26/01/2017 Question Time


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and key Jeremy Corbyn ally, Diane Abbott.


The Conservative MP new to the House of Commons in 2015, James Cleverly.


The SNP Leader in Westminster, Angus Robertson.


Daily Mirror Online writer Fleet Street Fox,


And Geoff "I'm the only Conservative-voting comedian


As ever, you can join the debate on Facebook,


Just before we came on air, I had an e-mail from someone saying, please


not Trump and please not Brexit. I have two disappoint you. Our


audience overwhelmingly want to talk about Brexit and Trump. We start


with a question from Kristel Tracey. Should our government turn a blind


eye to Trump's controversial policies in the interests of


renewing our special glacial chip with the US? James Cleverly. -- our


special relationship. The short answer is no, we mustn't turn a


blind eye, whether it comes from the President of the United States of


America, or anyone else. We are long-standing friends of America,


and they are long-standing friends of ours and we have to make the


relationship with the elected head of state of that country work. But


Theresa May has a reputation for straight talking, telling people


perhaps untruths -- some truths that they don't like to hear. And I have


no doubt she will have a very frank conversation with the President of


the United States of America. But if you are hoping for some Love


actually type moment, you will probably be disappointed because as


friends and allies, we probably do our criticism in private and


supportive comments in public. She did say on the plane to a reporter,


haven't you ever noticed, opposites attract. So maybe you are in for a


moment. Well, I am confident that the Prime Minister and the President


will have a professional and close working relationship. Perhaps not


quite as intimate as Tony Blair and George W Bush, but I am sure she


will make it work. Let's deal with some of the problems in renewing the


relationship. Diane Abbott, what do you think the Prime Minister should


do? America is a long-standing ally and whichever party was in


government would have to work with them on things on which we agree.


