02/02/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


02/02/2014

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Paul Kenny, Malcolm Bruce, James Wharton and Natalie Bennett.


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Transcript


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. The unions helped

:00:37.:00:42.

him beat his brother to the top Now Ed Miliband wants to change Labour's

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relationship with them. Who will come out on top? We will be asking

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one union baron what he thinks. Cracks in the coalition after

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one union baron what he thinks. Education Secretary Michael Gove

:00:52.:00:55.

sacks the chairwoman of Ofsted. His Lib Dem deputy is said to be hopping

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mad. We will be talking to the new deputy leader of the Lib Dems,

:01:00.:01:02.

Malcolm Bruce. Caught a bout of the EU blues? David

:01:03.:01:04.

Cameron has been drowning his Caught a bout of the EU blues? David

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sorrows with the President of France. Who better? We will be

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asking if the EU referendum bill is dead in the water.

:01:11.:01:13.

And bad weather getting you down? Getting from A to B a bit of a

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And bad weather getting you down? nightmare? Fear not! The leader of

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the Greens will be here with her traffic and travel report. Dutch

:01:20.:01:27.

was activated. It was an airborne alarm and

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In the North East and Cumbria: Eric In the North East and Cumbria: Eric

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Pickles is accused of neglecting the region.

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Is it time he paid us a visit? And could this be the first place in

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Cumbria to vote reassurance people want?

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Yes, all that and more in today s action-packed Sunday Politics. And

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blowing more hot air than I have had hot dinners, Helen Lewis, Nick Watt

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and Iain Martin. After the row about candidate

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selection in Falkirk, Ed Miliband said he wanted to reshape the

:02:00.:02:02.

relationship between Labour and the unions. The biggest changes involve

:02:03.:02:06.

union membership of the party, which in turn will affect future Labour

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leadership elections. Some claim this is Ed's Clause 4 moment. But

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the unions will continue to be powerful at conference and on the

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party's ruling committees, and they will still be able to bankroll the

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election campaign. Here is Labour's deputy leader, Harriet Harman,

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speaking earlier. What he is proposing for the March the 1st

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conference is a huge change in financing, in the election of the

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leader, in what goes on at local level. In due course, it might have

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implications for the NEC elections and conference. But this is already

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a big issue to take forward. Joining me now is Paul Kenny,

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general secretary of the GMB union and chair of the Trade Union and

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Labour Party Liaison Organisation. Is this Ed Miliband's Clause 4

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moment? I don't know about that It is certainly a bold move,

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particularly to have an electoral college, which as you said was the

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system which elected him in the first place. Everybody admits that

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has needed reforming for some time. Moving to a one member, one vote

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situation seems to me to be sensible. I know some people are

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upset, mostly MPs, who will lose their golden share. But it is

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nonsense that one MP should have the same vote as 1000 party members So

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the MPs have lost out. Have the unions lost out? Well, the system is

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currently that union members get a ballot paper, but they have to

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declare that they are a Labour supporter and they have to sign to

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that effect in order to participate. Then their vote is counted. At the

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last election, about 200,000 trade union members gave that indication,

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and they participated in that way. That will not change. The way it is

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organised will be different. The big change in the electoral college is

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that the logical weight given to MPs will disappear. I wonder if you have

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really lost anything. At the moment, there are about 3 million people

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automatically affiliated from the unions to the Labour Party. If only

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10% of them opt in, that will still mean twice as many union individual

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members, 300,000, versus about 180,000 Labour Party members. So

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union members and maybe even the unions will have as big an influence

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on the leadership elections as you do now, maybe bigger? Well, they are

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individual votes. Different unions support different candidates. It is

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lost in the media myth of barons and block votes, but there is an

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individual vote. Different unions recommend different candidates, and

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union members vote accordingly. Ed Miliband won more individual votes

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by a country mile than David, but it got messed up in the process of this

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electoral college. As I have understood the proposals so far

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they are not a done deal. There is a lot of discussion. But it seems

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there are three hurdles. Firstly, union members themselves will have

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to agree whether they want to affiliate to the Labour Party. If

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they don't, the rest of it falls. If they decide they do my they will ask

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union members to support that an individual basis the next five

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years, which will have financial implications. Then there will be a

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third position, which is that people who may want to agree with the

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union's position and affiliate with the Labour Party may want to go

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further and become active supporters of the Labour Party, participating

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in leadership elections. They will have to give their sanction to that

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at a third stage. So the implications in terms of

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constituency parties and so on are a lot less than the idea that the 3

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million who are currently affiliated will change. At the moment, the

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unions, because of the automatic affiliation, hand over a affiliation

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fees of about ?8 million a year to Labour. You will now get to keep

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that money, because the individuals will have to put up the money

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themselves. You can keep that money and determine if you give it to

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Labour to fight the election campaign, correct? Incorrect.

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Firstly, the affiliation fees are paid from what is called the

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political fund, which most unions have to set up in order to

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participate. The union will continue to pay the ?3 a affiliation fee for

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those members who want the union to be affiliated. But you get to keep a

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lot more money. In reality, we will see a transitional period of a few

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years. Less people will probably say yes, depending on how popular Labour

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are, about whether they want the union to give money to the Labour

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Party. The GMB has already done this. By the way, don't call me

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kneel. It is Andrew or Mr Neil. The unions will have a bigger chunk of

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money because the unions will not be handing over all of the money at one

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time. But you could still play a major part in funding the Labour

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election campaign. We'll how much you give the dependent on what the

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Labour Party puts in its manifesto? Of course it will. It will have to

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justify our support to Labour for the members who provide money to the

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political fund. If we did not argue for the cert is social justice

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campaigns and laws we want to see, we would be failing in our job. I

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don't intend to hide that from anybody. The unions are there to

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fight for their members. That is our job. So you will still be a major

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part of the bankroll of the Labour campaign. You will still have 5 % of

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the votes at a Labour conference, and you will still have a major part

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in the Labour National executive committee and the policy committee.

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It is right to say the unions are still at the heart of Labour, are

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they not? Well, if you sick to break the affiliated link between trade

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unions and the Labour Party, the whole thing collapses. That is what

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anchors the Labour Party as far as we are concerned. Many of our

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members think that when they want to look for ferrochrome and rights

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social justice, housing and the health service, Labour are better it

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quipped to deliver that for working people than the current parties

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That is why we have traditionally supported them. But not at all of

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our members support Labour, which is why we don't affiliate all of them

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to Labour. There are over 30 million people in the British labour force

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now. Union membership is only 6 5 million out of that 30. A 6.5% of

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that do not vote Labour, they vote Tory or liberal or nationalist in

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Scotland. So you are a relatively small pressure group. Why should

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Labour be in thrall to you? We are the biggest voluntary organisation

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in this country. Sorry about that, but that is the fact. People make

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conscious choices. My own union the GMB, has been growing for eight

:10:28.:10:30.

years. So this dying picture you are trying to paint... In terms of

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accounting for the fact that some do not support Labour, that is why

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unions do not affiliate all of their members to the Labour Party. We have

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adjusted to that. If you don't like being called Neil, I don't like

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being called a barren either. What about Mr Baron? I don't like that

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either. We are representatives of working organisations. It may be

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inconvenient for politicians to have to listen to working people, but we

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will continue to press. Lord Baron, thank you very much.

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So, is this a Clause 4 moment for Ed Miliband? Not really, but to his

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credit, he is going ahead with this. There was a point at which it looked

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as though Ed Miliband would back away from reform. To his credit he

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is trying to create a mass membership party again. But when it

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comes to the crucial business of funding a general election campaign,

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these reforms will make Labour more reliant on large donations from

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trade unions. They could have more power now, because they get to hold

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back this money, whereas beforehand, they had to hand it over

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automatically. As Mr Kenny just said, how much they handover will be

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dependent on good behaviour. Yes, but these are pragmatic reforms The

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fact that Ed Miliband has a lot of capital in not being seen as a

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Blairite has helped him get these through . The response has been

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muted, which suggests good party management on his behalf. That may

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be because they will still have 50% of the votes at a party conference.

