06/10/2016 Question Time


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Neath, Port Talbot. On the panel are Alun Cairns MP, Chuka Umunna MP, Leanne Wood AM, comedian Andy Parsons and Neil Hamilton AM.

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Conservative Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns.


The Labour MP who ran briefly for the leadership of his party


Leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood.


Ukip's leader in Wales, Neil Hamilton.


And the comedian who made his name on Mock The Week and now presents


a podcast taking a sideways look at politics, Andy Parsons.


You can get very muched in the debate on Facebook, Twitter, texting


83981 will get you there. Natalie Matthews, please? After the events


in Strasbourg and the resignation of Diane Davies, is there a future for


Ukip -- Diane James? There was an altercation leaving Steven Woolfe of


course in hospital? Chuka Umunna? I am glad Steven Woolfe is OK.


Whatever political differences we may have; we are all human beings


and I'm really glad he's OK, conscious and smiling. In terms of


Ukip and its future, what is its point going forward? Neil might have


something to say about that, but it's achieved the aim it set out to


achieve as a party. It wants to go beyond that and create the kind of


picture of Britain it wanted to create at the last general election.


I think that would be highly undesirable. Flat rate income taxes


that give the top 1% a huge tax break whilst everyone else suffers.


I don't like that. More private provision, perhaps private insurance


in the National Health Service, I don't particularly like that. And


whilst of course I think we all would acknowledge that migration


foes and population change pose challenges to any country, I dislike


a lot of the narrative that comes out of Ukip which tends often to


suggest that all of our problems as a country are down to immigrants


when nothing could be further from the truth. We know you are opposed


to their views, but do you think they're collapsing? Well, who knows


what their future holds. I think the bigger problem for them,


notwithstanding the leadership, is what is the point of Ukip and, you


know, if the point of Ukip is a picture of Britain that I've


painted, them offering at the general election, I'm afraid I don't


think that's something most of us would want.


APPLAUSE. Leanne Wood?


I think this could go one of two ways now. They could either


disappear because they have achieved their political goal, or they could


become the anti-immigration party along the lines of the French front


national, that kind of right-wing party that we see right throughout


Europe. But this to me shows that really at base, this is a party full


of thugs. Fighting in politics is just not on. It's not the way to


carry out your political disagreements. I would say, you


know, it follows on from a referendum campaign where Ukip put


forward some pretty strong arguments and I think encouraged some of the


worst aspects of politics to come out in people and I'm referring


there to statements that could be referred to as being racist. We have


seen a rise in hate crime since Brexit. Of course, it fits in well


with the in-fighting that's gone in the National Assembly and the hints


of misogyny we have seen there. The leader referred to me and my


colleague Kirsty Williams as political concubines, that's


prostitute. You are referring to Neil Hamilton saying this? I am,


yes. The speech in the National Assembly, he referred to sexist


language like that and it's just not on in politics. When you said the


party was full of thugs, somebody Houlted out "how dare you". I resent


being call add thug by a party that by its very name is a racist party.


Excuse me? Yes you are, please Cymru the party of Wales, Wales for the


Welsh, what about the rest of it? If I did it in England, English for the


English, I would be in jail. I resent being called a thug. People


who've thrown punches in Strasbourg today is that thuggish behaviour. I


resent you suggesting I come from a racist party. My party is not a


racist party. We are outward looking, inclusive, internationalist


and in fact we are the only party in Wales who's putting forward a


proposal for Brexit which is outward looking. Just the week before


last... Leanne, you've made your point. I've got to bring other


people in. The woman there in purple?


I have to disagree with Leanne. I find that Plaid Cymru are


anti-English language totally, I've seen it myself in my local village


where they're getting rid of the English in a mainstream school. We


seem to be going down a different road. I've never had any trouble


from Ukip. It's only fair we hear from Neil Hamilton. You've no doubt


heard today that the financier of Ukip says that unless you leave the


party He's going to leave Ukip and won't be supporting it because he


thinks you behave disgustingly spewing out bile he said today? It's


very dangerous when elected politicians, particularly their


leaders of other parties insult millions of those who vote for their


competitors. We elected seven members of the assembly here in


Wales only in May. We were the prime movers behind the Brexit vote in


which the majority of the British people voted to leave the European


Union. In Leanne's own constituency of the Rhondda, I think I'm right in


saying from memory 56% of her own constituents voted against what she


wanted which was to stay in the EU. To call members of Ukip in their


tens of thousands a party of thugs I think is absolutely disgraceful.