But this is not so much a question of turning a blind eye to Donald


Trump's policies, it is that we cannot turn a blind eye to his


values. This is a man who, even compared with other right-wing


Republican presidents, is quite extraordinary. This is a man who


talks about grabbing women by the pussy. This is a man who wants to


stop Muslims entering the US, all Muslims. And this is a man who says,


contrary to everything, the army and the security services know, that


torture works. What policies that Trump wants to put forward is


primarily a matter for him and the American people. But on our values,


I think British values that we should all share, I don't think we


should give ground, even to get these so-called trade deals. Some


things are not for sale. APPLAUSE


Susie Boniface. In answer to the question, no, you


don't turn a blind eye, and I hope she is keeping Trump at arms length,


and not just out of grabbing distance but genuinely at arms


length. We have to go and talk to him, deal with him. There are a


million jobs in this country that rely on American firms, and a


million jobs in America that rely on Tish firms. The trade is worth


billions. Just because there is a slightly crazy man in the White


House does not mean we should stop talking to him altogether. We have


to keep it going for pragmatic reasons, for the interests of our


citizens here and citizens abroad. But you have to consider how history


will judge this further down the road. We are stuck in this first


week of a fire hose of news, this astonishing stuff that keeps coming


out of the White House. We have to think what will happen when it is


over. At some point, Donald Trump will either be impeached, he will


lose an election in four years, or he will leave after eight years,


when he has to go gracefully, as Obama did. How do you think he will


go? How is it going to end? I personally think the military will


have to chisel his teeth out of the Oval Office desk to get him out. He


will not go quietly, it will be ugly. In the long-term, history will


look at Theresa May and say, was she a second Maggie, or a second Neville


Chamberlain. As simple as that. Angus Robertson. People will reflect


on the unseemly way in which she has been keen to be the first foreign


leader to walk into the White House and meet President Trump. Every


moderate mainstream politician in the world recognises that it is


important to have a good relationship with the United States


and with the office of the President of the United States. Do you think


she should not have accepted the invitation? One moment. Do you think


she should have rejected the invitation to go? On the basis of


what has been said about torture alone, the Prime Minister should use


her leveraged. We are told that Britain has a special relationship


with the United States. If it does, I would hope it would be on the


basis of two states that do not torture. If the President were to


give an assurance that he will not go ahead with what he is actively


considering, which is to reintroduce torture as a policy by the CIA, the


reopening of black sites, and extraordinary rendition, the


kidnapping of people and flying them around the world, if the UK has a


special relationship, I would call on the Prime Minister to get an


assurance that the US will not go ahead with torture, before meeting


the President of the United States. APPLAUSE


Let's hear from the audience. First of all, I think that special


relationship got damaged so much over the last eight years under


Obama that Theresa May has really got to go over and rebuild it. To


say that we already have it is completely wrong. We don't have


that. To even suggest that she should not go over and start


building that relationship, especially when we have to look at


future trade deals is just stupid. In your view it was destroyed under


Obama because of what? That relationship over the last eight


years is, Obama has never been that interested in the British people and


British culture, especially. He has never been a fan. Before Brexit,


back of the queue. Geoff Norcott. No matter what job you do, what side of


the political divide you are, have some empathy with Theresa May that


this was in her calendar. I don't think anyone is sitting there going


two sleeps until lunch with the Trumps. It is something that she has


to do, Brexit or no Brexit. The likelihood of a hard Brexit makes it


even more imperative. As the nonpolitician and non-journalist,


what would I do? He is notoriously thin-skinned. The idea that you can


criticise him off the bat does not seem realistic. Germany are not


getting a call back. The best thing they can do is to like his tweets


and curry favour. How do you get a seat at the table? If it was me, I


would just butter him up, compliment him. I would arrive and say, your


hair looks great. Is it me, or is the White House bigger since you got


here? If you want somebody to speak truth to power, you have to have the


ear of power first. Then, down the line, couple of days, say, just dial


it down on the hate speech. Of all world leaders at the moment, I think


she is the person that could possibly do that.


APPLAUSE Do you think that Putin and Trump's


special relationship will supersede Theresa May and Trump's special


relationship? That is a very good question. Angus


takes a nobly naive position. I adore him for it. But ultimately,


President Trump is going to make international relationships he


believes are in the best interests of the United States of America. If


we are not sat across a table with him, if the Prime Minister is not


sat across a table with him, as our primary military ally, our second


largest trade partner, making our relationship work, he will look


relationships. And it is entirely feasible that one of those


relationships might be between him and Vladimir Putin. He already has


that. And it is not a relationship I am massively comfortable with. Is


she going to come back with a trade deal, Diane Abbott? Susie said that


we should not stop talking to him. Nobody is talking about stopping


talking. That is exactly what I said at the beginning. But on this


question of trade deals, which everyone is using as an excuse why


we have two suck up to him, let's be clear, this country has hardly any


trade negotiators, echoes most of our trade negotiation is done


through the EU. And remember Trump's slogan, America first. We will get


trade deals, all right, but what sort of trade deals? Trade deals


which will open the NHS to American corporate health.


APPLAUSE Trade deals which will drag down our


environmental standards. We will get deals, but whether


people will like them when we get them is another thing. You are


saying that Theresa May should say what they want to hear but that is


my problem with her. Be it with Brexit, she is just saying what she


thinks we want to hear but not telling us what is happening. She


will do it with Trump, go over there and do some toing and froing about


what she thinks we should hear but not the decisive. I would like a


Prime Minister who is telling me what is going on, where she stands,


instead of playing her cards all over the table. If it was you, what


would you say? I would be strong on my values. We are not this week


country that has to suck up to America. We have to stand for what


we believe in, the climate change, anti torture, we can't hide away.


But you have a million jobs that depend on him being in a good mood


with us. Half of our Trident missiles we rent from America. I


would love it if we could go over there and the Prime Minister could


go, no, stop, we are Britain, pack it in, we are not going to kiss your


big, white, wrinkly bomb. That is enough. Sounds like the kind of


language he would understand. I have two agree with the gentleman on the


left who spoke about the culture that had been created under Barack


Obama. Now we are focusing on the ideas of immigration and Mexico and


the wall. Do you not think this culture of apathy was built up under


Barack Obama because of his flip-flopping on issues like gay


marriage? As an openly gay man, I found it bizarre that a Harvard


professor was sitting there, having to, in 2008, have the faculty


supporting that kind of human rights. Do you not think he created


a culture of apathy in the US that ultimately led to Donald Trump


anyway? I am wondering why people that we got George W Bush Mach two.


There is one other question on Trump from Charles Harris. If the


government policy in the UK is to reduce illegal immigration, why is


Donald Trump's wall so controversial?


