With Marie Ashby. Andrew Neil is joined by Europe Minister David Lidington, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan and Lib Dem Charles Kennedy to discuss David Cameron's EU defeat.
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No surprise that Mr Cameron didn't get his way at the European summit.
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And with me, as always, the best and the brightest political
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They've had their usual cognac, or Juncker as it's known in
Luxembourg, for breakfast and will be tweeting under the influence
He's a boozing, chain-smoking, millionaire bon viveur who's made
it big in the world of European politic.
I speak of Jean-Claude Juncker, the former Prime Minister of Luxembourg
He'll soon be President of the European Commission,
He wasn't David Cameron's choice of course.
But those the PM thought were his allies deserted him and he ended up
on the wrong end of a 26-2 vote in favour of Arch-Fedrealist Juncker.
-- on the wrong end of a 26-2 vote in favour of Arch-Federalist
So where does this leave Mr Cameron's hopes
of major reform and repatriation of EU powers back to the UK?
Let's speak to his Europe Minister David Lidington
Welcome to the programme. The Prime Minister says that now with Mr
Juncker at the helm, the battle to keep Britain in the EU has got
harder. In what way has it got harder? For two reasons. The
majority of the leaders have accepted the process that shifts
power, it will not careful, from the elected heads of government right
cross Europe to the party bosses, the faction leaders in the European
Parliament and and the disaffection was made clear in many European
countries. Mr Juncker had a distinguished period as head of
Luxembourg, and was not a known reformer, but we have to judge on
how he leads the commission and there were some elements in the
mandate that the heads of government gave this week to the new incoming
European Commission that I think are cautiously encouraging for us. The
Prime Minister talked about those that not everybody wants to
integrate and to the same extent and speed. Let me just interrupt you.
What is new about saying that Europe can go closer to closer union at
different speeds? That has always been the case. It's nothing new
Indeed there are precedents, and they are good examples of the
approach as part of the course and one of the elements that the Prime
Minister is taking forward in the strategy is to get general
acceptance that while we agree that most of the partners have agreed to
the single currency will want to press forward with closer
integration of their economic and tax policies, but not every country
in the EU is going to want to do that. We have to see the pattern
that has grown up enough to recognise there is a diverse EU with
28 member states and more in the future. We won't all integrate the
extent. It is a matter of a pattern that is differentiation and
integration. I understand that. John Major used to call it variable
geometry, and other phrases nobody used to understand, but the point is
that you're back benches don't want any union at any speed, even in the
slow lane. They want to go in the other direction. It depends which
backbencher you talk to. There's a diverse range of views. I think that
there is acceptance that the core of the Prime Minister's approaches to
seek reform of the European Union, for renegotiation after the
election, then put it to the British people to decide. It won't be the
British government or ministers that take the final decision, it's the
British people, provided they are a Conservative government, who will
take the decision on the basis of the reforms that David Cameron
secures whether they want to stay in or not. Is there more of a chance,
not a certainty or probability, but at least more of a chance that with
Mr Juncker in that position of Britain leaving the EU? I don't
think we can say that at the moment. I think we can say that the task of
reform looks harder than it did a couple of weeks ago. But we have do
put Mr Juncker to the test. I do think he would want his commission
to be marked and I think that there is, and I find this in numbers
around Europe, and there is a growing recognition that things
cannot go on as they have been. Europe, economically, is in danger
of losing a lot of ground will stop millions of youngsters are out of
work already that reform. There is real anxiety and a number of
countries now about the extent to which opinion polls and election
results are showing a shift of support to both left and right wing
parties, sometimes outright neofascist movements, expressing
real content and resentment at Howard in touch -- how out of touch
decisions have become. You say you are sensing anxiety about the
condition of Europe, so why did they choose Mr Juncker then? You would
have to put that question to some of the heads of European government.
Clearly there were a number for whom domestic politics played a big role
in the eventual decision that they took. There were some who had signed
up to the lead candidate process and felt they could not back away from
that, whatever their private feelings might have been, but I
think the PM was right to say that this was a matter of principle and
it shouldn't just be left as a stitch up by the European Parliament
to tell us what they do. He said, I can't agree to pretend to acquiesce.
They have to make the opposition clear that go on with reform. Are
the current terms of membership for us unacceptable? The current terms
of the membership are very far from perfect. Are they unacceptable? The
current terms are certainly not ones that I feel comfortable with. The
Prime Minister described them as unacceptable. Do you think they are?
We look at the views of the British people at the moment. If you look at
the polling at the moment, the evidence is that people are split on
whether they think membership is a good thing. I'm asking what you
think. David Cameron wants to in -- endorse changes in our interest but
also because the biggest market is going to suffer if they don't
challenge -- grasp the challenge of political and economic reform.
