16/11/2017 Question Time


16/11/2017

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Newcastle. The panel includes Emily Thornberry, Tim Farron, Val McDermid and Rod Liddle.


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Transcript


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Tonight, we are in Newcastle,

and welcome to Question Time.

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And with us tonight

we have Emily Thornberry,

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Shadow Foreign Secretary,

often tipped to be a future leader

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of the Labour Party.

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The Conservative MP born

to Kurdish parents in Baghdad,

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Brexiteer businessman Nadhim Zahawi.

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Tim Farron, who resigned as leader

of the Liberal Democrats,

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saying he was unable to reconcile

the job with living

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as a faithful Christian.

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The columnist Rob Liddle,

associate editor of the Spectator,

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columnist for the Sun and the Sunday

Times.

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And once the captain of a winning

team on University Challenge,

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who will have all the answers

tonight, the crime

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writer Val McDermid.

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Thanks very much.

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Apart from our audience here,

arguing with the panel,

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from home, of course,

you can argue as well

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using our hashtag BBCQT,

on Twitter, Facebook.

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Text 83981, and push the red button

to see what others are saying.

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Our first question from

Ivor Kavalczyk, please.

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Is a minimum price for a unit

of alcohol a sensible idea?

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This was the idea that was announced

today, the UK Supreme Court says

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the Scottish Parliament can,

and the Scottish Parliament

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will do, which is a minimum

price for alcohol.

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Emily Thornberry.

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Our position is that what we worry

about is the super-strength alcohol,

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actually, and the really cheap,

super-strength alcohol, which people

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buy, and that is the stuff

which is addictive and leads,

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we think, them to do the worst sorts

of anti-social behaviour.

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So we think work needs to be done

on that specifically,

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and that is what our policy is.

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But are you in favour

of what is going to happen

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in Scotland, cider going up in price

four, five times?

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No, what I'm saying

is that we want to concentrate

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on the super-strength stuff,

on cheap, super-strength alcohol.

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That's what we would focus on.

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Well, what is the cheap,

super-strength?

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Well, there are various types

of cider and beers and so on that

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are particularly strong,

and as I say, you will find you can

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buy them in supermarkets,

in large quantities,

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and they are the things

which people buy and drink

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in order to get drunk

and get drunk fast.

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OK.

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Rod Liddle, what do you think?

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The news today was that,

for instance, a bottle of cider

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from £3.59 would go up to £11.20.

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Are you in favour of that?

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No, of course not,

because it penalises

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the poorest people in society.

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And I find that appalling.

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Whenever these sort of discussions

take place, it is always

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the poor who get hit by it.

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So whenever we talk about

what we need to do about obesity,

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it's put the price up,

ban people from eating stuff.

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It would affect the poor.

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You never hear, when politicians

talk about binge drinking,

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they don't mean someone having

a nice Sancerre outside one of these

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places on your river here.

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They mean a poor person buying

a large bunch of cider

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because he fancies a drink.

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So I'm absolutely opposed to it.

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We do have a problem with alcohol

but the problem with alcohol

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is something which needs to be

treated with, I think,

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as much as anything, education.

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And I think it is as prevalent,

and studies suggest this is true,

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that it's just as prevalent amongst

the middle classes,

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with their bottles of Sancerre,

and who can afford these price

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hikes, as it is amongst

the poorest of us.

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Don't deprive the poor people

of this country of their pleasure.

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No.

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APPLAUSE

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Val McDermid, what do

you make of it?

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This is not about depriving poor

people of their pleasure.

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It's about preventing people

from killing themselves

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with excessive quantities of alcohol

they can buy incredibly cheaply.

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APPLAUSE

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16p a unit.

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Hundreds of people are dying

in Scotland every year from alcohol.

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It is one of our biggest

social problems.

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The education side of it is

important, but that hasn't worked.

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So let's try something a little bit

different and see if we can

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get a different result.

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But it does hurt the

poorest, doesn't it?

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It is the poorest who get hurt.

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You may be right, Val,

but it is the poor that

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that is targeted at.

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They are also the ones being killed

by the policy of having

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really cheap alcohol.

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And on this point, actually,

another thing I would really

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like to see happen is the monks

of Buckfast putting their products

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in plastic bottles.

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Because this would ease the burden

on the NHS in Scotland immensely,

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from people not being hit over

the head with glass bottles

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of Buckfast on a Saturday night.

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You're laughing, but it

actually isn't a joke.

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This is a major problem.

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People get drunk on this stuff,

which is like a version

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of vodka and Red Bull,

alcohol and caffeine.

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They get into fights,

they become violent,

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they hit each other

over the head with it.

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Go into a casualty department

in Glasgow on a Saturday night

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and it's full of people

being injured by this kind of thing.

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And the monks won't put it

in plastic bottles because little

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old ladies in the south of England

don't like elastic bottles

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on their tonic wine.

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OK, you, sir.

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I think they price hiked cigarettes,

which are also killing people,

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and that hasn't prevented

people from smoking.

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But then the price hike

on cigarettes applies to everybody.

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This is only certain cheap

liquor that's going to get

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the price increase, isn't it?

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You buy expensive wine,

it won't go up in price.

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That's the point.

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They never do this.

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They won't attack their own drinks.

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You buy a bottle of champagne,

it costs exactly the same.

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You know, it's just the stuff

that poor people drink.

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You, sir, what do you think?

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I think that if we increase

the price of the cheap alcohol,

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then people will look

to illegitimate sources of alcohol.

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So people will start making it

in their back gardens,

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in their streets, and that will be

stronger, less high quality and then

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will lead to more deaths.

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I can't understand why people

won't just load up vans of alcohol

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in England and take them

across the border and sell them

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cheap on the black market.

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They probably will.

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It will be great business

for Newcastle, I'm telling you.

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Yes, or Carlisle.

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What do you think, Tim Farron?

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I think the Scottish Parliament has

used its devolved power to make

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a decision based on evidence.

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And you may not like the outcome,

but I think they are

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entitled to make it.

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I think they have attempted to deal

with what is a very real

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problem, as Val sets out.

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I'd do it a little bit differently.

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I think the concern I've got is that

undoubtedly cheap pricing,

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a loss leader of particularly very

strong forms of alcohol

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from the retailers,

the supermarkets especially,

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does do damage.

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And then you look at the enormous

tax burden on pubs,

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which are at the centre of our

communities and are an absolutely

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vital industry to the country

as a whole, and certainly to my part

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of the world in Cumbria.

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So my view is that you should shift

the balance of taxation away

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from the pubs onto cheap supermarket

booze, so you end up dealing

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with the real source of the problem

whilst not taxing and hitting those

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places where people tend

to drink most responsibly.

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APPLAUSE

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Nadhim Zahawi.

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The Scottish Government is now

using its devolved tax hike.

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They've hiked up tax £400 for those

earning 43,000 a year.

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I worry about this in

the way Rod Liddle does.

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Is it going to make a difference,

or is it just adding to the burden

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for those who are just managing?

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And the other issue

you are going to create which,

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again, you touched on it,

David, is will this mean

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lots of people driving from Scotland

to Newcastle to load up on alcohol?

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Spending more on fuel...

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Ecological matter, you mean?

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Ecological matters.

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I don't think it's a good

intervention, but let's wait

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and see the data beyond it.

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Is it popular in Scotland,

Val, as a move?

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I think it is, by and large, yes.

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What I've been seeing and hearing

on television and on the radio,

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people seem generally

to approve of it.

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The people who are buying this

really, really cheap lager

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and getting completely

off their faces, cider, rather,

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they are not the ones

who are going into pubs.

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This is not depriving the poor

of the opportunity to go

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into the pub and have a pint.

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This is people who are specifically

wanting to get off their head

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as quickly and as cheaply

as possible, and

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that is not healthy.

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It is not a tax on the poor.

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It is a tax on the poor.

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What you say may be correct,

but it's still a tax on the poor.

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The person in the third

row from the back.

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My problem with it is it does

nothing to address the root cause.

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Why are people drinking so much?

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There's nothing about that.

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Someone up there with their

hand up in the centre.

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My concern is for the generation

before myself, older people.

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The energy drinks are quite cheap

at the moment, and obviously

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if they are going to keep drinking

energy drinks and then

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they are going to transfer

themselves onto cheap alcohol.

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OK.

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This is a measure for Scotland.

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Would anybody like to see this

applying to England?

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Anybody in our audience

have a strong view about that?

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You, sir.

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Yes, I disagree with Rod Liddle that

it's a tax on the poor.

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I think if it were applied evenly,

not all poor people drink.

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And it only applies, as Val says,

to the cheapest strong alcohol.