What was that fight over then? Because two people got into a fight


which they should certainly never have done so, in contravention of


Ukip's own rules and I anticipated this question of course this


evening. Our own rules say, all elected members are expected to act


at all times in a manner which reflects positively on the party in


personal and professional life, elected members are expected to be


aware that by virtue of their elected position, their actions are


subject to greater public scrutiny and their bad behaviour can bring


the party into disrepute. All that is fairly obvious isn't it? You


hardly need a ruling to tell people not to hit each other? I presume


disciplinary action will be taken once an inquiry is carried out and


due process is observed and if it proves that somebody was guilty of


throwing a punch and causings some actual bodily harm, then that's more


a matter for the police in a way than for a political party to decide


upon. That is undoubtedly an action which could result in one or both of


these being expelled from the party. We do not condone this behaviour and


it's certainly not typical of our party. I've been in Ukip 15 years


and never seen a fight of this kind before. What you just said is very


interesting because you are talking about Steven Woolfe, you said


earlier on the BBC, I think Steven picked a fight, right. I didn't say


that. Picked a fight and came off worse is what you said? Yes. You did


say that? APPLAUSE.


I was asked. . ... I'm not trying to score a point off you. The point is


you are clearly referring to Steven Woolfe front runner to be leader and


you are saying if that is true he can't stand as leader and you know


the supporters, Nigel Farage and Erin Banks want that side of Ukip as


a leader, so if that doesn't happen... I've read the rule, I've


read it out to the audience this evening and in normal circumstances


what would happen in a disciplinary case of that kind, there are those


who're involved in such a fight, they would be suspended from the


party pending an inquiry. Are you calling for a police investigation?


This occurred in France, I don't know what the rules are. Do you


think there should be one? If it's a case of actual bodily harm, it's a


matter for the police. He probably won't be able to remember what he


asked for tomorrow. That's a trivial response of course, back to the


serious matter. The question was, is there a future for Ukip and one


isolated event wholly to be not be tolerated is not representative of


Ukip as a party which is now a major player, particularly in Wales and...


The leader standing down, Diane James after 18 days as leader of


your party, what is that about? I can't explain that. I didn't vote


for her. I thought she was not suited to the role and I was very


surprised she put herself forward. But we are not the only party which


sometimes elects an inadequate leader, are we?


APPLAUSE. Andy Parsons? Well, obviously Nigel


Farage is back, isn't he? He's goat a lot of things to cope with at the


moment. He's obviously supposed to be advising Donald Trump. How Donald


is going to cope without him, I've no idea. And we all quite surprised


that he's not on this panel tonight. We were expecting him on Question


Time, he's been on often enough. But the reason he was keen to step back


in and say I am leader is he was worried Neil Hamilton might claim


that he was in fact the leader when Diane James stepped down.


APPLAUSE. The woman at the back there in pink?


No, there is no future for Ukip because children are our future and


I don't think they are going to be voting Ukip. Simple as. No future.




Alun Cairns? I think we should all be grateful that Steven Woolfe


appears to be OK and hopefully he'll be discharged from hospital. I'm not


necessarily best placed to answer how Ukip members or activists feel,


but there is a serious job of work to do and on June 23rd we voted in


the referendum to leave the European Union. There are serious challenges


and it's the Government's job to focus and get the best deal for the


whole of the United Kingdom and delivering on that instruction that


came from the public. Ukip will have represented a significant number of


voters in the assembly elections and general elections. Those people will


feel let down as a result of the sort of antics that we are seeing by


the leadership and by the politicians. And I think that it's


up to the Government to act in a responsible way to continue that


positive agenda, acting on the instruction and I hope that other


part itses will play their part too. The woman over there, on Ukip, then


you? I wanted to come back to the original question, is there any need


for Ukip and I think there will be unless the Government starts


building more social housing and there are better paid jobs for


people because people are dissatisfied in Wales. There are a


lot of places in Wales and England that have suffered due to the death


of manufacturing. We may come on to a bit more of that in a moment. You,


Sir, in the pink? I think Labour's inaction on immigration will always


ensure there is a Ukip. Jeremy Corbyn's door's wide-open. That


policy will backfire and fuel Ukip. APPLAUSE.


You at the back? The job is done. The minister summed it up there.


It's time to act, time for action now. We voted to leave the EU, that


meant working with people for Ukip. So I think the Government and Ukip


need to work together to take us out of the EU. At the end of the day


that,'s a Conservative obvious there. On the left? Steady on. Well


he was an MP as I understand it. He was. Can I just confirm, that was a


long time ago. My point is, we need to work together now. I'm a civil


servant and I'm not sure where we are going with this now and it's for


the Government to take action now and get us out of Europe.


The person at the back. Ukip has a two word manifesto. Stop


immigration. How hard is it to elect a new leader to put that forwards?


Do you approve of those two words? I do not approve of Ukip in any way,


shape or form. I think they are a shocking outfit.


APPLAUSE I would like to remind the British


audience that Ukip was the party that used Nazi propaganda in the EU


referendum. It was shocking. If this is the future of not just British


politics but British political discourse and debate, we have a very


bleak future. APPLAUSE


I am going to go on because we have other subjects to talk about, some


of which might raise Ukip policy as well.


