David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Wigan. On the panel are David Davis, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Paul Nuttall, Leanne Wood and the CEO of Siemens UK Juergen Maier.
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Welcome to Question Time and tonight, we are in Wigan.
On our panel here, the man in charge of Brexit, the Secretary of State
for Exiting the EU, the Conservative David Davis. Labour's Shadow
Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey. The leader of Ukip,
Paul Nuttall. The leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood. And the boss of
Siemens UK, Juergen Maier. Thank you very much. Just before we
start, remember you can join in these debates. Twitter, our hashtag
is bbcqt. On Facebook search for BBC Question Time. Press the red button
and see what others are saying. Mark Buckley please, our first question
comes from you. Considering the recent rhetoric coming from Europe,
do we need a bloody difficult woman to negotiate Brexit?
APPLAUSE. Well, before we come to the
politicians, Juergen Maier, do we need a bloody difficult woman to
negotiate Brexit? Well what I think we need above all is, we need a
little bit more calm and we need a little bit more rational debate.
Now, that doesn't mean that it can't get difficult and, you know, clearly
there are going to be difficult players on both sides. But in the
end, what is going to get us through these very important and very
difficult negotiations is if both sides just spend more time
understanding each other's position and that also means that we in the
UK have to spend much, much more time understanding where is the EU
coming from on this, we have to understand that on our side and when
we do that, we've got a chance of getting a good deal and we damn well
need to get a good deal. APPLAUSE.
So, as an outsider to this, was the Prime Minister right to say on the
steps to the BBC, that the next person to find out she's a bloody
difficult woman would be Jean-Claude Juncker? Was that a sensible thing
to say, or was that provocative in the way you don't want to see the
negotiations conducted? Well, the way that I see it is, we are in an
election, you know, and we've had a week where emotions just ran a
little bit high. I guess it is to be expected at this point that you get
a bit of positioning. That's what you get in tough negotiations. But
I'm pretty confident that when we, after the elections, when we get
into the real debate, I think it will be what's right for the
country, not what's right for your own political party and we'll get
some calm and proper debate, I hope. Rebecca Long-Bailey? Well, look, I
think the displays that we've seen over the last 48-hours have been
very worrying, suggesting quite an unstable approach taken by the Prime
Minister. What's even more worrying is that she was using the EU as an
electioneering tool, one of the biggest decisions this country's had
to make. And even more worrying than that, were the comments we'd heard
had been made by Juncker. He said that at the recent meeting she
wasn't fully briefed. Apparently Angela Merkel said she lived in
another galaxy in terms of the things she was putting forward. But
ultimately, what we need to see now is a Government that puts
collaboration and patriotism at the part of our Brexit negotiations so
that they get a deal for the many, not the few, and turn us into a tax
haven which is the threats we have had from Philip Hammond. We need
patriotism in terms of British industry. We want the see the
Government giving industry the tools it needs to succeed. For example, we
asked the Government to provide support for reshoring UK supply
chains to make sure manufacturer was brought back to this country and
brought down costs for this country. The Government seems intent on
offering bespoke deals to one or two businesses and leaving the rest to
rot. That's not an industrial strategy. We asked them to plug the
skills gap to make sure businesses had the skills and we had a high
skilled workforce ready to go. They cut the adult skills budget by ?1.
36 billion. Before we get into too much detail, let us deal with the we
of attitude and the Prime Minister said she's a bloody difficult woman,
quoting what Ken Clarke said about her. Would Jeremy Corbyn be a bloody
difficult man negotiating Brexit? I think you need to have a mixture of
being very robust and pursuing the needs your country has, alongside an
air of winning friends and influencing people, shall I say and
Theresa May certainly hasn't displayed the charisma we need to
negotiate our way through these talks. OK.
APPLAUSE. David Davis? Well, let's go back to
the start of this. There was the dinner. I was at the dinner. I won't
tell you much about it because it was supposedly private. What came
out afterwards was a leak. It was a misleading briefing to position the
commission in one position and trying to undermine the position of
the British Government. And the response to that by the Government,
by the Prime Minister was, we simply said we don't recognise this. That
was all. It was very polite. And for 48-hours we stuck to that. Why? We
want to keep this stable, calm and sensible, like Rebecca said, so we
get the outcome for both sides. That's been our stance all the way
through. Then we had further briefings, we are going to have to
pay ?100 billion, the Prime Minister won't be able to negotiate. The line
was then crossed. What was happening was that the Commission was trying
to bully the British people and the British people will not be bullied
and the Government will not allow them to be so she made the point she
made and she was right to do so. Now, at the end of this, what we are
aiming for is a very good deal. A very good deal for the British
people. Based on what they voted on in the referendum, taking back
control of our laws, borders and money, and deliver ago comprehensive
Free Trade Agreement protecting all business and to give us the security
we need that we have currently. So for all those reasons we are very
lucky we have got a bloody difficult woman and I think we are very
A lot of hands up. Let me hear from one or two members of the audience?
