28/09/2014 Sunday Politics East Midlands


Andrew Neil and Marie Ashby with the latest political news, interviews and debate.

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Morning folks and welcome to The Sunday Politics,


live from the Conservative Conference in Birmingham.


There will be one less Conservative MP here after Mark Reckless defected


He joins us live from his constituency, where he has


It has not been the best of starts for the Prime Minister, as he


arrives in Birmingham for the last Tory conference before the election.


On top of the Reckless defection, a junior Tory minister has resigned


RAF jets have carried out their first mission over Iraq


Will UKIP be stealing any of our East Midlands MPs?


Plus is it time we joined up with the West Midlands to demand


In London, how the richest 1% are pulling further away, and why those


priced out are choosing to move away.


And joining me, three of the country's most loyal journalists,


who sadly have yet to resign or defect to our inferior rivals.


Nick Watt, Polly Toynbee and Janan Ganesh.


And, of course, they'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


And you too can get involved by using the hashtag #BBCSP.


At the current rate of Tory resignations,


Mr Cameron could be speaking to an empty hall when he makes his keynote


address to the Tory conference here in Birmingham tomorrow.


It's been a classic car crash of a start to the conference, with a UKIP


defection, a minister shamed into resignation by a sex scandal and


Ed Miliband's memory lapses now look like a little local difficulty.


Here's what the Prime Minister had to say


These things are frustrating and frankly counter-productive and


rather senseless. If you want to have a European referendum, if you


want to get the deficit down, if you want to build a stronger Britain


that we can be proud of, there is only one option, which is to have a


Conservative government after the next election.


And Mark Reckless joins me now from Rochester.


Welcome to the programme. Why did you lie to all your Conservative


colleagues and mislead those who elected you? Well, I am keeping


faith with my constituents and keeping my promises to them. You


heard the Prime Minister saying that the Conservative led government was


dealing with the deficit and cutting immigration. The reality is, we have


increased the national debt by more in five years than even Labour


managed in 13, and immigration is back up to the levels we saw under


Labour. I believe in the promises I made in 2010, and I want to keep my


words to my electorate, not least to deal with the deficit, cut


immigration, reform the political system, to localise powers back to


the community, particularly over house-building. The government has


broken its word on all those things are. I want to keep my word to my


voters here, and that is why I have done what I have done, by moving to


UKIP. You have not kept your words to your Conservative constituency


chairman. You assured him 48 hours ago that you would not defect, and


you left his voice mail on the Conservative Party chairman's office


telephone, missing to come to Birmingham to campaign for the


Tories. This is your voice mail .. I have just picked up your e-mail ..


So, Friday night, telling Grant Shapps you are coming to Birmingham


to campaign for the Tories. The next day, you are joining UKIP. Why did


you are a? I sounded a bit more hesitant on that call than I usually


do, and I am not sure if that was the full conversation. But you


cannot discuss these things in advance, you have to make a


decision. I have decided the future of this country is better served by


UKIP then it is by the Conservative Party under David Cameron. I made a


lot of promises to my constituents, and I want to keep those promises.


That is why I am moving to UKIP so I can deliver the change this


country really needs. In May of this year, you said that Nigel Farage,


quote, poses the most serious threat to a Tory victory at the election.


So, you agree, voting UKIP means a Labour government? I think voting


UKIP means getting UKIP. While in the past a disproportionate number


of UKIP people were ex-Conservatives, now, they are


winning a lot more people, from all parties. People are so disillusioned


with the political class in Westminster, that they have not


voted often for a generation. Those are the people Nigel Farage is


inspiring, and frankly, he has also inspired me. What he has done in the


last 20 years, building his party, getting people from all walks of


life, sending up for ordinary people, I think deserves support.


That is a key reason why I am moving. UKIP are now the agents of


change. You said it poses them a serious threat to a Tory victory? My


ambition is not a Tory victory. We made all of these promises in 2 10


as Conservatives, and they have been broken. We now hear from David


Cameron about English votes for English laws, supported by Nick


Clegg as well, but that is what we said in our manifesto in 2010, and


we have done absolutely nothing about it. It is not credible now to


pretend that you are going to do those things. They have omitted to


give every Scot ?1600 per year in definitely. If you want to stand up


for the English taxpayer, and really tackle the debt, then UKIP are the


party who will do that. But there is nothing principled about this, this


is just an attempt to save your skin. You said UKIP stopped you


winning in 2005 - UKIP did not stand in 2010, and you won. You are


frightened that UKIP would beat you in the next election, this is to


save your skin to me you think I am doing this because I am frightened,


you think this is the easy option, to abandon my position in


Parliament, but my principles on the line? On the contrary, you look at


MPs who have moved party before almost none of them have given their


voters to chance to have a say on what they have done. I am asking


permission from my voters, and I am moving to UKIP because I believe


many of the people in my constituency have been let down by a


Conservative led government, and that what UKIP is saying appeals to


decent, hard-working people, who want to see real change in our


country. If they do not agree, then they can vote in a by-election and


have their say on who they want to be their MP. I am being open and


honest, giving people a say. I am trying to do the right thing by my


constituents, and whatever the risk is to me personally, I think it is


the right thing to do. It is what MPs should be in politics to try and


do for the people they represent. Your defection, coming after Douglas


Carswell's, confirms the claim that UKIP is largely a depository for


disaffected right-wing Tories like yourself, isn't it? On the contrary,


the number of people I met in Doncaster yesterday was


extraordinary. When I first went to Conservative conferences 20 years


ago, there was some enthusiasm for politics, I remember Norman Tebbit


speaking against Maastricht, people fought they could change things


there was real politics. But I do not think you will see that at


Birmingham this week, it is PR people, lobbyists, corporate, few


ordinary members of. At Ancaster, people had saved up for months just


to get the rail ticket to Doncaster. People who believe in UKIP, who


believe in Nigel Farage, who believe in the team, as agents of change,


who can actually deal with a political class at Westminster which


has let able down. We want proper reform to the political system,


which David Cameron promises but does not deliver. Final question -


after the next election, the Prime Minister is going to be either David


Cameron or Ed Miliband, that is the choice, one or the other - who would


you prefer? Well, what we would prefer is to get the most UKIP


policies implemented. We want a first rate we want to deal with


immigration. I asked about who you wanted to be Prime Minister. We will


look at the circumstances. We need as many UKIP MPs as possible, to


restore trust in politics. If people vote UKIP, they will get UKIP. How


serious is this? I think it is very serious. It is the old Tory disease,


destroyed John Major, and it has been bubbling away again. It is


beginning to feel like the worst days of Labour in the early nineteen


eighties. It matters, because people care passionately. It is nothing


like Labour in the early 1980s, it is bad, but it is nothing like that.


