23/09/2012 Sunday Politics East


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Here in the East, a former Home Secretary hits out at the new


police commissioner role. And the Liberal Democrat leader tells us


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2006 seconds


he's open-minded over development Hello. I'm Etholle George. Welcome


back to the new series of Sunday Politics East. We'll be at this new


time every week. Coming up. Former Home Secretary Charles Clarke calls


for the forthcoming Police and Crime Commissioner elections to be


scrapped. I think the gunmen should call it off I this stage. I think


it is an accent that is going to happen -- per government. But first,


let's meet our guests for this week, Brenda Arthur, Labour leader of


Norwich City Council, and Peter Aldous, the Conservative MP for


Waveney. And joining us from the Liberal Democrat party conference


in Brighton, is newly appointed Health Minister and North Norfolk


MP, Norman Lamb. Starting with you, Mr Lamb, a word about your party


leader's apology for signing a pledge not to increase tuition fees


that was subsequently broken. This is what he told us. I am sure there


will be some people who will never moved on and never accept that it


is a sincere apology for a sincere mistake. But I think many we double


people will accept that in politics, as well as in life, it is sometimes


right to put your hand up when you have made a mistake but also hold


your head up high for the good things we are doing. Did you know


he was going to make this apology? Yes, he briefed the parliamentary


party a few days before doing it so we were all aware of it and nothing


will supported him. Is it a good idea to bring it up again at this


time? Will thus be an ally lives make mistakes. When that happens, I


think it is best to accept it, to be open and honest about it, to say


that you have messed up. And to draw attention also to the fact


that there are unlawful lot of things we are doing in government


that we committed to in our manifesto, particularly reducing


the tax burden on middle and low income families, and taking


millions of people out of tax at the low income scale. That is


happening because of the Liberal Democrats in government. We made


mistakes, and we accept that. On student finance, all parties have a


very chequered record full stop Brenda Arthur, there is no merit in


acknowledging a mistake. Absolutely, but I think Nick Clegg should also


be apologising back the other you turned he is making. They have


overseen an increase in taxes in terms of VAT, the granny tax.


Should not Labour apologise for leaving the country in a terrible


economic state? This is a myth that is being perpetuated. Hour national


deficit and debt was lower than we took on in 1997 and lower than


other countries until the crisis, when Lehman Brothers crashed.


Aldous, and students have said it is not making the pledge, but


breaking a pledge that he should apologise for. The rise in fees has


led to a 14 % fall in student numbers. I think he was right to


make that apology. The Liberal Democrats set out their pledge,


perhaps believing they were going to be in government on their own.


That was never likely to be happen. It was always going to be with one


of the two main parties. Both of those parties were committed to the


proposals of Lord Brown with regard to higher education. More from Nick


Clegg on the future for our airports in a moment, but first to


the attack on the role of Police and Crime Commissioners by former


Home Secretary and Norwich South MP, Charles Clarke. Elections for the


heads of our eight police forces, who will have the power to hire and


fire Chief Constables, will be taking place in just seven weeks


time. The Home Office insists the commissioners will hold forces to


account and restore trust, but according to Mr Clarke, they could


do untold damage and should be scrapped. Here's our home affairs


correspondent, Sally Chidzoy. Cash-strapped police forces are


hard to stress to work the front line. In Essex, this crack down on


anti-social behaviour would probably not have gone ahead this


week had it not been for funding handout from the Home Office.


Police are facing a dramatic upheaval. They will soon be run by


all powerful elected to Police and Crime Commissioners. The plan will


fall at the first hurdle, once a former MP for the area he believes


it will be a disaster. I think it is an accent that is certain to


happen. It will learn to tensions and demoralisation and departure of


senior police officers. Theresa May could make the decision to call it


off and she should. The main politician who back this, Nick


Herbert, was either resigned or sack from the government. They


should wash their hands of it and start again. But the government has


no plans to do that. Powers include hiring and firing the Chief


Constable, producing the police and crime plan, setting force budgets


and engaging with the public. On this estate in Chelmsford, people


want to see more police on the street. Crime, drugs. There is lots


of drugs around here. But the police have not got the resources.


Would you be voting for the police and crime Commissioner? Haven't


heard of it, to be honest with you. What is it to the people in


Chelmsford? Around here, people are unaware of the new plan. Have you


heard of a police commissioner around here? Know. Around the


region, people preparing for elections in November. Potentially,


the person winning this election will have the largest mandate of


any person in Essex. They will be in charge of a very large police


force and a budget I've over �280 million. It is a very important


role and I think once the publicity comes out after the nominations


opened in October, then I think people will start to identify with


the role and see that it is an important job. The government says


the commissioners will not manage the forces that they Govan and that


operational decisions will be left to the chief constable. But the


guidance is and clear and critics save there is the potential for


conflict between the commissioner and the chief constable. If you get


elected politicians coming in on issues, back crates the crisis of


command and control, as the Chief Constable does not know how to


deploy forces in the most effective way. The Home Office insists that


police and crime commissioners cannot operate against the law,


that they will work with their forces to cut crime, give the


public and voice and hold forces to account.


