David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Slough. On the panel are Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, Emily Thornberry MP, Mark Reckless, Hannah Bardell MP and Piers Morgan.
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Good evening. This is Slough and this is Question Time.
And a big welcome, whether you're watching,
listening on the radio,
and, of course, to our audience here, and our panel.
Our panel tonight is the Conservative MP for North East Somerset,
the former Tory MP who defected to Ukip
and then lost Rochester at the last election, Mark Reckless,
Labour's Emily Thornberry, who came unstuck in Rochester,
sacked by Ed Miliband for tweeting a picture of a white van,
and who's now on Jeremy Corbyn's front-bench team
as Shadow Employment Minister,
and one of the SNP's new MPs
who leads for the party on business matters, Hannah Bardell,
and the journalist and broadcaster Piers Morgan.
And thank you very much.
As ever, if you want to join in the debate from home,
you can do so - text or tweet...
Oh, and we are on Facebook, too, now,
so you can "like" us, if you like.
Our first question tonight, from Kevin Chapman, please. Kevin Chapman.
Even if David Cameron was to get agreement in Europe,
would his changes go far enough for a vote to stay?
As they all sit round the table having dinner in Brussels.
I think that what has been asked for is fundamentally trivial,
that three parts of it -
the EU to be competitive is something the EU wants to do anyway.
The euro ins and outs - well, the only vote they've had of this kind,
the other euro outs didn't support us anyway,
so there's not much to be had in that.
The free movement of people...
Taking that out of the preamble is entirely irrelevant.
If the whole text of the treaty creates...
Er, the ever-closer union, sorry, of people.
Just taking it out of the preamble doesn't change a thing.
The preamble is not the legal essence of the text,
the main bulk is.
So that leaves you with this thing on benefits.
Now, first of all, experts have said -
the Office of Budgetary Responsibility said,
and the Treasury Select Committee,
that this would not make much difference to the numbers who came.
Secondly, I think it's a dreadful way to think of brave people
who move halfway across a continent to come and work here
that they're simply coming to grub for benefits. They're not.
They're coming here to change their lives fundamentally.
They're taking a risk,
they're leaving their families, their friends,
and they're doing something at great sacrifice
to improve their life and the lives of their families.
To say they're doing it because
they're little better than benefits cheats
is, I think, a really awful view of the people who come here.
I think they come here...
And so, to conclude,
I think we need fundamental change
on the free movement of people.
We need to control our borders
so that we are fair in our treatment of people
who come here from India
as opposed to people who come here from Bulgaria.
I don't see why we have this open-door policy for the EU,
but incredibly strict regulations on anybody else.
So I think what is being asked for is fundamentally trivial,
and we need to be asking for more.
And if we don't even get what we're currently asking for
the whole renegotiation is a waste of time.
So when you said it was...
When you said what Cameron was asking for was thin gruel,
you were declaring that you will vote out?
Had the Prime Minister gone for a proper renegotiation,
I could have been persuaded to vote to stay in.
But if we stay in now, we are voting to join a full, federal Europe.
We are staying on the pathway towards an integrated EU.
That is what they are doing across Europe.
We are just a little bit behind,
but that is the route map.
We need to pull out of that
-and re-establish our own control of our own affairs.
I agree with some of that.
David Cameron has proven to be an absolutely atrocious negotiator.
I wouldn't trust him to negotiate my purchase
of a cheese and pickle sandwich,
never mind our position in Europe!
What's wrong with his negotiating style?
Like he said, the gentleman to my left -
he asked for very little, he's not even going to get that.
He will come back with a bit of paper in his hand and say,
"Great news! I've managed to establish
"that English people can carry on speaking English.
"It's a huge victory and I'm a triumph."
And that's basically what this comes down to.
He will have achieved nothing
even if he achieves what he's trying to achieve.
So I think it's very embarrassing for our country.
I think he has let us down in the negotiating room.
Clearly, the Germans and the French in particular look at him...
You know, in a poker game, they've called his bluff.
And, unfortunately, they hold all the aces.
And so... Look, I'm a European.
We're all... Most of us here, I'd imagine, are Europeans.
As John Major said the other day on the Today show,
which I thought was a perfect way of describing this,
it's the worst possible time,
isn't it, for England to go back to being Little England,
detached from the European Union
when we're facing this chronic migration issue,
which has to be resolved,
and we're also facing the worst terror threat
that we have faced in my lifetime.
Is it not the issue as well, though,
that he is doing the two at the same time.
That instead of standing up to Ukip
and standing up to the Euro-sceptics
and saying, "Actually, no,
"we're going to have a negotiation first,"
he's trying to do that and come home and placate people at home
with an EU referendum.
He's trying to achieve a pyrrhic victory,
which - even if he achieves it - as Jacob said, is meaningless,
but I don't think he'll even achieve that.
Hannah, what do you think he should have done? What should he be doing?
I think he should've been making the positive case for Europe,
negotiating on that basis.
Because he's gone to Europe
and just really annoyed everybody over there.
Because they know he's back home trying to...
He's essentially trying to face both ways.
There are many, many positive aspects to remaining within Europe.
It brings huge business, particularly in Scotland,
we have...and across the UK,
billions of pounds of investment reliant upon the EU.
There is a positive case to be made for that.
But what he has not done is made that positive case.
And I'm not normally likely to agree with Piers, but I do...
-We were getting on very well in the Green Room.
-We were, yeah.
What's the matter with you?
But...there is a point here that he's doing it in a way
that is with one hand tied behind his back.
He should've stood up, been stronger.
Do you think the result will be
that England votes "out"?
If you go by the polls just now,
we could be in the position that England votes to come out
and then the devolved nations, other nations of the United Kingdom,
including Scotland, are taken out of Europe against its will.
We should have a quad-lock.
We should be in a position that those other nations get a say.
