21/04/2013 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


21/04/2013

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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A warm and spring-like welcome to your local party official. Dust

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like buses, you wait a long time for an election, and three come

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along at once. A by-election South Shields, Amaia election and of

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course the elections for the County Council For Ulster of joining me at

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the table are the MPs for Carlisle and Stockton North.

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We will also topped the Liberal Democrats, and we will be in... Let

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us start with the funeral of Lady Thatcher. The Prime Minister said

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we are now Thatcherites. Are you? That is the last thing I am, but it

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was only right and proper that there was recognition of the

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passing of a long-term serving prime minister. For me, it was a

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lot of money that could have been put to other uses, particularly in

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this region. Is it a vote winner for due to go around Carlisle

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seeing you and a Thatcherite? have all the children of Fatah, and

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I think she changed society quite dramatically. If you look back to

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where we were in the 1970s to the early 1990s, she changed things for

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the better. I also accept that she is a historical figure now, and we

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have to move on to the politics of today and the issues that matter

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today. We are seeing back with the present leadership. Our voters in

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the north-east ready to move on? The voters moved on a long time ago,

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but there were things happening this week not so good. But in the

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north-east we have seen a rise in unemployment again. 12,000 of them.

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I do not think they are Thatcherite. An election campaign has got under

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way. Labour leader Ed Miliband was doing his bit for his party in

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South Shields, which his brother represented for 12 years. A quick

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visit to support his party's candidate in North Tyneside. One of

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the battlegrounds will be the county council elections in Cumbria.

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There is a new factor for them to consider, in the shape of UKIP.

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At this museum, you will see Cumbria's rich history and conquest.

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Now, during the elections there will be another set of insurgents

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trying to batter down the fences. This is the leader of their legions.

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Nigel Farage has footsoldiers, too. They fielded just four candidates

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in the last elections. This year they have more than 50. The party

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says it is on the marched. It is time for a change, for some fresh

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thinking. We are 42% up in terms of members. You will see a lot more

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people, Ex Conservatives, who are so fed up with the present

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incumbent and the rest of the guys, that they will join us. I am also

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very hopeful that we will continue to get people from the other party

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is. The Conservatives had a big hitter of their own this week,

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though. They would love to remain the largest party on the current

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council, but are they worried that UKIP may be about to ruin their

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charges -- chances? I am not worried but we mustn't

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underestimate them. The message I have to my candidates is get out

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there, campaign on local issues, on the issues you have worked hard on,

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this is a Cumbrian election, not a national election, so we will fight

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on our record of the last four years of what we can deliver.

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Voters here believe there are issues that need tackling. Things

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like cutting business rates to encourage business to fill up some

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empty shop so. There are little places where people can go to.

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Supporting the farmers, supporting the education of youngsters and

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giving them something to do. will the opposing parties show that

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they can offer as valid an alternative as UKIP? The Liberal

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Democrat way of working is doing things with people, with

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communities, which is a different way of doing things. It is about

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involving people and being more local, about being less central. At

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the end of the day, it is about engagement with people. The Labour

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party is saying that you can trust us to seek to protect vital

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frontline services where we can. We will not be adopting the slash and

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burn approach of some of our opponents. They can trust us to do

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the best for the whole of the community in Cumbria. There have

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been blurred battle lines in Cumbria in recent years as the

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county has been run by an unlikely conservative Labour coalition. For

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now, all the alliances are off as the party's fight each other for

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supremacy. We have representatives from all of

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the parties. Let's start with UKIP. Everyone is impressed with the

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number of candidates you got out. But if we are sad here in a couple

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of weeks and you have won a couple of seats or none, that will not

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amount to much the stock what we are looking at more than anything

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is the share of flops. That we had a five-year plan, and we are

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growing year on year. There was appalled recently that put us on

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19%, ahead of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives. We hope to

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become the opposition. It is a five-year plan, so we are looking

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at will chair. People are turning to us as a new and exciting of

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eternity. If they take votes from you, you could lose seats. We have

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got to get our message across, and attract people that may vote UKIP

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your Liberal Democrat. I have to confirm that we work well at

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national and local level. I think we have preserved many frontline

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services in Cumbria, and that's what we will focus on. But the

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problem is that UKIP have moved on to a lot of your territory and the

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armed we ring people over. At the national level, they want to come

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out of Europe and have a referendum. The Conservative Party declared we

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will have a referendum in 2007 Dean. -- 2017. John Shipley, you have

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fewer candidates than UKIP, suggesting they are on the way up.

