02/02/2014 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Paul Kenny, Malcolm Bruce, James Wharton and Natalie Bennett.

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. The unions helped


him beat his brother to the top. Now Ed Miliband wants to change Labour's


relationship with them. Who will come out on top? We will be asking


one union baron what he thinks. Cracks in the coalition after


Education Secretary Michael Gove sacks the chairwoman of Ofsted. His


Lib Dem deputy is said to be hopping mad. We will be talking to the new


deputy leader of the Lib Dems, Malcolm Bruce.


Caught a bout of the EU blues? David Cameron has been drowning his


sorrows with the President of France. Who better? We will be


asking if the EU referendum bill is dead in the water.


And bad weather getting you down? Getting from A to B a bit of a


nightmare? Fear not! The leader of the Greens will be here with her


traffic and travel report. Dutch reassurance people want?


Yes, all that and more in today s action-packed Sunday Politics. And


blowing more hot air than I have had hot dinners, Helen Lewis, Nick Watt


and Iain Martin. After the row about candidate


selection in Falkirk, Ed Miliband said he wanted to reshape the


relationship between Labour and the unions. The biggest changes involve


union membership of the party, which in turn will affect future Labour


leadership elections. Some claim this is Ed's Clause 4 moment. But


the unions will continue to be powerful at conference and on the


party's ruling committees, and they will still be able to bankroll the


election campaign. Here is Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman,


speaking earlier. What he is proposing for the March the 1st


conference is a huge change in financing, in the election of the


leader, in what goes on at local level. In due course, it might have


implications for the NEC elections and conference. But this is already


a big issue to take forward. Joining me now is Paul Kenny,


general secretary of the GMB union and chair of the Trade Union and


Labour Party Liaison Organisation. Is this Ed Miliband's Clause 4


moment? I don't know about that It is certainly a bold move,


particularly to have an electoral college, which as you said was the


system which elected him in the first place. Everybody admits that


has needed reforming for some time. Moving to a one member, one vote


situation seems to me to be sensible. I know some people are


upset, mostly MPs, who will lose their golden share. But it is


nonsense that one MP should have the same vote as 1000 party members So


the MPs have lost out. Have the unions lost out? Well, the system is


currently that union members get a ballot paper, but they have to


declare that they are a Labour supporter and they have to sign to


that effect in order to participate. Then their vote is counted. At the


last election, about 200,000 trade union members gave that indication,


and they participated in that way. That will not change. The way it is


organised will be different. The big change in the electoral college is


that the logical weight given to MPs will disappear. I wonder if you have


really lost anything. At the moment, there are about 3 million people


automatically affiliated from the unions to the Labour Party. If only


10% of them opt in, that will still mean twice as many union individual


members, 300,000, versus about 180,000 Labour Party members. So


union members and maybe even the unions will have as big an influence


on the leadership elections as you do now, maybe bigger? Well, they are


individual votes. Different unions support different candidates. It is


lost in the media myth of barons and block votes, but there is an


individual vote. Different unions recommend different candidates, and


union members vote accordingly. Ed Miliband won more individual votes


by a country mile than David, but it got messed up in the process of this


electoral college. As I have understood the proposals so far


they are not a done deal. There is a lot of discussion. But it seems


there are three hurdles. Firstly, union members themselves will have


to agree whether they want to affiliate to the Labour Party. If


they don't, the rest of it falls. If they decide they do my they will ask


union members to support that an individual basis the next five


years, which will have financial implications. Then there will be a


third position, which is that people who may want to agree with the


union's position and affiliate with the Labour Party may want to go


further and become active supporters of the Labour Party, participating


in leadership elections. They will have to give their sanction to that


at a third stage. So the implications in terms of


constituency parties and so on are a lot less than the idea that the 3


million who are currently affiliated will change. At the moment, the


unions, because of the automatic affiliation, hand over a affiliation


fees of about ?8 million a year to Labour. You will now get to keep


that money, because the individuals will have to put up the money


themselves. You can keep that money and determine if you give it to


Labour to fight the election campaign, correct? Incorrect.


Firstly, the affiliation fees are paid from what is called the


political fund, which most unions have to set up in order to


participate. The union will continue to pay the ?3 a affiliation fee for


those members who want the union to be affiliated. But you get to keep a


lot more money. In reality, we will see a transitional period of a few


years. Less people will probably say yes, depending on how popular Labour


are, about whether they want the union to give money to the Labour


Party. The GMB has already done this. By the way, don't call me


kneel. It is Andrew or Mr Neil. The unions will have a bigger chunk of


money because the unions will not be handing over all of the money at one


time. But you could still play a major part in funding the Labour


election campaign. We'll how much you give the dependent on what the


Labour Party puts in its manifesto? Of course it will. It will have to


justify our support to Labour for the members who provide money to the


political fund. If we did not argue for the cert is social justice


campaigns and laws we want to see, we would be failing in our job. I


don't intend to hide that from anybody. The unions are there to


fight for their members. That is our job. So you will still be a major


part of the bankroll of the Labour campaign. You will still have 5 % of


the votes at a Labour conference, and you will still have a major part


in the Labour National executive committee and the policy committee.


