tonight. Conservative Party


chairman, Grant Shapps, Labour's Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka


Umunna, Liberal Democrat peer and the party's former leader in the


House of Lords, Shirley Williams, the leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage,


and Green Party MP and former leader of that party, Caroline Lucas.


Thank you. We begin with a question from Robert Easlick. Does the UK


need to come out of the EU to stop the flow of immigrants living in


this country? Chuka Umunna? Look, I am the son of an immigrant. I


believe immigration has brought tremendous benefits to our country.


In the wake of the war, immigrants helped to rebuild our country. Many


public services would not be able to operate where it not for immigrants


working in them. And if you look at the cultural diversity and richness


of our nation, I think immigration has bought a lot. In terms of


people's concerns, all that they ask is that we have properly controlled


borders, that we don't have people coming in and undercutting British


workers, and that they are not exploited themselves. But I


certainly don't think pulling out of the EU would be a good thing for our


economy. The EU is our nearest and biggest market and is actually the


key that unlocks the door to many of these emerging markets. And that


overrides any concerns your party may have, remembering they


apologised for what they did on immigration, on the flow of


immigrants into this country? I don't think we got everything right


from immigration. But we have gone through a difficult period as a


country, and economically it has been very difficult coming out of


the 2008-2009 crash. We have some big challenges ahead. Automation,


the use of computers, is changing the nature of jobs, and we face


challenges from India, China and other emerging markets. I don't


think pulling out of the EU is necessarily going to solve that. I


also don't think doing one of those things people sometimes do when


going through adversity, blaming the other for the problems we face, is a


way to ensure we win in the future. You have seen the latest net


migration figures which are pretty much the size of the city of


Southampton last year. Are those numbers, for you, acceptable, right?


We would like to see immigration come-down, but let's not forget, by


the way, we have around 2 million Brits living in the EU. I think we


have slightly more than that from the EU living here. But do I think


coming out of the EU is going to solve the issues we have, competing


in the world against the emerging market economies? No, I don't. To do


that, we are going to have to innovate, make sure we invest in our


science base, and we have to ensure that our people have the skills they


need to succeed in the world. I don't think pulling out of the EU is


going to solve those problems we have as a country.


APPLAUSE Nigel Farage.


It's a very good question, and the answer is, yes. Either you want to


have an immigration policy, or you don't. When I hear Chuka use the


word control, we need to control our borders, and if I hear it from


anyone else on the panel, let's be frank. We have signed up through a


series of treaties in Brussels to a total unrestricted open door. 485


million people have the right to come and live in settle in this


country. The first three arcades of our membership of Europe, no one


noticed, because we actually had roughly similar living standards,


similar education systems and health care. And then we let in, and it was


Labour that did it, a series of countries, eight countries, that had


not long been out of coming as, in many cases had not readjusted to


being the kind of countries in terms of culture that we were. We have


extended that to Romania and Bulgaria. Our minimum wage is nine


times that of Romania and now we have in the eurozone a catastrophe


in the Mediterranean, with youth unemployment at 60% in some of those


countries. The numbers we have seen from the EU already are as nothing


compared to what we will see over the next four years. My argument,


and I would not dispute that controlled immigration can be a big


net benefit to Britain, economically, culturally and


everything else, but we have no control. And we have no idea next


year whether 200,000 are coming, 500,000 are coming, 800,000 are


coming. There is nothing we can do. I would advocate that one of the


benefits of not being a member of the EU is that we get control of our


borders so we can decide who comes to Britain. We shouldn't be


discriminating against people from India and New Zealand, as we


currently do, because we have an open door to Romania and Bulgaria.


Let's have our own immigration policy and control not just the


quantity of who comes to Britain, at the quality of who comes to Britain.




We have heard this from my jaw before. Apparently there is going to


be a catastrophe in the eurozone in the coming months and 26 million


people are going to want to come here. -- we have heard this from


Nigel. You said we would have this huge wage of people coming from the


mania and Bulgaria and that has not happened. Have you seen the


migration figures? There are five people on the panel! I am the third


person on this panel. Let's be quite honest,


person on this panel. Let's be quite dependent on some of the immigrants


who have come here. Go into any NHS hospital, go and have an operation,


look to see who the health systems are, who the doctors are. Many of


them will not be from this country. Some will be from other EU


countries, some from Commonwealth countries. Frankly, the NHS, of


which I am extremely proud, would break down without them. They have


been indispensable to it. Go into your hotels, pubs and cafes. I am


not in favour of the low wages we pay people in catering. I think it


should be at the very least the minimum wage.


should be at the very least the doing jobs we cannot get English


people to do because the pay is too poor. Are you not worried by the


numbers who come, over 200,000? It is not the numbers,


numbers who come, over 200,000? It people who come here are fitting


into jobs that we need to be done. Unemployment has not soared in the


way that Nigel and others said it would. We have relatively


way that Nigel and others said it around here and they are not worth


looking at carefully because they are exactly that, spectres.


