12/06/2014 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from King's Lynn. Panellists include Iain Duncan Smith MP, Chris Bryant MP, Tessa Munt MP, Ian Hislop and Salma Yaqoob.

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welcome to Question Time. Good evening to you at home, to our


audience who will be putting the which the panel do not know until


they hear them. Conservative Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan


Smith, Labour boss Mac Shadow Welfare Reform Minister, Chris


Bryant, Liberal Democrat MP for Wells in Somerset, Tessa Munt, Salma


Yaqoob, who heads the stop the War campaign in Birmingham and Leeds


Hands Off Birmingham Schools, and the editor of Private Eye, Ian


Hislop. Alistair Webster is the first


question. Should Britain follow Barack Obama's lead and keep all


options open on Iraq? Iain Duncan Smith. This is a very dangerous and


difficult situation, with ISIS having moved across from Syria into


northern Iraq, into most soul, and further south, even taking the oil


refinery. I understand they have been held in check by the Iraqi


Armed Forces for the moment. I do not know quite what other


developments. This is a hugely difficult problem that has come out


of the back of the fighting in Syria, which has conditioned and


trained these soldiers to such an extent that they feel they can take


these bits of territory with impunity. It is a problem not just


for Iraq but for all of us, because I worry about the others that live


in Iraq, in the Borders, and also some of those in the autonomous


regions. For us, it is a problem of what we should and can do. I think


the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, has made pretty clear that we


do not intend to take any physical activity, to go in with boots on the


ground. That is essentially not going to happen. But I think where


Barack Obama is right, I think it is a fact that we need to give whatever


support we possibly can to this democratic and elected government in


Iraq. And if we don't show that in some form or another, and I don't


know quite what assistance they need, as they do have a large armed


force, and it is question of getting it doubly organised and led, but the


key thing is that we need to assure them and others in the region that


we will support this government in trying to re-stabilise this and


drive out that terrorist group. It is dangerous not just for Iraq, but


has the potential to destabilise the whole region, if a group of, as it


were, insurgent terrorists is able to take over a section of land and


hold it, it will encourage others to do much the same and we may see a


complete change in many of the Borders. When the Foreign Secretary


says we will support the United States in anything they decide to


do, does he mean that literally? If they decide on drones to attack, the


government would support it? Support does not mean you will do exactly


what they do. It means that if they want to make some effort to try to


help and support the Iraqi government. But you would agree with


anything that Obama decided to do? He is saying that we support their


endeavours to ensure they support the democratically elected


government in Iraq. If we do not now show and demonstrate that they have


support, whatever support is necessary within limitations, and


neither of them have said they will put soldiers on the ground, but it


is vitally important that this group does not succeed in so destabilising


Iraq now that you end up with terrorist activities, people being


harassed, beheaded, dealt with in some of these cities in some of the


brutal ways they have been doing in Syria, this cannot be allowed to


happen in Iraq. We have a reason and right to try to support this


democratically elected government and to get it stable. I know it does


not sound easy and the country here in Britain and others do not want to


get involved in further wars, and neither do we. But in this case, we


need to give them whatever assurance and support they need because what


is at stake here is an attempt by people to take over the country


against a democratically elected will of the public. We must stand


with the democratically elected government of Iraq. Salma Yaqoob. If


proof were needed about how disastrous the intervention in Iraq


was, today's news is proof of that. This is not just about Syria. The


roots of this takeover and the only point I would agree with Ian to Mike


probably is that this is a very, very dangerous group. -- I would


agree with Ian tonight. They now have their eyes set on Baghdad.


Let's not forget how this has come about. It is because the


democratically elected government is actually led by deeply sectarian


people, like Malachy, -- Nouri al-Maliki. The poor people are stuck


between two things. One, an Iraqi army who they do not trust, who


should be defending them against these jihadists. At the same time,


fearing the jihadists, who do have a very extreme and violent approach.


