21/01/2016 Question Time


21/01/2016

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Belfast. On the panel are Theresa Villiers MP, Peter Hain, Nigel Dodds MP, Declan Kearney and Grainne Maguire.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 21/01/2016. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Tonight we're at Titanic, Belfast, and this is Question Time.

0:00:020:00:05

And a big welcome to you at home,

0:00:120:00:14

whether you're watching on television or listening to BBC Radio 5 Live,

0:00:140:00:18

to our audience here, of course, and to our panel.

0:00:180:00:20

Tonight, the Conservative Secretary of State

0:00:200:00:23

for Northern Ireland, Theresa Villiers,

0:00:230:00:25

the former Cabinet minister,

0:00:250:00:26

now Labour peer in the House of Lords, Peter Hain,

0:00:260:00:29

the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party

0:00:290:00:32

and its leader at Westminster, Nigel Dodds,

0:00:320:00:35

Sinn Fein's National Chairman Declan Kearney

0:00:350:00:38

and the comedian and writer Grainne Maguire.

0:00:380:00:42

APPLAUSE

0:00:420:00:44

Thanks very much.

0:00:520:00:54

Now, just as always, if you want to join the debate,

0:00:540:00:56

which I'm sure you do from home

0:00:560:00:57

because we're bound to irritate you one way or another,

0:00:570:00:59

you can join the debate on Facebook -

0:00:590:01:01

we're now on Facebook - or Twitter. Our hashtag, #bbcqt.

0:01:010:01:05

You can follow us @BBCQuestionTime. And you can like us, if you like.

0:01:050:01:10

Text comments to 83981 and press the red button to see

0:01:100:01:13

what others are saying.

0:01:130:01:14

I don't know what that first bit means, but there we are.

0:01:140:01:16

Let's have our first question from Daniel Newton, please. Daniel Newton.

0:01:160:01:20

What action should be taken against Russia,

0:01:200:01:22

following the conclusion of the Litvinenko Inquiry?

0:01:220:01:25

Yes, sir Robert Owen on the Inquiry in the Litvinenko death

0:01:250:01:29

said it was probably approved by President Putin.

0:01:290:01:32

What action should be taken? Theresa Villiers.

0:01:320:01:34

Well, the ambassador from Russia is being summoned into

0:01:340:01:38

the Foreign Office so that the government can express

0:01:380:01:41

its very grave concern about the tragedy which has occurred.

0:01:410:01:45

It is completely unacceptable

0:01:450:01:47

for a citizen to be murdered in our country at the behest

0:01:470:01:52

of a foreign intelligence service.

0:01:520:01:54

And in our Strategic Defence and Security Review

0:01:540:01:58

we highlighted the increasing security threat

0:01:580:02:00

posed by Russia, and this is a reminder to us all

0:02:000:02:03

of the importance of maintaining our security,

0:02:030:02:06

maintaining our defences, funding our police services

0:02:060:02:10

and ensuring that our intelligence services have all

0:02:100:02:13

the capacities that they need to combat espionage

0:02:130:02:16

and security threats from places like Russia.

0:02:160:02:20

What action should be taken, was the question.

0:02:200:02:22

I think we need to maintain the sanctions which we've

0:02:220:02:24

already applied to Russia as a result of their aggressive

0:02:240:02:27

actions in Ukraine, and no doubt the government will be reflecting

0:02:270:02:30

over the following days as to whether

0:02:300:02:32

further action needs to be taken.

0:02:320:02:34

But we are gravely concerned by what has happened.

0:02:340:02:37

Labour's Shadow Home Secretary Andy Burnham, Peter Hain, said,

0:02:370:02:41

"There can be no sense of the government pulling their punches

0:02:410:02:44

"because of wider diplomatic considerations."

0:02:440:02:46

He seemed to be slightly critical of the government's response. Are you?

0:02:460:02:49

He was. I mean, the point that I think is really important here

0:02:490:02:54

is that the agents concerned clearly, it seems from the report,

0:02:540:02:57

acting on Putin's orders, and that's really serious.

0:02:570:03:02

The president of one of the most powerful nations in the world

0:03:020:03:05

ordering an extra-judicial murder on our soil - that's really serious,

0:03:050:03:10

and I think those agents who were clearly involved,

0:03:100:03:13

according to the report, there should be sanctions on them,

0:03:130:03:17

the European common arrest warrant should operate on them,

0:03:170:03:20

they should not be allowed to travel within Europe without

0:03:200:03:23

being arrested and brought to justice in Britain.

0:03:230:03:26

So that's one thing that I think should be done right away.

0:03:260:03:29

They have applied for extradition, haven't they, these two?

0:03:290:03:32

They have, yes, but there should be a travel ban on them

0:03:320:03:35

like has been applied to other dubious characters with

0:03:350:03:39

criminal intent around the world.

0:03:390:03:41

But what about "probably approved by President Putin"?

0:03:410:03:44

Is there anything that can be done about that?

0:03:440:03:45

Should there be any sanctions taken against Russia on a bigger scale?

0:03:450:03:49

This is a man elected president of his country.

0:03:490:03:51

There are, as Theresa said, already sanctions.

0:03:510:03:54

The difficulty, frankly, is this -

0:03:540:03:56

Russia at the moment is really important if we're going to get

0:03:560:04:00

a solution to the Syrian crisis.

0:04:000:04:02

So you need to engage with the Russians.

0:04:020:04:06

There's no point in playing games over this,

0:04:060:04:08

they're important around other crises,

0:04:080:04:12

including the whole problem of Isil and Daesh international terrorism.

0:04:120:04:16

So I don't think, sort of, we're putting them

0:04:160:04:19

into cold storage is the right answer,

0:04:190:04:22

but making it absolutely clear, as the government has done

0:04:220:04:25

and as Parliament has done, it's not acceptable

0:04:250:04:28

and applying those particular punitive sanctions

0:04:280:04:31

against those two very dangerous men...

0:04:310:04:34

This was radioactive poisoning

0:04:340:04:36

-in the middle of London.

-Grainne Maguire.

0:04:360:04:39

APPLAUSE

0:04:390:04:42

Yeah, I just think it's terrifying.

0:04:440:04:46

I just think Putin is a nasty piece of work, you know,

0:04:460:04:51

him propping up Assad's regime, invading Ukraine to...for a big push

0:04:510:04:56

so he can be more popular at home, his human rights records,

0:04:560:04:59

the way he's cutting back on free speech in Russia...

0:04:590:05:02

I just think it's absolutely terrifying.

0:05:020:05:05

Anybody got views here? Yes, you, sir, in the front.

0:05:050:05:09

And you, yes, yes, sir.

0:05:090:05:10

I think it's interesting for a British government to criticise

0:05:100:05:13

Litvinenko considering the amount of incidents of state-sponsored

0:05:130:05:16

killing there were in Northern Ireland throughout the Troubles.

0:05:160:05:19

A lot of collusion went on there through investigations.

0:05:190:05:22

It seems a bit hypocritical.

0:05:220:05:23

Nigel Dodds, do you agree with him?

0:05:230:05:25

Well, I don't agree at all because, I mean, it's entirely...

0:05:250:05:28

It's an entirely spurious argument to make

0:05:280:05:30

and I think it's one that actually harks back to the past

0:05:300:05:33

and doesn't deal with the issue that's actually in front of us,

0:05:330:05:36

which is a serious issue and deserves to be treated seriously,

0:05:360:05:38

not in the sort of way that's just been raised.

0:05:380:05:40

I think that this issue is an extremely difficult one

0:05:400:05:45

for the UK Government because of the importance of Russia

0:05:450:05:48

in terms of Syria and all the rest of it.

0:05:480:05:50

I have to say, I've been immensely impressed with Marina Litvinenko

0:05:500:05:55

and her son Anatoly, who have acted with extreme dignity

0:05:550:05:59

and persevered the quest for justice

0:05:590:06:02

against the Russian state

0:06:020:06:04

and against the agents who carried out this appalling crime.

0:06:040:06:07

In my view, I think Putin is a terrible despot.

0:06:070:06:12

He is someone, remember,

0:06:120:06:13

who supplied the means by which the Dutch airliner was

0:06:130:06:17

shot down over Ukraine, which murdered innocent men,

0:06:170:06:21

women and children, babies included.

0:06:210:06:23

Action does need to be taken,

0:06:230:06:25

visa restrictions have been applied,

0:06:250:06:27

there are moves to withdraw visas.

0:06:270:06:30

The Majewski case, which has been the law that has been

0:06:300:06:33

applied in America, needs to be looked at.

0:06:330:06:35

I know the British Government are saying

0:06:350:06:37

we don't need to do that because we already have

0:06:370:06:39

restrictions in terms of movement, freezing of assets,

0:06:390:06:42

but again, I think more could be done as to how we punish individuals

0:06:420:06:45

right at the top of the regime as well as the people who

0:06:450:06:48

carried out these actions.

0:06:480:06:49

I mean, Marina wants a travel ban on Putin.