There are these very strong strands. People like David Davis


writing a large piece in the Daily Mail attacking the leader on the


first day of the conference. That is the kind of thing that Labour used


to do. That is what David Davis does all the time! But this is authentic


in the sense that there is a real, genuine dispute about Europe. Some


of us were not around in the 19 0s, but I imagine it is pretty bad.


There is the short-term problem of the by-election they might lose the


media problem of the general election which they cannot win if


UKIP remain anywhere near their current level of support. But in


many ways the longer term question is the most pressing, which is, does


it make sense for the Conservative Party to remain one party, or would


it not be better for the hard-core of 20-30 intransigent Eurosceptics


to essentially join UKIP or form their own party? At least the


Conservatives would become more internally manageable. And probably


lose the next election. Probably, yes. That is what you are advising


them? If the reward is to have a coherent party in 15 years' time. It


is just as well you are a columnist, not a party strategist. I


was an anorak in the 1980s, who watched the Labour conference on the


TV. Were you wearing your anorak? Of course I was, that is how sad I am.


But once again the crisis from UKIP has forced the Prime Minister to


step in an even more Eurosceptic direction. Said on television what


he was trying not to say, which is that if he does not get his way in


the European negotiations, he will recommend to the British people that


we should go. He began by saying, as I have always said, and when they


say that, you know they are saying something new. He basically said,


Britain should not stay if it is not in Britain's interests. I think this


is big stakes for both the Tories and four UKIP. The Tories are able


to write off Clacton. Rochester is number 271 on the UKIP friendly


list. If the Tories win it, big moment for them. If UKIP lose it,


this strategy of various will be facing a bit of a setback.


To what extent are Mark Reckless's views shared by Conservative


The Sunday Politics commissioned an exclusive poll of Conservative


Pollsters ComRes spoke to over ,000 councillors -


that's almost an eighth of their council base - and Eleanor Garnier


There is not a single party conference at the seaside this year,


and Sunday Politics could not get through them all without a trip to


the coast. So here we are on the shore in Sussex. There are plenty of


Conservative councillors here, and Tory MPs as well, but one challenge


they all face is UKIP, who have got their sights on coastal towns.


Places like Worthing East and surer and, with high numbers of


pensioners, providing rich pickings for UKIP. In West Sussex, the Tories


run the county council, but UKIP are the official opposition, with ten


councillors. We cannot lose any more ground to UKIP. If we lose any more


ground, if you look at the way it has swung from us to them, it is


getting near to being the middle point, where we might start losing


seats which we have always regarded as safe seats. So, it has got to be


stemmed, it cannot go any further. Our exclusive survey looked at the


policy areas where the Conservatives are vulnerable to UKIP. If an EU


Referendum Bill is called tomorrow, 45% say they would vote to leave,


39% would stay in. Asked about immigration...


It was those issues, Europe and immigration, that Mark Reckless said


were the head of his decision. I promised to cut immigration while


treating people fairly and humanely. I cannot keep that promise as a


Conservative, I can keep it as UKIP. When asked if Conservative


councillors would like an electoral pact with UKIP in the run-up to the


general election, one third said they support the idea. 63% are


opposed and 7% don't know. Conservative councillors who left


the party to join UKIP say it wasn't easy. I left because basically the


Conservatives left me. I saw it as a difficult decision to change, but


what I was seeing with UKIP was freed. Me being able to speak for my


residents. Back to our survey and on climate change 49% said it was


happening, but that humans are not to blame. Our survey showed that 60%


think David Cameron was wrong to pursue legalising gay marriage, with


31% saying it was the right thing to do and 9% not sure. In Worthing


councillors said gay marriage was divisive. That has really been an


issue here, it might have damaged the party slightly, and I think in a


way by setting a rule like that it is a very religious thing and it is


almost trying to play God to make that decision. But some of the


party's toughest decisions have been over the economy. 56% in our survey


thought the spending cuts the Government has so far announced have


not gone far enough. 6% were not sure. They are prepared for


difficult decisions, but local activists say the party's voice must


be clearer. I think the message has to be more forceful, it has to be


specially targeted to the ex-Conservative voters who now vote


UKIP, especially in this area, the vast majority of UKIP people are


disillusioned Conservatives. The message has to be loud and strong,


come back and we are the party to give you what you want. With just


eight months until the general election, the pressure is on and


local Conservatives are searching for clues to help their party stem


the flow of defections. Joining me now is William Hague, the former


Foreign Secretary and the Leader of the House of Commons.


Tories like Mark Reckless are defecting to UKIP because they don't


trust the party leadership to deliver on Europe, do they? They


believe people like you and David Cameron will campaign to stay in and


they are right. They said before they defected that people should


vote Conservative to get a referendum on Europe, and that is


right of course. The only way to get a referendum is to do that and this


is the point, the people should decide. However a future government


decides it will campaign, it should be the people of the country who


decide. Can you say to our viewers this morning that is not enough


powers are repatriated back to Britain, you would want to come


out, can you say that? Our objective is to get those powers and stay in.


