22/06/2014 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Rachel Reeves discusses what reforms Labour would make to the welfare department.

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Welfare reform is one of the government's most popular policies.


So Labour says it would be even tougher than the Tories.


We'll be asking the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary if she's got


Even Labour supporters worry that Ed Miliband hasn't got what it takes


Labour grandees are increasingly vocal about their concerns.


Over 50% of Labour voters think they'd do better with a new leader.


In the East Midlands Lib Dels and I apparently "toxic" on the doorstep.


In the East Midlands Lib Dels and I region cold for a new leader.


promised an electric car revolution, why so little progress?


Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, the toxic tweeters


First, the deepening crisis in Iraq, where Sunni Islamists are now


largely in control of the Syrian-Iraq border, which means


they can now re-supply their forces in Iraq from their Syrian bases


Rather than moving on Baghdad, they are for the moment consolidating


their grip on the towns and cities they've already taken.


They also seem to be in effective control of Iraq's


biggest oil refinery, which supplies the capital.


And there are reports they might now have taken the power


Iraqi politicians are now admitting that ISIS,


the name of the Sunni insurgents, is better trained, better equipped and


far more battle-hardened than the US-trained Iraqi army fighting it.


Which leaves the fate of Baghdad increasingly in the hands


No good news coming out of there, Janan. No good news and no good


options either. The West's best strategy is to decide how much


support to give to the Iraqi government. The US is sending over


about 275 military personnel. Do they go further and contemplate


their support? General Petraeus argued against it as it might be


seen as the US serving as the force of Shia Iraqis -- continue their


support. Do we contemplate breaking up Iraq? It won't be easy. The Sunni


and Shia Muslim populations don t live in clearly bordered areas, but


in the longer term, do we deal with it in the same way we dealt with the


break-up of the Ottoman empire over 100 years ago? In the short-term and


long-term, completely confounding. Quite humiliating. If ISIS take


Baghdad I can't think of a bigger ignominy for foreign policy since


Suez. If Iraq is partitioned, it won't be up to us. It will be what


is happening because of what is happening on the ground. Everything


does point to partition, and that border, which ISIS control, between


Syria and Iraq, that has been there since it was drawn during the First


World War. That is gone as well An astonishingly humbling situation the


West, and you can see the Kurds in the North think this is a charge --


chance for authority. They think this is the chance to get the


autonomy they felt they deserved a long time. Janan is right. We can't


do much in the long term, but we have to decide on the engagement.


And the other people wish you'd be talking turkey, because if there is


some blowback and the fighters come back, they are likely to come back


from Turkey. Where is Iran in all of this? There were reports last week


that the Revolutionary guard, the head of it, he was already in


Baghdad with 67 advisers and there might have been some brigades that


have gone there as well. Where are they? What has happened? I'm pretty


sure the Prime Minister of Iraq is putting more faith in Iran than the


White House and the British. I think they are running the show, in


technical terms. John Kerry is flying into Cairo this morning, and


what is his message? It is twofold. One is to Arab countries, do more to


encourage an inclusive government in Iraq, mainly Sunni Muslims in the


government, and the Arab Gulf states should stop funding insurgents in


Iraq. You think, Iraq, it's potentially going to break up, so


this sounds a bit late in the day and a bit weak. It gets


fundamentally to the problem, what can we do? Niall Ferguson has a big


piece in the Sunday Times asking if this is place where we cannot doing


anything. He doesn't want to do anything. By the way, that is what


most Americans think. That is what opinion polls are showing. You have


George Osborne Michael Gold who would love to get involved but they


cannot because of the vote in parliament on Syria lasted -- George


Osborne and Michael Gove. This government does not have the stomach


for military intervention. We will see how events unfold on the ground.


All parties are agreed that Britain's 60-year old multi-billion


The Tory side of the Coalition think their reforms are necessary


and popular, though they haven't always gone to time or to plan.


In the eight months she's had since she became Shadow Secretary of State


for Work and Pensions, Rachel Reeves has talked the talk about getting


people off benefits, into work and lowering the overall welfare bill.


her first interview in the job she threatened "We would


But Labour has opposed just about every change the Coalition


has proposed to cut the cost and change the culture of welfare.


Child benefit, housing benefit, the ?26,000 benefit cap -


They've been lukewarm about the government's flagship Universal


Credit scheme - which rolls six benefit payments into one - and


And Labour has set out only two modest welfare cuts.


This week, Labour said young people must have skills or be in training


That will save ?65 million, says Labour, though the cost


And cutting winter fuel payments for richer pensioners which will


Not a lot in a total welfare bill of around ?200 billion.


And with welfare cuts popular among even Labour voters, they will soon


have to start spelling out exactly what Labour welfare reform means.


Welcome. Good morning. Why do you want to be tougher than the Tories?


We want to be tough in getting the welfare bill down. Under this


government, the bill will be ?1 million more than the government set


out in 2010 and I don't think that is acceptable. We should try to


control the cost of Social Security. But the welfare bill under the next


Labour government will fall? It will be smaller when you end the first


parliament than when you started? We signed up to the capping welfare but


that doesn't see social security costs ball, it sees them go up in


line with with inflation or average earnings -- costs fall. So where


flair will rise? We have signed up to the cap -- welfare will rise We


have signed up to the cap. We will get the costs under control and they


haven't managed to achieve it. The government is spending ?13 billion


more on Social Security and the reason they are doing it is because


the minimum wage has not kept pace with the cost of living so people


are reliant on tax credits. They are not building houses and people are


relying on housing benefit. We have a record number of people on zero


hours contracts. I'm still not clear if you will cut welfare if you get


in power. Nobody is saying that the cost of welfare is going to fall.


