19/01/2014 Sunday Politics East


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Nick Clegg says


Chris Rennard must apologise. "What for?", say his friends. We'll ask


senior Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander whose side he's on.


What about the voters? What do they make of the Lib Dems? We hear the


views of a Sunday Politics focus group. A donkey.


Here in the east, David Cameron on tour, but there was no new money for


road or rail. he did not make the announcement? I


don't think that's right. I don t clear every word I say with him I


don't expect him to do the same to me. The Lib Dems have told us before


it was the Treasury that was blocking this from happening. We


were going to ask the low pay commission to advise us on bringing


the minimum wage back up. During the financial crisis, wages have been


lower-than-expected but it's also right, we shouldn't act in a hasty


way, we should listen to what the commission has to say, and if they


don't recommend an increase we have to make sure economic conditions are


there to get it right. Not only are the Tories getting credit for that,


our Scottish voters group showed that people have still not forgiven


you for ratting on tuition fees and that was a broken promise that


didn't even apply to the people in Scotland, where there are no tuition


fees! Nick Clegg has been very clear about the issues that that brought


up. If you look at our manifesto, the University of London said we


delivered about 70% of our policies in the manifesto. They haven't


forgiven you for the big one. The big promise we made was to cut


income tax the millions of people. That is a policy which is putting


money back into the pockets of working people. It is only possible


because we are delivering our economic plan in government with the


Conservatives. Now we have to make sure, through tax cuts, through


looking at issues like the minimum wage and other groups who have made


sacrifices, make sure that benefit is shared. I am not going to agree


to anything which undermines the confidence of businesses to invest


in this country over the next 1 months. Speaking of Scotland, the


Lib Dems, why do they now look largely irrelevant in the battle for


the union? Not one of our focus group even knew who your Scottish


leader is. I don't accept that. I have spent a lot of time with


Alistair Carmichael and others, we are all making the case every day.


If Scotland votes to be independent, it will be in a much worse financial


position within the European Union. Scotland will be contributing to the


rebate for the UK, rather than benefiting from it. It has been a


disaster for your Scottish based to have joined a coalition with the


Tories. It may have been the right thing to do, you say it is in the


national interest, but Scottish Lib Dems did not expect to be in a


coalition with the Tories. By the way I think it is also in the


national interests and the interests of the people for Scotland, cutting


the income tax of Scottish people, stabilising the economy. We are now


seeing good growth. But you are in meltdown. I don't accept that. We


will see what happens in the 20 5 election. I think we have a record


to be proud of, we have played a very important role in clearing up


the mess Labour made in the economy, of making sure the


Coalition government tackles the problems in this country, but does


so in a fair way. I think the biggest risks to the economic


recovery over the next few biggest risks to the economic


either a majority Labour government or a majority Conservative


government. Labour you cannot trust with the finances, the Tories want


us to play chicken with the European Union which would truly be a


disaster to investment in this country. You announced this week


that if Scotland votes to leave the UK, it would be the British Treasury


that would guarantee all British government debt. There wouldn't be a


negotiation, but the backstop would be that even if they didn't take


anything, we would still guarantee the debt. What was happening in the


markets that you needed to calm them down? We were getting quite a few


questions from the people we rely on to lend us money. We are still


borrowing billions of pounds every month as a country. Those people


were asking us to clarify this point. It was becoming a serious


concern? It wasn't reflected in the guilty yields. I follow the bond


market quite carefully and there was no sign this was having an impact.


That's why the right thing to do was to clarify this point now, rather


than the concerns being reflected in what you imply, and I think it is a


bad idea for Scotland to vote for separation but it would be wrong to


allow for the fact that question is on the table to cost taxpayers in


the UK more money and higher interest payments simply because


Alex Salmond has put that question on the table. That's why I think it


was the right thing to do. There were a lot of calls from the focus


group that you need to be different. Nick Clegg has embarked on this


aggressive differentiation. Where you can be different is the


bankers' bonuses. What conceivable reason could there be for anybody at


RBS getting a bonus twice in their salary? We have not been approached


by RBS in terms of those votes. I would be sceptical


by RBS in terms of those votes. I from RBS if it can. It shows


by RBS in terms of those votes. I have presided over


by RBS in terms of those votes. I government, massive reductions. .


