David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Ipswich. On the panel are Ed Miliband, David Davis, Caroline Lucas, Dreda Say Mitchell and Steve Hilton.
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This is Question Time.
Good evening and welcome, whether you're watching on TV,
listening on Radio 5 Live, here in the audience.
Welcome to our panel.
Tonight, the former leader of the Labour Party, Ed Miliband,
in his first appearance on Question Time
since last year's election.
The Conservative former Europe Minister
and chairman of the party, campaigning for Brexit, David Davis.
The Green Party's former and maybe future, leader,
David Cameron's close political ally for many years,
maybe slightly less now that he's urging Brexit,
And the crime writer with nine novels to her credit
and a Guardian columnist to boot, Dreda Say Mitchell.
Good, thank you very much
and just before we take our first question,
remember, as ever, Facebook,
Twitter, texting 83981...
If you want to comment on anything that's said here -
do that and everybody will get to hear your views.
Now, if I can find the questions, which I have,
our first question tonight is from Mary Bird, please.
In light of the EU migration figures published today,
how on earth are our public services going to cope?
Well, Mary, I think they can cope
but I think it obviously means that there are stresses and strains.
And this goes to the bigger question
of whether we should be within the European Union,
remain, or leave.
I understand people have concerns about immigration
but you have to look at the balance of the argument, here.
And it seems to me the balance of the argument is this -
we know from official figures
that people who come here from the European Union contribute
about £2.5 billion more
in terms of taxes than they claim in benefits.
We know we've got 100,000 people from the EU
working in our public services, which you asked about.
-Now, on the other side...
I'm talking about schools, hospitals,
the transport system,
that's what I am talking about.
-Yeah, and there are...
-They are heaving.
And there are 250,000 people from the EU
propping up our schools and our hospitals
and our social care systems.
But...but, Mary, I hear it in my own constituency.
I don't deny there are pressures,
but I ask you and the audience to think about this.
First of all, economically, we are better off in the European Union.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies, a respected independent think-tank -
not the Government,
not the Governor of the Bank of England -
said this week there would be a £20-£40 billion black hole
in our public finances if we left.
Now, the question for you and the audience is -
and this is, I think, the answer -
let's use the money we get from being in the European Union,
the extra taxes, to relieve the pressures on public services
in Ipswich and elsewhere, but for goodness' sake,
let's not throw the baby out with the bathwater,
leave the European Union, and make us worse off,
because that's, I believe, what would happen.
On the Remain side, just briefly,
are you embarrassed by the figures that came out,
showing the second-highest on record this year?
-You're not embarrassed by it?
You don't think it's difficult for the campaign, no?
-All right, fine...
I think it is an important point, because I am the son of immigrants.
My parents came here as refugees
from the Nazis, from Europe,
from Belgium - my dad in 1940,
my mum, from Poland, after the Second World War.
They were European migrants.
They've made a contribution to this country. And, look...
So I think immigration has benefits. I think people make contributions.
We've got to use the extra income generated
to relieve the pressures that people here and elsewhere face.
You've said that. David Davis.
Well, he should be worried.
I mean, this country has been welcoming to migrants
for decades, centuries,
as, indeed, Ed indicates,
but welcoming to them in numbers
which we can cope with.
And 300,000-odd net migration every year,
a new city every year...
The questioner is quite right, Mary is quite right,
it overwhelms the ability of schools, hospitals, housing,
which we cannot change very fast, is overwhelmed.
Young people can't afford houses as a result.
Ed says it makes more money.
Well, I'm afraid these numbers don't stand up.
Those numbers are based on the very real and proper calculation
that most migrants come here to work,
they don't come here to be dependent on benefits.
So that calculation of how much benefit is claimed,
how much tax is paid, on that basis, is right.
But it does not take on board all the extra public services,
it doesn't take on board all the extra transport,
it doesn't take on board
all the other pressures on society that it creates.
That is not the fault of the migrant.
If I were Romanian, I'd be here now.
If I was a Greek, a young Greek, I'd be here now,
cos this is where the jobs are.
But it's the Government's responsibility
and this is out of control - full stop.
This is out of control.
What the Government ought to do is to get this back in control
for the interests of the country
and, frankly, also for the interests of many of the migrants
and the only way that can be done is by leaving the European Union.
Well, in economic terms alone, if you leave the European Union,
you are looking at a massive loss of economic wealth to this country,
you're looking at a loss of jobs
and we can argue how much that figure is,
there are different estimates out there,
but when you've got everybody from the OECD to the IMF
to the Bank of England, all of them saying
that there will be a net economic loss to Britain
if we leave the single market,
then I think that's something that should give us pause.
But, you know, I don't want to sit here apologising for the fact
that membership of the EU gives us free movement of people.
I want to sit here and actually celebrate it
and I appreciate that might be controversial...
But I think there is something rather amazing
about having the choice, for those people that do have a choice,
to be able to live and love and work and retire
in 28 different member states.
We know, of course, that many British people make the most of that
by going to Spain and many other parts of the EU,
just as people come to our country.
I do accept that the costs and benefits
are not terribly equally spread across the UK,
which is why I agree with Ed
that we need some kind of immigration dividend,
or a solidarity fund, whatever we want to call it.
But given that there is a net benefit that people are bringing,
not just in terms of our communities and our culture,
but a net economic benefit,
then let us use that money to be able to invest in the services
in areas that are under pressure.
So you think, in reply to Mary,
your view is that the public services can be funded properly?
I think if the political will is there, of course they can.
But we can also look at parts of the country where, right now...
We have such centralisation in London and the south-east
that that puts pressure, irrespective of immigration.
If we had a more balanced regional policy across the country,
I think we could have all the benefits
and have less pressure as well.
Let's hear from the audience, then I'll come back to our panel.
The woman there, in orange, or pink, is it? There - you, madam.
Is it because the economic union is not working,
the European Union is not working,
that there are so many people that are out of work in Europe?
It's a broken club,
that so many people are actually coming to Britain.