The welfare cap sees that happening gradually. That is a Tory cap. And


you've accepted it. You're being the same as the Tories, not to. If they


had a welfare cap, they would have breached it in every year of the


parliament. Social Security will be higher than the government set out


because they failed to control it. You read the polls, and the party


does lots of its own polling, and you're scared of being seen as the


welfare party. You don't really believe all of this anti-welfare


stuff? We are the party of work not welfare. The Labour Party was set up


in the first place because we believe in the dignity of work and


we believe that work should pay wages can afford to live on. I make


no apologies for being the party of work. We are not the welfare party,


we are the party of work. Even your confidential strategy document


admits that voters don't trust you on immigration, the economy, this is


your own people, and welfare. You are not trusted on it. The most


recent poll showed Labour slightly ahead of the Conservative Party on


Social Security, probably because they have seen the incompetence and


chaos at the Department for Work and Pensions under Iain Duncan Smith.


Your own internal document means that the voters don't trust you on


welfare reform. That is why we have shown some of this tough things we


will do like the announcement that Ed Miliband made earlier this week,


that young people without basic qualifications won't be entitled to


just sign on for benefits, they have to sign up for training in order to


receive support. That is the right thing to do by that group of young


people, because they need skills to progress. We will, once that. - we


will, onto that. You say you criticise the government that it had


a cap and wouldn't have met it, but every money-saving welfare reform,


you voted against it. How is that being tougher? The most recent bout


was the cap on overall welfare expenditure, and we went through the


lobbies and voted for the Tories. You voted against the benefit cap,


welfare rating, you voted against, child benefit schemes, you voted


against. You can't say we voted against everything when we voted


with the Conservatives in the most recent bill with a cap on Social


Security. It's just not correct to say. The last time we voted, we


walked through the lobby with them. You voted on the principle of the


cap. You voted on every step that would allow the cap to be met. Every


single one. The most recent vote was not on the principle of the cap it


was on a cap of Social Security in the next Parliament and we signed up


for that. It was Ed Miliband who called her that earlier on. Which


welfare reform did you vote for We voted for the cap. Other than that?


We have supported universal credit. You voted against it in the third


reading. We voted against some of the specifics. If you look at


universal credit, they have had to write off nearly ?900 million of


spending. I'm not on the rights and wrongs, I'm trying to work out what


you voted for. Some of the things we are going to go further than the


government with. For example, cutting benefits for young people


who don't sign of the training. The government had introduced that. For


example, saying that the richest pensioners should not get the winter


fuel allowance, that is something the government haven't signed up.


You would get that under Labour and this government haven't signed up


for it. ?100 million on the winter fuel allowance and ?65 million on


youth training. ?165 million. How big is the welfare budget? The cap


would apply to ?120 billion. And you've saved 125 -- 165 million


Those are cuts that we said we would do in government. If you look at the


real prize from the changes Ed Miliband announced in the youth


allowance, it's not the short-term savings, it's the fact that each of


these young people, who are currently on unemployment benefits


without the skills we know they need to succeed in life, they will cost


the taxpayer ?2000 per year. I will come onto that. You mentioned


universal credit, which the government regards as the flagship


reform. It's had lots of troubles with it and it merges six benefits


into one. You voted against it in the third reading and given lukewarm


support in the past. We have not said he would abandon it, but now


you say you are for it. You are all over the place. We set up the rescue


committee in autumn of last year because we have seen from the


National Audit Office and the Public Accounts Committee, report after


report showing that the project is massively overbudget and is not


going to be delivered according to the government timetable. We set up


the committee because we believe in the principle of universal credit


and think it is the right thing to do. Can you tell us now if you will


keep it or not? Because there is no transparency and we have no idea. We


are awash with information. We are not. The government, in the most


recent National audit Forest -- National Audit Office statement said


it was a reset project. This is really important. This is a flagship


government programme, and it's going to cost ?12.8 billion to deliver,


and we don't know what sort of state it is in, so we have said that if we


win at the next election, we will pause that for three months and


calling... Will you stop the pilots? We don't know what status they will


have. We would stop the build of the system for three months, calling the


National Audit Office to do awards and all report. The government don't


need to do this until the next general election, they could do it


today. Stop throwing good money after bad and get a grip of this


incredibly important programme. You said you don't know enough to a view


now. So when you were invited to a job centre where universal credit is


being rolled out to see how it was working, you refused to go. Why We


asked were a meeting with Iain Duncan Smith and he cancelled the


meeting is three times. I'm talking about the visit when you were


offered to go to a job centre and you refused. We had an appointment


to meet Iain Duncan Smith at the Department for Work and Pensions and


said he cancelled and was not available, but he wanted us to go to


the job centre. We wanted to talk to him and his officials, which she


did. Would it be more useful to go to the job centre and find out how


it was working. He's going to tell you it's working fine.


Advice Bureau in Hammersmith, they are working to help the people


trying to claim universal credit. Iain Duncan Smith cancelled three


meetings. That is another issue I was asking about the job centre It


is not another issue because Iain Duncan Smith fogged us off. This


week you said that jobless youngsters who won't take training


will lose their welfare payments. How many young people are not in


work training or education? There are 140,000 young people claiming


benefits at the moment, but 850 000 young people who are not in work at


the moment. This applies to around 100,000 young people. There are


actually 975,000, 16-24 -year-olds, not in work, training or education.


