03/11/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby are joined by Unite leader Len McCluskey, the head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Farooq Murad, and shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. It began as


Plebgate, now it is Plodgate. The evidence of three police officers to


MPs is branded a great work of fiction. They tried to intimidate


the Grangemouth bosses, but in the end it was the union that


capitulated. I will ask Len McCluskey about Unite union's strong


arm tactics at Grangemouth and Falkirk. They preach women should be


sidelined and confined to the private sphere. They argued they


should be covered up. In the East Midlands: The man with


one arm who claims he was asked if his other would grow back at a


fit`for`work assessment. And will privatising the probation


service put us all authority is investigating --


investing thousands of pounds in a GPS tracking system to keep tabs on


its staff. With me as always, the best and the


brightest political panel, Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Nick Watt


who will be tweeting their humiliating climb-down is what they


got wrong last week in the programme. If this can happen it to


a Cabinet minister, what hope is there for anyone else? Thus the Home


Affairs Select Committee concluded what many already thought about the


treatment of Andrew Mitchell by three self-styled PC plebs. They met


him to clear the air over what did or did not happen when he was


prevented from ramming his bike through the Downing Street gates.


But the officers gave the media and inaccurate account of that meeting.


Two of them are even accused of misleading the Commons committee.


The Independent Police Complaints Commission will now reopen there


enquiry. This is not a story about Andrew Mitchell, it is about the


police. Keith Vaz is often in high dudgeon and this is the highest dad


and I have seen him in for some time. They could be held for


contempt of Parliament and technically they could be sent to


prison. It has blown up into an enormous story. I do not know what


is worse, the police trying to stitch up a Cabinet member and try


to mislead the media or the incompetence they have done it from


day one. That is quite good. I would sleep more soundly at night if I


knew the pleas were good at this. It is the incompetence that shocks me.


And this is just a sideshow. We are still waiting on the main report as


to what exactly happened outside Downing Street gates. But that not


will be good for the police either. The file has gone from the


Metropolitan police to the CPS, so we are limited about what we can


say. This is about the police Federation. They were set up under


statute in 1990 as a deal in which a police would not go on strike. This


is a political campaign to get a Cabinet minister out and the legacy


of this is the police Federation will have to be reformed. We will


keep an eye on it. They were Ed Miliband's union backers, they swung


the Labour leadership for him in 2010. Now the Unite union looks like


his biggest headache. The Sunday Times has seen extracts of the


report into the alleged vote rigging to select a Labour candidate in


Falkirk. There was evidence of coercion and Gregory as well as


deliberate attempt to frustrate the enquiry. We will be speaking to Len


McCluskey, the Unite union's General Secretary, in a moment. First out


the saga began an almost ended up with the loss of 800 jobs at a


petrochemical plant in Grangemouth. Unite were key players in the


Grangemouth dispute and the union headed by Len McCluskey has come


under fire for its intimidator Tariq tactics. In one instance


demonstrators complete with an inflatable rat picketed the home of


a INEOS director. The police were called. It was part of a strategy


the union called leverage. But turning up at people's houses seems


to represent an escalation. At the centre of the rout was Steve in


deals -- Stephen Denes. INEOS launched an investigation into him


as he was suspected of using company time to engineer the selection of


labour's candidate in Falkirk. That candidate was Karie Murphy, a friend


of Len McCluskey. Stevie Deans resigned last week and denies any


wrongdoing, but it capped a dramatic climb-down by Unite union. Len


McCluskey joins me now. Thanks to the Sunday Times we now know what is


in this labour report on the Falkirk vote rigging. Forgery, coercion


trickery, manipulation. You must be ashamed of how Unite union behaved


in Falkirk. The Sunday Times article is lazy journalism. There is nothing


new in the article. This was all dealt with by the Labour Party in


the summer. We rejected those allegations then and we said we had


done nothing wrong and both the Labour Party and the police in


Scotland indicated there had been no wrongdoing. The report itself says


you were trying to thwart the investigation. First you tried to


fix the selection of a candidate to get your woman in and then you


thwarted the investigation into the dirty deeds. The reality is the


Labour Party report was deeply flawed. The Labour Party then


instructed a solicitor, a lawyer, to do an in-depth investigation and


during that investigation they got to the bottom of what had happened


and they decided there was no wrongdoing whatsoever. At the time I


was so confident we had done nothing, I called for an independent


enquiry. They were forced to conclude there was no wrongdoing


because the people who originally complained changed their evidence


and we now know they did so because Unite union officials helped them to


rewrite their retraction and Stevie Deans approved it. That is not true.


We have had 1000 e-mails thrown into the public arena and what is that


all about? Who is leaking this? They showed the Unite union was rewriting


the retractions. This interview would go a lot better if you are


allowed me to finish the question that you asked. These e-mails were


put into the public arena by the PR company from INEOS. Why are they


doing this? The truth of the matter is that all of the investigations


that took place demonstrate there was nothing to answer. This idea


that the Unite union has rewritten and the evidence from the families


has been withdrawn, the families are a part of Stevie deems' family. They


clarified the position. Do you deny that union officials were involved


in the retractions? I deny it completely. This is important.