-You think the outfit isn't delivering?
Let's hold on to that point.
You in the blue shirt on the gangway.
Hold on a second, we'll get a microphone to you.
I don't think the debate about immigration in the EU
should be about numbers or economic immigrants,
if they benefit the UK or not - it should be about the choice,
and if we have the choice to control our immigration policy.
Even if we left the EU,
we could then choose whether or not we had mass migration.
If we elected a government
with a policy of immigration of hundreds of thousands, fine.
But at the minute, as a member of the EU,
we don't have that choice.
OK. Steve Hilton.
Like Ed, I am very pro-immigration,
and I suspect also because, like Ed,
my parents were immigrants to this country.
I owe everything I have, all my opportunities,
to the fact that this country welcomed my parents.
I am also an immigrant now from this country to America,
so I am very pro-immigration.
But precisely because of that,
I think we should be completely open on immigration.
Let me explain what I mean by that.
It is clearly common sense
that we can't have unlimited numbers of people coming to this country.
We all agree there has to be a limit,
there has to be a certain number beyond which it is not sustainable,
as we have heard.
So the question is, who comes within that limit?
What we have right now, through being in the EU,
is a situation where we have unlimited numbers of people
coming from Europe without any say or control over it.
What that means is that actually,
we are shutting the doors to people from beyond Europe
that could be fantastically valuable contributors
to our economy and our society,
people from China, or India,
entrepreneurs and scientists from all around the world
who are shut out because we have to take,
as I've put it, unlimited numbers of Hungarian waiters.
Now, I have got nothing against Hungarians,
cos I am one.
But the truth is, we should be able to decide who comes to our country.
That should be a choice for us,
and as long as we are in the EU, it is a choice we can't make.
So you are saying the wrong kind of immigrants are coming?
I think it is a fundamentally undemocratic situation
where something as important as this is out of our control.
I am with you, Steve, completely...
Hold on a second - OK. Dreda.
I'm with you completely. You know, we're all here,
it seems like we're all the children of migrants.
But when my parents came here in the '60s,
I would say they were quite unskilled.
So are you saying my parents shouldn't have come here?
Cos they weren't a doctor, they weren't a nurse.
Both my parents left school before they were...
My dad left school before he was 15.
-Would you bar the door to my dad?
-I think that we need to have...
It's a great question
and I think the answer to the question
is that we need to discuss it, we need to have a policy on it
and we need to be able as a country to come to a view
about the answer to that question.
And it will always be the case, I hope,
that this country welcomes people who need refuge
from things that are going on around the world that are...
But I also think...
The question as well, is I think...
I hear what people are saying,
but I also think if you are talking about the pressure on services,
you have to dig deeper and talk about those services.
So, for example, with education -
what we know is happening at the moment
is we've got a massive shortage in terms of teachers.
We've got teachers leaving the profession whole-scale.
Every time I meet a former colleague -
I used to teach in schools, for nearly 20 years -
they have all left.
So that is a big issue.
Another issue is in terms of the NHS -
why is it there have been huge cutbacks
in terms of training for nurses?
-We can't keep blaming migrants.
There are lots of issues running parallel to each other
and I agree with you, but we can't just have a policy about migration.
If you are talking about public services,
you've got to have a big, overarching policy
that looks at all the implications.
Dreda, what is your view on migration?
Do you think, from the EU, it should be unlimited?
I think... You know, cos my whole thing about voting for Leave
is that I've got a real issue with the EU and democracy.
I think it should be a democratically-elected government.
We live in a democracy, and they should have the right,
like with all other big policies,
to choose what their migration policy is.
I think it is wrong that somebody else chooses that.
Can you deal with that point,
that it's wrong that somebody else decides?
I'm saying the EU is made up of the Council of Ministers
where we do have our minister there on behalf of the UK.
We also have members of the European Parliament.
The EU Commission, which is not... The EU Commission is not elected.
The Commission is for civil servants.
But the EU Commission, nothing seems to happen without them.
-They have to kick-start it.
-Can I just finish?
..those meetings and seen what goes on...
I used to be a member of the European Parliament for ten years
and I have seen up close what goes on.
I can tell you that essentially,
there is more democracy, ironically, in the EU
than there is here.
At least your MEPs
are elected through a system of proportional representation.
We have a government here elected on 24% of the eligible vote.
The idea that that is somehow democracy is a complete travesty.
Steve, you have obviously been in, or sat in,
the Council of Ministers, have you?
-I've observed it.
-Tell us about it.
First of all, I absolutely agree with Caroline
that there are serious problems we need to fix in our democracy.
I completely agree with that.
Could you have a word with David Cameron about it?
Let him have his say, now. LAUGHTER
I've had many words over the years on that topic, as well as others.
The point is that in the EU, obviously,
when the whole thing is run basically on a committee basis,
where you have 28 countries, and probably more,
everything is a negotiation
and that means that everything has to be a compromise.
Now, there is nothing wrong with compromise.
Life is about compromise, government is about compromise.
But the truth is it should be the case that the compromises
are ones that we can get involved in,
that the people affected by those compromises
can have a say over what is the result.
-That is impossible if we are in the EU.
APPLAUSE The woman there...
Returning to the original question,
GP practices within Ipswich are having to close their lists
because they are unable to take any more patients
because they have so many deep problems.
One of those problems,
and a very serious part of those problems,
are the number of EU migrants that are in Ipswich.
They can't cope with the language difficulties,
the numbers...it's just...
The system is folding.
You are talking of patients, not of nurses and doctors?
Patients, the number of patients. They haven't...
-They are overwhelmed by it.
I want to hear from somebody who's pro-Remain
on this point about immigration.
Yes, all right, you.
I worked in the NHS, I worked in Colchester,
since I left school.
Blaming immigration on the shortfalls of the NHS
is not true.
The NHS is struggling because of the Conservative Government cuts
made to the NHS, not because of immigration.
So, David, it is the Conservatives' fault.
It is always the Conservatives' fault, isn't it?