And Alan Johnston has said he could see a reason why people would be
particularly upset in a devolved nation.
And Nicola Sturgeon said in effect there'd be
another referendum from Scotland if Britain pulled out.
She's said that we would look at the conditions
under which any future referendum would be held.
But it could be... You have to go by what your people feel.
And, ultimately, at the moment,
the majority of people in Scotland are pro staying in Europe.
OK. Let's come to some members of the audience, then I'll come to you.
Man in the front here. Yes.
What I want to know, and the British people want to know,
is will there ever be a situation
where David Cameron can renegotiate a free movement of people?
Emily Thornberry, what do you think?
I don't think you can renegotiate a free movement of people.
I think the European Union is based on the idea
of free movement of people and goods.
I think that's kind of fundamental to it.
There's a Schengen agreement within Europe
which means that people can move freely around Europe
without needing to show their passports.
Now, clearly, if Europe are going to keep that
on the Continent of Europe,
they need to do a great deal more in sharing security information.
Because you can't have people moving from Brussels to France
and the security services not passing information on.
So it seems to me that they need to do a lot more work on Schengen.
We're not part of Schengen.
You still have to show a passport to come into Britain.
But, nevertheless, the EU is based on that and that is how it is.
But I just don't think that we are in a position as a country
to start cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world.
As the world gets smaller,
as we get closer to one another,
I think the idea of Britain sailing off into the Atlantic,
and losing...possibly losing Scotland
and becoming Little Englanders
is something which deeply worries me.
I think that David Cameron is playing games
with the future of this country.
I think he's doing that in order to be able to keep...
to ride the many-headed tiger that is the Tory Party!
I think there are Conservatives who will never be placated.
Some might be, but he's prepared to have a gamble,
and it's with our future.
And, actually, part of being in Europe is about jobs.
It's about growth.
It's about investment.
In Slough, there are more, I think, international HQs
than in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland put together.
Slough is an internationalist place
and actually it benefits from being part of the European Union.
We have to be realistic about this. I'm not saying it's perfect.
I think there's lots of things that should be changed.
And what I would do is say that we are part of Europe,
we are Europeans, and we want to get together with other people
who think the same way and be able to change it.
For example, with state aid.
If you want to spend state money
you need to make sure you get as much bang for your buck as possible.
So if you're having a contract with an employer,
you can say, "Right, we're going to give you a government contract
"but we expect you to have a certain number of apprentices,
"a certain number of local people,
"we expect you to train people up."
At the moment, the European Union rules are very hazy about that.
We need to be negotiating things
like that for the sake of the country.
Let's go back to where we are,
with the negotiations going on today and tomorrow.
The man up there in spectacles, what do you think?
To go back to your earlier point -
couldn't we be like Switzerland and be successful outside the EU?
You, sir, in the front. Yes.
All the defence of Europe is a defence of the economy.
What about the defence of society?
I think that's what people are more concerned about.
Can you go a bit further? Explain what you mean?
If you talk to older people - older than even I am -
they are very, very concerned about the changes
that are happening to our country.
Now, time and again the argument is based around the economy.
It's not based around British society itself
and the values that Britain stands for.
So the... Immigration...
I... The implication is,
immigration is the thing you need to control? Is that what you mean?
I don't personally believe it's something we need to control,
but I do believe that that is a major concern in our society.
And you in the front row.
I agree with what the panel members who've spoken already have said
but I really think David Cameron is alienating a lot of other nations
in what he's going to do tonight.
I think there's a lot of things wrong with the EU,
as all the members of the panel have said,
and what he's doing is actually going backwards, at the moment.
He really needs to be trying to build those relationships
in a means to make the EU better.
-I think that really needs to happen.
-Before I come to Mark Reckless,
does anybody here approve of what the Prime Minister's doing,
or trying to achieve in Brussels?
Would speak up for it? Yes, you, sir.
-Wow, one hand!
Well, it's best to be alone than have no representation whatsoever.
-PIERS MORGAN LAUGHS
I certainly would agree with him,
because it is not an easy task for him.
He is trying his utmost, his very best
to come up with whatever good is required for this country.
In that respect I would say, yes, he is doing his best.
And do you think the vote will go in favour... The question was -
if he gets what he's going to try and get,
that will get Britain voting to stay in. Do you agree with that?
I would still want to see a referendum, nonetheless.
He's virtually asked for nothing
and it's not even clear he's going to get that.
I'm sure at the last moment he'll bring some sort of rabbit
out of the hat and all his fellow leaders
and some of the media will big up what he's supposedly achieved.
But I think what David Cameron has shown with this renegotiation
is not what he wanted, of pretending that somehow
the European Union was going to be better in the future
rather than voting on what we know it to be.
But he has shown just how little influence this country has.
Since he was elected as Prime Minister he has voted 40 times
against measures in the Council of Ministers in the European Union.
And every single one of those 40 times he has been outvoted.
And now, at the time when our leverage in Europe should be greater
than any other, when we're about to have this referendum,
and the polls are so close - even then, rather than actually
giving even the minimum that he's asking for,
Europe is saying, "No, that's not the way we do it,
"it's not in our interest.
"We want to go in this different direction."
I think we need to recognise that if other countries...
the European Union wants to be this ever-closer union,
wants to become 27 or 28 countries that become essentially one
for the key tasks of a state, then that is not for us.
I think there's no shame in that.
We should have friendly relations with the European Union,
we should have free trade with them, but we don't want to spend
£55 million a day to have 27 other countries
make laws for us that we could much better make for ourselves.
We need to lift our eyes to the horizon
and trade freely with the whole world,
not focus on one declining continent of it.
Philip Markwick, you had a question about this.
I'm just interested in your take on this.
Do you think the other countries of the EU are being unreasonable?
-I'll ask the question.
