22/02/2018 Question Time


22/02/2018

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Transcript


LineFromTo

Tonight we are at the JCB

factory near Uttoxeter,

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and welcome to Question Time.

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And with me on the panel

tonight, the new chairman

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of the Conservative Party,

once Immigration Minister,

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Brandon Lewis.

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The former Labour MP

and Deputy Prime Minister under

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Tony Blair, now in the House

of Lords, John Prescott.

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The political editor

and columnist for the Sunday

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express, Camilla Tominey.

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The writer and activist

from Novara Media, who says

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she wants "luxury communism

now", Ash Sarkar.

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And born in Germany but brought up

in Leeds, the UK Chief Executive

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of the global manufacturing firm

Siemens, Juergen Maier.

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Right, thank you very much.

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Remember, at home, as always,

if you want to get in on this debate

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and have your own say,

#BBCQT, and via Twitter

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and Facebook you can do that.

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I should just say we are here at JCB

and many of our audience work

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on this site, this vast place,

so we may get relevant

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comments about that.

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Let's take our first question

tonight, and this one comes

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from Kevin Abbott, please.

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When are the right wing media

and Tories going to realise lies

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and smears against Comrade

Corbyn no longer work?

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APPLAUSE

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Ash Sarkar.

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I mean, it's quite sad, really.

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They know that they've lost

the argument when it comes

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to economic policy and social

policy, so the Conservatives

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are reduced to cantering after half

baked hit pieces,

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which once upon a time would have

gone largely unremarked on.

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I don't think that they are going

to get it, that politics has

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changed in this country,

because that means listening

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to people and actually meeting some

of their real concerns.

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One of the things that really

worries me, as someone

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who works in the media,

is that this botched

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smear operation about,

is Jeremy Corbyn a Czech spy,

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does he rappel down

buildings and trade state

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secrets, or what have you,

is that it was based on a single

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source who lacked credibility

and was basically a fantasist.

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This really should not have made it

past any quality news room.

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So I think one of the things

that we need to make sure

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we are doing is rather than frame

this as how do we protect Corbyn

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from smears, is look at how do

we make sure our press is held

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to the very highest standards,

so it can effectively carry

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out its function of speaking truth

to power and holding

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politicians to account.

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APPLAUSE

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Brandon Lewis, you are chairman

of the Conservative Party.

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It was your current

Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson,

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who said that Corbyn

met foreign spies,

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"that was a betrayal of this

country, he cannot be trusted".

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Do you agree with

what Williamson said?

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Well, I think Gavin and others

actually have raised

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a legitimate point.

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If you look over a long period

of time, and I'm talking decades,

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about people that the leader

of the Labour Party has met

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and spent time with and been

involved with, I think it does

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actually raise legitimate questions.

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I'm slightly surprised actually,

if you look at Corbyn himself,

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why he hasn't just dealt with this

and been transparent about what has

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happened and what he's done.

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I find that very odd.

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But coming to the point

of the gentleman's key

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question about the press,

the end part of what Ash

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was saying, I agree with.

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I think one of the absolute

bedrocks of our society,

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of a free and open democracy,

is having a free press.

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And what we do have in our press is,

right across the press,

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is people who have opinions

from different areas,

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different newspapers,

different media outlets,

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and challenging us in the way

you have done with your question

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and others will later on today,

as politicians, to be able to deal

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with and answer that.

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And I think having a free press...

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And one of the things I found quite

shocking was this kind of inference

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we saw yesterday from Labour,

that if you ask difficult questions,

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and I think the phrase

was "change is coming",

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which kind of infers you'll

be shut down.

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We need a free press.

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We need a press to be able

to ask those questions

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and challenge politicians and people

in public life more generally.

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And do you stand by your fellow

minister's remark that Corbyn cannot

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be trusted and he has

betrayed this country?

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I actually go wider than that.

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I actually think if you look at,

as I've said, what Corbyn has stood

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for, things he has said,

things he has voted for,

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things he's voted against over

the years, I don't trust him

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to lead our country and I don't

trust the Labour Party

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with our economy and our

country more generally.

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APPLAUSE

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I'll come to you in a moment.

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John Prescott.

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Terrible statement he just made.

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Look, I've been 50 years

in Parliament and I have to say this

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is the dirtiest slur I've seen

against any individual politician.

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I've known Jeremy all the time he's

been in Parliament and I have

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to say he's an honest man

who states principles.

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Might not be agreeable to you,

but has become the elected leader

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of the Labour Party.

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For them now to start saying things

like he is a betrayer,

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that in fact he now has acted

as a double agent,

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a Kim Philby type.

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What annoys me most is that

basically you, Brandon,

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was the one that came in office

a couple of weeks ago,

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and I have the statement

here so it's not fake news,

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it's your statement,

which says a new respect pledge

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for Tory candidates.

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And what it says here,

"Conservative candidates will be

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suspended if they insult rivals",

the new party chairman says.

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Fine, that was the statement.

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I was hopeful that that might be so.

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But now you've got top people

in the Tory party lined up with,

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lined up by the papers themselves,

the right wing papers, to say that

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he's a traitor, a double agent.

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This is unacceptable.

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Now I want to say that your

vice-chairman, who you appointed,

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made these statements about him,

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was selling British secrets

to Communist spies.

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My God, there's no

evidence for that.

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Nobody's produced any evidence.

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Will you now, under this

new programme of better moral

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standards, will you now

sack your vice-chairman who said

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those things without evidence?

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If you want to know, have a look.

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APPLAUSE

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Do you want to reply to that?

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Absolutely.

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John's right, I made very clear

a few weeks ago that we should

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have a respect pledge.

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I'm absolutely shocked

that the Labour Party

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is refusing to engage

and set its own respect pledge.

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That's because it's had

the policy for years, Brandon.

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If I can just finish.

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There is a very big difference

between having a proper,

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robust debate about what people

stand for, what they have said,

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what they have done and have been

transparent about that,

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and personal abuse and calling

for physical abuse of candidates,

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MPs or people in the general public,

which we are seeing

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from the hard left and even

from the Shadow Chancellor

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of the Labour Party, endorsing,

repeating comments like that is not

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fit in British politics and Labour

need to call that out

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and deal with it, John.

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And until they do, I'm afraid it's

shocking we've got the Labour Party

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that won't stand-up...

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This isn't about spies,

it's about lies.

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You should answer that.

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A number of people with hands up

and then I will come to you.

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Yes, you in the middle there.

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You're going on about free press

and factual information

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and everything and the facts.

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Why are the government trying,

with the child maintenance service

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and child support agency,

trying to block everything out

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that's going on in the country now?

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It's affected thousands

of people across the country.

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There's free press, there

is evidence and they are leaving

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people in poverty, homeless.

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The suicides.

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There's no account for that.

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And most of all, it's

affecting the children,

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which is never in the press.

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All right.

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OK, let's stick with the Corbyn

point, the original question.

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Out there, you, yes.

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I think Jeremy Corbyn has built

mistrust himself by lying

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to students in the belief

that they will get free

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tuition in the last

election and reneging

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on his manifesto promises.

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OK.

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Camilla Tominey.

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APPLAUSE

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I'm not sure Labour have got a leg

to stand on on respect

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when you have the Shadow Chancellor

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John McDonnell calling

for Esther McVey to be lynched.

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That's not gentler, kinder politics.

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As for the worst smear ever,

I would imagine that some

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of Tom Watson's smears that

were exacerbated by believing

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in a fantasist called Nick,

which suggested that a number

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of Tory MPs were paedophiles,

is probably a little more serious

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than what's been levelled

against Jeremy Corbyn,

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a man who has a history

of being friends with our enemies.

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If it had been a Tory MP who files

had been discovered had been

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fraternising with a Czech spy,

a Czech diplomat, the Labour Party

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would have been all

over it like a rash.

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It's absolutely hypocritical

to suggest that you would not

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have engaged in some

sort of investigation.

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The press is certainly entitled

to investigate claims which appear

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to be in the public interest,

as are Jeremy Corbyn's meetings

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with Irish paramilitaries,

Jeremy Corbyn's meetings

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with Hamas, Jeremy Corbyn's

meetings with Hezbollah.

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The list goes on.

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At any given time, this man has got

a pattern of behaviour of meeting

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with people that others wouldn't

even contemplate sitting

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down at the table with.

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APPLAUSE

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It was a one-way conversation, John.

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Blimey, the Express.

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The Sunday Express.

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Blimey, Labour.

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Blimey, Momentum.

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Let me go to Juergen Maier.

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Just one correction

to what you said.

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John McDonnell didn't actually ask

for anybody to be lynched.

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He reported what had been said,

which was slightly different.

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Hang on a second, he did say...

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You've made the legal point.

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He's appeared in speeches

where he suggested...

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Suggested, not said.

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He said direct action should be

taken against Tories,

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wherever they are, direct action.

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That's a democratic

right to protest.

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That's part of a healthy,

functioning democracy, Camilla,

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I hate to break it to you.

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I'm sorry.

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In a democratic society, what we do

is we have meaningful debates.