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And I think, therefore,

it would reduce the amount

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of drinks that people buy,

and therefore would reduce

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how much they drink,

and therefore reduce the medical

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and social problems that

alcohol then causes.

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Let's go onto another question.

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This is from Amy Littler, please.

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Regarding the Brexit negotiations,

would it be better to have a no

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deal, or a detrimental deal?

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Better no deal, rather

than a detrimental deal?

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You voted in favour of Brexit.

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What's your view?

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The no deal option, Amy,

is not a good deal.

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I'm on the Foreign Affairs Select

Committee and we looked at this

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particular question and asked world

experts to come and tell us.

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They told us that it

would be mutually assured

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destruction for our economy.

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It would drop by about

four percentage points.

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Also for the EU, the Netherlands,

Ireland, even parts of Germany,

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its motor sector, for example.

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So that's not a good place

to be and that's not

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what we're negotiating.

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At the moment the team,

David Davis, the Prime Minister,

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everyone is committed to trying

to get the best deal possible

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by effectively dealing

with the issues that the EU 27 wants

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to deal with, so our financial

settlement, the issue of Ireland

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and Northern Ireland and the border

issue there,

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and and, of course of EU

citizens living here...

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We know the detail.

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What she's saying is,

is it better to walk away

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if you don't get the deal you want?

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That's the nub of the question.

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So if you go into any negotiation,

and before becoming a member

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of Parliament I was a businessman,

and I bought businesses

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all over the world.

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You can't go into negotiations

saying, "I will never walk away,

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"I will take any deal you give me",

because you will then

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guarantee a bad deal.

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APPLAUSE

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So you've got to make

preparations that you can walk away.

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Our economy, 82% of our

economy is domestic.

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So I will be looking forward

to the Chancellor next week saying

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lots of good things about how

we really keep this momentum going.

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The employment figures

were excellent this week.

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The lowest unemployment since 1975.

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But you prepare for the worst

outcome, but you absolutely try

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and go for as good a deal

as possible, by putting forward

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the best possible option,

for the other side to then agree

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to a trade deal that allows us full

and unfettered access to the market,

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both for manufacturing but also

for things like technology,

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which I know a little bit

about, but services.

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80% of our economy,

export services to Europe,

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but beyond Europe as well.

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But the idea behind this question,

as I understand it, Amy,

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what you are saying is,

is there a deal so bad

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that it would be better

to walk away from it?

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Yes.

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Emily Thornberry.

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You see, I have asked this question.

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I've said, "When you

talk about a bad deal,

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"what are you talking about?

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"What is this bad deal

that we could have"?

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Because we need to have

a negotiation here.

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The public needs to be informed.

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First of all we need to be informed

about what no deal looks like.

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And at one stage the Tories weren't

even talking about that.

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And then when they're saying a bad

deal is better than whatever it is,

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no deal is better than a bad deal,

what do you mean?

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What does a bad deal look like?

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Because I think that no deal

means that we crash out,

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we have no ongoing relationship

with our closest allies,

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with whom we have traded,

the large proportion of our trade

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has gone with the European Union.

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The planes will not

be able to fly...

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That's not true, Emily.

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They will not.

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You know that already.

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Willie Walsh, the head

of British Airways has

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said that is not true.

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ROD LIDDLE:

And bees will attack us!

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Well, European regulation...

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Be honest with your audience, Emily.

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European regulation of aircraft

is one that we are signed up to,

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and if we leave the European Union

with no deal at all,

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we are not in that deal any more.

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It is a serious matter.

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There are a number of things.

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We will have lorry parks

where we will not be able

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to export our goods,

and everything will be gone through.

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It will be an absolute

disaster if we have no deal.

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And the reason that we are being

softened up to think that no deal

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may happen is because this

government is incompetent

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and cannot negotiate properly

with the European Union.

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And we are being softened up

because they will not be able

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to agree amongst themselves

what kind of deal that they want.

0:14:150:14:18

And it's getting worse.

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Not only can they not

agree what a deal is

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supposed to look like.

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There are two deals needed.

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There is the divorce deal, and then

there is the ongoing relationship

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with the European Union.

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So let's just talk about

the divorce package.

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Now we've got legislation before

Parliament at the moment,

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and they want, as a complete

gimmick, to have a solid date put

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into legislation whereby we have

to have a deal by that date.

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And that makes it impossible,

so that if they come back

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with some half baked idea,

and they put it back before

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Parliament and they will say to us,

"Take it or leave it.

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"If you don't agree to this, we are

going to have no deal at all".

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That is no way of proceeding.

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We need to be able

to have our say...

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Emily, we get the point.

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We will have plenty of time to talk

as the argument goes on.

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On that particular point, you say,

from Labour's point of view,

0:15:080:15:11

you would like the negotiations

to go on not two years,

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but three, four, five years,

as long as it takes?

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No.

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Why are you against having...

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OK, let me explain.

0:15:180:15:19

No.

0:15:190:15:20

Hang on.

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Are you in favour of having

the deadline that's going before

0:15:210:15:24

Parliament, two years from now it

has to be done?

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I think we have to have flexibility.

0:15:260:15:28

I think we have to be

realistic and grown-up.

0:15:280:15:30

Any relationship, if I am

having a conversation

0:15:300:15:35

or row with my other half,

I'm not going in to try to persuade

0:15:350:15:39

him I am right about something

by going in and saying,

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if you don't agree with me,

I am going to walk out.

0:15:410:15:44

This is not the way you do things.

0:15:440:15:46

Article 50 says it has to be done

by the end of March 2019.

0:15:460:15:50

Are you in favour of

sticking with that?

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You voted for it.

0:15:510:15:54

So we voted for Article 50 and we're

leaving the European Union.

0:15:540:16:00

We have to make sensible decisions,

and we need to be able to negotiate.

0:16:000:16:03

If we find ourselves

in a situation whereby

0:16:030:16:05

we need another two weeks,

another month, 26 other

0:16:050:16:08

countries have agreed to it

and the 27th hasn't...

0:16:080:16:10

And another year, another two years?

0:16:100:16:11

No.

0:16:110:16:13

But what we don't want is to have

on the face of the bill,

0:16:130:16:16

to have it in solid legislation that

no matter what happens,

0:16:160:16:18

there is no flexibility at all.

0:16:180:16:21

This is exactly the sort of attitude

this government has gone into these

0:16:210:16:26

negotiations with and that is why

they are selling us short.

0:16:260:16:29

Rod Liddle.

0:16:290:16:30

I agree with Emily Thornberry

about the utter mind-boggling

0:16:300:16:32

incompetence of this government.

0:16:320:16:36

Clearly to my mind the worst

government that we have had,

0:16:360:16:38

certainly within my living memory.

0:16:380:16:42

APPLAUSE

0:16:420:16:46

And the problems which have

mounted up have mounted up

0:16:460:16:51

because it is ill-disciplined.

0:16:510:16:55

They keep opening their fat gobs

when they shouldn't.

0:16:550:16:58

They contradict one another

and they grandstand.

0:16:580:16:59

And all of that is undermining our

negotiations with Europe.

0:16:590:17:02

I just wish you could tell them,

shut up and do as you're told

0:17:020:17:06

and put the country first instead

of your own pathetic

0:17:060:17:09

political careers.

0:17:090:17:10

Because what we are seeing

0:17:100:17:12

at the moment is jockeying

for position to replace Theresa May.

0:17:120:17:15

If you want rid of her,

get rid of her.

0:17:150:17:17

I don't object to that.

0:17:170:17:18

I don't think anyone would.

0:17:180:17:19

But be clear.

0:17:190:17:20

APPLAUSE

0:17:200:17:23

All right.

0:17:230:17:25

Back to the main issue,

I think you are right.

0:17:250:17:27

I don't agree with Emily about this.

0:17:270:17:32

I think it is ludicrous to go

into negotiations with one hand

0:17:320:17:34

tied behind your back,

because you cannot say

0:17:340:17:36

that you will walk away

if you don't get the right deal.

0:17:360:17:39

That is common sense.

0:17:390:17:41

But your government, Philip Hammond

and then Justine Greening,

0:17:410:17:46

both said it was inconceivable

you would not have a deal

0:17:460:17:49

and you almost said it yourself.

0:17:490:17:51

So I do not know where

you are going with this.

0:17:510:17:54

It is an absolute catastrophe.

0:17:540:17:57

I know a lot of people

here did not vote to leave.

0:17:570:18:00

I did.

0:18:000:18:01

It was a close call.

0:18:010:18:03

These problems are not

occasioned by Brexit itself,

0:18:030:18:08

it is occasioned by a deeply,

deeply incompetent government.

0:18:080:18:10

All right.

0:18:100:18:12

Tim Farron.

0:18:120:18:13

A number of people

with their hands up.

0:18:130:18:15

I will come to you in just a moment.