0:06:490:06:52

Would you impose a travel ban on the president of Russia?

0:06:520:06:55

I know he's a head of state and they're special and particular

0:06:550:06:57

rules are applied in movement of heads of state, which is difficult,

0:06:570:07:00

but I think that, just as was done in relation to Robert Mugabe,

0:07:000:07:04

for instance, in terms of moving about,

0:07:040:07:06

some differential needs to be applied to the Russian president

0:07:060:07:10

compared to other heads of state to make it clear

0:07:100:07:13

that his actions in Crimea, in the Ukraine,

0:07:130:07:16

blowing up civilian aircraft,

0:07:160:07:19

carrying out murders on the streets of London and everything that

0:07:190:07:21

he's doing at home, that this will not be tolerated.

0:07:210:07:24

Because he is a bully. You can't appease bullies, you need to

0:07:240:07:27

take them on and confront them with the consequences of their actions.

0:07:270:07:31

All right. You, sir.

0:07:310:07:32

APPLAUSE

0:07:320:07:34

To back this up, surely we need global support to show the Russians

0:07:370:07:41

that they've gone too far

0:07:410:07:43

and that they cannot proceed with some action like this again?

0:07:430:07:48

Declan Kearney.

0:07:480:07:49

I do think it's very important that we don't

0:07:510:07:55

step into the territory of trading off, erm...

0:07:550:07:58

..tragedies and crimes like this

0:08:000:08:02

against wider geopolitical interests.

0:08:020:08:04

There are fundamentally undemocratic practices

0:08:070:08:11

which characterise the Russian state,

0:08:110:08:15

and clearly there are rogue actions

0:08:150:08:18

and rogue actors who have apparently acted at the behest

0:08:180:08:22

of the political interests of the Russian state.

0:08:220:08:26

And we live in a fractured world, of course,

0:08:260:08:29

and we're looking at global political conflict.

0:08:290:08:33

But while we should rightly object and criticise

0:08:330:08:38

and condemn what appears to be evidenced in this particular case,

0:08:380:08:43

neither do I think that we should lose sight

0:08:430:08:46

of the equivalence of the actions of other Western

0:08:460:08:51

and other Asian states in relation to

0:08:510:08:55

their activities in the Middle East.

0:08:550:08:57

I think we need to be very careful before we draw out some

0:08:570:09:01

type of moral hierarchy in terms of stating that this action,

0:09:010:09:07

this crime is bad and that the use of drone strikes

0:09:070:09:10

killing and murdering men, women and children

0:09:100:09:14

in Syria is in some way acceptable and beyond criticism.

0:09:140:09:20

So you draw no distinction...

0:09:200:09:22

APPLAUSE

0:09:220:09:24

You draw no distinction between the British Government allowing

0:09:250:09:28

people to be murdered on the streets of London

0:09:280:09:31

and the government policy agreed by the House of Commons about Syria?

0:09:310:09:35

Oh, I think that there is a requirement here

0:09:350:09:39

for the strongest diplomatic action to be taken.

0:09:390:09:42

There is a need for sanctions.

0:09:420:09:44

By the same token,

0:09:440:09:46

let's understand that the conflict in the Middle East

0:09:460:09:50

is not going to be addressed unless there is demilitarisation,

0:09:500:09:54

unless we move to a ceasefire and unless political

0:09:540:09:57

and diplomatic solutions are introduced and applied.

0:09:570:10:00

OK. I'll take one more point then we'll go onto the next question. Yes.

0:10:000:10:05

When we talk about playing games,

0:10:050:10:07

do we not realise that Russia is playing games with us?

0:10:070:10:11

Because they are still in Ukraine, still in Crimea.

0:10:110:10:14

Their economy is only hurting

0:10:140:10:16

because of the oil price reductions because of Saudi Arabia,

0:10:160:10:19

nothing to do with the Americans or Britain or anybody else.

0:10:190:10:22

And what's your view about the murder?

0:10:220:10:26

There should be... Putin should be not allowed to travel,

0:10:260:10:29

there should be something directly done against him.

0:10:290:10:33

-Like against Mugabe, as...?

-Absolutely.

0:10:350:10:38

Without excusing this at all - you heard what I said -

0:10:380:10:41

if you don't allow Putin to travel,

0:10:410:10:44

say it gets to the point with a summit in Vienna

0:10:440:10:47

on solving the Syrian crisis,

0:10:470:10:49

which has triggered this massive upflow of refugees desperate

0:10:490:10:53

to get away from the war,

0:10:530:10:55

if it involves Putin travelling to Vienna to help solve that problem,

0:10:550:10:59

which he's key to, I think that should be allowed.

0:10:590:11:01

APPLAUSE

0:11:010:11:04

The thing about this kind of sanctions

0:11:040:11:06

is you have to be smart about it.

0:11:060:11:08

You stop him from doing the things he likes doing, you don't stop

0:11:080:11:11

him from things that it's important that he does in terms of that.

0:11:110:11:14

But we've also to remember in Syria that Russia is bombing mainly

0:11:140:11:18

rebel forces that are trying to bring down Assad.

0:11:180:11:21

I mean, we talk about Russian help in terms of Syria

0:11:210:11:24

and it is important - they need to be round the table.

0:11:240:11:26

But remember, they are busy attacking anti-Assad forces,

0:11:260:11:30

not so much Isis and Isil,

0:11:300:11:32

-which is what we want to see destroyed in Syria.

-OK, let's go on.

0:11:320:11:36

I'm not sure what it is that he likes doing except riding

0:11:360:11:39

bare-chested on horses and...

0:11:390:11:41

There's plenty of photographs of him...

0:11:410:11:43

But he can do all that in Russia.

0:11:430:11:45

All right, let me go on to another question.

0:11:450:11:47

Just before we do, where are we going to be next week?

0:11:470:11:50

Stamford, in Lincolnshire.

0:11:500:11:51

And after that, Bradford in West Yorkshire.

0:11:510:11:54

So come and join Question Time,

0:11:540:11:56

Stamford in Lincolnshire next week,

0:11:560:11:58

Bradford in Yorkshire the week after.

0:11:580:11:59

There's the address to apply and I'll give it, as ever, at the end.

0:11:590:12:02

Let's have a question from Pete Hodson, please. Pete Hodson.

0:12:020:12:06

Isn't it about time Northern Ireland moved with the times

0:12:060:12:08

and legalised gay marriage?

0:12:080:12:10

Isn't it about time Northern Ireland moved with the times?

0:12:100:12:13

APPLAUSE

0:12:130:12:15

Well, all right.

0:12:170:12:19

APPLAUSE CONTINUES

0:12:190:12:21

Hang on, hang on, hang on!

0:12:230:12:25

If you all applaud him, we'll have nothing to discuss,

0:12:250:12:27

if you all agree with him!

0:12:270:12:30

For our audiences outside Northern Ireland,

0:12:300:12:32

Northern Ireland still does not legalise gay marriage,

0:12:320:12:35

unlike the rest of the United Kingdom.

0:12:350:12:36

And his question is, isn't it about time Northern Ireland

0:12:360:12:39

moved with the times? Grainne Maguire.

0:12:390:12:41

Erm, I just can't believe we're still having this discussion.

0:12:410:12:44

Yesterday in Westminster, Tory MPs

0:12:440:12:47

were discussing their use of poppers,

0:12:470:12:49

yet in Northern Ireland, we still have state-sanctioned homophobia.

0:12:490:12:55

I think it's absolutely crazy.

0:12:550:12:58

APPLAUSE

0:12:580:13:01

Now, I am a proud Irish person but I have to think, if you're

0:13:030:13:07

being out-liberalled by the Republic of Ireland on a social issue,

0:13:070:13:11

you've got something to worry about.

0:13:110:13:14

I mean, this is not what you want Northern Ireland to be famous for.

0:13:140:13:17

You don't want to say, "Visit Northern Ireland, we've got

0:13:170:13:20

"Titanic, we've got amazing, you know, art and culture and we also...

0:13:200:13:24

"We're horrible to gay people."

0:13:240:13:26

Like, this is ridiculous.

0:13:260:13:28

APPLAUSE

0:13:280:13:30

Nigel Dodds.

0:13:300:13:31

Cos it was your party that stopped this happening, wasn't it?

0:13:310:13:34

Well, along with others,

0:13:340:13:36

and not just on one side of the community either.

0:13:360:13:38

But this is a very serous issue that needs to be treated with respect.

0:13:380:13:42

And I would be appalled at homophobia, I think it's wrong

0:13:420:13:45

that anyone should describe being against

0:13:450:13:47

the redefinition of marriage,

0:13:470:13:49

but being for the equal treatment of everybody

0:13:490:13:51

and treating everybody with respect

0:13:510:13:53

as some kind of homophobia. It isn't.