I'm not asking you about that, I'm asking what conceivable case there


can be for a bank that has failed to sell its branches even though


ordered by the Government, still has 38 billion of toxic debt on its


balance sheet, I ask again what possible reason should they get


twice salary as a bonus? Your right to say RBS is in a very different


position to other banks, it is mostly owned by the state. RBS


hasn't put a case to us but they might do so I would like to look at


what they would say, but I would be sceptical as to whether a case could


be made given some of the things you said, but also the fact that it is a


bank that has benefited from the taxpayer standing behind it. Now RBS


has to focus more on domestic retail. Let me turn to Chris


Rennard, ten women have accused him of sexual harassment. He denies


every case. Who do you believe? We have been through a process on this


as a party. A report has been issued on this. I agree with Alistair


Webster on this, he has made clear that while he cannot prove what


happened to a criminal standard that there is clear there has been


considerable distress and harm caused. I agree with him about that


and that's why it is necessary for Chris Rennard to apologise as he has


been asked to do. If he refuses to apologise, should he be denied the


Lib Dem whip in the Lords? I don't think he should be readmitted to the


Liberal Democrat group in the House of Lords until such time as the


disciplinary process, including the apology, has been done properly We


are very democratic party, it is a matter for our group in the House of


Lords in due course to make that judgement. Party HQ has had a lot of


complaints from party members about the fact no apology has been made.