You, there? I think it's a bit rush Rebecca, you are sat there saying
Theresa May wasn't fully briefed after Labour's performance on
reeling out some of her policies this week.
OK. And you on the right? It just seems to me she said that phrase as
a device in the general election to make sure all the people that want
Brexit and want a hard Brexit vote for her. She's not said that device
to actually help us negotiate with the EU. That's right...
APPLAUSE. You, Sir, at the back? To me, the
statement she came out with shows a lack of negotiating skills. I
thought negotiation was people sitting around a table trying to
achieve the best outcome for all parties. She's adopting Donald
Trump's tactics and we know what he does to negotiators, he drops a big
bomb on somebody. We don't want that. It won't work, that.
What about the EU Commission President saying Brexit can't be a
success and she's living in another galaxy, that's aggressive too? Well,
she is. Oh, she is? For many other reasons. But she doesn't actually
say anything of substance, she comes out with sound bites all of the
time. It's globals. It was said... You, Sir? Can Theresa May deliver on
Brexit because she's never delivered on a promise in her life, as far as
I can see. APPLAUSE.
David Davis, a brief answer from you then the other members of the panel
I haven't spoken to. Never deliver on a promise. She was Home Secretary
in over six years in which crime came down by 30%. That's pretty good
delivering. Did it go down throughout Europe... Hang on. The
point about negotiating. The man was saying up there, you have to accept
in this process that there'll be difficult times. I've said a dozen
times in the House of Commons, there'll be times in this when it
will get tough and they'll try to test out our patience and
willingness to play the game. The real skill in the negotiations is
finding the area where both sides benefit. What Juergen does every day
in his business, where both sides benefit. That's what we've done.
We've said we want the European Union to succeed. We've said we'll
be a good European citizen even though we are not in the European
Union. We have said we want a free trade deal to help everybody, not
just the one. That's what a good negotiator does and that's what we
are going to deliver on. Leanne Wood?
I think this was more to do with the election than to do with the EU
negotiations and I think it's irresponsible to use something like
this as big as this and important as this as an election issue.
APPLAUSE. Of course she said they were trying
to interfere in the British election. Do you think that? I don't
accept that if I'm honest. I think that she's trying to approach this
with quite an aggressive attitude, it's the wrong attitude, it's not
the attitude that's going to get the best deal. She needs to be much more
open-minded and I think this is quite an English nationalist
approach and Rebecca talked earlier about the need for patriotism. It's
quite clear that Theresa May is speaking on behalf of England.
That's clear to me. That's why she's 10% ahead in Wales then, the leading
party in Wales is now the Conservative Party? If you are
referring to a poll that Kim out recently, let's wait and see the
next poll because there are big questions as to the voracity of
that. Let's wait to see the result - even better. Yes, the local
elections. If we are talking about patriotism, we have Theresa May
speaking on behalf of nationalism, the SNPs speak on behalf of
Scotland. What Wales needs now is someone to speak on behalf of Wales.
We've been ignored and neglected as a country through all of this
process and it's vital now that in this election Wales sends a large
team of Plaid Cymru MPs to Westminster to defend the Welsh
national interest because at the moment our needs are getting
completely ignored in all of this. The woman in blue? People say she's
a difficult woman and it's a smoke screen her bringing in more
austerity. If she wins the general election there'll be more cuts and
austerity. I agree... And privatisation as well. Paul Nuttall?
Remember the question Mark asked - do we need a bloody difficult woman
to negotiate Brexit? Well, on Theresa May's record, I would say
that she's a failure actually. You look at her record as Home
Secretary. This was the Home Secretary who said that she would
get the numbers of people coming to this country down to the tens of
thousands. Last year it was a city the size of Newcastle upon Tyne. So
her record isn't that great. What we do need is someone who will go into
these negotiations and actually be prepared to walk away, walk away if
we don't get the deal we want. APPLAUSE.
Because frankly, no deal is better than a bad deal. You are quoting her
aren't you? That's what she said? No. The difference is, I mean it. I
don't think she does. The EU is showing its true colours here.