We're in the RAF Museum, Hendon, North London next week


Come and speak your mind. I'll give details at the end.


Right now, a question from Lucy Lock. Are Amber Rudd's proposals for


companies to disclose family foreign workers they employ encouraging


xenophobia and racism in the UK? There has been a lot of criticism of


what Amber Rudd said at the party conference and what she has said


since then. Alun Cairns, is it right to ask companies to disclose how


many foreign workers they employ? Let me say that immigration has


brought huge benefits to our nation. They have benefited the economy,


public services, they have diversify them benefited our culture.


Immigration is a positive thing. I think where people get naturally


worried, and rightly so, is where immigration is uncontrolled.


Therefore, the pressures that come about on public services, the


competition for Labour in many areas where maybe those companies are not


fulfilling the obligations they have in order to offer opportunities to


working people here and across the rest of the United Kingdom. What


Amber Rudd has talked about is launching a consultation later this


year to see exactly what else can be done for non-EU migrants, to see


what else we can do. Flushing out firms who don't have more skilled


Labour forces? Forcing them to list how many foreign workers they


employ? That is what she said. Is that what you want to see? That will


be part of the consultation. You agree? If I can answer the point, I


will explain. I am asking the point. In the last parliament we closed 875


bogus colleges who were offering courses to students that did not


effectively exist. People would come, register and then never follow


up the course. At that time, we were called to be extreme because we took


strong action against those colleges. Now, that is accepted as


generally good practice because of the positive impact that would have


had on curbing immigration. And immigration from outside the EU has


fallen by 13%. But we need to look at what else we need to do.


Potentially publishing the sort of things you have talked about, which


already happens in benighted States, employers talk about the proportion


of employees that they have from outside the US and from within the


US. That will be part of the consultation we will happily engage


in with employers and they will be able to respond. Reading between the


lines, you approve, you say it happens in the United States and you


would like to see it happen here. Absolutely, but I want businesses to


engage to share how they feel they can better meet the needs of


ordinary working people who feel they are not getting a fair deal,


not getting the benefits that employers are offering. They feel it


is a privileged few that are benefiting, those who are on the


yachts and those who are earning millions of pounds from pension


funds. We need to change the policies that work for ordinary


working people so they are getting a fair crack of the whip. Chuka


Umunna. The question was, are the proposals fanning the flames of


xenophobia and racism? I would say certainly the headlines definitely


do that. I think this was a shocking suggestion, not least because I


actually asked Amber Rudd and her department how many EU citizens, how


many EU nationals do they have working not only in the Home Office


but in its different agencies. They don't even collect the figures. She


is attacking different companies and firms for the number of foreign


workers they employ and not knowing the number. She does not even know


the number of people from abroad who are working in her own department


agencies. So what we need in my view, if we are going to talk about


immigration, is a proper, balanced debate. The problem is you have it


played out on two polls. You have those who say immigration is always


fantastic, does not pose any challenges to any community. I


disagree. On the other hand you have the Nigel Farage view of the world


which is that all of our problems are down to immigrants. Now, of


course, migration population flows can pose challenges in the Labour


market. That is why you properly enforce the minimum wage. Community


cohesion, we have to provide better support people settling here too,


for example, be able speak English. And we have to make sure local


authority areas get the support they need financially to deal with


population change. But let's not throw out the baby with the bath


water on these issues. There are 1.5 million Brits employed in EU citizen


owned businesses in our country, over 100,000 EU citizens hoping to


power our public services. And let's not forget all the Brits living


abroad in other countries, not just in the EU, who benefit from the


movement of people around the globe. So let's have a mature, sensible


debate about this. Let's not have these gimmicks and stupid


initiatives and headlines which stoked the flames of division when


after the EU referendum we have to bring people back together.


APPLAUSE Do you approve of survey in


employers to see how many foreign workers they have and if they have


too many, trying to do something about it, reporting them to the job


centre? I think the real issue... I am quoting from Ed Miliband who said


this... The root of the problem here is that in the end a lot of


employers say, and when I was Shadow Business Secretary they would tell


me this all the time, they have chronic shortages. The way of


dealing with that is not to attack foreign workers or people who help


to provide the skills to businesses, but to make sure we have a skills


system that actually provides people with the skills that employers need.


But when you were Shadow Business Minister in, if you were Business


Secretary, would you have gone... You are not likely to be at the


moment, are you? You don't know what is going to happen. You quit the


Shadow Cabinet. Are you on offer to Jeremy Corbyn again? I have not had


a call yet. There is a reshuffle on going as we speak. Is it sensible


for government to do what Ed Miliband seemed to be suggesting in


2012, to look at employers and say, they have over a quarter of


immigrants, and that is something wrong and we must do something about


it? Is that the kind of direct action you would like to see? I


don't think that is the way to solve the problem. We have a ridiculous


snobbery in this country which says if you do a technical, vocational


qualification it is not as important as a degree, when that is where the


big skills shortages. Let's have more apprenticeships and end the


snobbery that says University is the way to go.