Look, we were talking about
the pressures brought about by immigration
and we were also talking about democracy.
Let's start with getting a few facts straight.
I was there for a few years.
Caroline is wrong. The Commission IS the Government.
The Government in any country
is the one that initiates the legislation,
starts the ball rolling, writes the Act of Parliament.
It is the commissioners that do that.
And how do we choose the commissioners?
We choose people who their electorates have rejected.
Jean-Claude Juncker was rejected.
I appointed Neil Kinnock -
he was another one who the electorate rejected!
Let's be clear, this is NOT a democracy.
Why did you appoint somebody who had been rejected?
Why didn't you make a better choice, if you thought...?
-It was the right choice.
-Oh, it was the right choice?
-Hang on a moment! You can't say it's the right choice
-and then say the thing doesn't work.
-The only way...
-The right undemocratic choice.
You have not got any option - you can't elect a commissioner.
You're not allowed to - the Government nominates them.
It nominates - in those days - one from each party.
The Labour Party nominated me
and I said, "We can't block the Labour Party."
Let's come back to the point - the point here is about democracy.
Who knows best what our public services can deal with?
Who knows best how many nurses we need?
Who knows best how many houses we can build?
Not some commissioner in Brussels. Our government.
-This is a travesty.
Which is why WE should control the number of immigrants,
and where they come from and who they are.
I do say that the people for Leave in this argument, I fear,
are selling an illusion.
I just want to say to this audience,
the problems we face as a country, not just migration -
climate change, terrorism, tax avoidance, all of those issues -
we can't deal with them on our own any more.
We've got to...
APPLAUSE AND SCATTERED BOOING
-Let me...let me...
-AUDIENCE MEMBERS SHOUT
Let me explain what I mean by that.
The truth is, these problems cross borders.
Powerful corporations cross borders.
Corporations, it's all about corporations.
Here we go - it's always about big business, corporations.
Are we actually saying, David, that we, as a country,
the fifth-largest economy...?
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
Ed, Ed - sorry, of course I know it is Ed, sorry!
I interrupted your stride, sorry.
-I have the same problem...
-My mum makes the same mistake.
-We are the fifth-largest economy.
Are we actually saying we cannot do this on our own,
working in partnership with other people?
You said it exactly right, Dreda, at the end -
working in partnership with other people.
We're in a partnership with the United States.
Are we in a union with them? No, we are not.
Let me just.... Let's take a very concrete example, here.
We have four weeks' paid holiday in this country.
We have equal rights for men and women -
not enough, but we've made progress on it.
We have maternity leave. Those things didn't happen
because of a Conservative Government or a Labour Government.
They happened because across the European Union,
you had countries joining together,
saying, "We are not going to let companies
"play one country off against another."
It is the same on the environment.
And actually, we were able to deliver those things.
-But we also, we also...
We also live at a time when we've got zero-hours contracts as well.
Is that good? What are the EU doing about that?
Dreda, hold on a second. I have got a lot of people
in the audience who want to speak,
and I want to hear from them, hold on a second.
And Steve Hilton has got a comment...
I've only been here since Monday and I'm already absolutely sick
of hearing, from the Remain side,
these silly scares and phoney figures
and overstatements of what people are saying.
THEY TALK OVER EACH OTHER
-That is the most...
-Let me finish.
You're coming from your side of the debate.
Let me finish the point, please.
-That is the richest criticism I could ever imagine.
Your side of the debate.
To say what he just did, to present this as a choice between
total isolation and cooperation in Europe
is completely ridiculous.
Of course it's true that we need to cooperate on things
like the environment and terrorism and global issues,
and of course it's true that we can do that outside the EU,
as an independent country. This is a really serious debate.
It's complicated and there are many sides to it,
and I wish that the Remain side would stop simplifying it and
treating people like they can't understand complicated arguments.
We've got... We've got more questions about Europe,
and I'll come to them,
but I'll just take one or two more members of the audience.
You, there, first of all.
The largest comment against, sort of, remaining within the EU
seems to be all of this red tape, all of this democracy,
that isn't happening.
I just want to say, I'm not sure if I actually want to
hand back more power to the Government
that has made £12 million worth of cuts to welfare,
that has seen child poverty rise by £500 million or 500,000.
I just don't want to see that.
It doesn't seem like, if they get all this power,
-they'll be doing things that are for the people.
-You think it's...
-They need someone to answer to.
Are you saying, in effect, you feel safer in the EU
rather than outside?
Well, like the non-discrimination and gender equality laws
that were spoken about,
how do we know that our government is going to protect those?
And also, I don't trust them to do it for the people.
You are absolutely right. You are absolutely right.
Woman in orange, there, please.
The woman in orange, there, yes.
The whole nub of the EU referendum is not the economy,
it's not migration.
We've got to consider what it's truly about.
What's at the heart of the referendum is -
do we want to govern ourselves?
I've got a question that I'll come to next, but let me...
You in the checked shirt, there, sir.
Caroline, wasn't your answer in your first response
to do with disproportionality?
So you talked about the south-east and London
having a great strangle on its services.
If you lift that argument up one level,
aren't you arguing with yourself?
Because we are part of Europe and there's a disproportionate
number of people coming to this country.
No, I think that-that people are going to many different countries
of the EU and the point I'm making is about subsidiarity,
it's about where power and democracy need to lie,
and there are certain things that absolutely need to be done
at EU level, in terms of tackling the environment,
in terms of tackling the issues of common workers' rights,
and that's why we need the EU.
This idea that governing ourselves, that essentially we are...
Do you not believe in democracy?
Do you not believe in democracy?
It's because I believe in democracy that I am supporting
the EU where there are issues...
that we cannot solve on our own.
All right. All right.
Let's end this section. Let's end this... Let's end this.
Caroline, we've had 25 minutes on this.
We've got other questions that I want to come to.
We've had quite a lot of people from the Brexit side.
Anybody from the Remain side who wants to comment? You do, there.
The man, there. Yeah.
