19/01/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.

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


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


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


What about the voters? What do they Alexander whose side he's on.


make of the Lib Dems? We hear the views of a Sunday Politics focus


group. A In the North East:


budget cuts. In Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt's


plunge from the highboard from who else but the Minister for


Portsmouth. And with me, as always, the best and


the brightest political panel in the business: and in London, Boris


Johnson has pledged to recruit more volunteers. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis


and Janan Ganesh, who'll be tweeting throughout the programme.


First this morning, Nick Clegg is considering a fresh investigation


into the behaviour of the party s former chief executive, Lord


Rennard. Last week, a lawyer appointed by the party decided that


no action could be taken against him, but that women who had accused


the Lib Dem peer of inappropriate behaviour "were broadly credible".


More than 100 party activists are demanding an apology. Chris Rennard


say he's nothing to apologise for and the party whip must be returned


to him. Helen, this is not going away. It is turning into a crisis


for the Lib Dems? They have only got seven female MPs. There is no female


Cabinet Minister. There is a reasonable chance that after the


next election there might in no female Liberal Democrat MPs at all.


A scandal like this will not encourage women into the party. Have


they made a complete mess of it You feel for Nick Clegg, because he


launched an utterly rigorous process. He called in a QC. The QC


looked at it and decided that the evidence did not meet the burden of


proof in a criminal trial. But clearly he felt that the evidence


from these women was very credible and serious. He said it was broadly


credible. Clearly it was serious. Rennard is being advised by Lord


Carlisle, fellow Liberal Democrat peer, who is giving purely legal


advice. He is saying it has not reached that edge-mac, so do not


apologise. This is a political issue, so the agony continues. Nick


Clegg was hoping to keep the party whip withdrawn. But they did not


launch an enquiry, the Webster enquired it was not an enquiry, it


was a legal opinion. You're right, it was an internal opinion. The Lib


Dems distinguished themselves from the other two parties not with


policy, but with ethics. They presented themselves as being


cleaner, and in possession of more Robert Jay than Labour and the


Conservatives. That will be harder to do now. -- more probity. There


are a Lib Dem peers that are more relaxed about taking him back and


letting him pick up the party whip. That is the problem. There is a


generational issue. The older Lib Dems in the House of Lords, the kind


of thing, he did not do anything that wrong. The younger activists


and those outside the House of Lords, they think it is a pollen.


Yes, there is definitely a sort of what you are complaining about sort


of thing. That is symptomatic of a cultural difference. The report last


year found that they tried to manage the allegations. They did not do


what any company would do if there was an allegation of sexual


harassment. If there had not in the by-election in Eastleigh, this story


may not have got the attention it did. Channel four news are the one


that really drove this. Without their reporting, this might not have


come out. It is not going to go away, because the issue of whether


he gets the party whip back will come week. -- will come up this


week. So it's not been a great week for


the Liberal Democrats and none of this will help public perceptions of


a party already struggling in the polls. In a moment, I'll be talking


to the second most senior Liberal Democrat in the land, Danny


Alexander. First, Adam Fleming went to Glasgow to find out what voters


there made of the party. Let's put the Lib Dems under the


microscope in Glasgow. We have recruited some Glaswegians who have


voted for them, and some who have not. Hello, John. Let's get started.


I will be watching them through the one-way mirror, along with the


former Liberal Democrat MP John Barrett. Let's get to the heart of


the matter straightaway. If the Lib Dems were a biscuit, what would they


be? Tunnock's Teacake. Hard on the outside but soft in the middle. They


give in. There is no strength of character there. They just give in


to whoever. Ouch. Rich Tea. A bit bland and boring. Melts and crumbles


under any sort of heat and pressure. Morrison's own brand of biscuit not


top of the range like Marks Spencer or Sainsbury's or Waitrose.


A custard cream, sandwiched between David Cameron and the Tories. I


think they were concerned that they had one exterior, but something else


was really inside. They did not find it too definitive, too clear, too


concise, too tasty, too appealing. Which means? It is a worry. If that


is their gut reaction, literally, let's find out what is behind it.