Well, the impossibility of building it. They have already said, there


may be some fences. I think that's a good metaphor. I think that, you


know, the idea, I mean, I'm sure we will get onto this, I voted Leave,


and I think there is a dialogue around having controls on


immigration and there is a rampantly xenophobic dialogue that Donald


Trump is entering into. I think what the war has become is a metaphor for


a state of mind with him. -- the wall. I think that's the problem. If


it was just one of the other, but the whole package with Donald Trump


is he is alarmingly xenophobic. It's not just about relationship with


Mexicans. It's about stopping all Muslims going to the United States,


and what worries me is that we are seeing a very intolerant language


coming into politics. Whoever was responsible at whatever point, it


isn't a new thing, unfortunately, xenophobia and narrow-mindedness,


but there is a lot of it in politics. It seems to me, when we


are talking about the policy of Donald Trump or the debate on these


islands, I think, regardless of where we stand, in our case on


different sides of the argument on Brexit, I think it holds all of us


to make sure that the language we use reflects the values that most


people share, which is that we are welcoming of people, especially who


have come here in need, and just to reflect on this in a second in this


city, 1 million people who live here come from other European countries,


and they work in our NHS and they work in our private sector. They are


our neighbours, they are taxpayers, and the language that I sometimes


hear about people, and then themselves feeling that they are


being told to go home, I think it is something that should give all of us


concerned, regardless of where we sit on the Brexit question or Donald




The man next to you. Sorry, is Theresa May in a position to


negotiate with Trump? A lot of things have been mentioned. What


about Trump's green light given to Israel, whereas in Palestine a lot


of homes have been demolished, and they are using the illegal


occupation, land is a quiet on the illegal occupation, to build 4500


homes. -- land acquired. Are you saying that because of that Theresa


May shouldn't to him? Theresa May isn't in a strong position to speak


to him because we have got Brexit and she is looking for a trade deal


with Trump. The gentleman mentioned that she will speak to him and tell


him about the British values, but what about, will she speak to him


about the Palestinian cause? I don't have the running order of what they


are going to discuss, and it would be impossible in any one meeting,


particularly an introductory meeting, to cover the full gamut of


home affairs, but there is a lovely bit of transcription from when the


United States of America sent troops to Granada, which was actually


sending American troops on to British soil, to all intents and


purposes, and got a dressing down by Margaret Thatcher. There is a


wonderful transcription of what was basically a one-way hairdryer


conversation, where Margaret Thatcher told President Reagan in no


uncertain terms how displeased she was. That is what a special


relationship means that it doesn't been one-way traffic. It means that


we as the UK can speak frankly to the United States of America through


its president. I think that's important. You remember that, when


Winston Churchill met Truman and started talking about... I wasn't


there. You will have read about it. Maybe not. When they started talking


about the special relationship, Truman said, to Churchill's dismay,


we will pass that our advisers, so it may not be all it is jacked up to


be. The woman on the gangway. No doubt that Brexit and the Trump


presidency will affect immigration, it's something that relates to me.


With all the media talking about how bad Trump is, I'm trying to look at


it from this person. What is saying from his? Everybody is looking at


strengths and weaknesses. The good thing he is saying is, America


first. Every country's leader should look after their country first.


Regarding immigration and the wall, developing countries, immigration,


mostly be corrupted leaders are the driving force for immigration in the


first place. Immigration isn't the solution for everybody. I think he


is saying, I am hoping what he's saying, is message come across to


the world, that you have to look after your own people. It doesn't


mean closing the country, so then dealing with what you are good at.


That is one more point. So you are not wholly opposed to what doing. He


seems a very honest person. But he has said is clear. There is no


hidden agenda. If you look at the details, we may be able to deal with


him. One more point from you, sir. I think we are missing the point of


the visit, really, and I don't think Theresa May is going over there


because she is a cheerleader of Trump's values. We are about to go


into a big negotiation with the EU and it pays to be a shrewd... If you


are going out to see a customer, you want to be through the door before


the rest of the competition, so Theresa May once to go and see


Donald Trump before other nation heads, because we are about to go


into a big negotiation with the EU and we would rather have the US


behind us, talking on a high level, about a trade deal.


APPLAUSE Shall we go on to question, I think?


No, you have a quick say. Britain has just come naively, I think,


opted out of the world's biggest trade deal, the single market. Do


the panel think she will ever get as good a deal from Trump as we had in


the single market,? Well, it takes us to the issue of Brexit. Let's


have a question from Sophie Petzal, please. Regarding Article 50, do


local MPs have a moral duty to vote with their conscience, even if it


goes against the majority of their constituents? The issue being that


the Supreme Court said that Parliament had to decide. It


couldn't just face the decision on the referendum. So do local MPs have


a duty to vote with their conscience, even against the


majority of their constituents? I am in the fortunate position that I'm


going to be voting in the same direction, I think, is 62% of the


electorate in Scotland would wish the two, who voted to remain in the


EU. The reason why I will vote against what the government is


proposing, and incidentally, I brought it along, because I don't


know if people are aware how flimsy this thing is. This is it. What is


your point? Brevity can be a good thing. On the biggest decision


potentially since the Second World War, to be giving a green light to


leaving, as the gentleman suggested, the biggest trading bloc in the


world for an uncertain future, regardless of whether we voted


remain or leave, we need a bit more detail than one side of paper. Can


you read it to ask? By way of comparison, in Scotland, people here


will be aware, we have a debate in the vote two years ago on Scottish


independence, and the proposal involving white paper. This is it. I


brought it along. You might agree or disagree. There were 650 pages. I


think we deserve that level of detail on such a big issue. Please


don't start reading that out because we will be able might! But please


read out a White Paper, because that is in the labelling Bill. It won't


take long. Clause one, power to notify withdrawal from the EU. The


Prime Minister may notify under article X, Y and Z the UK's


intention to withdraw from the EU. It goes on that this act may be


cited as a EU deadlock as the European Union withdrawal act 2017.


