19/05/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs.

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Downing Street is at war with Fleet Street this morning. The coach of


the touring party. This is the end to save some -- hundreds of jobs and


thousands of pensions in the coal industry. Europe, in or out? Do you


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2148 seconds


In the East Midlands. So, do you want a referendum on Europe? What's


your opinion? I'm out, straight away. We are in, we should stay in.


We should make the best of it. Uncertainty about the last deep


curve line brings concerns over the pension payout for thousands of


miners. Hello, I'm Marie Ashby. Joining me


this week the Conservative MP for Sherwood, Mark Spencer, and Labour's


MP for Gedling, Vernon Coaker. First let's take a look at some


extraordinary goings on in Lincolnshire with the county's


Police and Crime Commissioner, Alan Hardwick. He was giving evidence to


a Parliamentary Committee on PCCs this week and had an uncomfortable


time with Keith Vaz, the chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee.


He was quizzed over his decision to suspend Lincolnshire's Chief


Constable, a decision that was then overturned by the High Court.


Do you now regret suspending him? The situation was that I was


convinced that I had made the right decision, and I remain convinced


that I made the right decision. a judge has described the decisions


that you took as perverse and irrational. I accept it entirely,


that criticism. The point that was discussed at the judicial review was


a very narrow point about interpretation of a particular set


of circumstances. My interpretation went one way, the judge 's


interpretation went another way. I still maintain that might


interpretation was correct. -- that my interpretation was correct.


it difficult for you, as the commissioner, to be working with the


chief constable whom you believe should not be in post? No, it is not


difficult for me. We are both professionals, we have a very good


relationship. It has cost the taxpayer �50,000 in respect of your


High Court case. Who will pay the costs that comes? -- who will pay


the costs? That'll come from my office.


And as if that wasn't enough, the Chairman of the Police and Crime


Panel, Ray Wootten, resigned from his post on Thursday. Quite an


interesting time in Lincolnshire with the PCC having to work with a


chief constable he wanted to suspend. Awkward. At least we know


about it. In the past, with police authorities, some of these frictions


and decisions were hidden away and we didn't know but at least we know


about it now. We might not like it, and we might be able to get rid of


him when it comes around to elections away. There was no


accountability before. Before, people who were put onto


authorities, they didn't have a say on to sat on those authorities, and


now we can hold them to account. this a sign that the PCC experiment


is not working? This is what people warned might happen. This has been


farcical. People scratching their heads in the world and. One of the


things we raised when the bill was going through Parliament to set up


PCCs was this business of checks and balances, how do you hold them to


account? It is very well saying it is transparent and you can do


something about it, but not the four years. And it has cost �50,000


already. Four years is the right period. You need time to establish


yourself and deliver your programme. He is costing the taxpayer in his


county already. He has made the wrong decision and I don't support


him in that decision and I think the Electric should get rid of him that


the next opportunity. -- the electric electorate.


It's a story we'll be watching in the coming weeks. And here's another


one. The fate of hundreds of jobs and thousands of pensions in the


East Midlands hangs in the balance this weekend as UK Coal fights for


survival. The company's hit financial problems after it was


forced to close the Daw Mill Colliery in Warwickshire, because of


an underground fire. As our Political Editor John Hess reports,


it has big implications for our region.


This is Sherwood Forest Notts. It is one of the last handful deep


combines left in Britain. It is profitable and there are still huge


reserves of underground. It is -- it's very future is in doubt because


of one of the worst underground fires at a similar mind is 70 miles


south of here. Daw Mill Colliery in North Warwickshire. It's been forced


to shut. Several hundred miners have been laid off. Given it was the most


ferocious fire in 30 years of UK mining, we've had no option to close


that mind permanently. Uncertainty over the future of UK Coal,


Britain's largest coal producer, has knock-on effects outdoors B. The


outcome will remain -- will affect the workforce and the pensions of


thousands of miners who used to work here. Alan Bell's worked it as a


fitter since he left school. He fears losing thousands from his


works pension. Definitely. Have you worked out how much? 30 grand.


