19/01/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


19/01/2014

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

:00:37.:00:44.

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

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

:00:50.:00:51.

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

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

:00:57.:00:57.

group. A In the North East:

:00:58.:01:09.

budget cuts. In Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt's

:01:10.:01:23.

plunge from the highboard from who else but the Minister for

:01:24.:01:24.

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

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

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

:01:34.:01:36.

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

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First this morning, Nick Clegg is considering a fresh investigation

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

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

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

:02:03.:02:05.

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

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

:02:09.:02:18.

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

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

:02:23.:02:27.

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

:02:28.:02:35.

Cabinet Minister. There is a reasonable chance that after the

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

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

:02:43.:02:49.

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

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

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

:02:59.:03:04.

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

:03:05.:03:07.

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

:03:08.:03:16.

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

:03:17.:03:20.

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

:03:21.:03:24.

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

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

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

:03:36.:03:40.

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

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

:03:47.:03:51.

Dems distinguished themselves from the other two parties not with

:03:52.:03:56.

policy, but with ethics. They presented themselves as being

:03:57.:04:00.

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

:04:01.:04:03.

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

:04:04.:04:18.

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

:04:19.:04:22.

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

:04:23.:04:28.

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

:04:29.:04:31.

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

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

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

:04:43.:04:47.

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

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

:04:55.:04:58.

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

:04:59.:05:02.

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

:05:03.:05:08.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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microscope in Glasgow. We have recruited some Glaswegians who have

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

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

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

:05:59.:06:02.

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

:06:03.:06:05.

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

:06:06.:06:12.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:07:07.:07:10.

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

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

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

:07:23.:07:25.

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

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

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

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

:07:45.:07:48.

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

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

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

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

:08:05.:08:08.

Liberal Democrats were responsible for increasing the tax allowance,

:08:09.:08:12.

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

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

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

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

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

:08:42.:08:45.

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

:08:46.:08:49.

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

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

:08:57.:08:59.

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

:09:00.:09:07.

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

:09:08.:09:09.

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

:09:10.:09:12.

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

:09:13.:09:16.

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

:09:17.:09:34.

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

:09:35.:09:37.

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

:09:38.:09:40.

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

:09:41.:09:44.

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

:09:45.:09:47.

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

:09:48.:09:50.

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

:09:51.:09:56.

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

:09:57.:10:02.

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

:10:03.:10:09.

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

:10:10.:10:17.

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

:10:18.:10:21.

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

:10:22.:10:26.

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

:10:27.:10:31.

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

:10:32.:10:35.

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

:10:36.:10:41.

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

:10:42.:10:45.

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

:10:46.:10:49.

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

:10:50.:10:58.

bafflement as well. And watching that with me, senior

:10:59.:11:01.

Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander

:11:02.:11:06.

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

:11:07.:11:11.

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

:11:12.:11:15.

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

:11:16.:11:21.

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

:11:22.:11:25.

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

:11:26.:11:29.

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

:11:30.:11:33.

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

:11:34.:11:37.

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

:11:38.:11:43.

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

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

:11:51.:11:54.

the economy would not be recovering without the Liberal Democrats.

:11:55.:11:59.

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

:12:00.:12:01.

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

:12:02.:12:07.

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

:12:08.:12:11.

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

:12:12.:12:20.

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

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

:12:24.:12:27.

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

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

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

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

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

:12:47.:12:55.

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

:12:56.:13:00.

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

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

:13:06.:13:08.

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

:13:09.:13:13.

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

:13:14.:13:18.

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

:13:19.:13:22.

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

:13:23.:13:27.

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

:13:28.:13:31.

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

:13:32.:13:35.

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

:13:36.:13:40.

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

:13:41.:13:47.

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

:13:48.:13:50.

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

:13:51.:13:55.

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

:13:56.:14:01.

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

:14:02.:14:06.

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

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

:14:12.:14:16.

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

:14:17.:14:20.

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

:14:21.:14:24.

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

:14:25.:14:29.

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

:14:30.:14:34.

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

:14:35.:14:36.

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

:14:37.:14:42.

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

:14:43.:14:45.

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

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

:14:53.:14:57.

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

:14:58.:15:02.

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

:15:03.:15:07.

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

:15:08.:15:11.