The answer to the question is I won't be deciding, David Cameron


won't be deciding, you the voters will be deciding. But you have to


give us your view. If you don't get enough powers back, would you vote


to come out and recommended? Our objective is to get those powers and


be able to stay in. You just get endless speculation years in


advance. I will decide at the time how I will vote. Surely that is the


rational position for everyone to take but I want a referendum to take


place. I understand that. As you pointed out to Mark Reckless just


now, unless there is a Conservative government, people won't have that


choice. Under a Labour government they will not get a choice at all.


Our survey of Tory councillors shows that almost 50% would vote to leave


the EU in a referendum. I think it showed, wasn't it 45, and 39%, but


again, I'm pretty sure they will decide at the time. They will want


to see what a future government achieves in a renegotiation before


they decide what to vote in a referendum. Unless David Cameron is


Prime Minister and there is a Conservative government, there will


not be a renegotiation. That is a point you have made four times. I


think they have got it. Your Cabinet colleague says we should not be


scared of quitting the EU, but you went native in the Foreign Office,


didn't you? You used to be a Eurosceptic, you are now the Foreign


Office line man. No, I don't think so! We brought back the first


reduced European budget ever in history. Even Margaret Thatcher ..


Leaving the EU scares you, doesn't it? Not much scares me after 26


years in politics but we want to do the best thing for the country.


Where we scared when we got us out of liability for Eurozone bailouts?


We were not scared of anybody. People said we couldn't achieve


things but we negotiated these things. We can do that with a wider


negotiation in Europe. Mr Reckless says he cannot keep the Conservative


promise to tackle immigration. You have failed to keep your promise to


keep net immigration down. You promised to cut it below 100,00 ,


you failed. It is over 200,000 people. We have cut it from 250 000


in 2005, the last figures were 240,000. I think we can file that


under F four failed. It includes students, we want them in the


country. You knew that when you made the promise. But has it come down?


Yes, it has. Have we stopped the promise. But has it come down?


coming here because of our benefit system? Yes. None of that happened


under Labour. If Mark Reckless had his way, it would be more likely we


would have a Labour government. They have an open door policy on


immigration. You are not just losing MPs to UKIP, you are losing voters.


Polling by Michael Ashcroft shows that 20% of people who voted Tory in


2010 have abandoned youth and three quarters of them are voting UKIP


now. We will see in the general election. Politics is very fluid in


this country and we shouldn't deny that in any way but UKIP thought


they were going to win the by-election in Newark, we had a


thumping Conservative victory, and I think opinion polls are snapshots of


opinion now. They are not forecast of the general election and we will


be doing everything we can to get our message across. Today we are


announcing 3 million more apprenticeships in the next


Parliament. I think this is what people will be voting on, rather


than who has defected. Your activist base once parked with UKIP. Our


survey shows a third of Tory councillors would like a formal pact


with UKIP. Why not? It shows two thirds are against it. No, it shows


one third want it. I read the figures, it showed 67% don't want


it. We are not going to make a pact with other parties, and they don't


work in the British electoral system even if they were desirable. You are


sharing the Cabinet committee on English votes for English laws. Is


further devolution for Scotland conditional on progress towards


English devolution? No, the commitment to Scotland is


unconditional. We will meet the commitments to Scotland but we


believe, we the Conservatives believe, that in tandem with that we


have to resolve these questions about fairness to the rest of the UK


as well. That will depend on other parties or the general election


result. Are you committed to the Gordon Brown timetable? Yes,


absolutely. So you are committed to producing draft legislation by Burns


night, that is at the end of January. Will you produce proposals


for English votes on English laws by then? We will, but whether they are


agreed across the parties will depend on the other parties. There


was no sign that they were agreeable at the Labour conference. We will


produce our ideas on the same timetable as the timetable for


Scottish devolution. You will therefore bring forward proposals


for English votes for English laws by the end of January? Yes. And will


you attempt to get them on the statute book before the election?


The commitment in Scotland is to legislate after the election. You


will publish a bill beforehand? We will publish proposals beforehand. I


don't exclude doing something before the election, but the Scottish


timetable is to legislate for the further devolution after the general


election, whoever wins the election. Have you given thought as to what


English votes for English laws would mean? I have thought a lot of it


over 15 years. I am not going to prejudge what the outcome will be,


but it does mean in essence that when decisions are taken, decisions


that only affect England or only England and Wales, then only the MPs


from England and Wales should be making those decisions. You can


achieve that in many different ways. Is that it for English


devolution, is that what it amounts to? That is devolution to England if


you like, but within England there is a lot of other devolution going


on and we might well want to extend that further. We have given more


freedom to local authorities, there is a lot of scope to do more of


that, but that in itself is not the answer to the problem of what


happens at Westminster. You haven't just given Scotland more devolution


or planned to do it, you have also enshrined the Barnett formula and


that seems to be in perpetuity. It is widely regarded as being unfair


to Wales and many of the poorer English regions. Why do you


perpetuate it? It will become less relevant overtime if more


tax-raising powers... It goes all the way back to the 1970s, we made a


commitment on that, we will keep our commitments to Scotland as more --


but as more tax-raising powers devolved, the Barnett formula is


less significant. If you transfer ?5 billion of tax-raising powers to


Scotland, 5 billion comes off the Barnett formula? It will be a lot


more complicated than that, but yes, as their own decisions about


taxation are made, the grand from Westminster will go down. And you


can guarantee that if there is a majority Conservative government,


there will be English votes for English laws after the election


Yes, I stress again that there are different ways of doing it but if


there is no cross-party agreement on that, the Conservatives will produce


our proposals and campaign for them in the general election. Don't go


away because I want to move on to some other matters.


Now to the fight against so-called Islamic State terrorists.


Yesterday, RAF Tornado jets carried out their first flights over Iraq


since MPs gave their approval for air-strikes against the militants.