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Mr Kenny was clear that that could be deal-breaker if they tried to

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take that away. They have more places at the NEC than anyone else,

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and party members, if only 10% of them signed up, they will outweigh

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individual members in the constituencies. It was interesting,

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how relaxed Paul Kenny was. He was taking thousands of pounds from the

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Labour Party a few months ago because he was annoyed about these

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reforms, and now he is relaxed because they still have 50% of the

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vote at Labour Party conference and Labour Party Parliamentary

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candidates are still selected in the same way. But there is a simple

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point here. Yes, you can pick apart what Ed Miliband said and said the

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unions have too much influence, but the only way he could have gone all

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the way was to break the link with the trade unions, and he was not

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going to do that. It was not the Labour Party that founded the

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unions, it was the unions that founded the Labour Party. Even Tony

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Blair did not break the link. In that context, Ed Miliband has gone

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incredibly far. For the last 50 years, this opting into the union,

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you have to turn to page 50 of your union terms and conditions to say,

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do you want to opt out of the political levy 's that is going to

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go, which will mean that when the next Labour leader is elected from

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the union votes, they will get their ballot from the Labour Party and you

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will append the fast where ballots went out from Unison macro and GMB

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with a picture of Ed Miliband on the front of the ballot paper saying,

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vote for aid. They were Stasi and Saddam Hussein ways of trade union

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members electing the Labour leader, which will go. I am sorry his

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Lordship is not still here to answer that question.

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HMS Coalition is not a happy ship. The lovey-dovey days in the rose

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garden are long gone. It is not a loveless marriage, perhaps even an

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open one. The latest split is over the decision by Education Secretary

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Michael Gove to replace Labour peer Sally Morgan as head of the schools

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inspectorate, Ofsted. Mr Gove's deputy, Lib Dem David Laws, is said

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to be spitting blood about her removal, although only through

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surrogates. He has not said a word on the record. Here was the

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Education Secretary a little earlier. If there is another

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opportunity for Sally to serve in a different role at a different time,

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then I would be delighted to support her in the role which she thinks it

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is appropriate to do. There is nothing wrong with Sally but there

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is a principle across government that there should be no automatic

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reappointment, and that after three or four years, it is appropriate to

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bring in a fresh pair of eyes. That is good corporate practice in order

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to ensure that you refresh boards, bring a new perspective, and have

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tough questions asked. We're joined now by the newly elected deputy

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leader of the Liberal Democrats Malcolm Bruce. He's in Aberdeen

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Welcome to the Sunday Politics. David Laws is said to be furious

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with Michael Gove, is he? I think he is because Sally Morgan has been

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doing a good job and that has been generally agreed across the whole

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spectrum. I think Ofsted is an impartial body that inspects all

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schools and it shouldn't be subject to some kind of political direction.

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That is the concern, that she is being removed when she was doing a

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good job and most people thought she should be reappointed. It is

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strongly rumoured her successor will be a high-ranking Tory backer. Why

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hasn't David Laws said this himself, have you spoken to him? I have, and

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I know he is not very pleased about it but he will want to speak to

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Michael Gove himself when he gets to see him on Monday. The question you

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have to take on board is that David Laws is the schools minister,

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effectively the one who has engagement with Ofsted, and he is

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seeing it being undermined by the Secretary of State. There is a

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question that if Michael Gove is so pleased with Sally Morgan why is he

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replacing her, and who will he be replacing her with, and on what

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basis? Maybe parliament should have a confirmation hearing so that we

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can be assured that whoever is put in charge is there because they are

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good at it. Why has he licensed his surrogates to save this rather than

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saying it himself? He didn't, he knew I was on the programme this

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morning so I am giving you the answers as best I can. David is

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perfectly capable of speaking for himself. He hasn't so far. You asked

:17:26.:17:31.

me to come on this programme and David was anxious for me to know he

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wasn't happy about it, and I can certainly tell you that. I can also

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give you my own opinion which is that Ofsted is not the Department

:17:42.:17:44.

for Education, it is an independent body. The question you have to ask

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is will Michael Gove but someone in charge of Ofsted who will have a

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political agenda? If so, that is not what Ofsted should be used for.

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Let's move on to your own position. You are 69, white male,

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middle-class, what is your answer to the party with diversity problems? I

:18:16.:18:20.

don't think that is what they voted on. They felt I had a wealth of

:18:21.:18:24.

experience that would be vulnerable to the party from the period now

:18:25.:18:28.

until the election, not least because the central issues that will

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concern voters are the economy, and I have a track record of promoting

:18:33.:18:39.

the party's economic policy over many years. But you are not even

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standing at the next election. No, but we need to get to the next

:18:46.:18:48.

election and my colleagues have confidence that I can do a useful

:18:49.:19:01.

job for the party in that situation. We have developed and delivered

:19:02.:19:03.

policies that I have helped to shape and I want to persuade people to

:19:04.:19:05.

understand the Liberal Democrats have made a fundamental difference

:19:06.:19:08.

to the economic recovery. But you know what has been happening with

:19:09.:19:13.

the Liberal Democrats and their problems with women. Wasn't this a

:19:14.:19:18.

chance to select a woman in a major part? You only have seven female MPs

:19:19.:19:24.

out of 57, not a single Lib Dem woman in the Parliament. Again, why

:19:25.:19:33.

you rather than making a break and bringing someone in onto major

:19:34.:19:38.

positions? My colleagues have concluded that the role I am best

:19:39.:19:44.

qualified to do it, that is why they voted for me. We do only have seven

:19:45.:19:50.

women and that is an issue we need to address. Two of those women are

:19:51.:20:01.

ministers, one is a government whip. We seem to have lost our line to

:20:02.:20:07.

Aberdeen, just as Malcolm Bruce was in full flight defending his

:20:08.:20:12.

position. I'm not sure if we can get the line back, just bear with me for

:20:13.:20:18.

a few seconds to see if we can get it. It looks as if we have lost

:20:19.:20:24.

Malcolm Bruce, I do apologise to Malcolm Bruce and the viewers that

:20:25.:20:27.

we were not able to continue that interview.

:20:28.:20:35.

Fierce winds, torrential rain and a tidal surge have brought more misery

:20:36.:20:38.

to thousands. Official records show that southern England has seen the

:20:39.:20:41.

wettest January since records began in 1767. I remember it well. The

:20:42.:20:44.

Somerset Levels have been hit by weeks of flooding, with little

:20:45.:20:49.

respite from relentless rain. And, the residents of one village on the

:20:50.:20:52.

Levels, Muchelney, has been cut off for almost a month. We sent our Adam

:20:53.:20:58.

out with his wellies and a properly filled out risk assessment form The

:20:59.:21:18.

very wet road to Muchelney. This village of about 100 residents has

:21:19.:21:21.

been cut off for about four weeks, and like the weather vane, it feels

:21:22.:21:29.

a little bit spooky. It came up to here and your front door was there.

:21:30.:21:35.

Anita is just relieved the water stopped here, practically on her

:21:36.:21:40.

doorstep. Now it is the practicalities that are the problem.

:21:41.:21:46.

Driving around for food is quite a hassle. You are foraging. It's not

:21:47.:21:53.

as bad as that but we do have a few bits in the vegetable garden still,

:21:54.:21:57.

and we had some nice apples until the rats ate them but we are not

:21:58.:22:02.

doing too badly on that score. It sounds like the medieval! That's

:22:03.:22:11.

what it feels like. Talking of retro, who knew Somerset still had a

:22:12.:22:19.

