04/05/2014 Sunday Politics East Midlands


04/05/2014

With Marie Ashby. Andrew Neil interviews the Conservative chairman Grant Shapps and Sir Malcolm Bruce, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, on the European elections.


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debate what it means for London. And with me, as always, the best and

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the brightest political panel in the business - Nick Watt, Helen Lewis

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and Janan Ganesh. They'll be throwing metaphorical rotten eggs

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into the twittersphere. First this morning - Gerry Adams,

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President of Sinn Fein, has spent a fourth night in police custody after

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he was arrested in connection with the killing of Jean McConville more

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than 40 years ago. Sinn Fein has claimed that the arrest is

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politically motivated coming, as it does, during local and European

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election campaigns. Northern Ireland's deputy first minister,

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Martin McGuinness, has indicated he might review the party's support for

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policing in the province if Gerry Adams is charged. The Jean

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McConville murder was one of the most notorious cases of the

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Troubles. The widowed mother of ten was

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kidnapped from her home in December 1972, never to be seen alive again.

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The IRA denied involvement but in 1999 admitted it had murdered her

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and several others, known as the Disappeared. Before his death, the

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former IRA commander Brendan Hughes pointed the finger at Gerry Adams,

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claiming: In April this year, either Bell was

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charged with aiding and abetting the murder. -- Ivor Bell. Gerry Adams

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has always insisted he is innocent of any part in the abduction and

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killing all burial of Mrs McConville.

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We were hoping to speak to the Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa

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Villiers, but having agreed to do an interview with us this morning, she

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pulled out. But we are joined from Belfast by Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey.

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Welcome to the Sunday Politics. And the police just doing their job by

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questioning Gerry Adams? Gerry Adams said publicly some time ago that he

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was available to speak to the police, but that is not what this is

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about at the moment, because what we have here is clearly evidence in our

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mind of political interference in what should be due process. Gerry

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Adams made it clear some time ago he wanted to speak to the police, it

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was available at any time, and yet that request was not taken up until

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three weeks into an election and we believe that was deliberately

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orchestrated by a small number of people. What evidence can you

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present this morning that proves that claim? The direct circumstances

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Gerry Adams finds himself in at the moment, take that in stark contrast

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when they have dealt with members of the British Army for instance...

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That is just circumstantial. The PSNI know that the soldiers involved

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in that and a number of other high-profile killings of citizens

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here, and not one of those people has been arrested. In fact any of

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the people who were interviewed were interviewed by request. There was a

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stark contrast, in terms of how they have dealt with the British military

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involving state killings. We haven't got too much time. Sinn Fein said it

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would review its support for the PSNI if Gerry Adams is charged. That

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sounds like political interference in the police process. It's not

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because we have a clear mandate from the people who elect us. Policing

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has been an important part of the peace process here for many years,

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Sinn Fein plays an important role in local policing partnerships. We

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negotiate to make sure we have powers transferred here to elected

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representatives in the north. It is a long way to go before we have

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policing highly accountable, and making sure they deliver a very

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impartial service. How will he react if Gerry Adams is charged? I am

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still trying to get a clear answer. If Gerry Adams is charged, will you

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withdraw support for the Northern Ireland police service? We view this

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as a serious situation and a serious ongoing situation and we will

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monitor how this pans out. We have a very important role to play to

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support the police service here. We have done consistently, worked with

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them on a daily basis, but we will not accept political interference by

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a small number of people in the police who are undermining the

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police. We will not accept political policing. If there was evidence, and

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I emphasise the word if, because we have seen none, but if there were

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evidence to justify Gerry Adams being charged, why should he not be

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charged? It is my understanding from the family of Gerry Adams that there

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has not been a single shred of evidence put forward. I understand

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that, but if there was evidence, why should he not be charged? You put

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that caveat yourself and then you expect me to speculate, there is no

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way I will do that. The fact of the matter is there hasn't been one

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single shred of evidence put to Gerry Adams in the last few days, in

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fact what has been put to him is a range of issues of newspaper

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cuttings, books, statements made from people, including from people

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who didn't want their statements released until they have died.

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who didn't want their statements was charged, again I emphasise the

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word if, does the police process fall apart? The police process is a

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fragile entity, it requires work and we have been saying this publicly

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and privately with the Irish and British

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and privately with the Irish and process has to be nurtured and

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developed. We are not out of the woods yet. From a Republican point

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of view we have been working flat out. I just wanted a quick answer to

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my question, is a yes or no? What question I asking me? Is the peace

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process in jeopardy? It is fragile and I am not going to have words put

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into my mouth but I don't want to use. It has to be worked out and

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nurtured. Thank you for joining us. Nick Watt, you were a Northern

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Ireland correspondent like myself in days gone by. Where is this going to

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go? It shows how challenging the peace process is because on the one

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hand you have the unspeakable pain of the McConville family, but you

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also have the danger of not having mechanisms to deal with the past.

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South Africa is a good example, you have to have some mechanism to deal

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with the past because if you don't, you are going to have, as Sinn Fein

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have now, someone in a police cell but you don't have the arrests of

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the Bloody Sunday soldiers. Paramilitary prisoners were released

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after two years... We have seen no action against somebody accused of

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the Hyde Park bombings, it is not a one-way street. We have the

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decommissioning of IRA weapons by the IRA, therefore destroying

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crucial evidence. You have these inconsistencies because you don't

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have an mechanism for dealing with the past, but doing that is really

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difficult because of the pain of real people. Don't you get a feeling

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that here in London they are hoping he will not be charged? Definitely

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because it would be nice if everything went away, but the civil

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case of the family is taken out of the hands of the police. You can see

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here a real failure in Westminster to see this as anything other than

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settled. David Cameron we know sees himself as a chairman. I was

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speaking to a friend in Northern Ireland who said he has never met

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Gerry Adams and I think this is very revealing. They consider this as a

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settled issue that will not trouble Westminster again. It would be, but

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the relatives of the disappeared don't want it to be settled. This

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points to the reality that the Belfast agreement probably had to be

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done, but the moral price at which it was purchased was far greater

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than we were willing to admit during the euphoria. For a country that

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prides itself by the rule of law to tolerate the early release of

:10:07.:10:14.

prisoners and former pal and military -- paramilitaries, I think

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was a very serious matter. As for the PSNI, it only exists because its

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predecessor failed to command the confidence of the nationalist

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community. It is a very big deal if even the PSNI ends up falling into

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the same trap. We have to is leave it there I'm afraid. It was the

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Conservative's local election campaign launch on Friday, and what

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did David Cameron focus on? Burning local issues like the state of our

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roads, rubbish collection or care of the elderly? No. It was Europe. The

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Prime Minister re-iterated again his promise of an in-out referendum on

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our membership of the EU in 2017. And it's being reported this morning

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that he will share a platform with Nigel Farage in a pre-general

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election debate. Here's what the UKIP leader had to say about the

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issue when he was on the Marr Show this morning with Ed Miliband. David

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Cameron very often makes these vague promises, then doesn't deliver

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afterwards. I don't think he has any intention of allowing me into any of

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these debates. Perhaps Ed Miliband wants to debate? We have got to have

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the TV debates as we did join the last general election. I think David

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Cameron is doing everything he can to wriggle out of them. It is up to

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the broadcasters but whether they invite Nigel. My main desire is that

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the debates go ahead. We are joined now by Grant Shapps. Will he be

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included? The debates were not without problems, they took place

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during the campaign period and disrupted the flow of the campaign,

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taking it out of the regions, people getting to speak to the leaders so a

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longer period for that would be helpful. I think they are good idea

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and they should go ahead, but all of the negotiation about who is

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involved is yet to happen. So it is not a done deal that Nigel Farage

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will be included? That needs to be negotiated with the TV companies.