Independent solicitors to witness statements from the family and they


are the ones that were influencing the Labour Party with the position


is clarified and there is no case to answer. Do you deny Stevie deems saw


their retractions? It is his family. So you do not deny it? It is his


family. This is an ordinary, decent family who were faced with the full


weight of the pleas, a forensic solicitor. Of course they spoke to


Stevie Deans. This whole thing is a cesspit. Does it not need an


independent investigation? This is a trap being laid by Tory Central


office. They are making all the demands. The media, the Daily Mail,


the Sunday Times, the Conservative mouthpiece, they are laying tracks


for Ed Miliband and Ed Miliband should not fall into them. Since


when did it become part of an industrial dispute to send mobs to


the home of company families. This is a legitimate form of protest and


it is a silent protest. We believe if faceless directors are making


decisions that cripple communities, they cannot expect to simply drift


back to their own leafy suburbia and not be countable. This is silent


protest. It is lawful. It may be silent in Grangemouth, but it was


not silent elsewhere. You went with a giant rat, loud-hailers telling


everybody the neighbour was evil. No, we did not. You had


loud-hailers, you even encouraged passing children in Grangemouth to


join in. That is nonsense. Look at the rat. The reality is the


Grangemouth community was going to be decimated, Grangemouth was going


to become a ghost town. I reject totally this idea there were


loud-hailers and children involved. That is a lie perpetrated by the


Daily Mail. But you have used these tactics in other disputes. We have


used the tactics in other disputes, but we have not used loud-hailers at


people's homes. Because the labour laws are so restrictive we have to


look at every available means that we can protest. It is an outrage, an


absolute outrage, that this is happening to British workers in the


21st-century. It could not happen elsewhere. Is not intimidation the


wider hallmark of your union? You were quoted as saying to do whatever


it takes during your attempts to take over the Labour Falkirk


constituency. You were instructing to dig out the nasty stuff on your


opponents. That is not true. Let's see these e-mails? This is a con


trick. Nobody is looking to dig out... This is the words of your


legal services advisor. Unite has tried to instigate a revival of


trade union values within the Labour Party. That is what Ed Miliband


wanted us to do. As soon as we started to be in any way


ineffective, there were screams and howls of derision. When the company


started to investigate Stevie Deans, your friend, your campaign manager,


that he was using company time to moonlight on the job, you called


INEOS and said unless you stop the investigation we will bring


Grangemouth to a standstill. I never said that at all. You brought it to


a standstill. We never brought it to a standstill, the company did. Who


says that I said that we would bring it to a standstill? You have read it


in the newspapers. You should not believe everything. I did not make


that threat to the management. You carried the threat out. You


instigated an overtime ban and a work to rule. And that is what


Grangemouth to a standstill because the company decided to close the


petrochemical site down. Because Stevie Deans was suspended due


introduced industrial action? Our members in Grangemouth felt he was


being unfairly treated. In the end you're grandstanding almost cost


Scotland is most important industrial facility. The day was


saved by your total capitulation. Grandstanding, capitulation and


humiliation are grand phrases. There is nothing about capitulation. Len


McCluskey did not wake up one day and decide to have a dispute with


INEOS. The workers in that factory democratically elect their shop


stewards to represent them and to express to management their concerns


and their views. That is what happened with INEOS. Jack Straw has


condemned your union's handling of Grangemouth as a catastrophe. Have


you considered your position? Jack Straw and others in the Labour


Party, you have to ask them what their agenda is. I am not interested


in what he says. The truth of the matter is we responded to the


requirements and needs of our members. At a mass meeting last


Monday 100% supported their shop stewards and their union. We will


continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our members when they


are faced with difficult situations. You have lost all the union rights.


You have had to agree to a no strike rule, you have lost pension rights.


We have not lost rights at all, we are still working with the company


to implement its survival plan. The Prime Minister is always attacking


unions and just lately he has taken to praising the automotive


industry. Jaguar Land Rover, Foxhall, BMW at Cowley, they are all


Unite union members were the shop stewards are engaged positively to


implement survival plans and to make a success for the company. That is


what we do, but by the same token we stand shoulder to shoulder with our


members who are in struggle and we will always do that and we will not


be cowed by media attacks on us Is your leadership not proving to be as


disastrous for the members as Arthur Scargill was for the NUM? My


membership is growing. I am accountable to my members, two are


executive, and the one thing they will know is that when they want me


standing shoulder to shoulder with them when they have a problem, I


will be there, despite the disgraceful attacks launched on us


by the media. "A country ready to welcome your


investment which values your friendship and will never exclude


anyone because of their race, religion, colour or creed." The


words of the Prime minister at the World Islamic Economic Forum which


was hosted for the first time in London this week. The PM's warm


words are sure to be welcomed by British Muslims who have endured a


spate of negative headlines. There's been the controversy over the


wearing of the veil, attitudes to women, and the radicalisation of


some young British Muslims. In a moment I'll be talking to the


Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Farooq Murad.


