09/11/2017 Question Time


09/11/2017

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Croydon. On the panel are Justine Greening, Stella Creasy, Kirstie Allsopp, Aditya Chakrabortty and Charles Moore.


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Transcript


LineFromTo

Tonight we're in Croydon

and welcome to Question Time.

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With us here...

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The Secretary of State

for Education, Justine Greening,

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who's also a Minister

for Women and Equality.

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One of the MPs leading the fight

to reform the culture

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at Westminster, Labour's Stella

Creasy.

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The star of television's Location,

Location, Location the property

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expert, Kirstie Allsopp.

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The Guardian writer on economics,

Aditya Chakrabortty,

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who this week dished up the details

on how the rich use tax

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havens to get richer.

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And claiming this is largely

resented because the rich can do it

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and the rest of us can't,

the columnist of the Daily Telegraph

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and the Spectator, Charles Moore.

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APPLAUSE

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And just a reminder -

thank you very much -

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a reminder at home,

if you want to get involved

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in the argument, you can argue along

using our #bbcqt either Facebook

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or Twitter or you can text us 83981,

push the Red Button to see

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what others are saying.

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Now our first question tonight

is from Gemma Collins, please.

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Gemma Collins.

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In light of recent events,

can Theresa May still call her

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government strong and stable?

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Can Theresa May still call her

government strong and stable?

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Stella Creasy.

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No.

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APPLAUSE

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But this is the terribly sad thing,

isn't it, because actually this

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is our country and this chaos

is affecting all of our lives.

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It's not just about the lack of grip

over where the direction

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of the country is going,

it's all the every day issues that

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aren't being dealt with.

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Whether it is the rising

inequality in our society.

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Whether it is the issues

in our schools, in terms

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of their funding - I'm sure Justine

would have a word on that.

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I talk to teachers

who are now paying for

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supplies in their schools.

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I talk to police officers in London

desperately worried about the fact

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we're losing 3,000 officers

from our streets.

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These are all big challenges

that we have to deal

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with and instead what's happening

is the backbenches of

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the Conservative Party are defining

all of our shared futures.

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So people may laugh, but I am

desperately worried about this.

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Let be very, very clear about this

because if Theresa May wants

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to accept what we all know

is inevitable and that she needs

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to throw-in the towel,

there's certainly many of us

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certainly who would like to step up,

called Labour, to run this country

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instead and fight for the future

of this country.

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APPLAUSE

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She should throw in the towel,

Justine Greening?

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I totally disagree.

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I think the bottom line is that

we're a government that is steering

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this country through a very

difficult Brexit negotiation,

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but alongside that we have

a domestic agenda that is also

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shifting our country

in the right direction.

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You mentioned education, Stella,

well there are now 1.8 million more

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children in good or outstanding

schools, including some here

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in Croydon, than there were in 2010.

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When you look at people's take home

pay, we've taken millions of people

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out of paying tax altogether

and raised the personal allowance

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for around 30 million people.

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We've got more people in work

than we've had for many years

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and an unemployment rate that's

about half the Eurozone average.

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What I'm saying is that people

are in jobs and in work.

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The economy's doing well.

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I'm also saying that when we look

ahead to the future,

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we're making sure that our young

people are coming through

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the education system

with the educational skills

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that they need...

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All right, OK.

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Let me just...

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Hang on, hang on both of you.

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Let me just ask Gemma Collins

what she meant by the question.

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I mean, like, with regards

to her not even to have a stable

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Cabinet together and people leaving,

distrust.

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They're arguing with each

other and not focussing

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on what's actually happening?

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When Justine Greening gives

you a list of statistics

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about things, does that

not convince you?

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Not really, no.

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Not really, OK.

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When in the news something's

happening every single week,

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every day, another problem.

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It's just...

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It's all noise just to cover it up.

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Justine, I'll come back to you.

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Kirstie Allsopp.

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I think the point you made, Gemma,

about the news is very interesting.

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We're living in a very different

news environment than we've

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ever lived in before.

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When I came on Question Time

for the first time, eight years ago,

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Twitter didn't exist.

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The social media world

in which we exist today does give us

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a sense of being destabilised.

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Things seem to be happening every

day that we can't keep up with.

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What, like two Cabinet ministers

resigning in a week?

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OK!

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APPLAUSE

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Point taken, David.

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There are two totally

different issues here.

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One Cabinet Minister

resigned for one reason

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and another for another reason.

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And they are...

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I don't think they relate either

of them to Theresa May's

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current government.

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They are two separate issues,

which we could discuss further.

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OK, Charles Moore.

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No, I think they do both relate

to Theresa May's government

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because President LB Johnson said

that the first skill a politician

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has to have is arithmetic.

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What he meant by that was,

you have to add up what votes you've

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got and see whether you can win.

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Of course because the Tories did

much less well than expected

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in the election, they haven't got

strong and stable government

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and they can't because

the arithmetic doesn't work,

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it's very knife edge.

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However, I think Mrs May is making

a mistake about how to deal

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with that because I think

what you have to do, to your own

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team and to the country,

is you have to sort of be upfront

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about that and say how

difficult your position

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is and concentrate on the things

that really matter and be

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strong about them.

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And say - look, this

is what I believe in and this

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is what I'm going to do.

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What I feel that's not happening,

particularly about Brexit,

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so we don't actually know what way

we're actually going about it.

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And I think that what you see

with the Government -

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and this comes from the top

downwards, you can't blame the lower

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people for this really -

is you see it's governed by fear.

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So what it's always thinking is -

help, we're going to get into more

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trouble if we do this,

so we'd better do that

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or we'd better not do this.

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So actually what's going

on is it's room for manoeuvre

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is narrowing all the time.

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All right.

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I really do think that's a very

unfortunate position to be in.

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Aditya, I'll come to you.

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Justine Greening, do you jsut

want to answer Charles Moore's point

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as a fellow Conservative?

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Well, we are a minority Government,

but I think in practice most

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of what we deliver on a day-to-day

basis is on legislation that's

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already been passed.

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So, Gemma, I know I gave

lots of statistics, but actually

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it's because I wanted to give

you some actual facts of what we're

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achieving because I recognise

sometimes, when we make our

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arguments, it's hard to frankly pull

out what's really going on.

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So these are the facts

of what we're doing on the ground

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and I absolutely, yes,

you won't see many of them

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in the paper because they're good

news, but what I'm saying,

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Charles is, what we see day-to-day

is a government that is getting

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on with some substantial reform.

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If you look at what we're

doing in education,

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on introducing T-levels,

so that for the first time young

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people post-16 actually have some

proper choices between not just

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an academic route,

but a technical education route.

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Those things are actually

happening on the ground

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and we're getting with that.

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They will make a profound

improvement to the opportunities

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for our young people

in the years to come.

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But the whole is so much weaker...

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It's weaker than the sum of

the parts, if you see what I mean.

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The question is you always

want to know of a government is -

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where are you leading our country?

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It's particularly true when we're

about to make a massive change

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in the whole composition,

constitution of our country.

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APPLAUSE

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We need to know now.

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We need to know really in the next

three or four weeks.

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What are we going to do to achieve

the Brexit we voted for?

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OK.

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You, sir, I'll come

to you in a moment.

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Yes.

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The PM has failed

to lead the country.

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She had one job to prove herself,

and that was to fire Priti Patel

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and then Priti Patel had to resign.

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Now we have a government where it's

led by a person who cannot even fire

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someone who has broken

the Ministerial Code,

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but at least there's still a chance

for her to redeem herself by firing

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Boris...

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APPLAUSE

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But if that doesn't happen,

trust me, she has until Christmas

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and the Government will fall.

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She has to redeem herself.

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All right.

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We'll maybe come to

that in more detail.

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Aditya though, on the main first

point about whether the Government

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is strong and stable?

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Well, the straight answer

to that is, obviously,

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it's not strong and stable,

it's weak and increasingly wobbly.

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To lose two Cabinet ministers

in a week, goodness me,

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I wonder what the next couple

of weeks will bring!

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But the one bit of your question

that I would take issue with, Gemma,

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is when you say "in light

of recent events."

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Because what I see going

on with this government

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is a culmination of seven years

of doing the wrong thing

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over and over again.

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So they've said that they

will fix the economy.

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Actually, they've tanked it so badly

that we're going for the biggest

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squeeze on our living standards

since the Napoleonic Wars.

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Theresa May says she's

there for the just about managing

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and she takes money off the poor

and she sends disabled

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people to their deaths.

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They say that they're

about business -

That's rubbish.

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They say...

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Rubbish.

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People go to fitness

for work assessments,

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they're told they're fit for work,

they lose their money and then

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they end up seriously ill.

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That happens over and over again.

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If I can finish...