-You're a Remainer, are you?
-I am, yes.
I'd like to say that I believe Brexit have done a great job
in actually pointing the finger, wagging it solely at the EU
333,000 was the net figure today,
of which 150,000 were from outside the EU.
So if the hospitals are overflowing, why did we let in 150,000?
And the second point is -
the big danger here is, if we pull out of the EU,
there is nothing to stop illegal immigration numbers rising
because there will be nothing to stop anyone in the EU
just saying, "If you want to go to the UK,
"just camp out in Calais,
"camp out in Amsterdam, and just come across to Clacton
"any time you like."
OK. Thank you. Another point from somebody who's a Remainer.
You're a Remainer, sir?
You're a Remainer, the woman there, on the end? Yes.
Just coming back to the original question about...
I completely agree with Ed that migrants prop up our services.
I recently very badly injured my shoulder.
About 80% of the medical professionals I have dealt with
have been not from this country.
If those people had not been in the NHS,
I would have had to have waited a lot longer to receive
the treatment that I've had,
so they do prop up our services and they make a massive contribution,
and we will miss out on that if we leave.
Thank you. Right, we're going to... APPLAUSE
Before we take the next question, let me just explain Question Time's
progress in the next two or three weeks.
We're going to be in Cardiff next week,
we're going to be in Folkestone the week after that,
but in the final week before the vote,
we've actually got a special series of three programmes -
Nottingham, York and Milton Keynes.
In Nottingham, Michael Gove is going to be facing
a Question Time audience.
Can't get through these things.
Michael Gove is going to be facing
a Question Time audience on his own.
In Milton Keynes, David Cameron is going to be facing
a Question Time audience on his own.
And...in whatever's left - York -
we're going to have a normal panel.
Well, I say normal panel, we're going to have a big panel...
with the audience.
So there's Cardiff, Folkestone, Nottingham, York and Milton Keynes.
I'll give the numbers at the end, but they're on the screen now,
if you want to make a note,
if you'd like to come to any of those...programmes.
Right, let's go on...
though not necessarily very far.
Claudette Jones, please. Claudette.
Is it worth another two years of austerity to leave the EU?
Is it worth another two...?
This was the claim that there was going to be another two
years of austerity by the IFS, I think.
Is your view it is worth it or not worth it?
I'm currently undecided...
because there's so many forecasts that have come out
and it's difficult to know whose to believe,
especially when forecasts have to be based on a certain
amount of assumption and...
Because we don't know what Europe is going to decide,
how they're going to behave towards us.
If we do leave, it's quite difficult to...
All right, let's have a try with our panel.
David Davis, the IFS, as you know,
an organisation that Michael Gove said
-he had the greatest respect for...
-Not any more.
..said there'd be an additional year or two of austerity.
Well, they're just wrong.
They didn't do any work of their own,
what they did was look at all the other surveys that had taken place,
and I'm afraid the establishment,
the international establishment in particular,
is caught in a sort of group thing.
These are the people, remember, who were all in favour of the euro,
the IMF and the Treasury and all that.
They were... They never saw the 2008 financial crisis coming.
In fact, they helped cause it.
The IMF, in particular, didn't even handle the Greek crisis very well.
These are people who are holding themselves up as authorities.
The Treasury tried to stop us going into the euro.
They made the conditions that stopped Brown going in.
-No, no, wait a minute.
-And that stopped Blair going in.
Yet again, I was there and you weren't.
Ooh! I read the papers.
If you challenge me, let me just say my understanding of the story.
-I was there, actually.
-And you were there.
There was a feeling that Tony Blair wanted to go into the euro,
that Gordon Brown didn't. It's true, isn't it?
More or less true, yes.
More or less true. And the Treasury came up with the conditions.
The opt-out in the first place was created by John Major's government
many years before -
you wouldn't have had the choice had it not been for them -
and the reason the opt-out was created was because
of the mistake made by the Treasury on the ERM. Remember the ERM crisis?
That's what led to that. That was another mistake these people made.
But you say the Treasury wanted us to go into the euro.
-No, you said that.
-No, I didn't say that. You said that.
-I said these people wanted it.
-Including the Treasury.
Well, let's leave this one.
-Call it a draw.
-No, we won't call it a draw.
-I haven't finished yet.
The simple truth here is that the assumption being made
behind all these gloomy, frightening stories
is that one - we're going to lose lots of trade
with the European Union.
And two - we're not going to do any trade, or any more trade,
outside in the global world.
Firstly, of course we're going to get lots of scare stories
right up to the day of Brexit.
Go out in the street, look at the cars.
Count the cars. How many Audis? How many BMWs?
How many Mercedes? How many Volkswagens?
Germany needs us - we're its biggest market.
France needs us for wine and cheese.
The deal will be done in the next two years - that's the first thing.
Second thing, in terms of global trade,
the worst operator in terms of creating free trade areas
in the world is the European Union.
It hasn't got a deal with the United States yet,
it hasn't got a deal with China, it hasn't got a deal with India.
It tried for nearly ten years to get a deal with India.
It took nine years to get a deal with Canada.
Everybody else can do this in months or one or two years.
Small countries can do it. Switzerland can do it.
South Korea can do it.
So the argument that we are going to suffer is a scare story
based on a falsehood.
-So, to come back to your point...
A man called Stuart Rose,
who is the business leader of the Remain campaign,
was interviewed in front of a select committee...
One of the House Of Commons selects committees,
and one of the things he admitted was that
nothing would change very much at all for the first
couple of years anyway.
Secondly, he admitted that, actually,
wages would go up if we left the European Union.
Now those two things, to me, do not argue for a great recession
or a great penalty we have to face if we leave the Union.
And I come back to the point, we are leaving, we should leave,
because of recovery, control of our own affairs,
and we will run them better than they do.
That does not include a recession.
Ed Miliband, the... APPLAUSE
The Chancellor, this week, said that Brexit
would cost as many as 820,000 jobs
and the Treasury said that, by 2013,
Britain would be worse off by over £4,000 a year per household.
