08/03/2018 Question Time


08/03/2018

David Dimbleby chairs debate from Westminster with Liam Fox, Laura Pidcock, Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, engineer Roma Agrawal and spoken word artist George the Poet.


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Transcript


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Tonight, we are in Westminster,

just by the Houses of Parliament.

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And welcome to Question Time.

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And on our panel tonight,

the former GP, Defence Secretary,

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now Secretary of State

for International Development,

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the Brexit-loving Liam Fox,

whose air miles seeking trade deals

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would so far have taken him

to the moon, but not back yet.

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One of Labour's new MPs,

elected last year but already

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into a job as Shadow Minister

for Labour, Laura Pidcock.

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Roma Agrawal, a structural engineer

who worked on the Shard

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here in London, a campaigner

for getting more women

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into engineering.

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George Mpanga, who grew up

on a south London estate,

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turned from rapping to poetry

when studying at Cambridge

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University and now universally

known as George the Poet.

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And the chef, restauranter, writer,

businesswoman and judge

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on the Great British Bake Off,

Prue Leith, known just for

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tonight as Prue the cook.

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Thank you very much.

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As always, if you want to get

engaged in the argument that's

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going on here in this hall,

do so by using #BBCQT

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on Twitter or Facebook.

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Let's have our first

question, and it comes

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from Marcus Gray, please.

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Marcus.

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If the incident in Salisbury

is proven to have links to Russia,

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what action do we need to take?

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Liam Fox.

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Well, the first thing is

that we mustn't jump to conclusions.

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Our thoughts should be

with those who have suffered

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in the way that they have.

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It's a despicable crime.

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It's a ghastly thing

to happen, physically.

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It's clearly a very brazen crime

committed in our country.

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And it's worth pointing out that

it's not easy to make nerve agents,

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so it's unlikely to be someone just

operating as a backroom terrorist,

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so it's likely to be a much more

preconceived attack.

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But it's impossible

at this point to say.

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There is a police investigation.

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And in such important issues

where there is so much at stake,

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it's all the more important

that we wait until we've got

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information before we jump in.

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Well, Boris Johnson

didn't wait, did he?

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Boris Johnson said we should

cancel the football cup.

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No, he said, in fact, that we had

to wait until the end of the police

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investigation to see...

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But if Russia was involved we'd

have to consider that.

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If Russia...

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And Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary,

said today if Russia was involved

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there's all kinds of things

we should do.

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He says, "if".

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The question is, what action can

be taken or could be

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taken against Russia?

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Well, if Russia was involved,

we can look at the sort of things

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that we did after the Litvinenko

case, where people were

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expelled from the country,

when we stopped our cooperation.

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We already have sanctions on Russia

because of their behaviour

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elsewhere, because of the illegal

annexation of the Crimea.

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We can always look to what is

happening with that.

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But I make the point again,

this is a very important issue.

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It's important to keep

the temperature down

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until we actually know the facts.

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There is too much at stake.

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I would say that measured tone

is actually quite damaging,

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when you look at a system

in which Putin or the Kremlin has

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been able to pretty much run amok,

and every time an incident like this

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comes up there are these strong

talks about sanctions

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and consequences.

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And he doesn't seem

to bat an eyelid.

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In honesty, if you look at the

Litvinenko situation a while ago,

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sanctions only followed...

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Sanctions were only imposed

following escalations,

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like you said, of their behaviour

elsewhere.

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And again, not much seems to happen.

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So I think it doesn't create

the greatest impression

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when you take a measured tone

and the cynicism that

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sits within most of us

is justified at a later stage.

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APPLAUSE

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Laura Pidcock.

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I think that I do want to stay

grounded and not speculate too much,

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because yes, a nerve agent has been

found but there isn't a connection

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at this point in time.

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And I can understand the past that

makes us assume it might be Russia

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but I think we mustn't do that.

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I'm not going to do a Boris and make

policy on the hoof and say

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that we should not go

to the World Cup,

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or do this or do that.

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Actually, if it is found that

Russia was involved,

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there need to be really robust

diplomatic conversations

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that take place.

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This idea that you kind of bomb

first and talk later,

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that is not a strategy

that the Labour Party would employ.

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But we have to stay

really, really grounded.

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There is something

the government can do.

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They could include financial

sanctions in the money-laundering

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bill against dirty money,

against those who act

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against human rights

violations in other countries,

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and they are not doing that now.

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You are not willing to do that now.

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Part of the issue with that is that

a lot of the time the financial

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sanctions that are imposed

are actually imposed on enemies

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of the Kremlin who are only

here to wash their money.

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That's the first thing.

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And then secondly, if you look

at Labour's track record as well,

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I remember just after the fiasco

with Georgia we had David Miliband

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expressing solidarity in his words

with the Georgian people,

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and then later in the year being

in Russia saying that, you know,

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that was just a discrepancy.

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I think he called it

a respectful disagreement.

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This is what I'm saying

about that political speech.

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A lot of that flip-flopping doesn't

really bode well in the long term.

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APPLAUSE

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The woman up there,

third row from the back.

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It was stated on the news today

that there are possibly another

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14 similar incidents.

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Do the panel have any

information on that?

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And I'm tending

to agree with George.

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Yes, the Home Secretary, I think,

referred to those other allegations

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which BuzzFeed have got 14 of them.

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Yes.

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I don't think you'll

find information from

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anyone on this panel.

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I don't think anybody

has any information.

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Prue Leith, what do you think

about the question that was asked?

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The only thing I'd like to add -

I agree with what has been said -

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is that it would be a great pity

if we use sport to punish

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the Russians in this way,

because sport should be the one area

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of human activity, if you like,

that should be not politicised,

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because it's about pleasure

and coming together.

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And it should be the thing

that makes peace.

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So I would not like Boris' solution.

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I think we should have

sanctions and fines...

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If they are found to be involved.

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Would it be any punishment

to withdraw football from,

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British football from the World Cup,

really, for the Russians?

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No.

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It wouldn't be much punishment.

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It would be a hollow gesture

and it would be damaging,

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because sport should

not be politicised.

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APPLAUSE

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I would be interested

to understand the panel's views

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on the escalation routes.

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My perception is that the sanctions

don't appear to be working.

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We obviously don't want to go to war

either, and withdrawing

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from a football competition may

not be very effective.

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But Russia is running amok

with all of the things

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that they are doing in Syria,

ignoring UN votes and

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the potential issue here.

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So there must be something other

than sanctions that we could do.

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Roma Agrawal.

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I can't really comment in terms

of sanctions and stuff,

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not being a politician.

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But I think in terms of this

situation in Salisbury

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that we are looking at,

I really think we need to let

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the police do their job

and conclude their investigation.

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And I'm definitely not in favour

of any knee-jerk reactions.

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And once we do have the results

of that investigation forward,

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we need to allow government to make

the decision of what

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the right path is.

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I suppose the question is,

is there anything that can be done

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that would influence one way

or another Putin's behaviour?

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Because we've had sanctions

after Crimea, we had Ukraine,

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and it doesn't seem to have had any

effect at all.

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I think the only thing that Mr Putin

understands is strength,

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which is why I think we've been

right to put our tanks and troops

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and Typhoons into Estonia to make

sure that Russia's border

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with Nato is secured.

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If you go to Estonia

or you go to Poland,

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the world looks very different

from how it looks in London.

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The threat looks very different.

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It's therefore essential

that we maintain the integrity

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of Nato, that we maintain

our defence spending.

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And it's necessary

for Europe to do more.

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If you look inside the total Nato

budget, the US population

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as a proportion of Nato is 35%.

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The contribution

to the budget is 72%.

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The EU countries that

are in Nato make up 52%,

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but only 24% of Nato spending.

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European countries have to show

commitment to their own defence.

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We've made that commitment

in the UK by spending 2%,

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but European countries have to do

more about continental

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Europe's defence.

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Yes, you, sir.

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I think the main problem

when you talk about strength

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is we only have a 2% defence budget,

and we're now talking

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about further cuts.

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I mean, surely that's not a show

of strength and we should actually

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be doing something more about that.

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Strength doesn't always have

to be military force?

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APPLAUSE

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It doesn't always have

to be about aggression

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towards other countries.

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I'm a firm believer

in diplomatic solutions to these

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very tense situation.

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We know.

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Of course, Labour would leave us

defenceless when they want to scrap

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Trident and things like that.

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Hang on!

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I think that's just the most

preposterous suggestion

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that the Labour Party would leave us

without a British Army.

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We are not the ones that

are cutting the British Army.

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We are not the ones that

are leaving our soldiers

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without the protection they need

when they are overseas.

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So that's a complete myth

and rumour that's propagated.

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The woman in green.

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So a former Foreign Office Minister

said that our position out of the EU

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has made us more vulnerable

to attack from the Kremlin

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and externally.

