22/04/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


22/04/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, including an interview with the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.


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In the East Midlands: Are some GPs being unfair to women

:01:33.:01:36.

who want abortions? And is the Government going cold on

:01:36.:01:46.
:01:46.:01:46.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1735 seconds

:01:46.:30:42.

the electrification of Midland Hello, I'm Marie Ashby with the

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talking points in the East Midlands. Our guests this week need little

:30:45.:30:47.

introduction. Former Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is

:30:47.:30:49.

Labour MP for Derby South and Stephen Dorrell, Conservative MP

:30:49.:30:51.

for Charnwood, is chairman of the Health Select Committee.

:30:51.:30:54.

Coming up: East Midlands MPs combine forces to fight for Midland

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Mainline to be electrified. But is the Government going cold on the

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idea? And a reality check for the Lib Dems in one of our cities.

:31:03.:31:06.

First, an issue that always generates controversy - abortion.

:31:07.:31:09.

This week a Chesterfield surgery hit the headlines over a notice

:31:09.:31:12.

warning some of its doctors won't speak to patients about

:31:12.:31:14.

terminations or emergency contraception. So should GPs be

:31:14.:31:23.

free to exercise their conscience? Or are they overstepping the mark?

:31:23.:31:29.

Kate Smurthwaite from the Abortion Rights campaign is also with us.

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The surgery says the notice is there to save women the time and

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embarrassment of seeing a doctor who's not prepared to give them an

:31:35.:31:44.

abortion referral. What is the problem with that? People going

:31:44.:31:48.

into the surgery, it is shocking to see. You don't expect to see a sign

:31:48.:31:52.

of it says because of our religious backgrounds these other treatments

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you can and can't have had different doctors. There is

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something shocking about it. That said, we know that around the UK,

:32:00.:32:03.

around one in five doctors has an issue with termination and will not

:32:03.:32:07.

refer. We need to find some way that women can see doctors who are

:32:07.:32:12.

happy to give them the treatment they need. I am not 100 %

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comfortable of a sign in his surgery. I don't normally go into

:32:16.:32:19.

the doctors and explained my ailments to the receptionist. I

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wait for the privacy of a consultation room. Clearly, we need

:32:23.:32:27.

to let women know that if they are not going to get the treatment they

:32:27.:32:31.

want from one doctor, they can be referred. You can always ask for a

:32:31.:32:35.

female doctor or if you have a preference a witch doctor you see.

:32:35.:32:42.

That is useful. If I know there is a doctor that they think fair

:32:42.:32:48.

religious views are more important about my bodily autonomy, I don't

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want to see them about an ear infection even. Do you agree with

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Kate that the surgery is piling pressure on women who already have

:32:59.:33:01.

a difficult decision to make? have mixed feelings. It has always

:33:02.:33:07.

been the case that doctors have a right to say this is not something

:33:07.:33:15.

I personally am comfortable with. But they are not going to perform

:33:15.:33:20.

the abortion. Surely they should be able to give advice? Well, some

:33:20.:33:26.

people are not comfortable with that. Certainly, I'd take it Kate's

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point entirely, it is awkward for somebody. It would be particularly

:33:33.:33:36.

awkward to have that difficult conversation with a doctor who says,

:33:36.:33:43.

no, I want nothing to do with this. It is also a bit awkward to have to

:33:43.:33:48.

have this conversation with a receptionist. Maybe that is

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something that we ought to look out to try to ease that problem as much

:33:52.:34:01.

as possible, for both parties. is one thing that doctors might

:34:01.:34:04.

refuse to carry out abortions but surely they should not refuse to

:34:04.:34:08.

talk to a patient. I don't that -- I don't think that surgery is

:34:08.:34:13.

saying we refuse to talk. There are saying that if a patient has come

:34:13.:34:17.

in seeking a termination, it is probably in the interests of that

:34:17.:34:27.

patient as well ours of the doctor to avoid the circumstances. I think

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we're all agreeing that what we are looking for is a sympathetic way of