First - here's Giles Dilnot. The call to Friday prayers at the east


London Mosque which has strong links with the Muslim Council of Britain,


one of the more vocal groups amongst British Muslims. Despite the fact it


frequently happens, it is neither helpful nor accurate to describe the


British Muslim community. There are so many different sects,


traditions, cultures and nationalities, it is more accurate


to describe the British Muslim communities, but there is one


question being put to them - are they doing enough internally to


address some challenging issues Are they willing to confront


radicalisation, attitudes to non-muslins, two women, and cases of


sexual exploitation in a meaningful way? A number of them say no, not


nearly enough. This former jihad de has spent ten years telling young


Muslim teenagers how they can reject extremist radicalisation, using


Outward Bound courses and community work, but he and others doing this


work thing -- think some elders are failing the youngsters. This has


been going on for decades, one figures -- thing is said in public


to please people but in private something very different is being


said and the messages are being confused. Some of the young people,


it pushes them further into a space where they are vulnerable for


radical recruiters. For many Muslim youngsters, life is about living 1's


faith within an increasingly secular society, a struggle not helped if


rigid interpretations of the Koran are being preached, say some


sectors. Some practices often don't make sense in 21st-century Britain,


and you are perhaps creating obstacles if you stick to those and


it is perhaps better to let go of those cultural problems, especially


when they need to clear injustices like forced marriage, reticence to


talk about grooming for example or discrimination against women. There


is a long list but I am very clear that in fact the bad Muslim is the


one who sticks to unflinching, narrow dogmatic fundamentalist


perception of religion. One issue often focused on is the wearing of


minicab. Polling suggests 80% of Britons would favour a ban in public


places. -- the niqab. Many people don't seem to recognise the legacy


of the niqab. Many people preach that women should be sidelined and


that they are sexual objects that should be covered up and the


preservation of morality falls on their shoulders. The Muslim Council


of Britain recently got praise for holding a conference on combating


sexual exploitation. In the wake of abuse cases that had involved


predominantly Pakistani men. For one man who has followed the story for


some years, the Muslim Council of Britain needs to do much more. We


need to get along together and if things like attitudes towards the


normal slim girl in stark contrast to the expression of honour and


chastity of the Muslim girl, your sister or daughter, are such that


actions that would be an fought off with a slim girl becomes permissible


with a white girl, then we are all in trouble. To some, attitudes to


women are not limited to sexual interactions at the very structures


of life in Muslim communities and indeed the Muslim Council of Britain


itself. I would like to ask the Muslim Council of Britain what they


are doing about the fact that very few mosques give voices to


are doing about the fact that very the fact that someone women are


experiencing female genital mutilation and forced marriages


what about the women who are getting married and their marriages are not


being registered and they are being left homeless and denied maintenance


rights, what about the fact there are sharia rights that have been


found to be discriminating against women, and the fact there are men in


this country who continue to hold misogynistic views about women, what


are you doing? The occasional press release will not solve this problem


of a deeply patriarchal community. That all of these issues can be


exploited to the point of Islam phobia is not doubted, but many


Muslims feel that unless the communities do tackle this openly, a


big cultural gap will exist between the two.


And the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Farooq


Murad, joins me now. One visible sign that sets muslins aside is the


veils that cover women's faces. Do you think it makes them impossible


to be part of mainstream society? The niqab is not an obligatory


requirement. But do you accept that those who wear it are cutting


themselves off from mainstream society? Some people do, and whilst


wearing niqab, some of them are working in various walks of life


successfully and it is seen as a faith requirement, but it is a red


herring in the sense that it applies to such a small number of Muslim


girls. For many Muslim preachers, isn't separation precisely the point


of the niqab? Certainly not, if you look at the Muslim women in the


public sphere, we have many very successful women. But not the ones


who are veiled. Not in the public arena as such, but the veil is a


practice which is practised by a very small number. Do you favour


it? I personally think it is not a requirement. But do you think women


should wear the veil? I think it is wrong to force women to wear the


veil. I asked if in your opinion women should wear the veil? It is


important not to force women to wear the veil. Should they of their free


choice where the veil? A lot of individuals do things out of their


free choice which I do not approve of, I don't think it is conducive it


helps their cause, but I do not have the right to take their choice away


from them. I am still unsure if you think it is a good thing or a bad


thing. Are not many Muslim women in this country being forced by Muslim


preachers and often their male relations who want to keep Muslim


women their place? As I said, it is wrong for anyone to force Muslim


women. But how would we ever know in a family if a woman was being


forced? Exactly, we don't know what is going on in people 's homes and


what pressure is being applied. I want you to look at this picture,


very popular on Islamic websites, and it shows the women who is


wearing the niqab having a straight route to heaven, and the other


Muslim woman dressed in western gear condemned to hell. Do you consider


that a proper message for Muslim women? Not at all, I don't. So any


Islamic websites in Britain... The Muslim Council of Britain is an


organisation of five affiliates from across the country and this is not


coming from any of them. As I said, those minority views propagated by


individuals should not be used to represent Muslim community. So that


would not have the support of the Muslim Council of Britain? It would


not have the support. What about the Muslim free school that requires


children as young as 11 to wear a black veil outside of school? Do you


agree with that? I am not sure exactly what the policy is... I have


just told you, do you agree that girls as young as 11 should wear a


black burka outside of school? I don't think it should be imposed on


anybody. But this is the desired dress School of the Muslim females.