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The Conservatives believe we should have debates, but exactly the format

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and the timing, all of the -- that will be debated in the autumn, but

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first we have European elections, the Queen 's speech and a Scottish

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referendum. The local election campaign was launched on Friday. Why

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did you talk more about Europe than local councils? Both are important.

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The local elections are critically important for people, their local

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services. It is easy to forget, for example, that the council tax has

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been largely frozen since this Government came to power, a big

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contrast to Dublin under the previous Labour government. So why

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did you go on and on about Europe? Let me show you the poster used to

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launch your local election campaign. There it is, and in-out referendum

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on Europe, the day of the local elections, where is the word local?

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Is it in small print? I hear what you're saying, I am happy to be here

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to talk about the local elections. But you are right, they are on the

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same day, and not many people know that only by voting conservative can

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you get an in-out referendum. -- Conservative. UKIP cannot deliver,

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we can, it is the same date, so people... This was the launch of the

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local election campaign. Why does the Prime Minister have to keep on

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promising something he has already promised? The actual referendum

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would be in 2017. He promised it before, he keeps repeating it

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because he knows people don't really trust him. I think it is a question

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of the fact that, actually, unless you remind people that the pledges

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there, that the only way to get an in-out referendum is to vote for

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it, this is a critical moment at which we need people to vote for

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that referendum if they want it. It is not the case, as I saw this

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morning, being said by Nigel Farage, that a referendum was promised

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before and not delivered. There was no referendum in the last manifesto.

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There will be in the next one. There was a cast-iron guarantee, in the

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Sun in 2006. Let's just clear that up... Once the Lisbon Treaty... In

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the Sun article, he said, we will have a referendum on the Lisbon

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Treaty. Clearly, because that treaty had been passed before the general

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election, it is difficult to have a referendum on something in the past.

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We joined Europe in the 1970s, having a referendum on that! Look,

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that is about the future. Our relationship with Europe is

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absolutely critical. Most people in this country feel, I was not old

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enough to vote in that referendum, most of those who voted, they voted

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for a Common Market, that is not what we have got. We want to

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continue the work we have been doing in the EU Budget, what did UKIP do?

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They voted against it. We want more of those powers brought home, and we

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will put it to a referendum, and people will have to vote

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Conservative to get it. We have been looking at new research, almost two

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thirds of Conservative members are considering voting for UKIP, almost

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two thirds. I have a simple message here, which is this. If you vote for

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UKIP... Can we have it up? 30% are likely, 30% are possible. That is

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why it is important we are making these arguments. If you vote for

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UKIP, you are voting to take us further away from returning powers

:16:46.:16:49.

to this country, further from a referendum. It is support for Ed

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Miliband becoming Prime Minister, and he will do exactly what Labour

:16:54.:16:58.

have always done - hand away powers, and away the rebate for nothing in

:16:59.:17:03.

return, giving Europe even more so over the day-to-day affairs in

:17:04.:17:07.

Britain. Why are so many people considering voting UKIP? It is to

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hold your feet to the fire, they do not trust you on a referendum, so

:17:12.:17:15.

they will vote UKIP to force you to tap in your line. We have a very

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tough line. If I had said four years ago that this government would

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manage to cut the overall EU budget, would take us out of the

:17:27.:17:30.

bailout fund that Labour got us into, passing a law that no more

:17:31.:17:34.

powers can go to Europe without a referendum, if I had said that,

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people would say, I do not believe it will happen. Not only have we

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done these things, we are promising and in-out referendum, and the only

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way to get it is to vote Conservative. Nigel Farage has

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said, we can't change anything in Europe, and it is no wonder that the

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president of the European Commission has said, we love having these UKIP

:17:55.:17:58.

MEPs, because they don't turn up and vote, apart from when they vote

:17:59.:18:05.

against the cut in the budget. It goes beyond UKIP in your party,

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because this research also showed that those Conservative members most

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likely to vote for UKIP, they said they do not feel valued or respected

:18:15.:18:19.

by their own leadership, and they regard David Cameron as ideological

:18:20.:18:22.

eat more remote from them than UKIP. What I would say is look at that

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list... Let me take that step further. What people need our series

:18:30.:18:38.

solutions to serious problems. When people vote for a UKIP MEP, I will

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say, which one of the 40% of the MEPs who got in for UKIP last time

:18:48.:18:51.

are you voting for, the ones above left or defected, the ones have gone

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to jail? 40% have ended up not delivering. People have a right to

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know what to expect when they vote in these elections. They can look at

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our record at home, and this goes to the point you have raised about what

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we have done in Britain to get this economy back on track, recover from

:19:10.:19:15.

Labour's recession. We are prepared to take those decisions in Europe as

:19:16.:19:23.

well. Presumably, active Conservative members, they know

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that, so why do they not feel valued by the leadership? I spend time

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going up and down the country meeting Conservative members, and

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they are on the doorstep, last weekend 150 out in Enfield

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campaigning for the European and local elections... Why are they keen

:19:41.:19:48.

on UKIP? When I meet somebody who says that, not necessarily a

:19:49.:19:54.

member... Have you met members of say they will vote UKIP? No, but a

:19:55.:20:04.

vote for UKIP is... Do not do it, you will end up with Labour having

:20:05.:20:09.

more control, handing away powers to Europe. 51-year-old meeting members

:20:10.:20:14.

who say they will vote UKIP, you must be out of touch. -- if you are

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not meeting members. Some of your members are thinking of voting UKIP.

:20:21.:20:24.

I spend huge amount of time travelling around, I just told you

:20:25.:20:29.

about this action day in Enfield, where we had an enormous turnout.

:20:30.:20:35.

Those members were on the doorsteps pointing out that you can only get

:20:36.:20:38.

reform in Europe by voting Conservative. Labour and the Lib

:20:39.:20:45.

Dems will not deliver, UKIP can't, Conservatives will. You have not got

:20:46.:20:50.

that message across, because a YouGov poll shows, on Europe, who

:20:51.:20:57.

has the best policies? Tories 18%, Labour 19%, UKIP 27%. On the

:20:58.:21:03.

economy, Tories 27%, Labour 23, UKIP 4. Why don't you shut up about

:21:04.:21:08.

Europe and talk about the economy? Look, on the 27th of May, we have

:21:09.:21:15.

European elections, as well as local elections. If I don't talk about the

:21:16.:21:18.

European elections, you would say what you said at the beginning about

:21:19.:21:21.

not talking about the local elections! These are serious

:21:22.:21:25.

elections, and the point I am tried to make is that the issues at stake

:21:26.:21:30.

are not peripheral, they are not unimportant. Our MEPs have been

:21:31.:21:35.

battling to cut red tape from a European level on small businesses,

:21:36.:21:37.

the same thing this government has been doing for small businesses

:21:38.:21:40.

domestic league, where for example every small business owner watching

:21:41.:21:47.

this show knows they have got ?2000 back in employment announced on

:21:48.:21:49.

national insurance contributions. We are doing it at home, we are doing

:21:50.:21:53.

it in Europe, and it is important to tie that together. Ireland that Mr

:21:54.:21:58.

Cameron saying, you should stop banging on about Europe... -- I

:21:59.:22:14.

remember. This is before the last general election, as in days for the

:22:15.:22:23.