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ensuring that the necessary difficulty is avoided. Do you think

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doctors are taking their principles too far by refusing to see someone

:34:39.:34:45.

who wants abortion advice? It is a very long-standing convention, as I

:34:45.:34:50.

understand it. There has been an acceptance and understanding for a

:34:50.:34:54.

very long time. Put the question of the other way. If someone has a

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conscientious objection to being involved in terminations, is that

:34:58.:35:00.

the reason why somebody who otherwise has a commitment to a

:35:00.:35:04.

medical career should be denied the opportunity of using their skills

:35:04.:35:08.

for the benefit of the patients? are not just talking about

:35:08.:35:12.

abortions. Some doctors will not give a emergency contraception like

:35:12.:35:18.

the morning-after pill. Doesn't that lead more women down the line

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of thinking the only thing that is available to me is it an issue?

:35:23.:35:27.

it shouldn't lead to that conclusion. But it could.

:35:27.:35:33.

shouldn't if there is any kind of advice given. The reason the

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emergency termination... The medical termination using a police

:35:37.:35:41.

regarded by the doctor as a reason for conscientious objection, and

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they regard that as a form of abortion. What do you think? It is

:35:47.:35:50.

not a form of abortion. All the medical evidence suggests it

:35:50.:35:56.

doesn't cause an embryo that has implanted and was ever to be

:35:56.:36:00.

discharged. Pit-stops implantation and fertilisation, which is what

:36:00.:36:05.

happens when you don't get pregnant. -- it stops. That is a side issue.

:36:05.:36:11.

The issue is we have quite high levels of doctors at their who

:36:11.:36:13.

choose to exercise his conscientious objection. You are

:36:13.:36:17.

right, it's been around for something -- for a long time but

:36:18.:36:21.

that doesn't mean it is acceptable. For a long time we sent small boys

:36:21.:36:28.

up chimneys. It doesn't mean that was a good idea. It is difficult

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because it is a slippery slope. There are people out there who have

:36:33.:36:36.

religious objections to blood transfusions and those who think

:36:36.:36:40.

that those who have a smoking addiction shouldn't be entitled to

:36:40.:36:45.

treatment. We must not go down a road where people say I don't want

:36:45.:36:48.

to be involved with that. We have seen a slip from abortion to this

:36:48.:36:52.

thing about emergency contraception. Sooner or later, people will talk

:36:53.:36:56.

about contraception in the same way. We have to stamp it out now. Should

:36:56.:37:01.

things stay as they are? I don't accept the argument that this is a

:37:01.:37:06.

slippery slope and what next? The truth is, this is a discrete

:37:06.:37:12.

subject that has been much fought over and this is the conclusion

:37:12.:37:17.

that has been arrived at. Perhaps too discreet. Maybe we should

:37:17.:37:25.

discuss it more. I'd been easily defined. I don't think there is any

:37:25.:37:28.

evidence that the boundaries of the debate are being shifted. Thanks

:37:28.:37:38.
:37:38.:37:40.

for joining us. Next: our MP's combined forces this

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week to press the government to electrify the Midland Mainline.

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They practically queued up to support a motion from Loughborough

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MP, Nicky Morgan. It is about unfairness. There is �12 billion

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being invested in railways and only �200 million being invested in the

:37:55.:38:01.

Midland Main Line. It is likely to grow by 800,000 over the next 20

:38:01.:38:05.

years also so there is clearly a demand for the service but there is

:38:05.:38:09.

also a huge economic benefit. Upgrade of the Midland Main Line

:38:10.:38:12.

would bring huge benefits to Leicester for example and also I

:38:12.:38:17.

imagine, Loughborough. independent report prepared for the

:38:17.:38:20.

councils and executive estimated that up grading and electrifying

:38:20.:38:24.

the Midland Main Line would generate �450 million worth of

:38:24.:38:27.

wider economic benefits in terms of higher business productivity. This

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of course includes the creation of hundreds of jobs through