0:13:530:13:56

The question is, there are many people in Northern Ireland society

0:13:560:13:59

on both sides of the community -

0:13:590:14:00

Roman Catholic and Protestant, Unionist and Nationalist

0:14:000:14:03

and without any definition at all -

0:14:030:14:05

who hold sincerely held beliefs on this issue.

0:14:050:14:08

Many people believe marriage should be redefined, others do not.

0:14:080:14:13

It is a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly.

0:14:130:14:16

The Assembly will make its decision according to the rules

0:14:160:14:18

under which the Assembly was set up

0:14:180:14:20

and supported by both the Conservative Party

0:14:200:14:23

and the Labour Party and the other parties that signed up

0:14:230:14:26

to the Belfast Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement,

0:14:260:14:29

and they will make their choice on that matter.

0:14:290:14:31

But the fundamental thing is this - that Northern Ireland is moving

0:14:310:14:35

forward and it is famous for a lot of things.

0:14:350:14:38

It is famous for this area in which we sit tonight, the Titanic area.

0:14:380:14:42

Harland & Wolff, great manufactory.

0:14:420:14:45

It's famous for its tourist attractions,

0:14:450:14:47

the Giant's Causeway, for its golfers...

0:14:470:14:49

Sorry, what's this got to do with legalising gay marriage?

0:14:490:14:52

APPLAUSE

0:14:520:14:55

-BOOING

-No, no, what I'm saying is...

0:14:550:14:58

Stick with the question.

0:14:580:14:59

Sometimes the BBC and others can get fixated on this issue.

0:14:590:15:03

The last time we were here, we were having this debate.

0:15:030:15:06

Most people in Northern Ireland are wanting to get on with the peace

0:15:060:15:09

process, building the economy, moving Northern Ireland forward,

0:15:090:15:13

it's not the day-to-day subject that people talk about.

0:15:130:15:17

-What we need to do...

-If you're straight! If you're gay, it is.

0:15:170:15:19

What we need to do is allow the Northern Ireland Assembly under

0:15:190:15:23

the rules in which it was set up, hard-fought, hard-won,

0:15:230:15:26

hard-negotiated, to make the decision on behalf of the people

0:15:260:15:30

of Northern Ireland in a democratic way.

0:15:300:15:32

But people need to treat these arguments with respect and everybody

0:15:320:15:36

needs to be treated without discrimination

0:15:360:15:38

and that's the way in which we should deal with this issue.

0:15:380:15:41

Let's deal with it like that then.

0:15:410:15:43

The woman with the spectacles on in the third row?

0:15:430:15:47

MAN SPEAKS No, the woman. ..Yeah, you.

0:15:470:15:50

You talk about your deeply-seated beliefs shaping the

0:15:500:15:54

policies that you make.

0:15:540:15:58

There are actually courts who've told you time and time again

0:15:580:16:02

that this is against human rights law what you are doing

0:16:020:16:05

in this country.

0:16:050:16:07

No, no, no.

0:16:070:16:08

And you continually refuse to bring

0:16:080:16:10

it into law to bring us into line with the rest of the UK.

0:16:100:16:13

Don't answer yet, I'll give you a chance to come back.

0:16:130:16:15

The man in the second row from the back?

0:16:150:16:18

Opinion polls in Northern Ireland consistently show that a majority

0:16:180:16:22

of the public support gay marriage so why not put the issue

0:16:220:16:25

to a referendum like was done in the Republic?

0:16:250:16:28

Do you agree with that, the man up there?

0:16:280:16:30

APPLAUSE Is that your view?

0:16:300:16:33

It's the abuse of the petition of concern that the DUP

0:16:330:16:36

use when it's voted on, so the last time it was voted for,

0:16:360:16:40

and then they used a petition of concern

0:16:400:16:43

so it wouldn't be implemented.

0:16:430:16:45

I think that's an abuse of the Good Friday Agreement,

0:16:450:16:49

to abuse that process.

0:16:490:16:51

APPLAUSE

0:16:510:16:53

Hold on.

0:16:530:16:55

I'll bring you back in. Declan Kearney.

0:16:550:16:58

One of the most liberating and democratic processes that has

0:16:580:17:03

taken place on this island in recent years was last year

0:17:030:17:07

in the 26 counties when popular opinion was engaged and mobilised

0:17:070:17:12

around the issue of equal marriage and

0:17:120:17:14

with a resounding majority, the law was changed

0:17:140:17:17

in the south of Ireland and that was a terrific landmark

0:17:170:17:21

decision for equality and indeed, as the lady in the audience

0:17:210:17:27

suggested, for human rights.

0:17:270:17:28

So yes, in answer to the question, it is time that the North of

0:17:280:17:32

Ireland moved on.

0:17:320:17:34

This is an issue of equality but it's also an issue of love.

0:17:340:17:37

Because gay people are our brothers, are our sisters, they're our

0:17:370:17:42

relations, members of our family and they live in our communities.

0:17:420:17:45

And we owe it to them to ensure that they have the same rights

0:17:450:17:49

as other citizens in our society are entitled to enjoy.

0:17:490:17:53

I agree that on the last occasion... Sinn Fein's brought forward a motion

0:17:530:17:57

on five different occasions to the assembly with a view

0:17:570:18:00

to changing the law here in the north.

0:18:000:18:02

The difference on the last occasion was that a majority did

0:18:020:18:07

indeed vote in favour of change.

0:18:070:18:09

Whilst the petition of concern was used by Nigel's party to...

0:18:090:18:14

You mustn't lose us in the complicated

0:18:140:18:17

politics of the Assembly.

0:18:170:18:19

Are you saying a majority voted in favour?

0:18:190:18:21

Yes, and the technical veto was used to prohibit the implementation.

0:18:210:18:25

The veto which is part of the Northern Ireland agreement,

0:18:250:18:29

is that correct?

0:18:290:18:30

-Yes.

-So it's part of the constitution.

0:18:300:18:32

It's been set in place for particular purposes and not to be

0:18:320:18:36

abused in order to hold backs human rights, equality and inclusion.

0:18:360:18:40

OK.

0:18:400:18:42

Theresa Villiers.

0:18:420:18:43

-That's what...

-All right, Declan, hold on.

0:18:430:18:46

That is what our gay brothers and sisters deserve

0:18:460:18:48

in Northern Ireland today.

0:18:480:18:49

Theresa Villiers, do you agree with that assessment?

0:18:490:18:52

I'm a supporter of equal marriage, I voted for it.

0:18:520:18:55

I fully respect Nigel's point of view.

0:18:550:18:57

I know this is a sensitive issue.

0:18:570:18:59

But in my view, marriage is a great institution and it would be great

0:18:590:19:04

to expand access to that to the gay community in Northern Ireland.

0:19:040:19:08

It's right that this is a decision made in Northern Ireland

0:19:080:19:11

by the people elected in Northern Ireland, but I hope that

0:19:110:19:14

-one day equal marriage will come to Northern Ireland.

-OK.

0:19:140:19:17

APPLAUSE

0:19:170:19:20

Does anybody here agree with Nigel Dodd's point

0:19:200:19:23

of view, because I would like to hear from them?

0:19:230:19:26

No?

0:19:260:19:28

Nobody? Yes. Thank you. Let's hear your view.

0:19:280:19:31

I may be the only one here tonight that does have that opinion,

0:19:310:19:34

but I'm aware that marriage was defined by God as one man

0:19:340:19:40

and one woman, and we have civil partnerships,

0:19:400:19:44

so love in that same-sex arrangement

0:19:440:19:47

is in this country already,

0:19:470:19:48

we don't need to redefine marriage, in my opinion..

0:19:480:19:51

Didn't they used to have polygamy in the Bible as well?

0:19:510:19:55

APPLAUSE

0:19:550:19:56

What bit of the Bible are you picking?

0:19:560:19:59

Somebody else had their hand up in support

0:19:590:20:02

of that view.

0:20:020:20:04

Somebody in a green shirt somewhere.

0:20:040:20:06

Was it you?

0:20:060:20:08

What is your view?

0:20:080:20:10

It's very simple - the system in Northern Ireland lets

0:20:100:20:15

two parties put a veto on whatever they like whenever they like.

0:20:150:20:21

If they change that system and let the parties have free votes,

0:20:210:20:25

then the MPs can represent the people.

0:20:250:20:32

-If it was a simple majority.

-Yes. Get rid of the veto.

-Peter Hain?

0:20:320:20:36

Well, I was proud to be leader of the Commons at the time

0:20:360:20:40

when the Labour Government - and I ensured it was on our

0:20:400:20:43

legislative agenda and managed it through Parliament -

0:20:430:20:45

the Labour Government legislated for civil partnerships.

0:20:450:20:48

That was a breakthrough.

0:20:480:20:49

I was also proud that the first civil partnerships in the UK

0:20:490:20:53

was two women in Belfast, I think Belfast City Hall.

0:20:530:20:58

Wasn't that an amazing statement for the new Northern Ireland to make?

0:20:580:21:02

APPLAUSE

0:21:020:21:03

So I'm very sad that now Northern Ireland is the only part

0:21:030:21:08

of the UK where equal marriage does not apply.