Lib Dems, 18%. Even then, you didn't win the election, and now you are

:22:24.:22:27.

only three or four points ahead, it doesn't look good for you, does it?

:22:28.:22:33.

Even then, the poll did not turn out to be what it was on the day. No,

:22:34.:22:39.

that is what happens, that is the voting intentions now! You are in a

:22:40.:22:42.

worse position than a year before the last election, which you didn't

:22:43.:22:48.

win. We are almost proving the point that you can take a clip at any

:22:49.:22:53.

moment in time, not sounding like a politician, but the only poll that

:22:54.:22:57.

matters is on the day. In just over a year's time, people will have a

:22:58.:23:02.

completely different picture to look at than these opinion polls. We have

:23:03.:23:07.

an economy from being a basket case, the great Labour recession

:23:08.:23:12.

knocking 7% of this economy, hurting every family, to a point where we

:23:13.:23:16.

the fastest-growing economy in the developed world. In a year's time, I

:23:17.:23:22.

hope people will see that we are the people who've taken the difficult

:23:23.:23:25.

decisions, got the economy to the right place, more security for you

:23:26.:23:29.

and your family. Do not give the car keys back to the people who crashed

:23:30.:23:34.

it in the first place. If I had a pound for every time I have heard

:23:35.:23:38.

that! It is clearly not getting through. On the Pfizer attempted of

:23:39.:23:44.

AstraZeneca, Mr Miliband called this morning for a tougher public

:23:45.:23:50.

interest test such big takeovers. Do you agree with that or not? Let me

:23:51.:23:54.

be absolutely clear, if there is any kind of joining, we are in favour of

:23:55.:24:01.

British jobs, British aren't deep, expanding our pharmaceutical sector.

:24:02.:24:11.

-- R But what Mr Mallon and wants to do with rent caps, he is

:24:12.:24:22.

anti-business. -- Mr Miliband. He wants to take us back to the bad old

:24:23.:24:31.

those. -- bad old days. Should there be a bigger public interest test? We

:24:32.:24:38.

have seen some takeovers that people have criticised, but others, like

:24:39.:24:43.

Bentley, Land Rover, which have been very successful. Should there be a

:24:44.:24:49.

tougher test?! We will have tests that ensured this get-together

:24:50.:24:52.

becomes a great Anglo-American project, or it doesn't happen, but

:24:53.:24:57.

the Miliband approach is simply to be anti-business, anti-jobs and

:24:58.:25:02.

anti-job security. Grant Shapps, thank you.

:25:03.:25:05.

A challenging week for the Liberal Democrats with a local election

:25:06.:25:09.

campaign overshadowed by another row with the Conservatives about knife

:25:10.:25:14.

crime. Adam has spent the day with Nick Clegg on the campaign trail.

:25:15.:25:19.

How nice! Nick Clegg is taking me on a political mini break to the

:25:20.:25:23.

Cotswolds. Yes, we are getting the train. He wants to highlight what

:25:24.:25:28.

his party is doing in local government, and a personal passion

:25:29.:25:33.

of his in Europe. Graham Watson, the Lib Dem MEP for the south-west, has

:25:34.:25:37.

been running a campaign to have prunes recognised as a laxative. Is

:25:38.:25:42.

that Lib Dems battling for Britain in Europe? It is not our front page

:25:43.:25:47.

manifesto commitment! It is one of many things that Graham does, he

:25:48.:25:52.

does many other things. In fact, he is a good example of an MEP who took

:25:53.:25:59.

a pioneering role, for instance, in making sure... There is the proven

:26:00.:26:03.

world, but also the crime-fighting role. -- prune. He has done work to

:26:04.:26:10.

make sure that when British criminals flee justice, we can bring

:26:11.:26:15.

them back. And he has promoted prunes! First stop, a gorgeous

:26:16.:26:20.

country pub, but it turns out everyone is a journalist or a very

:26:21.:26:25.

on message activist. Dark days, being a Lib Dem in the last few

:26:26.:26:30.

years? Strangely not. If you find you are a Lib Dem deep down, you do

:26:31.:26:34.

not get that disheartened, because you know that, locally, you are

:26:35.:26:38.

doing so well for the people that you live next door to that,

:26:39.:26:43.

actually, I find I am almost impervious to what happens on a

:26:44.:26:48.

national level. I am mayor of Cirencester. Have you taken any

:26:49.:26:53.

leadership lessons from Nick Clegg, inspiring new in your leadership of

:26:54.:26:58.

Cirencester? I think what he has demonstrated his patience. It has

:26:59.:27:01.

been a tough time, he has taken a lot of flak, and as the mayor of a

:27:02.:27:05.

town, lots of people agree with you and a fair few don't. You are a full

:27:06.:27:11.

on mayor, he is just a Deputy Prime Minister, do you outrank him? I

:27:12.:27:16.

don't think so, he is in government, I am not. So our there any normal

:27:17.:27:22.

people in here? We are from Swindon, you cannot get more

:27:23.:27:27.

abnormal. Are you a big fan of his? No! What has he done wrong? I don't

:27:28.:27:34.

believe in his views at all. Where has he got to? Nigel Farage would

:27:35.:27:41.

have had a pint! At this time in the morning a copy was more appropriate.

:27:42.:27:47.

I have no time for a drink of any kind, because now we are off to look

:27:48.:27:52.

at a local traffic blackspot. This is amazing, like a Lib Dem election

:27:53.:27:56.

leaflet brought to life, Lib Dems pointing at a road. High-vis

:27:57.:28:02.

jackets! Next we had to giggle full bath, but there will be no Regency

:28:03.:28:09.

sightseeing for us, oh no, Nick is taking us to an abandoned

:28:10.:28:18.

wilderness. We have just had a health and safety briefing, we have

:28:19.:28:22.

been told to look out for dive-bombing seagulls and an angry

:28:23.:28:25.

fox. That is the sort of thing Nick Clegg has to put up with. He wants

:28:26.:28:30.

to talk about the economy but he has to dodge the day's beat new story,

:28:31.:28:37.

letters leaked by a Tory suggesting that Lib Dems are soft on knife

:28:38.:28:40.

crime. Isn't that a new kind of warfare? I just think it is silly.

:28:41.:28:51.

They may think they are clever by catching some headlines but they are

:28:52.:28:55.

not helping people who worry about knife crime, like I do. We work

:28:56.:29:05.

together... Just like the Coalition! This is a co-working

:29:06.:29:10.

space where different businesses share the same office. My time with

:29:11.:29:15.

the Deputy Prime Minister is drawing to a close. We haven't talked about

:29:16.:29:20.

the most important story of the week, that you were voted the best

:29:21.:29:24.

looking party leader and the most likely to be a good cook. Right,

:29:25.:29:33.

this is news to me and I can guarantee you that my scepticism of

:29:34.:29:38.

opinion polls has just been confirmed. Just as well because the

:29:39.:29:43.

more serious polls don't look great for him or his party. Goodbye, and

:29:44.:29:48.

thanks for the offer of a ride home!

:29:49.:29:55.

