David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Stamford, Lincolnshire. He is joined by Patrick McLoughlin, Jess Phillips, Angus Robertson, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Moray MacLennan.
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Tonight we are in Stamford in Lincolnshire and this is Question
Time. And a big welcome, with whether you're watching or listening
to all our audience here and to our panel tonight, the Conservative
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, the Labour MP elected
last year one of the rising stars of the new intake, Jess Phillips, the
Westminster leader of the Scottish National Party, Laura Robson, the
columnist for the Independent, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, and the boss
of the advertising firm Graham Satchell, who worked on last year's
election campaign, Aaron Lennon. APPLAUSE.
-- advertising firm M Saatchi. Thank you. The as ever get stuck
into this debate from home. You can join it on Facebook, on Twitter, you
can follow us at BBC Question Time. If you want to text comments, go to
83981. Press the Red Button to see what others are saying. Our first
question tonight. The average worker pays 20% tax
but Google pay only 3%. Why is it one rule for multinational
corporations and another Jess Phillips? Well, if Google are
only paying 3% tax, that's completely and utterly up fair. At
the moment... APPLAUSE. At the moment, we have
absolutely no idea what rate of tax Google are paying, because it seems
to be shrouded in secrecy. When the Ministers were asked, they said they
didn't know. The average taxpayer will tell you at what rate they pay
tax. I think Google should have to do the same. It should be fair. I'm
sure the Conservative on the panel will say it is great for the country
Google are paying, because they didn't pay anything for all those
years, Labour didn't bother to get anything... Don't do his work for
hem. When everybody in this room and in the world is being asked to
tighten their belts, have less care hours, pay more VAT, why are
companies like Google getting a bung?
APPLAUSE. What do you think? I think the gap between the rich and the
poor has never been larger than it is now. Unless we do something to
address it, this is going to continue. I think it is deeply
unfair. Aaron Lennon? Let me ask you a question. If you were asked, you
were told you can pay any tax rate you wanted, would pay more than you
are paying at the moment? I would guess you would probably say I would
put something into my pension, I might give some to my children, I
might pay less than die at the moment. That's the choice Google
has. The law says they can pay pretty much, with a little legal
shimmy here... But Google have a choice... They do what they like.
The law needs to change. I'm surprised at Google. Two years ago I
was doing Question Time in Corby. I said that the point Google should do
the right thing. The argument is they will do what's best to their
shareholders, they have to make a profit. The best thing for their
shareholders is sustainable proof societies people like you, like
them, they look after their customers and that includes paying
the right amount of tax. Do you think it was a major success when
George Osborne announced this? No, it was move forward. The much more
important thing is what happens in the future and whether the deferred
profit is effective so that going forward they'll be paying hundreds
of millions of tax which they should be at 20% rate, not a 3% rate.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown? I'm surprised you are that confident. Goodness me,
this shinning keeping, bring back the old, Rowntrees and Cadbury's,
they had a conscience. Do these guys know anything about ethics and
social responsibility? They are really smart. They've already said
they haven't a presence in London. Have you been there? You must have
been wined and dined there. Amazing places. And I don't think Labour can
get away with saying yes we should have done it then. They were
completely inthrall. Peter Mandelson saying, do you remember, we are
intensely relaxed about the filthy rich. They started it. In that sense
I agreed for a change with the Prime Minister when he said it started a
long time ago. But what would you do, change the tax rules? What
France is doing, what Italy is doing. You don't know what they are
doing. Their arrangements. They haven't changed them yet. I would go
with what the European Commission is suggesting, the OECD is suggesting
is, stop being this internal competition. We should stop being a
tax haven for these companies and we should stop subsidising the very
rich. APPLAUSE. Patrick McLoughlin? Well,
we have started to receive tax from Google, which is something that
hasn't happened for the ten years they've been established here. So in
that position the Chancellor was right to say it was a move in the
right direction. Of course I would like to see Google making more
payments to the country, and employing more people in this
country. They do employ 3,000 people, top end jobs. They are doing
a lot of investment in this country as well, which is good for the
long-term economic future of the country. But I believe in a low tax
base. I believe in attracting companies here. I believe when those
companies are here they should pay their tax, which is rightly
collected. But companies can and have found ways around paying
taxation and we've made a lot of changes to corporation, to the
taxation system that will make them pay more over the years to come.