What is more interesting is the explanatory notes. On one of the


biggest issues we are facing, it goes on to say that this bill is not


expected to have any financial implications. Now, regardless of


where you work on this debate, on such a big issue, we are expecting


parliament to spend less days scrutinising such a big issue with


no White Paper having been presented to parliamentarians or members of


the public to scrutinise. I think this isn't the way to go about


making a big decision, which is why I will not be supporting the


government on the issue. James Cleverly. That bill, the Article 50


Bill, which is designed to do nothing more than to start the


negotiating process, as 133 words and Angus criticises it for not


having enough words. Well, a bit of legislation enabling women to become


members of Parliament and 70 words. Are you suggesting that didn't have


enough words in it either? What this is about is starting a process, a


process that has been discussed at length on the floor of the chamber


of the House of Commons, in pubs and people's homes all over the country


for months and months. This is the start of a process. There will be a


White Paper. You are comparing and enabling Bill to a White Paper. You


are intentionally mixing the things that you are comparing one to


another. There will be plenty of time to debate. When will we get the


White Paper? It's a two-year process. When will we get the White


Paper? I don't know. On such a big issue... Where is the White Paper?


This is about starting the negotiating process. What about the


question from Sophie, do MPs have a duty to vote with their conscience


or with the majority of their constituents? That is a simple one.


MPs should always vote in the way that they believe to be in the


interest of the country as a whole, and of their constituents. You of


course must vote with your constituents. That's not the same


thing. Do you know better than the constituents who voted other venue


in your constituency? Are you their representative? -- who voted other


venue. We are representatives, not delegates. This point has been


debated many times. MPs have to vote in accordance with what they


genuinely believe to be right, by their own consciences. We are not


there to be the delegates of our constituents, and there will be


times when we vote in what you might know not to be a popular decision in


your constituency, but which you believe to be right, and that is the


duty of MPs. ... The man in the middle. I think the government is


inherently not wishing to give Parliament as a whole a say in the


most important decision to go before this country in generations. The


hallway that the government has gone about it in terms of keeping their


cards close to their chest, Brexit means Brexit, it is all sound bites


and we now have a White Paper with as many words as you could put in a


tweet and it's frankly abysmal. I want to come back to the issue of


how people should vote. Diane Abbott, the Labour Party is in some


confusion over this issue. No, I wouldn't say that. I am in a lot of


confusion over this issue. I have always voted with my conscience and


often paid a price for that, not least within my own party. But, on


the issue of the referendum, we have to be mindful that MPs voted to have


a referendum, and to say that because the vote went the wrong way


we are going to ignore the votes of millions of people up and down the


country, I think that would be a blow to democracy.


APPLAUSE I know that I support Remain. I know


that most people in this part of London supported Remain, but what


does it say to people in the north-east, the Midlands, the north,


former coal-mining areas, if you say, you voted and we are going to


ignore you? I am very concerned about this type of Brexit. Brexit


under Theresa May, in accordance to Tory values. I will make the point


that Angus makes. I was in Parliament for the debate on the


Maastricht Treaty, which was just a revision to the EU Treaty. We


debated that for 42 days. We are going to get five days to debate


coming out of the EU altogether. That demonstrates to me how arrogant


Theresa May is, how much she doesn't want to involve Parliament, how much


she wants to bulldoze things through. But I repeat, however I


feel about Leave, particularly Tory Leave, there is a democratic issue,


and the Labour Party is clear about that. So the Labour Party, led by a


man who, when he was a backbencher, despite the Labour Party whip 428


times, is imposing a three line whip to vote for Article 50. -- defied


the Labour Party. And various people say they are not going to do it.


What is going to happen, more resignations from the Shadow


Cabinet? I repeat, we are here in London saying that we can just


ignore what people outside the capital and the big cities think. I


think that real democracy sometimes means accepting difficult decisions.


We will be fighting to get the best Brexit we can. We will be fighting


first and foremost to do something for the 30,000 EU nationals living


in this country which have a terrible shadow of uncertainty over


them. We want their situation regularised. We will be fighting for


regular reporting back and for a meaningful vote at the end of it.