The UK seems to have reasonable requests.
Why is the EU flirting with a Brexit?
The UK seems to have reasonable requests.
Why are they flirting, Jacob Rees-Mogg?
Why would they risk Britain leaving?
Well, I'm afraid my view is it's all a great charade,
that we've asked for so little and they're just making a fuss about
one thing so that when we get one little bit of it,
everyone will say, "Fantastic triumph!"
"Glory for the great British leadership!" "Hail to the chief!"
But I think it's all an absolute stitch-up.
I imagine this was agreed a long time ago.
If one reads the papers it basically comes down to,
"Does Mrs Merkel approve?"
If the Chancellor of Germany approves, we'll get it.
And a few months ago it looked as if she did.
I expect that after a long session
we will get most of this fiddly little thing on benefits.
The other three are just not serious things to ask for.
They are no-change, the gentleman's absolutely right.
The European Council is not flirting with Brexit.
It's going to allow us to appear to have a phoney victory and
I don't think the British electorate will be fooled this time
in the way they were in 1975
when they were told there had been major changes
and there hadn't been any changes at all.
How many Tories will be on your side of the argument, do you think,
if he does come back with what you call a phoney fix?
I think the numbers are growing every day.
We get bigger and stronger! I think if you talk to...
If you talk to fellow Conservative MPs, a lot of them are very cautious
on this renegotiation.
They are perhaps more... dutiful than I am.
Duty and loyalty are very attractive qualities which
I probably ought to have more of to the leader of our party.
But I think as we get closer to the referendum
more and more people will make their views clear.
If you go to the Conservative Party in the country at large,
and Conservative associations, they make me look like a pro-European,
so I know exactly where the Tory Party is.
Isn't the problem here, though, that we're basically,
because of Cameron's behaviour over this renegotiation,
we are basically drifting into a potential scenario where, actually,
we may have a referendum which leads to us leaving the European Union?
-Yes. I know.
-It doesn't get much more serious,
particularly if that then triggers
Scotland, which is very pro-European - in my view quite rightly -
then says, "Sod that for a game of soldiers,
"we're out of the United Kingdom."
So this is actually very big stakes and not a time for
the British Prime Minister, in my view, to be playing silly games,
which is what I think he's doing, a lot of this audience
clearly share that view, but more importantly
-so do the other members of the European Union.
I think that...
-Let's face it, they are probably right.
-But they talk about it...
Some people talk about it as if it's going to be some sort of
amicable divorce, as if you could have Britain
as one party and Europe as the other party - it's not like that.
It's like... We're all thinking about Christmas,
a group of brothers and sisters meeting up
and one strops off. What happens?
The others continue and they don't have anything to do with them.
People talk about Switzerland, why can't we be like Switzerland?
I don't know if you remember the Prime Minister of Norway saying,
"We're outside Europe and what happens is
"we get faxed information on what it is we are supposed to do
"if we want to engage with Europe, and trade with Europe."
We don't need to be told from the Continent of Europe
how we trade with Europe,
we need to be absolutely right there.
It's not right for Mark to say,
why can't we just trade with the rest of the world?
Our biggest trading partner is the rest of Europe. Let's get real.
-We would be in the worst possible...
You. Young man there. Yep.
I'm an A-level politics student studying the Constitution
and the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty,
and I find it disgraceful that our politicians throughout
the last 30 years or so have eroded the doctrine of parliamentary
sovereignty without even asking the people.
The man in the red pullover, there. You, sir.
I ask the panel, do they believe that the majority of
the English public have enough knowledge
and information and understanding of the EU to make a vote
constructively, or will they just be emotional votes?
APPLAUSE What do you think?
All the people I've spoken to - some of them are well educated
and some aren't - it's going to be emotional.
I trust the people, as I do at general elections,
that the British people in their votes get good governments
again and again, and the governments that they want.
I think the mass decisions of millions of people actually are
better at getting the right answers than a few of the elite.
So I trust the people against the establishment.
The gentleman makes a very good point about engagement
and I think that is exactly right. The opportunity to engage
and be educated positively
about the issue that's going to be put in front of you.
We did that in Scotland at the referendum,
we inspired a nation, you could say.
Whether you were for or against,
the fact that we asked people the big questions,
we gave them the opportunity to be in charge of their future
in a democratic way.
Unfortunately, that's not what is happening here
and it's not going to be that kind of referendum,
because we are running out of time.
The only advantage I can see that I've got out of it,
that I've seen as a real advantage, that I understand,
I don't have to keep changing my money when I go on holiday.
The crux of what I was getting at is, do you think the Prime Minister
is pursuing a negotiation in good faith or not?
I certainly think the Prime Minister is acting in good faith, yes.
-Of course I do.
-I don't think he is.
He doesn't want to be quoted saying anything else
but he doesn't mean that.
I would say that privately. I trust the Prime Minister.
You'd say something in private that you actually said in public?
I always do. I am very unusual.
That is a very unusual thing for a politician.
I have always trusted the Prime Minister,
I continue to trust his... good faith.
He is doing his best as he sees it,
but I fundamentally disagree with the approach he's taking.
Jacob, I don't trust the Prime Minister.
You may remember a session when we were both Conservative MPs,
and I asked the Prime Minister a question about
the European Arrest Warrant. He'd previously argued against it.
He then turned round, and with apparent sincerity
said that there was no other way in order to tackle terrorists,
and we had to go down this path.
He promised a vote in the House of Commons on that
before the by-election which I fought, and he broke his word on it.
What he is doing with this renegotiation, or he's trying to do,
is choreographing it,
so as well as being the captain of one of the teams,
he gets to set the rules of this referendum, and that isn't right.
I wanted to take up a point about the devolved administrations
and what we heard from Hannah. What the SNP did is
it argued there was going to be this sort of honey and sunlit uplands
for Scotland because the oil price would be at 120 a barrel forever.