Nasty newspapers are saying that there've been 20 meetings with
Google big shots... I didn't have that with my taxes. I have had many
meetings with with companies. I'm surprised you believe everything you
read in the newspaper. I know you write in them but you shouldn't
believe everything you read. Try to clarify from the Tory Party's point
of view, which you are representing. The Chancellor says it's a major
success. Boris Johnson says it is derisory, Anna Soubry the Business
Minister said it doesn't sound a lot of money. What's the truth? The
truth is it is a move in the right direction. There is more for them to
pay and I want them to pay more in the future. Would you call it a
major success? The fact they've not paid any tax and have now paid ?123
million, it is a move in the right direction. Doesn't the fact that we
accept such a small amount from such a large corporation send out a
dangerous message to all the corporations paying a minimal amount
of tax? APPLAUSE. And you, Sir. It amazes me
from members of the panel who've actually said, blamed it back on
previous Government as well, the fact is it is still taking six years
of the Tories and the cohorts, the Liberal Democrats, OK we keep
blaming the Blairites and the rest of it. The problem is definitely
seated in this last Tory Government, two governments, rather. Laura
Robson? Robson? Lump lump Angus Robertson? Is this a simple matter
to be resolved? We have to recognise the UK has the most advanced tax
laws in the world. It is a matter of companies and all of us paying our
fair share of taxes. Governments should simplify the tax code. Let's
not kid ourselves. The City of London is advertised around the
world as a place to do business and in large part because people can use
tax wheezes to get out of their taxes. Point one. And let's not walk
away from the responsibility the UK has amongst its crowned depend sis,
a series of island near and far, who make most of their money through tax
wheezes. What could the British Government do about that? The UK
Government has a responsibility to work with the crown depend sis and
close down these tax loop holes. I have never felt as much anger around
tax issues as I have in the last couple of days on this issue. The
idea that any of us could decide we are just going to pay 3% in tax,
that you can pick up the phone and the Chancellor of the Exchequer will
meet you personally to discuss what tax rate you want to pay. This is
totally and utterly unacceptable. APPLAUSE. This first opportunity
I've had to speak on this subject. Let's clear the decks on this
subject. Let's have the issue properly investigated. Because if
the homework has been done and if the 3% is justified, and there's
some transparency, we could have some faith in ow things are being
managed on our behalf by the British Government and the HMRC. I want a
European Commission investigation into this. Patrick McLoughlin? The
NAO can investigate it and may well look at this. The since 2010 we've
made over 40 changes to the tax laws to close leap holes left behind when
you left office. Investment companies cut their tax bill by
flipping the currencies. We stopped this in 2011. Yes we want those
companies based in this country to pay their fair share of tax. We will
pursue them if they are not. Silence, Patrick. Nobody believes
you. Let's hear from members of the audience. I think the point that the
Tory member is making there is a small point. It is a drop in the
ocean what they've got from Google. And last year there's a lot of other
companies out there that are not, Google is in the forefront, Facebook
last year paid less tax than I did. It is really wrong. Google says
Governments make tax law, tax authorities, HMRC, enforce the law,
and Google complies with the law. That's the Google position. Is it
possible to do? Absolutely. It is important to remember just yesterday
there was a case taken up in the appeals court on the bedroom tax. We
are coming to that later. Don't talk about that. We may not come to it
but we may come to it. APPLAUSE. Isn't one of the
fundamental problems with this the fact there is a revolving door with
the HMRC and big accountancy firms. You run a big company, what do you
say so that point? I would like to make a point. There is another way
to some of this. It is not through the law but the law is the best way
to do that. It is referring to your anger is to take that anger to the
companies. Google and Facebook understand this very well. It is
their business. If you go online, if that anger goes online, they
understand that sentiment changes quickly. That will make them change.
How do you find out anything if you don't use doingle? We all use
Google? I wasn't say boycott, but use their product against them.
There is an argument I've heard that Google pays a lot of tax in the
United States. The problem sit pays most of its tax in the United States
and not in other European countries. Is that true? That's part of the
problem with multinational companies. You need international
agreements as to where tax is liable. The sales are, to the
advertising industry are in the UK. They book them in Ireland. Therefore
the tax is not paid in the UK. It shoot, a lawyer has to be
internationally agreed. And the first stage is transparency.