looking at carefully because they say one other thing. Many people do


not realise that if we didn't have, for example, a steady flow of


substantial numbers of overseas students, including into Southampton


University, we would have to close one course after the other. There


aren't enough people in the technical, mathematical and economic


courses to keep them open for Brits, technical, mathematical and economic


And overseas students now pay a very substantial part of all the costs of


our universities, a much higher cost than would be met simply by tuition


fees. We would see tuition fees go up even further if we did not invite


overseas students. APPLAUSE


I will come back to you. I think the policies are wrong to


start with. Why should they be able to turn up in this country and


expect everything they can get over here? Why not have jobs that are


open to them? A bit like Australia or America, where they have a green


card. You apply for what you get when you come here. I don't have an


issue with people coming over here with the hospitals and everything.


We have a minimum wage as well. It is not one-sided. I had an extremely


ill close relative, an NHS patient, a brick. -- a Britain. He became


extremely ill last year with a serious heart condition and was


looked after absolutely brilliantly in France, and later in Italy. And


he never paid a penny because there is a common NHS card which is served


by the whole of the European Union, which means everyone of us who


travels to Europe would get what we would never get if we travel to the


United States or China. We get full health safety.


APPLAUSE Let me come back to the question.


Grant Shapps. Does the UK need to pull out of Europe to control


immigration? The answer is, we want you to be able to have a say in


this. I believe that immigration has benefited this country. I believe it


is important that people are allowed to travel around a free market which


includes people being able to move around. I am surprised to hear what


Nigel had to say. Who would be his secretary without his German wife if


there was no free movement? The question is what kind of free


movement and how far should it go? When you countries joined the EU, as


we just saw, we have been arguing when countries come in and they have


a different standard of living, there should be potential for a


longer transition period. That is exactly the sort of thing we want to


renegotiate with the EU on, and we want to put it to a referendum so


not the politicians, not Labour and the Lib Dems, who I would argue do


not want anything but to take us further into Europe, nor Nigel, who


can't deliver, but the Conservatives, who can deliver, and


we will do that by giving you an in-out referendum. Is that giving


people a say, Nigel? Why don't you tell them the truth? The question


was, do we have to put up with the EU to control immigration? He says,


I don't have an opinion and it is up to you in a referendum. We heard


that before when David Cameron promised one at the last European


elections and didn't deliver. You, along with Labour, the Lib Dems, the


Greens, the political establishment have all voted. You are the


establishment. You have been an MP for 15 years. I will tell you what,


they haven't tamed me yet. Grant, no party has been keener on the free


movement of peoples within the European Union than the


Conservatives. So much so that your leader even once Turkey to join the


European Union. Caroline Lucas, and then people with their hands up. I


am going to say is thing unusual because I agree with Nigel on one


point only. I do think people should have a say about the EU and I don't


think kicking it into the long grass, as the Conservatives are


doing, is the right thing to do. And what would your say be in a


referendum? Did you vote for it? Yes, I did, thank you. I do think we


should have an in-out referendum and if we were to have such a referendum


the Green Party would be voting to stay in. When I was thinking this


might possibly, tonight I made a note on the train of the things that


the EU has done for us. When people say, what has the EU ever done for


you, I have a view things. Providing 50% of our trade, clean beaches and


rivers, cleaner air, lead-free petrol, restrictions on dumping,


improved food protection and labelling, a ban on hormones and


other food additive -- additives. How much more? I have hardly


started. Pulling out of the EU would be a disaster. And it is a false


choice. But the thing that mix me most cross is when Nigel Farage


tries to pretend he is a man of the people, that he is


anti-establishment. If you look at the UKIP policies they are anything


but. UKIP is the party claiming lots of money from rich bankers who are


bankrolling them. Is that relevance to this question, Caroline? This is


an immigration question. I will tell you how it fits in if you will be


quiet for a second. You said you are antiestablishment. You are at the


centre of the establishment. You said you were counter to the


establishment. He actually said he had not been tamed. He will say that


he says what no one else dares to say. What I dare to say is that we


have a chronic housing shortage, an NHS under strain, a culture of low


pay, but the fault lies with the government, not with migrants.


The woman in the second row? I'd like to add to Shirley Williams'


list that the care industry also is heavily dependent on immigrants. I


have also been to Italy and been ill. I had to show my passport and


had x-rays and excellent care without paying a penny. There was


bound to be a huge period of adjustment when the new countries


joined Europe with regard to immigration. But it will settle


down, I believe. I think that making immigration the reason for leaving


Europe seems to me to be very short-sighted. I'm with you. I'd


agree with you. I would add one other thing. The countries that have


come into the EU in the last few years, like Bulgaria, Romania,


Poland, are countries that have become democracies. We should be


very proud of that fact that the concept of democracy and the rule of


law has spread throughout Europe, including Eastern Europe and Central


Europe, in a way that our grandparents would never have


believed possible. Did it need to involve free movement of people?


