David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Bangor, north Wales. On the panel are Brandon Lewis, Nia Griffith, Leanne Wood, Giles Fraser and Hugo Rifkind.
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Tonight we are in Bangor in North Wales.
And on our panel tonight, the Minister for Policing,
The Shadow Defence Secretary, Nia Griffith.
The leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood.
The Church of England priest and Guardian
And the Times and Spectator columnist, Hugo Rifkind.
Just a reminder that if you are watching at home you can
join the debate on Facebook, on Twitter, or by text on 83981,
and pushing the red button to see what others are saying.
The first question tonight is from Jonathan Sutton, please.
Is terror part and parcel of modern Britain?
It's a quote from the Mayor of London who, in September last
year, said, "part and parcel of living in a great city
is you have to be prepared for things like this".
So is it part and parcel of modern Britain?
Terror is going to be present with us, I think, in the future.
I think if you think you can eradicate it,
it will come up and bite you somewhere else.
So I think it is a part of our lives.
And I think that we have to learn to live with it.
That doesn't mean to say we like it, or don't try and stop it,
but sometimes the efforts to stamp it out are the things that feed it.
You see, we know why we are talking about this.
We are talking about this because of what happened
And part of me would like not to talk about it at all.
To, as it were, say, "We pray for the people
who have been killed, we pray for the victims",
but don't give these people the oxygen of publicity.
Sorry, it's an interesting point, but how do you avoid
We have a free press and a media and we talk about it.
But there is a little part of me that would quite like the idea of us
on Question Time to go, "OK, let's move onto the next stuff,
They don't have a voice apart from ours.
Yes, it would be nice to keep this brief.
Well, I have sympathy for what Giles is saying, but there is also,
in terms of making the point, actually the fact that this show
is on tonight and we will be discussing other things is that
clear message that the British way of life, we will get on and go
We will not kowtow to this and the British way of life,
And I think that is a really important message.
But I do think there is also a space, and it is right there has
been a space over the last 24 hours and there will be in days and weeks
to come, rightly as well, to also just remember what it does
highlight is the phenomenal heroism and bravery shown
by our emergency services, particularly our police, and the PC
who lost his life yesterday, going out of his way to run
into danger, to make safe other people.
We have an amazing police service that do that for us in one form
or another at various levels across the country every single day.
But coming to the actual point of the question,
the core of the question, if we look at what is happening
around the world, you talk about do we have to get used
I think globally there is a challenge.
There is no getting away from the fact that we have been
at a severe threat level for some considerable period of time.
We have to face up to that, recognise that.
We also have to carry on and do our normal
work but be vigilant, as the Mayor of London rightly said,
But ultimately, remember we have phenomenal bravery and heroism
across our country every day, and we saw that absolutely
highlighted yesterday in those actions.
I agree with what Simon Jenkins said, the journalist
from the Guardian yesterday, who challenged the media
He basically made the case that what terrorists want
is for all of us to be fearful, and for them to get
And so the more we talk about it in the media
and amongst ourselves, as politicians, I think
the danger is that we are playing into their hands.
But the question was about whether or not we have to
accept this is part and parcel of our lives.
I do believe a Pandora's box was opened in the Middle East.
And I do believe that there is no end in sight to that conflict
And while that is ongoing, some people will have grievances.
And as a result, all of us are potentially unsafe.
But I think it is worth paying tribute to all of those people
who were in London yesterday who were working to save people's
lives and to prevent what could have be a much worse atrocity, I think.
Is Donald Trump right in what he's doing by trying to halt people
travelling and creating havoc for other people in other countries?
Well, the person, as I understand it, the person who was
So I'm not sure how any changes to immigration rules would have made
He was influenced by international terrorism.
Well, yes, but the access to that is available on the internet.
I mean, you can't really affect that by changing immigration rules.
If I may, I couldn't disagree more with the first bit
I don't want to live in a country where terrorists attack us
and we don't report it and where we don't know about it,
and where there is an agreement that the press shouldn't say it.
Terrorism doesn't need to make us afraid.
I kept thinking yesterday of the words of John Stewart,
He said that 9/11 didn't make him fear for society because he looked
at what had happened and he saw a handful of people that crashed
aeroplanes into two buildings, and hundreds of people who'd gone
into those buildings to save the people inside.
And he said he'd take those odds every day.
And I think that's the message you take away from terrorism.
You look at what happened yesterday, it doesn't make us feel
It shouldn't make us feel more frightened about our country.
We can find a positive message if we want one.
I think there was a really key point made by a colleague this morning
who saw something on the underground coming back into
Underground workers had put a notice that said
something along the lines of, I'm sorry if my words aren't quite
right, but basically, "We will make a cup of tea and get
And that, I thought, was the right message.