You've heard what David Davis said.
Do you support those contentions?
Do you believe them?
Yeah, I mean, they're in the broad range of conjectures
-and forecasts made...
-What does a "broad range" mean?
-You mean it may be true, it may not be true?
Every respected independent forecaster has said,
"We're going to be worse off economically,
"worse off for trade, worse off for investment."
I just want to say something about the Institute for Fiscal Studies,
who came out with the report this week,
they have criticised Labour governments,
they have criticised Conservative governments.
Always, after a budget, they say,
"The Chancellor got this wrong, got that wrong."
The idea that they're part of a vast conspiracy on the Remain side
is frankly laughable, David.
This is an independent body that is saying,
"We are going to be worse off."
I also want to go to Claudette's question.
Claudette said, "Is two years' austerity, which the
"IFS said would happen, worth it?"
Well, my argument is it isn't worth it.
And let me just say one thing about why I think it's not worth it,
it's about young people.
All around the world, young people are kicking against the system.
So you might expect in this referendum, the forecast,
the polls to be saying, that young people will be
voting for out, they are voting for in.
I think we should think about the wisdom of young people in this.
Why is that? Because young people like the freedom to travel.
They recognise the world is getting closer together,
they recognise that we need to work with others
to tackle the challenges.
Which young people are you talking about?
This is my problem sometimes.
Sometimes we use the term "young people",
we're invariably talking about young people who were students,
who were part of the professional class.
No, we're not talking about that.
-I don't think...
-Let me tell you...
-She's done it again.
-I'm sorry - Ed.
-Just go with "you there".
That would be sort of easier. They'll edit that bit out, anyway.
We never edit this programme. You're on guard.
I want to come to you in a moment
because you keep interfering, interrupting.
-Yes, I'll come to you.
-I was interrupted, actually.
No, I was talking to the man with the medals on. Don't be rude.
I just think there's a whole thing about...
-My basic point about young people...
-No, I'm still talking, Ed.
..is about working-class people.
I don't know, I'm thinking about the working-class people in my family.
They're not talking about, "I can't wait to travel to go off to Greece
"or Milan or wherever, Rotterdam, to set up some business."
What they want, what preoccupies them,
is ,"Am I going to have a steady job?"
"Am I going to have a roof over my head?"
-"Am I going to have somewhere where I come home for my family?"
"Am I going to have time to chill out and relax?"
So can we stop using this general term "young people",
and using a very stereotypical image of young people?
I'm making a very specific point. I've learnt not to trust polls.
But I can say that if you look at the broad range of the polls,
by three or four to one, young people,
and that's very large margins, are saying we should stay in.
Now, that's because they can't imagine a world where
we can't have visa-free travel across the 28 countries, or where...
Well, we didn't have it before, actually.
-We didn't have it before.
-The truth is that I think...
-Let's hear your point.
Before the EU.
Before Poland and the East European countries joined the EU,
you could travel without a visa.
-Not to Eastern Europe.
-You could travel to the States without a visa.
You can travel to Japan, Dubai, you don't need a visa.
Not to Eastern Europe, you couldn't.
But not to the 28 countries of the European Union.
You never needed a visa for Italy.
No, but 28 countries of the European Union...
I want to go to you, sir, because you are disagreeing,
I noticed you, with the woman on your right about this.
And the question was - is it worth
another two years of austerity to leave the EU?
And you said, "Yes, it is."
-You think it is worth it?
-Yes, it is.
So, you are not moved by the economic argument?
Well, may I say, David, as an ex-serviceman
in her Majesty's Armed Forces, I am a veteran, as you can see,
I served my Queen and country and I'm actually living proof.
I will be voting to leave the EU, along with a lot of servicemen
because I am living proof that being part of this EU does not work
for people that are not in receipt of senior citizen pensions.
If you cannot... I lived in Spain since approximately 2000.
I was forced back to my country and I have it on a digi-recording
from a top Social Security politician.
"Malcolm, you are English, go back to England,
"we cannot afford to keep you and help you any more."
I had to leave my home behind and my wife-to-be.
I can't bring her back to this country with me
because she comes from Ukraine
and there's a lot of paperwork and money needed to do that.
So you're saying to hell with the EU?
When I went into the medical centre for my morphine,
there was a red cross put on the back of this Spanish card
and said, "It's not valued any more, you'll have to pay privately
"because you are not of pensionable age."
And I, among a lot of former military people
and serving military people, will be the voting to go out.
-I want to come back to Jean's point about...
-Do you recognise that?
Hang on, we've heard the story.
A load of rubbish. I am living proof.
They do not treat us as European people, we are not equals.
Caroline Lucas, do you come across that kind of story?
I genuinely haven't come across that kind of story.
I'm very sorry to hear it,
but I don't know that leaving the EU would make it any better.
I want to come to the point Dreda made,
because it's an important one,
when she said that the young people she knows are most concerned about
whether they'll have a secure job,
whether they have food on the table and so on.
It's exactly for those reasons I think we need
to stay inside the EU because that's how you get,
for example, basic workers' rights guaranteed.
Not just in the UK, but right across the EU,
so you don't have big corporations...
-Let me finish.
-Of course, OK.
They don't get corporations trying to play off
one country against the other and bring down standards.
If you have your friends who are perhaps agency workers,
then it's because of the EU
that you've got common protection for agency workers.
If they were pregnant, they're going to have better results
as a result of the EU in terms of protections for them.
So it seems to me that the EU has done a huge amount
to make sure that working people are going to be better protected.
Don't forget that Boris Johnson wants to scrap the Social Chapter.
He wants to scrap all of those protections.
He has said... Boris Johnson has absolutely said...
He wants he wants to get rid of it.
Yes, I will come to you
but Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister says family holidays will rise
by £230, you have heard the other figures.
-Do you think they are all rubbish?
-You're a bit slow on that one.
You don't have to speak for him!
I have said already that I think I'm sick...
I think we are all sick of these phoney figures.
