13/04/2014 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with political news. Including a debate ahead of the European elections with members of UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

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Aternoon folks, and welcome to the Sunday Politics. As MPs head off for


their Easter break, campaigning for the European elections in six weeks'


time gets underway. In a Sunday Politics special, we'll debate the


issues at stake on May 22nd with senior party figures from the


Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, and UKIP. And as ever


we'll be discussing the week ahead with our panel of top political


commentators. And in the East Midlands: Protestors


gather in Nottinghamshire to fight any moves to begin fracking here.


And, feeling hard up? New figures say we've had the biggest fall in


wages in the newspapers which some claim are


politically slanted and not impartial about informing people of


local services. So all that to come between now and


quarter to four and for the next thirty minutes or so we'll be


debating the European elections. Here in the studio we have Syed


Kamall, leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Richard


Howitt, chair of the Labour group of MEPs, Sarah Ludford, deputy leader


of the Lib Dems in Europe, and Patrick O'Flynn, UKIP's director of


communications. Welcome to you all. In a moment, all four will give us


their opening pitch for the elections. A little earlier they


drew lots to decide who'll go first. And that privilege goes to Syed.


Before that, though, here's a quick reminder of what all the fuss is


about. The vote to choose members of the


European Parliament takes place on Thursday the 22nd of May. The same


day as local elections are held in England and Northern Ireland. The UK


sends 73 England and Northern Ireland. The UK


sends NTP is to Brussels. And the vote is a form of proportional


representation. In total, there are 751 MEPs from the 28 member states.


What do they do all day? The European Parliament's power has


grown. A vet of the EU commissioners and they can amend, approve or


reject nearly all EU legislation and the EU budget. Some laws MEPs have


been responsible for include price caps on mobile phone chargers,


banking regulation and cover food regulation two -- labelling.


Syed Kamall, you have 30 seconds. Europe cannot go on as it is. Europe


needs to change. And our relationship with Europe needs to


change. Only the Conservatives have a plan to deliver that change and of


the British people and in-out referendum. Labour and the Lib Dems


will not and UKIP simply cannot. Only the Conservatives will offer


the three yards, with Conservative MEPs working alongside a


conservative Prime Minister. For, really is and above all a


referendum. Sarah Ludford is next. Your choice is simple. If you think


Britain is better off in Europe, vote for the Liberal Democrats. The


Lib Dems are the only party of Ian, fighting to keep Britain in Europe


and in work. There is nothing patriotic about UKIP's desire to


pull-out. That is playing Russian roulette with Britain's economy and


jobs. The Conservatives are flirting with exit and Labour lacks the


courage to speak up. Thought Liberal Democrat on May the 22nd to say in


Europe for jobs and security. Sarah Ludford. Next, Richard Howitt from


Labour. The European elections are about who represents you. They are


not a referendum on a referendum. Labour MEPs believe in putting jobs


and growth first. A guarantee to help young people into work,


reforming energy markets so that bills are brought down for good.


Labour believes in reform in Europe, but within. It is David Cameron who


is risking your job and Britain's prosperity because of divisions in


his own party. Labour MEPs put British interests first. Our fourth


opening statement from Patrick O'Flynn. The EU is old hat. It is a


declining regional trade bloc in an era of global trade. It is a


20th-century political project designed to prevent conflict in


Europe that is now reawakening old hostilities. It is an attempt to


force on the European people European this as their primary


collective identity. It has hollowed out British democracy and now we do


not even control our own borders. That is why you should vote UKIP.


That is the opening statements. Let's get on with the debate. Why


should people vote in the selections? If you vote UKIP, we can


deliver an earthquake that will rock the foundations of British politics


and the European political class. We can send a signal to Europe that


Britain has had enough, that Britain wants to retain its nation state


status and regain political power and the ability to forge trading


deals across the world. Britain leading Europe to freedom twice in


the last century through bloodshed. We feel that a UKIP win in those


elections could help Britain set an example to lead European nation


states back to free assembly again. Syed Kamall, isn't it the case that


many Tory voters will vote you clip to keep you honest, to keep your


feet to the fire? Whatever you think of the European Parliament or the


EU, the fact is that the European Parliament as equal power with the


28 governments of the EU. When David Cameron delivered the first cut to


the EU budget, the first ever cut, he needed a strong team of


Conservative MEPs working alongside him. But many of your supporters


will vote for UKIP for the reasons I gave. Many will vote Liberal


Democrat. Not very many. Many of our supporters will vote for us because


we are the only party trying to change the EU and offer reform. We


have offered renegotiation and a referendum. And how would you vote


in such a referendum? We have no idea whether he would vote yes or


no. Let him answer. I will answer that question. If the EU continues


on this road, towards a United States of Europe, and if there was


no change at the time of the referendum, then I would probably


vote to leave. You have no confidence in David Cameron? We


Javier Culson opportunity to read negotiate our relationship with


Europe and the Conservatives are at the forefront of that agenda. David


Cameron have not given a list of demands. He said that if things do


not change, he will probably vote to leave, is that right? If at the time


of the referendum, things had not changed, I would vote to leave and


we have a golden opportunity to perform the agenda. Richard, the


last time the British people had a say on this was over 40 years ago.


Under a Labour government. Which was deeply divided on the issue. And


that was a say on the common market. Today's EU is a very different


animal from the common market. Why can we not, under another Labour


government, have another vote? First of all, we want it to be more than a


free trading area. We make no apologies about that. But in the


elections because this is half of Britain's exports and investment. If


you care about your job and business, you cannot hear from the


party of government that they probably want you to leave because


the CBI, the engineering employees in Federation and the chimp of


commerce, 80% of them say it is necessary to stay in. So why not


give us a vote? When David Cameron says he wants to repatriate social


powers, he means takeaway maternity rights and holidays. If the case is


so strong, why not give us an in-out vote? David Miliband has said that


there will be a referendum if there was a proposal to change powers. Why


wait? This is based on a series of reforms. Labour has a set of


reforms. David Cameron is silent about what they would be. That is


because he knows that if he put them forward, they would either be


unsatisfactory to his Eurosceptic backbenchers and he would be out of


a job, or they would be unacceptable to European leaders. Why is your


leader missing in action? Ed Miliband is unable to say even the


positive things that you are saying. He has run away from the argument.