Yes. Why? The essence of the idea was the equality of all citizens in


the EU and above all, what was said years ago, "I want to live in a


continent where you can go from one place to the other without showing a


passport." The former Labour Foreign Secretary. You, Sir? Will anybody


admit that immigration has got out of hand? I will. He will. Hold on.


You know Nigel Farage will. Who do you want to admit it? Any of them.


Nobody's taking it on. Grant Shapps? First of all... There's too many.


Especially in Southampton! It means that millions of Brits have gone and


settled in places like Spain and France and elsewhere to work or


retire. So we have to be looking at this in the round. The idea that you


ban it one way, of course they ban it the other way. I do agree that


you have to control these things. That is why this Government has


introduced measures to make sure that you cannot now go to the front


of the housing queue if you haven't lived in an area. You can't use the


Health Service as if it is the lived in an area. You can't use the


was wrong. We have put an end to that. It is interesting to see that


because we have taken a that. It is interesting to see that


different steps that the that. It is interesting to see that


mass movement of people from Romania and Bulgaria does not appear to have


taken place. Is that because of the and Bulgaria does not appear to have


measures you took? Yes. and Bulgaria does not appear to have


things. One of the and Bulgaria does not appear to have


early on was extended and Bulgaria does not appear to have


minimum amount of time that and Bulgaria does not appear to have


had put in for transitions, we added another two years


had put in for transitions, we added between the time that


had put in for transitions, we added Bulgarians came into the EU and were


able to come here. Is the coalition getting it right where Labour got it


wrong? The things they have been doing are things that we called for,


like strengthening the habitual residence test. Sometimes the tone


like strengthening the habitual of the debate in our country has


become ugly. When people like Nigel say, "When I'm on a bus or train, I


feel awkward if I hear people speaking another language." That is


ugly. Let's have a calm and... Do you? I do. Do you not think that


ugly. Let's have a calm and... Do people coming to this country in


reasonable controlled numbers, learning English and integrating is


not important? It is very, very important, indeed.


Very important. You have completely misinterpreted


Very important. You have completely there. I haven't argued


Very important. You have completely against is letting this debate


descend into something that against is letting this debate


constituency in London, where you would hear other people talking


different languages other than English and you say that makes you


feel awkward. What you say makes me feel awkward.


Surely, the essence is about should we


Surely, the essence EU so we can


Surely, the essence argument is that unless we can


control the numbers that come in, we will not get integration, we will


get separation communities that is something that


nobody wants. Alright. You, Sir? I want to say - we are saying about


coming in or out of the EU for immigration. There are hundreds more


reasons to be doing it, for and against. I'm sort of quite proud to


say I'm only a young chap and I am just getting into politics and


enjoying it as well! The only way I can go is these decisions to go in


were made before I had a choice and the referendum gives people a chance


to redo that. It is not a bad thing to look at the balance and say all


our heads are better than one, the same as a country's way forward is


better than one party. Labour have good points. UKIP might have good


points. The Conservative Party are the only people putting forward to


give everyone a chance to choose a way forward. Well done to Caroline


for voting for the Bill when it was in front of Parliament. Shame on


Labour and the Lib Dems for not allowing this Parliament to give


people the in-out referendum. Shirley? I don't expect Grant to


remember my whole history - why should he? I was the member of the


Cabinet who resigned on the grounds that we weren't going to have a


referendum. I'm not the right one for him to pick on! Let me be


precise, though. Hang on. I want to address the


gentleman. We are getting distracted in the whole EU discussion by what


we are can only describe as issues like tossing to and fro, party views


on immigration and things of that kind. I read yesterday in the


newspaper, the American newspapers, the devastating effects of climate


change. The only people who can do anything serious about climate


change are not individual countries like the UK or Germany, or France,


it is the whole lot together. Absolutely. As they had some chance


about doing something about organise niessed crime. I -- organised crime.


I'm making this point to Nigel who I respect, he is a highly intelligent


man and great fun to have a drink with. Thank you. Let me put... That


is after the programme! Let me put one serious question to him. His


people in the European Parliament voted against a directive from the


EU to limit and stop human trafficking. Human trafficking of


children and people who were dragged into this country as semi-slaves. I


think Nigel's got to take a grip on his party because he's got some very


funny characters in it. Hang on. I'm not being rude. I want to say that.


I gave you an example that bothers me. You have pushed in Brussels and


Strasbourg the idea of justice and home affairs becoming issues that


move from the jurisdiction of the British Parliament to the European


institutions. And you can talk about people trafficking and all the rest


of it. Your party sponsored the European arrest warrant. We did.