Coleman, this is Brian's first delivery since Christmas. Everything

:22:20.:22:25.

has gone old-fashioned. We are now talking to neighbours we might never

:22:26.:22:29.

have seen before or spoken to so we are getting to know more people in

:22:30.:22:35.

the village. She's right, there has been an outbreak of Dunkirk spirit,

:22:36.:22:39.

quite literally. The council and the Fire Brigade have put on this boat

:22:40.:22:46.

service to get people to work and school. The church has become an

:22:47.:22:56.

unofficial flood HQ. This is where people pick up their mail, and this

:22:57.:23:01.

is where the people who run the boat stopped for their tea breaks. It all

:23:02.:23:06.

seems quite jolly, if a bit boring, but it is no fun for the homes and

:23:07.:23:12.

businesses that have been inundated, or for the farmers whose land is

:23:13.:23:18.

underwater, an area the size of Bristol, or for the villages which

:23:19.:23:21.

are less isolated but where the flooding is worse. People like the

:23:22.:23:26.

parish chairman are starting to get angry with how the Government has

:23:27.:23:32.

responded. It was all a bit late. We knew what was going to happen with

:23:33.:23:38.

the amount of rain on the fields and the Government was so slow to

:23:39.:23:42.

react. The county council got the boat going quickly but it was

:23:43.:23:46.

another four weeks nearly before the button was pressed for the major

:23:47.:23:53.

incident. Right on cue, the cavalry arrived in the shape of emergency

:23:54.:23:57.

crews from other parts of the UK. The rumour is that they will bring

:23:58.:24:01.

in a hovercraft but the bad news is that the weather is becoming more

:24:02.:24:07.

grim this weekend. There has been a surge in bookings at the campsite

:24:08.:24:13.

where people have seen the Somerset Levels on holiday and would like to

:24:14.:24:16.

come on holiday, if it ever stops raining. I'm delighted to say we

:24:17.:24:25.

have got the line back to Aberdeen, somebody has put a shilling in the

:24:26.:24:29.

meter. We can go back to Malcolm Bruce. We were talking about the Lib

:24:30.:24:34.

Dem women and your election, I suppose the point some people are

:24:35.:24:40.

making is that your party has as many knights in Parliament as it has

:24:41.:24:48.

women and you are one of them. The good news is that for the five MPs

:24:49.:24:55.

who are standing down, who have had candidates elected in their

:24:56.:25:00.

constituencies so far, all five candidates that have been selected

:25:01.:25:05.

are women. We need to fight hard to get behind those women and get them

:25:06.:25:08.

elected so that we have a much better balanced parliament in the

:25:09.:25:13.

future, but given that we have few women, you really have to pick

:25:14.:25:16.

people appropriate for the job and we have appointed the women as I

:25:17.:25:34.

have said but we need our image to be balanced. How many women

:25:35.:25:41.

candidates will there be come the next election? At the moment, 1 ,

:25:42.:25:48.

five more than we have now, and we haven't finished selection. Where

:25:49.:25:51.

there are men sitting and standing again, that is not likely to change,

:25:52.:25:57.

but where they are standing down we are overwhelmingly choosing women,

:25:58.:26:01.

and in my view good and very able women. What I would want to say to

:26:02.:26:08.

people is that if you want to see the Lib Dems have more women, go to

:26:09.:26:16.

those seats and help us hold them. We are told that only 20% of the 57

:26:17.:26:23.

seats have female candidates and in the unlikely event that you were

:26:24.:26:28.

able to hold onto them all, it still wouldn't be a sea change to have

:26:29.:26:34.

20%. The point is you have to build them up. We are supporting female

:26:35.:26:41.

candidates. These are really good candidates who will make first-class

:26:42.:26:47.

MPs and I certainly believe you will gradually see the Liberal Democrats

:26:48.:26:51.

taking them on. We don't have 3 0 seats that we currently hold like

:26:52.:26:55.

other parties, but what I can tell you is that increasing --

:26:56.:27:02.

increasingly we will have female candidates. One newspaper has said

:27:03.:27:08.

that you will deal with the Chris Rennard fallout quickly and

:27:09.:27:13.

privately, what does that mean? It means I will not be telling you

:27:14.:27:18.

because these things are not helped by comments on the airwaves. I hope

:27:19.:27:22.

it will be possible to have a resolution without people going to

:27:23.:27:26.

court but I don't think it helps anybody for me to comment on any

:27:27.:27:31.

aspect of how this will be done and I'm not prepared to do so. If you

:27:32.:27:36.

are not in full possession of the facts, why did you say you will deal

:27:37.:27:44.

with this privately? I have come into this halfway through, I don't

:27:45.:27:48.

have full possession of the facts, I doubt you do, and we have a process

:27:49.:27:56.

that needs to be followed through. Any comments in public do not help.

:27:57.:28:02.

Isn't it hypocrisy of a high order to hear from a party that is

:28:03.:28:09.

constantly calling for transparency in other institutions but when it

:28:10.:28:14.

comes to your own, you say, I am not going to talk about it. There are

:28:15.:28:19.

all sorts of disputes that happen in the world and often people don't

:28:20.:28:23.

talk about them because talking about them aggravates the

:28:24.:28:27.

situation. I believe you have to deal with them privately and I don't

:28:28.:28:32.

think trial by media in this context is helpful and I don't believe that

:28:33.:28:35.

those who choose to make those comments are making it easier to

:28:36.:28:41.

solve them. There are problems in other walks of life and the Liberal

:28:42.:28:44.

Democrats are not the only ones with these problems. We are trying to

:28:45.:28:49.

change that culture and I think we will do it effectively in our own

:28:50.:28:54.

way. We have a pastoral care officer now and I think that is the right

:28:55.:29:05.

way to do it. Thank you for that. Let's now go back to the story of

:29:06.:29:09.

the flooding in Somerset. We are joined by the leader of the Green

:29:10.:29:17.

party, Natalie Bennett in Millbank. Natalie Bennett, don't the Green

:29:18.:29:22.

party bears some responsibility for these floods? You have sided with

:29:23.:29:30.

the Environment Agency in the decision not to dredge rivers and

:29:31.:29:35.

that is one of the reason why these places have been flooded. Firstly I

:29:36.:29:39.

want to give my sympathy to everyone dealing with these floods. The

:29:40.:29:46.

homeowners, the farmers seeing sodden fields for weeks and weeks.

:29:47.:29:55.

We get that, we all have huge sympathy, particularly because so

:29:56.:29:58.

little seems to be done to help them. What is the answer to my

:29:59.:30:04.

question? I think there is strong evidence that dredging is not the

:30:05.:30:09.

answer. If you think about the flow of the river, where the pinch points

:30:10.:30:16.

are is things like bridges, weirs and towns. If you dredge the river

:30:17.:30:20.

in between those barriers, you just make the water faster to those

:30:21.:30:24.

points. The experts are saying that dredging is not the answer, it may

:30:25.:30:29.

be in particular cases, but you have to look at each river system on its

:30:30.:30:33.

own merits and very often the best way of dealing with this is working

:30:34.:30:37.

out ways to slow the watered down and make sure that people don't

:30:38.:30:40.

suffer unduly while you are doing that. The west of England

:30:41.:30:49.

agricultural Society, which I would venture knows more about the

:30:50.:30:52.

Somerset Levels than either of us, has said that without dredging, this

:30:53.:30:57.

was a disaster waiting to happen. The local drainage boards have been

:30:58.:31:00.

calling for years for dredging to be resumed. The National Farmers' Union

:31:01.:31:06.

has called for it, and the chairman of the West Sussex flood defences

:31:07.:31:10.

has called for more drainage, and he is a drainage engineer by

:31:11.:31:12.

profession. So I don't know where your experts are, but the experts on

:31:13.:31:17.

the ground am not the urban ones in London, seem to think this has not

:31:18.:31:25.

been caused, but made worse by the failure of the Environment Agency to

:31:26.:31:29.

continue to dredge. If you look at the example of the planning and

:31:30.:31:32.

climate change coalition, which is led by the town and country planning

:31:33.:31:37.