0:18:150:18:17

I certainly agree with the last

bit of what Rod said.

0:18:170:18:22

I saw a well-respected

older Tory backbencher

0:18:220:18:28

who tweeted the other day,

oh, gosh, it feels like 92-97 again

0:18:280:18:31

in the Conservative Party.

0:18:310:18:32

My response to that is it is

far worse than that.

0:18:320:18:35

92-97, the Tories had Major,

Heseltine and Clark.

0:18:350:18:38

They had grown-ups running the shop.

0:18:380:18:40

And now you have a bunch

of people concerned only

0:18:400:18:43

for their own careers,

not for their country and not

0:18:430:18:46

for our children's future.

0:18:460:18:50

Michel Barnier, once upon a time had

coffee and croissants for breakfast.

0:18:500:18:53

Now he has David Davis

every flipping day.

0:18:530:18:57

It worries me because these people

are there to negotiate my children's

0:18:570:19:00

future, your future.

0:19:000:19:01

That really bothers me.

0:19:010:19:02

Whether you vote Leave or Remain,

you should be appalled

0:19:020:19:05

at the quality of your team

that is out there.

0:19:050:19:09

Bad deal, no deal, I do not think

there is a worse deal than no deal

0:19:090:19:13

because if you leave

the European Union without a deal,

0:19:130:19:16

you have tariffs above 50%

on British food products

0:19:160:19:21

going into the single market,

you cut yourself off from 50 trade

0:19:210:19:23

deals the EU is part of.

0:19:230:19:26

Another 67 that are being

written up at the moment.

0:19:260:19:32

You have given me

option one, no deal.

0:19:320:19:34

Option two, bad deal.

0:19:340:19:35

I will give you option three.

0:19:350:19:36

We have got a brilliant

deal at the moment.

0:19:360:19:39

Why do we let the British

people have the final

0:19:390:19:41

say on the final deal?

0:19:410:19:43

If they want to vote

to stay, then they can.

0:19:430:19:45

You have heard both sides.

0:19:450:19:49

Both of them were claptrap.

0:19:490:19:51

Because first of all,

you're going to have

0:19:510:19:53

to have a proper debate about this.

0:19:530:19:54

I sat in the chamber, Rod,

over the last couple

0:19:540:19:57

of days of the debate.

0:19:570:19:58

It is very important we hear

from people like Dominic Grieve,

0:19:580:20:00

because the detail is important.

0:20:000:20:02

And if that sounds to you like

division, it is not,

0:20:020:20:04

it is about making sure we get

the legislation right, Rod.

0:20:040:20:12

But you cannot say on the one hand

it is vital we go into these

0:20:120:20:15

negotiations letting people know

we will walk away if the deal is not

0:20:150:20:19

right and then have your Chancellor

and other ministers immediately

0:20:190:20:21

undermine that position and say it

does not matter that this

0:20:210:20:24

will never happen.

0:20:240:20:25

You have to be clear about this.

0:20:250:20:26

Let me try to repeat myself.

0:20:260:20:28

Do not repeat yourself.

0:20:280:20:29

Say something new.

0:20:290:20:34

New, but different words.

0:20:340:20:36

In any negotiation you have to be

clear and realistic and no deal

0:20:360:20:39

is not a good outcome.

0:20:390:20:41

You can say that but you have

to prepare for it if that is where

0:20:410:20:46

we end up with our interlocutors on

the other side.

0:20:460:20:48

You can say that.

0:20:480:20:49

The idea you pretend

it is not there.

0:20:490:20:51

But to say it is inconceivable...

0:20:510:20:53

I did not say that.

0:20:530:20:55

You have to prepare for it.

0:20:550:20:57

And go for a good deal.

0:20:570:20:59

I think that is where

we will end up.

0:20:590:21:01

Let's hear from our audience.

0:21:010:21:03

You have been sitting patiently

while this has been going on.

0:21:030:21:06

Not very patiently.

0:21:060:21:07

You have been sitting, anyway.

0:21:070:21:08

The woman at the back.

0:21:080:21:13

I cannot believe I am agreeing

with a Sun journalist but in terms

0:21:130:21:19

of the government being incompetent,

isn't it the case it is also

0:21:190:21:24

possibly negligent the government

are continuing with

0:21:240:21:27

the negotiations, having not

considered the Brexit impact reports

0:21:270:21:31

currently being redacted,

I am sorry, drafted and not waiting

0:21:310:21:36

and pausing the whole thing

until we have looked

0:21:360:21:38

at what it actually means.

0:21:380:21:40

You would put it on

hold for the moment?

0:21:400:21:42

I would, yes.

0:21:420:21:43

Over there.

0:21:430:21:48

Just going back to what Tim Farron

said, do the panel see the irony

0:21:480:21:55

that some call a second EU

referendum when we know what this

0:21:550:21:58

deal looks like as undemocratic

and against the will of the people?

0:21:580:22:01

Val McDermid.

0:22:010:22:04

I am not a politician.

0:22:040:22:06

Like everybody else in this room,

I do not have access

0:22:060:22:10

to the papers that tell me

what deals are available.

0:22:100:22:14

I don't know what this government

is negotiating, because, of course,

0:22:140:22:16

we have not been able to see

the briefing first.

0:22:160:22:22

One thing I know is no deal

will mean the only people

0:22:220:22:27

who will benefit are the lawyers

who will spend the next 50

0:22:270:22:30

years arguing about this.

0:22:300:22:31

I really don't want my taxes

spent on lawyers' bills.

0:22:310:22:34

OK.

0:22:340:22:35

The woman who had her hand up.

0:22:350:22:36

Where was it?

0:22:360:22:37

You, sir, then.

0:22:370:22:40

Can I just say, it is easy to sit

by the wayside and criticise

0:22:400:22:44

when you are not actually

at the table yourself.

0:22:440:22:48

And I get a little bit sick

of Labour and the far left just

0:22:480:22:51

constantly criticising

what is a really difficult

0:22:510:22:53

decision to make.

0:22:530:22:59

It is easy to criticise on points,

when you are not under

0:22:590:23:02

the pressure at the table.

0:23:020:23:05

Can I just say as well,

that you have got to go into any

0:23:050:23:10

negotiations with the intention

of coming away, if you can't meet,

0:23:100:23:12

mutually, with an agreement.

0:23:120:23:14

It is not hard.

0:23:140:23:17

It is easy to roll over

and have your belly tickled, but,

0:23:170:23:19

at the end of the day,

you have to negotiate hard.

0:23:190:23:22

Hold on.

0:23:220:23:24

It was addressed

to Emily and Labour.

0:23:240:23:28

We have been clear throughout,

we have to leave the European Union

0:23:280:23:34

but we have to bear in mind this

is about people's jobs.

0:23:340:23:37

It is about jobs.

0:23:370:23:38

We have to make sure,

as we leave the European Union,

0:23:380:23:41

we look after our economy,

because if this goes badly,

0:23:410:23:43

people will lose their jobs.

0:23:430:23:47

What we are faced with is

a government that will not put that

0:23:470:23:50

at the forefront of their mind.

0:23:500:23:52

What they have at the forefront

of their mind is trying to keep

0:23:520:23:55

the Tory party together

and their own internal fights.

0:23:550:23:57

And they are putting down

all kinds of red lines,

0:23:570:24:01

we won't do this, we won't do that,

we insist on our curly bananas.

0:24:010:24:04

We insist on leaving

the European Court of Justice.

0:24:040:24:09

All of this, no, what we should be

doing is negotiating something that

0:24:090:24:12

will look after our economy

and I tell you, sir, if we walk away

0:24:120:24:16

from the European Union

and we are not able to trade

0:24:160:24:18

with this big bloc any more,

people will lose their jobs

0:24:180:24:22

in hundreds of thousands

and they will be the youngsters

0:24:220:24:24

more than anyone else.

0:24:240:24:25

This is serious.

0:24:250:24:30

I do not believe this government

is taking it serious.

0:24:300:24:33

170 days to go before...

0:24:330:24:34

we triggered Article 50.

0:24:340:24:36

And I wrote to the government

and I said answer a question a day.

0:24:360:24:40

Focus.

0:24:400:24:40

Before you trigger Article 50.

0:24:400:24:42

And they wrote back and they said,

no, we are not going

0:24:420:24:45

to answer the questions.

0:24:450:24:46

But you voted for Article 50.

0:24:460:24:47

Why did you vote for it?

0:24:470:24:49

Because the public want us

to leave the European Union

0:24:490:24:53

and we are democrats first

and foremost and we do

0:24:530:24:56

as the public have told us.

0:24:560:25:00

You do as the Tory party

tells you in this case.

0:25:000:25:03

No.