It is right to say the unions are still at the heart of Labour, are


they not? Well, if you sick to break the affiliated link between trade


unions and the Labour Party, the whole thing collapses. That is what


anchors the Labour Party as far as we are concerned. Many of our


members think that when they want to look for ferrochrome and rights


social justice, housing and the health service, Labour are better it


quipped to deliver that for working people than the current parties


That is why we have traditionally supported them. But not at all of


our members support Labour, which is why we don't affiliate all of them


to Labour. There are over 30 million people in the British labour force


now. Union membership is only 6 5 million out of that 30. A 6.5% of


that do not vote Labour, they vote Tory or liberal or nationalist in


Scotland. So you are a relatively small pressure group. Why should


Labour be in thrall to you? We are the biggest voluntary organisation


in this country. Sorry about that, but that is the fact. People make


conscious choices. My own union the GMB, has been growing for eight


years. So this dying picture you are trying to paint... In terms of


accounting for the fact that some do not support Labour, that is why


unions do not affiliate all of their members to the Labour Party. We have


adjusted to that. If you don't like being called Neil, I don't like


being called a barren either. What about Mr Baron? I don't like that


either. We are representatives of working organisations. It may be


inconvenient for politicians to have to listen to working people, but we


will continue to press. Lord Baron, thank you very much.


So, is this a Clause 4 moment for Ed Miliband? Not really, but to his


credit, he is going ahead with this. There was a point at which it looked


as though Ed Miliband would back away from reform. To his credit he


is trying to create a mass membership party again. But when it


comes to the crucial business of funding a general election campaign,


these reforms will make Labour more reliant on large donations from


trade unions. They could have more power now, because they get to hold


back this money, whereas beforehand, they had to hand it over


automatically. As Mr Kenny just said, how much they handover will be


dependent on good behaviour. Yes, but these are pragmatic reforms The


fact that Ed Miliband has a lot of capital in not being seen as a


Blairite has helped him get these through . The response has been


muted, which suggests good party management on his behalf. That may


be because they will still have 50% of the votes at a party conference.


Mr Kenny was clear that that could be deal-breaker if they tried to


take that away. They have more places at the NEC than anyone else,


and party members, if only 10% of them signed up, they will outweigh


individual members in the constituencies. It was interesting,


how relaxed Paul Kenny was. He was taking thousands of pounds from the


Labour Party a few months ago because he was annoyed about these


reforms, and now he is relaxed because they still have 50% of the


vote at Labour Party conference and Labour Party Parliamentary


candidates are still selected in the same way. But there is a simple


point here. Yes, you can pick apart what Ed Miliband said and said the


unions have too much influence, but the only way he could have gone all


the way was to break the link with the trade unions, and he was not


going to do that. It was not the Labour Party that founded the


unions, it was the unions that founded the Labour Party. Even Tony


Blair did not break the link. In that context, Ed Miliband has gone


incredibly far. For the last 50 years, this opting into the union,


you have to turn to page 50 of your union terms and conditions to say,


do you want to opt out of the political levy 's that is going to


go, which will mean that when the next Labour leader is elected from


the union votes, they will get their ballot from the Labour Party and you


will append the fast where ballots went out from Unison macro and GMB


with a picture of Ed Miliband on the front of the ballot paper saying,


vote for aid. They were Stasi and Saddam Hussein ways of trade union


members electing the Labour leader, which will go. I am sorry his


Lordship is not still here to answer that question.


HMS Coalition is not a happy ship. The lovey-dovey days in the rose


garden are long gone. It is not a loveless marriage, perhaps even an


open one. The latest split is over the decision by Education Secretary


Michael Gove to replace Labour peer Sally Morgan as head of the schools


inspectorate, Ofsted. Mr Gove's deputy, Lib Dem David Laws, is said


to be spitting blood about her removal, although only through


surrogates. He has not said a word on the record. Here was the


Education Secretary a little earlier. If there is another


opportunity for Sally to serve in a different role at a different time,


then I would be delighted to support her in the role which she thinks it


is appropriate to do. There is nothing wrong with Sally but there


is a principle across government that there should be no automatic


reappointment, and that after three or four years, it is appropriate to


bring in a fresh pair of eyes. That is good corporate practice in order


to ensure that you refresh boards, bring a new perspective, and have


tough questions asked. We're joined now by the newly elected deputy


leader of the Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce. He's in Aberdeen


Welcome to the Sunday Politics. David Laws is said to be furious


with Michael Gove, is he? I think he is because Sally Morgan has been


doing a good job and that has been generally agreed across the whole


spectrum. I think Ofsted is an impartial body that inspects all


schools and it shouldn't be subject to some kind of political direction.


That is the concern, that she is being removed when she was doing a


good job and most people thought she should be reappointed. It is


strongly rumoured her successor will be a high-ranking Tory backer. Why


hasn't David Laws said this himself, have you spoken to him? I have, and


I know he is not very pleased about it but he will want to speak to


Michael Gove himself when he gets to see him on Monday. The question you


have to take on board is that David Laws is the schools minister,


effectively the one who has engagement with Ofsted, and he is


seeing it being undermined by the Secretary of State. There is a


question that if Michael Gove is so pleased with Sally Morgan why is he


replacing her, and who will he be replacing her with, and on what


basis? Maybe parliament should have a confirmation hearing so that we


can be assured that whoever is put in charge is there because they are


good at it. Why has he licensed his surrogates to save this rather than


saying it himself? He didn't, he knew I was on the programme this


morning so I am giving you the answers as best I can. David is


perfectly capable of speaking for himself. He hasn't so far. You asked


me to come on this programme and David was anxious for me to know he


wasn't happy about it, and I can certainly tell you that. I can also


give you my own opinion which is that Ofsted is not the Department


for Education, it is an independent body. The question you have to ask


is will Michael Gove but someone in charge of Ofsted who will have a


political agenda? If so, that is not what Ofsted should be used for.