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

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

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

:15:27.:15:34.

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

:15:35.:15:40.

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

:15:41.:15:45.

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

:15:46.:15:50.

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

:15:51.:15:59.

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

:16:00.:16:04.

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

:16:05.:16:09.

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

:16:10.:16:14.

our Scottish voters group showed that people have still not forgiven

:16:15.:16:19.

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

:16:20.:16:23.

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

:16:24.:16:29.

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

:16:30.:16:37.

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

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

:16:43.:16:47.

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

:16:48.:16:56.

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

:16:57.:17:02.

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

:17:03.:17:07.

because we are delivering our economic plan in government with the

:17:08.:17:11.

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

:17:12.:17:18.

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

:17:19.:17:21.

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

:17:22.:17:28.

to anything which undermines the confidence of businesses to invest

:17:29.:17:32.

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

:17:33.:17:40.

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

:17:41.:17:45.

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

:17:46.:17:51.

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

:17:52.:17:58.

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

:17:59.:18:04.

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

:18:05.:18:09.

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

:18:10.:18:16.

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

:18:17.:18:21.

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

:18:22.:18:26.

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

:18:27.:18:30.

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

:18:31.:18:36.

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

:18:37.:18:39.

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

:18:40.:18:46.

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

:18:47.:18:52.

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

:18:53.:18:59.

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

:19:00.:19:05.

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

:19:06.:19:09.

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

:19:10.:19:12.

Coalition government tackles the problems in this country, but does

:19:13.:19:19.

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

:19:20.:19:23.

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

:19:24.:19:27.

or a majority Conservative government. Labour you cannot trust

:19:28.:19:32.

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

:19:33.:19:36.

Union which would truly be a disaster to investment in this

:19:37.:19:40.

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

:19:41.:19:45.

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

:19:46.:19:51.

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

:19:52.:19:54.

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

:19:55.:19:59.

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

:20:00.:20:04.

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

:20:05.:20:10.

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

:20:11.:20:15.

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

:20:16.:20:26.

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

:20:27.:20:33.

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

:20:34.:20:38.

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

:20:39.:20:44.

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

:20:45.:20:49.

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

:20:50.:20:53.

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

:20:54.:20:57.

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

:20:58.:21:00.

interest payments simply because Alex Salmond has put that question

:21:01.:21:05.

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

:21:06.:21:10.

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

:21:11.:21:16.

Nick Clegg has embarked on this aggressive differentiation. Where

:21:17.:21:20.

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

:21:21.:21:25.

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

:21:26.:21:33.

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

:21:34.:21:39.

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

:21:40.:21:45.

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

:21:46.:21:53.

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

:21:54.:22:03.

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

:22:04.:22:06.

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

:22:07.:22:12.

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

:22:13.:22:17.

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

:22:18.:22:27.

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

:22:28.:22:31.

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

:22:32.:22:36.

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

:22:37.:22:39.

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

:22:40.:22:44.

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

:22:45.:22:51.

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

:22:52.:22:56.

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

:22:57.:23:02.

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

:23:03.:23:08.

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

:23:09.:23:17.

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

:23:18.:23:21.

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

:23:22.:23:25.

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

:23:26.:23:31.

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

:23:32.:23:40.

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

:23:41.:23:45.

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

:23:46.:23:49.

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

:23:50.:23:54.

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

:23:55.:24:00.

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

:24:01.:24:03.

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

:24:04.:24:09.

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

:24:10.:24:13.

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

:24:14.:24:17.

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

:24:18.:24:24.

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

:24:25.:24:30.

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

:24:31.:24:37.

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

:24:38.:24:40.

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

:24:41.:24:45.

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

:24:46.:24:53.

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

:24:54.:25:01.

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

:25:02.:25:07.

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

:25:08.:25:12.

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

:25:13.:25:17.

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

:25:18.:25:22.

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

:25:23.:25:30.

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

:25:31.:25:37.

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

:25:38.:25:44.

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

:25:45.:25:51.

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

:25:52.:26:00.

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

:26:01.:26:07.

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

:26:08.:26:18.

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

:26:19.:26:28.

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

:26:29.:26:35.

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

:26:36.:26:39.

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

:26:40.:26:43.

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

:26:44.:26:48.

