11/05/2014 Sunday Politics East


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics, where we're talking


about the Europe-wide contest that really matters. No, not Eurovision.


The European elections. There are local elections across England too


on May 22nd. The party leaders are campaigning ahead of polling day.


The results could be a pointer to the Big One, May 2015. We'll be


speaking to the man in charge of Labour's election battle plan. Has


the opposition really got its sights set on all-out victory in 2015? Or


will it just be content with squeaking home? And you can't


mention elections these days without talking about the impact of this


man, Nigel Farage. I'll be asking him if UKIP really


And I'm joined by three journalists guaranteed to bring a touch of


Eurovision glamour to your Sunday morning. With views more


controversial than a bearded Austrian drag act and twice the


dress sense, it's Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh. So you might


have thought you've already heard David Cameron promise an in-out


referendum on EU membership in 2017 if he's still Prime Minister. Many


times. Many, many times. if he's still Prime Minister. Many


obviously doesn't think you've been listening, because he's been saying


it again today. Here he is speaking to the BBC earlier. We will hold a


referendum by the end of 2017. It will be a referendum on an in-out


basis. Do we stay in a reformed European Union or do we leave? And


I've said very clearly that whatever the outcome of the next election,


and of course I want an overall majority and I'm hoping and


believing I can win an overall majority, that people should be in


no doubt I will not become Prime Minister unless I can guarantee that


we will hold a referendum. Here's saying there that an overall


majority there will definitely be a referendum. If these are the


minority position, he won't form a new coalition unless they agree to a


referendum, too. The Lib Dems a pulmonary agree to that. They


probably will because the Prime ministers have a strong argument


which is I gave you a referendum back in 2010 so the least I need is


theirs and the Lib Dems are the only party who have stood in recent


elections on a clear mandate to hold a referendum, so it is difficult for


them to say no, there was interesting the interview he did


earlier today. He named everything was going to ask for. The most


controversial with him, as he said in his speech last year, he wants to


take Britain out of the commitment to make the European Union and ever


closer union. That is a very big ask, but the point is, he may well


get it because the choice for the European Union now, France and


Germany, is a clear wonderful do Britain in or out? Previously, it


was can you put up with a British prime ministers being annoying? I


think you'll find the answer is they are willing to pay a price but not


any price to keep Britain in. In this scenario, Labour would have


lost the election again because we are talking the slowly happen if Mr


Cameron is the largest party or has an overall majority. Could you then


see Labour deciding we had better go along with a referendum, too? I


think that's unlikely because as I think that's unlikely because


there's a huge upside for that for I think what's interesting is the idea


he would for minority government. Would you get confidence and look at


other options that might well happen with the way the arithmetic is going


or is he going to hold out and say the only way I will be Prime


Minister is in a majority Conservative government? No, the


implication of his remarks was I wouldn't form a coalition government


unless my coalition partners would also agree to vote for a referendum.


He's basically talking about is negotiating strategy in those


coalition talks. It's a red line and a huge opportunity for the Lib Dems,


because they know David Cameron absolutely has to do, for accidental


reasons, as a person who survives as Tory leader, to ask for that


referendum, so they can ask anything they want in return and if I was


Nick Clegg, I would work out in the next year one absolute colossal


negotiating demand for those coalition talks. For a party around


10% in the polls, they will do have the Prime Minister over a barrel on


this one, assuming that coalition talks goes well. They could make


Michael Gove Tbyte meeting. OK, we need to move on. So, the politicians


are out and about on what used to be called the stump ahead of local and


European elections in less than two weeks' time. But, without wanting to


depress you on a damp Sunday morning, the party strategists are


already hard at work on their campaign plans for the General


Election next May. Yes, it's less than a year to go. They may have


taken their time, but Labour's battleplan for 2015 is starting to


take shape. As well as take promising to freeze your energy


bills, and reintroduce the 50p rate of tax, Ed Miliband now says he


wants to intervene in the housing market to keep rents down. There's


even talk that the party leadership wants to bring more railway lines


into public ownership. And Labour is gambling that its big push on the


cost of living will see it through to the general election despite


evidence that growth is firmly back. Labour's campaign chief Douglas


Alexander hopes it all adds up to victory next May. But so far, the


evidence is hitting home very thin. One survey today shows that 56% of


people don't think Mr Miliband is up to the job of Prime Minister. As we


head towards one of the least predictable general elections in 70


years, has Labour got a message to win seats up and down the country?