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And we have the right

to protest and assembly.

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By making out that anyone

with Tory ideas is scum.

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And that's what Momentum does.

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Hang on a second.

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Let's try and have

a meaningful debate.

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Which doesn't mean people telling

each other they should be ashamed

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of each other at this stage

in the programme.

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Juergen.

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Well, what I definitely agree

with is that we absolutely need

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to protect the free press

and the freedom of speech.

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Hear hear.

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And I do believe there

is danger in just dismissing

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everything as fake news.

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However, having said that,

I think there is also a point

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where we do need responsible news.

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And my view on this particular

issue, and I know there has been

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some other issues that

weren't in the question

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about meetings with some other,

let's say unsavoury characters,

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Hezbollah or whatever,

but this particular issue,

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there doesn't seem to be

a lot of legs in it.

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And what I would say, it probably

is best we just sort of calm down.

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What I would rather do is to judge

Jeremy Corbyn and the Prime Minister

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in terms of what the policies

are now and what they are going

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to do going forward,

rather than looking back

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over the years.

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APPLAUSE

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There was a comment

from Jeremy Corbyn about this

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where he said that the coverage

shows how worried

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the media bosses are.

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They are right to be.

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"We've got news for the billionaire

tax exile press barons.

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Change is coming".

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Does that worry you,

if you are in favour of a free

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press, or do you think it would be

a good idea if we didn't

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have our press owned

by foreign billionaires?

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Or billionaires residing

outside the UK?

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Well, look, having billions and that

being overseas doesn't

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worry me personally at all.

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I have a very good conscience.

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What, you've got your

billions here, you mean?

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But look, at the end

of the day it's less

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about the ownership of the press.

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What is important is

that we have a responsible

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and a balanced press which is giving

us free speech and giving us

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the information that we need to make

the right sorts of judgments.

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And we need less of fake news.

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I will come to you,

Ash, in a second.

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But the man in spectacles.

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Yeah, I didn't really know anything

about the story but I came across it

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on Facebook and it made me

look into it.

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And I saw the Jeremy

Corbyn Facebook address.

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One of his basics within that was

that the free press is an absolutely

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essential part of democracy

and needs to be protected.

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And even within your quote there,

and Brandon Lewis is inferring it

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as well, is that Jeremy Corbyn

is attacking free press.

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He is doing nothing of the sort.

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He is saying that change

is going to come because the people

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want something different.

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He's not saying an

attack on free press.

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APPLAUSE

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The woman up their at the very back.

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Yes, you.

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The free press should be

applauded and revered,

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but they shouldn't tell lies.

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And it does absolutely no good

whatsoever when fake news,

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to quote the American President,

is trumpeted all over the press

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and certain people believe in it.

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A little like the fallacy that

Labour is no good with money.

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Gordon Brown's...

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Gordon Brown's schedule to get us

out of the recession

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was covered by a lot

of the other emerging countries.

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They got out of the recession many

years before we did.

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If we had carried on with

Gordon Brown's policy,

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we would have been out

of the recession years ago.

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And we wouldn't be

in the situation...

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Hang on a second.

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Wait, wait, we're

talking about the press.

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Otherwise we'll have

John Prescott arguing

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about what Gordon Brown did.

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We don't want to do that,

we're on about the press.

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I want to take a point

about the press.

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You, sir, then I will come

to you, Ash, and we will

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move on.

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Yes...

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I actually think Camilla's hit

the nail on the head

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there.

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With Jeremy Corbyn,

whether this story

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is true or not, there

is

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a bigger point here.

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And that is, Corbyn

is a potential Prime

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Minister.

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I as a voter want to know more

about our potential Prime

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Minister, what his views have been

over the years, what his views are

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now, who he has met.

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I know his supporters

don't think it's

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important, but for me as a voter,

because he could be the prime

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minister next time, I think it's

very important and very relevant.

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OK, Ash.

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Do you agree with what he's just

said, that everything should be

0:16:030:16:06

above board and shown

in public and discussed?

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I agree entirely that transparency

over policy is of prime

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importance in politics,

and that is what we've

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been saying for ages -

lets talk policy and move away from

0:16:130:16:15

these personal smears.

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I was quite alarmed

that you inferred that

0:16:170:16:18

Jeremy Corbyn meant the free press

should be shut down when he said

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change is coming.

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He's not saying that,

he saying, let's take a

0:16:230:16:25

careful look at the collusion

of vested interests between press

0:16:250:16:27

barons and the Tory Party,

and try and unpick those interests.

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And what's more, if you want to talk

about shutting down a free press, I

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would encourage you to look at your

own party's history, in particular,

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when David Cameron sent

his Cabinet Secretary

0:16:360:16:38

to the Guardian and said,

a lot of people would like

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to see you shut down,

because of their coverage

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of the Snowden files.

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I wonder where your outrage

was when GCHQ made the

0:16:440:16:47

Guardian destroy laptops and hard

drives as part of their coverage of

0:16:470:16:49

he Snowden files.

0:16:490:16:50

That's investigative

journalism, speaking

0:16:500:16:51

truth to power, and you guys

were silent on it.

0:16:510:16:56

All right.

0:16:560:17:00

You bear in mind, when

the gentleman there said,

0:17:000:17:02

talking about what Camilla said

before, when you have a free debate,

0:17:020:17:05

you talk to a lot of people.

0:17:050:17:07

Jeremy chooses who he speaks to.

0:17:070:17:08

But you know, Whitelaw,

the Tory deputy

0:17:080:17:10

prime minister, was talking

to the IRA, as was John Major,

0:17:100:17:13

privately and secretly,

because they wanted to

0:17:130:17:16

get an agreement.

0:17:160:17:19

I think the agreement we've

got with Ireland now

0:17:190:17:22

is quite critical and came out

of those kind of discussions.

0:17:220:17:25

The whole attention

becomes Labour, not

0:17:250:17:28

Whitelaw or Major.

0:17:280:17:32

All right, thank you.

0:17:320:17:33

I'm sorry, we've got to move on,

because we're ten, 15 minutes

0:17:330:17:37

in.

0:17:370:17:40

Before we do, Blackpool -

we're going to be in Blackpool next

0:17:400:17:47

On the screen are the details of how

to apply, and I'll give them

0:17:530:17:56

again, as always, at the end,

and I'll take a question now

0:17:560:17:59

from Dan Lear, please.

0:17:590:18:00

Speaking from personal experience,

graduates are finding it

0:18:000:18:02

harder to get graduate level jobs

once they do graduate.

0:18:020:18:04

Is charging £9,000 a year justified?

0:18:040:18:08

In other words, is it worth

going to university at all?

0:18:080:18:12

If they're charging £9,000.

0:18:120:18:13

All right, John Prescott?

0:18:130:18:14

This whole business of...

0:18:140:18:15

We had a statement this

week about 18 plus,

0:18:150:18:18

about the education money and how

it is used, but in reality,

0:18:180:18:21

the actual debts that have totalled

up for

0:18:210:18:22

those graduates to get

them is impossible.

0:18:220:18:24

More than that, many of them are not

paying it and won't pay

0:18:240:18:27

it, so you really have to ask

yourselves, was it worthwhile?

0:18:270:18:30

And Labour brought

in the first charges,

0:18:300:18:32

had a disagreement, because I belong

to the graduate tax was a better way

0:18:320:18:35

of doing it.

0:18:350:18:36

But it went from 3000 to

0:18:360:18:37

nearly 9000, and now you've got

massive debts which they can't

0:18:370:18:40

afford.

0:18:400:18:41

Many being put off to go

to the universities.

0:18:410:18:43

And really, you've got

to get a more realistic

0:18:430:18:45

assessment about the

distribution on education.

0:18:450:18:47

I was 25 before I went

to education, a mature grounds.

0:18:470:18:49

I could not have done

it with two children

0:18:490:18:52

without a mature student's grant,

which meant you were over 25.

0:18:520:18:54

They have been rubbished altogether.

0:18:540:18:55

There are 100,000 left in part-time

work and university.

0:18:550:18:58

Greater priority should

be given to that,

0:18:580:18:59

because they are the very skills

that those who failed like me when

0:18:590:19:03

they had the test at

the 11 plus can come back

0:19:030:19:05

later into education

and

0:19:050:19:06

are afraid the cuts have not

hundreds of thousands of them out of

0:19:060:19:09

the possibility, so it's more than

just the grant for the students.

0:19:090:19:17

Juergen...

0:19:170:19:24

We recruit a lot of graduates and

indeed apprentices here in the UK,

0:19:260:19:29

and our experience is that

the graduate we recruit are pretty

0:19:290:19:32

excellent.

0:19:320:19:34

I think we have brilliant British

universities, high-class

0:19:340:19:36

universities, but at

the end of the day, that

0:19:360:19:38

does all need paid for.

0:19:380:19:42

This is a discussion

which is happening not just

0:19:420:19:45

here in the UK but everywhere.

0:19:450:19:47

I personally think we have come

up with quite a good

0:19:470:19:53

system, which is that there

is a payment of tuition fees.

