David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Liverpool. Panellists include Dominic Raab, John McDonnell, Louise Bours, Zoe Williams and Jermaine Jenas.
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Tonight, we're in Liverpool. This is Question Time.
A big welcome to our audience here, to all of you watching or listening
and to tonight's panel.
Conservative Justice Minister Dominic Raab.
Labour's Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell.
The Ukip MEP and Health Spokesman Louise Bours.
Guardian columnist Zoe Williams.
And the former England and Premier League footballer,
Jermaine Jenas. APPLAUSE
Great. Thank you very much.
A reminder, as always, if you want to join the debate,
use Facebook or Twitter. Our hashtag is BBCQT.
You can follow us at BBC Question Time.
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Our first question from James Mitchell, please.
Will the EU referendum be won based on who can scare the public more?
Will the referendum be won based on who can scare the public more?
That was one of the accusations made about scare tactics. Dominic Raab.
We've had a lot of scaremongering from those wanting to stay in.
All this talk about a leap into the darkness.
We need to debate the substance of this.
I am in favour of leaving the European Union,
partly because I think, if I look at the effect
of pulling back democratic control over our laws and regulation,
we'll be able to have the right balance to promote business growth,
which is good for jobs, the right balance to make sure we have cheaper
energy bills, cheaper food bills, and also be freed up to trade more
energetically with the real growth areas like Latin America and Asia.
I also, frankly, whether on the left or the right,
I think you should have stronger democratic control
over the laws of the land.
60% of them are made or derive from the EU,
so I think the EU has really tested to breaking point
the democratic contract.
I think if we go on down that path, we will only erode public trust
in our political class even more.
APPLAUSE The way that the...
Other government ministers who, like you, want out
have called the Government's own claims dodgy, baloney, miserable,
negative, fear-based - do you agree?
I choose my own words to describe it.
I think there is a lot of Project Fear coming out,
almost a scare story everyday.
I don't think anyone credibly believes it.
We heard this week the suggestion we'd be locked out of trade.
Actually, if you look at what Britain's former ambassador
to the EU, Lord Kerr, has said,
there's no doubt we'd keep having a strong trading
relationship with the EU if we were out.
The CBI said we'd have a high-level, ambitious free trade deal.
Even the Prime Minister said it's scaremongering to say otherwise.
Let's talk about the facts and substance and enlighten the debate,
not try and cast a shadow over it.
Was Iain Duncan Smith, who's one of your Brexit ministers,
was he scaremongering when he said the UK would be more
vulnerable to a Paris-style terror attack if we stayed in the EU?
-Is that true?
-There is a real issue around border controls.
If you look at what Rob Wainwright, who's the head of Europol has said,
he says we've got 5,000 terrorist suspects,
or people who have been to terrorist camps,
who have been out there and have come back,
and they're flowing freely - or at least potentially -
because we haven't got control of our borders.
I think the border control issue
does have an implication for security, yes.
OK. John McDonnell.
I just think both sides now should just calm down a bit.
Most of us want a sensible, rational debate and discussion.
I don't think people should be frightened into voting either way.
I voted against joining the common market.
I'm old enough to have had a vote originally.
I voted against going to the common market.
But the longer the European Union has developed,
I have come to a view that in the short term,
because of the fragility of our economy,
withdrawal would set us backwards.
Withdrawal from a market that almost 50% of our trade is with
would destabilise our economy when we are at a fragile position.
I want to move the debate on into...
I think we should have a longer-term vision for Europe.
I think the key issues that we face in the 21st century,
we have to deal with on an international level
If you look at what those key issues are,
they are about peace, to be frank.
People just accept peace for granted within Europe.
It's only 70 years ago my father was in the British Army.
Before that, my grandfather was in the First World War.
Europe has secured peace,
and by including more and more states in the EU,
we consolidate that peace.
Trying to work out where you stand on this.
You said something rather interesting.
You said in the short term, we should stay.
Do you mean in the long term, Labour policy would be to pull out?
I'm trying to say two things.
One is, in the short term, there are risks.
-Are you going to vote in or out?
-I'm going to vote in.
Let me finish my point, David.
In the long term, we have to pitch this debate on the long-term future
of our country and Europe.
The long-term advantages are these -
that we continue to secure peace.
The big issue facing us is climate change,
we can only tackle that on a European basis and globally.
In addition to that, mass migration.
We've seen the problems we've got now,
we can only do that through co-operation.
Also, I have to say as well,
this argument we've ceded sovereignty
to European institutions,
we have ceded sovereignty to multinational corporations.
The only way we can tackle them and bring them under some form of
democratic control, including making sure they pay tax,
is on a European scale.
On those bases, both short-term and long-term,
-my view is that we remain in.
APPLAUSE You, sir. The man with spectacles.
John, you say you want to stay in the European Union
to give more democratic control over business.
But whilst we are within the European Union,
it is illegal to expand state ownership of business.
How does that aid democratic control of business?
That's a great question.
If we stay in, we've got to have our reform agenda.
What's interesting, right across Europe now,
we are working with socialists, social democratic
and other progressive parties to develop that reform agenda,
which means ensuring more democratic control at a local level -
subsidiarity really works, but also coming to common agreements.
How we democratically control, for example, the flow of capital,
ensuring we get the long-term investment that we need
-that shares prosperity right across Europe.
-We can only do that on a European basis.
Do you think the parties are trying to scare the public on how to vote?
I do think there is an element of scaremongering.
My position on this is I can't make an educated decision,
based on I don't feel I'm being given enough facts
one way or another.
It's hard enough as it is.
Then you've got the Boris situation with Cameron and the squabbling.
It's like you're getting pulled from pillar to post.
The scaremongering tactics, if I can use a footballing phrase,
this has been used by footballers and agents for years.