Within the space of 48-hours, our divorce bill went from ?50 billion
to ?100 billion. OK. Now, they're on dodgy legal ground with this anyway
but we shouldn't be paying the divorce bill into an organisation
whereby we have given it in membership fees alone ?183 billion
since 1973. We've got ?9 billion tied up in the European Investment
Bank, we I don't know some of the EU's real estate. They have ?156
billion worth of real estate in Europe. We shouldn't be paying a
divorce bill to this organisation. Real who we are, Great Britain, the
seventh largest economy in the world and the Prime Minister should go
into these negotiations confident that she can get the best deal
Let's stick with this but maybe we'll come back to what went on at
Number Ten as David Davis described it. Robert Langley, your question,
please? How much is too much, ?50 billion, ?60 billion or ?100
billion? David, I'm not going to do
the negotiation here. The aim of this exercise, remember,
is to get a successful outcome, not just to talk
about the successful outcome. And we are determined
to get the successful But the point he raised
is actually a very good one, that in the course of this exercise,
which Leanne thought was perfectly reasonable behaviour
by the European Union, they upped the ante from 50 to 100
with no reason whatsoever, except as an intimidation play
in a negotiation. So we're not going to get
into debating that. We're going to say we want
talk about free trade, because that's beneficial
to both sides. The history of the European Union
is trying to make other countries pay for the privilege of trading
with them, when free trade Remember, they sell 290 billion
to us, we sell 230 billion to them. So Paul's right, we have a strong
hand, that's where we stand. I find it laughable
that the Conservatives are commenting on the Brexit
campaign and commenting on how much we have to pay
to exit the European Union, when they were the ones who actually
said, "This is how much money we're going to give back to the NHS
as a result of that". Or is it just this that
you are complaining about? We may come to the NHS later
on in the programme. Well, look, I think we're living
in cloud cuckoo land if we think we're going to get away
without paying anything at all. I don't know what the exact figure's
going to be but this highlights the importance of having a skilful
negotiator on our side in the form of a Prime Minister, somebody that
can negotiate obligations down. I'd highlight the importance
of making sure that we adhere to our obligations, because let's
remember, we're going to be making trade deals
across the world and we have to look like a partner that keeps
up our side of the bargain, otherwise nobody will want to sign
any free trade agreements with us. But I also want to go back
to a point David made And he talked about policing
and how crime has fallen. In the last year, violence against
the person has increased by 19%. Let's look at some of
the other obligations... Hang on, that's not
the question I asked you, which is what is Labour's position
on the 50, 60 or 100 billion? Because you can talk
about Theresa May until the cows come home, but people want to know
what Labour thinks, too. We need to make sure
we are in a strong position to negotiate, and we need to make
sure we win friends and influence Of course, but do you have any idea
of the kind of figure that Well, as I say, it's all part
of the negotiations. Well, David, is 100
billion acceptable? What figure have you said that
you're going to set as a benchmark? You want me to give
a minimum amount here. That's a very good
tactic in negotiations, Which, I'm afraid,
is a demonstration. Labour have had six different
positions on this in the course It's a decision not just
on what is said publicly, it's Do you trust Theresa May to do
this, or do you trust And that's a decision
the British people will make. You poured scorn on the upping
from 50 to 100 billion. You would treat 100 billion
as beyond the pale? That's all I want to know,
so you are putting down a benchmark. I think we're in danger of having
the wrong conversation here. At the end of the day,
I think there is going We don't know what
that is going to be. David Davis, you've said yourself
there are some liabilities There are some support programmes
that the EU has made So, therefore, we have to pay
for that for a period of time. But what I would like to hear much
more about is what is the vision Because once we have
decided what that vision is, it might just make the fact
that we have to make some contribution a little
bit more palatable. For example, we definitely do want
to continue to have a relationship We probably want to have
a relationship about climate change. We probably want to continue
to participate in some I am not here arguing in any way
that we want to stay part of the single market,
but there are certain areas. So let's have a vision for those,
describe them, and then we can get on to a conversation
of how much we really owe. Juergen is exactly right
and that is something that The vision here is a global Britain
that trades with the whole world. Remember, nearly 60% of our trade
now is with other parts of the world, most of which we don't
have a free-trade agreement with. So in the next few years we will be
developing the basis of free trade agreements with the fastest-growing
parts of the world, the Indian The areas where actually Wales
is selling most at the moment. But don't forget, 44% of our trade
is still with the European Union, vitally important for British
businesses, and we need to find And that's the point
about the comprehensive free trade agreement,
it's designed to protect what we have whilst freeing us up
to actually develop markets We have the English language,
the culture, the Commonwealth, So it's a real vision for a great
future for this country The danger is that it will be
like TTIP, the trade deal with America that was rejected,
which risked opening up And the Tories have failed
to guarantee not opening up I want to go to the audience,
but David Davis, you began talking a bit about the dinner party
at Number Ten. It was reported that the President
of the EU Commission said, "Brexit cannot be a success",
and that Theresa May It doesn't sound very promising
at the start of negotiations. I'm not going to talk about
the dinner party, as you call it. It was very convivial,