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

:26:49.:26:53.

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

:26:54.:27:00.

responsibility under the data protection legislation as well. Here

:27:01.:27:05.

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

:27:06.:27:17.

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

:27:18.:27:22.

something he denies, unproven allegations, on an unpublished

:27:23.:27:27.

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

:27:28.:27:31.

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

:27:32.:27:35.

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

:27:36.:27:41.

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

:27:42.:27:47.

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

:27:48.:27:53.

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

:27:54.:27:59.

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

:28:00.:28:04.

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

:28:05.:28:10.

there are disciplinary allegations. The committee of the party supported

:28:11.:28:16.

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

:28:17.:28:19.

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

:28:20.:28:27.

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

:28:28.:28:37.

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

:28:38.:28:44.

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

:28:45.:28:48.

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

:28:49.:28:52.

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

:28:53.:28:58.

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

:28:59.:29:09.

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

:29:10.:29:16.

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

:29:17.:29:21.

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

:29:22.:29:40.

answer to that. Generally governments are a bit

:29:41.:29:43.

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

:29:44.:29:46.

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

:29:47.:29:49.

US and British security agencies were in fact astonishingly efficient

:29:50.:29:52.

at eavesdropping on the digital communications of their citizens

:29:53.:29:55.

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

:29:56.:29:57.

clandestine activity? In his latest revelation, former US

:29:58.:29:59.

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

:30:00.:30:01.

operates a secret database called Dishfire. It collect 200 million

:30:02.:30:07.

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

:30:08.:30:13.

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

:30:14.:30:17.

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

:30:18.:30:21.

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

:30:22.:30:28.

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

:30:29.:30:38.

intelligence agencies have refused to acknowledge even the need for a

:30:39.:30:42.

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

:30:43.:30:45.

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

:30:46.:30:53.

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

:30:54.:30:56.

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

:30:57.:30:59.

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

:31:00.:31:10.

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

:31:11.:31:15.

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

:31:16.:31:18.

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

:31:19.:31:24.

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

:31:25.:31:30.

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

:31:31.:31:34.

Intelligence And Security Committee, has decided to launch an enquiry

:31:35.:31:37.

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

:31:38.:31:45.

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

:31:46.:31:50.

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

:31:51.:31:55.

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

:31:56.:31:59.

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

:32:00.:32:03.

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

:32:04.:32:07.

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

:32:08.:32:11.

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

:32:12.:32:15.

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

:32:16.:32:23.

fully elected committee chosen by Parliament and not the Prime

:32:24.:32:29.

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

:32:30.:32:34.

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

:32:35.:32:42.

separation of power, the president does not nominate Kennedy.

:32:43.:32:50.

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

:32:51.:32:55.

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

:32:56.:32:59.

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

:33:00.:33:03.

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

:33:04.:33:07.

Parliamentary scrutiny, the interception commissioners, and

:33:08.:33:13.

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

:33:14.:33:17.

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

:33:18.:33:23.

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

:33:24.:33:27.

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

:33:28.:33:31.

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

:33:32.:33:35.

the connections and see the patterns. Some people never talk

:33:36.:33:40.

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

:33:41.:33:45.

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

:33:46.:33:50.

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

:33:51.:33:55.

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

:33:56.:33:59.

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

:34:00.:34:06.

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

:34:07.:34:12.

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

:34:13.:34:18.

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

:34:19.:34:22.

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

:34:23.:34:29.

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

:34:30.:34:32.

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

:34:33.:34:38.

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

:34:39.:34:43.

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

:34:44.:34:49.

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

:34:50.:34:54.

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

:34:55.:34:56.

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

:34:57.:35:01.

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

:35:02.:35:07.

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

:35:08.:35:10.

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

:35:11.:35:16.

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

:35:17.:35:22.

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

:35:23.:35:29.

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

:35:30.:35:34.

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

:35:35.:35:37.

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

:35:38.:35:42.

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

:35:43.:35:45.

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

:35:46.:35:49.

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

:35:50.:35:52.

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

:35:53.:36:00.

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

:36:01.:36:04.

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

:36:05.:36:10.

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

:36:11.:36:16.

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

:36:17.:36:19.

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

:36:20.:36:24.