You get a top player at a club, Wayne Rooney, for example,
and he wants a new deal at that club.
The agent will go to Real Madrid, or to Liverpool and he'll go,
"Right, get interested in our player..."
And he will almost force Manchester United's hand to make sure
he gets the deal he wants.
It's no different, really, what they're doing.
In politics, who plays which part? Who is your Wayne Rooney?
-I'm not going down that road.
-OK. Hold on a second...
-Jermaine has made a good point.
We've been dragged into this issue
over an issue of Conservative leadership.
I don't think that's the main issue. That's what's happening.
We've seen a fight between Boris and Osborne
which is detracting from a proper debate that we should be having,
-a rational debate.
In fairness, whether your view is that you want state ownership or,
like me, you want more of a free enterprise model,
the truth is it's only this Government that has given you,
whether in this room or watching at home, a say, a voice, the choice.
I think it's a once in a generation lifetime.
I think John and I and all the panellists want to shed light on it,
not to spread the shade of darkness and the rest of it.
Actually, in the last analysis, you are the ones that have the say.
In fact, I disagree with the Prime Minister on this
but I would pay huge credit to him
for giving the British people a say after 40 years.
APPLAUSE OK. You, sir.
With all the scaremongering that's going on in the media about this,
I don't see how the general public can make an informed decision.
You've seen Hollande's comments today about leaving the EU,
saying the economic impact that will have,
but reading articles in the newspapers,
there do not seem to be any facts.
It's both sides saying different things
and you don't know who to believe.
When you say you don't know who to believe,
you think the arguments are not meeting each other?
-Everybody just says what they think...
..will win you over and in fact, what you are saying is
it's not winning you over because you don't believe any of them.
I don't believe what they're saying cos I think they've got
-their own agendas and I don't know how to vote.
Not only are both sides using scare tactics, I think both sides
are relying over heavily on economic arguments they can't justify.
They are making arguments like,
"Do this because otherwise it will cost you more."
"No, do this because otherwise, it will cost you more that way."
It's not only incredible, you know, you don't really believe it,
but it's really insulting.
Most of us don't make choices based on how much a tin of bean costs -
how much a tin of beans costs.
It's very insulting and very uninspiring.
At the moment, I think Brexit are making a slightly better hope case,
while the kind of "ins" are making a kind of fear case.
I would like to see the "in" side
making a better case for a hopeful Europe.
Even though you're right that it is there for peace,
to combat climate change,
to deal with mass migration in a cooperative way,
you've got to make a case for something good happening
as a result of Europe.
I'd say it's good to be part of Europe because you can build
a renewables programme that you share across the continent.
It's good to be part of Europe
because it's the most dense knowledge-based economy
with the best universities,
and we share that infrastructure and it's ours to use.
There are really good hope cases to be made,
but obviously only if you are in and lobbying for those cases.
Whenever I write that, somebody always says,
"Hang on, you want us to believe in a Europe that doesn't exist.
"That's completely the opposite to the way it is now
"in order that we vote for it.
"In order that we change it even though we never do."
And I'm like, "Well, yeah, basically."
APPLAUSE Louise Bours.
In answer to the first question, I think absolutely.
Scare tactics will be used and I have no doubt
they will continue to be used right up until the 23rd of June.
I hope the Brexit campaign doesn't go down the route that
the "in" campaign seem to be going down at the moment,
which is just fraught with huge,
mammoth scare stories on a daily basis.
I think several panellists and several members of the audience
have already alluded to it, that what's happening is
there's no tangible facts being pushed out there by either side.
What we have is politicians who are just spouting lots of statistics
that back up their arguments,
and we all know statistics can be made to back up anything
we want to say, instead of making a positive case for what
a fantastic country this is.
We're the fifth-largest economy in the world.
If you think in terms of our soft power across the globe,
in terms of football, sport, music, arts, culture,
we have tremendous influence across the world.
We contribute massively to that soft power economy.
I think those kind of things are not talked about enough.
In reference to a point John made, it certainly isn't
the European Union that have kept peace in Europe.
-It is Nato.
I think we ought to acknowledge that.
Louise, if it's so simple to prescribe how the argument
should be fought by people like you on Brexit,
why can't you get your campaign together?
You've got two campaigns that seem to spend most of their time
sniping at each other.
Absolutely, that's a very, very bad thing.
That's a very bad show, and I wish the people
at the head of these campaigns would put their egos aside
and come together for the good of the Brexit campaign,
and I'm hopeful that will happen.
What do you have against each other? I don't know which side you're on.
-You're on the Farage side?
-I'm not on any side.
I'm not on either side.
I want a campaign that is going to give people...not facts
and anacronyms and mad statistics.
I want to see the fundamental case for Europe.
What a great country we are,
supporting our SMEs, supporting business in this country,
all these fantastic things we give to the world.
It is a marvellous place to live. We're very lucky.
And that is the message I want to give.
OK. The woman at the very back. On the right.
I just wanted to say we need clarification
on the main salient facts.
For example, in October we've got the relaxation of the visas
for the Turkish nationals.
Does that mean we're going to get an influx
of migrant workers from Turkey?
Have we got any say in that? Can we say no?
We have to bear in mind that one of those...
You picked up a really, really interesting point.
One of the things everybody is pushing for, including Mr Cameron,
is for Turkey to be a full member of the European Union,
and that opens our borders to another 75 million people.
You know, we have to look at our infrastructure and public services
which, in many places here in the north-west, are at capacity.
Could we cope with that?
Let's hear from some more members of the audience.
The man in the blue shirt? Then I'll come over to you.
Jermaine was talking about facts
and John's sat there as a Labour representative.