0:25:030:25:04

We do as the public have told us

and we leave the European Union

0:25:040:25:07

and it is our job as the opposition

to try to keep this government

0:25:070:25:11

honest and try to keep

them focused on looking

0:25:110:25:13

after the economy and people's jobs.

0:25:130:25:14

The woman on the right.

0:25:140:25:24

We keep hearing this thrown

around within Labour,

0:25:240:25:26

a jobs first Brexit,

but there is no such thing

0:25:260:25:28

as a jobs first Brexit.

0:25:280:25:29

Even...

0:25:290:25:30

Just in the north-east,

so this is not even nationally.

0:25:300:25:33

We are set to lose tens, if not

hundreds of thousands of jobs.

0:25:330:25:36

In a five-year period, we got

524.4 million pounds from the EU.

0:25:360:25:39

A lot of which was spent

on getting people into work,

0:25:390:25:41

getting people fit for work

and training people up.

0:25:410:25:44

That is not a jobs first

Brexit, if we leave.

0:25:440:25:46

There is no such thing

as a jobs first Brexit.

0:25:460:25:48

That is spot-on in my view.

0:25:480:25:50

The gentleman at the front

who talked about it

0:25:500:25:52

being easy to criticise.

0:25:520:25:53

It really is easy to criticise.

0:25:530:25:55

The problem is that if I had

voted Leave, I would feel

0:25:550:25:58

I had been sold a pup.

0:25:580:26:01

I would feel that what had happened

is that a Conservative Party,

0:26:010:26:06

to prevent an age-old split in it

over several decades decide to call

0:26:060:26:09

for a referendum to deal

with the internal politics,

0:26:090:26:11

made no preparations whatsoever

as to how you might deal with it

0:26:110:26:15

if you ended up in a Leave situation

and now we are in this mess.

0:26:150:26:20

I don't want this continuation of

the battle between Leave and Remain.

0:26:200:26:23

The people who voted Leave

and Remain should be united

0:26:230:26:25

in thinking this government

has stuffed them.

0:26:250:26:27

OK, I will take

a couple more points.

0:26:270:26:29

You, sir, there.

0:26:290:26:32

Is it not the case Labour's Brexit

policy does not stack up?

0:26:320:26:37

They say they want to put

a jobs first Brexit,

0:26:370:26:41

they want such a good deal,

they will stay in the single market,

0:26:410:26:49

an equivalent to the single market,

and the customs union,

0:26:490:26:51

and if they don't get

that they will carry on talking ad

0:26:510:26:54

nauseam and if they have talked ad

nauseam and it still does not work

0:26:540:26:57

out, they will then move on and say,

well, we might as well just stay.

0:26:570:27:01

No, no, no.

0:27:010:27:02

Hang on.

0:27:020:27:03

The EU wants us to stay in.

0:27:030:27:06

If you go in with the position

saying you are not prepared

0:27:060:27:12

to leave, the EU will say

we will just give you a bad deal

0:27:120:27:15

because that will make you stay.

0:27:150:27:16

So Labour's position

is that we have to leave

0:27:160:27:19

because that was the result

of the referendum.

0:27:190:27:20

What we have to do is...

0:27:200:27:22

We have not plumped for.

0:27:220:27:24

Let her answer the question.

0:27:240:27:28

We are not going to represent

the 48%, or the 52%,

0:27:280:27:30

we are trying to represent the whole

country and we are trying to keep

0:27:300:27:34

the country together.

0:27:340:27:35

The best way of doing

that is we leave, but we do not

0:27:350:27:39

need to go very far.

0:27:390:27:40

We have to look after people's jobs.

0:27:400:27:42

We have to bear in mind that frankly

part of the discussion

0:27:420:27:46

during the referendum was about such

things as migration and changing

0:27:460:27:49

the rules on migration.

0:27:490:27:50

What we should do is go

to our European partners

0:27:500:27:55

and our friends and say to them,

look, this is the situation.

0:27:550:27:58

Labour did not want to leave,

but the public have decided this

0:27:580:28:01

is where we should go.

0:28:010:28:02

And what we want to do is to find

the best way through this.

0:28:020:28:06

We want to remain close

to you, but, frankly,

0:28:060:28:08

there are changes we need to make.

0:28:080:28:10

Not go in and say,

we demand this and that.

0:28:100:28:12

That is how you negotiate.

0:28:120:28:13

You haven't answered the position.

0:28:130:28:14

Yes, I have.

0:28:140:28:20

I have answered that we're leaving

and we are looking after the economy

0:28:200:28:23

and we do not need to go very far.

0:28:230:28:25

If they say to you we are not

going to give you a good deal,

0:28:250:28:29

at what point are you going to say

we are going to walk away?

0:28:290:28:32

If we did not stand on the steps

of number 10 Downing St immediately

0:28:320:28:35

before the general election and say

the Europeans are conspiring

0:28:350:28:38

against us and therefore we need

a general election,

0:28:380:28:40

I mean there have been lies told

by the Tory party and they have

0:28:400:28:43

wound the situation up in a way

that is completely irresponsible.

0:28:430:28:46

But you are not answering his point.

0:28:460:28:48

My point is that the EU

definitively want us to stay.

0:28:480:28:51

If Labour is going to say that it

won't leave without a good deal,

0:28:510:28:56

the EU position will be,

we will give you a terrible deal,

0:28:560:28:59

then you won't leave.

0:28:590:29:00

All right.

0:29:000:29:01

I'll go to the woman

in the fourth row.

0:29:010:29:03

Fifth row, yes.

0:29:030:29:05

The woman in white.

0:29:050:29:08

This is not going very far

isn't going far enough.

0:29:080:29:11

We voted to leave the

European Union and we should be

0:29:110:29:14

adhering to the vote.

0:29:140:29:17

This no deal, to me is starting

to sound quite appealing

0:29:170:29:20

because it is a hard Brexit,

and that is what the

0:29:200:29:23

country voted for.

0:29:230:29:23

And the man just in front of you.

0:29:230:29:34

The EU currently represents just 15%

of the world's economy

0:29:380:29:41

and it is forecast to go down

to 12% by 2030.

0:29:410:29:43

Are we overvaluing a Brexit deal?

0:29:430:29:45

Do you agree with

the woman behind you?

0:29:450:29:47

Just cut loose?

0:29:470:29:48

Europe's only worth 15% today.

0:29:480:29:49

In 2030, it is only

going to be worth 12%.

0:29:490:29:51

Do you want a brief last point?

0:29:510:29:52

You have to have a strategy,

and the only party at the moment

0:29:520:29:56

who has actually got a strategy

with bills coming through Parliament

0:29:560:29:58

is the Conservative Party.

0:29:580:29:59

Did you say that

with a straight face?

0:29:590:30:02

Tim Farron's party put out

a pamphlet, a leaflet that says,

0:30:020:30:04

"No ifs, no buts, we'll

trust the British people.

0:30:040:30:07

"If they vote to

leave, we'll leave".

0:30:070:30:09

Now they want to go back

to the British people to see

0:30:090:30:12

if they can change their mind.

0:30:120:30:14

Emily Thornberry's had three goes

at trying to explain

0:30:140:30:16

the Labour position.

0:30:160:30:17

Clearly she can't because

they are flip-flopping

0:30:170:30:18

because John McDonnell says,

"I will not countenance ever

0:30:180:30:21

"leaving, whatever deal

they give us".

0:30:210:30:22

So that's why Emily's

all over the place.

0:30:220:30:24

We will leave it there

for this week on Brexit,

0:30:240:30:29

with everybody all over the place,

as seems to be

0:30:290:30:32

the standard position.

0:30:320:30:35

So just before we go

on, about next week,

0:30:350:30:40

we are in Colchester next week

and a week after that

0:30:400:30:43

in Scarborough.

0:30:430:30:46

Colchester, then Scarborough.

0:30:460:30:48

There is the address on the screen

if you would like to come.

0:30:480:30:51

The next question comes

from Andrew Bryson, please.

0:30:510:30:53

Should children be able

to choose their gender?

0:30:530:30:57

Should children be able

to choose their agenda?

0:30:570:31:01

Tim Farron.

0:31:010:31:06

This relates to the Church

of England's documentation

0:31:060:31:08

to its schools in the last few days.

0:31:080:31:10

I think the first principle,

and this is the reason why

0:31:100:31:13

the Church of England sent this

circular out, is to tackle

0:31:130:31:18

what is undoubtedly the case,

and that is bullying.

0:31:180:31:22

It is about people being treated

in ways which are unequal.

0:31:220:31:25

And children, I think,

in most of our experience,

0:31:250:31:28

are utterly accepting and capable

of being incredibly cruel.