0:19:530:19:56

However, it is not paid

back until graduates are

0:19:560:19:58

in a position to be

earning higher salaries.

0:19:580:20:03

And that actually seems quite fair

to me that those who are

0:20:030:20:06

earning higher salaries end up

paying a little bit back for the

0:20:060:20:09

education that they have had.

0:20:090:20:12

I do think there are

some small things we

0:20:120:20:14

could tweak - interest rates

seem to be a bit high

0:20:140:20:16

on the student loans.

0:20:160:20:17

I do think there is an opportunity

to bring back maintenance grants to

0:20:170:20:22

help the people who are less well

off and to help them on the ladder

0:20:220:20:26

of going to university.

0:20:260:20:27

But all in all, I think

it's a pretty fair

0:20:270:20:29

system.

0:20:290:20:30

And when the Prime Minister says,

as she did this week, that

0:20:300:20:33

it's the most expensive

system of university

0:20:330:20:35

tuition in the world,

or

0:20:350:20:36

one of them, you think

that's a price worth

0:20:360:20:38

paying for what we get?

0:20:380:20:40

I think it is, on the basis

that the graduates only pay back

0:20:400:20:43

the money once you are earning

above a threshold.

0:20:430:20:48

If I may just add one other point,

I do think we might be

0:20:480:20:51

having the wrong debate.

0:20:510:20:53

I don't think the issue

in the UK is our

0:20:530:20:56

higher education system.

0:20:560:20:57

I think it is great.

0:20:570:20:59

I think where we need to put much

more focus and support is

0:20:590:21:02

on apprenticeships,

vocational training.

0:21:020:21:09

And the key issue is, what we have

is a level of educational

0:21:090:21:14

snobbery.

0:21:140:21:20

And what we have to do is to say,

look, graduate education,

0:21:200:21:23

brilliant - it's going

to cost you some money.

0:21:230:21:25

Apprenticeship, also brilliant,

and it's absolutely on a

0:21:250:21:27

par.

0:21:270:21:28

Both of them, we need

to lift the standards.

0:21:280:21:33

What's your take on that, Dan?

0:21:330:21:41

I'd say, even though you don't pay

back until you are earning

0:21:420:21:45

the higher amount, you do have

that hanging over you.

0:21:450:21:53

Even if you don't get to pay

the full amount back

0:21:550:21:58

because you don't earn enough, that

debt is still there over your head

0:21:580:22:01

at all times.

0:22:010:22:02

Even though you only pay

after 25,000 earnings at £9 in

0:22:020:22:05

100, I think.

0:22:050:22:06

Something like that.

0:22:060:22:08

What do you think up there?

0:22:080:22:12

Let's hear from some more people.

0:22:120:22:17

From the woman there.

0:22:170:22:18

Yes, you first.

0:22:180:22:19

I graduated in 2013.

0:22:190:22:21

I was fortunate

enough to pay £3500 a

0:22:210:22:22

year.

0:22:220:22:23

I don't think it was worth that.

0:22:230:22:25

I certainly don't think it's

worth £9,000 a year.

0:22:250:22:27

£3500 wasn't worth it?

0:22:270:22:28

What happened to you?

0:22:280:22:29

I became successful,

but I thought the

0:22:290:22:31

quality of teaching,

I thought the university itself,

0:22:310:22:33

it just wasn't worth the money.

0:22:330:22:34

Sorry to be rude, but what did

you go on to do after

0:22:340:22:37

you'd been to university?

0:22:370:22:38

An account manager

at n-power currently.

0:22:380:22:40

I feel as though I have

progressed quite

0:22:400:22:42

well with my degree.

0:22:420:22:43

But in terms of the subject

itself, I think there

0:22:430:22:45

has to be a bit more of a balance

going through sixth form.

0:22:450:22:48

I was very much streamlined

into university, so

0:22:480:22:50

I completely agree with

what Juergen was saying.

0:22:500:22:52

There was no real option other

than university, being

0:22:520:22:54

encouraged there, so I think...

0:22:540:22:56

OK, and the woman there.

0:22:560:22:57

Yes.

0:22:570:22:59

It's approximately 15%

of people will pay

0:22:590:23:01

back their entire student loan,

so once we just creating

0:23:010:23:09

back their entire student loan,

--so aren't we just creating

0:23:090:23:12

a problem for the future?

0:23:120:23:13

Plus, the starting wage

for a lot of graduate jobs is

0:23:130:23:15

actually less than the £25,000,

when people start paying.

0:23:150:23:18

So, a nurse, a teacher,

they all earn less than

0:23:180:23:20

that on their starting wage,

so to become a graduate doesn't

0:23:200:23:23

automatically mean that

you're going to get

0:23:230:23:24

a better paid job,

and even

0:23:240:23:26

if you do, only a very small

percentage of those people will

0:23:260:23:29

actually end up paying the money.

0:23:290:23:36

You mean, it's painful

for the taxpayer in the end but

0:23:360:23:38

not for the person?

0:23:380:23:39

In the long-term, yeah.

0:23:390:23:40

Do you agree with that?

0:23:400:23:42

I think that if you axe tuition fees

altogether there's an

0:23:420:23:44

argument that you're going to put

the cost burden onto nongraduates,

0:23:440:23:47

and they might earn less over

the course of their career anyway.

0:23:470:23:50

I do think that we are

a bit too obsessed

0:23:500:23:52

with university.

0:23:520:23:53

In certain sectors of society,

it's as if roads only

0:23:530:23:58

lead to PPE at Oxford.

0:23:580:23:59

I know a great many

more people who are

0:23:590:24:01

successful in life who haven't gone

to Oxbridge or a similar university.

0:24:010:24:04

And equally, I think

perhaps careers advice

0:24:040:24:06

could be better in schools

so

0:24:060:24:08

that children aren't always

channelled into university first.

0:24:080:24:09

Why don't more employers think a bit

more creatively, and instead of

0:24:090:24:12

having this minimum,

you must have a degree,

0:24:120:24:14

broaden their horizons?

0:24:140:24:22

There are nondegree, or nonacademic,

kids out there that have a great

0:24:220:24:25

deal to offer.

0:24:250:24:26

Grant Thornton, I think,

did a great experiment where

0:24:260:24:28

they cut the minimum

for having graduates,

0:24:280:24:32

and lo and behold,

of the

0:24:320:24:33

nongraduates that came

through, a great many

0:24:330:24:34

of them really thrived

in

0:24:340:24:36

their top performance band.

0:24:360:24:37

So actually, I think we need to...

0:24:370:24:40

APPLAUSE

0:24:400:24:43

Move away

from our university

0:24:430:24:44

obsession.

0:24:440:24:45

OK, Ash.

0:24:450:24:46

Look, I entirely agree

that we shouldn't have

0:24:460:24:48

nongraduates bearing the burden

for the cost of university.

0:24:480:24:50

That's why I think

we need to close tax

0:24:500:24:53

loopholes, I think we need

to reverse planned reductions to

0:24:530:24:55

capital gains and corporation tax

and have those corporations which

0:24:550:24:57

benefit from an educated workforce

putting in some money to make sure

0:24:570:25:00

that happens.

0:25:000:25:08

introduction of 9K fees is a 0.5%

year on year increase in the

0:25:100:25:13

dropout rate.

0:25:130:25:14

So you've got 6% of students

who don't make it from

0:25:140:25:16

first year to second year.

0:25:160:25:18

For one of my sins,

I also moonlight as a

0:25:180:25:20

lecturer.

0:25:200:25:21

In that context, where you've got

students who are really

0:25:210:25:24

struggling to pay the everyday costs

of their living, they are anxious

0:25:240:25:28

because of mounting debt, and also

they are being taught by people.

0:25:280:25:31

I'm really sorry that you had such

a poor experience of teaching.

0:25:310:25:34

But they are being

taught by people like

0:25:340:25:36

myself, who, in some cases, don't

even have a pension, or are having

0:25:360:25:39

their pensions raided by management.

0:25:390:25:42

You can't provide a good

standard of education

0:25:420:25:44

in those settings,

so what

0:25:440:25:47

we need to do is also restructure

universities internally.

0:25:470:25:49

It's not right that

some lecturers end up

0:25:490:25:51

making roughly minimum

wage while vice

0:25:510:25:53

chancellors' pay blossoms

to in

0:25:530:25:55

some cases over £300,000 per year.

0:25:550:25:56

That's ridiculous.

0:25:560:25:58

OK, the man up there

at the very back.

0:25:580:26:01

We have a lot of men

with hands up and not

0:26:010:26:04

very many women.

0:26:040:26:05

I don't know why.

0:26:050:26:06

You, yes, sir.

0:26:060:26:10

I was going to say that

when it comes to university

0:26:100:26:12

degrees, I think there should be

a lot more joined up thinking

0:26:120:26:15

between what universities offer

and what

0:26:150:26:17

business and industry want in terms

of professionals, professional

0:26:170:26:19

degrees.

0:26:190:26:22

I can only speak for science.

0:26:220:26:25

I think it's a shame when I see

science graduates and their

0:26:250:26:28

first job is in a coffee shop.