If you look at Stuart Rose yesterday
and what he told to the Treasury Select Committee
where he confirmed that the Bank of England report
that stated how immigration had impacted
on the low and semi-skilled workers,
six million workers in this country
that have been affected by immigration
have got a reduced standard of living.
How can a Labour representative sit there and say
you're going to vote to stay in when it's having such
a dramatic effect on so many people?
-Six million people in this country.
What do you think of what Lord Rose in effect said, therefore,
was if you vote to leave the EU,
wages will go up for six million people.
-Do you think he meant to say that?
-He clarified his comments, yes.
-He explained it's supply and demand.
For years now, the left has been saying the same thing, you know.
Immigration is good, it creates jobs.
Yes, it does, that much is true.
But the wage compression effect is massive
so it makes you wonder, then, for the likes of Stuart Rose
and all of the people writing these letters from the FTSE,
what do they really care about?
The wages of British people or profits that can be made
-for these multinational companies?
APPLAUSE OK. Over to you up there.
No, behind you. The man behind you. Then I will come to you.
I think there's a lot of confusing facts out there at the minute
but I think what's definitely clear is the Eurozone's failed.
Isn't it time to get hold of our currency
and get control of our economy before we press on into the world?
Just get Britain sorted first and then...
-You are a Brexiter?
-The woman in front of you?
I am a Brexiter as well.
If you look at what's happened with the refugee crisis
over the last six months,
how am I supposed to believe in a Europe when all the countries
are squabbling about what to do with the refugee crisis?
They can't decide what's best for Europe,
so how are they going to decide what's best for us?
And how am I supposed to think it's good to stay in?
OK. We've got a question about that which I'll take in a moment.
But let's hear from you, sir. Over there. And you in the front.
I'll take you in the front on the second row first.
Then you behind.
I am very much divided over this issue
but I'm very confused about Labour's position.
I was watching Prime Minister's Questions yesterday
and as far as I'm concerned, it looks like Jeremy Corbyn
and the whole of the frontbench just want this issue to go away
because it's not on their agenda.
John McDonnell, what do you say to that?
Let me add to that what the leader of the Green Party said today,
that she was concerned by the relative silence
from the Labour leadership on the EU referendum.
Why is this?
It's not silence, and to be frank, the focus of the debate
seems to have been divisions within the Conservative Party so far.
Now is the time, you're right, now's the time for Labour itself...
And Alan Johnson's been doing various meetings
around the country expressing our policy, but you're right,
now is the time for us to actually come out a bit more
in terms of explaining our views.
The view is that we want to transform Europe.
We don't want the EU as it now is, we have our own reform agenda
and it's about protecting wages,
making sure we enforce trade union rights.
The benefits we have had so far
is actually our campaigns in Europe have developed issues
around maternity and paternity leave, protection for workers,
which this Government's tried to undermine.
So we have used Europe as the vehicle to protect that.
Why haven't you been campaigning on this?
Three weeks have gone by.
Did you decide not to and to let the Tories fight each other?
No. Enjoyable though that might have been at times, but no. Not at all.
Are you saying Jeremy Corbyn and you will come out fighting?
We've been out there but we've been crowded out of the media
because of what's happened in the Tory Party.
We will be out there on the stump, arguing our case.
Our case is... We've got Europhiles and Europhobes.
Those who accept everything about Europe that is good,
those who detest Europe.
Our decision is a rational one,
which is we believe it's in the best interests to remain within the EU
but there are real issues that have to be addressed
and we have got to develop a reform agenda
and that is about protecting wages.
It's about developing trade union rights and long-term investment.
It's about having, exactly as Zoe said,
a real vision for the future, one of hope.
-It does exist...
-Hold on. APPLAUSE
That agenda is being developed right across Europe with other...
With respect, I think we've got the point twice now.
Dominic Raab, do you want to comment on what John said?
I think the truth is there are different views
within the Labour Party and that's respectable.
We're not clones in the Tory party.
They're not clones in the Labour Party.
Frank Field, one of the most respected Labour figures,
has talked very much about the social impact of immigration
and that's been the key reason, the lack of border controls,
why he's come out for Brexit.
I wondered if I may pick up on the point the gentleman made
about businesses and Lord Rose's comments.
The key thing about the EU is we get huge amounts of red tape
but the big businesses with the big HR departments
and lawyers are much better placed to deal with it.
The commission's own advisory group say that their red tape
hits small businesses ten times harder than big businesses.
Up here in the north-west,
99% of the firms are small businesses
and two-thirds of employment is through small businesses
so do you want to stick up for the big corporations
in hock with the EU?
Or stand up for the little guy, the worker and the small businesses?
Are we throwing light on this issue? APPLAUSE
What? Shaking your heads.
The man up there. You, sir, with the glasses? Yes.
I think we're skirting around the major issue here
which is democracy.
British democracy is a beacon around the world and the European Union
is inherently undemocratic, the way it works.
This is the last chance we are going to get to vote on this
for a long, long time.
It's really important that people realise that democracy
is at the heart of the election here.
APPLAUSE OK. The woman in the second row?
John McDonnell keeps talking about the reform agenda
and isn't the whole point that attempts at reform...
Where is your potency to have reform within the current EU system?
OK. Leave that as a question.
-And the man behind?
-On a similar theme,
how long would you allow for this reform agenda, you know?
If you are going to allow one?
-If you vote to stay in, how long would you allow?
Look. I've got a problem with this democratic thing.
There is a democratic deficit in Europe, for sure.
Nobody would say it's perfect.
Nobody does say it's perfect, except for the "in" campaign,
which I think is making a mistake.
When you say it's a democratic deficit,
you've got to look at something like the environment.
The European Union, over the past 20 years,
has acted almost as an environmental union.