Newsnight, Friday night, Malcolm Rifkind the former Secretary of
State said to me that even if the choice was to stay in on the
existing terms, he would vote to stay in on the existing terms. He
doesn't necessarily like them, but he would vote to stay in. That is
the authentic voice of the Foreign Office, isn't it? That is the
position of your department. Is it your position? Malcolm Rifkind is a
distinguished and independent minded backbencher. He's not in government
now. But that is your position. No, the position of the government and
the Conservative Party in the government is that we believe that
important changes, both economic and political reforms, are necessary and
that they are attainable in our interest and those of Europe as a
whole. Would you vote to stay in on the existing terms? That's not going
to be a question that the referendum. Really? I know that in
2017 Europe is going to look rather different to how it looks today For
one thing our colleagues in the Eurozone will want and need to press
ahead with closer integration. That, in our view, needs to be done
in a way that fully respects the rights of those of us who remain
outside. Variable geometry, tackling things like the abuse of freedom of
migration. Those are all in the conclusions from the leader this
week and we should welcome that Very briefly, finally, when will
you, as a government, give us the negotiating position of the
government? Will you give us what you hope to achieve before the
election or not? David Cameron set out very clearly in his Bloomberg
speech that he wanted a Europe that was more democratically accountable,
more flexible, more at it -- economically competitive. That is
all very general. When will you lay out the negotiating position? It's
not general. It is very far from general. We have seen evidence in
the successful cut of the European budget, the reform of fisheries
those reforms have started to take effect. We have won some victories
and I'm sure the Prime Minister as we get towards the general election,
will want to make clear what the Conservative Party position is, and
perhaps other political leaders will do the same for their party. Thank
you for joining us this morning The harsh reality of this is that there
is a yawning gap between what the Prime Minister can hope to bring
back and what will satisfy his Conservative backbenchers. Yes, I
think the Parliamentary Conservative Party is divided into three parts,
those who would vote to leave the EU regardless, those who would stay
regardless, and a huge middle ground of people who want to stay in on
renegotiated terms. These are not three equal parts. Those who would
vote to stay in regardless are smaller and smaller. Compared to 20
years ago, tiny. But the people in the middle, generally, would only
stay in if you secure a renegotiation that will not be
re-secured. In other words, they are de facto, out by 2017 and the
referendum. This whole saga of the recent weeks has been the single
biggest economy in foreign policy under this government. That's not
what the voters think. -- single biggest ignominy. I mean the failure
to secure the target. The opinion polls show that standing up against
Mr Juncker has proved rather popular. I suggest that is not Mr
Cameron's problem. His problem is that, if in the end he gets only
because Medic changes, and if he says he still thinks that with these
changes -- cosmetic changes. And he says that they should stay in, that
would split the Tory party wide open. Eurosceptics say would be the
biggest split since the corn laws. He wants to protect the position of
coming out, and you might get that. He wants to crack down on abuse of
benefits, and he might get that He wants to restrict freedom of
movement for future member states, and that's difficult, because it is
a treaty change. And he wants to deal with closer union, but that is
also treaty change. In the Council conclusions, David Cameron was
encouraged because it said, let s look at closer union, but it did not
say it would reform. All it said was ever closer union can be interpreted
in different ways. In other words, we're not going to change it. The
fundamental problem the David Cameron was that two years ago, when
he vetoed the fiscal compact, that showed Angela Merkel was unwilling
to help them and what happened in the last two weeks was that Angela
Merkel was unable to help him. There is not a single leader of the
European Union that once Juncker as president, and he doesn't want it,
he wants the note take a job at the European Council. But there was this
basic stitch up by the European Parliament that meant he was
presented, and when Angela Merkel put the question over his head there
was a huge backlash in Germany and she was unable to deliver. I
understand that, but I'm looking forward to Mr Cameron's predicament.
I don't know how he squares the circle. It seems inconceivable that
he can bring back enough from Brussels to satisfy his
backbenchers. No, you can't. Most of them fundamentally want out. They
don't want to be persuaded by renegotiations. Where it's hard to
draw conclusions from the polling is that if you ask people question that
sounds like, do you like the fact that our Prime Minister has gone to
Brussels and stuck it to the man, they say yes, but how many people
will go to the voting booths and put their cross in the box based on
Europe? We know mostly voters care about Europe as a proxy for
immigration fears. In ten people in this country could not tell you who
John Claude Juncker is Angela Weir is replacing. -- and who he is
replacing. And I'm joined in the studio now by
arch-Eurosceptic Conservative MEP, Daniel Hannan and from Strasbourg by
staunch European and former Liberal war? His declared objectives would
leave Britain still in the common agricultural policy, the common
foreign policy, the European arrest warrant, so the negotiating aims
which we just heard Nick setting out wouldn't fundamentally change
anything. It would be easy for the Government to declare war on any of
these things. The danger from your point of view as someone who wants
to stay in is that if David Cameron only gets cosmetic changes, the
chance of getting the vote to leave the European Union increases,
doesn't it? Hypothetically it probably does but we have two big
things to get through first in domestic politics before we even
reach a negotiation. One is are we going to have the United Kingdom
this time next year following the referendum in Scotland? Secondly,
are the Conservatives after the general election next year going to
be in a position to pursue a negotiation? In other words are they
going to be a majority government or even a minority government? For the
sake of this morning let's assume the answer to both is yes, the UK
stays intact and against the polls they were saying this morning, David
Cameron forms an overall majority after the election. There is a
danger, if he doesn't bring much back, that people will vote yes
correct? There is that danger and I see a lot of the British press
comment this morning saying this could be a rerun of the Harold
Wilson like negotiation of the 1970s, a bit cosmetic but enough to
say we have got new terms and you should go with it. I think what is
different however, and this is really an appeal if you like, it
cannot just be left to the Liberal Democrats and coalition government
to make this case on our Rome. A lot of interest groups across the land
will have to start being prepared to put their head above the parapet on
the fundamental - do you want Britain to remain in the European
Union? Yes or no? Are you willing to put your public reputations on the
line? We are not getting enough of that at the moment and it is getting
dangerously close to closing time. Daniel Hannan, David Cameron will
not get away with this, will he It will be an acceptable to his party.