Obviously this is a terrible incident in London,
but should our police officers be armed, following this incident?
Well, I think first of all I want to express my deepest sympathy
to the victims' families and friends, and obviously
we remember PC Keith Palmer and the work that he did
as a Metropolitan Police officer trying to defend Parliament.
I think this is a matter, an operational matter,
which is something which the police themselves need to decide.
We in this country have a long tradition of having both
And if the police decide that there should be more armed police,
But what is also important is that we have that very strong
link between our communities and the police, and so often
it is the police who are the eyes and ears in our communities,
who can actually work together with communities,
can give information to the security services, which can
And I think we should remember that our security
highly regarded across the world, have time after time prevented
The person who asked that question, he was unarmed,
the policeman who was stabbed to death, wasn't he?
I just think maybe the circumstances might have been different had
It's an unfair playing field, I feel.
I think we are talking about not discussing it,
but I feel for the victims if we don't talk about it,
do they then get swept under the carpet and forgotten about?
It's not about giving the terrorists a platform,
but it's just those individuals that lost their lives and were injured.
If we don't discuss it and talk about it, then they just
No one's saying we have a blanket, "Don't talk about it".
But what I was talking about, there is a way of responding to this
And then the media gets itself terribly frothed up
And that's the sort of thing we need to avoid because that's the sort
of thing that does the terrorists' work for them.
I know this Tube station sign where it said, "Dear terrorists,
you are not going to change us, you are not going to change us".
Something like, "We are Londoners and we have seen worse before.
"Thank you very much, but we ain't going to change".
And that's the right answer to this, as well as remembering and praying
for all of those people who have lost their lives in this
I think that by not discussing something, you actually
I think the way we need to respond is by not changing our actions
but not just pretending that these things don't happen.
So we need to carry on with our daily lives,
but I think to just completely not speak about it would actually
I think that's a really good point in that question around
having the conversation to have the confidence
We are very fortunate in this country to have world-renowned
We have heard over the last few months the amount of times they have
kept us safe and prevented things over the last couple of years.
And we have got, I would argue, the best police force in the world,
And that confidence to be able to say that, have that conversation,
is important in us having the ability to go on and live our
Jonathan Sutton, who asked the question, what do you make
I don't think we should make a thing of it.
I think we are unfortunately in a world where we have to accept
these things happen but I don't think we should allow it to change
And we should be very, very proud in this country
that we do have a system where our police police by consent.
And the police themselves are immensely protective and rightly
proud of the fact that the majority of our police are unarmed.
And that is something in our country that I think is worth valuing.
A couple more points from our audience.
The man at the very back, and then we will move
Does the media have a responsibility not to glorify terrorism?
Well, they talk about the acts of terrorism,
They should be looking at not glorifying it so much,
There has been a lot on television but not a great deal...
Things get said over and over again once you get
You don't actually gain very much information.
The policing minister has mentioned a few times that police
Why then every year are you cutting police budgets?
The thin blue line is getting thinner.
I'm not going to shy away from the fact that over the last few
years we have had to make some really difficult decisions around
We all know, and you have heard before, the problems we have
with debt in this country and we have had to deal with that.
The Budget last year, we protected police money,
and we've also increased the spending in this area,
The Prime Minister outlined some of where that money has been
They have the resources they need to do their job, decided by those
When someone talked earlier on about more armed police,
our armed police, I have seen them in the last few weeks at training
centres, they are highly trained specialists doing an amazing job.
You have cut spending by 25% over five years and there are 20,000
If you were to listen now, morale in the police force is at a low?
Because I am an ex-police officer myself and I speak to officers now.
And there's a lot of police officers who leave the service because of
Well, I do speak to police officers of all ranks on a regular basis.
Most weeks I am out visiting and I talk to police officers.
And they are rightly proud of what they do, as I have said.
We have made tough decisions but policing is also changing.
Recorded crime, traditional crime is down 25% since 2010.
We have the challenge of the digital world
But we are also increasing the spend on areas like this,
counter-terrorism, to make sure we have the resilience we need
in this country and that police have the resources they need to be
And you are not content with that, briefly, if you would.
Crime is going down and more prisons are being built.
Is that one of the reasons why crime is going down?
The cuts are there to try and reduce the debt,
yet the debt is not being reduced, so none of this makes
Just before we go to our second question I should say this.
On Monday we have a special Question Time from Birmingham next Monday -
Britain after Brexit, about what happens after Article
Thursday's Question Time comes from Carlisle and the week
So if you want to come to Birmingham next Monday,
Carlisle on Thursday the following week, Gillingham,
there is the address address to apply to.
