01/12/2013 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. George Osborne


announces a ?50 cut to annual household energy bills. We'll talk


to Lib Dem president Tim Farron ahead of the Chancellor's mini


budget this week. Net immigration is up for the first


time in two years. Labour and the Tories say they want to bring it


down, but how? Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper joins us for the


Sunday Interview. The harder you shake the pack, the easier it will


be for some cornflakes to get to the top. The Mayor of London says


inequality and greed are essential to spur economic activity. The


And in the East Midlands, calling international rescue. The MP who


leads the country's response capital is now a crisis. Another


week, another strategy? Can this one deliver?


And with me throughout today's programme, well, we've shaken the


packet and look who's risen to the top. Or did we open it at the


bottom? Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh and Sam Coates. All three will be


tweeting throughout the programme using the hashtag #bbcsp. So, after


weeks in which Ed Miliband's promise to freeze energy prices has set the


Westminster agenda, the Coalition Government is finally coming up with


its answer. This morning the Chancellor George Osborne explained


how he plans to cut household energy bills by an average of fifty quid.


What we're going to do is roll back the levees that are placed by


government on people's electricity bills. This will mean that for the


average bill payer, they will have ?50 of those electricity and gas


bills. That will help families. We are doing it in the way that


government can do it. We are controlling the cost that families


incurred because of government policies. We are doing it in a way


that will not damage the environment or reduce our commitment to dealing


with climate change. We will not produce commit men to helping


low-income families with the cost of living. Janan, we are finally seeing


the coalition begin to play its hand in response to the Ed Miliband


freeze? They have been trying to respond for almost ten weeks and


older responses have been quite fiddly. We are going to take a bit


of tax year, put it onto general taxation, have a conversation with


the energy companies, engineered a rebate of some kind, this is not


very vivid. The advantage of the idea that they have announced


overnight is that it is clear and it has a nice round figure attached to


it, ?50. The chief of staff of President Obama, he said, if you are


explaining, you're losing. The genius of this idea is that it does


not require explanation. He would not drawn this morning on what


agreement he had with the energy companies, and whether this would


fall through to the bottom of the bill, but the way he spoke, saying,


I am not going to pre-empt what the energy companies say, that suggests


he has something up his sleeve. Yes, I thought so. The energy companies


have made this so badly for so long. It would be awful if he announced


this and the energy companies said, we are going to keep this money for


ourselves. I do not think he is that stupid. The energy companies have an


incentive to go along with this don't they? My worry is that I am


not sure how much it will be within the opinion polls. I think people


might expect this now, it is not a new thing, it is not an exciting


thing. Say in the markets, they may have priced the ten already. If by


Thursday of this week, he is able to say, I have a ?50 cut coming to your


bill. The energy companies have guaranteed that this will fall


through onto your energy bill, and they have indicated to me that they


themselves will not put up energy prices through 2014, has he shot the


Ed Miliband Fox? I think he has a couple of challenges. It is still


very hard. This is an answer for the next 12 months but did is no chance


announced that Labour will stop saying they are going to freeze


prices in the next Parliament. He will say, I have not just frozen


them, I have done that as well and I have cut them. When people look at


their energy bills, they are going up by more than ?50. This is a


reduction in the amount that they are going up overall. Year on 0


will be for George Osborne. He will have to come up with something this


time next year. The detail in the Sunday papers reveals that George


Osborne is trying to get the energy companies to put on bills that 50


has been knocked off your bill because of a reduction by the


government. He is trying to get the energy companies to do his political


bidding for him. It will be interesting to see if they go along


with that, because then we will know how cross the arm with Ed Miliband.


Let's get another perspective. Joining me now from Kendal in the


Lake District is the president of the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron.


Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Good morning. Let me ask you this, the


coalition is rowing back on green taxes, I do comfortable with that or


is it something else you will rebel against? I am very comfortable with


the fact we are protecting for the money is going. I am open to where


the money comes from. The notion that we should stop insulating the


homes of elderly people or stop investing in British manufacturing


in terms of green industry, that is something that I resolutely oppose,


but I am pleased that the funding will be made available for all that.


You cannot ignore the fact that for a whole range of reasons, mostly


down to the actions of the energy companies, you have prices that are


shooting up and affecting lots of people, making life hard. You cannot


ignore that. If we fund the installation of homes for older


people and others, if we protect British manufacturing jobs, and


raise the money through general taxation, I am comfortable with


that. It is not clear that is going to happen. It looks like the


eco-scheme, whereby the energy companies pay for the installation


of those on below-average incomes, they will spin that out over four


years, not two years, and one estimate is that that will cost


10,000 jobs. You're always boasting about your commitment to green jobs,


how do square that? I do not believe that. The roll-out will be longer.


The number of houses reached will be greater and that is a good thing. My


take is that it will not affect the number of jobs. People talk about


green levies. There has been disparaging language about that sort


of thing. There are 2 million people in this country in the lowest income


families and they get ?230 off their energy bills because of what isn't


-- because of what is disparaging the refer to as green stuff, shall


we call it. There will be more properties covered. We both know


that your party is being pushed into this by the Tories. You would not be


doing this off your own bad. You are in coalition with people who have


jettisoned their green Prudential is? -- credentials. You have made my


point quite well. David Cameron s panicked response to this over the


last few months was to ditch all the green stuff. It has been a job to


make sure that we hold him to his pledges and the green cord of this


government. That is why we are not scrapping the investment, we are


making sure it is funded from general taxation. I am talking to


you from Kendal. Lots of people struggle to pay their energy bills.