0:26:280:26:30

It's a shame.

0:26:300:26:33

I think the universities,

with the tuition fees, they've

0:26:330:26:35

turned themselves into businesses.

0:26:350:26:38

They are interested in getting money

in, and when a science graduate

0:26:380:26:41

comes out, job done.

0:26:410:26:46

Universities are wealthy

but there hasn't been

0:26:460:26:49

enough joined up thinking

between the degrees

0:26:490:26:50

and what the country needs.

0:26:500:26:53

APPLAUSE

0:26:530:27:00

I agree with a number of the

0:27:000:27:05

points that have been made,

actually, particularly

0:27:050:27:06

around the core point

0:27:060:27:07

around the university fees.

0:27:070:27:08

I'm having the experience, I have a

0:27:080:27:10

son who is looking

at what he might be

0:27:100:27:12

doing it university,

and the

0:27:120:27:13

point I've been making to him

and some of his friends is,

0:27:130:27:16

I think it is important that

students looking

0:27:160:27:18

at university should act as

consumers and look at what they are

0:27:180:27:21

getting in terms of where they will

go, and what they will study.

0:27:210:27:24

It comes back to

the gentleman's point

0:27:240:27:26

around exactly what you want to do

after your degree and what

0:27:260:27:29

universities going to

work for you in terms

0:27:290:27:31

of the career you want

to

0:27:310:27:32

have to make sure you get

good value for money.

0:27:320:27:40

For the scheme overall,

we have one that means our

0:27:400:27:42

universities are well

funded, they are providing

0:27:420:27:44

excellent education.

0:27:440:27:45

We are the envy of the world.

0:27:450:27:46

Even today, we've seen again

international students growing.

0:27:460:27:48

That's a good thing, and again,

it highlights along with more

0:27:480:27:51

and more students from this country

from all

0:27:510:27:53

backgrounds, including

deprived backgrounds,

0:27:530:27:54

more and more going to university,

but I also think there

0:27:540:27:56

is a really important point that

Juergen and a few people have made

0:28:010:28:04

this evening, which is exactly

what is outlined in the review

0:28:040:28:07

is that the Prime Minister outlined

this

0:28:070:28:08

week.

0:28:080:28:09

It's not just looking

at the university fees

0:28:090:28:11

and whether that is right.

0:28:110:28:12

I think we've got a system that has

worked, and it's right that

0:28:120:28:16

we look now at what happens in the

next five and ten years and learn

0:28:160:28:19

from the last few years.

0:28:190:28:21

But also looking beyond

university, exactly

0:28:210:28:22

that point around apprenticeships

and people going into vocational

0:28:220:28:24

skills, whether it's in a business

like the one we are in or Siemens

0:28:240:28:27

or anywhere else.

0:28:270:28:28

Actually, there are some

phenomenal opportunities

0:28:280:28:30

and some hugely successful people

who didn't go to universities, and

0:28:300:28:32

actually giving people that

opportunity through T Levels, they

0:28:320:28:35

are coming forward, and other

things, to look at what is right for

0:28:350:28:38

them to have the best career

and the most fulfilling life

0:28:380:28:40

when they go forward.

0:28:400:28:41

And is it your plan to keep

university fees at 9250

0:28:410:28:44

as they are at the moment,

or would you like to see

0:28:440:28:47

them cut, should I say

before the next election?

0:28:470:28:49

Well, we've got this review.

0:28:490:28:51

I'm not going to prejudge the review

but independent experts will sit

0:28:510:28:53

on that review which will report

back later this year,

0:28:530:28:56

that's looking both at universities,

including the fees and the rate

0:28:560:28:58

and everything else,

but also at T levels

0:28:580:29:00

and vocational skills,

because I think we do need to do

0:29:000:29:03

better as a country at making people

aware of what the opportunities

0:29:030:29:06

are for vocational work as well.

0:29:060:29:07

Let's go on because

time is against us.

0:29:070:29:09

Peter Wilmot, let's

have your question, please.

0:29:090:29:11

Is the proposed transition

period just a cynical

0:29:110:29:12

attempt to stop Brexit?

0:29:120:29:14

Brexit rears its head!

0:29:140:29:18

The two-year transition you're

talking about, Peter, yes?

0:29:180:29:21

Is it a cynical attempt

to stop Brexit?

0:29:210:29:25

I won't come to you, Brandon,

because you were just talking.

0:29:250:29:28

Juergen, you start on this one.

0:29:280:29:29

Well, I think whichever side

of the argument you are on,

0:29:290:29:36

or were on, one thing that I think

we are agreeing on more and more

0:29:360:29:39

is the fact that getting the right

deal for Brexit is turning out to be

0:29:390:29:44

hugely more complex than I think

we had all anticipated.

0:29:440:29:51

And look, I'm not arguing here for,

you know, we've made

0:29:510:29:55

the wrong decision.

0:29:550:29:58

I was clear the day the country

voted to leave the EU,

0:29:580:30:00

we are leaving the EU.

0:30:000:30:06

What we are now talking

about is how do we leave the EU.

0:30:060:30:09

And that is a massive,

massive complex issue and a very

0:30:090:30:12

difficult negotiation.

0:30:120:30:14

And to me, it seems that there

is one key argument, and that is,

0:30:140:30:19

you've got that one side

of the extreme, we basically

0:30:190:30:23

have a very sort of EU-lite,

and we stay very close

0:30:230:30:25

to as it is today.

0:30:250:30:28

That, by the way, I don't hide

at all, is the position that

0:30:280:30:31

I would prefer to take,

as a businessman in the UK.

0:30:310:30:34

But I've accepted that

that is probably not

0:30:340:30:38

what the British people voted for.

0:30:380:30:39

The British people voted

for something which gives us

0:30:390:30:42

a little bit more sovereignty,

which means that we can take back

0:30:420:30:45

a little bit more control.

0:30:450:30:47

And it means that we restrict

free movement of people.

0:30:470:30:49

I've accepted that.

0:30:490:30:51

Do you have any idea

where it's going?

0:30:510:30:53

Well, having said that,

what I don't accept is that there

0:30:530:30:55

is utopia at the other end

of the extreme, which is that we can

0:30:550:30:59

crash out, we can go on WTO rules

and we can trade with the rest

0:30:590:31:02

of the world.

0:31:020:31:06

I just don't accept that situation,

because I think whilst that

0:31:060:31:08

will give you more sovereignty,

we would be trading economic upside.

0:31:080:31:13

We would be worse off.

0:31:130:31:14

So I think, to come back

to your question there,

0:31:140:31:17

we need middle ground.

0:31:170:31:18

We need middle ground,

a sensible Brexit which is good

0:31:180:31:21

for business, keeps economy,

but gives us some more sovereignty.

0:31:210:31:24

But that, Peter, is exactly

what you are objecting to, isn't it?

0:31:240:31:30

I hear what you say and I entirely

accept that we need a good deal.

0:31:300:31:34

But I also believe that the EU needs

a good deal, too, and they don't

0:31:340:31:39

seem to be offering anything.

0:31:390:31:41

The ball's in our court.

0:31:410:31:42

APPLAUSE

0:31:420:31:47

And I'd don't see why.

0:31:470:31:50

But my point is, if I may just come

back, is that the better way to get

0:31:500:31:53

the deal is to go for something

that is middle ground.

0:31:530:31:56

The way to not get the deal

is to say we're going to crash out,

0:31:560:31:59

it's going to be...

0:31:590:32:00

Because at the end of the day we do

need to stay friendly

0:32:000:32:03

with our neighbours.

0:32:030:32:07

And the best way to do

that is to have a sensible

0:32:070:32:10

negotiated position.

0:32:100:32:11

I'll come back to you.

0:32:110:32:12

Let me just go around

the table for a bit.

0:32:120:32:15

Camilla.

0:32:150:32:16

I think it's a mischaracterisation

to call it a transition period.

0:32:160:32:19

It's meant to be an

implementation period.

0:32:190:32:22

It's meant to be the period

in which we implement, practically,

0:32:220:32:25

Brexit, and that means

setting up new channels

0:32:250:32:27

at Heathrow and all the other

different practical implications.

0:32:270:32:30

I think if the EU is trying to keep

us in Brexit in name only,

0:32:300:32:34

so-called Brino, then that is wrong.

0:32:340:32:38

That is not what the

Leavers voted for.

0:32:380:32:41

Equally, I think if the EU is trying

to prohibit us from forging

0:32:410:32:45

new trade deals with other countries

during that period, then again

0:32:450:32:47

that's not what we voted for.

0:32:470:32:50

Of course it's in the EU.

0:32:500:32:52

And when I talk about the EU I mean

the political Brussels zealots

0:32:520:32:56

who absolutely don't want to give us

a deal which could make us

0:32:560:32:59

thrive more than them

and be more competitive.

0:32:590:33:03

That's one thing.

0:33:030:33:04

But I think if you go

around Europe and actually

0:33:040:33:06

speak to European people,

and particularly businesses,

0:33:060:33:08

they agree with the British.

0:33:080:33:10

They want a free trade deal.