APPLAUSE Andy Parsons, let's go back to Lucy


Lock's question which is, disclosing how many workers you employ who are


foreign encourages xenophobia and racism. Do you agree? I certainly


don't think it's a good idea. Amber Rudd said, don't call me racist. We


can't talk about immigration and we should be able to talk about


immigration. She should certainly be able to talk about immigration. She


is the Home Secretary, that is part of her brief. If she can't talk


about immigration, then things have gone badly wrong, haven't they? But


we have been having a debate about immigration for ten years. We have


not talked about much else in the last six months. She rubbished the


idea that Labour had set up this fund, the migration impact fund. She


said was a terrible idea and then, what did she do, she said, we are


doing our own fund, the controlling migration fund. It is not


controlling migration, it is the controlling migration impact fund.


It is the migration impact fund but in a slightly different form. This


idea that we are naming and shaming companies, it should not be shameful


if you have a company that you employ foreign workers because there


is a skills shortage in Britain. At the moment we have a skills shortage


when it comes to negotiators for Brexit. They reckon we have about 25


and we need about 500. It seems a good chance that the Ministry of


Brexit will be employing quite a few people from abroad and might have to


name and shame themselves. APPLAUSE


At the top, Sir will stop is no one proud to be British any more, or


English? All Welsh? The thing is, if you say something against foreigners


or immigrants or whatever, you are immediately known as a racist and


all the rest of it. There used to be a thing called freedom of speech.


Neil Hamilton. What a Segway that was. I think this is a wholly


deplorable idea and utterly irrelevant to immigration control


and discredits the notion of the need for immigration control. We are


adding to the population of this country, the United Kingdom, a city


the size of Cardiff every year from immigration alone. The scale of the


inflow is the cause of the problem. When we joined the European Union,


the common market as it was, back in 1973, we were nine countries of


broadly similar economic prosperity. So we did not have these vast


movements across boundaries that we have today. The problem within the


European Union was caused largely from 2004 when countries which were


formerly behind the Iron Curtain became members of the European Union


and their income levels were a fraction of what powers were in this


country. So of course people want to come and better their condition of


life and move to countries where they can earn more money and live a


better life for their families, it wholly admirable notion. The problem


is that if the scale of the migration is too fast, then it


creates social problems in the countries to which these people are


coming. We are not against immigrants as such. They are not the


cause of the problem as individuals. The problem is the scale of the


flow, and immigration has to be controlled otherwise all sorts of


other problems are caused. And that is what actually creates racism and


xenophobia. And you do not see Amber Rudd's proposals as trying to


staunch... I don't think it will make the slightest contribution to


immigration control and I think it discredits the argument and


therefore is counter-productive. In the middle. I think the turning of


what Amber Rudd said is included dangerous given what happened after


Brexit with Polish families and other EU nationals families being


attacked. It is hard to enforce for the government anyway because it is


a comp located procedure but I thought it was totally inappropriate


given what has happened recently with Brexit. What was it that she


said? The idea that people were coming and taking British jobs? Is


that what you object to? That sort of thing. As Andy Parsons says,


there is a skills shortage which a lot of European National is to fill.


In Boston, many people work in the fields and British people will not


do those jobs. They are hard, manual jobs, which people in Britain do not


do any more. Leanne Wood. The last question was about whether Ukip had


a future, and judging from the rhetoric on immigration that we


heard from the Tory party last week, we could say that Mrs May could be


the next leader of Ukip. I think what we saw in the Tory party


conference, the vision that was given by Theresa May, is not


something that I want to have anything to do with at all. The


vision that I have for Wales is one where we can all live together,


regardless of where we came from originally. We should respect each


other's cultures and languages. But we should be able to live together


in harmony. And this idea about separating foreign workers out from


the indigenous population, having some kind of list, is a very


dangerous road to go down, I would suggest. And I am just glad that, as


politics shifts further to the right, becomes more ugly, more


divisive, more British nationalists in the way it expresses itself, that


we have an opportunity in Wales to do something completely different.


And we could create a politics here that is nothing like that


whatsoever. So you don't believe in any immigration controls? That is


not what I said at all. There is an argument for a sensible immigration


policy. We have a shortage of doctors in Wales. We are crying out,


where I live, there are GPs retiring and no plan to replace them. 30% of


doctors in Wales were trained overseas. Our immigration problem in


Wales is that people are leaving the country. The young people are going


to university and not coming back, the areas in the valleys that are


becoming depopulated. Schools are closing the cause of falling rolls.