That led to a guy from North London with no prima facie evidence being


dumped in a hell hole in Greece without facing charge. We have had


the presumption of innocence before guilt and they are the things that


you - you call yourself a Liberal Party - and you have thrown them


away. The Great Train Robber who was living for years in Spain. Caroline


Lucas? I only wanted to go back to the young man in the front row who


was saying he was enjoying getting involved in politics and wanted the


opportunity to vote on membership of the EU. The kinds of issues we have


been talking about now are the ones that need to be properly thrashed


out with people who haven't had the opportunity to have their say at the


moment. The point Shirley raises - it is vital and we need to have that


debate. This will enable us to engage people with the EU. If you


went out on the streets of Southampton and said, "What's the EU


for?" People don't know anymore. We need to reinspire a vision of what


the EU could be for. It needs a lot of reform. It needs to be


accountable. How? There are lots of easy ways. How? It wouldn't happen


if you leave, that's for sure. It is never going to reform. How can you


reform something that is based on treaties? Our audience has come here


not to just listen to you, but also to debate with you and other members


of the panel. Let's have a go. If net immigration is the size of the


city of Southampton, where are my children going to find a house to


live? Chuka Umunna? At the end of the day, the reason that we have


housing problems right now is because we have the lowest rate of


new-builds since the 1920s and, again, to go to the point that was


made earlier, we can blame all our problems on the EU, but we have to


sort them out here. That is a responsibility of Government. Can I


say something else? We are talking about whether we are in or out. If


we come out, we are still likely to have to comply with all their rules


and regulations to sell our goods. If you are on the field playing the


match, batting for Britain, you can get a good deal. You would walk off


the field! But the argument... Alright. OK. The argument... The


argument we can battle for Britain has been given light to. On 55


occasions since 1996, mostly under a Labour Government, on 55 occasions


the British Government have said we are going to fight hard against this


directive and we have lost on all 55 occasions. Surely, this is nonsense.


Grant Shapps? Surely, what we are... You are saying absolutely... Were


you saying absolutely? Absolute nonsense. Grant Shapps? No, Grant


Shapps? Surely, what we are witnessing here are two extremes.


One party, the Labour Party, that will not give you an in-out


referendum on Europe. The other party, UKIP, who say they want one,


but admit at the same time they cannot deliver. People of our


generation, with the exception of Shirley, have never been given a


say. Let's put it to the British people. And vote to stay in. You can


vote how you like, Nigel. Can I ask you one simple question? Why is it


always renegotiate and then have a referendum? Why not have a


referendum? If you had a referendum without having agreed what the


subject was - in other words... Should you be in or out of Europe?


The better option is rather than just say these two extreme positions


- it is all fine. Or it is all disastrous. You can do things like


renegotiate the people. How do you avoid it being the trick that Harold


Wilson paid when he renegotiated a little bit and have everybody say,


"Go for it"? I remember because I voted. People like the two of you


will remind us that that was the trick and we won't fall for it


again. It will be up to everyone else to make the decision. Have we


returned power to this country? Have we come to a position which people


are comfortable with and give people an in-out referendum. Only the


Conservatives will deliver that. Hold on. It is fantasy. Let's listen


to our audience again. Yourself and Caroline and Chuka, what you miss


about UKIP is that the motivation for what you do politically is


almost as important as what you do. The fact you have offered a


referendum is great. You will never claim the political credit for it.


Cameron reneged on his cast-iron promise. Let me finish, then you can


come back. Now, you are saying we will put it to you. People are


saying - as an electorate, we want to be led as much as we want you to


listen. What UKIP have done is they have put their finger on a problem


and they have led. What you have all done is you have responded to things


happening because you don't understand what life


happening because you don't people out there in Britain. You


don't understand that. Caroline? I think that gentleman has


put his finger on something incredibly important. When people


look at people who are going to vote UKIP - and sometimes they are very


rude - I don't think that is the case. They are very angry. Probably


many of you are very, very angry. That is because it feels to you, I'm


sure, that the political elite at Westminster simply doesn't


understand your lives. When you look in on them, at Westminster, it feels


as if... It feels as if they are out of touch and the danger of that,


though, is that UKIP's policies, which are in so many areas, are so


dubious. It is almost as if it doesn't matter about the policies


because your anger is so great. I understand that. It is incredibly


dangerous. When you look at UKIP's policies... We want our democracy


back. What is wrong with that? I'm talking about your other policies.


All we want... Let me finish. We have never said that. Wait, wait. We


are not going into UKIP's manifesto at this stage.


We are not going into the UKIP manifesto this stage. We do not know


what will happen in future. If we have elected representatives that we


trust, we know they will deal with the situation in the way we would


want them to. You don't have the trust at the moment. First of all,


the biggest lie that needs to be quashed is that somehow a referendum


was promised in a previous manifesto. That is not the case.