Let's move on to your own position. You are 69, white male,


middle-class, what is your answer to the party with diversity problems? I


don't think that is what they voted on. They felt I had a wealth of


experience that would be vulnerable to the party from the period now


until the election, not least because the central issues that will


concern voters are the economy, and I have a track record of promoting


the party's economic policy over many years. But you are not even


standing at the next election. No, but we need to get to the next


election and my colleagues have confidence that I can do a useful


job for the party in that situation. We have developed and delivered


policies that I have helped to shape and I want to persuade people to


understand the Liberal Democrats have made a fundamental difference


to the economic recovery. But you know what has been happening with


the Liberal Democrats and their problems with women. Wasn't this a


chance to select a woman in a major part? You only have seven female MPs


out of 57, not a single Lib Dem woman in the Parliament. Again, why


you rather than making a break and bringing someone in onto major


positions? My colleagues have concluded that the role I am best


qualified to do it, that is why they voted for me. We do only have seven


women and that is an issue we need to address. Two of those women are


ministers, one is a government whip. We seem to have lost our line to


Aberdeen, just as Malcolm Bruce was in full flight defending his


position. I'm not sure if we can get the line back, just bear with me for


a few seconds to see if we can get it. It looks as if we have lost


Malcolm Bruce, I do apologise to Malcolm Bruce and the viewers that


we were not able to continue that interview.


Fierce winds, torrential rain and a tidal surge have brought more misery


to thousands. Official records show that southern England has seen the


wettest January since records began in 1767. I remember it well. The


Somerset Levels have been hit by weeks of flooding, with little


respite from relentless rain. And, the residents of one village on the


Levels, Muchelney, has been cut off for almost a month. We sent our Adam


out with his wellies and a properly filled out risk assessment form The


very wet road to Muchelney. This village of about 100 residents has


been cut off for about four weeks, and like the weather vane, it feels


a little bit spooky. It came up to here and your front door was there.


Anita is just relieved the water stopped here, practically on her


doorstep. Now it is the practicalities that are the problem.


Driving around for food is quite a hassle. You are foraging. It's not


as bad as that but we do have a few bits in the vegetable garden still,


and we had some nice apples until the rats ate them but we are not


doing too badly on that score. It sounds like the medieval! That's


what it feels like. Talking of retro, who knew Somerset still had a


Coleman, this is Brian's first delivery since Christmas. Everything


has gone old-fashioned. We are now talking to neighbours we might never


have seen before or spoken to so we are getting to know more people in


the village. She's right, there has been an outbreak of Dunkirk spirit,


quite literally. The council and the Fire Brigade have put on this boat


service to get people to work and school. The church has become an


unofficial flood HQ. This is where people pick up their mail, and this


is where the people who run the boat stopped for their tea breaks. It all


seems quite jolly, if a bit boring, but it is no fun for the homes and


businesses that have been inundated, or for the farmers whose land is


underwater, an area the size of Bristol, or for the villages which


are less isolated but where the flooding is worse. People like the


parish chairman are starting to get angry with how the Government has


responded. It was all a bit late. We knew what was going to happen with


the amount of rain on the fields and the Government was so slow to


react. The county council got the boat going quickly but it was


another four weeks nearly before the button was pressed for the major


incident. Right on cue, the cavalry arrived in the shape of emergency


crews from other parts of the UK. The rumour is that they will bring


in a hovercraft but the bad news is that the weather is becoming more


grim this weekend. There has been a surge in bookings at the campsite


where people have seen the Somerset Levels on holiday and would like to


come on holiday, if it ever stops raining. I'm delighted to say we


have got the line back to Aberdeen, somebody has put a shilling in the


meter. We can go back to Malcolm Bruce. We were talking about the Lib


Dem women and your election, I suppose the point some people are


making is that your party has as many knights in Parliament as it has


women and you are one of them. The good news is that for the five MPs


who are standing down, who have had candidates elected in their


constituencies so far, all five candidates that have been selected


are women. We need to fight hard to get behind those women and get them


elected so that we have a much better balanced parliament in the


future, but given that we have few women, you really have to pick


people appropriate for the job and we have appointed the women as I


have said but we need our image to be balanced. How many women


candidates will there be come the next election? At the moment, 1 ,


five more than we have now, and we haven't finished selection. Where


there are men sitting and standing again, that is not likely to change,


but where they are standing down we are overwhelmingly choosing women,


and in my view good and very able women. What I would want to say to


people is that if you want to see the Lib Dems have more women, go to


those seats and help us hold them. We are told that only 20% of the 57


seats have female candidates and in the unlikely event that you were


able to hold onto them all, it still wouldn't be a sea change to have


20%. The point is you have to build them up. We are supporting female


candidates. These are really good candidates who will make first-class


MPs and I certainly believe you will gradually see the Liberal Democrats


taking them on. We don't have 3 0 seats that we currently hold like


other parties, but what I can tell you is that increasing --


increasingly we will have female candidates. One newspaper has said


that you will deal with the Chris Rennard fallout quickly and


privately, what does that mean? It means I will not be telling you


because these things are not helped by comments on the airwaves. I hope


it will be possible to have a resolution without people going to


court but I don't think it helps anybody for me to comment on any


aspect of how this will be done and I'm not prepared to do so. If you


are not in full possession of the facts, why did you say you will deal


with this privately? I have come into this halfway through, I don't


have full possession of the facts, I doubt you do, and we have a process


that needs to be followed through. Any comments in public do not help.