Norman Lamb, your party says that they are not backing the role, but


local parties can fight these elections if they want to. That is


a strange Fudge, isn't it? I think it is on the record than we did not


see this as a priority. But just as we secured cutting tax as part of


the coalition agreement, this was something that the Conservatives


wanted and we went along with it, we have accepted it as part of the


coalition agreement. I would not want to see a party politicisation


of the police force, but I think there is a case for much greater


and local accountability of what the police do. In principle, there


is a good case for this. I do not agree there for with what Charles


Clarke has said. Brenda Arthur, Labour does not approve of the role


either, but is backing the election. Isn't that hypocritical? I do not


think it is. I support the view of Charles Clarke and we should


scrappage and put the funding of it towards the police. But we have the


situation that we are in, then we want to make sure that we have


Labour candidates there who will deliver our values and will make


sure communities are listened to, that local police forces are not


privatised. Peter Aldous, what about this cost, �125 million? Your


party has decided to spend it during the recession. It is costing


some two �5 million to Knowsley put on the election, but that is not


coming out of the police funds. Over the years, the police have


become more and more centralised. Accountability has become more


invisible, and this is about improving local accountability.


Your average council tax bill is made up of a council element, a


district council element and also the police precept. The other


bodies you can hold to account. who is going to hold the police and


crime Commissioner to account? too many, the electorate will,


every four cures. There is also a police and crime panel which will


oversee and provide those necessary checks on the commissioner. What


this is actually about his issues like crime and anti-social


behaviour, reconnecting them to the public. Norman Lamb, what back some


of those points raised by Charles Clarke, you cannot override the law


and the potential for conflict is enormous? There is the potential


for conflict but I think that can be managed. I think this essential


point that Peter has made that you can hold other and local


organisations who received our council tax money to account, but


you cannot hold the police to account. There is a case for giving


the police that local accountability. Very briefly, do


you think that introducing politics into policing is a good idea?


not a great fan of the party politicisation of police


commissioners. But I think the idea of fun accountability to the local


community, the party has said that independent candidates standing is


a good thing and weather are not independent candidates, then the


party will put forward candidates. I'd think it is absolutely wrong.


The accountability was there through the Police Authority, which


was made up from people across the whole area. There are very clear


checks and balances. The commissioner will have to sign a


pledge of impartiality and the police and crime panel will provide


a further cheque to sure there is not over politicisation.


Now, the Liberal Democrat Conference is under way in Brighton


and today they debate aviation policy. Party leader Nick Clegg


spoke to Andrew Sinclair earlier this week, when he restated the


Liberal Democrat opposition to a third runway at Heathrow, but in


what appears to be a shift in policy, he does not rule out more


development at Stansted in Essex. I have heard so many politicians


somehow pretending they are aviation experts. I am not an


aviation expert. One moment someone says we should we build Stansted,


then they say build an airport in the history, then they say builder


up airport in Birmingham. Now I think it is important we say to


independent experts, report to ask. So it is possible any work then?


own view is that the one option that does not stand up to any


scrutiny at talk is the idea of an extra runway in Heathrow. From an


environmental perspective that his bat. They will be filled up within


years and you'd have to build another one. But I think you need


to be open-minded and driven by the evidence. The people are they to


beg for due again in the east, what do you stand for? You will have


compromises. There were numerous manifesto commitments made by the


Conservatives which they have not delivered. Bulwark in the point


too? I can point to the four things we put on the front of on manifesto.


More money for the people premium, so that all schools and all


children get the best education they deserve. Their commitment to


raise the point which you stop paying income tax to �10,000. A


commitment to sort out the banks and rescue the economy after the


mistakes of Labour. And fourth, pushing for political reform after


the expenses scandal. All those four things, which we campaigned on


as our key commitments, or four of them we have stuck to. Norman Lamb,


your manifesto about cancelling plans for a fourth runway at


Heathrow and any other expansion in the south-east, so what has


changed? As Nick said, I think it makes sense to look at the evidence


and have an independent process. What we all recognise is that if we


are to rebalance our economy, over the last decade it became


completely dependent on consumer debt and the public sector. Part of


the rebalancing is building export markets. If we are to compete in a


global economy we have to have the airport capacity in able to be able


to reach those new markets. Looking at the evidence on an independent


basis does surely make sense. We will seek to apply that evidence in


government. What about the future of Stansted? Should have become the


country's future heart airport? Rather as Mick said, I am not an


aviation expert, I do not know ultimately what the right outcome


should be on the basis of evidence. We should look at that evidence and


not reach premature judgments about what the right way forward is for


increasing capacity to ensure that we can reach those new export


markets whilst also being absolutely cognisant of the


environmental impact of aviation. That has driven up position on


Heathrow, in particular the impact on the built-up area in west London.