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The other thing that they've said

is that they're pro-business,

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they're pro-competition and then

they take us into a referendum,

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which they bungle, they don't get

the result they want and so we end

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up heading towards Brexit,

and they can't even manage Brexit.

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Hold on.

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Don't shout out, wait,

stick your hand up and make your

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point, if you want to.

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Yes, you sir, go on.

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We voted for Brexit and Theresa May

is fulfilling that pledge.

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Now you use inflammatory language,

you're like the Donald

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Trump of the Guardian.

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You use inflammatory language saying

that people, disabled people...

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APPLAUSE

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You basically accuse the people

that vote Conservative

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and Conservative representatives,

such as myself, as sending

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people to their deaths

because they're disabled.

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That's disgusting.

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Sir, I can actually introduce

you to some of the people

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who are disabled activists -

We can all introduce

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people to each other.

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Who can tell you about their friends

-

But you use language

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like Donald Trump.

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It's inflammatory rubbish.

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I don't bear very little

resemblance to Donald Trump.

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OK, Stella Creasy.

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This is the problem

though, isn't it?

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People are now very angry,

they're very scared because I'm

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in an unusual position

to agree with Charles Moore.

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Nobody knows the future

direction of this country

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and whether it is to do with Brexit

and 18-months on literally

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having no idea.

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The Prime Minister promised us

certainty, we don't have that.

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Or it's the simple...

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You talk about facts, Justine,

most people here will recognise

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there is too much month at the end

of their money.

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That actually we are now a country

that is more indebted than ever.

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Who here manages to pay

off their credit card every month?

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Hang on, hang on,

you would have us...

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Who here actually recognises

the cost of living is going up

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and up and up and is worried

about what is going to happen

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next and you're looking

at a government saying, lead us.

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Instead, you're seeing rogue

minister after minister,

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story after story.

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I understand where you're

coming from, Gemma.

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I think what we have to do

though is ask for action

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because it cannot continue

like this, it's just too dangerous.

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Hang on a second, let's hear

from more members of the audience

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and then I'll come to Justine.

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Yes.

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The person in the third

row there, you.

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I just wanted to pick up on Charles'

point about arithmetic

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in the last election.

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The Conservatives didn't win as many

seats as they would have liked to,

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but Labour also didn't win the last

election, so I think hasn't the time

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come for some proper cross-party

coalition support because we're

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headed towards a national disaster?

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OK, the man over here.

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APPLAUSE

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You, sir, with the glasses, yes.

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Stella, I must take issue

with you about your comment

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about you can't wait

to get into power.

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The Labour Party are not in power.

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They can say anything,

promise anything, spend billions

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and they're not accountable.

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But fortunately in Croydon Labour

are in power and the Labour Council

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run the Children Services

department, which has just received

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the most damning Ofsted report ever

where it has failed on virtually

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every single measurement and count.

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All right.

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It is now in special measures

and is being overseen

0:12:400:12:44

by a Government-appointed inspector

because you can't be trusted

0:12:440:12:46

in power to actually do the job.

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All right, let Stella answer that

and then I'll go to somebody else.

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APPLAUSE

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I understand your concern, sir.

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I think it's a slightly different

picture on the ground,

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but what I would say is that

investment in local government has

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been stripped to the bone,

as has everything else.

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None of that precludes

the importance of running services.

0:13:070:13:09

You asked for accountability,

you asked for ideas,

0:13:090:13:11

I want to take up your challenge.

0:13:110:13:13

I know Jeremy Corbyn wants

to take up your challenge.

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When we see this country heading

in such a wrong direction,

0:13:190:13:22

what we ask is the opportunity

to serve because what's very clear,

0:13:220:13:24

over the last couple of weeks,

is that Theresa May just isn't up

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to the job and it's

horrible to watch.

0:13:280:13:29

It doesn't give any of us any

pleasure because we see some

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of the biggest choices...

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The lady over there

wants cross-party work.

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Actually, I happen to think that

Brexit is bigger than any

0:13:350:13:38

one political party,

so you're right.

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It's very noticeable there are 13

amendments next week that have

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cross-party support that are bigger

than the Government's majority.

0:13:420:13:44

That tells you something

about that big choice,

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but what we want is the opportunity

to prove that we have ideas

0:13:470:13:50

we can put into action.

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What I'm telling you is that we're

ready to take up that challenge and,

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God knows, I think this

country needs it.

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All right, thank you.

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No, hold on.

0:14:000:14:03

You in the front raised

a point which I'd like,

0:14:030:14:06

we've got a question on it,

I'll just take that.

0:14:060:14:08

Neil Woodley, your question, please.

0:14:080:14:09

Neil Woodley.

0:14:090:14:10

Why hasn't Theresa May

sacked Boris Johnson?

0:14:100:14:12

All right, it was

the question he put.

0:14:120:14:14

Why hasn't Theresa May

sacked Boris Johnson?

0:14:140:14:16

APPLAUSE

0:14:160:14:17

Kirstie Allsopp.

0:14:170:14:22

I don't know whether the Iranian

Ambassador watches Question Time,

0:14:220:14:26

I wouldn't want to take any risks,

and I mean that very seriously.

0:14:260:14:30

I have followed this case

since the very beginning.

0:14:300:14:35

The plight of Richard,

Nazanin and their little girl

0:14:350:14:37

Gabriella haunts me.

0:14:370:14:38

That little girl, who can't come

home to the UK because all that

0:14:380:14:42

keeps her mother sane is her visits,

and a father who hasn't

0:14:420:14:46

hugged his own daughter in 18-months

because he can't go to Iran.

0:14:460:14:51

The fact that Boris Johnson has not

seen him, given him 10 minutes

0:14:510:14:55

of his time in the last 18-months

is, frankly, disgraceful

0:14:550:14:58

and I'm really sorry...

0:14:580:15:01

APPLAUSE

0:15:010:15:02

OK.

0:15:020:15:03

All right, maybe Charles Moore.

0:15:030:15:11

In the last answer to the previous

question which I think

0:15:110:15:13

is important in all of this,

about the rush that happens

0:15:130:15:17

in things in the age of Twitter.

0:15:170:15:19

Clearly Boris Johnson

made a mistake.

0:15:190:15:21

But I would ask people

to think about who is really

0:15:210:15:24

at the bottom of all of this,

who is really to blame in this.

0:15:240:15:27

The answer is the

Iranian government.

0:15:270:15:29

It's Iran that is behaving

absolutely intolerably

0:15:290:15:32

to Mrs Radcliffe, it's Iran that's

locking her up for no good reason.

0:15:320:15:35

I think Boris Johnson was very

remiss not to get his

0:15:350:15:38

facts right in this.

0:15:380:15:41

But somehow this is all the fault

of Boris seems to be a classic

0:15:410:15:45

example of how we in this country

are very parochial and sort

0:15:450:15:48

of focus in on the latest

piece of Twitter storm.

0:15:480:15:50

What is the real picture here?

0:15:500:15:52

Sorry, Charles, sorry to interrupt

you but it's not a Twitter storm

0:15:520:15:55

when the Foreign Secretary goes

before a House of Commons committee

0:15:550:15:58

and says, when I look at this case

and what she was doing,

0:15:580:16:01

she was simply teaching people

journalism as I understand it,

0:16:010:16:05

which is the exact issue that she's

in prison for.

0:16:050:16:07

Sorry, Boris was wrong.

0:16:070:16:10

I'm not defending him.

0:16:100:16:11

You said it's a Twitter storm.

0:16:110:16:13

The Twitter storm is about trying

to get him out, of course he's wrong

0:16:130:16:16

and should be criticised

but we don't want the British

0:16:160:16:19

Foreign Secretary falling

for what is basically fundamentally

0:16:190:16:23

the fault of Iran of extremely evil

power who is oppressing

0:16:230:16:29

all of its people and imprisoning

a British citizen

0:16:290:16:31

for no good reason.

0:16:310:16:32

Stella Creasy, is that why

he's not been sacked?

0:16:320:16:37

I'll tell you what worries

me about it, Charles,

0:16:370:16:41

because most of us never deal

with the Foreign Office,

0:16:410:16:45

but if you got into trouble

overseas, if there was something

0:16:450:16:49

that you, as a British citizen

needed our help with,

0:16:490:16:56

it's the Foreign Office,

it's the consulate that

0:16:560:16:59

you would go to for help.

0:16:590:17:01

So the person responsible

for the very assistance supposed

0:17:010:17:03

to be given to British citizens

abroad is the one whose

0:17:030:17:06

actions have essentially

condemned her to another five

0:17:060:17:08

years in jail.

0:17:080:17:09

APPLAUSE.

0:17:090:17:10

The woman there?

0:17:100:17:11

It's unforgiveable,

utterly unforgiveable.

0:17:110:17:12

We don't know that that's happened.

0:17:120:17:13

We absolutely do.