Everybody said we want this for the environment -
clean beaches, clean air, and Europe brought that into play and did it
with very, very slow laws which are very difficult to unpick.
Compare that to the way the British governments work,
the Government will say hug a husky...
No, hang on a sec. A hoodie.
No, a husky...one week and then come in,
suddenly the renewables programme is pulled back,
suddenly renewables are back on the table,
suddenly their commitments are this, then not this...
You see a huge amount of tegiversation
with national governments which bears no relation
to the things that we've democratically asked for.
So the idea that just by being kind of outside Europe we'll get
the democracy that we deserve, I think, is wrong.
APPLAUSE OK. I'm going to move on.
Each week we do quite a substantial chunk on this,
but I want to pick up the question that a woman up there put
and Catherine Boots has it here. Yes, Catherine.
Has the migrant crisis been mishandled by European countries?
Has the migrant crisis been mishandled? Louise Bours?
Absolutely. We had, at the beginning of it, Angela Merkel.
I'm sure you'll all remember Angela Merkel
basically saying, "Everyone, come. The doors are open."
Then today, or yesterday...today, I think it was,
we had Donald Tusk, the President of the European Council,
saying, "Don't come, it's closed. You cannot come."
So we've had this huge open-arm invitation
and now we have this huge,
"Stop, don't come, you're not wanted."
Of course it's been mishandled.
It was so, so silly to say what she did initially,
not knowing how many would come, not knowing how they would come,
and also not taking into consideration at all
the terrorist threat that exists at the moment in those countries.
We have to all...
You know, we have to admit that when these migrants are coming...
The European Union figures themselves are saying now
that roughly 5,000 jihadists have already made their way
on to the continent with the migrants/refugees.
You said the cultures that people came are wrong
and blamed those attacks in Cologne
on the people who had been allowed in and said that was foolish.
-You weren't talking about jihadis?
We have to accept that the people who are coming
are culturally different from us.
Sometimes that is a great thing and cultures can integrate
and we all live happily.
What Cologne showed us was that these huge numbers of young males,
obviously, who see women as very different to Western men,
how they see women,
and unfortunately those mass sexual assaults
didn't just happen in Cologne but Helsinki and across Europe
and they were organised.
That is a very frightening thing for people in this country.
If you then had, in Germany, signs being put up in swimming pools
and public buildings, for women, saying what you can do,
what you can't do, you mustn't smile,
you mustn't wear your...
-Sorry to stop you.
There are many people around the table, we have to bring them in.
Jermaine? What's your view?
The road that Angela Merkel went down was pretty ridiculous,
to be honest with you, and it caused chaos.
I spoke about facts when I spoke about the EU
and whether to stay in or leave. I wanted some type of facts.
The way they have handled this situation is something that
probably takes me away from that
because I think it's been completely mishandled.
Doesn't give me any confidence, so to speak, within the EU.
I would like to probably see more of a pro rata-type basis handling
of the situation, look at each country's economic value basically,
how much land they've got and deal with the situation like that.
I don't think... It's definitely not something we can turn our backs on,
it's there and we need to deal with it in that type of way.
-That's the key to it.
We've got to have an immigration system people have confidence in.
The truth is, put the asylum seekers, the genuine refugees,
those fleeing persecution to one side in a moment...
That was what her question is about. Let's stick with her question.
But they are a relatively small proportion
and we should treat them humanely and offer them a safe haven.
1.5 million, is that relatively small?
Sorry, the vast majority coming through Calais
and the routes from Syria, through the Mediterranean,
whether we call them refugees, they are coming for a better life.
They're what we, in that unsavoury phrase,
call economic migrants.
And the truth is we need to do three things to restore trust
in our immigration system - make sure people coming here can be
self-sufficient, make sure if they break the law they can be removed
from this country and have some control over the raw numbers
because of the pressures on wages, as has already been mentioned,
because of the pressures on public services.
We cannot do any of those three things from within the EU
and that's why...
I wish we could but we can't.
If you want to restore public confidence in our border controls,
you have to leave the European Union.
I'm going back to the questioner. APPLAUSE
May I interrupt?
All the heads of Government have put millions of pounds for the migrants,
yes, to make...help them.
Where's the help? There's thousands of them at the border.
There should be people sent out there with the millions
you're sending out there for nurses, builders.
Them tents are no use,
you're putting children in tents in the middle of winter.
The time we've been in this situation since last year,
nothing's been done.
You've got a few tents and a few toilets.
42 toilets in one camp for 8,000 people.
How is that good for the migrant?
Put some money where it's seen.
-I can't see any money going out there.
-OK. Zoe Williams?
I'm surprised to hear Dominic say these are economic migrants
rather than refugees because we know there is a war in Syria,
we know there are violent situations in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Central African Republic, Eritrea.
We know where the refugees are coming from and why they're fleeing.
The idea that most are economic migrants is patently untrue.
-You don't know that.
I actually do know that. Oh, yes, I do. The UNHCR...
It's impossible for you to know that.
-How would it be impossible?
-Some are fleeing persecution.
Can I just tell you, nobody puts their children on a black dinghy
across that strait if it's not safer on the boat than it is on the land.
I've actually been in Lesbos, I've seen the people come in.
850,000 came through Lesbos last year.
It's an awe-inspiringly dangerous journey, and a very expensive one,
funnelling money back to the smugglers.
And we'll get more of those tragic cases
-if we don't deal with the problem in the region. At source.
We're putting more money than any other European country
-to try and do that.
If you just open your borders, which is John's position,
you will find the problem gets worse, not better.
They are leaving a safe country.
Why do they put them in the boats from Turkey?
-Turkey is a safe country.
-All right. Finish, Zoe, please.
-Why take that risk?
-One at a time, please. Not two at a time. Zoe.