Transparency. Can I pay my taxes through Ireland? If you are clever
you could. The woman on the gangway. I think it is more a question of
legislation. Legislation. I'm not going to say Labour or the Tories
are to blame. It is being sorted now. What Mr Saatchi said is right,
what we are looking for between business, and I run a small
business, and I know percentage-wise I paid a higher percentage last year
than Google did. It is not going to bother me now, it's done. They are
going to pay more going forward. But we need balance between what we are
asking the general public to pay and what we are asking companies to pay.
We have paid out a lot more. We've got other companies like Tesco
who've made billions in profits. Yes, paid the first share of taxes
but we've subsidised them through tax credits. I'm not saying tax
credits are a bad thing, they've been needed. But if we can get
companies to not only pay their fair share of tax, their fair share of
wages, we will get equilibrium. That's what we need.
APPLAUSE. In fairness, you might mistake him
for Mr Saatchi but he is actually Mr McLevel and.
He runs the Saatchi show! I think we have to show the public how the tax
system works, let's bring out the HMRC investigation, and what I want
to know how much of the taxpayer's money does it cost to get this
minimal amount of tax. What was it that was agreed? Is that
confident shall? The direct negotiations between HMRC and the
company are confident shall. But there could be an audit. roux
Parker was asked... This happened in the last Parliament. We found that
every single action of HMRC was reasonable. It is up to the NAO.
They do not need advice from me. I'm sure that the pressure will come on
them to do it. Well, I am sure that Boris Johnson
would like it and Anna Soubry would like it.
I don't know about George Osborne. One more question.
Lots of good things come from paying tax, the NHS, education, our Social
Services, so I think it is disappointing that a company like
Google whose strap line was: Do no evil, are not leading the way.
You sir? It is not often that I agree with Yasmin Alibhai Brown...
She never knew that! However, tonight, you have won a fan. She is
quite right in what she is saying about the working class being
fleeced in this country for income tax by the Tory party and the fact
that the Tory Party is fleecing the working class and that the
multinationals are getting away with blue murder. Patrick McGloughlin,
you should know better, you are an ex-miner and you should remember
your roots. I don't need reminding about my
roots. You, sir? I'm sure that Google does
not have to wait an hour waiting to speak with the Tax Office! I
understand that they have their own a advisor to speak to, so I don't
know why we don't know more about their business and they have been
allowed to get away with such low taxes in the first place.
If you live in Bradford, near Bradford and would like to come to
the programme in West Yorkshire, you are welcome. And the week after
that, if you are in or around Llanelli in Wales, we would like you
to come too. The details are on the screen. I
will repeat them after the programme.
Can Britain afford or cope with taking more refugees? Can Britain
afford or cope with taking more refugees? What is your view? I I
think it would be the right thing to do, whether or not we can afford it
when we have so many of our own on the streets unable to pay the bills
and feed their children, I think we have to weigh up what is important
and what can go before we make room for what matters.
Andrew roberedson? Is it right, it is. We are hearing that we are going
to do soak about the children, the unaccompanied children in Europe, or
in surrounding countries, they have been trying to flee war. I am often
reminded of the role that the UK played in the 1930s when it took in
more than 10,000 Jewish children on the Kinkeder transport.
It is worth remembering the same debate took place at that time and
people said: Can we afford it, should we do it? The lessons of
history are yes, we had to do it, we did it, I think we should take the
same attitude now. The UK has taken in far, far less than our European
neighbours. We are facing the biggest calamity that has befallen
this country, in the movement of people through war and desperate
situations, it is incumbent on us to do everything that we possibly can.
APPLAUSE. What kind of number? The truth is
that this is between the parties, a game of numbers. Some people say
20,000 over the next five years, like the Tories do, then Jeremy
Corbyn says 3,000 from across the Channel. There are 1 million people
in Europe. So what would your estimate be? What balance? How do
you decide? We have problems here, how many can we afford to absorb in
this country? The honest answer is that we don't know the scale of the
crisis as it is ongoing. What we know, it has been 1 million in the
last year. We know when the spring and the summer come, more people are
going to come as well. We know that the situation in Libya is getting
worse. We are beginning to hear that on our screens now. It is not just
about people being displaced from Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan. Libya is
going to come back into the equation. What is an easier thing to
answer, the specific question: Do I think that the UK, a state of more
than 60 million people, could this country take in 3,000 children? The
answer is yes. All of them.
APPLAUSE. Yes, please? I wanted to comment
that I thought that the Prime Minister's comment at Prime
Minister's Questions was shameful in the way how he referred to migrants.