I am asking for your view. I said it at the beginning that I do not think


it should be imposed. Would you send your daughter to a school that would


wear a black burka at the age of 11? Would you? No. It seems that some


muslins are determined to segregate young Muslim girls right from the


start to very early from society. It is not their segregation as such, I


would say that there are faith schools, if you look at an Islamic


girls school in Blackburn in a traditional setting, it has come the


top of the league table this year in the secondary school league tables.


But it doesn't make 11-year-olds wear black burkas. Many of those


girls go on to have a successful career. Not wearing black burkas. I


am sure there are examples of women who do have successful careers.


There is a very conservative movement from the continent on


Islam, and the issue supposedly based on Islamic law on their


website. Here is one of their recent judgements. The female is encouraged


to remain within the confines of her home as much as possible, she should


not come out of the home without need and necessity. What do you


think of that? We need to say the whole context of that quote. They


are saying they should stay at home as much as possible, do you agree


with that? I see many Muslim women who are walking about... But this is


what the mosque is recommending women should do. The practice is


quite the contrary. Let me show you another one. Another Fatwa. Do you


agree with that? These have been picked out from material dating back


to different cultural settings and in practice they are not applied.


This is advice being given as we speak. This is not being practised.


Do you agree with it? No, not at all. These are from the DL Monday


mosques, how come 72 of these mosques are affiliated to your


counsel? There may be publications from one of their scholars, but they


have been written in countries abroad and translated. This is


advice being given to young women now. They are affiliated to the


Muslim Council of Britain. Do you ever speak to them about that? The


Muslim Council is a very broad organisation. We are working on lots


of common issues to create a community which positively


integrates. Did you ever speak to them to say this is not appropriate


for British Muslims? There may be certain ad buys and publications


available, but people make their choices. So it is OK for your


organisation to issue things like that? Many of these things will fall


under scrutiny and we need to create that. Why do only 26% of British


mosques have facilities for women? If you go back to the requirement of


prayer, it was not obligatory for women to come to the masks to


prayer. When a poorer community began putting up mosques at the very


beginning in terraced houses... Did you have a policy to encourage them?


Is it on your website? It is in our practices that 20% of the council


have to be female. Coming out of this movement there is a conscious


stream of superiority between Muslims and non-Muslims. Look at


this quote. He is a well-known picture in this country.


That is what he wants to stop. I disagree with that. We believe we


live in this society and Muslims in any society of the world, and they


have historically lived as minorities in many countries... You


would this associate yourself from that? Why do you allow people like


that to be affiliated to you? The requirement is for any organisation


to be affiliated is that they are bound by the Charity commission's


rules and regulations. We only accept those who are under the law


of this country. This is a matter of taste. Let me move on to a bigger


issue. In 2009 you signed the Istanbul dash-mac the Istanbul


declaration was signed. Do you still support it? No, we never signed it


or supported it. One of your leading lights signed it. In the media


mainstream he defended his position. You have this associated yourself


from it? What is wrong with that? I am not sure about the declaration


because we disassociated ourselves. Before reading it? We did not sign


it. You have not read it? I do not know all the aspects of the


declaration, but at the time in the national newspapers and media there


was a discussion and a debate and it was highlighted that that was not


what was meant by the declaration. When did you decide so is the


yourself from the declaration? From day one. We never signed it. The


East London Mosque which you are personally closely associated with


is the venue for a number of extremist speakers, who espoused


extremist positions. In 2009 the mosque posted a video and


presentation by somebody described by the UN Security Council as an


Al-Qaeda leader supporter. Another speaker described Christians and


Jews as Phil. You have had a jihad is supporter of the Taliban there.


Why do you do nothing to stop extremists like that at this mask


with which you are associated with? We do not have anything to do with


any rhetoric that condones or supported violence. We issue


guidelines and the mosque itself is a registered charity which has its


own rules and regulations, but it is a very large mosques and lots of


organisations book and come and told their gatherings. We rent out the


facilities. You were prepared to speak alongside a man who saluted


suicide bombers, and said 9/11 was a Zionist conspiracy. Why would you


share a platform like that? I did not share a platform like that.


Different organisations come and have conferences here. Why did you


agree? I did not agree with that. I completely reject that. When you add


all this up the attitude to women, the alliance with the most


fundamentalist Islamic mosques, the toleration of intolerant views, a


willingness for you to be counted among them, why should anybody of


goodwill, either a Muslim or a non-Muslim, regard the MCB as a good


force? It is an organisation which embraces different organisations


which are affiliated in the Muslim community. You have taken snippets


of certain individual views which are not the views of our affiliates.