He is still walking. Malcolm Bruce joins us now. According to Lib Dem

:29:56.:29:59.

briefing documents, you are likely to choose -- lose a big chunk of

:30:00.:30:06.

your MEPs. If you lose a lot, what would that say about a party that

:30:07.:30:11.

boasts of its pro-Europe credentials? It would be

:30:12.:30:15.

disappointing because we have the most hard-working MEPs. The worry

:30:16.:30:23.

that we have is that people think the European Parliament is not

:30:24.:30:26.

important but it takes decisions that affect us. They would be

:30:27.:30:35.

disappointing for Britain as well as the Liberal Democrats. Isn't the

:30:36.:30:40.

problem that the more you bang on about your pro-European credentials,

:30:41.:30:45.

the more you slip in the polls? I do think so, we have two weeks to go

:30:46.:30:49.

and we are campaigning extremely hard. You are forced in the polls. I

:30:50.:31:01.

can tell you there are people out there who do believe Britain should

:31:02.:31:05.

stay in the EU and they are worried that other parties will take us out.

:31:06.:31:11.

The Liberal Democrats are clear, we want to stay in, we will work for

:31:12.:31:17.

reform and do it effectively. If you lose the Liberal Democrats,

:31:18.:31:20.

Britain's influence in Europe will be weakened. Your track record in

:31:21.:31:26.

Europe shows you have been spectacularly wrong again and again.

:31:27.:31:31.

In your 2009 manifesto you said the European Central Bank and the euro

:31:32.:31:38.

have been tried and tested over ten years providing a clear picture of

:31:39.:31:42.

the benefits of Eurozone membership and that proved to be nonsense. It

:31:43.:31:48.

was nonsense everywhere. Every developed bank in the world was

:31:49.:31:53.

tried and tested and failed. Europe may not be perfect, but the question

:31:54.:31:59.

people have to decide is if we are going to leave Europe and be

:32:00.:32:04.

isolated on RM, or use our influence to reform it from inside. We have

:32:05.:32:11.

allies, you work with them, that is something the Lib Dems do better

:32:12.:32:17.

than any other parties. Your 2004 manifesto, you claim that being

:32:18.:32:22.

outside the euro would lead to job losses and reduced prosperity. You

:32:23.:32:27.

were just plain wrong, weren't you? Yes, but the reason is that to some

:32:28.:32:33.

extent the euro did not observe any rules and regulations when it was

:32:34.:32:41.

set up. That is why we never recommended Britain should join at

:32:42.:32:45.

the outset because the criteria had not been met. In 2001 Nick Clegg was

:32:46.:32:53.

writing to the Financial Times... Your track record is important. He

:32:54.:32:59.

wrote that the Tisch monetary policy is not all it is cracked up to be.

:33:00.:33:03.

Britain would gain greater control over its affairs by joining the

:33:04.:33:11.

euro. How wrong can he be? We have always argued that the currency had

:33:12.:33:18.

to abide by strict criteria. It hasn't done so and that is one of

:33:19.:33:22.

the reasons it has failed. We recognise there is no future for

:33:23.:33:30.

Britain joining the euro and we are not advocating it. Lets put your

:33:31.:33:37.

2010 manifesto on the screen. I didn't say it was not our long-term

:33:38.:33:43.

interest. If Europe succeeds as an entity, if the euro becomes one of

:33:44.:33:47.

the world leading currencies, there will come a point when it may be

:33:48.:33:55.

justified. In the circumstances we are in the moment, there is no

:33:56.:34:01.

recommended timescale. Let's get this right. Despite the Eurozone

:34:02.:34:06.

crisis which has cost millions of jobs, countries that were teetering

:34:07.:34:11.

on the brink of bankruptcy, the Eurozone now facing stagnation and

:34:12.:34:16.

some countries on the brink of deflation, you still won't rule out

:34:17.:34:21.

Britain joining? We are ruling it out in the foreseeable future. You

:34:22.:34:24.

can miss the point that we are out in the foreseeable future. You

:34:25.:34:28.

working as a coalition partner in government that has secured recovery

:34:29.:34:33.

for the UK, and working as Liberal Democrats in the parliament that

:34:34.:34:38.

have cut back the European budget in cooperation with others. What would

:34:39.:34:43.

the world look like if it were right for Britain to join the euro? You

:34:44.:34:50.

have 27 states at the moment, with too many countries still struggling

:34:51.:34:55.

to meet the criteria so until you have a strong and cohesive enough

:34:56.:34:59.

single Eurozone in which all the countries can meet that criteria,

:35:00.:35:05.

Britain is better off out. So a more centralised Eurozone, that is what

:35:06.:35:10.

you would like Britain to join? No, because it can only happen by

:35:11.:35:15.

consent. Any circumstances in which any further powers would be

:35:16.:35:22.

transferred from the UK to the EU, we would support a referendum. You

:35:23.:35:27.

have just said that for the Eurozone to work, it has to be more

:35:28.:35:30.

centralised and you said if that happens, that is what Britain would

:35:31.:35:37.

join. I didn't say that, I said it would require the consent of all

:35:38.:35:41.

member states to agree to the criteria. We certainly do not

:35:42.:35:48.

envisage joining in the foreseeable future. Since you are the proud

:35:49.:35:54.

party of in, why weren't you just give us a referendum on in or out?

:35:55.:36:01.

Because it has to have a context. What David Cameron is doing is

:36:02.:36:05.

dangerous because I think the major players like Britain and France are

:36:06.:36:10.

not keen on the idea of being bullied into reforms on the

:36:11.:36:13.

instigation of just one member state which is threatening possibility to

:36:14.:36:17.

withdraw. They will have to agree to rules... Just have it now. Do you

:36:18.:36:27.

want in or out? To have a referendum against no background is to put it

:36:28.:36:31.

out of context. We are in the middle of a crisis, a year away from the

:36:32.:36:36.

general election. We have made it clear... You said we are in the

:36:37.:36:44.

middle of the Eurozone crisis? So we are not in the middle of it? What's

:36:45.:36:50.

the middle? The reality is that the Western world has gone through a

:36:51.:36:55.

deep crisis. The UK is coming out of it, the Eurozone is coming out of

:36:56.:37:00.

it. Greece have been able to borrow on the markets in recent weeks which

:37:01.:37:06.

is a sign of success. It is in our interest is the Eurozone succeeds

:37:07.:37:09.

and recovers and we should be part of it but not necessarily on the

:37:10.:37:13.

same conditions as everyone else. The Liberal Democrats work with

:37:14.:37:17.

others to deliver Britain's interests and if they are not there,

:37:18.:37:25.

their interests will be undermined. You are watching Sunday Politics. We

:37:26.:37:28.

say goodbye to viewers in Scotland now.

:37:29.:37:36.

In the East Midlands: Safe Tory seat or the chance for a UKIP

:37:37.:37:41.

breakthrough? We'll have the latest from Newark. I think British jobs

:37:42.:37:51.

for British people, local jobs. What about Nigel Farage? No, sorry, no.

:37:52.:37:58.

And e`cigs? Plain packaging? We'll be looking at the fight to cure us

:37:59.:38:02.

of our smoking habit. I've been smoking since I was 14. It keeps you

:38:03.:38:07.

can. Hello, I'm Marie Ashby, and my

:38:08.:38:10.

guests this week: Nigel Mills, the Conservative MP for Amber Valley and

:38:11.:38:13.

Labour's Ashfield MP and Shadow Minister for Equalities and Women,

:38:14.:38:16.

Gloria De Piero. Well, what a week it's been for politics in the East

:38:17.:38:20.

Midlands! We'll look more closely at the Newark by election in a moment,

:38:21.:38:24.

but first the events of the last few days, and it all began when the

:38:25.:38:27.