Association, who you would not describe as a group of radical

:31:38.:31:40.

greens, these people have said we have to look at how we deal with

:31:41.:31:45.

flooding in the future. But not in Somerset. These are the people

:31:46.:31:48.

currently being flooded, not somebody sitting in a quango office

:31:49.:31:52.

in London. They have asked for this to happen and it hasn't, and they

:31:53.:31:57.

are now flooded in definitely. We have to look at what is happening on

:31:58.:32:02.

a case-by-case basis. If you look at Germany, there are many cases there

:32:03.:32:06.

were, to deal with flooding, many farmers are paid to hold water on

:32:07.:32:10.

their land. Maybe we need to introduce those systems, because we

:32:11.:32:14.

have to protect farmland, but we also have to protect urban areas for

:32:15.:32:20.

safety. We saw a horrible flood in Wales were lines were endangered --

:32:21.:32:28.

where lives were endangered. That is the priority, to protect lives,

:32:29.:32:33.

property and farmland. Lives are endangered at the moment,

:32:34.:32:37.

particularly as this stagnant water turns toxic. And yet we are in a

:32:38.:32:43.

situation, again encouraged by the Greens and the lobbying Environment

:32:44.:32:46.

Agency, it says it does not want to dredge because dredging is

:32:47.:32:49.

expensive, yet it spends millions on a bird sanctuary. That is getting

:32:50.:32:54.

everything totally wrong. The government is getting everything one

:32:55.:32:59.

by cutting on flood defences. It has not cut on a bird sanctuaries. I

:33:00.:33:06.

don't know the details of that. But looking at the broader issue, we

:33:07.:33:14.

have to prepare for climate change. The government has slashed funding

:33:15.:33:17.

to the Environment Agency and has cut back on the number of staff

:33:18.:33:22.

available to deal with it and has removed the requirement on local

:33:23.:33:25.

councils to plan for climate change. These are all gambling the future of

:33:26.:33:31.

our lives and property and the future of our environment. Hasn t

:33:32.:33:34.

the high watermark of greenery now gone well past? You don't come out

:33:35.:33:40.

of the Somerset Levels with any great reputation. The UK government

:33:41.:33:43.

is now going to start fracking as quickly as it can. Brussels is

:33:44.:33:49.

loosening the CO2 obligations for 2030. The President of America is

:33:50.:33:54.

about to give the go-ahead to the keystone pipeline, a totemic issue

:33:55.:33:59.

for American greens, and your party is in a state of civil war in

:34:00.:34:03.

Brighton. It is over, isn't it? Absolutely not. We are seeing large

:34:04.:34:08.

amounts of extreme weather around the world. Any one event is whether,

:34:09.:34:16.

but we are seeing a lot of it and people are recognising that climate

:34:17.:34:19.

change is happening. If we are going to quote international experts, I

:34:20.:34:24.

can quote to you Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, not known as a

:34:25.:34:28.

radical green, and he said after the IPCC report came out that the heat

:34:29.:34:32.

is on and we must act. If you go to Christine Lagarde, head of the

:34:33.:34:35.

International Monetary Fund, again not a radical green, she was asked

:34:36.:34:38.

what kept her awake at night, and she said, we are not doing enough

:34:39.:34:43.

about climate change. So actually, people around the world are looking

:34:44.:34:46.

at what is happening around them are both people on the ground and people

:34:47.:34:50.

in high positions are saying we have to act on climate change. And in the

:34:51.:34:55.

case of Britain, that should absolutely not mean fracking. Sorry

:34:56.:35:01.

to interrupt, but I have evidence that you are planning a little

:35:02.:35:05.

career change. Don't go away. This is what happens when you let Nigel

:35:06.:35:09.

Farage present the weather. One thing leads to another and low and

:35:10.:35:14.

behold, the Sunday Politics now has a new traffic and travel reporter.

:35:15.:35:18.

Let's go back to Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett. Thanks, Andrew It

:35:19.:35:24.

is easy out that, so let's start with our airports. I am pleased to

:35:25.:35:29.

say that Heathrow's third runway, Boris Island and all short-haul

:35:30.:35:35.

flights are, just like our arguments, well grounded. We suggest

:35:36.:35:40.

making or alternative arrangements, like a re-nationalised rail

:35:41.:35:46.

network, although it would be a glaring omission if we did not admit

:35:47.:35:51.

that that plan is currently being delayed by Labour Party foot

:35:52.:35:54.

dragging. Speaking of trains, we are hearing that high-speed two may well

:35:55.:36:00.

be derailing, or at least getting bogged down in political fog. One

:36:01.:36:06.

viewer, Ed Balls, has texted in to say he is completely lost. Thanks

:36:07.:36:12.

for the update, Ed. You are not alone among political commuters

:36:13.:36:16.

Meanwhile, dumped UKIP manifestoes are causing major tailbacks across

:36:17.:36:21.

the South, apparently stretching all the way to Brussels. This does make

:36:22.:36:27.

driving road tricky, but UKIP's MEPs can, of course, just hop on their

:36:28.:36:37.

gravy train. The tree had a roundabout is blocked after reports

:36:38.:36:41.

of a political earthquake. It seems that a green unwound his beard to

:36:42.:36:46.

block a dodgy gas extractor. A motorist who turned out to be the

:36:47.:36:49.

environment minister object into the delay and was told to frack off as

:36:50.:36:55.

furious badgers demanded that he stopped moving the goalposts.

:36:56.:37:02.

Unregulated traffic in the city of London continues unchecked.

:37:03.:37:08.

Pedestrians should try to block bankers with sacks of loot rushing

:37:09.:37:11.

for the payments. But do beware the Lib Dem Exodus that is clogging up

:37:12.:37:18.

the motorways. Although they are in a jam, or is it a fudge, we are

:37:19.:37:24.

happy to make way for them, as, like all refugees, we say they are

:37:25.:37:28.

welcome here in muesli green. That is the travel. Back to you, Andrew.

:37:29.:37:35.

Natalie, I think you make my point. You are now preparing a new career

:37:36.:37:41.

in traffic and travel. Well, I do believe in lifelong education and

:37:42.:37:44.

that was an example of it. We know you have had a tough time today to

:37:45.:37:49.

get to our studio. Thank you for the effort.

:37:50.:37:56.

You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20

:37:57.:37:58.

minutes, He's not easy to miss, yet the big

:37:59.:38:15.

personality that is Eric Pickles is a rare sighting in the North East.

:38:16.:38:22.

We've been on his trail. And could Cumbria be about to get

:38:23.:38:25.

its first elected mayor? Campaigners in Whitehaven hope so. But can they

:38:26.:38:29.

persuade the public? In the studio to pick over a busy

:38:30.:38:33.

political week: The Labour MP for Houghton and Sunderland, Bridget

:38:34.:38:35.

Phillipson and the Conservative who'll be fighting Middlesbrough

:38:36.:38:38.

South at the general election, Will Goodhand.

:38:39.:38:42.

But let's start with the north`south divide, and this week's report by

:38:43.:38:45.

the research organisation Centre for Cities which suggests it's getting

:38:46.:38:50.

wider than ever. Eight out of every ten new jobs that

:38:51.:38:54.

have been created in the private sector between 2010 and 2012 were in

:38:55.:38:59.

London. That is leading to something of a brain drain. With some 6000

:39:00.:39:05.

people leaving the north`east to live in London.

:39:06.:39:15.