:38:31.:38:34.

construction activities and the refurbishment works on the trains

:38:34.:38:38.

themselves, as well as encouraging more businesses to relocate and

:38:38.:38:41.

invest around the Midland Main Line the corridor as journey times

:38:41.:38:46.

reduced. While the business case for London mainline metrication

:38:46.:38:52.

does indeed look impressive -- Midland Main Line, there can be no

:38:52.:38:56.

doubt that the project would be complex and challenging and it

:38:56.:39:01.

would be an expensive one to deliver. Network Rail is -- has

:39:01.:39:06.

estimated that the capital cost of electrification would be �530

:39:06.:39:09.

million, not including the other improvements referred to in the

:39:09.:39:13.

debate. Major engineering work would be required, just to make

:39:14.:39:19.

room for the overhead wires. Over 50 bridges would have to be rebuilt.

:39:19.:39:25.

Not so long ago... Theresa Villiers accepted the case for improving the

:39:25.:39:29.

line. Now, looking at that, it looks like she is not so sure.

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all know that we live in very straitened circumstances of the

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burden of proof on people who are arguing, as we all are, the case

:39:37.:39:42.

for this investment has got somewhat more difficult because of

:39:42.:39:51.

the circumstance. There seemed to be a lot of yes but so. -- yes,

:39:51.:40:00.

buts... That figure covers the cost of the new bridges and the extra

:40:00.:40:04.

gauge. The question is whether this is an investment that delivers a

:40:04.:40:07.

return both in terms of the improved rail performance and in

:40:08.:40:12.

terms of wider economic performance. The answer is that it does. Do you

:40:12.:40:17.

get the feeling that she has already made up her mind? I cannot

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remember a time when every MP, the length of the Midland Main Line,

:40:24.:40:27.

didn't support electrification and I've never met an MP from that area

:40:27.:40:37.
:40:37.:40:40.

who could understand why it has ever gone ahead. I think Stephen is

:40:40.:40:43.

right. It is likely to be a question of money. The fact is, why

:40:43.:40:48.

has it never, in all these years, been a high priority project? A

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remember once being told, we were all told, that it was because there

:40:52.:40:55.

were a lot of business users on the Midland Main Line. You would think

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that would be a better reason for it to be done but somehow, it has

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never happened. I hope before I leave politics that it will happen.

:41:03.:41:12.

That is a challenge! It seems grossly unfair that according to

:41:12.:41:15.

Sir Alan Meale the East Midlands has received only �200 million of

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the �12 billion invested in rail networks. That is a way of looking

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at it. I prefer personally the approach that simply says, let's

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look at this as a discrete project. It delivers a return to rail users

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and a return to the wider economic benefit of their communities on the

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line. That by itself is an argument for doing it. It does seem that

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�500 million seems a small price to pay. It sounds ridiculous, �500

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million! But look what we get back from it is what people are saying.

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It's a big project, there is no question of that. If you look

:41:48.:41:52.

around the country of Investment taking place in Israel, in other

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parts of the country, it is very hard to understand why this has not

:41:57.:42:06.

been a higher priority. -- Investment taking place on the

:42:06.:42:12.

railway. You can see from the film you have shown, there were a number

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of East Midlands MPs present at that debate to express support.

:42:18.:42:22.

Margaret, myself, the majority of the East Midlands MPs have written

:42:22.:42:27.

to ministers and have made the case. That we will go on doing. Is it a

:42:27.:42:37.
:42:37.:42:38.

question of keeping on going? keeping nagging away!

:42:38.:42:41.

Next, in less than two weeks, voters in one of our cities will be

:42:41.:42:45.

heading for the polls. And it could mean the end for the only Tory, Lib

:42:45.:42:53.