In fact it's at 40.
The idea that we vote to leave the European Union,
that the Scots feel so strongly about this,
and the case for independence, as Hannah would claim, is so strong,
it is absolutely preposterous to believe that Scotland would
vote for independence when the black hole in its finances is so enormous.
As far as Wales is concerned, we actually saw a poll recently
in Wales that saw more people voting to leave the European Union
than wanting to remain. So we can come out as a United Kingdom
and once again govern ourselves.
He says there's no risk to the union.
I'm glad he gave me the opportunity to speak about the oil price,
because it is something that has been peddled out
by the Unionist parties and the anti-European people, Euro-sceptics
time and time and again. Let's be very clear,
Scotland's economy is just as strong and we are just as well off
as the rest of the UK, per head of population, without oil and gas.
Now, nobody got it right on the oil price.
The OBR's forecast was actually further out than the one
that we had in the white paper, but let's be clear,
the whole point of having independence
and having control over your own affairs,
whether that's as a nation or as a region, is that you have the control
and the ability to do with your resources what you feel is right.
And in 2011, the Coalition Government,
as described by the local Chamber of Commerce,
committed "a drive-by shooting" on the oil and gas industry
by hiking up taxes. There's not been a stable tax regime.
We would put in place a stable tax regime
and we would manage it in an appropriate way.
If you want this independence for Scotland,
why do you want the UK to be ruled by Brussels?
Surely there's an inconsistency.
All right, all right. OK.
Surely the United Kingdom as a whole is much more able
to be independent than Scotland.
Well, no, because you have not advocated well for us
-at European level.
-We'll take it one step at a time.
We've got the negotiations, then the referendum
and then we'll have, no doubt, questions, depending on what happens.
But it'll be good for Labour and the SNP to be campaigning together
to be able to be part of a union of nations.
I look forward to that.
If Labour could unite on anything, that would be good!
All right. Let's go on, cos we've spent a lot of time on that.
We're back after Christmas, I should say.
This is our last programme before Christmas. Well, it had better be!
We're back on 14th January, and we're going to be in London on the 14th,
and the following week we're going to be in Belfast,
and the details are on the screen of how to apply.
I want to take another question now, let's take this one.
Hannah Ishaq, please.
Do you think our military involvement in Syria
is contributing to the radicalisation of Muslims in the UK?
Do you think our military involvement in Syria
is contributing to the radicalisation of Muslims in the UK?
Yes, I think there is a very good chance that it is.
I have to say, as a new MP, sitting in the House that night
that we voted to bomb Syria was pretty devastating, actually.
I believe that I voted the right way,
not to bomb Syria, because the reality...
The reality is that there are a whole number of countries
already bombing Syria.
So to go in there just to join in, just to do something,
it's as if we had to do something because nothing wasn't an option.
Nobody was suggesting nothing.
We were very supportive of the Vienna agreement,
which was about sensible transition to a stable government,
which was about engaging and working with international partners,
something that the UN was very keen on.
But what many people that have come out of Syria have said
is that bombing is not going to solve the problem.
It will only marginalise...
The question is, is it contributing to radicalisation?
We are attacking an ideology,
we are not just attacking individual fighters on the ground.
We are going after an ideology, and it is so important
that we have to try and understand that and hit it at its heart.
So, stop the flow of money that is coming through oil,
attack their cyber and digital technology.
None of that's being done. We're not even bombing Raqqa.
The Prime Minister stood up on 2nd December
and said, "We're going to hit them where it hurts,
"we're going to hit them in Raqqa," and the Defence Secretary
has already reeled back from that and said,
"We'll get round to it when we find a strategy,
"and we've worked out what we're going to do."
You're answering a different question.
The question is, is what we're doing in Syria
contributing to the radicalisation of Muslims in the UK?
Yes, because I think people feel that they are...
there's going to be more displaced people, more chaos on the ground.
But I also think that Muslims in the UK will realise that...
you know, as everybody does,
that the extremists are nothing to do with Islam.
They're nothing to do with the Muslim tradition,
and we have to call them out for what they are. Daesh are terrorists.
They are a faction, and they have nothing to do with that religion.
I think it's a very interesting question,
to which there is no very straightforward answer.
There are certainly examples historically when
the counterterrorist actions that are taken
lead to greater activity by the terrorists.
That is known from our experience in Northern Ireland,
where the early response, particularly internment,
led to greater support in the LOCAL community for terrorism.
Why I don't think it's the case now is that the radicalisation
of SOME people in this country predates our bombing of Syria
by quite a considerable time, so there was already this risk,
and relatively small numbers of people going to Syria
from the United Kingdom to be involved in that particular fight.
I don't think the bombing over the last two weeks has had a particular
effect on that. But I also think, as the more general point,
the effect you get of a crackdown on terrorism is more likely to be
domestic than it is to be international.
So on balance I think, no.
OK. What do you think, Hannah?
I don't think it'd be fair to just be looking at Syria here.
If we look at London itself, only recently there was an attack
on the Tube, so, from it happening in Syria,
it's always going to affect what's happening back home.
Also, the people who did the bombing in France, they weren't Syrian.
They were born in Europe, so we need to look at
what's happening at home before we attack anywhere else.
So you think it is a contribution, in other words?
I think it certainly contributes.
There are people who already have an ideology in the Middle East,
or even here, who think the West are evil,
or the West are having such a negative impact on them,
so by the West actually confirming their suspicions,
-they're only going to be more radical.
I think there is something about some of the wars
that have taken place in the Middle East,
and a feeling amongst some people that Western lives
are more important than the lives of Muslim people in the Middle East.
And I think that...
So you will have the Prime Minister, for example,
talking about a city as being the head of a snake,
and if you're bombing that city
there will be civilians who will be killed, but
not talking about those civilians and not being aware of that.