He actually said there would not be a referendum in his time.


For a conservative to say they will have a referendum but not give the


reforms, it is a mistake. Nick Clegg gave Nigel Farage a huge opportunity


in that debate. He said that the Eurosceptic view was to leave


Britain like Billy no mates. I can say that he is the best qualified


person to say that. Sarah Ludford, you have said that lots of people


are going to vote Lib Dem but that is not what the polls are saying.


You are 7% in two polls this morning. Eclectic's decision to


champion Europe has been a disaster for you. You face wet out. We swayed


a lot of people our way with Nick Clegg's debate. Where is the


evidence? We are the only party that is completely united, saying that we


are wanting to stay in. It is essential because formally and jobs


are supported by our trade with the EU. Linked to the EU. We are finding


a lot of moderate conservative voters are actually fed up with the


Tories being split and divided all over the place. Syed Kamall saying


that we might vote in rout. -- in or out. We are consistent. A poll in


London showed that 18% would vote for us. I am delighted about that.


London is not the whole country, it may surprise you. We need to move on


to immigration, an important issue. We are a member of the EU and the


rules say that with a few caveats, our fellow EU citizens are free to


come here if they want. Why can we not just accept that? Britain has a


proud record when it comes to immigration. We have been open to


people across the world for centuries. But we welcome people who


come to our country to contribute to pay taxes and two wards are a


society positively. But there are three real concerns that we have to


address. The first one is numbers, and secondly people who may come


here not to work but for benefits, and thirdly, getting a hang of the


numbers. I think it is shameful that only this week the office for


National said that they did not collect sufficient figures under a


Labour government. 350,000 extra people came in and they did not


count the numbers. That is the size of a city like Cardiff. That is


shameful. 350,000 came from all over the place. Do you accept the free


movement of peoples within the EU? I accept and am open to people who


want to come here and contribute. In the same way... Do you accept the


free movement of peoples within the EU? In our manifesto, we have said


it is an issue for reform. We have to make sure that people are coming


here to work and contribute positively, not simply to come here


and take advantage of the system. I will tell you what else is


shameful. What is shameful is David Cameron making a pledge to the


British people on an issue that they really care about, to bring net


immigration down to the tens of thousands a year, having no means of


fulfilling that pledge. And we see now it is back up to 212,000 a year


because we have no volume control and no quality control from


immigration from our neighbours. And that is a disgrace. How could UKIP


address that issue? Because we would leave the EU. How? Tell me how. You


do not have a single member of Parliament. He will not get a single


member of Parliament. How are you... ? TUC are hoping to get an


MEP. What do you say? -- he is here today hoping to get an MEP. All of


-- almost 2 million Brits live and work in the rest of the EU. Is that


worth having? The majority are wealthy, retired people. Why do not


object to bilateral agreements with countries with similar living


standards to us. France, the Netherlands, that works fine. But


these three people want Turkey to join the EU, 75 Na Li and people


running our country, only 10% of which... Syed Kamall is Michael year


to say whether they are in favour of free movement for work, not for


benefits... That is what I'm saying. You said you were unable to


be clear. That leaves 2 million British people absolutely unsure as


to whether they would have a right to continue to live in other


countries. It is a two-way street. You are putting those people in a


state of uncertainty. EU migrants have been good for the British


economy and contribute far more than they take out in services and


benefits. One in seven businesses were founded in -- by migrants. And


they cannot just turn up and claim benefits. The coalition government


has legislated to make sure that they cannot claim for three months.


They will not be able to claim for more than six months. Richard


Howitt, Jack Straw said it was "A spectacular mistake for Labour to


allow EU migrants from Poland and Hungary to work in the UK from


2004." Why should we trust a party that makes spectacular mistakes and


hasn't apologised for it? We accept it is a mistake and I apologise. We


make a firm commitment for new EU states we will put down transitional


controls. When I listen to the Conservatives and UKIP trying to


re-write history, saying immigration was out of control, uncontrolled,


open door, we hear it over and over again. It is not true. Anyone who


was around at the time... Come on, Richard. Hold on, you undercounted


by 350,000. You were letting 2 million in over the years, an


under-counted by 350,000 people you didn't know came in. You should have


tightened the benefit rules. The Conservative MEP today has, in four


years in government in Britain, is trying it blame the previous Labour


Government over the fact they won't count people in or people out.


Yvette Cooper - it is not easy for people to come to the country and


benefits are changing, changing the habitual residence test and we are


going to say that migrants can't come and claim child benefit if


their children are outside the country. Labour a has shown they


have listened to concerns but we say it is a stronger, better, country


because it is diverse and multicultural snoo.d this is fantasy


politics from all the Peters. They are committed to a system with no


volume control and no quality control. You talk about benefits as


if it is only out of work benefits. In work benefits cost a lot of money


for the British taxpayer. Big businesses bring in minimum wage


workers. It is ?5,000 per perschool place What are you going to do? Have


all the pensioners come back to Britain? How will will you fund the


health care? Do you really think Spain and pour tu ghal their current


situation, are going to turn their backs on British property owners


with wealth? -- Portugal. They might not wanting pensioners to use their


health service. Pensioners often come back to Britain to use the


health service. You have shown it represents wealthy people's


interests. A second Conservative Party. Hang on a minute... Blue


collar wages were down. They want it character for the National Health


Service, have cuts that go farther and comprehensive education. This is


a debate on the wider politics between Conservatives and UKIP and


Labour will... You can't both talk time. UKIP - they haven't thought it


through, thousand they will have trade access in the EU, hasn't


thought how they will have trade deals that the Liberal Democrats


support, like with the United States: Would you have a cap on


non-EU immigrants? We are not in favour of a cap. No cap on either.