I think he continues to incite hatred and prejudice. He should
apologise. For a "bunch migrants"? Should he
apologise for saying "bunch migrants"? I don't think that is the
description of what Jeremy Corbyn surrounded himself with... They have
people that have faced much worse than you have face faced in your
life. Are a moral nation, we need to
fulfil our Morell responsibilities. I am part of a government that
meets, our numbers, the first government to do that.
We are are the second biggest bilateral donor in the humanitarian
crisis to Syria. More than any other country is doing, more than ?1.1
billion. We have sent in the Royal Navy to bring back people so they
are not drowning and don't get into terrible danger. They are in
terrible danger where they are. They are scared.
The simple fact is we don't know the numbers. Assangeus said, it was a
million last year. There was something like 12 million displaced
in Syria alone. We are co-hosting in London along with the Germans and
the UN conference on Syria, where to make progress. This is something not
just one country alone can do. How do you decide? How do you answer
the question of how many more refugees Britain can absorb? Is it a
malter of money? Welfare? Facilities? As a Government, what
are you doing when you sit down to say you will take 25,000 over five
years? Part of the money is given to camps in supporting the Syrian
families in the camps, so as I said, we are the second biggest donor
after the United States. You said that.
But you heard the appeal in the interruptions from the right here,
that there are hundreds of thousands of millions of people... We have
said that we would do 1,000 before Christmas, that was done. Fulfilled.
We have said we will take more of the displaced children. We said they
should be taken from the camps. Not necessarily those brought into
Europe. Jess Philips? The answer to the
question is of course we should take as many as we can.
What does that mean? The way to decide how to afford it is to look
at our areas. I live in Birmingham, if Birmingham City Council takes a
genuine look at what school places are available, housing is available.
Looks wholesale at where to fit in more and tightened our belts we
could take a certain number. That number needs to feed in. I bet there
are not any living in whit Which? In David Cameron's constituency. But it
is the poorest of the country that has to suffer the effects of
migration. I want everyone of every part of the country to look at what
they can offer. There are 4,000 children who have settled in Italy,
have gone missing, expected to have been trafficked for sex, those are
children. Imagine if that was your children. We should take our fair
share of the 26,000 children in Europe, in the UK that is 3,000.
There should be no question. APPLAUSE.
The woman there. Yes, you. That's it.
Yes, I'm just completely, I just think it is a disgrace. The Tory guy
there, to keep saying all of these figures, we have given this, given
that. That is not the point. It is what you guys are saying. We have
basically slammed the doors on these people. I have come back from
Lesbos. I have seen the shoes on the beach of babies, babygros, it is
happening every day. People are drowning in the seas. With the
Schengen and the pressure on Greece, how are they going to control their
borders? It is a complete joke. The Tory Government should be absolutely
ashamed of themselves. APPLAUSE.
Of course the UK can afford and can cope with more refugees. It is easy
to say that we should take more. We should take displaced children. We
should take them from the camps both in Europe, and in Turkey, Lebanon
and other places. The more difficult question is, is that the kindest
thing to do, to take as many as possible, to your shoes on the beach
point - it will encourage more shoes on the beach. That is the dilemma
that we have. I completely disagree. Have you been
there? At the moment, there are 6 million more refugees waiting to
come. Is the kindest thing to do is to get more people on boats drowning
on their way? No, it is not. And there is a slightly trickier when it
comes to taking 3,000 children... Angela Merkel summed... She is being
ostraciszeed. I am helping with the crisis, I am
serving in the Mediterranean. The key word that comes back is
desperation. The people are desperate to get back to the UK
because of what we are offering them. We are offering very good
things, they need that. But that point is correct. Is that the best
way to help them? Their desperation is putting them in horrible
situations where they are fighting for their lives to get across an
ocean, and really, what can we do to improve their lives where they are
coming from, so that they are not desperate to cross the seas, put
themselves in life-threatening situations or to go through forests,
freezing to death on the land side of things to get to through all of
these places in Europe, as we are offering aid, which is fantastic but
it is the element of giving them a fish, rather than teaching them how
to get a fish. Yasmin Alibhai Brown? Yesterday was
Holocaust Remembrance Day. This month we have seen Europe, the UK,
painting the doors of asylum seekers red, putting wrist bands on them and
the worst of all, Denmark... Suggesting that they are going to
take their few precious bits that they managed to smuggle out.