Bridget, is any of this surprising? People have been attracted to London

:39:16.:39:20.

for a long time. We don't want to see our brightest and best leave the

:39:21.:39:25.

region. We have great potential and we have seen some success. We need

:39:26.:39:30.

skilled people to bring forward the region and lead us to greater

:39:31.:39:34.

success. It is a great concern. Will, the Government has thought

:39:35.:39:40.

about rebalancing the economy. This report suggests that the economy is

:39:41.:39:46.

getting worse. I can take the example of my own area. In the past

:39:47.:39:54.

year, we have seen 11.8% reduction in the number of people claiming

:39:55.:40:01.

jobseeker's allowance. We have to do more, of course, we have to keep

:40:02.:40:08.

working at it. We have a tease valley city deal. We have the

:40:09.:40:11.

apprentice programme which I see many people... People come and get

:40:12.:40:17.

involved in that. There is more to do. It is no secret that you don't

:40:18.:40:23.

come from the area originally. When you come here, you wonder why people

:40:24.:40:28.

leave or do you think, you know, the bright lights of London, I can see

:40:29.:40:38.

why? I live in Middlesbrough South, there is a huge amount of skill and

:40:39.:40:44.

talent on Teeside. Yes, we need to do more. Yes, we need to get the

:40:45.:40:53.

industries connected. I think there is a typical Labour approach to this

:40:54.:40:58.

which is obviously just to see whether we can spend more? The

:40:59.:41:03.

conservative approach is to ask whether we are spending wisely? How

:41:04.:41:08.

can we empower people to drive things forward themselves? Bridget,

:41:09.:41:19.

Middlesbrough has a low number of businesses created, a falling

:41:20.:41:23.

population. Is that worrying? We have a challenge in Sunderland.

:41:24.:41:31.

Unfortunately, the picture that he is painting is a partial one. In his

:41:32.:41:36.

error, as in mind, we have seen long`term use on a blunt co`op and

:41:37.:41:39.

wages fall. The Government must take action. We are seeing a growing

:41:40.:41:46.

North South divide and it is bad for the UK. We will have to leave that

:41:47.:41:52.

there. Well, the Government has tried to do

:41:53.:41:55.

something to reduce that north`south divide this week with tax breaks for

:41:56.:41:59.

High Street retailers and a potential university enterprise zone

:42:00.:42:01.

in Newcastle. You might have thought that the Local Government Secretary

:42:02.:42:04.

Eric Pickles would have headed north to trumpet that sort of good news.

:42:05.:42:08.

After all he's taken plenty of flak over cuts to council budgets. But

:42:09.:42:12.

you'd be wrong. As Mark Denten discovered, a visit to the North

:42:13.:42:15.

East and Cumbria from Mr Pickles is a rare thing indeed. Gateshead

:42:16.:42:21.

library, still open, but hit by cuts. They used to be council

:42:22.:42:25.

staff, now they are volunteers. Opening hours have been cut. The

:42:26.:42:30.

council leader says cuts that the area has faced make grim reading.

:42:31.:42:35.

The level of cuts have been ?75 million in the last four years.

:42:36.:42:41.

We'll Apple bring have to make 45 million further cuts. `` we will.

:42:42.:42:52.

The Government says it is... In terms of getting access, I wrote in

:42:53.:42:58.

2010. I had to write again in January and I'm still waiting. He is

:42:59.:43:01.

the Secretary of State for local Government and is acting as if he is

:43:02.:43:08.

against it. The Sunday Politics programme in a Freedom of

:43:09.:43:10.

Information request. This is what we asked: Where Eric Pickles has made

:43:11.:43:17.

official visit in England since the coalition was formed? We were told

:43:18.:43:24.

that providing the information would cost an excessive amount of money as

:43:25.:43:29.

it would involve going back over his diary over a period of 3.5 years.

:43:30.:43:34.

But Mr pickles has been a rare sight in the region. That is unlike some

:43:35.:43:43.

of his Government colleagues. We understand Vince Cable has been to

:43:44.:43:47.

the north`east and Cumbria eight times since 2010. Nick Clegg has

:43:48.:43:52.

made ten official visits and the Prime Minister David Cameron has

:43:53.:43:56.

been to the region 12. Eric Pickles, he has made one official visit and

:43:57.:44:03.

that was back in June 2011. While this Pittman is not holding his

:44:04.:44:09.

breath for a sighting `` in man. Does he know where Gateshead is?

:44:10.:44:16.

Does he get out of London? We only have three men now to do the area.

:44:17.:44:25.

The people of Gateshead can see what is happening. They can see the

:44:26.:44:28.

streets aren't being swept on a regular basis. The beans aren't

:44:29.:44:33.

being emptied once a week. The flower beds aren't there. All of

:44:34.:44:41.

this has gone. He must be in denial if he thinks that we can deliver the

:44:42.:44:47.

service that we used to deliver four or five years ago. Maybe the

:44:48.:44:52.

Government is listening. Greg Clark agreed to meet all north`east MPs at

:44:53.:44:57.

Westminster every six weeks. Conservatives say that the Eric

:44:58.:45:00.

Pickles row is about political mischiefmaking. This is a Labour

:45:01.:45:06.

spin. A nice track to remove all blame from them. They have choices

:45:07.:45:11.

to make and they want Eric Pickles to come up. We know that local

:45:12.:45:18.

Government has had to face some horrendous cuts. But get on with it,

:45:19.:45:24.

stop whingeing. We wanted to interview Eric Pickles or one of his

:45:25.:45:28.

assistants but was told that no one is available. They say that

:45:29.:45:34.

ministers at Westminster have what they call an open door policy.

:45:35.:45:45.

What has Eric got against us? I'm not the keeper of Eric Pickles's

:45:46.:45:52.

diary. I am expecting him to make a visit up to my area soon. But that

:45:53.:45:58.

is probably to campaign for you. Actually, no, it isn't to listen to

:45:59.:46:08.

local people. `` it is. I think it is mistaken for the gentleman on the

:46:09.:46:14.

report to refer to him as the anti`local Government secretary. The

:46:15.:46:20.

truth is that he makes an offer to councils that if they keep council

:46:21.:46:23.

tax the same, there is extra cash for them. Local councils, some of

:46:24.:46:31.

them, have gone against that and put it up. But this is not necessarily

:46:32.:46:42.

party political. What I pick up when I talk to people around

:46:43.:46:46.

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland is that people don't talk

:46:47.:46:49.

about being neglected by Eric Pickles, they talk about being

:46:50.:47:01.

neglected by their own counsel. That is a massive concern. People are

:47:02.:47:06.

actually feeling let down by the local councils. You can hardly say

:47:07.:47:13.

that the Government is ignoring us. Given the Prime Minister's visits

:47:14.:47:17.

and the Deputy Prime Minister's visits, they've been here a lot. You

:47:18.:47:22.

only have to look at the cuts to the local councils to understand that it

:47:23.:47:25.

is an issue. I don't understand why Eric Pickles's department cannot

:47:26.:47:31.

provide what is an easy figure to reach and I hope the BBC will appeal

:47:32.:47:35.

that decision. It is ludicrous. I don't know why he does not want to

:47:36.:47:39.

get out around the country and come to the north`east and see the

:47:40.:47:44.

impacts that are being made by his policies. The Prime Minister and

:47:45.:47:48.

Deputy Prime Minister have been here. Does it really matter if he is

:47:49.:47:52.

not talking to the leader of Sunderland Council every other week?

:47:53.:47:59.

I think he should be. He would know that the cuts that are being made to

:48:00.:48:04.

the budget are making very difficult decisions about what can be funded

:48:05.:48:11.

in the future. Actually, money is being redistributed back to affluent

:48:12.:48:16.

and leafy areas in the south and skewed from the North. Surely the

:48:17.:48:25.

MPs can raise that. I was at the meeting with Greg Clark and that was

:48:26.:48:30.

called because north`east MPs wants to meet with a Government minister

:48:31.:48:35.

to make our case. The clerk is not a minister for the North East. Unlike

:48:36.:48:36.