No. Well it is a target. It is a moving feast, as it were. Would you


have a limit on non-EU limits? We have limits on quality. We have


people who are skilled migrants coming in. Lip its? . By quality,


not by quantity. -- Limits. How do you do that? We need to move


on to foreign affairs. Should we pool more sovereignty to


give the European Union more clout in foreign and defence matters? I'm


Labour's defence and foreign affairs spokesperson. No we don't need to


pull more powers into Europe. As we undertake this live debate there are


guns being fired in Ukraine as we speak. Europe is facing, for the


first time, since the end of the Second World War, Armies crossing


national borders and floatening peace. Doesn't it -- threatening


peace. Doesn't it need to come together of the We don't need more


powers. We need political will. With Vladimir Putin, in my view, he has


-- we have fallen short in the sanctions. But it is Europe, not


Britain. Remember Putin calling Britain little England a small


island with no influence. Labour doesn't agree with that. But if


that's the mindset that allows someone like Vladimir Putin to send


troops across borders threatening peace, it is worrying. And when we


have, in UKIP a party that say they admire Putin and support his


policies, that is no recipe for how Europe should be wrong. I was


waiting for that. Let me ask him. We don't admire Putin as a leader...


Oh. No we don't. What Nigel Farage said, was he admired him as a


political operator. Testifies Franklin D Roosevelt who said a good


foreign policy was speaking softly but carrying a big stick. The EU


shouts its mouthed off while carrying a matchstick. It is fantasy


that you wiebl it stand up to Putin over the Ukraine. -- that you would


be able to stand up. Do you admire what Putin is doing in the Ukraine?


No. What matters in foreign policy is the outcould. We have a terrible


outcome in the Ukraine, like Syria, and Georgia... What would UKIP do?


What u skip would do, would be to keep our people safe -- UKIP.


How? And not commit our Foreign Office and troops Foreign wars.


Patrick O'Flynn. You brought up this issue of foreign wars. Now Nigel


Farage said in previous debates that Britain should leave the EU because,


"We have had enough of endless foreign wars." Which wars has the EU


taken us into? The EU has ban very important factor in the push towards


trying to get military intervention in Syria, for example. What wars has


the etch U taken us into it -- EU. Fortunately the EU doesn't have its


own army yet. It has wanted to sign up to an expansionist agenda. Did it


want Iraq? No, that was Labour. UKIP opposed Iraq, so did most of the


mainline Europeans. Germany was against Syria and Libya. No EU


policy. We had an Anglo French deal on Syria. A by lateral deal. A


European dimension. No, buy lateral. We have a European Union that wants


to expand ever-more into other people's spheres of influence. If we


are going to stand up to what Putin is do, which obviously Nigel Farage


has no intentions of doing, you have to get your act together on economic


sanctions and diplomatic force and in trade matters, in supporting


eastern European countries. Sayeria, who and whose army? And NATO and


working transatlanticically, is important through NATO. I will come


to you in a moment. Nick Clegg said that the idea of an EU Army was, "A


dangerous fantasy that is simply not true ""Why then, are we already


working on etch U-owned and controlled drones -- EU-owned and


the President of the European Parliament has said that the


majority of MEPs want the EU to have "deployable troops." He is not


speaking for me or Liberal Democrats. The EU does not and will


not have an army. Our defence is mainly shaped through NATO. He is


President of the Parliament What we must do is to get equipment which


can operate together. We waste an awful lot of our spending in Europe


because we duplicate equipment. We don't get the bang for our bucks


that we should. It is a useful role for the EU, to get equipment working


together. That doesn't make sense. You say military equipment, a NATO


job. No, the EU, there is a kind of dimension of the EU members of NATO,


in working together on a common quument o o so they can talk to each


other -- on common equipment, so they can talk to each other. The EU


has a role but not an army. So a European defence agency, that helps


our defence industries and those jobs are extremely important and


would be threatened if the Conservatives and UKIP took us out


of Europe but it is 100 years since the start of the fist world war.


Remember that Europe was set up to try to get a secure peace within


Europe T succeeded. Now look on Ukraine but also on the southern


borders to the Arab Spring countries in North Africa. It is more


important than ever that we work to keep keep peace and stability on our


borders. Can I say to Syed and the Conservative MEPs. You talk about


the three Rs, I have a fourth, retreat. If you take us out of the


European Union, it will be the worse retreat by Britain since Gallipoli.


Let him answer If he wants answers -- the British Parliament is the


right place with a British Foreign Secretary to decide our foreign


policy. You say that, but can I quote David Cameron, this is germain


to what you are saying, David Cameron said "There is no doubt that


we are more powerful than Washington, Beijing and Delhi,


because we are a powerful player in the European Union." Do you agree?


He is saying that there are times when it comes to international


foreign affairs when you have to cooperate with partners. Often they


are EU partners but often they are not. The problem we have...


Washington have made it very clear that it wants Britain to talk


through Brussels. No, not at all. Talk through the French and


Italians, come on, wake up? Through the EU collective. I'm vice chair of


the EU delegation. I hear it from the American counterparts. They want


the EU to get itself together and not least on Ukraine. Why should our


sovereignty be at the behest of... ? I want to hear from Syed calm


amplgts the British Parliament is the right place to decide our


foreign poll sinchts sometimes we work with our European partners,


sometimes we work with our non-European partners. It is our


choice to pull sovereign trito work together. G, we move on to our foirt


area. We hear a lot in this country about MPs expenses. Snted the real


scan dalt MEPs gravy train. -- isn't the real scandal, the MEPs gravy


train? You all have your snouts? The trough? I don't think so. There is


transpancy. The way we use our expenses is online and anyone can


ask to examine those. We have actually voted to reform MEPs'


allowances. We regularly vote but unfortunately the majority in


Parliament don't. Have you voted to cut them? Yes. By how much? About


5%. A 5% We hoped to have economies I never fly except across the


Atlantic. Difficult to do it any other way. I didn't swim.