Remember the lessons. Remember how the Nazis took our gold teeth. The
answer to the question asked: When Jewish migrants were taken, and this
is the biggest crisis since then, this country had nothing, nothing at
all. We are still the seventh richest country in the world. I so
agree with Jess. If it was people, ordinary people across Europe, they
have been amazing. They are turning up at the camps. A musician e-mailed
me yesterday. A young female British musician who goes to Calais, she
said she watched a four-and-a-half-year-old whose heart
just stopped beating. It gave up. Now, I'm sorry, we have to do
better. No refugee ever fails unless we are talking about a wedge of
criminal, I am not talking about them. Most refugees, the IMF has
said this, they work harder than anybody else.
But I think I have a policy idea. Why don't we let people in just so
they can life and do what we do with them when we have student loans,
once they start earning enough, they pay back a section of the earnings,
even if we say after five years you have to go back. What is your view
of the numbers? That is the issue between the parties? Turkey has 1
million. The whole of Europe has 1 million.
I think Britain should have at least 60 to 70,000.
Of the most vulnerable. I think you are wrong on Turkey.
They are hosting over 2 million Syrians at the moment.
Exactly. Is it an example of Germany of how
mass immigration does not work. The woman in Cologne and the woman
unfortunately killed in Sweden, don't you think that they are scared
as well? I couldn't agree with you more,
there's obviously been, the very rapid nature of lack of cohesion has
been caused. However, there is violence against women and girls
that you are describing, a very similar situation to what happened
in Cologne could be described on Broad Street? Birmingham every week,
where women are bated and heckled. We have to attack what we perceive
is a patriarchal culture, but we should be careful not to rest on our
laurels when two women are murdered every week in this country.
APPLAUSE. Anyone who does doubt that Britain should take more, in other
words feels there's a problem, there was a lot of applause when the young
man spoke. Anyone else who takes that
was a lot of applause when the young man spoke. Anyone else who takes
that view? It is all very well taking a lot of these children in,
but who is going be left to build Syria up again? So what do you think
should happen? The government policy is to put the money into the camps
near Syria. Do you think they are right? All the time we've got
immigrants coming here, I'm afraid I think it just encourages more.
Europeans went all over the world. Europeans took over continents. Do
you remember that? Australia, New Zealand, South America, North
America. How is it that we can now deny just safety? Those people want
to go back when it's safe. The man up there and then we'll move on.
APPLAUSE. You Sir. There are a few fundamental issues at play here.
Firstly there've been three different terms used for these
people: Asylum seeker, refugee and migrant, all of which appear to be
disparaging. The Conservative gentleman spent 15 minutes pitching
his party. And had they got the right amount of tax from Google we
could afford to bring these people in?
APPLAUSE. He says he doubts it, but on to another question. We are
halfway through the programme. What will be the single-most
important factor that influences voters in the upcoming
EU referendum? You're an interpreter of electoral
mood, Moray MacLennan. What do you think will be the single most
important factor to influence voters when it comes to say, should we
remain or leave? I hate to bring it back to migration, but there was
news today, most of you heard it, that David Cameron's famous rabbits
our the hat, one of them was potentially produced earlier, to
limit migration. That will be a core issue in the up-coming referendum. I
think that most people, I think most people will accept that Britain is
probably better off economically trading, having the lack of tariffs
to trade with Europe. What they don't want is migration or
sovereignty to be impinged on. If he can produce those two rabbits out of
the hat it will be difficult for the Let's Leave Europe group to win. I
think it will come down to that at the end of the day. There'll be the
concern, are we nailing our colours to the mast of a sinking is ship in
Europe as well, and that is the other point of view. It will be a
very emotional argument and the staying in will be a rationale
argument. I think it depends on the deal the Prime Minister can strike.
Three weeks away is the council meeting which may well decide this
matter. It depends on the agreement of the 27 other members of the
European Union. If we can get that agreement we'll have the referendum
and everybody in this room will have an equal vote and we'll decide
whether to stay in. From my personal point of view I hope the Prime
Minister can get an agreement. It is important that we stay within the
European Union. That's what I would like to see, but it does depend on
getting the right deal. I think Europe itself is moving too far too
fast. We've had to learn some of the lessons in the past when Governments
have promised referendums on European treaties and not given
them. So I'm pleased that one of the things we've done as a result of the
last Government was to ensure that any future treaty change which
affects this country can only be taken after a referendum. The Prime
Minister has a good record on negotiating in Europe. He cut the
European budget and I'm hoping he'll be able to achieve the right
negotiations in the next few weeks. So it looks like you are going to
vote to remain in the EU. Is the current deal in the Cabinet that you
are allowed to say you are in favour of staying in but not to say you
want to leave, not yet. Only when the referendum is announced can you
say that? The Cabinet is fully supportive of the Prime Minister in
these renegotiations and Ministers will have an opportunity to take a
different deal if it is not good enough. You said everyone in this
room will have an equal opportunity to vote, but we are 16, we won't.