0:17:130:17:14

All we know is they've used

propaganda against Britain

0:17:140:17:16

which they call the little satan.

0:17:160:17:18

There are videos of Boris Johnson's

words, they are saying he speaks

0:17:180:17:21

the truth about Nazanin.

0:17:210:17:23

He has to take responsibility

for that because how can British

0:17:230:17:26

citizens abroad be confident

in a Foreign Office

0:17:260:17:29

run by Boris Johnson?

0:17:290:17:30

APPLAUSE.

0:17:300:17:32

OK.

0:17:320:17:34

The woman there?

0:17:340:17:36

Yes?

0:17:360:17:37

He's not doing his job properly.

0:17:370:17:39

He's given them ammunition

to increase her sentence.

0:17:390:17:40

He's made it worse.

0:17:400:17:44

He's not doing his job,

he's not doing briefings and it's

0:17:440:17:47

looking at us if we go overseas

and get stuck.

0:17:470:17:50

We are going to question

whether the Foreign Office can

0:17:500:17:53

actually support and help us

in this regard.

0:17:530:17:56

Justine Greening?

0:17:560:17:57

I think Boris clearly said something

that simply wasn't correct.

0:17:570:17:59

He went to Parliament the next

day to make sure he set

0:17:590:18:02

the record straight.

0:18:020:18:03

He's spoken to the Iranian Foreign

Minister who's confirmed it had

0:18:030:18:06

nothing to do with the subsequent

steps the Iranian government took

0:18:060:18:12

and of course, as Charles says,

of course the Iranian press

0:18:120:18:14

is going to make hey on this

in the same way that,

0:18:140:18:18

had it been a different country,

our press probably would have

0:18:180:18:21

made the most of it.

0:18:210:18:24

The bottom line is, we now need to,

as Kirstie says, need to focus

0:18:240:18:28

on making sure we get

Mrs Haghari-Radcliffe out of that

0:18:280:18:32

Iranian jail and back home

as a matter of urgency and that's

0:18:320:18:34

what the focus of the

Foreign Office should be.

0:18:340:18:37

Man up there on the right?

0:18:370:18:38

I think Boris Johnson had a chance

to correct his statement.

0:18:380:18:42

He actually said it was actually

taken out of context

0:18:420:18:45

and misrepresented so it's not

actually the initial crime.

0:18:450:18:48

Nobody's infallible.

0:18:480:18:49

It's actually the cover-up.

0:18:490:18:51

The problem is, you are actually

looking at somebody's

0:18:510:18:53

life at stake here.

0:18:530:18:55

You cannot have that kind of hubris.

0:18:550:18:59

You have to say, I messed up,

I probably got my facts wrong,

0:18:590:19:02

she was not there for that reason.

0:19:020:19:04

Just come out and say that.

0:19:040:19:05

Which he didn't.

0:19:050:19:06

All right.

0:19:060:19:08

Aditya?

0:19:080:19:14

I mean, the simple answer

to your question is,

0:19:140:19:16

he hasn't got the shame to resign

and she's not strong

0:19:160:19:19

enough to sack him.

0:19:190:19:21

APPLAUSE.

0:19:210:19:23

He couldn't bothered to meet

the family beforehand,

0:19:250:19:29

he couldn't be bothered to meet

the family and their MP,

0:19:290:19:31

he couldn't be bothered to get

the facts right and he couldn't be

0:19:310:19:35

bothered to give a proper apology.

0:19:350:19:37

He gave a faux apology and said

"if I've offended..."

0:19:370:19:40

blah blah blah.

0:19:400:19:41

I mean, the man is an utter joke.

0:19:410:19:43

This is meant to be our

diplomat in chief and this

0:19:430:19:46

is how he's behaving.

0:19:460:19:47

APPLAUSE.

0:19:470:19:48

Very brief, Charles?

0:19:480:19:49

These things that are being

said are not being said

0:19:490:19:52

by Mr Radcliffe himself.

0:19:520:19:53

He's saying Boris Johnson's been

misrepresented by the regime

0:19:530:20:00

and he said in interview this

morning he thought it was a good

0:20:000:20:03

thing that this had at least...

0:20:030:20:05

No, no, no.

0:20:050:20:06

He's not happy about the situation

but he said it's a good thing it's

0:20:060:20:09

raised the saliants of the question.

0:20:090:20:10

One of the things the Foreign Office

is always trying to do,

0:20:100:20:13

and Boris Johnson shouldn't have

given into his own office like this,

0:20:130:20:16

is avoid questions like this.

0:20:160:20:17

They hate questions about protecting

British individual citizens

0:20:170:20:19

because they always say it

interferes with wider policy

0:20:190:20:21

and actually in a funny way,

this has turned out to bring more

0:20:210:20:25

attention, thank

goodness, on her case.

0:20:250:20:26

It's true that Richard Radcliffe has

said that it will bring it

0:20:260:20:31

further up Boris's inbox,

that's what he said.

0:20:310:20:33

He also said there is a direct link

between Johnson's comments

0:20:330:20:36

and what's happened,

according to today's Times.

0:20:360:20:39

Yes, all right, we'll go on.

0:20:390:20:42

Before we go on to another

topic though, let me say

0:20:420:20:46

where we are going to be next week.

0:20:460:20:48

Newcastle next Thursday,

Colchester the Thursday after that.

0:20:530:20:55

On the screen there are the details

of how to apply to come to take

0:20:550:20:58

part in these debates.

0:20:580:20:59

And now I want to take this question

from Tewar Aguiri, please?

0:20:590:21:02

Should wealthy individuals be

villainised for legally

0:21:020:21:04

making tax savings?

0:21:040:21:05

Well we know this is all

about tax havens abroad.

0:21:050:21:09

Should wealthy individuals be

villainised for illegally

0:21:090:21:17

Should wealthy individuals be

villainised for legally

0:21:170:21:19

making tax savings.

0:21:190:21:20

Aditya, you've been in the van

of this, what's the answer?

0:21:200:21:22

Just to make it clear,

I'm not one of the reporters,

0:21:220:21:25

I'm just a columnist as we say,

ten a penny, nowadays.

0:21:250:21:28

Two a penny on this programme.

0:21:280:21:33

LAUGHTER.

0:21:330:21:34

The thing I find shocking

about this set of tax leaks,

0:21:340:21:36

which is a the latest in a series

of tax leaks, is how

0:21:360:21:40

normalised tax avoidance

is if you are in the super rich.

0:21:400:21:43

So nowadays it could be

the Queen's wealth adviser,

0:21:430:21:46

you would think nothing

of shunting her cash off

0:21:460:21:49

to the Cayman Islands.

0:21:490:21:51

I don't think it's about

villainising the particular people.

0:21:510:21:59

I don't think you even need to say

the tax avoidance is illegal,

0:21:590:22:02

it's not, tax avoidance is perfectly

legal, it's just not legit.

0:22:020:22:05

It's breaking the spirit of the law,

it's not necessarily breaking

0:22:050:22:07

the letter of the law

and what we have to ask ourselves

0:22:070:22:10

is, how've we got to a situation

where the super rich in this country

0:22:100:22:14

send 30-40% of their wealth into tax

havens while the rest of us are pay

0:22:140:22:21

as you earn and have

to pay our taxes.

0:22:210:22:24

So we pay for the roads,

we pay for the food regulation,

0:22:240:22:27

we pay for the law and order

and the armies and the rest

0:22:270:22:30

of it and the super rich

don't pay their way.

0:22:300:22:32

How've we got to that situation

and how do we put that right?

0:22:320:22:35

I think that's what the Paradise

Papers that were issued this week,

0:22:350:22:38

that's the question it gives

us, it forces.

0:22:380:22:41

We are at a point where

we have to make a choice.

0:22:410:22:45

Do we want money to go

to our schools, hospitals

0:22:450:22:47

and all the rest of it,

or do we want to shovel money

0:22:470:22:51

into the pockets of people

who already have plenty?

0:22:510:22:53

APPLAUSE.

0:22:530:22:55

As the questioner said, if these

were legally made tax savings,

0:22:550:23:01

how do you change the practice?

0:23:010:23:04

I think the really big problem

is that politics in this country's

0:23:040:23:10

often shaped and influenced

by people who don't have the same

0:23:100:23:14

stake in the country

as the rest of us do.

0:23:140:23:17

So if you look at our newspapers,

the biggest newspapers are owned

0:23:170:23:20

by billionaire tax avoiders.

0:23:200:23:23

I can mention a particular

newspaper that Charles Moore

0:23:230:23:27

writes for whose owners

have their own 80-acre

0:23:270:23:31

fortress island.

0:23:310:23:34

We also have a Conservative Party

that scraped into Government in 2010

0:23:340:23:37

and half the money for its election

campaign was given to it

0:23:370:23:41

by financial services which is right

at the centre of this

0:23:410:23:44

tax avoidance industry.

