24/06/2012 Sunday Politics East Midlands


24/06/2012

Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with political news, including an interview with Danny Alexander. George Galloway and Bob Stewart go head-to-head on the future of the Falklands.


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Here, parts of the region where a third of working households are one

:01:22.:01:27.

bill away from financial disaster. And we're in Brussels on a special

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2004 seconds

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Hello, I am Marie Ashby. My guests in the East Midlands this week as

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Shadow Treasury Minister, Chris Leslie, MP for Nottingham East and

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the Conservative MP for Derbyshire South, Heather Wheeler. Coming up,

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he has been censured for breaching the code of conduct over his

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European expenses. So should Councillor David Parsons stand down

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as leader of Leicestershire County Council? We have brought the Mayor

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of Leicester to Brussels to meet the city mayors here to find out

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whether he might have an answer or two.

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First, Nottingham-based Experian has told the Sunday Politics that a

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club of working households in Ashfield and Leicester are just one

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bill away from financial disaster, putting them in the 10 most

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vulnerable areas of the country. According to Experian, as many as

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238,000 working households have little or no savings and struggle

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to feed themselves and their children adequately. The coalition

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is constantly emphasising the importance of being better off

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working. These are working households and these figures are

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frightening. Those would be. It is interesting Experian have done this

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work. And also the areas chosen, Ashfield and Leicester. I would

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like to see the detail. But actually, what is interesting is

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that everything we are doing as a government, the coalition

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Government, is trying to make things better for every strata of

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society. Some people's experience of what poverty really means is

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different to other's. This group and described as traditionally

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proud self-reliant working people. That is good, people should be

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proud to work. Everything we do is about making work pay. It is good

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they are classed as working people, not good -- not good they are in

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such dire straits. White class them as one bill away? Everyone gets

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bills. -- why are those people classed as one bill away? It has

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been interesting the way people's pensions and savings and insurance,

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insurance tax, whatever, people have been attacked over the last 15

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years with different ways of raising money and France. It has

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affected people. Undoubtedly. In Europe constituency Nottingham East,

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22,000 and also that one bill away. -- in your constituency. Low and we

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are already insignificant poverty in Nottingham as things are. Low

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You are saying the Government is doing everything that they can.

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seems to be everything that can be done to make things worse, some

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changes hitting hard, and very significant changes to housing

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benefit, to other welfare changes. But some would say you got us into

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this in the first place. That would be said. We are back in recession,

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there are not the job opportunities for people to move out of it. More

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people have to go to part-time work. It is not as though people do not

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want to work, doing the right thing for themselves and their families,

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it is the conditions that the Chancellor has decided, stubbornly

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raising taxes quickly, cutting back the support that has been there,

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not increasing child benefit. The child share component of the

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working tax credit, not giving people the opportunity to get back

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into work. You are looking at the sea wrong way around. In South

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Derbyshire, the number of apprentices rose by 80% in one ear.

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That is because there was not meaningful work for those young

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kids. -- one a year. Those people have those aspirations. In your

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constituency, the number of job- seeker Allowance claimants has gone

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up by 19% in 12 months. unemployment has gone down. We can

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do statistics. You cannot blame everything... You Cabinet Secretary

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said we could be facing a decade of spending cuts. What do these people

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have to look forward to? I do not know why Sir Jeremy Heywood said

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that. The state is too big. We need a smaller state. I put that on

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every leaflet I distributed and got a 9.8% swing, so people believe me.

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We do not need a big state, it is too big. We shall leave it there.

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Next, a story which has sent political shockwaves through

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Leicestershire County Council. The council's Standards Committee has

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ruled the leader, David Parsons, breached its code of conduct over

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his European expenses. She declined to join us. Were as now is

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Councillor Sarah Hill, deputy leader of the lead in Group on the

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council. -- with us night. Let us explain how that came about. --

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deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats group. He was paid by one

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body, East Midlands Councils, they receive the same amount that he was

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meant to give back to EMC. The inquiry found he had failed to

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repay �4,000 on time, not quite the same as pocketing the money.