The context of them being stuck between a rock and a hard place for


them as a party, I feel slightly sorry for them. I think people who


voted for them will think they are victims as well, being sold down the


river by going to the coalition I think the ones, particularly student


fees, that was an important one to a lot of people. People felt cheated.


I agree. Just going back on that, so publicly and openly, it makes you


think, well, what do they stand for? It is trust. Harsh. But our group is


feeling quite upbeat about the state of the economy. What have the Lib


Dems contributed to that? I am not quite sure. It is George Osborne, a


Conservative, who is the Chancellor, so it is mostly down to him. The


Liberal Democrats are mostly on their coat tails, if you know what I


mean. Have the Lib Dems done anything, anyone? I think the


Liberal Democrats were responsible for increasing the tax allowance,


?10,000 for next year. I think they have played a major role in that.


Yes. I am glad somebody noticed that. We will have helped everyone


who is receiving a salary, and it is interesting that nobody has


mentioned that. Now, let's talk about personalities. Everyone knows


him, but what about say, this guy? Alexander. Danny, they got it


straightaway. I actually quite like him. I think he talks very clearly


and it is easy to understand what he says. Fellow redhead Charles Kennedy


is popular as well. He is very charismatic and it is through him


that I voted Liberal the last few times. But who is this? I recognise


him but I cannot tell you his name. That is the party's leader in


Scotland, Willie Rennie, and the party's role in the upcoming


referendum on independence draws a blank as well. It does not feel like


they have featured, it is SNP and Labour and Conservative. They are


last in a four horse race. We have been talking about the biggest issue


in Scottish politics, independence and the referendum and the Lib Dems


are nowhere. They are not mentioned and they seem to think it is all


about Labour and the SNP. The Lib Dems are part of the Better Together


campaign and we are being drowned out among that. Looking to the


future, what messages do voters have for the Lib Dems? Get a backbone. Do


not go back on your policies or your word. Be strong and decisive. If you


will pardon the expression, man up. DIY, do it yourself. Do not award


bankers and other people for failure. Stand up. Be your own


person, party. If that focus group represented the whole country, what


would the result for the Lib Dems be at 2015 in the election? If they get


the message across between now and then, the result could be OK. If


they do not get the message across, the result could be disaster. Maybe


they would do a lot better on their own. I do not think you are seeing


the true Lib Dems because they are in the coalition. They maybe deserve


another chance. Crucially for the Lib Dems, that means there is some


hope, but there is also plenty of anger, some disappoint, and a bit of


bafflement as well. And watching that with me, senior


Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander


Welcome to the programme. One of the things that comes through from the


focus group is that if there is any credit around for the economic


recovery, it is the Tories that are getting it, and you are not? What


can you do about that? The first thing to say is that the economy


would not be recovering if it was not for the Liberal Democrats. If it


was not for our decision right beginning in 2010 to form a strong,


stable coalition government that to deal with the problems, we would


still be in the mess that Labour left us with. Why are you not


getting the credit? That was one focus group. It was interesting to


hear opinions. We have to work very hard to get across the message that


the economy would not be recovering without the Liberal Democrats.