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

:36:25.:36:28.

need judicial oversight with judges and not politicians signing off The

:36:29.:36:33.

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

:36:34.:36:38.

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

:36:39.:36:41.

accountable to Parliament and not the Prime Minister. Those changes

:36:42.:36:46.

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

:36:47.:36:52.

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

:36:53.:36:56.

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

:36:57.:37:00.

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

:37:01.:37:03.

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

:37:04.:37:04.

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

:37:05.:37:35.

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

:37:36.:37:41.

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

:37:42.:37:44.

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

:37:45.:37:47.

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

:37:48.:37:51.

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

:37:52.:38:00.

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

:38:01.:38:03.

Northumbria county council wants to shut down this place, scattering

:38:04.:38:07.

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

:38:08.:38:16.

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

:38:17.:38:21.

Northumberland would agree with me. The North is being

:38:22.:38:24.

disproportionately hit by the cuts that this coalition are imposing.

:38:25.:38:28.

Councils are having to think of different ways of managing services

:38:29.:38:31.

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

:38:32.:38:34.

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

:38:35.:38:39.

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

:38:40.:38:49.

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

:38:50.:38:53.

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

:38:54.:38:59.

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

:39:00.:39:03.

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

:39:04.:39:06.

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

:39:07.:39:09.

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

:39:10.:39:18.

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

:39:19.:39:24.

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

:39:25.:39:28.

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

:39:29.:39:32.

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

:39:33.:39:36.

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

:39:37.:39:41.

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

:39:42.:39:45.

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

:39:46.:39:50.

within those communities. Northumberland is essentially a

:39:51.:39:52.

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

:39:53.:39:57.

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

:39:58.:40:00.

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

:40:01.:40:02.

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

:40:03.:40:07.

building and not having separate bills for different buildings. It

:40:08.:40:11.

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

:40:12.:40:14.

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

:40:15.:40:17.

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

:40:18.:40:21.

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

:40:22.:40:26.

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

:40:27.:40:31.

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

:40:32.:40:40.

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

:40:41.:40:45.

now fewer wardens and community support officers on the streets.

:40:46.:40:49.

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

:40:50.:40:58.

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

:40:59.:41:01.

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

:41:02.:41:06.

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

:41:07.:41:14.

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

:41:15.:41:17.

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

:41:18.:41:22.

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

:41:23.:41:29.

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

:41:30.:41:34.

council is increasingly difficult. Motorbikes driving up the street,

:41:35.:41:38.

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

:41:39.:41:44.

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

:41:45.:41:51.

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

:41:52.:41:53.

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

:41:54.:41:59.

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

:42:00.:42:06.

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

:42:07.:42:13.

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

:42:14.:42:16.

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

:42:17.:42:19.

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

:42:20.:42:25.

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

:42:26.:42:29.

happening across the council. We need the community to report

:42:30.:42:33.

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

:42:34.:42:38.

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

:42:39.:42:41.

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

:42:42.:42:48.

Cleveland Police wants to double the number of special constables to

:42:49.:42:52.

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

:42:53.:42:58.

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

:42:59.:43:02.

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

:43:03.:43:07.

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

:43:08.:43:11.

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

:43:12.:43:15.

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

:43:16.:43:20.

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

:43:21.:43:27.

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

:43:28.:43:31.

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

:43:32.:43:36.

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

:43:37.:43:40.

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

:43:41.:43:44.

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

:43:45.:43:47.

dismissed as scaremongering by the Conservatives. The Police and Crime

:43:48.:43:53.

Commissioner in Cleveland lives in a fantasyland. He claims that

:43:54.:43:57.

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

:43:58.:44:00.

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

:44:01.:44:04.

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

:44:05.:44:09.

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

:44:10.:44:11.

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

:44:12.:44:16.

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

:44:17.:44:20.

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

:44:21.:44:27.

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

:44:28.:44:32.

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

:44:33.:44:37.

these. The man James Wharton was referring

:44:38.:44:45.

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

:44:46.:44:56.

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

:44:57.:45:00.

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

:45:01.:45:04.

these are the most difficult financial services `` circumstances

:45:05.:45:07.

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

:45:08.:45:13.

that are being drastically reduced by central government. That being

:45:14.:45:17.

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

:45:18.:45:20.

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

:45:21.:45:26.