And Labour's election co-ordinator and Shadow Foreign Secretary,


Douglas Alexander, joins me now. Welcome to Sunday Politics. A lot of


these policies announced polar pretty well. By popular with the


country. When you add them together, it's a move to the left and what


would be wrong with that? I think is your packet suggests, the contours


in the coming campaign are becoming clear. Our judgement is the defining


issue of the year in British politics will be the widening gap


between the wealth of the country and the finances of ordinary


families. We believe it will be a cost of living election and we have


been setting out our thinking in relation to energy prices and rent,


but you will hear more from Labour Party in the coming months because


we're now less than one year away from a decisive moment. If the


leftish think tank suggested any of his policies in that Tony Blair


years, you would have opposed them. Let's be clear, when not going for


an interest but seeking to secure a majority for the only way to do that


is not simply to appeal to your base, but to the centre ground. I


believe we got genuine opportunities in the next year. You have the


Conservatives in a struggle with UKIP on the right of politics. The


Lib Dems 9% of trying to find their base, and there's a genuine


opportunity in the next year for Labour to dominate the centre ground


of politics and secure the majority Labour government we are planning


for in the coming year. I notice you didn't deny you wouldn't have


opposed. You say you have got an message for aspirational voters in


the South. This is what John Denham said. He thinks you're talking too


much to your core vote. He is right to recognise we took a


terrible beating in 2010. 29%. If you look at what we've done in the


last week, for example, the signature policy on rent Ed Miliband


announced to launch the campaign, there's now more than 9 million


people in the country in the private rented sector, more than 1 million


families. Many of them are in the south-east. They are seeing


circumstances where, suddenly, landlord will increase the rent and


they put the pressure involved in schooling, health care facing the


families, so it is important both in terms of policy and in terms of


politics that we speak to the whole country, not simply to one part of


it falls up what is the average rise in event last year? I don't know.


Can you tell me? 1%. 1% not in real terms. I'm not sure what the problem


is. It will happen to wages in last year, we are facing circumstances


where people will be worse off, up to ?1600 off worse and frankly, if


our opponents want to argue that the economy has healed and they deserve


a victory lap, good luck to them because actually, what we are


hearing from the Buddhist public, not just in the north and south, is


not the cost living crisis is continuing and it affects families.


There was nothing aspirational about your party election broadcast for


the European elections. It looked like crude class war to money


people. That's a bit of it. Bedroom tax. Isn't it going to look bad that


two thirds of those affected are disabled? Who cares? They can't


fight back. Shall be lay-offs and NHS nurses? The National Health


Service? Oh yes. Mr Cameron? Who said that? Me. My gosh. The man has


shrunk. He's actually shrunk. What shall we do with him? Can we hunt


him? Nothing about Europe, Labour policy. News that the Tories would


result in negative campaigning and smear. You didn't tell you would be


just as bad. Let's start the party broadcast. The one thing guaranteed


to have most people reaching for the remote control these days are the


words, there now follows a party but the broadcast. I make no apology in


the factory to be innovative in how we presented. It's factual. It was a


policy -based critic of this government. And the Lib Dems role


within it. So you're claiming it's factual to betray the camera and


cabinet is not even knowing what the NHS is, -- the Cameron Cabinet. They


attack the disabled because they can't fight back. The Pinellas


Tanner severely Prime Minister Sun and he was treated during a short


life by the NHS. It's a fact many disabled people across the country


including in my constituency have been directly affected by the


bedroom tax. And ultimately, this Conservative led government,


including the Lib Dems, will be held accountable by the politicians. You


say that, the Prime Minister, who had a severely disabled son of. I


you not ashamed about? I shadowed Iain Duncan Smith of five months


also they don't have the excuses of seeing that saying nobody told them


the consequences of the bedroom tax. They went into this with their eyes


open. They knew about the hardship and difficulty. If they were


one-bedroom properties available across the country for people to


move into, their argument would be OK but they knew they were dealing


with the most vulnerable people. Did you sign off that part of the


broadcast? Of course I stand by the fact of it. I wish David Cameron and


Iain Duncan Smith would apologise to the disabled people of the country


and the poorest people for the effects of the bedroom tax. I hope


we get that apology between now and election. As someone who thinks


integrity is important in politics, not ashamed of this kind of thing?


It's important we scrutinise the policies of this government as well


as adding a positive agenda for change. You want that you won't


promise this is the last time we'll see such a negative press campaign?


I don't think it is negative or personal to scrutinise the


government. So we'll get more of this? I'm less interested in the


background of the cabinet than their views. You call the upper-class


twits. It's for the British public to make a judgement in terms of the


British... That's how you depicted them. We are held in accountable for


the bedroom tax, the NHS, taxation, and our record they have to defend.


One reason are so fearful in this election is actually because they


know they have a poor record. Let's look at other part of the election


campaign. This poster. Particularly digitally doing the rounds. On that


shopping basket, can you tell us which items take the full 20% VAT?


It's representative of household shopping, which includes items like


cleaning products, and we know that food is not that trouble. People


don't go to the supermarket and say this is -- vatable. So you are


denying that ?450 extra is being paid? Yes, where'd you get that


figure? For an average family to pay ?450 a year extra VAT, they would


have to spend ?21,600 a year on vatable products at 20%. The average


take-home pay is only 21,009. They have got to spend on all sorts of


things which are zero VAT. So in addition to the items, has a range


of products people face in terms of VAT. How could an average family of


?21,000 a year spent 21,006 and the pound a year on 20% vatable items?