The appropriate committee would need to look at that and decide what


action needs to be taken because these are very serious matters. We


as a party have learned a lot, taken a long, hard look at ourselves, to


change the way we work. The apology does need to be made. We are told


that Lord Newby, the Chief Whip of the Liberal Democrats in the House


of Lords, we are told he has shaken hands with Chris Rennard and


welcomed him back. That decision has not been taken yet. I think Lord


Newby would share my view on this. Have you shaken his hand and


welcomed him back? No, I haven't. Does Nick Clegg have the power to


deny Chris Rennard as the whip? I am making it clear that a lack of


apology is totally unacceptable and therefore we have to take steps if


that is not forthcoming. His view and my view is that Lord Rennard


should not be readmitted to the House of Lords if that is not


forthcoming. In our party, our group in the House of Lords has two in the


end take a view for itself. And they can override Nick Clegg's view? I


hope that when they look at this... Do they have the power to override


Nick Clegg? They have the power to decide who should be the whip. The


failure to follow up the simple human demand for an apology for the


stress that has been caused is totally unacceptable. Your party is


totally down lighted on this -- divided on this. Here is what Lord


Carlile had to say. A total nonsense, hyperbole. It is a


ridiculous statement to make and we have seen Alistair Webster, the QC


who did this investigation, comment on that himself this morning. He has


followed the process the party laid down in its rules, which sets the


standard for the investigation which asked him to report on the evidence


he has found, but he also has a duty of confidentiality and


responsibility under the data protection legislation as well. Here


is what your activists have said in a letter to the Guardian. This shows


there are strong opinions, but why should Chris Rennard apologise for


something he denies, unproven allegations, on an unpublished


report that Chris Rennard has not been allowed to read? He should


apologise because he wants to continue to be a member of the


Liberal Democrats and this is the recommendation that has been made by


the internal disciplinary process. Webster himself said this was not an


inquiry, it is an opinion. If Chris Rennard apologises on this basis, he


opens himself to civil lawsuits He says he is not going to do it. As a


Liberal Democrat you join the party because you believe in its values,


you abide by its rules. One of those rules is that we have a process if


there are disciplinary allegations. The committee of the party supported


Webster's recommendations, one of which was that an apology should be


made because he clearly found distress had been caused. Will there


now be a proper inquiry? I don't think any of these legalistic


things, I don't think he can have it both ways. Will there be a proper


inquiry? Alistair Webster did do a proper inquiry. There was a proper


report into what happened at the time and we have learned a lot from


this is a party, and the most important thing now is that Chris


Rennard apologises. You have made that clear. What kind of biscuits


are you? Are you a Tunnocks? Soft on the inside? It is good of you to be


advertising a Scottish product. We just wondered if you weren't tough


enough to take on Ed Balls. Thank you. More than tough enough is the


answer to that. Generally governments are a bit


rubbish at IT projects. They tend to run way over budget and never quite


achieve what they promised. So the revelations of a former spy that the


US and British security agencies were in fact astonishingly efficient


at eavesdropping on the digital communications of their citizens


came as a bit shock. But just how worried should we be about their


clandestine activity? In his latest revelation, former US


by Edward Snowden has claimed that America's National Security Agency


operates a secret database called Dishfire. It collect 200 million


mobile phone messages every day from around the world, accessed, he says,


why British and American spies. This week, the president has outlined a


series of surveillance reforms, including Ning to the storage of the


phone call information of millions of Americans, and no Morse -- and no


more spying on allies like Angela Merkel. Critics say that the British


intelligence agencies have refused to acknowledge


intelligence agencies have refused debate on the issue. The Foreign


Secretary William six says that we have a very strong system of checks


and balances. -- William Hague. ?? new line Nick Pickles is director of


the pressure group Big Brother Watch. The Labour MP Hazel Blears in


on Parliament's Intelligence And Security Committee. They're here to


go head to head. Welcome to both of you. Hazel


Blears, let me come to you first. President Obama has made some major


changes as a result of what we have learned that the NSA in America was


up to. But British politicians seem to, they are not up for this kind of


thing, they are hoping it will go away? It is not going away and that


is why my committee, the Intelligence And Security Committee,


has decided to launch an enquiry into whether the legal framework is


up-to-date. We have had massive technological change. We have had a


call for evidence. Some of the sessions will be open so that people


can see what the evidence is. Obviously some of the information


will have to be classified, but on the committee, there is a real


commitment to say, there is a big debate going on, let's see if the


system is as Rob asked as we can make it. The big question is


oversight and the call for evidence that the committee has issued is not


mention oversight. It is ten years since the Foreign Affairs Committee


said that the committee should be a fully elected committee chosen by


Parliament and not the Prime Minister. It has changed, actually.


The Prime Minister nominates people and the house gets to him -- gets to


approve. In America, they have a separation of power, the president


does not nominate Kennedy. Basically, Hazel Blears, you're an


establishment lackey? I do not think so. Most of the people on the


committee have some experience of intelligence and these issues. In


this country, we have robust scrutiny, compared to some of her


European neighbours. We have Parliamentary scrutiny, the


interception commissioners, and ministers have to sign the warrants.


But there may be room for improvement, which is why we are


having the enquiry. Do not forget, President Obama said that the agency


should not have the ability to collect data, he wanted to put more


safeguards in. That is essential for the work of the agencies. If you


cannot see the data, you cannot take the connections and see the


patterns. Some people never talk about the threat from terrorism it


is all about travesty. There are several thousand people in this


country, as we are talking, who are actively planning to do a country


harm. When this debate started in the US, the NSA head stood up and


said there are 54 plots that have been detected by this capability


that has detected and that in bulk. Now the head of the NSA has admitted


that the number is actually zero. It is not the intelligence committee in


the US that did the work to reduce that number, it was a Judiciary


Committee. The fact that we have two different bodies doing this in this


country, it means that you do not get the correct view. How can people


have confidence in a body when if you go around Europe, for example,


or the world, we are not at the end not requiring judges to not sign


warrants? I do not accept that the committee failed on that range of


issues. You look at the reports on 7/7. Two reports by the committee


get to the heart of it. If you look at that terrorist attack on our


country, people will say, why did you not have them on the radar? The


agencies are between a rock and a hard race. They have got to be


subject to oversight, but beanie capability. Did you know about


Dishfire? We go to GCHQ on a regular basis and I know about the


capabilities that we have got. Some of the names of these programmes, we


would not necessarily know. But did you know that GCHQ had the


capability to use Dishfire, or to get Dishfire material from the NSA?


I knew and my committee knew that we had the capability to collect data,


and these days, people do not write letters, they do not use landline


telephones, they use the Internet and text in, so it is important that


the agencies are able to keep up with that take the logical change.