Your proposal only applies to 100,000 of them, why? This is


applying to young people who are signing on for benefits rather than


signing up for training. We want to make sure that all young people ..


Why only 100,000? They are the ones currently getting job-seeker's


allowance. We are saying you can not just sign up to... Can I get you to


respond to this, the number of people not in work, training or


education fell last year by more than you are planning to help. Long


turn -- long-term unemployment is an entrenched problem... This issue


about an entrenched group of young people. Young people who haven't got


skills and are not in training we know are much less likely to get a


job so there are 140,018-24 -year-olds signing onto benefits at


the moment. This is about trying to address that problem to make sure


all young people have the skills they need to get a job. Your policy


is to take away part of the dole unless young unemployed people agree


to study for level three qualifications, the equivalent of an


AS-level or an NVQ but 40% of these people have the literary skills of a


nine-year-old. After all that failed education, how are you going to


train them to a level standard? We are saying that anyone who doesn't


have that a level or equivalent qualification will be required to go


back to college. We are not saying that within a year they have to get


up to that level but these are exactly the sorts of people... These


people have been failed by your education system. These people are,


for the last four years, have been educated under a Conservative


government. 18 - 21-year-olds, most of them have their education under a


Labour government during which 300,000 people left with no GCSEs


whatsoever. I don't understand how training for one year can do what 11


years in school did not. We are not saying that within one year


everybody will get up to a level three qualifications, but if you are


one of those people who enters the Labour market age 18 with the


reading skills of a nine-year-old, they are the sorts of people that


should not the left languishing I went to college in Hackney if you


you are -- a few weeks ago and there was a dyslexic boy studying painting


and decorating. In school they decided he was a troublemaker and


that he didn't want to learn. He went back to college because he


wanted to get the skills. He said that it wasn't until he went back to


college that he could pick up a newspaper and read it, it made a


huge difference but too many people are let down by the system. I am


wondering how the training will make up for an education system that


failed them but let's move on to your leader. Look at this graph of


Ed Miliband's popularity. This is the net satisfaction with him, it is


dreadful. The trend continues to climb since he became leader of the


Labour Party, why? What you have seen is another 2300 Labour


councillors since Ed Miliband became the leader of the Labour Party. You


saw in the elections a month ago that... Why is the satisfaction rate


falling? We can look at polls or actual election results and the fact


that we have got another 2000 Labour councillors, more people voting


Labour, the opinion polls today show that if there was a general election


today we would have a majority of more than 40, he must be doing


something right. Why do almost 0% of voters want to replace him as


leader? Why do 50% and more think that he is not up to the job? The


more people see Ed Miliband, the less impressed they are. The British


people seem to like him less. The election strategy I suggest that


follows from that is that you should keep Ed Miliband under wraps until


the election. Let's look at actually what happens when people get a


chance to vote, when they get that opportunity we have seen more Labour


councillors, more Labour members of the European Parliament...


Oppositions always get more. The opinion polls today, one of them


shows Labour four points ahead. You have not done that well in local


government elections or European elections. Why don't people like


him? I think we have done incredibly well in elections. People must like


a lot of the things Labour and Ed Miliband are doing because we are


winning back support across the country. We won local councils in


places like Hammersmith and Fulham, Crawley, Hastings, key places that


Labour need to win back at the general election next year. Even you


have said traditional Labour supporters are abandoning the party.


That is what Ed Miliband has said as well. We have got this real concern


about what has happened. If you look at the elections in May, 60% of


people didn't even bother going to vote. That is a profound issue not


just for Labour. You said traditional voters who perhaps at


times we took for granted are now being offered an alternative. Why


did you take them for granted? This is what Ed Miliband said. I am not


saying anything Ed Miliband himself has not said. When he ran for the


leadership he said that we took too many people for granted and we


needed to give people positive reasons to vote Labour, he has been


doing that. He has been there for four years and you are saying you


still take them for granted. Why? I am saying that for too long we have


taken them for granted. We are on track to win the general election


next year and that will defy all the odds. You are going to win... Ed


Miliband will win next year and make a great Prime Minister.


Now to the Liberal Democrats, at the risk of intruding into private


grief. The party is still smarting from dire results in the European


and Local Elections. The only poll Nick Clegg has won in recent times


is to be voted the most unpopular leader of a party in modern British


history. No surprise there have been calls for him to go, though that


still looks unlikely. Here's Eleanor.


Liberal Democrats celebrating, something we haven't seen for a


while. This victory back in 199 led to a decade of power for the Lib


Dems in Liverpool. What a contrast to the city's political landscape


today. At its height the party had 69 local councillors, now down to


just three. The scale of the challenge facing Nick Clegg and the


Lib Dems is growing. The party is rock bottom in the polls,


consistently in single figures. It was wiped out in the European


elections losing all but one of its 12 MEPs and in the local elections


it lost 42% of the seats that it was defending. But on Merseyside, Nick


Clegg was putting on a brave face. We did badly in Liverpool,


Manchester and London in particular, we did well in other places. But you


are right, we did badly in some of those big cities and I have


initiated a review, quite naturally, to understand what went


wrong, what went right. As Lib Dems across the country get on with some


serious soul-searching, there is an admission that his is the leader of


the party who is failing to hit the right notes. Knocking on doors in


Liverpool, I have to tell you that Nick Clegg is not a popular person.