The point is, OK, it's fine.
Solve the problem at source if you think you can, but in the meantime,
we're signatories to the Refugee Convention.
When people are fleeing for their lives,
they don't listen to Merkel or Tusk, particularly,
they flee danger and we've got duties,
-as human beings, to care for them.
You might have a long-term plan to deal with Syria
but until you make it work...
The EU system says you go to your first port of entry
and then you have an allocation.
Donald Tusk is now saying do not come to Europe,
do not believe the smugglers,
do not risk your lives and money. It's all for nothing.
-Can you remember, only a year ago,
that body of the baby picked up off the beach?
Can you remember that? That's how desperate things were.
Where people were coming cross, exactly as Zoe said,
on life rafts and all the rest, and they were fleeing...
They were fleeing...
-They were fleeing...
-They were safe.
-He was living in safety.
-They were fleeing...
-He put his child...
-Sorry. John, just for a second.
Wait. Start again, sir, so we can hear the point.
Sorry. That man was in safety, he was living in a camp.
He put his children in danger. He brought his child across.
-He was responsible. Nobody else.
-They were fleeing a war zone.
They were fleeing a war zone and then when they get to Turkey,
they had no assistance whatsoever and they were absolutely desperate.
Absolute desperation. The whole...
If you look at the refugees system we are in at the moment...
I take Dominic's point seriously.
We've got to resolve the situation at source,
and that means trying to secure peace in Syria through negotiations.
I have to say, us bombing Syria doesn't help in that situation.
-Can I just finish on this?
I believe we have a duty, humanitarian duty, to do,
exactly as this lady has said,
everything we can to assist the refugees themselves.
The only way you can do that is if countries come together
in a co-ordinated way, add together their resources,
help all we can, of course around the Syrian borders themselves,
but also, actually, if people have to be resettled,
we do it on a planned basis, exactly as Jermaine has said,
on a planned and co-operative basis right across Europe.
As a country, to be frank,
in comparison with other European countries, we have failed dismally.
Use Catherine Boots' question. If you could answer, briefly, that.
Has the crisis been mishandled by the heads of the European countries?
I believe it's been mishandled by every European state,
and that includes our one.
We need to do more and we need to cooperate to achieve it.
You, sir, there. And then I'll come to you up there. Yes.
I take it the panel watches the internet.
If you watch the internet, you will find half of the stuff
you see on the media on the telly is edited.
Half of them immigrants, they don't want water, they don't want food,
they want money and they want to try to get to Britain.
You up there. Yes. The woman up there.
I volunteer at a local refugee crisis centre,
and I think for Louise to basically brand them
as people who come here searching for money and...
-I didn't say that.
-You said their opinions of women and these things.
They are fleeing from war zones.
Can you imagine how you would feel to have to leave everything behind?
-To leave your family?
-Can I answer that?
-No, you can't.
She just commented on what you said, which is fair enough.
-I didn't say that, though, she made it up.
The union is supposed to be based on unity and solidarity
and each of these member states, they're not seeing them as people,
they see them as nothing, really.
It's not on.
I don't see how people can say remaining in the EU is good
if the leaders are going to act in this way.
I think it's disgusting, the way they have handled it.
I'll take a point from you, sir, then we'll go on. Yes.
Man in the check shirt.
A lot of people are linking immigration to terrorism.
Not all immigrants are terrorists, we know that.
But I don't want to link the immigration argument to terrorism.
The country cannot cope.
The infrastructure, the NHS, housing,
it's that that cannot cope with the immigrants.
-We cannot cope.
Thank you very much. I want to go on.
APPLAUSE I want to go on.
Because I don't want to stick on Europe for the whole programme.
I want to carry on. Wait. HE MUMBLES
Just say where we're going to be next week,
which is Dundee and then Chelmsford.
And the way to get into this audience
and have these arguments is on the screen.
You can either call or apply to the website.
Right. A question from Barry Pickard, please.
Cutting the top rank of income tax from 50p down to 45p
raised an extra £8 billion from the super-rich.
Should it now be cut to 40p?
Should we now cut income tax to 40p because,
as the Chancellor of the Exchequer claimed,
it gained £8 billion when they reduced it by 5p. John.
Within hours of George Osborne making that claim,
it was refuted by the Institute for Fiscal Studies and many others,
because what happened was that we saw a huge exercise in tax planning.
So people delayed certain payments
and bonuses, etc, until that tax regime was reduced.
So instead of paying it in the year it was at 50p,
they then delayed that.
So we had an artificial low one year and an artificial high the next.
The IFS has said that over the next five-year period, actually,
it will cost us, they say, 360 million. Something like that.
So the reduction didn't gain us anything, it's cost us everything.
My view is that the wealthy, the corporations and others,
should pay their taxes, pay a fair rate of tax
and shoulder the burden the rest of us do.
OK. As Shadow Chancellor,
what rate of tax would you have at the top?
We oppose 45p and we would put it back to 50p and leave it at that.
-No, leave it at that.
-I thought you wanted to go to 60 at one point.
-That was years ago.
There is a good point, to be honest.
This whole debate around income tax, I think, is not the issue.
The issue is the corporations paying their taxes.
Look at Google and all the others.
We need a fair tax system
and we need to ensure corporations pay their way.
No-one in this audience would have been able to do a deal
like Google, where they put off their taxes for the ten years
and then only pay a tenth of what they should have. That's outrageous.
The debate is moving onto tax justice,
rather than issues around income tax.
APPLAUSE Dominic Rabb.
First of all, on the tax deficit,
the difference between tax owed and tax collected,
it is at its lowest level on record.
So we have done a huge amount to deal with that problem.
On tax cutting, when you cut taxes, you spur innovation
and jobs growth, and that brings in revenue.