That's a big hit. As far as retirement goes, it is a no-no.


Andrew McKenzie transferred here from Daw Mill Colliery. We are angry


but if you want a job, you've got to take cuts in, one way or another.


Clearly, employees long-term benefits, and do they have a job,


are we going to secure that, clearly a pension is a big part of that


benefit. That is not lost on us and we're working with lots of


departments in government to safeguard that. Those talks with


ministers include the possibility of Daw Mill Colliery and the pension


scheme being taken over by the government. Nottinghamshire miners


leader is pressing coalition ministers for an early decision.


Drop uncertainty, pension uncertainty means a lot more from


government and local MPs to do more communicating, try to get the


assistance and not just talk. Britain's 1,000 mines were


nationalised by the post-war Labour government, there were 47 collieries


in Nottinghamshire alone. Call employs 700,000 men. And now? The


most important point is we safeguard 2000 jobs and look after our


creditors to make sure we have a viable mining business. Where that


ends up, we don't know, but we're working very hard to get there.


There has been mining him for 90 years but will Nottinghamshire's


remaining pit see out its centenary? Mark Spencer, you are heavily


involved in this, what are you doing and what can you do? I am being a


bit selfish about it because this one is more important than Daw Mill


Colliery. I'm trying to make sure that the jobs there are safe, and I


hope that the fire at Daw Mill Colliery doesn't drag it down with


it. We have been fairly well supported with the ministers. They


are working with UK Coal to get to the right point and make sure those


jobs are protected. So it is about meetings at the moment? It is about


trying to get to the position where we can secure those jobs but also


remember there is the redundancies to sort out at Daw Mill Colliery and


make sure people are well looked after. What about nationalisation?


You've got to remember it falls on the taxpayer. If it all goes wrong,


the coal authority picks up the mess. If the pensions goes wrong,


the government is pretty well motivated to sort this out. It needs


UK Coal and the unions to come to an agreement. So, definitely not


nationalisation? I think thoughts be stands up on its own. It makes a


profit. It is very well run. There's no need to nationalise it. Some of


these miners and pensions may be from your constituency, so what are


you doing? I think all of us have the purpose of working together to


try to get a solution to this because it impacts right across the


whole of the region and across the constituents. I think the crucial


thing as Mark was saying is to try to ensure that Daw Mill Colliery


doesn't act as a toxic mix of the rest of UK Coal. What the government


are trying to do is see if they can pull out Daw Mill Colliery from the


UK Coal operation so it doesn't impact on the other service


operations it has gone. So it is quite a big deal because it is also


about pensions and it is the pension impact that has a massive impact


across the region and the government may well need to look at how it


deals with that and it also needs to get the agreement of the pension


regulator so it is quite complicated. But we've got to find a


way of dealing with Daw Mill Colliery. What reassurances can you


give to these people at this stage you are worried about their


pensions? Everybody has the right motivation, everybody wants it to 60


and it is a question of the government, the unions and UK Coal


working together to achieve the same aim. At the moment, there is a bit


of difference as to how to get there. And a bit of friction between


the UK Coal and the union over redundancy. I hope we can find some


common ground and find a way forward. What sort of role can you


play in that? It is putting pressure on ministers said they understand


the issue and they know what we want to achieve. And to make sure they


are focusing on getting to the right point. They have to realise how big


a deal this is for the region. say that, but what is the future of


the coal? It is a dirty fuel. look at coal in the traditional


sense of mining coal, but if you look at the Carbon capture schemes


we are all trying to take forward, the clean coal technology, there is


a future for coal. A significant part of our energy needs is


dependent on deep mining, as well as imports. Does it really matter?We


can see the impact on the energy market. What we need is to maintain


as much of the current industry as we can and part of that is dealing


with the issue at Daw Mill Colliery. To be fair to the government, whom I


am a critic of most of the time, they understand that. We need to try


to find a way of all of us working together to come up with a solution


that protects jobs, protects the remains of the industry and the


pensions of the people. So, will UK Coal survived, Mark? It will in some


format. Clearly, it won't have three pits, three deep mines. I would like


to see Daw Mill Colliery separated. And I would like to see it generate


profits for their workers and staff. Our political editor has got a blog


on this, too, and you can go to it online.