People would not be seeing the largest income tax cuts for a


generation without the Liberal Democrats. The ?10,000 threshold


that one of the people referred to is coming into peoples pay packets


this year. Lots of people recognise that. There was the one person in


the focus groups. This is your measure of success, raising the


people at which people pay income tax. But most of the voters do not


even give you credit for that. The role that we haven't British


politics as a party, is that we are the only party that can be trusted


to deliver a fair society and a strong economy. People know they


cannot trust the Labour Party. We saw it again from Ed Miliband this


morning. You cannot trust the Labour Party with the nation's finances. It


may well be your policy, the income tax threshold, but it is the Tories


that are getting the credit? I do not think that is true. I have spent


lots of time meeting photos and lots of people recognise that if it was


not for the Liberal Democrats, people would not be seeing those tax


cuts. We are helping disadvantaged children in schools. It is right


that we have to work very hard between now and polling day to do


several things, to make sure that we secure the recovery, there can be no


complacency. The economic recovery is in its early stages and we need


to make sure it is sustainable. We need to make sure the benefits of


the recovery are shared out people who have made sacrifices, people on


low pay, people who have seen their savings are eroded. The Tories have


now hijacked another Lib Dem policy, another big hike in the


minimum wage. You spoke about the need to make sure that people on low


pay benefit from the recovery, a big hike in the minimum wage. Did the


Chancellor consulting on this? We have been talking about it for some


time. Vince Cable asked the low pay commission for advice on this. Why


did Vince Cable not make this announcement, why was it the


Chancellor? Let me say a few other things about this. If we are going


to secure the recovery, this year we have to make sure that businesses


start investing. We have got to get Roddick typically rising. An


increase in the minimum wage is something that needs to follow that.


We will not do it unless the low pay commission adviser as it is


important for the economy at this stage. Did you know the Chancellor


was coming out with that statement? I did not know he was going to say


something on that particular day. We have worked together on it in the


tragedy to see what the economic impact would be, and to emphasise


that it is the commission, which has credibility with business, trade


unions and government. It must not be a politically motivated increase.


So you did not know, and Vince Cable, and it is properly a matter


for him as the Business Secretary, he did not make the announcement? I


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


our Scottish voters group showed that people have still not forgiven


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


because we are delivering our economic plan in government with the


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


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


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


to anything which undermines the confidence of businesses to invest


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Coalition government tackles the problems in this country, but does


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


recovery over the next few years is either a majority Labour government


or a majority Conservative government. Labour you cannot trust


with the finances, the Tories want us to play chicken with the European


Union which would truly be a disaster to investment in this


country. You announced this week that if Scotland votes to leave the


UK, it would be the British Treasury that would guarantee all British


government debt. There wouldn't be a negotiation, but the backstop would


be that even if they didn't take anything, we would still guarantee


the debt. What was happening in the markets that you needed to calm them


down? We were getting quite a few questions from the people we rely on


to lend us money. We are still borrowing billions of pounds every


month as a country. Those people were asking us to clarify this


point. It was becoming a serious concern? It wasn't reflected in the


guilty yields. I follow the bond market quite carefully and there was


no sign this was having an impact. That's why the right thing to do was


to clarify this point now, rather than the concerns being reflected in


what you imply, and I think it is a bad idea for Scotland to vote for


separation but it would be wrong to allow for the fact that question is


on the table to cost taxpayers in the UK more money and higher


interest payments simply because Alex Salmond has put that question


on the table. That's why I think it was the right thing to do. There


were a lot of calls from the focus group that you need to be different.


Nick Clegg has embarked on this aggressive differentiation. Where


you can be different is the bankers' bonuses. What conceivable


reason could there be for anybody at RBS getting a bonus twice in their


salary? We have not been approached by RBS in terms of those votes. I


would be sceptical about an approach from RBS if it can. It shows what we


have presided over as a party in government, massive reductions. .


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


responsibility under the data protection legislation as well. Here


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


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


something he denies, unproven allegations, on an unpublished


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


there are disciplinary allegations. The committee of the party supported


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


answer to that. Generally governments are a bit


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


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


US and British security agencies were in fact astonishingly efficient


at eavesdropping on the digital communications of their citizens


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


clandestine activity? In his latest revelation, former US


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


operates a secret database called Dishfire. It collect 200 million


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


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


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


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


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


intelligence agencies have refused to acknowledge even the need for a


debate on the issue. The Foreign Secretary William six says that we


have a very strong system of checks and balances. -- William Hague. ??


new line Nick Pickles is director of the pressure group Big Brother


Watch. The Labour MP Hazel Blears in on Parliament's Intelligence And


Security Committee. They're here to go head to head.


Welcome to both of you. Hazel Blears, let me come to you first.


President Obama has made some major changes as a result of what we have


learned that the NSA in America was up to. But British politicians seem


to, they are not up for this kind of thing, they are hoping it will go


away? It is not going away and that is why my committee, the


Intelligence And Security Committee, has decided to launch an enquiry


into whether the legal framework is up-to-date. We have had massive


technological change. We have had a call for evidence. Some of the


sessions will be open so that people can see what the evidence is.