But we voted for economy flutes. We voted for European Parliament policy


of transparency which other groups haven't. UKIP don't turn up to vote.


They don't earn their salaries. Dhoent do anything. They should hand


their salaries and allowances back. You can't ause UKIP of being on the


gravy train and the other that we don't claim our attendance allowance


because our MEPs are not there. Your attendance allowance is if you are


there, you are saying we don't turn up You are in the building and claim


the allowances. You are not an MEP, UKIP are so ashamed of what their


MEPs have done in Brussels, they didn't field a sitting MEP for


today's debate. I think each party decides who it wishes to field. I


have the honour of being the UKIP representative. I would say by going


in the past few weeks, xeeming to me saying - we are sick of the others.


-- people saying to me. : We are quite excited. Can I ask Patrick


O'Flynn. He says he touched a chord and his party is strong in the polls


today, between 18% and 20%. Haven't you also struck a chord with hip


crasscy. Two of your MEPs were jailed for expenses and benefits'


fraud. Two more asked to pay back ?37,000 for using European funds.


Nigel Farage has boosted about getting ?2 million in expenses and


he went on to employ his wife as a secretarial allowance after telling


other members not to People who do wrong and break the law, go to ja. I


have no time. -- go to jail. People who spend money they are not


entitled to should pay it back and that's right. But what UKIP does and


the good UKIP MEPs do, is use the allowances they are given to pursue


the political agenda they put up when elected which is to get Britain


out of this superstate. Instead of using it for parliamentary work.


Very interesting. Richard Howitt. We were the first British political


party to have independent audits of our MEPs' expenses, from 1990, way


before the expenses crisis blew up. The Maria Miller scandal has of


course hit David Cameron and the Conservative Party hard as it should


do. But you are right, even in my own region you have UKIP candidates


and councillors who have been charged with fraudulently filling


out election papers and other shot lifting. Another independent inquiry


found he made racist comments. We had a European candidate last week


in Hertfordshire who got a parking ticket from the police and called


the police fascists. These people aren't here.


I'll let you have a quick reply. We can bring up parochial cases. Let


him answer. Not so long ago a Liberal Democrat councillor was sent


down for firebombing, I don't say they are a bunch of arsonists, but


now I think, Nick Clegg might have burnt some cactuses, once. I'm glad


you pronounced that word carefully. Syed Kemal, the EU's auditors, they


are strongly critical of the EU's financials saying "Errors permist in


all main spending areas", the financials are poorly managed. It is


a shambles And that's something that all parties agree on. As we agree on


expenses, the British parties are at the forefront of transpancy. Every


year when we vote for the discharge of the budget, the Conservatives


also vote for it but we don't get enough MEPs from other countries to


investigate in favour. The Liberal Democrats have put forward to make


each Finance Minister, George Osborne and his counterpart to sign


a declaration to say all EU money is properly spent in my country.


Funnily enough they don't want to do that but I look forward to you


confirming that George Osborne will sign it. All the time we hear it is


about the money we pay in, about ?150 per family per year. What about


the money that comes back? ?1. 5 billion that comes to Britain's


regions because of being in Europe. I myself helped to negotiate a fund


to help Britain's food banks to ensure so. Poorest and most


destitute people... Isn't it our money that went there first. Can I


tell you the Conservative-led Government have blocked us from


claiming that money. If you want to have the clearest choice at these


European elections, it is between... Tell us why. It affects our rebate.


Tony Blair gave away our rebate. He is quite right. Lib Dems fought to


make sure that we apply for money to help with flooding. That is what the


Tories were blocking. If you want the clearest example at the European


elections, the Conservative Party and MEPs blocked the cap on bankers


bonuses, and then blocked a Labour victory to get money for free


banks. We need to move on to the future. It is important and people


are watching. The EU's Justice Minister says that we need to build


a United States of Europe with the commission as its government. Is she


right? Not at all. But the future, if we take the next ten years,


thinks about climate change and the fact that we are not going to hit of


the two degrees target. Europe has led and needs to lead towards


getting a new sustainable world. It is the political will to use these


powers, so she is wrong. It is about the threats from abroad. Labour


reforms like getting a commissioner for growth and rebalancing the


budget, reforming the common agricultural policy, all of those


things will need to happen to make Europe more democratic and open. But


against the rise of Brazil and China... We do not need more


treaties and powers. We need more action with more Labour MEPs. Sarah


Ludford, you would sign up to that? No. Unless they do not think that


should concentrate on institutional matters. What we need to do is


concentrate on making Europe progrowth and competitive and create


more jobs in a competitive world. We need more trade deals to open up our


exports, we need to streamline the EU. We need less red tape and


Liberal Democrats have done a lot on that. We need better scrutiny of EU


legislation at West Munster because the national parties... More powers


or less for the EU government? In some areas, I would like to see it


slimmed down. Including, I am not sure whether the EU should be


funding food banks. I think that is a national responsibility. Dearie


me. The EU have to concentrate on the economy and climate change. This


is the coalition talking. If we want to fritter away political capital on


things which are interfering in national matters, then we do not


have the support to tackle those big challenges. Would you still want to


join the Euro one-day? Now is not a good idea. We wanted the Eurozone to


still be sound, which is why... Did not ask you that. Do you want to


join the Euro one-day? If it is a success and it did the economy. Now


is not the time but in principle, the idea of a single currency has


advantages. That was a yes. We are not ruling it out for ever but not


in the foreseeable future. It is not on the horizon. What would our


relationship be with Europe in the future if UKIP got its way and we


left? We would be trading partners with Europe and we would seek


partnership in specific serious. I'd tell you what, can I just say...