Which is why I was not prepared to vote for the bombing of Syria,
because I felt that it just simply wasn't part
of a strategy that made any sense.
I don't think you should go into a country and destabilise it
even more than it is, and then walk away again
and think that your own country is going to be safer.
Because I think if you look at where we have been involved
in military action over the last few years,
we have not necessarily made those countries any more stable,
or made ourselves any safer.
I think the alienation and feeling among some people,
you know, who have gone through Ramadan,
who have gone through starving along with Muslims across the world, and
who feel that there are some people in Britain who just don't consider
some lives as being as important as others,
and that is obviously completely wrong.
We have to be really clear about that,
you know, we have to be really clear about what we're doing
and why we do it. There are many other reasons,
I think, for the radicalisation of people.
I don't think that it is to do with wars.
-I think there's also making sure...
The main reason, surely, for the start of radicalisation,
I suspect in Britain and many other countries,
was the senseless, illegal war in Iraq.
The reason I think... It's really important to understand
the history here. You know, when we went to war in Iraq,
on completely bogus claims about weapons of mass destruction,
and we did so, in my view, illegally,
what we did was we created a hornet's nest
which we then didn't try and repair.
And we just decamped and we let Iraq burn.
And through that burning came Isis, who were basically representing
a bunch of people who'd been bombed and were poor and desperate
and thinking, we need something we can attach ourselves to.
That's where this all started.
But that doesn't mean that the military action in Syria is wrong,
because let's ask ourselves why we sent in airpower when we did.
We did it after the absolutely appalling scenes
on the streets of Paris, where Isis bombed football stadiums,
they bombed restaurants, they bombed music concert venues.
They tried to attack every form of Western life.
-If that had happened...
-How is bombing them going to help that?
-Let me explain.
There is a multifaceted way that you deal with an enemy like Isis.
They are not like Al-Qaeda,
they are a geographic territorial ambition group.
They want to take over states.
They want the world to become an Islamic State in their likeness,
which is a terrifying prospect, by the way.
Is it effective, deciding to extend the bombing to Syria?
I think you have to do something. These people will stop at nothing.
You see, politicians who want to be seen to be doing something...
-Let me finish.
-..are politicians you should be very worried about.
-I heard what you said.
-They have to have a plan.
No, this is the plan, I think.
From a military point of view, if you're going to combat these people
on the ground, which is... they're in Syria and Iraq,
you have to do it in a multifaceted way. You attack the money -
they've got trillions of dollars coming in from their oil revenues,
for starters. A lot of it from the very people that we're siding with,
so it's a ludicrous load of hypocrisy.
You've got to attack them politically, diplomatically,
and when it comes to military action you've got to have, in my view,
and it was promising to see the start of this at the Saudi-led
coalition this week, where they may put boots on the ground,
Arab boots on the ground, to combat what is an Arab problem,
but we need to support them with airpower
because we have sophisticated airpower.
-Are you saying...
-You can't win it without airpower.
Are you saying that it's not contributing to the radicalisation of
Muslims here in Britain, which is what Hannah's question was?
I think what is happening in Syria is now a trigger for it being
used as an excuse, but the genuine radicalisation started from Iraq,
-and that should never have happened.
The woman there in the centre has been patiently waiting.
I think obviously our aggressive foreign policy is
a contributing factor, but don't you think that a large problem is,
look at the people who are voting to take this action.
It's white middle-class men.
There's no good examples for Muslim children.
I was speaking to a leader of a Muslim school in Slough
recently who told me that he invited a police officer
with a big beard to come and meet the children
to show them that they do have opportunities
in this country, because I don't think that they believe they do.
All right. The man behind you was shaking his head, I think.
Immediately behind you, as you started speaking. Yes, you, sir.
Yes, I think we're fundamentally missing the point.
I think Isis and Al-Qaeda are
a vehicle for this particular ideology.
What we have to do is tackle the root of where this ideology
stems from, and it's agreed that this strain...
this stream of Islam is
called Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia,
and it's Saudi Arabia which has been exporting and funding
this type of ideology.
And the fact is the UK and the West have a very close relationship
with Saudi Arabia, so that's where the root of the ideology
and the root of the problem is coming from,
and before we deal with that...
that's where we need to look at first.
OK. And you up there. APPLAUSE
The woman there. Yes.
Yeah. We are taught, like, from pretty much as soon as
we can walk and talk that violence isn't the answer,
so you go in, you spend £100,000 on bombing a country
but have no money to help the hundreds and thousands of people
that are now fleeing that country... it doesn't make any sense to me.
You go in and we are portraying ourselves as these people who
bomb a country to prevent people from being angry at us.
It doesn't make any sense. We are planning... We are planning...
No, we're trying to stop them beheading people
and stoning gays to death, and marauding around committing
the atrocities we saw on the streets of Paris.
-You're not going to stop...
At some point you've got to stand up to these people.
And you've got to defeat them militarily.
Mark Reckless. Stop all talking at once. Mark Reckless.
I think people who've been making these decisions have really
been all over the place. I was listening
to Emily just now saying
we shouldn't just vote to bomb without any plan,
and how...now under Jeremy Corbyn she's against bombing IS in Syria,
but unless I'm much mistaken,
Emily, you voted previously for bombing IS in Iraq,
and before that you voted to intervene by bombing in Libya,
-from which we're still suffering the consequences.
-And I can...
And I tell you what... I tell you what happened, was
when we were asked by the Iraqis...
Iraq is a mess, and I agree with Piers
that Iraq is a mess after we have gone in.
But I was on the demonstrations against being involved in Iraq,
I was completely against the Iraq war,
but the fact is we went in and Iraq is now the country it is
largely as a result of our actions.