What's your opinion on 16 and 17-year-olds voting in EU referendum
like they did in the Scottish. How did you vote on that one Patrick?
Against, I'm not in favour of extending the voting age to 16. I
want it the same as votes for a general election. I'm sorry for
those people who are going to miss out who are 16. You are just an old
fogey. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, what do you think will be the single most
important question? As Murray said, we should think about what it would
mean for so much of our economy and our agriculture and so on. It's been
good for us actually. The problem is that the remain in the EU campaign
is so utterly incompetent and hopeless. In what way? Lord Rose
didn't even remember the name of the campaign this week and he's supposed
to be leading us to this? I have to give it to the Exit group, they are
doing it much better. But the big issue is the one Blair raised this
week. Scotland will leave the United Kingdom. Is that what you want? I
think that Scots are very pro-European. I didn't detect people
shouting no, don't let them go, but... Don't go, Scotland, stay with
us. You Sir in blue. My question is this. The UK science funding in this
country has got worse over the last five years. We are one of the worst
in the G8 and it is getting worse. The lowest funding in what way? By
GDP we get the lowest funding research. At the same time the
European Union has gained a massive appetite for science funding, has
increased its funding. By pulling out we risk losing all of this money
and that's my livelihood, it is the livelihood of people in Cambridge.
Newark has loads of science. How can we risk that? Jess Phillips? To go
back to the original question the biggest thing will be fear. About
the pennies in our pockets, our jobs, houses. People tend as they
did in the Scottish referendum to when it comes down to it go for the
status quo because they are fearful. The other fear is immigration. That
will go for the Out campaign far more. I agree with Yasmin
Alibhai-Brown. Neither of the campaigns are floating my boat, if I
was completely honest at the moment. I don't think they speak to normal
people and normal people's interactions. You hardly hear them
at the moment. They haven't started. Nobody talks about how 2 million
people every year go off into Europe. Do you want to queue for
longer when you go through passport control? I don't want to queue for
longer. I don't want to pay more for my mobile phone in France. They are
talking up here like men in suits talking about this much money, that
much money. It is all boring, to be honest.
APPLAUSE. Does it bore you? You find it all boring? Is it not extremely
dangerous for significant figures and forums categorically state their
intention to stay in the EU when the full negotiations haven't been told?
It lowers the need for policy makers in Brussels to give us the best deal
possible. What do you make of that, Angus Robertson? I don't think that
the negotiations by the UK Government are actually dealing with
any matters of profound substance. It is not a major renegotiation. If
it were it would lead to treaty change. The Prime Minister is
professionaling a three-card trick. He's trying to... Sorry, beside me
there's a voice saying we don't know that there may not be treaty change.
Let's watch that space. I very much doubt that the negotiations will
lead to referenda in Denmark and in Ireland. I think what the Prime
Minister is trying to do is assuage those people who are not sure about
the EU. To say there's been a change, look we've reformed it. I'm
a pro-European. I think the EU needs to be reformed. It is not perfect.
It cannot manage the borders properly. It can't deal with the
refugee crisis, the biggest crisis since the Second World War. It is
going to be a difficult pro-European case to make. The question asked was
what will be the single most important factors? Jess and I have
written down the same thing. It will be fear. The word I've written after
it, hope. I think that those of us who think it is a better thing that
we work together in Europe as sovereign states, trying to teal
with our challenges together, I think is the case we should be
making. I tell you, I don't want Scotland to become independent
because England votes to leave the EU. I want Scotland to be
independent and within the EU and the rest of the UK. Do you think it
might trigger independence of Scotland if England votes to leave?
I think it will profoundly change opinion in Scotland for many of
those who during the referendum campaign on Scottish independence
were promised by the no side vote no to Scottish independence, because if
you don't you will be outside the EU. And there were a number of
people who went, we don't want that. People's point about being fearful.