I want to come back to the question
because you used a phrase which is at the heart of this,
this discussion about what's going to happen.
The phrasing you used was,
"You hear all this stuff and it's difficult to know."
Those were your words.
That's right, and I'd go a bit further. It's impossible to know.
It is literally impossible to know
exactly what's going to happen in the future.
Now, I'm very clearly for Leave.
But I would be the first to acknowledge
that there are risks from leaving.
But please could the other side of the argument also acknowledge
that there are also risks from staying?
Because the EU right now, for example,
is one of the worst-performing economic areas in the world.
It's basically a sinking ship, economically.
There is a risk to us from being associated with that.
The truth is, the future is a risk.
We don't know what's going to happen in the future.
And not just the next few years,
but the next 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 years.
We have no idea what's going to happen.
So the real question, given it's difficult and impossible to know,
is what kind of arrangements for governing ourselves
put us in the best possible position to cope with these future risks?
And, for me, the answer to that question is
a set of arrangements for running the country that allow us
to move quickly to address things as they happen and to have control
over the things that we want to do in our country and not have to
move at the pace of a committee of 20-odd other countries
and negotiate everything, so that we can respond
to an uncertain future in the decades ahead.
And that's why I think we should leave.
Has he won you over with that one, or not?
I think we've got a lot more information about the risks
that we would face if we stayed in
than those that we would face if we left.
-It feels like an enormous unknown. And, so...
Let's hear from some more members of the audience. You, sir.
Hopefully I can weigh in, because as a young person
who's in my final years of A-levels, hoping to go to university,
I think when you hear Remain politicians
saying "the young people", they don't really understand.
I'm from Felixstowe, which is a port town,
and we can see the direct effects of all this mass immigration.
My town doesn't look like what it used to
and I think one thing that you seem to be forgetting is
we have the Commonwealth, which is now a bigger trading block
than the European Union and, as the man said over here,
most of the countries there are loyal to our Queen.
They have the same culture as we do, the same principles.
I'm someone whose step-grandfather is from the Caribbean
who came over here to work.
I had the pleasure to go and visit the country of St Vincent.
I can tell you that they understand how we act as a nation
and we should feel fine about leaving the European Union
-because we have...
-And favouring the Commonwealth?
Yes, because the Commonwealth is there to look after this.
Briefly, Ed Miliband. Just answer that point.
I think the interesting thing is that actually, other countries
want us to be in the European Union because liaising with us
and trading with us, they then get a 500 million person market.
I don't think it's a choice between being involved with the Commonwealth
or being involved with the European Union, we should do both,
just like we should reach out to China and be in the European Union.
But lots of these other countries think one of the reasons they
can trade with us is because we're in the EU, not outside.
OK, you, sir, at the back there.
I feel that David Davis, like all Brexiters,
is wilfully distorting the economic picture.
Of course we'll be able to trade with countries in the EU,
but we'll have to pay tariffs.
All products will be more expensive for us.
Also, our companies, our businesses which trade in Europe,
like financial services, will have huge restrictions put on them
which will cause huge trouble to our underlying economy,
which will make all our public services less able to cope
with the problems that they already have.
And this is all for this, sort of...
of having...of us being in control.
And they say...he says he wants to be in control of immigration,
but there's no saying what the government of the time
will do about immigration.
-We could be in or out of Europe,
and we could just have just as much immigration.
So we should stay in and retain the benefits.
The first thing to understand
is there is no free market in services in the European Union.
They still haven't got one, after all these years.
-That is absolute rubbish.
-That's the first thing to say.
Hang on, he said it was rubbish. Briefly, why was it rubbish?
The government, both Labour and Conservative governments,
spent a long time ensuring that the EU did not push down the City.
They did not impose EU-wide extra taxations on financial services
which would have benefited other financial centres in the EU
to the detriment of the City.
There are ways in which being out of the EU will hugely affect
the financial services industry, to a degree which is far greater
than all the so-called benefits on the other side.
There is no free market in services.
And that negotiation you talk about,
you can pick lots of them if you like,
when they had to bail out Greece,
we were supposedly not supposed to be involved in it.
We ended up paying out £840 million, £850 million,
as a result of being inside the system.
More to the point, and I think more importantly,
is this whole question of whether or not we continue to have access.
And I reiterate the point.
If we are outside the single market, we will have a deal with them,
just as many other countries do who are, a free-trade deal...
But it will have tariffs, David, it will have tariffs.
Unless you're part of the single market, it will have tariffs.
-No, it won't.
-Yes, it will.
If you had what's called the World Trade Organisation arrangements,
-the tariffs will go in both directions.
They will be far more penal to the German car industry,
which sells a million cars a year here,
than they would be to us.
And the most powerful person in Europe is Angela Merkel.
And she's got a general election in 2017.
But even Angela Merkel cannot make a bilateral agreement...
Wait a minute.
Eventually, in the European Union,
what Germany wants, Germany gets, I'm afraid.
And there's also an election in France in 2017.
They'll have the same issue with agricultural sales to us.
So on that side, the argument is a very ill-thought-through one.
-Can I just interrupt you?
-You are factually wrong on this, David.
Hang on, the head of the World Trade Organisation said
the UK would face an extra £9 billion in trading costs
if it left the EU.
-Is he right or wrong?
-No, he's wrong.
He's making a guess about what will be the outcome of the negotiations.
-David, you cannot say...
-Can I just finish the argument?
This negotiation will take two years at least to go through.
There's going to be... Of course, in the first few months,
there's going to be a degree of hysteria,
there will be, there's no doubt about that.
But then all of these countries have a vested interest, whether it's...
The World Trade Organisation has a vested interest?
No, the countries we are negotiating with, the group of countries...
Poland wants to sell machinery to us,
uh, the Italians want to sell fashion goods to us,
the Germans, cars and engineering goods,
uh, the Spaniards and French want to sell food and drink to us...
And they all have surpluses in our direction.
So they want to sell to us more than we want to sell to them.
-Can I just...? On that point...