0:33:100:33:12

Why wouldn't they?

0:33:120:33:18

APPLAUSE

0:33:180:33:22

John Prescott.

0:33:220:33:24

I fought in the 1975 election

to keep out of the EU,

0:33:240:33:27

or the Common Market as it was then,

because I thought it was going to be

0:33:270:33:33

the United States of Europe, a kind

of state which I didn't believe in.

0:33:330:33:37

I lost.

0:33:370:33:38

In this one, I fought to remain

and to stay in, and I lost.

0:33:380:33:43

And that is one of the difficulties.

0:33:430:33:45

And this week we've seen that red

bus weeks ago going around saying

0:33:450:33:48

£350 million would come each day

to the NHS.

0:33:480:33:53

And I think it's the same bus

by different people was going around

0:33:530:33:56

saying it's going to cost

us a billion.

0:33:560:34:00

The reality is, it is difficult

to know the full consequences.

0:34:000:34:04

It's complicated.

0:34:040:34:05

But the issues are clear.

0:34:050:34:06

Get out, or stay in.

0:34:060:34:08

Now, they are clear positions.

0:34:080:34:10

The trouble is the government

doesn't know what it wants to do.

0:34:100:34:13

It is disunited.

0:34:130:34:14

It can't give a united position.

0:34:140:34:18

Does Labour know

what it wants to do?

0:34:180:34:20

No.

0:34:200:34:21

Have you got a problem?

0:34:210:34:24

No, I'm saying Labour doesn't know

what it wants to do.

0:34:240:34:26

Are you saying that,

or shall I explain it?

0:34:260:34:29

OK, please try.

0:34:290:34:30

But you're coming to an opinion

before you hear me?

0:34:300:34:32

Well, I think most people's

opinion is that Labour...

0:34:320:34:34

That's the Sunday Express!

0:34:340:34:35

APPLAUSE

0:34:350:34:36

Labour's position

has been a bit sketchy.

0:34:360:34:42

Let me answer it.

0:34:420:34:43

You obviously don't understand it.

0:34:430:34:44

What we did say, and I didn't

like the idea, that basically

0:34:440:34:47

we recognise the public opinion

to come out.

0:34:470:34:49

And then we got a lot of trouble

for supporting the government

0:34:490:34:52

when it came to that section 50,

and we said that's what

0:34:520:34:55

the people have spoken.

0:34:550:34:56

We don't want to be

defying the people.

0:34:560:34:58

But we have a clear opinion that

whatever you negotiate,

0:34:580:35:02

we have certain red lines.

0:35:020:35:04

One of them is, we want to still be

trading with the European Community,

0:35:040:35:09

that we want, therefore, the tariff

business to be controlled.

0:35:090:35:15

That's definite for our industry.

0:35:150:35:17

And some conditions

about free movement.

0:35:170:35:20

But we cannot give you the full

position until the government

0:35:200:35:25

negotiate what the final deal is.

0:35:250:35:26

Then we reserve the right to say,

and we forced it in Parliament,

0:35:260:35:29

Parliament will make a decision.

0:35:290:35:31

That's what we've agreed,

but they've got to make up

0:35:310:35:33

their mind what they are asking for.

0:35:330:35:36

And when I hear people saying to me,

well, the government is disunited,

0:35:360:35:39

not in unity, of course that's true.

0:35:390:35:42

But if you're a negotiator

and you're leaving and you don't

0:35:420:35:46

know what you want to leave for,

don't be surprised if Europe looks

0:35:460:35:49

aghast at us that we are all over

the shop and we don't know

0:35:490:35:52

what we want.

0:35:520:35:53

APPLAUSE

0:35:530:36:00

And according to press reports...

0:36:000:36:01

Which paper?

0:36:010:36:04

Well, I think leaked

by Jeremy Corbyn's staff.

0:36:040:36:08

On Monday, Labour is going to come

out in favour of remaining

0:36:080:36:15

in the customs union.

0:36:150:36:16

Had you heard that?

0:36:160:36:17

I've read it a few times,

as you must have done.

0:36:170:36:20

Do you believe it?

0:36:200:36:21

I believe that there is a role

for the customs union, yes.

0:36:210:36:24

That is one of the options.

0:36:240:36:25

That is what they are

discussing at Chequers today.

0:36:250:36:29

They say they don't

want customs union.

0:36:290:36:31

If we say you're not going

to have an agreement with them,

0:36:310:36:33

then you'll have total failure.

0:36:330:36:36

What would be the worst

of all things would be

0:36:360:36:38

to have total failure,

pull out, we're not

0:36:380:36:40

prepared to do that.

0:36:400:36:41

And if the customs union is one

of the areas you can find agreement,

0:36:410:36:44

and it meets our conditions

that we want, yes, I'm

0:36:440:36:47

sure we'll consider it.

0:36:470:36:48

Don't believe everything

you read in the press.

0:36:480:36:51

Brandon Lewis.

0:36:510:36:52

Well, I found John's contribution

fascinating, because I do

0:36:520:36:59

think there is confusion.

0:36:590:37:00

Not least of all because just today

John McDonnell has opened the door

0:37:000:37:03

to a second referendum,

something Diane Abbott

0:37:030:37:05

has argued for as well.

0:37:050:37:06

So I think we do need to be clear

Labour really do not

0:37:060:37:09

have a set position.

0:37:090:37:10

But to come back to the question

that Peter directly asked...

0:37:100:37:13

What about staying

in the customs union?

0:37:130:37:14

I was going to come back to the very

question that Peter asked

0:37:140:37:17

initially about this.

0:37:170:37:18

I think the short answer is no,

as Camilla rightly outlined.

0:37:180:37:21

That implementation period is not

just to allow businesses to prepare

0:37:210:37:24

for what that final end

state will be.

0:37:240:37:26

There is work to do.

0:37:260:37:27

As someone who has been

Immigration Minister

0:37:270:37:28

until just a few weeks ago,

to make sure we've got

0:37:280:37:31

the systems in place,

not least of all to process not just

0:37:310:37:34

the European citizens,

almost 3.5 million who will now have

0:37:340:37:36

settled status here,

but a million Brits abroad.

0:37:360:37:39

All of that kind of work has to be

done in a way that is good

0:37:390:37:43

for people and business as well,

so it's smooth and it works.

0:37:430:37:45

I think that's what that's about.

0:37:450:37:47

But we have been very clear

from the very beginning.

0:37:470:37:51

The Prime Minister has been

absolutely crystal clear on this.

0:37:510:37:54

We are leaving the European Union.

0:37:540:37:55

We are going to leave

the customs union, we will

0:37:550:37:58

leave the single market.

0:37:580:37:59

And today some of my colleagues

from the subcommittee

0:37:590:38:01

of the Cabinet have been meeting,

as John said, at Chequers,

0:38:010:38:03

going through various sectors,

talking about various sectors,

0:38:030:38:07

agriculture, automotives,

the digital economy,

0:38:070:38:09

and the Prime Minister

going through our future

0:38:090:38:11

economic relationship.

0:38:110:38:14

And I can say to you that

the outcome of those discussions

0:38:140:38:18

will come to Cabinet

in the next few days.

0:38:180:38:20

And late next week the Prime

Minister will make a statement,

0:38:200:38:23

make a speech and outline

what that position is.

0:38:230:38:25

Which everybody agrees

in the Cabinet?

0:38:250:38:26

Absolutely, yes.

0:38:260:38:27

So no more letter writing?

0:38:270:38:29

I'll wait to see that one!

0:38:290:38:31

The woman there in the third

row from the back.

0:38:310:38:33

Yes, you.

0:38:330:38:34

I think the transition period

is good, and the reason is,

0:38:340:38:37

from now to the 29th of March 2019

there is 280 working days.

0:38:370:38:41

And when you start to look

at the number of policies

0:38:410:38:43

and procedures which the government

have to run through to make Brexit

0:38:430:38:47

a success, whether it's the aircraft

that fly in our sky,

0:38:470:38:50

which is governed by EASA,

whether it's the trade of animals

0:38:500:38:53

that move through our ports

at Calais, you look at an example

0:38:530:38:57

this week of a fast food supply

who changed its distributor,

0:38:570:39:00

and look at the problems

that's caused.

0:39:000:39:01

These are fantastically complicated

things we've got to solve,

0:39:010:39:04

and I think we need that period

of time to complete it successfully.

0:39:040:39:07

You mean KFC is an object lesson

for the British economy?

0:39:070:39:10

APPLAUSE

0:39:100:39:17

Yes, the person there.

0:39:170:39:18

Yes, you.

0:39:180:39:19

There's this preoccupation that

time's running out for us.

0:39:190:39:21

Is there concern that the time

is running out for French farmers,

0:39:210:39:25

for German car manufacturers?

0:39:250:39:27

APPLAUSE

0:39:270:39:31

For Spanish tourist resorts?

0:39:310:39:34

And last of all, is time running out

for the Italian politicians who've

0:39:340:39:37

got a debt that makes ours look

like Toytown, and also they've got

0:39:370:39:42

elections coming up and youth

unemployment of 60%?