It would be unfair to represent our view based on those which you have


highlighted in this programme. The work that we do is quite clear and


is on our website. They are all associated with you, but we will


have to leave it there. You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming


up: I will be talking to joke In the East Midlands, fears for our


safety of a privatisation from the people charged with looking after


offenders released from jail. I don't want people to be scared but


what I do want is for them to treat the issues that we have raised with


utmost concern. And the Derbyshire man born with one arm who claims he


was asked if his other one was likely to grow back at a hearing to


see if he was fit for work. We looked at each other and said, were


you being realistic here? I was born like it so it will not grow back. I


am Mary Ashby and joining me in the studio this week, two Derbyshire


MPs, Pauline Latham and Toby Perkins. Let's start with the latest


on HS2 after MPs voted to pave the way for work to begin. A bill was


approved by 350 votes to 34 to allow the Government to spend money on


beginning preparations on the line. For some it is a shining vision of


the future which will whisk us to London in less than one hour but for


others it is a white elephant ruin in the countryside and gobbling up


cash. But does this vote mean the arguments are finally over and the


battle has been won or lost? Pauline, is it all over? No, they


will be quite a few more right units because the bill will take about for


five years to go through. It is a very, very complex bill and that


will take time to get through Parliament. I think they will


continue to be Parliament. I think they will


continue quite a few arguments but I hope at the end of the day that they


will get it through. Labour are still wobbly on this, how did you


vote? I did not actually vote in the debate on Thursday because it was a


one line whip and it was only about giving the Government permission to


study in preparation work towards it rather than building it that we were


supporting that as a party but the majority of Labour MPs were doing


other things. I think that it is a potentially important development


for our area but we need to rebuild confidence, in the sense that costs


are running out of control and that is quite worrying. All of us need a


sense of a government that can get a control of the cost and tell us how


much it'll cost. So you still need reassuring? I think people do


because we were originally talking about ?35 billion and already there


is talk now that it is 50 billion. We haven't even laid a single`track


yet. Our position is that we support HS2 in principle but not at any


cost. Will there be more reassurances that? I think there


will because we are talking about a long time in advance, we are talking


about 20 years in advance and I think if we didn't go ahead with it


and we had that attitude when the Victorians did the original railway,


we would never have had any infrastructure in this country


anyway. But this will be the next big leap in rail travel. Andrew


Bridgen in a nearby constituency... They must reflect their constituents


views but we will go ahead and work on that and hopefully people will be


much happier. Plenty more debate to come on HS2. Onto the plans to


privatise parts of the probation service, the Government wants to


bring charities in to take over low and medium risk offenders with the


probation service looking after high risk people. This week, the heads of


the Derbyshire and Leicestershire probation trusts say the Government


should wait for more research before introducing the changes and next


week, probation officers will strike over the plans. We have been to


Leicester to hear their concerns. Probation officers here are so


concerned about plans for privatisation that they are


threatening strike action. They want justice secretary Chris Grayling to


delay plans for changes. The bottom line here is that we are being


privatised in order that Chris Grayling can line the pockets of his


friends and you will make an immoral profit. These private companies are


not in it for public detection, they are in it to make a profit and that


is something that does not sit right with me or my colleagues. You are


worried about the speed of these changes? He has been told that these


plans compromise the future of the management of offenders in this


country and therefore public safety. He understands that that is


the case but he chooses to ignore that advice. We have come to a point


where we feel we are not being head and this is the only way forward.


Are we seriously concerned about issues of public detection? That


scares people, I do not want people to be scared but what I do want is


for them to treat the issues that we have raised with an most concern.


Because this is a very serious issue.


Probation workers in Leicester telling us why they are so concerned


that the Government insists the plans will reform a system that has


been failing for years. The issue was debated in the Commons this


week, the justice secretary told the house that the reforms were viable


to reform die figures on the number of re`offenders.


Crime in Britain is falling which is good but there are fewer first`time


criminals out there which is also good but increasingly, crime in


Britain today is being committed by people who have offended before. Who


are going round and round the system. Reoffending to date has


barely changed in a decade, it has risen again in the last year and it


is the highest `` as high as it was five years ago when the reforms were


put in place. Yesterday we released statistics which paint a grim


picture of reoffending. Joining us to discuss that is Jane Loffhagen


from the Lincolnshire National Association of Probation Officers.


Reoffending figures have barely changed. They always highlight this


issue of reoffending but the group of offenders they are referring to


our prisoners serving under 12 months. And they introduced this


whole programme on the basis that this reticular group of offenders


were reoffending highly and that is true but that is the only group


within the probation service does not work `` this particular group.


It is not an argument for changing the probation service, it is for


changing the law so that short`term prisoners are subject to licenses.