And the other outcome is an entirely believable prospect. Today is the
first time that the average of polls in the UK is 50-50 and heading in a
no direction. My last word on the subject is I hope that the campaign
that is run to remain within the EU is a positive campaign based on hope
and not on fear, which was the campaign that was run against
Scottish independence. APPLAUSE. You were involved in that.
In the no campaign. What's your take on the way this is going to be
fought out in the PR and publicity and the various views. I think
there'll be a lot of numbers thrown this way and that. Sorry about that.
Man in suit talking numbers. But there will. Uncertainty will play
very strongly for staying in. We don't know what would happen if we
chebd out. As the Hotel California thing, the you can check out but you
can't leave. We would have to renegotiate with Europe. What would
that look like? Uncertainty will play strongly for staying in. The
emotional point you made, not made strongly enough by the no campaign,
independence and staying with the UK is an emotional issue. There is
nothing wrong with that. Should wins that emotional argument will be key
as well. Have you within hired for the campaign? Not as yet. We are
waiting by the phone. APPLAUSE.
APPLAUSE Pot which campaign would it be?
Imagine we hope it might be the Prime Minister's campaign.
Let's move on to another question. Why is it cheaper to travel from
Sheffield to Essex, via air, and via Berlin, than on Britain's railways?!
Well, this is the teenager Jordan Krovment ox who flew from Sheffield
to Essex, via Berlin and spent several hours sightseeing in Berlin,
and saved ?7, including buses from Stansted to Essex, at the same time
he found you can fly from London to Manchester via Milan, for ?33 but it
was ?131 via train and from Bristol to Newcastle, via Dublin and it was
?74. It is like the tax system, too
complicated. It is in your lap! When you are
young you have lots of time to go travelling, and when you are pushing
a blog, it can help you find these schemes, it shows that there is a
way to get cheap flights across Europe. On the more serious question
of train travel, we see the revolution in this country on the
railways, 27 years ago there were 750 million People using the
railways, lass year it was 1. 64 billion. I can see cheaper tickets
if you pre-book. There are lots of changes afar as train travel is
concerned. I think it is very good value with the cheaper tickets.
Also, with the massive investment we are doing in the railway, it means
that the places like King's Cross and St Pancreas, which used to be
awful places to go, are now destinations in their own right and
you can add to that Birmingham New Street Station, which used to be
awful but it is fantastic. I celebrate the ?38 billion we are
investing in the railways and on the new East Coast Main Line you will
get the new trains. But you have not answered the
question about why it is... But I gave you a good answer for my job!
You said if you had lots of time. Actually, as a working woman, I
don't have lots of time. But from Stanford we are 40 miles from
Nottingham, Cambridge and Lincoln it takes an 1. 20 minutes to get to
Cambridge, 1. 30 minutes to Nottingham and 30 minutes to get to
Lincoln. So as a commuter, you cannot do it. It is impractical for
us to get to work. That is why we are investing.
. But you are not investing. We are
improving the railways. I accept that there are more improvements to
make. I want to see it happen. The man next to you.
I would like to know why it is you allow the network operators to hide
the cheaper price tickets. Stan formed to Birmingham return is ?65.
But if I get two different returns I can save myself ?20. Those are
hidden. It is only because a member of staff told me do it that way I
was able to save ?20. Get in touch with Jordan Cox. Jess Philips? I got
on a train from London to Birmingham. It cost ?168. I did not
get a seat. So when the Transport Minister says that is good value for
money, I paid ?168 to stand up for hours. There are ridiculous offers
to find if you have hours to spend looking at which way to go but the
main thing is that many people are priced out of the market of
travelling at the times that they need to go to work. That is
Your Labour's Transport Secretary. I am.
Under Jeremy Corbyn, what is your policy? Well, there is a need to
look at renationalising rail services. Many exist, the French
government are benefitting from them...
APPLAUSE. You are in favour of
re-nationalisation? I am in favour of looking at the contracts when
they come up about what is the best value for the consumer in the
market. Let's not pretend when the railways were nationalised that they
were perfect and running on time and everybody got a cheap ticket, we
have to consider it as an option. Moray MacLennan? There is a simple
solution to this: Spend the ?30 billion which would be spent on HSR
so that you can get to Birmingham or London quicker, and deploy that
money in regional railways. APPLAUSE.