as you could watch when they came out, everyone was joking
and laughing together. So a lot of this briefing
has been nonsense. But the point you made
about his comment about it cannot be a success, early on in this process,
immediately after the referendum, there was talk about
punishing Britain. Then they realised that was perhaps
not particularly acceptable to British people and they talked
instead about Britain cannot be allowed to do better
outside than inside. Frankly, that's not
for them to decide. How we do outside is down to us,
as an independent nation standing Don't you want to try and have
a good relationship with the EU? With all these billions
being mentioned, with the French election and the possible
Marine Le Pen getting in, if there's a referendum
and they come out and they do a Frexit, what I'm wondering is,
if it's a domino effect, is it the last man standing gets
all the money? I'm a little tired of
listening to a bad Brexit Why don't we just let these
guys get on with it. All we hear is rhetoric
in the newspaper, on the television. In a month's time we are going
to have a confirmation Let them get on with it
and we'll see where it takes Not stop talking about it,
but hard and soft, the rhetoric isn't doing
us any good. I think the fact that the EU
is asking for any money for Britain undertaking a democratic exercise
is frankly ridiculous, and it shows that we're dealing
with bloody difficult men. That was the question
that Robert asked. That's like asking in a divorce
settlement before you go to court, does one partner get half the house,
a quarter of the house, I mean, the point of negotiation
is to be like adults, to sit around a table and to try
and sort things out And going into these
negotiations with the attitude the Prime Minister has got,
all superior, we are better than them over there in Europe,
is the wrong way to go about it. The only people that will end
up with all the money in all of this are the lawyers,
like they do in a real divorce. We don't know how much that will be
yet, but we do know that that promise of ?350 million
that was on that bus, that they said would go
to the NHS every week, that is the figure that they rowed
back on straight away. And many people that I know
in the constituency I represent back in Wales are desperate to see money
go back into the NHS. And they voted for Brexit
on the basis of a lie. I think what we are forgetting
is that David Cameron proved beyond any doubt,
it's the EU who won't negotiate. He came back saying
he'd got a good deal. I'll take a couple more points
and I want to move on. I come to you waving at me,
not because you are waving but because you have
had your hand up. At the end of the day,
Europe are trying to make an example out of Britain to try to prevent
other member states doing exactly what we've done
and having their own Brexits. And where was the person
with the tattoos? Until a professional outside body
adds up both assets and liabilities, who can have any idea
what the bill can be? The interesting quote of the week
was from Juncker when he said that The reason why he is saying
that is because they are terrified, because if Brexit is a success
and we are a beacon of light for the rest of the European Union,
then France will go next, then Sweden will go,
then Denmark will go and the whole And as for going into these
negotiations, we can be confident. We have a huge trading deficit
with the European Union. In many ways, they need us
more than we need them. The six million jobs
on the continent which are Now, this might be a devious
organisation, it might be a bullying organisation,
but it isn't a stupid organisation. And I think people like David can go
into these negotiations confident that we can get a really good deal
for the British people. Just to say before I do,
next week we're going to be in Edinburgh and the week
after that we are in Norwich. The details of how to apply
are on the screen and I will Now here is a topic we have had
a number of questions on. Why is the media refusing to portray
Jeremy Corbyn in a positive light? In case you missed it,
why is the media refusing to portray Well, I'm afraid they are reflecting
a view not just of the media but of three quarters
of the Labour Party who passed a vote of no
confidence in him last year. My own opposite number,
Keir Starmer, who is the shadow Brexit secretary, resigned last year
and the words he gave were because he didn't think that
Jeremy Corbyn could provide the leadership to negotiate
a decent deal on Brexit. So I'm afraid what they are
reflecting is a commonly held view. Now, look, I actually
like Jeremy Corbyn. I took him to Washington with me
when we got the release of the last British resident in Guantanamo Bay,
and he was hopeful on that. But I'm afraid, in terms
of actually leading a country, in terms of delivering
on a government, in terms of making decisions, Brexit alone,
six positions in nine months, he simply hasn't proved
able to do the job. Laura, what's your
complaint about the media? Nobody is listening to his policies
and all the Conservatives seem to be doing is, like, portraying him
in a negative light. They're not doing their own thing,
they're just abusing him. And is that the papers, radio,
television, everything? I'm in business and my role is not
to take political sides. I see my role as working
with whichever political party to help create a strong
British economy. I think Jeremy Corbyn is clearly
a man of strong conviction. I think in terms of business,
what I would like to see is a little bit less of the "Business is nasty
and you don't all pay your taxes". Of course, we know there
are incidents of that but the truth is that business
is a huge value creator. We pay, as business,
when you take our corporation tax, National Insurance, all those tax,
three quarters of all the taxes raised by the country
is generated through business. We are a very important
engine of the economy, and I would like to see a little bit
more partnership of how we can work together
and achieve economic growth. Laura says that the media
are being unfair to Jeremy Corbyn, You know, I think the media
will just pick up anything At the end of the day,
I think our audience here today and the British population
is intelligent to see through that and to make their decision based
on the policies and based on the manifestos, and not what
you're reading in the Daily Mail. APPLAUSE.