0:31:280:31:32

So to be able to give that sort

of advice through teachers,

0:31:320:31:36

that they should ensure that these

issues are properly addressed,

0:31:360:31:40

I think that is right.

0:31:400:31:42

I think that is good.

0:31:420:31:43

And an important principle as well,

though, is to make sure that

0:31:430:31:46

you first of all do no harm.

0:31:460:31:49

And it's important that when we look

at the reality of the research

0:31:490:31:52

around gender dysphoria,

for example, that we follow

0:31:520:31:55

the evidence and we don't just make

things up as we go along.

0:31:550:32:00

My concern is that there isn't

sufficient evidence out there,

0:32:000:32:03

sufficient research,

to be able to tell us

0:32:030:32:05

about the impact upon children,

about the age at which these

0:32:050:32:08

decisions can be made.

0:32:080:32:10

And I am worried, a little bit,

about making things up as we go

0:32:100:32:13

along on the basis of evidence

that is not yet there.

0:32:130:32:17

What damage do we do,

to tell quite young children that

0:32:170:32:21

gender is not about how

you are built but how you feel?

0:32:210:32:25

What does that do?

0:32:250:32:28

And I don't know the answer to that.

0:32:280:32:31

What was it about the Church

of England that caught your

0:32:310:32:33

attention and became

an issue for you?

0:32:330:32:35

About their edict?

0:32:350:32:36

I think the clear motivation

was to try and tackle

0:32:360:32:40

bullying, and I think

that is right.

0:32:400:32:44

OK.

0:32:440:32:44

Val McDermid.

0:32:440:32:46

I think that children

and adolescents want

0:32:460:32:49

to explore the world.

0:32:490:32:52

For too long we have forced people

into hiding about their gender

0:32:520:32:55

and their sexuality.

0:32:550:32:56

I think it's entirely reasonable

that people should be allowed

0:32:560:32:58

to express themselves

as they feel inside themselves.

0:32:580:33:01

That's not to say that we

rush to the extremes

0:33:010:33:05

of surgery, for example.

0:33:050:33:08

And I think that we ought to hold

back with that end of things

0:33:080:33:12

until people are at the kind of age

of consent where they get to do

0:33:120:33:16

other things that we think

young people shouldn't be

0:33:160:33:18

allowed to do.

0:33:180:33:19

APPLAUSE

0:33:190:33:25

When I was little, I was

a tomboy, I wanted to climb trees.

0:33:250:33:28

I wanted to wear jeans.

0:33:280:33:29

And I turned out to be a lesbian.

0:33:290:33:32

I don't think the two things

are connected because gender isn't

0:33:320:33:34

the same thing as sexuality.

0:33:340:33:36

But I think if you push people

into the idea that if you feel

0:33:360:33:39

like you want to wear trousers

and climb trees for a few years

0:33:390:33:43

then you must be a boy,

that's dangerous as well,

0:33:430:33:46

and it pushes people who may be gay

into thinking that actually

0:33:460:33:49

they are not really gay,

they are the opposite gender.

0:33:490:33:53

So I think it's something

where we proceed carefully,

0:33:530:33:55

we listen to what the children

themselves have to say,

0:33:550:33:57

what young people themselves have

to say, but we don't push

0:33:570:34:00

them towards decisions

that are irrevocable.

0:34:000:34:02

APPLAUSE

0:34:020:34:09

What do you think?

0:34:090:34:11

Can I just say, I love the way

you just put that, Val?

0:34:110:34:14

So when I was at school,

there was a boy in my class

0:34:140:34:19

who clearly got terribly bullied,

who was clearly the wrong

0:34:190:34:24

gender, when I reflect

on it and I look back.

0:34:240:34:30

And listening, I think

on BBC Radio Four there

0:34:300:34:37

was a programme about a family

with a young child who was clearly

0:34:370:34:42

going through something very

similar, and it is heartbreaking.

0:34:420:34:44

For a father of two older boys

and a little girl now,

0:34:440:34:48

this is the toughest thing.

0:34:480:34:51

But the way you expressed it, i.e.

we should be able to speak

0:34:510:34:54

about this to children.

0:34:540:34:58

They should be able to explore

at school so that you cut out

0:34:580:35:02

the bullying, but actually be

careful, be very careful

0:35:020:35:06

until they reach the age

of consent before you begin

0:35:060:35:08

to intervene medically.

0:35:080:35:12

So what's your answer

to should children be able

0:35:120:35:15

to choose their gender,

which is how Andrew Bryson put it?

0:35:150:35:17

I'll come to you,

Andrew, in a moment.

0:35:170:35:21

I would say, I think

they should be able to explore,

0:35:210:35:25

but I think before you intervene

medically, you need to get

0:35:250:35:28

to a place where the parents

and their child are sure that's

0:35:280:35:31

what they want.

0:35:310:35:35

I think we have to remember

that gender is fluid.

0:35:350:35:37

We don't always find

ourselves in the same place

0:35:370:35:39

throughout our lives.

0:35:390:35:41

So at various points in our life

we may choose to express ourselves

0:35:410:35:44

as a different gender,

and I think it's perfectly

0:35:440:35:46

reasonable for people to do that.

0:35:460:35:48

Andrew Bryson, what's your view?

0:35:480:35:51

OK, Rod Liddle.

0:35:550:35:56

I tend to agree as well.

0:35:560:35:58

This is becoming a non-debate.

0:35:580:35:59

Well, it's interesting

that it is a non-debate.

0:35:590:36:02

Because without question,

the trend within social services

0:36:020:36:04

and within our schools

is to intervene very early on.

0:36:040:36:08

And social workers have been brought

in, parents have been told

0:36:080:36:10

that they must see social workers.

0:36:100:36:14

For example, this happened

with a five or six-year-old boy

0:36:140:36:17

who was spotted by his teacher,

I can't remember where,

0:36:170:36:21

and liked wearing a dress.

0:36:210:36:27

And the parents were contacted

and said, "Right, we have to go

0:36:270:36:30

"and see a social worker.

0:36:300:36:33

"This child has gender

dysphoria, it's a problem,

0:36:330:36:35

"he is identifying as a woman".

0:36:350:36:39

This is ludicrous.

0:36:390:36:42

And I think everyone on this panel

knows it's ludicrous,

0:36:420:36:44

so I would guess most

of the audience does.

0:36:440:36:47

But it is going ahead a little bit.

0:36:470:36:49

Things are moving apace.

0:36:490:36:50

And I think the Church of England's

report was evidence that

0:36:500:36:53

things are moving apace.

0:36:530:36:56

I would let kids get on with it

and not burden them with this,

0:36:560:37:00

up to the age of, certainly up

to the age of 16 and I would argue

0:37:000:37:03

18, and certainly no surgery,

because that is storing up enormous

0:37:030:37:06

problems for people in the future

who may well come to regret very,

0:37:060:37:09

very deeply the fact that

during puberty they went a bit

0:37:090:37:12

weird, as they would see it.

0:37:120:37:16

APPLAUSE

0:37:160:37:21

Emily Thornberry.

0:37:210:37:22

I very much fear that I've been

trying to think of how to express

0:37:220:37:28

what I think in a way that is better

than Val expresses it, and I can't.

0:37:280:37:31

But I do think that kids

should be able to wear

0:37:310:37:36

what they like and behave

in whatever way they wish,

0:37:360:37:39

in order to be able to grow up

in whatever way they find

0:37:390:37:43

and to find their own path.

0:37:430:37:44

And I do remember,

I was just thinking,

0:37:440:37:46

I don't know if anybody saw

0:37:460:37:48

the wonderful news reports of some

boys who weren't allowed to wear

0:37:480:37:51

skirts in the summer,

and who ended up all turning up

0:37:510:37:54

at school wearing kilts.

0:37:540:37:56

They turned up, all of them, wearing

kilts at this primary School,

0:37:560:37:59

which I thought was a wonderful way

of, you know, of rebelling,

0:37:590:38:03

and good for them.

0:38:030:38:05

But I think it's right.

0:38:050:38:07

It's very important in this day

and age not to try and constrain

0:38:070:38:11

people and to allow kids just

to grow up in whatever way

0:38:110:38:14

they want, and to be able

to experiment and to be able

0:38:140:38:17

to find their own way.

0:38:170:38:22

Rod Liddle, you were implying

there was pressure from social

0:38:220:38:24

services and teachers.

0:38:240:38:25

But there is also,

isn't there, pressure...

0:38:250:38:30

I mean, the Tavistock clinic

in London has a whole large number

0:38:300:38:33

of these children who come,

often brought not by the teacher,

0:38:330:38:36

not the social worker,

but by the parents.

0:38:360:38:40

Yes, think they are

mistaken as well.