How will the Welsh economy cope when the EU funding
How will the Welsh economy cope when EU funding stops?
It receives a good deal more money than the rest of the UK from the EU.
I think, I mean all across Britain, it's going to be difficult.
I mean the economy is already struggling as a result
I'm constantly baffled by the way that Wales voted
One has to hope that the Government sees its role as being to step
in and fill the gap of a lot of the funding that a lot of areas,
including much of Wales, would be losing from the EU.
This doesn't seem like a Government particularly inclined to do that
sort of thing so we'll have to wait and see.
Well, I'm a Brexiter, I voted enthusiastically for Brexit and I am
For me, what was most important about it, wasn't the economic
argument but that actually, it enhanced our democracy,
that it collapsed the gap between people and power.
For me, power had become in Brussels too distant,
too alien and it wasn't something that many people felt that they had
They didn't feel it was there for them.
So because I believe in the power of democracy and the way
in which ordinary people can control politics through democracy,
I think it may well be the case that the rebalancing of the economy
that will be necessary will be hard for lots of people,
for lots of us it will be hard, but I think in the long-term
if we have our destiny in our own hands, it
will be much better for all of us.
Do you know Giles how callous you sound?
You talk about destiny and democracy, these are fine things.
Having a job is a fine thing, having a healthy economy is a fine thing.
I'm sorry but I think democracy really is a fine thing and I think
we have a great Parliamentary tradition which we saw
being attacked yesterday by terrorists and it's something
that we should rightly be proud of in this country, our democracy.
We should be rightly proud of our democracy and our democratic
institutions and we should not be giving away the birth right of our
That is something that you are given.
Let's not rerun that argument because that argument's been
I just want to ask, what politics has benefitted from this?
I think the really important thing is not only Wales but areas
across the UK have benefitted from EU funding specifically given
What really worries me is that Brandon's colleague, Alun Cairns,
the Secretary of State for Wales, has specifically said that there can
be no guarantee that these areas will continue to receive that money.
Now that does worry me because this was money that was specifically
given in order to boost the economies in areas
where there is need to do so to bring up the level of those
economies, to have greater equality across the UK.
It worries me considerably that we now have Government that
will ignore criteria and simply say, well, perhaps we'll have a pet
project here or there, and we won't get the distribution
Brandon Lewis, do you want to reply to that?
Well, I mean, the reality is, whenever there's a decision made,
we've got to get a good deal for this country, I'm
We have already, the Government's already, and we have been clear
that we guarantee the money for the EU structure
and the investment projects which were already signed before
we leave the EU, even if they continue beyond the departure.
I think the point that the Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns
is making is exactly right, which is that we are
going into a negotiation and what comes after that,
Yes, but we have the same amount of money.
It's about getting a deal for everybody in all parts of the UK.
We have the same amount of money, when we come out of EU,
we have the money that we don't put into the EU and the decision
about how to use that money comes back to the Westminster Government.
Now, the point I'm making is that, instead of using the criteria
of which are the most disadvantaged areas that need their economies
boosting, your colleague Alun Cairns and other colleagues in the Cabinet
are actually saying they are going to scrap this all together.
The negotiation with Europe is nothing to do with how we spend
the money that we don't actually give to Europe.
First of all, I would like to point out that Gwynedd as a county voted
to remain, one of the few areas in Wales.
And secondly, I would like to know, as North Wales is usually the poor
relative to South Wales, I would like to know how people
are going to secure investment for North Wales and not just it
Are you alarmed by what may happen, fearful are you?
I work for the third sector and see first hand how heavily
Let's hear from one other person, you with
It's symptomatic, the way you responded to that question.
The question's about Wales and you told us about democracy
I feel there is a democratic deficit.
I feel there is a democratic deficit for us here.
I live on Anglesey, we have opposed through all democratic
voices that we have, some plans for example
against the National Grid, and we are not getting that voice
through, although every representative vice from Anglesey,
from community councils, County Councils,
It was even discussed in the Assembly but because we don't
have powers over energy, I have a democratic deficit.
It doesn't enhance my democratic voice to be outside of Brexit.
Hugo, you said that you were shocked by Wales voting leave as a majority.
Do you think the people of Wales were misled or misinformed in terms
The building we are sitting in now was partially funded by the EU.
Do you think they were misinformed or misled in terms of the EU
projects that benefitted them so well?
Briefly on that because I want to bring Leanne in.
I think the various bits of the leave campaign and leave EU,
the other campaign worked very hard to prevent Brexit from being
a debate about the economy and they managed to do that.
They managed to turn it into a debate about God knows what,
I think that was misleading, wilfully misleading.