But all these things pale into insignificance compared to the


threat of climate change and we must hold the Prime Minister to account


on this issue. Argue reconciled to the idea that as long as you're in


coalition with the Tories you will never get a mansion tax? I am not


reconciled to it. We are trying to give off other tax cut to the lowest


income people. What about the mansion tax? That would be


potentially paid for by another view source of finance. That would be


that the wealthy... We know that is what you want, but you're not going


to get that? We will keep fighting for it. It is extremely important.


We can show where we will get the money from. I know that is the


adamant. That is not what I asked you. Ed Balls and Labour run in


favour of a mansion tax, have you talked to them about it? The honest


answer is I have not. It is interesting that they have come


round to supporting our policy having rejected it in power. So if


Labour was the largest party in parliament but not in power, you


would have no problem agreeing with a mansion tax as part of the deal?


If the arithmetic falls in that way and that is the will of the British


people, fear taxes on those who are wealthiest, stuff that is fear,


which includes wealth taxes, in order to fund more reductions for


those people on lowest incomes, that is the sort of thing that we might


reach agreement on. You voted with Labour on the spare room subsidy.


Again, that would be job done in any future coalition talks with Labour,


correct? I take the view that the spare room subsidy, whilst entirely


fail in principle, in practice it has caused immense hardship. I want


to see that changed. There are many people in government to share my


view on that. So does Labour. The problem was largely caused Labour


because they oversaw an increase in housing costs both 3.5 times while


they were in power. The government was forced into a position to tidy


up an appalling mess that Labour left. You voted with Labour against


it, and also, you want... No, I voted with the party conference


Let's not dance on the head of the ten. Maybe they voted with me. - on


the head of a pin. You are also in favour of a 50% top rate of income


tax, so you and Labour are that one there as well? No, I take the view


that the top rate of income tax is a fluid thing. All taxation levels are


temporary. Nick Clegg said that when the 50p rate came down to 45, that


was a rather foolish price tag George Osborne asked for in return


for as increasing the threshold and letting several million people out


of paying income tax at the bottom. So you agree with Labour? In favour


of rising the tax to 50p. I take the view that we should keep our minds


open on that. It is not the income tax level that bothers me, it is


whether the wealthy pay their fresh air. If that can be done through


other taxes, then that is something that I am happy with. -- their fair


share. Given your position on the top rate of tax, on the spare room


subsidy, how does the prospect of another five years of coalition with


the Tories strike you? The answer is, you react with whatever you have


about you to what the electorate hand you. Whatever happens after the


next election, you have got to respect the will of the people. Yes,


but how do you feel about it? We know about this, I am asking for


your feeling. Does your heart left or does your heart fall at the


prospect of another five years with the Tories? My heart would always


follow the prospect of anything other than a majority of Liberal


Democrat government. Your heart must be permanently in your shoes then.


Something like that, but when all is said and done, we accept the will of


the electorate. When you stand for election, you have got to put up


with what the electorate say. I have not found coalition as difficult as


you might suggest. It is about people who have to disagree and


agree to differ. You work with people in your daily life that you


disagree with. It is what grown ups do. A lot of people in your party


think that your positioning yourself to be the left-wing candidate in a


post-Nick Clegg leadership contest. They think it is blatant


manoeuvring. One senior figure says, this is about you. Which bit of the


sanctimonious, treacherous little man is there not to like? What can I


see in response to that. My job is to promote the Liberal Democrats. I


have to do my best to consider what I'd defend to be right. By and


large, my position as an MP in the Lake District, but also as the


president of the party, is to reflect the will of people outside


the Westminster village. That is the important thing to do. Thank you for


joining us. David Cameron has said he wants to get it down to the tens


of thousands, Ed Miliband has admitted New Labour "got it wrong",


and Nick Clegg wants to be "zero-tolerant towards abuse". Yes,


immigration is back on the political agenda, with figures released


earlier this week showing that net migration is on the rise for the


first time in two years. And that's not the only reason politicians are


talking about it again. The issue of immigration has come


into sharp focus because of concerns about the number of remaining ins


and Bulgarians that can come to the UK next year. EU citizenship grants


the right to free movement within the EU. But when Bulgaria and


Romania joined in 2007, the government took up its right to


apply temporary restrictions on movement. They must be lifted


apply temporary restrictions on end of this year. According to the


2011 census, about one eyed 1 million of the population in England


and Wales is made up of people from countries who joined the EU in 004.


The government has played down expectations that the skill of


migration could be repeated. This week David Cameron announced new


restrictions on the ability of EU migrants to claim benefits. That was


two, send a message. That prompted criticism is that the UK risks being


seen as a nasty country. Yvette Cooper joins me now for the Sunday


interview. Welcome to the Sunday Politics, Yvette Cooper. You


criticised the coalition for not acting sooner on immigration from


Romania and Bulgaria but the timetable for the unrestricted


arrival in January was agreed under Labour many years ago, and given the


battle that you had with the Polish and the Hungarians, what


preparations did you make in power? We think that we should learn from


some of the things that happened with migration. It would have been


better to have transitional controls in place and look at the impact of


what happened. But what preparations did you make in power? We set out a


series of measures that the Government still had time to bring


in. It is important that this should be a calm and measured debate. There


was time to bring in measures around benefit restrictions, for example,


and looking at the impact on the labour market, to make sure you do


not have exploitation of cheap migrant Labour which is bad for


everyone. I know that but I have asked you before and I am asking


again, what did you do? We got things wrong in Government. I


understand that I am not arguing. You are criticising them not


preparing, a legitimate criticism, but what did you do in power? Well,


I did think we did enough. Did you do anything? We signed the agency


workers directive but too slowly. We needed measures like that. We did


support things like the social chapter and the minimum wage, but I


have said before that we did not do enough and that is why we


recommended the measures in March. I understand that is what you did in


opposition and I take that. I put the general point to you that given


your failure to introduce controls on the countries that joined in


2004, alone among the major EU economies we did that, should we not


keep an embarrassed silence on these matters? You have no credibility. I


think you have got to talk about immigration. One of the things we


did not do in Government was discussed immigration and the


concerns people have and the long-term benefits that we know have


come from people who have come to Britain over many generations


contributing to Britain and having a big impact. I think we recognise


that there are things that we did wrong, but it would be irresponsible


for us not to join the debate and suggest sensible, practical measures


that you can introduce now to address the concerns that people


have, but also make sure that the system is fair and managed.