0:21:080:21:13

I think this is a matter of equal opportunities and that everybody

0:21:130:21:18

who wants to get married should be able to get married, and the partner

0:21:180:21:22

of their choice should be their choice,

0:21:220:21:24

not the politicians' choice.

0:21:240:21:25

The woman there in black? You.

0:21:290:21:34

Fire away.

0:21:340:21:35

Love's love, regardless of gender.

0:21:350:21:37

I'm an atheist myself and I don't believe that anybody's religious

0:21:370:21:41

convictions should determine who I marry.

0:21:410:21:43

I don't want to get married in a chapel or a church,

0:21:430:21:47

I just want to have a ceremony with my partner that is called

0:21:470:21:51

marriage so it gives me the same rights as any other married couple.

0:21:510:21:55

That's all that we want.

0:21:550:21:56

A civil partnership is not enough?

0:21:560:21:59

It doesn't give 100% the same rights as marriage does.

0:21:590:22:02

There are some slight differences in terms of pensions and things

0:22:020:22:07

like that and what can be claimed

0:22:070:22:08

if something happens to your partner.

0:22:080:22:11

There are some slight restrictions on travel as well.

0:22:110:22:13

Some companies - some countries, apologies -

0:22:130:22:17

that have equal marriage,

0:22:170:22:19

they don't recognise civil partnerships,

0:22:190:22:23

so if we are in that country, we are not recognised as a couple.

0:22:230:22:27

A point from you, sir?

0:22:270:22:29

Yes.

0:22:300:22:32

Eileen Foster recently said gay marriage was not at

0:22:320:22:36

the top of the pile.

0:22:360:22:37

Eileen Foster being the new leader of the DUP?

0:22:370:22:41

-Yes.

-The First Minister as well.

0:22:410:22:43

Yes. Exactly. The First Minister for this country.

0:22:430:22:46

Have you seen one person in this audience today in

0:22:460:22:49

support of your views?

0:22:490:22:51

How can you continue to

0:22:510:22:53

call yourself the Democratic Unionist Party if...

0:22:530:22:55

APPLAUSE AND CHEERING

0:22:550:23:00

-Hold on.

-I would say probably more than one

0:23:010:23:04

person in the audience supports Nigel Dodds.

0:23:040:23:06

The point is, we have a democracy in Northern Ireland,

0:23:060:23:10

we fought hard for assembly, it's for the Assembly

0:23:100:23:12

to make that decision.

0:23:120:23:13

The lady made the point about the courts.

0:23:130:23:15

The courts passed the buck back to the Assembly.

0:23:150:23:17

Simple as that.

0:23:170:23:19

The Assembly needs to debate the issue and make a decision.

0:23:190:23:21

Look, in every vote in the Northern Ireland Assembly

0:23:210:23:24

in the last five or four were against it by majority.

0:23:240:23:27

It's very on a knife edge.

0:23:270:23:29

People raise this issue of petition of concern.

0:23:290:23:31

For viewers not familiar with the constitutional set-up here,

0:23:310:23:34

it means a majority of unionists, as well as a majority of

0:23:340:23:36

nationalists have to agree something. That's a good thing.

0:23:360:23:39

Frankly, Sinn Fein have vetoed things like National Crime Agency,

0:23:390:23:43

things that would help fight crime, so it's not just one way.

0:23:430:23:48

But if people want to remove the petition of concern,

0:23:480:23:50

the gentleman here talked about the free vote and MPs

0:23:500:23:53

deciding, I'm happy for the Assembly to go to a majority vote system

0:23:530:23:58

but I'm not sure everybody else around this table would be.

0:23:580:24:01

Majority rule in relation to this issue, it would be a majority vote

0:24:010:24:07

on all the other issues that affect Northern Ireland so people need

0:24:070:24:10

to think very, very carefully on these issues before

0:24:100:24:13

they go down that route.

0:24:130:24:14

It's got to be a constitutional settlement which is fair

0:24:140:24:17

to all of our citizens and treats everybody with respect.

0:24:170:24:21

I am totally opposed and will fight tooth and nail and have all my life

0:24:210:24:26

for the rights of people to be treated equally

0:24:260:24:28

without discrimination and against...

0:24:280:24:31

-HECKLING

-..any kind of homophobia or anything.

0:24:310:24:36

The fact that some people in this audience may not agree

0:24:360:24:39

with that doesn't make any difference.

0:24:390:24:44

I think the point's been made.

0:24:440:24:46

Another question now.

0:24:460:24:47

We have got a lot of questions to get through.

0:24:470:24:50

I want to go on to the next one from Duncan Putt, please?

0:24:500:24:54

What consequences would the Brexit have for the UK?

0:24:560:25:01

What consequences would a British exit from the EU

0:25:010:25:05

have for the UK?

0:25:050:25:06

Declan Kearney?

0:25:070:25:09

I think it would be very negative.

0:25:090:25:12

It would be a case of cutting off the nose to spite the face.

0:25:120:25:18

But my particular concern would be for the implications that a decision

0:25:180:25:23

to go for Brexit would have for the North of Ireland.

0:25:230:25:27

It would have profound implications for economic growth,

0:25:270:25:32

prosperity here in the North.

0:25:320:25:34

We'd see an end to the type of European funding that's been

0:25:340:25:39

so essential to community economic regeneration here in the North

0:25:390:25:43

in relation to infrastructure and development.

0:25:430:25:46

Our farming community's highly dependent upon CAP payments

0:25:460:25:49

and the fisheries industry is increasingly dependent

0:25:490:25:52

upon assistance from Europe.

0:25:520:25:54

But in addition to that, I think it would represent a huge

0:25:540:25:57

setback for the political process itself because the decision to see

0:25:570:26:02

Brexit will inevitably harden partition, it will thwart

0:26:020:26:05

cross-border cooperation and, in that sense, it's a huge negative

0:26:050:26:09

for all citizens here, for the business and employers'

0:26:090:26:13

constituencies within our society, for the farming community

0:26:130:26:15

and for workers.

0:26:150:26:17

While I view the European Union as an institution with huge

0:26:170:26:22

imperfections which requires enormous democratisation

0:26:220:26:26

and Sinn Fein's emphasis would be on seeing the increasing primacy

0:26:260:26:31

of a social Europe, nevertheless it's an arena essential for ensuring

0:26:310:26:36

that regulations and directives are brought forward which entrench

0:26:360:26:40

human rights, democratic rights that are essential to economic growth

0:26:400:26:44

and prosperity and in the case of our own state here in the North

0:26:440:26:50

of Ireland, has played a hugely influential,

0:26:500:26:53

important role in the peace process.

0:26:530:26:54

Do you agree with all of that, Theresa Villiers?

0:26:540:26:58

APPLAUSE

0:26:580:26:59

Well, I agree with what the Prime Minister's said in the past

0:26:590:27:04

and I think he reiterated it today that of course the UK

0:27:040:27:07

could be a success outside the European Union.

0:27:070:27:09

The question is, are we better off outside or inside the European Union

0:27:090:27:13

and that will really depend on the outcome of the

0:27:130:27:17

very important negotiations that the Prime Minister's conducting

0:27:170:27:19

at the moment and we hope will culminate in February.

0:27:190:27:22

This is a crucial question and I'm proud of the fact that it's

0:27:220:27:26

a Conservative Government giving the people of the United Kingdom

0:27:260:27:29

the choice to vote on our relationship with Europe.

0:27:290:27:32

Have you decided how you'll vote?

0:27:320:27:34

We all need to wait...

0:27:340:27:36

LAUGHTER

0:27:360:27:38

..the outcome of the negotiation.

0:27:380:27:40

That is going to be crucial.

0:27:400:27:41

It depends whether the other member states of the European Union listen

0:27:410:27:45

to the reasonable arguments that the Prime Minister is putting

0:27:450:27:49

to them about the huge need for change in the European Union.

0:27:490:27:53

So staying in on the terms we are at the moment,

0:27:530:27:57

as Chris Grayling said, would be a disaster in your view also,

0:27:570:28:01

would it? If nothing is brought back, you will be voting get out?

0:28:010:28:03

Certainly no-one is happy with the status quo,

0:28:030:28:05

the Prime Minister isn't and the Government isn't.

0:28:050:28:08

Frankly many people across this country would agree

0:28:080:28:11

that the European Union needs to change and become more competitive,

0:28:110:28:15

it needs to be fairer to countries out of the eurozone.

0:28:150:28:17

We don't know what he is going to come back with,

0:28:170:28:19

but if he comes back with nothing, you will be voting to leave?

0:28:190:28:23

-The Government will take a view...

-And you... ?

0:28:230:28:26

We need to wait and see what the outcome of the negotiation

0:28:260:28:30

is and then the reality is that every man and woman in this

0:28:300:28:33

country has the choice, it doesn't really matter

0:28:330:28:35

what members of the Government think, the...