I wouldn't like to say that the people of Wales were fooled.
But the voters, it's a mystery to me.
I want to go to the point that was made up there
because the powers-that-be in Westminster are not
We are ignored on just too many different issues.
Plaid Cymru worked with the Welsh Government,
put together a White Paper outlining exactly what Wales's needs
We currently get ?658 million per year from the EU
and that is more than we put in as Wales and Plaid Cymru
put amendments down in Westminster to guarantee that
We included that as a clause in the Government's White Paper as well.
The Prime Minister has said that she will consult the nations
I've not seen any evidence that she has.
What kind of consultation do you expect?
Putting aside the fact the Prime Minister's been here three
Equally, the White Paper negotiations, I myself sat on joint
ministerial council meetings with ministers from Wales
and Scotland and Ireland as well, discussing issues, in my case around
security issues and law enforcement issues and what
What about the guarantees on our funding then?
Both discussions are going on, but we have started what will be two
Hang on, the Prime Minister came here and spoke to
She came to the conference last week and she's been here several times
Wales is going to lose ?650 million every year.
We want some guarantees from the UK Government
We have already got too many weaknesses and challenges
We don't have the tools and the powers to actually rectify
those problems in our assembly in Cardiff Bay.
I can't explain why people voted to leave.
Immigration was a big question throughout the country and many
More people get the news from tabloid newspapers
in Wales than they do from Welsh media sources.
So they don't listen to you, you say, your own constituency?
It's very difficult to get your message across when you haven't got
a very strong Welsh media, David.
It's very patronising, all this thing you get
from remainers saying people were fooled and they
The message people are hearing is that they were fooled,
it was all to do with the media, there was tabloid newspapers saying
People are grown-ups and in Wales they voted to leave
and they understood, like other people,
The idea that you come on afterwards and say,
they don't really understand, poor little dears, no, I won't treat
No, I said I don't understand, I didn't say people
didn't understand, I said I don't understand why.
The man up there in the blue and purple shirt there.
The reason that so many people in Wales voted the way they did
was because they know deep down they're going to be worse off
economically throughout this whole debacle, if you will,
but the thing is, where I come from in Wrexham, it was a massive
leave vote and the way the town's become over the last few
People can't get jobs because we have such an influx
of cheap labour from Europe and it's very demeaning.
It doesn't matter how Wales spends the money anyway because within five
years of the UK leaving there'll be no EU anyway.
From your point of view, you think the Welsh economy will be
better off, Wrexham will be better off and can cope?
I don't want to be tied to a dying union, at the end of the day.
Jessica Berry who asked the question?
Personally I find it extremely worrying.
I am on a committee for part of the local service in our village.
A lot of funding that we have, we envisage that might
Like the lady said down there, an awful lot of the third sector
funding which is replacing the cuts that the councils are having to make
are being funded by the EU and we are just going to end
But what is your view about what Leanne said about wanting
the Prime Minister and the Government to give guarantees?
Do you feel that the voice of Wales is being heard or ignored?
I would love it if Westminster did give a guarantee but they never said
they were going to and I would very much doubt that they will.
From what Leanne's been saying, Westminster hasn't been listening,
it isn't listening and it's not likely to listen in the future.
So let's have a grown-up debate about independence in Wales.
You can't Visit Wales without having a question on independence.
You, Sir, in the front, then we'll move on?
I voted for leave and I fought for Labour leave here in Bangor.
I voted for direct democracy and I voted for a fairer immigration
system and I'm actually married to an immigrant, a non-EU
We have gone far away from the money issue.
Let's go on to another question though.
Time is always against us on Question Time.
David Arkwright, can we have your question?
Is it fair to families of victims murdered by Martin McGuinness
and the IRA to heap so much praise on him?
Is it fair to families of victims murdered by Martin McGuinness
and the IRA to heap so much praise on him, Brandon Lewis?
First of all, I couldn't and none of us could condone what happened
The reality is, in his later life, he was undoubtedly a very,
very important part of getting through that peace process
and where we are now in Northern Ireland and I think
But that doesn't mean that anybody should forget
what many victims will feel from what happened before that.
He never apologised for his time in the IRA?
I think it's one of those things, if we look at...