When you face a situation with psychobabble -- psychopathic killers


who have already brutally beheaded one of our own citizens, who have


already launched and tried to execute plots in our own country to


maim innocent people, we have a choice - we can either stand back


from this and say it is too difficult, let's let someone else


try to keep our country safe, or we take the correct decision to have a


full, comprehensive strategy but let's be prepared to play our role


to make sure these people cannot do not trust harm.


And William Hague is still with me - until July he was, of course,


Why have only six Tornado jets being mobilised? Do not assume that is all


that will be taking part in this operation. That is all that has been


announced and I do not think we should speculate. Even the Danes are


sending more fighter jets. There is no restriction in the House of


Commons resolution passed on Friday on what we can do. So why so


little? Do not underestimate what our Tornados can do. They have some


unique capabilities, capabilities which have been specifically asked


for by our allies. When you are on the wrong end of six Tornados, it


will not feel like a small effort. But there will be other things which


can add to that effort. We are joining in a month after the


operation started, we are late, we are behind America, France,


Australia, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, one hand tied behind our


backs cause of the rule about not attacking Syria - why is the British


government leading from behind? First of all, we are a democratic


country, and you know all about Parliamentary approval. You could


have recalled parliament. We have done that, with a political


consensus. Other European countries also took the decision on Friday to


send their military assets. Our allies are absolutely content with


that, and Britain will play an important role, along with many


other nations, including Arab nations. General Sir David Richards


Sheriff, who just steps down as the Nato Deputy Supreme Commander, he


condemns the spineless lack of leadership and the absence of any


credible strategy. It is embarrassing,isn't it? Of course,


they turn into armchair generals. We are playing an important role, we


are a democratic country. Your viewers will remember, we had a vote


last year on military action in Syria and we were defeated in the


House of Commons, a bad moment for our foreign policy. We have taken


care to bring this forward when we can win a vote in the House of


Commons, and that is how we will proceed. The air Chief Marshal until


recently in charge of the RAF, he says, it makes no sense to bomb Iraq


but not Syria. He calls the decision ludicrous. Of course, it DOES make


sense to bomb Iraq, because the Iraqi government has asked for our


assistance. This came up a lot in the debate on Friday, and the Prime


Minister explained, similar to what I have just been saying, that there


is not a political consensus about Syria in the House of Commons. When


we did it last year, we were defeated, and it was described by


all commentators as a huge blow to the government and to our foreign


policy. So, we will bring forward proposals when there is a majority


in this country to do so in the House of Commons. Professor Michael


Clarke, one of the world top experts on military strategy and history, he


says there are very few important IS targets in northern Iraq, that they


are all in Syria, and we are limiting ourselves to the periphery


of the campaign. First of all, just because you are not doing everything


does not mean you should not do something. Secondly, the United


States and other countries are engaged in the action against


targets in Syria. This is a coalition effort, with people doing


different things. Thirdly, if we were to put their proposal to the


House of Commons tomorrow, and it was defeated, we would not have


achieved a great deal. You do not know it would have been defeated.


The Labour Party has given no indication they would have supported


that. So, you are hostage to the Labour Party? We have to win a


democratic vote in the House of Commons, and the Labour Party is a


very large part of the House of Commons. You are asking us to pursue


a policy which at the moment could be defeated in Parliament. Is it not


embarrassing to be on the wrong side of so many of these military


experts? Why should we trust the judgment of here today, gone


tomorrow, politicians? We have the military experts with us now. We


have a national security council, we do not have sofa government, unlike


the last government. The national security council is chaired by the


Prime Minister. Alongside the Chief of Defence Staff and the heads of


the intelligence agencies. And we take decisions together with the


people who have the information now. So, you will know what British


and American intelligence says about Syria. The Prime Minister has said


there is a danger that the British-born jihadists will come


back and attack us. But the intelligence reports which you will


have seen are clear - Al-Qaeda and its associates are selecting,


indoctrinating and training jihadists in Syria, not Iraq. Does


that not make the Syrian exclusion even more ludicrous? I cannot


comment on intelligence. Is the situation in Syria I direct threat


to this country? Yes, it is. Have we excluded action? No, we haven't.


Could you come back to the House? The Prime Minister said, it was in


the motion put to the House of Commons, that if we want to take


action in Syria, we will come back to the House of Commons. But we have


not taken any decision about that and we would not do so if we thought


we were going to be defeated again. The government supports US strikes


on Syria, show you must relieve they are legal. Either way the legal


basis differs from one country to another, according to their reading


of international law. But you have supported it. We do believe that


they and Arab countries are taking action legally and we support their


action. But I understand your legitimate questions. But it comes


back to your basic question, why in Iraq and not Syria. Nonetheless, it


is important to take action in Iraq. We are also engaged in Syria


in building up the political strength of the more moderate


opposition and in trying to bring about a peace agreement, and we do


not exclude action in Syria in the future. If we propose doing


something, then we ask for the specific legal advice. Why would you


not ask for the legal advice anyway? Because you have to be sure


of the legal advice at the time, and also we do not comment on the advice


given to us by the Law officers. Mr Blair ended up publishing his. That


was because there was a huge legal dispute. So you have not had legal


advice yet that Britain attacking Syria would be legal? The legal


situation is unlikely to be the barrier in this case, let me put it


that way. Within international law, you can act in the event of extreme


humanitarian distress and elective self-defence, so one can imagine


strong legal justification, but of course, we will take the legal


advice at the time. watching The Sunday Politics. We say


goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who Scotland. Coming up here in 20