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I do not think that is true. It is not great and a counter like

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Cumbria to have less candidates and UKIP. But what matters is winning

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seats, and we have a good record in Cumbria and Northumberland and

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Durham, of winning seats. I think it is reasonable for us to

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concentrate our resources. Alex, I will come to you. Labour would love

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to make this referendum on the government and cuts, but it does

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not get us very far because at the end of the day, you have to come up

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with a new idea of how to make these councils are work. That is

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very much the case. We must not ignore the challenge from any other

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party, but as far as UKIP are concerned, we have to make sure

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people get under the Veneer of what they are about and some of their

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right-wing policies and friends they keep. I am worried about some

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of that. Whilst we go out there with our own message and talk about

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developing service or preserve service, we have to make people

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understand the reality of what they are facing. Name one policy that

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you think is far right? I consider the decision to try to stop

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maternity leave and paternity leave is quite a right-wing policy. What

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use is that two families? I want to talk about the election campaign.

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Let me raise your manifesto. It has a whole page dedicated about

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talking about the numbers of people who are going to come from Romania

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and Bulgaria. Even if you got all 50 people elected, the answer is

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you could not stop many of those coming to live in Cumbria, could

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you? If you are talking about making this a referendum on cuts,

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let us make it a referendum on about -- on the number of people

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coming to the country. The amount of people who come put strain on

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councils. The biggest industry in Cumbria is tourism. 27,000 people

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unemployed in the tourism industry in Cumbria, and 67% of those are

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migrant were Acres. If you look at those to the stereos, unemployment

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virtually does not exist. -- look at the tourist areas the stop but

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we need to sort out high youth unemployment in this country.

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A lot of your supporters find that appealing. Your policies have not

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stopped people defecting to UKIP. accept there are some people

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flirting with UKIP, but I would say to them in Cumbria that the only

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two party's dogma and -- the two parties... Be are not flirting!

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Which party do they want running local services to make sure council

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tax is kept down and delivering services? I think people will think

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the Conservative Party will do that, not the fringe parties. Alex,

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should Labour not be the party of protest? We always have been! We

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need to speak to voters and be clear that the message. There is no

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good protesting about the Government doing this or that, we

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have their back at the moment and we have to make the best of what

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they give us. People need to be aware of what is happening. We need

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to protect services for vulnerable people, and the schools. There is

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nothing you can actually do about the amount of money coming from

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central government. The perception is that you just moan about it but

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do not come up with positive solutions. If you look at my own

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local authority, there will be some 1,000 jobs going in Stockton, but

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they have consolidated the number of buildings they have got. The

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Labour council are working hard to try to protect services essential

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to people whilst protesting along the way to the Government's. John,

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there is a strong likelihood that you will lose more councils this

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time. How many councillors can the Liberal Democrats lose before it

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becomes a depressing that people think the game is up? We are

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defending one-fifth of the seats, and bear in mind that the last

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elections were 2009, four years ago, and that is when Labour was on its

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last legs, so we made a number of games. However, we have a live in

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net gains in local government by- elections since November. We're

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incredibly strong. -- 11 net gains. Are you going to keep all of your

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seats? There is a strong chance we will make some gains. It is

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possible that in some places where well known candidates have stood

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down, there may be some problems, but in the main, we think our 40s

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very steady. Can I just say about UKIP, withdrawal from Europe loses

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jobs from other region -- from our region exporting. It loses �700

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million in European development money that this region has so

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effectively spent. I have to answer this. Are you trying to say we

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would stop trading with Europe of which came out of it? Of course not.

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People would not set up in the region because they would not be

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inside the single market and they would not have access to EU's trade

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agreement. We did sign our own trade agreements. -- could sign.

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That would take several years the stock we're getting off the point

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here. Have you got any targets for the amount of seats you want to

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win? We have internal targets, and we hope to take at least 25 seats.

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Anything beyond that is a bonus. Cumbria? No, across the country. It

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is a five-year plan. That is half of the poling of the Liberal

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Democrats. We're going to use this as a springboard to go on and win

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the elections later. We want to concentrate on local government and

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who is going to deal with Cumbria. But there is a long game. And UKIP

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know there is a longer game. Your seat is a marginal seat, and it

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only takes a couple of 1,000 people to say, we will vote for UKIP, and

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you have got. But you are reverting back to national politics. In two

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weeks, it is a local government election which is what we are

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concentrating on. The people of Cumbria want to know who are going

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to be representing them. Give us one Cumbrian policy you have got a

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sell to people. Cumbria has more wind turbines than the rest of the

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England altogether. We will put a stop to that, as they are scanning

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the landscape. But you cannot do that, can you. The decision goes to

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government. But the planning decisions are made at a local level,

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and frankly they need to be stopped. Thank you.

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The Green Party are fielding more than 30 candidates and we will be

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speaking to them about this next week. The mayor of Hartlepool

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Stuart Drummond has just over one week left in his job before the

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post is corrupt, and in his will -- Middlesbrough Ray Mallon wants a

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vote at the end of his term to decide whether to do the same. Has

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Whitley Bay has plenty going for it, certainly plenty of charm, but in

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recent decades some of that charm has become to wear just a little

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thin. Who could restore a place like this to its former glory?

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Perhaps the elected mayor of North Tyneside. Over the last decade,

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successive mayors from different parties have tried to regenerate

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the seafront. On the 2nd May, voters will get to decide who

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should do a job for the next four years. The some of the voters think

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elected mayors have been good for the area? The council should be

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able to do the job. I do not think he has done much good. I do think

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so, but her problem is that she has not got the majority on the council.