Here is a very extreme example of the fact that many,
many people who're involved in things around the world,
throughout history, are very, very complex individuals and he's
done things that I would Never dream to condone and I wouldn't think
anybody in this audience or watching this programme would
He was also, and it's rightly recognised, that there was a point
in his life when he became an integral part in delivering
really important peace process in Northern Ireland and that's just
I think the reason why men like Martin McGuinness had to bring
peace in Northern Ireland is because men like Martin McGuinness
The point is, though, that making peace,
Part of the sacrifice made by the victims of the IRA entailed
that men like Martin McGuinness got to spend the rest of their life
wandering around as if they were fully functional,
And I can't regret that it was done because there is peace
Well, I absolutely condemn the violent acts that
Martin McGuinness may have had a part in in the earlier
And I think the pictures that we've seen on our television screens this
week have just brought back the horror of the Troubles
But I think if you look at who went to his funeral,
there was respect, in the end, for what he did in terms of working
with people across the political divide in Northern Ireland,
working with people like Ian Paisley, to try
I would say its respect for trying to bring some sort of peace
It's by no manner finished yet, and there is still the past to be
dealt with and there needs to be a proper process
for dealing with that past, before Northern Ireland
I think the reason that he's gone down the line of talking
is because he saw it was coming to an end, the IRA.
The police and MI5 had infiltrated into the IRA and he could see
that there was going to be an end, and he thought, "I'll go down
the political way and make life easy for myself".
I think we must remember the victims on both sides of this conflict.
It was horrific when it was going on, both the unionist
And the deaths of civilians is always, always wrong.
And there were 3,352 people who lost their lives
And I can fully understand why those people who were affected can perhaps
never, ever forgive the actions of those people who
But I think that peace was secured as a result of a change of tack.
And, OK, we could argue that peace could have come much earlier.
And I think that it saved many lives, had it not
So Martin McGuinness is known for his IRA involvement.
But I think he should also be recognised for his role
Giles Fraser, just to remind you of the question.
Is it fair to the families of victims murdered by the IRA
But I'm afraid peacemaking is often not fair.
It's an incredibly messy business, making peace.
And one of the things that is so morally complicated
is that sometimes justice, getting your just desserts,
And so many peaces are messy and not entirely just around the world.
Look, if they had killed my mum or my kids, I'd have found it
But yet there is no future without forgiveness.
There is no future for Northern Ireland.
And if you go down this Norman Tebbit line,
that he was a coward and there's nothing to be...
Norman Tebbit would never have made peace in Northern Ireland.
The idea that you can make peace by winning is nonsense.
And furthermore, not only is it morally
problematic to make peace, but you have to do it.
We will have to do that also with the people who are putting
If we want to have peace, we have to talk to the bad guys.
Why do you say that Norman Tebbit would not ever have made peace
Because his approach is that we have to somehow win, militarily win.
The idea that it's just all about your truth,
your way of looking at things, and you have to give up your truth.
There's a wonderful poem by an Israeli poet
And it is, "From the place where we are right,
flowers will never grow in the spring", he says.
And the whole idea is, if you completely stick
to you being right, to your justice, to what you see, there
You actually have to shift, and it's uncomfortable
And that's why, yes, today, the day of his funeral,
I will not be standing up and condemning him as
Of course, I prefer his later work to his earlier work,
but actually there would be no peace in Northern Ireland
without Martin McGuinness and that has to be remembered.
The man in spectacles in the middle there.
The IRA created more mayhem in this country than Isis has ever done.
Will we, in 25 years' time, be, if you like, praising
I quite agree with the turbulent priest.
We have always had to negotiate with nasty people.
We had to do it with Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya and Makarios in Cyprus.
I was there in both places at the time.
You say there's no future without forgiveness.
At what point do you forgive a terrorist?
The question, it seems to me, is, do you want to have a future?
Do you want to have a future that is peaceful, or do
you want to go for this tit-for-tat, you go for them, they go
At some point, that has to be, you have to break the cycle,
And the way of doing that is not always clean and easy.
So at what point do you forgive them?
I'm uncomfortable with an attack on Norman Tebbit in this context.
In this context, if only this context, Norman Tebbit
He was blown up in the Brighton bombing.
And his points, his main point, the reason why he never forgave
Martin McGuinness was that Martin McGuinness never seemed
to believe that he'd done anything that required forgiveness.
And as I said when we began this discussion, I fully understand that
peace requires compromise on both sides.
I think it would have been a lot easier for the victims of the IRA
if men like Martin McGuinness had admitted that maybe
they'd put a foot wrong in killing so many people.
We will change tack once more and have a question
I think it's about the former Chancellor of the Exchequer.
But we've got three MPs here, and they've all got other jobs
of one sort or another that we'll find out about, I think.
Well, you lead your party, and you're a Shadow Defence Secretary.
Anyway, George Osborne became editor of the Evening Standard.
He also makes 650 grand a year for advising Blackrock and all that.
I think it should be a full-time job.
I'm an Assembly member, not a member of Parliament,
but it is a very privileged position to hold, and it's a very
time-consuming job, particularly if you're a leader of a political
party as well, perhaps even more time-consuming.