What should happen? The proper legal framework should include, if a


company is cooperating, as Google and Facebook do, it should be


illegal for GCHQ to hack into them. In the US, Lundberg estimate that


this has driven a 35mm and hole in the US economy because people do not


trust but there are systems are secure. We need to know that GCHQ


are not trying to use a different door into the system, whether by


hacking or foreign intelligence We need judicial oversight with judges


and not politicians signing off The final 30 seconds to you. As a result


of the changes in the Justice and Security act, the committee is


accountable to Parliament and not the Prime Minister. Those changes


are taking place, and I am up for the debate if we need more change or


not. But I want British agencies to have more power to protect the


people in this country. Thank you to both of you. It's coming up to


11:40. You're watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20


minutes, we'll get the verdict of the Minister for Portsmouth on that


dive from the Portsmouth MP. Ouch! Welcome to the Sunday politics in


the East. Coming up, David Cameron's road trip to the region,


but no promises of new money. Does that leave the East in the slow


lane? Behind`the`scenes it has not been a great start to the New Year


for the Conservatives. We meet the Romanians and bulky Aryans, but they


are students, not workers. Many more could be on their way. ``


Bulgarians. We have 2 euros MPs, for the Conservatives and Labour. First,


the Prime Minister's trip to the region on Friday. He was singing the


region's praises on road and rail projects. The big question, does the


East get enough bang for its part? Traditionally, the answer has been


that it does not. The East has been seen as a net contributor. People


pay more in taxes than they get back, whether it is in roads or


power stations. David Cameron came to East Anglia armed with new


figures apparently showing the government is spending more here


than anywhere else outside London. He started on Friday at the last


single carriageway stretch of the 11th. It will be dual carriageway by


September. Part of our infrastructure plan is to ensure


that Britain has the roads and railways it needs to drive up growth


and create jobs. This will help not just this part of the country but


the whole economy. He moved on to Lowestoft. The plan is to extend the


road. On the railways he spoke about faster times from London to Norwich.


Classic picture opportunities. No new money. I'm really pleased we are


getting more into infrastructure investment in the east of. I have


campaigned for literally a decade under the last Labour government. ``


east of. `` east of England. DA 14 is going ahead without tolls. His


announcement on Friday contained nothing new. There has been huge


amounts of new investment. The roots have come under the Conservative


government. `` the roots. Was this picture opportunity? It important


that he comes to see. The thing about investment is when you invest


in your low growth. When you allow growth, you get jobs. That is what


we are trying to do, unlock these blocks to get more jobs for people


in the survey on. Labour had 14 years to upgrade this road. I do


agree the Conservative party is in trouble, which sees vivid Cameron


scampering up here to try and consolidate his base. `` David


Cameron. The road was going to happen under Labour, and it was in


the plans. The conservative `led government cancelled it. An alliance


led by Norfolk county council proposed the third crossing. We can


get into the nitty`gritty. Nevertheless, it is important, is it


not, for the Prime Minister to be seen in this region. It gets the


ball rolling, it makes people think that they are being noticed. If you


are a real commuter coming down to Norwich, paying thousands of pounds


in your season ticket, a 20% increase, being told there might be


an improvement in the rail after the general election, that gives you no


help whatsoever. From a Labour point of view, David Cameron showing how


unpopular the Tories are. There is not enough time or money to do


things before the next election and who knows what will happen after?


Let's just remember when we started in 2010, there was no money left.


The economy is coming back, and the top priority of that is


infrastructure investment. If you need the Prime Minister to come and


say that we will get the prime Minister to come and say that


because that is what we are doing. As soon the economy is turning


round, the money is coming for that. We have got lots of that in a


moment. As you can imagine, everything was very tightly


controlled for Mr Cameron's visit. No Conservative is going to rock the


boat publicly when the PM is in town but it does not mean they are all


happy or United. Why was he really here? Could it be because this


region does not feel quite as true blue as usual? It has not been a


great start to the year for the region's Conservatives. In Norfolk


they are fighting amongst themselves over an incinerator. In Suffolk,


they lost to council seats to UKIP. In Cambridgeshire, they cannot even


organise an election properly. No wonder this constant tock about


declining membership and party supporters who have had enough. ``


constant speaking. Party supporters provide the local base and if you


don't have that it is difficult to fight general elections. You do not


have the people to go out and knock on doors. Activists feel they are


used and abused because they are not being listened to. The complaints I


hear are wide`ranging. The Liberal Democrats are too soft, the planning


laws will ruin the Plumtree saved `` countryside. Gay marriage was a bad


idea, and there is UKIP. UKIP should not be stealing our clothes. UKIP


has been the main beneficiary of conservative unhappiness, making


gains on Cambridgeshire, Essex and Norfolk county council is. Here in


great Yarmouth, a recent poll put the party in second place, eight


points behind Labour. There are general election candidate is a


former Conservative. S what a lot of people thought about the Tories is


they would be tough on immigration and work hard for jobs in the


economy, and that is a big issue in great Yarmouth. They don't feel they


are getting that and they feel the cuts that are being made really hit


hard`working normal families. That takes away the attraction from a lot


of ordinary working people. It is showing in the election results.