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How do we know that,

post-Brexit, our safety

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is going to be safeguarded?

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Outside Europe.

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George.

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I think the difficult truth is that

as the public we are not operating

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with enough information.

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For example, going back

to what Liam just said

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about maintaining the defence budget

and showing strength.

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That would imply that we have some

sort of clout in the face

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of whatever Russia has been working

on behind closed doors.

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And these are things

that we have no idea about.

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So I feel like your feeling

of insecurity is justified.

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Frankly, I don't think

Liam's going to give

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you a straightforward

answer to that question.

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APPLAUSE

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Well, hold on.

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Give a straightforward

answer in just a moment

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but I want to go to the woman there.

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Do we have any leadership

that is strong enough

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to face off against Putin,

and is it time to bring back

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Reagan-esque type leadership?

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Go on a bit.

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What do you mean by that?

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Well, does either side,

Labour or Conservative,

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feel that their leaders are strong

enough to face off against Putin?

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Liam Fox, last brief word.

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The question I go back

to is that it is our

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collective strength.

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Our strength lies in

acting together as Nato.

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We are the world's fourth

biggest defence budget,

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the world's fourth biggest defence

force, but we need partners to carry

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some of that burden with us.

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We have to understand

about Mr Putin.

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Mr Putin believes in two things that

make it impossible for him

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to be part of the normal

family of nations.

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First of all, he believes

in the concept of a "near abroad",

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the old Soviet concept that Russia

should have control

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over its near neighbours

and their economic and foreign

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and security policies.

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That's unacceptable to us.

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Secondly, he believes

that the defence of Russian citizens

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lies in the Kremlin,

not in the legal systems

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where they live.

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That is also unacceptable because it

makes any country with Russian

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citizens in it vulnerable

to Kremlin doctrine.

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We have got to understand

that the Russian regime is a very

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dark and dangerous regime.

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It's very difficult to have the sort

of diplomatic relations

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that we would want to have.

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Ratchet up the tension.

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Dark and dangerous.

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Well, it is.

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I'm sorry.

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You can't just out nice Mr Putin.

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I'm not.

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There are dangers we have to face up

to and deal with them.

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APPLAUSE

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And what about the

Saudi Arabian regime?

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How would you describe that?

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We may come to that,

so let's not go down that road.

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But you were saying

he was ratcheting up...

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Tensions, essentially.

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The question was about

leadership and strength.

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I don't think strength

is inextricably linked

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with military action.

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I think it takes strength to go

in a room and be very strong

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about what your red lines are,

whatever they are, without

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committing to military action.

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We are speculating here.

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We still don't know

whether Russia was involved.

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We're not speculating

about Mr Litvinenko.

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Go and tell him that you can

be nice to Mr Putin.

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And that should be condemned,

of course it should.

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The man up there and then we'll

move the next question.

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Thank you.

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If Russia is a dark

and dangerous regime,

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will you be going and formulating

a trade deal with them post-Brexit?

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All right, we will come to trade.

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We'll move on,

because we get to trade.

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Before we do, for those of you able

to come to Dover next Thursday,

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or Leeds the week after that, that's

where Question Time is going to be,

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in Leeds with an audience all under

30 years old.

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On screen are the details

of how to apply.

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I will give them again at the end.

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Let's go to Trump and trade

and Russia and trade.

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Warren Wynne, let's

have your question.

0:14:150:14:18

In light of Donald Trump's love

of trade wars, will the UK come off

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badly in trade deals

with the USA post-Brexit?

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Yes, with Donald Trump's love

of trade wars, America first

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and the tariffs being imposed

on steel and aluminium,

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will we come off badly once

we're outside the EU?

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I'm not going to come

to you first, Liam Fox.

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I'll come to you, Laura.

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I think that there are many things

that worry me about trade agreements

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outside of the European Union.

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First of all, that we actually don't

know what is up for grabs.

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It would worry me immensely

if the NHS or our public services

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were up for grabs in trade deals,

like a TTIP situation.

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That would be a nightmare

and I think that's one

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of the reasons that the Labour Party

has committed to a customs union,

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that actually that's

about committing to jobs

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and protecting jobs.

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I think it's much harder

when Donald Trump is suggesting

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25% tariffs on steel, an industry...

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I represent a constituency

that had a steelworks.

0:15:230:15:31

An industry that had already been

decimated over many years.

0:15:320:15:34

To imply that sanctions should be

put on is very, very dangerous.

0:15:340:15:37

You know, there's 32,000

people's jobs at risk.

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And it's important that we are able

to work collectively in the face

0:15:390:15:42

of that kind of protectionism.

0:15:420:15:49

But does it suggest we will get good

trade deals outside the EU, to you?

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If you take the Labour Party's

position of having a customs union.

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I think it's much harder

if you are outside of any agreement

0:15:550:15:58

and you're having to work

on your own.

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That's just common sense.

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Prue Leith?

0:16:010:16:02

APPLAUSE.

0:16:020:16:10

I think that Trump's little

twitters, tweets, don't matter.

0:16:100:16:15

I'm not the person to talk

about tweets, actually.

0:16:150:16:17

But I'll risk it.

0:16:170:16:23

I mean, he's already

rode back a bit.

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He suddenly realised that 6%

of all US steel comes from Canada.

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So he thinks, oh, OK,

he tweets again and he says

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I'll exempt Canada.

0:16:370:16:44

So I don't think we should worry too

much yet, because you never know how

0:16:440:16:50

much will change his mind.

0:16:500:16:51

But I think there is no reason

at all why we shouldn't

0:16:510:16:54

do good trade deals,

in or out of the EU.

0:16:540:16:56

In fact, we've always...

0:16:560:16:57

Think I'm about the only person

who is old enough here to remember

0:16:570:17:00

there was a life before

we were in the EU.

0:17:000:17:08

APPLAUSE.

0:17:090:17:10

How did you vote

on the Brexit issue?

0:17:100:17:14

I ended up voting for Brexit.

0:17:140:17:16

But I dithered and dithered,

because I think there are really

0:17:160:17:18

good arguments on both sides,

there are really intelligent

0:17:180:17:21

people on both sides,

good people on both sides.

0:17:210:17:23

Which is such a pity,

that we have everybody

0:17:230:17:25

fighting each other.

0:17:250:17:33

We should stop refighting

the referendum, get behind

0:17:340:17:36

the leader that the Tories,

after all, they voted for Mrs May,

0:17:360:17:39

they should show some loyalty,

help the poor woman get

0:17:390:17:41

on and do the deal.

0:17:410:17:46

I think what we need

is her doing the best we can,

0:17:460:17:48

which I think she is a strong woman

and I think she can do it well,

0:17:480:17:52

and everybody else pulling with her.

0:17:520:17:54

And we're going down the Brexit

road, so could we all just

0:17:540:17:57

agree to make it work?

0:17:570:17:58

Apparently not.

0:17:580:17:59

APPLAUSE.

0:17:590:18:07

So, have you been on to the

Americans to ask them what the hell

0:18:100:18:13

they are on about with this tariff

they are imposing,

0:18:130:18:15

or suggesting imposing?

0:18:150:18:18

Literally as you speak

the United States is making

0:18:180:18:20

the announcement about

what they intend to do over tariffs.

0:18:200:18:23

I've spoken to them several times

over the last few days.

0:18:230:18:26

In fact, I'm going to

Washington next week to take

0:18:260:18:28

the discussions further.

0:18:280:18:31

And what is it they are saying,

literally as we speak?

0:18:310:18:34

Well, we don't know, David,

because we are in here,

0:18:340:18:36

they are out there.

0:18:360:18:40

And you don't know what

they're going to say?

0:18:400:18:42

Are you saying you don't know

what they're going to say?

0:18:420:18:45

No, I...

0:18:450:18:46

You've had no assurances?

0:18:460:18:47

I don't know exactly

what they're going to say,

0:18:470:18:49

but it is clear there is going to be

some form of tariff

0:18:490:18:52

and potentially being introduced.

0:18:520:18:53

Now, there is clearly a problem

in steel in the world.

0:18:530:18:56

There is an overproduction,

largely coming from China.

0:18:560:18:58

There is also what is

called transshipment.

0:18:580:18:59

Countries in Central America,

for example, with no steel

0:18:590:19:02

industries, are suddenly selling

steel into the United States.

0:19:020:19:04

And if we want a rules-based trading

system, we have to make sure

0:19:040:19:07

the rules are obeyed.

0:19:070:19:08

At the way the United States

is going about this is wrong.

0:19:080:19:11

Because they are doing it under

what is called the 232,

0:19:110:19:13

an investigation based

on national security.

0:19:130:19:15

For the UK, it is doubly absurd,

because we are only responsible

0:19:150:19:18

for 1% of American's steel imports.