People should be able to live quite well and comfortably
And it seems to me that people who want more than one
Brandon Lewis, where are you on your former Chancellor?
Well, actually I think the fact that he was the Chancellor
He was the Chancellor of the Exchequer, which is a very,
very time-consuming job and a member of Parliament for his constituency.
In fact, the time he took being Chancellor did not stop him
being a good constituency MP, so much so that he was re-elected
So I think in that sense, ministers, all of us,
are doing a ministerial job as well as a constituency job.
I think there's also the fact that Parliament's got a long history
and track record of having great assets brought into Parliament
by members of Parliament who are backbenchers,
who have interests and jobs and work experience outside of Parliament.
I think it would be a dangerous thing to have members of Parliament,
particularly backbenchers, who are not able
It's also right that there is a body that assesses
whether somebody is doing something that is within the Ministerial Code,
if you're a minister, and whether it's a conflict
And that body is looking at all of this, including George Osborne.
That body will look at George Osborne and it is a matter
for the Parliamentary Standards Commission.
You are a Tory minister, and the story going around,
of course, is that he was sacked by Theresa May, rather
peremptorily, from his post as Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He has become editor of the London Evening Standard,
from which point he will wage a campaign against Theresa May
and against what the Government is doing in the Brexit negotiations.
Is that a legitimate thing for him to do as an MP from the backbenches?
I'm not going to tell a free press of any description
It's up to us as a government to do our job to the best of our ability,
to deliver for the country, and to answer for that,
whoever happens to be editor of any given newspaper.
The simple question around whether a member of Parliament
as a backbench MP can do another job, if that wasn't the case
we wouldn't be able to have ministers who are members
A minister is different to a job outside the institution, isn't it?
I think most people would take the view, understandably,
that being Chancellor is as much a full-time job as editing
a newspaper or having a consultancy job with somebody.
What about being the fourth Shadow Defence Secretary in a year?
Can you cope with being an MP and with the Labour Party
The important part is that when you are an MP you have duties
in Parliament and you have duties for your constituency.
And part and parcel of being an MP is that you do either
serve on the front bench, or you may be a backbencher.
There are backbenchers who work extremely hard because we have
committees who scrutinise what the front bench do.
So that is an integral part of what you are doing.
I think it's incumbent on every single MP to take it very seriously
I think that alone is very important.
But then we come onto the issue of conflict of interest,
and I do think there is a real issue about being editor of a London-based
newspaper when you are trying to represent a Cheshire constituency.
I just don't think that when he talks about the interests
of Londoners and being more London than a Londoner and so forth,
I just don't think that's what the people of Tatton
I have a couple of friends who are Conservative
MPs, and I don't think they are paid enough.
The chief executive of Anglesey County Council
and Gwent County Council are paid about three times more than an MP.
And I bet the Chancellor of Bangor University
They do it for four years and might lose their job at the next election,
so why shouldn't talent be encouraged to come in?
You get some really good barristers, some army officers go into politics.
It's a lot of money, I agree, but if you can
earn more in the City, why don't you do that?
Parliament needs talent and to attract talent in.
So you think this is synthetic outrage about George Osborne?
Surely being an MP should be an absolute privilege,
and he should be serving the people of Tatton in all his interests.
Obviously it is a conflict of interest when his seat
And to say MPs aren't paid enough is an absolute slap in the face
As with any job, the question of whether you can have
another job while doing your job is a matter for your employer.
And George Osborne's employers in this context
If he was the editor of a national newspaper,
the Daily Mirror - unlikely, but if he was -
perhaps the voters of Tatton would think,
"This is great for Tatton that our MP
"is the editor of the Daily Mirror and he will look out
"for our interests and promote us across the nation".
I think the people of Tatton will be inclined to wonder why a man whose
own new employer has described him as London through and through
I think they would be looking forward to having Martin Bell back.
He had to sort Tatton out after Neil Hamilton.
Yet again, poor old Tatton is getting a bad deal. The boundaries
are changing in Tatton this time around, aren't they? The Boundary
Commission... At the moment the draft is that it would change, yes.
This George Osborne thing absolutely stinks.
APPLAUSE. And it's not just because he can't
get by on the ?650,000 that he's given by Blackrock and how that'll
work with him editing the City pages of a newspaper. That's not the
problem. The northern powerhouse means Hampstead to him. Do you know
what the problem is - we all fear that too much power in this country
is in too few people's hands. The idea that he is an MP and runs a
newspaper and is going to be the Archbishop of Canterbury and
everything, whatever it is, it just stinks. The job of a newspaper - one
more thing - the job of a newspaper is to keep these politicians honest.