If our areas were more successful economically, people would want to


come and live amongst us, and we should be welcoming to them.


APPLAUSE The woman at the back there. Keep


your hands up if if you want to speak. You, first?


You said students are not coming back to Wales. There's nothing to


come back for, that's the problem. Exactly. So how would you go about


encouraging people back to Wales? Last week, my partier produced plan


for a national infrastructure for Wales for example which involves


taking the opposite view to austerity and rather than closing


down services, investing in our infrastructure in our Public


Services, in our Broadband infrastructure. We've got a country


that isn't connected North-to-south, for example. We really do need to


invest in those things we missed out on when the times were good. The


problem is now, is that money is short because of the banking bail


out. You in the third row? I used to live


and work in Spain. When I spoke to Spanish people, they said they felt


the UK wasn't welcoming to them, to people in the EU, so I wondered how


the panel felt that people abroad see us as a country that they don't


want to live, work in and contribute in as Europe? I think that's


terrible. Hold on, Leanne. Alun Cairns briefly on the suggestion


that Leanne made that Theresa May could be leader of Ukip and perhaps


in that context you comment on what the young woman there said? Can I


say that the message that came out of that referendum was that


immigration needed to be controlled and the first stage of controlling


it is acknowledging it. Simply Iing network it, Leanne, doesn't mean it


goes away. Jeremy Corbyn last week completely failed to recognise the


message that came from the referendum. It's interesting that


Leanne seems to be very open to immigration in the UK but if it goes


into the Welsh communities, she's got something very serious to say.


You said something without anything to back it up. What are you talking


about? ! APPLAUSE.


Give me a quote. Quote me. Give me anything. Migration into Welsh


speaking communities, the integration in those communities,


I'm a passionate Welsh speaker supporting those communities, that


isn't necessarily as it is. Many of your members have taken direct


action in the past, many have broken the law to that effect and I would


hope that you would condemn them. Who are you talking about, what are


you talking about? What are you talking about? You absolutely know


that we can go to communities... It's not acceptable. The audience


will know there are communities in Wales where there are nationalist


activists that take direct action against people who come in. It


wasn't so long ago that some of the cottages were being burnt down...


Hang on, that is nothing to do with Plaid Cymru. That's slanderous now.


That's outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.


A brief comment from you? I live in Carmarthenshire. Plaid Cymru are


eradicating English stream primary education throughout the whole of


Carmarthenshire, what do you say about that? Do you say you are open


to immigration? Plaid Cymru a anti-English, especially in


Carmarthenshire. I don't accept that, right.


APPLAUSE. How my party be anti-English


language when the leader is an English language speaker? That would


be perverse. You don't speak Welsh? I'm a learner, I'm not a fluent


Welsh speaker. We have hundreds of thousands of Welsh speakers. You are


catching up? I'm a learner and I'm not fluent so if what you were


saying was correct, that would be like a form of self-harm.


Let's go on. We can have that one outside later. I shouldn't have said


that! I didn't mean to say that out loud. The discussion can go on


later! Brian Warlow, please?


The Prime Minister this week stated "we are the party of workers. " If


true, where does this leave the Labour Party? Over and over again,


the true workers party, the party for ordinary working people. Mrs May


said that in her conference speech. Andy Parsons, what do you make of


that? Well, she was stood up, wasn't she, in font of the slogan which


said "a country that works for everyone", then announced she would


bring back grammar schools. APPLAUSE.


She then said she was going to be the champion for the people that had


defied the establishment, forgetting she's been part of the establishment


for decades and is arguably now the pinnacle of the establishment. She


then went tonne say, Britain should be a country it doesn't matter where


you were born. She obviously hadn't heard the speech from her own Home


Secretary, her own Health Secretary, who's suggesting we train up more


junior doctors and then we can tell the foreign doctors who're helping


us out at the moment that they should go away, she hadn't heard


from Liam Fox who basically said people who were here from the EU,


that he wasn't going to say that they could stay because they were a


negotiating chip, they weren't people as such, but a negotiating


chip. If I may continue, I've got a little


bit more to do if that's all right. The point about, what about Labour,


yes, the thing about Labour was, we'd already heard from Philip


Hammond, what's now his economic policy? What was he going to do? He


wants to say he's going to get rid of the deficit but he's not going to


actually tell us now when he's going to get rid of it but we will. That


sounds similar to the policy that Ed Balls had before the last election,


the challenge for Labour was always, could you actually get the people


and the public to believe in what you had to say on the economy, well


it seems they have convinced the Conservatives that wasn't the worst


economic policy at all. You've lost me, I thought we were talking about


whether the Tory party was the party of the workers. Yes, well it was.