Hold on a minute. We are talking manifesto. That is not the case.


about the manifesto upon which this Conservative led government got


elected, and there was no manifesto in there. In 2009, you said vote for


us and we will guarantee you a referendum. Nigel... Be straight


about it. If you will let someone get the wording, the fact of the


matter is that in the last general election that was not in our


manifesto. The only reason it was in the previous one is that it was


before the Lisbon treaty had been passed, which I voted against, along


with every Conservative in Parliament. The reason why we can


and should be trusted when we say we want a referendum in 2017 is that


during this parliament we have cut the EU budget, something that Nigel


and his colleagues in Europe voted against. It saves this country ?8


billion over the next ten years. We vetoed the EU Treaty, got out of the


bail out fund which Labour signed up to in the dying days of their


government. When we say we will give you an in-out referendum, we mean


it. We will give it to you. As you know, if you are a regular watcher,


you can join in the debate from home by text or Twitter. Surely, whatever


issues we have with Europe, whether we want to be in or out, it would be


a mistake to see the answer to vote in MEPs who will then not turn up


and try and change what is going on in Europe. You are saying that UKIP


MEPs don't turn up? It is not that I think, it is there. What happens is


that your posters display, and I saw one the other day, a man in the back


of the car saying that your tax payers money funds his millionaire


's lifestyle. Actually, how taxpayers money funds you as well,


going over there and not turning up to do the job which you are paid to


do. You can't have this argument both ways. Either we turn up and


enjoy the luxury lifestyle, or we don't. What we want to do, we are


the turkeys that would vote for Christmas. We want to get rid of


British MEPs and commissioners. We don't need any of this to trade and


cooperate with our next-door neighbours in Europe. 40% of your


MEPs elected last time round have resigned, defected or gone to jail.


Not one of them has gone to jail. If you start talking about expenses


scandals... Two of them. None of them. OK, it was the last


Parliament. I just want to pick up on the last point which was made


about trust in politicians. I think we have fundamental issues of trust,


not just in politics, but the police, the media, many parts of


society. I think that is right. I think there is also a sense that


there is a disconnect between the government, policymakers and the


people we are supposed to work for. There is also anger. I don't think


the solution is setting up different parts of our community against each


other, setting up the other as the target that we blame for all our


problems. I think actually we need to return to our values of social


solidarity. Chuka, do you think I would do that? I am half Indian! You


were also talking about the kind of policies UKIP have been promoting. I


don't think people want to pay for key NHS policies, as Nigel would


have you do. Where does that come from? Your manifesto. You set


yourself up as the voice of working people and you would do so me things


which would damage communities. We don't know what your policies are.


You don't have a manifesto, do you, isn't that right? New abandoned it.


Nobody has an election manifesto for next year. The gentleman raised a


serious point about trust I have to ask him whether the crisis of trust


is a much wider one than he was implying. Let's look at the attitude


we have had towards the banks. The banks have been so troubling that


people like the Archbishop of Canterbury have said they have lost


their moral compass. If you look at what Barclays has done in the last


week, it has housed at # has had to lay off a huge number of people,


including most of its investment bank, because of the record of the


past. You have to ask a deeper question of how to restore trust,


not just in politicians, and that is important, but in politics as a


whole. I think the answer to that is two things. One, there needs to be a


greater acceptance of our joint responsibility for the way we behave


and the moral standards we try to uphold. Secondly, it also means we


have to actually have a far more active democracy, where we involve


people at local community level in their own decisions. I think


centralisation in this country has gone too far. In particular, London


dominates everything. Having said that, with great respect to you, you


have to look deeper than just flicking at politicians, because


that is the easy, cheap one, but it is much deeper than that. I


absolutely agree with you. The man at the back, in the back row. Nigel,


let me finish, please! You haven't started. That is the point. I am old


enough to have read about McCarthyism, and to have read the


river of blood speech. Enoch Powell's speech. And your point is?