That is a description. The question is whether Britain should support


the American president and keep options open. I don't think


President Obama knows what he's going to do. It is so confusing. In


Syria, they are backing the very people they are fighting in Iraq. So


for them to expect hacking when they do not know what they are doing


themselves, and they have two -- they have to take full


responsibility. They should accept that the intervention in Iraq, not


only was it $1 trillion being wasted, thousands of American lives


and hundreds of British lives lost, and 100,000 Iraqis, the fires that


you started then, there is no Al-Qaeda in Iraq. There is Al-Qaeda


in Iraq now. APPLAUSE


. You voted for the war in Iraq. Both


Iain Duncan Smith and I did. That is why they are desperate to say that


Iraq has nothing to do with it. At least own up to that. I have not


said anything yet. One of the disastrous mistakes made, whatever


you think about going in in the first place, one of the big mistakes


made by American and British forces in Iraq was that we decided to


dismantle the security forces, the police and the army, because we said


it was run by Saddam Hussein's allies, and what that created was a


terrible power vacuum. Actually, you saw the collapse of law and order in


the country. Of course, it has been very difficult to bring back police


and security services that can ensure security in the country at


the moment. Yes, you are right in one sense, that we do bear a degree


of responsibility. I think in this country, of course it is in our


interests that there should be a secure country there, and that ISIS


should not prevail. But I think, when you bear in mind the 179


British servicemen and women who died in Iraq, that the threshold for


our possible intervention is very, very high in the public mind. That


is to say, I think most people in this country would say, just as


Robert Gates, incidentally, has already said to Clinton, as I


understand it, the former Defence Secretary in the United States of


America, that we would need our heads examining if we were to be


thinking about putting Western troops in the field at the moment in


Iraq. The White House apparently tonight said that Obama is not


considering boots on the ground, that is not what he is talking


about. What did British servicemen and women die for? This is not the


democratic Iraq which we were told was worth the sacrifice. Let's stick


to the point. That is the point. You are all describing the situation


since we invaded Iraq. The question is what should happen now, in the


crisis tonight, whether Britain should support Obama in anything he


chooses to do. I don't think Britain should support America in anything


she chooses to do. We have a foreign policy of our own. We have to act


with our allies and to try and make sure, primarily through diplomatic


means and so on, that there is a secure Middle East. This is not just


an issue, Ian is right, not just an issue about Iraq, but about Syria


and the whole area. But I think that nonetheless the line that Robert


Gates is said to have said to Obama, namely that you would have to have


your heads examining if you were really thinking about putting troops


on the ground in Iraq at the moment, is right. The man on the right. I


think Chris is absolutely right. We really are at a very high level of


need to get troops on the ground. I don't think, frankly, after 2003 and


everything that happened, I don't think the people in this room all


the country will stand for it for a very long time. You asked this


question. You don't think anything should be done. I would not say that


nothing should be done, but I think it has to get far beyond where we


are tonight for the British public to accept our Armed Forces going in


on the ground again. Ian Hislop. The problem is we had a vote over Syria


in the House of Commons, and I think problem is we had a vote over Syria


with the support of the British people we said, we are not going in


again. We do not know who we are supporting, it is too confused and


we have no idea what we are doing. This has spilt over. Our record in


Iraq is not glorious and people laughing king, why on earth would we


do this again? You talk about destabilising the region. It is


pretty unstable. What we are witnessing is something horrific.


You say what should we do. The answer is that we are not going to


do anything. We laid off 1000 troops this morning.




The British Army is not going to be going in. The only power that can do


anything in this place is America. It is entirely up to them whether


they do anything or not, but given what happened last time, most people


will think we are not going to help by going in. Would we help by


providing armaments, as the Americans have been doing? What


happened with the Iraqi army is that we gave them the armaments and they


ran away and left them behind, so they are now in the hands of the


jihadists. There is this huge stretch of land which a small army


of jihadists talk. Everyone said the Iraqi army was trained and we could


leave now. We said that because we wanted to get out. They are


obviously incapable of defending the country. It is a mess, and I despair


at the idea that we will do something, because we want. -- we


will not. Firstly, I would say it does not seem we have been asked if


we would like to intervene. I do not think there is any stomach for any


intervention of that sort. If we go back to the Syrian vote last


September, the whole point was that we were not going to make the


situation any better by bombing people, or supplying arms. I think


it is absolutely mad to think we might escalate. The other thing that


happened as a result of the Syrian vote was that actually, for once, we


led America. It was at that point that Obama started considering


talking to Congress about whether Congress was going to go ahead with


this. And I think France as well. The National Assembly started to


consider whether they ought to be consulted. Actually, Putin seized


the opportunity because in the end we ended up voting for nothing. We


decided not to decide anything. I was opposed to military action in


Syria. I would not have voted for military action in Syria, mainly.


Tessa has made an important point that, for once, the democratic will


of the people of this country was represented in Parliament. That


showed the influence of the anti-war movement who were sidelined at the


time, that all those people who came out and marched and felt the moral


is, the impact was made now, because people know the appetite is not


there, for the right reasons. If ordinary people got it right, we


have to ask why did the political elite get it so wrong?


APPLAUSE And this would apply even if there


was the possibility or the threat of Baghdad falling equally to ISIS?