Obviously some of the information will have to be classified, but on


the committee, there is a real commitment to say, there is a big


debate going on, let's see if the system is as Rob asked as we can


make it. The big question is oversight and the call for evidence


that the committee has issued is not mention oversight. It is ten years


since the Foreign Affairs Committee said that the committee should be a


fully elected committee chosen by Parliament and not the Prime


Minister. It has changed, actually. The Prime Minister nominates people


and the house gets to him -- gets to approve. In America, they have a


separation of power, the president does not nominate Kennedy.


Basically, Hazel Blears, you're an establishment lackey? I do not think


so. Most of the people on the committee have some experience of


intelligence and these issues. In this country, we have robust


scrutiny, compared to some of her European neighbours. We have


Parliamentary scrutiny, the interception commissioners, and


ministers have to sign the warrants. But there may be room for


improvement, which is why we are having the enquiry. Do not forget,


President Obama said that the agency should not have the ability to


collect data, he wanted to put more safeguards in. That is essential for


the work of the agencies. If you cannot see the data, you cannot take


the connections and see the patterns. Some people never talk


about the threat from terrorism it is all about travesty. There are


several thousand people in this country, as we are talking, who are


actively planning to do a country harm. When this debate started in


the US, the NSA head stood up and said there are 54 plots that have


been detected by this capability that has detected and that in bulk.


Now the head of the NSA has admitted that the number is actually zero. It


is not the intelligence committee in the US that did the work to reduce


that number, it was a Judiciary Committee. The fact that we have two


different bodies doing this in this country, it means that you do not


get the correct view. How can people have confidence in a body when if


you go around Europe, for example, or the world, we are not at the end


not requiring judges to not sign warrants? I do not accept that the


committee failed on that range of issues. You look at the reports on


7/7. Two reports by the committee get to the heart of it. If you look


at that terrorist attack on our country, people will say, why did


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


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


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


Dishfire? We go to GCHQ on a regular capability. Did you know about


basis and I know about the capabilities that we have got. Some


of the names of these programmes, we would not necessarily know. But did


you know that GCHQ had the capability to use Dishfire, or to


get Dishfire material from the NSA? I knew and my committee knew that we


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


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


and these days, people do not write telephones, they use the Internet


and text in, so it is important that the agencies are able to keep up


with that take the logical change. What should happen? The proper legal


framework should include, if a company is cooperating, as Google


and Facebook do, it should be illegal for GCHQ to hack into them.


In the US, Lundberg estimate that this has driven a 35mm and hole in


the US economy because people do not trust but there are systems are


secure. We need to know that GCHQ are not trying to use a different


door into the system, whether by hacking or foreign intelligence We


need judicial oversight with judges and not politicians signing off The


final 30 seconds to you. As a result final 30 seconds to you. As a result


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


accountable to Parliament and not the Prime Minister. Those changes


the debate if we need more change or the debate if we need more change or


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


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


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


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


dive from the Portsmouth MP. Ouch! Hello and welcome to the part of the


show for Cumbria and the north`east. This week, we are looking at whether


cuts in police officers could lead or even our leading already in a


growth in anti`social behaviour. We report from Middlesbrough and speak


to Cleveland's police commissioner. With me in the studio, a Labour MP


and the Conservatives, With me in the studio, a Labour MP


start with the surprise is that the Labour bash Labour leadership of


Northumbria county council wants to shut down this place, scattering


1000 's gaffe into local communities and saving perhaps ?130 million. Is


it an inspired move? Or is it a desperate one? My colleagues in


Northumberland would agree with me. The North is being


disproportionately hit by the cuts that this coalition are imposing.