Dem Coalition in the region. It may not have the chandeliers and

:42:53.:42:55.

mahogany furniture of the cabinet room in Number 10 but Derby's

:42:55.:42:58.

cabinet does have plenty in common with David Cameron's. There's one

:42:58.:43:01.

big difference though. While Ed Miliband has to put up with the

:43:01.:43:04.

status quo until 2015, in Derby, there are elections almost every

:43:04.:43:10.

year. And this time, power is in the balance. The manifestos for

:43:10.:43:13.

Derby may reveal something about the way each party is treating this

:43:13.:43:19.

election. This is the Conservatives won. It is 12 pages long. The Lib

:43:19.:43:22.

Dems manifesto is eight pages long. Labour's manifesto is one piece of

:43:22.:43:28.

paper. You can never take the election for granted. You need to

:43:28.:43:31.

get out on the doorstep, secured a promise of individuals to vote for

:43:31.:43:36.

you, make sure all polling day that they are going out and voting for

:43:36.:43:40.

you. The reason our manifesto is short is we want to over deliver

:43:40.:43:44.

and and a promise. A let's look at the numbers. To win outright

:43:44.:43:48.

control of the Council, you need 26 councillors. Labour are close to

:43:49.:43:52.

that magic number, they have got 22 at the moment. They tell me they

:43:52.:43:56.

are pretty confident of picking up at least before macro they need for

:43:56.:44:03.

a majority. Privately, the kiss it is think they will... They hope

:44:03.:44:07.

that Labour's gains will not come from them but for the Lib-Dems and

:44:07.:44:10.

said. The Lib Dems are the smallest party at the moment with 12

:44:10.:44:14.

councillors but they have to defend of those seats this year. If last

:44:14.:44:18.

year's results were repeated again this year, it could be a very bad

:44:18.:44:24.

fear for the did Dems. I think things have moved on a lot the last

:44:24.:44:27.

12 months. We've been out for the doors, telling people what they

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have been doing and everything is still to play for. We've got a

:44:31.:44:34.

couple of weeks to go. The signs are out there on the doorstep have

:44:35.:44:39.

been positive. Like their coalition partners, the Conservatives are

:44:39.:44:42.

keen to highlight the big regeneration projects they have

:44:42.:44:45.

invested in. But will this big- spending be enough to impress

:44:45.:44:51.

voters? What matters is stability and investors and businesses having

:44:51.:44:54.

confidence in the council administration. I think they have

:44:54.:44:58.

been reasonably confident and happy with the coalition administration

:44:58.:45:03.

as we've had it. From my point of view, I would prefer an all-out

:45:03.:45:13.
:45:13.:45:14.

Conservative administration. What of the smaller parties? Could they

:45:14.:45:17.

get their only George Galloway? They are putting up far more

:45:17.:45:21.

candidates between them than they have in any recent election.

:45:22.:45:25.

Council budgets will fall again next year of the year after. With

:45:26.:45:29.

the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems are promising a third council tax

:45:30.:45:33.

freeze on top. With so little wriggle room, you have to wonder

:45:33.:45:37.

whether being in charge of their local council right now as much fun.

:45:37.:45:42.

But local politics isn't the only game being played here. Unlike its

:45:42.:45:45.

neighbours, Derby is not being asked if it wants an elected mayor.

:45:45.:45:49.

It is not getting a local enterprise zone either. For a city

:45:49.:45:53.

that can sometimes feel like its football club is a championship

:45:53.:45:57.

side rather than a Premier League One, on 3rd May at least, Derby

:45:57.:46:01.

will be in the FA Cup final politically speaking. You can be

:46:01.:46:06.

sure if Labour win, Ed Miliband will hail it as the start of a

:46:06.:46:09.

winning streak. If the coalition can hold them off, you will hear

:46:09.:46:19.
:46:19.:46:21.

the cheers from Westminster all the way up the motorway.

:46:22.:46:24.

Well as Chris Doidge made clear, unlike Leicester and Nottingham who

:46:24.:46:27.

have elections every four years, Derby has three every four years. A

:46:27.:46:30.

recipe for greater democracy or instability? One for you to answer,

:46:30.:46:33.

