13/04/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with political news. Including a debate ahead of the European elections with members of UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

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Aternoon folks, and welcome to the Sunday Politics. As MPs head off for


their Easter break, campaigning for the European elections in six weeks'


time gets underway. In a Sunday Politics special, we'll debate the


issues at stake on May 22nd with senior party figures from the


Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, and UKIP. And as ever


we'll be discussing the week ahead with our panel of top political


In the North East and Cumbrha: commentators.


In the North East and Cumbrha: Labour promises a minister to stand


up for the region. And why one north`east council is


scrapping parking charges for motorists, just as Cumbria


introduces them. newspapers which some claim are


politically slanted and not impartial about informing people of


local services. So all that to come between now and


quarter to four and for the next thirty minutes or so we'll be


debating the European elections Here in the studio we have Syed


Kamall, leader of the Conservatives in the European Parliament, Richard


Howitt, chair of the Labour group of MEPs, Sarah Ludford, deputy leader


of the Lib Dems in Europe, and Patrick O'Flynn, UKIP's director of


communications. Welcome to you all. In a moment, all four will give us


their opening pitch for the elections. A little earlier they


drew lots to decide who'll go first. And that privilege goes to Syed


Before that, though, here's a quick reminder of what all the fuss is


about. The vote to choose members of the


European Parliament takes place on Thursday the 22nd of May. The same


day as local elections are held in England and Northern Ireland. The UK


sends 73 England and Northern Ireland. The UK


sends NTP is to Brussels. And the vote is a form of proportional


representation. In total, there are 751 MEPs from the 28 member states.


What do they do all day? The European Parliament's power has


grown. A vet of the EU commissioners and they can amend, approve or


reject nearly all EU legislation and the EU budget. Some laws MEPs have


been responsible for include price caps on mobile phone chargers,


banking regulation and cover food regulation two -- labelling.


Syed Kamall, you have 30 seconds. Europe cannot go on as it is. Europe


needs to change. And our relationship with Europe needs to


change. Only the Conservatives have a plan to deliver that change and of


the British people and in-out referendum. Labour and the Lib Dems


will not and UKIP simply cannot Only the Conservatives will offer


the three yards, with Conservative MEPs working alongside a


conservative Prime Minister. For, really is and above all a


referendum. Sarah Ludford is next. Your choice is simple. If you think


Britain is better off in Europe vote for the Liberal Democrats. The


Lib Dems are the only party of Ian, fighting to keep Britain in Europe


and in work. There is nothing patriotic about UKIP's desire to


pull-out. That is playing Russian roulette with Britain's economy and


jobs. The Conservatives are flirting with exit and Labour lacks the


courage to speak up. Thought Liberal Democrat on May the 22nd to say in


Europe for jobs and security. Sarah Ludford. Next, Richard Howitt from


Labour. The European elections are about who represents you. They are


not a referendum on a referendum. Labour MEPs believe in putting jobs


and growth first. A guarantee to help young people into work,


reforming energy markets so that bills are brought down for good


Labour believes in reform in Europe, but within. It is David Cameron who


is risking your job and Britain s prosperity because of divisions in


his own party. Labour MEPs put British interests first. Our fourth


opening statement from Patrick O'Flynn. The EU is old hat. It is a


declining regional trade bloc in an era of global trade. It is a


20th-century political project designed to prevent conflict in


Europe that is now reawakening old hostilities. It is an attempt to


force on the European people European this as their primary


collective identity. It has hollowed out British democracy and now we do


not even control our own borders. That is why you should vote UKIP.


That is the opening statements. Let's get on with the debate. Why


should people vote in the selections? If you vote UKIP, we can


deliver an earthquake that will rock the foundations of British politics


and the European political class. We can send a signal to Europe that


Britain has had enough, that Britain wants to retain its nation state


status and regain political power and the ability to forge trading


deals across the world. Britain leading Europe to freedom twice in


the last century through bloodshed. We feel that a UKIP win in those


elections could help Britain set an example to lead European nation


states back to free assembly again. Syed Kamall, isn't it the case that


many Tory voters will vote you clip to keep you honest, to keep your


feet to the fire? Whatever you think of the European Parliament or the


EU, the fact is that the European Parliament as equal power with the


28 governments of the EU. When David Cameron delivered the first cut to


the EU budget, the first ever cut, he needed a strong team of


Conservative MEPs working alongside him. But many of your supporters


will vote for UKIP for the reasons I gave. Many will vote Liberal


Democrat. Not very many. Many of our supporters will vote for us because


we are the only party trying to change the EU and offer reform. We


have offered renegotiation and a referendum. And how would you vote


in such a referendum? We have no idea whether he would vote yes or


no. Let him answer. I will answer that question. If the EU continues


on this road, towards a United States of Europe, and if there was


no change at the time of the referendum, then I would probably


vote to leave. You have no confidence in David Cameron? We


Javier Culson opportunity to read negotiate our relationship with


Europe and the Conservatives are at the forefront of that agenda. David


Cameron have not given a list of demands. He said that if things do


not change, he will probably vote to leave, is that right? If at the time


of the referendum, things had not changed, I would vote to leave and


we have a golden opportunity to perform the agenda. Richard, the


last time the British people had a say on this was over 40 years ago.


Under a Labour government. Which was deeply divided on the issue. And


that was a say on the common market. Today's EU is a very different


animal from the common market. Why can we not, under another Labour


government, have another vote? First of all, we want it to be more than a


free trading area. We make no apologies about that. But in the


elections because this is half of Britain's exports and investment. If


you care about your job and business, you cannot hear from the


party of government that they probably want you to leave because


the CBI, the engineering employees in Federation and the chimp of


commerce, 80% of them say it is necessary to stay in. So why not


give us a vote? When David Cameron says he wants to repatriate social


powers, he means takeaway maternity rights and holidays. If the case is


so strong, why not give us an in-out vote? David Miliband has said that


there will be a referendum if there was a proposal to change powers Why


wait? This is based on a series of reforms. Labour has a set of


reforms. David Cameron is silent about what they would be. That is


because he knows that if he put them forward, they would either be


unsatisfactory to his Eurosceptic backbenchers and he would be out of


a job, or they would be unacceptable to European leaders. Why is your


leader missing in action? Ed Miliband is unable to say even the


positive things that you are saying. He has run away from the argument.


He actually said there would not be a referendum in his time.


For a conservative to say they will have a referendum but not give the


reforms, it is a mistake. Nick Clegg gave Nigel Farage a huge opportunity


in that debate. He said that the Eurosceptic view was to leave


Britain like Billy no mates. I can say that he is the best qualified


person to say that. Sarah Ludford, you have said that lots of people


are going to vote Lib Dem but that is not what the polls are saying.


You are 7% in two polls this morning. Eclectic's decision to


champion Europe has been a disaster for you. You face wet out. We swayed


a lot of people our way with Nick Clegg's debate. Where is the


evidence? We are the only party that is completely united, saying that we


are wanting to stay in. It is essential because formally and jobs


are supported by our trade with the EU. Linked to the EU. We are finding


a lot of moderate conservative voters are actually fed up with the


Tories being split and divided all over the place. Syed Kamall saying


that we might vote in rout. -- in or out. We are consistent. A poll in


London showed that 18% would vote for us. I am delighted about that.


London is not the whole country it may surprise you. We need to move on


to immigration, an important issue. We are a member of the EU and the


rules say that with a few caveats, our fellow EU citizens are free to


come here if they want. Why can we not just accept that? Britain has a


proud record when it comes to immigration. We have been open to


people across the world for centuries. But we welcome people who


come to our country to contribute to pay taxes and two wards are a


society positively. But there are three real concerns that we have to


address. The first one is numbers, and secondly people who may come


here not to work but for benefits, and thirdly, getting a hang of the


numbers. I think it is shameful that only this week the office for


National said that they did not collect sufficient figures under a


Labour government. 350,000 extra people came in and they did not


count the numbers. That is the size of a city like Cardiff. That is


shameful. 350,000 came from all over the place. Do you accept the free


movement of peoples within the EU? I accept and am open to people who


want to come here and contribute. In the same way... Do you accept the


free movement of peoples within the EU? In our manifesto, we have said


it is an issue for reform. We have to make sure that people are coming


here to work and contribute positively, not simply to come here


and take advantage of the system. I will tell you what else is


shameful. What is shameful is David Cameron making a pledge to the


British people on an issue that they really care about, to bring net


immigration down to the tens of thousands a year, having no means of


fulfilling that pledge. And we see now it is back up to 212,000 a year


because we have no volume control and no quality control from


immigration from our neighbours And that is a disgrace. How could UKIP


address that issue? Because we would leave the EU. How? Tell me how. You


do not have a single member of Parliament. He will not get a single


member of Parliament. How are you... ? TUC are hoping to get an


MEP. What do you say? -- he is here today hoping to get an MEP. All of


-- almost 2 million Brits live and work in the rest of the EU. Is that


worth having? The majority are wealthy, retired people. Why do not


object to bilateral agreements with countries with similar living


standards to us. France, the Netherlands, that works fine. But


these three people want Turkey to join the EU, 75 Na Li and people


running our country, only 10% of which... Syed Kamall is Michael year


to say whether they are in favour of free movement for work, not for


benefits... That is what I'm saying. You said you were unable to


be clear. That leaves 2 million British people absolutely unsure as


to whether they would have a right to continue to live in other


countries. It is a two-way street. You are putting those people in a


state of uncertainty. EU migrants have been good for the British


economy and contribute far more than they take out in services and


benefits. One in seven businesses were founded in -- by migrants. And


they cannot just turn up and claim benefits. The coalition government


has legislated to make sure that they cannot claim for three months.


They will not be able to claim for more than six months. Richard


Howitt, Jack Straw said it was A spectacular mistake for Labour to


allow EU migrants from Poland and Hungary to work in the UK from


2004." Why should we trust a party that makes spectacular mistakes and


hasn't apologised for it? We accept it is a mistake and I apologise We


make a firm commitment for new EU states we will put down transitional


controls. When I listen to the Conservatives and UKIP trying to


re-write history, saying immigration was out of control, uncontrolled,


open door, we hear it over and over again. It is not true. Anyone who


was around at the time... Come on, Richard. Hold on, you undercounted


by 350,000. You were letting 2 million in over the years, an


under-counted by 350,000 people you didn't know came in. You should have


tightened the benefit rules. The Conservative MEP today has, in four


years in government in Britain, is trying it blame the previous Labour


Government over the fact they won't count people in or people out.


Yvette Cooper - it is not easy for people to come to the country and


benefits are changing, changing the habitual residence test and we are


going to say that migrants can't come and claim child benefit if


their children are outside the country. Labour a has shown they


have listened to concerns but we say it is a stronger, better, country


because it is diverse and multicultural snoo.d this is fantasy


politics from all the Peters. They are committed to a system with no


volume control and no quality control. You talk about benefits as


if it is only out of work benefits. In work benefits cost a lot of money


for the British taxpayer. Big businesses bring in minimum wage


workers. It is ?5,000 per perschool place What are you going to do? Have


all the pensioners come back to Britain? How will will you fund the


health care? Do you really think Spain and pour tu ghal their current


situation, are going to turn their backs on British property owners


with wealth? -- Portugal. They might not wanting pensioners to use their


health service. Pensioners often come back to Britain to use the


health service. You have shown it represents wealthy people's


interests. A second Conservative Party. Hang on a minute... Blue


collar wages were down. They want it character for the National Health


Service, have cuts that go farther and comprehensive education. This is


a debate on the wider politics between Conservatives and UKIP and


Labour will... You can't both talk time. UKIP - they haven't thought it


through, thousand they will have trade access in the EU, hasn't


thought how they will have trade deals that the Liberal Democrats


support, like with the United States: Would you have a cap on


non-EU immigrants? We are not in favour of a cap. No cap on either.


No. Well it is a target. It is a moving feast, as it were. Would you


have a limit on non-EU limits? We have limits on quality. We have


people who are skilled migrants coming in. Lip its? . By quality,


not by quantity. -- Limits. How do you do that? We need to move


on to foreign affairs. Should we pool more sovereignty to


give the European Union more clout in foreign and defence matters? I'm


Labour's defence and foreign affairs spokesperson. No we don't need to


pull more powers into Europe. As we undertake this live debate there are


guns being fired in Ukraine as we speak. Europe is facing, for the


first time, since the end of the Second World War, Armies crossing


national borders and floatening peace. Doesn't it -- threatening


peace. Doesn't it need to come together of the We don't need more


powers. We need political will. With Vladimir Putin, in my view, he has


-- we have fallen short in the sanctions. But it is Europe, not


Britain. Remember Putin calling Britain little England a small


island with no influence. Labour doesn't agree with that. But if


that's the mindset that allows someone like Vladimir Putin to send


troops across borders threatening peace, it is worrying. And when we


have, in UKIP a party that say they admire Putin and support his


policies, that is no recipe for how Europe should be wrong. I was


waiting for that. Let me ask him. We don't admire Putin as a leader. .


Oh. No we don't. What Nigel Farage said, was he admired him as a


political operator. Testifies Franklin D Roosevelt who said a good


foreign policy was speaking softly but carrying a big stick. The EU


shouts its mouthed off while carrying a matchstick. It is fantasy


that you wiebl it stand up to Putin over the Ukraine. -- that you would


be able to stand up. Do you admire what Putin is doing in the Ukraine?


No. What matters in foreign policy is the outcould. We have a terrible


outcome in the Ukraine, like Syria, and Georgia... What would UKIP do?


What u skip would do, would be to keep our people safe -- UKIP.


How? And not commit our Foreign Office and troops Foreign wars.


Patrick O'Flynn. You brought up this issue of foreign wars. Now Nigel


Farage said in previous debates that Britain should leave the EU because,


"We have had enough of endless foreign wars." Which wars has the EU


taken us into? The EU has ban very important factor in the push towards


trying to get military intervention in Syria, for example. What wars has


the etch U taken us into it -- EU. Fortunately the EU doesn't have its


own army yet. It has wanted to sign up to an expansionist agenda. Did it


want Iraq? No, that was Labour. UKIP opposed Iraq, so did most of the


mainline Europeans. Germany was against Syria and Libya. No EU


policy. We had an Anglo French deal on Syria. A by lateral deal. A


European dimension. No, buy lateral. We have a European Union that wants


to expand ever-more into other people's spheres of influence. If we


are going to stand up to what Putin is do, which obviously Nigel Farage


has no intentions of doing, you have to get your act together on economic


sanctions and diplomatic force and in trade matters, in supporting


eastern European countries. Sayeria, who and whose army? And NATO and


working transatlanticically, is important through NATO. I will come


to you in a moment. Nick Clegg said that the idea of an EU Army was "A


dangerous fantasy that is simply not true ""Why then, are we already


working on etch U-owned and controlled drones -- EU-owned and


the President of the European Parliament has said that the


majority of MEPs want the EU to have "deployable troops." He is not


speaking for me or Liberal Democrats. The EU does not and will


not have an army. Our defence is mainly shaped through NATO. He is


President of the Parliament What we must do is to get equipment which


can operate together. We waste an awful lot of our spending in Europe


because we duplicate equipment. We don't get the bang for our bucks


that we should. It is a useful role for the EU, to get equipment working


together. That doesn't make sense. You say military equipment, a NATO


job. No, the EU, there is a kind of dimension of the EU members of NATO,


in working together on a common quument o o so they can talk to each


other -- on common equipment, so they can talk to each other. The EU


has a role but not an army. So a European defence agency, that helps


our defence industries and those jobs are extremely important and


would be threatened if the Conservatives and UKIP took us out


of Europe but it is 100 years since the start of the fist world war


Remember that Europe was set up to try to get a secure peace within


Europe T succeeded. Now look on Ukraine but also on the southern


borders to the Arab Spring countries in North Africa. It is more


important than ever that we work to keep keep peace and stability on our


borders. Can I say to Syed and the Conservative MEPs. You talk about


the three Rs, I have a fourth, retreat. If you take us out of the


European Union, it will be the worse retreat by Britain since Gallipoli.


Let him answer If he wants answers -- the British Parliament is the


right place with a British Foreign Secretary to decide our foreign


policy. You say that, but can I quote David Cameron, this is germain


to what you are saying, David Cameron said "There is no doubt that


we are more powerful than Washington, Beijing and Delhi,


because we are a powerful player in the European Union." Do you agree?


He is saying that there are times when it comes to international


foreign affairs when you have to cooperate with partners. Often they


are EU partners but often they are not. The problem we have...


Washington have made it very clear that it wants Britain to talk


through Brussels. No, not at all. Talk through the French and


Italians, come on, wake up? Through the EU collective. I'm vice chair of


the EU delegation. I hear it from the American counterparts. They want


the EU to get itself together and not least on Ukraine. Why should our


sovereignty be at the behest of .. ? I want to hear from Syed calm


amplgts the British Parliament is the right place to decide our


foreign poll sinchts sometimes we work with our European partners


sometimes we work with our non-European partners. It is our


choice to pull sovereign trito work together. G, we move on to our foirt


area. We hear a lot in this country about MPs expenses. Snted the real


scan dalt MEPs gravy train. -- isn't the real scandal, the MEPs gravy


train? You all have your snouts The trough? I don't think so. There is


transpancy. The way we use our expenses is online and anyone can


ask to examine those. We have actually voted to reform MEPs'


allowances. We regularly vote but unfortunately the majority in


Parliament don't. Have you voted to cut them? Yes. By how much? About


5%. A 5% We hoped to have economies I never fly except across the


Atlantic. Difficult to do it any other way. I didn't swim.


But we voted for economy flutes We voted for European Parliament policy


of transparency which other groups haven't. UKIP don't turn up to vote.


They don't earn their salaries. Dhoent do anything. They should hand


their salaries and allowances back. You can't ause UKIP of being on the


gravy train and the other that we don't claim our attendance allowance


because our MEPs are not there. Your attendance allowance is if you are


there, you are saying we don't turn up You are in the building and claim


the allowances. You are not an MEP, UKIP are so ashamed of what their


MEPs have done in Brussels, they didn't field a sitting MEP for


today's debate. I think each party decides who it wishes to field. I


have the honour of being the UKIP representative. I would say by going


in the past few weeks, xeeming to me saying - we are sick of the others.


-- people saying to me. : We are quite excited. Can I ask Patrick


O'Flynn. He says he touched a chord and his party is strong in the polls


today, between 18% and 20%. Haven't you also struck a chord with hip


crasscy. Two of your MEPs were jailed for expenses and benefits'


fraud. Two more asked to pay back ?37,000 for using European funds.


Nigel Farage has boosted about getting ?2 million in expenses and


he went on to employ his wife as a secretarial allowance after telling


other members not to People who do wrong and break the law, go to ja. I


have no time. -- go to jail. People who spend money they are not


entitled to should pay it back and that's right. But what UKIP does and


the good UKIP MEPs do, is use the allowances they are given to pursue


the political agenda they put up when elected which is to get Britain


out of this superstate. Instead of using it for parliamentary work


Very interesting. Richard Howitt. We were the first British political


party to have independent audits of our MEPs' expenses, from 1990, way


before the expenses crisis blew up. The Maria Miller scandal has of


course hit David Cameron and the Conservative Party hard as it should


do. But you are right, even in my own region you have UKIP candidates


and councillors who have been charged with fraudulently filling


out election papers and other shot lifting. Another independent inquiry


found he made racist comments. We had a European candidate last week


in Hertfordshire who got a parking ticket from the police and called


the police fascists. These people aren't here.


I'll let you have a quick reply We can bring up parochial cases. Let


him answer. Not so long ago a Liberal Democrat councillor was sent


down for firebombing, I don't say they are a bunch of arsonists, but


now I think, Nick Clegg might have burnt some cactuses, once. I'm glad


you pronounced that word carefully. Syed Kemal, the EU's auditors, they


are strongly critical of the EU s financials saying "Errors permist in


all main spending areas", the financials are poorly managed. It is


a shambles And that's something that all parties agree on. As we agree on


expenses, the British parties are at the forefront of transpancy. Every


year when we vote for the discharge of the budget, the Conservatives


also vote for it but we don't get enough MEPs from other countries to


investigate in favour. The Liberal Democrats have put forward to make


each Finance Minister, George Osborne and his counterpart to sign


a declaration to say all EU money is properly spent in my country.


Funnily enough they don't want to do that but I look forward to you


confirming that George Osborne will sign it. All the time we hear it is


about the money we pay in, about ?150 per family per year. What about


the money that comes back? ?1. billion that comes to Britain's


regions because of being in Europe. I myself helped to negotiate a fund


to help Britain's food banks to ensure so. Poorest and most


destitute people... Isn't it our money that went there first. Can I


tell you the Conservative-led Government have blocked us from


claiming that money. If you want to have the clearest choice at these


European elections, it is between... Tell us why. It affects our rebate.