0:28:350:28:37

It quite matters what the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

0:28:370:28:40

-thinks, doesn't it?

-I think the...

0:28:400:28:43

When you have had this case made by Sinn Fein

0:28:430:28:45

how vital it is for Northern Ireland to stay in?

0:28:450:28:47

The important thing is that the people of this country

0:28:470:28:49

will get the right to vote.

0:28:490:28:51

You've said that.

0:28:510:28:53

Do you accept the interests of the people in Northern Ireland

0:28:530:28:57

are better served by staying in Europe or not?

0:28:570:28:59

We need to await the outcome of the negotiation.

0:28:590:29:02

LAUGHTER AND GROANS

0:29:020:29:03

The reality is, you know, the position of Northern Ireland

0:29:030:29:07

is something, of course, which people should and will,

0:29:070:29:09

I'm sure, reflect on in choosing which way they are going to vote.

0:29:090:29:13

The woman with her hand up?

0:29:130:29:15

Yes, it's you. The microphone over your head.

0:29:150:29:17

As a student, I'm not...

0:29:170:29:23

I can't vote.

0:29:230:29:25

You said every person will have the right to vote.

0:29:250:29:29

I'm only 17 and if the vote happens before my 18th birthday,

0:29:290:29:34

I will not have a say in that and I do not think

0:29:340:29:37

that is right at all.

0:29:370:29:39

What would your say be?

0:29:390:29:41

I would vote to stay.

0:29:410:29:42

And you, sir, there?

0:29:420:29:45

Yes, you.

0:29:450:29:47

I object strongly to a bunch of unelected bureaucrats sitting

0:29:470:29:53

in Brussels telling me what I can do in my own country.

0:29:530:30:01

I believe the EU needs us a lot more than we need them.

0:30:010:30:06

We have gone on our own before, we can do so again.

0:30:060:30:10

APPLAUSE

0:30:100:30:12

Would your vote change depending on what David Cameron

0:30:120:30:16

brought back from Europe or not?

0:30:160:30:18

David Cameron would need to bring a great deal back for me to become

0:30:180:30:22

convinced we are better off in Europe.

0:30:220:30:24

What would he have to bring back?

0:30:240:30:26

Well, he'd have to come back having changed human rights legislation,

0:30:260:30:29

European courts, the amount of contributions we put

0:30:290:30:33

into Europe every year. I firmly believe a lot of that money

0:30:330:30:37

would be better spent stimulating growth in our own country.

0:30:370:30:40

Sounds like Brexit for you.

0:30:440:30:47

Peter Hain?

0:30:470:30:48

-Do you want to answer his point?

-Absolutely.

0:30:480:30:51

I will be keen to do so.

0:30:510:30:53

First of all there's an elected European Parliament.

0:30:530:30:57

Northern Ireland sends European MPs.

0:30:570:30:59

It's very powerful.

0:30:590:31:01

It's not a question of unelected bureaucrats sitting in Brussels -

0:31:010:31:05

they have significant influence.

0:31:050:31:06

We have a commissioner in Brussels as well,

0:31:060:31:10

British Commissioner, very significant influence.

0:31:100:31:13

As a Government, we have a veto in the European Council on a whole

0:31:130:31:17

series of issues.

0:31:170:31:18

I'm afraid you're factually wrong.

0:31:180:31:20

Can I just express astonishment that Theresa,

0:31:200:31:23

the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland,

0:31:230:31:26

doesn't have a view on whether or not Northern Ireland

0:31:260:31:29

would be better off outside the European Union?

0:31:290:31:31

APPLAUSE

0:31:310:31:33

I think Britain leaving Europe would have very serious implications

0:31:360:31:44

for the peace process.

0:31:440:31:46

Borders would have to go up between the two parts of the island

0:31:460:31:50

of Ireland, which are now in a happier state

0:31:500:31:53

than we have seen for centuries.

0:31:530:31:55

I also think it would be catastrophic for Britain.

0:31:550:31:58

You said that they need us more than we need them.

0:31:580:32:01

Half our trade is with the European Union.

0:32:010:32:04

Only 10% of their trade is with us.

0:32:040:32:07

Jobs, investment, prosperity, vital to keep us within Europe.

0:32:070:32:12

Do you want to come back on the point? ..No? OK.

0:32:120:32:15

You, sir, here, you on the gangway here.

0:32:150:32:18

Yeah, you.

0:32:180:32:20

We have already heard Declan and now Peter come up with the standard

0:32:200:32:25

scare tactics used to encourage us to stay in Europe.

0:32:250:32:28

They've told us we rely on the money and that we rely on it for jobs.

0:32:280:32:33

But most of the figures show that is not true.

0:32:330:32:36

And frankly, saying, as Declan did, that we need all the money

0:32:360:32:40

from Europe to keep Northern Ireland going because we dare not risk

0:32:400:32:44

what happens otherwise is like saying, "I should stay

0:32:440:32:46

"on the dole rather than risk getting a job."

0:32:460:32:49

Here's a question for Theresa.

0:32:490:32:51

In the event of a Brexit, and in the event that the European

0:32:510:32:55

funding that we have become so dependent upon in order to keep

0:32:550:32:59

the Northern regional economy afloat, will this Tory Government

0:32:590:33:03

commit to ensuring that that funding will be replaced?

0:33:030:33:06

And that there be an additional increment to our block grant

0:33:060:33:10

to replace the European funding we would lose in the event

0:33:100:33:13

-of a Brexit?

-Do you want to answer?

0:33:130:33:15

These are matters which need to be debated during a referendum.

0:33:150:33:19

The answer is yes or no.

0:33:190:33:21

Clearly, in the event of a Brexit,

0:33:210:33:23

there will be a debate about what would be substituted for current

0:33:230:33:28

European funding.

0:33:280:33:29

But these are matters for debate

0:33:290:33:31

so people will make up their minds one way or another.

0:33:310:33:34

You say it's silly to say, like being on the dole or something.

0:33:340:33:40

Do you think there will be a problem for Northern Ireland

0:33:400:33:42

if the UK voted out?

0:33:420:33:44

No, I think it would be a positive thing both for Northern Ireland

0:33:440:33:47

and for the rest of the UK.

0:33:470:33:49

Positive?

0:33:490:33:50

It would bring us...

0:33:500:33:52

APPLAUSE

0:33:520:33:53

It would bring us increased prosperity

0:33:530:33:56

and give us a right over our own border.

0:33:560:33:58

Peter says we'd have to put up border controls.

0:33:580:34:00

There were never border controls before we joined the European Union

0:34:000:34:04

with the Irish Republic and it's not going to change if we leave.

0:34:040:34:08

Nigel Dodds. Briefly.

0:34:080:34:09

We'd have floods of refugees coming in -

0:34:090:34:13

we'd have to have border controls.

0:34:130:34:15

We have a common travel area between the Irish Republic

0:34:150:34:18

and the rest of the UK.

0:34:180:34:20

What about the main point - the substance?

0:34:200:34:21

A lot of scaremongering will go on.

0:34:210:34:24

We've heard David Cameron will run Project Fear - scare people.

0:34:240:34:27

This business about the difference between Northern Ireland

0:34:270:34:30

and the Republic and border controls, we've heard it all before.

0:34:300:34:33

We heard it very recently

0:34:330:34:35

when the argument was we should all join the euro.

0:34:350:34:38

Do you remember that?

0:34:380:34:40

We were told it would be terrible if the UK is not in the euro

0:34:400:34:43

and the Republic joins the euro.

0:34:430:34:44

There was a currency equivalence between Northern Ireland

0:34:440:34:47

and the Republic for decades.

0:34:470:34:49

We were told this would be disastrous for trade and business.

0:34:490:34:53

What happened? Nothing happened. The reality is that Northern Ireland

0:34:530:34:56

and the UK can survive quite well,

0:34:560:34:57

and many would argue, better outside the EU.

0:34:570:35:00

The crucial fact is this -

0:35:010:35:04

in terms of grants and all the rest of it,

0:35:040:35:07

the UK has paid to Europe since 1973 £450 billion.

0:35:070:35:12

Each year we pay in £19 billion and get back £10 billion.

0:35:120:35:16

A deficit of £9 billion.

0:35:160:35:19

Northern Ireland, to pick up on Declan's point,

0:35:190:35:22

for every pound out of Europe we pay in £1.50.

0:35:220:35:26

This idea that all this money comes as largesse, is given to us,

0:35:260:35:29

it's our money coming back at a reduced rate!

0:35:290:35:33

-That needs to be addressed...

-Will you vote out or to stay in?

0:35:330:35:37

As things stand, I would certainly be voting to come out.

0:35:370:35:42

I have to see David Cameron coming back from his negotiations

0:35:420:35:45

with a very, very clear message that we're going to restore

0:35:450:35:49

the sovereignty of the United Kingdom's parliament,

0:35:490:35:52

that we will restore control over our borders and we're

0:35:520:35:57

going to address the situation where £350 million every week

0:35:570:36:02

is transferred from British exchequer which could build

0:36:020:36:06

hospitals, help our health waiting lists, create jobs...