minutes, The Week Ahead. Is it time for us to get


closer to the West Midlands? Politicians want better links,


but do you? Someone's come up with the hdea of


joining forces, the East and West Midlands together, in order to get


more money from central govdrnment. And the region's Conservatives are


gathering in Birmingham for their annual party confdrence


and our political editor, On any normal Sunday morning,


George Clooney's wedding wotld dominate the front pages but not


today because the front pagds and the inside pages are dolinated


by the latest Tory difficulties A defection to UKIP


and minister's resignation, so what do Conservatives


from the East Midlands make of it all as they gather in Birmingham


for the annual conference? Hello, I'm Marie Ashby


and my guests this week, Frdsh from his party's annual conference, which


has grabbed a few headlines, is UKIP's Roger Helmer, a European MP


for his party in the East Mhdlands. He's joined by Issan Gazhni


from the Liberal Democrats. He's chair of the party in the


East Midlands. And if you're


following the programme on Twitter and seeing a lot


of references to the Great British Bake Off that's probably because in


the director's gallery todax we ve He's tweeting his thoughts


on the show so far and the rest So, Roger, obviously you've come


away from your conference btoyed up by the defection of Consdrvative


MP Mark Reckless to UKIP. The obvious question,


have you got your eye on anx If I had, I wouldn't tell you but,


honestly, I haven't. I am not at the top of the party. I can't comment on


that but I can comment on the conference. It must've been to about


20 of them in my political career. I have never seen one so


enthusiastic, so electrified, so determined to make progress. It was


going extremely well up unthl 2 0 yesterday, when Mark Reckless


arrived. The thing exploded and others like someone had won the


football cup. Mark Spencer, the Sherwood LP,


retweeted a tweet yesterday in which someone said they had a fiver


on him being the next Tory to go. Well, knowing Mark Spencer,


we're pretty sure he's joking. But really,


outside of the European elections, you haven't made much of an impact


in the East Midlands, have xou? Well, if you look at the European


election results in Skegness, for example, we polled more than 50 of


the vote and recent opinion polls I have seen out of the constituency


shows that we are in with an extremely strong chance of winning


that seat. So we think we'rd going to be making progress. Therd are


other seeds, of course, we be targeting. Everybody said, OK, you


got the European election and that UKIP, it will fade away by the


general election. It isn't. We are on a roll.


And, Issan, as far as the Liberal Democrats are concerned


in the East Midlands you're almost spectators with the big fights


between the Conservatives and UKIP and Labour and the Conservatives.


Yes, I mean, we are very active on the ground. We have local


councillors and control somd local authorities. The odds are stacked


against you, aren't they? That's the nature of the game. We are hn


coalition and parties in co`lition of traditionally had a tough it s no


different in our situation. It's a temporary setback. It is a blip and


I'm confident we will recovdr. When we are knocking on doors in the East


Midlands we're getting a positive response because the economx is


recovering. And the austerity people had to go through is now showing


signs of coming back. Let's hear from the Conserv`tives


then. They are gathering


for their annual party confdrence in Birmingham and our polithcal


editor, John Hess is there. He's been talking to a couple of


senior party members this morning. Well, Marie,


it's a lovely sunny Sunday lorning The Town Hall and the Counchl House


behind me but there's a dark political cloud over the st`rt


of this Conservative conferdnce in Birmingham and that's because of the


resignation of a government minister and of course the defection to UKIP


by MP Mark Reckless so, to what extent could that trouble the


Conservatives and their conference? Let's get the view of some senior


East Midlands Conservatives here. Maggie hopes to be the next


Conservative MP for Erewash and Neil Clark, the leader of the Cotncil in


Nottinghamshire and an infltential Maggie, can I come to you fhrst


because this isn't the exact start It's not going to detract


from our conference at all. We know that only a Conserv`tive


government can deliver There must be sympathy in the


Conservative Association for UKIP I don't think there's much sympathy


because It's starting to make


a difference in Erewash On the UKIP issue, there's ` survey


this morning by Sunday Politics which says the vast majoritx of Tory


county councillors and district councillors would like some form


of electoral pact with UKIP. I think that's something


really to talk about later. What's really important is


the Conservatives put We've got a lot of good news and,


as Maggie has said, we have the guarantee of a referendtm


and it's important that people vote Conservative because if thex vote


for UKIP, they will let Labour in and we want to keep going whth


our Conservative message. But you must be concerned


about UKIP? Are they poaching Tory councillors


even in the East Midlands? Obviously they are a concern,


just like all opposition parties are a concern but we will continue to


put our positive messages across. Maggie,


what do you need to hear from David Cameron this week which would get


the Tories re`elected in a highly We've seen in the last couple


of years, with our plan, th`t we are making products again and that


is seen across the East Midlands with Bombardier and Rolls Royce


manufacturing, making products. We've seen that with Erewash


specialist manufacturers. Clooney Lace, Tech`Quipment


and it's utterly good news. Are people seeing the benefhts


of this revival? One message that has alreadx gone


out is we are committing to three million more apprentices


in the next government. That has got to be good news


for people in Erewash. There is bound to be some bhg policy


announcement from the government What do you think is in it


for English local government? We have got to make sure th`t we


don't create a bureaucracy that s We need to be ensuring


the government gives us those powers Even for Borough councils


like yours? Borough councils, county cotncils,


we need to be together. I encourage councils to


work closely together. If we are given the opportunity


by the government to work closely together with more powers to make


collective decisions, No, because we need to ensure that


councils still maintain their sovereignty


but that doesn't stop them working very closely together and ddlivering


services for each other. OK, Maggie, a good week


for the Conservatives this week A very good week


for the Conservatives, continuing to get our message


across that we are delivering a long`term economic plan for


the hard`working people of Drewash. The main message from Grant Shapps,


the chairman of the Conserv`tives, when this conference opens this


morning, will be securing They talk about the revival of the


economy. Behind those headlhnes of defections, the economy is hmproving


quickly and they will benefht from that. The economy is improvhng and


it's taken a long time. Thex are not getting the deficit down, btt you


referred to the confident mdssages. They are whistling in the whnd. I


want to pick up the point only a Conservative government would give


you a referendum. As Mark Rdckless said yesterday, David Cameron is


using this promise of a refdrendum and a renegotiation to kick the


issue of Europe into the long grass till after the general election I


have been in Brussels for 14 years, I know there is no renegoti`tion


going to happen. He will cole back, just like Harold Wilson did, with


some cosmetic changes and, on the back of that, he will ask the


British people to vote to stay in. That's not what we want. Nehll clerk


say if people vote for UKIP it's a way of letting Labour in. Absolutely


not. At the beginning of UKHP, we tended to take more support from the


Conservatives than Labour. We've just had our conference in Labour


heartland in Doncaster. Look at the results in northern constittencies.