If it was the case that military intervention was something that was


going to help, of course, if it was about saving lives, genuinely, there


may be an argument. But what we have seen in reality, not an academic


argument, we have seen we had an intervention and it did not result


in a democratic, plural estate, great equal society. Sectarian


tensions have been unleashed, the genie is out of the box. It is not


as unpleasant as... You should redirect your energies somewhere


else. The jihadists are a threat to everybody, right. This is not going


to be solved by America or Britain, but in the region. It has to be in


Iran, Saudi Arabia. Ironically, I predict now that people will say, we


might need Assad to control those extremists. This is how messy the


situation is, and we cannot pretend we do not have a direct


responsibility. I would not leave the future to Assad, which is where


your argument leads. I am talking about real politic, the fact that he


was going to control these people, you able to fight back. I am not any


support of Assad, but I am talking about the fact that the rebel forces


were at one time being armed by our government. And now it is coming


back. At a really high level. It has to be


done at a reasonable level. Now the sectarian violence has been


unleashed we have to bring the region together. The man in yellow


up there. Then I will come to you. Why does the panel believe the


troops that we trained have dropped their weapons and run off? Iain


Duncan Smith. There was quite a good piece on the BBC today about what


was going on around Mosul. And, a lot of the problem is not just that


they turned and ran, because the the confusion was that a lot of them


simply did not want to engage in firing and shelling their own


people. There was a real problem about their morale at that stage.


Since then, they have been able to be stabilised and


Since then, they have been able to be stabilised now they know what


they are fighting. The problem was, they were simply, for some reason


or, I do not know, completely unprepared for what crossed the


border and came at them. I want to second this. The talk about whether


the British will put boots on the ground. That I do not believe will


happen. There is enough boots on the ground. The Iraqi army numbers a


million people. How do you help them to restabilise their position? What


help do they need to get so they can start to drive the people back. They


don't need us as soldiers to enter the ground. What they do need is, if


necessary, financial support. They will need support in munitions, I


don't know. The point is, this, whatever else you say, by the way,


whatever else its failings, as Churchill said, this is at least an


elected government. If we do not support somehow, I do not mean - one


second, you had a long say. Ian is right, no way we will put boots on


the ground. For all their failings this was an elected government. We


need to stand by them in some way or another, otherwise what comes after


that. We are being given here is some terrible imposition of people


who do not allow women to go to school. Who do not want them to have


the vote. Who make them sit-in places they don't want to be,


prepared to torture and brutalise people. If that is what we would


rather see in Iraq, you can count me out. For all it is failings I think


we to support this democratically-elected government.


APPLAUSE You had your hand up. Do you want to


speak? It's important when you consider intervention to see what


the vested interests would be. The last time we intervened we thought


there were vested interests with intervention in Iraq. This time we


see it as a right of care. We see concerned refugees I think we should


intervene with the support of America, not militarily. The back at


the back. There is no appetite for war, surely there is no appetite to


stand back and watch these things happen. Maybe support


avoid troops on the ground later. Nobody wants to go to troops on the


ground. What support Nobody wants to go to troops on the


to see? Financial Nobody wants to go to troops on the


for - For the government? Is I agree. We bomb them from the air,


don't go in from the ground, afterwards it falls apart and the


sectarian groups attack each other and we just watch.


APPLAUSE You, sir. The problem is the borders are


all in the sir. The problem is the borders are


put there by the league of nations, Iraq shouldn't be a country as it


is. So many, as we have heard, different groups there. Kurdistan is


another one, I hear people who work with me who say, "I'm a Kurd from


Kurdistan" that is not there at all. These borders were put up years ago


they shouldn't be where they are. You will not accept their redrawing


by ISIS? I would totally agree with you on that. Look at what happened


historically, we should learn from history, should we not? This


country, when it was running its Empire drew lines on the map of all


sorts of parts of the world and took no account of people and the way in


which people moved or grazed their animals or faith. What happened with


the war in Iraq, there was a civil war. We intervened. And, we did our


bit and pieces. We did not plan, at all, really, for adequate - We


intervened first then there was a civil war. Sorry. Yes. It has never


been a happy situation, has, it between Sunnis and Shias. We are


back to the situation where we have civil war, the


back to the situation where we have adequate. You sir on the right


there. I can recall the advice to the President before the invasion he


said, "if you go into Iraq again it will be like a mammoth going into a


tar pit." Politicians waited for a second time. They didn't give a damn


about the foot soldiers and my comrades who had to go there. Now


the mess that is created by our comrades who had to go there. Now


have taken place. You sir, three along. As


have taken place. You sir, three borders have been moved so many


times within the region, there are so many tribes, ethnic groups that


are completely alien to each other. We have the modern time of


are completely alien to each other. modern weapons, there is one thing


that you haven't discussed at all, it's crude oil. We have not


discussed oil. You, sir, it's crude oil. We have not


discussed oil. in the yellow shirt. Two of you. I will go to you. I


served in Basra with the RAF. Politicians start wars, not


soldiers. The politicians need to read the history books and learn


from history and their mistakes. You served in Basra? I did. What do you


make of what is happening now? Like history repeating itself. It really


is. Does it make you despair of what happened before? Is I'm proud of my


country. I'm proud of my service to my country. You know but the Iraqis


have to help themselves. You canle only help them so far. OK.