Mainly fighting each other, Diane. No. If you're not... If you're not


in London, you sound as if you are sneering about what people genuinely


think. After the Leave vote itself, your view of some Leave voters


wasn't exactly complimentary, as a vote against wanting to see less


foreign people on the street, if I recall the quote. I'm glad to hear


that you have adjusted your position. As a working-class voter,


and I want to speak up, as a working-class Leave voter, I'm not


furious all the time, I don't dislike foreign people and I would


like the issue of the new EU nationals to be resolved


satisfactorily. The reason why the approval of Theresa May is so high


at the moment is this is all about trying to take the pulse of the


country, and Theresa May is trying to work out what the majority think.


I think it was a medical vote to leave the EU and the idea that you


would make that vote but somehow want to stay in the colours of the


EU, the single market, the custom union, freedom of movement, that


seems illogical to me. I want to hear from some more


members of the audience. Personally, I think Brexit is going to be the


death of the Labour Party because Jeremy Corbyn hasn't got a clue what


he's doing. He doesn't even keep you guys informed. Susie Boniface.


Yesterday, Paul Blomfield was asked what Corbyn's stance was, and he


said he didn't know. And that is your Brexit secretary. It's crazy.


To go back to Sophie's question about whether MPs should vote with


their conscience, this isn't a conscience issue like abortion or


something. This is an issue where the public have all made their


feelings known, and regardless of how we voted, and regardless of how


much the Labour Party disagrees on what day of the week it is, we are


going for Brexit, whether we like it or not. What is in our best interest


is for that to go as well as it can do and for us all to get the best


deal out of it. For that to happen, we have to have a maximum scrutiny


in Parliament. So detail is a good idea. However, right now we do not


have any detail. No one has a clue. Can I finish my point? If anyone in


this room is divorced, or has a divorce in their families, someone


has issued a notice that they are going to divorce the EU. No one has


had the financial forms out yet, compared pensions, discussed


custody, and you are already asking the children where they want to go


and who they want to live with. You can't decide now. This is the start


of a long process. To have a conscience vote now is immaterial


because it is further down the road. It's the detail you need to vote. It


is almost a trend within the SNP party to not accept the outcomes of


referendums. APPLAUSE


I voted to remain but by except that the outcome was to leave, and I


don't think that MPs can then change the decision was made by millions of


people democratically. Angus Robertson, is the SNP really


just heading towards divorce from the UK on this issue? First off, I


totally recognise there was a majority across the UK to leave the


EU. There was a majority in England and in Wales. There was a majority


in Scotland to remain in the EU, which is why the Scottish Government


is working hard to reach a compromise with the UK Government to


find a deal that can satisfy all of us. I think, on such a big issue, it


behoves the British Prime Minister and Scotland's First Minister to try


and find that arrangement. That is why more information has been


published on this by the Scottish Government than from the UK


Government to date. That is where things are now. What happens when


the UK Government then says, I am sorry, we are not prepared to


respect the result in Scotland, to work with the Scottish Government,


to find a solution that satisfies everybody across these islands? It


is like saying we have to recognise the people of London who voted


exactly the same way. APPLAUSE


Why Scotland? What about London? I support the


case by the Mayor of London that the UK Government should negotiate with


the importance of the City of London in mind, so that a deal can be


reached that is not disadvantageous to the city, or similarly for the


car industry in the North of England. We know there will have to


be an arrangement for Northern Ireland, and that is no laughing


matter, because it is super important to get a deal that works


for Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. We need to recognise there


are different priorities in different parts of these islands. At


this stage, before getting to an independence referendum issue, the


Scottish Government is aiming to try and reach an agreement with the UK


Government. And I hope the UK Government is prepared to do that.


How long until another Scottish referendum, which you look as though


you are heading for? If there is going to be a Scottish referendum it


is because the UK Government has not been prepared to work with the


Scottish Government, which has an elected mandate to try and reach


this heel. I think that is why the UK Government should work with the


Scottish Government. Angus come EU said that Theresa needs to find a


deal. You said that Theresa needs to renegotiate a special elation chip


for London. You have then said you will not vote through the enabling


legislation which enables her to start a negotiating process. How is


she meant to find a deal and negotiate on behalf of London and


the devolved administrations when you will vote against the bill that


enables her to do so? How can we possibly give the green light to a


Prime Minister who is not prepared to give us any details of what she


is prepared to negotiate? If she were to outline the fact that she


can... Actually sit down and have the gauche nations. Which she can't


do. The Prime Minister was saying she will meet with devolved


governments on Monday and that is a good thing. But we need to see some


progress. Why would we allow her to have carte blanche to do whatever a


UK Tory government wants to do without us having any assurances


that she will negotiate in our interests. The woman in the second


row from the back. Angus mentioned majorities but forgot to mention one


specific majority, which is that the majority of Scottish people voted to


stay in the UK, and the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, and


Scotland needs to accept that result, just like London.