We are taking support across`the`board. The idea we are


only taking support from thd Conservatives is absurd. Yot have


your party conference next week Will you be announcing any


defections? No, but we will be announcing is a strategy, in


particular our environmental policy, a new 5`point plan which will be


coming out very shortly. And that will address issues very important.


Is that the way to carve out a role in the East Midlands for yotrself?


Do you think that's the way forward? No, environmental issues is one set


of policies but we will also be talking about how to manage the


economy, we have worked effdctively with the coalition and I thhnk it's


been excellent because of Lhb Dem involvement. Do you take crddit for


the way the economy is improving? Yes, because we'd been very careful


making sure the austerity mdasures have been implemented in a fair way.


We have kept control of somd of the Tory accesses and we do takd credit


for that. We heard that you can have been contacting conservativd


councillors in Charnwood bulls are you speaking to other Conservative


councillors? Not personally. Is the party? As a party, we are h`ppy to


talk to Labour and Conservative councillors, and again, I stress,


we're getting support from lots of Labour supporters. Our chairman of


the former Labour councillor so I reject the premise of your puestion


that we would only be talking to Conservatives. We are keen to talk


to people across`the`board, we are not right or left but common sense.


Rumours today the third, another Tory MP about to defect. Wh`t is up


your sleeve? Honest, hand on heart, I do not know. One of the great


things about Nigel Farage is he will conduct these negotiations


personally and he is absolutely meticulous and keeping them secret


and that's why people are prepared to talk to us. Frankly, if the


Conservative or Labour MP c`me to talk to UKIP, and we tell the top


ten people in the party, it would be in the Daily Mail tomorrow. Nobody


would come full that they come because they know it will bd treated


in absolute confidence. UKIP recently is made some stridds, and


we can see, it's obviously come you can't ignore them at this moment but


I do believe it is short`term and I don't believe it's a long`tdrm


issue. The biggest threat UKIP places is to the Conservative Party


and I do think David Cameron is extremely worried about the impact


of losses for the Conservathve Party and I don't agree that your


impact... The Lib Dems aren't as worried? Agro blew our voters would


not vote for UKIP. `` our voters would not vote for UKIP. We have got


Lib Dem people voting us. There s not such a big group are thdre to


join us. Now, is it time to cuddle up to our


neighbours in the West Midl`nds This week's Labour conference saw


the launch of Midlands Conndct, an attempt to build closer ties between


the two sides of the region. At the moment,


the Midlands can feel split in two, dissected by motorways and rail


lines all heading north to south. The plan will be to bring the East


and West closer together and to encourage better links betwden


cities on both sides of the divide. Well, we


like to think we got there first. Two weeks ago we were discussing,


slightly tongue in cheek, the prospects of an independent


Mercia and imagining what a Midlands We even worked out we could have


a King Gary Lineker and a And, of course,


our coins would be the medidval But there is


of course a serious side to this. With the fear that more powdr for


local authorities could see more money going over our heads from


Whitehall to the north of England. So what do you think,


is it time we joined forces to fight Are they for closer links whth


the West Midlands or do thex simply What do you think of the idda


of the East and West Midlands joining up in order to get lore


money from central government? We are not going to get bendfit


from it, do you know what I mean? Someone's come up with the hdea of


joining forces, the East and West Midlands together, in order to get


more money from central govdrnment. To unite the East and West Lidlands


in order to get more money from central government,


is that a good idea? If we do get extra money


and it helps both sides, ye`h, it's As long


as the money does get spent on both Don't you think they are separate


entities, the East and the West Midlands,


and they should remain that way Well, in the old days, we wdre part


of the kingdom of Murcia and they were united, but I know, I hear what


you're saying, you're right. But people may be pragmatic


if that will get some money out East and West Midlands unitdd to get


more money from central govdrnment, The East Midlands has always


been very, very strong. We've got some marvellous


countryside, some marvellous cities. We don't really want to be


tarred with the West Midlands. Joining us to discuss all that is


Anne Western, the Labour le`der of Derbyshire County Council who was


at the launch of Midlands Connect. Tell us first of all what


Midlands Connect is. It sounds a good bus servicd. It's


about the Midlands coming together and speaking with one louder voice.