APPLAUSE -- can only help them so far. We


have a number of other questions to get through. You can join in the


debate, text Twitter: A question from Avril Wright,


please. Will Michael Gove's spot checks in schools eliminate


extremism? Will Michael Gove's spot checks eliminate extremism, Ian


Hislop? Well, I hope so. It was an unedifying spectacle, two members of


the Cabinet blaming each other for a problem that is fairly serious.


Luckily, Ofsted have gone in. They have put in their reports, 21


schools, five of them are in special measures, 11 need improving. There


is evidence there they found extremely worrying. Yes, something


needed to be done. It is being done. The evidence there is worrying of


that sort of fundamental attempt to take over schools. What was the


evidence? Lots of words were used, what was the evidence? The evidence


was a culture of fear, intimidation, segregation going on, curriculum


which was not allowing for biology, girls doing music, drama. There is a


huge amount of it - Teachers were being - 20-odd whistleblowers who


got gagging clauses who complained. The idea it is a political puttup


job. The council received 200 complaints about these schools from


parents and teachers. No-one did anything at all until it blew up we


watched the Cabinet throwing chunks of blame at each other. It's not - I


don't think we should be distracted by that story. Something was going


badly wrong. Your movement is called Hands Off the Schools. Let's have


local accountability to have these schools take the same line as


schools in all the rest of the country. That's the sort of


schooling that I think works and stops extremism coming in.


APPLAUSE I said at the beginning you headed a


new movement called Hands Off Birmingham Schools, what is your


reply S-I agree schools should reflect the local accountability.


The one that is have been put into special measures were academies.


They were actually governed from Whitehall. All this blame gamesome


very unedifying. The most important point - I'm from Birmingham. I have


gone into Park View School, met with the teachers and the staff and the


parents. One thing that has not been really banged on about, which is


really important, the whole thing was this Trojan Horse letter, which


was found to be faked. The whole thing was about an extremist plot -


It's not fake. Of course they were looking for it. There was ant plot.


There was a badly organised attempt by lots of individuals. So what!


There was no extremism found. That is not true. That is not what they


said. Simply not what they said. They are two separate reports. They


did not find What do extremism. You call extremism? People worried there


was security issues a threat to this country. People are having -


Extremism is different to terrorism. There was clearly instances of


extremism. Nobody found any plots to mount some kind of terrorist attack,


definitely. Indeed. I think the very fact, for instance, that girls and


boys were treated differently in some of these schools is a sign of


extremism. We shouldn't put up with that in British schools.


APPLAUSE I think that there is - Hold on a


second. Can you answer exactly what Chris Bryant said. Do you think


there was a problem in any of these schools that needed any attention?


I'm sure there were governance issues, as there are with any large


organisations. I had people come to me to talk about the fact they had


felt intimidated. Yes, these issues need to be addressed. Let us not


talk it through the lens of extremism - Sorry. Please, the


schools have been smeared here. They have actually challenging through a


judicial review. The segregation question was in PCE not in lessons.


There were a group of pupils with special needs - I'm sorry. I will


bring you in. What is it you - you said there was a problem. What is


the problem before Ian replies? Governance issues What do you mean


by "governance issues" If there was a white middle-class area they would


have been called "pushy parents" the impression across the country in


Birmingham there were Muslim parents trying to get faith through the back


door. The reality is this - I want to hear the answer to that. What is


the objection that you have on the way things were being done? They


don't want a faith school. They are happy - Sorry. You must come to the


point. It's not fair. What is it - It's not fair on the schools that


have been - You have said there was a problem. All I'm asking you...


What was the problem? What do you think the problem was? I'm telling


you, Park View, Sikh gentleman is the principal. Assistant principal


is an abg Nossic. How can accuse this school - There is no problem?


In terms of the cultural isolation - What is the problem? The schools


were outis standing, not just because of the high academic


results, they are socially inclusive. Christmas was never


banned. No, no, sorry. You had a chance. Have you been to the schools


or talked to the teachers? No Ofsted inspectors went in. Did


APPLAUSE Iain Duncan Smith. You said there


was something wrong. I gave you a chance to answer. You now say there


is nothing wrong. Iain Duncan Smith. The issues were not about extremism.


Governance issues. Ian, when he started, was absolutely right. The


purpose of having an organisation like Ofsted is that they are


independent of politicalcle intervention - They are not


independent now? I'm sorry. They are independent they do not take their


direction. They were asked to take - Why did they do - Do me a favour.


They went and looked at these schools they did not find they were


all wrong. That is the point. There were six schools, four that were


academies and two under local authority educational control. In


those six schools they have felt there was enough intimidation of


governors, of the head teachers, and of things happening and practice


happening in those schools that led them to believe there was a danger


of those children in those schools being conditioned in a way that was


not in line with how schools should operate. They are not faith schools.