I am also aware of what happens in elections where a climate of fear is


caused among the electorate by the charismatic, the bombastic, and to


me the very dangerous. This has driven Europe to war in the past. I


have no time for you, sir. None. APPLAUSE


. You are very lucky, because there


are four parties on this platform you can vote for, who believe we


should not govern our own country. It won't be you. And that we should


have the vast majority of our laws made somewhere else, over which we


have virtually no save. If that is what you want, that is fine. Be


aware of one thing. Firstly, we are giving people a choice. We want to


trade and cooperate with Europe but not be governed by their


institutions. But recognise this, the European dream is failing and


crumbling. And goodness we did not join the euro zone. This whole


political project in a decade's time as head of a disaster for tens of


millions of European peoples. There you go. I can talk over you, just as


you can talk over me. You are merely putting a scenario. Bring your


remarks to a conclusion. The point is that what is happening is that


the very nationalisms, intolerances and extremism is the EU was supposed


to stop, it is creating because of the disastrous failure called the


eurozone. I will give you a chance to reply. Just hold on. The law of


unforeseen consequences. If we come out of Europe, you have to


renegotiate everything. Europe creates tax regimes which mean that


car-makers, and if Pfizer get their hands on it, AstraZeneca, go over to


Europe. We lose the skills base, we are marginalised. That is the real


Europe. We lose the skills base, we fear, that is the economic fear


facing this country. But we will do business anyway. I am now going to


move onto another question, business anyway. I am now going to


we have a number. My goodness, only 20 minutes left. This one from


Alison Ayling. Is the intervention of the US in the search for the


abducted Nigerian girls likely to inflame the situation and provoke


Boko Haram to more violence? The Americans moving into Nigeria to try


and find these 200 girls and others that have been abducted since. The


actual role of America against Boko Haram. What do you think, Caroline


Lucas? Well, I think the impetus of the Americans and indeed the


international community as a whole is entirely understandable and long


in coming, to be honest. Because this happened three or four weeks


ago. The Nigerian president didn't really notice until a couple of


weeks ago, thanks to a fantastic campaign about bring back our girls,


which is why I am wearing my red ribbon today. There is now more


international as well as Nigerian noise about saying we have to do


more to bring these girls back. I understand why Barack Obama is


trying to take the lead on this. To the extent that it felt there was


something of a vacuum in terms of its national leadership before


that, it is helpful that he did. Answering your question, if you


that, it is helpful that he did. talking about US boots on the


ground, that would be disastrous. talking about US boots on the


kind of surveillance, the negotiation skills, the kind of


people that can go and try and find these girls. That is what we need


and if the international community can help with that, they absolutely


should. It strikes me as so odd that these girls have been missing for so


long and there was for a long time so little response. If you compare


it to the Malaysian airline, that was on the front page of our


it to the Malaysian airline, that newspapers and TV all the time, and


yet the chances of finding those people alive was really slim.


yet the chances of finding those girls, hopefully, are still alive


and we have to redouble our efforts to get them back. Also, we need to


think about what they are coming back to. If you look at Nigeria,


look at the corruption, look at the way in which the political elite


have that huge oil wealth, but it is not trickling down to any other part


of the country at all, then I think we need to keep that spotlight on


Nigeria and say, yes, let's sort out the issue around the girls, around


education, because it is no accident that Boko Haram are targeting


education, but there is so much more to be done on education in Nigeria


as well. If there is any hope that can come out of this, hopefully we


will get the girls back and focus on more girls getting into education,


and on the corruption of the Nigerian regime.