And so if the Iraqi government asks for our help to fight Isis,
and they have boots on the ground, and have their own troops,
then in those circumstances, yes, we back them up.
Completely different to Syria,
where they don't even have any boots on the ground.
We're talking about the effect. I must bring you back to the point.
The question was about the effect of these things on domestic
Muslim people in this country and whether they feel...
whether the accumulation particularly of Syria is a further radicalisation.
To an extent it does have an effect, and I suspect it will be mixed.
Some people will react differently
and some people will pervert their religion
and they haven't succeeded in other parts of their life
and they will jump on this as the thing
that can give them significance.
But it's the same whether it's Islamic State in Iraq or in Syria.
-No, it's not.
-And what we hear from the Prime Minister,
it's like he thinks this is unfinished business,
that we had this vote that he lost before to bomb Syria.
But that time he was trying to bomb the regime, Assad.
Now he's trying to bomb the other side, IS,
who are fighting AGAINST Assad.
And you, sir, in the spectacles there. Third row. Yes, you.
There is a gigantic chasm between peer-reviewed, academic,
evidence-based research on counterterrorism and terrorism
and the jingoistic rhetoric we hear on the media about,
you know, they hate our freedoms, it's about ideology,
we're at war with an ideology.
The consensus in the academic community is that
ideology is incidental, not causative.
The causative factors are much more things like despair,
-things like alienation...
..things like feeling that certain people
are separated from wider society.
-Are you talking about this country?
-This country and many others.
That's what I was trying to say.
The picture that you have of a family with little children
going off to Islamic State because somehow there might be
a better life for them there is just terrifying.
Absolutely. The point is if we talk about things like ideology we're
falling into the same trap,
the same rhetoric that was used even word for word in colonial times,
when people of colonial British... or British colonies would resist
and fight back, they were labelled as extremists.
They were labelled as there's something wrong with their ideology.
I just want to come back to the lady on the edge saying we won't
do anything to help in Syria.
The British people, that's us, taxpayers,
have spent £1 billion to try to help the refugees in Syria.
We've done more than any other country other than
the United States to do this, and I think this is very important.
I'm not usually a great fan of overseas aid,
but I think this is absolutely the right way to spend it,
to help the most troubled people, the most at-risk refugees.
ALL TALK AT ONCE No, we're closing up now.
There is a naivety about the use of airpower
if you're going to try and defeat them militarily.
Ask anybody in the military.
Can boots on the ground defeat Isis without airpower? No, they can't.
So if you sign up to the idea that Isis must be defeated,
at some point you've got to acknowledge we need airpower.
I'm afraid it's a military necessity.
-But and boots on the ground.
-Yes. Supporting the boots on the ground.
All right, I want to move on to another question
because we have 20 minutes left,
and we've got two more questions I'd like to get to if I can.
For the sake of our audience getting through the questions
they want to ask. Pam Grant, your turn.
If Donald Trump becomes President of the United States,
would it upset our special relationship?
Mark Reckless. Mark, you start on this.
I think it probably would.
It is absolutely extraordinary that
a man such as Donald Trump,
with the views he has expressed,
is polling, I think, around 40%
of likely Republican voters.
Now, I don't believe he's going to get the Republican nomination
or still less become President of the United States.
But to think he MIGHT get the Republican nomination,
and if something blew up with Hillary Clinton, all those
e-mails, something else came out, that actually you can paint
a scenario in which he does become president of the United States.
I think that would be very unwelcome,
but I think Donald Trump, he is gauging something.
There's something happening in America but also in Europe,
probably in our own country,
there's a huge disconnect between the politicians and the public.
And instead of a free market there is a crony corporatism
and a belief that however you vote the power has all gone to people
who are not accountable, whether it's the European Commission
or judges or quangos,
and actually people who want to make a difference
over their own lives, they want their democracy back.
And that's why I want to get out of the European Union
and I think probably in America it's something in a way I don't
agree with, but it's something Donald Trump is expressing...
-That's a great shoehorn, Mark.
How did you get the European Union into a question about Donald Trump?
He gets the European Union into everything.
You, sir. Yes. Come on, quickly.
Last time I checked, over 400,000 people had
voted against Donald Trump being allowed into the UK.
-Now 500, I think.
-Over 500, in fact.
So is that going to be seriously debated in Parliament,
-as the people have spoken?
-Should it be?
-It should be.
That means 65 million people didn't, of course. So it's all relative.
You have a go at this, Piers Morgan.
Look, I've done this show 19 times, somebody informed me yesterday.
-Which show is this?
You are a show, aren't you?
No, it's a programme.
-He's been in America too long!
Thank you very much indeed for saying that, thank you.
I would like to apologise for denigrating your programme.
Now make your point.
Your programme 19 times,
and I'm about to get the biggest cheer I've ever had
in the 19 times I have appeared,
because I've known Donald Trump ten years,
his judgment is very sound, he made me his first Celebrity Apprentice
in America, and I consider him to be a personal friend.
-SILENCE FROM AUDIENCE
So, to me, I'm slightly alarmed at the way this has played out for him.
I didn't understand what the whole "we're going to ban Muslims"
stuff was about. I wrote a column attacking him for it.
But I do understand on a separate level
why he is resonating with the American public.
And the reason is that they are fearful.
They are very fearful that they are now heading towards another
9/11 scenario following what happened in California
two weeks ago. And he's tapping into that fear.
He's also totally different to any other politician in America.
He speaks his mind, he never apologises, he's bombastic,
he's a showman,
but in a way he's a slight throwback to how America used to be
when it was a chest-beating, all-dominant superpower.
And to underestimate him is to make a big mistake, in my view.
He's a very smart guy, he knows exactly what he's doing.
We may not like it, but trust me, banning him from Britain
will not make any difference to his prospects.