Would we be Norway? We would be stronger than Norway because we are


the biggest export market in the Eurozone. We can negotiate a bespoke


trading agreement reflecting our enormous importance. Not on


services, which make up 80% of the economy. We are the biggest export


market in the Eurozone. Our biggest exports are services and they would


have to agree to free trade and services. They still have not. Can I


read you something? Let me read you something. There would be a free


trade agreement in place the day after our exit. Germany would demand


no less. Who said that? Not somebody from UKIP, but Digby Jones. Mr


business. He is talking about goods, not services. Norway has that


and they have no say. You would have to accept the EU rules without any


say. No MEPs are commissioners. Let me give you another. Enough. One is


enough. Syed Kamall, is it not looking forward pretty much Mission:


Impossible for Mr Cameron to get anything like the repatriations of


powers that would satisfy your irreconcilables? My father was a bus


driver in the 50s and one of the reasons I am here today is because


he told me that you can achieve anything if you work hard. He said


to me, do not listen to the doubters. When people tell you that


something cannot be done, it is a sign of their limitations, not


yours. They said that we could not pull Britain out of the bailout


mechanism but we did it. He said we could not be to a -- veto European


treaty and we did that. They said we would never cut the budget and we


did that. The first ever. But overall, we are paying more into the


European budget. And they are not sticking to it. More, not less. They


say that we cannot achieve reform but we have achieved reform and we


are at the forefront of that. Science's father came to Britain


because Britain was open and looking outward. What the Conservatives now


have, with leaderless Cameron, is an inward looking attitude. They are


allowing the rise of UKIP. They are putting so much at risk. People


should vote Labour. We are going to have to stop now. No point talking


because we are about to finish. I think you all for a spirited debate.


I'm sure Nigel Fries and Mr Clegg will have learned a lot about how to


debate. -- Nigel Farage. It's just gone 3pm, and you're


watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who


leave us now for Sunday Politics Scotland. Coming up here in twenty


In the East Midlands: As protestors set up camp, could the fracking


bonanza be about to start? We'll hear from the boss of a drilling


company with plans for our region and the people determined to stop


him. How are you going to regulate when you drill a mild downturn left


and trial `` drill down for another mile.


And are we worse off than the rest of the country? We'll be looking at


claims that wages have fallen further here than anywhere else in


the UK. The wages are up. I don't think wages are going up at all. In


some city regions, we are very lucky to have a job.


Hello, I'm Marie Ashby and my guests this week are Jessica Lee, the


Conservative MP for Erewash, and Jon Ashworth, the Labour MP for


Leicester South. And first, it's been the political story of the week


and the East Midlands has had a big part to play. The resignation of the


Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, in yet another expenses row. The whole


process began with a formal complaint to Parliament from the


Bassetlaw MP, John Mann, who made strong demands for the Culture


Secretary to go. When she did, the subsequent reshuffle saw


Loughborough's Nicky Morgan promoted within the Treasury and given the


role of Women's Minister, which gives her a seat in the Cabinet.


Jessica Lee, what's been your reaction to the week's events? I


think the promotion of Nicky Morgan, who is a very talented MP,


and she will do a great job, is a positive outcome. Before John and I


were elected, the expenses scandal, I remember watching it and being


horrified. I do think it is going to take time for the public to trust


all additions again about this matter. You are stepping down at


this term of Parliament. Is this kind of hounding putting you off?


No. I enjoy being an MP but I really enjoyed the law and my background is


being a barrister. I really see my future in the law. It is a difficult


decision but I'm very lucky to have served a great community. I still


have another year so it will be business as usual. John, any


sympathy for Maria Miller? Not at all. The way in which she did her


apology to the House of Commons was quite frankly insulting. Then the


way in which people suggested it was because of her role in press


regulation was offensive. When people are really struggling at the


moment, to see this Cabinet Mr carrying on like this, it sticks in


peoples throats. David Cameron should have intervened sooner.


Protestors from all over the country are gathering in the East Midlands


to fight plans to carry out fracking. They've set up camp in


Nottinghamshire, convinced that the first application to start drilling


is only weeks away. Fracking's a controversial new technique to drill


deep underground. It uses high pressure water and chemicals to


release gas. Large parts of the East Midlands are said to be rich in


potential shale gas, with licences covering many parts of


Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire already granted.


In a moment, we'll be speaking to the Chief Operating Officer of a


company looking to carry out fracking here, but first, Helen


McCulloch's been to the protestors' camp near Retford to meet the people


keen to stop him. In a word in the north


Nottinghamshire a protest camp is growing. I came down from Scotland.


I heard they were setting up here. At the moment they are objecting to


extract methane gas from below the ground. But with this area petition


league `` potentially rich in Shields gas it could become the new


battle ground in the fight against fracking. The first application


could come as soon as the next two weeks. Protest is here are making


their plans. These companies make mistakes. They are using some


horrible chemicals and the operation will miss `` mess with everything.


This woman from the Green party is a regular visitor to the camp. She


shares of the campaigns `` she said `` she says their campaigns. This is


a joke. David Cameron says we are going to have robust measures but


that means lies. There is no regulation. Tell me how you're going


to regulate when you drill a mile down, turn left and drill down


another mile. The Green party is strongly opposed to fracturing and


wants to see the money spent instead on renewable energy. Solar energy


worldwide produces more jobs than the fossil fuels injury combined.