Lincolnshire is a rural County, the further east it is harder to get
anywhere on any form of public transport. It is not just the
tickets but the trains do not exist. They do not run on weekends, you
cannot get between pish and Lincoln, outside of the hours of 9-6 from
Monday to Saturday. Do you believe the successive
governments? Yes it is a problem. The railway lines are closed. The A
16 has been closed and turned into roads it is not helpful for people
who cannot afford cars or don't have access to a car, they cannot get to
places. You on the left? You mentioned money
invested in railway services, why did it not happen six years ago, we
would not have this discussion now? You mean if Labour could have done
it? Well, five-and-a-half years. Patrick McGloughlin? Briefly, we
have been been investing. I have spoken about King's Cross and St
Pancreas. It is always in London. The proof of the matter is we are
always talking about transport in London. Heathrow... We have to
increase the capacity. Moray MacLennan, the reason is so that we
can improve the capacity. 20 years ago when the railways were operating
under British Rail, there were 19 services a day from London to
Manchester. Today there are 47 services a day from London to
Manchester. That is the kind of change... But you can't afford to
get on it. I accept more regional services are very important.
I think that it is true, that some of the rebuilt stations are
wonderful and all of that. But one thing that is absolutely
indisputable, there are some people who need to take the trains at peak
times and what they are being charged is just criminal. They have
no choice. They do not have flexible time. People are really spending
such a percentage of their earnings on rail travel and that is unfair.
We are supporting the rail industry, more than we support the motorcar
industry... But you are not supporting the passengers. More than
the bus transport, more people go to work on the bus than on the train.
Can I bring us back to the question about the young man who went via
Berlin. There is a difference in buying tickets where you can get
cheap flights and they are easy to find on the internet, then you can
go where you want. But not as easy to find cheap options on the
railways. I came from London, I had to stand for the first part of the
journey, the train was late. That is an experience that most of the
people in the audience here will share. You deserve a better service
in this part of the world but there is more to be done to end the
Byzantine pricing structures that we have, and I don't understand why the
rail operators are not prepared... As people are wanting to travel by
train. If you can get a seat a hot cup of coffee. This is a bones. But
that is what we should expect. Where is the scale of ambition. Talk about
HS #26789, it was supposed to be joining up Britain but where is it
ending? It is not even getting to Scotland. So much more needs to be
done, Patrick. Indeed. I agree. I want to take this question from
Alison Jones. Where and when is the most appropriate place to wear your
pyjamas. This is because a head teacher is
saying that parents are coming in to school in pyjamas and dressing
gowns. Is that right? I think that the head was so right. I don't even
wear my pyjamas in my kitsch, I am so proper. Only in the bedroom.
Patrick McGloughlin? The only place to where them is in private!
Jess Philips? The Labour Party love it when people wear pyjamas on the
school run. No, I think that the mum has to do the school run under a
stressed circumstances, I look at woman wearing slippers and I feel
sorry for them rather than loathing them. I spend 20 minutes a morning
shouting get your shoes on over and over again. It is better if people
don't wear their pyjamas but let's not be too judging.
Have you ever? I have may have been to a drive-through in a dressing
gown. You don't get out of the car! And you, sir? I don't think I should
be advising people on what they are wearing. I will hold my advice.
Moray MacLennan? I think a designer pyjama is OK. Nothing wrong with
that at all. Anyone like to comment? I have three
kids under six, I think it is perfectly acceptable. Trust my, by
the time you get there, sometimes, you have no idea what you are
wearing. And would you go to the mativity
play and the parents' evening? They might have thought it was fancy
dress, who knows. Anyone else with a view on this? I
sleep naked so I would not... We won't go there.
A happy note to end on. Thank you for shipping that with us! Our time
is up. We are in Bradford next week. The week after that, we are in
Llanelli in Wales. To come to either of the shows go to the website on
the screen there. If you are listening on Radio 5
Live. You can continue the debate of course. As every it is on Question
Time, Extra Time. My thanks to all of the panelists. Before I go, I
have been chairing Question Time for many years. I have worked with six
editors in all of that time. One was Chancellor cry Cou are, tauld, who
died recently. He was clever, wit, he was very brave, he was an
inspiration to work for, I would like to dedicate this Question Time
to his memory. I think he would like it. Thank you all for coming to
Question Time. Good night.
David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Stamford, Lincolnshire. He is joined on the panel by Conservative transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Labour's Jess Phillips, SNP leader at Westminster Angus Robertson, Independent columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and the boss of advertising firm M&C Saatchi, Moray MacLennan.