0:23:440:23:45

All right.

0:23:450:23:47

APPLAUSE.

0:23:470:23:49

Let me go back to Tewar

who asked the question.

0:23:490:23:52

What do you make of that answer?

0:23:520:23:55

A very fair answer,

a good analysis of it.

0:23:550:23:58

But I feel that this

villainisation of the wealthy

0:23:580:24:02

individuals and companies,

it's actually the most effective way

0:24:020:24:06

so far to get wealthy individuals

to change their habits in some way

0:24:060:24:09

because I feel that parties on both

sides are kind of a mixture

0:24:090:24:13

of clueless and incompetent when it

comes to tax avoidance issues,

0:24:130:24:16

especially aggressive tax avoidance

that we have seen in the recent

0:24:160:24:21

issue and recent leaks.

0:24:210:24:25

So I think these leaks kind of spur

on the party's interaction

0:24:250:24:29

but I don't think they actually

have their heads around how

0:24:290:24:32

to tackle it really.

0:24:320:24:33

But do you want to see

people villainised?

0:24:330:24:37

I'm not sure from your question,

or whether you think

0:24:370:24:39

they are wrongly villainised?

0:24:390:24:40

To an extent.

0:24:400:24:42

Which way?

0:24:420:24:45

I think to the extent that it forces

them to look inwards and look

0:24:450:24:48

at their actual habits and how

they are purchasing.

0:24:480:24:51

For example, if you look

at Lewis Hamilton where he bought

0:24:510:24:54

his jet with an off shore company,

leased it to another company,

0:24:540:24:57

who leased it to a leasing company

who then leased it back to himself,

0:24:570:25:01

I mean by the time you're triple

leasing a product to yourself,

0:25:010:25:04

surely that's morally repugnant

and you should kind

0:25:040:25:06

of have a think about it.

0:25:060:25:08

All right.

0:25:080:25:10

Charles Moore.

0:25:100:25:12

APPLAUSE.

0:25:120:25:14

The trouble with this story,

it's a huge bundle of all different

0:25:150:25:18

things, some of which are acceptable

and some of which are not.

0:25:180:25:21

One thing that's often said and has

been said here tonight is that it's

0:25:210:25:25

all about tax avoidance.

0:25:250:25:28

The matter of the Queen was raised.

0:25:280:25:30

She avoided no tax by

this, none whatever.

0:25:300:25:33

It was not a tax avoidance scheme.

0:25:330:25:35

What happened was that the Duchy

of Lancaster invests her money

0:25:350:25:40

here and there and he decided to put

money into the Cayman Islands

0:25:400:25:44

and later into Guernsey

and into Bermuda I think.

0:25:440:25:51

A very small amount

of money it has to be said.

0:25:510:25:58

Her ownership of the particular

company was worth £3,000,

0:25:580:26:02

but anyway, it was put

in there and it was advised

0:26:020:26:06

by the Duchy of Lancaster

and the Duchy of Lancaster

0:26:060:26:11

is controlled by the Chancellor

of the Duchy of Lancaster

0:26:110:26:13

who is always in the Cabinet.

0:26:130:26:15

At that time when it was advised,

it was a Labour Government

0:26:150:26:18

and a Labour Chancellor of the Duchy

of Lancaster raised no

0:26:180:26:21

objection to any of this.

0:26:210:26:24

Probably rightly so,

in the sense that there was no

0:26:240:26:27

criminal or evil behaviour

here and the Queen pays tax

0:26:270:26:32

on all the income that

comes to her from it.

0:26:320:26:35

So what exactly is it

that people are talking

0:26:350:26:37

about and are they saying...

0:26:370:26:40

The Queen, if you go

to the Cayman Islands

0:26:400:26:43

or Bermuda or Guernsey,

the Queen's head is on the currency,

0:26:430:26:46

the Queen's head is on the stamp.

0:26:460:26:48

Is she not allowed to...

0:26:480:26:49

You are just trying to justify

what is morally wrong at the end

0:26:490:26:53

of the day and she's the head

of the state and I would actually

0:26:530:26:57

blame the politicians not

closing the loopholes,

0:26:570:27:00

so we should ask the question

to the politicians,

0:27:000:27:03

what are you going to do about it?

0:27:030:27:07

You can discuss it until the cows

come home but please tell us,

0:27:080:27:11

what are you going to do

about the loopholes,

0:27:110:27:14

that's what we want to know.

0:27:140:27:18

I just think it's important to get

a particular example.

0:27:180:27:20

What is wrong with

what the Queen did?

0:27:200:27:22

She didn't avoid tax.

0:27:220:27:26

It's in the Cayman Islands.

0:27:260:27:29

Stella Creasy?

0:27:290:27:34

Let me answer Charles's

question and your question.

0:27:340:27:36

If you can to each's satisfaction.

0:27:360:27:41

The concern I have is that she's got

money in a company called

0:27:410:27:44

Brighthouse and you might know know

who they are...

0:27:440:27:46

Yes, I do...

0:27:460:27:47

Charles, let her speak.

0:27:470:27:48

They charge an incredibly high rate

of interest and as somebody who's

0:27:480:27:51

spent years fighting what I call

these legal loan sharks,

0:27:510:27:53

it's deeply worrying to me that

people are profiting from them

0:27:530:27:56

because there is an ethical question

about investing in them.

0:27:560:27:58

So that's what I have to deal with.

0:27:580:28:00

APPLAUSE.

0:28:000:28:01

And madam, let me take your question

head on because I agree with you.

0:28:010:28:05

Stella, maybe they should...

0:28:050:28:07

She's agreeing with you, keep quiet.

0:28:070:28:10

Let her agree with you

if you want to hear.

0:28:100:28:13

Maybe they should use the money

from the Cayman Islands

0:28:130:28:15

to repair Buckingham Palace,

for their repairs.

0:28:150:28:18

Can you move the microphone away

now, thank you very much.

0:28:180:28:21

Let me answer your question head

on because you are right.

0:28:210:28:26

Actually, there are things we can do

about this and a week ago,

0:28:260:28:29

so before the Paradise Papers came

out, I tabled an amendment

0:28:290:28:32

to the Finance Bill to close

the loophole where British

0:28:320:28:35

businesses have to pay tax

on commercial property sales in

0:28:350:28:39

the UK but foreign businesses don't.

0:28:390:28:41

It's worth £6 billion,

it's these offshore trusts

0:28:410:28:45

were people are salting

away commercial properties.

0:28:450:28:48

It would have been that magic money

tree to urgently invest

0:28:480:28:50

in our public services.

0:28:500:28:52

The Government voted it down.

0:28:520:28:54

Please help me get it in the budget

this time around because I don't

0:28:540:28:57

think we can afford to leave that

afford to leave that

0:28:570:29:00

tax loophole looming.

0:29:000:29:01

You, Sir?

0:29:010:29:02

I am 60 years of age.

0:29:020:29:06

I'm on the way out.

0:29:060:29:09

But three of my children aren't.

0:29:090:29:14

A 22-year-old, a 20-year-old

and an 11-year-old who're

0:29:140:29:15

living in austerity,

who're forced to get into debts.

0:29:150:29:20

With an NHS that needs £24 billion

to exist and we allow foreign

0:29:200:29:26

companies and people in this country

to evade, not avoid, evade tax

0:29:260:29:33

when the population of this country

is going through austerity.

0:29:330:29:39

Ok, Justine Greening?

0:29:390:29:42

APPLAUSE.

0:29:420:29:47

People should absolutely

pay their fair share of tax.

0:29:470:29:52

But these Paradise Papers are

largely from years and years ago.

0:29:520:29:58

Some of the situations

we have just been talking

0:29:580:30:02

about were literally

from 2004, 2005.

0:30:020:30:06

I agree that all of those tax

loopholes needed to be closed

0:30:060:30:10

and that's precisely what we have

been doing since 2010.

0:30:100:30:14

We have closed so many of them that

we've actually raised £160 billion

0:30:140:30:18

of extra tax from those measures.

0:30:180:30:22

I have to say, Stella,

I heard you talking about your tax

0:30:220:30:25

measure that you want to do,

but before the last election,

0:30:250:30:28

the Labour Party failed to support

three key tax measures that

0:30:280:30:31

were in the Finance Bill

that we were trying

0:30:310:30:35

to get through Parliament

and nobody can understand...

0:30:350:30:38

Why did you vote down...

0:30:380:30:40

Hang on, Stella, you haven't

answered my question which was,

0:30:400:30:43

why did the Labour Party fail

to support three key measures,

0:30:430:30:47

one of them was actually

about stopping companies shifting

0:30:470:30:50

profits overseas so that we

could actually tax them.

0:30:500:31:03

I've just given you a clear

example of us trying

0:31:030:31:05

to close a tax loophole.