If it is an acceptable to Tory backbenchers it is because it is
working and they are reflecting what their constituents say. A majority
of people in the country are unhappy with the present terms. They can see
there is a huge wide world beyond the oceans and we have confined
ourselves to this small trade bloc. There is a huge debate to be had
about whether we could be doing better outside. It is not danger, it
is democracy, trusting people. If the only person offering a
referendum at the moment is the Prime Minister, it has serious
consequences for his party, your party, that's what I'm talking
about. I am very proud of being part of the party that is trusting people
to offer this. If he only gets cosmetic changes he cannot carry his
party. But ultimately it will not be his party, it is the electorate as a
whole that has to decide whether the changes are substantive. Everything
we have been hearing just now is about staying out of future
integration, protecting the role of the non-euro countries. People are
upset about what is going on today with the EU. They can see laws being
passed by people they cannot vote for, friendships overseas are
prejudiced, and they conceive that the European Union has just put in
charge in the top slot somebody who wants a United States of Europe into
which we will eventually be dragged into as some kind of Providence
Jean-Claude Juncker is a Federalist, you are Federalist, why did the Lib
Dems oppose him? We shared the view that whilst you take account of what
the members of the European Parliament say, ultimately the
choice of the presidency in the commission should be the political
leaders, the governmental leaders at a national level, and that's why we
went down the route we did. It was more to do with the system than the
individual. Although I would say that you need to bear in mind, I
mean Daniel, I respect him personally and the integrity of his
views, as I think he does mine, but to dismiss the European Union as a
small trading block globally, when you have got the United States of
America, China and other countries acknowledging its importance, it is
really Walter Mitty land. Are we closer than... Daniel Hannan, are we
closer to an exit after what happened last week? Yes, because the
idea that we could get substantive reforms, gets a mythic and powers
back and be within a looser, more flexible European Union has plainly
been closed off. We have to face up to the actual European Union that
has taken shape on our doorstep Are we going to be part of that or are
we going to have a much more semidetached, looser relationship
with it which we can either achieve via a unilateral system of power or
another way. This debate is never-ending, it is going on and on
and has bedevilled British prime ministers for as long as I can
remember. Shouldn't the Lib Dems change their stance on the
referendum yet again let's just have this in-out referendum and have it
sided one way or another? Our position remains clear. If there is
a constitutional issue put before us in terms of treaty changes then we
will have a referendum. Why not now? I am probably the wrong person to
ask because I argued and voted for a referendum on Maastricht because I
thought that was a constitutional treaty. Anything that makes the
Queen a citizen of the European Union surely has constitutional
implications. Anyway, 20 years on we are where we are and we need to
established common vocabulary. You talk about federalism. What do we
mean? Most of the people operating in the European Parliament and the
institution across the road, the Council of Europe, they mean by
federalism decentralisation of powers, not a Brussels superstate
but actually the kind of decentralisation that maintains
national characteristics and pools resources and sovereignty where it
makes sense. Mr Juncker, who is now going to be in charge of the
Brussels commission, he believes in a single EU reform policy, an EU
wide minimum wage and EU wide taxes. You said this week that you
liked the sound of Juncker federalism. Does that sound good to
you? No, and I think the new president of the commission will be
disappointed if he puts forward these views because although we only
had Hungary voting with us, I think if you go to other countries,
France, Poland, Scandinavia, they are not going to buy that kind of
menu. What they mean by federalism is the continental concept, also the
North American concept, that we can sit very happily... They have an
army, a federal police force, federal taxation. Yes, but in terms
of the political institutions which is what we are discussing here, you
can have the supranational, the European level, whilst still having
the very vibrant national, and indeed as we are practising in the
United Kingdom the subnational. A very brief final word from you,
Daniel. That is ultimately going to be the choice. The European Union is
an evolving dynamic, we can see the direction it is going in. Do we want
to be part of that? I suspect Charles Kennedy would have loved a
referendum. I cannot help but notice his party is going downhill since he
was running it. It is illegal to light up in the workplace, pubs and
restaurants. Now the British Medical Association has voted to outlaw
everywhere but not everybody at once. It would apply to anyone born
after the year 2000. In a moment we will debate the merits of those
plans but first he is Adam. There was a time when to be British
was to be a smoker. 1948 was the year off peak fag with 82% of men
smoking mainly cigarettes but it was a pipe that Harold Wilson used as a
political prop to help with the hard-hitting interviews they did in
those days. The advertisements make out pipe smokers to be more virile,
more fascinating men than anybody else. Do you thought -- have that
thought anywhere in your mind? No. It changed in 2006 when smoking in
enclosed places was banned. I would rather be inside but unfortunately
we have got to do what this Government tells us to do. I think
it is good, it is calm and you can breathe. Research suggests it has
improved the health of bar workers no end and reduced childhood asthma.
Now just one in five adults is a smoker. Coming next, crackdowns on
those newfangled e-cigarettes, smoking in cars and possibly the
introduction of plain packaging There is still those who take pride
in smoking and see it as a war on freedom.
We're joined now by Dr Vivienne Nathanson
from the British Medical Association who voted for a graduated ban
on smoking at their conference last week, and Simon Clark
They're here to go head-to-head There are plenty of things which are
bad for our health, why single out cigarettes? We need some sugar in
our diets but the fact is that we need to stop people smoking as
children because if we can do that, the likelihood that they will start
smoking is very small. In no circumstances is smoking good for
you. There are lots of smokers who live long, healthy lives but we
totally accept smoking is a risk to your health and adults have to make
that decision, just as you make the decision about drinking alcohol
eating fatty foods and drinking sugary drinks. This proposal is
totally impractical. It will create a huge black market in cigarettes
which will get bigger every year. They say this is about stopping
children smoking but there is already a law in place that stops
shopkeepers from selling cigarettes to children. This target adults so
you could have the bizarre situation in the year 3035 for example where a
36-year-old can go into shops to buy cigarettes but if you are 35 you
will be denied that, which is ludicrous. The point is that the
younger you start smoking the more likely you will become heavily
addicted. I take the point, but the point he is saying is that if this
becomes law, down the road, if you go into shops to buy cigarettes you
would have to take your birth certificate, wouldn't you? We have
no idea how the legislation would be written but the key point is that if
we can stop young people from starting to smoke, we will in 2
years have a whole group of people who have never smoked so you won't
have that problem of people who are smokers and they are now in their
20s and 30s. Or you will have a lot of younger people who get cigarettes
the way they currently get illegal drugs now. They are already getting
cigarettes illegally and we have to deal with that. We have got to get
better. The Government has not been able to stop it. We know this is
going to kill 50%... When you are 15 you think you will live for ever.