We are at an interesting st`ge in terms of English politics. We've


seen the Scottish referendul on a huge demand for something dhfferent


in Scotland and I think people in England are asking those qudstions


as well. How do we pull powdrs from London and the south`east and bring


it to the places where we lhve? We see a strong south`east economy the


northern cities starting to work together to argue for the North


It's our time and is not about giving anything up, forming any new


bureaucracy, it's just about the councils and the communities across


the East and West Midlands speaking with a louder voice and argting for


greater transport links across East and West to join our economx. There


was some scepticism and people said pigs might fly. Is this somdthing


which might get off the grotnd? I think it's the right time for this


sort of idea. If we don't do this, we would get left behind and become


the empty space between London and the south`east and the North. I m


very proud of what we have got an East Midlands particular prhde in


what we got in Derbyshire and I don't want to compromise for anybody


but it's about working with other partners so we can get our lessage


across. The East Midlands ndver had its fair share of resources. Is this


a good idea? It's cosmetic. I think transport, Camilla K Schnitzer to


come is important anyway, and normal council business... Is councils more


cosmetic? Transport? We need to look the regional assembly concept


because I believe we need to be thinking regionally and working


collectively for the isn't that what Annie is saying? Working together as


regions? Agro blew she is w`lking about local authorities working


cosmetically together for the that's not what I'm saying. People don t


want more bureaucracy full survey don't want regional assemblhes. That


debate is ten years old and they were not popular. It's about being


pragmatic and about flexing our combined muscles a bit more. To make


the argument to government that this sort of level of infrastructure


funding we're talking about does not currently sit with councils. It sits


in Whitehall and is divided by civil servants, most of whom don't know


the regions. I think you will find the terms of reference have now


changed post`Scottish referdndum so people will be looking at something


a little bit more structural to reflect the power shift which has


occurred the moment. What does help you in Europe? At the moment, we


don't know exactly what it hs and what it's going to be but following


the Scottish result, UKIP are saying yes, Scottish people devolution but


we must have come at the sale time, a complete settlement for England


and Wales and Northern Irel`nd and therefore, we ought to have a


constitutional convention that would look at the whole situation. What is


your view on that as the le`der of the campaign? While people `re doing


what the finer points, the world is changing. `` arguing about the finer


points. Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle are


working together now. They have got deals and are working together. The


East Midlands is different, it's not dominated... This is fundamdntal,


how central government shards it funding, and how it is allocated,


who controls it. Back to thd Midlands connect idea. Isn't there a


danger that the East Midlands could be swallowed up by the West Midlands


with all the attention going to them? That's why you don't like the


idea? I don't like the idea by think we should regional governments.


There's no harm working across boundaries with the police, social


services, the NHS, so public sector cooperation to get efficiencies of


scale and better services, that s OK. But I think actually, wd should


retain government is at a rdgional level. We need to know who will


control it. It's fine to sax speak with one voice. How will it be


democratically accountable? Until we have answers to those questhons we


don't know. While we debate this, we need to be arguing for our own


corner. Like the northern chties are doing full is if we sit back and


wait for six months, till somebody tells us what we can do, thd moment


would have gone. And we will have lost out. We need to understand what


the proposal is. Democratic`lly elected councils are coming together


to form combined authorities and organise ourselves in a way which


works so we can take the message to government. What stage is this art?


Its early stages. It's prim`rily about connectivity, transport links


between West and East Midlands. We have strong links north and south


with the M1, the rail links and we have not got good East and West


links and that's what we nedd. We have not got HS2, by the wax. If we


have our way, won't have it. That is the proposals. We have to ldave it


there but thanks for making it clearer for us.


Time for a round`up of some of the other political storhes


The South Leicestershire MP Andrew Robathan has announced he is


The former Northern Ireland Minister and Minister for State for the


Armed Forces, who's 63, was an Army officer and had a spell in the SAS.


This is a serious question about serious issues.


We're used to seeing him as the ruthless inquisitor chairing


Can I say, on behalf of this committee, that we have found


But Leicester East MP Keith Vaz has been showing a softer side


at the Labour conference, dancing Gangnam Style at a party


An event he was happy to recreate for the Daily Politics show.


And the Beast of Bolsover was showing


Dennis Skinner signed copies of his autobiography, Sailing Close


To The Wind, his memoirs of 44 years in the House of Commons.


Apparently he sold 100 copids in one session.


His dance moves will stay whth us, Keith Vaz.


That's the Sunday Politics in the East Midlands.


My thanks to Roger Helmer and Issan Ghazni for being this week's guests.


My thanks to you both. Andrew, back to you.


Here we are back in Birmingham with the Conservatives. The Tories


thought all they had to do was come here, have a rally, a jamboree, and


off they go to the races, or in their case the general election Two


races later it hasn't quite worked out like that. Let's look at the


state of this conference as it gets under way. On our panel we are


joined by David Davis. You wrote an article in the Mail on Sunday this


morning which was an Exocet at the heart of David Cameron's modernising


strategy. It was designed to act as a lever. It was designed to cause


trouble. No, we are in the running for the next general election. One


of the characteristics of having a five year fixed term Parliaments is


that the last year is about campaigning. It is important we beat


Miliband, he would be a disastrous Prime Minister. You think the whole


modernising strategy was a wrong turn, that is what the article said.


Yes. Has that opened the door to UKIP? It has left a lot of people


disillusioned with politics. What do you do to get it right? Who was


listening to you? Frankly we need to take a more


robust series of policies. How many more UKIP defections will there be?


I do not think there will be any more. I would be very surprised I


know Nigel Farage has a brilliant sense of timing, but I do not think


he has got the resources to do that, namely, another Tory MP. So it could


be another Labour one, maybe? I think an awful lot will hinge on


what happens in Rochester. Because that is not a slam dunk. Clack and


unfortunately looks like it will be a walkover for them. But Rochester


is a different scene. And so, there could be a kind of Newark situation.


When I campaigned in Newark, two labour families I spoke to said they


would vote Tory to keep UKIP out. How bad was the Labour conference


last week? One politician said after he had a really bad performance that


his television performance was suboptimal. I think that would be a


good way of describing Ed Miliband's speech. The problem for


Ed Miliband in memorising speeches is that we are not auditioning for a


new lines Olivier, we're rehearsing for Prime Minister. He failed the


Laurence Olivier test, and therefore failed the Prime Minister test. I


think the real problem for him was forgetting to mention the deficit.


He spoke from the heart about issues which she really cares about, the


NHS, the rupture between wages and inflation, and forgot the deficit.