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

:45:27.:45:30.

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

:45:31.:45:34.

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

:45:35.:45:40.

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

:45:41.:45:43.

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

:45:44.:45:49.

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

:45:50.:45:54.

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

:45:55.:45:57.

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

:45:58.:46:00.

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

:46:01.:46:04.

just this week and some excellent work is going on around

:46:05.:46:06.

neighbourhood watch and neighbourhood policing. To properly

:46:07.:46:12.

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

:46:13.:46:15.

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

:46:16.:46:23.

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

:46:24.:46:27.

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

:46:28.:46:33.

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

:46:34.:46:36.

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

:46:37.:46:40.

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

:46:41.:46:44.

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

:46:45.:46:52.

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

:46:53.:46:55.

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

:46:56.:47:00.

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

:47:01.:47:02.

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

:47:03.:47:07.

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

:47:08.:47:12.

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

:47:13.:47:16.

resources with God. Neighbourhood policing is effective across the

:47:17.:47:24.

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

:47:25.:47:27.

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

:47:28.:47:31.

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

:47:32.:47:36.

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

:47:37.:47:41.

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

:47:42.:47:46.

for several different reasons but the government are not helping by

:47:47.:47:50.

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

:47:51.:47:54.

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

:47:55.:48:00.

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

:48:01.:48:03.

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

:48:04.:48:08.

crime but we need to do more proactively.

:48:09.:48:17.

There are worrying signs from communities who are noticing a

:48:18.:48:20.

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

:48:21.:48:24.

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

:48:25.:48:30.

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

:48:31.:48:40.

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

:48:41.:48:42.

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

:48:43.:48:46.

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

:48:47.:48:54.

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

:48:55.:48:59.

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

:49:00.:49:05.

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

:49:06.:49:09.

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

:49:10.:49:15.

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

:49:16.:49:18.

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

:49:19.:49:22.

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

:49:23.:49:28.

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

:49:29.:49:32.

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

:49:33.:49:36.

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

:49:37.:49:41.

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

:49:42.:49:45.

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

:49:46.:49:54.

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

:49:55.:49:58.

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

:49:59.:50:02.

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

:50:03.:50:07.

are being sold under this government. In Northumbria, crime

:50:08.:50:11.

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

:50:12.:50:15.

and we have 400 fewer police officers on the streets.

:50:16.:50:20.

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

:50:21.:50:23.

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

:50:24.:50:28.

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

:50:29.:50:31.

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

:50:32.:50:34.

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

:50:35.:50:41.

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

:50:42.:50:45.

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

:50:46.:50:48.

Conservatives are talking about making more public savings after

:50:49.:50:52.

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

:50:53.:50:58.

point where communities are suffering. There is not that

:50:59.:51:02.

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

:51:03.:51:07.

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

:51:08.:51:12.

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

:51:13.:51:16.

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

:51:17.:51:19.

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

:51:20.:51:23.

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

:51:24.:51:27.

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

:51:28.:51:30.

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

:51:31.:51:35.

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

:51:36.:51:42.

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

:51:43.:51:44.

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

:51:45.:51:48.

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

:51:49.:51:56.

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

:51:57.:52:00.

going down. Rivals on the football pitch but

:52:01.:52:03.

surely Sunderland and Newcastle councils could work together. The

:52:04.:52:08.

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

:52:09.:52:10.

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

:52:11.:52:17.

It has been a process, unfortunately, fraught with

:52:18.:52:20.

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

:52:21.:52:25.

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

:52:26.:52:31.

Sunderland's first serious confrontation was in the English

:52:32.:52:34.

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

:52:35.:52:37.

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

:52:38.:52:45.

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

:52:46.:52:49.

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

:52:50.:52:52.

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

:52:53.:53:00.

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

:53:01.:53:02.

councils as well as those in Northumberland, Gateshead, Durham

:53:03.:53:06.

and North and South Tyneside. Each individual council would still

:53:07.:53:09.

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

:53:10.:53:14.

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

:53:15.:53:18.

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

:53:19.:53:24.

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

:53:25.:53:33.

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

:53:34.:53:38.

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

:53:39.:53:42.

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

:53:43.:53:48.

getting ourselves. The question is, why Sunderlandqualms so potentially

:53:49.:53:57.