The question was if he became President would it
upset our special relationship? Would it be a different Trump
from the one that seems to be upsetting people at the moment?
I actually don't think so. Banning him would be difficult, obviously,
if you couldn't let the President into the country,
but I looked at what Vladimir Putin said today about him,
and it was quite interesting.
He was talking him up very warmly.
-Brilliant and talented, he called him.
And whether you like him or not, Trump, you don't get to get
a 10 billion empire without being fairly brilliant or talented.
Even if he's offensive.
-Doesn't seem to go down too well in Scotland, does he?
No, and I would like to think that Nicola Sturgeon,
our First Minister, has led the way on this.
She removed him from the GlobalScot network,
removed him from being an ambassador for Scotland,
and he's also had his honorary degree...
-Who made him the ambassador?
-Yeah, who made him ambassador?
-Well, let's be clear.
You liked him when it suited you, didn't you?
Well, he invested in Scotland,
he has a number of businesses there, and the people who work...
There are 20,000 people work for the Trump Organisation.
Presumably they do not all hold his views.
So it is not they or the areas that he has his businesses
that should be disadvantaged. What he should do is apologise.
He should apologise for views that are abhorrent,
that are divisive, and have no place in our society.
Which particular views, and to whom?
Well, the views about banning Muslims.
That is just... It is abhorrent. It's a ridiculous thing to suggest.
And, at the end of the day, we share a lot across the ocean with America.
We've exported Piers Morgan.
I think some exports we might have quite happily left there.
No, I've come back. I've been reimported.
The woman here on my left. Yes.
As Jacob Rees-Mogg said, in terms of people voting,
the people's vote is the true vote,
if the people of America vote for Donald Trump,
then that's what they deserve.
-I think the lady is absolutely right that
we have to trust democracy.
I would say two other things.
First of all, I think we overstate the special relationship,
and that we think we have a very strong relationship with the US
and the US doesn't lose a lot of sleep over what the
United Kingdom thinks, and I think we should be cautious about that.
The second is that I think we have a tendency to think
all American presidents are deeply stupid.
We thought that of Ronald Reagan, we thought that of George Bush Jr.
-We don't think that of Obama, but we thought
of Bill Clinton that he had certain problems in the fidelity area.
It doesn't make him stupid.
-It doesn't make him stupid.
-Not necessarily stupid.
-But we like to look down on American Presidents...
..because of the way they appeal to their electorates
and they appeal to their electorates in ways that are too
populist for the British political system, and we don't like,
and they say things which go down very badly here.
But if you want to give a great boost to Mr Trump's campaign,
ban him from coming to the UK,
because it would run so badly in the US,
they would think the UK had no business
banning an American presidential candidate.
It would boost his support, it would mean that somebody
who we think it will be difficult to deal with,
who is friends with Mr Morgan and Mr Putin,
so he keeps very fine company...
-That is a low blow, Rees-Mogg.
-I meant it in a friendly way.
Are you likening me to the Russian dictator? Come on!
You are a very powerful figure.
The gentleman there with the spectacles and the moustache.
I think if he is democratically elected
he should not be banned from coming.
There is loads of leaders all over the world who have said things
or believe in things that we don't agree with.
And you think we could get on with him as President?
-That was what was behind the question.
Because that particular aspect is one aspect of many aspects
that a president carries. But what I do fear, though,
is that if those are his genuine beliefs,
going back to the previous question,
he could then become a catalyst for radicalisation,
if he expresses his views in these terms.
And the man behind you. Yes, you, sir.
I was going to say that in terms of the previous
question about radicalisation,
this is a man who has got an audience of 300 million in America
and the world now, and he's beating his chest saying,
"Muslims, don't come into my country."
He's saying he's going to...
-What's he going to say...? He's going to...
he's going to close mosques.
He's making Muslims the enemy within America.
So those who are on the edge,
of sanity, and about to be radicalised, that's him.
-That's the message.
-Emily Thornberry, then I'll come to you.
I think we have had presidents
in the past that have been ignorant of world affairs,
have not known very much about the world outside America.
We've had American presidents
who I don't think have been particularly bright.
We haven't yet had a president of the United States
who indulges in cheap and nasty racist slurs.
There've been quite a few who supported slavery historically.
ALL TALK AT ONCE
All right, guys.
In my lifetime. But it is now...
But the idea that we might have someone like Donald Trump
being President of the United States is I think frankly appalling.
It is appalling. Of course it will
affect the relationship between Britain and America.
If it didn't, I would think much less of this country.
I certainly hope that if he does get the Republican nomination, and it
looks like he might,
but who knows, their polls might be as bad as ours...
If he does become their nominee, Hillary Clinton
will become the first President of the United States,
and wouldn't that be fantastic?
The first woman President of the United States.
And she certainly knows about world affairs,
she's certainly bright, she's been through the mill,
she's as tough as anything and she would be an excellent President.
You, sir, last point and we'll take
-Yes, as President he'd obviously be allowed in...
I think he just needs educating and introduced to a few Muslims over
here. He's got this wrong idea that certain parts of London are no-go
areas, where police are frightened of Muslims.
He just needs educating.
Maybe he should come over.
I think we've got time for one more question, which we must have, given
where we are. Duncan Reid, please.
Will Heathrow expansion provide the promised number of jobs,
and can this justify the cost to the environment?
This is the building of another runway at Heathrow,
the Prime Minister is deferring a judgment until after the summer.
Will it provide the jobs, can it justify the cost to the environment?
-What's your view?
-Heathrow Airport Ltd hasn't complained that the
Davies Commission report has happily traded the shortening
of people's lives for profit. That cannot be right.
You think it is the shortening of people's lives for profit?
Who'd like to go on this on Heathrow?
Emily Thornberry, you were just talking, Mark Reckless,
-you start on this one.
I will start again, and be criticised for this,
-with a point about the European Union.