Margaret. There are different views but I have always been in favour of

:46:33.:46:36.

the electorate having an opportunity every year to take some

:46:36.:46:39.

decisions and to influence what happens, instead of being stuck

:46:39.:46:43.

with one outcome over that whole period. What other benefit would

:46:44.:46:48.

there be to that system? It gives you a chance for people to reflect

:46:48.:46:54.

the mood of how things are going. For example, a few years ago, we

:46:54.:47:00.

had a group that were elected to lead the council who made various

:47:00.:47:04.

promises and which had gone within days, almost, of the local election.

:47:04.:47:09.

The following year, the electorate had a chance to respond. Having

:47:09.:47:12.

elections every year makes councillors more accountable,

:47:12.:47:17.

doesn't it? The other argument is that at a time when local elections

:47:17.:47:21.

are often driven by reactions to national events and opinion polls,

:47:21.:47:24.

it smooths out the effects of the swings around public opinion,

:47:24.:47:27.

around the performance of the national government. As Margaret

:47:27.:47:36.

says, there are views from both parties, all parties. I don't think

:47:36.:47:40.

there's any great appetite to go down this road. I think we would

:47:40.:47:44.

prefer a system which says that we have local elections every four

:47:44.:47:48.

years and in the interim years, we have the county elections.

:47:48.:47:53.

don't fancy having a general election every year for example!

:47:53.:47:56.

There was a time in the 17th century when there was a strong

:47:56.:48:00.

argument for that but we didn't adopt it. Have we moved on from

:48:00.:48:04.

them? The other side of the coin, Margaret, is that if councils have

:48:04.:48:08.

to worry about elections every year, are they not much less likely to

:48:08.:48:11.

make tough decisions which would make themselves unpopular with the

:48:11.:48:15.

electorate? I don't think that it necessarily follows. Councillors

:48:15.:48:19.

who are looking to the long-term interests of the place they are

:48:19.:48:24.

elected to help to run the will be prepared to take those decisions,

:48:24.:48:29.

and have, from time to time. What it does mean is that they are

:48:29.:48:32.

perhaps a bit more responsive to the electorate than they would

:48:32.:48:39.

otherwise be. And that has to be a good thing. Of course it is a good

:48:39.:48:42.

thing that councillors are responsive to the electorate. I

:48:42.:48:45.

don't think you necessarily have to have annual elections to focus the

:48:45.:48:48.

minds of elected officials on the fact that one day they will face

:48:48.:48:58.
:48:58.:49:00.

the voters in the ballot box. Just time to update you on some of

:49:00.:49:04.

the other stories making the news in the East Midlands this week in

:49:04.:49:07.

Sixty Seconds, with Our Political Editor John Hess.

:49:07.:49:10.

The GMB Union is holding meetings with BMI over the number of jobs

:49:10.:49:13.

under threat as a result of the proposed takeover by British

:49:13.:49:15.

Airways.The union estimates three hundred jobs could go at BMI's

:49:16.:49:18.

headquarters and more than a hundred and fifty in its

:49:18.:49:23.

maintenance hangars at East Midlands Airport. Angry

:49:23.:49:25.

demonstrators made their presence felt at a meeting of Derbyshire

:49:25.:49:28.

County Council.They were protesting against cuts which they claim would

:49:28.:49:30.

decimate youth services.The council wants charities and other groups to

:49:30.:49:37.

get involved. It'll review its policy next month. David Parsons

:49:37.:49:41.

wins confidence vote. The leader of the Conservative majority in

:49:41.:49:43.

Leicestershire, David Parsons, has survived a no confidence motion

:49:43.:49:46.

brought by Labour and Lib Dem councillors. He's currently being

:49:46.:49:53.

investigated over his expenses claims. Finally, VAT on warm

:49:53.:49:59.

pasties is something of a hot potato for the Government. Now

:49:59.:50:02.

Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth, wants assurances that we won't be

:50:02.:50:12.
:50:12.:50:18.

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