Immigration is important to Britain but it does have to be controlled


and managed in the right way. Let's remind ourselves of your record on


immigration. The chart you did not consult when in power. This is total


net migration per year under Labour. 2.2 million of net rise in


migration, more than the population of Birmingham, you proud of that? --


twice the population. Are you proud of that or apologising for it? We


set the pace of immigration was too fat and the level was too high and


it is right to bring migration down. So you think that was wrong?


Overruled have been huge benefits from people that have come to


Britain and built our biggest businesses. -- overall. They have


become Olympic medal winners. But because the pace was too fast, that


has had an impact. That was because of the lack of transitional controls


from Eastern Europe and it is why we should learn from that and have


sensible measures in place now, as part of what has got to be a calm


debate. These are net migration figures. They don't often show the


full figure. These are the immigration figures coming in. What


that chart shows is that in terms of the gross number coming into this


country, from the year 2000, it was half a million a year under Labour.


Rising to 600,000 by the time you were out of power. A lot of people


coming into these crowded islands, particularly since most of them come


to London and the South East. Was that intentional? Was that out of


control? Is that what you are now apologising for? What we said was


that the Government got the figures wrong on the migration from Eastern


Europe. If you remember particularly there was the issue of what happened


with not having transitional controls in place. The Government


didn't expect the number of people coming to the country to be the way


it was. And so obviously mistakes were made. We have recognised that.


We have also got to recognise that this is something that has happened


in countries all over the world We travel and trade far more than ever.


We have an increasingly globalised economy. Other European countries


have been affected in the same way, and America, and other developing


countries affected in the same way by the scale of migration. I am


trying to work out whether the numbers were intentional or if you


lost control. The key thing that we have said many times and I have


already said it to you many times, Andrew, that we should have a


transitional controls in place on Eastern Europe. I think that would


have had an impact on them level of migration. We also should have


brought in the points -based system earlier. We did bring that in


towards the end and it did restrict the level of low skilled migration


because there are different kinds of migration. University students


coming to Britain brings in billions of pounds of investment. On the


other hand, low skilled migration can have a serious impact on the


jobs market, pay levels and so on at the low skilled end of the labour


market. We have to distinguish between different kinds of


migration. You keep trying to excuse the figures by talking about the


lack of transitional controls. Can we skip the chart I was going to go


to? The next one. Under Labour, this is the source of where migrants came


from. The main source was not the accession countries or the remainder


of Europe. Overwhelmingly they were from the African Commonwealth, and


the Indian subcontinent. Overwhelmingly, these numbers are


nothing to do with transitional controls. You can control that


immigration entirely because they are not part of the EU. Was that a


mistake? First of all, the big increase was in the accession


groups. Not according to the chart. In terms of the increase, the


changes that happened. Secondly in answer to the question that you just


asked me, we should also have introduced the points -based system


at an earlier stage. Thirdly there has been a big increase in the


number of university students coming to Britain and they have brought


billions of pounds of investment. At the moment the Government is not


distinguishing, it is just using the figure of net migration. And that is


starting to go up again, as you said in the introduction, but the problem


is that it treats all kinds of migration is aimed. It does not


address illegal immigration, which is a problem, but it treats


university graduates coming to Britain in the same way as low


skilled workers. If Labour get back into power, is it your ambition to


bring down immigration? We have already said it is too high and we


would support measures to bring it down. You would bring it down? There


is something called student visas, which is not included in the


figures, and it does not include university graduates, and it is a


figure that has increased substantially in recent years. They


come for short-term study but they do not even have to prove that they


come for a college course. They do not even have to have a place to


come. Those visas should be restricted to prevent abuse of the


system and that is in line with a recommendation from the Inspectorate


and that is the kind of practical thing that we could do. Can you give


us a ballpark figure of how much immigration would fall? You have


seen the mess that Theresa May has got into with her figures. She made


a target that it is clear to me that she will not meet. I think that is


right. She will not meet it. Can you give as a ballpark figure by which


we can judge you? If she had been more sensible and taken more time to


listen to experts and decide what measures should be targeted, then


she would not be in this mess. You cannot give me a figure? She has


chosen net migration. She has set a target, without ifs and buts. I


think it is important not to have a massive gap between the rhetoric and


reality. Not to make promises on numbers which are not responsible.


OK, you won't give me a figure. Fine. Moving on to crime. 10,00


front line police jobs have gone since 2010 but crime continues to


fall. 7% down last year alone. When you told the Labour conference that


you do not cut crime by cutting the police, you were wrong. I think the


Government is being very complacent about what is happening to crime.