OK. Leanne Wood? I think that the right and the far
right on the march, not just here in the UK, but in other parts of the EU
as well and in America, I think the media are reflecting that and anyone
who's not on the right or the far right seems to be getting it. My
colleague Nicola Sturgeon is getting a hard time as well. She's been
described as one of the most difficult women in politics and I
think part of that is around the way the media portray her. I would like
to see a more balanced media, more balanced ideas. I think social media
can help with some of that because it's not going through a filter. But
I don't think the leader of the Labour Party is helping himself by
refusing to participate in the electoral TV debates if the Prime
Minister doesn't turn up. I think they should be both empty chaired if
they don't show, but what they are doing by refusing to turn up is
turning down that platform to put across your policy ideas, reducing
the range of opinion available to people. There are large numbers of
people who watch those television debates that might not access
politics in any other way. I think it's important for democracy that
they go ahead with the full range of opinion that's available.
APPLAUSE. The woman there? I would like to
say, I voted in the last general election, I'm voting in this general
election and I would like to say, Jeremy Corbyn really turned my head
to politics. He speaks about what is real and I don't think it's a case
of the press being against him, I think it's just the case that
no-one's reporting what Labour's actually standing for, people are
voting for personalities and lies, rather than...
APPLAUSE. Rebecca Long-Bailey, the question,
is the media refusing to portray Jeremy Corbyn in a positive light.
You may want to pick up on what Leanne said, he's not doing himself
much of a service by refusing to debate with other party leaders?
I'll be honest, it's been a struck until the media since Jeremy was
elected leader. The media have focussed on divisions and people
arguing with people within the party rather than reporting on our
policies. We have a fight on our hands in this election, we are
fighting for every single vote. While Theresa May is refusing to do
TV debates and having stage-managed events, Jeremy is travelling the
country showing how he'll represent Britain. This election is a choice,
it's about having a Britain for the many, which is what the Labour Party
believes in, where wealth and prosperity is shared, or it's a Tory
Britain that only looks after a privileged few. And to come back to
the point about business, it breaks my heart to hear you say that
because we have been fighting to get our business message out there. We
were at the front of the queue when it came to business rates, we were
talking about how businesses were really being pushed to the edge of a
cliff. We asked for manufacturing industries and other industries to
be given support in the exemption of plant and machinery to grow their
businesses because we think that Government and business in
collaboration can deliver the future Britain needs, it will deliver the
high-paid, high-skilled economy that these people need.
APPLAUSE. Sorry, you didn't answer why he
won't debate, even though Theresa May isn't there in the studio, why
won't he debate with the others to get his ideas across? I think Jeremy
having Theresa May taken the decision that he's taken he felt
that it was necessary to go out and meet the people and develop his
policies and discuss them with the general public. It's not one or the
other, I'll be doing both. I'll be meeting the people and being
involved in television debates. We are the opposition, we are the only
chance of getting rid of the Tory party and Jeremy felt in order to
get a fair hearing he needed to have a debate with Theresa May so if she
comes to the debates a and I think she should because the British
public need to hear what she has to say and she should be held to
account, then Jeremy will be there as well. Politicians need to stop
the mud-slinging. They quote this week mutton headed old mud lump, it
does nobody any favour, it grabs headlines. It sets bad examples to
children, we tell them not the bully and yet you're bullying each other
in. The midst of all this we are losing the debates because the press
are picking up on the mud slinging backwards and forwards, there's
nothing reported about the policies and we need to hear the policies in
adult grown-up debate. The TV debates are important. Yes, you on
the gangway? Without debate, there can't be any scrutiny. Exactly.
Theresa May's refused to debate Jeremy Corbyn. Silly sound bites are
not match against honesty and integrity.
APPLAUSE. That's why Mrs May will not debate
with Jeremy Corbyn on TV. Because she does not have any policies. But
she will on the other hand, as far as we know, at this stage, and it's
not certain, debate with a Question Time audience. So she will argue her
case with you and you and you and you. Why won't she debate Corbyn
then? OK, I don't know the answer to that one. You, Sir, in the middle? I
think my concern and I think a lot of people in the country would like
to see Jeremy Corbyn because he will answer a question. All I've seen of
Theresa May is dodge, Don, dodge, she hasn't answered anything
directly. The BBC interview the other day, why can't we have
politicians that will give us a direct answer like Jeremy Corbyn?