Isn't it hypocrisy of a high order to hear from a party that is


constantly calling for transparency in other institutions but when it


comes to your own, you say, I am not going to talk about it. There are


all sorts of disputes that happen in the world and often people don't


talk about them because talking about them aggravates the


situation. I believe you have to deal with them privately and I don't


think trial by media in this context is helpful and I don't believe that


those who choose to make those comments are making it easier to


solve them. There are problems in other walks of life and the Liberal


Democrats are not the only ones with these problems. We are trying to


change that culture and I think we will do it effectively in our own


way. We have a pastoral care officer now and I think that is the right


way to do it. Thank you for that. Let's now go back to the story of


the flooding in Somerset. We are joined by the leader of the Green


party, Natalie Bennett in Millbank. Natalie Bennett, don't the Green


party bears some responsibility for these floods? You have sided with


the Environment Agency in the decision not to dredge rivers and


that is one of the reason why these places have been flooded. Firstly I


want to give my sympathy to everyone dealing with these floods. The


homeowners, the farmers seeing sodden fields for weeks and weeks.


We get that, we all have huge sympathy, particularly because so


little seems to be done to help them. What is the answer to my


question? I think there is strong evidence that dredging is not the


answer. If you think about the flow of the river, where the pinch points


are is things like bridges, weirs and towns. If you dredge the river


in between those barriers, you just make the water faster to those


points. The experts are saying that dredging is not the answer, it may


be in particular cases, but you have to look at each river system on its


own merits and very often the best way of dealing with this is working


out ways to slow the watered down and make sure that people don't


suffer unduly while you are doing that. The west of England


agricultural Society, which I would venture knows more about the


Somerset Levels than either of us, has said that without dredging, this


was a disaster waiting to happen. The local drainage boards have been


calling for years for dredging to be resumed. The National Farmers' Union


has called for it, and the chairman of the West Sussex flood defences


has called for more drainage, and he is a drainage engineer by


profession. So I don't know where your experts are, but the experts on


the ground am not the urban ones in London, seem to think this has not


been caused, but made worse by the failure of the Environment Agency to


continue to dredge. If you look at the example of the planning and


climate change coalition, which is led by the town and country planning


Association, who you would not describe as a group of radical


greens, these people have said we have to look at how we deal with


flooding in the future. But not in Somerset. These are the people


currently being flooded, not somebody sitting in a quango office


in London. They have asked for this to happen and it hasn't, and they


are now flooded in definitely. We have to look at what is happening on


a case-by-case basis. If you look at Germany, there are many cases there


were, to deal with flooding, many farmers are paid to hold water on


their land. Maybe we need to introduce those systems, because we


have to protect farmland, but we also have to protect urban areas for


safety. We saw a horrible flood in Wales were lines were endangered --


where lives were endangered. That is the priority, to protect lives,


property and farmland. Lives are endangered at the moment,


particularly as this stagnant water turns toxic. And yet we are in a


situation, again encouraged by the Greens and the lobbying Environment


Agency, it says it does not want to dredge because dredging is


expensive, yet it spends millions on a bird sanctuary. That is getting


everything totally wrong. The government is getting everything one


by cutting on flood defences. It has not cut on a bird sanctuaries. I


don't know the details of that. But looking at the broader issue, we


have to prepare for climate change. The government has slashed funding


to the Environment Agency and has cut back on the number of staff


available to deal with it and has removed the requirement on local


councils to plan for climate change. These are all gambling the future of


our lives and property and the future of our environment. Hasn't


the high watermark of greenery now gone well past? You don't come out


of the Somerset Levels with any great reputation. The UK government


is now going to start fracking as quickly as it can. Brussels is


loosening the CO2 obligations for 2030. The President of America is


about to give the go-ahead to the keystone pipeline, a totemic issue


for American greens, and your party is in a state of civil war in


Brighton. It is over, isn't it? Absolutely not. We are seeing large


amounts of extreme weather around the world. Any one event is whether,


but we are seeing a lot of it and people are recognising that climate


change is happening. If we are going to quote international experts, I


can quote to you Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, not known as a


radical green, and he said after the IPCC report came out that the heat


is on and we must act. If you go to Christine Lagarde, head of the


International Monetary Fund, again not a radical green, she was asked


what kept her awake at night, and she said, we are not doing enough


about climate change. So actually, people around the world are looking


at what is happening around them are both people on the ground and people


in high positions are saying we have to act on climate change. And in the


case of Britain, that should absolutely not mean fracking. Sorry


to interrupt, but I have evidence that you are planning a little


career change. Don't go away. This is what happens when you let Nigel


Farage present the weather. One thing leads to another and low and


behold, the Sunday Politics now has a new traffic and travel reporter.


Let's go back to Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett. Thanks, Andrew. It


is easy out that, so let's start with our airports. I am pleased to


say that Heathrow's third runway, Boris Island and all short-haul


flights are, just like our arguments, well grounded. We suggest


making or alternative arrangements, like a re-nationalised rail


network, although it would be a glaring omission if we did not admit


that that plan is currently being delayed by Labour Party foot


dragging. Speaking of trains, we are hearing that high-speed two may well


be derailing, or at least getting bogged down in political fog. One


viewer, Ed Balls, has texted in to say he is completely lost. Thanks


for the update, Ed. You are not alone among political commuters.


Meanwhile, dumped UKIP manifestoes are causing major tailbacks across


the South, apparently stretching all the way to Brussels. This does make


driving road tricky, but UKIP's MEPs can, of course, just hop on their


gravy train. The tree had a roundabout is blocked after reports


of a political earthquake. It seems that a green unwound his beard to


block a dodgy gas extractor. A motorist who turned out to be the


environment minister object into the delay and was told to frack off as


furious badgers demanded that he stopped moving the goalposts.


Unregulated traffic in the city of London continues unchecked.