Newark MP, Patrick Mercer, announced he was standing down after a damning

:38:28.:38:30.

report by the Parliamentary Standards Committee over his conduct

:38:31.:38:38.

in a lobbying scandal. I am going to resign my seat in Nottinghamshire in

:38:39.:38:44.

the town of Newark, and I hope that my successor, who has been well and

:38:45.:38:49.

carefully chosen, will be the Conservative candidate. Thank you

:38:50.:38:52.

very much indeed. Then there was fevered speculation

:38:53.:38:55.

that the UKIP leader Nigel Farage would contest the seat. By Wednesday

:38:56.:38:58.

he announced that he wouldn't because he didn't know the East

:38:59.:39:03.

Midlands very well. He certainly knows it a little better now after

:39:04.:39:07.

being hit with an egg on a visit to Nottingham. He is going to remember

:39:08.:39:13.

the East Midlands, but maybe not for the right reasons. Nigel, what do

:39:14.:39:17.

you make of Patrick Mercer's resignation? Did he do the right

:39:18.:39:24.

thing? Yes, absolutely. I think Patrick should have resigned a year

:39:25.:39:27.

ago when the scandal first came out, but there was no way he could stay.

:39:28.:39:35.

This was no minor misdemeanour. The second worst breach of the rule

:39:36.:39:40.

since 1947. An extremely serious offence we should never dream of

:39:41.:39:45.

doing. You should not take money from lobbyists to do it for

:39:46.:39:50.

something else. He has said sorry, he also said he was ashamed of his

:39:51.:39:55.

behaviour, is that enough? It brings politics and politicians into

:39:56.:40:00.

disrepute. You would hope systems exist to root out that kind of

:40:01.:40:04.

behaviour. It is a messy business, isn't it? I'm think it has ended in

:40:05.:40:10.

the right way with him leaving Parliament. Let's take a closer look

:40:11.:40:19.

at that by`election in Newark. It has always been a bit different. The

:40:20.:40:23.

Nottinghamshire town held out for the King in the Civil War against

:40:24.:40:27.

the forces of Parliament. But now it seems the Parliamentarians are

:40:28.:40:31.

causing havoc there all over again. The resignation of Patrick Mercer

:40:32.:40:34.

means there'll now be a by`election in Newark on June fifth. It's

:40:35.:40:37.

probably one the Conservatives could do without, but on paper at least it

:40:38.:40:41.

shouldn't be a problem for them. Newark is a very safe Tory seat. At

:40:42.:40:45.

the last election they had a majority of 16,000. Polling just

:40:46.:40:48.

under 27,600 votes, Labour got just under 11,500, the Lib Dems just over

:40:49.:40:51.

10,000 and UKIP were a distant fourth with under 2,000. But of

:40:52.:41:00.

course, UKIP are riding high in the opinion polls, so could this be

:41:01.:41:03.

their moment for a Parliamentary breakthrough? Des Coleman's been to

:41:04.:41:05.

Newark to assess the mood. There are not too many of these in

:41:06.:41:19.

the East Midlands, yet when you see one, you know you're in a safe

:41:20.:41:27.

Conservative seat. But the town has had a Labour MP, and even a Liberal

:41:28.:41:33.

MP, in the past. William Gladstone was MP here way back in the

:41:34.:41:39.

19th`century. Let's take a tour around Newark today. Of course, the

:41:40.:41:48.

marketplace is a great melting pot for Newark. What is the feeling

:41:49.:41:54.

here? I have always voted Conservative ever since I started

:41:55.:42:01.

voting. It sounds awful, but they do not look very manly. What about

:42:02.:42:13.

Nigel Farage? No, sorry, no. British jobs for British people, local jobs

:42:14.:42:19.

for people in Newark. It sounds like a UKIP line, are you going to vote

:42:20.:42:26.

for them? Possibly. Who would you consider voting for? I think I am

:42:27.:42:34.

with him, definitely. We have come to a Labour area, let's see what the

:42:35.:42:38.

people here have to say. Are there any other parties that can help?

:42:39.:42:47.

Now, mate, no. I would take none. The people that are running the

:42:48.:42:50.

country at the moment and generally speaking are looking after the hire

:42:51.:42:56.

people, the people on the ground floor that matter, create things,

:42:57.:43:03.

they are getting kicked in the teeth. But the focus will be whether

:43:04.:43:10.

Conservative areas like he will turn the UKIP. Do you think Colling is

:43:11.:43:18.

ready for UKIP? No, I don't think anyone should be ready for UKIP

:43:19.:43:21.

because I don't like what he stands for. What are your opinions on UKIP,

:43:22.:43:27.

would you change your vote and vote for UKIP? Not at the moment, I don't

:43:28.:43:32.

think I know enough about it. My husband would kill me if I did not

:43:33.:43:37.

vote for the Tories. Does Nigel Farage excite you? Who? Never heard

:43:38.:43:43.

of him. Well, joining us to discuss all that

:43:44.:43:46.

is Jason Zadrozny, a Lib Dem councillor in Nottinghamshire, and

:43:47.:43:48.

coincidentally the party's candidate against Gloria for the Ashfield

:43:49.:43:54.

seat. Welcome. Nigel, some encouraging signs in the villages

:43:55.:44:01.

around Newark, the Tory truck `` the Tory vote is holding up. But it is

:44:02.:44:07.

going to be a hard fight. There is no such thing as a safe seat in a

:44:08.:44:13.

by`election. We have to get out there and sure it is very important

:44:14.:44:19.

to vote Conservative in this by`election to elect effective MPs

:44:20.:44:24.

in the country's interest. What is the Labour strategy here? Hoping you

:44:25.:44:32.

can carve it up through the middle. It is the 44th safest Conservative

:44:33.:44:35.

seat in the country, so I'm surprised you're saying it might be

:44:36.:44:40.

a struggle to hold on. We want to talk about the things which form the

:44:41.:44:43.

core of Labour's strategy in the next election, it is about families

:44:44.:44:48.

that are still struggling, it is about childcare, freezing energy

:44:49.:44:52.

bills, getting people back to work. Those are the things we want to do

:44:53.:44:55.

to change Britain, that will be our message in Newark. We will be

:44:56.:45:01.

fighting for votes. We have got a great candidate. We are aware that

:45:02.:45:05.

it is one of the safest Tory seats in Britain as well. Jason, you held

:45:06.:45:11.

the seat before, but that was back in the late 1880s. A while ago, yes.

:45:12.:45:17.

But anything can happen in a by`election. Both parties are going

:45:18.:45:24.

to struggle. This sort of event does not bathe anyone in glory, frankly.

:45:25.:45:29.

We have been very popular for a long time, we have one South well Council

:45:30.:45:34.

for longer than I have been alive. The polls are not looking great.

:45:35.:45:40.

People are concentrating on the European election, that really it

:45:41.:45:43.

will come down to who is best to represent Newark, in a very large

:45:44.:45:49.

local election. Is it going to come down, Nigel, to how much damage UKIP

:45:50.:45:56.

can cause the Conservatives? We have a European election before that

:45:57.:46:03.

by`election. They are generally Eurosceptic in that election. This

:46:04.:46:08.

is a parliamentary by`election for a Westminster seat, we have to deal

:46:09.:46:12.

with the important message about how we fix the economy, create jobs,

:46:13.:46:15.

improve the health service and schools. These are not things UKIP

:46:16.:46:22.

can do. You do not think UKIP will do well? I am sure UKIP will do

:46:23.:46:31.

better than they did in 2010. But I think we will put the work in and

:46:32.:46:39.

hopefully retain a receipt. Gloria, will UKIP damage the Conservative

:46:40.:46:43.

vote? What is really harmful and hurtful and worrying, when you hear

:46:44.:46:50.

people saying, I think UKIP is as much about an anti`politics feel as

:46:51.:46:56.

it is about anything else, and that is a big wake`up called to all

:46:57.:46:59.

politicians. We cannot sit there and fight amongst ourselves. We do not

:47:00.:47:04.

want to fight for a dwindling number of votes amongst us. We have got to

:47:05.:47:10.

change ourselves as well. There was a sense that people feel there is no

:47:11.:47:14.

other option, the parties are not giving them anything so they have to

:47:15.:47:19.

look elsewhere? UKIP is the Party of Satan bites and fear at the moment.