Crime patterns are changing. There has been an exponential increase,


and that is in the words of the police, in online crime. We have


also seen, for example, domestic violence going up, but prosecutions


dropping dramatically. There is a serious impact as a result of not


having 10,000 police in place. You have talked about the exponential


increase in online and economic crime. If those are the big growth


areas, why have bobbies on the beat? That would make no difference. It is


about an approach to policing that has been incredibly successful over


many years, which Labour introduced, which is neighbourhood policing in


the community is working hard with communities to prevent crime. People


like to see bobbies on the beat but have you got any evidence that it


leads to a reduction in crime? Interestingly, the Lords Stevens


commission that we set up, they have reported this week and it has been


the equivalent of a Royal commission, looking at the number of


people involved in it. Their strong recommendation was that this is


about preventing crime but also respectful law and order, working


with communities, and so they strongly took the view with all of


their expertise and the 30 different universities that they have involved


with it, that on the basis of all that analysis, the right thing was


to keep bobbies on the beat and not push them cars. Instinctively you


would think it was true. More visible policing, less crime. But in


all the criminology work, I cannot find the evidence. There is


competing work about why there has been a 20 year drop in overall crime


and everybody has different opinions on why that has happened. The point


about neighbourhood policing is that it is broader than crime-fighting.


It is about prevention and community safety. Improving the well-being of


communities as well. Will you keep the elected Police Commissioners?


Big sigh! What the report said was that the system is flawed. We raised


concern about this at the beginning. You will remember at the elections,


Theresa May's flagship policy, at the elections they cost ?100 million


and there was 15% turnout. You have to have a system of accountability


at the police. Three options were presented, all of which are forms.


So you have to have reform. It is not whether to have reformed, it is


which of those options is the best way to do it. The commission set out


a series of options, and I thought that the preferable approach would


be collaboration and voluntary mergers. We know they won't


volunteer. There have been some collaboration is taking place. I


think the issues with police and crime commissioners have fragmented


things and made it harder to get collaboration between police


forces. Everybody is asking this question, just before you go. What


is it like living with a nightmare? Who does all the cooking, so I can't


complain! Says Miliband people are wrong, he is a dream cook? He is!


In a speech this week, Boris Johnson praised greed and envy as essential


for economic progress, and that has got tongues wagging. What is the


Mayor of London up to? What is his game plan? Does he even have a game


plan and does he know if he has one? Flash photography coming up. Boris.


In many ways I can leave it there. You'd know who I meant. And if you


didn't, the unruly mop of blonde hair would tell you, the language.


Ping-pong was invented on the dining tables of England. Somehow pulling


off the ridiculous to the sublime. It is going to go zoink off the


scale! But often having to speed away from the whiff-whaff of


scandal. Boris, are you going to save your manage?


There's always been a question about him and his as role as mayor and


another prized position, as hinted to the Tory faithful this year at


conference, discussing former French Prime Minister Alan Juppe. -- Alain


Juppe. He told me he was going to be the mayor of Bordeaux. I think he


may have been mayor well he was Prime Minister, it is the kind of


thing they do in funds -- AvD in France. It is a good idea, if you


ask me. But is it a joke? He is much more ambitious. Boris wants to be


Prime Minister more than anything else. Perhaps more than he wants to


be made of London. The ball came loose from the back of the scrum. Of


course it would give great thing to have a crack at, but it is not going


to happen. He might be right. First, the Conservatives have a leader


another Old Etonian, Oxford, Bullingdon chap and he has the job


Boris might like a crack at. What do you do with a problem like Boris? It


is one of the great paradoxes of Tory politics that for Boris Johnson


to succeed, David Cameron must feel. Boris needs David Cameron to lose so


that he can stand a chance of becoming loser. -- becoming leader.


And disloyalty is punished by Conservatives. Boris knows the man


who brought down Margaret Thatcher. Michael Heseltine, who Boris


replaced as MP for Henley, never got her job. In 1986, she took on the


member for Henley, always a risky venture. And why might he make such


a jibe, because he's won two more elections than the PM. Conservatives


like a winner. Boris, against Robert expectations, has won the Mayor of


London job twice. -- public. He might've built a following with the


grassroots but he's on shakier ground with many Tory MPs, who see


him as a selfish clown, unfit for high office. And besides, he's not


the only one with king-sized ambition, and Boris and George are


not close, however much they may profess unity. There is probably


some Chinese expression for a complete and perfect harmony. Ying


and yang. But in plain black and white, if Boris has a plan, it's one


he can't instigate, and if David Cameron is PM in 2016, it may not be


implementable. He'd need a seat and it wouldn't be plain sailing if he


did make a leadership bid. My leadership chances, I think I may


have told you before, or about as good as my chances of ying


reincarnated as a baked bean. Which is probably quite high. So if the


job you want with Brown-esque desire is potentially never to be yours


what do you do? He is, of course, an American citizen by birth. He was


born in New York public hospital, and so he is qualified to be


President of the United States. And you don't need an IQ over 16 to find


that the tiniest bit scary. Giles Dilnot reporting. Helen Lewis,


Janan Ganesh and Sam Coates are here. Is there a plan for Boris and


if so, what is it? I think the plan is for him to say what he thinks the


Tory activist base wants to hear just now. He knows that in 18 months


time they can disown it. I think he is wrong, the way the speech has


played has a limited number of people. He has cross-party appeal.


He has now reconfirmed to people that the Tories are the nasty party


and they have been pretending to be modernised. Is it not the truth that


he needs David Cameron to lose the 2015 election to become leader in


this decade? It is very interesting watching his fortunes wax and wane.


It always seems to happen in inverse proportion to how well David Cameron


is doing in front of his own party. There is no small element of


strategy about what we are doing here. The problem with Boris is that


he's popular with the country, but not with the party's MPs and its


hard-core supporters. This was an appeal to the grassroots this week.