APPLAUSE The man in white.


What I want to know is, dodgy Diane kept saying there will be a Tory


Brexit that she does not like. What is a Labour Brexit? A Labour


Brexit... Let me finish. First of all, a Labour Brexit would put jobs


and the economy first. What is that? If you let me finish, a Labour


Brexit would put jobs and the economy first. It would be a huge


blow for manufacturing and the City of London if we come out of the City


of London and also completely out of the customs union. It will be. We


are putting jobs and living standards first. Theresa May is


putting the issue of immigration first, which brings me to what Geoff


said. He hinted something about immigration. Let me just say this,


there is no question that some people voted to leave about


immigration. But you made a blatant statement. I don't disagree that


some people did, but it was a blanket statement. Stop saying, let


me make, and just make the point. Just in order to get through the


topics. Let her speak. There is no question some people voted on the


immigration issue, and also no question that we saw a rise in


racist attacks, including in this city, in the wake of the Brexit


vote. On the question of immigration, the audience will


forgive me, as the daughter of immigrants, if I remind them that


immigrants have made London a great city. Nobody is disputing that. We


will defend them, including EU migrants, although it is a very


negative climate to say these things. We have been round that


course several times. Not always when you are on the panel, but


often. I think we should move on. We are two thirds of the way through


the programme, and because of the woman who rang up to say, please,


not Brexit or Trump, I think we should try something else.


We're in Wallasey next week, and the week after


Should GPs be able to charge certain patients for procedures or aspects


of care? It was a suggestion that made the news today from a GP in


Oxfordshire that family doctors should be able to charge for evening


and weekend appointments, as a way of helping the financial problems of


the National Health Service. Geoff Norcott. Yes, I think they should. I


know it is unpopular, I know what a religion the NHS is. There were some


statistics today that there are 14 million missed appointments every


year. To say there is not an obvious solution is not an excuse to do


nothing. You should not have a hall of shame outside the surgery where


people speculate on what you might have gone there for. But you should


do something pragmatic. When you talk about reforming the NHS, people


hold up Sweden and Northern European health services as an example. A lot


of those countries pay for a share of their health care as well. This


is a unique time of people having a bigger population in this country,


greater life expectancy. To think you can carry on doing what you did


before seems naive. Are we heading for a paid for National Health


Service? It is not paid for. The question was about GP out of hours,


right. Whether patients should pay for certain aspects of their care.


The report I read was about GP out of hours surgery but I think it is a


reasonable place to start. Possibly with the same exemption is that you


have for dental care. If you are pregnant, unemployed or elderly,


obviously you are exempt, but it seems reasonable that people should


contribute. Are you talking about just out of hours stuff, or when


people are very drunk and get ill as a result of their behaviour?


Something like that, or not attending appointments, missed


appointments. Certain aspects. This doctor's idea was that you would pay


for evening and weekend appointments. Yes, but they also


mentioned about certain things like vasectomies and removing moles. The


thing is, there is one issue where someone says it sounds like a good


idea. You have a 24-year-old who has fallen over in Accident Emergency


because he is drunk. Why doesn't he pay for his care? Someone wants to


go at 9pm to the GP because they are busy at work, why can't they pay for


it? Where do you draw the line? When do you say someone's behaviour has


got them in hospital? Do you charge a diabetic who has not regulated


their blood properly for going to hospital? I have a condition where I


sometimes have epileptic seizures caused by insomnia and anxiety. If I


get into 80s and have a seizure, do I have to pay for it because I


caused it? And do you think everyone who wants to go to the doctors at


evenings and weekends is automatically working in a good job


the rest of the time? Perhaps they are shift workers, not that well


off, perhaps they can't afford to pay more. So I don't think we should


be paying for that, but I do think as a nation we have to pay more for


our NHS. It is the lowest cost health care almost in the world for


what we are getting. We are not putting enough in. All of the


politicians from the main parties think it is anathema and political


death to suggest we should pay more for that. I think if they just said,


a penny more on income tax and you will have a perfect NHS that will


look after you much better, most of us would be fine with it. I think


they should just do that. APPLAUSE


I am tired of hearing that the reason the NHS is failing is because


we are living longer. We live longer because we have a


good NHS. When will the government stop hiding behind newspapers and


let everyone know it is the PFI schemes and the funding of social


care that is causing these problems at the moment? You, sir, with the


glasses. I sort of despair at the tone of the debate, because it


sounds good in principle, it really does. It would take a lot of boxes


but would be a bureaucratic nightmare maintaining that type of


system. The biggest thing to talk about, talking to the politicians,


is PFI. What is going on with that? We bailed out the banks, maybe now


we should bail out the NHS, because it is getting bad. What is it about


PFI, private Finance initiative, that you object to? Interest rates.