0:19:180:19:21

It is 5% of our tonnage by steel

that we produce here, 15% by value.

0:19:210:19:27

The reason though the differences

that we tend to produce

0:19:270:19:30

very high value steel,

some of which can't be sourced

0:19:300:19:32

in the United States and will simply

push the price of steel there.

0:19:320:19:38

We also make steel for the American

military programme.

0:19:380:19:40

So it's doubly absurd that we should

be caught on an investigation

0:19:400:19:43

on national security.

0:19:430:19:47

So our view is, yes,

we can deal multilaterally

0:19:470:19:49

with the overproduction of steel,

but this is the wrong

0:19:490:19:52

way to go about it.

0:19:520:19:56

Protectionism, tariffs

never really work.

0:19:560:19:57

If you think about it, there

are 140,000 American steelworkers.

0:19:570:20:00

There are 6.5 million

people in America work

0:20:000:20:01

in steel related industries.

0:20:010:20:07

For the prices to go up of steel,

their input prices, it makes no

0:20:070:20:11

sense in the long run.

0:20:110:20:12

So, will we be exempt?

0:20:120:20:13

Well, we'll have to wait and see

what the announcements are.

0:20:130:20:16

We will wait to see if there

is a time for negotiation.

0:20:160:20:19

That is why I'm going

to Washington next week.

0:20:190:20:22

OK.

George?

0:20:230:20:26

I think part of the challenge

with Mr Trump's announcements

0:20:260:20:28

is that, like a lot of what he says,

it changes the atmosphere,

0:20:280:20:31

it changes the climate

on the global stage.

0:20:310:20:33

So when you have that

reaction from Europe,

0:20:330:20:35

listing all of the things that

will now have extra duties slapped

0:20:350:20:38

on them from the American side,

again, that changes the rhetoric.

0:20:380:20:40

Now we are in danger of a trade war.

0:20:400:20:44

Perfect timing, with Brexit, we will

be caught in the middle of that.

0:20:440:20:49

Again, to speak to the earlier

appoint about political speaking,

0:20:490:20:54

downplaying people's concerns,

I think that feeds the disconnect

0:20:540:20:56

that there might be

between politicians and many members

0:20:560:20:58

of the public who feel

justifiably concerned.

0:20:580:21:01

APPLAUSE.

0:21:010:21:04

So, I completely agree that

I feel very underinformed

0:21:060:21:08

about the situation.

0:21:080:21:11

I don't know how easy

it is for Trump just to slap

0:21:110:21:14

these percentages on.

0:21:140:21:15

Don't think that trade

protectionism works.

0:21:150:21:19

I think what the UK actually does

very well, you know,

0:21:190:21:22

I use a little steel in my job,

is that we have high-quality

0:21:220:21:25

scientists, we have the best

engineering the world.

0:21:250:21:27

What we should be doing

is differentiating our product

0:21:270:21:30

by using innovation,

by using technology.

0:21:300:21:33

Make it the greenest steel,

the strongest steel, the best steel,

0:21:330:21:35

so that we are differentiating

ourselves on that basis.

0:21:350:21:38

APPLAUSE.

0:21:380:21:39

You, sir?

0:21:390:21:42

Just on that point, I actually

getting out of the EU obviously

0:21:470:21:50

enhances our opportunity.

0:21:500:21:51

And when we consider and paint

Donald Trump as some

0:21:510:21:53

kind of protectionist,

we have to consider that the EU

0:21:530:21:56

is a protectionist block.

0:21:560:21:57

It has a common external tariff

around it, in which it imposes

0:21:570:22:00

tariff barriers on other nations.

0:22:000:22:02

And so, we have enhanced

opportunities outside the EU.

0:22:020:22:04

Really, we shouldn't be too

concerned over Donald Trump,

0:22:040:22:09

especially as he has reaffirmed

on multiple occasions that he wants

0:22:090:22:11

a special trade deal with us.

0:22:110:22:14

APPLAUSE.

0:22:140:22:17

On that point, it speaks

to what Prue said earlier

0:22:180:22:22

about our ability to rally

around one leader.

0:22:220:22:30

Currently, again, to another

point that Prue raised,

0:22:300:22:33

there was a life before the EU,

but right now there is going to be

0:22:330:22:36

a life after the EU,

and that is going to

0:22:360:22:39

be very different.

0:22:390:22:40

So, if you look at our standing

on the world stage, I think Britain

0:22:400:22:43

needs to have a very honest

conversation with itself

0:22:430:22:45

about who our friends

are and what authority we will be

0:22:450:22:48

able to in a time when we are

literally outside of protectionist

0:22:480:22:51

block that we talked about.

0:22:510:22:52

George, I don't know

whether you agree, I think it's also

0:22:520:23:02

about the political motivations

behind leaving the EU.

0:23:020:23:03

I am immensely worried about a life

beyond the EU under the Tories.

0:23:030:23:07

I understand why people voted

to leave the European Union,

0:23:070:23:09

I represent a Leave constituency.

0:23:090:23:10

But you have to understand

that the likes of Liam Fox,

0:23:100:23:13

Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg,

they are hard right conservatives

0:23:130:23:15

who do like the idea

that the free market rules,

0:23:150:23:18

and actually that workers'

rights will be decimated

0:23:180:23:20

if they get their way.

0:23:200:23:23

That's why there's a whole set

of pre-negotiations that has to go

0:23:230:23:26

on before David Davis can go off

and negotiate with

0:23:260:23:28

the European Union.

0:23:280:23:30

It's free market ideology

and actually, I think there needs

0:23:300:23:32

to be a robust protection

of workers' rights outside

0:23:320:23:35

of the European Union,

or everybody's living standards

0:23:350:23:36

would be hurt.

0:23:360:23:39

Nobody has suggested anything else.

0:23:390:23:40

This is nonsense.

0:23:400:23:42

APPLAUSE.

0:23:420:23:43

Sorry...

0:23:430:23:44

No, let him speak, let him answer.

0:23:440:23:47

First of all, free trade globally

is the way that we have taken,

0:23:470:23:50

in 25 years, 1 billion people out

of abject poverty around the world.

0:23:500:23:53

Allowing them to get

access to our markets.

0:23:530:23:55

The idea that we, one of the world's

most developed countries,

0:23:550:23:59

having had all those benefits,

would pull up the drawbridge

0:23:590:24:01

behind us and operate some

protectionist policy...

0:24:010:24:04

You're telling half the story.

0:24:040:24:06

You're telling half the story.

0:24:060:24:07

Free trade goes both ways.

0:24:080:24:10

So it's not only...

0:24:100:24:12

APPLAUSE.

0:24:120:24:17

It's not only the case that poorer

countries are able to involve

0:24:170:24:22

themselves in our market and have

access to our technology, there's

0:24:220:24:24

also the question of IP rights,

which blocks a lot of what countries

0:24:240:24:30

are able to do, and also our

involvement, the involvement

0:24:300:24:34

of richer nations in poorer

countries that is able

0:24:340:24:36

to siphon off the best

of their resources and talents.

0:24:360:24:38

So what you're saying

is half the story.

0:24:380:24:40

APPLAUSE.

0:24:400:24:46

Hold on, Liam Fox,

you have always been...

0:24:460:24:48

Are you still as optimistic

as you were when you said it should

0:24:480:24:51

be the simplest deal in history

of mankind, and there would be deals

0:24:510:24:54

ready, March next year?

0:24:540:24:56

Well, if you look at the EU

negotiation, most negotiations

0:24:560:25:00

in the world come from different

positions, where you are

0:25:000:25:03

trying to make it closer.

0:25:030:25:04

The EU comes from an

identical position.

0:25:040:25:06

And what we should be able to do

is come to an agreement

0:25:060:25:09

that is mutually beneficial,

to have a zero tariff, open,

0:25:090:25:12

liberal relationship

with the European Union.

0:25:120:25:13

Just a second.

0:25:130:25:17

Some of the things that Laura said

are just plain wrong.

0:25:170:25:19

The idea that you can be

in a customs union still have

0:25:190:25:22

free trade agreements.

0:25:220:25:24

If you're in a customs

union, you are restricted

0:25:240:25:26

as to what you can offer

a potential trading partner.

0:25:260:25:33

What is even worse,

coming from the left,

0:25:330:25:35

this idea that they hate TTIP,

but they want to be

0:25:350:25:38

in a customs union.

0:25:380:25:39

If you are in a customs union

with the EU, and then they agree

0:25:390:25:42

TTIP, you have it imposed on you.

0:25:420:25:44

Whether you want it or not.

0:25:440:25:45

It is a complete nonsense.

0:25:450:25:46

APPLAUSE.

0:25:460:25:47

Let me respond.