Portsmouth, minister for the North East. Unlike

:48:37.:48:44.

particular challenge. We have the highest unemployment in the country,

:48:45.:48:49.

we have rising levels of unemployment, we need special

:48:50.:48:54.

attention and extra help to lead private sector investment to create

:48:55.:48:59.

jobs. We're not getting that. Before we go into wider argument about

:49:00.:49:04.

that, I want to talk about funding. Will you defend a funding situation

:49:05.:49:07.

where Middlesbrough loses 24% of its spending power and others are seeing

:49:08.:49:15.

it go up? We still have a situation where the most deprived councils are

:49:16.:49:20.

getting ?1000, on average, per dwelling more than the least

:49:21.:49:25.

deprived. The narrative that the Government is neglecting deprived

:49:26.:49:30.

areas is not the case. That gap is closing, isn't it? Will you be

:49:31.:49:34.

telling people in Middlesbrough at the election that they have not

:49:35.:49:39.

fared worse than people in Surrey? The support is still there. Will you

:49:40.:49:43.

tell people they are getting a fair deal in Middlesbrough? The

:49:44.:49:50.

conversations that I have with local people, they feel frustrated with

:49:51.:49:55.

their local councils because you have this situation where any time

:49:56.:50:00.

of austerity, local Government spending is a quarter of all

:50:01.:50:04.

Government spending, inevitably there will be pressure. How do

:50:05.:50:08.

councils respond? Do they raise their game? Councils need to raise

:50:09.:50:14.

their game and small money is being spent here. `` more money. It is not

:50:15.:50:19.

just Labour is saying that. Others recognise it. We think that bias in

:50:20.:50:26.

the funding formula that skews money away from our regions should be

:50:27.:50:30.

ended. That is something we will review. We need a fairer funding

:50:31.:50:33.

settlement for the region. Elected mayors haven't always been a

:50:34.:50:36.

success. In Middlesbrough it's proved relatively popular. But in

:50:37.:50:40.

Hartlepool, voters decided to abandon the experiment and go back

:50:41.:50:43.

to the old`fashioned way of doing things with a council leader and

:50:44.:50:48.

Cabinet. None of that has stopped campaigners in West Cumbria though.

:50:49.:50:51.

They want a high`profile mayor to tackle the area's problems. Emily

:50:52.:50:56.

Unia reports from Whitehaven. This family business was started by

:50:57.:51:03.

this woman's family in 1908. But she is worried about the future of the

:51:04.:51:08.

town. Nobody is busy at the moment. The footfall in Whitehaven has

:51:09.:51:14.

decreased. Carla thinks that the directly elected mayor for the area

:51:15.:51:17.

could make a difference, so she helped to gather nearly 4000

:51:18.:51:22.

signatures calling for a referendum. She argues that a mayor

:51:23.:51:25.

would be more answerable to the public. We have a leader that has

:51:26.:51:31.

not been voted in. If we had an elected mayor, that gives people a

:51:32.:51:35.

choice. That is the most important thing, democracy. We would be

:51:36.:51:41.

allowed to decide that person, that person would be there for four

:51:42.:51:45.

years. If they were no good, we could vote them out. Recent

:51:46.:51:51.

decisions about the cuts have created discontents. Whitehaven's

:51:52.:51:53.

Civic Hall cut because Copeland Council could not afford the running

:51:54.:51:59.

costs. The tourist information Centre has gone and these public

:52:00.:52:03.

toilets are due to be demolished. Other towns have lost amenities. It

:52:04.:52:08.

is fair to say that directly elected mayors have not fired the

:52:09.:52:13.

imagination of voters. Ten cities held a referendum, only one,

:52:14.:52:18.

Bristol, voted yes. Closer to home, Middlesbrough and North Tyneside

:52:19.:52:23.

have a mayor, but Hartlepool scrap the system. On the 22nd of May, what

:52:24.:52:29.

will voters in Copeland say? I would vote yes to this idea. It is

:52:30.:52:35.

probably a good idea. I would vote yes. I have yet to work that one

:52:36.:52:42.

out. I don't know as of yet. And that is maybe the way forward. I

:52:43.:52:50.

think it is a much more democratic process. Potential candidates for

:52:51.:52:56.

mayor have yet to emerge. One well`known local figure has already

:52:57.:53:00.

declined. He doesn't think a mayor will deliver the change people want.

:53:01.:53:05.

It is easy to attack the Council for closing the toilet that if there is

:53:06.:53:09.

genuinely no money, it is not a blame game, there is no money in the

:53:10.:53:17.

country. There is not a magic pot of cash. If you elect `` if you elect a

:53:18.:53:27.

mayor, there will still not be any money.

:53:28.:53:34.

It could be expensive. At this time, when we have had to make budget

:53:35.:53:37.

cuts, that is one of the biggest weaknesses if we go down the route

:53:38.:53:42.

of elected mayor, you are looking at upwards of ?100,000 when we are

:53:43.:53:46.

trying to save money. And we have to save ?1.6 million next year. People

:53:47.:53:53.

living in Copeland will make that decision in May.

:53:54.:53:58.

The local MP for Copeland is Jamie Reed. Does he think it is a good

:53:59.:54:10.

idea. I welcome this. I think the fact that so many people think this

:54:11.:54:14.

has been an interesting idea and happen interest in local Government

:54:15.:54:19.

structures is a welcome development. What could a mayor do that the

:54:20.:54:26.

council is not? Local Government in Cumbria is a mess. We are over

:54:27.:54:31.

governed, we have too many politicians. There is a legitimate

:54:32.:54:36.

question to ask. If the answer is that we do need another politician,

:54:37.:54:41.

is the question right? There are some positive changes that could

:54:42.:54:45.

happen in Copeland, one is a town council for Whitehaven. If we look

:54:46.:54:49.

at the powers of a mayor, where they have been successful in the past,

:54:50.:54:53.

they are in big areas than Copeland. But I don't have a vested interest

:54:54.:55:01.

in either way. You have made the point yourself. If the problem is

:55:02.:55:05.

politics, do we need another politician? Let's get the facts out.

:55:06.:55:13.

Would he or she have a salary or support staff? I don't think it

:55:14.:55:17.

would mean the removal of a Chief Executive structure or the post of

:55:18.:55:20.

council leader or anything like that.

:55:21.:55:30.

Also, town councils, of course do not get paid. These are issues that

:55:31.:55:40.

need to get considered. Copeland MP Jamie Reed there talking

:55:41.:55:44.

to reporter Robin Chrystal. There has been flagging enthusiasm

:55:45.:55:48.

for elected mayors. But there is perhaps an interest there. As you

:55:49.:55:57.

say, it was labour that brought in these powers and I think it is right

:55:58.:56:02.

that people in Copeland want an elected mayor, that is a choice and

:56:03.:56:06.

whatever the people decide is right. Do you think it is more democratic

:56:07.:56:11.

Western Mark I don't have a fixed view. We had a referendum in 2001

:56:12.:56:21.

and we say no and I don't think there is a great appetite to revisit

:56:22.:56:25.

it. If there is, local people can petition for that. It is not

:56:26.:56:32.

something that people raise with me. They are more worried about

:56:33.:56:39.

unemployment and jobs. Look at Middlesbrough, it is almost

:56:40.:56:43.

impossible for one individual to make a transformational difference

:56:44.:56:47.

to an area, isn't it? We had a referendum on it again in September

:56:48.:56:52.

and people voted in favour of the idea of having an elected mayor in

:56:53.:56:57.

Middlesbrough. The alternative perhaps was weighing on their mind,

:56:58.:57:03.

not to be to party political, but otherwise it would be the Labour

:57:04.:57:07.

group leader. Do think the public are enthusiastic about this idea? In

:57:08.:57:14.