A lot of these were signed by both Labour and the Coalition Government.


I don't know what the status is. I don't know if anyone has taken out a


payday loan. I haven't. What you hear what they are like. I think the


comparison of PFI being like payday loans over the NHS, I think that is


what is going on and we need to bailout. The government can borrow


money and a lot cheaper than PFI. Going back to the idea of paying for


specific aspects of health care, what about those that have a lack of


economic resources? Are they denied the necessary care? There is a point


that has been missed about this. The question was asked about NHS GPs


because, at the moment, if you want to have private procedures, whatever


they may be, you can do that. Let's not lose sight of the fact that you


have that option if you want. I go back to this question. It's about


that then that we value, I think all of us on the panel value a National


Health Service. We understand the pressures it under. Do I believe


that GPs being able to charge their patients within the NHS is the thin


end of the privatisation wench? I absolutely believe that that is what


it is and I'm not in favour of that happeneding. We should have a public


NHS free at point need. You, with the red tie on. I think there two


different issues. The first issue is that, if you have to go on and


evening or weekend, because you can't do any other times, then you


have the right because you contribute to the National Health


Service. On the other hand, if you want that service for other reasons,


for example, you are drunk or because you miss the appointment,


then you should be treated differently. If you miss your


appointment and you don't phone in advance to cancel it, then yes, you


should be given a first warning, second warning then, I'm sorry, you


are at the back of the queue. To show a bit of commitment and


appreciation to the fact that you are receiving the service. Diane


Abbott, what do you think of that point we have often heard that about


people who don't turn up? There have been schemes to deal with this like


texting and reminding people, but on the general point that people paying


for GP services, I'd be against it for this reason. Jeff talked about


exemptions, but the people you would put off going to see their GP are


exactly the people that should go and see their GP, the elderly, the


poor, people with children. Let me take one issue, cancer. We have the


worst cancer out turns in Europe because people get diagnosed late.


It seems to me, if you start charging, the danger is that people


will put off going to the GP and will be diagnosed with serious


issues like cancer even later. People often go to the GP about one


thing and the GP discovers another thing. Anything that puts people off


going to their GP cannot be good for health outcomes in this country.


APPLAUSE I was glad you referred to the


dental system, because I went to see my dentist earlier this week and had


a tooth extraction under the NHS, costing ?53. This is an indication


of the direction of travel. This is where we are going. People have been


talking about the idea that there are moves to privatise the NHS.


Actually, this process has been going on for quite a long time, and


that's the direction we are moving and I think we need to be alive to


the real forms that this will take. It's not going to be done at a


stroke, openly. It's going to be done bit by bit and gradually


acclimatising us the idea that we have to pay for this and that. And


is that a good idea? Know, an extremely bad idea and it's the way


we get led blindly into a position that most of us do not want. James


Cleverly. You might want to make a note of this in your diary, because


it's not going to happen very often, but I agree with Diane on this one.


The thing that concerns me about this proposal, remember, it's a


proposal that came from an NHS professional, not from the


government or a Conservative politician, is that it would, like


Diane says, put off the very people. I have sat in an ambulance call


centre, call handling centre, and I have listened to the kind of calls


with people demanding that an ambulance gets sent to them because


they have got a broken finger, and they get very direct. And what is


remarkable in its absence are the voices of the elderly, who are often


very conscious that they are imposing on others. Diane is right.


If we allowed the impression to be created that you shouldn't go to the


GP if you feel unwell or you are concerned about your health, I think


it would have a dire consequence, so on this one, I think the answer is


simple. They should not be charges. I want to go on to last question.


Ross Curtis, please. Given the recent strike chaos and announcement


of an increase in fares, should the railways be nationalised? Southern


Rail, affecting a lot of people in London, have been on strike for


weeks and weeks, and the Tube has been on strike again, so should the


railways be nationalised? Yes, but with one caveat, which is that the


government effectively is running Southern at the moment and they are


not doing a terribly good job of it. They have given the franchise to


Govia Thameslink and they have guaranteed that company ?1 billion


per year. They are taking all the financial hits of the strike


themselves, the government, ie us, the taxpayer, so all of the strikes


and fair penalty repayments and everything else is coming out of our


pockets, not the train operators. They are guaranteed their money. So


nationalising wouldn't make any difference? We should nationalised


because it would be better than now but we have to have it run by


somebody competent, and that isn't this government. Certainly not Chris


Grayling. I think the strike chaos, just today on the central line in


London there was a strike. Even though I vote Conservative, I


respect the right of people to form unions and to take strike action.


But there are no socialists when you are waiting 25 minutes for a Tube.