0:25:470:25:49

This is coming from a man who said

it was too difficult to sack people,

0:25:490:25:53

who said that employment rights

were a hindrance to the economy.

0:25:530:25:55

My deepest fear, post

the European Union, is a hard-right

0:25:550:26:00

Conservative government that will be

presiding over worker rights.

0:26:000:26:03

Theresa May, hard right

Conservative government?

0:26:030:26:05

Really?

0:26:050:26:09

Get over the propaganda.

0:26:090:26:10

She's not running the Tory party

at the moment, is she?

0:26:100:26:13

Is she?

0:26:130:26:14

APPLAUSE.

0:26:140:26:15

The woman up on the gangway, there.

0:26:150:26:17

I have a question for Laura.

0:26:170:26:20

That is what exactly do you think,

which employment rights do think

0:26:200:26:23

are going to be decimated,

and what evidence do you have?

0:26:230:26:26

I just said there, in the past,

Liam Fox has talked about implement

0:26:260:26:30

rights being a hindrance

to the economy, that actually

0:26:300:26:32

it is too difficult,

there is a lot of bureaucracy

0:26:320:26:35

to sack people.

0:26:350:26:43

My experience of being a worker,

not that long ago, having many

0:26:440:26:46

friends who are workers,

is that it is actually the opposite.

0:26:460:26:49

Trade union rights have been

decimated under this government.

0:26:490:26:51

The Trade Union Act was a pernicious

piece of legislation that prevents

0:26:510:26:54

people from having control

in their workplace to organise

0:26:540:26:56

and have their own say.

0:26:560:26:57

If we're talking about sovereignty

and we're talking about protections

0:26:570:27:00

in the workplace, the greatest

protection you can have

0:27:000:27:02

is to be a trade union.

0:27:020:27:03

And the Trade Union Act

is a piece of legislation...

0:27:030:27:06

Sorry, you're now going

back into the past?

0:27:060:27:07

You were talking about what will

happen when we leave the EU?

0:27:070:27:10

You think that is going to continue?

0:27:100:27:12

Yes.

0:27:120:27:13

For you, it is a kind of...

0:27:130:27:15

Yes, it is a continuation.

0:27:150:27:16

We have to understand that

on Leave and Remain,

0:27:160:27:18

hold on a minute, hold on a minute,

there are different

0:27:180:27:21

political motivations.

0:27:210:27:22

All I am saying is the hard right

of the Conservatives want us to be

0:27:220:27:25

out of the European Union

to have a free market

0:27:250:27:28

and decimate workers' rights.

0:27:280:27:30

We have just been taking

through Parliament

0:27:300:27:32

the European Union Withdrawal Bill.

0:27:320:27:35

Which, actually, would right

into British law all the rights that

0:27:350:27:37

workers currently have under

the European Union.

0:27:370:27:39

The Labour Party voted against it.

0:27:390:27:41

You voted against it.

0:27:410:27:45

And that is historical revisionism

if I've ever heard it.

0:27:450:27:48

Putting powers into the hands

of ministers, not the people.

0:27:480:27:50

The woman there, on the left?

0:27:500:27:53

I think what concerns me more

than anything else is the fact that

0:27:530:27:57

both of you have been voted

in to represent us as a country, and

0:27:570:28:05

you are both arguing

with each other.

0:28:050:28:07

Brexit is not a party ideal.

0:28:070:28:08

People who voted for Brexit are not

necessarily conservative,

0:28:080:28:10

people who voted for Brexit are not

necessarily Labour supporters.

0:28:100:28:13

We are part of a country,

and it amazes me that Labour

0:28:130:28:16

and Conservatives cannot come

together and actually agree

0:28:160:28:18

what the best solution is for us

as a party and move forward.

0:28:180:28:22

Because at the end of the day,

it's our children who are going

0:28:220:28:25

to have to deal with this.

0:28:250:28:26

You over there?

0:28:260:28:28

Question for Liam, I agree

with Prue, I am confident

0:28:280:28:31

in our ability to negotiate these

fantastic free trade agreements.

0:28:310:28:34

But at what cost?

0:28:340:28:36

For example, when Theresa May

visited India they said

0:28:360:28:39

they absolutely want to do business

with you, that concession

0:28:390:28:42

was that they wanted free

movement of their workers.

0:28:420:28:44

Obviously how far would you go,

would that be a red line?

0:28:440:28:50

OK, and the person here,

in the third row, yes?

0:28:500:28:53

I don't believe we can

trust the Tories.

0:28:530:28:55

I think there should be a general

election before a trade deal.

0:28:550:29:00

OK.

0:29:000:29:02

And in the second row there, you?

0:29:020:29:05

I personally am most concerned

of all about the people in abject

0:29:050:29:08

poverty that Liam Fox mentioned.

0:29:080:29:10

There are people on this planet

who are born into conditions that

0:29:100:29:13

none of us will ever have

to experience, far worse

0:29:130:29:15

than we can imagine,

and they have no way of getting

0:29:150:29:18

themselves out of poverty

themselves, unless our government

0:29:180:29:20

and other governments,

obviously, think about those people

0:29:200:29:22

in the process of trade

deals and try to fight

0:29:220:29:24

against the terrible exploitation

of the people who provide our sugar

0:29:240:29:27

and cocoa for making

cakes and suchlike.

0:29:270:29:33

I really want our politicians

to think about those people

0:29:330:29:36

who don't have a voice

and are really suffering because of

0:29:360:29:38

centuries of unfair trade.

0:29:380:29:39

APPLAUSE.

0:29:390:29:44

Do you think that is better achieved

inside the EU or outside?

0:29:440:29:47

I personally really don't know,

which is why I didn't

0:29:490:29:52

vote in the referendum.

0:29:520:29:55

I want to trust that politicians

care about human beings,

0:29:550:29:57

not only British votes.

0:29:570:30:00

I'd just like to pick up

what the lady at the back said

0:30:050:30:08

about coming together as a country.

0:30:080:30:10

I too am completely fed up of just

watching politicians.

0:30:100:30:12

We hear hard Brexit, soft Brexit.

0:30:120:30:13

We will have sunny-side-up

Brexit next.

0:30:130:30:15

I don't know we're going to hear.

0:30:150:30:20

What I really want to see

is a vision from both of the big

0:30:200:30:23

parties in our country,

telling me why my life

0:30:230:30:25

is going to be better

outside the European Union.

0:30:250:30:27

And I am absolutely not convinced

at this point in time.

0:30:270:30:30

APPLAUSE.

0:30:300:30:32

Groskop

0:30:320:30:32

And you, sir.

0:30:320:30:35

We need to do what's

right for our industries.

0:30:350:30:38

We have a fantastic agriculture

industry, a fantastic

0:30:380:30:40

automotive industry.

0:30:400:30:41

And I think some of the things we're

talking about aren't necessarily

0:30:410:30:44

going to secure jobs,

drive the economy in those areas.

0:30:440:30:46

All countries always trade most

closely with their neighbours,

0:30:460:30:51

and I think we need to think

about what will do that.

0:30:510:30:54

The customs union absolutely

guarantees we safeguard those jobs

0:30:540:30:56

in those industries

that are closest to us.

0:30:560:31:00

We are halfway through our time

so I think we'll move

0:31:000:31:03

on to another question.

0:31:030:31:05

Diane Pace, your question, please.

0:31:050:31:08

Should the government learn

from our European partners and take

0:31:080:31:11

back control of the rented

sector in housing?

0:31:110:31:15

Should the government learn

from our European partners

0:31:150:31:17

and take back control,

take control of the rented sector?

0:31:170:31:21

Of course, housing has been

on the agenda this week.

0:31:210:31:23

George, what's your view about that?

0:31:230:31:29

Well, the renting sector

is an interesting question.

0:31:290:31:32

There is the view that the youth

quake in the last election

0:31:320:31:37

is actually attributable

to the issue of rent.

0:31:370:31:42

And that raises an interesting

quandary in that the number

0:31:420:31:48

of people that are really hard done

by by this current housing market

0:31:480:31:53

is now at a critical mass,

where it makes a difference

0:31:530:31:56

to an election.

0:31:570:31:59

But at the same time, is it big

enough for the Tories to care,

0:31:590:32:03

like, all the time, and not

just before an election?

0:32:030:32:08

I don't think it is.

0:32:080:32:09

I do think the housing market,

especially where we are here

0:32:090:32:14

in London, is out of control,

the private rental market.

0:32:140:32:16

And it would be good

to see some intervention.

0:32:160:32:23

What did you make of what the Prime

Minister said this week,

0:32:230:32:26

that young people were right to be

angry about housing?

0:32:260:32:28

Yeah, it's another one

of her beautiful truisms.

0:32:280:32:32

Of course young people are right

to be angry about it,

0:32:320:32:35

but the question is actually

going to be done.