It's not an annual figure, is it? So what is it then? If it's an annual,


what is it? The increased VAT in this parliament is calculated over


the course of a Parliament. For the whole of the Parliament? And you're


illustrated this with a shopping basket which almost has no VAT on it


at all? People will be buying a weekly shop in the course of this


Parliament every week. Did you sign off on this as well? Of course. It


didn't dawn on you you're putting things on it which have no VAT? If


you want to argue some people go to the shops and say these are vatable


or not, I disagree. Even your rent cap announcement went wrong. You're


working on the rent rises and it turns out it wasn't. It was a post


your policy. It is the exception rather than the rule to have the


position we have at the moment. In Northern Ireland we have seen the


continued rise in terms of the rented sector but there is a


widespread recognition that for those people in the rented sector,


change is necessary. Are you coordinating this campaign? It seems


accident prone. This is a party that has set the agenda more effectively


than a Conservative party that said when David Cameron was elected he


wasn't going to bang on about Europe. The day after the election


we expect the Conservative party to be engulfed in crisis. I'm proud of


what we talk about and I think there is a clear contrast about a party


talking about issues people care about, and a Conservative party


talking about exclusively a referendum. Are you in charge of the


campaign? I am coordinating the campaign is, yes. The expensive


election guru you have hired, has he been involved in any of this? We


have started our discussions with him. You are going to have to brief


him about British politics because he doesn't know anything about it. I


make no apology for hiring him. He has a lot of experience in winning


tight elections and that is what we are expecting. If you are expecting


us to say, they have passed and we have to hold them accountable, then


I am sorry but we have a campaign that holds the Government and the


Conservatives to account for what I think is a very hopeless record in


government. Thank you. He leads a party with zero MPs but


his media presence is huge. He's had an expenses scandal, but the public


didn't seem to mind. He's got a privileged background but he's seen


as an anti-establishment champion. Nothing seems to stick to him, not


even eggs. I speak of course of Nigel Farage. We'll talk to him in a


moment, but first Giles has been out on the campaign trail ahead of


elections that could make or break the UKIP leader.


Nigel Farage likes a stage, and at this stage of the Euro and local


election campaign he is, like his party, in buoyant mood. They feel


they are on the verge of what they see as causing an earthquake in


British politics. Today Nigel is filling thousands seat venues and


bigger. Not that there's much sign of that at this press launch. But


it's a threat with serious money behind it, that they believe the


media and the political elite just haven't realised yet, much less


learned how to counter it. Not that it's all been plain sailing.


Offensive comments from some candidates has not only seen UKIP


labelled as racist, but necessitated a rally by the party to visibly and


verbally challenge that. The offensive idiotic statements made by


this handful of people have been lifted up and presented to the great


British public as if they represent the view of this party, which they


do not. They never have and they never will. APPLAUSE


I don't care what you call us, but from this moment on, please do not


call must trust a racist party. We are not a racist party.


The need to say that is not just about the European and local


elections even at that campaign launch it's clear UKIP's leader has


set his sights firmly on the ultimate prize. I come from the


south of England and I would not want to be seen as an opportunist


heading to the north, north Norfolk or whatever it will be. I will make


my mind up and stand in the general election for somewhere in Kent, East


Sussex, Hampshire, somewhere in my home patch. Back at UKIP HQ they are


still drilling down how the last fortnight of campaigning should go.


They aren't taking any chances, and one imagines having offices above


those of Max Clifford is a reminder how fragile built reputations can be


of the bubble bursting. They want their reputation to be built on


votes and they know anything but significant success on May 22nd and


some seats in Westminster in 2015 isn't going to be good enough. And


after that, having sold yourselves as the honest outsiders, that stance


is harder to maintain once your people are on the inside. And subtle


changes from the past are already noticeable. The ordinary man of the


people stance is still working. Characteristically outside a pub,


Nigel Farage is glad handed by a customer. Two weeks to go, let's


cause an upset. Wouldn't that be great? The only sign that such an


interaction is different now is the ever presence of bodyguards who


shadow his every move. Over lunch ahead of Question Time, a radio


appearance, and then off to Scotland, I ask him if some of those


minded to vote UKIP who see him as a man they'd be comfortable having a


drink with are the sort of people he'd be entirely comfortable sitting


down with. Every political party attracts support from across the


spectrum and there will be some magnificent people who vote for us


and some ne'er-do-wells. The one common thing about UKIP voters is


that they are often not very political. And it's that people's


army that if UKIP can get to a polling booth might just create that


earthquake they want. Nigel Farage joins me now.


earthquake they want. decided not to stand at the new work


by election coming said if you lost it that the bubble would have


burst. What did you mean by that? I was asked at seven 20p -- at 7:21pm


if I would stand, I have decided by the next morning that I would not. I


didn't know he was going to resign. You claim only a handful of UKIP


candidates have ever said things that are either stupid or offensive,


I'm right on that, yes? 0.1%, I'd rather it was non-. But why have you


chosen a candidate to fight this by-election that has said many


things most people would regard as stupid or offensive? Roger is


fighting this for us, someone of 70 years of age who grew up with a


strong Christian Bible background, in an age when homosexuality was


imprisonable. He had a certain set of views which he maintained for


many years which he now says he accepts the world has moved on and


he is relaxed about it. The comments about homosexuality are not from the


dark ages, they are from two or three years ago. From when he was a


Conservative, yes, so will you be asking David Cameron that question?