0:31:050:31:06

You voted it down last week,

Justine, I checked.

0:31:060:31:08

You haven't answered my question.

0:31:080:31:11

We had a general election called and

the Finance Bill went through it -

0:31:110:31:15

You haven't answered my question.

0:31:150:31:16

Because a general election

was called and so it

0:31:160:31:18

went through the washer.

0:31:180:31:19

No.

0:31:190:31:20

This is the same piece of finance

legislation, isn't it?

0:31:200:31:22

The situation -

Isn't it, Justine?

0:31:220:31:24

This is the same

piece of legislation.

0:31:240:31:26

You could have closed the £6 billion

loophole that most other countries

0:31:260:31:28

have closed and you chose not to.

0:31:280:31:30

If I could finish.

0:31:300:31:31

This was about getting the Finance

Bill through Parliament before

0:31:310:31:33

the election was called.

0:31:330:31:35

There were three major measures

to reduce tax avoidance.

0:31:350:31:37

Labour wouldn't let them through.

0:31:370:31:38

The bottom line is that the gap

between how much money this country

0:31:380:31:41

is owed in tax and how much we're

actually being paid and collecting

0:31:410:31:44

has never been lower.

0:31:440:31:45

We need to do more -

So did you vote

against my measure then?

0:31:450:31:49

If you could let me finish.

0:31:490:31:50

No, stop the tit-for-tat.

0:31:500:31:51

If you let me finish.

0:31:510:31:52

No, wait a minute.

0:31:520:32:01

I want to come back

to what was said and the key point

0:32:010:32:04

which Charles Moore was talking

about, the lady up there was talking

0:32:040:32:07

about, which is about money moving

abroad and being used abroad.

0:32:070:32:10

What do you make of what your former

leader David Cameron said?

0:32:100:32:13

You will remember the words,

no doubt, "some of these

0:32:130:32:15

schemes we have seen are,

frankly, morally wrong."

0:32:150:32:17

Do you agree with him that moving

money abroad, frankly,

0:32:170:32:20

is sometimes morally wrong

or are you in favour, as Charles is,

0:32:200:32:23

of the Queen investing

there and anybody investing

0:32:230:32:25

there who wants to?

0:32:250:32:27

I think there are two

aspects of this.

0:32:270:32:29

First of all, when there

is aggressive tax avoidance,

0:32:290:32:31

that should be shut down.

0:32:310:32:33

One of the things -

What is aggressive tax avoidance?

0:32:330:32:35

When people are deliberately moving

profits away from the UK for no

0:32:350:32:38

other reason than they're trying

to avoid tax.

0:32:380:32:42

That's why we brought

in the diverted profits tax

0:32:420:32:44

to precisely do that.

0:32:440:32:46

But the second point, this is why

I wanted to pick up Stella.

0:32:460:32:51

Is if, as a country,

we're not happy how the rules work,

0:32:510:32:59

then it's Parliament that should

change them, but it's pretty

0:32:590:33:01

galling to have a Labour MP telling

us that we can't change the rules

0:33:010:33:06

when they stood in the face

of changing them

0:33:060:33:08

before the election.

0:33:080:33:09

You have been in power

for almost seven years?

0:33:090:33:11

Indeed and we've passed 75 separate

tax avoidance measures.

0:33:110:33:13

You've failed.

0:33:130:33:14

You've been in power for over seven

years and you keep blaming

0:33:140:33:17

this Labour government.

0:33:170:33:18

We are in 2017.

0:33:180:33:19

Can you please list us

what you are going to do

0:33:190:33:22

as a Government so this

can be avoided?

0:33:220:33:24

We need to deal with the lawyers

who are involved and at

0:33:240:33:26

the centre of these?

0:33:260:33:27

Indeed.

0:33:270:33:29

They take part in this

and nothing happens to them.

0:33:290:33:31

How about you penalise

these lawyers?

0:33:310:33:38

OK, allow her to answer, thank you.

0:33:380:33:40

Sir, you're right.

0:33:400:33:42

First of all, we need

to continue closing this

0:33:420:33:44

gap that is smaller,

but still there, between what we're

0:33:440:33:46

owed and what we actually collect.

0:33:460:33:48

Secondly, we need to make sure that

on transparency and the new rules

0:33:480:33:51

that all these overseas territories

have to follow about being

0:33:510:33:55

clear-cut, who owns these companies

that are based there?

0:33:550:33:57

Whos owns and runs the Trusts.

0:33:570:34:03

We need to make sure that

information is being shared

0:34:030:34:07

with HMRC, which now it has to be

automatically and then

0:34:070:34:17

thing is we need to make sure that

HMRC is staffed up and

0:34:180:34:22

resourced up properly to be

able to go after that.

0:34:220:34:24

That's precisely what we're now

doing because we changed the rules

0:34:240:34:27

and we can now make sure we continue

to close the tax gap.

0:34:270:34:30

But part of this is continuing

to stay up-to-date.

0:34:300:34:32

Because as we close down these

schemes, accountants and lawyers

0:34:320:34:34

will try and find out new ones.

0:34:340:34:36

That is why this business

is never really complete.

0:34:360:34:38

Hang on a second.

0:34:380:34:39

The woman there, yes.

0:34:390:34:40

This is a question of

morality not legality.

0:34:400:34:42

Someone asked me the other day -

what would I do if I had

0:34:420:34:45

all these millions of pounds,

wouldn't I move it offshore as well?

0:34:450:34:48

Well, I can certainly

say I would not do that

0:34:480:34:57

a lot of people in this room

would be able

0:34:570:34:59

to say exactly

0:34:590:35:09

The same.

0:35:150:35:16

You wouldn't?

0:35:160:35:18

Wouldn't.

0:35:180:35:19

You wouldn't.

0:35:190:35:20

Kirstie Allsopp.

0:35:200:35:21

The financial adviser,

Martin Lewis, did a Twitter poll

0:35:210:35:23

today and he asked people

whether they would give cash

0:35:230:35:25

to a builder in the knowledge

that this was breaking tax rules,

0:35:250:35:28

but giving them a discount.

0:35:280:35:29

53% of his respondents

said they would.

0:35:290:35:31

The one thing about this I object

to is that the belief that it's just

0:35:310:35:35

the rich that avoid tax.

0:35:350:35:36

No-one has ever come toll me

and said, "I want to pay

0:35:360:35:39

£250,000 for a property,

not £249,950 because I want to pay

0:35:390:35:41

the higher stamp duty."

0:35:410:35:42

We live in a culture

of tax avoidance.

0:35:420:35:44

Every time you go to an airport

there's a sign saying

0:35:440:35:47

"tax-free, tax-free."

0:35:470:35:48

People are actively

encouraged not to pay tax,

0:35:480:35:50

to the bottom our society,

people are doing.

0:35:500:35:57

Let her finish, she's only

just started speaking

0:35:570:35:59

just started speaking.

0:35:590:36:00

Aditya, I know what

you're going to say...

0:36:000:36:02

Now wait a moment, wait a moment

everybody, just let Kirstie

0:36:020:36:04

have her say and I'll bring you in.

0:36:040:36:06

There's no good shouting out.

0:36:060:36:08

I know what you're going to say,

that if you are PAYE,

0:36:080:36:10

you cannot avoid tax.

0:36:100:36:12

No.

0:36:120:36:13

But there is enormous...

0:36:130:36:14

No, if you go to duty-free you're

not actually avoiding...

0:36:140:36:16

There's a difference -

Yes, you are.

0:36:160:36:18

There's a difference

between using schemes

0:36:180:36:19

which the Government wants

you to use, like

0:36:190:36:21

an ISA, for instance.

0:36:210:36:22

And then doing this

thing of leasing jets

0:36:220:36:24

back-and-forth three times over.

0:36:240:36:25

Obviously there's a difference,

but if we all need to have a moral

0:36:250:36:31

requirement to pay tax,

then why, when we go

0:36:310:36:33

through the airport,

does it say, "duty-free" all over.

0:36:330:36:35

Why are we being encouraged to spend

money on alcohol and cigarettes,

0:36:350:36:38

which is valuable money

for the Exchequer tax-free actually?

0:36:380:36:40

No, hold on.

0:36:400:36:45

Don't conflate a few pounds saved

on a packet of fags.

0:36:450:36:48

No.

0:36:480:36:50

With millions being saved -

I'm not conflating it what I'm

0:36:500:36:53

saying is, we have a culture of tax

avoidance in this country

0:36:530:36:55

and if it's morally wrong to avoid

tax, it's morally wrong

0:36:550:36:58

to avoid tax.

0:36:580:36:59

No, hold on.

0:36:590:37:00

Let's hear some more.

0:37:000:37:01

The man in red there, you sir, yes.