Well, the big issue in Parliament this week was the vote on not having


a vote. More than 100 MPs signed up to an amendment to the Queen's


Speech regretting the fact that it didn't contain a bill for a


referendum on Europe. A good chunk of our MPs supported it. In a


moment, Des Coleman will be hearing your views, but first here's our


round up of the MPs who did sign up. Almost half of our Conservative MPs


voted for the amendment. They think? The question of Europe


divides the country. Should we have a vote to stay in or come out? I am


in Derby to find out your opinion. I've got John with me. What's your


opinion? We should have a vote to come out straight away. We are part


of Europe and we should be very positive about it. Should we have a


vote? I don't think we should. There's a huge amount of right-wing


stuff around at the moment. People think that if we come out of


Europe, it is an easy answer. isn't. Would you like a vote on


whether to stay in Europe? I would opt to come out. Guys, what your


thoughts? I think we should go to a vote because the advantages of


staying in Europe are weighed down by the disadvantages. We are losing


our industry. Look at bombarding a, they nearly went bust because we


gave away a massive contract with French company because the


government wanted the cheapest option. So they could have gone


bust, Derby could have lost one of its biggest employers, the whole


city would have been in turmoil. If people aren't happy in the EU, we


should have a referendum. Should we stay in or out? I believe we should


stay on but it is also rhetoric coming from MPs to say we should


vote when we don't have referendums for every other thing. So, do you


want to vote on Europe? I don't think we should. I think we are in,


we should stay in and we should do like the rest of the Europeans,


which is make the best of it. Bill Newton Dunn, East Midlands MEP


for the Liberal Democrats, has joined us. People very informed on


Europe in Derby, what do you think about that? It is very interesting,


a variety of opinions, but basically I think there is a great lack of


information across the country. At Westminster, they never talk about


Europe except in disparaging terms, and they should talk about good


things. We had a referendum in 1975, it is time, I think, the public were


given a full-scale debate to learn the facts again. When?There is


going to be a new EU treaty coming along because there are changes to


the banking union, and other things. So, there is going to be a treaty


which will trigger, as the legislation passed last year, saying


that if there is a proposal for moving powers to Brussels, there


must be a referendum, so there will be one. You are one of the people


who voted for this amendment, why? It was before I was at primary


school last time we had a say on Europe and we need to have that


debate. I think those people who think we should stay in will have


the opportunity to make those arguments and those people who want


to come out will also have the opportunity for their arguments.


That is all put across in a box. is it so important to do it now?


don't need to do it when the relationship is stable, but Europe


is moving in a direction that some of us are uncomfortable with and


once the dust has settled, and we can see the direction Europe is


staying in, we can choose whether or not to be part of it or come out of


it. The Tory party have panicked in the wake of UKIP and people like


Mark and many others are thinking, oh, my goodness, I need to save my


seat and I need to demonstrate how sceptic I am. The director of the


CBI said that all of this distraction was undermining jobs and


growth, and I agree with him. Jobs and growth is the centre of


excellence, which the City of London is put at risk, it is the influence


we have in the world, because of Europe. We shouldn't panic and


placate UKIP. It is panicking. are the only party that is united


over Europe. We absolutely all agree we should have a referendum. The


whole party agrees with that. If you look at the other night, the


Conservative Party was in one lobby and the parties were split. That is


something that has happened for the first time in my life. What do you


have to say about that, Bill? never seen a more divided party and


they've been divided about Europe for years. Face facts. You could


make that document about major argument, but pretty much the whole


of the Conservative Party thinks we should have a referendum and we


should move to that referendum as quickly as possible. Should we be in


Europe? We should look at what Europe is before we make our mind


up. But do you think we should be in Europe? In a referendum today, given


the relationship we have, I would vote to come out. Once that


relationship has changed, that is a different argument, and once the


dust has settled, I'll be able to make my mind up. You'd vote to come


out of Europe, that would be detrimental for British jobs. It


would be detrimental to the interests of this country, and I


would vote yes. As somebody said in one of the interviews, let's engage


with the debate. It is interesting you have said you would vote no.