0:36:060:36:10

In reality, do you expect to get that?

0:36:100:36:14

If that is your view, you will be voting out, won't you?

0:36:140:36:16

Because none of that seems to be on the agenda.

0:36:160:36:18

David Cameron has set the bar very, very low in my opinion.

0:36:180:36:22

One of his own MPs stood up in Parliament and described it

0:36:220:36:25

as thin gruel. He needs to step up the game.

0:36:250:36:28

He has a lot of leverage.

0:36:280:36:29

The European Union does need the United Kingdom.

0:36:290:36:33

The trade deficit is in the European Union's benefit.

0:36:330:36:37

There is a £60 billion trade deficit.

0:36:370:36:39

They need the United Kingdom's business far more than

0:36:390:36:43

we need their business.

0:36:430:36:45

-That's the reality of it.

-You, sir.

0:36:450:36:47

I think following up on what Nigel and Declan have both said,

0:36:470:36:50

it doesn't make much difference financially or economically

0:36:500:36:54

whether we are in or out.

0:36:540:36:55

What I would like to see is a change of Brussels interfering

0:36:550:36:59

with our legal systems and our human rights, as Nigel has talked about.

0:36:590:37:03

If we don't get some change in that area,

0:37:030:37:05

I would like to see us bailing out.

0:37:050:37:07

Grainne Maguire.

0:37:070:37:08

I just think, considering what the first topic that we talked

0:37:100:37:14

about today, how dangerous Putin is, I think that's more evidence

0:37:140:37:18

of anything that we need to work together.

0:37:180:37:20

To me, that's an example of why Europe is so important.

0:37:200:37:24

We're stronger when Europe works together.

0:37:240:37:27

Now, I think I'm on the minority on the panel here.

0:37:270:37:30

I really like Europe.

0:37:300:37:32

I like the idea of Europe. I think...

0:37:320:37:35

APPLAUSE

0:37:350:37:37

I think it's because...

0:37:370:37:39

Growing up in Ireland in the '90s, it seemed like really

0:37:390:37:43

big and glamorous.

0:37:430:37:44

I think I associate it with the Eurovision,

0:37:440:37:47

but I see, personally, I view Europe as like a left-wing

0:37:470:37:51

House of Lords.

0:37:510:37:53

So whenever the Tory Government brings in some crazy new plan -

0:37:530:37:57

"We are scrapping pedestrian crossings,

0:37:570:37:59

"it's slowing business down",

0:37:590:38:01

we can look to Angela Merkel and she'll go, "It's fine."

0:38:010:38:04

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:38:040:38:07

No, but I think, to use an analogy, right, Britain is better off

0:38:070:38:12

being the bad boy of Europe than leaving.

0:38:120:38:15

We are better off being Zayn Malik in One Direction

0:38:150:38:19

than being Zayn Malik solo.

0:38:190:38:21

APPLAUSE

0:38:210:38:24

Once we get close to the referendum, I won't be allowed to do this.

0:38:240:38:30

As a matter of interest, hands up those of you who

0:38:300:38:33

at the moment would vote out?

0:38:330:38:34

Who would vote in?

0:38:360:38:38

Yeah. About double the numbers staying in.

0:38:380:38:41

Interesting. Interesting.

0:38:410:38:44

Shall we go on to another question? I think we'd better.

0:38:440:38:47

David Airey, please. David Airey.

0:38:470:38:50

Will Northern Irish politics ever get to the stage

0:38:500:38:53

where we have a ruling party and an opposition rather than this

0:38:530:38:57

forced marriage that continues indefinitely.

0:38:570:39:00

This is... We touched on this briefly, over gay marriage.

0:39:000:39:05

The idea that the Assembly doesn't have a simple majority,

0:39:050:39:10

it has a majority that is then checked by keeping DUP,

0:39:100:39:14

Sinn Fein, left, right, Catholic, Protestant,

0:39:140:39:18

however you like to put it, in the business.

0:39:180:39:22

Peter Hain, you were Northern Ireland Secretary.

0:39:220:39:24

Do you think there will ever be a state when you can have a simple

0:39:240:39:28

opposition and government as we have at Westminster?

0:39:280:39:32

Yes, I think there will.

0:39:320:39:33

I don't think it's going to be soon.

0:39:330:39:35

A lot more trust needs to be built, a lot of generational change needs

0:39:350:39:39

to settle in before that happens.

0:39:390:39:41

It will be a decision for the people of Northern Ireland,

0:39:410:39:45

not for secretaries of state.

0:39:450:39:47

In time, Northern Ireland, as politics normalises,

0:39:470:39:50

and moves away from historic divisions, I think it will move

0:39:500:39:55

towards like it does in other societies - left and right,

0:39:550:39:59

class-based perhaps, other issues coming in.

0:39:590:40:01

And that will be healthy.

0:40:010:40:03

I think it would be premature and actually quite destabilising

0:40:030:40:07

to rush into that at the present time or,

0:40:070:40:10

frankly, for the foreseeable future.

0:40:100:40:13

Foreseeable future being what? 20, 30 years?

0:40:130:40:16

-Decades.

-Decades.

0:40:160:40:18

That is not for me to decide. That is my instinct at the moment.

0:40:180:40:21

People raise, occasionally, the idea that you could have a truth

0:40:210:40:24

and reconciliation commission like in South Africa,

0:40:240:40:27

for instance, here in Northern Ireland where people talk

0:40:270:40:30

about what happened in the past and then put it to one side.

0:40:300:40:33

Lord Eames, a former archbishop of Ireland,

0:40:330:40:37

he was author of a report with Dennis Bradley,

0:40:370:40:40

who is a nationalist, who came out with a very good set

0:40:400:40:45

of proposals for addressing exactly these sort of issues.

0:40:450:40:50

The problem is - everybody said, great report, except for one

0:40:500:40:53

recommendation which was ill-judged on compensation.

0:40:530:40:57

A great report, an American diplomat came out with a similar report.

0:40:570:41:01

It's log-jammed and gridlocked in the Northern Ireland Assembly.

0:41:010:41:05

That is wrong. The past haunts Northern Ireland.

0:41:050:41:09

It has to be addressed, particularly victims' grievances

0:41:090:41:12

and sense of injustice addressed through that process.

0:41:120:41:16

Declan Kearney, do you agree with Peter Hain it will be decades

0:41:160:41:20

before you can have a simple majority government

0:41:200:41:23

here in Northern Ireland?

0:41:230:41:25

We concluded a negotiation just eight to ten weeks ago,

0:41:250:41:30

the Stormont House Agreement Fresh Start, and within the provisions

0:41:300:41:36

of the agreement is a contingency for the emergence of an opposition

0:41:360:41:41

here in the Assembly.

0:41:410:41:44

So the facility is now in place to be enacted at an appropriate time

0:41:440:41:48

in the future when there are sufficient numbers who wish

0:41:480:41:53

to go into opposition.

0:41:530:41:55

The reality is that we have our unique political framework

0:41:550:41:59

as a direct result of the context that we have all lived through.

0:41:590:42:03

So we're now looking at a fresh start.

0:42:030:42:06

I hope it will be a new start.

0:42:060:42:08

I hope that we're going to see a period opening up

0:42:080:42:12

when we can embed power-sharing,

0:42:120:42:14

where we can in fact see partnership government.

0:42:140:42:17

The fact is, for the last five years, the political instability

0:42:170:42:22

that we saw develop, which gave rise to the crisis

0:42:220:42:25

of the last 12 months, was largely unleashed as a result

0:42:250:42:29

of the failure of Theresa's party in Government

0:42:290:42:33

with the Lib Dems and the Irish Government in Dublin to stay

0:42:330:42:37

properly focused on their responsibilities as co-guarantors

0:42:370:42:40

for the peace and political process.

0:42:400:42:42

Could it happen now? Right now?

0:42:420:42:45

What we need to do is open up a space where we can embed politics,

0:42:450:42:49

where we can make politics work.

0:42:490:42:52

Politics has had a bad name in the course of the last few years

0:42:520:42:56

within wider society.

0:42:560:42:58

We haven't seen enough delivery.

0:42:580:42:59

It's time that the institutions began to deliver for unionist

0:42:590:43:03

and republican working-class people across the North and work

0:43:030:43:06

for the business community and for the labour movement.

0:43:060:43:09

It's time we saw us move to a stage where our peace process can in fact

0:43:090:43:14

develop into a new phase where we can indeed begin

0:43:140:43:18

to look at reconciliation,

0:43:180:43:20

where we can look at the healing process and ensure that

0:43:200:43:24

all of our children in the future enjoy an entirely different

0:43:240:43:27

political and economic context than many in the audience

0:43:270:43:30

here will have experienced in recent decades.

0:43:300:43:33

APPLAUSE

0:43:330:43:36

Nigel Dodds, do you agree with that?