You were saying it's adopted Ed Balls' policy, does that make


them... If you were saying they were taking Labour's position... You were


saying that, I thought. I wasn't saying anything. That was part of


the question. Yes. You think that is happening? They have tried to do


that because they have adopted Labour's economic policy from before


the last election. Oh, right. Alun Cairns? Absolutely yes, we are the


party of workers. We can recognise that unemployment in Wales, and this


is something we can celebrate because I won't talk Wales,


unemployment is the lowest across the whole of the UK. It's at %,


whereas 4.9% across... ALL SPEAK AT ONCE.


That's why we have invited a former Labour adviser Matthew Taylor to


conduct an employment review because we recognise working practices have


changed. There's much more flexible working, so many more self-employed


people. Those people aren't necessarily feeling the benefit of


the economic growth and, as a result of that, that's why we want this


review to be taking place in order to respond to the needs and demands


and offer the same sort of protections to those sorts of people


over workers' rights and issues that many people in larger organisations


get so absolutely right, we are the party of workers. Chuka Umunna?


Before I answer the question, you have already commissioned an


employment review which was done under Sajid Javid when he was the


Business Secretary and you haven't published it. So why are you talking


about commissioning someone else to do it when you haven't done the


first one? The Prime Minister said on the steps of Downing Street,


absolutely that there are many people out there who don't feel that


the economy is working for them or that the country is... You know, in


terms of your point, David... People struggle to pay the mortgage. The


question was... Don't get the same security as you and I. The question


was about workers' rights and I'm sorry. It wasn't. It was about


whether the Tories are the party of workers. Clearly they are not. They


were the party that introduced employment tribunal fees which


prevent workers from getting justice when treated unfairly at work. They


have also made it harder for people to claim for unfair dismissal. They


continually beat up on the organisations that represent working


people, our Trade Unions. Now she wants to pose somehow as the great


champion of workers and workers' rights. It's utterly ludicrous,


based on the last five to six years. So this whole thing Tories workers,


there is a treason audience were laughing.




OK. You, mam? I wonder how the Tories


can turn round and say they are the party of workers after what they


have done not only to the mining industry but the steel industry et


cetera. But also the thing that they are currently trying to do with the


self-employed who're trying to claim Working Tax Credit or Universal


Credit and it's going to be now. They are making it so, so difficult


for the self-employed who're just starting out on businesses. I've a


friend, she's been trying hard for two years to set up her own business


and the stress of it, trying to fill in all the Tax Credit forms set set


radio all the time which you have just made far more difficult --


forms et cetera. APPLAUSE.


This is why Matthew Taylor, a former Labour adviser, has been


commissioned to look at these sorts of issues. Theresa May absolute will


you stands by this and this is the sort of issues people are


complaining about, that Chuka highlighted. If you know so much


about workers' rights, why did you introduce and vote for tribunal


fees. Do you think Matthew... He's very, very capable. Denying people


justice in employment tribunals and you are trying to tell us here that


you care about their rights and you voted for that. The man in the


centre? Thank you. I would just say that, did the Tories represent


working people? Emphatically no. In my view, any credible party that


calls the opposition party the nasty party, I think is below contempt. I


worked all my life. I was prouder working and had a good career. I'm a


member of the Labour Party. I don't consider myself nasty and I don't


consider the Labour Party nasty, so certainly the Tories are not


representing themselves and I think a lot of other people too.


Leanne Wood? I think they're pretending to reach out to working


class people, to take advantage of the difficulties that the Labour


Party, the in-fighting that's been going on on two Labour Party. I


think there's an opportunistic attempt to try to take advantage of


that. But what I would say to everybody, particularly everybody in


Wales, is just don't believe them. Remember what they did to us in the


1980s, remember the deliberate deindustrialisation of our


communities. We are still paying the price for that deliberate


de-industrialisation today. APPLAUSE.


. Before I cam into this job as a


politician, I worked as a Probation Officer in the Valleys and some of


the social problems that are deep set, second and third generation


now, that were started during the 1980s when those pits were


deliberately closed, they should never be forgiven for that. Never.


APPLAUSE. Neil Hamilton, what cod you make of


the Prime Minister's claim that Tories are the party of the workers?


Neither the Tories nor Labour are the people of the working. As for


Leanne championing the coal industry, she wants to close them


all down and rely on windmills to generate electricity. Alun said that


employment levels in Wales are higher than ever before. That's


true. When you look at the income levels of people who're in work,


they've never been lower in relative terms. 15 year, Wales was second


from bottom in the league tables of income in the United Kingdom,


English regions and the nations. Today Wales is the bottom of the


league and we have had a Labour Government in Wales for the last 20


years as well and now a Tory Government in the United Kingdom for


the last six years. They both failed the people of Wales and the United


Kingdom in this respect. Of course, the biggest losers from mass


uncontrolled immigration have been those at the bottom of the income


scale, people with the fewest skills and so for many people, the minimum


wage has now become the maximum wage. We, in Ukip, are the only


party who's put forward a credible proposal for immigration control


which would help those most at the bottom of the income scale. That is,


I think, the real party of working people, Ukip.