0:39:420:39:46

You talk about time running out.

0:39:460:39:49

Do you think time is running out

for this government,

0:39:490:39:51

or are you happy with the way

things are going?

0:39:510:39:53

Happy with the way

that things are going.

0:39:530:39:55

Ash.

0:39:550:39:56

I really appreciate

an apocalyptic tone.

0:39:560:39:59

It feels very dramatic.

0:39:590:40:00

I would say that a lot of this

bellicose tone of "they need us

0:40:000:40:04

more than we need them",

I'm afraid sounds quite deluded.

0:40:040:40:09

We're in a context where crashing

out on WTO terms would mean a 13%

0:40:090:40:14

dip in growth for this region

that we are in right now.

0:40:140:40:20

Just recently we had farmers appeal

to Michael Gove because there

0:40:200:40:23

is an agricultural staffing crisis.

0:40:230:40:26

Now, I'm not going to say

that remaining in the EU

0:40:260:40:29

would solve all those problems.

0:40:290:40:30

I don't think it would.

0:40:300:40:31

I think it means we need

more robust discussions

0:40:310:40:33

on what kind of Brexit we want.

0:40:330:40:35

I think preserving the customs union

is essential to protecting

0:40:350:40:38

the perishable goods trade.

0:40:380:40:40

I think we need guarantees from this

Tory government that it

0:40:400:40:43

will protect British Steel.

0:40:430:40:46

British Steel is very vulnerable.

0:40:460:40:49

We need commitments that it's not

just going to be a bankers' Brexit

0:40:490:40:52

which rips up workers' rights

for the many and preserves the

0:40:520:40:55

privilege and the power of the few.

0:40:550:40:57

Those are my priorities as a voter.

0:40:570:40:58

And I'd like to see some concrete

commitment to those things.

0:40:580:41:02

APPLAUSE

0:41:020:41:08

I see an arm in the air,

black and red.

0:41:080:41:11

Yes, you, madam.

0:41:110:41:13

What I'd like to say

is that the point everybody's

0:41:130:41:17

missing is that the EU don't

want to give us a good deal,

0:41:170:41:20

because everybody else

will want to leave.

0:41:200:41:22

And that is the Italians

want to leave.

0:41:220:41:26

I know the Dutch want to leave.

0:41:260:41:28

There's quite a few different

countries want to leave.

0:41:280:41:30

So Mr Juncker, all he wants

to do is be awkward.

0:41:300:41:34

It was obvious with David Cameron

what he hit before we had

0:41:340:41:39

Theresa May, and she started off

by saying we'll have no deal,

0:41:390:41:43

it's better than a bad deal.

0:41:430:41:45

Now, I think they are

playing games a bit.

0:41:450:41:48

They are the ones that

are prolonging it.

0:41:480:41:50

And it's not really

getting anywhere.

0:41:500:41:54

And the idea is we voted to leave

and we voted to leave

0:41:540:41:57

because we don't want

the immigration going as it is.

0:41:570:42:01

We want all these things addressing.

0:42:010:42:03

But the problem is, I don't think

they want to give us a deal.

0:42:030:42:07

They are the ones that are dragging

their feet more than we are.

0:42:070:42:11

I would like to challenge that.

0:42:110:42:13

Which bit do you want to challenge?

0:42:130:42:18

The "they don't want

to give us a deal" bit.

0:42:180:42:21

But she also says everybody

wants to leave anyway.

0:42:210:42:24

Which is also not true.

0:42:240:42:25

I don't agree.

0:42:250:42:27

I don't think you did

say that, did you?

0:42:270:42:29

I said that there's a few countries

that would like to leave

0:42:290:42:32

and they are using this

as an example to put them off.

0:42:320:42:35

You actually talk to people

in those countries.

0:42:350:42:38

When they actually joined the EU,

it went up by an awful amount.

0:42:380:42:42

They actually used it

to increase prices.

0:42:420:42:44

And I know that because I've been

to some of those countries

0:42:440:42:47

and witnessed it, OK.

0:42:470:42:49

And I've got family that live

in those countries as well.

0:42:490:42:51

Well, look, I've spent

a lot of time living

0:42:510:42:54

and working in those countries.

0:42:540:42:56

But that's your opinion, isn't it?

0:42:560:42:58

And I really don't speak to anybody

who is out to punish the UK.

0:42:580:43:03

So you think they are being

very cooperative then?

0:43:030:43:06

Well, look, at the end of the day...

0:43:060:43:08

They are not, though, are they?

0:43:080:43:11

They want to know what we want.

0:43:110:43:13

They didn't want us

to leave, you know.

0:43:130:43:15

They are basically saying, look,

we're terribly sorry but actually

0:43:150:43:17

it is in our interest that we remain

friends at the end of this,

0:43:170:43:22

and definitely it's in our

interest that we remain...

0:43:220:43:27

But it's not about remaining

friends, it's about them giving us a

0:43:270:43:30

deal.

0:43:300:43:31

It is, and we need

to remain trading.

0:43:310:43:33

That is really my point.

0:43:330:43:41

I also want to say to the other

gentleman's point that what this

0:43:430:43:46

whole argument is proving is that

the whole thing is so complicated,

0:43:460:43:49

we haven't yet worked

out what the actual

0:43:490:43:51

best way to leave is,

so the

0:43:510:43:52

transition deal is absolutely

essential to just buy ours that time

0:43:520:43:55

to calm down a little bit,

look at the facts in terms

0:43:550:43:58

of what is best for us,

what is for the other side,

0:43:580:44:01

and my gut feeling is,

in the end, we will come

0:44:010:44:03

down and we will find

a

0:44:030:44:05

sensible agreement

that keeps us trading.

0:44:050:44:06

I wouldn't rule out

the customs union.

0:44:060:44:08

I don't think it's the customs

union, I think it's a

0:44:080:44:11

slightly different

version of a customs

0:44:110:44:12

union, but something

that

0:44:120:44:13

allows businesses

like JCB and Siemens,

0:44:130:44:15

but more importantly,

the

0:44:150:44:16

smaller companies, to be able

to trade without tariffs.

0:44:160:44:19

All right, a last

point from you, sir.

0:44:190:44:21

Briefly, if you would.

0:44:210:44:29

Is it time that we stop

calling it Brexit?

0:44:340:44:37

The reason I say that

is because if you take

0:44:370:44:39

a constant and splice

it

0:44:390:44:41

together with a variable, you end up

with a variable, and that's what

0:44:410:44:43

Brexit is.

0:44:430:44:44

The constant is independence,

which is what we voted

0:44:440:44:47

for, and the variable is the deal.

0:44:470:44:48

Independence, you can't have a hard

or soft independence, and we don't

0:44:480:44:51

want some of our sovereignty back,

we want all of our sovereignty back.

0:44:510:44:56

APPLAUSE

0:44:560:45:03

Let's move on.

0:45:030:45:07

Libby Astbury, can we have

your question, please?

0:45:070:45:09

For how much longer

will the world watched

0:45:090:45:11

the war in Syria and allow

so many people to die?

0:45:110:45:13

APPLAUSE

0:45:130:45:21

Ash...

0:45:210:45:25

I think what we've seen in Syria

is an unprecedented level

0:45:250:45:28

of bloodshed and displacement,

and I think the first thing

0:45:280:45:31

that we can do as countries

which are privileged to

0:45:310:45:36

not be plunged into that kind of

0:45:360:45:38

conflict is to accept more of those

people who are displaced by

0:45:380:45:41

conflict.

0:45:410:45:47

I think we need to take a really

good long hard look at how

0:45:470:45:50

we treat refugees in this country.

0:45:500:45:52

Just yesterday, 120 people

at the Yarlswood Detention centre

0:45:520:45:54

have gone on hunger strike

for things as

0:45:540:45:56

basic as health care,

to have their cases heard

0:45:560:45:58

by a judge, and to have sexual

violence classified as

0:45:580:46:00

torture.

0:46:000:46:04

I know that you were immigration

Minister for a long

0:46:040:46:06

time, and I would like to ask you...

0:46:060:46:09

Sorry, I'm going to interrupt you...

0:46:090:46:11

What your views are on the

acceptance of treatment of refugees

0:46:110:46:13

in this country.

0:46:130:46:15

All right, we may come to that,

but can become to the

0:46:150:46:18

war in Syria, which is

what the question was about?

0:46:180:46:20

I know you want to say

that, or may want to say

0:46:200:46:23

that, but what about the war

in Syria, what should be done?

0:46:230:46:26

So, I think the first

commitment is to

0:46:260:46:28

absorbing more refugees.

0:46:280:46:29

I think the second

commitment would have to be

0:46:290:46:31

looking very carefully at Britain's

arms dealing policies.

0:46:310:46:33

I think that Britain's arms

dealing policies have

0:46:330:46:35

led to as much, as much

as its own military

0:46:350:46:38

interventions, has led

to

0:46:380:46:39

destabilisation of the middle

east as a region.

0:46:390:46:41

I think that those are two very

concrete aims that we can

0:46:410:46:43

pursue.