He is not the only potential candidate. If we were in some kind


of circumstance where Boris was a runner to replace Mr Cameron, who


with the other front the? I think it will skip a generation. The recent


intake was ideological assertive. I do not buy the idea that it will be


Jeremy Hunt against Michael Gove. I then, that generation will be


tainted by being in government. It is interesting, what is he trying to


pull? He is ideological. He does not believe in many things, but he


believes in a few things quite deeply, and one is the idea of


competition, both in business and academic selection. He has never


been squeamish about expressing that. We do make mistakes sometimes,


assuming he is entirely political. Look at all the Northern voters who


will not vote for the Tories even though they are socially or economic


the Conservatives. I do not think he helps. Who in the Tories would


help? That is a tough question. To reason me has also been speaking to


the hard right. -- Theresa May. I have been out with him at night. It


is like dining with a film star. People are queueing up to speak to


him. Educational selection is one of the few areas that he can offer. He


has gone liberal on immigration, as are made of London would have to.


In the East Midlands, the MP with billions of pounds of our money and


it is all going abroad. It is the right thing to do and I think


everyone should be proud of it. If you were to cut it to zero, it is


not big enough to solve all the other problem is the UK says it has


got. And the politician who says it is time to stop the bickering. My


message to politicians is, grow up. Don't attack people personally, get


on with the job. Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and we're


expecting a very grown up debate from our two guests, Nigel Mills,


the Conservative MP for Amber Valley, and the extremely


uncontroversial John Mann, Labour's Bassetlaw MP. First, fears for our


emergency services 0 Bassetlaw MP. First, fears for our


emergency services were raised again in the Commons this week. This time


it was the Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service, which is planning to


reduce the number of stations from 31 to 20 and cut more than a hundred


fire fighting jobs. The debate follows the deaths of four people,


including two children, at a fire at North Wingfield in Derbyshire. It


was called by the Chesterfield MP, Labour's Toby Perkins, but


Derbyshire MPs from all sides expressed their concerns.


At the moment, a fire engine will be at a life risk incident within ten


minutes three quarters of the time and those deemed as the most


vulnerable in over 80% of the cases. These plans would see a drop


to 66%. Nigel Mills, what are your concerns?


I can understand why they want to review their service. They have got


budget pressures, but the measures in my area and talking about closing


stations into towns completely, that is going 0


stations into towns completely, that is going to cost them ?3 million


upfront and ?150,000 a year. And what are your fears for


Nottinghamshire, John? It is George Osborne's cuts, it is the wrong kind


of cuts. We should resist this. It is the wrong kind of cuts and George


Osborne should put the right money in. Brandon Lewis says the


Derbyshire Fire Service has increased its reserves. They may be


sensible decision to increase their savings so I think they have done


the right thing to date. I don't think you can run an organisation on


reserves. Brandon Lewis also said Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and


Leicestershire were getting a grant to bring in a joint response system


which could save ?8 million. So it is not all bad news. I am for


progress. I am not for cutting my Fire service or anyone else's. My


constituents expect a professional Fire service when they needed. We


are not prepared to accept cuts. The government needs to change its mind,


change its position and put the money in. George Osborne could do it


next week. What are Derbyshire MP is going to do about this? I hope the


fire authority will change their mind and look again at these


savings. I think they should wait. There is no need for them to rush


into some of these bad decisions. Could the Chancellor put more money


in? I think we are still spending somewhere around ?100 billion more


than the tax revenue brings in. There is no easy way 0


than the tax revenue brings in. There is no easy way to deal with


this. Well, he's the East Midlands MP with


international clout and certainly the only one who's seeing his budget


rising every year. Alan Duncan, the Rutland and Melton MP, is a minister


in the Department for 0 Rutland and Melton MP, is a minister


in the Department for International Development, which spent almost ?9


billion last year. He's also the proud owner of Noodle, the


parliamentary dog of the year, and he's given an exclusive insight into


his work ` Alan Duncan that is, not Noodle, 0


his work ` Alan Duncan that is, not Noodle, to our Political Editor,


John Hess. At his office in Whitehall, Alan


Duncan admits to having a personal Thunderbirds moment when


international rescue calls. As Minister for International


Development, he has to answer the real`life calls for humanitarian


help. I 0 real`life calls for humanitarian


help. I tease 0 real`life calls for humanitarian


help. I tease William Hague and say we are the foreign office with a


budget. Thunderbirds is part of our portfolio. We go where there are


disasters and I think we are one of the best organisations in the world


at getting people together to address those disasters. He was


updating MPs this week on the UK's response to the Philippines


disaster. It has gone out of the news but we have still got massive


teams in the Philippines. There's the best part of ?100 million going


into the Philippines, which will continue to go in over the months


ahead for the reconstruction of properties and the restoration of


livelihoods and the provision of food and control of disease. We've


now got a large vaccination programme. Some people think we


spend 10% on international development ` it's 1%. It's a big


amount of money but it's not an enormous faction of government


spending. Yes, it gives us enormous respect. We are the first wealthy


country to commit to spend 0.7% of our national income on the poorest


people in the world. We are preparing for the risk of an


earthquake in Nepal. We know that over 0


earthquake in Nepal. We know that over the next 0


earthquake in Nepal. We know that over the next few years there will


be cyclones in India and floods in Bangladesh and so you can prepare


things by getting the right sort of buildings built so that when there


is a flood they don't automatically get washed 0


is a flood they don't automatically get washed away and we have a whole


team of people and organisations who can leap into action at the press of


a button in order to address the urgent humanitarian need caused by a


disaster. When people knew I was coming 0


disaster. When people knew I was coming to interview you, they said,


"Ask Alan about Noodle". Ah, Noodle, my cockerpoo, the parliamentary dog


of the year. I'm very proud of her. When I go shopping 0


of the year. I'm very proud of her. When I go shopping on a Saturday,


the constituents don't look up at me any more, they look down and say,


"Hello, Noodle". I just carry the lead now.