In principle, it's a good thing.
But for me, the focus would be on low and middle incomes.
If you look at what we have done since 2010,
those earning £10,000-£15,000, lowish incomes,
are paying 60% less tax than in 2010.
If you are a millionaire, you are paying 12.4% more tax.
I think those tax cuts are a good example of something that is good
for the economy and good for our society.
When I look at Labour, the first tax policy
they have come out with is raising the basic rate of tax.
You're talking about people on £11,000.
For the Labour Party,
raising tax is the closest thing they have to religion.
It's not just bad for enterprise and jobs but also bad for society.
-Am I wrong about the basic rate?
We've not said about increasing the basic rate.
What I've said is that we are not focusing on income tax.
You are misleading the audience.
Jeremy Corbyn has said crystal clear that he wants to raise
-the basic rate of tax.
-No, he hasn't.
-Be honest about it.
-Be straight about this.
We've said consistently on the 45p rate
it was a mistake to reduce it from 50p,
and we have also said we are not interested
in increasing the basic rate of tax.
What we're interested in is collecting taxes from corporations
and making sure there is a fair taxation system.
That is the quickest U-turn in opposition I have ever seen.
-You're making it up as you go along.
I agree with John's point about the corporations.
I think that issue definitely needs to be addressed.
It's also probably naive to think
if we reduced the level of tax from 45p down to 40p,
that in turn would create more money,
as that figure tried to put across.
But, look. I think most people are quite happy to pay their way
to support our sectors.
Our sectors, for me, are struggling.
Teachers, our schools, our NHS are bursting at the seams.
We need to raise money for those sectors, to support them.
If that means the rate of tax has to be pushed up to 50p, then it does.
-It is as simple as that.
OK. Louise Bours.
These kind of questions always confuse me.
I don't know about people sitting in the audience and at home,
but when you hear Conservatives and Labour just argue,
they are so determined that each is right.
-Doesn't Ukip believe it's right?
-They never do that!
What I would like to see...
We have the most complex tax system, I think, in the world.
It's tens of thousands of pages long, our tax system.
I would like it simplified.
I'd like to take people on minimum wage out of tax
and National Insurance altogether.
I don't think they should be paying tax and National Insurance
if you're earning the minimum wage. That would be a help.
We have to target those who make avoiding tax a profession.
We all know who those are, the big corporations.
I would like to see a real will within the Government to go after
those big corporations so they pay their fair share.
It can never be right in a society where we have people on minimum wage
paying tax and National Insurance,
and we have the likes of Google and Starbucks
and the rest of them paying nothing.
To do that, you have to have international agreements.
You voted against the European Union and those international agreements.
-Hang on. Of course...
Hang on, ladies and gentlemen.
Do you want the European Union having a hold over your taxes?
You blocked country by country reporting!
-You voted against it consistently!
-John, I listen to it every week.
They want tax harmonisation across the European Union.
No. You voted against country by country reporting.
Can you just answer the question John has put to you?
You voted against country by country reporting,
so we could identify how much tax should be paid in each country.
We voted, and we always vote and will continue to vote against
anything that hands any further powers
to the Commission and to the European Union.
-It didn't. It gave powers to us.
-No, it didn't. Read the thing.
Labour MEPs always read them in such a vague way.
This is going nowhere fast. You in the front.
Then I'll come to you, Zoe. The man here in the front.
I've got some advice for the Chancellor.
Cut Iain Duncan Smith, save the country a fortune
and you could have a promotion on the way, Dominic.
That's a generous offer but I will respectfully decline.
Zoe Williams. Then I'll come to you.
This chap really hates Iain Duncan Smith so I'm with you.
To return to the question,
what I find worrying about George Osborne
and his £8 billion figure
is that I don't think he made a mistake.
I think he knew that wasn't true.
We seem to be living through a post-truth politics,
where there is no onus upon them to say what is actually true any more.
I would really like to see him held to account more on that.
You can't say "We saved £8 billion"
when you know it is just deferred tax from one year to the next,
and you really should be held up on it.
On the basic level of income tax, it's a really blunt tool.
Most people on low income who are taken out of income tax,
that money was clawed back through reductions in tax credits.
The people who really won from the raising of the minimum threshold
were those on middle and high incomes.
Again, there is a huge amount of deliberate mendacity which
makes us all think, "I don't know who is telling the truth."
The fact is they are not telling the truth often enough.
OK. The woman, here.
If George Osborne did save £8 billion,
can he not use it to vaccinate our children against meningitis B?
APPLAUSE Dominic Rabb.
Look, there are huge pressures on the public finances.
We've cut the deficit by half as a proportion of GDP
but there's still a way to go.
Which is a short way of saying it is one of those things
you would love to do if you could but there are so many other
campaigns and pressure groups looking to try
and find ways to use that money.
I have a three-year-old and a one-year-old at home,
and I know the fear and concern people have around it.
It's something we'd love to be able to do if we had the money,
and who knows, with...
Your three-year-old and one-year-old will be vaccinated by next year.
My eight and nine-year-olds won't.
All I'm saying is as a parent, I totally understand the concern.
You cannot fund these things in the NHS
unless you've got a growing, vibrant economy.
Do you anticipate further cuts in the Budget in three weeks?
I can't pre-empt the Chancellor.
We've got to make sure we have stable public finances,
we continue on the stable path, and when we've got room to do it,
we invest in vital things,
whether it's meningitis or other parts of the NHS,
and we make sure people have more money in their pocket,
particularly low and middle-income workers.
I'll take a couple more points and we'll go on to another. You, sir.
The reality is we're all going to have to pay more tax.
Why aren't the politicians more honest about it?
We're in this race for the bottom.