0:32:350:32:38

And promising planning permissions

is not tantamount actually taking

0:32:380:32:40

control of the situation.

0:32:400:32:44

Diane Pace, you asked

the question...

0:32:440:32:45

APPLAUSE

0:32:450:32:50

What's the drift of your thinking?

0:32:500:32:52

Well, I was thinking

particularly about what happens

0:32:520:32:54

in the rest of Europe.

0:32:540:32:56

Even though we may be leaving

the EU, other countries in Europe

0:32:560:32:59

don't see housing in

the rented sector or even

0:32:590:33:05

owner-occupation as about an asset.

0:33:050:33:08

They see housing as about people's

homes, where they can make a life,

0:33:080:33:11

bring up their families,

work and enjoy themselves.

0:33:110:33:18

In this country, we see

housing as an asset,

0:33:180:33:20

which means that everybody

is scrabbling to get

0:33:200:33:24

on a housing ladder,

which is only about ownership.

0:33:240:33:26

Whereas the private rented sector,

or what I would support much

0:33:260:33:30

more is a mass council

house building programme.

0:33:300:33:34

But it is not really about tenure.

0:33:340:33:36

It's about providing a housing

supply which is fair and regulated.

0:33:360:33:42

Having a home, in other words.

0:33:420:33:44

Having a home.

0:33:440:33:48

And in the rest of Europe,

that isn't contentious.

0:33:480:33:50

In the Netherlands,

which I know something about,

0:33:500:33:53

it's the government that sets how

high rent can be, or how much rent

0:33:530:33:57

can be raised each year.

0:33:570:34:00

And I don't think anyone

in the Netherlands, or France,

0:34:000:34:03

Germany, they are not rabid

communists or socialists even.

0:34:030:34:06

They believe that their housing

sector needs regulation,

0:34:060:34:11

and landlords make money and people

live in decent homes.

0:34:110:34:15

APPLAUSE

0:34:150:34:23

I think that you have made

a really interesting and good point,

0:34:240:34:29

because I do think that we've come

to the point when we have

0:34:290:34:32

to consider doing something that

makes the rental market work better

0:34:320:34:34

than it does.

0:34:340:34:38

And until now, in fact,

it's worked very well especially

0:34:380:34:42

for the middle classes,

because owning your own house

0:34:420:34:45

was a little nest egg and you stayed

in it as long as you needed

0:34:450:34:49

to and then when you retired you had

the value of your house

0:34:490:34:52

and your children could inherit

and all the rest of it.

0:34:520:34:55

We are now living so long

that our children won't inherit

0:34:550:34:57

until we've spent all the money

on health care or whatever.

0:34:570:35:01

That's your plan, is it?

0:35:010:35:02

My plan.

0:35:020:35:04

And so the nest egg thing,

we've always been told,

0:35:040:35:10

governments have told us,

particularly the Tories have told

0:35:100:35:12

us, that owning our own house

0:35:120:35:15

is the secret to everything,

it makes you feel secure

0:35:150:35:18

and an Englishman's home

is his castle and all that stuff.

0:35:180:35:21

But I don't think it will work

any more because prices

0:35:210:35:24

are so out of control.

0:35:240:35:28

The only problem with the European

thing is that there is a real habit

0:35:280:35:31

of saving in Europe.

0:35:310:35:33

Everybody saves for their old age.

0:35:330:35:36

The pensions are very good,

and the National Insurance,

0:35:360:35:38

the equivalent of National

Insurance, is very good.

0:35:380:35:40

We don't have any of those

supports in this country,

0:35:400:35:44

so we don't have a culture

of saving, except in the nest egg

0:35:440:35:48

bit, which was your house.

0:35:480:35:49

You put your money into your house.

0:35:490:35:52

So you have to change a whole

culture if you want to do that.

0:35:520:35:55

And I think you might

in the end have to regulate

0:35:550:35:58

the housing, the rental market.

0:35:580:36:01

Let's hear from one or two

members of the audience.

0:36:010:36:04

In the middle.

0:36:040:36:06

I'm a film-maker from Hackney,

and literally I've done

0:36:060:36:08

a documentary about gentrification.

0:36:080:36:11

And I've seen my area

completely change.

0:36:110:36:14

It's not fair.

0:36:140:36:15

Communities have been broken up.

0:36:150:36:18

And in terms of rental,

it has become the wild wild West.

0:36:180:36:21

It's unfair to see how you have

to be affluent to live

0:36:210:36:25

in a particular area.

0:36:250:36:27

And it has priced people out.

0:36:270:36:29

So I really do think it's unfair

and I think there needs to be

0:36:290:36:32

something done about it

because we are breaking up

0:36:320:36:34

communities and people are moving

out, and it's not fair.

0:36:340:36:37

APPLAUSE

0:36:370:36:43

I think that the fundamental

underlying problem under all of this

0:36:430:36:45

is that we are not building enough

housing in this country.

0:36:450:36:50

So what we need to do...

0:36:500:36:52

I work in the sector.

0:36:520:36:54

We need to get private developers

working with housing associations

0:36:540:36:57

that provide affordable housing.

0:36:570:37:00

We need to get local

and national government tied up.

0:37:000:37:02

We need to pull it out of this

five-year election cycle.

0:37:020:37:05

We need to be thinking about homes

in ten, 15 and 30 years' time,

0:37:050:37:09

which will cause disruption

with construction in the short-term,

0:37:090:37:11

but we have to build enough housing.

0:37:110:37:14

So until we don't get that joined up

leadership, we need to...

0:37:140:37:19

Also, just to add, with the housing

has to come education,

0:37:190:37:23

infrastructure, transport,

health care, arts and culture.

0:37:230:37:26

And so to do that,

we have to come together.

0:37:260:37:30

And I think the Olympic Park is one

example where, you know,

0:37:300:37:33

it worked well for some people.

0:37:330:37:35

It might not be absolutely perfect

but it is an area where we did

0:37:350:37:38

remediate wasteland.

0:37:380:37:40

We brought housing there.

0:37:400:37:43

We brought arts, culture, education,

and it could be something we use

0:37:430:37:46

as a model to try and move forward.

0:37:460:37:48

What do you make of the fundamental

point that the questioner,

0:37:480:37:51

Diane Pace, made, that we should

move away, and that Prue Leith made,

0:37:510:37:55

that we should move away

from the idea of owning a house?

0:37:550:37:59

The idea that houses

are provided and you rent them?

0:37:590:38:03

I think it is quite

a cultural thing in the UK.

0:38:030:38:05

I've lived most of my life here,

but not all of it, and it's

0:38:050:38:09

definitely something that I'd seen

as quite a UK cultural thing.

0:38:090:38:11

I think if we do provide enough

housing and people feel secure

0:38:110:38:14

in rent so that they are not

going to be kicked out

0:38:140:38:17

in a few months' time,

they feel they could live

0:38:170:38:20

there long-term and they have that

security, then slowly perhaps that

0:38:200:38:22

culture will change.

0:38:220:38:24

You're not looking convinced.

0:38:240:38:25

We have new developments that

have come in Hackney.

0:38:250:38:28

The fact that as a developer

you are meant to have a certain

0:38:280:38:31

percentage for social housing,

that is getting less

0:38:310:38:34

and less and less.

0:38:340:38:37

When you look at those houses,

it's meant to be 20%.

0:38:370:38:40

It's less and less and less.

0:38:400:38:41

In fact, the gentleman right next

to me is telling me that there

0:38:410:38:44

are two different entrances.

0:38:440:38:46

There's entrances for social housing

and there's entrances

0:38:460:38:48

for people who own private.

0:38:480:38:50

I disagree with that.

0:38:500:38:51

That shouldn't happen and we need

to make sure that our councils

0:38:510:38:54

are providing the mandated

amount of housing.

0:38:540:38:57

The problem is at the moment

that the councils, the government

0:38:570:39:00

have different ideas.

0:39:000:39:02

Any council can make

a decision of what they want.

0:39:020:39:04

And then it depends on them.

0:39:040:39:06

We have to make sure that that

regulation is robust.

0:39:060:39:08

Needs to be regulated.

0:39:080:39:09

It's unfair.

0:39:090:39:10

Liam Fox.

0:39:100:39:11

Roma is exactly right.

0:39:110:39:15

It should be up to people themselves

to decide whether they rent or buy.

0:39:150:39:19

But that is dependent upon prices

being accessible to far more people.

0:39:190:39:23

And the problem is,

if you don't build enough homes

0:39:230:39:27

but the demand is still there,

the price will rise.

0:39:270:39:29

We've got to build lots

more homes to ensure

0:39:290:39:32

that the prices are reasonable.