This is enormous. These are local jobs. Here in the East midlands we


could have more wind farms and we could invest in tidal power. We have


got the sea surrounding us so why are we not investing in technology


that already exists and which would produce a lot of local jobs? To


produce just 10% of the gas we need in this country, we are talking


about 300 wells every year for the next ten years. That is 3000 wells


drilled over ten years. But fracking companies have the backing of the


Prime Minister and are casting their eyes over the Prime Minister. ``


over the East Midlands. Well, if fracking does go ahead, it


looks like there'll be lots of protests along the way. Let's speak


to John Blaymires, the chief operation officer of IGas, which has


an exploration and development licence for the north of our region.


So John, first of all, where are you with your plans? We have licences in


the region and we actually operate already some 20 oil fields in the


area and these oilfields have been there for decades producing and


wells being drilled. This is not something new we are talking about.


There is a long history in the area of oil. But what about fracking? The


first thing that has to happen is we have to explore and establish the


presence of shale gas and ascertain whether it is economic clear track.


That will entail at some point having to get the gas to flow and


our expectation is that that will happen in 2015. What do you say to


those protesters who say that fracking is not safe? We need to


understand a few things. First of all, we are highly regulated. We are


a very highly regulated industry. Can you regulate a pipe that is


miles underground? The protesters say it is not possible. It is. The


health and safety executive and the environment agency and the local


planning officers and the local communities in which we operate


watchers and monitor us on a daily basis. Jessica Lee, parts of your


area in Derbyshire have the potential to produce this shale gas.


Would you like to see it in your area? There are no specific plans in


our area but people need reassurance and information. People need that


knowledge so they understand the process. That is really in Portland.


That is when MPs will have to take the lead. David Cameron has said


communities will get a share of the profits from any temp back in those


communities. There is a that make sense? They will get 1% of the


revenues and that can amount to several million pounds per site over


the life of that site. The government has also put in place


business rates. That will be a huge boon for the local communities. The


industry has undertaken to make those contributions to make sure the


communities will get some benefit from this. The whole idea behind


this is to ensure that wells the exchequer gets attacked the industry


will pay, the local communities will get a share of that to reflect the


fact they have this going on in their communities. Is that enough


for you? It is a reasonable suggestion that communities should


get some of those benefits but there are bigger questions. The regulatory


regime needs to be strengthened. People have concerns about the


chemicals used and everybody knows that these tremors have taken


place. Are we going to have tremors in the East midlands? As a


consequence of temp back, the answer would be no. `` fracking. Let's also


put into context, it has happened once before, but let's put it into


perspective. Professor Richard Davis in a report he issued preferred to


it as the equivalent of jumping off a stepladder so we have to put some


of this into some context. Particularly in the area, you are


looking at an industry that historically has had these kinds of


tremors on a regular basis. So we just need to get used to it then? I


am not quite sure that's the case. We should not frighten people until


we've got the facts. That is why the industry and representatives need to


be clear what the facts are. People need to be well informed. The point


about revenue going to the community is important but the most important


thing is information. We as an industry have an obligation and one


of our undertakings is about public engagement. It's about being


transparent. We have to build the trust of the local communities in


which we work. That is essential. And that could happen in 2015. Are


you for it or against it? I figure need to know more. We have a problem


with energy supply in this country so gas will have to be part of that.


I personally think Cole should be part of it and I hope the government


sorts out the coal mines. I think there is a role for gas but a lot of


people in my constituency have raised concerns with me about the


regulatory regime and whether this is environmentally safe. What you


think about the protests we have seen? First of all, everyone is


entitled to their own opinions. I support that in a sense because it


is part of a democracy. The issue is often about trying to deal with the


facts and that is the key issue. What we find when we engage with


people and start talking about the facts is that people become more


reassured. New figures just released say that


the East Midlands has seen the biggest fall in take home pay in the


country. According to the TUC, there's been an 8.7% fall in wages


here since 2010. It found that the average weekly wage in the region


had fallen by ?45.50, compared with a national average fall of ?40. The


figure's even worse when compared with some of our neighbours. Workers


in Yorkshire and Humberside have seen a ?35 fall and in the West


Midlands, it was ?38. Of course, those figures were


compiled by the TUC, who are hardly likely to say things are rosy. Other


reports have suggested that wages are beginning to rise. So how are


you feeling financially? Here's Des. The TUC say we're ?45 worse off


since the recession but other reports say wages are on the up.


Let's find out what people in Loughborough think. Our wages on the


up? I think the wages are at and we are not in recession. I don't think


wages are going about all. In some situations, we are very lucky to


have a job still. Jobs are very hard to come by. Are we worse off or I


wages on the up? We are on the up. Minimum wages on the up. Everybody


else's wage has to stay the same. I don't think the recession is over.


Some reports say wages are on the up and some on the down. I think they


are on the down. I think they are on the increase. But the cost of living


is rising. Wages at or down, let's ask Barry? I still think they are on


their way down. Nobody has got any me spend. Our wages on the up or on


the down? I would say on the up. People seem happier and that is


always a good sign. Jon Ashworth, people in Loughborough


very split there. Some say things aren't improving, some seeing wages


going up. Maybe it's just taking a bit longer for improvements to reach


everyone? People are really struggling. When you look at the


different statistics, it shows you that actually people are worse off


because wages have not been increasing when inflation has.


People are ?1600 worse off under David Cameron. One person said they


didn't think the recession was over. We have to look at confidence and


people have to feel that confidence. We had the Derbyshire


and Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce


condone to speak to a group of MPs and the business community they were


saying that people at `` that things are on the up in terms of new jobs.


We have over a million new jobs in the private sector and the business


community was saying what follows from that is an increase in wages.