:47:20.:47:23.

Everything that is negative and pessimistic `` the party of sound

:47:24.:47:31.

bites. There is a dwindling number of people, but there is still 60% of

:47:32.:47:35.

people, because it is a European election, it is licensing people to

:47:36.:47:40.

think about another party. They are voting for UKIP no matter what they

:47:41.:47:45.

really feel. In the parliamentary by`election, coming up to the 2015

:47:46.:47:49.

general election, people will come home to the parties they feel really

:47:50.:47:54.

represent them. We fight every election but we do not know what the

:47:55.:47:58.

people of Newark feel. I have got friends there, through and through

:47:59.:48:03.

liberals. I think if we can get the message out of what we have done

:48:04.:48:06.

locally, we will hold onto the share of the vote. Nigel, this is a

:48:07.:48:11.

by`election you could well do without. Would not have been better

:48:12.:48:15.

if he had stayed in his seat until a better time the Tories? No, he went

:48:16.:48:20.

at the right time and it is a good thing he has gone. I think for him

:48:21.:48:26.

to stay would have been completely wrong. If you lose the seat, it does

:48:27.:48:34.

not bear thinking about, does it? That is the issue with a by`election

:48:35.:48:40.

in a safe seat. Newark was a seat taken by Labour, but it shows how

:48:41.:48:48.

far they have got to go. It is a totally different seat. Our Labour

:48:49.:48:53.

are going to be campaigning there? Of course. It is one of the safest

:48:54.:49:01.

Tory seats in the country, remember. You are not going to fight hard for

:49:02.:49:07.

it? Of course, we have got a great candidate. Of course we will. It

:49:08.:49:10.

will give us the opportunity to say we are the only party who will help

:49:11.:49:16.

living standards and help people while they are struggling. Not too

:49:17.:49:22.

long until the 5th of June. And next week we'll be setting out our stall

:49:23.:49:26.

in Newark, literally. On Wednesday we'll be in the Market Place to hear

:49:27.:49:30.

your views. So do come along if you're in town.

:49:31.:49:32.

Now, cigarette smokers trying to give up their habit in the East

:49:33.:49:35.

Midlands say they're alarmed at moves to ban smoking nicotine

:49:36.:49:37.

substitutes like e`cigarettes in public places. At the moment the

:49:38.:49:41.

proposal is only for Wales, but it's an idea that's gaining ground. It

:49:42.:49:44.

highlights the sensitive subject of tobacco policy, with smoking causing

:49:45.:49:47.

thousands of early deaths and illnesses but also generating huge

:49:48.:49:50.

revenues for the government. Here's Chris Doidge.

:49:51.:49:55.

In Nottingham, it is estimated as much as half of the population

:49:56.:50:00.

smokes. I have been smoking since I was 14, it is the only thing that

:50:01.:50:06.

keeps me calm. Local authorities are trying to do something about it. As

:50:07.:50:12.

you can see, on the high street here, we are making it as accessible

:50:13.:50:19.

service as possible. Smokers trying to kick the habit are offered

:50:20.:50:23.

nicotine patches and gum, but not the latest, rapidly growing

:50:24.:50:30.

innovation, East cigarettes. We are waiting for electronics to become

:50:31.:50:35.

regulated. That will obviously get away from that grey area. For some,

:50:36.:50:45.

East cigarettes or a lifetime `` East cigarettes. I don't smoke much

:50:46.:50:53.

anyway. I find these a lot cheaper to start off with. It is beneficial

:50:54.:51:00.

for my health. I feel like a cigarette, I don't like it. This is

:51:01.:51:06.

asking questions to consumers of tobacco. But also of regulators,

:51:07.:51:11.

both in Westminster and Brussels. In Ripley in Derbyshire, one of the

:51:12.:51:16.

hundreds of electronic cigarette shops, with a mind`boggling array of

:51:17.:51:25.

flavours available. Polar bears. The store manager acknowledges consumers

:51:26.:51:28.

do not feel they have all of the facts about what is known as the

:51:29.:51:34.

ping. There are some doubts out there, whether that is to do with

:51:35.:51:38.

imported liquid from China not been tested in the UK, they are not sure

:51:39.:51:43.

whether they will be able to passive smoke them, whether it is safe or

:51:44.:51:49.

not, it is. The regulation is tightening, first a ban on selling

:51:50.:51:53.

to under 18 's, next, possibly stopping their use in public places.

:51:54.:51:57.

The government is also looking at declaring them a pharmaceutical

:51:58.:52:02.

product. We have had a lot of customers who are worried about the

:52:03.:52:05.

fact that if it goes to a pharmaceutical way of purchasing,

:52:06.:52:09.

what are they going to do, how were they going to get these products

:52:10.:52:13.

they need? Not good for you either, presumably? Definitely, it will ruin

:52:14.:52:22.

our business. 540 jobs will be lost next year at this Nottingham

:52:23.:52:26.

factory. The government is blaming the increase in taxes for the need

:52:27.:52:31.

to close the plant. Rightly, trade unions say the company is also

:52:32.:52:34.

blaming overregulation. `` privately. There are a lot of

:52:35.:52:40.

difficult issues for politicians to have the balance when it comes to

:52:41.:52:42.

cigarettes. We're joined by Professor John

:52:43.:52:45.

Britton, Director of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies

:52:46.:52:51.

based at Nottingham University. What is your view of e`cigarettes, good

:52:52.:53:01.

or bad? Definitely good. They have the potential to help millions of

:53:02.:53:04.

smokers stop smoking and prevent millions of deaths in the United

:53:05.:53:07.

Kingdom. They are huge benefits of health. To me, the challenges

:53:08.:53:14.

involved in managing the risks that. What risks? The risks are of the

:53:15.:53:21.

product itself, which are unregulated, users do not know what

:53:22.:53:25.

they are inhaling into their lungs. And the risks that commercial

:53:26.:53:29.

pressures will drive towards pushing these products out into nonsmokers,

:53:30.:53:33.

ridiculously the biggest market of nonsmokers for the future, today's

:53:34.:53:39.

young people. Could they not just prolong the process of giving up?

:53:40.:53:45.

Not necessarily, smokers smoke for nicotine but are killed by the

:53:46.:53:49.

smoke. If they switch to a nicotine product that does not deliver smoke,

:53:50.:53:55.

and Carrie is amusing that that `` and carry on using that, that will

:53:56.:54:01.

not be bad. Gloria, you use e`cigarettes. Was that to help you

:54:02.:54:08.

give up real cigarettes? I smoked real cigarettes, but if I am honest

:54:09.:54:14.

I did not know how I was going to give up. Then e`cigarettes came

:54:15.:54:20.

along, I tried one, three years ago, and I have not smoked a cigarette

:54:21.:54:26.

since. I am so pleased. I agree with you, I would like them to be

:54:27.:54:29.

regulated and what I am putting in my lungs. I would like to know where

:54:30.:54:34.

this stuff is made. What is your reaction when people see you with

:54:35.:54:40.

e`cigarettes? They think I look slightly ridiculous. But I am not

:54:41.:54:47.

kidding myself. Can you use one in the House of Commons? In the

:54:48.:54:53.

tearooms, I would not sit smoking in the chamber. Bands are happening,

:54:54.:54:58.