Alan Duncan making a strong case for overseas aid but we have just been


talking about cuts to the fire service. Shouldn't strategy begin at


home? `` charity. Yes. It is right that we play a big role in dealing


with disasters like the Philippines but I can't justify spending


taxpayers money at a time like this. I would have held at that increase


until we deal with our own problems. But this is what Alan Duncan's job


involves. That is the promises we had in our manifesto but I think it


is the wrong thing at the wrong time. What do you think about the


budget going up? It is all about David Cameron and Alan Duncan trying


to reposition the Tory party as not being the nasty 0


to reposition the Tory party as not being the nasty party. But what is


happening? Most of the money in Nepal is going on road building in


the capital. We have doubled the expenditure on projects in each of


the countries we are in. There is no cost control, it is spend, spend,


spend. Money is being thrown away and in the next couple of years we


will see audit report saying, badly spent. The staff they are being told


to get spending because the government wants to show how


generous it is. What is the answer? At the moment we should be freezing


the budget. I agree. We should be focusing on things that really need


doing. What about soft power? Alan Duncan was talking about that and


that gives us some clout, doesn't it? That is the theory. We deliver


this through a lot of partner organisations. The people who see


the benefits of those projects don't even know it is the UK doing it. It


is right that we pay our share in disasters and in real problem spots


but the amount we are spending is too much. That's soft power means


the aid is value for money, doesn't it? Well spent aid is value for


money but the government has literally doubled the spending next


year. It is throwing money at any project. There is no cost control,


there is no priority within it and we are literally pouring money down


the drain. What do you think about overseas aid? Should we be cutting


back on that, like everything else, or do people worse off than


ourselves still deserve our help? We've been in Nottingham to find


out. We need to look after our own before


we start doing that. There are an awful lot of people in a lot worse


condition than we are so it is something that needs to be spent.


But monitored very carefully to make sure it goes to the right people. If


we have got the money to be able to do it, it is good to be able to give


it to charity. Some people can't even afford to put the heating on. I


have just lost a friend through a heart attack and his postmortem has


been put back because of the amount of people who have died since the


cold setting. When you see things like India plug`in rockets in space


and we are not looking after our own and giving them money, plus the fact


that over the years a lot of the funding we have pudding polluted,


stolen and never gets to the right people. My goodness me, it can never


be too much, can it? But I suppose, like everybody, if you are human,


you think we are in a mess here as well.


Many people backing the concept of international aid but when chap very


concerned about winter deaths in this country. It is a problem


everywhere. It is a problem in Bassetlaw. That is why energy bills


are so 0 Bassetlaw. That is why energy bills


are so critical. There are people not switching on the energy because


they can't afford to. People are dying and unnecessarily. That is


what gets to people, isn't it? We are giving money abroad. We give


more money than America when people are very concerned about putting


their own heating on. I think that is why we should be using some of


that 0 is why we should be using some of


that money to help our own people. I hope the Chancellor will announce


next week some reduction to green taxes and we should bring some of


the bills down. What should he be doing right now in 0


the bills down. What should he be doing right now in his Autumn


statement? That is the one thing that has captured the public mood,


the energy bills, and one thing we can do is reversed taxes so that we


are not forcing bills on people. We can say we will reduce that ?130


that is on people's bills that we have chosen to put there. What would


you say, John? They should be cutting the bills. People can't


afford these bills. I would renationalise the companies if it


was up to me but if we can't do that, at least we should be forcing


them to reduce the bills. They are making ridiculous amounts of profit


at our expense and the most Bernabeu in society, it is hitting them the


hardest and people are dying because of it. `` and rubble in society.


Clearly the market has not worked as it should and that is something we


have got to get right. Well, so far it's all been very


civilised here, but it's not always like that when politicians debate.


One local councillor has said we need to see more co`operation


between the parties. The former mayor of 0


between the parties. The former mayor of Derby, Lisa Higginbottom,


has resigned from the Labour group to stand as an independent. She says


she's fed up with the bickering and fighting which she says gets in the


way of good decision making and lets the public down.


I am Lisa Higginbottom and I am a councillor in the city of Derby and


I am fed up of politicians bickering. We spend far 0


I am fed up of politicians bickering. We spend far too much


time in the council chamber allegedly debating when it is not


actually debate. We are not debating policy, people are personally


attacking each other and it is not good enough any more. The problem it


causes is that people do not debate issues, ideas do not come to the


table, and good ideas are turned down just because somebody is from a


different party. We need to get the job done 0


different party. We need to get the job done properly now. My views on


how politicians behave was changed when I had the privilege of serving


the city last year. You do get a different perspective. I was able to


work with people from all parties to get results. That is why I made the


decision to remove myself from a political party because I want to


get results and I want to work with everybody. I believe people are fed


up 0 0 everybody. I believe people are fed


up of political parties and that they want people who are going to


work for them and they don't want people just to say, I voted in a


certain manner because I was told to.


If the public says it is no longer acceptable to turn on the telly and


see grown`ups are doing, and the public said they are not accepting


that any more, you need to be on the television discussing things. I have


seen some sixth formers debate better than politicians. We need to


stop making excuses for politics and say it is not acceptable any more.


It is not acceptable in business so it is not acceptable in the chamber


to make personal attacks. My message to politicians is to grow up, take


part in debate, don't attack people personally, get on with the job,


conduct yourself in a businesslike fashion, the same as you would it be


expected to do in any other world of work.