0:39:320:39:36

And the good news is that last year,

2017, we built more homes,

0:39:360:39:39

1.1 million, than in all but one

of the last 30 years.

0:39:390:39:42

But we are a long way

behind the curve.

0:39:420:39:44

We have to build lots more.

0:39:440:39:46

Do you believe, as Sajid Javid said,

that 50 billion should be spent

0:39:460:39:50

by government and councils should be

free to spend?

0:39:500:39:53

Because at the moment,

councils, we are told one

0:39:530:39:56

in ten is going broke,

or more, because they

0:39:560:39:58

can't raise the money.

0:39:580:39:59

Why aren't they free to do it?

0:39:590:40:01

Well, we've got one of the big

problems that we face is that

0:40:010:40:04

at the moment if you're a house

builder, you can apply

0:40:040:40:07

for planning permission and before

you build the houses that

0:40:070:40:10

you are contracted to do, you can

get more planning permission.

0:40:100:40:14

What we need to have

is something called build-out,

0:40:140:40:16

in other words until house-builders

have actually got the houses

0:40:160:40:19

they are contracted to build,

they shouldn't be allowed to get

0:40:190:40:23

further planning permissions.

0:40:230:40:25

That would ensure that

when planning permission is given

0:40:250:40:27

by a local authority,

the houses actually get built,

0:40:270:40:30

rather than land banks

being built up, or waiting

0:40:300:40:33

until house prices rise.

0:40:330:40:35

Sorry to labour the point,

but why can't councils be freed

0:40:350:40:38

to borrow money at low interest

rates and build council houses?

0:40:380:40:43

APPLAUSE

0:40:430:40:48

What's the answer?

0:40:480:40:51

We've actually seen more

council houses built

0:40:510:40:52

in the last seven years...

0:40:520:40:53

That's not an answer

to the question.

0:40:530:40:55

The question is, yes,

it's all very well local authorities

0:40:550:40:59

being able to borrow but they have

to pay the money back,

0:40:590:41:02

and that has to ultimately be

guaranteed by central government.

0:41:020:41:07

So, yes, let's have more freedom

but let's have it responsibly

0:41:070:41:09

so that the taxpayer is not landed

with the more debt.

0:41:090:41:15

The man over there in spectacles.

0:41:150:41:19

I think it's important to note that

we've stripped away over the past 30

0:41:190:41:23

years so much social housing,

which has now been placed

0:41:230:41:27

into the private rental market.

0:41:270:41:28

It wouldn't be unusual in London

to find, and probably most big

0:41:280:41:32

cities across the UK,

to find that people are living

0:41:320:41:35

in what used to be socially rented

properties that were bought

0:41:350:41:39

by Right to Buy.

0:41:390:41:41

They are put onto the private rental

market and you will be paying double

0:41:410:41:45

on the private market for the same

property that your neighbour

0:41:450:41:49

would be renting from the council.

0:41:490:41:52

So we need to stop assuming that

private developers can provide

0:41:520:41:55

the housing we need.

0:41:550:41:59

It needs to be done on a major

scale, and the model of social

0:41:590:42:03

housing has to come back.

0:42:030:42:06

Laura, I will come

to you in a moment.

0:42:060:42:08

The man there with spectacles on.

0:42:080:42:12

Isn't part of the problem here

in London that there are thousands

0:42:120:42:15

and thousands of flats lying vacant

which are owned by non-UK investors?

0:42:150:42:19

APPLAUSE

0:42:190:42:22

Laura.

0:42:220:42:26

There were people this winter,

only a few weeks ago,

0:42:260:42:29

that died on the streets

because they did not

0:42:290:42:32

have a home to call their own,

and I think that is an absolute

0:42:320:42:35

condemnation of this nation.

0:42:350:42:41

I heard this homeless man saying,

"I just hope I wake up".

0:42:410:42:44

That is an absolute shame.

0:42:440:42:47

And it's systemic, so in the private

rented sector, rents are too high,

0:42:470:42:49

people are getting in debt

because their rent is extortionate,

0:42:490:42:52

they don't have security of tenure.

0:42:520:42:54

We desperately need council housing.

0:42:540:42:56

I just want to make this

point, David, right.

0:42:560:42:58

There's a reluctance to talk

about council housing,

0:42:580:43:00

to allow councils the freedom

to build council houses.

0:43:000:43:04

And there are ideological

motives behind it.

0:43:040:43:06

Everything has a political

motivation behind it.

0:43:060:43:08

That's what politics is about.

0:43:080:43:10

If you are really secure in your

home, if you have really low rent,

0:43:100:43:13

if you have security of tenure,

you're much less likely

0:43:130:43:15

to take industrial action.

0:43:150:43:17

Sorry, you're much more

likely to take industrial

0:43:170:43:20

action than if you have, say,

got a mortgage and you are really,

0:43:200:43:24

really worried about the security

of your home.

0:43:240:43:26

And I think that actually

being secure in a house is a human

0:43:260:43:29

right and we have to start looking

at it through a human rights

0:43:290:43:32

perspective, rather than just

seeing it as a commodity,

0:43:320:43:34

or an asset, or something

that we can float on the stock

0:43:340:43:37

market or whatever it is and bank

lots of houses in London.

0:43:370:43:42

People deserve homes as a human

right, and you have to start talking

0:43:420:43:46

about mass programmes

of council house building.

0:43:460:43:49

APPLAUSE

0:43:490:43:52

And just to pick you up

on one thing you said.

0:43:520:43:55

"Every political decision has

a political motive",

0:43:550:43:58

implying there was an ulterior

motive or a different motive.

0:43:580:44:01

What is Labour's different motive

when it talks the way you just did?

0:44:010:44:05

That housing is a human right,

not like a commodity.

0:44:050:44:07

So you don't have

a political motive?

0:44:070:44:09

Of course.

0:44:090:44:10

Not in the crude, callous

sense, because actually,

0:44:100:44:14

contrary to popular belief,

I genuinely do want people

0:44:140:44:18

in my constituency not to have

to come to me because they have got

0:44:180:44:22

mould in their house,

because they can't get to sleep

0:44:220:44:24

and their children's health

is exacerbated by poor

0:44:240:44:26

living standards.

0:44:260:44:28

I genuinely want people to be taken

off the housing list and I want

0:44:280:44:31

council houses to be built,

and I want them to be desirable

0:44:310:44:34

and not bargain basement properties

because housing revenue accounts

0:44:340:44:37

have been slashed so much

under this government.

0:44:370:44:39

APPLAUSE

0:44:390:44:41

We all agree with you.

0:44:410:44:43

You can stop.

0:44:430:44:45

I'm not going to stop while there's

people dying on the streets.

0:44:450:44:48

For heaven's sake, Laura.

0:44:480:44:49

Stop it.

0:44:490:44:51

We saw what deregulation did.

0:44:510:44:52

Let me say this as a final point.

0:44:520:44:54

No, you have said your final

bit for the moment.

0:44:540:44:57

What deregulation did

at Grenfell, though, David.

0:44:570:44:58

Look what deregulation did there.

0:44:580:44:59

Let Prue Leith speak.

0:44:590:45:00

She was just taking you to task.

0:45:000:45:02

No, I was just saying,

we've got it and we agree

0:45:020:45:05

with you pretty well.

0:45:050:45:06

So let's let a few

other people speak.

0:45:060:45:11

But all I wanted to say was that

I don't think this is a question

0:45:110:45:16

of the rented market

against the private

0:45:160:45:17

market, or anything else.

0:45:170:45:21

I think it's got to

be a mixed solution.

0:45:210:45:23

And everybody has to do their bit.

0:45:230:45:26

The only thing I would like to say,

which is a rather obvious thing,

0:45:260:45:30

you know, we think that the housing

problem is all because politicians

0:45:300:45:37

won't built houses.

0:45:370:45:38

We could do three things about that.

0:45:380:45:39

I mean, things that stop

the houses being built

0:45:390:45:42

is not the lack of money.

0:45:420:45:43

It's that the planning procedure

is very slow, and difficult.

0:45:430:45:49

And it's basically protectionist.

0:45:490:45:54

Most planners don't want to build

houses, they want to stop

0:45:540:45:56

houses being built.

0:45:560:45:59

So that's one thing.

0:45:590:46:01

The planning, I really think

planning, the helpline thing needs

0:46:010:46:04

-- The planning, I really think

planning, the whole planning thing

0:46:140:46:16

needs to be looked at very carefully

and made much more cooperative

0:46:160:46:19

and useful to builders.

0:46:190:46:20

I also think that we should

understand that, actually,

0:46:200:46:23

even if we could build the houses

that your government have said

0:46:230:46:25

we should be building this year,

we'll never build them

0:46:250:46:28

because there are not enough

building materials to be

0:46:280:46:30

had in this country.