0:43:360:43:38

Can it be achieved sooner than decades away?

0:43:380:43:41

I would like to think it would be sooner than decades away.

0:43:410:43:44

I would like to see it happen as quickly as possible.

0:43:440:43:48

We have advocated moving away from these sort of rigid structures.

0:43:480:43:52

I think the Fresh Start Agreement that Declan Kearney referred to

0:43:520:43:56

provides an opportunity now for us to move forward.

0:43:560:43:59

It does include reforms to the number of government

0:43:590:44:02

departments from 2020, a reduction in the number of MLAs at Stormont.

0:44:020:44:06

It does include provision for opposition for parties that

0:44:060:44:09

are elected and wish to take that role going forward.

0:44:090:44:11

So I think that we need to move forward on these issues.

0:44:110:44:15

I would like to see it happen as quickly as possible, obviously.

0:44:150:44:18

Let's not forget how far we have come in a relatively short time.

0:44:180:44:22

-It is not that long ago...

-Absolutely.

0:44:220:44:25

where it would have been impossible to contemplate us having

0:44:250:44:28

arguments about the issues we have been talking

0:44:280:44:31

about and discussing tonight.

0:44:310:44:33

It would have been dominated by the latest terrorist atrocity

0:44:330:44:37

or the latest massive political standoff and all the rest of it

0:44:370:44:41

on very fundamental constitutional issues.

0:44:410:44:44

We have come an enormously long way.

0:44:440:44:46

We need to always remember that.

0:44:460:44:48

We have our challenges and difficulties, I think

0:44:480:44:51

the Fresh Start Agreement, which has now been set in place,

0:44:510:44:54

has already made some transformation in the political landscape.

0:44:540:44:58

People are talking positively about the future

0:44:580:45:00

of Northern Ireland.

0:45:000:45:02

We need to build on that and see what can be achieved incrementally.

0:45:020:45:06

I think it's wrong to simply say - to forget and not remind ourselves

0:45:060:45:10

how far we have come in recent years.

0:45:100:45:12

-Totally right.

-You, sir.

0:45:120:45:14

Peter Hain is correct.

0:45:160:45:18

It's going to take time.

0:45:180:45:19

In the High Court, Mr Justice Weir is reviewing 250 legacy inquests,

0:45:190:45:24

which he says will take 40 years to hear.

0:45:240:45:27

We won't deal with our past until there's an influx of funding.

0:45:270:45:30

The politicians need to set up a system whereby we can deal

0:45:300:45:34

with our past and move on to our future, simple as that.

0:45:340:45:37

-You, sir?

-Just quickly, I was three when the Good Friday Agreement

0:45:370:45:42

was passed and having grown up my whole life with my parents

0:45:420:45:46

and all the rest of it and a lot of people around me

0:45:460:45:50

who were proponents of the Good Friday Agreement

0:45:500:45:54

and so would I have been, but studying politics at university,

0:45:540:45:58

we're looking at the fact that the Good Friday Agreement has

0:45:580:46:02

actually only entrenched divisions.

0:46:020:46:05

I understand it's been a success in the 18 years

0:46:050:46:08

since the Good Friday Agreement that we have had relative peace,

0:46:080:46:12

but we are not a normal kind of political society

0:46:120:46:15

and Rick Wilford, a professor at Queens, has actually said that

0:46:150:46:18

the electoral system that we have actually only entrenches divisions.

0:46:180:46:22

We de facto have two elections take place here - a unionist election

0:46:220:46:25

and a nationalist election.

0:46:250:46:27

Yes, people will say, what about the middle parties,

0:46:270:46:31

the parties who are non-aligned?

0:46:310:46:32

And that's a fair point but they only make up

0:46:320:46:35

about 8.5% share of the vote.

0:46:350:46:38

So if we want to move from conflict management to conflict resolution,

0:46:380:46:42

we need to start looking at a new process, an innovative

0:46:420:46:45

process to engage the new generation coming up who didn't grow up

0:46:450:46:49

with those kind of legacy issues of the past.

0:46:490:46:53

Thank you very much.

0:46:530:46:54

APPLAUSE Theresa?

0:46:540:46:57

You hear what he says, that the present constitution

0:47:010:47:05

entrenches opposing groups and doesn't allow them

0:47:050:47:09

to come together?

0:47:090:47:10

Well, I'm a strong supporter of the institution set up under

0:47:100:47:14

the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.

0:47:140:47:17

I think it's rightly held up around the world as a model of how to bring

0:47:170:47:21

peace after many years of division.

0:47:210:47:24

Yes, it's not perfect and I agree with what's been said around

0:47:240:47:28

the panel, I would like to see it move towards a more normal system

0:47:280:47:32

of government with a more regular government in opposition.

0:47:320:47:35

The reality is, as Declan says, it's already changing.

0:47:350:47:39

The Stormont House and Fresh Start Agreement already deliver

0:47:390:47:42

official provision for an opposition.

0:47:420:47:45

These things take time.

0:47:450:47:46

It will be years before we can move away from a mandatory coalition.

0:47:460:47:51

But whilst these institutions are not perfect, as they are,

0:47:510:47:54

they have brought peace and they have delivered a huge

0:47:540:47:58

amount for Northern Ireland, not least in the sphere

0:47:580:48:01

of the economy where the Northern Ireland economy

0:48:010:48:04

is recovering strongly.

0:48:040:48:06

I think the executive have done an excellent job in terms

0:48:060:48:09

of bringing in inward investment and jobs,

0:48:090:48:11

partly caused by the Government's long-term economic plan but also

0:48:110:48:15

caused by the responsibility of a responsible executive

0:48:150:48:18

which demonstrates that people from very different political

0:48:180:48:21

perspectives can work together for the good of all people

0:48:210:48:24

in Northern Ireland.

0:48:240:48:25

Declan and Nigel wouldn't have been on this programme as recently

0:48:250:48:29

as nine years ago, now they are arguing about gay marriage,

0:48:290:48:32

-I mean that's massive progress and you should welcome it.

-Yes.

0:48:320:48:36

I remember when we used to have to interview the different parties

0:48:360:48:40

in different studios because they wouldn't come

0:48:400:48:43

into the same studio and we spent the whole time walking from one

0:48:430:48:47

studio to another to catch up with the argument.

0:48:470:48:50

The same negotiating.

0:48:500:48:52

-You, sir?

-Thank you. I love the idea of the opposition.

0:48:520:48:57

It will be great for Stormont, it will.

0:48:570:49:00

I totally agree with the Fresh Start and with the Secretary of State's

0:49:000:49:04

quote, it will be successful.

0:49:040:49:07

OK. And you? And, then, I'll come to you, Grainne.

0:49:070:49:10

Sorry, the man behind you. He had his hand up longer!

0:49:100:49:13

Just going back to the question about will there ever be a one-party

0:49:130:49:17

government that actually represents the North of Ireland.

0:49:170:49:21

Obviously, with Peter Hain saying about the past,

0:49:210:49:24

you know, it's important that we do move forward and we forget

0:49:240:49:27

about the past but that also dictates our future.

0:49:270:49:30

There was one-party government for a long time to the detriment

0:49:300:49:34

of one people so obviously I hope in the future we can come to that,

0:49:340:49:39

but that it will be for the benefit of everyone

0:49:390:49:42

in the whole of Northern Ireland.

0:49:420:49:45

And you, sir, on the gangway.

0:49:450:49:49

I think we have come a long way, as Nigel says, and that's to be

0:49:490:49:53

praised, but also political posturing from the new First

0:49:530:49:57

Minister over, for example, the 1916 commemorations

0:49:570:50:01

and our unwillingness to participate in contrast to even

0:50:010:50:05

the Queen's visit to Dublin several years ago and the steps

0:50:050:50:09

that she showed that bring goodwill towards the relations both

0:50:090:50:14

here and between the two islands, I think maybe small sort

0:50:140:50:18

of political posturing like that doesn't help inclusivity.

0:50:180:50:23

All right. Grainne?

0:50:230:50:25

Regarding... From an outsider's point of view,

0:50:270:50:30

obviously what happened, the Northern Ireland peace process

0:50:300:50:33

is incredible, it's studied around the world,

0:50:330:50:36

what it's achieved is incredible.

0:50:360:50:38

I can understand people's frustration with it because,

0:50:380:50:41

just from reading about it, it's like, "Stormont, it's all going

0:50:410:50:45

"fine, no, it's about to collapse, no, it's fine again!

0:50:450:50:48

"No, we hate each other again,"

0:50:480:50:50

and it does sometimes sound like an episode of Dawson's Creek

0:50:500:50:54

rather than a political process.

0:50:540:50:58

Maybe you guys need a book club or reiki circle, I don't know.

0:50:580:51:03

The 1916 centenary, I can speak with authority because my grandad

0:51:030:51:08

fought in the Irish uprising, he found love late in life,

0:51:080:51:12

and I can understand the First Minister if she didn't

0:51:120:51:16

want to attend, if she was worried Bono might pop up...