Councils are having to think of different ways of managing services


and how best to meet the needs of their customers. What Northumberland


have done is they have looked across the board and thought, this suits us


in areas which Orrell. They've done the best they can under the


circumstances. ` which are rural. Is it time for councils to think more


imaginatively? Maybe people could work at home? Councils are thinking


imaginatively. Inside Shiels, they used to be boss of offices outside


of the town hall. They are now all coming into the town also those


buildings are freed up. Northumberland have done it in a way


which suits their local population in South `` and South Tyneside are


doing it so it suits them. Morpeth had been billed by the time I became


a counsellor. Is this a good idea? It is quite destabilising for the


time. It's fair enough as long as it is not a political thing. There are


arguments that this is an attempt to move more of the activities from


Northumberland, down to the south`east of the county. I think a


lot of rural communities, for instance, would be happy with this,


as long as, where people are going to be placed is going to be more


within those communities. Northumberland is essentially a


rural county and it needs to have services near to where people are.


When you have a building that costs nearly ?500,000 in heating alone in


a year, naturally, I think it is right they should be looking at that


building carefully. There are economies of scale, having a big


building and not having separate bills for different buildings. It


depends. When the district councils went, there were a lot of good


buildings available. What they've done with some of those is retained


them for one reason or another. I think it is perfectly all right to


do this and after all, they have to cut their cloth. They are very big


spenders. The government has got massive debts. They have got debts.


We will see what happens. Can we fight crime with less money


and fewer police? 200 officers were announced... On Teeside, there are


now fewer wardens and community support officers on the streets.


Some say it is already leading to a rise in anti`social behaviour.


This Teeside pet shop has lots of pets but whilst business is good,


problems in the streets around have made life difficult. This is where


they set fire to the place twice now. As you can see, the floor, the


walls, they pushed the bin up against the wall. They've also done


it up against our back door as well. It's been on a number of


occasions now. We have a flat above us. It is potentially lethal. Others


are equally worried. They say getting help from the police or


council is increasingly difficult. Motorbikes driving up the street,


people arguing and general noise. It's getting bad. How easy is it to


get help? It is harder to get help and when you know where to phone the


police, they will pass you on to someone else. They pass the buck all


the time. In Middlesbrough, anti`social behaviour has long been


a big issue. The time's collected air `` Mayor has made fighting it


his personal mission. Now, this battle has been affected by


austerity. In that battle to keep communities safer, the street


wardens have been crucial. While they `` there used to be more than


70 pounding the pavements, there are now just 15. The council struggles


to make savings. It is sad that people have lost their jobs. It is


happening across the council. We need the community to report


things, being vigilant. We will try, despite the ?67 million cuts, to


mitigate the problem is people in the time. Problem is that the


special constables volunteer their time to solve. `` problems.