That's one of the jobs of a newspaper and the idea that an MP
and all its chums now are running an important newspaper in London,
everybody thinks it stinks and it does.
Priests can be Guardian columnists can they without any conflict...
With God? There is a real conflict of interest actually, it's really
hard to do, yes because you have to be nasty as a columnist, you have to
be nice as a priest. That's the conflict. James Cook, your question?
Should Wales have a referendum like Scotland now that we are leaving the
Yes, plawz from two or three hands -- applause. Should Wales have a
referendum like Scotland? Nia Griffith, what do you think? We in
Wales are passionate and proud to be Welsh and you sometimes see that on
the rugby field. Results aren't always what we desire though. But I
do think we need to listen carefully to the people of e-Wales. 94% of the
people have repeatedly shown in poll after poll that actually, whilst
being very proud to be Welsh, we are not actually in the least bit
interested in an independent Wales. There is actually no call for that
in Wales. It's not what people on the doorstep tell me, it's not what
people in the shopping centres tell me. There are far more important
issues that they want to focus on. APPLAUSE.
Your First Minister Carwyn Jones said people in Wales are going to
start saying the Government are listening to the Scots. We need to
be like them, it's a dangerous path for the UK if they don't listen to
Wales? I think that we in Wales - it's very important we have our
voice and our First Minister speaks up for us but I don't agree with the
whered of having another referendum many Scotland either. I think this
is a distraction by Nicola Sturgeon, I think when she can't even tell the
people what will happen after Brexit, she can't even tell them
whether she could or would take Scotland back into the European
Union or even what currency they would have, I think there's exactly
the same problem for people in Scotland. They are being given an
opportunity to make a decision when they don't even have the facts.
Leanne, should Wales have a referendum like Scotland? With the
reason that there is going to be a referendum in Scotland, is because
Scotland voted to remain in the European Union and the Prime
Minister is ploughing ahead with a hard Brexit against their will after
promising to consult and failing to. So there's been a material change of
circumstances in Scotland. Let's deal with Wales. If Scotland becomes
independent, the UK will no longer exist and I believe in
self-determination. I believe decisions about Wales should be made
in Wales. Including that decision about our own future. There could be
very big changes. The tectonic plagues of UK politics are shifting
and does it mean for Wales? If Scotland becomes independent, the UK
won't exist, we'll be subsumed in some kind of England and Wales
entity, how will our voice be heard then when we are already ignored by
the Westminster Parliament? I think there should be a multi-option
referendum, independence should be included in that, but it should also
enable people, the 43% of people in Wales who want more powers,
including powers over our economy, so that we can address some of the
problems that we are facing, then those people should have their say
as well. Leanne, just to make it clear, when
do you want... Self-determination. I get that. When do you want it? Do
you think it should happen before Brexit negotiations? We are in a
different place. We are on a different stage on our journey, so
we are not going to have our referendum at the same time as
Scotland. If Scotland leaves, then that will constitute a material
change of circumstances for Wales. OK. I believe it's people here in
Wales who should decide on our own future. Hugh Rifkind? I am Scottish,
as people will be able to tell from my board impenetrable accent and I'm
a unionist, I believe that Scotland should be part of the United
Kingdom. What worries me more than Scottish Nationalists or indeed
Welsh nationalists is the tone set by the Conservative Government... It
is nationalists. In a sense if only they were, they sound like Welsh
nationalists. After the Scottish referendum, I think David Cameron's
Government in campaigning for the next general election, made a
horrendous disgraceful decision to attack Labour on the basis that
Labour might go into coalition with parties in Scotland, as if this
would be somehow shameful, as if we weren't a union where this thing
could happen. I think he was happy to alienate Scots in a quest for
English votes and I think there is a tone even now with the government in
Westminster where they call themselves unionists, they do not
behave like unionists. Being a unionist involves respecting the
nations of this country. You, Sir, in the blue checked shirt? We are
talking about Wales and Scotland having their voice, but what about
England? Wales, Scotland, have an Assembly or the Parliament, the
English have nothing. Westminster. They've got Westminster. So do you.
Well, if you listen to the debates that take place in Westminster,
Wales doesn't get too much of a mention, it's mostly about matters
pertaining to England. That's the point. I mean, I'm in favour of an
English Parliament but they do have Westminster. All right. Brandon? I
actually do think the discussion about a referendum in Scotland is a
distraction in the sense that they had a referendum just a short while
ago and the vote from that was clear. I think if you look at Wales,
and I am a Conservative and unionist, I do believe we are
stronger, and this is the key thing, I think we are stronger together in
what we can do for our economies and security across the UK. But
actually, not just taking the point around the polls here in Wales, but
also looking at what is happening. The Welsh Act does devolve more
powers to Wales. We patriot to the EU, there'll be an opportunity to
look at how we devolve even more powers in out parts of the UK. There
is an opportunity there and we are ultimately stronger together. It's a
precious union. The Wales Bill was a massive missed opportunity. We have
got 23% of people living in poverty here in Wales, how is that union
good for Wales? APPLAUSE.