0:37:010:37:04

Kirstie Allsopp equates escaping

cigarette tax as the same

0:37:040:37:07

as the Duke of Westminster.

0:37:070:37:08

The Duke of Westminster

paid 0% inheritance tax.

0:37:080:37:10

They are completely different.

0:37:100:37:17

If he had paid the inheritance tax

that all of us would have

0:37:170:37:20

paid and have to pay,

and I pay my tax, that

0:37:200:37:22

could have supported one day's

expenditure in the NHS.

0:37:220:37:24

Hold on.

0:37:240:37:26

Apple pays 5% corporation tax,

how much do you pay?

0:37:260:37:28

So let us be clear about this.

0:37:280:37:30

Let us be clear about this.

0:37:300:37:31

I think you've made the point.

0:37:310:37:33

I want tax avoidance

to be made illegal.

0:37:330:37:37

I would like tax avoidance,

which is institutionalised tax

0:37:370:37:39

evasion, to be made illegal.

0:37:390:37:40

Charles Moore.

0:37:400:37:46

I think it's very important

to understand that a lot

0:37:460:37:50

of the wealth of a great many people

is tied up with what people

0:37:500:37:53

sometimes call tax avoidance.

0:37:530:37:57

For example, if you have your house,

one house, you pay no capital -

0:37:570:38:00

you pay no tax on selling it.

0:38:000:38:02

How many houses do you have?

0:38:020:38:04

No, I'm saying...

0:38:040:38:07

APPLAUSE

0:38:070:38:09

That's the point I'm making.

0:38:090:38:11

Most people who own a house,

which is the majority

0:38:110:38:14

of the population, own one house.

0:38:140:38:15

No, no.

0:38:150:38:16

No, no, no.

0:38:160:38:21

When they sell their house,

they pay no capital gains tax

0:38:210:38:23

on it and the result -

They pay stamp duty.

0:38:230:38:26

Yes, but they don't

pay capital gains tax.

0:38:260:38:36

If they were to have a house of half

the size and invest money

0:38:410:38:44

in the stock market,

they would pay tax.

0:38:440:38:46

They live in the house.

0:38:460:38:47

Of course.

0:38:470:38:48

The point about this...

0:38:480:38:49

It's a very bad...

0:38:490:38:50

It's another world.

0:38:500:38:51

It's another world.

0:38:510:38:52

No, it's not another world.

0:38:520:38:54

The point is, the wealth of most

British people is distorted

0:38:540:38:56

by the fact that they don't pay

capital gains tax on their house

0:38:560:38:59

and therefore they put

all their money into their house.

0:38:590:39:04

This doesn't happen -

for example this doesn't -

0:39:040:39:06

that is why the houses

are so expensive.

0:39:060:39:08

It doesn't happen like that

in Germany, for example.

0:39:080:39:10

Therefore, you were encouraged

by the tax system to avoid

0:39:100:39:20

the capital gains tax by keeping

all of your

0:39:200:39:22

money in your house.

0:39:220:39:24

Charles, the man with spectacles

there says you're conflating

0:39:240:39:26

two different things.

0:39:260:39:29

You're conflating two

different things.

0:39:290:39:30

If we just go back to the original

question about Lewis Hamilton.

0:39:300:39:33

On his tax form he put the business

jet was for a percentage of business

0:39:330:39:36

and percentage of leisure.

0:39:360:39:37

Now he should have paid tax on that.

0:39:370:39:39

The Isle of Man just stamped it off

and off he went he flew to Hawaii.

0:39:390:39:43

It's a nonsense.

0:39:430:39:44

The second point, you talk

about housing, another

0:39:440:39:46

interesting point as well.

0:39:460:39:47

Again, I think you're conflating two

different things here.

0:39:470:39:49

Presumably, that one

that you've described,

0:39:490:39:51

Lewis Hamilton and the Isle of Man.

0:39:510:39:52

It's as clear as glass.

0:39:520:39:54

HMRC will be after him, won't they?

0:39:540:39:55

They are looking into it.

0:39:550:39:57

They are looking into the...

0:39:570:39:58

Sorry.

0:39:580:39:59

Because -

Can I make another

point, is the lobbyist

0:39:590:40:01

that is going on here

as well and the revolving door

0:40:010:40:04

between HMRC and the top four firms

0:40:040:40:05

Deloitte -

That is true.

0:40:050:40:07

They spend huge sums of money

lobbying the Government and then

0:40:070:40:09

HMRC don't have the expertise

so they're bringing in these private

0:40:090:40:12

consultants to help draft law

and they're just going back down

0:40:120:40:15

going back down and going -

guys, well we're know what's

0:40:150:40:17

going on the back door,

0:40:170:40:18

we'll just devise a plan

to get round it.

0:40:180:40:21

It's not being addressed.

0:40:210:40:22

This gentleman is talking

about what's called

0:40:220:40:23

the common purse payment.

0:40:230:40:24

What the Government does,

which is a cosy deal with the Isle

0:40:240:40:27

of Man, that allows them to do this.

0:40:270:40:29

Yep.

0:40:290:40:30

There are always choices,

just as there's a debate

0:40:300:40:32

to be had about fairness.

0:40:320:40:34

I don't think it's fair that British

businesses have to pay a tax that

0:40:340:40:37

non-UK businesses don't pay.

0:40:370:40:38

Exactly.

0:40:380:40:39

I don't understand why anybody

would hold UK commercial property

0:40:390:40:41

overseas in an overseas trust.

0:40:410:40:43

But they are.

0:40:430:40:44

Yeah.

0:40:440:40:45

We as taxpayers are paying

for the consequence of that.

0:40:450:40:47

So the question for all of us is -

what are we going to do about it?

0:40:470:40:51

Because our public finances

and our -

You are in power.

0:40:510:40:54

You are in the House of Commons -

She's not in power.

0:40:540:40:57

I'm trying.

0:40:570:40:58

I'm trying, sir.

0:40:580:40:59

I promise you.

0:40:590:41:00

Labour and Conservative

no-one has tackled this,

0:41:000:41:06

transfer pricing has been

0:41:060:41:08

going on for years and both parties

have had opportunities to stop that.

0:41:080:41:11

It sounds as though you should be

in the House of Commons.

0:41:110:41:14

Justine Greening.

0:41:140:41:19

We have been taking measures

companies who shift their profits

0:41:190:41:22

from the UK to another jurisdiction,

often one of these overseas

0:41:220:41:26

territories perhaps. That's what the

diverted profits tax was all about

0:41:260:41:32

and the amount that companies pay on

that diverted profit is more than

0:41:320:41:36

they would have paid if they'd had

the profit here in the UK. So

0:41:360:41:44

punitive level compared to

corporation tax here. The point is

0:41:440:41:46

to make sure we get more of profits

truly generated here in the UK

0:41:460:41:50

registered in the UK so that it's

properly taxed but that's - those

0:41:500:41:55

are the steps reare taking.

We will continue to make sure we

0:41:550:41:58

look at taking as many as we need to

keep closing this tax gap. It's at

0:41:580:42:03

the lowest level ever in the UK echl

he with want it to get down to zero.

0:42:030:42:07

I want to go back to Kirstie on the

point he made. You commented it was

0:42:070:42:13

true that the HMRC, the tax

collectors, are being advised by

0:42:130:42:17

people who have other interests at

heart?

Poacher turned gamekeeper,

0:42:170:42:22

isn't it David?

I don't know.

That

is what goes on. One point you work

0:42:220:42:26

for - that is what you are talking

about, poacher turned gamekeeper.

0:42:260:42:30

Don't go back to him, he's spoken

plenty!

The problem is that if

0:42:300:42:36

you're an expert in an area, you

sometimes work for the Government

0:42:360:42:40

and you sometimes work for private

organisations and you go back and

0:42:400:42:43

forward.

It doesn't make it OK.

Stella, when did I say it was OK? I

0:42:430:42:48

never said it was OK. I agreed with

the gentleman it happens. I never

0:42:480:42:52

said it was OK. I don't think any of

it is OK. I've never said any of

0:42:520:42:56

it's OK.

It's definitely not OK.

I

said I think we have a culture of

0:42:560:43:02

tax avoidance across the whole of

the country.

The former Chancellor

0:43:020:43:05

struck a sweetheart tax deal with

Google to allow them off their tax

0:43:050:43:08

bill and then said is was a good

deal for Britain. You don't even

0:43:080:43:13

need to look at the HMRC look at our

elected politicians. Look at the guy

0:43:130:43:17

who used to be senior in the

Conservative Party, Ashcroft, a

0:43:170:43:24

non--dom.

All right, let's go on.

Thank you. Let us take a question

0:43:240:43:30

now from Nathan Langford.

As a

17-year-old schoolboy, how is it I

0:43:300:43:34

know how to respect women better

than some of our Government

0:43:340:43:38

ministers do?