These representatives were confident that would be the next step. The


coalition says when you take tax cuts into account 90% of us have


seen their income in `` an increase in our income of 2.5%. The coalition


is talking about income tax, but it is not including the increase in


National Insurance or VAT. Pensioners are paying more tax. The


coalition are not in straight with you. There is a bigger tax burden


under the Tories. You are worse off under David Cameron. That is not a


surprise in reply. We have taken the poorest people in the country out of


income tax altogether. This definitely makes a difference to


people 's lives. Pensioners have been well supported. Giving people


more responsibility over their pensions. The country is on the


right path. Business confidence is up. But this is an issue that could


settle the general election result. I think people take the view that


the economy is central to a general election and the indicators at the


moment is that the ball are cautiously optimistic as to the


direction the country is going in. Unlike John, I would say it is


because the government has protected the poorest in society. We have to


create jobs and look at exporting around the world. Our saving ratios


are falling. The reason for this bit of growth is because of an increase


in consumption. But it is all on credit cards. Raising the minimum


wage has got to be a step in the right direction though. I think the


chamber of commerce are neutral and they say we need to be optimistic at


this stage that it doesn't mean to say that we don't look out for our


constituents and make sure people are being looked after. Some people


would say the living wage is more important. Why aren't you


concentrating on that? The living which has come into the debate


nationally. At the House of Commons, the speaker made an announcement


that everybody working in the House of Commons would get the living


wage. I think there is an issue with it but I would concentrate on the


overall picture which is about supporting businesses and helping


people get back into work. I think there are positives for the country.


As the economy grows, surely wages will rise. I think wages will


probably rise but the problem is you well I've had three or four years of


stagnation. George Osborne said he was going to have growth


straightaway but actually he has failed because he has put the 80 at


and has put taxes up and he kept too deeply in the early stages.


Time now for a round up of some of the other stories from the week with


our Political Editor, John Hess, in 60 seconds.


And your starter for ten. Which East Midlands MP has complained that the


final of University Challenge was an all male, all Oxbridge affair? No


conferring. Richard the Lionheart. No, in fact it's the Ashfield's


Gloria De Piero, Labour's Shadow Minister for Equality. And for a


bonus, which East Midlands MP is now backing David Cameron after writing


a letter of no confidence? Yes, North West Leicestershire's Andrew


Bridgen. He's changed his mind because he says the PM has


engineered dramatic improvements in Britain's fortunes. Elsewhere, the


Government has answered the question of whether it will help the mining


industry with a "yes". Well of sorts, offering ?10 million towards


the phased closure of Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire. We are


keeping open the prospect of a private buyer. If they see an


economic case they are free to do so. But unions say the money could


have been used to access more coal seams and give the pit another four


years of life. So back to women again and the lack


of them. Maybe the universities need to have a quota! Did either of you


fancy pitting your wits on University Challenge back in the


day? I am not sure that would help to have tight quarters but all


universities, all girls do very well at school. I don't think it is the


way to go but we should see more women in public life. We should have


Jessica in there. I am resuming my law career and we have never had a


lady Lord Chief Justice. Thanks to my guests, Jessica and


Jon. That's the Sunday Politics in the East Midlands. Now, back to


Andrew Neil. risk. We have run out of time. --


particular candidates. Back to you, Andrew.


The sun's out, Ed Balls has run the London Marathon, and MPs leave


Westminster for their Easter break. Let's discuss what's coming up in


the Week Ahead. We will get more of what we have


just seen. Let's look back on the debate. What did we learn from the


argument is? That it is going to bore and irritate whole lot of


people, this election campaign. Four parties shouting at each other about


things that most people do not know much about. They know very little


about how the European Parliament works, what an MEP is supposed to


do. A lot of heat and not a lot of light. I've updated well, all of


them, but the net effect is not going to encourage people to go out


and vote and not many do. One thing that struck me was that on Europe,


the Labour and Lib Dem positions are not that far apart. They are pretty


much the same. And yet the knocks lots of each other. I suppose they


feel that they had to do that because that is the format. I'd


agree with Polly. Their word UKIP and the Tories to attack two we try


to make it exciting, and we know the issues are important. But people out


there have not heard of these individuals. It is not very


exciting. That is worrying because these are huge national questions


for us. We need to find a way of making it more fun. People may not


know these MEPs, they may not know the detail of the debate, but it is


an issue on which people have strong opinions. It is a visceral thing for


many people. Especially on the immigration issue. The debate took


off and became more vociferous at that point. To a large extent, you


wonder whether not only this European election but the eventual


referendum will be a referendum on the issue of immigration and free


movement. If we did not learn much from the argument, the thing we did


learn is that the structure of these televised debate influences the


outcome. One of the reasons that Nigel Farage did well in the debate


is that in a two-man debate, each man has as good a chance as the


other. If it is four people, one man can be ganged up on. Patrick O'Flynn


did well for a man who is not an elected politician yet. At times, 40


came under attack and did not hold the line as well as you would


expect. Does that create a perverse incentive for the main parties to


agree to a four way debate before the general election? I do not think


the David Cameron has nearly as much to worry about from a televised


debate in the run-up to the elections than his spin doctors


believe. When you put him up against Ed Miliband, and we have not


actually seen Ed Miliband in that format, I think he will come off all


right. This is an election which the polls would have us believe that the


battle for first place is between UKIP and labour. It certainly is.