If you think about the question we are talking about - Wales having a
referendum - we have talked about several times this evening, Wales
voted to leave the EU and we are delivering on Brexit and getting the
right deal for Brexit. The man in the blue pullover? The third man on
the back row wearing a jacket with blue. I love being a student here in
Wales and I think it would be a shame if they left the union. I
think they'd really struggle as well. Do you think there should be a
vote on it? It's up to them isn't it. The man in spectacles? The only
thing I would say is, people in Wales decided to leave the EU to
take power into their own hands. I don't think that automatically means
that we want an independence vote because, whether you like it or not,
our vote goes to Westminster, that's just how our power system works.
Giles Fraser, please? Here is the contradiction I think. Leanne's
position - I'm a Brexiter because I wanted power repatriated from
Brussels. If I was Welsh, I would want power repatriated from London.
That's what I would want as well. APPLAUSE.
I completely understand those people who want to have power much closer
to where they live and to the people that they know and that's why - it's
none of my business, but if the Welsh decided that they wanted to be
an independent country, that's for the Welsh to decide and I'd
understand why they did it. The woman in white? You have already
commented Wales will struggle greatly when it leaves Europe
financially. How do you think the country would cope if it left
England as well? Are you worried about that? You only have to look at
the fact that Wales has a fiscal deficit currently of just under 25%
compared to the UK deficit of 5%, that says a lot about Wales's
position outside of the UK. I don't want to get stuck into the business
of how Wales might vote but... Can I make this point. Very quickly? I
don't think many would disagree that there is a huge amount of potential
in this country that is unlocked. The question that I would have to
ask is, how do we best unlock that potential? Now, I think that we can
do much more by doing more for ourselves. But if there's
adown-onist answer to this, please let me know what it is because all I
see is that Wales, our economy, has too many challenges, 23% of people
are living in poverty and we are not getting any better in the system
that we are in. How would Wales survive with the money it currently
gets... At least if we had a plan to try and get there, we could make
those improvements to our economy. I think... The institutions... Let Nia
answer you? I think Leanne is living in a fantasy world.
APPLAUSE. Of course people want to be involved
in decision-making and what we have to do is to try to get the decisions
made at the right level. Some things it's appropriate to have at UK
level, other things it's appropriate to have at a Wales or Scotland level
or, at a local authority level, different levels of councils. All
right. How do we... Our time is up. That's a long discussion we can't
get into. We can get into this question with yes or no answers from
John Brook, please? Should the Prime Minister call a general election
now? Should the Prime Minister call a general election now and you can
say yes or no? Just speak, you can't be silent? Yes and no. Yes,
definitely. An election for you? Giles? No. Yes. The Prime Minister's
rightly focussed on delivering a very important piece of work,
getting Brexit done, two years of negotiations, we have got to get
that work done for the best interests of the country, we
shouldn't be distracted by referendums or general elections.
John Brook? Unless she called an election now, she'd have the biggest
majority in history. You speak as a Conservative? We have to do what is
right for the country before we think about what others might do for
the party. We are focussed on what she needs for the country. I'm a
lone voice because I live in Anglesey and voted Conservative, but
there we are. Fine. That is it. Our hour is up.
Thank you very much indeed. A reminder, there is a special
Question Time from Birmingham next Monday at 8. 30, Britain after
Brexit. Our audience will be questioning politicians on both
sides of the divide on that, what happens after the triggering of
Article 50. Next Thursday's Question Time is from Carlisle with the Ukip
leader Paul Nuttall and the Unite Trade Union leader Len McCluskey
among our panelists. LAUGHTER. I thought you might look
forward to that! The week after that we are in Gillingham. Birmingham
Monday, Carlisle Thursday, Gillingham the Thursday after on 6th
April. Go to the website, the address is on the screen. If you are
listening on Radio 5 Live, this debate goes on until the early hours
of the morning on Question Time extra time. My thanks to the panel
and all of you who came to Bangor to take part in tonight's programme.
Until next Monday, from Question Time, good night.
David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Bangor, north Wales. On the panel are Conservative policing minister Brandon Lewis, shadow defence secretary Nia Griffith, leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood, Church of England priest and Guardian columnist Giles Fraser and the Times, Spectator and GQ columnist Hugo Rifkind.