There have been 17 council by`elections in the east since the


summer. The Conservatives have held onto most of their seats, losing


only three councillors, but in nearly every election therefore has


been down. By 32% in Hever hill. Since the summer, the Tory vote has


been down on average by 8%. This is more than just a story about UKIP. I


am told that private polling by Labour and the Conservatives shows


that not just in great Yarmouth but other key marginals like Ipswich,


Bedford and Northampton, the Labour vote is really firming up. Former


supporters are coming back into the fold and the Lib Dem vote is


collapsing. The Conservatives are losing votes to UKIP but there is


little evidence of them winning any new supporters. That needs to be a


worry for the Conservatives, particularly in a region that has


been so solidly blue. Whilst some MPs believe the solution is to get


tough on Europe, others say the party needs to listen properly to


voters. We have been slow to understand the expectations are


changing, the country is crying out for political reform. Let's not


blame UKIP, let's not blame the voter, let's recognise we need to up


our game and compete. If we do it, we can win. It was no accident that


the Prime Minister went to Lowestoft and Norwich. They are places where


the party has a fight on their hands. It was no accident that he


was talking about roads and trains. Will this be enough to improve his


party's fortunes? You are well connected to the Conservative party.


Are you going to tell me things are not that bad? You can always look


into local election results and see what you want. We had a by`election


that had a swing to the Conservatives from Labour. Labour


majority in a safe Labour ward dropped by 80%. Labour votes went to


UKIP. UKIP are taking votes from both sides. We are looking at 17


by`election results. The week before Christmas, in a seat we had lost to


UKIP, it came back to us in December. On average, Conservative


vote has been down 8%. You have to compare apples with apples and a lot


of these results, UKIP did not put seats up in previous elections.


Whether it is to do with UKIP or not, the Conservative vote is down.


If you compare it to the last European election, where we are


right now... Where are we right now? We're coming up to a European


election, and a lot of us understand why people are voting UKIP, they


want to see change in Europe. I want to see change in Europe, the EU,


renegotiation of the relationship, and a referendum. Labour does not


want that. Lib Dems do not want that. Sadly, you did not have any


chance of getting that if you did not vote any other party. The only


way that you're going to get change in Europe, which is the key UKIP


line, the only way to get that is by voting Conservative. That message, I


have been with local council groups, last week in Suffolk,


Cambridgeshire, Beds, they all get it. All the activists get it.


Whether it is the UKIP phenomenon or not, at this stage, Labour should be


streets ahead. The latest poll puts you at the present. That is not good


news. The report showed that Labour votes are firming up. You should be


doing Miles better. That Paul and great Yarmouth showed a big


increase. Excuse me in trading on this private grief between the


Conservatives and UKIP. Amid Suffolk councillors defecting, others like


the Tory MP in Peterborough attending meetings with UKIP, the


one in Mid Bedfordshire who said it should be a joint ticket. They don't


know what they're doing. I've been with the council groups in three of


the counties last week, Norfolk just before Christmas, there is unity. If


everything was easy, you would not have questions. Is very unity? Look


at Norfolk. We have Conservatives fighting against Conservatives. ``


is there is unity. There is an interesting scenario there because


local people are concerned about the incinerator. It is right to get


value for money, which is what the county has tried to do. There is


absolute unity amongst all groups of Conservatives over the fact that the


numbers on that project have changed. They want to rerun the


numbers. You may laugh but I don't laugh when public money is at stake.