Indeed but they also do it as rebellion and because they see
adults and it is remarkably easy to buy cigarettes. Whatever the case is
for individual choice, won't most people agree that if you could stop
young people smoking, so that through the rest of their lives they
never smoked, that would be worth doing? You get 16 or 17-year-olds
who already do that. Is it worth trying? When the government
increased the age at which shopkeepers could sell from 16 to
18, we supported it. We don't support a ban on proxy purchasing,
we support reasonable measures, but this is unreasonable. This proposal
says a lot about the BMA, because this week the BMA also passed a
motion to ban the use of E cigarettes in public places. There
is no evidence that they are dangerous to health, so why are they
doing that? They are becoming a temperance society. This is not
about public health, it's an old-fashioned temperance society and
they have to get their act together because they are bringing the
medical profession into disrepute. We were having argument is about
things that people buy large accept, smoking in bars or public places,
but the real aim of the BMA was the total banning of cigarettes
altogether. This would suggest that that was true to claim that. It s
not about a ban, it's about a move to a country where nobody wants to
smoke and no one is a smoker. But it would be illegal to smoke. It would
be illegal to buy, not smoke, and there's a difference between two. So
even if I am born in the year 2 00, it would still be illegal to smoke,
just illegal to buy the cigarettes? Indeed. The point being that the
habit of smoking is very strongly linked to your ability to buy, so
that is why things like Price and availability and marketing are so
important. People will flood across the Channel with the cigarettes One
thing you will find is that throughout the world people is
looking at -- people are looking at the same kind of measures, and
different countries like Australia, they were the first with a
standardised packaging. Other countries will follow, because all
of us are facing the fact that we can't afford to pay for the
tragedy. There will be people waiting to flood the market with
cigarettes. This is nonsense. Thanks for both coming and going
head-to-head. "Unless we have more equal
representation, our politics won't be half as good as it should be "
So said David Cameron back in 2 09. So how's it going?
Well, you can judge the quality of the politics for yourself,
but we've been crunching the numbers to find out what
parliament might look like after the next year's general election.
Here's Giles. Politicians are elected to
Parliament to represent their constituents, but the make-up of
Parliament does not reflect society well at all the parties it. In 010
more women and ethnic minority candidates entered Westminster but
not significantly more inner chamber still dominated by white males.
Looking at the current make-up of the Commons, Labour has 83 female
MPs, the Conservative have 47 women MPs, which is just over 47% -- and
the Lib Dems have 12% of the parties. All of the parties have
selected parliaments in those seats where existing MPs are retiring and
to fight seats at the next election, and they've all been
trying to up the number of women and ethnic minorities because discounts
and can be capitalised on. A picture tells a thousand words. Look at the
all-male front bench before us. And he says he wants to represent the
whole country. Despite the jibe the Labour Party know they have a long
way to go on the issue of being representative. So we
way to go on the issue of being look at this particular area of lack
of women and ethnic minorities. Women first.
In the most marginal, 40 have women candidates, that would mean if they
got just enough to win power, they would have 133 women, which is 1%
The Conservatives currently have 305 MPs and their strategy
at the next election is to concentrate on their 40 most
marginal seats, and the 40 seats most mathematically likely to turn
In those 40, 29 candidates have been selected
If they kept hold of their existing seats and won those 29 new ones
they would have 56 women MPs, around 17%, and up 2% from last time.
The Liberal Democrats are fighting to hold on to the 57 seats they won
at the last election, if they manage that, they would have
However all the indications are it could be
a bad night for the Lib Dems, if they lost 20 seats, on a uniform
swing it would leave them with just four women, 11% of the party.
One Conservative peer who thinks the party needs to look at all
options if it's female numbers go down in 2015, says Parliament is
The bottom line is, if 50% of our population is not being looked at
evenly, are we really using the best of our talent? And yes, women's life
experiences are different. They are not superior, they are not inferior.
They are different. But surely those life experiences need to be
represented here at Westminster So that's the Parliamentary
projection for gender, According to the last census
in 2011, 13% of people in the UK Labour currently has 16 MPs from
black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds or just over 6%, if they
get their extra 68 seats that figure would go up to 26, 8% of their party
were from BAME backgrounds. The Tories currently have 11 BAME
candidates, or 4% of the party. If they get an extra 29 seats,
that would mean 14 BAME MPs, The Liberal Democrats
don't have any BAME MPs. If they manage to cling
on to their current number of seats they would have two,
giving them a proportion of 4%. If they lost
their 20 most vulnerable seats, But even if you changed the mix
of gender and ethnicity in Parliament would that solve
the problem? Probably not. Only 10% of us have gone to
a private fee paid school. A Quarter of all Mps went to Oxford
or Cambridge. Only a fifth
of us went to any university. There is a huge disillusionment with
the political elite due to the fact that these people don't look like
us. They don't speak like us, they don't have our experiences and they
cannot communicate in a way we relate to. If you look at the
turnout, at the moment, if you are an unskilled worker, you are 20
points less likely to turn and vote than a middle-class professional and
that is getting worse with single election.
And that's the key, evidence does suggest that if a
Party reflects the society it exists within, it is more likely to get
It's just gone 11.35pm, you're watching the Sunday Politics.
We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now
Coming up here in 20 minutes, we'll have more from the panel.
The power of the backbencher. the Sunday Politics where you are.
We meet the MPs who make Prime Ministers tremble.
If you can swap your desire for power for asking diffictlt
Being a backbench MP can be very rewarding indeed.
Should teachers sit exams alongside their pupils?
I think it just adds added pressure, because when you're in your exams,
you don't want to turn round and your teacher is sitting there,
you want to be calm and ready for the exam, so I don't think ht is
Hello, I'm Mhairi Ashby and my guests this
week, two backbenchers who cause more trouble than most.
Andrew Bridgen and is the Conservative MP for
North West Leicestershire and John Mann is the Labour MP for B`ssetlaw
But first, the plans for a radical shake`up of hdalth
Under proposals announced this week, Leicestershire and Rutland will
lose acute services and have fewer hospital beds.
The Better Care Together pl`n unveiled by health bosses w`rns that
NHS services in the two counties are heading
for a ?400 million shortfall unless something is done to cut costs.
The plans include reducing the number of acute care hospit`ls in
Leicester from three to two, with Leicester General Hospital dealing
It also calls for investment in better facilities
The plan is expected to lead to fewer hospital beds and job cuts.
Well, Andrew Bridgen, fully last week, we were talking about the
NHS Trust in Leicester having the biggest debt in the country
These latest cuts are as a direct result of this, or they?