If they wanted to be faith schools they should have applied for faith


schools. There are special checks over faith schools. They did not


have this. This is organising it through the back door. It was right


to send Ofsted in. It's right Ofsted made their decision. There was a


problem, extremism. There was a problem in these schools am we have


have to stand by it. No matter what you say about those schools those


letters from 200 parents show many, many people out there were very


worried. We were right to act. good argument to just get rid of


faith schools altogether? I have a problem with the fact that


Ofsted went into Park View School two years ago and found it to be


outstanding and inclusive, and now they are finding it inadequate for


reasons of inclusion and the potential extremism. You don't think


things can change in two years. I think Ofsted is being used as a


political football by Michael Gove. They go in and do what they are told


by Michael Gove. I would also like to observe that the whole system has


been set up such that unelected, unaccountable trusts now run these


schools, if they are academies. It is a recipe for corruption, cronyism


and Watt two of them are local authority schools, but Park View


Educational Trust now runs three schools. It is basically controlled


by four people who, when one of them will leave, they will appoint their


own replacement. It is a corrupt system, it is corruptible. We need


to change it and bring local authorities back into the move and


make schools accountable once more. APPLAUSE


. I am not sure local authorities are


necessarily the answer. I am open to that suggestion. The local


authorities failed in this particular case to pick up and deal


with the problems identified. But they have no power any more, having


been taken out of the loop by Michael Gove and your government. I


think there should be some sort of local accountability. The situation


here is that the children in this area have been failed, abysmally.


They have been failed by the governors, by the school, the local


authority, and actually the system, to a degree. I think one of the


problems is that Michael Gove's plan was that any school that had an


outstanding report would automatically not be inspected for


five years, and a good report would mean no inspection for three years.


That is Paton three rubbish. What needs to happen is clearly these


children, all children in this country, if the tax involved in


funding their education, they are entitled to a full curriculum and


they should not be excluded. There should be no segregation. There are


so many problems that have come out of this. I have the Ofsted letter


here and it is packed with problems. It showed that staff were


marginalised and forced out. So many different things happened. But the


safeguarding issue that you were not happy to identify, it seems to me


that what it said in this letter is that pupils, nobody felt pupils were


safe from the risk of radicalisation. What schools are


for, surely, is for children to be prepared for the reality of life and


work in our society. And it seems highly likely that the children in


Birmingham, and this very small area, the five schools that have


been identified, four of which might have their funding taken away, if


that was to happen, we would have 3000 pupils in an area that is in a


two mile corridor of one mile whip. Where would those children go to


school? This is not actually a new problem. The idea of schools


teaching dangerous ideas was brought up when we first introduced


education for everyone, and we had a debate about whether they should


learn the state religion of Anglicanism, or the basics of each


faith and freedom to choose. Since then, we have had a system to check


and make sure they are not being indoctrinated. And the system will


work if it is allowed to work. If we have people getting hysterical and


worried, it will not be allowed to work and to do the job it was made


to do, which is to prevent our schools being destroyed by


extremists. I have an ancillary question. Michael Gove has spoken


about teaching British values in schools. Do these really exist? This


goes to the heart of what extremism may be and what Tisch values may be.


-- British values. I would like to answer the first question of whether


Michael Gove's spot checks will do the job. I completely agree that we


have had over 100 years of being able to run schools in a way where


faith may be taught but nobody is indoctrinated. Of course, that


should be a fundamental principle and the British value of the way we


run education. We all want to know not only that our own children but


our nephews and nieces and the children of everybody in the street


and town where we live are getting the best possible education that we


are all paying for. My anxiety is that Michael Gove's policy has


basically meant, by creating these free schools and encouraging so many


to become academies, you now have a large number of schools in the


country for whom there is nobody to go to if you are complaining about


the headteacher and the governors. The only person you can go to his


Michael Gove. And I don't think you can run 4000 schools from a desk in


Whitehall. APPLAUSE


. And Ian just says, and you all


applauded, but Ian said that we were right to act. Yes, it was good that


some action was eventually taken but the Department for Education,


Michael Gove and his team were informed of this in 2010 and did


nothing for years. The reason we have ended up having this are


unhelpful row about whether extremism is involved is because


Michael Gove and Theresa May had a battle between each other which went


on in an unseemly way for weeks and weeks, and neither of them took


action when it should probably have been done. Of course there should be


a system of local accountability, because local people, on the whole,


will have a better idea. That is why I believe you should have in every


area a director of school standards, who makes sure, as that gentleman


says over there, that the fundamental British value, that it


is not wrong to be devout, Conservative, to have Conservative


views, but it is wrong to separate girls and boys in class, to put


girls at the back of the class, or to treat girls -- to treat girls


differently in school. Why'd you call it an unhealthy row? It is


unhealthy to have one member of Cabinet briefing against another.