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but he had the benefit of the money for over 12 months in some cases,

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in his back account, so he had the benefit of the interest. Apparently

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�150, but he said there was no dishonest intent. Free possibly,

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but a massive failure to keep track of what he was doing. -- quite

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possibly. What should happen? should resign, not showing the

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standards you would expect as leader of the council, breaking the

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Code of Conduct on five different accounts. It is disappointing to

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see that as a leader of the Council the size of Leicestershire. I am

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sure others would agree. He the we were, do you agree? Absolutely not.

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-- Heather Wheeler. There is a lot of money revolving here, it can

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take six weeks to deal with, but it should not have taken longer than

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that. But it absolutely dead. There are also disputes about some

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cheques going missing. It has caused an awful lot of trouble.

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was warned about this. Have been warned about something is fine. If

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it is find... He had to act upon it. Free maybe this system needs to be

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changed. -- Maybe this system needs to be changed. He had letters

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asking him to change that. should not go through the council.

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Should David Parsons stand down? The Liberal Democrats are calling

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for that. The Labour group are calling for that. It has to be for

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the council and local people to decide. He has been humiliated by

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these allegations. He has to go through training, for example, in

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council standards. That is part of the punishment. Ultimately, it is

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for local people in Leicestershire to have a say on whether he should

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continue. He has made an apology. Had the Standards Committee met a

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fortnight earlier, they would have been able to suspend David Parsons.

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Since then, the Department of Communities has watered down their

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powers. How can that be right? is not watering down the powers.

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That is what it feels like. It has made it more important. With

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allegations of fraud, it is a criminal matter for the police.

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Nobody has taken this to the police, which is quite right, because it is

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obviously a mix up in paperwork. Leicestershire County Council has

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gone from strength to strength under his leadership. None of this

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paper work should have been going through his hands. It is far from

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over? It has not. Some papers were released on Friday. Nearly �2,000

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of outstanding invoices has been discovered. That is unfortunate,

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pitting us to square one and I am sure there are revelation will come

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out. And the council will discuss this again at the end of the week?

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We have a full council, the Conservative group will meet us

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before the full council, but we will see where it takes us and I am

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sure it will not only. Thank you. From one man clinging on to a power

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for another who wants more. The elected Mayor of Leicester, Sir

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Peter Soulsby, is urging David Cameron to give him more control

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over the local economy and the transport system. John Hess has

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taken him to Brussels. This is a journey about political

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power. Leicester's city mayor, so Peter Salsbury, heading to Brussels

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to meet its city mayor. Economic development is top of his agenda.

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The mayor can provide co-ordination and influence, but does not up a

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banner to make things happen. are in the historic heart of

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Brussels city centre to meet an old Brussels friend, Jef Baeck. They

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are some with their own mayor. beats Sir Peter on the mayor's

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powers. You have the police, one thing, but all other activities.

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You organise a city, commercial activities, even health. I would

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say, it is a local king. We have come to visit one of the mayor's

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projects that probably merits a royal seal of approval. It is

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lovely... It was once derelict, but it has been transformed, promoted

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by the city mayor, and has won awards. It was a factory until the

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1980s, was in the for almost 20 years. There are now 42 apartments,

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if mostly three-bedroomed, poor families to rent. We decided it

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could be a good idea to make this from the factory, a place for not

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really social housing, but average housing. To create a mixed city.

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Fascinating. This is the type of economic regeneration that he wants

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as part of his city next for Leicester. If only, he says, he had

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the powers of the Brussels may have. The mayor has control of the site,

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knotting -- not sitting around waiting for someone, having control.

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What local people, you can make things happen. -- with local people.

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Time for us to meet the city's mayor. On top of the staircase, a

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reminder of predecessors. Freddy Thielemans has been the Socialist

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mayor of Brussels for 12 years. Do you have responsibility for

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economic development within your area? For example, the police? I do

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not have control of those. And have both and they are very important.

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The mayor is the chair of the city. And he is the identity of a city.

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Exactly right. That is very important.

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Quite a wide range of funding available to you?

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We have commercial taxes that will local, restaurant taxes, terraces,

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taxes on charities, taxes on parking, taxes that helps a lot,

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giving us and the Normans independence.

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He faces elections this autumn, with public transport a big issue.