0:46:430:46:44

I'll come to your point later.

0:46:440:46:46

Camilla Tominey, do you think

there's more or anything that this

0:46:460:46:52

country can do, that others

can do in Syria now?

0:46:520:46:54

I suppose we've got

a history of brokering

0:46:540:46:56

peace.

0:46:560:46:57

Is it our place to go and do

that in the Middle East?

0:46:570:47:01

I don't think anyone

can look at any of the

0:47:010:47:03

images that come out of Syria these

days and not feel desperately sorry

0:47:030:47:06

for what is a gargantuan

human tragedy.

0:47:060:47:08

And again, we always say

after these horrific incidents,

0:47:080:47:10

never again, never again.

0:47:100:47:11

But equally, I think

there's a sense as

0:47:110:47:13

well that in terms of foreign

policy, intervention hasn't been

0:47:130:47:16

successful either,

and bringing people

0:47:160:47:17

together on both sides

of the

0:47:170:47:18

table doesn't seem to work.

0:47:180:47:24

Obviously, there's been great gains

against Daesh, and that should not

0:47:240:47:27

be underestimated,

but if you actually

0:47:270:47:29

listen to the people

on the

0:47:290:47:31

ground, the absolute abject horror

of what people are going through

0:47:310:47:34

there, I think, to be

perfectly honest,

0:47:340:47:36

as we sit here cosily

in

0:47:360:47:38

Question Time, it's beyond

the comprehension of most people.

0:47:380:47:41

I disagree.

0:47:410:47:42

I think Britain, by the way,

is a very compassionate

0:47:420:47:45

country.

0:47:450:47:46

I think we've been very

welcoming to asylum seekers.

0:47:460:47:48

Our Government isn't.

0:47:480:47:49

Well, I think the general

public, generally, when

0:47:490:47:51

there are these awful

humanitarian crises,

0:47:510:47:52

we dig deep, we try

and

0:47:520:47:54

donate, we empathise.

0:47:540:47:55

No one in their right

mind would turn around

0:47:550:47:57

to children coming from Syria

who are seeking asylum in this

0:47:570:48:03

country and in this audience

want to reject them.

0:48:030:48:05

So actually, let's not be

too down on Britain.

0:48:050:48:08

I think Britain's been

very open-handed.

0:48:080:48:11

So why does our Government

turn away child

0:48:110:48:13

refugees?

0:48:130:48:14

I agree, Britain is a tolerant

country club at our

0:48:140:48:16

Government policy does not

match the public mood.

0:48:160:48:18

Just make the point again,

because people were

0:48:180:48:20

applauding her point.

0:48:200:48:22

Just make the point

and then I'll put it

0:48:220:48:24

to Brandon Lewis.

0:48:240:48:25

I agree with you, I don't

think that the British

0:48:250:48:27

public looks at the plight of child

refugees and wants to turn away, so

0:48:270:48:31

why does our Government...

0:48:310:48:32

Why does our Government

insists that it's OK

0:48:320:48:34

to continue to detain pregnant

women, to split up families through

0:48:340:48:36

deportation?

0:48:360:48:37

This is my point, is that

Government policy does not

0:48:370:48:40

match the public mood,

which I think is one of compassion.

0:48:400:48:44

Brandon Lewis.

0:48:440:48:49

I think it's important to be very

clear about the fact ...

0:48:490:48:53

Because Ashley has

just said something

0:48:530:48:55

that's completely wrong.

0:48:550:48:56

We do not have refugees

in detention centres.

0:48:560:48:58

That is not how it works.

0:48:580:48:59

The people in detention

centres are people who

0:48:590:49:04

are illegally in this

country and are there

0:49:040:49:06

for a period of time

until

0:49:060:49:14

they are going back

to their home country.

0:49:140:49:16

That's factually untrue.

0:49:160:49:17

Ash...

0:49:170:49:18

We as a country are doing

one of the biggest

0:49:180:49:21

programmes we have ever done, 23,000

refugees coming to this country.

0:49:210:49:23

We are slightly ahead

of the schedule

0:49:230:49:25

that David Cameron set out.

0:49:250:49:26

I've been fortunate

in the period that I was

0:49:260:49:29

immigration minister to meet

a number of families who have come

0:49:290:49:31

from Syria to listen

to what they have come from,

0:49:310:49:34

the experience they've had,

0:49:340:49:35

the welcome they have had

from local authorities,

0:49:350:49:37

charities, community

0:49:370:49:38

groups when they have

come to this country.

0:49:380:49:39

We should be very proud

as a country not just

0:49:390:49:42

of the billions of pounds

we are

0:49:420:49:44

spending in the region to do our

bit, one of the biggest in the world

0:49:440:49:47

and the biggest aid programme

we have taken forward,

0:49:470:49:49

and the second largest support

in the world.

0:49:490:49:51

Camilla said, and I think it's

right, the welcome we give people in

0:49:510:49:54

this country, and there are 23,000

Syrian refugees coming to this

0:49:540:49:57

country, on top of

refugees from elsewhere.

0:49:570:49:59

We have a very strong programme

for refugees, and what

0:49:590:50:01

Ash has just outlined

is a completely false

0:50:010:50:03

statement about how

the

0:50:030:50:04

programme works.

0:50:040:50:06

It's not true.

0:50:060:50:08

Asylum seekers in Yarlswood...

0:50:080:50:09

Asylum seekers are not refugees.

0:50:090:50:13

APPLAUSE

0:50:130:50:15

They are

people have escaped

0:50:150:50:17

conflict, escaped torture, sexual

violence, and we continue to lock

0:50:170:50:20

them up.

0:50:200:50:21

No, no, that's wrong.

0:50:210:50:22

Do you think that's a just policy?

0:50:220:50:24

Do you think it's a just policy that

70% of detainees at Yarlswood who

0:50:240:50:27

are female have experienced

sexual violence?

0:50:270:50:28

Do you think that's just?

0:50:280:50:30

Ash, what you've just

said is, again, wrong.

0:50:300:50:32

That's a fact.

0:50:320:50:35

Detention centres are for people who

are being removed from the country,

0:50:350:50:38

going back to their own country,

who are in this country illegally.

0:50:380:50:41

Asylum seekers...

0:50:410:50:42

Who still have their

cases under review.

0:50:420:50:44

That's just a fact.

0:50:440:50:45

Asylum seekers go through

a different process.

0:50:450:50:47

People who are here

illegally are different

0:50:470:50:49

to asylum seekers, which is

different again from refugees.

0:50:490:50:53

There are different

processes, and you do

0:50:530:50:55

a disservice to people, and hard

working people across this country

0:50:550:50:58

working in those facilities helping

refugees and the refugees and asylum

0:50:580:51:00

seekers themselves when you

confuse the two things.

0:51:000:51:03

Is that...

0:51:030:51:04

Hold on, Ash.

0:51:040:51:11

The person there.

0:51:110:51:11

Yes...

0:51:110:51:12

We talk about a skills crisis

in this country, but when

0:51:120:51:15

will the Government and companies do

more to recruit people who are

0:51:150:51:18

refugees..in this country who are

0:51:180:51:19

engineers and skilled people?

0:51:190:51:22

You make a very good

point with that.

0:51:220:51:25

There is a huge amount of work that

goes on when refugees come here,

0:51:250:51:28

making sure that they can learn

English,

0:51:280:51:30

get to a trade in this country,

and as I say, I have met a lot of

0:51:300:51:34

refugees who have been

through that, play

0:51:340:51:36

a hugely important part

in

0:51:360:51:37

their communities and in

the economy of this country.

0:51:370:51:39

That's why I say, we should be

proud as a country of

0:51:390:51:42

what we do for refugees

and we should continue to do it.

0:51:420:51:45

Libby, what do you

think should be done?

0:51:450:51:48

You asked the question.

0:51:480:51:49

Well, my question wasn't

really coming from

0:51:490:51:51

the point of refugees

as such, it's the people

0:51:510:51:53

who can't get out of

the

0:51:530:51:54

country.

0:51:540:51:55

And I'm sure the refugees

would rather like to stay in Syria

0:51:550:51:59

than come over here,

because that's their home,

0:51:590:52:01

and I just don't see how we've seen

so many attacks like just

0:52:010:52:06

recently on eastern Ghouta go on,

where there's hospitals who don't

0:52:060:52:09

have anything, and the UN are just

there saying, we need to end the

0:52:090:52:13

war.

0:52:130:52:14

It needs to be ended

but no one's really

0:52:140:52:16

doing much about it,

in

0:52:160:52:17

my opinion, and I was just wondering

why that is still the case.

0:52:170:52:20

John Prescott?

0:52:200:52:23

Well, I'm deeply saddened to listen

to the fact that we all

0:52:230:52:26

admit nothing more can be done.

0:52:260:52:29

There are problems

about refugees etc.

0:52:290:52:32

But when I turn on that television

and see those kids dying,

0:52:320:52:36

it's being done deliberately

as part of a war policy.

0:52:360:52:38

That makes him, Assad,

a man who has to be dealt

0:52:380:52:41

with when it comes.