You wanted Salma Yaqoob to be quiet while you were speaking. You should


offer the same courtesy to others. In the 1980s, my sister was a


teacher at a comp and seven Birmingham and one of the main


problems was that Muslim boys did not want to be taught by females.


The girls were removed from class, not allowed to do dancing, swimming


or any of those things. This has been going on for a long time. We


have not acted much over it. It is perfectly reasonable to try to take


some action now. I am actually against any faith school being


funded by taxpayers money. I am not here to advocate for more faith in


schools. For example, there is a Jewish orthodox school in Stamford


Hill. What would you say to the fact that Ofsted inspectors, female


inspectors, are told they have to cover themselves, not allowed to


wear colours, especially red, and yet they are funded by the state? A


Catholic school had a successful applicant to take over as head


teacher and was told, because you are not married and are in a


relationship, you cannot be the headteacher. If they are privately


funded, fine, have your religious views, but do not impose them. All


schools in this country, whether privately or publicly funded, need


to operate at the same set of standards because that is about one


of the British values we have. But that is not happening. We should be


treated equally under the law. Our education system, privately or


publicly funded, should enhance people's ability to prosper. These


things were not happening in Birmingham, but they are happening


in other faith schools. The man in the third row from the back. On the


point about how effective Ofsted can be, I think in general it does work,


but when there is this culture of fear, it is an extreme case. A story


has come out about someone wanting to approach Ofsted but being so


scared they had to do it in a supermarket car park. Something is


clearly wrong with that system of governance. Chris, while it is fun


to lash out at the coalition, surely it is the Labour run City Council


who should have it is the Labour run City Council


long time ago. Let's come to it is the Labour run City Council


illuminated by the voters of Newark. Is the result of the Newark


by-election the end of the Lib Dems? Who


by-election the end of the Lib Dems? Chris Bryant. Look, they did very


poorly. They didn't even come fourth or fifth, but six, behind the


candidate standing about the closure of the Newark hospital. It was


interesting that although David Cameron visited the constituency


four times in the by-election, he did not visit the hospital where he


closed the Accident Emergency in 2011, and we know why. It was


interesting in Newark because historically a lot of people have


voted Liberal, rather than Liberal Democrat, in Newark. I met a lot of


them who were now going to vote Labour. I met some who were going to


vote UKIP, actually. I think many of them felt let town because they felt


vote UKIP, actually. I think many of Democrat all those years, they were


voting for a fundamentally different style of doing politics. And in the


end, the classic instance that was brought up time and again was


tuition fees. The party went into the last general election


tuition fees. The party went into troubled them. We now know


tuition fees. The party went into senior figures in Nick Clegg's team


knew senior figures in Nick Clegg's team


scrapping Jewish and fees. senior figures in Nick Clegg's team


when people start to go, frankly, so you would not be able to go into


coalition with them at the next election because he would not be


able to trust them? I love you, David. In my mind, the real


opponents are not the Liberal Democrats. The real opponent is over


there, the Conservatives, the people who have made this country a place


where 2 million people need food bank hand-outs. It is not fast as


other parties to talk about the Liberals. I will leave Tessa to talk


about her own party. If you don't want to talk about it, don't. But


you have to answer the question. You can't just talk about Tory party


policy. You could defend them! I am going to defend them now. But let me


get to that at the end, if you don't mind. I will not go on as long as


Chris. I want to say very simply that we won the by-election, and I


have to say we were told by lots of people that UKIP would sweep us away


and this would be a major success for UKIP. We won by a larger amount.


I am enormously pleased because a huge amount of effort went into it.


You ran the Labour campaign and it is one of the worst results of any


by-election Labour has fought. You went Aqua 's. You don't half talk


rubbish sometimes. I delivered leaflets in the


constituency because I wanted my candidate to win. You are both


creating space for the Liberal Democrats. Stop it! You for they


campaign and Labour went Aqua 's. -- they went backwards. You are a


walking advert for UKIP. One thing is for sure, there will not be a


coalition after the election between us! A tough decision was taken by


the Liberals to join the coalition at the beginning. They did it, as my


party did, for the sake of the country, to try to make sure we got


the deficit down and the economy going. All that I can say is that,


yes, the Liberals have taken a pretty heavy hit for some of that.


But I think and hope, I don't know and I still want to win in the seats


in which they oppose us, but I will say this for our coalition


colleagues. I think people will look back and say, we took a disastrous


economy that had crashed and got it moving again, got people going back


to work. Things are not perfect but they are much better than they


were. Tough decisions were taken and they played their part in that. I


want a Conservative government elected, but I think they should


take some credit. Douglas Alex -- Danny Alexander. There was an away


day he didn't invite you to. I don't remember him saying this. What? I


saw something on a website earlier - You could become the largest party


in British politics by 2025? You never know. That is very optimistic


view, I suspect. Over optimistic, do you think? Possibly, yes. Is it the


end of you I don't think so at all, actually. I think, very gallant of


you to say we have taken a hit. No question of that, for going into


coalition with the party who I have spent most of my political life


opposing, I'm afraid much we did that for the good of the country.