Lisa Higginbottom, the former mayor of Derby, on why she's given up on


political parties. But joining us in the studio, someone who thinks


perhaps the answer is more parties, or at least his party. Mike Scott is


from Left Unity, a new party launched this week aiming to offer


voters a more left wing alternative to the current lot. Surely Lisa has


got a point. The last thing we need is more parties. What we need is


parties that actually do what people want. That is the problem. All the


existing parties essentially represent themselves, they don't


represent, certainly in terms of the Labour Party, it is not represent


the people it was set up to represent. Why do we need your


party? We intend 0 represent. Why do we need your


party? We intend to be a bottom up party so we will not be saying to


people, these are our policies, take it or leave it. We will be saying,


what do you think we should do? We will 0


what do you think we should do? We will be taking our cues from that.


So this is the Labour Party's fault because you do not represent the


people any more. I think it is an advert for the new Monty Python. The


people's Revolutionary party. We have had these parties before. They


get about ten votes and that is democracy and fair enough. But the


real issues are, who should be running the country, what should the


policies be to improve the country, and it is going to be Nigel's party


against my party. You must be loving this, having these two sides


squaring up like this? I think John is right that it is democracy and if


people want to join a new party, that is up to them. I don't


recognise this they would that parties are not listening to


constituents. That is why I am trying to amend the Immigration


Bill. I think we do try and listen but the more candidates the merrier.


What do you stand for? What are your policies? The party was formed


following the film produced last year by Ken Loach about the welfare


state and how it was formed. Not Monty Python then? Not at all. There


have been tiny groups before which are indistinct Schauble from each


other but we're not going to be like that. 110 odd years ago the Labour


Party was formed by trade unions and other organisations people said,


they will never get anywhere. But by 1924, they were the government. We


don't aim to be one of these small parties fiddling around at the


edges. We aim to be a mass party aiming to replace the Labour Party.


And look at the rise of UKIP for example. The problem is people


abstaining. I am attempting to enthuse people to participate and


vote. Last night I had a big rhubarb young people, 250, at 0


vote. Last night I had a big rhubarb young people, 250, at a meeting `` a


big group. I am very confident that they will vote. UKIP have had an


impact on your party as well, Nigel. They have become a protest party on


some issues. What we need is politicians of all parties to be


talking about the issues that are really concerning people and the


lady you showed in the video, she is right. She wants to see is talking


about the big issues. Has that surprised you as a new MP, all the


bickering? If people watch PMQs, they might think that is how we


behave the rest of the time but most of the debates are instructive. You


should watch me and Nigel in a committee. He says something


sensible, I get up and backing, he is very embarrassed, and I call on


his side to support me in backing him. It is not like that normally.


The truth is, as an evil Tory, I want to get rid of him at the next


election. But he is a decent human being, he has some good ideas, and I


back them. Does the barracking and the bickering get the job done? It


is absolutely awful. That is Monty Python. That is what we want to


avoid. That is what most people think politics about and I think it


is important that politics is reinvented so it actually does what


people want. If you ask people what they want, they will say none of


them will do what they want. And they are absolutely right. More than


half the people who could vote in any election don't do so, either


because they abstain or they are not even on the electoral register in


the first place. Will you be fielding candidates? Yes, we will.


We are looking to do something new in British politics that has not


been done since the foundation of the Labour Party. That worked out


all right to begin with. Thank you very much indeed. Time now for a


round`up of the other political stories this week.


A new report says East Midlands cities are taking a big hit in the


cuts than wealthier areas in the south. The group that represents


municipal councils says local authorities have lost ?160 more per


head in funding compared with London. Nottingham City Council says


it proves its claim that councils here are being unfairly hit. It


could be back to the future for policing in Nottinghamshire. The


police and crime commission wants volunteers to be Parish Dunstable


's, a role not seen since the 1830s. The change of mind on the


cigarette packaging has been welcomed by the East Midlands Labour


MEP Glenys Wilmot. The government is looking out into losing plain


packaging after it had previously been ruled out. Meanwhile, this


sumptuous picture of the sun rising in Derbyshire was the winner in a


contest organised by the Conservative MEP. The winner gets a


trip to Brussels. And there is no truth in the rumour that the second


prize was two trips to Brussels. That's the Sunday Politics in the


East Midlands. Thanks to Nigel Mills and John Mann. Next week, Anna


Soubry and Chris Leslie will be here. Now back to Andrew Neil.


picked out. People thought he was touching on eugenics and things like


that. That is all we have time for. Thank you. What rabbit has George


Osborne got up his sleeve? And what's David Cameron up to in China?


All questions for The Week Ahead. To help the panel led, we are joined by


Kwasi Kwarteng, Tory MP. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Why has the


government been unable to move the agenda and to the broad economic


recovery, and allowed the agenda to stay on Labour's ground of energy


prices and living standards? Energy has been a big issue over the last


few months but the autumn state and will be a wonderful opportunity to


readdress where we are fighting the ground, the good economic news that


we delivered. If you look at where Labour were earlier this year,


people were saying they would they 5 million people unemployed. They were


saying that there should be a plan B. He is not in the Labour Party?


Elements of the left were suggesting it. Peter Hain told me it would be


up to 3 million people. Danny Blanchflower said it would be 5


million people. So we have got to get the economy back to the centre


of the debate? Yes, the game we were playing was about the economy. That


was the central fighting ground of the political debate. We were


winning that battle. Labour have cleverly shifted it onto the cost of


living. It is essential that the government, that George, talks about


the economy. That has been its great success. I do not think this has


been a week of admitting that Labour was right, plain cigarettes


packaging, other issues. If you look at the big picture, where we are


with the economy, we have the fastest growing economy in the G-7.