I believe you must get the best value for taxpayers money. However


well you do, whoever you take votes from, this is going to remain a Tory


region. Firstly, the figures have changed on the incinerator because


the government cancelled the money they were going to give, forcing the


hand of Norfolk county council. We will win seats in Norwich,


Lowestoft, where David Cameron went, it is a good thing he did come


because he won't be coming to Tory seats in those places for much


longer. I want to move on to immigration because I know you have


a lot to say on that. As of January the 1st, Romanians and bulky Aryans


`` bulky and `` Bulgarians have come. Many of them are here already


as students rather than workers. That number is set to rise. Here at


the University of Bedfordshire there had 20,000 students. More than 200


of them are Bulgarian and Romanian. This graduate is taking a postgrad


degree in marketing. I hope to get a job here. Hopefully spend a couple


of years here and then go back to Romania. She has been disappointed


by the media storm over the lifting of EU restrictions on her fellow


Romanian workers. I did not meet any British people who told me to go


back home. But I'm really sad about the whole situation. This is the


impressive international department. The University has a


long history of recruiting foreign students and the marketing manager


is Romanian. The Mac although the office is open from Monday to


Friday, I am on the telephone 24 hours a day, with problems,


families, they find the contact person is me. I am the face when I


go abroad. Of the universities in the East, Essex has the most


students from these areas. The total is likely to grow. The limit on the


number of students will be lifted next year and universities like Beds


are going all out to recruit more. With the lifting of the limit, this


will not be displacing UK students, we have further opportunities to


expand numbers. We are looking to elsewhere in Europe, Romania,


Bulgaria, the evidences the students are hard`working, enterprising, and


they are attracted to come to universities like this. Good news


for students like this, who were surprised to find others in their


class. I know from my former life as a member of Parliament that


migration is a very sensitive subject and people have legitimate


concerns, but I don't think some of the press coverage has been


accurate. Here and our other universities expect to increase the


number of students in significant way. The more students we have here,


the more people are going to stay on, that is going to put pressure


on, isn't it? I just completely disagree. I have been with that


university also Anglia University. The current government policy to


restrict foreign students was completely wrong because the


students pay over the odds, subsidise more British students


being able to go, by having international presence in the


lecture halls, it provides a better student experience for British


students, and the vast majority of the students go back, develop


careers themselves in business, politics, having studied in Britain,


become lifelong friends of this country. It shows how wrong the


debate is about immigration that the government wants to stop young


people coming in who are going to help Britain in future years, and


I'm glad that region is helping turnaround. Let's talk about the


tone of the debate. That student said she was quite sad and shocked


by the tone of this debate that has been played out. I don't think there


is any plan to stop students from other parts of the EU, although


there is a review of student loans. The University of Bedfordshire is


doing an amazing job, taking local students, often students who get low


markings in A`levels, nine out of ten go on to get graduate jobs. That


is fantastic. Part of that is because they have this open approach


to business led degrees. That is why people want to come from other


countries. We need to look at people who are coming to the country and


not working. That is why we are doing things like forming benefits


to make sure you cannot just come into the UK sign`on and... This is


really important, UKIP claim they are going to sort out immigration.


There was a vote this Thursday on freedom of movement in the European


Parliament. There was a vote on this key issue that you could say they


are going to sort out. I was there voting, Richard was voting, Nigel


Farage did not turn up. They cannot be trusted to sort out these


problems. Richard, if you earn ten times as much in a rich country in


Europe, there is going to be pressure on the rich countries. But


we are all better off because trade in the European Union, every family


in the Eastern and is ?3000 better off because of that extra trade. The


Conservatives did not transfer your question about the tone of the


immigration debate. I'm afraid, what the Tory Party has done is created


this negative debate about immigration and it is surprised to


find itself losing to UKIP. Very quickly on tone. There needs to be a


very sensitive review to make sure that when people come to this


country they are coming here for work. They are not putting pressure


on services, benefits, and that is what we need to look at very


sensitively across the country. It has been a busy week. Elsewhere in


politics , more problems with hospitals and a reprimand for our


New figures obtained by the Labour seconds.


New figures obtained by the Labour Party should the NHS is spending


much more on temporary doctors in accident and emergency departments.


The worst in the region is Kettering general. We need to see a hospital


tackling this issue seriously and employing more permanent staff


generally. Down the road, Northampton general faces the most


difficult inspection today after concerns were raised about patient


care. Last year, the hospital was singled out for high death rates.


The Labour police and crime Commissioner for Beds was given a


written reprimand after he admitted giving away confidential information


about the death of a man in police custody. The reaction I have had is


people accept that even police commissioners can make mistakes, and


that is it. Finally, first from Ilton key is, the council wants to


spend formally in pounds buying homes to rent. Councillors say it


would reduce the number of homeless people living in bed`and`breakfast.