APPLAUSE.

0:43:380:43:44

Justine Greening.

I think it's a

really good point. I think when you

0:43:510:43:55

look at what's been happening in the

States with the scandal around

0:43:550:44:02

Harvey Weinstein and what about

going on in parliament across all

0:44:020:44:06

parties, frankly, there is a need

for a massive culture change but

0:44:060:44:11

backed up with rule changes. If you

look at Westminster, the problem is

0:44:110:44:14

that for too long if people have had

problems, not just women, but also

0:44:140:44:19

men, there hasn't really been a way

for them to get them properly

0:44:190:44:23

followed up. Often they have been

left with talking to people within

0:44:230:44:26

their party. Often the party they

want to build a coo career in. They

0:44:260:44:30

have not come forward. What we are

seeing across the board, whether

0:44:300:44:35

it's showbusiness orient tinment or

politics, people who perhaps didn't

0:44:350:44:39

realise other people have

experienced these issues now coming

0:44:390:44:42

forward. I think that's good, but I

do think we need to make sure we

0:44:420:44:45

have the processes in place within

parliament and I think parties need

0:44:450:44:51

to bring forward, we are doing it,

Stella will talk about the Labour

0:44:510:44:55

Party, a code of conduct so we set

ourselves a high standards. Finally,

0:44:550:45:00

you made the point about your

understanding of respect.

0:45:000:45:04

Absolutely, schools have a key role

to play in all of this. One of the

0:45:040:45:08

reasons we are updating

relationships and sex education for

0:45:080:45:12

the first time is 17 years is that

it's important because that stays

0:45:120:45:16

up-to-date and relevant for young

people in our education system right

0:45:160:45:19

now.

25 years ago when I was selling

classified sales a guy came up to me

0:45:190:45:29

and did a pelvic thrust behind #4e

me I told him to F-off at the top of

0:45:290:45:35

my house. I ended up with a threat

of a written warning, not him. A

0:45:350:45:39

written warning?

I was threatened

with a written warning, not him. I

0:45:390:45:43

thought it was grossly unfair. I

think, 25 years later, that wouldn't

0:45:430:45:48

happen. But this is about power. I

rang a friend this morning, you know

0:45:480:45:54

you are coming on Question Time you

do a bit of chatting. She said to me

0:45:540:46:01

something interesting. Said of all

the incidents that happened to me it

0:46:010:46:06

was never a member of staff who was

June or to me. It's not about sex

0:46:060:46:12

it's about power. It's about people.

It's about people who are senior to

0:46:120:46:18

people that are below them and

exercising a degree of control over

0:46:180:46:23

them. When it happens you remember

it and you remember it forever. I'm

0:46:230:46:28

quite a robust person, I'm quite

capable of telling people to F off

0:46:280:46:33

and I remember it. What I would say

is, there's one other point. I would

0:46:330:46:38

address it to the young man. I am

Rae sorry -

Nathan.

Nathan. I was

0:46:380:46:45

recently given a diversity document

from a production company I do work

0:46:450:46:48

for. It said in it, "use of

affectionate terms such as "darling"

0:46:480:46:56

will constitute sexual harassment."

I said to HR, I think this is wrong.

0:46:560:47:00

I don't think the use of the word

"darling" constitutes sexual

0:47:000:47:04

harassment. I'm still battling with

them about it. I think it's an

0:47:040:47:09

incredibly important issue, but it's

about power and abuse, it's not

0:47:090:47:14

about that fantastic sexual humour

and banter that we all need in our

0:47:140:47:17

lives and we all have. I think it's

about abuse of power and it has to

0:47:170:47:21

be stamped out.

0:47:210:47:24

Nathan you asked the question, how

is it that you know how to respect

0:47:290:47:33

women better than some Government

ministers do? What is your answer to

0:47:330:47:36

that question?

I'm completely

astounded. Like we have seen with

0:47:360:47:42

Michael Fallon and other Government

ministers the sex toy minister, it's

0:47:420:47:46

absolutely disgusting. I agree with

what Kirstie said. This has to bring

0:47:460:47:52

about some kind of change. If it

goes too far that men and women

0:47:520:47:57

can't talk to each other touch each

other friendly in the workplace,

0:47:570:48:02

that's how u ares are started that

is how people get on.

40% of people

0:48:020:48:06

meet in their workplace.

If men and

women feel estranged from each other

0:48:060:48:13

that's corrosive to society?

You

think this is a generational thing.

0:48:130:48:20

When you say, I was a 17-year-old

schoolboy you mean you are of a

0:48:200:48:25

generation that respects women in

the way that an older generation

0:48:250:48:28

doesn't?

Not entirely!

0:48:280:48:39

We had an assembly on lad culture.

We were shown a video where men and

0:48:390:48:45

women were saying horrible things

about women.

Everyone was on the

0:48:450:48:52

whole quite serious abouts it in

assembly. When we got out of the

0:48:520:48:56

door people started joking and think

- it doesn't apply to me. I could

0:48:560:48:59

have a joke about it and a laugh

about my mates. Part of that is, you

0:48:590:49:07

know, looking quite sheepish or

whatever in front of your mates if

0:49:070:49:09

you agree with what has been said in

the assembly or whatever.

Part of it

0:49:090:49:14

Right.

Is not realising that that

kind of joke, that kind of humour is

0:49:140:49:22

part of the problem. That has to be

stamped out.

It's because you don't

0:49:220:49:32

have power yet.

0:49:320:49:42

She is right. People exploit their

power. They exploit it in sexual

0:49:460:49:51

matters and in terms of money and in

terms of ma MEP layings. Not all

0:49:510:49:58

powerful people do that. That is the

temptation. How do you deal with it

0:49:580:50:01

in the House of Commons, in

politics.

0:50:010:50:13

When it is tolerated because it

shouldn't have been when somebody

0:50:130:50:16

can be ruined by an accusation you

have have new problems.

0:50:160:50:19

Poor Mr Carl Sergeant who seems

to have killed himself

0:50:220:50:24

at the beginning of the week

is an example of this.

0:50:240:50:27

He was chucked out of the Welsh

government and suspended

0:50:270:50:31

from the Labour Party and he never

knew, and he will never know,

0:50:310:50:34

what he was accused of.

0:50:340:50:44

This seems to me terribly wrong

and it's again this sort of the rush

0:50:480:50:51

that Kirstie referred to earlier

on the programme in another matter

0:50:510:50:54

that, people are more keen to accuse

people than they are to get

0:50:540:50:57

to the bottom of this

and sort it out.

0:50:570:50:59

We have got to have proper

process and proper forms

0:50:590:51:01

of inquiry to deal with it,

we have to be serious

0:51:010:51:04

about it rather than just

accusing one another.

0:51:040:51:06

All right.

0:51:060:51:07

APPLAUSE.

0:51:070:51:08

So, Stella Creasy, is that

an argument that does apply

0:51:080:51:11

to Carl Sergeant and the way

he was treated?

0:51:110:51:13

So, I know people might want to get

into individual cases,

0:51:130:51:15

I'm not going to because I'm very

mindful that there will be alleged

0:51:150:51:19

victims, there will be family

members of Mr Sergeant who might be

0:51:190:51:21

watching this tonight and it's

a tragedy that Carl has died.

0:51:210:51:24

I worked with Carl, I knew Carl.

0:51:240:51:26

What I do want to talk about,

so where I can agree with you,

0:51:260:51:31

Charles, is about the importance

of a process and what we have to do,

0:51:310:51:34

particularly in Parliament

and public life is take this away

0:51:340:51:37

from the politics of it.

0:51:370:51:38

A very, very wonderful young woman

in the Labour Party called

0:51:380:51:41

Becks Bailey went forward

and was given a careers advice

0:51:410:51:44

lesson when she tried

to report a serious assault.

0:51:440:51:46

That must never happen.

0:51:460:51:48

We need people who're capable

of dealing with people

0:51:480:51:50

who've suffered trauma.

0:51:500:51:54

That's what we are talking about.

0:51:540:51:57

The challenge when you are dealing

with this is one of the few things

0:51:570:52:00

that happens to people and people

always question you.

0:52:000:52:02

So if you were to say,

I had been burglared,

0:52:020:52:04

nobody would say to you,

are you sure, what was your house

0:52:040:52:07

looking like at the time,

tell me about the windows,

0:52:070:52:10

tell me about the doors.

0:52:100:52:12

Sadly what happens with this,

partly because with power comes

0:52:120:52:16

the capacity to shame people

and to silence them through shame,

0:52:160:52:18

that's what we have to be

able to break through.

0:52:180:52:24

There have been some incredibly

brave people who've come forward

0:52:240:52:26

in the last couple of weeks.