-Oh, no, please!
The reason David Cameron, our Prime Minister,
has said he is going to delay for another six months taking a decision
is to see whether Heathrow could have a third runway yet still
meet the European Union legislation on nitrogen dioxin emissions.
Very dangerous, kills a lot of people,
partly because of all these diesel engines
that again the European Union has encouraged through its regulations
and allowed to come onto our roads
despite being nowhere near meeting their own...
-What's your answer to the question?
-That's where we are on Heathrow.
-And that's it?
-No, no-one knows if you can build a third runway,
because the legislation and what they pass in Europe is so unclear,
that this massive decision for our economy is held up.
What I believe and what Ukip believes is instead of expanding
Heathrow, we should have a second runway at Gatwick.
Allow Gatwick to compete with Heathrow,
-and that we should get on with doing it.
-All right, thank you.
The woman in the third row.
What's your view?
I just wondered whether the panel believes that the decision on
Heathrow and the can being kicked down the road has got anything to
do with the London mayoral elections.
Perish the thought.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, you know the inside workings of the Tory party.
I-I wish I did.
I think that's a shockingly cynical view and I can't imagine such
a thought will have entered the Prime Minister's head.
But if I may answer the main question... I think we absolutely
ought to extend Heathrow.
Heathrow is THE most convenient London airport.
I realise in Slough this may not please everybody.
I used to live near Slough with the aeroplanes going over
and I confess they didn't prove too bothersome them.
-Eton, was that?
-Absolutely right. I...
I was at school with your son.
But I think it is crucially important economically...
That was a brilliant thing.
That's the best thing I've seen him take in a long time.
Let's get back to the important topic of Heathrow rather than my
and Henry Dimbleby's education.
We need a functional airport, that is close to London,
is well-connected, allows us to compete internationally,
has all the routes to China and the Far East.
And every project we come up with is stopped by a particle,
a bat, a badger or a newt.
-And we can't allow...
-There is always some environmental thing.
-A badger and a newt?
Newts stop endless building projects.
We can't build roads because of a newt.
We can't build a house because of a bat.
What about people and the needs of our economy of the British people?
OK. I want some audience views.
Man in the blue tie. You sir, yes.
Quick views from the audience. I want
to bring everybody in. We've only got three minutes left. Fire away.
Why is nobody looking at the big picture?
Boris has suggested an airport in the estuary,
and moving it there would cost a lot of money, create a lot of space,
very valuable real estate at Heathrow,
create a lot of jobs in Essex.
It can be connected.
A lot of money, but a new garden city at Heathrow will house up to
a quarter of a million people, a new Canary Wharf,
larger than that, it would be a fantastic asset.
-That is the long view.
-Emily Thornberry, do you agree?
I think the Boris Island was always discredited.
The moment he said it, it was one of Boris's fantasies. But...
-He says you haven't looked at it.
-Have you really studied it?
There were many studies of Boris Island and they would come back and
say to Boris, "It doesn't work."
Boris would say, "I will commission somebody else." Somebody else would
-have a look at it. It isn't viable.
-Have you looked at it?
-So the answer...
-And it is very unpopular in Rochester.
The answer I want to give is the fact that
studies show that 10,000 Londoners' lives
have been shortened as a result of pollution.
In those circumstances, it isn't a particle, it is people's lives.
We have seen the Supreme Court saying the area around Heathrow
breaches the EU air-quality directive.
-We have to look at that before deciding
whether we have another runway.
The woman on the gangway over there.
This is because of diesel.
If we had stuck to petrol engines we would not have this problem,
so we ought to re-encourage petrol and get away from diesel.
Can you run aeroplanes on petrol?
No, no, the diesel in cars,
causing pollution when people go to the airport.
-It is not the pollution from the aeroplanes.
OK. The woman on the gangway.
The expansion of Heathrow will add £100 billion to the economy
and the top two thirds of businesses use Heathrow to import and export.
Is that not helping the economy?
So you are in favour. All right, Piers Morgan.
In the time we have dithered over this and in the time it will take
for any decision to come after endless enquiries which establish
China has built 80 new airports,
never mind just extra runways.
The reason Europe is seen to be in decline, which it indisputably
is around the world, is precisely because of this kind of nonsense.
Heathrow is a world-class airport, a massive asset to this country.
Frankly, we should be looking at not just one new runway,
probably two, and I would build another spanking new airport
just outside the M25 with travel into central London.
And I would make ourselves the European hub for anyone
coming from America, China, or the Middle East or wherever.
And I would do this fast, so we can seize the moment and not let,
as Willie Walsh, I saw the BA guy this week
saying, "We'll take our business to other countries."
-This is a dangerous situation for our economy.
We are over time, I'm afraid. Hannah, I'll bring you in.
No, no, I can't... Hannah.
Boris Johnson said he would lie down in front of the bulldozers
if it came to it.
If that is not a win-win, I don't know what is.
-I will solve the problem. Just bring it to Scotland.
Fine. On which note, thank you very much.
I'm sorry to those who had your hands up.
We're overrunning and we have to stop or we get our knuckles rapped
on this programme. If it were a show,
no doubt we'd be allowed to go on as long as we want.
-If it was a show, I would be hosting it!
-Well, your day may come.
We will be in London for
the next programme on January 14th,
and Belfast the week after.
If you want to come,
you can apply through the website.
The address is on the screen.
Or you can call...
Radio 5 Live listeners,
the debate continues on Question Time Extra Time.
But for here, my thanks to our panel,
to all of you who came here to Slough to take part in this programme,
a very happy Christmas to everyone
and see you again in the New Year. Goodnight.
David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Slough. On the panel are Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, Labour's Emily Thornberry MP, Ukip's Mark Reckless, the SNP's Hannah Bardell MP and journalist Piers Morgan.