APPLAUSE. Paul? Yes. Do you know, I sort of
feel sorry for Jeremy Corbyn, I have to say. I think he's an honourable,
principled man, I disagree with his principles. And the problem he's got
is that, although the press or the media are plunging the knife in his
chest, his own party are plunging the knife in his back all the time
so he goes on TV talking about Trident then he's being contradicted
an hour later boy they are members of his Shadow Cabinet.
on the manifestos, and not what you're reading in the Daily Mail.
You've got the Blairites who want a bit of Corbyn.
You've got Corbyn himself who is in effect a throwback to a bygone era.
But at least with Corbyn you've got a clear choice in this election,
because unfortunately what happened with politics during the Blairite
era is that everyone rushed to the Centre.
I mean, there's a clear choice with Jeremy Corbyn as leader
You could give me ten Jeremy Corbyns over any Tony Blair, any day.
The use of food banks has increased under this Tory government.
Should we hang our heads in shame that as one of the richest
countries in the world, people are queueing for food?
Juergen, would you like to start on that?
The answer is that it's a real tragic situation, isn't it,
that we've not been able to raise living standards, and we have
and we have more in-work poverty than we have had before.
However, we need to find a solution to that.
And this is definitely an issue where, you know,
we need to really raise above party politics, and there is a really
And that is that we have, for decades, actually not focused
on what is it that generates wealth in this country.
And one of the key things that generates wealth is manufacturing.
It's high-technology industries, which export,
which create high-value jobs, which create productivity.
And through those mechanisms, we can actually raise wages
And we have not had a strategic approach for that,
which has to be long-term, so it has to be across governments,
And we need a much, much stronger focus on that,
and only through that can we start raising living standards again.
Wendy Doherty, David Davis, put it very vividly.
Shouldn't we hang our heads in shame that in one of the richest
countries in the world, people are queueing for free food?
And nobody is comfortable with the idea of using food banks.
Let me pick up on Juergen's point, because he has a point,
that in the Western world we have to think much harder, be more agile
about encouraging business, encouraging wealth creation.
And that's what Theresa May, actually one of the unique things
about her, in terms of leader of the Tory party, is she believes
She believes in creating the foci for development,
the innovation, the research, apprenticeships, all of these
things central to her approach to Conservatism.
You can't do it without wealth creation.
At the other end, the thing that brings people out of poverty is not,
It's getting up to do a job that brings self-respect, brings money.
And we've got 2.8 million more people in work today than we had
when we came into power, the highest level of employment ever
in our country and the lowest level of unemployment for over a decade.
When the Prime Minister appeared on Andrew Marr's programme,
he quoted to her the Royal College of Nursing saying that nurses
were even turning to food banks, employed nurses were turning
And her reply was, there are many complex reasons.
Presumably people go to food banks because they are hungry.
People have short-term cash issues, all sorts of things.
The complexity of individual people's lives.
But that doesn't mean it's something you want to see.
The main reason that people are going to food banks
is because there are delays with paying benefits and there have
been changes to social security with the pernicious Tory welfare
reforms which have cut money to people with disabilities.
They've cut money to the children whose parents have been bereaved.
They've cut money to any third, fourth or fifth child in a family,
unless the mother can prove that she was raped when that
And if we give the Tories a bigger mandate in this election,
There's been a lot of conversation about industry being the main way
of us avoiding the use of food banks.
However, what happens when those people using the food banks
are your public sector workers, where industry isn't
We seem to have stopped caring firstly about those
that need caring for, and secondly for the people that
And we seem to have no answer to that currently.
I have not visited a food bank before but I have
And the vast majority of them that do go for free food smoke,
Some people use food banks who are in work.
Last night I travelled through Wigan town centre to Hindley and I saw ten
people sitting in doorways, obviously not watching Sky.
The benefit system as we refer to it is the main reason people
are falling out of society and living on the streets.
There's been an exponential increase in homelessness, and it's
Well I'm telling you, it's a purposely designed
policy of creating more dismay and discomfort.
And this man is not an unintelligent man, and he knows what's going on.
The party that introduced the living wage, which is actually
raising people's wages, the party that is creating a welfare
system that's trying to give people an to get back to work.
-- trying to give people an incentive to get back to work.
Of course there's a homeless problem.
Well, and we've been building more houses
to help with that, too, 313,000 houses in
Well, look, we are in Wigan tonight and I'm sure many of the audience
members have read the famous book the Road to Wigan Pier
by George Orwell where in the 1930s he travelled across the country
to see how people, often in work, were living in destitution.