Pedestrians should try to block bankers with sacks of loot rushing


for the payments. But do beware the Lib Dem Exodus that is clogging up


the motorways. Although they are in a jam, or is it a fudge, we are


happy to make way for them, as, like all refugees, we say they are


welcome here in muesli green. That is the travel. Back to you, Andrew.


Natalie, I think you make my point. You are now preparing a new career


in traffic and travel. Well, I do believe in lifelong education and


that was an example of it. We know you have had a tough time today to


get to our studio. Thank you for the effort.


You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20


minutes, we will have The Eastern European is planning to


vote for British parties in the coming elections. I need to know who


you are, some more information but you can do for us.


Once they fought and died for the right to vote, so how can we get


young people involved in politics today?


Here, three men were hanged for their part in the Nottingham riots


and their campaign to extend the right to vote.


My guests today, two people very interested in politics, the


Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire and Labour's MP for


Leicester South. Let's get your views on the state of the economy


and what that means in the East Midlands, especially after the


latest report that says that average incomes are still 6% load their


peak. We have all of this good news but 0


peak. We have all of this good news but this is still a problem. `` 6%


below their peak. Our economy is growing faster than any comparator


country in the world. Unemployment is falling, it fell by 30% in my


constituency last year. There is going to be a while before companies


making profits feeds through into wage rises but it is not surprising


we 0 wage rises but it is not surprising


we have 0 wage rises but it is not surprising


we have had such a hit when we suffered a 7.2% contraction during


Labour's great bust. The economy is growing strongly. Are you seeing


that in Leicester South? I have been calling for growth for three years.


We have had nothing for three years so thankfully we now have some.


People out there are still having a really hard time, people are worse


off by about ?1600 under this Tory government. The statisticians at the


Institute of fiscal studies have worked out that because prices have


been rising higher than wages people are really worse off and the Tory


government have to do something. We have been doing things to ease the


cost of living for people. Freezing council tax, it is frozen for the


fourth consecutive year. Cutting Labour's fuel duty tax. What about


VAT? We have cut 0 Labour's fuel duty tax. What about


VAT? We have cut income tax, 1.7 million people are paying less


income tax. What about the 10p tax that your government cut? People who


are wealthier, people who are bit more privileged, we think it is only


fair that they pay a bit more tax. They are going to reverse that. The


wealthiest 10% have 0 They are going to reverse that. The


wealthiest 10% have taken a 9% reduction in their income. Why


shouldn't they pay a bit more? They have already taken a reduction. Do


you think people in 0 have already taken a reduction. Do


you think people in Asheville think it is fair that these millionaires


are taking... OK, we will hear plenty more about this. All of the


talk about immigration in the East Midlands, have 0


talk about immigration in the East Midlands, have we overlooked one


important point. East Europeans have the vote. One party in the East


Midlands thinks it has spotted a massive opportunity.


On the streets and canvassing votes. It is a traditional election


site but there is nothing traditional about the target voters.


This candidate is looking for East Europeans.


Hello. I am out campaigning on behalf of the Liberal Democrats. Did


you know that people who are living here from Eastern and Central Europe


can actually vote? Yes, 0 here from Eastern and Central Europe


can actually vote? Yes, certainly. Have you registered yet? Of course.


Joanna came to the UK unable to speak in fish and now she runs a


restaurant. She plans to vote but she needs more information. `` speak


English. I need more information about what you can do for us, for


Polish people. It is a short step across the street to the next


target. This couple run two businesses from their shop, selling


speciality teas 0 0 businesses from their shop, selling


speciality teas and offering fitness training. They plan to spend the


rest of their lives in the UK and they are alarmed by the


anti`immigration mood. When you hear something horrible it is about


Polish people or whatever. We work hard, we pay taxes. The Lib Dems are


working hard on canvassing the sizeable East European vote in the


region. Under European Union rules, citizens from member countries


living in another country can vote there, leaving hundreds of thousands


of votes up for grabs. It is no surprise perhaps that


politicians are courting this new electorate. The turnout in UK and


European elections is pretty low, around 35%. With more than 1 million


people from Eastern Europe in the country they could have significant


impact. But what would make Eastern European is vote for UK politicians?


This newspaper is aimed at Poles living in the East Midlands. `` East


European threw vote. We want a different kind of elliptical debate


where the emphasis could be put on positive contributions that migrants


make to the local economy. `` political debate. The Eastern


European vote is a new force in British politics.


You are number two on the Liberal Democrats list in the European


election, your party has not been doing very well in the latest


opinion polls. Are you courting Eastern European is to try to win


their vote? `` Europeans. We work with everybody to try to get


ourselves elected of course but the reason why we think the Eastern


European community is very important... 0


European community is very important... Is that why you have


been as far as Boston to speak to them? As I said, the reason for


working with Eastern European community is is because recently


they have been quite 0 community is is because recently


they have been quite demonised through some of the negative myths


Page rated by UKIP and some people on the Tory right. `` perpetuated.


They have suffered from their public image. We went to Boston to talk to


these people and find out their views and feelings and I was quite


surprised to find out that some of those communities are very, very


disappointed with the political process 0 0


disappointed with the political process in this 0


disappointed with the political process in this country, some of


them are quite scared because they are not sure whether some of the


rhetoric coming out is actually going to hurt them. The idea was to


try to find out how we can better engaged with these communities.