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We want to improve what is happening in the city, more backing

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of public transport, more individual possibilities, like

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walking, cycling, motor biking. I think that that is truly the

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future demand. The city mayor of Brussels, Freddy

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Thielemans, is more than just a figurehead with significant

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political powers over police and economic development, for example,

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that out of powers because Salsbury wants for Leicester and he is

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taking that message to Downing Street. -- the sort of powers that

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Sir Peter Soulsby wants. It is not just about powers. It is also about

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providing leadership. To that extent, the role of the mayor of

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Brussels and one of a UK cities such as Les there are many similar.

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Two men with very different powers to run their cities. -- such as

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Leicester. He wants to tell the Prime Minister that Brussels has

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the answer for me UK. If it is good enough for Boris

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Johnson, surely he should have more powers? I think it is a pretty

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convincing case. If you are the leader of a Cabinet, as in

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Nottingham, whatever the form of constitution, I think our cities

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and local authorities do need to have more powers devolved to them.

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Ultimately, we have to accept that we are living in one of the most

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centralised constitution's anywhere in the developed world. Whitehall

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is very good at clinging on to Paris. Across the political divide,

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we all sometimes see -- clinging on to Paras. We all sometimes say that,

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despite all those promises about devolving, it has not been

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happening. Will David Cameron give them more? The public and

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astonished at the short memories of politicians. There were referendums

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all over the country asking what people like a mayor. Nottingham

:49:56.:50:06.
:50:06.:50:09.

said no. But no new cars. Should there be more? -- but no new Paras.

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The new mayors coming in, where the towns and cities said yes, there is

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the appetite on it. That will show how good they are, then be able, as

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they will have a cabinet meeting with all the mayors coming to a

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number 10, it is all very exciting. But should they have to prove

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themselves? Absolutely. Exactly as Boris Johnson proved himself, being

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re-elected, do you really think everyone will go carte blanche and

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have tax-raising powers? The idea of Derek Hatton in Liverpool!

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the idea that they should only get those if elected. Let me finish. --

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if re-elected. It is the cities and the people that should be able to

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shape their own destinies, not wait to be told by departments in

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Whitehall. We are seeing it as the budgets are cut, councils becoming

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very dependent on central Government. What about localism

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bill? Everything how you have recalled... It dictates to councils.

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You must have been sitting through a different bill. I suspect I was.

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And should be elected police commissioners would have something

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to say. When we have those elections, yes. There is danger of

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a dish joint. A meal that is directly-elected, a police

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commissioner, -- an air that is directly-elected, Police

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commissioner, but we need to sort out from an English perspective

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what we are doing on devolution. The difficulty is the boundaries.

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If it was a city with a city police force, it would be right to have

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someone like on us. Time for a round-up of the stories and 60

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seconds. -- in 60 seconds.

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US retailer, Walgreen, is being �4 billion on a 45% in Alliance Boots.

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Walgreen would have the option to take over in three years' time.But

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we are committed no jobs will be lost. We think it is an opportunity

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to grow up jobs. Leicestershire police say they have

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acted on claims that some officers have stopped and searched a

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disproportionate number of black people. Equality and Human Rights

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Commission says it will take legal action unless the ports can prove

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the situation has improved. Corbett Conservative MP has launched a

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macro blocking site to rival Twitter. She has regularly been the

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victim of abuse from twitters that she has described as immoral and

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misogynistic. Margaret Thatcher brought in the right to buy council

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homes. Now the coalition is allowing the Labour majority in

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Derby to keep the proceeds of new sales.

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All those years that councils complained they could not keep hold

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of the money from council house sales at the coalition has made

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this happen. It is very partial, looking at the details, being only

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allowed to keep the proceeds of the right to buy in some council house

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sales. That means the council will have a few tens of thousands for

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every sale, but will that replace like-for-like the houses that are

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sold on? I think it is very dubious. The proceeds can be kept as long as

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it is invested in new homes. have not seen new builds in social

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housing. I am really sorry... you know how many new houses?

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is terrible. There is just no will to do it. I arrived late here,

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because I came from an opening of eight new social houses. This was

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the first one of how many that have been done. We have been taking the

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money that we have been given, the 50% up until now, and...

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waiting lists are just growing. much money? Discounts of up to

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�75,000, not leaving a lot for councils? Before it was only 50%,

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so it will be more. Wetbacks are better than nothing? Of course.

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Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, including an interview with the chief secretary to the treasury, Danny Alexander. Also in the programme, Respect MP, George Galloway and defence select committee member, Bob Stewart, go head-to-head on the future of the Falklands.


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