Some might use the word toxic and I find this very difficult because I


know Nick very well and I see a principal person who passionately


believes in what he is doing and he is a nice guy. As a result of his


popularity, what has happened to the core vote? In parts of the country,


we are down to just three councillors like Liverpool for


example. You also lose the deliverers and fundraisers and the


organisers and the members of course so all of that will have to be


rebuilt. As they start fermenting process, local parties across the


country and here in Liverpool have been voting on whether there should


be a leadership contest. We had two choices to flush out and have a go


at Nick Clegg or to positively decide we would sharpen up the


campaign and get back on the streets, and by four to one ratio we


decided to get back on the streets. We are bruised and battered but we


are still here, the orange flag is still flying and one day it will fly


over this building again, Liverpool town hall. But do people want the


Lib Dems back in charge in this city? I certainly wouldn't vote for


them. Their performance in Government and the way they have


left their promises down, I could not vote for them again. I voted Lib


Dem in the last election because of the university tuition fees and I


would never vote for them again because they broke their promise.


The Lib Dems are awful, broken promises and what have you. I


wouldn't vote for them. This is the declaration of the results for the


Northwest... Last month, as other party celebrated in the north-west,


the Lib Dems here lost their only MEP, Chris Davies. Now there is


concern the party doesn't know how to turn its fortunes around. We


don't have an answer to that, if we did we would be grasping it with


both hands. We will do our best to hold onto the places where we still


have seats but as for the rest of the country where we have been


hollowed out, we don't know how to start again until the next general


election is out of the way. After their disastrous performance in the


European elections, pressure is growing for the party to shift its


stance. I think there has to be a lancing of the wound, there should


in a referendum and the Liberal Democrats should be calling it. The


rest of Europe once this because they are fed up with Britain being


unable to make up its mind. The Lib Dems are now suffering the effects


of being in Government. The party's problem, choosing the right course


to regain political credibility We can now speak to form a Lib Dems


leader Ming Campbell. Welcome back to the Sunday Politics. Even your


own activists say that Nick Clegg is toxic. How will that change between


now and the election? When you have had disappointing results, but you


have to do is to rebuild. You pick yourself up and start all over


again, and the reason why the Liberal Democrats got 57, 56 seats


in the House of Commons now is because we picked ourselves up, we


took every opportunity and we have rebuilt from the bottom up.


least popular leader in modern history and more unpopular than your


mate Gordon Brown. You are running out of time. No one believes that


being the leader of a modern political party in the UK is an easy


job. Both Ed Miliband and David Cameron must have had cause to


think, over breakfast this morning, when they saw the headlines in some


of the Sunday papers. Of course it is a difficult job but it was


pointed out a moment or two ago that Nick Clegg is a man of principle and


enormous resilience if you consider what he had to put up with, and in


my view, he is quite clearly the person best qualified to lead the


party between now and the general election and through the election


campaign, and beyond. So why don't people like him? We have had to take


some pretty difficult decisions and, of course, people didn't expect


that. If you look back to the rather heady days of the rose garden behind


ten Downing St, people thought it was all going to be sweetness and


light, but the fact is, we didn t know then what we know now, about


the extent of the economic crisis we win, and a lot of difficult


decisions have had to be taken in order to restore economic stability.


Look around you. You will see we are not there yet but we are a long way


better off than in 2010. You are not getting the credit for it, the


Tories are. We will be a little more assertive about taking the credit.