0:46:300:46:31

It's too expensive to import it all.

0:46:310:46:33

And there isn't enough labour,

so there's not enough

0:46:330:46:35

labour to build them,

there's not enough materials

0:46:350:46:37

to build them and the planning...

0:46:370:46:38

OK, the woman in the front, here.

0:46:380:46:40

Let's hear from you.

0:46:400:46:41

First of all, Prue, I'm

a planner and I really

0:46:410:46:43

want to see houses built,

because I'm also a young person.

0:46:430:46:46

Good for you!

0:46:460:46:47

Who doesn't benefit from the Bank

of Mum and Dad, so at the moment

0:46:470:46:51

I have no chance of buying a house

before I'm about 40.

0:46:510:46:53

Secondly, as I say, I'm a planner

and a property developer,

0:46:530:46:56

so I know quite a bit

about the planning process.

0:46:560:47:00

And my view is that the bureaucracy

of the process is so complicated

0:47:000:47:04

now that it takes years to put

through a simple

0:47:040:47:06

development of ten houses.

0:47:060:47:08

Can we not just simplify the whole

thing and get it so houses

0:47:080:47:12

are being built in areas

that we want them to be built?

0:47:120:47:15

OK.

0:47:150:47:16

The man up there

on the gangway, there?

0:47:160:47:18

And then I'll come to you.

0:47:180:47:21

Yeah, I'd just like to say

I have a bit of experience in this

0:47:210:47:24

because I live in London,

I come from Yorkshire.

0:47:240:47:27

I was able, fortunately,

to buy a house with

0:47:270:47:29

the support of my family.

0:47:290:47:31

When I moved here, we worked

with local projects to be able

0:47:310:47:34

to rent the house out to people,

who otherwise wouldn't be able

0:47:340:47:37

to get into their own property,

wouldn't be able to afford it.

0:47:370:47:40

But, unfortunately,

funding for those kind

0:47:400:47:41

of schemes has been cut.

0:47:410:47:42

So we're not able

to do that any more.

0:47:420:47:45

But I think Laura's point of give

everybody who is homeless a free

0:47:450:47:48

house doesn't really work.

0:47:480:47:50

I didn't say that.

0:47:500:47:51

What happens to everyone

else who has to earn

0:47:510:47:53

their way into a house?

0:47:530:47:55

What we need to do is take

people on the streets,

0:47:550:47:58

to give them a route to being able

to afford their own house,

0:47:580:48:01

not give them a freebie.

0:48:010:48:02

Yeah, but they are

interconnected, aren't they?

0:48:020:48:04

They are interconnected.

0:48:040:48:06

The person in the back, row there.

0:48:060:48:08

The woman.

0:48:080:48:09

Oh, second from the back.

0:48:090:48:10

Yes, you.

0:48:100:48:11

Yeah, I just wanted to go

back to what George said

0:48:110:48:14

about the youthquake.

0:48:140:48:15

I really don't think it did enough

to influence the election,

0:48:150:48:17

even though I would have

liked it to.

0:48:170:48:19

I'm 18 and I have friends

who are paying over 315 a week

0:48:190:48:22

in rent to live in London.

0:48:220:48:24

You cannot have a

generation of renters.

0:48:240:48:27

It's just financial

insecurity for life.

0:48:270:48:29

When are the Conservatives

going to take notice

0:48:290:48:31

of an entire future generation

who are facing financial insecurity?

0:48:310:48:33

APPLAUSE

0:48:330:48:34

Briefly, Liam.

0:48:340:48:38

Well, that is the whole point

of the Government's housing policy

0:48:380:48:40

now, that we want to build more.

0:48:400:48:43

For years and years, and years,

including, it has to be said,

0:48:430:48:46

during the last Labour government,

I'm interested why this

0:48:460:48:48

one would be different,

we did not build enough homes.

0:48:480:48:53

The population has increased far

more than the supply of housing.

0:48:530:48:55

When that happens, you get a supply

and demand mismatch and then prices

0:48:550:48:58

will inevitably rise.

0:48:580:49:01

That's what happens when the market

is distorted in the way

0:49:010:49:03

that it is at the moment.

0:49:030:49:06

What your government still falls

short of doing is compelling

0:49:060:49:10

developers to stick to the social

provisions that they are

0:49:100:49:12

nominally committed to.

0:49:120:49:14

APPLAUSE.

0:49:140:49:16

OK, we have under ten minutes left.

0:49:160:49:19

One more question

from the woman there.

0:49:190:49:23

Just a brief point.

0:49:230:49:24

Just very briefly, the whole talk

about building new houses,

0:49:240:49:27

that's all well and good,

but the problem is the people

0:49:270:49:30

who buy bulk houses

for investment purposes.

0:49:300:49:32

I'm 40 years old, I pay more in rent

for one room in a shared house

0:49:320:49:36

and my brother does for a three bed

semidetached in Swindon.

0:49:360:49:39

It's ridiculous.

0:49:390:49:41

People will just buy them

and they tell you, well,

0:49:410:49:44

my retirement is sorted because I've

got five properties, I rented them

0:49:440:49:47

out, so I'm OK when I grow old.

0:49:470:49:52

So, people, whatever

you are building, you've got people

0:49:520:49:54

who are investing and just hoarding

all of the properties

0:49:540:49:56

for themselves, and not allowing

it, so then that hikes

0:49:560:49:59

the prices even more.

0:49:590:50:03

OK.

0:50:030:50:04

APPLAUSE.

0:50:040:50:06

There are a lot of hands up

here about that topic.

0:50:060:50:09

But I want to go on,

because we've got another six

0:50:090:50:12

or seven minutes to go.

0:50:120:50:13

This is an appropriate

question for today, perhaps.

0:50:130:50:15

Claire Carter, can we have it?

0:50:150:50:17

Do we want women reaching

the top by merit or simply

0:50:170:50:20

making up the numbers?

0:50:200:50:27

Positive discrimination or merit?

0:50:270:50:28

Is that your point?

0:50:280:50:29

Making up the numbers?

0:50:290:50:35

We are led to believe that we want

more women on boards and directors,

0:50:350:50:39

but surely it has to be on merit?

0:50:390:50:41

Because otherwise you

discredit men and women?

0:50:410:50:42

OK, well, Prue Leith has

sat on many a board.

0:50:420:50:45

Is it on merit or because

you were a woman?

0:50:450:50:48

Well, to be honest, when I first...

0:50:480:50:50

The first public board I ever sat

on was the British Railways Board.

0:50:500:50:53

And then I sat on various

other ones, like Safeway,

0:50:530:50:56

Whitbread and so on.

0:50:560:50:57

And I have to admit,

probably the chairmen who put me

0:50:570:50:59

on those boards did it

because they were tired

0:50:590:51:02

of going to AGMs and some woman

standing up, shareholder,

0:51:020:51:04

saying, why am I looking

at all these grey suits?

0:51:040:51:09

Why aren't there any

women on the board?

0:51:090:51:11

So I was there as the token woman.

0:51:110:51:15

My attitude was always I don't care

what your motivation is,

0:51:150:51:18

as long as when I get there I'm

allowed to do the job.

0:51:180:51:25

So, in a sense, what I'm saying

is that I would happily

0:51:250:51:28

back a quota system,

as long as it wasn't ridiculous.

0:51:280:51:36

You don't want people who are not

qualified for the job, but,

0:51:360:51:40

believe me, there are enough good

women, well-educated women in this

0:51:400:51:42

country to do almost any job.

0:51:420:51:47

APPLAUSE

0:51:470:51:53

Basically, I am absolutely

behind targets and quotas, anything

0:51:530:51:57

that will get women towards...

0:51:570:52:01

Because very quickly what happens

is they start to realise, oh, gosh,

0:52:010:52:04

they are rather good at this job.

0:52:040:52:07

And then the only trouble

is they still don't pay

0:52:070:52:09

them as much as men.

0:52:090:52:10

Which is wrong, and illegal.

0:52:100:52:12

But it happens.

0:52:120:52:13

OK.

Roma?

0:52:130:52:16

I am one of less than 10% of female

engineers in this country.

0:52:160:52:21

And it's very, very necessary

that we get more women

0:52:210:52:23

into my profession.

0:52:230:52:24

Because what engineers do

is design for society.

0:52:240:52:32

And if we don't represent society,

then we're not going

0:52:320:52:35

to do well for society.

0:52:350:52:36

So it's very interesting for me,

I think the reason at the moment why

0:52:360:52:39

women are not getting to the top

in the numbers and the quantities

0:52:390:52:42

that we should be is because the way

we measure achievement is perhaps

0:52:420:52:45

out of date.

0:52:450:52:46

So, we reward behaviour such

as working really long

0:52:460:52:49

hours, travelling a lot.