0:52:260:52:29

The duty and responsibility

on all of us absolutely is to get

0:52:290:52:32

the process right but to do it

in a way that makes sense

0:52:320:52:35

to victims, victims of sexual

violence, sexual assault

0:52:350:52:37

and the problems that

we are seeing now.

0:52:370:52:38

We are a long way off that.

0:52:380:52:43

We can get there if we take away

the hysteria and the idea that

0:52:430:52:46

somehow there is a witch-hunt

and recognise how difficulties

0:52:460:52:48

for people to come forward

because of that concept of shame.

0:52:480:52:51

That's not just in politics,

that's across society.

0:52:510:52:53

APPLAUSE.

0:52:530:52:54

You in grey there?

0:52:540:52:55

I think that Nathan made a very,

very important point.

0:52:550:53:04

He said, as a 17-year-old,

he has more respect for women

0:53:040:53:07

than some politicians.

0:53:070:53:08

Charles, you said that is

because you do not have power "yet".

0:53:080:53:11

By you saying that,

you are insinuating that

0:53:110:53:13

when he becomes a very powerful man

that he would then abuse women

0:53:130:53:16

and that is not right.

0:53:160:53:18

What we have is a culture

where sexual abuse and sexual

0:53:180:53:21

harassment towards women is accepted

because men are powerful

0:53:210:53:23

and that is clearly not right.

0:53:230:53:27

You cannot insinuate that

because he is not powerful then

0:53:270:53:30

that's why he doesn't respect women.

0:53:300:53:33

Respect of women should be

a universal standard,

0:53:330:53:36

it should be by politicians...

0:53:360:53:37

APPLAUSE.

0:53:370:53:42

All right.

0:53:420:53:45

Regardless if you are powerful,

if you are not powerful,

0:53:450:53:48

it does not matter.

0:53:480:53:51

So making that statement is

perpetuating a very, very bad idea.

0:53:510:53:53

It is what you said, Charles?

0:53:530:53:55

I'm sorry if I didn't make myself

clear, I completely agree with that.

0:53:550:53:58

The point I'm making

is about the temptation that people

0:53:580:54:00

get when they get into power

and this is what the abuse that has

0:54:000:54:04

to be looked at all the time.

0:54:040:54:05

It's not an excuse for it

but I'm explaining it.

0:54:050:54:08

But Charles I also think

there is a generational issue

0:54:080:54:10

here perhaps around what a younger

generation thinks is acceptable

0:54:100:54:13

and I think attitudes have moved

on and I have to say

0:54:130:54:16

in the right way frankly.

0:54:160:54:17

Aditya?

0:54:170:54:27

I think that's right.

0:54:300:54:32

There is a cultural problem

here of trivialising women,

0:54:320:54:34

sometimes express itself very

violent, sometimes it

0:54:340:54:36

expresses itself in the pages

of our newspapers and media.

0:54:360:54:39

I'm a loyal reader of Charles Moore

so before I came on, like Kirstie,

0:54:390:54:42

I did a bit of research

and I remember this piece Charles

0:54:420:54:45

wrote for the Spectator

in 2015 around the time

0:54:450:54:47

of the Labour Leadership election

and it was titled have Yvette Cooper

0:54:470:54:50

and Liz Kendall got the looks

for the Labour Leadership and there

0:54:500:54:52

was an amazing conclusion...

0:54:520:54:54

A writer never writes

his own headline.

0:54:540:55:00

An amazing conclusion.

0:55:000:55:03

A writer never writes his own

headline, as you know,

0:55:030:55:05

you're a journalist.

0:55:050:55:06

I do but I'm sure you

wrote this bit though.

0:55:060:55:09

You said there is something quite

appealing about Yvette Cooper,

0:55:090:55:11

he slightly French crop

and her black-and-white dress.

0:55:110:55:15

Serious policies

seriously discussed.

0:55:150:55:23

There is an issue which affects our

politics in which people are treated

0:55:230:55:29

as a lesser because they're women

or because they're from ethnic

0:55:290:55:32

minorities or because they come

from working class backgrounds

0:55:320:55:34

and that's what we

need to get rid of.

0:55:340:55:44

The woman there?

0:55:460:55:48

I was listening to what Justine said

and it was a bit worrying

0:55:480:55:51

that she said they released

a code of conduct.

0:55:510:55:53

You would think that that would be

something that should have already

0:55:530:55:56

been done before you made

Parliament.

0:55:560:55:58

It's a shame there is not a lot

of women in Parliament

0:55:580:56:01

but these kind of situations

are going to deter women from even

0:56:010:56:03

wanting to be in Parliament

because it's those things in the way

0:56:030:56:06

that it's treated and handled,

it's not just something that's

0:56:060:56:09

happened the past three or four

years, it's a generation generation

0:56:090:56:11

of culture that's continued

and nothing's been done about it.

0:56:110:56:15

Joining why suddenly

now, it's media.

0:56:150:56:18

So what we are doing,

there was an inquiry a long time ago

0:56:180:56:21

when there were issues like this

in the past around standards

0:56:210:56:24

in public life and what we are doing

now is frankly making sure it's

0:56:240:56:28

actually fit for purpose today

because of the problems

0:56:280:56:30

we can see today.

0:56:300:56:33

As we have been saying on the panel,

a big part of this is Parliament

0:56:330:56:40

as a work place, having some

independent support and grievance

0:56:400:56:43

processes for people who work

there who need to raise issues

0:56:430:56:49

and get them dealt with.

0:56:490:56:56

And within the parties,

that doesn't work as effectively,

0:56:560:56:58

which is why we need it.

0:56:580:56:59

The man in the spectacles

there, at the very back?

0:56:590:57:02

You with your hand up, yes,

be quick, if you would?

0:57:020:57:04

Thank you.

0:57:040:57:05

What I suggest that Mrs May

was to appoint a Minister

0:57:050:57:08

for Manner and courtesy,

and I would suggest Jacob Rees-Mogg.

0:57:080:57:10

OK.

0:57:100:57:11

You, Sir?

0:57:110:57:12

You have spoken already I think.

0:57:120:57:14

You, Sir, briefly, if you would?

0:57:140:57:15

I think there is an element

of we need to be very mindful

0:57:150:57:19

of people being accused in terms

of levels of protection.

0:57:190:57:21

A prime example sadly

is the Welsh MP.

0:57:210:57:23

I'm very mindful that we have had

a lot of celebrities

0:57:230:57:25

and a lot of politicians,

ex-service personnel,

0:57:250:57:27

who've been effectively hounded

erroneously as it turns out

0:57:270:57:29

but their identity was splashed

across all the social media.

0:57:290:57:32

If an alleger is able to have some

degree of anonymity until such

0:57:320:57:38

an individual was charged or twos

to court, surely they

0:57:380:57:42

are also entitled to...

0:57:420:57:45

This is such an important point

because we don't have anonymity

0:57:450:57:48

for any type of crime in this

country so if you single out this,

0:57:480:57:52

the message that you are sending,

and we have worked so hard

0:57:520:57:55

to challenge this within

the police and the wider CPS,

0:57:550:57:58

is that we don't believe people,

we set a different standard of truth

0:57:580:58:02

about this particular type of crime

than we do for any other

0:58:020:58:05

type of crime.

0:58:050:58:06

Why are you asking for...

0:58:060:58:09

I'm not saying that somebody who's

served in the military for arguments

0:58:090:58:13

sake, somebody who's a former

Home Secretary, a former

0:58:130:58:16

politician, and unfortunately

this Welsh politician,

0:58:160:58:19

that they are not deserving...

0:58:190:58:23

I'm asking you because we know that

when people come forward,

0:58:230:58:26

as we have seen, it gives other

people confidence that they will be

0:58:260:58:30

believed because shame is in it.

0:58:300:58:32

We have to stop there, I'm sorry,

apologies to you both.

0:58:320:58:35

Our hour is up.

0:58:350:58:43

Our next Thursday Question Time

is going to come from Newcastle and,

0:58:430:58:45

among others on our panel,

Emily Thornberry, Tim Farron,

0:58:450:58:48

Rod Liddel and crime

writer Val McDiarmid.

0:58:480:58:51

That is in Newcastle and you can

call to be there and go

0:58:510:58:54

to the Question Time website,

you can equally apply there.

0:58:540:58:56

Question Time extra time

follows on Five Live.

0:59:040:59:08

We are discussing all of the issues

we have been talking about.

0:59:080:59:11

My thanks to the panel

and to you who came here

0:59:110:59:14

to Croydon to take part.

0:59:140:59:16

Until next Thursday, good night.

0:59:160:59:18

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Croydon. On the panel are secretary of state for education and minister for women and equalities Justine Greening, Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy, television presenter Kirstie Allsopp, Guardian columnist and lead writer on the Paradise Papers Aditya Chakrabortty, and Daily Telegraph and Spectator columnist Charles Moore.


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