For example, the fact that 23 million people have had a tax cut of


?800 per year and we have taken 2 million people out of paying tax


altogether. Ming Campbell, your people say that on every programme


like this. Because it is true. That might be the case, but you are at


seven or 8% in the polls, and nobody is listening, or they don't believe


it. Once is listening, or they don't believe


doubt that what we have achieved will be much more easily


recognised, and there is no doubt, for example, in some of the recent


polls, like the Ashcroft Pole, something like 30% of those polled


said that as a result at the next something like 30% of those polled


general election, they would prepare their to be a coalition involving


the Liberal Democrats. So there is no question that the whole notion of


coalition is still very much a live one, and one which we have made work


in the public interest. The problem is people don't think that. People


see you trying to have your cake and eat it. On the one hand you want to


get your share of the credit for the turnaround in the economy, on the


other hand you can't stop yourself from distancing yourself from the


Tories and things that you did not like happening. You are trying to


face both ways at once. If you remember our fellow Scotsman


famously said you cannot ride both remember our fellow Scotsman


to the terms -- terms of the remember our fellow Scotsman


coalition agreement, which is what we signed up to in 2010. In


addition, in furtherance of that agreement, we have created things


like the pupil premium and the others I mentioned and you were


rather dismissive. I'm not dismissive, I'm just saying they


don't make a difference to what people think of you. We will do


everything in our power to change that between now and May 2015. The


interesting thing is, going back to the Ashcroft result, it demonstrated


clearly that in constituencies where we have MPs and we are well dug in,


we are doing everything that the public expects of us, and we are


doing very well indeed. You aren't sure fellow Lib Dems have been


saying this for you -- you and your fellow Liberal Dems have been saying


this for a year or 18 months, and since then you have lost all of your


MEPs apart from one, you lost your deposit in a by-election, you lost


310 councillor, including everyone in Manchester or Islington. Mr Clegg


leading you into the next general election will be the equivalent of


the charge of the light Brigade I doubt that very much. The


implication behind that lit you rehearsed is that we should pack our


tents in the night and steal away. -- that litany. And if you heard in


that piece that preceded the discussion, people were saying, look


we have to start from the bottom and have to rebuild. That is exactly


what we will do. Nine months is a period of gestation. As you well


know. I wouldn't dismiss it quite so easily as that. I'm not here to say


we had a wonderful result or anything like it, but what I do say


is that the party is determined to turn it round, and that Nick Clegg


is the person best qualified to do it. Should your party adopt a


referendum about in or out on Europe? No, we should stick to the


coalition agreement. If there is any transfer of power from Westminster


to Brussels, that will be subject to a referendum. No change. And


finally, as a Lib Dem, you must be glad you are not fighting the next


election yourself? I've fought every election since 1974, so I've had a


few experiences, some good, some bad, but the one thing I have done


and the one thing a lot of other people have done is that they have


stuck to the task, and that is what will happen in May 2015. Ming


Campbell, thank you for joining us. It's just gone 11.35am, you're


watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers


in Scotland who leave us now UKIP's newest MEP heads to Brussels


and gives us her reaction. It is a little overwhelming


in the sheer size of it. And how about a bank holidax


on Election Day to encouragd you to We will be looking at the


students who have come up whth 00 The other proposal, that I like


is a bank holiday for everybody I am sure that will go


down really well. Generally the politicians


are rubbish in this country. the Conservative MP for Sherwood,


Mark Spencer, and Labour's LP First let's take a look


at an issue that is never f`r from the headlines ` the st`te


of the National Health Servhce. The funding of our hospitals is far


from healthy, according to figures In fact, the finances of thd seven


NHS Trusts in the East Midl`nds are Four of them are in debt to


the tune of nearly ?90 millhon. University Hospitals of Leicester


NHS Trust has the dubious honour of being the worst in the country, with


a deficit of nearly ?40 million United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS


Trust is next, Then Sherwood Forest Hospit`ls NHS


Foundation Trust, with nearly ?18 million, and finally


Derby Hospitals NHS Foundathon Some pretty alarming figures


in there and the East Midlands Some of it is down to the enormous


PFIs. The repayments can be huge. The Government is increasing the


funding that is going into the NHS. Some of them are in special measures


and are coming out the other side and improving.


Isn't some of this a hangovdr from the Public Finance Initiatives


that Labour were so keen on, which has saddled some


One in ten Trusts used to bd in deficit, but now it is one hn three.


The pressure is on the NHS have never been greater. They ard not


enough GPs. There are peopld in hospital who cannot get out even


though they are set to get out. The whole system is under presstre. It


is the same old story, you cannot Trust the Tories with the NHS. I


think that is rubbish. Therd is a challenge in the NHS and we are


getting older. We are finding more drugs to help people and it is


becoming more expensive. Will the government


bail`out these Trusts? We have to see how they are managed.


It is not about throwing cash at then. We might need to put hn new


management. If you look at the NHS in Wales, in Labour's control, it is


much worse. This is anecdot`l. Mark is saying it must be the management.


But they were talking about too many managers and getting rid of all the


managers and now we have a management crisis. What would Labour


do? Where would you find thd money? We would get rid of the competition.


There is a lot of money in the NHS being spent in lawyers. We can get


rid of the competition and spend that money on more GP appointments.


People there are going to bd worried this has a knock`on effect


You can see what they can do in Wales. They are making a mess of it.


It is worse than in England. We also have


the biggest debt`ridden Trust in the The PFIs signed by the prevhous


Government is the problem. Next,


the fall`out from the recent local After losing their only MEP in


the region, and dropping thousands of votes in the Newark by`election,


some Liberal Democrats in the We will be hearing from thel


in a moment. At the same time,


UKIP's newly elected MEPs h`ve been Jane Dodge reports


on the impressions of the Arriving in Brussels, suitc`se


in hand, Margot Parker is not For a party that she has only been


a member of for the last five But she has been here beford `


she worked for Brussels lobbying It was that experience that


led to her becoming an MEP. I went into politics


because I was so shocked, after a number of years, about


a number of legislation dirdctives. I realised that we have


no influence at all. What are her first


impressions coming back? It has trebled since I first


came here, many years ago. It is a little overwhelming


in the sheer size of it. Time to go


and meet her new colleagues. It is the first time that all


of UKIP's new recruits have got together in Brussels


and there is a lot to learn. More difficult, less effecthve, less


profitable by European regulation... The EU is to blame `


that is UKIP's central mess`ge. Margot is focusing on its ilpact


on the economy. I have just been elected by a large


number of people who are worried about immigration, because they are


worried about having no jobs. There is


a very unlevel playing field and I I would


like to be able to do something At least, I can raise the issues


and rattle the cage. She will get the keys to her office


next month and intends to dddicate her time in Brussels to getting


herself, and the UK, out of it. Well, UKIP are riding high `fter


the local and European elections. But the same cannot be said for the


Lib Dems, who lost their only MEP I am joined now


by their defeated candidate in the He came sixth in one of the party's


worst ever by`election results. You did not have a single Lhb Dem MP


join you on the campaign tr`il. Were you, in effect,


abandoned by your party? No. We knew it was going to be a


difficult campaign. We knew it was going to be down to the loc`l


people. We were not expecting huge support from the National m`chine.


If I were you not expecting that? We did not expect to when in Ndwark. If


the Conservatives had not won it would have been a major problem for


them. We knew that they werd going to win.


What were people saying to xou on the doorstep about your party?


I was telling people on the doorstep what we stood for and Helen then ``


and I was telling them what we have achieved in Government. What were


people saying to you? It is not a good result, but we will botnce


back. Once upon a time,


you would have expected dis`ffected But there is plenty of anecdotal


evidence they voted Conserv`tive That may be the case in that


particular seat. The collapse in the Liberal Democrats is absolutely


stunning. It is unfortunate for people like David who are ldft to


carry on. There is a growth in the gap between the rich and poor. And


tuition fees, but that is jtst a tiny part of it. There is no one


left to support the Liberal Democrats.