I have never seen a single comment from Roger that would be deemed to


be offensive. Do you regard his comments on homosexuality as


offensive? When he grew up, homosexuality was illegal in this


country. But this was in 2012 but he said that. Most people have his age


still feel uncomfortable about it -- of his age. In 2012 he said, if two


men can be married, why not three, why not a commune. Many people in


this country are disconcerted by the change in the meaning of marriage


and in a tolerant society we understand that some people have


different views. But he has changed his views now in only two years? He


says he is more relaxed about it. Was he your candidate? He is a


first-class campaigner who has had 30 years in industry, he served in


the European Parliament, he is a good candidate. This morning's


papers suggest you are about to select Victoria Ayling for Grimsby,


but she is on camera saying that, of immigrants, I just want to send a


lot back. This is all very interesting, and we can talk about


it, all we could talk about the fact that in 12 days we have a European


election and every voter across the UK can vote on it and it is really


interesting. Are you happy to pick a candidate that says of immigrants, I


just want to send a lot back? I have seen the tape, it is a complete


misquote and she says it in the context of illegal immigrants. I


have seen the full quote and in the context it is not about illegal


immigrants. Let's come onto the European campaign, you have used a


company that employs Eastern European is to deliver leaflets in


London and the Home Counties. Have we? I'm told that in Croydon one


branch might have done that. Have you found some indigenous Brits to


deliver leaflets in Europe? We have thousands joining the party every


month and they are not all indigenous because what is


interesting is that in today's opinion polls, UKIP is above the Lib


Dems and the Conservatives amongst the indigenous voting.


We have not agreed a manifesto for the general election, we will do


over the course of the summer. This is in your local election. We are


having local elections in some part of the country but we are fighting a


European election. It is impossible with the British media to have an


intelligent debate on the European question. But as I say, we are also


fighting the local elections too. You have promised these tax cuts,


how much will they cost? I have met -- read the local election manifesto


and it doesn't make those promises. We do talk about local services, we


do talk about the need to keep council tax down but we don't talk


about income tax. Absolutely not. In local election campaigning you say


you would restore cuts to policing, double prison places, restore cuts


to front line NHS, spend more on roads, how much would that cost? You


are obviously reading different documents to me. We are voting for


local councillors in district councils who have got little local


budgets. Every party in a manifesto puts his aspirations in it. Have you


read it? Of course I have, cover to cover, which is why I'm saying you


are misquoting it. By the way, on the bubble bursting, you told that


to Norman Smith of the BBC. 75% of British laws are now made in the


European Union. Now AstraZeneca is potentially going to be taken over


by Pfizer. The BBC is refusing to show the public that that decision


cannot be taken here but by an elected European commissioner, and


we sit and argue about what is in or not in the local election manifesto.


It is my job, but let me come on to AstraZeneca. Is it your view that a


British government should stop the takeover of AstraZeneca? It cannot.


Can we please get this clear. I sat next to Chuka Umunna the other day


at question time and he said what could and couldn't be done. He said


I am being studiously neutral, and the reason is we don't have this


power. That is what the European elections is about. Should France


have the takeover of the food company Danan? We seem to do things


to the Nth degree and nobody else does, perhaps because we have this


culture and we obey it. In your view, you don't think Pfizer should


be able to take over AstraZeneca? There is some good science within


AstraZeneca which is in danger of being asset stripped and lost.


Because it is run by a Swede and a Frenchman and most of its employees


are overseas. I understand that but there are still some good science


being produced here. What did you think of the Prime Minister saying


he would not form a government after the election unless he was able to


have a referendum in 2017? I sat here talking to you and you said to


me that David Cameron had given a cast-iron guarantee that if David


Cameron becomes Prime Minister he will have a referendum on the Lisbon


Treaty, but he didn't deliver on that. He knows that people struggle


to believe the renegotiation is worth a row of beans. He is saying


he will not form a government unless he can go forward with the


referendum. I know he is desperately trying to pretend to be Eurosceptic


whilst at the same time saying he will campaign for Britain to remain


in. In a sense, that is what this election is about. We have three


traditional parties, all of whom passionately believe in the


continued membership of the European Union and we have UKIP saying we


want trade and cooperation but there is a bigger and better world out


there. You are now travelling with I think four bodyguards, has this


affected you and your family life? I can't stand it. I've always wondered


about the place and on my own thing. Sadly we have a couple of


organisations out there headed up by senior Labour Party figures who


purport to be against fascism and extremism, who received funding from


the Department of communities, from the trade unions, who have acted in


a violent wait more than once. You are saying the Labour Party is


behind the threats? No, I said a taxpayer funded, trade union funded


and headed by senior Labour Party figures, and I'm happy for them to


come to my meetings and have an itinerant with me, but it's not so


much fun when there are banging you over the head. I is still keen to be


an MP? Yes, what UKIP will then do is target before the general


election next year for the one life be easier if you just went to the


Lords? That's the last thing I want to do. There's an awful lot to do.


Most of all, I will not rest until we are free from political union and


government from Brussels. Nigel Farage, thank you for being with us.


It's just gone 11.30am. You're watching the Sunday Politics. We say


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


Scotland. Coming up here in 20 minutes, our panel talks about the


Welcome to the local part of the big stories of the week. First


Welcome to the local part of the programme. Coming up, battle ground


tactics. 11 days to go until the local elections, and the FIFA key


seats stepped up. I think we will take everything. I think this might


have been a UKIP minority led administration.


Claiming new benefits, and the long wait for the disabled people to be


assessed. Have changes to the system worked? There's no way I can live on


something like ?83 per week. I just can't do it.


Let's meet our guests. Jonathan sharply, Conservative MP to


Huntingdon, Julian Herbert, and Stuart Agnew, UKIP MEP for the East


of England. Welcome. Let's start with a key story for this region.


The possible takeover of AstraZeneca by the giant American drug company


Pfizer. If the deal goes ahead, for more than ?60 billion, there is real


concern that the UK will lose out, in particular Cambridge, where


AstraZeneca's building its new multi`million pound research Centre.


Bringing around 2000 jobs to the city. It sparked an emergency


Commons debate called by Julian Abbotts. The Prime Minister said he


had had assurances from Pfizer that they were committed to the UK and


Cambridge. Of course, there is no off on the table, but the


commitments made so far I encouraging in terms of completing


the Cambridge campus, making sure that's 20% of the combined


company's total R workforces in the UK going forward. Julian


Huppert, according to a Shadow Business Secretary, these assurances


aren't worth the paper they are written on. You called the emergency


debate, but basically you are powerless to stop this going ahead,


I knew? The government doesn't have the power to stop it from happening.


The law was changed in 2002 by the Labour government to take out that


power. What I and Vince Cable and others have been doing is to work


with Pfizer and with AstraZeneca to make sure that the British interest


is protected, the skills base, the jobs. In the case of Cambridge, the


2000 people moving to Cambridge with AstraZeneca's global headquarters


and research help. I think it is very important to be able to work


with both of them. If Pfizer offer enough money, AstraZeneca


shareholders will choose to go ahead with the deal. We need to make sure


that either way, they come here and stay here. I was completely shocked


that apparently Ed Miliband refused to talk to Pfizer. We have thousands


and thousands of jobs at stake in Cambridge and around Britain, and he


was apparently too busy campaigning to have that discussion. At the end


of the day, this is business and not politics. Surely the Prime Minister


is posturing when he says he has had assurances from Pfizer? At the end


of the day, there is nothing to stop Pfizer from changing its plan if it


chooses. This is a key strategic issue for the country as well as


this area. I was very pleased to see the Prime Minister not only


personally engaging, but the Business Secretary and government as


a whole taking great interest in this. And talking with both


parties. But ultimately, yes, I agree. This is a business matter.


Government is there to set the terms of business to operate in, to


provide a low tax economy, web at Pfizer and AstraZeneca wants to come


and work in this country. And where we have a low regulatory


environment, but it is not for government to actually do business'


job for it. Stuart Agnew, it is a big enough deal to come within EU


merger regulations. Only the European Commission could possibly


step in. A good reason to be in the EU? Well, they have the option to


come in under Article 82 and 83, because as you say, it is big


enough. It then goes out of our hands, unless they choose to put it


back into our hands again, our Margulies and Mergers commission. We


could find ourselves in position and just having to wait for the


commission to tell us what is going to happen, which we feel is very


unsatisfactory, and we should be making these decisions ourselves in


this country. Julian Huppert, do you think the law needs to change when


it comes to the sort of business? Certain businesses are protected,


and they? I think it is worth having a look at it. I would be very


uncomfortable with the idea of emergency legislation on something


like this. Looking at our package of laws as a whole, it is sensible. I


think the message we would send out internationally if we were to


suddenly change our laws, that would be very damaging for Britain's


interests, because when British companies wanted to buy a company


anywhere else in the world, every other country were to be say, oh,


no, we will be ultra`protectionist as well. I think Europe is important


not because of the role they have, but one of the reasons AstraZeneca


and Pfizer are attracted to Britain and our area is because of the EU


connections. A huge amount of their workforce European citizens, and it


is great to be in Europe for that. Thank you.


Talking of Europe, only 11 days until the European elections on May


22. This year, they coincide with elections in 20 councils across the


region. So, when people vote for that any peas, some will also be


electing a new round of counsellors. This is expected to


make local elections more unpredictable, and might benefit


UKIP, who have high hopes of muscling in on Tory/Labour battle


grounds. Where else would UKIP whole campaign


meeting? The pub is, of course, Nigel Farage's favourite location,


although he would normally be drinking his beer by the pint. There


is one thing the party in Basildon is not doing hearts, and that is


optimism. I think we're going to smash them to pieces. Every


Conservative and Labour activist you speak to, a pleasant conversation,


but it is fuelled by Shia and utter panic. They did not expect us to


make any gains in the council elections, and we did. We came top


of the poll in Basildon with 34% across the borough. I think we will


take everything on the council. I think this might be a UKIP minority


led administration. We will find out on May 22 whether that is overly


optimistic, but there is no doubt that here in Basildon and another


councils across the used, where there is a straight fight between


Labour and the Conservatives, that the rise of UKIP is going to have a


significant impact. In Basildon, the Conservative council leader admits


the Tories could lose the majority they have held for the last decade.


Realistically, on May 23, we are going to be waking up to a council


that is no overall control. I don't think so. It is a possibility,


that is no overall control. I don't think so. It is a but I'm not ruling


it out. Not something that is definite, however, . We might lose


some votes to UKIP, but so will Labour. It will be very interesting.


I think there is everything to play for.


In great Yarmouth, UKIP has set their sights on disrupting another


two`way battle, a Labour administration with a majority of


one facing a challenge from the Conservatives. Here, another minor


party is also hoping to make an impact. The Greens think they can


fill the void left by the Liberal Democrats, who are not fielding a


single candidate. People are fed up of the same old parties, and


actually looking for positive change in their community, especially


locally, and they want people to listen to them. I think they are


tired of poor representation in a local areas. It is a different


picture in Cambridge, one of the few areas where the Liberal Democrats


find themselves defending their record as a ruling party. One thing


we point to is having removed the tight straitjacket and growth, which


would have caused a lot of small local companies to fly away when


they grew bigger. We have allowed them to stay. It results in us


having one of the highest level of average earnings in the country, and


to have weathered the recession like few other places in the UK. Labour


is fighting for control of Cambridge Council, and believe that their


message about the cost of living is going down well with voters. We are


a prosperous city, but we also have areas of the city that have been


neglected by the Liberal Democrats in the last ten years, and we have


people who have not seen the benefits of the growth that the city


has been experiencing. We have the transport issues. We need to look


hard at the private rented sector. We need to look at the investment


the need to take place. This is an important council in a successful


city. Whoever control is at the end of this election, they will have a


lot to feel pleased about. Julian Huppert, let's talk about the


threat of the Lib Dem administration in Cambridge. You are losing your


grip. Are you not? This is one of the last remaining strongholds.


We will see were happens in Cambridge. It is a straight fight


between us and Labour. We are descending seats `` defending seats


where Labour only managed to win a couple in 2010.


UKIP on the Conservatives are out of the running. There is only one UKIP


candidate in the Hull City, and the Conservatives have one out of 56


councillors. I think we have a great record. One thing I am most proud of


in Cambridge is, according to an independent and then, we are the


most equal city in the entire country. That is something to be


really proud after 40 years of Liberal Democrat leadership.


Jonathan, what about the UKIP threat in Huntingdon? Five seats already,


that will increase for UKIP, won't it? The liberal and Labour votes


outside of Cambridge are very weak, and the battle is increasingly


becoming between the Conservatives and UKIP. Why are you losing out to


UKIP? We are not. I think they have been taking votes from Labour and


the Lib Dems as much as us, and from people who have not voted in the


past. But I think it is pretty poor that people like going to go into


the local elections and vote on the basis of how they would vote in the


European elections for a local election. The reason why the


Conservatives have done very well in Huntingdon historically is because


we provide the services that people want at a low cost, and that will


continue. Stuart Agnew, do you think it is poor if people are voting


locally on what they would choose for a European election? It isn't


poor, it is their decision. We knew that they are more likely to go and


vote at a European election, here is the balance of the local election


next them, so they don't have to make a special extra trip. As


regards Huntingdonshire, the UKIP success there is as a result of very


hard work. Do you think people know locally what they are voting for


when they vote UKIP? Your leader has ripped up the manifesto, and is


keeping policy under wraps. That the general election manifesto. For


local government, we want to make sure that we don't get this urban


sprawl across the green fields will stop we want to see the brown fields


built on first. Even if that is more expensive and inconvenient for the


developers. We do not like the huge salaries paid to the officers on


some of these councils. We want to see that comeback. We are keen on


local referenda to involve local and decisions on planning. That is the


way we go. Julian, as far as the Lib Dems go, people perhaps know your


policies, but it seems as if they don't like them particularly. I am


looking at places like Great Yarmouth, where you are fighting a


single seat. I don't know the details there, that in Cambridge, we


have absence from UKIP, in South Cambridgeshire, we have seats held


by the former leader of the County Council where the Conservatives


can't find any candidates. What I think is fascinating about people


voting for UKIP considering it, is when Nigel Farage in the debate said


he would not support something in the interests of British people if


it involved doing something with Europe. I think that is chilling. We


will have to move on. Thank you. From changes at the elections to


changes in the benefits for disabled people, which are forcing some


families into poverty. Personal independence payments have replaced


the long`standing disability living allowance, but it has meant long


delays were people waiting to be assessed. One man from Bedford has


been waiting for eight months after being struck by a rare but serious


condition of the nervous system. He has been struggling ever since. He


spoke to Paul. I send the form back. Then I rang


them up to make sure they had received the form, because it had


been something like four weeks and they had not heard anything. They


told me, yes, Mr Singh, we have got the form. It is a 14 week delay,


however. Now, that is kind of battling when people are starting to


struggle financially, they have not got 14 weeks. `` backfilling. I have


had to lower my self`esteem and ask my friends and family is for


financial help, which I have never done before in my life. That is just


to keep myself and my family's head above water. I have contacted them


on three other occasions, when I have gone through just to the


dialtone, please wait, someone will be with you. The longest I have


waited is literally 15 minutes. That is at a premium rate. You just can't


keep doing that. I have just hung up. I've had to make a lot of


cutbacks. We try to save as much energy as possible, because prices


are going through the roof. Food has gone up, petrol. I have had to sell


my car. I had problems selling it. I had to use that just to pay off the


bills and everything. I would like the government is to wake up and


realise people that have worked on a long`term basis, ten, 15, 25, 30


years, if they do fall on a long or short term illness, they are genuine


people. Jonathan, Mr Singh has been waiting


for eight months. The system is not working, is it? It is a new system,


and delays for people who need their disability are wrong and need to be


addressed. The government has promised to review this and to deal


with it, but let's go back to the basic issue. This is a new system


brought in because the old one, 50% of people who got disability were


not being assessed at all. Many who then got it were then never


reassessed, and that has now changed and that is quite right. Are you


satisfied, Julian, with how peps are working? Know, and I think this is a


clear case of how it has not worked. There have been a collection of


problems. Problems with assessments which have been running since 2008,


and this is just another failure like that. We need to have systems


which help people quickly. You need to make the right decision. Jonathan


is right in that, but you can't just leave people hanging around


waiting. Stuart, what is UKIP's position on this? You want to cut


benefits and things, don't you? No, our policy is not to cut benefits.


It is certainly to target them and those who have paid into the system


in the first place. In this particular instance, we have a


couple of private firms who have not done what they said they would do.


Why not give them the push? Jonathan, more needs to be done,


doesn't it? Yes, and the government has promised a review after year one


and year two of the scheme. I hope as with all new schemes, they will


be ironed out. I appreciate that a person waiting for their benefit


when they need it will feel this is a higher situation, and this is why


we need to act quickly. We will leave it there for the minute. And


now, for our round`up of the week. Lord Howell infield defending


himself against, this time of the charges of clocking in to Parliament


for matter of minutes. And it has been a week of high`profile visits.


Here is 60 seconds. Another election week, and another


Cabinet minister was on walkabout in the region. This time, Michael


Gove, the Education Secretary, in Harlow. The opportunity to spend


time with young people and give them the quality tuition they need to


succeed is a privilege. There was a royal visit as well, with hundreds


of people welcoming the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Chelmsford to


celebrate 100 years of the dioceses. Meanwhile, Lord Hanning Field, the


disgraced peer and former leader of Essex County Council, has been


defending himself against charges of clocking in.


Mothers in Basildon have also had their say. Among those listening,


the Shadow Minister for women and equality is from Labour. Childcare,


always top of the agenda. Too expensive, and it prevents women


from playing a full part in the workplace. And pedal power came to


the region, with the women's Tour of Britain.


All five days are in the east, finishing in Bury St Edmunds today.


Stuart Agnew, women, it seems, can cycle, but can we do politics? No


female UKIP candidates in the East in the Euro election. That was not


deliberate, I can promise you. The membership is split. I am not quite


sure how much, male and female, but roughly 50`50. But in the Eastern


region, the ladies did not throw their hats into the ring as election


time, and we cannot force people to do that. In other regions, we have a


very strong female line`up, and we to see seven UKIP women MEPs in


three weeks. Jonathan, Labour campaigning on women's issues, but


obviously, not many women at the top table in Cabinet at the moment.


Locally, in the Eastern region, our number one candidate for the


European list is a woman, and I am very pleased we have just elected a


woman to fight a seat for the next general election in Cambridgeshire.


But it is not 50`50. No, it is not enough will stop the Prime Minister


has been quite clear on this. We are now selecting for the next election,


keeping that in mind. We want to have more women in place, not only


in parliament, but all the way to the Cabinet. It is not 50`50 in the


Lib Dems either, Julian. No, and we are doing what we can to get more


women into place. In our safest leads, almost everybody selected is


a woman. I hope we will be much better. In Cambridge, we did very


well. I've the executive councillors who win the city are women. It is a


shame that Labour have only selected to among 15 candidates for the local


elections. Thank you all. That is all for now.


Don't forget, the blog for all the latest political updates. Next week,


we're back at the same time, but we have a special Euro elections


debate, with all the leading candidate in the east. I hope you


will be able to join us. But for now, back to Andrew. I will see UNIX


week. Have a good week. the website now. Now it is back to


you, Andrew. Welcome back, let's go straight to


our panel. What did you make of Mr Alexander's defence of the Labour


party election broadcast? It is difficult for them because they


started by saying they were not going to do negative campaigning and


they have thrown that away for an advert which is funny but crude in


the class war sense. He didn't look thrilled to be defending it. There


is a page in Tony Blair's memoirs talking about negative campaigning,


and he says that anything too extreme turns off the average voter


so his line of attack on Hague was funny jokes but... I think this


failed the Blair test, it was too vicious. If your strategy is to


shore up your car vote, that advert was genius. If your strategy is to


reach out to a broader number of voters, Middle Britain, then that


advert was a complete disaster. It looks like there is a lot of


negativity and smears all round in the next year. That definitely looks


the way we are going. They will be essentially trying to re-run by --


the American election. I am slightly puzzled why we cannot have our own


election gurus who live here and understand the country. I should


point out that the ?450 extra VAT that was claimed in that Labour


poster, both Ed Balls and the Labour Treasury team have said that is ?450


per year. Nonsense the VAT rise, one year. I should also point out that


Nigel Farage said to Norman Smith, the BBC is always reliable Norman


Smith that if you run in Newark and lost the bubble would burst. I


should also point out that although a number of the tax rises I


mentioned on council tax, minimum wage tax and some other things that


UKIP wants to cuts, a couple of these are in the local manifesto but


several are not. They are on the UKIP website, which is still current


and dated 2014. We like to make sure we are absolutely right. Let's talk


about Nick Clegg and Michael Gove and the latest spat. Let me show you


this headline in the Observer this morning. From both the Independent,


he called him a zealot, lunatic is of -- another word. Do we take this


seriously? It hinges on this question of what counts as an area


of need in education. The Lib Dems say an area of need is one where


there are not enough school places to meet local demand. He says it can


also be a place where there are surplus places but that is for a


reason. Local places don't trust those schools to do a good job for


their kids. It surprises me because there isn't a yawning distance


between David Laws and Michael Gove. David Laws has found himself between


a rock and a hard place because I asked -- as I understand it most Lib


Dems don't like the free schools but Mr laws was quite sympathetic to it


and he is now having to this respect it. When they asked people who are


the most hated politicians in a poll were this week, Michael Gove is off


the charts, far above David Cameron or George Osborne. This is


tit-for-tat war. The Liberal Democrats believe Michael Gove had a


hand in leaking the document that showed Nick Clegg was opposing the


tougher Chris Grayling position on knife crime. They are saying there


were Cabinet ministers who never usually attend the sub Cabinet


meeting, they turned up and the document is leaked so what we are


getting is tit for tat on that. It is inevitable but it is not good for


either side of the Coalition. Voters will look at it and say it is


politics of the playground. I read in the Mail on Sunday this morning


that some Tory insiders are accusing Lib Dems of spreading rumours about


the camera in marriage. The rebuttals of education story is that


the free school meals is sucking money away. I always thought they


would work together without fuss and yet it has been more the source of


disagreement then I would have expected a couple of years ago. Is


it serious? It is serious obviously, using that language, but is it fatal


for the Coalition? I think it is a road bump because I don't think


anybody wants to dissolve the Coalition. It is a challenge for


Labour because where do they stand on the free schools? They invented


the Academy programme so it is difficult for them to take a


hands-off approach at this stage. There was a danger for Michael Gove


that he looks ideological but the danger for the Liberal Democrats is


that they are breaking the rules for the Coalition they said that they


wouldn't break which is that they looked like opposition in


government. Is Michael Gove's position safe? Very safe. If he


moves in a reshuffle that will be to a a job. That's all for today. The


Daily Politics will be back on BBC Two at lunchtime from Tuesday


onwards. I'll be back here on BBC One at 11am next week. Remember if


it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


What if the person that killed her...


I found out she'd been taking drugs. Just let me explain.


You wasn't at that party all night. Yeah, I was.


What was she even doing there? Oi, you keep your mouth shut.


She was exchanging a significant number of texts and calls


with someone in the weeks leading up to her death.


It's like we didn't really know her at all.


You never know what goes on behind closed doors.


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