No, these plans have been created by health care professionals
looking forward to the future health care requhrements
of the city and the county this is their response to that.
What we are actually seeing is migration of health services
So you're saying this has got nothing to do with the huge deficit
The trust had a ?39 million deficit last year, I don't
I think Peterborough has got far the biggest deficit.
No, Leicestershire Leicester was higher.
That has got to be addressed, but what we are looking
at is a long`term plan for the shape of health card moving
So you're saying this is a good thing?
Most people do not want to go into hospital, most people want to
GPs are going to be offering more primary care, and it is good for the
patients, it is good for elderly people with complex morbidities
There is a funding gap of ?400 million over the next four xears.
Well, you know that health has had a special case as far
as the austerity measures under the Coalition Government.
We have actually increased health spending well above inflation,
which is in contrast to what Labour would have done, they would have cut
Well, John, the health servhces behind this plan have told ts that
they want to use the financhal challenges to reorganise and come up
The report actually says, working together will provide more
community`based projects and support for patients to live at
Keeping people out of hospital is a good thing?
Anyone going into hospital is a bad thing,
However much Andrew and the Tories try and rest this up, cuts cuts
cuts, the cutting the National Health Service and the way to change
the National Health Service is by putting money in and by improving it
and by ensuring everyone gets the best treatment. These ctts,
you know the phrase is workhng together, what is coming next?
A huge cut, doctors jobs gohng, patients suffering, it is what this
government is about, and we are going to see a lot more of ht.
Stop dressing it up, Andrew, and start apologising.
You start apologising for your manifesto last timd where
you proposed what would havd been a 20% cut in the NHS budget.
We protected that and gave it extra money.
Is cuts, cuts, cuts, and we are seeing it in my `rea
as well, we are seeing privatisation and Nottinghalshire
Patients are starting to go private, because they can't get
To be fair, Andrew the report says pretty clearly that thdre
It actually says the exact number of job cuts is not yet clear,
but it is not denying that there will be job cuts.
That is because there is a migration of services
from hospitals to GP practices and primary care, and that is the plan.
At a time where we have got a huge shortage of GPs?
GPs are running this now, through their clinical commissioning groups.
They are shaping the structtre of care.
For far too long, the NHS has been run from Whitehall
What we are actually doing hs empowering
the clinical professionals to come up with decisions of how thdy are
Set more GPs on, well thank you very much.
You have cut the training btdget, you've cut the numbers.
It takes years to train up ` doctor, and you are cutting doctors,
cutting nurses, cutting other health specialist
Where would the NHS have bedn if Labour had got into power
Not getting cut, and Bevan said you have got to stand up for thd NHS
if you want it, now is the time for people to fight against you lot
OK, well as we have just sedn, our guests might not agree on much,
but there is one thing that they do definitely have in common,
they are very effective exponents of the art of back benching.
We thought while they were both here, we might
find out a little bit more `bout how they go about their business.
But first, Chris Doig takes a look at how the backbenchdr can be
If you are Cameron, Clegg, Milleband or Farage, there hs
a threat more scary even th`n that of a bad opinion poll, becatse more
dangerous than the public's opinion is the opinion of the men and women
Does my right honourable friend `gree
with me that continued criminalisation the people whose
only crime is being poor is completely untenable?
The evasiveness of the government on this matter has not escaped
so much no one can remember where the party line is, or their mouth is
What do I do with my money, do I take it out this rotten,
Backbench MPs can be unruly, disloyal...
With power in their constittency, and some independently wealthy like
Andrew Bridgen, many back bdnchers feel they have little to lose.
My questions surround this project have been asked, but
As we all know, the best se`t on the school bus is the one at thd back.
You are grossly negligent, or you are grossly incompetdnt.
It seems the backbenchers have all the fun too.
But wait, we are forgetting something very important.
The former West Derbyshire LP Matthew Parris recalls tellhng
his constituency association that he would settle for being Home
Secretary, because Prime Minister would have sounded pretentious.
In the end, maybe Minister for Transport, he thought, tntil he
lowered his ambitions to just being on a select committee and going to
junkets to the Humber Bridgd, or a bus carriage in Toronto.
Not surprisingly, Mr Parris ended up in a much more important career
The crushing disappointment doled out by the slippery pole is a game
Almost every new MP secretlx wants to live at number ten, have tea with
the Queen, and have a speci`l Branch codenamed like Princess.
Most will be the bridesmaid and never the bride.
But if you can stomach the smell of regret and unfulfilled
potential, then the life of a backbencher isn't too bad.
They are paid ?67,000 a year, you get to tell the governmdnt what
it is doing wrong, and the thoughts of select commhttees,
panels of backbench MPs stuffed full of the mischievous and vengdful
I'm a big fan of getting answers from you.
If you can swap your desire for power
for asking difficult questions and causing trouble, being a backbench
Four Chris Doiges there for the price of one, I think you could say.
A few years ago, Andrew, people were saying that the backbencher was
dead, that MPs just followed their leader, but I guess with Tony Blair
and Gordon Brown, they had huge majorities and they didn't have to
listen, but now that this is a coalition, do backbenchers
like yourself have more powdr because every vote counts?
I think turning to an intakd of the more independently minded, ht was
a very large intake, so it really altered the sort of structure of the
house, where a small intake can be absorbed into the status quo
I think because the intake was so large,
I think the fact that we ard in a coalition, and I think for `
Conservative backbenchers to realise that 57 Liberal Democrats h`ve such
power over the government, ht is not hard then to work out that hf I can
get 56 of my colleagues on the backbenches of my party, we can have
as much say over what the government policy is as the Liberal Delocrats.
I don't know about more powdr, but the role of an MP is not to
spend their time sucking up to some top politician and saying ghve me
a job, it is to represent the people who have put you there.
And, you know, for better or for worse, to put forward what you
If the government is doing something good, get more of it for yotr area,
and if they are doing something bad, stop it in your area.
Well, we know, John, that you are always very happy to offer `
friendly advice to your own leader, but if Labour do get into power
does that outspoken persona that you have, does that hold you back?