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

:53:58.:54:04.

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

:54:05.:54:07.

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

:54:08.:54:14.

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

:54:15.:54:18.

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

:54:19.:54:20.

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

:54:21.:54:24.

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

:54:25.:54:27.

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

:54:28.:54:31.

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

:54:32.:54:36.

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

:54:37.:54:40.

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

:54:41.:54:46.

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

:54:47.:54:52.

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

:54:53.:55:00.

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

:55:01.:55:04.

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

:55:05.:55:07.

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

:55:08.:55:14.

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

:55:15.:55:20.

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

:55:21.:55:24.

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

:55:25.:55:31.

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

:55:32.:55:33.

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

:55:34.:55:37.

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

:55:38.:55:41.

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

:55:42.:55:44.

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

:55:45.:55:49.

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

:55:50.:55:52.

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

:55:53.:55:57.

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

:55:58.:56:04.

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

:56:05.:56:06.

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

:56:07.:56:11.

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

:56:12.:56:17.

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

:56:18.:56:20.

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

:56:21.:56:33.

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

:56:34.:56:42.

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

:56:43.:56:46.

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

:56:47.:56:49.

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

:56:50.:56:54.

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

:56:55.:56:57.

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

:56:58.:57:02.

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

:57:03.:57:05.

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

:57:06.:57:07.

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

:57:08.:57:19.

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

:57:20.:57:22.

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

:57:23.:57:28.

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

:57:29.:57:30.

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

:57:31.:57:34.

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

:57:35.:57:39.

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

:57:40.:57:43.

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

:57:44.:57:46.

more directly involved with businesses, through the local

:57:47.:57:49.

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

:57:50.:57:55.

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

:57:56.:57:59.

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

:58:00.:58:06.

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

:58:07.:58:10.

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

:58:11.:58:14.

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

:58:15.:58:19.

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

:58:20.:58:22.

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

:58:23.:58:28.

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

:58:29.:58:30.

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

:58:31.:58:35.

government has rubbed `` behaved responsibly in bringing those albums

:58:36.:58:44.

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

:58:45.:58:47.

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

:58:48.:58:49.

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

:58:50.:59:09.

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

:59:10.:59:13.

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

:59:14.:59:17.

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

:59:18.:59:21.

Cleveland Fire Service. A consultation document proposes a

:59:22.:59:24.

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

:59:25.:59:28.

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

:59:29.:59:33.

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

:59:34.:59:42.

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

:59:43.:59:45.

deceased who have suffered unnecessarily in their last precious

:59:46.:59:50.

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

:59:51.:59:53.

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

:59:54.:59:59.

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

:00:00.:00:06.

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

:00:07.:00:14.

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

:00:15.:00:17.

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

:00:18.:00:21.

next Sunday. For now, back to Andrew.

:00:22.:00:22.

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

:00:23.:00:33.

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

:00:34.:00:38.

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

:00:39.:00:42.

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

:00:43.:00:44.

action. APPLAUSE

:00:45.:01:15.

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

:01:16.:01:19.

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

:01:20.:01:24.

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

:01:25.:01:35.

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

:01:36.:01:38.

about the verdict that really matters? The newly appointed

:01:39.:01:41.

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

:01:42.:01:47.

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

:01:48.:01:52.

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

:01:53.:01:56.

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

:01:57.:02:03.

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

:02:04.:02:06.

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

:02:07.:02:12.

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

:02:13.:02:16.

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

:02:17.:02:22.

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

:02:23.:02:32.

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

:02:33.:02:35.

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

:02:36.:02:41.

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

:02:42.:02:44.

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

:02:45.:02:50.

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

:02:51.:02:58.

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

:02:59.:03:08.

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

:03:09.:03:13.

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

:03:14.:03:17.

Chipping Sodbury? Chipping Sodbury does not have the issues that

:03:18.:03:22.

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

:03:23.:03:29.

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

:03:30.:03:35.

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

:03:36.:03:39.

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

:03:40.:03:44.

coordinated. I need to make sure that Portsmouth seizes this

:03:45.:03:48.

opportunity to develop a more broadly -based marine and maritime

:03:49.:03:52.

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

:03:53.:03:57.

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

:03:58.:04:08.