Those issues are important, but if you are not addressing things like


the deficit, then people are really not going to be listening to your


messages on the areas that matter. Was it bad? Yes, suboptimal, I am


afraid. I hope that this ends the nonsense of leaders wasting their


time learning speeches off by heart. You could learn a Shakespeare


play in the time it takes to learn 70 minutes of a leader's speech I


think we should just go back to sensible reading what you have


written. You can then alter it just beforehand. A lot of things were


changing, which is not surprising, but he did not have time to learn


it. It is a silly gimmick, it worked once or twice, but that is enough


for that. Despite some of the derision of Mr Miliband, the Tories


are flat-lining in the sun decks, they have been there almost since


the disastrous budget, the omnishambles, of 2012, Labour is


still several points ahead, nothing seems to change? And David Cameron


is now the leader in trouble. It is almost as if a week is a long time


in politics. I thought the Labour and friends was Saab --


sub-suboptimal. It was so parochial. You could've watched the top


speeches without knowing that the borders of Ukraine, and Iraq and


Syria were in question. I hope, because of Friday's discussion in


Parliament, that this conference will raise its sights a bit, and we


will have something in Cameron's speech, possibly that of George


Osborne as well, which is a bit more global. People hoped UKIP had gone


away during the summer, people at this conference, I mean, but it is


back with a bang. They are still up at 15% in the polls, the Tories


languishing on 32 - what is going to change? UKIP won 3% of the last


election, I always thought they would get about 6%. If, by the turn


of the year, they are still in double digits, I think at that point


you can begin to wake of his party's chances of winning. I have


had three people say to me so far, come election day, it will be fine,


people will sober up and so on. It will be all right on the night is


not a very good strategy, frankly. When they get past 5%, I start to


bite into our 3-way marginal seats, with liberals, Labour and Tories,


and we have got about 60 of those in the Midlands and the north, so it


really is quite serious. And if I may steal one of David's lines, when


you were interviewing Mark Reckless this morning, and was not talking


about the EU referendum, he was talking about how he felt he had


broken his pledges to the electorate because the Conservatives he said


had failed on immigration and on the deficit, and those sort of


bread-and-butter issues could be really potent on the doorstep, which


means the Tories have got to run the kind of campaign they ran in Newark,


which is a real centre ground, Reddan but a campaign, in which they


would hope to get Liberal Democrat and Labour voters out to vote


tactically against UKIP. I think today we have seen Cameron been


pushed to the right. He has had to say, yes, I would leave Europe,


which he has never said before. It is a huge stepping stone, a big


difference. It takes the Tory party somewhere else. May be get them a


lot of votes. But it has not so far. But I think it loses a lot of


people. The industry organisations, for example. The prospect of going


out of Europe, but is quite a fight for them. Is it not the lesson that


you can out UKIP UKIP? Well, you do not need to, really. I agree, last


week was sub-sub-suboptimal. Hold on, that is enough subs! I would not


be crowing too much! But what I was going to say, he left out something


incredibly important, the deficit. But how many people outside the M25


are thinking about the deficit? One problem we face with Miliband is, he


is good at politics and bad at economics, in a way. He comes up


with bonkers policies which people love, price-fixing, things like


that. Our problem will be about relevance on the doorstep. I do not


think at the end of the day it will be about Europe. But was there not a


moment of danger for you at the conference, that one area where


Miliband is potentially vulnerable is not having credible team with


business. Who turned up at the Labour conference, the head of


Airbus, saying, we have got to stay in the European Union? The danger is


that Europe allows the Labour Party to gain credibility with business.


There is some truth in that. But we are in effectively the home


straight, the last six months, and people will be fussing about prices


and jobs. Very parochial. They will not be saying, what does the CBI


think about this? It is, what is happening to me, in my town, in my


factory, in my office. That is where the fight will be. Is it not the


truth that if UKIP stays anywhere near around this level of support,


it is impossible for the Tories to win an overall majority? I would


say, if it is this level of support, it is impossible for the Tories to


finish as the biggest party, even in a hung Parliament. The Tories keep


trying to win back UKIP voters with cold logic - witches it makes Ed


Miliband becoming prime minister more likely. UKIP is basically a


vessel phenomenon, coming from the gut, and David Cameron has never


found the emotional pitch in his rhetoric to meet that. I wonder


whether we will see that moron Wednesday. It is just not him. I


hope we do. -- more on Wednesday. I hope you're right that we do


actually engage on emotion. So far with UKIP, our policy has been to


insult them. It does not work. I know that from my constituency. We


have to say to them, there is a wider Tory family, we understand you


are patria, we understand you are worried about your family, and we do


the same. What does it tell us about the state of the Tories, seven


months from the election, the economy is going well, they are not


that far behind Labour, and yet there is all sorts of leadership


speculation? It is extraordinary. They are doing well, they are in


with a shout. It depends. UKIP has to be kept below 9% of. -- below


9%. I think David Cameron is one of the few who speaks human, actually


talks quite well to people and does not look like a swivel-eyed loons.


Whereas a lot of people behind him do. You look at Duncan Smith and


Eric Pickles, they are all kind of driven, ideological men, with very


right-wing policies. And nice people! Don't hold back! He is not


the Addams family, he is basically quite human. I think a lot of people


do not realise how ideological he is himself and how well he has led his


party in the direction they all want to go. You go on about him being


this metropolitan moderniser, I do not think that is what he is,


really. It may not be visible from the guardian offices in the


metropolis! Everybody where you are, Polly, is a metropolitan moderniser.


And where you are, too. That is the nature of living in London. The


trouble is, when these people get into Westminster, they are part of


Westminster, too. If you could only win by being an outsider, the moment


you get in, you are done for. All teeing up nicely for Boris Johnson


to be the next leader? I do not think so! The point of my Exocet, or


lever, this morning, is that I think this is winnable. If we are good


Tories for the next six months, we can do this. It is by denying ground


to UKIP, not giving in to them, not buckling. Denying ground. Thank you


to our panel. They did all right today, but the normal. That is your


lot for today. I am back tomorrow. We will have live coverage of George


Osborne's speech to the conference. I am back next week in Glasgow for


The Sunday Politics at the Labour conference. How could you miss


that? Remember, if it is Sunday it is The Sunday Politics. Bye-bye


of statutory press regulation in sponge cake may be a bridge too far.


I think I've overdone it with the pistachios


and somehow, the custard's split, but it's too late!


of statutory press regulation in sponge cake may be a bridge too far.


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