Nigel, aren't they? Ireland has banned e`cigarettes in hospitals,

:54:59.:55:03.

Wales are considering a ban in public places. Does the public want

:55:04.:55:09.

this? No, we should be very careful. It would be wrong to have more

:55:10.:55:13.

restrictions on e`cigarettes than on real cigarettes. You have to go into

:55:14.:55:18.

a pharmacy to get one behind the counter, rather foolish thing to do.

:55:19.:55:25.

You want these to easily available. We need to make sure what is in

:55:26.:55:30.

them. There is a drive to ban them, isn't there? There seems to be this

:55:31.:55:37.

move towards that. We want people to stop smoking, not to start, we need

:55:38.:55:41.

to be careful about what is going on. I think it is completely wrong

:55:42.:55:46.

to try to ban these things. What will the effect of banning them be?

:55:47.:55:51.

Banning in public places, you mean. Or the most part it is not a big

:55:52.:55:55.

imposition, smokers are used to smoking out doors and will accept

:55:56.:55:59.

that imposition without too much of a complaint. But my concern is, as

:56:00.:56:05.

expressed, that these are products that are substitutes and

:56:06.:56:08.

alternatives for smoking. It is important we realise that potential.

:56:09.:56:13.

If you say you cannot use them in places where smokers are desperate,

:56:14.:56:19.

that seems wrong to me. Soave safer for passive smokers? There is a

:56:20.:56:25.

theoretical risk but it is probably a trivial one. The main one is a

:56:26.:56:30.

problem of courtesy and intrusion, if you are sitting in a restaurant,

:56:31.:56:33.

you would rather not have other people's vapour blowing into your

:56:34.:56:39.

face. But we cannot get away from the fact that cigarettes do bring in

:56:40.:56:43.

a lot of revenue for the government, but if you then drive this problem

:56:44.:56:48.

underground, it makes it easier for illicit tobacco to flourish?

:56:49.:56:54.

Cigarettes are big revenue, they are also a big drain on the public

:56:55.:56:59.

purse. I don't think you should say let's keep smoking to keep revenue

:57:00.:57:05.

going, that would be crazy. You want to make sure this market on

:57:06.:57:13.

e`cigarettes is a fair one. And that they are not somehow being sold out

:57:14.:57:17.

of other devious outlets. But these things look like to be a step in the

:57:18.:57:22.

right direction. It sounds like you're sitting on the fence. Will

:57:23.:57:26.

the government come out and say, one way or the other, how it feels about

:57:27.:57:31.

these? There is work being done to see what the best way of regulating

:57:32.:57:36.

these is. It is wise to sit on the fence in these things, we do not

:57:37.:57:41.

know what is in these e`cigarettes. Should we be having them out there

:57:42.:57:47.

in the first place? If you move to ban them before we can examine these

:57:48.:57:49.

potential suppliers, things coming from China, it will be years before

:57:50.:57:54.

you get them on the market. If you are buying them out of car boots, or

:57:55.:57:57.

smoking more cigarettes, you have to get the balance right. We should

:57:58.:58:01.

check and make sure they are safe as they can be. To say, no, you cannot

:58:02.:58:06.

sell them until we have spent years checking them, is a foolish thing to

:58:07.:58:13.

do. The anti`smoking campaign, to get smoking banned in places, quite

:58:14.:58:16.

graphic adverts on cigarette packets, say, these are good thing.

:58:17.:58:23.

They support them. The anti`smoking campaigners are behind them, and

:58:24.:58:28.

that says a lot. What do you think the government's stands should be on

:58:29.:58:33.

this? That they want these products out there, they should be easy for

:58:34.:58:36.

smokers to access, priced competitively against cigarettes,

:58:37.:58:41.

and a justification to bed cigarette prices up still further. We need

:58:42.:58:47.

regulation and streamlined regulation to make sure that when

:58:48.:58:50.

you buy one of these products you know you're not inhaling something

:58:51.:58:53.

that is going to cause long`term harm. We need restrictions on

:58:54.:58:57.

marketing and promotion to protect children. And you still think they

:58:58.:59:03.

are a good idea in the meantime. In the meantime if we can get more

:59:04.:59:08.

smokers smoking electronic, that is a good thing.

:59:09.:59:12.

Time for a round`up of some of the other political stories in the East

:59:13.:59:15.

Midlands this week. Here's our Political Editor, John Hess, with 60

:59:16.:59:17.

Seconds. The government says there been an

:59:18.:59:20.

improvement at Derby's Al`Madinah School, which was placed in special

:59:21.:59:26.

measures. The Department for Education says the latest report

:59:27.:59:31.

shows it is making good progress. Nottingham City Council has welcomed

:59:32.:59:33.

government plans for tougher planning restrictions for betting

:59:34.:59:38.

shops. The council had signed up to a campaign to limit the number of

:59:39.:59:45.

bookies on the high street. One MP has spoken out against sexual

:59:46.:59:47.

harassment for interns working in Parliament. The Labour MP told radio

:59:48.:59:53.

fours that all parties need to tackle the issue. There are people

:59:54.:59:58.

who are victims who were not listened to, who do not feel they

:59:59.:00:02.

can speak out. And a second Labour MP has joined the battle against a

:00:03.:00:06.

ban on importing mangoes from India. John Ashworth wants to overturn an

:00:07.:00:17.

EU ban on mangoes. That's the Sunday Politics in the

:00:18.:00:21.

East Midlands. Thanks to Gloria De Piero and Nigel Mills. Thanks very

:00:22.:00:27.

much for joining us. Now back to Andrew Neil. Thanks for

:00:28.:00:30.

on our website. That is all we have got time for this week. Next week,

:00:31.:00:35.

London's local elections. Welcome back. Now, the Government is

:00:36.:00:42.

not very good at predicting the future. That's according to a report

:00:43.:00:46.

from a committee of MPs this morning who say that its Horizon Scanning

:00:47.:00:49.

programme that's supposed to identify potential threats, risks,

:00:50.:00:51.

emerging issues and opportunities isn't much good at reading the tea

:00:52.:00:57.

leaves. But can it really be any worse than our panel? Here they are

:00:58.:01:00.

predicting the future of then culture secretary Maria Miller

:01:01.:01:11.

before Easter. Can she survive? I'm getting out of

:01:12.:01:14.

the prediction game after I said Nick Clegg would win the debates.

:01:15.:01:20.

But I almost think she might. If there is a big event that moves this

:01:21.:01:26.

off the front pages. David Cameron will want to keep Maria Miller until

:01:27.:01:32.

at least his summary shuffle. I think they will get rid of her. I

:01:33.:01:39.

think they will do the decent thing after exhausting all other options.

:01:40.:01:44.

Maria Miller resigned a few days later of course! The best and the

:01:45.:01:53.

brightest, when did that slip in? This week it will be exactly a year

:01:54.:01:56.

until the General Election, so what better time to get our panel to gaze

:01:57.:02:04.

into their crystal balls again. What's the outcome of the election

:02:05.:02:10.

in 2015? I'm going to go with the polls and say Ed Miliband as the

:02:11.:02:18.

Prime Minister. But the polls are only a snapshot of opinion now, you

:02:19.:02:22.

think they will be the same in a year? No, I think they will narrow.

:02:23.:02:30.