0:38:400:38:44

Though I would prefer

the parents to be in charge,

0:38:440:38:46

rather than the school or a social

worker, nonetheless,

0:38:460:38:49

I still think that the children

should be left until they are 16-18,

0:38:490:38:52

I would say probably 18.

0:38:520:38:54

And if they then decide that they

wish to realign their gender,

0:38:540:38:57

do whatever they wish to do...

0:38:570:39:00

When you say they should be left,

if a 14-year-old girl says,

0:39:000:39:03

"I now wish to identify as a boy

and I want to change my name",

0:39:030:39:07

are you saying nothing

should be done about it?

0:39:070:39:09

Nothing should be done about it.

0:39:090:39:11

I don't see anything wrong

with them doing that.

0:39:110:39:13

You are saying they

shouldn't be allowed to.

0:39:130:39:15

That's silly.

0:39:150:39:16

That's silly.

0:39:160:39:17

Why is it silly?

0:39:170:39:19

Let kids call themselves

whatever they want, let them

0:39:190:39:23

wear whatever they want,

and if they identify as a boy,

0:39:230:39:26

then they can identify as a boy.

0:39:260:39:27

What's the problem?

0:39:270:39:29

And what about a boy

identifying as a girl?

0:39:290:39:31

That's fine.

0:39:310:39:32

You're happy with that?

0:39:320:39:33

Yeah, I am.

0:39:330:39:34

Really, I am.

0:39:340:39:35

But I do agree about no final

decisions being made.

0:39:350:39:37

I'm one with the feminists

on that one, I'm afraid.

0:39:370:39:40

So you're running a school

and you have a 14-year-old boy

0:39:400:39:42

who says, "I want to identify

as a girl", and the headteacher

0:39:420:39:45

of that school would say, "No,

you're a boy, you'll be called

0:39:450:39:48

"Paul and that's it".

0:39:480:39:49

If he is called Paul and he's a boy

and he's got an XY chromosome,

0:39:490:39:53

then he's a boy called Paul.

0:39:530:39:54

So you would be ruthless

on that until they're 18.

0:39:540:39:57

APPLAUSE

0:39:570:39:58

That's science.

0:39:580:39:59

Absolutely.

0:39:590:40:00

Until they are 18 you would

say that's the rule?

0:40:000:40:03

Yes, absolutely.

0:40:030:40:04

The man at the back there.

0:40:040:40:05

I think there's two points here.

0:40:050:40:07

The first one is that there

is a severe lack of leadership

0:40:070:40:10

among our politicians today,

especially when we are dealing

0:40:100:40:12

with the most vulnerable in society,

which is our children.

0:40:120:40:14

Now, a boy is a boy,

and a girl is a girl.

0:40:140:40:18

And yet children do have issues

when they are growing up.

0:40:180:40:21

I grew up in Newcastle here.

0:40:210:40:23

I grew up with a variety

of friends who had different

0:40:230:40:26

appetites, let's say.

0:40:260:40:31

However, children need to be

protected, not exposed.

0:40:310:40:33

There's a difference between

education and exposing children.

0:40:330:40:36

And children need leadership.

0:40:360:40:42

And it's very sad today,

because the panel right here have

0:40:420:40:44

got no common sense.

0:40:440:40:45

Children need protection.

0:40:450:40:46

And when you look at

the whole subject of gender,

0:40:460:40:49

its confusion, that's what it is.

0:40:490:40:53

Children, when they are searching,

they need direction.

0:40:530:40:56

And unfortunately we are living

in a generation where our leaders

0:40:560:40:58

haven't got a clue.

0:40:580:41:01

OK, the woman in the third row.

0:41:010:41:05

I recently returned from Toronto

on a visit, looking at LGBT health.

0:41:050:41:08

And one of the panellists

said about the first

0:41:080:41:12

thing is to do no harm.

0:41:120:41:17

There is a really huge statistics

about young people who commit

0:41:170:41:21

suicide because of not being allowed

to be the gender

0:41:210:41:26

that they define as.

0:41:260:41:28

And so I think the issue

is about giving people

0:41:280:41:32

the opportunity to be

the gender they want to be.

0:41:320:41:34

And in a way that is respectful

to them and non-discriminatory

0:41:340:41:39

and that supports...

0:41:390:41:44

And the age issue which Rod Liddle

was talking about, 18,

0:41:440:41:47

is not relevant to that?

0:41:470:41:48

At 12, ten, you would

argue the same?

0:41:480:41:51

It should be proportionate,

so six-year-olds

0:41:510:41:54

shouldn't have surgery.

0:41:540:41:57

But there are times when hormone

blockers are entirely appropriate.

0:41:570:42:04

We can stop people having to have

physical changes happening,

0:42:040:42:09

and that can be proportionate.

0:42:090:42:15

And the woman in the second row.

0:42:150:42:22

I just want to make the general

point of taking on board everything

0:42:220:42:25

about gender identification.

0:42:250:42:26

I've got a great niece

who absolutely is a boy.

0:42:260:42:28

That's what she wants to be

and that's how she is.

0:42:280:42:31

And she's only seven,

and her parents are great

0:42:310:42:35

because they encourage her in this,

they don't contradict her.

0:42:350:42:39

But from a historical point of view,

we seem to be concentrating not

0:42:390:42:43

so much on the identity

of the person but how they express

0:42:430:42:46

it as a male or a female.

0:42:460:42:49

And it's only really,

really recently that men have

0:42:490:42:52

dressed in a certain way and women

have dressed in a certain way.

0:42:520:42:58

Historically, in the past,

little boys wore dresses until they

0:42:580:43:01

were a certain age anyway.

0:43:010:43:05

Men were the peacocks,

men were the ones that wore the most

0:43:050:43:10

extraordinary costumes and expressed

themselves if they were wealthy.

0:43:100:43:13

I'm not talking about the poor

old working classes.

0:43:130:43:16

But what I'm saying is that it's

fluid, how we actually see

0:43:160:43:20

or identify people's gender is not

fixed in stone.

0:43:200:43:24

And just listening to this,

there is an element of ignorance

0:43:240:43:27

as well, because that's fluid,

and I think we are at a point

0:43:270:43:31

where we can go back to freedom

of expression in how people dress,

0:43:310:43:37

no matter what their gender.

0:43:370:43:41

APPLAUSE

0:43:410:43:42

What do you say to the woman

in the third row who talked

0:43:420:43:45

about the Canadian experience?

0:43:450:43:46

I think that's heading in the right

direction but I'm not entirely

0:43:460:43:49

convinced about intervention

at those early stages.

0:43:490:43:52

I think it's difficult.

0:43:520:43:57

We shouldn't be taking

irreversible steps.

0:43:570:44:00

I think that's the key.

0:44:000:44:02

We shouldn't take irreversible steps

until people are of an age

0:44:020:44:05

where they can make an adult,

responsible decision,

0:44:050:44:08

where we would let them

make that decision about

0:44:080:44:12

other medical matters.

0:44:120:44:12

But if it's a reversible choice,

I don't see the problem with that.

0:44:120:44:18

Nor should we be dismissive.

0:44:180:44:20

The gentleman at the back talks

about lack of leadership.

0:44:200:44:23

I promise you, sir,

if you listen to the programme

0:44:230:44:27

on Radio 4 of that child,

where they are so close

0:44:270:44:31

to committing suicide

because of the way society

0:44:310:44:35

effectively dismisses,

as Rod was doing a minute ago,

0:44:350:44:39

that it is either X or Y,

it is not that simple, Rod.

0:44:390:44:42

I'm sorry, forgive me...

0:44:420:44:43

Let me finish.

0:44:430:44:44

The science is that simple.

0:44:440:44:46

I'm a scientist.

0:44:460:44:49

Not a medical scientist.

0:44:490:44:52

But all I would say

to you is when you hear a family

0:44:520:44:56

and their child being torn apart

and that child is so close

0:44:560:44:59

to suicide, I do not think

it is right for any of us

0:44:590:45:02

here who have not experienced

that to be so dismissive

0:45:020:45:05

about it and to demonstrate,

oh, we know what is

0:45:050:45:08

best, and that is it.

0:45:080:45:10

That is wrong.

0:45:100:45:11

OK.

0:45:110:45:12

We will go one.

0:45:120:45:13

We will go on.

0:45:130:45:15

Let's take a question,

I'm sorry to those of

0:45:150:45:17

you who still have your hands up.

0:45:170:45:18

We will go on to a question from...

0:45:180:45:20

Let's have Joe Williams, please.

0:45:200:45:23

Should the Chancellor take

John McDonnell's advice

0:45:230:45:25

and borrow billions more

to end austerity?

0:45:250:45:26

OK.

0:45:260:45:27

The Chancellor has his

budget next Wednesday.

0:45:270:45:30

Question Time immediately

follows it on the Thursday,

0:45:300:45:32

so we will hear a bit more.