If it comes to getting a job in Cabinet, if they get into power?
I am not really interested in the greasy pole.
Do I want to live in ten Downing St, I can tell you, no.
I wouldn't dream of living hn some kind of a mansion house likd that.
If Labour is in power, I will be there twisting arls to
ensure that the very best comes to my area, so that there is more money
If there is more money for the NHS, I wanted.
If there is more money for new roads, I want it.
And I will get more access hf Labour is in power,
And you don't care that it might damage your career?
By being outspoken and upsetting a few people along the way,
If I don't upset people on the way, I am not doing the job propdrly
I do, at the end of the day, common sense isn't always
as common in the House of Commons as you'd like it to be and I think the
However I finished being an MP, I want to look back at Hans`rd and
say, yes, I don't take any of that back, everything I said I bdlieved
Well give us some of the trhcks of the trade, then.
How do you go about making an impact as a backbencher?
Well, you get a government linister, and you say to them, indirectly
I am going to make you a st`r and a hero, or I am going to make
What backbenchers do have, we have the power of the argument, `nd
if you make that argument wdll and you can persuade colleagues, not
It is always about putting your case over well, isn't ht?
Then you get a chance to make that case to the media, and if you take
the people with you, the power of the argument is very strong.
It's a shame he doesn't fault with me more often.
He is always agreeing with le, I'm always speaking, and he's up there
nodding, thumbs up all the time that is alliance across the chamber.
What he needs to do is transfer that into votes.
That might get some popularhty for you then.
What effect has social medi` had for both of you?
I mean, John, you take to Twitter quite a lot
Oh, yes, I get plenty of abtse from people, normally from London.
I am interested in what the good people further north think,
They tell me, in no uncertahn terms, and I take
their life experiences and their advice back into Parlhament.
If it is a Labour Prime Minhster, they will be hearing
from me what the people of Bassetlaw think In no uncertain terms.
How much pressure do you cole under to toe the party line, though?
Because you must come under pressure.
On the government benches, obvious the votes are predominantly whipped.
But at the end of the day, bigger all free vote if you are
At the end of the day, it is down to each member's
What I would say is to the listeners or the viewers is when we are
discussing politics in the local pub, it is all black`and`whhte.
It is a little more shades of grey when you're down taking part in it.
You don't agree with each other at all, do you?
Well, he is a favourite of privatising the NHS.
I say to the whips, don't tell me how to vote, xour job
Well, the latest target for Andrew Bridgen's fire is te`chers.
He says that teachers should be sitting A`levels alongside
In a moment, we will be hearing from a teacher's union
on how they feel about the hdea but first Des Coleman's been back to
school to hear from pupils who will be taking their A`levels next year.
Well, I have come to this school in Hucknall, to ask a group
Do you think teachers should set their A`level exams
Like, they have already got their qualifications,
I don't think you need them to take their A`level to prove that
I think that your results speak for how they teach.
I think it just adds added pressure, so when you are in your exal,
you don't want to turn around, and your teacher is sitting there.
You want to actually be call and ready for the exam,
so I don't think it is necessary that they do it with you.
Yes and no, really, because it would show their capability
of teaching the subject, but now because, like Jodie said, you are in
your exam, and seeing your teacher there could just add pressure.
It is like, they have already got their
I think all the teachers I have had no thoroughly about their stbject,
but whether they are a born teacher and whether they are good
at portraying that to their pupils is sometimes a different matter
The problem is their teaching capabilities over because they are
obviously going to be brillhant in their subject, but that doesn't
necessarily mean they are going to be brilliant at teaching it.
Thanks very much to the sixth formers At the National in Hucknall.
Well, Ian Lever from the National Union of Teachers
Well, I was going to say, I am actually reassured and
not entirely surprised that the students there were saying that it
They were more afraid of them actually being in the same
room while they were taking their exam Partly that, but also
one of the students there also said about the fact that there is more to
You can see how this governlent at the moment seem to be absolutely
obsessed with the fact that as long as somebody is a graduate they are
quite capable of being in the classroom, they are even happy to
in the classrooms in academhes and free schools, and their latest
idea seems to be that anybody who happens to have a degree was retired
Well, actually, the thrust of my debate about the A`levels was to
reschedule the timing of thd exams so that people could get thd results
and apply to university with known grades rather than a prediction
We know that the predictions are four out of five are incorrdct,
three are overpredicted out of five, and one is under predhcted.
I thought that was the way to get the meritocr`cy,
and get the best people to go to the best universities.
But you were talking about teachers sitting exams?
Or was that a flippant, throwaway remark?
That actually came from a constituent of mine who is ` sixth
former at the moment who actually e`mailed me on that day when we were
debating about A level policy, and he said he thought that somd of the
teachers on different coursds on A`levels were better than others.
He thought that a good test of it for rigour would be to let the
I agree with the pupils from the National in Hucknall.
I mean, come on, you might as well have an MP in
It means nothing, because times have moved on
They are harder now, teachers are better, and a good teacher hsn't
just with the knowledge which they certainly need, ht is the
That is what makes a brilliant teacher, that inspires,
What about an idea of taking exams earlier?
Well, before I come to that, a lot of other students there were
saying about the fact that they recognise the scrutiny that teachers
are under at the moment, with classroom observations and
It is a shame that that is not recognised
Do they see this as more meddling, really?
They ought to recognise that morale is at rock bottom at the molent
A recent report showed that morale amongst teachers in this
You are going to have a strike again, aren't you?
Yes, and teachers don't strhke for nothing.
They don't strike unless thdy get to the stage were morale is th`t bad.
It is a shame that that isn't being recognised.
The issue of, as John was s`ying, about it being more than just simply
having knowledge and being `ble to impart that knowledge, recently
There are huge changes coming in to the A`levels...
The NUT requested an additional training day to
Instead of having to sit ex`ms, that would have been far more
useful, but that has been knocked back by Michael Gove.
So you are saying you have got enough on your plate,
without people coming in and suggesting the sort of things?
Teachers are quite happy to engage in CPD, but the career spechfic ..