-I'm afraid the negotiation WILL happen!
-I just want to correct one thing that you keep saying.
-Let Caroline have her corrections.
-No, I want...
-Let Caroline make the correction.
I want to correct the point where you keep saying
that the EU needs us more than we need it.
Our exports to the EU are 13% of our GDP.
-EU exports to Britain are 3% of their GDP.
-Yeah, we keep...
-We actually need them more than they need us.
-You are being incredibly complacent.
We... We keep... We... This...
-It's true, it's true!
No, no, no... Let...let Caroline speak!
The simple truth is that this negotiation
is going to affect every country.
They won't be doing a 3% deal, they'll be thinking about,
"What about my industry? What about this industry?"
We don't talk about the percentage deals we deal with,
we look at what it means for our individual industries.
And while we're at it,
the suggestion by Ed that, "Oh, well, we can deal with Europe
"AND we can have a deal with China" - we can't.
Whilst we're inside the European Union,
We cannot negotiate with China. We cannot negotiate with India.
-We cannot negotiate...
-You've made the point.
-Of course you can.
-We'd do a better job than they would.
David, you've spoken for some time. Let's just...
We must balance this up. Ed Miliband.
I mean, look, I think Caroline rather exposed David's argument.
But I think the other thing, David, that comes across is
it is a massive leap into the unknown.
I've read some of the things you've said about this.
You said we should be like Canada,
but then people pointed out that actually, the Canadian trade deal
has taken eight years, it isn't complete, it's got tariffs,
so you say, "Well, maybe we shouldn't be like Canada."
Today you're saying, "We'd be like Norway or Switzerland,"
in a speech you made, but not really like Norway or Switzerland.
It's some kind of unique status that only Britain is going to have
and you can't actually tell us the country we're going to be like.
-Which country would it be like?
-Which country would it be like?
Just tell us the country! Canada? Albania? Norway, Switzerland?
The country we're going to be like is...
-The country we're going to be like is Great Britain.
LOUD CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
We have an enormous spending power. You know...
This is... This is... This is... This is...
-It's good rhetoric, but it's not an answer.
-This is the standard...
-I'm afraid it's not an answer, David.
This is the standard response. Every time...
-AUDIENCE MEMBER HECKLES
-Just say one country.
Just one country whose trading arrangements we'd be like.
It's a fair question.
Every time...every time we offer an example of something which works,
they say, "Oh, you're going to be like them."
So, for example...
-You haven't offered an example.
I have lots of examples. He's talked about them.
Switzerland, Canada, Chile...
You don't want Switzerland, though, really, do you?
What we're saying is other countries prove that things can be done...
But you can't name a single country other than Great Britain
whose trading arrangements with the EU we'll be like.
-I think that's really important for the audience.
There's no country in the whole world
that has trading arrangements with the EU which he wants to emulate.
Now, if that isn't a leap into the unknown and a massive risk,
I don't know what is.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE Steve Hilton.
I don't think that one's going anywhere, Steve Hilton.
I want to say something on trade in a second,
but just on this point of what's the alternative -
the best thing that I've read about this
and I can't remember who said it,
was that it is really the most stupid question out, which is -
-what's the alternative to being in...
-Attack the question.
No, not the question here,
the question that YOU posed, which is -
what's the alternative to being in the EU?
-AUDIENCE MEMBER SHOUTS OUT
The alternative to being in the EU is NOT being in the EU.
-Oh, for goodness' sake!
-And most of the countries...
-And what does it look like?
-It looks like...
It looks like no environmental policy,
it looks like getting rid of the Social Chapter,
it looks like having no workers' rights protected at EU level.
Well, most of the countries in the world are not in the EU
and they are doing better than the EU.
Now, on the trade question, um... I just wanted to offer...
-But can you answer the question that he didn't answer?
-He's got it right!
The country that we'd be like is our own country, it's...
It's such a silly... Honestly...
Please...I really, really wish that these politicians
would just stop treating us like idiots.
The point you're making is completely ridiculous.
-No, it isn't.
-Of course it is.
-It's a very simple point.
-We'd be like our own country!
No, but as we look around the world, Steve, it's a serious point...
As we look round the world,
with the different trading arrangements,
because trade is fundamental to this,
what country do we want to emulate when it comes to our relationship
-outside the EU with the EU?
And there's no point in saying Britain
because we're in the EU at the moment, in the single market...
-Not for long, sonny!
OK. Sorry, can I just, on the trade...?
All right. Just briefly, then I'll come to you.
There's a particular thing. I just wanted to offer
a perspective on this question of trading arrangements.
-Because there's a particular vanity
that I have noticed about politicians,
which is that they believe that the whole world
revolves around what they decide and what they do...
-..and they think that
-the only good things that happen...
-Is David Cameron like that then?
-Hang on a second...
-Is David Cameron like that?
He's the exception, he's the exception(!)
The only good things in the world come from the decisions they make
and the rules they do and the things that they set up.
The truth is that our success as an economy, more than anything else,
depends on something that is known as comparative advantage.
In simple terms, are we designing and making things
that the rest of the world wants to buy?
That's within our control and that's the fundamental point here,
that WE need to make our economy more productive
by the policies that we implement here in this country
-and then that is what will lead to our success.
APPLAUSE Points of view...
I...I think that most people that are on the fence
need to make a calculated decision
and to do that, you need to calculate the risks.
At least the Remain campaign is trying to quantify
what it would be if we leave the EU.
But what I hear from the Exit campaign
is all this airy-fairy, "Follow me into La-La land"
type of conversations, and I...
I haven't heard anything... anything from you,
apart from Great Britain will be fine in the rest of the world.
You know, "We're going to be the Great Britain of old".
I haven't heard anything, any real argument against that...
Oh, not against that, but for that...
And Mr Davis, I have to disagree with you -
government doesn't know best,
because the Tory government dismantled the NHS perfectly well.
LAUGHTER AND APPLAUSE
The woman in the back in red. We've only got a few moments left.