Middlesbrough. That is fine. How people choose to have their area

:57:15.:57:20.

governed is entirely up to them. They have been given the choice and

:57:21.:57:26.

that is the main thing. Middlesbrough have gone for it. We

:57:27.:57:29.

will see what happens in May. Now, there's been a major falling

:57:30.:57:33.

out between the Thirsk and Malton MP Anne McIntosh and sections of her

:57:34.:57:36.

constituency party. It all culminated on Friday in an attempt

:57:37.:57:40.

to have her de`selected. Here's Mark with the outcome of

:57:41.:57:44.

that, and the rest of the week's news.

:57:45.:57:52.

Anne McIntosh will not be the Conservative Party's candidate at

:57:53.:57:55.

the next general election following the...

:57:56.:58:02.

And inquiry into the alleged sexual exploitation of women and girls on

:58:03.:58:06.

Tyneside will not be undermined by police cuts according to the Home

:58:07.:58:11.

Secretary Theresa May. She responded to concerns from a Newcastle MP.

:58:12.:58:16.

Will she assure that to me that Northumbria will have the resources

:58:17.:58:21.

it needs to pursue this critical investigation? The Government says

:58:22.:58:25.

it cannot pay for a clean`up at the River Tyne. Newcastle MP Nick Brown

:58:26.:58:32.

says a solution needs to be found. The site to this day causes a

:58:33.:58:37.

significant amount of water pollution in the adjacent River Tyne

:58:38.:58:40.

as well as posing a risk to human health. The Lords have voted for a

:58:41.:58:50.

ban on smoking in cars with children.

:58:51.:58:55.

Let's talk more about smoking in cars. Will, where do you stand on

:58:56.:59:03.

this? Do we need another law? The advertising valuations that have

:59:04.:59:13.

happened `` evaluations, have had some effect. There was evidence that

:59:14.:59:16.

what was being done was starting to be quite effective. Do we need a

:59:17.:59:24.

law? I would go in favour of a law in terms of a free vote. I love my

:59:25.:59:28.

parents dearly and they love me, but I ran the Saturday morning headaches

:59:29.:59:34.

I got from a car full of cigarette smoke. With you want them to be

:59:35.:59:44.

fined? Of course, they wore a seat belt, too, because the law said so.

:59:45.:59:51.

Bridget, how would you vote? I support this. I think this is the

:59:52.:59:56.

next logical step in stopping young people smoking in the first place.

:59:57.:00:02.

One of my colleagues has been at the forefront of pressing for this

:00:03.:00:05.

change and I think it is a welcome step. We know the impact it has on

:00:06.:00:11.

health. Children don't have the choice. Bullets not take up a lot of

:00:12.:00:21.

police time? `` will it not? It is an offence to use a mobile phone,

:00:22.:00:29.

that is enforced. It is about the change in culture that takes place.

:00:30.:00:34.

When smoking was banned in public places, we need to see it coming

:00:35.:00:36.

down. And that's about it from us for this

:00:37.:00:38.

week. Stockton South MP James Wharton may

:00:39.:00:42.

have lost his referendum bill. But he's still got reason to celebrate

:00:43.:00:45.

as winner of the Dods' Rising Star political award ` chosen in a vote

:00:46.:00:49.

of all MPs and members of the House of Lords. , gradually and is. `` con

:00:50.:00:55.

graduations. We always said he'd go far.

:00:56.:00:57.

We're back same time, same place, next Sunday when we'll have a

:00:58.:01:00.

special report looking at what impact the so`called

:01:01.:01:02.

Not a complete denial! Hopefully a Conservative mayor again.

:01:03.:01:12.

Not a good week for David Cameron on the tricky European front last week.

:01:13.:01:19.

President Hollande said he was not interested in major treaty reform

:01:20.:01:24.

for 2017. That is when Mr Cameron hopes to hold his in-out referendum.

:01:25.:01:28.

And the private member's bill to put that referendum on the statute bill

:01:29.:01:33.

was killed by Labour and Lib Dem peers in the Lords. James Wharton

:01:34.:01:36.

was the Tory MP behind the bill and he joins me now. What happens now?

:01:37.:01:45.

It is out of my hands what happens now, because Labour and the Liberal

:01:46.:01:48.

Democrats conspired in the Lords to kill off my bill. One of the options

:01:49.:01:52.

is for another private member to bring a bill forward when they have

:01:53.:01:56.

the next private member's bill at, and we can try again. The prime

:01:57.:01:59.

minister has indicated that he will support that. But whatever happens,

:02:00.:02:05.

it will be in the Conservative manifesto at the next election. Do

:02:06.:02:12.

you accept that cost this is Tory policy and not government policy

:02:13.:02:15.

that the government policy elite macro cannot bring forward a bill?

:02:16.:02:20.

That is the problem. The Liberal Democrats, despite having promised a

:02:21.:02:24.

referendum in their manifesto at the last election, now will not allow

:02:25.:02:26.

government time for a bill to enshrine that in law. That was why I

:02:27.:02:31.

brought it forward as a private member's bill. David Cameron and the

:02:32.:02:34.

Conservative Party through everything behind that. To many

:02:35.:02:39.

people's surprise, we got it through all the House of Commons stages

:02:40.:02:43.

Sadly, to their discredit, Labour and Liberal Democrat peers, doing

:02:44.:02:46.

the bidding of their masters in the Commons, is conspired to kill it. Do

:02:47.:02:52.

you accept that it is Conservative policy, but not government policy,

:02:53.:02:56.

that you could not use the Parliament act to get this through

:02:57.:03:00.

the Lords? That is not the case The Parliament act is clear that if a

:03:01.:03:05.

public bill passes through the House of Commons twice in one

:03:06.:03:08.

Parliamentary period, there is a certain amount of time that has to

:03:09.:03:12.

be between both bills being presented. There are some procedural

:03:13.:03:16.

steps to be overcome, but there is no legal reason why the Parliament

:03:17.:03:20.

act could not come into effect. I was talking about you not having a

:03:21.:03:25.

majority in this case. That remains to be seen. We saw previously that

:03:26.:03:28.

Labour and the Liberal Democrats sent enough people to frustrate its

:03:29.:03:33.

progress to make it as difficult as possible, but not huge numbers to

:03:34.:03:38.

vote against it. On a Friday, huge numbers of MPs do not attend

:03:39.:03:43.

normally. Getting that number might prove difficult. The Parliament act,

:03:44.:03:49.

which is a bit of an atomic bomb in constitutional terms, if that was

:03:50.:03:53.

used, they would turn up to vote against you. Is it not the case that

:03:54.:04:00.

after the countryside Alliance tried to involve the courts in the hunting

:04:01.:04:04.

ban that it was made clear that the Parliament act was not to be used

:04:05.:04:10.

for constitutional issues? I don't think we know how many would turn up

:04:11.:04:13.

and we don't know how they would vote. One of the things that has

:04:14.:04:18.

been revealed as I have gone through the process of getting this bill to

:04:19.:04:20.

get a referendum through the Commons is that there are big splits in the

:04:21.:04:25.

Labour Party. One of the reasons we did not see them turning up in large

:04:26.:04:29.

numbers to stop this bill from happening was that Ed Miliband knew

:04:30.:04:32.

that if he tried to lead his own MPs through the lobbies to block a

:04:33.:04:36.

bill, the only purpose of which is to let Britain decides to give

:04:37.:04:41.

people a say on membership of the union, a lot of his MPs may not have

:04:42.:04:45.

followed him. It is all fantasy politics anyway. The French

:04:46.:04:50.

president has made clear that he has no interest in treaty change this

:04:51.:04:54.

side of 2017. He would need a referendum as well . And he needs

:04:55.:05:00.

that like a hole and had. Merkel is not keen, as she is in coalition

:05:01.:05:05.

with the social Democrats. Without the French or the Germans, it will

:05:06.:05:10.

not happen, end of story. The policy is that we will try to negotiate on

:05:11.:05:16.

getting a better deal. I hear what you are saying, but I don't

:05:17.:05:20.

recognise it as reality. We have a strong bargaining position. But

:05:21.:05:23.

whatever the result of that negotiation, it will be put in an

:05:24.:05:28.

in-out vote to the Britain people. It is time people were allowed to

:05:29.:05:32.

decide. It has been over a generation since we last had a say.