That is today. If we could change the relationship and get a positive


out of Europe, that is a different argument. We can drag some of those


powers back. I think it's stupid. David Cameron made a huge mistake


offering a referendum in four years time. It has put a blight over


Britain. Multinationals are saying, we will not risk investing in


Britain for four years until we know what the situation is. We don't want


a referendum now. When was a new treaty proposed, that is the moment


because France and the Netherlands will also have a referendum. People


in the East Midlands would like to know what the EU has done for us


here before they make that decision. They have done an enormous amount. I


publish a newsletter in print and online. I can tell people happily, a


long list of good stuff. If we have a new treaty, what is the difference


between the plight of the new treaty coming and the blight of a possible


referendum? I don't understand the difference in the argument. It is


quite simple. A new treaty involves referendums in various countries,


Germany, France, and so on. It is a moment when all of Europe will be


deciding and we will not be disadvantaged. Back to the benefits


in East Midlands, tell me. Peace, free trade, free movement, leadfree


petrol, fighting ISA drain -- acid rain. All sorts of things. This is


European legislation. Written has a part of it in shaping it. If we were


outside, we would have no say. -- Britain has a part of shaping it.


continue trading in our neighbours. Without any say in the rules!


also trade with all the other nations, and we can have lots of the


benefits. All those countries are subject to trade agreements but the


EU makes the trade agreements. Whilst the Tory party was panicking


because of UKIP, the Prime Minister was in Washington talking to


President Obama. He was talking to the president, negotiating a trade


deal between the United States and the EU. At the same time, we had the


Tory party, which I find it incredible you say is united,


because most people 's analysis is they are completely not united on


this. Your party, too, to be honest. There was a few people. The Labour


Party is remarkably united. There were a few people who took a


different view. There were 114 Tory MPs... Lets see who devised and


splits when that private members bill comes to the floor. Thank you


for joining us. Now here's John with our regular


round up of some of the other political stories in the East


Midlands this week in 60 seconds. Leicester could become a friendlier


place to cyclists after the City Council bid for more than �6 million


of government money. It wants the cash to pay for more than six


kilometres of traffic free cycle tracks. HS2 is in the news again.


The government is considering extending a tunnel under East


Midlands Airport to bypass the site of a proposed freight depot which


could create several thousand jobs. Well, the National Audit Office said


it has reservations about government's claims of the economic


benefits of HS2. The ruling Labour group on double check out council is


already making waves. The council's Chief Executive is to leave by the


end of June. The council's new leader has refused to comment on the


move. And research by the University of Nottingham has found that the


current parliament could be the most rebellious since the war. It's


calculated rebellions have fallen slightly this year but they are


still well ahead of the average number of backbench revolts.


Politicians revolting? You are so rebellious, why? The intake has come


from a different place. Has that Whaley made a difference? Because


you've got other jobs? I understand it is my job to represent shield in


Westminster -- Sherwood. If that means disagreeing with the


government, so be it. I am not revolting. I stand up for my


constituents. I stood for the Labour Party, I am proud to stand for them.


I have the Labour whip in Parliament and I do that and represent the


interests of gelding as well. Gedling. It certainly makes politics


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby are joined by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and discuss Conservative UKIP electoral pacts with Conservative MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Jackie Doyle-Price. As well as all of the weekend's other political news, and debate with the weekly panel of journalists.

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