Obviously, it is neck and neck and we will not know until we are


closer. And it matters a lot to both of them. If Mr Miliband does not


come first, that is not good news for the main opposition at this


stage. Except to some extent all of the people will put it to one side


and say that this is a bizarre election. A plague on both your


houses, let's vote UKIP. It is not clear how much that translates into


the next election. It is not too disastrous for Labour. It would be


better if they came first. If Mr Miliband comes first, not a problem,


but it becomes second and UKIP soars away, what are the consequences? I


think there is a widespread expectation already at Westminster


that UKIP is very likely to come first. If Ed Miliband fails to come


first, there will not be a great deal of shock in the West Mr


village. Else think what is remarkable about Ed Miliband is that


despite consistently poor personal leadership approval ratings, the


overall Labour poll is consistently very high. We have seen that budget


blip, it seems to have taken us back to where we were before. Leadership


is not everything. Mrs Thatcher was miles behind James Callaghan but in


the end, it was the party politics that mattered more. If Mr Cameron


comes third and the Tories come third, maybe a poor third, is it


headless chicken time on the Tory backbenchers? It has often been said


that the Tory Party has two modes, complacency and panic. You will see


them shift into panic mode. By June, I think. Many of the stories in the


sun will be about David Cameron's personal leadership and his grip on


the party. There will be pressure on conference by the time that comes


around. It is a natural consequence of being the incumbent party. The


Lib Dems are 7% in two of the polls today. It was widely thought that in


the first and second debates, Nigel Farage won both. In retrospect, was


the challenge strategy a disaster for Mr Clegg? I do not think it was


because he had nothing to lose. But he is lower in the polls than when


he started. He has not lost a great deal. The polls were quite often


that low. I think it was a good thing to do. It raised his profile.


It made him the leading party in. That may be a difficult place to


be. That is how you end up with 7% in the polls. The reason he is


fighting with Labour is that he knows very well that all he has to


do is to get his votes back that have gone to Labour and labour have


to fight hard to make sure that they do not go back. Every party looks to


where it is going to get it support. If it is a wipe-out for the


Lib Dems, and they lose all their MEPs, not saying that is going to


happen but you could not rule it out for, are we back in Nick Clegg


leadership crisis territory? One of the astonishing things about this


Parliament is the relative absence of leadership speculation about Nick


Clegg will stop at the first couple of years, his position seems


tricky, but maybe that is because Chris Hughton is gone and he was the


only plausible candidate. This cable is not getting any younger, to put


it delicately. That was not delegate at all! And we have reached a


desperate stage where Danny Alexander is talked about as a


candidate. That was not delegate either! Maybe he is holding onto


power the lack of alternatives. If they ended up with no MEPs at all,


and a less than double digits score... With Danny Alexander, it is


clear that Scotland, one way or another, will be moving further


away. You could not have the leader of a national party be a Scot. But


he does not have the following in the party. I'm glad you're liberal


attitudes to immigration extends to me. I would not have been here for


43 years. There will be leadership talk after that holes. It has been


bubbling in the background, but you have to talk to the grass roots


activists. -- after the polls. The grass roots activists are


despairing. If things are bad, they lose their network of activists, who


they need to fight the next election. I think you mean, not that


you could have a Scot, but that it would be more difficult to have a


Scot from a Scottish constituency. Absolutely. I think a Scottish


constituency, so many things will be different. Or to hold the great


offices of state. Let's come onto the Crown Prosecution Service is. It


is an English institution. Where does the CPS and after losing yet


another high-profile case come this time Nigel Evans? They had nine


counts against him and they did not win on one. It is obviously very


embarrassing. They will have a bit of explain to do but I guess the


threshold for bringing these cases is high. There has to be considered


at least a 50-50 chance of actually winning the case. We do not know


what went on behind the scenes when they weighed up whether to bring the


case. Nigel Evans makes an interesting point about whether it


is legitimate to bundle together a number of stand-alone relatively


weak accusations, and when you put them together to militantly, the CPS


uses that to make a case. Is that a legitimate thing to do? He was a


high-profile figure, not just because he was a Tory MP. He was the


deputy speaker of the House. And yet the CPS are certainly the police, to


begin with they did not have that many people to testify against him.


And then they trawled for more. You wonder if they would have done that


if it was not for the fact that he was a public figure. The trouble is,


they are dammed if they do and dammed if they do not. Particularly


with politicians and the reputation they have these days, if there is


any suggestion that they let somebody off because they are a


high-profile politician, and they are saying that about Cyril Smith,


that is the accusation. A strange story. Most unlikely and very


bizarre. But that is the accusation. If there is any with of that, I can


see why the CPS says, we better let the courts try this one. Also, they


are in trouble overrated cases because their success rate on


bringing people to court for rape is so thin. When it looked as if his


accusers were not really accusing him, it looks quite weak. You cannot


help but feeling that they are falling over backwards now in


high-profile cases because of their abject and total failure over Jimmy


Savile. I think this is exactly the kind of case that happens when you


are trying to make a point or redeem a reputation or change a culture.


All of these big things. As opposed to what criminal justice is supposed


to be about, which is specific crimes and specific evidence


matching those crimes. The CPS has no copper a fleet joined in this


list of public and situations that has taken a fall over the past five


or six years. We have had Parliament, the newspapers, the


police will stop I think this is as bad a humiliation as any of those


because it is Innocent people suffering. You are the most recent,


being a lobby correspondent in Westminster, and we now see on


Channel 4 News that basically, Westminster is twinned with Sodom


and Gomorrah. Yes. I know. Is this true? It is all rather the red. I do


not move in those circles. And you were in the lobby at one stage? Not


that long ago. Is it right. Is it right to be twinned with Sodom and


Gomorrah? I'll ask him for his opinion. Being technically a member


of the lobby, I can observe some of this stuff. And what surprises me is


that journalists, when the complain about Sodom and Gomorrah, write


themselves out of it. It is as if it is just MPs. We are unalloyed and


unvarnished. Actually, the fact is it has always been a bit like Sodom


and tomorrow. Of course it has. Think about how we have had wave


after wave of stories and scandals. But less of it recently. It was I


think that attitudes have slightly changed. I'll also think that if you


get 650 people in any organisation and you put that much scrutiny on


them, you will find an awful lot going on in most people's officers


of a scurrilous nature. Even in the BBC


In 2013, the public voted for a portrait of


At times he's interesting, at times he's very funny,


My life is a very happy life and I'm a very happy person.


Will you feel nervous when this is unveiled?


I suppose being the centre of attention but for ever.


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew chairs a special debate ahead of the European elections with representatives from UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

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