We work with former offenders released from prison efficiently and


probation services are high performing public services, it goes


under the radar, not many people know what we do but against all the


Government's and standards, we are very high performing services. What


are your main concern is? Your union sounds alarmist about it. It is


really serious and we do not want to be alarmist but the way it works at


the moment, people are subject to quite a comprehensive and work


intensive risk assessment programme and all kinds of risk are assessed


so you do not get people who are medium or low or high risk because


there are four or five different aspects of risk to assess and what


you have come up with an assessment of that, that changes because it is


dependent on whether they are using substances, whether they are mental


health treatment, with their relationships are broken down,


whether they have family support, if they are subject to restrictions on


their licenses all their orders. We will often change these through all


these are the true factors during the programme. You spoke during the


debate, what are your concerns about this? Whether these reforms will


work or not is entirely unproven. The probation service, as Jane was


saying, has got every single trust which is either good or outstanding


and the minister was unable to explain to us in the debate on


Wednesday why the desire to extend probation services to those shorter


sentences have to coincide with privatisation, why not go with the


probation service to have that extension? And if you're going to go


for this huge change which is potentially serious, why not have


pilots would show if it works? When Chris Grayling got the job, he


cancelled the pilots but then introduced the policy which seems


crazy. What is the rush with all this, Pauline? Because it has not


been working with the low`grade offenders and they will not be


dealing with the high`grade offenders, they will still be dealt


with by the probation service we are looking at the grade offenders that


this is not working with so we need to make it work. Because people out


there do not want people to come out of prison and reoffend and cause


them problems and it is a problem to the general public. If you are


talking about the lowest grade offenders, they do not work with the


probation service at all. Within the remit, we only start with people who


need intervention. So we need people to stop reoffending, the public do


not want people to keep reoffending, they want them sorting out and that


is what this will do. The unions are asking for a delay, not to scrap the


whole plan. It is against hybridisation of a public service


because `` privatisation of a public service and we are dedicated public


servants and these programmes for low risk. If the service is


privatised and there is a primary agenda which takes over from that,


then services will follow where the money is. For instance, it will be


much easier to get your payment by results with the very lowest grade


offenders who are unlikely to reoffend anyway. Which part are you


worried about? We are worried about all of it. It is a high achieving


service and it is reducing reoffending, and Pauline is right,


people want it to be reduced but there is not a magic fix, it is a


painstaking, complicated and difficult process. And the lowest


grade offenders that Pauline is talking about do not include minor


offenders. Why such radical reform? We need to change it and get it


right. The public expect us to get it right and we need to get on with


it. The more we delay everything, the less chance we have that its


will be quick. Are you listening to concerns, for example the head of


the Derbyshire Probation Trust is saying there could be more


preventable attacks and deaths, they are not mincing their words. They


will not be dealt with by anybody else other than the probation


service. The important thing is that the people who will stay with this


new National probation service will be those at high risk of causing


harm but medium grade offenders, serial thieves, people have been in


jail several times will be people who will disappear from this. A high


performing authority will completely disappear and many kinds of work


that they do, particularly in rural communities, will cease to happen.


There is a categorisation and whenever someone who is subject


ditty that commits a serious offence again, there is an enquiry and most


serious further offences come from low and medium risk offenders and


medium risk offenders and these are the people who will be subject to


supervision by the private sector. These are people we will not be able


to monitor. Not necessarily. Why make the changes before the pilot?


They will be people who will go into these new services so that the


expertise will not be lost to the system, it will be just a different


way of doing it and sometimes you have to stop, look at their system


and decide that maybe there is a better way of doing it. I accept


that the probation service is a good one but I think sometimes you need


to reassess and look again and say, can we do it a better way? Why would


people die? Let me give you an example, if somebody is being


released from prison from opening conditions, somebody serving a long


prison sentence, they cannot be put into open conditions until they are


medium risk and then they get released at medium risk and they


would be the kind of person who would go into the private sector.


Why would it kill somebody? People on my sentences would come into that


group, they are not released until they are medium. Is striking the


answer? Striking is a desperate measure so that people understand


the desperate measure that public servants are faced with. There are


growing calls in East Midlands to hold fitness to work assessments by


the contractor, Atos. We spoke to one Derbyshire man with an


incredible story, born with one arm and claims he was asked if his other


arm would grow back at his assessment. Atos deny the claims but


it has raised an issue of assessments and whether they should


be scrapped. Gary Swift lives alone in North


Derbyshire, he has been in work in the past but now struggles to find


an employer willing to take him on. They tried to get me to lift boxes


out of the storeroom. He was born with one arm, and it makes lifting


objects and other tasks difficult. His disability has also led him to


be bullied at work. You would like to work as a driver but has not been


able to get a break. I get rejected from all the tribunal 's. They say


that I can work, I am not disabled but I cannot wait because I keep


getting rejected, it is like a never ending circle. He was told to take


an assessment but was surprised by the questions he faced.


What did Atos Askew? Date asked me if my arm would grow back `` ask


you. I looked at them to say, are you being realistic? I was born like


this. It will not grow back. A local charity says arm's case is not


uncommon. There are documented cases `` Garry's case. People have not


been treated with dignity. It is designed to rush people through.


People like Garry get training to help them find work but in his case,


it was not suited to his needs. They send you out in the countryside,


putting kissing gates up and basically you have to dig a hole.


For a post to go in. I was stood next to everybody for 13 weeks


because I can't dig. Atos is keen to point out that it only advises the


Government of people's capability but it is the Department for Work


and Pensions that ultimately makes the decision. That department says:


The previous government appointed Atos and we're bringing on board


additional providers. With complaints about Atos getting


louder in the East Midlands, there are more people like Garry waiting


to see if the process will be fixed any time soon.


We did ask Atos to join our discussion that they told us no one


was available and in a statement they refuted his claim categorically


insisting that their staff were highly trained professionals and


would not have asked a question like that. One would hope so. There is no


denying that this is causing a lot of stress. Garry clearly feels the


system is not helping him. He has clearly been put on the wrong work


experience to find out. He cannot dig, it is a sad case that he has


had this awful situation thrust upon him but I don't think he is


unemployable. There are jobs he could do and for the majority of


people who are disabled, if they can work, it is better for them. Many


want to. Yes, and there are some ` and I am not saying that he does not


want to work, clearly he wants to work and it would be good for him


but the support he was given was wrong and we must get it right. But


things are being changed all the time, the system is getting better.