There's a group of people recreating his footsteps.
Recently they visited a Staffordshire food bank.
And in that food bank they met a man who walked seven
He was on a zero-hours contract, often turned away and had to walk
He was 50 and he'd spent 15 years fighting for Britain
Now, is this the kind of Britain he deserves,
where he is forced to rely on charity?
I think it's absolutely shameful that we have food
banks on our streets, that we aren't building an economy
that will keep people sustained, that we've got a government that
hands out tax breaks to a wealthy elite whilst cutting the benefits
And I agree wholeheartedly with the comments made
about investing in business and industry to create
those high-paid, high skilled jobs of the future,
but unfortunately this government isn't delivering that.
We're one of the lowest countries in the OECD in terms of investment
in industry and innovation at 1.7% of GDP.
Our competitors around the world are on 3%.
So to deliver the economy that this country deserves and to share
the wealth equally around the regions and nations,
we need to elect a Labour government so that we can invest
Quite clearly there is a problem with homelessness in this country.
There's lots of issues surrounding why people end up homeless,
mental health issues, there can be issues
Obviously people being put out of work as well.
Clearly, there isn't enough houses in Britain.
The problem that we've got is that we've had a massive population boom,
and that does go back to the issue of how many people
But equally, we haven't built enough houses over the years.
We need a real council house building programme.
And we're sitting here in Wigan tonight.
This is part of my constituency, I am an MEP for the north-west.
And I just feel as if we've been left behind.
Because everything in this country, all of the money, everything
What we want to see is not only real devolved power
The Tories had this Northern powerhouse,
I'll give you an example just before I finish.
In London they are spending ?5,000 per head on infrastructure.
In the north-east of England it's about ?400.
We need to get the money out of London and out of places
-- we need to get it out to places like the north-west of England.
One point from the woman in the third row and then we'll go
The issue of food banks, you say it's about job creation,
Surely it's going to get worse because with artificial
intelligence, jobs in the service sector are going to be impacted.
Anything that is repeatable, a robot can do it.
Well, you raise a very good point here, and this is exactly why
we need a much stronger focus on investing and innovation and R
Because actually my calculation is that as long as we invest very
well, we can actually create more jobs than we displace
through the implementation of these technologies.
But we have to, with that, create the new industries.
We have to create instead of having the manufacturing jobs.
It will be jobs who are writing software, creating
We have to create new jobs in technologies like
Here in Wigan there some companies creating brand-new textiles
And more of that can create more jobs, highly paid jobs,
more tax income, which will pay for more welfare,
I said earlier on when it was briefly
mentioned by one or two of you that we would come
Rebecca Crabtree, with a rather different take on the usual
As a portrayed saviour of the NHS, how does the Labour Party plan
to combat an NHS culture of wastage, inefficiency and poor
It's a question that everybody around
Paul Nuttall, what do you say to that?
While you have a chance to think, Paul!
Well, the question is, obviously behind Rebecca's question
is that the NHS has a culture of wastage, inefficiency
It's no good just putting money into it.
Well, you have to start by putting money into it. People are getting
older, the demands on the health service are greater. More high-tech
medicine has to be delivered, which is expensive. So you do have to put
money in and that starts with the economy. If you don't deliver the
money, do not have enough created in the economy, you can't do it. We put
in 10 billion so far. We are talking about your 350 million a week, at 10
billion is more than the Labour Party promised that the last
election. Out of that, to be fair, talking about inefficiency, the
health service is actually delivering, according to independent
reviews, better major care, better outcomes than three years ago, five
years ago, ten years ago. So we should be fair, it is doing a good
job, it is still a world leader in many respects. Beyond that, we have
to keep innovating. We have a proposal, sustainability and
transformation partnerships, which will actually improve delivery on
the ground. Labour are opposing it, even though they supported it six
months ago. But that sort of reform will deliver better outcomes again.
They are improving but they will improve even further. Rebecca, come
back to your question. You are missing the point that just putting
money into something is not the solution. Much of the money is
wasted because we have not got enough nurses, midwives, and the
money is being wasted on agency staff, who get paid approximately
three times the wage. APPLAUSE
And that is what I mean about inefficiency in the NHS.
It is not run like a business. Rebecca Long Bailey, you say you are
putting money into the NHS but it is not run like a business and the
money will be wasted, Rebecca says. There has been a narrative put out
about the NHS for some time in terms of inefficiency and wastage. There
can always be changes made to make systems more efficient, but it seems
it has come out of Jeremy Hunt's playbook. Remember, he co-authored a
book calling for the privatisation of the NHS, so we know where the
rhetoric is coming from and what is. The picture of the child lying on
two plastic chairs in an A corridor haunts me and many in the
audience, I'm sure, because that is the extent of the NHS crisis. We
have over 1 million vulnerable people who cannot look after
themselves because of cuts to social care. The crisis was of this
government was Mac making. They were setting it up for privatisation.