Richard, the Milton Keynes Dons in solution. Is it good? `` housing


solution. There are many households in the East and with problems, we


see the problems in the health service, these local doctors costing


?1500 per day, it shows that this government has been assessed by the


structure but has stopped minding the delivery of health. This is a


prime example. We were talking about housing. It is a big issue. I am


pleased to see a Conservative council trying to come up with a


creative solution that will allow them to be a bit nimble. Housing for


homeless people can be a big hit on the local council. If this gives


them a bit more control of the situation, Cambridge City Council


looking at doing something similar, to guarantee private landlord rent,


to try to have a small stock of readily available houses for those


who find themselves most in need. It is a lot of money. Look, not only is


homelessness increasing in the region, but the numbers depending on


housing benefit have doubled since the Tory led government came in. The


Councillors are being faced with huge dilemmas but the problem is we


are not building enough homes. Thank you. That is all for now. You can


keep in touch via the website. You will find


keep in touch via the website. You houses being built by the mayor


Andrew, back to you. Welcome back. Now she made quite a splash last


night. I am talking, of course, of the Portsmouth North MP, Penny


Mordaunt. If you missed her first appearance in ITV's celebrity diving


competition show, here she is in action.


APPLAUSE Here is a lady who is more used to


campaigning for votes than diving for them. She created far too much


rotation. Hard work has gone into the start of this dive to try and


control it. That looked painful Now the Portsmouth North MP got voted


off the show last night but what about the verdict that really


matters? The newly appointed Minister for Portsmouth, Michael


Fallon, is here. Welcome to the programme. I would give her ten out


of ten for bravery. I was cheering her on. She was doing this for a


local charity, raising money for the local swimming pool. She was a good


sport. As Minister for Portsmouth, can we expect to see you in your


swimming trunks for the next series? I do not think I have the


spare time at the moment. But there is a big challenge in Portsmouth.


spare time at the moment. But there Penny Mordaunt and


spare time at the moment. But there MPs there have


spare time at the moment. But there asking ministers to help the city.


They are losing jobs. There is a goblin Trinity -- there is a big


opportunity to create jobs. Should she have been on a celebrity


television show of their role these problems in Portsmouth? This was in


her spare time and it is raising money for a good cause. I do not


think we should eat two sniffy about it. Did I not see you dressed up on


Thursday night, doing your programme? This is my job. This is


not her job. It was in her spare time, she was raising money for a


local charity. Your Minister for Portsmouth. Are we going to have a


minister for every town? Are we going to have a minister for


Chipping Sodbury? Chipping Sodbury does not have the issues that


Portsmouth have -- that Portsmouth has. There are jobs at risk in


shipbuilding. The government puts in a lot of money through the regional


growth fund, some ?20 million. There are range of government funding


streams going into Portsmouth. My job is to make sure that is properly


coordinated. I need to make sure that Portsmouth seizes this


opportunity to develop a more broadly -based marine and maritime


economy. To make sure a marginal seat stays Tory at the next


election? There are marginal seats everywhere. There is a Liberal


Democrat marginal the -- seat. Vince Cable and I have been working


together for the issues that Portsmouth is facing. We work on


these things together. But I have the very specific job of making sure


that the effort on the ground is coordinated. So Vince Cable is not


the Minister for Portsmouth? I have been there recently, so has Vince


Cable. So there are two ministers for Portsmouth? Just a minute. I am


making sure that the effort is properly coordinated on the ground.


I am determined to turn this challenging time into a proper


opportunity. Should we be to Paul faced about this? No, good honour.


How much money would be have to pay you to get into a swimming costume?


Bid is not enough money in the BBC covers. Good on her. It took seven


years to get a leg there's an MP. She should be a minister. It is a


pity she has the spare time to do this. She is very talented. It is


interesting about the Minister for Portsmouth, up in the north-east


they must be sad that they do not have any marginal seats. Nick Brown


as David Cameron last July, can we have a minister for the north-east,


and the Prime Minister is said no? Does this mean that Portsmouth is


more deprived economic late than the north-east? No, it means it is a


marginal seat. The Labour Leader Ed Miliband was on


the Andrew Marr programme this morning and he outlined plans under


a Labour government for an annual competition audit. Here is what he


had to say. The next Labour government will have an annual


competition at it, not just done by the regulatory body. Alongside them


will be the citizens advice bureau, setting the agenda for the future,


setting the agenda for how we can ensure that competition will benefit


consumers and businesses. I want to see Labour going into the next


election as the party of competition, the party of the


consumer, the party of hard-pressed working families who are struggling.