APPLAUSE Allison, what is behind your


question? Do you fear the intervention of the


United States may be counter-productive? It could be,


because Boko Haram appears quite volatile. My daughter has just spent


three months in Nigeria and one of the impressions that she had was how


poor the communication is within the country, and the fact that although


people are aware of Boko Haram, of course, she was there when the


explosion took place in Abuja, and everybody just knows they have to


live in fear. These are people out in the country. So it is just


whether or not such a volatile organisation would be just flown


further in tatters, if you like, by having an uncoordinated


intervention. As long as the intervention is coordinated, I think


it could be extremely successful. Well, there is an ongoing war on


terror on going in the northern states of Nigeria. My family are


from the south-east. I think what has happened here is abhorrent. It


is a disgrace that it took so long to become a big, international


story. But I think Caroline is right. The assistance that the US


and the UK are providing, in terms of the technical assistance,


particularly the satellite technology to identify where the


girls are being held, is welcome and necessary. But to really win this


war on terror, Caroline is right, there are more fundamental issues


that need to be addressed, in terms of looking at wide Boko Haram is


able to recruit people, and Caroline is absolutely right that the


corruption is still endemic in Nigeria. Frankly, and this is very


much a personal view based on my own family and personal experience, I


suppose, but the way that the security forces go into communities,


exercise sometimes extreme violence, extreme human rights violations, on


top of the fact that, despite the fact, this is the great shame about


Nigeria, Nigeria is going places at the moment. You have this burgeoning


middle growth, but you still have a situation where two thirds of


Nigerian people are living on less than $1 per day. For all the extra


wealth we are seeing, it is not being properly shared. Frankly,


since independence, I think the Nigerian people have been let down


time and time again by the different regimes that there have been. And


they deserve better. And unless we get better government in Nigeria, I


fear you will see the likes of Boko Haram carry on. That is no excuse


for what they do, of course it isn't, but you have to look at the


causes and win the war around hearts and minds to deal with this terror


once and for all. Shirley Williams? Some people here


will remember the great battle in the rivers province of Nigeria to


try to get some wealth ploughed back into that part of Nigeria. It never


happened. Effectively they hung the man who was leading the movement for


the Renaissance of the rivers province and we in the West went


along with that. We didn't complain about it. Number two - the United


Nations Human Development Index shows year after year after year


that the countries where women have the right to education are countries


that soar upwards, countries like Asia, India, China. The countries


that refuse it to them are buying themselves a decline in their


economic prosperity across the whole range. It is appalling. I will be


frank about this. These have been 200 young men, if they had been, we


would have seen more attention paid and the Nigerian government would


have done something more effective. I hope we don't stop at a certain


amount of help of the kind that Chuka is talking about. The key


thing is that the United Nations itself has got to build-up an


emergency international force which can go in right away when things


like this happen. What you have got at the moment was that desperate


two-week-long delay that Caroline talked about which means that the


poor girls will have been dispersed all over the jungles of Nigeria. If


the United Nations had come in and said to the President of Nigeria,


"We are here to help and we will move right away." Then I think we


could have saved many lives. Nigel? Nigel Farage? It is a good question.


What American military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq has done -


of course with the support of the Labour Government and the


Conservative opposition - what actually it's done is to not


stabilise those countries, or make them better, but to leave behind a


bitter legacy, a split behind, tens of millions of Islamic people and


the Americans to be wider than ever before. I understand the nature of


your question. In this particular occasion, we should recognise there


is a massive difference between sending an army into a country


looking for regime change and doing something for purely humanitarian


reasons and I think, thank goodness Obama, it may have been delayed, but


thank goodness he said what he said. It's got the whole international


community saying something must be done and for once, I would be happy


if we were to help the Americans and go out there and try and find these


girls. I really would. You, Sir? It is a huge wake-up call


that Boko Haram are out there. I'm a father of three. Lots of people will


be imagining what it must be like for one of your children, or your


girl not to come home from school. It is tragic. The Nigerians have no


doubt been very slow to respond. William Hague spoke to his


counterpart as long ago as Good Friday, immediately this was going


on. The Prime Minister spoke to the Nigerian President yesterday. We


have been offering help throughout and we have got military, British


military teams there in Nigeria. Foreign Office counter terrorism


experts there. We have some ability to help. It is extraordinary it's


taken this long. Thank goodness things are now happening. To


directly answer the question, I think the American impetus has been


very important. We are working with the French and Americans on this. I


will make one final point. This country can be proud that through


our work and our aid budget, 800,000 Nigerian children, including 600,000


girls, are going to school in that country every day. It is all because


of Britain. I will take a couple of points from people with their hands


up - from you and then from you - and then from you? I know that you


are saying that military intervention wouldn't be a good


idea. What can be done to get these girls back? That is where the


satellite and surveillance assistance is crucial. I think


President Goodluck Jonathan was referring to that today. You can


send in the troops, but it is in the bush. Where do they go? You, on the


left? I'm troubled by the expression "war on terror". It is a crime. It


is kidnap and people trafficking. If people had seen this as a crime from


the outset, people would have been quicker to act. It's a crime. Pure


and simple. The answer to that is it is both. Of course, it is a crime,


but undoubtedly in the northern states in Nigeria, there are no-go


areas for people because of what is happening. You? I would like to add


Christians are being heavily persecuted and killed by people and


is there anything the West can do to help? OK. I will take one last


question. Being from Afghanistan - I agree with 100% with Nigel Farage.