Had to do that. I would just remind you that Liberals all over the place


have said we will work with people. We do. We worked across councils we


have worked with both parties. If we got to the point, after the election


where we said, no, sorry, which don't want to have power. Who are


the Liberals that are abandoning you in places like Newark? Well, Newark


was not one of our top hotspots, I have to say. European elections? If


you look at what happened in the council elections... Yes, where we


have MPs, actually we did rather well. If you take Nick Clegg's


constituency, he got 38%, everybody else got lower. We bring our own


particular brand of, I think, care to the coalition. That... We have


made absolutely certain there are things we have stopped and things we


have done. I put into the frame the stuff about tax thresh holds. That -


that was something that Mr Cameron said, right up prior to the


election, it was absolutely mad - Can I ask you a question. No. Ask


you a little question. No, you can't. I want to bring that man in


there. He has had his hand up for so long it will fall I think off. , in


answer to the person's question, I don't care if it is the end to the


Liberal Democrats, good riddance to you for going into coalition with


people like Iain Duncan Smith who is systemically taking down public


services in this country and destroying people's lives. I would


say this. Just as a last point. One more point. That if people really


care about politics in this country, really care, then they should turn


up in London, on Saturday 21st June with the People's Assembly against


Austerity and show the political elite and the political class, that


are sat around that table, there is more to life than your grubby


politics and and your austerity. All right. Ian Hislop. I have to say, I


mean the fate of the Liberals will be up to the electorate. The reason


there was a coalition was because nobody won. Not the people you


support, not him. There was an undecided vote. There had to be a


coalition. The Liberals have been. They have been unpopular because


they were largely a protest vote. The protest vote was, up until the


Newark by-election taken over by UKIP. I think, in the words of the


Guardian we have seen "peak UKIP" it may be be that protest vote people


have thought, we have done that vote. They have two policies. We


know what they are. They keep telling us - drink more, smoke. Not


true! Immigration and leave Europe. You can't really have them in as a


government. You need people with other policies. I have a feeling


UKIP's protest vote will decline. Come the next election, whatever


happens, the Liberals will recover somewhat. The one slight worry is


that they will try one of those other botched coups we will end up


with someone you have have never heard of by mistake as leader when


Nick Clegg leaves. Just a warning! Do you feel part of the Lib Dems


decline is their stance on Europe claiming to be the party of "in"


maybe people don't want that? People in this country, 13 million people,


who are now below the poverty line. One million people in one of the


richest countries in the world face the indignity of relying on food


banks. My full-time job is mental health. I have seen how people have


become suicidal. I have had to counsel people who lost their loved


ones who said they didn't want to be a burden on their own families


because the support has been taken away. These are real issues. It has


been done in the name of austerity. We had this drive of people being


called "scroungers" half the people on benefits are pensioners - You


answer your own questions. Yes. The wages are not paying enough. Did you


say 30 million - 13 million. I'm sitting next to Iain Duncan Smith


who quite happily labels the poor people as "scroungers." I have never


labelled them as scroungers. When you claim ?39 for a breakfast -


Honestly - You have taken taxpayers' money that is what I call


scroungers. What a load of nonsense. OK. You had a chance to answer the


question in point. You have supported Iain Duncan Smith's


bedroom tax. Your party has in parliament. You voted for it every


single time. Now you have said you in the general election you will


have a manifesto pledge to get rid of the bedroom tax. Can you help us


get rid of it now? Absolutely. You will. I vote with the Government


because I'm a loyal member of the Government. If it comes to


something... Forgive me, there are a number of changes that we need to


make. There are certain things - take, for example, in my area -


Bedroom tax. Will you vote against it? You introduced the same thing


when you were in power - That is a lie. You introduced the fact that


people could not have spare room for private-sector - We did not do it


respect row spectively, which is what you did. That is the cruelty.


It was first introduced in 1989 by a Conservative Government. You


introduced. People are paying ?14 a week. Rewriting of history.


introduced. People are paying ?14 a entitled to our manifesto as we


approach the next general election. What we have


approach the next general election. problem somebody, I can't remember


which one of you, sorry, problem somebody, I can't remember


the fact about tuition problem somebody, I can't remember


reality is, if we had lot are in favour of tuition fees,


you lot are in favour of tuition lot are in favour of tuition fees,


fees, we weren't going to form the whole Government


fees, we weren't going to form the that. We have


fees, we weren't going to form the realistic. Want rid of the bedroom


tax next year, you could vote to get rid of it. Let's take another


question. I hope it's not on the bedroom tax. It's from Robert Loads.