Their votes could have a big impact on the outcome of the European


elections. All parties reach out to all the electorate to get their


message across. Unfortunately, turnout is traditionally quite low


so every vote counts. Are you worried that your party is


alienating Eastern Europeans? I think 0


alienating Eastern Europeans? I think I message reflects the


electorate who will be voting so it is reasonable that we tailor our


message to them. Polish people are worried about anti`immigration talk


and with your views and policies on immigration that could cost you


votes. The people most vulnerable to the next wave of immigration are the


last immigrants. I think some of the biggest supporters on curbs of


immigration are recent immigrants. Will Labour be targeting these


groups? We will be talking to everybody who has a vote. I was out


just this last weekend with a Labour candidate in Leicester, knocking on


doors. I have to tell you, people think the Liberal Democrats really


let them down, broke all of their promises and I think people won't


vote for you because of that. You think this will not make any


difference? Every politician has to you engage people but at the end of


the day the Lib Dems said they would end tuition fees, they wouldn't put


up the 80... Do people feel down by Lib Dem policy? The Eastern


Europeans we spoke to is engaged in the same struggle as everybody else,


trying to work their way through the biggest recession in living memory


on a caused by the previous government, so it is a bit rich


coming from the gentleman on my left to talk about the problems of the


Lib Dems. Student tuition fees were brought in during... You said you


were going to get rid of them. You raised them in power. You said you


were going to get rid of them and you are in power now. We have


introduced a system which is fairer. How many Eastern Europeans were


talking about this? It is hard to get the figures. There is an


estimation of something in the region of bubbly a quarter of a


million to half a million people in the East Midlands. `` probably. They


could really play an important role. Anything any party does to encourage


people to vote has to be a good thing and I support that. It is


important that all of the parties reach out and the electorate decide.


What other problems they are talking to you about? One of the major


problems is this notion of not enough information coming through


about how to register and in terms of whether or not they are eligible


to vote. One of the things they are asking for is more information from


the political parties and I have to say the Labour Party is completely


ignoring 0 say the Labour Party is completely


ignoring them because we spoke to them about local politicians and


they say... You are missing a trick, aren't you? I was talking to people


in Leicester just last week you have Swedish nationality and Danish


nationality about getting them to vote, so it is not the case where I


am MP. They feel they are being taken for granted. I have to say the


contributions they make to the economy are not taken into


consideration. One of the myths perpetuated is this thing about


benefits. Actually European migration benefits the European


Community. So we can't afford to ignore them? They make a net


contribution. A campaign has been launched this


week to persuade more young people to register to vote, after 0


week to persuade more young people to register to vote, after figures


revealed only a quarter of them plan to vote in the next general


election. It is a far cry from the early days of the fight for


democracy, where the East Midlands played a leading role in thousands


of people fought and sometimes died for the right to vote. `` when


thousands. On the march to Nottingham Castle


for the right to vote. It 0 On the march to Nottingham Castle


for the right to vote. It is 1381 `` 1831 and the landing gentry have


blocked the right to vote. Ted knows all about voting. 0


blocked the right to vote. Ted knows all about voting. He used to run the


election counts in Nottingham. Now he wants the city's historic role to


be celebrated. It is crucial that people understand just how hard


fought the campaign to win the vote was. In 1831 riots broke out and the


exhibition be putting on will explain that. Can it explain why so


many young people are not using their vote? At the last general


election only a quarter of young people between 18 and 24 actually


voted. By the time of the next election for million young people


will be eligible to vote yet a recent survey by Hansard indicated


that only 12% of them were likely to use the right. I am not not voting


out of apathy, I am not voting out of indifference and weariness about


the lies and deceit of the political class that has been going on for


generations. Did Russell Brand strike a chord and


does he speak for many of his generation?


I 0 generation?


I am not really interested in politics. I believe that if you


don't vote you don't get to have a say. In the school classroom there


are 48 questions that go to the heart of the current political and


economic debate but if our politicians struggle with these


questions there are some future voters who might be able to come up


with the answers? Why is it important to vote? Every person's


vote is equal. A session at the school council at the National


Academy in Nottingham `` Nottinghamshire and there is a key


vote. All of those in favour raise your hands. All those against. Beth


is eligible to vote already. I've turned 18 in January but registering


to vote 0 turned 18 in January but registering


to vote is a carbonated process. A national campaign called Bite The


Ballot will encourage people to get on the register. Historically this


is a pretty grisly place to be because in 1830 the gallows were


built and three men were hanged for their part in the Nottingham riots


and their campaign to extend the right to vote. Democracy was very


hard`fought and people suffered to get the vote. Out of the embers of


Nottingham Castle, the spark of universal suffrage. A new generation


is being urged not to take that right for granted.


Don Anderson from Derby is the vice`chairman of the National Union


of Students. The people we saw and heard from in John's report were


keen to vote, but how common is that? We have done research which


suggests the vast majority of students want to register. It is for


the parties themselves to give students a passion and make them


want to vote for them. Why are not so many people interested? They feel


like they have been lied to in the past. Students were told if they


voted a certain way they would receive 0


voted a certain way they would receive tuition 0


voted a certain way they would receive tuition fees being removed


and that never happened. Students turned out in record numbers in 2010


and they found they did not get what they voted for. John, you are


supporter of lowering the voting age to 16. Would that help? 0


supporter of lowering the voting age to 16. Would that help? I do not


think it is a silver bullet but if you give 16`year`olds the vote I


hope they will get more engaged in the process. I also think... Catch


them early, but I also think governments of all parties tend to


cat back on things like tuition fees and introduce policies that aid


other parts of society. `` cut back. Andrew, would you lower it? I


wouldn't. Only about 20% of people in the country believe it is a good


idea and most 16 to 18`year`olds do not think it is. I think it is


pretty 0 not think it is. I think it is


pretty overwhelming. Is it the case that young people don't think they


have to get some engaged in politics, they can become


politically engaged in other ways on campaigning on Twitter and Facebook?