There are a number of hands up. I would like to ask you to be brief,


as I go round. You, Sir, you have been waving away?


I must admit I'm absolutely appalled by Alun's comments that he's the


party for the working class. I work in Public Services, I'm proud to


work in Public Services and your party are killing the NHS. Shame on


you. The woman up there. I work as a


supply teacher through an agency. Supply teachers used to work through


the council. The Conservative government have created a system


where we only work through agencies now. We used to have small perks


like travel expenses, which have now been taken away because we are not


officially self-employed. And yet all the politicians claim all the


expenses. The man in the pink shirt. I can only speak from experience. I


was in a thriving cosmetic industry in the valleys and when we needed


support the only ones who were there were Plaid Cymru. Labour were


speaking on TV and the Tories were nowhere to be seen. When you need


support, that says it all, they weren't there. In front. How can the


Conservatives say they are the party for the working people when they


have accelerated the state pension age faster than they needed to, and


they have denied women born in the 1950s their state pension until 66.


APPLAUSE You, sir, with the daffodil. Be


brief. I certainly will. He said you are a proud Welshman, Alun Cairns,


but how many of your Cabinet are working class? The majority probably


will have come from that sort of background. They are all if Tony is.


I am not, I went to school up the road and my father was a welder in


the steelworks. A lot of the old eat only and is have left because they


changed the Prime Minister. Going on to what some people have said about


public services, we have seen a demise of all our public services


and not just through the Welsh. You will pass it on to somebody else,


but it started with Thatcher. Whether you like it or not, it is a


decline of what happened in Wales, and Leanne Wood is right on that. We


have heard a good deal about Welsh matters because we are in Neath, but


I want to go on to a completely different topic. A question from


Mark Parmar. I would like to ask, is it time for the West to accept it


can only end the war in Syria by joining forces with Russia and


accepting President Assad as a necessary evil? Joining with Russia


and accepting Assad. Neil Hamilton. It is very dangerous for western


countries to blunder into other countries whose internal politics


they don't understand, and which ultimately they can't control. We


know the catastrophe of the Iraq war, the intervention in


Afghanistan. Western intervention has only made things far, far worse,


not just for those countries themselves but also through the


exported terrorism which is the inevitable consequence. So the


answer to the question is yes, actually. President Assad is not a


very nice person, very obviously, but you cannot see these things in a


moral vacuum. We have to ask, what is the alternative? Is it going to


be better or worse? And I don't think any of the interventions, from


Libya across to Afghanistan, that the West, with their grandstanding


politicians who like to strut on the world stage and expose for public


view what they think is their moral superiority, have done an ounce of


good, actually, for the people of those countries themselves. When we


look at the horror of Al ACPO today, -- Aleppo, can we really say that


Western intervention in Syria has benefited the Syrian people? There


may not be a solution. Many problems in the world do not have an answer.


But the West can not make things worse by blundering in and doing


what, making things worse because they have no idea actually what is


going to follow. In Iraq we had no follow-through plan. In Afghanistan


we were unable to make any difference, so we ended up making


things worse. APPLAUSE


You, sir, up there. In that case, Mr Hamilton, do you believe we should


continue bombing women and children? The Russians? No. But you have just


said that you agree that we should perhaps get into cahoots with the


Russians. That was the question, joining forces with Russia and


accenting President Assad. That is what you have just agreed to. I


don't think we should be involved. Alun Cairns, you voted in favour of


bombing Assad. I voted in favour of taking action in Syria in terms of


supporting the people against Daesh and the horrors that they would


bring about. But for me, at the moment the immediate priority has to


be the humanitarian crisis. And the action that we need to take in terms


of supporting those in Aleppo. Only earlier this week the last hospital


was bombed, tragically, in Aleppo. We have seen terrible photographs of


children who have lost their parents and families, and children who have


been orphaned as a result. The starting point has got to be to


carry on talking in order to get to that US - Russian type ceasefire


again so we can get some humanitarian aid. We have a proud


record in supporting some of the most challenged countries in terms


of who are facing war and conflict, and this is a good reason why I


stand by our overseas aid budget to support those communities and those


people who absolutely need it now. I can't understand why the UN have not


joined together and put Armed Forces into Syria and cleared it all up.