Continuing professional development...
teachers are very happy to dngage in that, but a lot
of the career specific profdssional development has now disappe`red
What he is also saying is they have clearly had enough,
they have got to meet all of these targets, they are stressed,
they are overworked, they fdel there is underpaid, they are worrhed
But how can a teacher in part the knowledge
I think if you are teaching A`levels,
A`levels are very important exams, they are going to ship the rest
of the student's life, and they only get one chance at an educathon.
I would suspect that students should be able to expect that the teacher
taking them through the course of an A`level course should be able
How prepared are you to take this further?
How far do you want to take this idea?
At the end of the day, we need to have...
Have you spoken to Michael Gove about it?
I am very keen to change A`levels so we can actually have a true merit
` meritocracy and get peopld going to the right universities, `nd I
think the way we are going to do that, I am sorry about the
disruption to teachers, but I think the prize is worth it to
have a genuine meritocracy, because I think the current system
really does discriminate ag`inst people who go to state schools.
I think they're grades are tnder predicted, and I think that
if they do achieve better than that, they are not going to go to
Would it make a difference, taking exams early?
I think that Michael Gove otght to be taking a few A`levels.
Question him, where is the North of England.
Let's just ask you a couple of questions before you leave me.
Consider, John, the extent to which the which the influence
of individual grassroots melbers within the Labour Party has
And the answer to that is that it hasn't diminished.
Not ever since I successfully proposed giving members the vote.
And now the vote to elect individual party leaders.
I would say, get involved in the Labour Party, go and have a say
Andrew, what extent does the contemporary Conservative Party
promote traditional conserv`tive values, 30 marks for this.
Probably for me and some of my colleagues not quite dnough.
I think the confusion is th`t we actually do not have a Consdrvative
government we have a coalithon government and people shouldn't
The one thing I was going to say if I may do is that teachers are
highly qualified and well skilled professionals and if you have got
an amateur in charge, look `t what happens with Michael Gove in charge.
Is tanker 60 seconds. Busindsses any East Midlands are being urgdd to bid
for their share of ?200 million for regeneration. The next round of the
regional growth ground is open for applications. Previous rounds have
given the area the least amount of grass in the country. Firefhghters
say they can't rule out indtstrial action over plans to cut a puarter
of the workforce. Managers say the service need to sate ?7.5 mhllion.
Unions say it would put the lives of viral fighters and the publhc at
risk. Passions run high 18 leeting of borough councillors this week.
Our reporter with interviewhng the council leader when Labour `nd
Conservative councillors behind him almost came to blows. Tempers
quickly calmed and no one w`s hurt. Well, it didn't come to blows, but
emotions were clearly running rather high, weren't they? Put thel in the
stock in the Market Square. That is certainly one solution. That is the
Sunday Politics in the been problems elsewhere in Europe,
but I take your point. Thanks to both of you today. Back to you,
Andrew. Now, there have been some
less-than-helpful remarks about the way the Labour party makes
policy, and they've come from the man who is heading Labour's
Policy Review, Jon Cruddas. In a speech to party activists he
was recorded saying that, "instrumentalised, cynical nuggets
of policy to chime with our focus groups and our press strategies and
our desire for a topline in terms of the 24 hour media cycle,
dominate and crowd out any He added that Labour's election
strategy was being hampered by a The shadow chancellor, Ed Balls
was asked about what Mr Cruddas had I talked to him a couple of days
ago, and he's not frustrated, he is excited about his policy agenda He
is frustrated that one report of 250 pages gets reduced down. So it's our
fault? That is the way we live in the world in which we live, but we
have big ideas about devolution long term infrastructure spending
and new manufacturing policy, new investment in skills, big changes
which, let's be honest, I'm really on George Osborne's agenda. How
serious is this? It is Wimbledon, so let's call it an unforced error You
go to the party speeches, and you don't know who is in the audience.
There is no need for something as serious as this to happen. It's
hugely serious because it speaks about something people have felt for
a long time, that they have doled out little nuggets of policy but no
overarching story. There was a quite saying the Ed Miliband has given as
a shopping list, not a narrative. When people in the party say things
that are true, it's very difficult for people to explain it away. Not
sure Mr Miliband can win here. He was recently criticised for not
having policies. Now he's being criticised for having too many. I
think this line of attack is particularly wounding because he
prides himself on being a politician of ideas. That is his unique selling
point, and the weight that David Cameron's prime ministerial nature
is his selling point. So it is wounding. If I was the Labour Party,
before announcing any policy, I would ask can help fix us on the
economy? It might be radicalised immolating on its own terms, but
it's politically useless. -- radical and innovative on its own terms I
don't think any member of the public does not think they are not radical
enough or creative enough. If anything, it's the opposite. They
are a bit nervous about what a Labour government could do and
nervous about the economic reputation. Reassurance, caution,
maybe a bit of timidity might be the notions that inform their policies
or should inform their policies in night -- my view, not the opposite.
I am worried for Jon Cruddas, because anyone who questions the
Labour Party are part of the nexus of the banking industry who are
terrified of a Labour victory. It's interesting that this goes to the
heart of the debate in the Labour Party, at the highest levels, do
they put a big offer to the British people, or a little off, John
Cruddas offer, or Douglas Alexander offer? Ed Miliband says that his
ideas about freezing energy prices and rent controls are a big offer,
but his policy chief clearly has real concerns that they don't go far
enough. How important a figure is John Cruddas in the project? He is
hell of the -- head of the policy review and has a huge amount of
power, and so him slagging off the policy review is a bad moment. He is
trusted in that inner circle and the problem for Ed Miliband from the odd
is that he has people with strong opinions, Maurice clasping is
another, big thinkers, but they maybe don't have a precaution that a
professional politician might have in terms of giving bland answers.
So, David Cameron had to apologise after his former director
of communications was convicted of phone hacking.
David Cameron's other former friend, Rebekah Brooks, had a better day.
At the same trial, she was cleared of all the charges against her.