Cleveland Police wants to double the number of special constables to


nearly 200. Full`time officers will be down more than 20% over six


years. Community support officers will take a similar hit. Our


communities may see less of us and fewer yellow coats in terms of


police officers or community support officers over the next two years,


but our commitment is that we will do everything we can to maintain the


safety of our communities. Last year, recorded crime continued to


fall across the region. In Cleveland, anti`social behaviour was


slightly up. If you are going to reduce the number of police


officers, it will have an affect on anti`social behaviour. There are


some areas that, purely because of a lack of resources, are not going to


get the policing that they deserve. Labour's Police Commissioner for the


area has also warned that cuts could threaten public safety. A message


dismissed as scaremongering by the Conservatives. The Police and Crime


Commissioner in Cleveland lives in a fantasyland. He claims that


everything is going well, recognises that crime is falling, that public


satisfaction is getting better. On the other, he says the next of cuts


are going to be the ones that are terrible. The fact is, it's not


easy. He's not paid to do his job because it's easy. There are


challenges that we need to face and we need to deal with them to balance


the books. So far, all the evidence is that in Cleveland, and in forces


across the country, they are finding ways to do more with less. So, can


crime and spending continue to be cut at the same time? Whatever the


answer, its impact will be felt both politically and in streets like


these. The man James Wharton was referring


to is Barry Coffin Joe. James Wharton says you are living in a


fantasy land. I have lived in the fantasyland that has been called


leaders `` Cleveland all my life and I've seen changes over the years but


these are the most difficult financial services `` circumstances


we've ever had. We are trying to do the best we can with the resources


that are being drastically reduced by central government. That being


said, police officers are extremely dedicated and professional. I've


seen officers across the Cleveland area working over the past 12 months


or so and they are doing their best. Although crime was rising over the


summer, we are getting it under control and we have made reductions


over the winter period. Progress is being made. The central point is


that progress is being made. The impression that public will get is


you could manage with less and you have done. We've done the best we


can with diminishing resources. I think it is sad that with a little


bit more, we could do so much more. We are dying to basic crime fighting


now. We are down to working with neighbourhoods, we are down to


working with local residents. In fact, I was speaking to residents


just this week and some excellent work is going on around


neighbourhood watch and neighbourhood policing. To properly


tackle crime and disorder in its widest sense and on a long`term


basis, we need to do more than just react. This is the problem, isn't


it? Doesn't it worry you that that community seems to think that if


they ring the police about low`level incidents, they might get ignored? I


am sorry if they feel that is the case. Cleveland Police receive


around 800 calls a day and we have an incident management team in place


now that works to that job queue, to make sure the most important calls


get the swiftest response. They have to make those priority decisions. Is


the message that if things are low`level, it doesn't matter?


Low`level crime makes people feel in securing the committees. It might


not seem the most important, but if people are frightened to go out


because they feel unsafe, that's a problem, isn't it? There is never a


call that doesn't matter. Every call that comes in matters. It is a


question of the response and how we make the best use of the limited


resources with God. Neighbourhood policing is effective across the


Cleveland area they have a very high opinion of the work that Cleveland


Police do. That's very encouraging. They are working harder and harder


every day to keep the people of Cleveland say. We could do so much


more. People will judge all record as a Commissioner after a few years.


Would you take the rap if crime goes up? If crime goes up, that will be


for several different reasons but the government are not helping by


reducing funding. I have spoken to residents across the Cleveland area.


In all sectors, this button to Rotary clubs, residents groups,


neighbourhood action groups. `` I have spoken to Rotary clubs. If we


had more resources, we could make a real difference. We are reacting to


crime but we need to do more proactively.


There are worrying signs from communities who are noticing a


difference in the police service, despite what we hear about cats


making no difference. One has to look at the statistics as well as


the stories. Crime is falling. It has been falling in a number of the


northern regions. We certainly saw it in Northumberland, where crime


has been down around 10%. We have seen it in Yorkshire. We are now


seeing it in Cleveland and yes, it's true, there are pressures. There is


no doubt, we have two... We haven't got the resources. Whatever the


figures show, would you accept that there is a problem if, as we heard


in Cleveland, there are less obvious police officers around? If people


don't feel safe going out of their homes, that is a big problem. Yes


but in fact of `` the police chiefs have been making it clear that they


are not going to allow people to suffer in that way. We are in fact


seeing a maintenance of that sharp end. It's in quite a lot of outdated


buildings, for instance. I think that is commendable. Crime is


undoubtedly falling. That is obviously a tribute to the police as


well. It is something that I think we should bear in mind. If we had


listened to Labour, they said you cannot do this, crime will rise etc.


Actually, we would not have saved the money we have? To be perfectly


honest, Labour had a plan to put in cuts 12% across the parliament. That


was approved by H MCI. We are now seeing that there are lice `` less


crime is being solved nationally than would have been. Fewer crimes


are being sold under this government. In Northumbria, crime


has risen. My anti`social behaviour has gone down that crime has risen


and we have 400 fewer police officers on the streets.