I think it is a two`way street. Students do like being activists and


young people do like getting involved in campaigns that if you


ask people from certain areas whether there is any point in


voting, if any politician ever `` never said anything that interests


them, why would they bother? You are on this programme, and we are very


glad you are! Is it going to make a difference if young people don't


vote? We will just have the same as what we have always had. Politicians


are more accountable... This is through citizenship education as


well. They are looking for you to say something interesting to young


people. I was at Nottingham University a long time ago, 1983,


and six weeks ago I took part in a debate at Trent University to get


students to vote. They are very interested in the issues, of course,


because they are affected, but you have to get them engaged. If you


think about young people, they will be 0


think about young people, they will be more 0


think about young people, they will be more engaged if you give them


more of a platform. A lot of the time you see tokenistic efforts,


politicians going into schools, and that does not make them feel engaged


with. Schoolchildren ask you the most difficult questions, I promise


you. John will know that we have more and more school visits, young


people visiting the Houses of Parliament every year, and we


encourage that. This Speaker, John Bercow, was at a big event in


Leicester and the students loved him. He chaired an event as if it


was the House of Commons, with all of the shouting! It is a good point,


sometimes the Parliament channel seems really boring. We disagree for


the sake of disagreement sometimes and we go into the tea room


afterwards and have a cup of tea together. It is like WWF wrestling.


If politicians agree with each other, they should work together.


Are you reassured by anything you hear? We have seen from four men on


this programme and a lot of young women will be thinking, politics


will never be for me. We will have to leave it here. Let's look at some


more stories in the news. Another Tory scalper Nigel Farrage.


The former leader of Leicestershire county council has joined UKIP. ``


scalp for Nigel Harwich. `` Farage. Developers could be forced to


provide flood prevention schemes. A Conservative MP is introducing a


bill this week to make builders legally responsible for preventing


flooding on land they are developing. Conservatives on


Nottingham City Council have accused the ruling Labour group of an abuse


of power. The Conservative leader has reported the council to the


district auditor over poster campaigns she says Labour


propaganda. Business leaders are fighting for improvements to bees


Midlands rail link. The government has ruled out more money 0


Midlands rail link. The government has ruled out more money but a local


business club says the route is important.


Surprised at David Parson's defection? He has travelled a long


way, he started in the Labour Party, he was expelled from the


Conservative party three years ago, and now he is in UKIP. If they found


a viable economic policy that would be interesting. This is another loss


to 0 be interesting. This is another loss


to your party. It is a democracy and David will go where he feels most


comfortable. Last week we had a UKIP regional chairman in the studio and


he defected from Labour. It is mainly former Tories going over to


UKIP, and if you look at their policies they are basically Tory


policies. Good luck to him. Neither of your parties can afford to lose


any more numbers to UKIP. We are increasing our members in the Labour


Party. To me they are just another Tory party. We have to leave it


there. Not a complete denial! Hopefully a


Conservative mayor again. Not a good week for David Cameron on


the tricky European front last week. President Hollande said he was not


interested in major treaty reform for 2017. That is when Mr Cameron


hopes to hold his in-out referendum. And the private member's bill to put


that referendum on the statute bill was killed by Labour and Lib Dem


peers in the Lords. James Wharton was the Tory MP behind the bill and


he joins me now. What happens now? It is out of my hands what happens


now, because Labour and the Liberal Democrats conspired in the Lords to


kill off my bill. One of the options is for another private member to


bring a bill forward when they have the next private member's bill at,


and we can try again. The prime minister has indicated that he will


support that. But whatever happens, it will be in the Conservative


manifesto at the next election. Do you accept that cost this is Tory


policy and not government policy that the government policy elite


macro cannot bring forward a bill? That is the problem. The Liberal


Democrats, despite having promised a referendum in their manifesto at the


last election, now will not allow government time for a bill to


enshrine that in law. That was why I brought it forward as a private


member's bill. David Cameron and the Conservative Party through


everything behind that. To many people's surprise, we got it through


all the House of Commons stages Sadly, to their discredit, Labour


and Liberal Democrat peers, doing the bidding of their masters in the


Commons, is conspired to kill it. Do you accept that it is Conservative


policy, but not government policy, that you could not use the


Parliament act to get this through the Lords? That is not the case The


Parliament act is clear that if a public bill passes through the House


of Commons twice in one Parliamentary period, there is a


certain amount of time that has to be between both bills being


presented. There are some procedural steps to be overcome, but there is


no legal reason why the Parliament act could not come into effect. I


was talking about you not having a majority in this case. That remains


to be seen. We saw previously that Labour and the Liberal Democrats


sent enough people to frustrate its progress to make it as difficult as


possible, but not huge numbers to vote against it. On a Friday, huge


numbers of MPs do not attend normally. Getting that number might


prove difficult. The Parliament act, which is a bit of an atomic bomb in


constitutional terms, if that was used, they would turn up to vote


against you. Is it not the case that after the countryside Alliance tried


to involve the courts in the hunting ban that it was made clear that the


Parliament act was not to be used for constitutional issues? I don't


think we know how many would turn up and we don't know how they would


vote. One of the things that has been revealed as I have gone through


the process of getting this bill to get a referendum through the Commons


is that there are big splits in the Labour Party. One of the reasons we


did not see them turning up in large numbers to stop this bill from


happening was that Ed Miliband knew that if he tried to lead his own MPs


through the lobbies to block a bill, the only purpose of which is


to let Britain decides to give people a say on membership of the


union, a lot of his MPs may not have followed him. It is all fantasy


politics anyway. The French president has made clear that he has


no interest in treaty change this side of 2017. He would need a


referendum as well . And he needs that like a hole and had. Merkel is


not keen, as she is in coalition with the social Democrats. Without


the French or the Germans, it will not happen, end of story. The policy


is that we will try to negotiate on getting a better deal. I hear what


you are saying, but I don't recognise it as reality. We have a


strong bargaining position. But whatever the result of that


negotiation, it will be put in an in-out vote to the Britain people.