If America go somewhere, they stay in that country. Rather than


humanitarian things, we don't want them to go there, gun blazing and


ruin Nigeria. We are talking about counter-intelligence... Alright. I


don't trust him, that is the problem. You have made the point. We


have five minutes. I want to take this question, which has caused a


storm in the House of Commons at Question Time on Wednesday. It comes


from Peter Haylings. In five minutes, I hope we can hear. Should


shareholders or politicians decide the outcome of Pfizer's bid to buy


AstraZeneca? This is this huge bid, it last stood at ?63 billion. The


biggest-ever takeover of a British company. The question is do the


politicians decide whether it should go ahead, or the people who are


shareholders in the companies? OK, Grant Shapps? The shareholders


ultimately are the people who own the company. But, it is very


important to say that the British Government should have the stance of


being neutral, making sure we get the best deal for Britain and I can


tell you exactly what that means... Hang on, should be neutral? Neutral


in terms of making sure it is the best deal for Britain. How can you


decide that? I will tell you if you let me finish the question. British


jobs, British research, British R, British medicines in this particular


case, British technology. Those are the tests, what is going to provide


the best outcome for Britain. If you look at things like the British car


industry as it stands today. Nissan produce more cars in this country


than the whole of Italy. That is because Britain has been an economy


which has attracted more foreign investment to this country than the


whole of the rest of Europe put together. You don't know, do you,


what is going to happen with Pfizer? No no-one can predict the future. If


you can't predict the future, can you stop them coming, can you stop


them if you want to? You speak to both sides. Can you answer MY


question? Can you stop them? The laws mean there's limited ability


for governments to intervene. These are laws... So you can't? Wait a


moment. No, wait a moment. Let's be clear. You are saying that the


Government, despite expressing an interest, cannot stop this deal


going ahead? The Government is able to put in place public interest


tests according to a 2003 piece of legislation that the previous Labour


Government put through. They removed politicians directly from the role


unless there are specific national interests. I can tell you what they


are. No, no. Everybody has their view. The question is whether


anything can be done? Shirley Williams? Can anything be done? In


2002, the Enterprise Act was brought in by the Labour Government and


removed public interest except for two things. One was national


security. The second one was you couldn't have one owner owning the


press. Everything else was ruled out. They went from a liberal


position to a more regulated position which did not permit, did


not permit the public interest to cover the whole range. What that


means is we are emasculated in doing much about AstraZeneca and what is


really sad is a brilliant emergence as a scientific and research nation


is put at risk. Don't blame the politicians. The law doesn't allow


the Coalition Government to do what you want it to do. One other thing.


It can try and get a pledge out of Pfizer and they haven't been very


good at upholding pledges. The only strength, the only power we have,


frankly, is the ability of the NHS to go out and buy pharmaceuticals


and maybe we should use that ability more strongly than we have done so


far. Chuka? You were making great play of this in the House of


Commons. Do you accept the point Shirley makes, there isn't anything


a British Government can do? There isn't at the moment, which is why we


have extended a hand to the Government and said we will work


with them to change the law so something can be done. The question


was should it be the shareholders or the politicians? Where you have


certain strategic national assets - let's not forget, this is one of the


jewels in the crown of British industry. It is our second biggest


pharmaceutical company. It accounts for 3% of our exports. That is why,


particularly when you have got companies like this, which are so


important to our science base, so important to our R, Government has


a role to play. Can I say... No, just a role to play? Do you want to


see a British Government able to prevent a deal like this going


ahead, that is the question? If it is not good for R and science


base, we would like to see... That is what you would like to see? The


question is - in November 2012, you said it seems to me having a broad


public interest test risks creating uncertainty and you came out against


it. You are saying the same as I'm saying. Jobs, R


it. You are saying the same as I'm Caroline? The Pfizer CEO gave a


number of commitments... You believe commitments... ? They are not worth


the paper they are written on. He then said on a call with journalists


on Friday that he was going to break up the company in three different


parts which could be sold off. Let's stick to this question. Caroline


Lucas? You want to change the law? You agree with changing the law? You


are not. OK. We should get the best deal for Britain. Caroline Lucas?


The point is... No, no. The answer is making sure we get the direct


investment... Caroline Lucas? And then Nigel Farage and then we must


stop. We should reform the laws so that politicians can intervene in a


strategic area. I think that the whole era of economic globalisation,


where we are at the mercy of corporate takeovers is something


that needs to be challenged. I don't want to see a Britain where we have


our manufacturing, what is left of it, hollowed out. I don't want to


see a Britain where we are just flaunting ourselves as a tax haven.


I tell you what, if people come, if Pfizer comes to Britain because we


have the lowest tax, you can bet your bottom dollar that when another


country has a lower tax rate, they will be off again. It is


unsustainable. Nigel Farage? Can I say one thing? You can't. We have


run out of time. Nigel Farage, you have the last say. Will it be in


your manifesto? It will not be the British Government that decides and


the... He is going to say Europe. These three parties on this panel -


if you listen to them - they say the law needs to be changed. Let Nigel


Farage just finish his sentence, Chuka. You are either wilfully lying


to these people or you are pig ignorant. Vince Cable in this


debate, when he was pushed, admitted the ultimate decision as to whether


AstraZeneca... No, he didn't. I was in that debate. Pfizer will be


taken... Nigel, you... We have given away... Listen, everybody. Steady


on! This is what it is like. Nigel? We have had years of this from these


people. There is an enormous elephant in the room. Nigel Farage?


Will you listen to me, just for a moment? Yes. That is the end of the


debate. If Britain pulls out of the EU, are you saying that a British


Government would be able to stop takeover? Yes. Finally. Alright.


You have got one point to go in your manifesto. Our time is up. Next


week, we will be in Coventry. We have a panel that includes Caroline


Flint, Paddy Ashdown and Esther Mcvey. If you would like to take


part in either programme, go to www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime. If you


are listening to this on BBC Five Live, the debate goes on there. It


probably goes on here once we have left this studio! My thanks to this


panel and to all of you who came to take part as our audience here in


Southampton. From Question Time, until next Thursday, good night.


My fellow friends, it's time to get your glad rags on,


invite your friends over, and bring out the hors d'oeuvres,


David Dimbleby presents from Southampton. Taking questions from the audience are Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps MP, Labour's shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna MP, Liberal Democrat peer Shirley Williams, UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP and the Green Party's Caroline Lucas MP.

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