0:45:320:45:35

Rod Liddle, should the Chancellor

take John McDonnell's advice

0:45:350:45:39

and borrow billions more

to end austerity?

0:45:390:45:41

It is an appalling thing,

isn't it, to have to agree

0:45:410:45:44

with John McDonnell?

0:45:440:45:45

I never thought I would do that.

0:45:450:45:46

I do not know about billions

more, I certainly think

0:45:460:45:49

that the government has managed

to find money when it

0:45:490:45:51

needed to find money.

0:45:510:45:52

APPLAUSE

0:45:520:45:58

Very happily,

the government shook the magic

0:45:580:46:08

the magic money tree

and was able to find itself

0:46:110:46:13

a bung to give to the DUP.

0:46:130:46:15

So we know that there

is some money there.

0:46:150:46:17

What I would like to see

the government doing and I don't

0:46:170:46:20

think the government will do

because it's not the kind

0:46:200:46:23

of thing Conservatives

governments do very much,

0:46:230:46:24

is invest in industry,

in regional infrastructure

0:46:240:46:27

and in science research

and development, all things that

0:46:270:46:29

worried me, when we left the EU,

we would be remiss about.

0:46:290:46:32

I was genuinely worried that

would be one of the things

0:46:320:46:34

that we would not spend

our money on.

0:46:340:46:38

I think in a sense, McDonnell

is right, I think we do need

0:46:380:46:41

the purse strings loosened.

0:46:410:46:44

One of the big things we need to do,

we need somehow to raise the average

0:46:440:46:48

wages that we have this country.

0:46:480:46:50

The big problem at the moment isn't

particularly unemployment,

0:46:500:46:52

it's the fact people are being paid

very low wages and therefore cannot

0:46:520:46:55

afford to buy stuff.

0:46:550:47:01

So both of those, yes,

I think very important.

0:47:010:47:03

Nadhim.

0:47:030:47:06

When we took office

the deficit was 156 billion.

0:47:060:47:08

No, hold on a second.

0:47:080:47:12

You are being asked

whether you would take

0:47:120:47:14

John McDonnell's advice.

0:47:140:47:15

I am about to tell you.

0:47:150:47:17

The deficit has been cut by two

thirds, that is why we are able

0:47:170:47:20

to have the opportunity to invest

in infrastructure now.

0:47:200:47:25

One thing we have done is to launch

a 23 billion pounds productivity

0:47:250:47:28

fund to get our productivity

to where it needs to be.

0:47:280:47:30

That is what I would

like to see happen.

0:47:300:47:33

We have been there before

with Labour when they borrow

0:47:330:47:35

and spend and crash the economy.

0:47:350:47:37

If you are investing

in infrastructure, I think

0:47:370:47:39

that is a good thing.

0:47:390:47:41

To crash the economy?

0:47:410:47:44

Can you put that more clearly?

0:47:440:47:47

We are investing in assets,

we are investing in infrastructure,

0:47:470:47:50

digital, transport.

0:47:500:47:52

That is what you want to invest in.

0:47:520:47:54

Housing.

0:47:540:47:57

There is nothing decent or moral

in crashing the economy.

0:47:570:48:00

Venezuela has the second largest oil

reserve in the world

0:48:000:48:03

after Saudi Arabia.

0:48:030:48:06

They followed Jeremy Corbyn

and John McDonnell's model

0:48:060:48:08

of economic management.

0:48:080:48:09

They have crashed completely.

0:48:090:48:12

If you are sick in Venezuela,

you die, because there

0:48:120:48:14

is no medicine for you.

0:48:140:48:15

Let's not move to Venezuela.

0:48:150:48:19

Let's talk about John McDonnell's

advice over these last few days

0:48:190:48:22

about this budget that is coming.

0:48:220:48:23

I wouldn't take any advice

from John McDonnell where he wants

0:48:230:48:26

to borrow 500 billion and crash

the economy again.

0:48:260:48:28

I would say because we have cut

the deficit by two thirds

0:48:280:48:31

we are able to invest

in infrastructure,

0:48:310:48:33

in increasing productivity.

0:48:330:48:34

And one other thing,

the gender pay gap, if we can

0:48:340:48:38

overcome the gender pay gap so women

are paid the same as men,

0:48:380:48:42

you would increase the GDP

of this country four times

0:48:420:48:44

what it is today to 8%.

0:48:440:48:46

If we can do that that is fantastic.

0:48:460:48:49

I would not take any lectures from

John McDonnell about the economy.

0:48:490:48:51

Emily Thornberry.

0:48:510:48:56

It goes like this.

0:48:560:48:59

We have had seven years of austerity

and we were told by the Tories

0:48:590:49:02

if we could tighten our belts

for a few years, the economy

0:49:020:49:06

would be better and we would have

enough money to invest

0:49:060:49:09

in public services.

0:49:090:49:10

That just has not happened.

0:49:100:49:13

At the moment our public services

are on their knees and we are told

0:49:130:49:18

we have to continue like this

because somehow or other it will be

0:49:180:49:23

will be fine in the future.

0:49:230:49:24

Well, it is not.

0:49:240:49:29

We need an entirely different way

of approaching the economy.

0:49:290:49:31

This government in the next five

years is going to cut £76 billion

0:49:310:49:34

in taxes to the richest

and to corporations.

0:49:340:49:36

So don't tell me about austerity.

0:49:360:49:41

There is £1 billion to the DUP

but never mind about that.

0:49:410:49:48

How much have we lost

from the corporation tax?

0:49:480:49:51

28% down to 19%.

0:49:510:49:52

We have brought more

money to the Exchequer.

0:49:520:49:54

If politicians focus on tax take,

not tax rate, then we will deliver

0:49:540:49:57

better public services.

0:49:570:50:02

At a time of austerity

they are cutting £76 billion

0:50:020:50:05

from the taxes of the richest

and what we would say

0:50:050:50:10

is that we are the sixth richest

country in the world.

0:50:100:50:13

We have more people

sleeping on the streets now

0:50:130:50:15

than we have had for years.

0:50:150:50:17

A quarter of our nurses

need a second job.

0:50:170:50:19

Many of them have

to go to food banks.

0:50:190:50:23

Half a million children last year

went for three days'

0:50:230:50:26

emergency food supplies.

0:50:260:50:27

It cannot go on this way.

0:50:270:50:28

We have to do something about it.

0:50:280:50:32

Put numbers...

0:50:320:50:33

We will.

0:50:330:50:35

Put numbers to it,

because the question was,

0:50:350:50:37

John McDonnell asked for billions

to be spent.

0:50:370:50:42

How many?

0:50:420:50:43

There are two things.

0:50:430:50:45

One is day-to-day spending

and at £76 billion, you could spend

0:50:450:50:49

you could spend 4 billion,

as the chief executive of the NHS

0:50:490:50:52

of the NHS has said,

in order to stop the 5

0:50:520:50:55

million people on the

waiting list next year.

0:50:550:50:57

Spend 4 billion on that.

0:50:570:50:58

You could spend another

4 billion on lifting

0:50:580:51:00

the public services wage cap.

0:51:000:51:01

That would be another

good use of the money.

0:51:010:51:04

And we still have an awful lot left

of the £76 billion that the Tories

0:51:040:51:08

are cutting in taxes,

but when it comes to investing

0:51:080:51:10

in infrastructure, yes we borrow.

0:51:100:51:15

We have talked about £250 billion

over a 10-year period to invest

0:51:150:51:17

in things like Crossrail

for the north.

0:51:170:51:21

Superfast broadband for everyone,

investing in infrastructure

0:51:210:51:25

and getting the economy going,

because the way we are going

0:51:250:51:28

we are going downhill and there has

to be an alternative vision

0:51:280:51:31

and we have it.

0:51:310:51:34

The man with a beard.

0:51:340:51:44

I do not agree we should borrow

more, but what they should do

0:51:450:51:48

is legislate to close the loopholes

on the tax as described

0:51:480:51:50

in the Paradise Papers.

0:51:500:51:52

And the person over

there on the left.

0:51:520:51:55

It would be nice if instead

of concentrating investment

0:51:550:52:02

in the south, in Crossrails,

that we could get more in the north.

0:52:020:52:06

APPLAUSE

0:52:060:52:10

You were drowned

out by the applause.

0:52:100:52:11

You could get more what?

0:52:110:52:14

Our Metro trains are 40 years

old and they just do not work

0:52:140:52:17

and there is nothing

to replace them.

0:52:170:52:19

The man on the far right, you, sir.

0:52:190:52:26

My point is this, there is talk

of we need to improve our economy

0:52:260:52:29

and infrastructure.