You think you're getting this right? We are, they will still be people


who slip through, there always will be with any system but it is getting


better than it was when was first starting and it has got thousands of


people into work who were thinking they were disabled and could not


work. Dennis Skinner, the Labour MP for Bolsover described Atos in the


Commons as a cruel, heartless monster. Do you agree? The way the


system is working is really cruel, but also utterly incompetent.


Stories like this, arm's, every single week my surgery I will see


who has been wrongly classified `` Garry's. Somebody whose life was


wrecked in a car crash but the car crash was the start of the problems,


he got into the Atos system, went through the tribunal and the


tribunal found him nowhere near fit to work, and within six weeks are


going through all this process, the whole thing is starting again and he


will be assessed again. And it costs more money, Pauline. It is better


for people to be in work than on benefits, that is proven and they


want to work. Of course they will be people who cannot work and we should


be looking after them and we should be making sure that there


assessments are fair that they can appeal and they can ask for it to be


redone and that is what people need to do. But they don't want to, I


know it is an option but who would want to go through that? Of course


you don't want to but if you are claiming public money, I think you


have to until the situation has been clarified. And clearly, that


gentleman cannot do a digging job, that is obvious. He said he wanted


to do a driving job, that may not be an option but there are other jobs


out there and he could have training to get another job. While Labour


making such a fuss about this now? `` why are Labour making such. What


we have is a really adversarial DWP led by the incompetent but heartless


Iain Duncan Smith who is driving people mad. We have had two people


in Chesterfield found fit for work and they died of their conditions.


People that have got serious mental health problems, doctors saying that


they are making people more ill by going through this. Iain Duncan


Smith is not heartless, he cares because he knows it is better for


people to be in work. That is why he has gone through all this process


and he spent years trying to perfect it before he was in government,


before he was the Secretary of State. And he has done it to the


best of his ability and most of it... It is not all working but no


system is perfect. Is this not a sign that it is not going very well?


It is working for most of the people most of the time. There will always


be cases and I have heard that case about Garry, it is a well`known case


and it is ridiculous and he needs to be reassessed and he should ask for


a reassessment. 75% of people who have appeal when their appeal. It is


costing a fortune but it is putting people through terrible stress. We


want to see people being supported and we recognise the small number of


people who do not want to work but this system is not working and if


this government has got any heart about it, it should reassess the


system totally and get it done to get it working properly. It is


broken. But the heart is there because they are trying to get


people into work and give them the training and that is a good thing.


It is not working. Time now for a round`up of the other political


stories here in the East Midlands, he was our political editor.


Council workers in Nottinghamshire are bracing themselves for more


budget cuts, the county council will unveil its plans to cut ?134 million


on Tuesday. It is expected they could be large`scale redundancies


and services will be reduced or close down entirely. The council


admits the details will be grim. Conservatives in Leicester have


welcomed the Government's introduction of the first Islamic


bond outside the non`Muslim world. The new Bond complies with sharia


law of the Leicester Conservative Association says it gives the UK


access to billions of pounds of investment.


Neighbourhood watch organisations are keeping their eyes out on our


new police and crime Commissioners, they are being asked for their views


on what impact the elected VCCs are having.


A big merger is under way in the business community, the


Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce and the Nottinghamshire and


Derbyshire chamber are planning to join forces across the East


Midlands. Of the greater Manchester, it will be the biggest chamber in


Britain. `` after greater Manchester.


On next week's programme, the first anniversary of the police and crime


Commissioners, we will find out how they are doing and ask from some of


our PCCs and ask the the announcement by Nottinghamshire


County Council and you can follow all the details on our blog. That's


the Sunday politics here in the East Midlands. Back to Andrew, thank you


very much to our guests. confident we will deliver that.


Thank you for coming, great to see you. Andrew, back to you. Labour 's


relationship with Unite and other issues all to be discussed in the


Week Ahead and we're joined now by the shadow business secretary Chuka


Umunna. First I would like to get your reaction to the interview I did


earlier with the General Secretary of the union Unite - Len McCluskey.


Let's look at what he said. This is a trap being laid by Tory Central


office. They are making all of the demands and the Daily Mail, the


Sunday Times, are you telling me they are not the conservative


mouthpiece in the media? They are laying traps for Ed Miliband and he


should not fall into them. Though it is all a Tory plot. Len McCluskey


denies a lot of the allegations put, but let me be clear in an industrial


dispute, the use of aggressive or intimidatory tactics by either side


is totally unacceptable. Do you think it is wrong for Unite to send


its members to the homes of managers? I don't know what happened


in that particular case, but I think you should keep people 's families


out of these things and if you are doing something that can upset


particularly children, that is a bad thing. I know he denied a number of


things you put to him. We now know some of the content of Labour 's own


report into what happened at Falkirk and they found all sorts of things -


forgery, coercion, trickery and even that their own investigation was


being thwarted by Unite. What should Labour do next? I have not read the


report. We are told that the latest allegations that have been made is


something that the police are looking into so that is not


something I think would be appropriate for me to comment on. We


learned Labour Party members in the Falkirk constituency have complained


to the leader of the Scottish party about a lack of action by the Labour


Party on what happened in Falkirk. I am not part of the Scottish party


and that is news to me. But the police have indicated they are


looking at the new information that has come to light. It is a bit like


the 1980s and there was an electrifying moment when Neil


Kinnock took on the militant tendency in Bournemouth in 1985 Ed


Miliband has sort of tried to take on the Unite union, but it has not


worked. Does then not need to be an electrifying moment for Ed Miliband?