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

:04:09.:04:10.

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

:04:11.:04:16.

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

:04:17.:04:20.

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

:04:21.:04:26.

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

:04:27.:04:31.

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

:04:32.:04:37.

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

:04:38.:04:41.

I am determined to turn this challenging time into a proper

:04:42.:04:45.

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

:04:46.:04:52.

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

:04:53.:04:56.

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

:04:57.:05:03.

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

:05:04.:05:09.

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

:05:10.:05:14.

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

:05:15.:05:18.

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

:05:19.:05:24.

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

:05:25.:05:30.

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

:05:31.:05:34.

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

:05:35.:05:39.

marginal seat. The Labour Leader Ed Miliband was on

:05:40.:05:42.

the Andrew Marr programme this morning and he outlined plans under

:05:43.:05:45.

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

:05:46.:05:48.

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

:05:49.:05:51.

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

:05:52.:05:55.

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

:05:56.:06:00.

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

:06:01.:06:05.

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

:06:06.:06:08.

election as the party of competition, the party of the

:06:09.:06:13.

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

:06:14.:06:17.

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

:06:18.:06:21.

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

:06:22.:06:25.

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

:06:26.:06:30.

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

:06:31.:06:35.

competition review in the energy sector. We have already tackling

:06:36.:06:41.

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

:06:42.:06:45.

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

:06:46.:06:50.

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

:06:51.:06:54.

think that through interfering with the market, through his price

:06:55.:06:56.

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

:06:57.:07:03.

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

:07:04.:07:08.

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

:07:09.:07:13.

creating the reason for state intervention? -- broken markets

:07:14.:07:20.

Exactly, and it is state intervention that does not work

:07:21.:07:25.

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

:07:26.:07:31.

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

:07:32.:07:35.

those situations it was clear and obvious that the consumers were

:07:36.:07:41.

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

:07:42.:07:46.

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

:07:47.:07:49.

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

:07:50.:07:55.

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

:07:56.:07:59.

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

:08:00.:08:04.

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

:08:05.:08:10.

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

:08:11.:08:16.

that was written by his intellectual Duryea about the significance and

:08:17.:08:20.

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

:08:21.:08:24.

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

:08:25.:08:32.

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

:08:33.:08:38.

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

:08:39.:08:45.

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

:08:46.:08:51.

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

:08:52.:08:56.

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

:08:57.:09:00.

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

:09:01.:09:05.

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

:09:06.:09:11.

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

:09:12.:09:17.

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

:09:18.:09:22.

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

:09:23.:09:28.

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

:09:29.:09:35.

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

:09:36.:09:40.

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

:09:41.:09:47.

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

:09:48.:09:55.

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

:09:56.:09:59.

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

:10:00.:10:04.

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

:10:05.:10:10.

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

:10:11.:10:16.

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

:10:17.:10:19.

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

:10:20.:10:25.

year David Cameron offered a coded retraction of his statement that

:10:26.:10:31.

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

:10:32.:10:37.

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

:10:38.:10:39.

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

:10:40.:10:48.

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

:10:49.:10:52.

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

:10:53.:10:56.

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

:10:57.:11:01.

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

:11:02.:11:08.

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

:11:09.:11:20.

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

:11:21.:11:23.

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

:11:24.:11:28.

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

:11:29.:11:33.

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

:11:34.:11:39.

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

:11:40.:11:43.

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

:11:44.:11:48.

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

:11:49.:11:56.

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

:11:57.:12:00.

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

:12:01.:12:06.

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

:12:07.:12:11.

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

:12:12.:12:15.

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

:12:16.:12:21.

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

:12:22.:12:24.

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

:12:25.:12:30.

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

:12:31.:12:33.

think that mainstream conservatives will understand that this is the

:12:34.:12:41.

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

:12:42.:12:45.

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

:12:46.:12:49.

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

:12:50.:12:53.

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

:12:54.:13:00.

between Danny Alexander and the common side of the Liberal Democrats

:13:01.:13:04.

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

:13:05.:13:08.

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

:13:09.:13:19.

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

:13:20.:13:22.

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

:13:23.:13:30.

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

:13:31.:13:34.

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

:13:35.:13:37.

it is the Sunday Politics.

:13:38.:13:39.

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