It is time people were allowed to decide. It has been over a


generation since we last had a say. David Cameron has committed to


delivering that referendum. The Conservative Party will have it in


our next manifesto for the election. Whatever happens to my bill or any


other of the bill that comes forward. If people want a


referendum, the only party that can deliver that in British politics is


the Conservatives. Let me bring the panel in. Nick, where is this going?


It is clear to me and anyone who follows European politics that there


is no appetite for major treaty change in the short run,


particularly for the kind of major changes that Vista Cameron says he


is going to get, and yet the Tories are talking about Europe again when


they should be talking about the economy. And Francois Hollande is


looking at 2017, the year we are meant to have this referendum. There


will be a French presidential election going on, and Nicolas


Sarkozy will be back in play by then. But James has an interesting


point, which is that it is down to Angela Merkel. She would be more


receptive to David Cameron's ideas of reform than people assume. She


has looked over the edge at a Europe without the UK and said, that is not


acceptable, and I am willing to pay a price, not any price, but a price


to keep the UK in the European Union. And the French, because the


UK and France are the only serious military powers in Europe, will


eventually come to that position. So there is more support for David


Cameron than people assume. The French are also not a strong


position in terms of the euro and French economy. The Foreign Office


seem a bit more optimistic about it. Of course they are. Douglas Hurd


once told me, we are winning the arguments on the single currency. Of


course anything from the Foreign Office comes with a health warning,


but if David Cameron had won a majority and was determined to


renegotiate, he is in a strong position with Merkel. There is a


possibility that the French could eventually be talked around. So it


is not entirely bleak on that front for Cameron. When do the Tory party


managers say, look, stop banging on about Europe again? The economy is


going away. We still have an electoral mountain to climb. Let's


just talk about that and not be divided. They should have done that


some time ago. It is already too late. The Tories need a seven point


lead in the polls to get image are tea. The way things are, that would


require a huge change from where we are now . It is very unlikely to


happen. So all this is happening in some bizarre imaginary space with


wonderful rainbows and sunshine But we can detect the beginnings of a


shift in the last couple of weeks. If you talk to Tory backbenchers,


Douglas Carswell is now saying in public that it is time to stop the


fighting. If they are to get even close to winning the election, they


can't do it if they are all against each other. I don't think it is an


imaginary space. It is likely that David Cameron will have the largest


party in the election. If it is a hung parliament and it is the


Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party, David Cameron


will save to Nick Clegg we gave you an AV referendum, I am having this


referendum. And it will be difficult for Nick to say no. Let me go back


to Mr Wharton. You are going to get a referendum in the manifesto. Other


than Ken Clarke, everybody wants it. So why don't you just banked that


and get behind the leadership Institute causing endless problems


and coming across as a Europe accessed, divided party? I am


absolutely behind the leadership. David Cameron announced the policy I


am trying to bring forward in this bill. It is in line with the speech


he gave this time last year. But getting that commitment into law


will help to kick-start the negotiation process and mean


everyone will know where we stand. But whatever happens, the


Conservatives are committed to delivering a referendum. And to


address the point that we talk about Europe too much, that is not the


case. We have a good message on the economy, on tackling immigration and


reforming welfare. There is more to do, but this is also an important


part of policy. But at a time when the economic news seems to be


turning in your direction, you are talking about the European


referendum. Your backbench colleagues are trying to change the


Immigration Bill every which way. Dominic Rather is putting in an


amendment is and Mr Nigel Mills has been on this programme, putting in


amendments that are clearly illegal. How is that helpful? The fact is


that we are in a coalition, so there are areas of policy where


Conservatives might want to go further and we are not able to do


that. In other areas, we are delivering good reforms. But this is


not a matter of going further. The mill 's amendment was clearly a


contravention of the Treaty of Rome. That is where you get the headlines


from. Some of your colleagues have a death wish? Would they rather have a


Miliband government if the choice is an impure Cameron one instead? I


don't think anyone in their right mind would rather have a Miliband


government. Then why are they behaving that way? We have had some


disagreements into the leak and debate within the party, but it was


talked about on the panel just now. The Conservative Party is behind


David Cameron and focused on winning the next election. Europe is one


part of that. We have policies in a range of areas, but we are getting


back on the right track. Thank you for being patient with us.


Is this ghost story going to go somewhere? Mr Laws is talking


through surrogates at the moment, but there is a strategy by the Lib


Dems make these differential points now. I think it is fantastic


coalition sports and entertaining, but in terms of out there, it has


almost no traction whatsoever. I don't think any voters know who


Baroness Morgan is and it sounds like one but politicians shouting at


another bunch of politicians about their ability to give each other


jobs. There is a larger point about the way Michael Gove runs his


government. He is notoriously a very polite man surrounded by Rottweiler


is, his advisers. He has made enemies of a lot of people in the


media, and some of that will come back on him in the next 18 months.


We shall see if Mr Laws himself sticks his head above the parapet.


That is it for this week. The Daily Politics is on throughout the week


at midday on BBC Two, except on Wednesdays, when we are on at


11:30am. I will be back next week at the same time. Remember, if it is


Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


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