Your own paper has praised him for seeking to address the issues we


have in politics and the disconnection from people. In many


respects the situation in Falkirk categorises the process of further


ongoing change where we are trying to establish a better relationship


with individual trade union members. In parts of my constituency, some of


the most deprived parts, we had people queueing round the block to


vote. I do not think the issue is that people are not political, but


they have never felt so far from party politics as they do now and


that is why Ed Miliband announced this big chains about how we do


things in the Labour Party, so we change structures in the Labour


Party that were set up in the 2 th century. The reform of the way in


which we connect and our relationship with the union puts us


in a good position because we have this relationship between the 3


million working people who ensure our public services function. At


Grangemouth INEOS stood up to unite. At Grangemouth and Falkirk


Labour rolled over to the Unite union. I do not agree with that I'd


just explained the reason. I do not think it is fair to ask people to


give evidence in an enquiry on the basis of the report will be


confidential and then to publish it after. But if somebody is trying to


take over a Labour constituency to send an MP of their choice to our


Parliament, that should not be secret, that should be public. Ed


Miliband acted very decisively. That constituency party is still in


special measures as I understand it. This idea that somehow the Unite


union runs the Labour Party, they do not. The special measures mean


according to Eric Joyce, that an ally of Stevie Deans is chairing the


meeting. I am interested in the Tory suggestion that they would offer


free Tory party membership to union members. I then moving onto your


turf? We do not know exactly all the facts and the truth of the


allegations that have been made On your point I think it is healthy the


Conservatives are looking to recruit trade union members. A lot of their


rhetoric is very negative in respect of trade unions. If you look at


Unison a third of the members vote Conservative. In Unite union some of


their members vote Tory. I think trade unions have a lot to bring to


our country. It is one of the things many up and down the country will


find very frustrating, a lot of the good work that unions do if it gets


tarnished with all the negative stuff you see... Unite are working


in partnership with GM and the senior management in Ellesmere Port


and the government ensured that we kept that plant open. That gets


overlooked by all of this. Do you not think the bolshie behaviour from


unions are motivated not by strength, but by weakness. Unite


know they cannot paralyse the country in the way their forebears


used to be able to do. Their penetration rates in the private


sector is 11%. The union movement is weaker than it was before I was


born. Some of that truck killers and bad behaviour either death spasms of


their movement rather than something that is motivated by the fact they


can't paralyse the country. You have two increase the membership. But


there is an issue about the public perception of trade unions. It is


right they should be a voice of protest and anger and stand up for


their members when it is necessary. But people join unions for their


aspiration. The unions do a lot so that people can move up in their


workplace. That profile needs to come across as strongly as the


protest part. I want to move on to business. The head of the CBI has


said that Labour's pro-enterprise credentials have suffered a setback.


He said that in relation to Ed Miliband's speech. I was on the


radio earlier. If you look at the things in the speech, some of that


was going to be uncomfortable for some of the countries and they tend


to be companies represented by the CBI, like energy companies, like


land developers, a lot of the big business lose out from is not doing


the corporate tax cut. The energy freeze is going to help over 2.


million businesses that have been hit by high energy bills. The


business community has said we had to bring the public sector finances


back into balance. That is why we decided to switch the money being


used to reduce corporation tax and use that to help a much greater


variety of businesses by doing a business rate cut. It is all pro


enterprise. They also seem to be critical of your new idea of a


living wage. They are not critical. It would not be compulsory, but


there would be a tax credit if they paid it. It is good for business


because if people are earning more than they are more productive. It is


good for the employee and good for us as well because it means we are


not having to subsidise people to be paid to the extent we have with tax


credits and benefits. Everybody benefits from this. We all know


after 2009 we need to have bold change. Does Labour paid a living


wage? We have got over 20 of our councils signed up to doing so and


we have made commitments in respect to Whitehall. Does the Labour Party


pay it? I believe so. Would it not be worth checking? Do you get a


living wage? Yes, of course I do. I understand we paid a living wage.


What does it feel like for Tristram Hunt who has taken over your mantle


as Labour's next leader? Is that a relieved or are you angry? He is one


of my best friends and at the end of the day if we got obsessed with this


soap opera stuff we would never get anything done and we are working


together to make sure we have got the right skills in our workforce.


That is all for today. The daily politics is on all week. I will be


here again next weekend at 12:2 pm after the Remembrance Day service at


the Cenotaph. Remember if it is Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.


Planet Earth - it's unique. It has life.


To understand why, we're going to build a planet...up there.


There were the objects that were making the Earth.


We're now weightless. That's how our planet started.


Your arms are a little bit long Is that as small as they go?


This is like every shopping trip I've ever been on.


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