Let us talk more about General Liberal Democrats policies. Nick


Clegg and listed some of the achievements made, but you have not


have the credit for them with the public, have you? I think it is


tough in government. This is the toughest period to be in government


in any period since the second world war. But you try to do what


is right for the country. You did the right thing. I think political


stability at a time of incredible economic danger and turbulence is,


for me, a priceless commodity. That is what Nick Clegg and the Liberal


Democrats are providing. On top of that, we can achieve some real


Liberal Democrat objectives. I mention that we are taking the


lowest paid out of income tax and cutting the tax burden for millions


of low and middle-income households. These are real achievements,


together with targeting resources at children from the poorest


background at school. We would not be up to do that if we were not in


government. Do you want Nick Clegg to stay as party leader? Yes, I do.


He has taken the flak, he has taken the hit, in a sense, for the team.


But he did the right thing for the country in taking a really


difficult step for a party that have been in opposition, taking the


party into government. I think we stepped up to the plate. We have


demonstrated discipline in government. We are seeking to build


the foundations for recovery. That is in the national interest. Now,


it's not just police commissioner elections this autumn, but the


people of Corby and East Northamptonshire will also be


heading to the polls to elect a new MP. Best selling author Louise


Mensch resigned in the summer, sparking the first by-election the


Conservatives are defending in this parliament. And, as Andrew Sinclar


reports, its outcome could be critical.


It is probably safe to say that whoever wins the court the by-


election will be very different to their predecessor. In the space of


two years, Louise Mensch became one of the most well-known women in


children. From magazine photo shoots, to print the Murdochs, to


no holding back on Twitter, she was rarely out of the news, and then


she decided to go. It was more about the family that was put


across the Atlantic and about being a working mother. It is incredibly


sad, she was a superb parliamentarian, Abri a member of


the select committee. So important is this election that they are not


even waiting for the starting gun. The candidates are already pounding


the streets and the big names dropping in to visit. Why? This is


no ordinary by-election. Corby has always gone with the party that has


formed a government, so it is an iconic seat and everybody will be a


king at it is Hibbert tells us anything about the next general


election. That is why the Prime Minister dropped in on Friday,


albeit briefly. The government has to stick with the programme to


deliver the change that is necessary and recognise that we are


starting to seek rebalancing in the economy. It is tough, it is


difficult, but we have to stick with the programme, because that


will deliver the growth that is needed. Labour start off with an


advantage. Their candidate, at Andy Sawford, was chosen last year. The


Tories quickly picked local businesswoman Christine Emmett.


Because this is a by-election there is already a string of other


candidates looking to make their mark. Whether it is in the town of


Corby or the pretty villages of East and Northamptonshire, everyone


is agreed that it is the economy that will be the main issue. Expect


a noisy and hard-fought campaign. Now, the Lib Dems are not the only


party with a Conference, as Deborah McGurran reports in our 60 second


round up of the political week. Still hoping to change the


political landscape, the UK Independence Party, his conference


calls for a pledge that there be a referendum on EU membership.


think some of the key things that we talked about, our relationship


with the European Union, are racing to the top of the political agenda.


The Green Party's new leader chose Suffolk for her first official


visit. Looking forward to the European elections in 2014. We are


hoping to elect our first Green MEP from the eastern region. Millions


of tons from under London is to form Europe's biggest man-made


nature reserve off the coast of Essex. Plans to shut a prison


caught Peter Bone off guard. have been told for years and years


that there are not enough places in our prisons, that they are


overcrowded. News at accommodation at a new centre parks in bed


picture could create up to 1500 jobs in the future.


Peter Aldous, what is this idea about an agreement with you could?


Is that a pact with the devil or a meeting of minds? I think Nigel


Farage is mischief-making. There will not be an agreement. The


Conservative Party will stand on its own two fate. For a


relationship with the European Union, with the eurozone and the


crisis came on there, there may be changes in the eurozone and that is


an appropriate time for us to we took our relationship with them and


we will come forward with policies that take into account the best


interests of the country. Brenda Arthur, if it worked, any pact with


Labour would work against you? not believe so. I think it shows


had an air of desperation from those Conservatives that of


thinking about it. Nigel Farage is sending very mixed messages. I


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