The woman in red there at the very back. Yes.
Something that none of the politicians here have mentioned
is the fact that the Germans have a black bank balance,
which roughly equals the sum of the total
of the red bank balances in the other 27 countries.
That, for me, speaks for itself.
-Europe's good for Germany.
Um, and you, sir, up there. On the far right.
I just think Ed Miliband's comments are a classic example
of the Remain camp's position of doing our country down.
We are the fifth-largest economy in the world
and the sooner we get out, the better,
get our seat back on the World Trade Organisation
and get our identity back.
OK. And you. SOME CHEERING
The woman in grey there, yes.
You talked about the Remain campaign treating people like idiots,
when the Leave campaign has used
the most pathetic arguments for staying in.
Boris Johnson's talking about how big bunches of bananas can be.
-I agree, by the way.
CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
I...I agree. I've talked about both campaigns doing that,
just to be clear.
We have a question. We don't have time to take it,
but perhaps the panel can comment on it -
whether scare stories are having a detrimental effect
on people's perception of politics,
And also, whether the Conservative Party can ever reunite
after the insults that they're hurling at each other.
What do you think?
Which would you like to ask?
Either question, I don't care which you answer!
Well, of course it's going to be difficult...
The perception of politics is being diminished by the exaggeration
and the Tory Party won't hold together.
I think, actually, that is a fair point,
that this battle, to some extent,
is diminishing confidence in politicians.
I think there's no doubt that's true.
And partly... It's not just British politicians,
I mean, I remember when Obama came over, he made his comments,
there was a very short sort of 5% blip, as people said,
"Oh, yeah. Oh, that-that frightens us."
But then about a week later, they said,
"Well, what's it got to do with him and what's he know anyway?"
So there was a sort of clear resentment, really,
at being told what to think and being told what to do
and having these huge and unfounded scare stories run.
-So, yes, I do think...
Steve Hilton, do you think the Conservatives
will be able to come back from an issue that's so divided them?
Uh, I do, um, because there are really important, big things
that the Government wants to get done
and that will go on afterwards.
But I also wanted to comment on the question about politics
because I think it is really worrying what's happening.
Um...I've talked earlier about the scare stories
and the phoney figures and all the rest of it,
and the fact that both campaigns, I think,
are making this far too simple.
But I think that what that really means
is that people just are turned off by the whole thing,
they don't want to go into politics at all,
they don't want to participate
and there's a point underlying it that I think is really important
for us all to understand, which is - why do they do it?
These are smart people.
They can see that what they're doing is ridiculous and silly.
Are they all smart, really?
They are smart and well-intentioned,
they're good people on all sides, they want to do their best.
And they know that this stuff is ridiculous,
even as they're saying it. And the question is...
Isn't that a bit rich coming from you...?
-I've owned up to my role in that.
-You did that, didn't you?
-Devil eyes, what was that thing, with Blair...?
Absolutely. Labour's tax bombshell, you'd pay £1,000...
I've been involved in all this stuff, OK, for years.
And I can now, with a bit of detachment,
see and own up to the fact that that has been a trend
that I think has been damaging,
and it's got worse and worse in this campaign...
-Hang on one second, I think...
-We've got to stop.
-I just think...
Very quick. AUDIENCE MEMBER SHOUTS OUT
-Wait a second...
-The thing is that, actually,
what they're counting on is that you are not sufficiently interested
in the serious arguments and that you will fall for it
cos they believe that you want simple, superficial things...
Yeah, well, the evidence...
You've got to show them that that is not true.
The evidence of the Question Time audience is the exact opposite,
which is people are absolutely fascinated by the arguments.
Exactly. But that's why they need to stop...
A very quick word cos we really are over time now.
Yeah, cos I'm the non-politician here,
I'm not even a Westminster insider
and one of the reasons that I decided to leave was,
all the politicians, they were just arguing amongst themselves,
and it was men, it wasn't women.
Men predominantly from down south.
Wasn't a geographical spread of people.
I turned my TV off and I went and did my own research,
-and that's how I got to the position that I got to.
-OK. And, Ed...
-Yeah, very brief...
All right. Very briefly, 30 seconds.
My 30-second pitch is that I do think that this campaign
desperately needs more optimism and it needs more vision
and I want to say that I think it is actually quite extraordinary
that 28 countries, that until very recently,
actually used to try to solve their problems by fighting,
by bullets and bombs, are now actually trying
to find their solutions through discussion and debate...
Sometimes it might be a bit cumbersome,
-but actually, it's a better way of doing things.
Do you want to just say, "So be it"? You agree?
I agree with Caroline. Look, there has been too much negativity
on both sides of this argument.
World War III and Hitler on each side of the argument.
And actually, there is a positive vision of an EU
that works for people and is changed on climate change, on tax avoidance,
on prosperity, on all of those things.
I don't like the EU the way it is -
-we've got to change it and make it better.
-OK, thank you.
Thank you very much.
We've... I'm sorry, and I'm sorry, and I'm sorry... Um...
-We've been trying for 20 years!
Our...our hour's up, unfortunately.
Now, we're going to be in Cardiff next week.
We have Frank Field for Labour,
we have Neil Hamilton, the former Tory MP,
now Ukip's leader in the Welsh Assembly.
And then Folkestone the week after that.
So, if you want to come either to Cardiff or Folkestone,
or remember the week after that, those three sites -
Nottingham, York and Milton Keynes -
go to our website, or you can call the number...
5 Live listeners, as you know,
this debate carries on to the early hours.
But here, our time's up.
I'm sad about it.
Our panel, I thank them very much indeed for coming
and to all of you who came to Ipswich or have come from Ipswich
to be here tonight, many thanks.
Until next Thursday, from Question Time, goodnight.
David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Ipswich.
On the panel: Labour's former leader Ed Miliband MP, Conservative former shadow home secretary David Davis MP, the Green Party's former leader Caroline Lucas MP, crime writer Dreda Say Mitchell and David Cameron's former director of strategy Steve Hilton.