They need somebody to deal with those issues and that is what the


next Labour government will do. I thought you were meant to be the


party of competition? We are the party of competition. This is the


party that has given us some of these problems. We have an annual


competition review in the energy sector. We have already tackling


banking. What is interesting about his proposal is it is the smaller


ones who are less sure about this, the smaller banks who think that


this could inhibit the growth. It is the smaller energy companies who


think that through interfering with the market, through his price


freeze, that he will hinder competition. We spoke about this


before. It is a clever pitch that Ed Miliband is making. Under the guise


of token markets and claiming to be the party of competition, he is


creating the reason for state intervention? -- broken markets


Exactly, and it is state intervention that does not work


There is a proud tradition in government of smashing open cartels.


Teddy Roosevelt did it nearly a century ago. The problem is, in


those situations it was clear and obvious that the consumers were


suffering. I am not sure it is entirely obvious in this country. In


the banking sector we have free current accounts in the high street.


That is not true in all Western countries. In the energy sector our


bills are not outlandish they high. It is when we take taxes into


account the become unaffordable He has to make the case that consumers


are suffering as a result of these monopolies. Ed Miliband would say it


is not about state intervention but about making markets work. The piece


that was written by his intellectual Duryea about the significance and


the importance of Teddy Roosevelt. He was the Republican president in


the yearly -- in the early years of the last century. He wanted markets


to work. There is an interesting debate on Twitter this morning. Tim


Montgomerie is saying, why are we, the Conservative Party, not seen as


the party of Teddy Roosevelt? We are seen as the party of business.


There are smaller energy companies competing against the big six. In


banking, we have seen smaller companies coming. It was the Labour


government that created the big six energy companies. I think Teddy


Roosevelt also invaded Cuba and the Philippines. That could give us a


clue as to Ed Miliband's foreign policy. Nigel Farage has promised to


purge the party of its more extreme candidates ahead of the European


Council elections in May. But that may not be going so well. Listen to


this. The latest in this process is these homosexual laws. And Thomas I


shall manage. I believe that the Prime Minister, who was warned that


disasters would follow a three went in this direction, he has persisted,


and I believe that this is largely a repercussion from this godlessness


that he has persisted in. The instructions I have got from now on,


or is just not to answer in, and not to give interviews such as this one.


So you are ignoring them? I am not ignoring them. But you are talking


to me? You are the last one I shall be speaking to. I think it is too


late. Who would have thought it It is not global warming that is


causing the floods, it is gay marriage? That explains it. Last


year David Cameron offered a coded retraction of his statement that


UKIP is full of fruit cakes. I think he will be tempted to retract the


retraction. It is a warning to lots of Tories who think that their best


interests are served by flirting with lace -- with UKIP. Nigel Farage


is a very plausible guy, but several layers down, there are people who


are very different. Nigel Farage is saying that he's going to clear the


party out of what Mr Cameron called the fruitcakes. If he is true to his


word, Mr Sylvester's days in the party should they numbered. If Nigel


Farage falls under the bus, what is left of place -- what is left of


UKIP? People say that they like UKIP because unlike other politicians,


they speak their mind. But as it turns into more of a proper


organisation, people speaking their mind will be less acceptable. The


European elections are always a protest vote. People are not happy


with the elite. You will get people saying utterly ridiculous things


like that man in Henley-on-Thames. But this is a chance to vote against


the entire political establishment. I am not sure that comments like


that will make much of a difference. There are lots of arguments about


climate change. That was certainly a new one! They are the only big


protest party at the moment. Protest party is obviously hoovered up lots


of votes. We have got to be clear in European message that we are the


only party that can reform Europe and give people a proper choice the


first referendum in over 40 years. Mr Sylvester used to be a


conservative. You're probably glad to see the back of him? David


Cameron is right, there are probably a few fruitcakes around there. I


think that mainstream conservatives will understand that this is the


only party that can secure European reform and give people the choice


they have been arguing for. Whatever happens in the European elections,


it is a protest vote. We have almost run out of time. We will see this


week of Chris Rennard gets the party whip act. There is a battle brewing


between Danny Alexander and the common side of the Liberal Democrats


and the House of Lords. If he turns up on Monday and asks to be let in,


I they going to make a big scene at the gate of Parliament? And the


issue will stay in the papers? Yes, they are clearly nervous that Lord


Rennard might be tempted to mount a legal bid. That is all for today.


Rennard might be tempted to mount a Thanks to all my guests.


Rennard might be tempted to mount a Politics is back on


Rennard might be tempted to mount a on BBC Two. And I will be here again


next week. Remember if it is Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.


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