It's Jermaine to this community. A fascinating Should parents point. Be


arrested because their children are overweight? The story behind this.


We can't name, and musn't name the parents or the child. This is an


arrest that was made here in King's Lynn a couple of months back of two


parents on the grounds that their child, five foot high, 11 years old,


weighed 15 stone. The parents were arrested for child


weighed 15 stone. The parents were cruelty. Ian Hislop is it right to


arrest parents because their child is overweight? The police said it


was a joint examiner countries with social services and it was


absolutely last resort. I don't know the circumstances of the case. It's


horrific. The I thought the situation was summed up by one


detail they said - to encourage him to do examiner countries he should


play more games on his Wii machine. More games on a screen. The there


was a piece of fear of machines and more of the screen. It will hit the


health service and mental health. Other problem, last time I was on


this show, there was an argument about attempting to regulate the


manufacturer's of the fizzy drinks, as we are meant to call them, and


those things with a far too much sugar. They have fantastic lobbying


access to this government. They had fantastic lobbying access to the


last Government. The Government never doing anything. This morning


they said, we have to stop this and reduce the sugar levels in these


things. That is the action the Government should take. The police


ariesing two parents because their child is deemed to be overweight? I


don't know the exact circumstances. They said they did it as a measure


of absolute last resort. Maybe that was justified. They have been


released on bail, haven't been charged. Iain Duncan Smith, what do


you think of that. We haven't got much time? As I understand it, again


it was a matter of last resort. It was in conjunction with social


services that - clearly what was happening, the parents were simply


not doing what they (inaudible) I don't know what their problem was. I


don't know if there was difficulties at home. The health of the child was


obviously clearly deteriorating. I guess, as a last resort, you have to


have that process that says you need to step in at some foint protect the


child. You would step in to protect the child if you thought it was


being abused in foreway. You could argue at this point, it was so so


excessive, social services allowed the police to step in to stop the


police. The truth is, I think there was probably reason for this. I


would support it in that case. We have an. Epidemic of obesity. I


accept in this Government we have to do something, like Ian said, doing


something about fizzy drinks and getting people to do more examiner


countries and facing up to the fact we are overweight Assad nation. One


or two of our kids is now obese. Arresting parents I don't think


necessarily is the answer. It sounds in this particular case, I don't


know the full details of, it seems to my mind you want to make sure the


child is protected and well taken care of and educate the parents.


There is a first responsibility is on on us and our families. I look at


the example of smoking. We know that smoking is bad. The Government has


taken steps, for example, not allowing it in public spaces, that


has reduced the illnesses which are linked to smoking. You don't arrest


parents whose children smoke? Exactly. This Government - we want


to do something about it, it is so in awe of the lobbyists when, for


example, our children have breakfasts with 10 spoons of sugar


it's hard for parents to take full responsibility when Government


doesn't do its bit because of the - No. There is plenty of information


about nutrition these days. I do believe that the parents should be


held It can responsible. Become a police matter? Is Absolutely. All


right. You have 30 seconds each. As a last resort the police have to


become involved. At one point he was a 12 stone, and an 8 stone child.


Something could perhaps have been done earlier. The other thing I


would say, free school meals for young children and generally, where


we put kitchens into schools they should be double use and go back to


teaching young people properly how to prepare a good wholesome


nutritions meal. I agree the other thing is food labelling. There is no


shortage of information. I will have to stop you. The single most


important thing is the protection of the child. That should be paramount


over any other consideration. I hope that is what happened in this


situation am we do have an epidemic of obesity and die beet -- diabetes.


So many local authorities are closing swimming pools, sport


centres and youth centres all the places where people might engage in


sport. That will be counter productive. The police knocking on


your door and arresting mother and father, that is all right? You know,


none of us knows the details of what happened - You know that happened?


We know that happened. We don't know what led to that moment. I'm very


reluctant to criticise the police in that We have situation. To stop. Our


time is up. Next week there isn't a Question Time because of the World


Cup. It's Japan against Greece. Really? You laughed, I didn't. I


didn't laugh. It's a week off! After that we are back in Wolverhampton


the following week and Croydon. If you would like to come to


Wolverhampton or Croydon the address is on the screen.


Wolverhampton or Croydon the address is on the screen. And the telephone


number, I always forget unless I read it out: I'm being attacked by a


fly. So are you now. My thanks to the panel here and all of you who


came here to King's Lynn to take part. From the Corn Exchange, until


Thursday week, good night. There is Question Time Extra Time on


BBC Radio 5 Live now. Next on BBC One, This Week.


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from King's Lynn. Panellists include Conservative work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith MP, Labour's shadow welfare reform minister Chris Bryant MP, Liberal Democrat Tessa Munt MP, editor of Private Eye Ian Hislop and former leader of the Respect Party Salma Yaqoob, who leads the Hands Off Birmingham Schools campaign group.

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