I think UKIP's vote share will fall. I think they are currently coasting

:02:31.:02:35.

on a high and that will tailor way so they won't take as many votes off

:02:36.:02:43.

the Tories. Labour with a majority or is the largest party. Another

:02:44.:02:49.

liberal Conservative coalition, and I say that because he is already in

:02:50.:02:56.

touching distance of Labour. I don't think UKIP will get 15, maybe half

:02:57.:03:01.

of that, and most of the votes they lose will either not vote at all go

:03:02.:03:06.

to the Tories and that should be enough to be the biggest party in a

:03:07.:03:11.

hung parliament I don't envisage a Tory majority. I am also going to go

:03:12.:03:17.

with the polls. For Ed Miliband to be hoping to win at this stage, he

:03:18.:03:21.

has got to be way ahead in the polls. Labour needs to be much

:03:22.:03:29.

further ahead if he is going to win so David Cameron, probably the

:03:30.:03:33.

leader of the largest party. Last time after the election David

:03:34.:03:37.

Cameron went to the 1922 committee and announced he was Prime Minister

:03:38.:03:41.

as head of the Coalition. He has agreed this time he will consult

:03:42.:03:45.

them and it will be much more difficult for him to get a

:03:46.:03:50.

coalition. People at home have now concluded there will be a Liberal

:03:51.:03:56.

Democrat landslide! Are we going to have debates? Yes, probably further

:03:57.:04:01.

away from polling day then last time. That is the Liberal Democrat

:04:02.:04:08.

point, isn't it? Yes, it sucks all the life out of the campaign, so the

:04:09.:04:14.

last six weeks will be left to traditional campaigning. What did

:04:15.:04:17.

you make of this in the Sunday Times this morning, this two, three, five

:04:18.:04:27.

formula. There should be a Cameron, Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg debate, then

:04:28.:04:34.

there should be another one with them and UKIP and the Greens. It

:04:35.:04:45.

might be testing the patience of the nation to tune into all of those. If

:04:46.:04:50.

you're going to say Nigel Farage should be there, the Green party

:04:51.:04:54.

should be too. They know that as soon as you put them on a podium

:04:55.:05:00.

next to them, he looks like he has equal stature and that is a problem.

:05:01.:05:06.

David Cameron does not want the debates to happen on the way they

:05:07.:05:10.

happened last time. It is generally regarded, Lynton Crosby believes

:05:11.:05:15.

they were a disaster for David Cameron because they allowed Nick

:05:16.:05:21.

Clegg to be the fresh person. He knows he cannot say no to them so

:05:22.:05:26.

the moment you see David Cameron suggesting that Caroline Lucas

:05:27.:05:30.

should be in the debate, you know he is not serious. What he will try to

:05:31.:05:34.

do is have more debates, have them outside the main part of the general

:05:35.:05:39.

election so that it doesn't dominate. The problem the David

:05:40.:05:42.

Cameron is that the campaign will be much longer. It is a five-week

:05:43.:05:49.

campaign so it is quite difficult for him to say we will only have one

:05:50.:05:54.

debate in that campaign. I think smother it with love, hopefully it

:05:55.:05:58.

will go to the courts for him and hopefully they will never happen and

:05:59.:06:03.

he will be delighted. The European election and the local elections are

:06:04.:06:08.

coming up. The three mainstream parties are saying it is a flash in

:06:09.:06:12.

the pan, they don't really matter and so on, but if UKIP comes a

:06:13.:06:18.

strong first, if Labour comes a poor second and the Tories come a poor

:06:19.:06:24.

third, it will have consequences for all three, and the Lib Dems come

:06:25.:06:30.

forth or even fish. It will have consequences and not just in the

:06:31.:06:34.

media but on the ground. One of the big stories is what will happen to

:06:35.:06:37.

the Lib Dems, they face losing all of their MEPs. A good result for

:06:38.:06:46.

them is lit -- in the local elections is losing 250 councillors.

:06:47.:06:49.

These are the most interesting elections we have had for some

:06:50.:06:56.

time. Are we heading for a Nick Clegg summer leadership crisis? I

:06:57.:07:00.

think we are heading towards reversing the clock back to where we

:07:01.:07:04.

were before the Eastleigh by-election. That quiet and things

:07:05.:07:10.

down for Nick Clegg. If they lose all their MEPs, and there is a real

:07:11.:07:15.

chance they will, Vince Cable will be out on manoeuvres because age is

:07:16.:07:20.

not on his side. If he can say Nick Clegg is a loser and a failure, he

:07:21.:07:27.

will be back. Will the Tories go into headless chicken mode if they

:07:28.:07:42.

come third? Yes, if UKIP come first there will not be as much panic as

:07:43.:07:49.

if Labour come first. Is Labour comes a poor second, will there be

:07:50.:07:53.

some pressure on Ed Miliband to reopen his attitude to the

:07:54.:07:58.

referendum? I don't think so and my colleague was talking to Labour

:07:59.:08:02.

sources who said he is absolutely not going to. That is something you

:08:03.:08:06.

can say definitely about him, he decides on a course and he sticks to

:08:07.:08:11.

it. There is one potential upside for David Cameron in a really bad

:08:12.:08:17.

Conservative results, it could strengthen his hand in the

:08:18.:08:20.

renegotiations of Britain's EU membership because he doesn't even

:08:21.:08:25.

need to say to Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande it is there. David

:08:26.:08:33.

Cameron hasn't just been fighting for his party into the local

:08:34.:08:37.

elections. He also got his knuckles wrapped by the Speaker, John Bercow,

:08:38.:08:40.

at Prime Minister's Question Time, for talking for too long. Take a

:08:41.:08:47.

look at this. There is a better future ahead of us but we must not

:08:48.:08:52.

go backward to the policies that put us in this mess in the first place.

:08:53.:08:57.

I don't know what they are paying him, Mr Speaker. Order, order. I

:08:58.:09:15.

haven't finished! In response to that question, the Prime Minister

:09:16.:09:19.

has finished and he can take it from me that he has finished. I can't

:09:20.:09:27.

remember a speaker ever speaking to a Prime Minister like that. Clearly

:09:28.:09:32.

in that case, John Bercow crossed a line. It is Prime Minister 's

:09:33.:09:37.

questions, he is entitled to answer the questions. There is really bad

:09:38.:09:43.

blood between those two, going back a long way. They hate each other and

:09:44.:09:49.

the worrying thing about that was the look of triumphalism on the

:09:50.:09:55.

speaker's face afterwards. He is a remarkable, revolutionary

:09:56.:09:56.

who has made the House of Commons more

:09:57.:09:58.

who has made the House of Commons someone else replaces him. He is

:09:59.:10:43.

quite popular with Labour, is he not? Yes, he is married to a Labour

:10:44.:10:50.

activist and is notably sympathetic to Labour but I think this is a

:10:51.:10:55.

difficult situation. David Cameron also overstepped the line. As soon

:10:56.:10:59.

as the speaker says order, the idea is that the House was to order and

:11:00.:11:06.

David Cameron pushed him. They are both trying to score points off each

:11:07.:11:11.

other. We cover Prime Minister 's questions every week on the daily

:11:12.:11:18.

politics, and there is a danger that he sees it as an opportunity to do

:11:19.:11:23.

some grandstanding. You slightly sends his vanity gets the better of

:11:24.:11:26.

him. It is

:11:27.:12:56.

With Marie Ashby. Andrew Neil interviews the Conservative chairman Grant Shapps and Sir Malcolm Bruce, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, on the forthcoming European elections.


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