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In the mayoral election campaign, the issue of the post of mayor has

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become an issue in itself. One candidate wants to abolish the post

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he is seeking to win, arguing it is fundamentally flawed. The mayor of

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North Tyneside gets to choose the Cabinet, even when they have a

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relatively small group of councillors. They get to choose the

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budget even when they only have a minority. We have got 60

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councillors here, and 48 have got very little influence. Another

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candidate promises residents are saying the future. I promised I

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would consult with the residents and look at the system and see what

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is the best way forward. I think it is the residents' Joyce how we run

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North Tyneside, which is about democracy. -- residents' choice.

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Consulting is different from holding a referendum. Would you

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hold a referendum? I would ask if they wanted a referendum.

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Conservative has been in the job since 2009, recently running a town

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hall with the Labour opponents making up the majority of

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councillors. She does not favour a return to the previous way of

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running it. If you had the old system, what happens is the leader

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of the council then has to go to their grip, then they have to go to

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Council, and it may take years and years to get anything done, but

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equally you might never get anything done. It led us to being

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the worst performing council in the country. So does the system have a

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future as it drifting slowly out of sight?

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-- or is it drifting slowly out of sight.

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John Stephenson, you're on the record of being -- as being a fan

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of the system. But is it not over now? I am extremely supportive of

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it, and I would like to see them all over the country along with

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unitary authority. They are transparent, there is greater

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accountability, and local people know who is in charge. So why do

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people not want them? Some people have not been given the opportunity

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for them. I accept it has not taken root in the way that I would like

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to have done, but I hope that in due course, you will see more local

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referendum, and people will start to -- other places will start to

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pick up on the idea. Of the 12 cities we wanted to have a mayor,

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three did become that. Only 140. But to others went down that route.

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-- only one of them faltered. Alex Cunningham, you have one on your

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doorstep in Middlesbrough. These were introduced by Labour in the

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first place. Do you favour them? have never had strong feelings

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about them. The people should decide. We all agree that the

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people should decide whether or not they should have an active and

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there. -- an active mayor. The system does provide people who have

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strong promises to deliver on. sure people would disagree on that!

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John, you backed the idea in Newcastle, but the voters rejected

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it. It was a reasonably small margin. I agree with Alex that it

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is up to local people, but I do believe that there is an important

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issue at stake, which is the accountability that John referred

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to, which is, given that government is devolving so much more to local

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government, from where does the leader's power derived? You were

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the leader of a council. Did you not have a mandate? On the course

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of that, the powers were extended. Broadly speaking, a council's

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leader's power were today is the same as a mayor's power. The

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leader's power were should derive from the electorate as a whole.

:55:55.:56:00.

Paul Russell, this could be good for UKIP. Instead of having a build

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up of councillors, you could have someone in control stayed away.

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straight away. As long as there is a referendum first. In Liverpool we

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have one foisted upon us without a referendum. If the people vote to

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get rid of them, I am fine with that. UKIP believe in referendums.

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But we do not want to see on whether you have one or not.

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you get one to stand in North Tyneside? I do not know that much

:56:30.:56:34.

about it, to be honest. It is probably disappointing for some of

:56:34.:56:38.

the people. I want to see referendums on many Moorish is.

:56:38.:56:42.

John Stephenson, you want reform for local government as well. Could

:56:42.:56:51.

you have a mayor for the whole of Cumbria? I do not see why not. If

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you had a unitary, everyone would know who is in charge. How do you

:56:57.:57:01.

have so much power in one area of? Boris Johnson does it in London, so

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why can that not be extended to Cumbria? Thank you very much to all

:57:08.:57:12.

of you. Away from that election campaign,

:57:12.:57:22.
:57:22.:57:29.

what else has been going on? It is Unemployment went up by 12,000 in

:57:29.:57:33.

the north-east between December and February, and stands at 10%. There

:57:33.:57:37.

was better news in Cumbria, where the number of people claiming

:57:37.:57:41.

jobseeker's allowance fell by 274. The future of children's heart

:57:41.:57:45.

surgery was debated in the Commons. A local MP said there had been

:57:45.:57:49.

anger and confusion over the decision to suspend operations at

:57:49.:57:54.

Leeds. The Tyneside MP urged ministers to make sure armed and

:57:54.:57:58.

war veterans are being assessed and treated for health problems. --

:57:58.:58:03.

mental-health problem is the stock they are expecting a surge in

:58:03.:58:13.
:58:13.:58:13.

referrals as troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

:58:13.:58:18.

Vince Cable brought a gift in the shape of compensation schemes to

:58:18.:58:20.

help steelworks cope with carbon taxes.

:58:20.:58:24.

This out Shield by-election will take place in May, but you have

:58:24.:58:33.

lost your chance of you wanted to be a candidate.

:58:33.:58:41.

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