Northumbria's Chief Constable has said that the current set of


savings, she can manage without and still deliver a good service to the


public. I believe that she and our police and crime commission are


doing everything they can. They are looking at back`office functions. I


don't know how much longer that can continue. Do you believe her? I have


every faith that she can deliver that but what happens next year when


there are more cuts? How long can this keep going on? The


Conservatives are talking about making more public savings after


2015. We have to balance the books. That is the whole point. Even to the


point where communities are suffering. There is not that


evidence, I'm afraid. The Labour Party has all kinds of funny


statistics. The truth is... The statistics are funny, the


circumstances people living may not be. I can tell you this, that we


have to balance those books. We have got falling crime. We want to


continue with that and we want the sharp end not to be affected by


whatever cuts have to come from government. If you were really


concerned about this, they did would be committed to reversing the cuts


and you are not, are you? I cannot make any commitments like that. I'm


a backbencher. We are not aware of what we will inherit in 2015. We


don't have a manifesto yet. We are in opposition. We hold the


government to account and that is what I am doing. And labour's plan,


we would not be seeing what we are seeing now because our plan was 12%


cuts. You mustn't worry people necessarily when the figures are


going down. Rivals on the football pitch but


surely Sunderland and Newcastle councils could work together. The


two local authorities are in the process of setting up a so`called


combined authority, where they would work together to boost the region.


It has been a process, unfortunately, fraught with


difficulty. Two cities, two rivers, two football clubs.


The Tyne Wear rivalry dates a long way back. Newcastle and


Sunderland's first serious confrontation was in the English


Civil War. It might be hard to imagine today but in six and 44,


this village was the scene of a battle between those from Newcastle


and soldiers from Sunderland. 370 years on, people from the two cities


are trying to diss that are not trying to disembowel each other any


more but the question is, can rivalries like that be gotten rid


of? That is the idea. It would seek closer cooperation between the two


councils as well as those in Northumberland, Gateshead, Durham


and North and South Tyneside. Each individual council would still


provide more local services but they would work together on boosting the


economy and transport. It is due to start in April. It all sounds great,


except Sunderland Council has been reluctant to sign up. What we need


to know is what it will look like, what it will cost and what the


constitution would be like. When we have a new chief executive to run


it? It needs a chief financial officer. All of a sudden, you can


see the costs are escalating. We need some surety about what we are


getting ourselves. The question is, why Sunderlandqualms so potentially


lethal? Without Sunderland, it simply won't happen. And so with


South Tyneside also special diets, the signals have not been looking


good. That has left business leaders worried. Our politicians... We


clearly need to get our act together in this region, to talk with one


voice, to make sure that we can get the maximum benefit out of


everything that is happening for the north`east economy at present. The


fact that one, possibly to authorities, are walking away from


that opportunity does real damage to the north`east. It really makes


Westminster look at us as a divided region, that cannot work together


and cannot make things happen. There are other concerns. A combined


authority would be run by cat `7 council leaders, all at the moment


Labour politicians. Some fear a 1`party state. It's all very good


because you'll only get one voice in terms of a party line. It's not


going to be very rigorous if you've not got different voices there to


challenge it, to ask it to look at different things. They must make


sure that any decisions are properly scrutinised. Hopefully, nobody has


come to blows this week. It seems long`standing rivalries have not


been consigned to history just yet. This doesn't reflect well on the


region or Labour. Seven Labour council leaders cannot get their act


together. I don't think it is that they cannot get their act together.


I want the best for the north`east. The council leaders want the best as


well. The problem is, the secretary of state only gave two months for


them to consult and meet to discuss this. That was over Christmas. I


think it is perfectly reasonable for council leaders to be saying, what


is it that we are going to lose in this agreement and what is it that


we are going to gain? Let's get into the detail of this before we sign


up. Two months is enough to start to come up with some of the answers. It


seems ridiculous. There is a dereliction of duty when they have


known it was going to start in April. I'd disagree. It's a


dereliction of the secretary of state's duty. They are asking for


the detail and it is not coming forward. I don't see how you can


blame that on the council leaders. The problem here... This is six bald


man and a woman fighting over a comb, isn't it? There is not much in


this. It does matter. The authority is not there to take away council


functions. We will still have our local councils. Manchester has


managed to get to do this, get together. Everyone was happy to get


together to do things like deal with a major strategic issues. All of the


country, we are looking at evolving away from the central government. We


are trying to devolve properly so that these decisions can be taken


nearer to the people. It seems to me that if the representatives of the


people... All men, or Labour, that if the representatives of the


There is one woman. If they cannot get their act together or get


agreement for a region as important as this, then it is a very great


shame indeed. We wouldn't have this problem if your party hadn't


deconstructed the regional bodies like the one in a north`east which


was doing well creating jobs. No, we can `` deconstructed the bodies for


a lot of reasons. One was because we didn't feel they were creating what


we needed. We needed to have more localism is with local authorities,


more directly involved with businesses, through the local


enterprise partnerships coming in as well. That combination is what the


north`east and the regions one. We need that kind of approach. That is


what is good for people. The danger is that the North East looks...