0:51:160:51:19

because that is something Irish people have to live with every day!

0:51:190:51:24

He could just pop up at any moment,

0:51:240:51:26

so if that's her reason for avoiding it,

0:51:260:51:28

I totally respect that.

0:51:280:51:29

There are two game-changing dynamics that need to be introduced

0:51:320:51:37

to allow us to move things on.

0:51:370:51:39

The first is, the British Government, Theresa's Government,

0:51:390:51:42

need to lift the veto on information disclosure to ensure we can move

0:51:420:51:46

forward with the mechanisms for dealing with our past.

0:51:460:51:49

The second thing is, they need to lift the cuts

0:51:490:51:51

they are imposing on public services and the cuts they are making

0:51:510:51:55

to the block grant here in the North.

0:51:550:51:57

Austerity has to stop in Northern Ireland.

0:51:570:51:59

A few minutes left. And John Docherty has a question...

0:52:010:52:06

Are Donald Trump and Sarah Palin the dream team for the US elections?

0:52:060:52:12

Are Donald Trump and Sarah Palin the dream team? Nigel Dodds.

0:52:120:52:18

I think it more like a nightmare team for some, isn't it?

0:52:180:52:21

I was really surprised that Sarah Palin came out in support

0:52:210:52:24

of Donald Trump because she portrays herself as a conservative

0:52:240:52:28

and Donald Trump being this urban New Yorker

0:52:280:52:30

is not in the tradition of normal conservatives in America.

0:52:300:52:34

And Jeb Bush has been saying this, very clearly.

0:52:340:52:37

It is a phenomenal situation

0:52:370:52:39

that Donald Trump's now being seriously talked about by people

0:52:390:52:44

in America as a probable Republican nominee for President which I think

0:52:440:52:49

is, if nothing else, gives Grainne tonnes of material

0:52:490:52:53

to work with for many years to come!

0:52:530:52:56

-Do you think it's likely?

-I think it's increasingly likely.

0:52:560:52:59

His poll ratings do not seem to be diminishing and they seem

0:52:590:53:03

to be increasing.

0:53:030:53:04

His nearest challenger is one Ted Cruise, a very staunch

0:53:040:53:09

populist tea-party right-winger.

0:53:090:53:12

There's something fundamental going on in America

0:53:120:53:14

which is that people are fed up with the traditional

0:53:140:53:17

politics of America which they believe has let down

0:53:170:53:20

the ordinary middle class, as they put it,

0:53:200:53:22

and is not standing up for America in the world

0:53:220:53:25

and clearly this is a matter for the citizens of the US.

0:53:250:53:28

They are going to go to the polls very soon.

0:53:280:53:30

There was a debate on Monday in Westminster on Donald Trump

0:53:300:53:34

and I think the consensus was that it would be wrong

0:53:340:53:37

to ban him from the UK, it's totally wrong, you know,

0:53:370:53:41

we should have an engagement debate, certainly somebody who may

0:53:410:53:44

be the leader of the free world but we should challenge him about some

0:53:440:53:48

of his views which are repugnant.

0:53:480:53:51

However, he's tapping into a chord of disconnect between politicians in

0:53:510:53:55

Washington and the ordinary people.

0:53:550:53:57

It's a lesson also for the countries and governments of Europe as well.

0:53:570:54:01

We should listen to the people.

0:54:010:54:04

Peter Hain?

0:54:040:54:05

An angry electorate to whom Trump and Palin would appeal?

0:54:050:54:10

Yes, but the thought of Donald Trump being President of the United States

0:54:100:54:14

and Vladimir Putin being President of Russia and the two being the most

0:54:140:54:19

powerful nations in the world is appalling and I was disgusted

0:54:190:54:22

by Donald Trump's statement about banning Muslims from entering

0:54:220:54:26

the United States of America.

0:54:260:54:28

That Islamophobia is absolutely disgusting.

0:54:280:54:31

I noticed, by the way, that he did that in response

0:54:310:54:35

to a Jihadi couple massacring a group of people in California.

0:54:350:54:41

When it came to white psychopaths killing students or children,

0:54:410:54:47

he says, give them more guns.

0:54:470:54:49

This guy is absurd.

0:54:490:54:52

APPLAUSE All right. You, sir, you on the end. Brief point.

0:54:520:54:57

The ultimate nightmare will be Donald Trump, President,

0:54:570:55:02

and Miss Palin, Secretary of State.

0:55:020:55:06

-LAUGHTER

-She would start with a great advantage,

0:55:060:55:09

she would be able to keep an eye on Mr Putin

0:55:090:55:11

from her home in Alaska.

0:55:110:55:13

LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE

0:55:130:55:16

Yes. That was her famous claim last time.

0:55:180:55:21

"I know about Russia because I can see it."

0:55:210:55:23

Theresa Villiers?

0:55:230:55:25

The only people for whom a Donald Trump Sarah Palin team would be

0:55:250:55:29

the dream team are Mrs Clinton and the Democrats.

0:55:290:55:32

It's a worrying thought, the idea of Donald Trump as President

0:55:320:55:37

of the United States and I think his comments on barring

0:55:370:55:41

Muslims from entering the United States are really

0:55:410:55:45

unacceptable and really offensive to many people so I think it's

0:55:450:55:50

a worrying situation in the US, it's entirely a matter for them,

0:55:500:55:55

but I find some of the comments that Donald Trump has come out with to be

0:55:550:55:58

completely unacceptable and I think it would be very worrying

0:55:580:56:02

if he ended up as one of the most powerful people in the world.

0:56:020:56:05

Grainne Maguire?

0:56:050:56:08

I feel really sorry for Sarah Palin because when she sobered up

0:56:080:56:11

the next day and found out what she'd done, she must

0:56:110:56:14

have been mortified.

0:56:140:56:16

Realistically, Trump's pollings are relatively high

0:56:160:56:20

because there are so many candidates still in the Republican race.

0:56:200:56:23

When it narrows down, it's going to dissipate,

0:56:230:56:26

and he's got more people polling saying they will never vote for him.

0:56:260:56:29

So, it's unlikely. However, I've come up with a solution

0:56:290:56:33

to if he comes to Britain - we dub him the way

0:56:330:56:36

we used to dub Gerry Adams in the '90s and get somebody

0:56:360:56:39

like Bruce Forsyth to read out everything he says.

0:56:390:56:43

LAUGHTER

0:56:430:56:44

APPLAUSE

0:56:440:56:48

Declan, you have to be brief because we're coming to the end.

0:56:480:56:52

I think it's characteristic of what we are seeing

0:56:520:56:54

across the globe, the emergence of extremist right-wing views.

0:56:540:56:58

My only hope is that the, uh...

0:56:580:57:02

growth in support for Trump as it appears to be

0:57:020:57:07

and people like Palin as cheerleaders

0:57:070:57:09

will have an energising effect on those voices

0:57:090:57:12

from within the progressive on the left

0:57:120:57:14

and the democratic wing of American society

0:57:140:57:16

so they don't become the definitive voice

0:57:160:57:19

and they don't win the election.

0:57:190:57:22

OK. One more point from the man sitting there in the blue shirt?

0:57:220:57:26

I would agree with the panel.

0:57:260:57:28

I do find it very concerning Donald Trump being President

0:57:280:57:32

of America but I don't think that we should ban him from the UK.

0:57:320:57:36

I only feel that that feeds into his PR machine and I already

0:57:360:57:39

know that he's used this in debates for his favour.

0:57:390:57:43

OK. I think we have to stop.

0:57:430:57:46

Our hour is up. Sorry about that.

0:57:460:57:49

Put another shilling in the meter!

0:57:490:57:52

-Put another shilling in the meter! HAIN:

-We'll stay.

0:57:540:57:57

All right. No, our time is up.

0:57:570:57:59

We're in Stamford, having another go in Lincolnshire next week.

0:57:590:58:03

And then in Bradford the week after that.

0:58:030:58:05

If you can come to either Stamford or Bradford,

0:58:050:58:08

the website address is there.

0:58:080:58:11

We'll ask you all sorts of questions about what you want to talk about.

0:58:140:58:18

We'll have an audience like this one, beautifully divided representing

0:58:180:58:23

the whole community. If you're listening on Radio 5 Live,

0:58:230:58:26

the debate goes on on Question Time Extra Time.

0:58:260:58:30

It stops here, at least in the studio.

0:58:300:58:32

My thanks to the panel, to all of you who came to take part.

0:58:320:58:36

From the Titanic in Belfast, until next Thursday

0:58:360:58:40

from Question Time, good night.

0:58:400:58:42

APPLAUSE

0:58:420:58:45

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Belfast.

On the panel are Conservative Northern Ireland secretary of state Theresa Villiers MP, Labour's former cabinet minister Peter Hain, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party Nigel Dodds MP, Sinn Fein national chairman Declan Kearney and the comedian and writer Grainne Maguire.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS