13/04/2014 Sunday Politics East


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Aternoon folks, and welcome to the Sunday Politics. As MPs head off for


their Easter break, campaigning for the European elections in six weeks'


time gets underway. In a Sunday Politics special, we'll debate the


issues at stake on Politics special, we'll debate the


senior party figures from the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal


Democrats, and UKIP. And as ever we'll be discussing the week ahead


with our panel of top political commentators.


Who is to blame for the failure of Norbert's incinerator plan?


newspapers which some claim are politically slanted and not


impartial about informing people of local services.


So all that to come between now and quarter to four and for the next


thirty minutes or so we'll be debating the European elections


Here in the studio we have Syed Kamall, leader of the Conservatives


in the European Parliament, Richard Howitt, chair of the Labour group of


MEPs, Sarah Ludford, deputy leader of the Lib Dems in Europe, and


Patrick O'Flynn, UKIP's director of communications. Welcome to you all.


In a moment, all four will give us their opening pitch for the


elections. A little earlier they drew lots to decide who'll go first.


And that privilege goes to Syed Before that, though, here's a quick


reminder of what all the fuss is about.


The vote to choose members of the European Parliament takes place on


Thursday the 22nd of May. The same day as local elections are held in


England and Northern Ireland. The UK sends 73


England and Northern Ireland. The UK sends NTP is to Brussels. And the


vote is a form of proportional representation. In total, there


vote is a form of proportional 751 MEPs from the 28 member states.


What do they do all day? The European Parliament's power has


grown. A vet of the EU commissioners and they can amend, approve or


reject nearly all EU legislation and the EU budget. Some laws MEPs have


been responsible for include price caps on mobile phone chargers,


banking regulation and cover food regulation two -- labelling.


Syed Kamall, you have 30 seconds. Europe cannot go on as it is. Europe


needs to change. And our relationship with Europe needs to


change. Only the Conservatives have a plan to deliver that change and of


the British people and in-out referendum. Labour and the Lib Dems


will not and UKIP simply cannot Only the Conservatives


will not and UKIP simply cannot the three yards, with Conservative


MEPs working alongside a conservative Prime Minister. For,


really is and above all a referendum. Sarah Ludford is next.


Your choice is simple. If you think Britain is better off in Europe


vote for the Liberal Democrats. The Lib Dems are the only party of Ian,


fighting to keep Britain in Europe and in work. There is nothing


patriotic about UKIP's desire to pull-out. That is playing Russian


roulette with Britain's economy and jobs. The Conservatives are flirting


with exit and Labour lacks the courage to speak up. Thought Liberal


Democrat on May the 22nd to say in Europe for jobs and security. Sarah


Ludford. Next, Richard Howitt from Labour. The European elections are


about who represents you. They are not a referendum on a referendum.


Labour MEPs believe in putting jobs and growth first. A guarantee to


help young people into work, reforming energy markets so that


bills are brought down for good Labour believes in reform in Europe,


but within. It is David Cameron who is risking your job and Britain s


prosperity because of divisions in his own party. Labour MEPs put


British interests first. Our fourth opening statement from Patrick


O'Flynn. The EU is old hat. It is a declining regional trade bloc in an


era of global trade. It is a 20th-century political project


designed to prevent conflict in Europe that is now reawakening old


hostilities. It is an attempt to force on the European people


European this as their primary collective identity. It has hollowed


out British democracy and now we do not even control our own borders.


That is why you should vote UKIP. That is the opening statements.


Let's get on with the debate. Why should people vote in the


selections? If you vote UKIP, we can deliver an earthquake that will rock


the foundations of British politics and the European political class. We


can send a signal to Europe that Britain has had enough, that Britain


wants to retain its nation state status and regain political power


and the ability to forge trading deals across the world. Britain


leading Europe to freedom twice in the last century through bloodshed.


We feel that a UKIP win in those elections could help Britain set an


example to lead European nation states back to free assembly again.


Syed Kamall, isn't it the case that many Tory voters will vote you clip


to keep you honest, to keep your feet to the fire? Whatever you think


of the European Parliament or the EU, the fact is that the European


Parliament as equal power with the 28 governments of the EU. When David


Cameron delivered the first cut to the EU budget, the first ever cut,


he needed a strong team of Conservative MEPs working alongside


him. But many of your supporters will vote for UKIP for the reasons I


gave. Many will vote Liberal Democrat. Not very many. Many of our


supporters will vote for us because we are the only party trying to


change the EU and offer reform. We have offered renegotiation and a


referendum. And how would you vote in such a referendum? We have no


idea whether he would vote yes or no. Let him answer. I will answer


that question. If the EU continues on this road, towards a United


States of Europe, and if there was no change at the time of the


referendum, then I would probably vote to leave. You have no


confidence in David Cameron? We Javier Culson opportunity to read


negotiate our relationship with Europe and the Conservatives are at


the forefront of that agenda. David Cameron have not given a list of


demands. He said that if things do not change, he will probably vote to


leave, is that right? If at the time of the referendum, things had not


leave, is that right? If at the time changed, I would vote to leave and


we have a golden opportunity to perform the agenda. Richard, the


last time the British people had a say on this was over 40 years ago.


Under a Labour government. Which was deeply divided on the issue. And


that was a say on the common market. Today's EU is a very different


animal from the common market. Why can we not, under another Labour


government, have another vote? First of all, we want it to be more than a


free trading area. We make no apologies about that. But in the


elections because this is half of Britain's exports and investment. If


you care about your job and business, you cannot hear from the


party of government that they probably want you to leave because


the CBI, the engineering employees in Federation and the chimp of


commerce, 80% of them say it is necessary to stay in. So why not


give us a vote? When David Cameron says he wants to repatriate social


powers, he means takeaway maternity rights and holidays. If the case is


so strong, why not give us an in-out vote? David Miliband has said that


there will be a referendum if there was a proposal to change powers Why


wait? This is based on a series of reforms. Labour has a set of


reforms. David Cameron is silent about what they would be. That is


because he knows that if he put them forward, they would either be


unsatisfactory to his Eurosceptic backbenchers and he would be out of


a job, or they would be unacceptable to European leaders. Why is your


leader missing to European leaders. Why is your


Miliband is unable to say even the positive things that you are saying.


He has run away from the argument. He actually said there would not be


a referendum in his time. For a conservative to say they will


have a referendum but not give the reforms, it is a mistake. Nick Clegg


gave Nigel Farage a huge opportunity in that debate. He said that the


Eurosceptic view was to leave Britain like Billy no mates. I can


say that he is the best qualified person to say that. Sarah Ludford,


you have said that lots of people are going to vote Lib Dem but that


is not what the polls are saying. You are 7% in two polls this


morning. Eclectic's decision to champion Europe has been a disaster


for you. You face wet out. We swayed a lot of people our way with Nick


Clegg's debate. Where is the evidence? We are the only party that


is completely united, saying that we are wanting to stay in. It is


essential because formally and jobs are supported by our trade with the


EU. Linked to the EU. We are finding a lot of moderate conservative


voters are actually fed up with the Tories being split and divided all


over the place. Syed Kamall saying that we might vote in rout. -- in or


out. We are consistent. A poll in London showed that 18% would vote


for us. I am delighted about that. London is not the whole country it


may surprise you. We need to move on to immigration, an important issue.


We are a member of the EU and the rules say that with a few caveats,


our fellow EU citizens are free to come here if they want. Why can we


not just accept that? Britain has a proud record when it comes to


immigration. We have been open to people across the world for


centuries. But we welcome people who come to our country to contribute to


pay taxes and two wards are a society positively. But there are


three real concerns that we have to address. The first one is numbers,


and secondly people who may come here not to work but for benefits,


and thirdly, getting a hang of the numbers. I think it is shameful that


only this week the office for National said that they did not


collect sufficient figures under a Labour government. 350,000 extra


people came in and they did not count the numbers. That is the size


of a city like Cardiff. That is shameful. 350,000 came from all over


the place. Do you accept the free movement of peoples within the EU? I


accept and am open to people who want to come here and contribute. In


the same way... Do you accept the free movement of peoples within the


EU? In our manifesto, we have said it is an issue for reform. We have


to make sure that people are coming here to work and contribute


positively, not simply to come here and take advantage of the system. I


will tell you what else is shameful. What is shameful is David


Cameron making a pledge to the British people on an issue that they


really care about, to bring net immigration down to the tens of


thousands a year, having no means of fulfilling that pledge. And we see


now it is back up to 212,000 a year because


now it is back up to 212,000 a year and no quality control from


immigration from our neighbours And that is a disgrace. How could UKIP


address that issue? Because we would leave the EU. How? Tell me how. You


do not have a single member of Parliament. He will not get a single


member of Parliament. How are you... ? TUC are hoping to get an


MEP. What do you say? -- he is here today hoping to get an MEP. All of


-- almost 2 million Brits live and work in the rest of the EU. Is that


worth having? The majority are wealthy, retired people. Why do not


object to bilateral agreements with countries with similar living


standards to us. France, the Netherlands, that works fine. But


these three people want Turkey to join the EU, 75 Na Li and people


running our country, only 10% of which... Syed Kamall is Michael year


to say whether they are in favour of free movement for work, not for


benefits... That is what I'm saying. You said you were unable to


be clear. That leaves 2 million British people absolutely unsure as


to whether they would have a right to continue to live in other


countries. It is a two-way street. You are putting those people in a


state of uncertainty. EU migrants have been good for the British


economy and contribute far more than they take out in services and


benefits. One in seven businesses were founded in -- by migrants. And


they cannot just turn up and claim benefits. The coalition government


has legislated to make sure that they cannot claim for three months.


They will not be able to claim for more than six months. Richard


Howitt, Jack Straw said it was A spectacular mistake for Labour to


allow EU migrants from Poland and Hungary to work in the UK from


2004." Why should we trust a party that makes spectacular mistakes and


hasn't apologised for it? We accept it is a mistake and I apologise We


make a firm commitment for new EU states we will put down transitional


controls. When I listen to the Conservatives and UKIP trying to


re-write history, saying immigration was out of control, uncontrolled,


open door, we hear it over and over again. It is not true. Anyone who


was around at the time... Come on, Richard. Hold on, you undercounted


by 350,000. You were letting 2 million in over the years, an


under-counted by 350,000 people you didn't know came in. You should have


tightened the benefit rules. The Conservative MEP today has, in four


years in government in Britain, is trying it blame the previous Labour


Government over the fact they won't count people in or people out.


Yvette Cooper - it is not easy for people to come to the country and


benefits are changing, changing the habitual residence


benefits are changing, changing the going to say that migrants can't


come and claim child benefit if their children are outside the


country. Labour a has shown they have listened to concerns but we say


it is a stronger, better, country because it is diverse and


multicultural snoo.d this is fantasy politics from all the Peters. They


are committed to a system with no volume control and no quality


control. You talk about benefits as if it is only out of work benefits.


In work benefits cost a lot of money for the British taxpayer. Big


businesses bring in minimum wage workers. It is ?5,000 per perschool


place What are you going to do? Have all the pensioners come back to


Britain? How will will you fund the health care? Do you really think


Spain and pour tu ghal their current situation, are going to turn their


backs on British property owners with wealth? -- Portugal. They might


not wanting pensioners to use their health service. Pensioners often


come back to Britain to use the health service. You have shown it


represents wealthy people's interests. A second Conservative


Party. Hang on a minute... Blue collar wages were down. They want it


character for the National Health Service, have cuts that go farther


and comprehensive education. This is a debate on the wider politics


between Conservatives and UKIP and Labour will... You can't both talk


time. UKIP - they haven't thought it through, thousand they will have


trade access in the EU, hasn't thought how they will have trade


deals that the Liberal Democrats support, like with the United


States: Would you have a cap on non-EU immigrants? We are not in


favour of a cap. No cap on either. No. Well it is a target. It is a


moving feast, as it were. Would you have a limit on non-EU limits? We


have limits on quality. We have people who are skilled migrants


coming in. Lip its? . By quality, not by quantity. -- Limits.


How do you do that? We need to move on to foreign affairs.


Should we pool more sovereignty to give the European Union more clout


in foreign and defence matters? I'm Labour's defence and foreign affairs


spokesperson. No we don't need to pull more powers into Europe. As we


undertake this live debate there are guns being fired in Ukraine as we


speak. Europe is facing, for the first time, since the end of


speak. Europe is facing, for the Second World War, Armies crossing


national borders and floatening peace. Doesn't it -- threatening


peace. Doesn't it need to come together of the We don't need more


powers. We need political will. With Vladimir Putin, in my view, he has


-- we have fallen short in the sanctions. But it is Europe, not


Britain. Remember Putin calling Britain little England a small


island with no influence. Labour doesn't agree with that. But if


that's the mindset that allows someone like Vladimir Putin to send


troops across borders threatening peace, it is worrying. And when we


have, in UKIP a party that say they admire Putin and support his


policies, that is no recipe for how Europe should be wrong. I was


waiting for that. Let me ask him. We don't admire Putin as a leader. .


Oh. No we don't. What Nigel Farage said, was he admired him as a


political operator. Testifies Franklin D Roosevelt who said a good


foreign policy was speaking softly but carrying a big stick. The EU


shouts its mouthed off while carrying a matchstick. It is fantasy


that you wiebl it stand up to Putin over the Ukraine. -- that you would


be able to stand up. Do you admire what Putin is doing in the Ukraine?


No. What matters in foreign policy is the outcould. We have a terrible


outcome in the Ukraine, like Syria, and Georgia... What would UKIP do?


What u skip would do, would be to keep our people safe -- UKIP.


How? And not commit our Foreign Office and troops Foreign wars.


Patrick O'Flynn. You brought up this issue of foreign wars. Now Nigel


Farage said in previous debates that Britain should leave the EU because,


"We have had enough of endless foreign wars." Which wars has the EU


taken us into? The EU has ban very important factor in the push towards


trying to get military intervention in Syria, for example. What wars has


the etch U taken us into it -- EU. Fortunately the EU doesn't have its


own army yet. It has wanted to sign up to an expansionist agenda. Did it


want Iraq? No, that was Labour. UKIP opposed Iraq, so did most of the


mainline Europeans. Germany was against Syria and Libya. No EU


policy. We had an Anglo French against Syria and Libya. No EU


on Syria. A by lateral deal. A European dimension. No, buy lateral.


We have a European Union that wants to expand ever-more into other


people's spheres of influence. If we are going to stand up to what Putin


is do, which obviously Nigel Farage has no intentions of doing, you have


to get your act together on economic sanctions and diplomatic force and


in trade matters, in supporting eastern European countries. Sayeria,


who and whose army? And NATO and working transatlanticically, is


important through NATO. I will come to you in a moment. Nick Clegg said


that the idea of an EU Army was "A dangerous fantasy that is simply not


true ""Why then, are we already working on etch U-owned and


controlled drones working on etch U-owned and


the President of the European Parliament has said that the


majority of MEPs want the EU to have "deployable troops." He is not


speaking for me or Liberal Democrats. The EU does not and will


not have an army. Our defence is mainly shaped through NATO. He is


President of the Parliament What we must do is to get equipment which


can operate together. We waste an awful lot of our spending in Europe


because we duplicate equipment. We don't get the bang for our bucks


that we should. It is a useful role for the EU, to get equipment working


together. That doesn't make sense. You say military equipment, a NATO


job. No, the EU, there is a kind of dimension of the EU members of NATO,


in working together on a common quument o o so they can talk to each


other -- on common equipment, quument o o so they can talk to each


they can talk to each other. The EU has a role but not an army. So a


European defence agency, that helps our defence industries and those


jobs are extremely important and would be threatened if the


Conservatives and UKIP took us out of Europe but it is 100 years since


the start of the fist world war Remember that Europe was set up to


try to get a secure peace within Europe T succeeded. Now look on


Ukraine but also on the southern borders to the Arab Spring countries


in North Africa. It is more important than ever that we work to


keep keep peace and stability on our borders. Can I say to Syed and the


Conservative MEPs. You talk about the three Rs, I have a fourth,


retreat. If you take us out of the European Union, it will be the worse


retreat by Britain since Gallipoli. Let him answer If he wants answers


-- the British Parliament is the right place with a British Foreign


Secretary to decide our foreign policy. You say that, but can I


quote David Cameron, this is germain to what you are saying, David


Cameron said "There is no doubt that we are more powerful than


Washington, Beijing and Delhi, because we are a powerful player in


the European Union." Do you agree? He is saying that there are times


when it comes to international foreign affairs when you have to


cooperate with partners. Often they are EU partners but often they are


not. The problem we have... Washington have made it very clear


that it wants Britain to talk through Brussels. No, not at all.


Talk through the French and Italians, come on, wake up? Through


the EU collective. I'm vice chair of the EU delegation. I hear it from


the American counterparts. They want the EU to get itself together and


not least on Ukraine. Why should our sovereignty be at the behest of .. ?


I want to hear from Syed calm amplgts the British Parliament is


the right place to decide our foreign poll sinchts sometimes we


work with our European partners sometimes we work with our


non-European partners. It is our choice to pull sovereign trito work


together. G, we move on to our foirt area. We hear a lot in this country


about MPs expenses. Snted the real scan dalt MEPs gravy train. -- isn't


the real scandal, the MEPs gravy train? You all have your snouts The


trough? I don't think so. There is transpancy. The way we use our


expenses is online and anyone can ask to examine those. We have


actually voted to reform MEPs' allowances. We regularly vote but


unfortunately the majority in Parliament don't. Have you voted to


cut them? Yes. By how much? About 5%. A 5% We hoped to have economies


I never fly except across the Atlantic. Difficult to do it any


other way. I didn't swim. But we voted for economy flutes We


voted for European Parliament policy of transparency which other groups


haven't. UKIP don't turn up to vote. They don't earn their salaries.


Dhoent do anything. They should hand their salaries and allowances back.


You can't ause UKIP of being on the gravy train and the other that we


don't claim our attendance allowance because our MEPs are not there. Your


attendance allowance is if you are there, you are saying we don't turn


up You are in the building and claim the allowances. You are not an MEP,


UKIP are so ashamed of what their MEPs have done in Brussels, they


didn't field a sitting MEP for today's debate. I think each party


decides who it wishes to field. I have the honour of being the UKIP


representative. I would say by going in the past few weeks, xeeming to me


saying - we are sick of the others. -- people saying to me. : We are


quite excited. Can I ask Patrick O'Flynn. He says he touched a chord


and his party is strong in the polls today, between 18% and 20%. Haven't


you also struck a chord with hip crasscy. Two of your MEPs were


jailed for expenses and benefits' crasscy. Two of your MEPs were


fraud. Two more asked to pay back ?37,000 for using European funds.


Nigel Farage has boosted about getting ?2 million in expenses and


he went on to employ his wife as a secretarial allowance after telling


other members not to People who do wrong and break the law, go to ja. I


have no time. -- go to jail. People who spend money they are not


entitled to should pay it back and that's right. But what UKIP does and


the good UKIP MEPs do, is use the allowances they are given to pursue


the political agenda they put up when elected which is to get Britain


out of this superstate. Instead of using it for parliamentary work


Very interesting. Richard Howitt. We were the first British political


party to have independent audits of our MEPs' expenses, from 1990, way


before the expenses crisis blew up. The Maria Miller scandal has of


course hit David Cameron and the Conservative Party hard as it should


do. But you are right, even in my own region you have UKIP candidates


and councillors who have been charged with fraudulently filling


out election papers and other shot lifting. Another independent inquiry


found he made racist comments. We had a European candidate last week


in Hertfordshire who got a parking ticket from the police and called


the police fascists. These people aren't here.


I'll let you have a quick reply We can bring up parochial cases. Let


him answer. Not so long ago a Liberal Democrat councillor was sent


down for firebombing, I don't say they are a bunch of arsonists, but


now I think, Nick Clegg might have burnt some cactuses, once. I'm glad


you pronounced that word carefully. Syed Kemal, the EU's auditors, they


are strongly critical of the EU s financials saying "Errors permist in


all main spending areas", the financials are poorly managed. It is


a shambles And that's something that all parties agree on. As we agree on


expenses, the British parties are at the forefront of transpancy. Every


year when we vote for the discharge of the budget, the Conservatives


also vote for it but we don't get enough MEPs from other countries to


investigate in favour. The Liberal Democrats have put forward to make


each Finance Minister, George Osborne and his counterpart to sign


a declaration to say all EU money is properly spent in my country.


Funnily enough they don't want to do that but I look forward to you


confirming that George Osborne will sign it. All the time we hear it is


about the money we pay in, about ?150 per family per year. What about


the money that comes back? ?1. billion that comes to Britain's


regions because of being in Europe. I myself helped to negotiate a fund


to help Britain's food banks to ensure so. Poorest and most


destitute people... Isn't it our money that went there first. Can I


tell you the Conservative-led Government have blocked us from


claiming that money. If you want to have the clearest choice at these


European elections, it is between... Tell us why. It affects our rebate.


Tony Blair gave away our rebate He is quite right. Lib Dems


Tony Blair gave away our rebate He make sure that we apply for money to


help with flooding. That is what the Tories were blocking. If you want


the clearest example at the European elections, the Conservative Party


and MEPs blocked the cap on bankers bonuses, and then blocked a Labour


victory to get money for free banks. We need to move on to the


future. It is important and people are watching. The EU's Justice


Minister says that we need to build a United States of Europe with the


commission as its government. Is she right? Not at all. But the future,


if we take the next ten years, thinks about climate change and the


fact that we are not going to hit of the two degrees target. Europe has


led and needs to lead towards getting a new sustainable world It


is the political will to use these powers, so she is wrong. It is about


the threats from abroad. Labour reforms like getting a commissioner


for growth and rebalancing the budget, reforming the common


agricultural policy, all of those things will need to happen to make


Europe more democratic and open But against the rise of Brazil and


China... We do not need more treaties and powers. We need more


action with more Labour MEPs. Sarah Ludford, you would sign up to that?


No. Unless they do not think that should concentrate on institutional


matters. What we need to do is concentrate on making Europe


progrowth and competitive and create more jobs in a competitive world. We


need more trade deals to open up our exports, we need to streamline the


EU. We need less red tape and Liberal Democrats have done a lot on


that. We need better scrutiny of EU legislation at West Munster because


the national parties... More powers or less for the EU government? In


some areas, I would like to see it slimmed down. Including, I am not


sure whether the EU should be funding food banks. I think that is


a national responsibility. Dearie me. The EU have to concentrate on


the economy and climate change. This is the coalition talking. If we want


to fritter away political capital on things which are interfering in


national matters, then we do not have the support to tackle those big


challenges. Would have the support to tackle those big


join the Euro one-day? Now is not a good idea. We wanted the Eurozone to


still be sound, which is why... Did not ask you that. Do you want to


join the Euro one-day? If it is a success and it did the economy. Now


is not the time but in principle, the idea of a single currency has


advantages. That was a yes. We are not ruling it out for ever but not


in the foreseeable future. It is not on the horizon. What would our


relationship be with Europe in the future if UKIP got its way and we


left? We would be trading partners with Europe and we would seek


partnership in specific serious I'd tell you what, can I just say..


Would we be Norway? We would be stronger than Norway because we are


the biggest export market in the Eurozone. We can negotiate a bespoke


trading agreement reflecting our enormous importance. Not on


services, which make up 80% of the economy. We are the biggest export


market in the Eurozone. Our biggest exports are services and they would


have to agree to free trade and services. They still have not. Can I


read you something? Let me read you something. There would be a free


trade agreement in place the day after our exit. Germany would demand


no less. Who said that? Not somebody from UKIP, but Digby Jones. Mr


business. He is talking about goods, not services. Norway has that


and they have no say. You would have to accept the EU rules without any


say. No MEPs are commissioners. Let me give you another. Enough. One is


enough. Syed Kamall, is it not looking forward pretty much Mission:


Impossible for Mr Cameron to get anything like the repatriations of


powers that would satisfy your irreconcilables? My father was a bus


driver in the 50s and one of the reasons I am here today is because


he told me that you can achieve anything if you work hard. He said


to me, do not listen to the doubters. When people tell you that


something cannot be done, it is a sign of their limitations, not


yours. They said that we could not pull Britain out of the bailout


mechanism but we did it. He said we could not be to a -- veto European


treaty and we did that. They said we would never cut the budget and we


did that. The first ever. But overall, we are paying more into the


European budget. And they are not sticking to it. More, not less. They


say that we cannot achieve reform but we have achieved reform and we


are at the forefront of that. Science's father came to Britain


because Britain was open and looking outward. What the Conservatives now


have, with leaderless Cameron, is an inward looking attitude. They are


allowing the rise of UKIP. They are putting so much at risk. People


should vote Labour. We are going to have to stop now. No point talking


because we are about to finish. I think you all for a spirited debate.


I'm sure Nigel Fries and Mr Clegg will have learned a lot about how to


debate. -- Nigel Farage. It's just gone 3pm, and you're


watching the It's just gone 3pm, and you're


goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now for Sunday Politics


Scotland. Coming up here in twenty minutes,


Welcome to the programme. I am a Etholle George. Coming up, the


school claiming that it is being pushed into being an Academx,


despite the wishes of parents and staff. It should not be forced to


become an Academy when the parents and staff do not want it. Plans to


build an incinerator is scr`pped when a decision is failed to be met.


No one knows what the Secretary of State will do in regards to the


planning report on the incinerator. It is still outstanding. Let us meet


our guests. Baroness Angela Smith for Labour. And the Lib Mahdr of


Bedford. The only elected m`yor in the East. `` Lib Dem mayor. Vince


Cable met people running sm`ll businesses when he opened a college.


There are very good projects in parts of the country like this and


weather our we are putting hn money. There are factories with


high`tech work bringing in private investment and providing long`term


unemployment. This is about rebalancing the economy in the


North. I weigh not missing out as a region? We would like to be getting


more money because we can hdlp the growth that the country needs. I


understand Vince Cable's pohnts about rebalancing that I thhnk that


the growth can get from somd of the innovative projects in our region is


good. Angela Smith, are we getting our fair share? I am quite worried 6


million out of three hundred does not sound like making the most of


the Eastern region. These are only bets `` bids and we have to get the


money to the people so they can spend it and create jobs. Some


people have pulled out altogether. Dave Hodgson, are some businesses


coming forward? We are encotraging people from Beds and it is hmportant


that we support them and make the best case. We need to reducd the


bureaucracy. Too many pulling out and not getting the money at the


end. And no to a David and Goliath battle over Academy schools. Academy


is a free from local authorhty control and are funded directly from


central government. They give greater freedom to schools over


things like curriculum. The government believes Academy schools


perform better and has a policy that all schools and those in spdcial


measures should become an Academy. One school, Cavell Primary School,


is being forced to become an Academy even though it has come out special


measures. This family has two children, seven and four. One goes


to school at Cavell Primary School and the other two are nastily linked


to the school. `` and the other to a nastily `` nursery links to the


school. Michael Gove says all schools in special measures must be


turned into academies. This is why Mr Ward and other parents h`ve


formed a campaign group. Thdre has been no proper consultation and we


have been told this is happdning and will happen from the 1st of July and


that is it. I do not think that anything we say will make any


difference whatsoever. John of Gaunt is a cooperative trust and that is


what parents of Cavell Prim`ry School on their school to bdcome.


Cooperative trusts also follow the national curriculum whereas Academy


schools are not obliged to do so. Last month, Ofsted give John of


Gaunt a good report and people are putting this down to it being a


cooperative school. Everybody has a say and we are looking at w`ys that


we can make sure that all the ideas come from everybody. Back in


Norwich, this man is a formdr governor of Cavell Primary School.


He is applying for a judici`l review at the High Court. I feel


disappointed and angry and H think that Cavell Primary School has been


treated very harshly. It is a school that is improving and is out of


special measures and should not be forced to become an Academy and the


parents and staff they did not wish it to become an Academy. Thd


National Association of head teachers is also supporting the case


and says it could have wide consequences. It could becole a


landmark case and there is ` danger that forced academies nation will


continue and that is a real worry. You are powerless when it comes to


what the government wants for the academies, are you not? We `re, yes.


We have 50 academies in Norfolk and now and it is outside my control.


The interim executive board was appointed to decide Academy status.


It implies interference frol the County Council and government,


saying, the pressure from the local authority and the Department for


Education to promote this is alienating people and creatdd an


atmosphere of suspicion and mistrust. At the moment, thd school


will become an Academy in Jtly. The decision of the High Court will


determine what happens in other schools across the country. We


wanted to put the points in the film to the Department for Education but


they declined an interview. They did send us this statement.


Angela Smith, the DfEE say that sponsored academies are improving


faster. . Was not time that something had to be done? The school


was turning around and you do have two mind what parents save. That is


what Cavell Primary School hs done. They are not education expects but


they work with the experts. The changes this government has made to


academies has become ideological. Academies can no longer specialise


nearly as an do no longer h`ve the same consultation issues we had


under the last government. Who wants to have parents and happy? H think


the trust school that we saw there, you saw how they engage in the


community and in every case those schools improve. That can not be


said of the academies. Dave Hodgson, you have a similar school that was


deemed to be failing six months ago and as soon `` and has now been told


it will be becoming an Acaddmy. Where do you stand on this? I think


it is being led by dogma and ideology. It is no kind of choice.


We should come back to a local decision for local people and


parents and governors working with the local authority. We continue to


invest in the school improvdment team. As an elected Maher, ``


mayor, do you have any powers? Know I don't. Does that not have to be a


cut`off somewhere? If the school has been struggling for four ye`rs, the


line has to be drawn? What would've happened under last governmdnt issue


would have is asked if the parents wanted an Academy and you would have


given the choice. The government say that it has been decided th`t this


has happened. It is led by dogma. While the government is keen to


enforce its views on educathon, it is not so forthcoming when ht comes


to planning decisions. Plans were rubber`stamped by councillors to


abandon a proposed incineration plant in King's Lynn. The council


says it is pulling the plug now because the Local Government


Secretary, Eric Pickles, sthll has not decided whether to grant the


scheme. The delay is set to add ?140,000 per day to the project and


the council says by the sumler it will no longer offer value for


money. The building industrx says cases like these are worrying


examples of how government indecision and wreck import`nt


projects. Derek Murphy says that novel has been dropped in it by the


government. He says the planning process must be speeded up. No one


knows what the Secretary of State will do in regards to the planning


report. It is still outstanding It did not adhere to itself imposed


deadline of January this ye`r. If he had done, project we were long gone


forward but as he has not, `nd as we have no knowledge of when hd will


make a decision, it was verx difficult to do so. He has not come


out with any reason yet why he should refuse planning permhssion.


He has said he has written to the Planning Inspectorate were some


questions that have yet to be answered but we do not know what


these questions are and it would be nice if he were more open and


upfront cos this is such an important project for Norfolk


because it has involved hugd amounts of money. Both the opponents of this


project and those who wanted it to go ahead on to a decision. Ht has a


very debilitating effect on potential infrastructure projects of


the large amount of money which take a lot of time to develop. Once


something has been called in by the Secretary of State you know you re


in difficult circumstances. However it is true that the process could be


made faster. This is about jobs and promoting growth on the grotnd and


that is why we have talked `bout prioritising original infrastructure


that can deliver growth. We are 24th out of 30 in the global lead for


infrastructure. Earlier this week, Andrew Sinclair met Henry Bdllingham


who was opposed to the plan from the start. He asked why it was taking


the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, so long to make a decision.


The inspector spent six weeks to seven weeks because he had so much


to deal with. The report is not in any way unusual in the line of time


that it takes because the previous secretary of state to two ydars to


decide about the other Cory Wheelabrator incinerator at


Bexleyheath. But he said he made a decision in January but we still do


not know when it will be. That is all part of meeting targets but this


was a particularly, dated rdport and he was never at in all realhsm going


to be ready by January. The government keeps talking about


speeding up the planning process. What message the descent of the


construction industry? I thhnk it makes sense to Cory Wheelabrator.


You have to get the community onside if you're working on a big


construction project. But the fact that so long has been taken to make


the session, does that not lake communities where they? The


community was engaged in Suffolk and it was handled incredibly


professionally and very well and sensitively and it went through


This has been handled in a crass and ridiculous and stupid way. Whenever


you have a big infrastructure projects such as expanding `nd a


road are building a new nuclear power station at Sizewell, xou will


always have people complainhng. That is why we have a Secretary of State


moving things forward. As soon as that referendum to place, the County


Council and Cory Wheelabrator said they would not go ahead. We cannot


overcome that level of opposition. They tried to bulldozer through over


local people and you cannot do that. This was a Conservative County


Council which decided to put ahead `` push ahead. How do you mdnd


fences? This has been a verx bruising and difficult five years


and I have been at war with Conservative county councillors and


I do not want to start workhng with them again `` I do want to start


working with them again in ` constructive way for the benefit of


people in Norfolk. That was no official statement. Angela Smith,


there could be an enquiry into how Norfolk has got into this mdss. Do


you think they could have done better? I really feel for the


council on this one and the government is good on passing


legislation. The government has taken that further and are trying to


make it quicker but the Secretary of State holds the whole thing up and


that is a real danger for the council and I imagine the council


regrets having to spend the money cancelling the contract but I do not


see what choice they have if they have lost the money from thd


government. Dave Hodgson, where do you stand on this? I think there are


better ways to deal with waste and we have an even larger incinerator


which has had planning permhssion which was the only decision taken by


the infrastructure planning commission against local fedlings.


The bypass and Bedford has support and other projects about support


from the public, but it's dhfficult to see how it can work centrally


when we're talking about making more decisions locally. To be 24th out of


30 in the league does not sound great for infrastructure. Something


is going badly wrong and I would not want to ride roughshod over local


opinion. I thought Henry Bellingham made a very good point about


engagement. We have to look at where incinerators and waste facilities


are built and how the impact on local people. These things lust be


taken into account. That surely government and local governlent can


work together to achieve a luch better process. Eric Pickles said he


could do it in January. How do you balance this? The big incindrator


has had planning permission but the company is up for sale so hopefully


it may not go ahead. When the Secretary of State has said


January, we need to stick to that date. That does affect what happens


locally. This week, once thd new flood defences proved to be


unwelcome. Southend council approved plans for a seven foot high sea


wall. Two Northamptonshire LPs have launched their own referendtm on


whether Britain should stay in the European Union. It is an idda of


giving the biggest referendtm since the 1970s. The MP for South


Northamptonshire has become the new economic Secretary to the Treasury.


Harriet Harman set out the vision of labour for Milton Keynes. Wd have to


work hard to win the trust of every voter. David Cameron offered advice


for a little light reading. The novel by the Honourable fridnd for


mid Beds. Dave Hodgson, do xou get much time to read? If I had the


choice I think I would read the Secret Diaries of Adrian Mole. I


love spy books and I am looking forward to the James Naughthe book.


I'm also looking forward to the Peter Hennessy book. Dave Hodgson,


is there a book in you? Verx briefly, no. That is all from us. We


are off for two weeks over Daster and we will bring you the


risk. We have run out of time. - particular candidates. Back to you,


Andrew. The sun's out, Ed Balls has run the


London Marathon, and MPs leave Westminster for their Easter break.


Let's discuss what's coming up in the Week Ahead.


We will get more of what we have just seen. Let's look back on the


debate. What did we learn from the argument is? That it is going to


bore and irritate whole lot of people, this election campaign. Four


parties shouting at each other about things that most people do not know


much about. They know very little about how the European Parliament


works, what an MEP is supposed to do. A lot of heat and not a lot of


light. I've updated well, all of them, but the net effect is not


going to encourage people to go out and vote and not many do. One thing


that struck me was that on Europe, the Labour and Lib Dem positions are


not that far apart. They are pretty much the same. And yet the knocks


lots of each other. I suppose they feel that they had to do that


because that is the format. I'd agree with Polly. Their word UKIP


and the Tories to attack two we try to make it exciting, and we know the


issues are important. But people out there have not heard of these


individuals. It is not very exciting. That is worrying because


these are huge national questions for us. We need to find a way of


making it more fun. People may not know these MEPs, they may not know


the detail of the debate, but it is an issue on which people have strong


opinions. It is a visceral thing for many people. Especially on the


immigration issue. The debate took off and became more vociferous at


that point. To a large extent, you wonder whether not only this


European election but the eventual referendum will be a referendum on


the issue of immigration and free movement. If we did not learn much


from the argument, the thing we did learn is that the structure


from the argument, the thing we did televised debate influences the


outcome. One of the reasons that Nigel Farage did well in the debate


is that in a two-man debate, each man has as good a chance as the


other. If it is four people, one man can be ganged up on. Patrick O'Flynn


did well for a man who is not an elected politician yet. At times, 40


came under attack and did not hold the line as well as you would


expect. Does that create a perverse incentive for the main parties to


agree to a four way debate before the general election? I do not think


the David Cameron has nearly as much to worry about from a televised


debate in the run-up to the elections than his spin doctors


believe. When you put him up against Ed Miliband, and we have not


actually seen Ed Miliband in that format, I think he will come off all


right. This is an election which the polls would have us believe that the


battle for first place is between UKIP and labour. It certainly is.


Obviously, it is neck and neck and we will not know until we are


closer. And it matters a lot to both of them. If Mr Miliband does not


come first, that is not good news for the main opposition at this


stage. Except to some extent all of the people will put it to one side


and say that this is a bizarre election. A plague on both your


houses, let's vote UKIP. It is not clear how much that translates into


the next election. It is not too disastrous for Labour. It would be


better if they came first. If Mr Miliband comes first, not a problem,


but it becomes second and UKIP soars away, what are the consequences I


think there is a widespread expectation already at Westminster


that UKIP is very likely to come first. If Ed Miliband fails to come


first, there will not be a great deal of shock in the West Mr


village. Else think what is remarkable about Ed Miliband is that


despite consistently poor personal leadership approval ratings, the


overall Labour poll is consistently very high. We have seen that budget


blip, it seems to have taken us back to where we were before. Leadership


is not everything. Mrs Thatcher was miles behind James Callaghan but in


the end, it was the party politics that mattered more. If Mr Cameron


comes third and the Tories come third, maybe a poor third, is it


headless chicken time on the Tory backbenchers? It has often been said


that the Tory Party has two modes, complacency and panic. You will see


them shift into panic mode. By June, I think. Many of the stories in the


sun will be about David Cameron s personal leadership and his grip on


the party. There will be pressure on conference by the time that comes


around. It is a natural consequence of being the incumbent party. The


Lib Dems are 7% in two of the polls today. It was widely thought that in


the first and second debates, Nigel Farage won both. In retrospect, was


the challenge strategy a disaster for Mr Clegg? I do not think it was


because he had nothing to lose. But he is lower in the polls than when


he started. He has not lost a great deal. The polls were quite often


that low. I think it was a good thing to do. It raised his profile.


It made him the leading party in. That may be a difficult place to


be. That is how you end up with 7% in the polls. The reason he is


fighting with Labour is that he knows very well that all he has to


do is to get his votes back that have gone to Labour and labour have


to fight hard to make sure that they do not go back. Every party looks to


where it is going to get it support. If it is a wipe-out for the


Lib Dems, and they lose all their MEPs, not saying that is going to


happen but you could not rule it out for, are we back in Nick Clegg


leadership crisis territory? One of the astonishing things about this


Parliament is the relative absence of leadership speculation about Nick


Clegg will stop at the first couple of years, his position seems


tricky, but maybe that is because Chris Hughton is gone and he was the


only plausible candidate. This cable is not getting any younger, to put


it delicately. That was not delegate at all! And we have reached a


desperate stage where Danny Alexander is talked about as a


candidate. That was not delegate either! Maybe he is holding onto


power the lack of alternatives. If they ended up with no MEPs at all,


and a less than double digits score... With Danny Alexander, it is


clear that Scotland, one way or another, will be moving further


away. You could not have the leader of a national party be a Scot. But


he does not have the following in the party. I'm glad you're liberal


attitudes to immigration extends to me. I would not have been here for


43 years. There will be leadership talk after that holes. It has been


bubbling in the background, but you have to talk to the grass roots


activists. -- after the polls. The grass roots activists are


despairing. If things are bad, they lose their network of activists who


they need to fight the next election. I think you mean, not that


you could have a Scot, but that it would be more difficult to have a


Scot from a Scottish constituency. Absolutely. I think a Scottish


constituency, so many things will be different. Or to hold the great


offices of state. Let's come onto the Crown Prosecution Service is. It


is an English institution. Where does the CPS and after losing yet


another high-profile case come this time Nigel Evans? They had nine


counts against him and they did not win on one. It is obviously very


embarrassing. They will have a bit of explain to do but I guess the


threshold for bringing these cases is high. There has to be considered


at least a 50-50 chance of actually winning the case. We do not know


what went on behind the scenes when they weighed up whether to bring the


case. Nigel Evans makes an interesting point about whether it


is legitimate to bundle together a number of stand-alone relatively


weak accusations, and when you put them together to militantly, the CPS


uses that to make a case. Is that a legitimate thing to do? He was a


high-profile figure, not just because he was a Tory MP. He was the


deputy speaker of the House. And yet the CPS are certainly the police, to


begin with they did not have that many people to testify against him.


And then they trawled for more. You wonder if they would have done that


if it was not for the fact that he was a public figure. The trouble is,


they are dammed if they do and dammed if they do not. Particularly


with politicians and the reputation they have these days, if there is


any suggestion that they let somebody off because they are a


high-profile politician, and they are saying that about Cyril Smith,


that is the accusation. A strange story. Most unlikely and very


bizarre. But that is the accusation. If there is any with of that, I can


see why the CPS says, we better let the courts try this one. Also, they


are in trouble overrated cases because their success rate on


bringing people to court for rape is so thin. When it looked as if his


accusers were not really accusing him, it looks quite weak. You cannot


help but feeling that they are falling over backwards now in


high-profile cases because of their abject and total failure over Jimmy


Savile. I think this is exactly the kind of case that happens when you


are trying to make a point or redeem a reputation or change a culture.


All of these big things. As opposed to what criminal justice is supposed


to be about, which is specific crimes and specific evidence


matching those crimes. The CPS has no copper a fleet joined in this


list of public and situations that has taken a fall over the past five


or six years. We have had Parliament, the newspapers, the


police will stop I think this is as bad a humiliation as any of those


because it is Innocent people suffering. You are the most recent,


being a lobby correspondent in Westminster, and we now see on


Channel 4 News that basically, Westminster is twinned with Sodom


and Gomorrah. Yes. I know. Is this true? It is all rather the red. I do


not move in those circles. And you were in the lobby at one stage? Not


that long ago. Is it right. Is it right to be twinned with Sodom and


Gomorrah? I'll ask him for his opinion. Being technically a member


of the lobby, I can observe some of this stuff. And what surprises me is


that journalists, when the complain about Sodom and Gomorrah, write


themselves out of it. It is as if it is just MPs. We are unalloyed and


unvarnished. Actually, the fact is it has always been a bit like Sodom


and tomorrow. Of course it has always been a bit like Sodom


Think about how we have had wave after wave of stories and scandals.


But less of it recently. It was I think that attitudes have slightly


changed. I'll also think that if you get 650 people in any organisation


and you put that much scrutiny on them, you will find an awful lot


going on in most people's officers of a scurrilous nature. Even in the


BBC In 2013, the public voted for


a portrait of At times he's interesting,


at times he's very funny, My life is a very happy life


and I'm a very happy person. Will you feel nervous


when this is unveiled? I suppose being the centre


of attention but for ever.


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