Westminster is entitled to say you are not getting your act together.


Look at Manchester in contrast. I don't think that will happen because


the spirit is still there. Everybody wants this to work. You sure about


that? Yes, I am sure. Going back to the point about one north`east. The


coalition couldn't wait to get rid of that. The legacy there was that


150,000 jobs were safeguarded and protected and created under that and


yet the government thought they would get rid of it. Why? The


government has rubbed `` behaved responsibly in bringing those albums


together. The police are not the only emergency service trying to do


that same with less. The Fire Service is facing big changes which


are worrying many MPs. Penrith and the board and, Rory


Stewart, is looking at what more can be done for veterans who are ending


up in prison. It `` he will look at the support for ex`service


personnel. Andy McDonald says he is gravely concerned about cuts to


Cleveland Fire Service. A consultation document proposes a


reduction in services and the loss of 76 full`time jobs. There are also


cuts to Fire Services in Cumbria and Tyne Wear. For people dying per


day within six months of being declared six `` fit for work. Will


he come back to this house and apologised to the families of the


deceased who have suffered unnecessarily in their last precious


days? Finally, the threat to bus services in Cumbria has angered


local residents. Almost 1700 people have signed a petition which has


been handed in urging them not to bus `` CardBus subsidies.


`` cut bus subsidies. That's it from us. Tomorrow evening


on BBC One, we report on rising fuel bills and the impact on households


in the North. That's a big issue. We are here as usual, at the same time


next Sunday. For now, back to Andrew.


houses being built by the mayor Andrew, back to you. Welcome back.


Now she made quite a splash last night. I am talking, of course, of


the Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt. If you missed her first


appearance in ITV's celebrity diving competition show, here she is in


action. APPLAUSE


Here is a lady who is more used to campaigning for votes than diving


for them. She created far too much rotation. Hard work has gone into


the start of this dive to try and control it. That looked painful Now


the Portsmouth North MP got voted off the show last night but what


about the verdict that really matters? The newly appointed


Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, is here. Welcome to the


programme. I would give her ten out of ten for bravery. I was cheering


her on. She was doing this for a local charity, raising money for the


local swimming pool. She was a good sport. As Minister for Portsmouth,


can we expect to see you in your swimming trunks for the next


series? I do not think I have the spare time at the moment. But there


is a big challenge in Portsmouth. Penny Mordaunt and the other local


MPs there have been remorseless in asking ministers to help the city.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Chipping Sodbury? Chipping Sodbury does not have the issues that


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


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


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


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


coordinated. I need to make sure that Portsmouth seizes this


opportunity to develop a more broadly -based marine and maritime


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I am determined to turn this challenging time into a proper


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


marginal seat. The Labour Leader Ed Miliband was on


the Andrew Marr programme this morning and he outlined plans under


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


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


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


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


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


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


election as the party of competition, the party of the


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


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


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


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


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


competition review in the energy sector. We have already tackling


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


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


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


think that through interfering with the market, through his price


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


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


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


creating the reason for state intervention? -- broken markets


Exactly, and it is state intervention that does not work


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


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


those situations it was clear and obvious that the consumers were


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that was written by his intellectual Duryea about the significance and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


year David Cameron offered a coded retraction of his statement that


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


think that mainstream conservatives will understand that this is the


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


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


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


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


between Danny Alexander and the common side of the Liberal Democrats


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


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


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


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


Thanks to all my guests. The Daily Politics is back on Monday at midday


on BBC Two. And I will be here again next week. Remember if it is Sunday,


it is the Sunday Politics.


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