Even Jeremy Corbyn would be throwing down his red book in disgust. I


suppose I can speak for the normal person. It's very hard, with this


strike action continuing, there is a sympathy well that could run dry


eventually, and I think that's beginning to happen. The woman up


there. East Coast was run by the government for many years and they


did a very efficient and comfortable service and paid millions back to


the Treasury. Now, it's run by Virgin and the Treasury doesn't


benefit any more. Ross, what do you think? Obviously, as you can tell


from the accent, I'm not from here. I was going to talk about Southern


foot about East Coast, as the lady said, tonight, if I had to go home


tonight after the show, it would cost me ?150 for a single ticket to


get to Durham. ?150. Look at the franchises that have run East Coast


for the last 20 years. Would it be cheaper if the government run it in


the long it could be. Is then not talk of Southern Rail being taken


back into...? It's worth remembering certain things. Ross, I'm a bit


older than you buy a couple of months, maybe. Don't flatter


yourself! But I'm old enough to remember, and Geoff is a


professional comedian, when the staple of the British comedy circuit


was the dire performance of British rail. The idea that somehow the


government running big entities like the rail service is an automatic


guarantee of success, I think, unfortunately, is not the case. So I


think that is a simple solution to a complicated problem and not the


right way forward. One thing also worth bearing in mind is that the


bit of the railway system which is run in the public sector, Network


Rail, has been one of the problems in many of the difficulties we have


had with rail around the country. I think Chris Grayling is absolutely


right to say that Network Rail and the franchise holders now have to


work properly in an integrated way to reduce the delays, to get better


quality services. That is a step in the right direction. I just don't


buy the idea that bringing the railways back into national


ownership will make them any better than they are at the moment, but I


suspect it would make them worse. On Southern, I think the situation is a


scandal. It has been a scandal for a long time and I think, at the very


least, Southern should be handed over to Transport for London. I know


there was a dispute today, but generally Transport for London as a


whole does not have the problem is that Southern has. I live on the


London Underground route, and it is immaculate, run by Transport for


London. On the general questions of the railways and ownership, somebody


said, what does the Labour Party stand for? One thing that we stand


for is bringing the railways back into public ownership. We believe it


could be done at minimum cost of each franchise falls due bringing it


back into the public. The truth is, under the current system, at the


very least, millions and millions of public money is being spent to


subsidise private operators, so what do we stand for? Bringing railways


into public ownership. I think we need to make a decision on this


because, at the moment, it is not acceptable. There is a breakdown in


communication. What commuters have been going through in the last few


months, almost a year, it can't carry on. Whether it is taken back


by the government or something else, somebody has to change the


situation. Unless it does just go on. You, sir. And then I will


continue. Just slightly rewinding the tape, does America really care


about our relationship with America? It seems to me... I thought we were


talking about the railways. This woman who rang up and said, please,


not Trump and Brexit, she will not like what you are saying! No, I


think... Lets stick to this. We only have a minute or so left. Sorry you


didn't get in early. Yes, you, the woman there. Rein I think a real


concern is that provision wasn't made for failures of the franchises.


We are talking about it being brought back under public control.


Diane's point is that that would have to happen when the franchise


falls due. I heard there would be no service for six months for us to


take back control of those franchises. It seems to me there is


an immediate problem and a potential medium-term solution, because we are


mixing up to things, the Southern issue and also the ongoing strike


action in London that people have raised. On the first point, I think


that everybody wishes for better industrial relations, so the efforts


being made to try and encourage people to get together, I totally


agree there is a right for people to be represented by their trade union,


and it is right that Transport for London is trying to provide the most


efficient service and I think we need to support the London mayor in


trying to get improved industrial relations together. That is a


solution to something we may be able to gain in the short term. On the


medium-term issue, on the franchise holders and are they providing


adequate service? Lily in the south of England that is not the case. I


don't want to get involved in English politics, because it a did


the -- it is a devolved issue in Scotland, but I would suggest you


should be open to allowing public sector bids and, if they can provide


a better service, one should be open to that, but that will not fix the


short-term problem that so many of us who spent time in London are


having to suffer. You have had your hand up for some time. This is


exactly why we shouldn't privatise the NHS, because it will not make


any difference to the service. APPLAUSE


Thank you for that. Our time is up. We have got to stop.


We're in Wallasey next week, and the week after


To come and take part in our audience, in Wallasey


or Torquay, go to our website, or call 0330 123 99 88.


If you are listening tonight on Radio 5 Live, the debate goes


My thanks to our panel, to all of you who came here to this part of


north London to take part in tonight's programme. Many thanks to


you all. Until next Thursday, from Question Time, good night.


It's just pain, but it doesn't feel like pain,


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