Despite Labour's predictions, none of this has happened, none of the


triple dip has happened. The British economy is on a good fitting. That


is a good story for the government to bat on. You say that people have


stopped talking about the economic recovery, but it is worse than that,


people have stopped talking about the deficit? As long as people were


talking about the deficit, the Tories were trusted. But people have


forgotten about it. This country still spends ?100 billion more than


it raises. Yes, I am of the view that the deficit, the national


debt, is the biggest question facing this generation of politicians. You


are right to suggest that the Conservative Party was strong on


this. That head, not deficit, is not going to come down in the


foreseeable future? It is rising. This is a test that George Osborne


is not going to pass. We know what is coming in the Autumn Statement,


it is lots of giveaways, paying for free school meals, paying for fuel


duty subsidies. We are still talking about the cost of living, not


changing it actively wider economy. There might be extra money for


growth but it is not clear what will happen to that. If it is time for


giveaways, let's speak about Labour. I have never been a fan of


giveaways. Fiscal prudence is what our watchword should be. Look at the


headlines. Each time, the deficit figures, the debt figures, were


always worse than predicted. This year it will be significantly


better. I think that is significant. Any kind of recovery is probably


better than no recovery at all. When you look at this recovery, it is


basically a consumer spending boom. Consumer spending is up, business


investment is way down compared with 2008, and exports, despite a 20


devaluation, our flat. Let's get one thing straight, it is a recovery.


Any recovery is better than no recovery. Now we can have a debate


about, technical debate about the elements of the recovery. It is not


technical, it is a fact. There is evidence that there is optimism in


terms of what are thinking... Optimism? If I am optimistic about


the economy, I am more likely to spend money and invest in business.


So far you have not managed that? Exports have not done well either?


Exports are not a big section of the British economy. But of course, they


are important. But given where we were at the end of last year, no


economist was saying that we would be in this robust position today.


That is true, in terms of the overall recovery. Now the PM loves


to "bang the drum abroad for British business" and he's off to China this


evening with a plane-load of British business leaders. And it's not the


first time. Take a look at this Well, you might not think exports


unimportant, but clearly the Prime Minister and the Chancellor do. They


are important, but they are not what is driving the growth at the moment.


We used to talk about the need for export led recovery is, that is why


the Prime Minister is going to China. Absolutely, and he's doing


the right thing. Do we have any evidence that these tend of trips


produce business? The main example so far is the right to trade the


Chinese currency offshore. London has a kind of global primacy. London


will be the offshore centre. Is that a good thing? I have no problem at


all with this sort of policy. I do not think that Britain has been


doing this enough compared with France and Germany in recent years.


I am optimistic in the long term about this dish -- about British


exports to China. China need machine tools and manufacturing products. In


20 years time, China will be buying professional groups, educational


services, the things we excel at. All we need to do is consolidate our


strengths, stand still and we will move forward. The worst thing we can


do is reengineer the economy towards those services and away from


something else. We have a lot of ground to make up, Helen? At one


stage, it is no longer true, but at one stage you could say that we


exported more to Ireland, a country of 4 million people, than we did to


Russia, China, India, Brazil, all combined. I believe we form 1% of


Chinese imports now. The problem is what you have to give up in exchange


for that. It is a big problem for David Cameron's credibility that he


has had to row back on his meeting with the Dalai llama. This trip we


have been in the deep freeze with China for a couple of years. This


trip has come at a high cost. We have had to open up the City of


London to Chinese banks without much scrutiny, we have had to move the


date of the Autumn Statement, and there is no mention of human rights.


It is awkward to deal with that all in the name of getting up to where


we were a few years ago. A month after strong anchor -- one month


after Sri Lanka, where he apologised three human rights abuses, this is


difficult to take. Do we have any idea what the Prime Minister hopes


to do in China this time? I am not sure there is anything specific but


when you go to these countries, certainly in the Middle East China,


they complain, why has the Prime Minister not come to see us? That is


very important. High-level delegations from other countries go


to these places because the addict -- because they are important export


markets. You might look at the Prime Minister playing cricket over there,


and wonder, what is that for? I do not mind the Prime Minister Rajoy


cricket. This is a high visibility mission, chose that politicians in


Britain care. You are part of the free enterprise group. It had all


sorts of things on it like tax cuts for those on middle incomes or above


the 40% bracket, tax cuts worth 16 billion. You will get none of that


on Thursday, we are agreed? No. But he does have two budgets between now


and the election and if the fiscal position is using a little bit, he


may have more leeway than it looked like a couple of months ago. Yes,


from a free enter prise point of view, we have looked at the tax cuts


that should be looked at. The 4 p rate comes in at quite a low level


for people who, in the south-east, do not feel particularly wealthy.


They are spending a lot of money on commuting, energy bills. The


Chancellor has been very open about championing this. He says that the


40p rate will kick in at a slightly higher rate. Labour had a bad summer


and the opinion polls seem to be narrowing. Then they had a good


hearty conference season. The best. Has the Labour lead solidified or


increased the little, maybe up to eight points? If it is a good Autumn


Statement, or the Tories start to narrow that lead by the end of the


year? If they go into 2014 trailing by single digits, they cannot


complain too much. That gives them 18 months to chip away at Labour's


lead. But do they do that chipping away by eight bidding Labour or do


they let time take its course and let the economic recovery continue,


maybe business investment joins consumer spending as a source of


that recovery, and a year from now, household disposable income begins


to rise? That is a better hope than engaging in a bidding war. Be


assured, they will be highly political budgets. That's all for


today. The Daily Politics is on BBC Two at midday all this week, except


on Thursday when we'll start at 10:45 to bring you live coverage and


analysis of the Chancellor's Autumn Statement in a Daily Politics


special for BBC Two and the BBC News Channel. Remember if it's Sunday,


it's the Sunday Politics.


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron.

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