0:52:290:52:32

What I would like to know

is when are we going to get

0:52:320:52:35

infrastructure investment

in our neck of the woods,

0:52:350:52:37

because we are not getting it?

0:52:370:52:39

APPLAUSE

0:52:390:52:46

If you compare the spend per capita

in London at over £5,000,

0:52:460:52:50

in comparison with up here,

where it is £223.

0:52:500:52:53

Ridiculous.

0:52:530:53:03

The price of austerity is not just

counted in monetary terms.

0:53:040:53:07

There was a report this week,

we are getting 120,000 unnecessary

0:53:070:53:10

deaths every year in this country

as a direct result of the austerity.

0:53:100:53:13

I think we have reached a tipping

point, not just in this

0:53:130:53:16

country but worldwide.

0:53:160:53:18

We have reached a point

where the wealth gap has become such

0:53:180:53:25

that the 1% owns more than 50%

of the world's wealth.

0:53:250:53:28

70% of the working age

population of the world,

0:53:280:53:30

how much of the world's wealth

do they own?

0:53:300:53:32

2.7%.

0:53:320:53:35

We cannot afford the 1% any more.

0:53:350:53:38

We cannot afford these

people who are sucking

0:53:380:53:42

the money out of our economy,

sucking the life out

0:53:420:53:44

of our countries.

0:53:440:53:46

And do not pay taxes.

0:53:460:53:48

And don't pay taxes.

0:53:480:53:52

APPLAUSE

0:53:520:53:53

There was a financial

crash, in case some of you missed

0:53:530:53:58

that, in 2008, and in spite of that,

ultrahigh net worth individuals,

0:53:580:54:01

the number of those has increased

fivefold since 2000.

0:54:010:54:03

You are not getting richer, are you?

0:54:030:54:06

You do not feel like you're getting

richer, but there is a lot

0:54:060:54:09

of people out there,

the 1%, who are getting more

0:54:090:54:12

and more rich off the backs

of ordinary people and we need

0:54:120:54:18

to address that, reform the whole

way we run the tax systems.

0:54:180:54:21

Tim Farron.

0:54:210:54:22

We have the budget on Thursday.

0:54:220:54:25

Would the Liberal Democrats

like to see John McDonnell's

0:54:250:54:27

prescription adopted?

0:54:270:54:32

We would like to see Vince Cable's

prescription adopted.

0:54:320:54:34

My view is simply this.

0:54:340:54:36

What is wrong with

the McDonnell one?

0:54:360:54:37

Well, a stopped clock

is right twice a day.

0:54:370:54:40

My view is this is the moment,

all right we have seen

0:54:400:54:43

an interest rate rise,

a narrow one, recently,

0:54:430:54:46

nevertheless, we have historically

low borrowing rates at the moment.

0:54:460:54:51

This is the moment to invest

£100 billion, borrowed,

0:54:510:54:54

in serious projects that

will massively create

0:54:540:54:55

an infrastructure

revolution in this country.

0:54:550:54:58

I don't just say it because of

the part of country I am from,

0:54:580:55:02

but principally in the North,

principally outside

0:55:020:55:03

of the south-east.

0:55:030:55:05

I am not against HS2, for example,

but it is absolutely a Southerner's

0:55:050:55:09

idea of what is good for the North.

0:55:090:55:11

If only we could get

to London a little bit

0:55:110:55:13

quicker, then our lives

will be fulfilled!

0:55:130:55:15

APPLAUSE.

0:55:150:55:20

The reality is, it will take me

longer tonight to get home

0:55:200:55:23

to South Cumbria than it

would if I was going back down

0:55:230:55:26

to London, and that is an outrage.

0:55:260:55:29

East-west connectivity

is absolutely crucial.

0:55:290:55:31

The reality is that the elephant

in the room, I know we addressed it,

0:55:310:55:35

but even the government's figures,

they say we are going to be

0:55:350:55:38

£50 billion a year short

on budget projections,

0:55:380:55:41

if we leave the single

market, which, by the way,

0:55:410:55:43

John McDonnell voted for.

0:55:430:55:47

That means we either have to sink

into poverty and mediocrity

0:55:470:55:51

or we fight our way out of it

and the only way to do it is to have

0:55:510:55:55

that Victorian level of ambition

that says Britain can be the best,

0:55:550:55:58

if we invest in housing,

new garden cities, council housing,

0:55:580:56:05

green energy, east-west

connectivity, the best

0:56:050:56:06

broadband in Europe.

0:56:060:56:07

That way we stand a chance.

0:56:070:56:09

How much of this do

you expect next Thursday?

0:56:090:56:11

Very little.

0:56:110:56:13

I agree with Tim Farron.

0:56:130:56:15

I agree the years of

austerity have not worked.

0:56:150:56:17

How the Tories said it would.

0:56:170:56:20

I think they can least agree,

if not to John McDonnell's

0:56:200:56:22

however many billion,

to at least some investment

0:56:220:56:25

in infrastructure,

because we really need it.

0:56:250:56:30

And you on the right?

0:56:300:56:31

I agree with Tim's point that coming

from the north-east,

0:56:310:56:34

we have lived through quite a bit

of time where key industries have

0:56:340:56:37

left the north-east.

0:56:370:56:38

Shipbuilding, the chemical

works, the steelworks,

0:56:380:56:39

and in the next decade,

there is a real possibility

0:56:390:56:42

that car manufacturing

might leave the region.

0:56:420:56:43

I think more needs to be

done to protect the key

0:56:430:56:46

industries of the north-east.

0:56:460:56:47

And you up there in

the striped shirt.

0:56:470:56:49

In terms of investment

for the future, it is a shame

0:56:490:56:52

education has not got a mention.

0:56:520:56:53

Obviously, this week we have had

thousands of head teachers marching

0:56:530:56:57

on Parliament asking desperately

for money for schools.

0:56:570:57:01

We have schools are only staying

afloat thanks to parents' donations

0:57:010:57:03

and teachers buying resources

for their classes.

0:57:030:57:07

Before we end, anybody

here against the idea

0:57:070:57:08

of borrowing billions more?

0:57:080:57:12

You have spoken already, sir,

yes, you in the centre.

0:57:120:57:15

A word from you and

then we must stop.

0:57:150:57:21

I would like to hear an example

of a country where Corbyn

0:57:210:57:23

and McDonnell's kind of economic

ideas have worked.

0:57:230:57:25

OK.

0:57:250:57:27

You can name one country

and then we have to stop.

0:57:270:57:32

I would suggest that, actually,

the Labour Party is a social

0:57:320:57:35

democratic party pretty much

from the centre of Europe

0:57:350:57:39

and if you look at European economic

policies throughout...

0:57:390:57:46

Successful economies where

they invest in their infrastructure,

0:57:460:57:48

invest in safety nets.

0:57:480:57:49

We asked for a name of the country.

0:57:490:57:51

All right.

0:57:510:57:52

Germany.

0:57:520:57:53

Sweden.

0:57:530:57:55

You should have spoken up before.

0:57:550:57:57

We have to stop, I'm afraid,

because our hour is up.

0:57:570:58:03

Next Thursday, we have been talking

about the budget and Question Time

0:58:030:58:06

is coming from Colchester.

0:58:060:58:07

We have Diane Abbott, the Shadow

Home Secretary on the panel,

0:58:070:58:15

the Business Secretary,

Greg Clarke will be here,

0:58:150:58:17

the Business Secretary,

Greg Clarke will be here,

0:58:170:58:18

Bernard Hogan Howe,

the former police chief.

0:58:180:58:20

Stuart Rose, the ex-head

of M&S, now Ocado.

0:58:200:58:22

And the author Dreda Say Mitchell.

0:58:220:58:23

The week after that we are in

Scarborough and we have Priti Patel,

0:58:230:58:26

recently in the Cabinet, no longer.

0:58:260:58:28

Chuka Umunna and Yanis

Varoufakis on the panel.

0:58:280:58:35

So we have two crack panels coming

up, like this one we have had here.

0:58:350:58:39

If you want to come to either

of those programmes,

0:58:390:58:41

that is Colchester followed by

Scarborough.

0:58:410:58:43

Ring the number on the screen.

0:58:430:58:44

Or you can go to the website, which

might be the easier way of doing it,

0:58:440:58:48

and follow the instructions.

0:58:480:58:49

On BBC 5 Live, Question Time

Extra Time follows this,

0:58:490:58:52

with a lot more discussion

on what we have been talking about.

0:58:520:58:55

But my thanks to our panel,

to all of you who came

0:58:550:58:57

to Newcastle to take part.

0:58:570:58:59

Till next Thursday, good night.

0:58:590:59:02

David Dimbleby presents topical debate from Newcastle.

The panel includes shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron, novelist Val McDermid and journalist Rod Liddle.


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