If that is true about Lib Ddms voting Tory in Newark,


then the number of traditional Conservative voters who desdrted you


I think we had the best candidate and the randy best campaign. `` ran


the best campaign. They needed a swing.


As if things were not bad enough for the Lib Dems, members in


Nottingham held a special mdeting this week and voted overwhelmingly


Here is what one of them, Tony Sutton,


a former Liberal Democrat councillor who lost his seat, had to s`y.


On the doorsteps, we contintally get the complaint ` "yes I used to vote


Lib Dem, but I will not votd for you again because you cannot be trusted.


The reason that you cannot be trusted is that you broke


That has become almost shorthand for saying that politicians cannot


In the same way that Tony Blair will always be remembered for thd Iraq


war, in the same way that Margaret Thatcher is remembdred for


the poll tax, Nick Clegg will always be remembered for the tuition fees


Tony Sutton from the Liberal Democrats.


No. If we change leader now it will look like panic. We have achieved a


lot in Government. A lot of our manifesto has been put into action.


There are better pensions, the pupil premium, these are things that we


have done. What effect will meetings


like this have on the party? There have been a number of meetings


like this. People are concerned Everyone realises that Nick Clegg


has been a good leader. We do not want to go into election panicking.


We have worked in the national interest. I believe that voters will


come back to us. There are calls in your party for a


new leader to replace Ed Miliband? I am not aware of any seriots voices


calling for that. In terms of the Liberal Democrats, there is no point


in keeping the reader and kdeping the same policies. The Liberal


Democrats do not seem to know why they are losing. We know th`t there


is an issue of Trust. We have accepted that. We have not been


forgiven, but we have not got our message out strong enough. We have


to make sure that people know. Labour are ahead in the polls. We


wish that we were further ahead but I think we are feeling confhdent and


most of the big issues. Ed Liliband has called it correctly and I have


confidence in him. Are people going to vote


on your record or David Camdron s? A bit of both. We will go ott and


bang on doors. Hopefully I can convince people to support le.


Now, how about a bank holiday to hold elections?


Well, students at Leicester's De Lontfort


University have come up with 10 radical ideas to change Britain


The proposals include giving elections a Mardi Gras feel,


by bringing in a bank holid`y for voters and holding them over


Tax cuts for people who do volunteer work.


Developing a sense of Britishness and holding a National Migr`nts Day


On the economy, the students want to abolish zero`hours contracts


and have local currencies in towns and cities to make people


They also want to see 250,000 new homes built and a National Festival


Well, joining us now is De Lontfort University student Hazra Debar,


The University give us an opportunity to come up with policy


ideas. The Vice Chancellor wanted to address this issue. There is a


misconception that young people are not interested in politics.


Did you think there was something that needed fixing?


Definitely. We were given the issues and we did research before we came


up with the policies. We thought these were the policies that were


needed. I think a lot of the ideas `re good


and some of them are quite radical. I think that photographs of


candidates on ballot papers would be interesting. It is brilliant that


young people are getting involved. The young people I meet are pretty


enthusiastic. A bank holiday for elections...


would that work? I think the main point was having a


three the voting period. Yot would call for that? I think it is a good


idea. I think we of voting hs a great idea. It stops the problem of


us worrying when it rains on election day. The policies that we


created we thought were practical and realistic.


Well, they might seem radical polhcies


So, what would make people more interested in voting?


What about a National Immigration Day?


The other proposal that I lhke is a bank holiday for everybodx.


I'm sure that'll go down really well.


I do vote, but generally the politicians are


We are wondering what peopld think of those ideas, or if they


Once they start telling the truth, the general public will start to


support them ` or not, whatever the case may be.


I think the parties need to make their policies easier to understand.


I do not think they are understandable


We feel like if we vote, ond vote will not make much of a difference.


Personally, just the way th`t politics is run in this country


They are always arguing and I cannot stand the whold House


I think that the economic goals are not set out clearly,


One of the most important things is getting jobs back for young people


A lot of support for your ideas there ` are you pleased to see that?


Yes. I am pleased to see thhs. The one issue that stood out to me is


that young people thought they did not have a voice. I would lhke to


ask these men, what do you think about youth engagement in politics?


I think politicians need to go out of their way to engage with young


people. From my perspective, one of the things that was clear from the


film is that people said it do not understand the policies and think it


is too obligated. That poses questions to ask in times of


education and people coming out of school feeling so disconnected from


it. We need to improve that engagement. It is a real ch`llenge.


We need to communicate our lessage. I think we need to make surd that we


can indicate our policies in a way that people understand the


differences between the parties I am not from our politics background.


But I was given this opporttnity and it was an amazing experiencd. If you


give young people the opportunity they will speak out. What do


politicians have to do to gdt more young people involved? I thhnk you


need to interact with young people and speak to them. If you are out


there and telling them that you are addressing issues and to support


them, that would be good. I enjoy speaking to young people and having


political debate. But there are still some problems with engagement?


We are trying to get our yotth groups more active. One grotp made a


film about politics and education. They are the voters of the future.