0:52:490:52:50

There may be deals made

on golf courses and so on.

0:52:500:52:52

So, what we need to do

is find a different system

0:52:520:52:55

by which we measure what success is,

what leadership is.

0:52:550:52:58

And as somebody who works part-time,

for example, I would love to see

0:52:580:53:02

women that are working part-time

still able to get to the top

0:53:020:53:05

without having to pull every hour

and miss everything that's

0:53:050:53:07

going on with their families.

0:53:070:53:08

For me, it's about

changing that system.

0:53:080:53:10

APPLAUSE.

0:53:100:53:13

Claire, let me just go

back to Claire Carter,

0:53:130:53:15

who asked this question.

0:53:150:53:18

When you asked do you want women

reaching the top by merit,

0:53:180:53:25

which presumably is the long-term

aim, or making up the numbers,

0:53:250:53:27

what is your view?

0:53:270:53:31

Do you think, as Prue said,

having women on boards,

0:53:310:53:33

making equal men and women,

in itself is a good thing?

0:53:330:53:36

No, I don't.

0:53:360:53:37

I think all of the women,

I speak for myself, maybe

0:53:370:53:39

the women on the panel here,

have been there by

0:53:390:53:42

achievement and merit.

0:53:420:53:43

You can't say you need

five men and five women,

0:53:430:53:45

because you discredit the men

and would anybody like a job

0:53:450:53:48

out of just a number?

0:53:480:53:50

Without earning their place?

0:53:500:53:54

We are in danger of mixing it up.

0:53:540:53:56

You think there is a danger

of this happening?

0:53:560:53:58

Yes, I do.

0:53:580:53:59

Laura Pidcock?

0:53:590:54:01

I think positive action

is an acknowledgement

0:54:010:54:04

of the structural barriers that take

place to exclude people

0:54:040:54:06

from systems, be it from politics,

the boardroom or whatever.

0:54:060:54:09

APPLAUSE

0:54:090:54:13

And, actually, just a very local

thing, the Labour Party has

0:54:130:54:16

45% of MPs are women

because they took decisive action.

0:54:160:54:21

I was selected on an all-woman short

list, I got there by merit,

0:54:210:54:24

I'm telling you now.

0:54:240:54:25

It wasn't because I was just put up.

0:54:250:54:27

I was put up against a pool of very,

very capable women, I have to say.

0:54:270:54:31

I just want to make

one last point, David.

0:54:310:54:33

That is that we are obsessed

with the top, it seems.

0:54:330:54:36

The biggest barrier in life

to any kind of achievement

0:54:360:54:38

is your socioeconomic status.

0:54:380:54:40

So, what class you are and how

you achieve is very much

0:54:400:54:43

about what opportunities

are afforded to you.

0:54:430:54:45

So I'm less concerned

with the boardroom and I'm more

0:54:450:54:47

concerned with how much the lowest

paid workers are being

0:54:470:54:50

treated in this country.

0:54:500:54:53

APPLAUSE

0:54:530:54:56

Just to echo

much of what Laura said.

0:54:570:54:59

I think the first step

is a psychological acknowledgement

0:54:590:55:05

that there is a deficit,

or an inherent bias within society.

0:55:050:55:10

I think what things like quotas

and positive discrimination schemes

0:55:100:55:16

allow is for a moment to depart

from the automatic thinking

0:55:160:55:19

that we might just slip into.

0:55:190:55:20

And I think the benefit

of that is that it forces employers,

0:55:200:55:25

or people in positions

of leadership, to reassess

0:55:250:55:30

what their biases and their kind

of automotive thinking,

0:55:300:55:34

when making these decisions.

0:55:340:55:38

Ultimately, you will see

a new appreciation of the merit

0:55:380:55:40

people do bring to the table

that is often overlooked

0:55:400:55:43

without the schemes.

0:55:430:55:44

OK.

0:55:440:55:45

The woman in the second row?

0:55:450:55:47

I'll ask you to be brief,

because we are almost...

0:55:470:55:51

There is plenty of evidence

to say that, actually,

0:55:510:55:53

diverse boards and leadership teams

actually produce greater wealth.

0:55:530:55:56

So, in some ways, if I was the CEO

of an organisation, if I wanted

0:55:580:56:02

to create more value,

I want to have a more diverse team,

0:56:020:56:05

I would like to follow up on both

Roma and your's point.

0:56:050:56:08

It is the structure,

the mindset, and shifting it.

0:56:080:56:10

And it's not just for women,

it's for everyone.

0:56:100:56:12

I am absolutely against quotas.

0:56:120:56:13

I'm very much based on meritocracy.

0:56:130:56:15

However, we women, especially

on International Women's Day should

0:56:150:56:17

be helping those from behind us.

0:56:170:56:19

I met this young lady

here this evening.

0:56:190:56:22

You know, we had a great

chat and everything.

0:56:220:56:27

And people like me who,

I am successful in my career

0:56:270:56:30

and everything, should be

taking his woman with us and helping

0:56:300:56:32

them, and mentoring.

0:56:320:56:34

Because mentoring is a great

way and it also cuts

0:56:340:56:36

across social divides and that,

so we break those moulds as well.

0:56:360:56:39

Liam Fox?

0:56:390:56:40

We only have a few moments left.

0:56:400:56:41

To answer the question,

having worked for two

0:56:410:56:43

female prime ministers,

they would both have hated the idea

0:56:430:56:46

that they were there

because they were women,

0:56:460:56:48

rather than because

they were the best.

0:56:480:56:50

We do have to accept that we have

to ease the path so that women can

0:56:500:56:54

actually take advantage

of the talents that we have.

0:56:540:56:56

The lady in the second row asked

a very interesting question earlier,

0:56:560:57:01

how can we use trade to help some

of those poorest?

0:57:010:57:06

Listen, on International Women's Day

we should consider this,

0:57:060:57:08

that one of the best ways

that we can is to open up e-commerce

0:57:080:57:11

to people, especially women.

0:57:110:57:13

If you look at firms, those that

are purely trading off-line,

0:57:130:57:15

four out of five are either owned

or run by men.

0:57:150:57:18

Those that are trading purely

online, four out of five are either

0:57:180:57:26

run or owned by women.

0:57:280:57:29

There is a real opportunity

to liberate women across the world

0:57:290:57:32

by using e-commerce.

0:57:320:57:33

As long as they are paid fairly!

0:57:330:57:34

And that is one of the things,

in answer to your earlier question,

0:57:340:57:38

that the Government

is actually championing.

0:57:380:57:39

I'm sorry, there are hands up,

like on housing, I'd

0:57:390:57:41

like to come to many more people

but our hour is done.

0:57:410:57:44

We only had an hour.

0:57:440:57:46

We should have fewer

people on the panel.

0:57:460:57:47

Perhaps he should have the whole

audience just by themselves?

0:57:470:57:50

Anyway, the hour is up

for Question Time.

0:57:500:57:52

Next Thursday, as I said earlier,

we are going to be in Dover.

0:57:520:57:55

We have the Shadow Secretary

of State for exiting

0:57:550:57:57

the EU, Keir Starmer.

0:57:570:57:58

We have the Irish MEP

Mairead McGuinness, and the actor

0:57:580:58:00

Brian Cox among the five

on the panel.

0:58:000:58:07

The week after that we are in Leeds,

where our audience is all

0:58:070:58:10

going to be under 30.

0:58:100:58:11

It looks to me as though this

audience is mostly under 30.

0:58:110:58:14

Perhaps that is

flattering some of you.

0:58:140:58:16

The number to call is 0330 123 99 88

if you would like to be a those two

0:58:160:58:20

places, or on the screen

is the website, and follow

0:58:200:58:23

the instructions there.

0:58:230:58:24

If you want to have your say

on the topics we've been talking

0:58:240:58:27

about, a reminder you can join

Adrian Chiles on Question Time

0:58:270:58:29

Extra Time on 5 Live.

0:58:290:58:31

It's on BBC now.

0:58:310:58:32

If you want to watch it,

you can press the red button,

0:58:320:58:34

or you can watch it on iPlayer,

if you would rather do that.

0:58:340:58:38

So, my thanks to our panel,

and to all of you who came

0:58:380:58:41

to this splendid setting

at the Institution Of Civil

0:58:410:58:43

Engineers here in Westminster.

0:58:430:58:44

From Question Time, until next

Thursday, good night.

0:58:440:58:46

APPLAUSE.

0:58:460:58:54

David Dimbleby chairs debate from Westminster. On the panel are secretary of state for international trade Liam Fox, shadow minister for labour Laura Pidcock, restaurateur, writer and Great British Bake Off judge Prue Leith, Roma Agrawal, structural engineer who worked on the Shard and diversity campaigner for women in engineering, and spoken word artist and social campaigner George the Poet.


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