19/05/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


19/05/2013

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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Transcript


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

:00:42.:00:52.
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the touring party. This is the end to save some -- hundreds of jobs and

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

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:01:43.:01:43.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2148 seconds

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

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

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

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curve line brings concerns over the pension payout for thousands of

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

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

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

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extraordinary goings on in Lincolnshire with the county's

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

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a Parliamentary Committee on PCCs this week and had an uncomfortable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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a very narrow point about interpretation of a particular set

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

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interpretation went another way. I still maintain that might

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

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

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

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

:39:29.:39:36.

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

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

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the costs? That'll come from my office.

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

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

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

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

:40:04.:40:08.

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

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

:40:12.:40:18.

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

:40:18.:40:21.

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

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accountability before. Before, people who were put onto

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the next opportunity. -- the electric electorate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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it has big implications for our region.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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departments in government to safeguard that. Those talks with

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ministers include the possibility of Daw Mill Colliery and the pension

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scheme being taken over by the government. Nottinghamshire miners

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leader is pressing coalition ministers for an early decision.

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Drop uncertainty, pension uncertainty means a lot more from

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:46:12.:46:16.

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

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

:46:24.:46:28.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:47:01.:47:06.

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

:47:06.:47:09.

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

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

:47:14.:47:18.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:48:42.:48:49.

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

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

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

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

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

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

:49:09.:49:12.

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

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

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

:49:19.:49:27.

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

:49:27.:49:37.
:49:37.:50:03.

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

:50:03.:50:08.

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

:50:08.:50:13.

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

:50:13.:50:17.

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

:50:17.:50:22.

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

:50:22.:50:28.

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

:50:28.:50:31.

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

:50:32.:50:38.

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

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

:50:44.:50:50.

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

:50:50.:50:53.

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

:50:53.:50:59.

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

:50:59.:51:02.

gave away a massive contract with French company because the

:51:02.:51:05.

government wanted the cheapest option. So they could have gone

:51:05.:51:09.

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

:51:09.:51:15.

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

:51:15.:51:22.

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

:51:22.:51:25.

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

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

:51:31.:51:35.

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

:51:36.:51:38.

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

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

:51:44.:51:48.

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

:51:48.:51:52.

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

:51:52.:51:57.

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

:51:57.:52:01.

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

:52:01.:52:05.

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

:52:05.:52:10.

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

:52:10.:52:16.

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

:52:16.:52:20.

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

:52:20.:52:25.

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

:52:25.:52:30.

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

:52:30.:52:34.

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

:52:34.:52:40.

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

:52:40.:52:44.

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

:52:44.:52:49.

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

:52:49.:52:52.

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

:52:52.:52:55.

the opportunity to make those arguments and those people who want

:52:55.:52:58.

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

:52:58.:53:05.

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

:53:05.:53:09.

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

:53:09.:53:13.

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

:53:13.:53:16.

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

:53:16.:53:19.

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

:53:19.:53:25.

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

:53:25.:53:29.

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

:53:29.:53:35.

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

:53:35.:53:39.

CBI said that all of this distraction was undermining jobs and

:53:39.:53:43.

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

:53:43.:53:48.

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

:53:48.:53:52.

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

:53:53.:53:58.

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

:53:58.:54:04.

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

:54:04.:54:08.

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

:54:08.:54:14.

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

:54:14.:54:17.

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

:54:17.:54:23.

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

:54:23.:54:29.

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

:54:29.:54:32.

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

:54:32.:54:35.

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

:54:35.:54:38.

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

:54:38.:54:43.

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

:54:43.:54:51.

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

:54:51.:54:55.

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

:54:55.:54:59.

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

:54:59.:55:03.

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

:55:03.:55:07.

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

:55:07.:55:10.

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

:55:10.:55:13.

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

:55:13.:55:18.

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

:55:18.:55:22.

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

:55:22.:55:26.

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

:55:26.:55:31.

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

:55:31.:55:35.

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

:55:35.:55:39.

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

:55:39.:55:44.

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

:55:44.:55:48.

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

:55:48.:55:54.

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

:55:54.:55:57.

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

:55:57.:56:01.

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

:56:01.:56:05.

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

:56:06.:56:10.

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

:56:10.:56:14.

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

:56:14.:56:18.

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

:56:18.:56:28.
:56:28.:56:30.

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

:56:30.:56:32.

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

:56:32.:56:35.

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

:56:35.:56:40.

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

:56:40.:56:48.

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

:56:48.:56:53.

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

:56:53.:57:00.

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

:57:00.:57:07.

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

:57:07.:57:11.

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

:57:11.:57:15.

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

:57:15.:57:24.

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

:57:24.:57:28.

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

:57:29.:57:33.

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

:57:33.:57:38.

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

:57:38.:57:41.

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

:57:41.:57:46.

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

:57:46.:57:52.

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

:57:52.:57:55.

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

:57:55.:58:04.

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

:58:04.:58:08.

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

:58:08.:58:09.

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

:58:10.:58:12.

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

:58:13.:58:20.

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

:58:20.:58:24.

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

:58:24.:58:29.

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

:58:29.:58:33.

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

:58:33.:58:36.

The government is considering extending a tunnel under East

:58:36.:58:40.

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

:58:40.:58:44.

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

:58:45.:58:48.

it has reservations about government's claims of the economic

:58:48.:58:53.

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

:58:53.:58:58.

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

:58:58.:59:03.

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

:59:03.:59:07.

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

:59:07.:59:11.

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

:59:11.:59:15.

calculated rebellions have fallen slightly this year but they are

:59:15.:59:23.

still well ahead of the average number of backbench revolts.

:59:23.:59:28.

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

:59:28.:59:35.

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

:59:35.:59:41.

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

:59:41.:59:43.

Westminster -- Sherwood. If that means disagreeing with the

:59:43.:59:49.

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

:59:49.:59:55.

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

:59:55.:59:59.

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

:59:59.:00:06.

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

:00:06.:00:12.

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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