They orchestrated a top-down reorganisation which cost ?3 billion
and did not have a positive outcome. Can you point to any privatisation?
They cut ?600 million from mental health and 4.6 billion from social
care. They are driving it into the sea. Can you point to any? The rate
of use of non-NHS health care was much higher, the growth rate was
much higher under Tony Blair's Labour than it has been under the
Conservative coalition governments. So how can you point to this as
supposedly some sort of privatisation initiative? There no
facts behind your argument. I would read Jeremy Hunt's book if you have
not looked at it. It is a race to was an American -based insurance
system that is privatised. And we haven't got it. The lady quite
properly raised the issue of the demand on the health service. 11,000
more doctors, over 12,000 more nurses and midwives since we have
been empowered. That is not privatisation, that is public money
put in for public service, delivering better outcomes for
people suffering from dreadful diseases. Juergen Maier. I watch
this programme pretty much every week and it seems we have the same
debate every week. And I don't think we are going to resolve it by saying
we need to throw many more billions into the service, which is exactly
the point that you are asking. I think there is a fundamental issue
here, and when I compare the National health system here too that
I have experienced in Germany and Austria, a fundamental difference is
that we just do not put the focus on preventative health. And what that
means is that our hospitals, our health service is just overloaded,
so they don't have any time to actually sort out their
efficiencies, which is your point. I think there is a solution, and the
solution is potentially happening right here in Greater Manchester.
This will be one of the first evolved city regions where there
will be the funding for both social care and the National health has --
and the national health system will be under one responsible T. That is
the first time there will be an incentive in the system to make sure
that we do more preventative medicine, to make sure that people
do not end up in hospital and do not end up with the actual social care,
after-care type of issues. I think that is the way we have to go to get
more efficiency. The NHS is its workers. That is what this
government is not putting money into. 1% pay rise again this year.
That is for the last seven years, 1%, which is devaluing the wages of
nurses, encouraging people to go on banks and to go to agencies, to
leave the country. There is a shortage of doctors and nurses but
you will not give us a pay rise. APPLAUSE
We only have a couple of minutes left.
The first thing you could do is to merge social care and health care.
In January there were 1 million people lying in hospital beds who
could not leave because they had nowhere else to go. It's insane. The
problem we have is that when Labour came to power in 1997 we were
spending 33,000,000,000-a-year on the NHS, and when they left we were
spending 99 billion. The problem is that they stuffed the NHS with pen
pushers, bureaucrats and managers, OK.
APPLAUSE I have to stop you, Paul.
He wants to privatise the NHS. He has said in the past that he wants
to privatise the NHS. Our NHS needs defending. It is a risk of
privatisation and has been underfunded. I agree that there is
waste in terms of agency staff and locums, and we need investment in
staff. Isn't it interesting that those on the top of the pay grade
get decent paying creases, while those at the bottom are those who
have had the pay freeze? APPLAUSE
Very quickly, because we have 30 seconds left.
A lot of the problem is streamlining they are trying to do with the NHS.
That little boy might have been waiting for a bed in another
district general because there was no bed in his hospital -- his
hospital that he was in A for, because they closed the beds and
moved it to a different one and were waiting for an anvil him. This is
the streamlining causing a backlog of patients in A At the back. The
main issue that we have and we are bypassing is the amount of people
that are in this country. We are a very tiny country with too many
people, and the funding with the NHS does not recognise that. As Paul has
just noted, it was Labour and Tony Blair who opened our borders and
that rose dramatically, so how are we going to do that? You are more
likely to have an immigrant treating you. People that want to work in
that sector. We have a shortage of doctors. We need more immigrants.
The don't want to work there because there is too much pressure. As has
been said, we always debate this on Question Time and we have run out of
time before we have got through everyone with their hand up.
Apologies, but our time is up. We will be in Edinburgh next week and
Norwich the week after, so come and join us there. Edinburgh and
Norwich. On the screen is the website and the number to apply. If
you are listening on five live on medium wave, if you are able to get
it, which I never can, the debate carries on until the early hours of
the morning and it is very exciting and vivid when you catch it. My
thanks to our panel and to all of you who came to Wigan to take part.
Until next Thursday, good night.
David Dimbleby chairs topical debate from Wigan. On the panel are Conservative Brexit secretary David Davis, Labour's shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and the CEO of Siemens UK Juergen Maier.