:05:33.:05:36.

David Cameron has committed to delivering that referendum. The

:05:37.:05:39.

Conservative Party will have it in our next manifesto for the election.

:05:40.:05:43.

Whatever happens to my bill or any other of the bill that comes

:05:44.:05:48.

forward. If people want a referendum, the only party that can

:05:49.:05:51.

deliver that in British politics is the Conservatives. Let me bring the

:05:52.:05:58.

panel in. Nick, where is this going? It is clear to me and anyone who

:05:59.:06:02.

follows European politics that there is no appetite for major treaty

:06:03.:06:06.

change in the short run, particularly for the kind of major

:06:07.:06:10.

changes that Vista Cameron says he is going to get, and yet the Tories

:06:11.:06:14.

are talking about Europe again when they should be talking about the

:06:15.:06:18.

economy. And Francois Hollande is looking at 2017, the year we are

:06:19.:06:23.

meant to have this referendum. There will be a French presidential

:06:24.:06:26.

election going on, and Nicolas Sarkozy will be back in play by

:06:27.:06:30.

then. But James has an interesting point, which is that it is down to

:06:31.:06:36.

Angela Merkel. She would be more receptive to David Cameron's ideas

:06:37.:06:41.

of reform than people assume. She has looked over the edge at a Europe

:06:42.:06:46.

without the UK and said, that is not acceptable, and I am willing to pay

:06:47.:06:50.

a price, not any price, but a price to keep the UK in the European

:06:51.:06:56.

Union. And the French, because the UK and France are the only serious

:06:57.:06:59.

military powers in Europe, will eventually come to that position. So

:07:00.:07:02.

there is more support for David Cameron than people assume. The

:07:03.:07:08.

French are also not a strong position in terms of the euro and

:07:09.:07:17.

French economy. The Foreign Office seem a bit more optimistic about

:07:18.:07:27.

it. Of course they are. Douglas Hurd once told me, we are winning the

:07:28.:07:31.

arguments on the single currency. Of course anything from the Foreign

:07:32.:07:34.

Office comes with a health warning, but if David Cameron had won a

:07:35.:07:38.

majority and was determined to renegotiate, he is in a strong

:07:39.:07:43.

position with Merkel. There is a possibility that the French could

:07:44.:07:47.

eventually be talked around. So it is not entirely bleak on that front

:07:48.:07:54.

for Cameron. When do the Tory party managers say, look, stop banging on

:07:55.:07:58.

about Europe again? The economy is going away. We still have an

:07:59.:08:03.

electoral mountain to climb. Let's just talk about that and not be

:08:04.:08:07.

divided. They should have done that some time ago. It is already too

:08:08.:08:13.

late. The Tories need a seven point lead in the polls to get image are

:08:14.:08:19.

tea. The way things are, that would require a huge change from where we

:08:20.:08:23.

are now . It is very unlikely to happen. So all this is happening in

:08:24.:08:29.

some bizarre imaginary space with wonderful rainbows and sunshine But

:08:30.:08:34.

we can detect the beginnings of a shift in the last couple of weeks.

:08:35.:08:42.

If you talk to Tory backbenchers, Douglas Carswell is now saying in

:08:43.:08:47.

public that it is time to stop the fighting. If they are to get even

:08:48.:08:52.

close to winning the election, they can't do it if they are all against

:08:53.:09:00.

each other. I don't think it is an imaginary space. It is likely that

:09:01.:09:04.

David Cameron will have the largest party in the election. If it is a

:09:05.:09:08.

hung parliament and it is the Liberal Democrats and the

:09:09.:09:10.

Conservative Party, David Cameron will save to Nick Clegg we gave you

:09:11.:09:15.

an AV referendum, I am having this referendum. And it will be difficult

:09:16.:09:20.

for Nick to say no. Let me go back to Mr Wharton. You are going to get

:09:21.:09:25.

a referendum in the manifesto. Other than Ken Clarke, everybody wants it.

:09:26.:09:30.

So why don't you just banked that and get behind the leadership

:09:31.:09:33.

Institute causing endless problems and coming across as a Europe

:09:34.:09:38.

accessed, divided party? I am absolutely behind the leadership.

:09:39.:09:44.

David Cameron announced the policy I am trying to bring forward in this

:09:45.:09:47.

bill. It is in line with the speech he gave this time last year. But

:09:48.:09:55.

getting that commitment into law will help to kick-start the

:09:56.:10:00.

negotiation process and mean everyone will know where we stand.

:10:01.:10:05.

But whatever happens, the Conservatives are committed to

:10:06.:10:08.

delivering a referendum. And to address the point that we talk about

:10:09.:10:12.

Europe too much, that is not the case. We have a good message on the

:10:13.:10:17.

economy, on tackling immigration and reforming welfare. There is more to

:10:18.:10:23.

do, but this is also an important part of policy. But at a time when

:10:24.:10:27.

the economic news seems to be turning in your direction, you are

:10:28.:10:33.

talking about the European referendum. Your backbench

:10:34.:10:37.

colleagues are trying to change the Immigration Bill every which way.

:10:38.:10:43.

Dominic Rather is putting in an amendment is and Mr Nigel Mills has

:10:44.:10:48.

been on this programme, putting in amendments that are clearly illegal.

:10:49.:10:52.

How is that helpful? The fact is that we are in a coalition, so there

:10:53.:10:56.

are areas of policy where Conservatives might want to go

:10:57.:10:58.

further and we are not able to do that. In other areas, we are

:10:59.:11:05.

delivering good reforms. But this is not a matter of going further. The

:11:06.:11:12.

mill 's amendment was clearly a contravention of the Treaty of Rome.

:11:13.:11:15.

That is where you get the headlines from. Some of your colleagues have a

:11:16.:11:19.

death wish? Would they rather have a Miliband government if the choice is

:11:20.:11:25.

an impure Cameron one instead? I don't think anyone in their right

:11:26.:11:29.

mind would rather have a Miliband government. Then why are they

:11:30.:11:36.

behaving that way? We have had some disagreements into the leak and

:11:37.:11:40.

debate within the party, but it was talked about on the panel just now.

:11:41.:11:44.

The Conservative Party is behind David Cameron and focused on winning

:11:45.:11:48.

the next election. Europe is one part of that. We have policies in a

:11:49.:11:52.

range of areas, but we are getting back on the right track. Thank you

:11:53.:12:00.

for being patient with us. Is this ghost story going to go

:12:01.:12:05.

somewhere? Mr Laws is talking through surrogates at the moment,

:12:06.:12:08.

but there is a strategy by the Lib Dems make these differential points

:12:09.:12:17.

now. I think it is fantastic coalition sports and entertaining,

:12:18.:12:22.

but in terms of out there, it has almost no traction whatsoever. I

:12:23.:12:25.

don't think any voters know who Baroness Morgan is and it sounds

:12:26.:12:29.

like one but politicians shouting at another bunch of politicians about

:12:30.:12:32.

their ability to give each other jobs. There is a larger point about

:12:33.:12:38.

the way Michael Gove runs his government. He is notoriously a very

:12:39.:12:42.

polite man surrounded by Rottweiler is, his advisers. He has made

:12:43.:12:46.

enemies of a lot of people in the media, and some of that will come

:12:47.:12:51.

back on him in the next 18 months. We shall see if Mr Laws himself

:12:52.:12:54.

sticks his head above the parapet. That is it for this week. The Daily

:12:55.:12:59.

Politics is on throughout the week at midday on BBC Two, except on

:13:00.:13:03.

Wednesdays, when we are on at 11:30am. I will be back next week at

:13:04.:13:08.

the same time. Remember, if it is Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

:13:09.:13:15.

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