Because all of this warming is causing lots of deaths by


individuals, innocent individuals and youngsters. I think there should


be a plan to win by arms, to clear it and put the state back to where


it was. You think that would be effective? More effective than the


constant bombing and killing of innocent people. The woman in the


front. I think it is tragic, the way we see on television the bombing of


the hospitals and everything. I mean, years ago, we went, we helped


Ethiopian and all those other places. Look at Northern Ireland. We


had to talk to finish the Northern Ireland conflict. There had to be


talks. And I think there are going to have two B, whoever talks and


whatever. I don't believe we should go into Syria because look at Iraq


and all the other places that we have been into, and look at them


now. But I think we should definitely be talking, no matter


what Assad is, and no matter what Putin is. They seem to have the


power together. Some people think they are in cahoots. Well, let's


stop this terrible tragedy that's going on. When you see the pictures


on television, I'm sure everybody's heart is breaking. It is awful. Mark


Parmar, do you agree with what she is saying? What would you like to


see happen? Obviously, I would like to see the war end, but unless we


accept the reality that if we don't talk to Russia and talk to Assad,


then our current policies have been playing out for five and a half


years. Are we prepared to have another five and a half years of not


talking, watching more hospitals blown up? Andy Parsons. Our policy


towards Syria has been not well thought through. David Cameron


wanted to get bombing in 2013 and did not succeed with that vote. Even


wanted to get the bombing in 2015 and succeeded with that. The only


difference between those two votes was that in those two years he


wanted to bomb completely different sides from 2013 to the one he wanted


to bomb in 2015. That does not seem a coherent foreign policy. We have


the global players supporting different sides and in terms of what


we need to do, yes, we have to talk. But what can we actually do at the


moment? One thing we can do is that there are a lot of Syrian refugee


kids who are currently in Calais with links to British families, and


we are keeping them behind that wall. One thing we should definitely


do is get them into this country and help them now.


APPLAUSE Can I just say, I think we have


missed the boat on discussions with Russia and Assad. We have had the


opportunity over the last four or five years. Unfortunately, if Mr


Trump wins the American presidential elections, he is not known for his


foreign relations and his ability to talk nicely to other nations. So I


think we have missed the boat on that and if he gets into power, it


is going to be quite a desperate situation for the world, really.


Would you have liked to have seen the West ally themselves with Russia


and accept that Assad would remain in power? I am not saying that. We


have had the opportunity to talk to people who could make a difference.


We have missed the boat. Mr Trump is certainly going to make a difference


but not in the manner that we would all like. The result is going to be


a complete disaster for the Globe, I'm afraid. Let's be clear, we


should not ally with Russia and access Assad as the dictator of his


country. -- access Assad. In this discussion, we seem to have


forgotten how what has happened in Syria came about. It came about


because a brutal, nasty dictator, in Assad, refused to accept the desire


for democracy amongst his people coming off the Arab Spring in 2011.


That is how this started, so the idea that we should align with


Russia and prop up this nasty dictator incenses me. Let us not


forget, if you look at what the Russians and Syrian forces have been


doing in Syria, they have killed more people, more civilians than


Daesh and the Al-Nusra Front put together. So they are the problem.


Let us be clear about that. Of course, the reason that UK forces


are taking action, with others, both in Iraq and Syria and in the space


in between, is to degrade Daesh and stop the terrorism we see. That has


been successful to some extent in Iraq and is beginning to render


results in Syria. But no one is under any illusion that somehow that


is then to solve the problem in Syria. Three years ago you voted


against bombing Assad's forces, didn't you? Yes, and then I voted


for action in Syria recently. The reason I voted against it in 2013


was that we were not presented with any plan. We were not presented with


details on the legal basis as to why we were being asked to intervene.


That was not the case more recently. There are three things. You need


unfettered humanitarian access, which has not been provided so far.


But ultimately, you need a negotiated settlement. You need to


create the environment in which the UN can help with that deal.


Absolutely not, the idea of propping up the guy who started this in the


first place is at Horut. Leanne Wood. If you look at where most of


the refugees within the European Union have come from, it is Syria.


It is an extremely complicated situation. Nobody has the answers. I


certainly don't. I don't think that there is a military solution to


this. There has to be a political solution, and there does have two B,


if there is going to be an end to violence, at some point there are


going to have to be talks. But I think what Andy said is spot on.


There are limits to what we can do, but there are some things that we


can do. Those civilian children in Calais, we should be offering those


children a safe space and a home, because the risks that they are


facing in that Calais jungle, it does not bear thinking about.


APPLAUSE I would like to hear what you have


to say that we have to stop. We're in Hendon, North London


next week with former SNP leader Alex Salmond


and Labour's Shadow Defence spokesman Clive Lewis


among our panelists. The following week


we'll be in Hartlepool. Come and join us, Hendon


or Hartlepool, go to our website, If you are listening tonight


on Radio 5Live, the debate goes From Neath, until next week,


Good night.


David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Neath, Port Talbot. On the panel are Conservative secretary of state for Wales Alun Cairns MP, Labour's Chuka Umunna MP, leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood AM, comedian Andy Parsons and Neil Hamilton AM.

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