I take full responsibility for employing Andy Coulson. I did some
on the basis of undertakings I was given by him about phone hacking and
those turned out not to be the case. I always said that if they turned
out to be wrong, I would make a full and frank apology, and I do that
today. I am extremely sorry that I employed him. It was the wrong
decision. I'm clear about that. When I was arrested it was in the middle
of a maelstrom of controversy, politics and of comment. Some of
that was there, but much of it was not, so I'm grateful to the jury for
coming to that decision. Not been a great week for David Cameron. Andy
Coulson found guilty, and another person who had worked in Downing
Street is also charged on an unrelated issue. And he was 26- on
the wrong end in Brussels, and there is a poll this morning which no one
seems to be talking about which puts Labour nine points ahead. Before all
that there was Dominic Cummings criticising the Downing Street
operation is being shambolic. Is Mr Cameron's judgement becoming an
issue? Yes, what often happens when one leader is under pressure for
long enough, as Ed Miliband has been the six months, we get bored. We
then switch the Gatling gun to the other guy. So David Cameron going
into the Conference season might be the man under pressure. The whole
Andy Coulson saga has raised questions about his judgement and
those around him, but any political damage she was going to sustain over
Andy Coulson and phone hacking was sustained years ago -- he was
going. It was Brother beyond the date the News of the World was
closed down three summers ago - it was probably on the date. As the
hacking trial cut through to the general public? Or is it just as
media and political obsessives? I am sure it has cut through in some way
but it didn't necessarily happen in recent days, more likely in recent
years. It was some time ago that Andy Coulson resigned in high
profile circumstances. It has had a slow burning effect over a few
years, and the Prime Minister fears the Big Bang. But there is one theme
and words that unites this week with Juncker and Andy Coulson, and that
is that the Prime Minister can be lackadaisical. He was lackadaisical
in not asking big question is when there was a lot in the public domain
about what had happened that the News of the World. And he was
lackadaisical with Juncker. He made a calculation that Angela Merkel
would support him and it turned out she couldn't. Maybe he needs to
change. He was late in understanding what was happening in Germany when
both the Christian Democrats, her party, wanted Juncker, and when the
actual Murdoch press of Germany said that they wanted him as well. He
never saw that. He only looks at one person in Germany, Angela Merkel,
and it is a grand coalition, and the SDP felt strongly about it. He is,
in a sense, an essay crisis Prime Minister. He is, in a sense, an
essay crisis Prime Minister. He s very good in an essay, and the SA
gets a double first the essay. Is Ed Miliband right to be angry? He has
John Cruddas attacking him, and that is the news leading in the Sunday
Times, and has not been a good week the Prime Minister and in which Mr
Miliband has a bigger lead in the polls than he has had some time so
he must be wondering why they are having a go at him. He made a
tactical error in Prime Minister's Questions by asking all the
questions about Andy Coulson. The one at the end about what Gus
O'Donnell said was rather hopeful in the extreme. Politicians can be out
of touch on all sides of the house. The problem is, and there is a great
quote by William Hague, is that the Tory party has two modes, panic and
complacency. At the moment they are complacent. They think Ed Miliband
will lose Labour election but I don't know if they have a positive
plan about how to win it. -- lose Labour the election.
Now, we knew Prince Charles had trouble keeping his views
about the environment and the countryside to himself,
but that's not the only thing he's passionate about according to
a radio four documentary to be broadcast this lunchtime.
Here's former Education Secretary, David Blunkett on how the Prince
had once attempted to influence his policy on schools.
I would explain that our policy was not to expand grammar schools, and
he didn't like that. He was very keen that we should go back to a
different era where youngsters had what he would've seen as the
opportunity to escape from their background, where as I wanted to
change their background. And you can hear that documentary -
it's called The Royal Activist Does it matter that Prince Charles
is getting involved in this kind of policy, released behind closed doors
question mark on the issue of grammar schools is not clear anybody
listened to him. I think it is a principal problem. I've spoken to
form a government members, and judging by what they say, if
anything we underestimate how much contacting makes with ministers And
how many representations he makes on the issue that interest him. There
has been an attempt to keep it hidden. It's almost a theological
question about whether the future monarch should be involved in the
public realm. If he wants to influence policy, shouldn't we know
what policy he's trying to influence and what position he is taking?
Sewer speech is better than private one-on-one lobbying. Possibly - so
a speech. Prince Charles's views are interesting. He's not a straight
down the light reactionary. He makes a left-wing case for rammer schools.
There is an interview with him in the Financial Times in which his
argument in favour for architectural development takes into account
affordable housing in the wake which no one would have suspected. He has
interesting views, but I'm not convinced on the point of principle
whether someone is dashing his position should be speaking. Your
former employer 's famously described him as the SDP king. You
slightly feel sorry for him. He s 66 and still an apprentice. He's in a
difficult position. We know what the powers of the monarch are. They are
to advise in courage and warned the Prime Minister of the day. These in
the difficult position where the problem for him is that there is a
line that isn't really defined, but you slightly feel he just gets a bit
too close to it and possibly crosses that line with the lobbying that
goes on. I think the worrying thing is that at some point he will become
King and will he know that he has got to work within that framework?
He is somebody that cannot win either. If he doesn't take an
interest in public policy, he will be thought to be a bit of a waster,
going round opening town halls, and when he does have an interest we
think, hey, you are in the monarchy, stay out. There's an interesting
parallel with first ladies who are encouraged to find a controversial
charitable project. Michelle Obama has bought childhood obesity, and
that is the standard thing. Everybody knows that that is a bad
thing, but you are not offering solutions that are party political.
I feel there must be a middle way with what he should be able to do
about finding big causes he can complain about without getting stuck
into lobbying ministers. Which can become a party political issue. He
has had some influence on architecture, because the buildings
we are putting up to date are better than the ones we used to put up
The Daily Politics is on BBC 2 at 11:00am
We'll be back here at the same time next week.
Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.
With Marie Ashby. Andrew Neil is joined by Europe Minister David Lidington, Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan and Lib Dem Charles Kennedy to discuss David Cameron's EU defeat. Also should there be a complete ban on smoking?