You have compiled this report with 100 ideas for changing Brit`in,


I would like policymakers to look at what we have just and see if they


can apply them in their manhfestoes. Hazra Debar,


thank you for joining us. Time for a round`up of some


of the other political storhes The Ashfield MP, Gloria De Piero,


came top in a parliamentary poll She responded to 93%


of her messages from local people Bad news for bees in Rushclhffe


where plastic flowers have replaced Rushcliffe Borough Council says


it will save ?3,000 a year. The newly elected MP for Newark


Robert Jenrick, has made his first contribution to the Commons in


Prime Minister's Questions. He raised the problems


of flooding in his constitudncy The people of Newark have enjoyed


becoming better acquainted with I regret to inform the


Prime Minister that the town of Southwell, in my constittency,


was again flooded last week. He wants the same help for flooding


victims in Nottinghamshire `s in the rest of the country,


and he inadvertently stepped into the big debate ` is it pronounced


'South`well' or 'South`el'? Some people said 'South`well' and


other people said 'South`el'. What about you? It sounds like a


Nottinghamshire question. While neither of you commit? You cannot


win on those sorts of questhons Thanks to our guests,


here in the East Midlands. information, you can apply to them


and they will be obliged to tell you. Thanks for joining us. Andrew,


back to you. think you'd want to. Labour grandees


are not queueing up to sing his praises. Look at this. In my view,


he is the leader we have and he is the leader I support and he is


somebody capable of leading the party to victory. Ed Miliband will


leave this to victory, and I believe he can. If he doesn't, what would


happen to the Labour Party? We could be in the wilderness for 15 years.


At the moment he has to convince people he has the capacity to lead


the country. That's not my view but people don't believe that. We had a


leader of the Labour Party was publicly embarrassed, because


whoever was in charge of press letting go through a process where


we have councillors in Merseyside resigning. It was a schoolboy error.


Having policies without them being drawn together into a convincing and


vivid narrative and with what you do the people in the country. You have


to draw together, connect the policies, link them back to the


leader and give people a real sense of where you are going. Somehow he


has never quite managed to be himself and create that identity


with the public. And we are joined by the president of you girls, Peter


Kellner. Welcome to the Sunday politics. -- YouGov. The Labour


Party is six points ahead in your poll this morning. So what is the


problem? On this basis he will win the next election. If the election


were today and the figures held up, you would have a Labour government


with a narrow overall majority. One should not forget that. Let me make


three points. The first is, in past parliaments, opposition normally


lose ground and governments gain ground in the final few months. The


opposition should be further ahead than this. I don't think six is


enough. Secondly, Ed Miliband is behind David Cameron when people are


asked who they want as Prime Minister and Labour is behind the


Conservatives went people are asked who they trust on the economy. There


have been elections when the party has won by being behind on


leadership and other elections where they have won by being behind on the


economy. No party has ever won an election when it has been clearly


behind on both leadership and the economy. Let me have another go The


Labour Party brand is a strong brand. The Tory Bramleys week. The


Labour brand is stronger. That is a blast -- the Labour -- the Tory


Bramleys week. A lot of the Tories -- the Tory brand is weak. Cant you


win on policies and a strong party brand? If you have those too, you


need the third factor which isn t there. People believing that you


have what it takes, competent skills, determination,


determination, whatever makes to carry through. -- whatever mix. A


lot of Ed Miliband policies, on the banks, energy prices, Brent


controls, people like them. But in government, would they carry them


through? They think they are not up to it. -- rent controls. If people


think you won't deliver what you say, even if they like it, they were


necessarily vote for you. That is the missing third element. There is


a strong Labour brand, but it's not strong enough to overcome the


feeling that the Labour leadership is not up to it. Nick, you had some


senior Labour figure telling you that if Mr Miliband losing the next


election he will have to resign immediately and cannot fight another


election the way Neil Kinnock did after 1987. What was remarkable to


me was that people were even thinking along these lines, and even


more remarkable that they would tell you they were thinking along these


lines? What is the problem? The problem is, is that Ed Miliband says


it would be unprecedented to win the general election after the second


worst result since 1918. They are concerned about is the start of a


script that he would say on the day after losing the general election.


Essentially what the people are trying to do is get their argument


in first and to say, you cannot do what Neil Kinnock did in 1987. Don't


forget that Neil Kinnock in 198 was in the middle of a very brave


process of modernisation and had one and fought a very campaign that was


professional but he lost again in 1992, and they wanted to get their


line in first. What some people are saying is that this is an election


that the Labour Party should be winning because the coalition is so


unpopular. If you don't win, I'm afraid to say, there is something


wrong with you. Don't you find it remarkable that people are prepared


to think along these lines at this stage, when Labour are ahead in the


polls, still the bookies favourite to win, and you start to speak


publicly, or in private to the public print, but we might have to


get rid of him if he doesn't win. Everything you say about labour in


this situation has been said about the Tories. We wondered whether


Boris Johnson would tie himself to the mask and he is the next leader


in waiting if Cameron goes. It's a mirror image of that. We talk about


things being unprecedented. It's unprecedented for a government to


gain seats. All the things you say about labour, you could say it the


Conservatives. That's what makes the next election so interesting. But in


the aftermath of the European elections and the local government


elections, in which the Conservatives did not do that well,


the issue was not Mr Cameron or the Tories doing well, the issue was the


Labour Party and how they had not done as well as they should have


done, and that conversation was fuelled by the kind of people who


have been speaking to nick from the Labour Party. Rachel Reeves cited


their real-life performance in elections as a reason for optimism.


When in fact their performance in the Europeans and locals was


disappointing for an opposition one year away from a general election.