0:52:410:52:43

It doesn't help

negotiations, of course.

0:52:430:52:47

Please negotiate with

him, we'll come to a

0:52:470:52:49

deal, stop this.

0:52:490:52:50

He's not going to say,

if I do that, will you take me

0:52:500:52:53

to the international court?

0:52:530:52:57

These are the difficulties.

0:52:570:52:58

My concern goes before that.

0:52:580:52:59

It takes me back to Iraq,

arguing with Tony Blair about

0:52:590:53:02

whether we should have regime

dismissal, that's what it's about

0:53:020:53:05

here.

0:53:050:53:06

If you look what Nato and Western

countries have been doing,

0:53:060:53:08

particularly in the Middle East,

we've made war between religions, we

0:53:080:53:11

intervened to say our values are

superior so we're going to remove

0:53:110:53:14

you from the actual

administration and control.

0:53:140:53:17

There's a fundamental issue here.

0:53:170:53:20

The UN can't do anything.

0:53:200:53:23

They talk about whether a veto

would stop anything,

0:53:230:53:25

whether it is American or Trump.

0:53:250:53:31

Trump basically and Putin,

they are global powers

0:53:310:53:35

who are now doing many things that

prevent dealing with the Syrians

0:53:350:53:37

properly.

0:53:370:53:41

The Russians are actively involved,

the Americans are prepared

0:53:410:53:43

to bomb.

0:53:430:53:44

We are actually sending in bombs,

basically, by this new

0:53:440:53:50

automatic business, I can't remember

the name of the damn weapons.

0:53:500:53:52

Drones.

0:53:520:53:53

And they use the drones.

0:53:530:53:54

Someone in Kent is actually

doing it now, as if

0:53:540:53:57

they were playing a game.

0:53:570:53:58

We've got to get out

of that situation, and

0:53:580:54:00

we've got to recognise,

it's not a popular view,

0:54:000:54:02

you can read about

the

0:54:020:54:04

Crusades.

0:54:040:54:05

We are doing the same thing now,

and we're paying a very

0:54:050:54:08

heavy price for it.

0:54:080:54:09

Not us in the studios today,

but the kids that you

0:54:090:54:12

see each night face

the consequences of us

0:54:120:54:14

making terrible decisions,

and

0:54:140:54:18

we think democracy and values is far

superior and quite prepared to

0:54:180:54:22

intervene militarily for it.

0:54:220:54:27

We better start thinking much more

deeper about what the results are,

0:54:270:54:31

and that the actions

of which Western powers, to my mind,

0:54:310:54:33

and Nato have been actively involved

in in

0:54:330:54:36

the name of democracy.

0:54:360:54:37

Tell the kids that.

0:54:370:54:38

APPLAUSE

0:54:380:54:42

Juergen Maier.

0:54:420:54:46

There are two discussions

going on here, and one

0:54:460:54:49

is, can we do more with regard

to refugees coming here?

0:54:490:54:52

And I certainly think

we can and should,

0:54:520:54:58

and I also very much

agree with your point,

0:54:580:55:00

though obviously the key reason

for doing that is

0:55:000:55:02

humanitarian, but there is an issue

where actually these people are

0:55:020:55:05

coming with very good educations.

0:55:050:55:08

I've met people from Syria who come

with great engineering degrees and

0:55:080:55:10

can do great jobs in companies

like ours, so there is that.

0:55:100:55:15

But I think ultimately,

the only way the problem

0:55:150:55:17

will be solved is to

resolve it at source,

0:55:170:55:20

which is I think really

what

0:55:200:55:21

your question was -

what more can we do

0:55:210:55:23

to resolve the conflict?

0:55:230:55:25

And I do think we are

in a pretty horrible

0:55:250:55:28

place, where the key sort

of superpowers to which we do

0:55:280:55:31

belong, we are all a little bit too

inwardly

0:55:310:55:35

focused on our own domestic issues.

0:55:350:55:39

The America-first

principle in America,

0:55:390:55:44

and ultimately we can't

do

0:55:440:55:47

this on our own.

0:55:470:55:48

We tried that once before

and it didn't work.

0:55:480:55:51

It takes a catalyst,

and maybe that's what we

0:55:510:55:53

should be, to bring

some of these parties

0:55:530:55:55

together with the UN,

who do

0:55:550:55:56

seem to be powerless,

but I think that nations need

0:55:560:55:59

to come together and ultimately sort

out what we can

0:55:590:56:01

do to sort this horrible, horrible

situation going on in Syria, and

0:56:010:56:04

stop it at source.

0:56:040:56:08

APPLAUSE

0:56:080:56:14

Should we

actually be looking at

0:56:140:56:16

creating a new global

organisation, because

0:56:160:56:18

the United Nations,

the

0:56:180:56:20

Security Council and all the other

things you have been talking about

0:56:200:56:24

have failed us, decade after decade,

and really have a different approach

0:56:240:56:27

globally?

0:56:270:56:30

Do you see the United Nations

as a failure, very briefly?

0:56:300:56:33

We're coming to the end,

but it's a good point.

0:56:330:56:36

No, I don't, and I think we can

get very caught up in

0:56:360:56:40

creating new structures when really

what we need to do is look at the

0:56:400:56:43

outcomes.

0:56:430:56:44

I think there is a good point that

Juergen makes around

0:56:440:56:47

making sure we are working together

properly with the UN to get a

0:56:470:56:50

solution, but one led by...

0:56:500:56:51

Ultimately, is able to have

a situation where the Syrian people

0:56:510:56:54

are able to govern themselves again.

0:56:540:56:57

We are a long way that

at the moment, looking

0:56:570:56:59

at the horrendous scenes

0:56:590:57:00

we've seen over the weekend.

0:57:000:57:01

But I think we have

got to keep working

0:57:010:57:03

away.

0:57:030:57:04

There was a time when we thought

the UN could help solve some

0:57:040:57:08

of these ghastly,

murderous problems,

0:57:080:57:09

and now, that point,

the

0:57:090:57:10

lady says, seems to have passed

and we can no longer rely on it.

0:57:100:57:13

Seven years we've

seen these scenes in

0:57:130:57:15

Syria, seven years, not a few days,

and we have not achieved anything,

0:57:150:57:18

as far as I can see.

0:57:180:57:25

Look, I appreciate

it is horrendous what

0:57:250:57:27

we're seeing happening

there, but I do think

0:57:270:57:29

ultimately we have got

a

0:57:290:57:30

regime in Syria that is treating

its own people in a way

0:57:300:57:33

that we struggle to comprehend

as individuals in the

0:57:330:57:38

Western world and to look

at what they're doing.

0:57:380:57:40

But I do think the UN is the right

body to try and bring people

0:57:400:57:44

together to get a resolution that

ultimately can get to a better

0:57:440:57:47

place.

0:57:470:57:48

I'm sorry, we have to stop.

0:57:480:57:49

But a global solution

showed that the

0:57:490:57:51

world could get together to deal

with the climate change problem.

0:57:510:57:54

All races got together to find that

agreement, so there is a

0:57:540:57:56

possibility, but you've

got to work at it.

0:57:560:57:58

All right.

0:57:580:57:59

We have to end there.

0:57:590:58:01

Our time is up.

0:58:010:58:03

Next Thursday,

Question Time is coming

0:58:030:58:05

from Blackpool, and

on the panel we have

0:58:050:58:08

Nigel Farage, Diane Abbott,

and

0:58:080:58:11

Ken Clarke.

0:58:110:58:12

Oh!

0:58:120:58:13

Oh!

0:58:130:58:17

And a week after that,

we're going to be in

0:58:170:58:19

Westminster.

0:58:190:58:20

We have Liam Fox, the trade

Secretary, and the Bake Off

0:58:200:58:23

judge, Pru Leith,

on the panel there.

0:58:230:58:25

Now, those are two editions

of Question Time, one in Blackpool,

0:58:250:58:27

one in Westminster, to go to either,

on the screen there is the address,

0:58:270:58:31

our website, or the number to call.

0:58:310:58:37

Now, as you know, the debate we've

been having here carries on on BBC

0:58:400:58:44

Radio 5 Live, the BBC,

with Adrian Chiles and Chris Mason.

0:58:440:58:46

They're waiting for your call.

0:58:460:58:47

If you want to get

involved in that, the text

0:58:470:58:51

number is on the screen

now, and you can also

0:58:510:58:54

follow their discussions

on

0:58:540:58:55

iPlayer.

0:58:550:58:56

Here, my thanks to the panel,

to all of you who came to

0:58:560:58:59

Uttoxeter.

0:58:590:59:00

Until next Thursday,

from Question Time, good night.

0:59:000:59:08

David Dimbleby chairs an hour of topical debate from JCB's world headquarters near Uttoxeter in Staffordshire. On the panel: Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis, Labour peer and former deputy prime minister John Prescott, the chief executive of Siemens UK, Juergen Maier, the political editor of the Sunday Express, Camilla Tominey and left-wing writer and activist Ash Sarkar, a senior editor for the news and comment site Novara Media.


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