Everybody wants to cut tax, we're living longer,
there's more care needed,
people will be missing out because of all the cuts,
particularly in Liverpool in social care...packages.
We're going to have to pay more tax.
Let's be grown up about it
and let's have the politicians admitting it
and let's have a rational debate.
And the man behind you.
Am I wrong in believing that Labour, for 12.5 years
of a 13-year government, had a higher tax rate at 40%?
Is that not true?
-Now you're trying to be...
-Why do you only have 40%?
-Now you're trying to be the poorer man's best friend.
I was on the back benches then
and I used to put alternative budgets up every year.
-So it's not your fault.
-Let me finish.
I used to put up alternative budgets every year
and in that was included a 50p rate.
There you are, you've got the answer.
The argument then was that that struck the right balance.
And the point that this gentleman made
about "We're all going to have to pay more taxes",
the issue for most people is they...
People don't jib against paying taxes
if they think the system is fair.
None of us now think the system is fair
because we're seeing the wealthiest and the corporations
laugh all the way to the bank by manipulating the tax system.
I'll just take a couple more quick questions
before we come to the end of the programme.
We've got ten minutes or so
and I think both these ones are worth taking.
Alan King first of all, please. Alan King.
When do we start to see Donald Trump as a serious politician?
When do we stop seeing Trump as a joke
and see him as a serious politician?
What do you think?
I don't know when we start seeing him as a serious human being.
Look, we see him as a serious threat right now
and if, by serious politician,
you mean serious threat to the entire world,
then I say start thinking that now.
The problem is there's nothing we can do about it so, you know,
it's that kind of impotent anxiety that isn't going to get us anywhere.
It's... It really irritates me cos everybody says, you know,
"This is populist politics, left-wing populism
"and right-wing populism are both the same."
They're not the same -
left-wing populism looks like Bernie Sanders
and wants a democratic socialist life
where people have more and are happier,
and right-wing populism looks like a guy who won't distance
himself from the Klu Klux Klan. So, you know...
Do you agree with that, Dominic?
I think that stuff around the Klu Klux Klan
and refusing to disavow them put him beyond the pale.
I think that raises a serious question mark
around his integrity.
I think I'm also worried about what he might do.
He's talking about building a wall,
making the Mexicans pay for it, bringing back torture...
But the thing is,
whether you're a left-wing or a right-wing populist,
you prey on the very seductive vulnerabilities of people.
You come up with these populist utopian ideas
but you always, in the end, end up breaking your promises,
and I think, in the end,
the American people will be too smart to vote for that.
-I certainly hope so.
-You in the fourth row there, yes.
I think we need to look at the kind of anger
that Donald Trump is harnessing,
but I do agree with Zoe that we should actually consider him
more of a threat and we should be thinking about whether,
if he is elected President of the United States,
whether that is a man that in any way, shape or form
we want to do any business with.
And the woman here on the second row.
Isn't part of the problem that we like democracy until the person
who democracy elects isn't somebody that we would choose?
And wouldn't somebody like President Assad or Mugabe...
We argue that's why you don't have democracy,
cos you end up with a Trump.
LAUGHTER Louise Bours, do you agree with her?
I've agreed with a couple of things the lady said this evening.
Look, I mean, love him or loathe him,
the people of the Republican Party, they keep voting him through
and that is democracy.
Just because we don't like him
or find his views unpalatable, etc, etc,
that really, as far as we're concerned in Great Britain,
has nothing to do with us.
This election is the United States of America
and just as we don't want them
interfering in our democratic process in elections over here,
we really have no right to interfere in theirs.
Now, whether he wins the nomination
and goes forward to the presidential elections,
we will have to wait and see and then the American people can decide.
But that's what democracy's all about -
it doesn't matter whether we like him,
it's what the American people want,
and if they're going to vote for him then they will have the government
and the president that they deserve and that's the important thing.
Unless we want to have elections like in the European Union
where you're given a ballot paper...
Like when we were electing
the President of the European Parliament,
we had one candidate and all we had was "yes" on the ballot paper.
So unless you want elections like that, Donald Trump,
he is the Republican Party's choice at the moment.
OK, man up there.
Are we going to be prepared for the migrant crisis from America?
-I didn't quite hear that.
-What was that?
Are we going to be prepared for the migrant crisis from America?
And the man in pink there, I wanted to go to. Yes.
It's OK Zoe saying that we shouldn't poke around in the politics
-of America and what Trump's doing but...
-I didn't say that.
..it seems it's OK for us to poke around in the politics
of the Middle East when a particular leader over there is...
-My point is,
maybe we should poke around in the politics of the United States.
I think it's very worrying to me that Donald Trump is getting
so far within his political career.
He comes across to me
as a person that seems to thrive on people's insecurities
and weaknesses and I just think, you know, it's easy for us to say,
"Right, it's not our country and let's not get involved",
but at some point, we're going to have to deal with America
over certain subjects,
so do I want that to be Donald Trump?
-No, I do not.
-We have no choice, though. It's their choice.
It is their choice, obviously, but that's why I'm saying
it's so worrying to me that he's getting so far down the line.
Yeah, nobody's suggesting we intervene in America, Louise,
we're just saying it's a bad thing.
You, sir, in the white T-shirt.
-If he becomes president, what then?
-All right, hold on.
I think the biggest fear for me...
I think you're absolutely right, it's America's issue, this.
Bigger fear for me is if Jeremy
and John's ragtag bunch of socialists get into number ten.
-I'd agree with that, sir.
-John, you maybe want to answer him.
Thanks for that.
I think we've got to take Trump seriously and I think it's...
I find it extremely worrying
about some of the statements that he's made,
the instability that he will cause within his own country
and the instability that he could cause globally.
It's not interfering in American politics,
it's completely, of course, up to the American people,
but as friends of the American people, our closest ally,
I think as friends we should express our caution and concern about it.
This is someone who actually could damage - damage -
international relations overall.
Why is he so appealing to the Republican voter?
I think there's a real...
Within America itself,
there is a real disaffection about the system overall,
about how large numbers of people now have had their wages suppressed,
their public services are collapsing,
and if you look at the opinion polls,
there's real anger out there.
And they're seizing upon Trump as an opportunity to protest
against the system itself.
Now, I'm hoping, I'm hoping that as the debate goes on,
the more exposed that he becomes, that people will then say,
"This is not for us",
and that there'll be a vote for a candidate
who actually will represent all of America
rather than one small section.
But I think we do have the opportunity,
as friends of America, to actually say,
"This could be damaging to us all and please, please think carefully."
OK. Last point from you, madam.
Ah. All I have to say is that really,
that's why I'd really prefer to stay in Europe,
cos imagine Donald Trump with Putin.
And they're the superpowers, aren't they?
-And there you have a very unsafe planet, really.
We'll take a last question from James Yates, please.
Should tackling in rugby be banned in schools?
You write about medicine yourself, do you?
Yeah, well, just started.
-What, you've just started?
-So you know about this issue.
Should tackling rugby...
Should tackling in rugby be banned in schools?
We know that there's a policy
to get millions more children playing rugby.
Jermaine, you would know about this.
Initially, when you hear that statement,
you feel like saying, "Well, it would be almost
"like banning shooting from playing football."
If you're playing football,
like, kids aren't allowed to shoot no more.
I thought you meant something quite different.
It is, it's like... Oh, yeah, sorry!
Yeah, wrong way.
No, it's almost like saying to a young footballer,
"You can't shoot at goal no more",
and I just think that rugby, part of it is tackling.
And granted, you know, the injuries that can be sustained aren't great
and what I think we should do is...
You know, when I was at school, there was parts
where you was on the school field and someone would have a shot,
probably someone who wasn't very good, and it would hit
somebody in the face and they'd have a bloody nose.
So what they made us do was start playing with a sponge football
or a smaller football.
The thing with rugby,
I'm sure they'd do what they do with American football -
you can play tag, have, like, a flag hanging out of your shorts
and they can take that off, or start wearing protective gear
and then as you get older, the layers of protective gear come off.
So you would like that to happen?
You don't want 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds
tackling each other and...
I think it's important that we obviously don't end up with, yeah,
16-, 17-year-olds who have got major issues through getting
concussion through the early stages of their career.
So, yeah, I think I would like to see some type of protective gear
for these youngsters to wear until they get to that professional stage.
Dominic. We'll have to go quickly around the table on this.
This is an issue. 70 doctors and scientists called for this ban.
I think we should try and make all these contact sports a bit safer
but I don't think we should be banning them.
We need to be encouraging youngsters to do more sports.
It's good for their health,
it's also good for other life skills...
-OK, very quickly...
We have the same debate around boxing.
I'm a trustee of Fight For Peace in Newham
and it gets a lot of youngsters very difficult to reach
into the club to do the competitive martial arts or boxing,
but then it also works on their numeracy, their literacy.
I got involved mentoring
and all I'm saying is these kind of sports have got the potential
and the power to reach certain youngsters,
particularly from tough backgrounds, that nothing else does.
-So let's not get rid of that.
-We have to be very brief.
-I don't know...
-Who's most likely to be brief?
Yes, you can be brief.
I remember interviewing the academic who did this research
when she first started it.
She's a public health epidemiologist and I was like,
"What do you want to do rugby for?
"It's just a weird thing posh people play."
And she said, "You've got no idea how dangerous this is.
"If you knew how dangerous it was and how often people
"are brain damaged by it, there's no way you would let your children
"anywhere near it." I think all these arguments -
"Oh, it's really good for you to get into the fresh air..."
You don't need to get a concussion in the fresh air,
there are loads of ways to get fit, not concussing yourself.
Shouldn't it be left to the parents, not Government to decide?
If parents knew how dangerous it was,
they would vote with their feet.
John, can I ask you in a phrase to say
whether rugby tackling should be banned?
I think we need to take into account what the doctors are now warning us
and I think on Jermaine's point,
you change the techniques, you look at enhanced protections.
In that way, you preserve the sport, but you don't have the risk as well.
-The benefits outweigh the risks, in my opinion.
It teaches our kids team-manship, competitiveness,
I think all team games are very positive and remember,
we want to tackle childhood obesity.
That will be a big killer, far bigger killer to our kids
than injuries within sports, so let's support it.
One point from our audience.
Somebody who hasn't spoken before. Yes.
I appreciate and understand what the whole panel have said.
However, with many things within school,
why aren't the children being asked what they think?
Thank you very much, everybody, we've got to stop. Time's up.
We're in Dundee next week, as I said earlier on.
We have the Conservative leader in Scotland, Ruth Davidson,
with us on the panel
and the SNP's Deputy First Minister, John Swinney,
on the panel as well.
The week after that, we're going to be in Chelmsford,
no idea who we're going to have on the panel then.
But if you want to come to Dundee or Chelmsford,
go to our website or call...
If you're listening to this on Radio 5 Live,
as you know, this debate carries on through the night
until one or two or three,
I don't know when it stops in the morning -
a lot to talk about.
That goes on on Question Time Extra Time.
But here in Liverpool, my thanks to our panel and to all of you
who came to take part in this edition of Question Time.
Until next Thursday, from all of us here, goodnight.
David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Liverpool.
Panellists include Conservative justice minister Dominic Raab, Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell, UKIP's Louise Bours, Guardian columnist Zoe Williams and former England footballer Jermaine Jenas.