What alarms me about labour is the way they react to criticisms about


Ed Miliband. Two years ago when he was attacked, they said they were 15


points ahead, and then a year ago there were saying they were nine or


ten ahead, and now they are saying we are still five or six ahead. The


trend is alarming. It points to a smaller Labour lead. Am I right in


detecting a bit of a class war going on in the Labour Party? There are a


lot of northern Labour MPs who think that Ed Miliband is to north London,


and there are too many metropolitan cronies around him must I think that


is right, Andrew. What I think is, being a pessimist in terms of their


prospects, I do think the Labour Party could win the next election. I


just don't think they can as they are going at the moment. But the


positioning for a possible defeat, what they should be talking about is


what do we need to change in the party and the way Ed Miliband


performs in order to secure victory. That is a debate they could have,


and they could make the changes I find it odd that they are being so


defeatist. Don't go away. Peter is a boffin when it comes to polls. That


is why we have a mod for the election prediction swings and


roundabouts. He is looking for what he calls the incumbency effect.


Don't know what is a back-up -- what that's about question don't worry,


here is an. Being in office is bad for your health. Political folk


wisdom has it that incumbency favours one party in particular the


Liberal Democrats. That is because their MPs have a reputation as


ferociously good local campaigners who do really well at holding on to


their seats. However, this time round, several big-name long serving


Liberal Democrats like Ming Campbell, David Heath and Don Foster


are standing down. Does that mean the incumbency effect disappears


like a puff of smoke? Then there is another theory, called the sophomore


surge. It might sound like a movie about US college kids, but it goes


like this. New MPs tend to do better in their second election than they


did in their first. That could favour the Tories because they have


lots of first-time MPs. The big question is, what does this mean for


the 7th of May 2015, the date of the next general election? The answer


is, who knows? I know a man who knows. Peter. What does it all mean?


You can go onto your PC now and draw down programmes which say that these


are the voting figures from a national poll, so what will the


seats look like? This is based on uniform swing. Every seat moving up


and down across the country in the same way. Historically, that's been


a pretty good guide. I think that's going to completely break down next


year, because the Lib Dems will probably hold on to more seats than


we predict from the national figures and I think fewer Tory seats will go


to the Labour Party than you would predict from the national figures.


The precise numbers, I'm not going to be too precise, but I would be


surprised, sorry, I would not be surprised if Labour fell 20 or 5


seats short on what we would expect on the uniform swing prediction


Next year's election will be tight. Falling 20 seats short could well


mean the difference between victory and defeat. What you make of that,


Helen? I think you're right, especially taking into account the


UKIP effect. We have no idea about that. The conventional wisdom is


that will drain away back to the Conservatives, but nobody knows and


it makes the next election almost impossible to call. It means it is a


great target the people like Lord Ashcroft with marginal polling,


because people have never been so interested. It is for party politics


and we all assume that UKIP should be well next year, but their vote


went up from 17 up to 27%. Then that 17% went down to 3%, so they might


only be five or 6% in the general election, so they might not have the


threat of depriving Conservatives of their seats. Where the incumbency


thing has an effect is the Liberal Democrats. They have fortress seats


where between 1992 and 1997 Liberal Democrats seats fell, but their


percentage went up. They are losing the local government base though.


True, but having people like Ming Campbell standing down means they


will struggle. We are used to incumbency being an important factor


in American politics. It's hard to get rid of an incumbent unless it is


a primary election, like we saw in Virginia, but is it now becoming an


important factor in British politics, that if you own the seat


you're more likely to hold on to it than not? If it is, that's a


remarkable thing. It's hard to be a carpetbagger in America, but it is


normal in British Parliamentary constituencies to be represented by


someone who did not grow up locally. It is a special kind of achievement


to have an incumbency effect where you don't have deep roots in the


constituency. I was going to ask about the Lib Dems. If we are wrong,


and they collapse in Parliamentary representation as much as the share


in vote collapses, is that not good news is that the Conservatives? They


would be in second place in the majority of existing Lib Dems seats.


For every seat where Labour are second to the Lib Dems, there are


two where the Conservatives are second. If the Lib Dem


representation collapses, that helps the Conservatives. I'm assuming the


Tories will gain about ten seats. If they gain 20, if they'd had 20 more


seats last time, they would have had a majority government, just about.


So 20 seats off the Lib Dem, do the maths, as they say in America, and


they could lose a handful to labour and still be able to run a one


party, minority government. The fate of the Lib Dems could be crucial to


the outcome to the politics of light. On the 8th of May, it will be


VE Day and victory in election day as well as Europe. The Lib Dems will


be apoplectic if they lose all of the seats to their coalition


partners. The great quote by Angela Merkel, the little party always gets


crushed. It's a well-established idea that coalition politics. They


can't take credit for the things people like you may get lumbered


with the ones they don't. They have contributed most of this terrible


idea that seized politics where you say it, but you don't deliver it.


Tuition fees is the classic example of this Parliament. Why should you


believe any promise you make? And Ed Miliband is feeling that as well.


But in 1974 the liberal Democrats barely had any MPs but there were


reporters outside Jeremy Thorpe s home because they potentially held


not the balance of power, but were significantly in fourth. Bringing


back memories Jeremy Thorpe, and we will leave it there. Thanks to the


panel. We are tomorrow on BBC Two. At the earlier time of 11am because


of Wimbledon. Yes, it's that time of year again already. I will be back


here at 11 o'clock next week. Remember, if it is Sunday, it is the


Sunday Politics.


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew is joined by Labour's work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves to discuss what reforms Labour would make to the welfare department. Plus, what Nick Clegg needs to do to keep his grass roots happy.

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