Tony Blair gave away our rebate He is quite right. Lib Dems fought to


make sure that we apply for money to help with flooding. That is what the


Tories were blocking. If you want the clearest example at the European


elections, the Conservative Party and MEPs blocked the cap on bankers


bonuses, and then blocked a Labour victory to get money for free


banks. We need to move on to the future. It is important and people


are watching. The EU's Justice Minister says that we need to build


a United States of Europe with the commission as its government. Is she


right? Not at all. But the future, if we take the next ten years,


thinks about climate change and the fact that we are not going to hit of


the two degrees target. Europe has led and needs to lead towards


getting a new sustainable world It is the political will to use these


powers, so she is wrong. It is about the threats from abroad. Labour


reforms like getting a commissioner for growth and rebalancing the


budget, reforming the common agricultural policy, all of those


things will need to happen to make Europe more democratic and open But


against the rise of Brazil and China... We do not need more


treaties and powers. We need more action with more Labour MEPs. Sarah


Ludford, you would sign up to that? No. Unless they do not think that


should concentrate on institutional matters. What we need to do is


concentrate on making Europe progrowth and competitive and create


more jobs in a competitive world. We need more trade deals to open up our


exports, we need to streamline the EU. We need less red tape and


Liberal Democrats have done a lot on that. We need better scrutiny of EU


legislation at West Munster because the national parties... More powers


or less for the EU government? In some areas, I would like to see it


slimmed down. Including, I am not sure whether the EU should be


funding food banks. I think that is a national responsibility. Dearie


me. The EU have to concentrate on the economy and climate change. This


is the coalition talking. If we want to fritter away political capital on


things which are interfering in national matters, then we do not


have the support to tackle those big challenges. Would you still want to


join the Euro one-day? Now is not a good idea. We wanted the Eurozone to


still be sound, which is why... Did not ask you that. Do you want to


join the Euro one-day? If it is a success and it did the economy. Now


is not the time but in principle, the idea of a single currency has


advantages. That was a yes. We are not ruling it out for ever but not


in the foreseeable future. It is not on the horizon. What would our


relationship be with Europe in the future if UKIP got its way and we


left? We would be trading partners with Europe and we would seek


partnership in specific serious I'd tell you what, can I just say..


Would we be Norway? We would be stronger than Norway because we are


the biggest export market in the Eurozone. We can negotiate a bespoke


trading agreement reflecting our enormous importance. Not on


services, which make up 80% of the economy. We are the biggest export


market in the Eurozone. Our biggest exports are services and they would


have to agree to free trade and services. They still have not. Can I


read you something? Let me read you something. There would be a free


trade agreement in place the day after our exit. Germany would demand


no less. Who said that? Not somebody from UKIP, but Digby Jones. Mr


business. He is talking about goods, not services. Norway has that


and they have no say. You would have to accept the EU rules without any


say. No MEPs are commissioners. Let me give you another. Enough. One is


enough. Syed Kamall, is it not looking forward pretty much Mission:


Impossible for Mr Cameron to get anything like the repatriations of


powers that would satisfy your irreconcilables? My father was a bus


driver in the 50s and one of the reasons I am here today is because


he told me that you can achieve anything if you work hard. He said


to me, do not listen to the doubters. When people tell you that


something cannot be done, it is a sign of their limitations, not


yours. They said that we could not pull Britain out of the bailout


mechanism but we did it. He said we could not be to a -- veto European


treaty and we did that. They said we would never cut the budget and we


did that. The first ever. But overall, we are paying more into the


European budget. And they are not sticking to it. More, not less. They


say that we cannot achieve reform but we have achieved reform and we


are at the forefront of that. Science's father came to Britain


because Britain was open and looking outward. What the Conservatives now


have, with leaderless Cameron, is an inward looking attitude. They are


allowing the rise of UKIP. They are putting so much at risk. People


should vote Labour. We are going to have to stop now. No point talking


because we are about to finish. I think you all for a spirited debate.


I'm sure Nigel Fries and Mr Clegg will have learned a lot about how to


debate. -- Nigel Farage. It's just gone 3pm, and you're


watching the Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who


??NEWINE Hello and welcome to your Scotland. Coming up here in twenty


??NEWINE Hello and welcome to your local part of the show, our final


one before an Easter break. This week ` Cumbria's introducing them,


Northumberland is scrapping them, what are they? Parking charges, of


course. But which council h`s got it right? Here in the studio whth me


are the Newcastle Labour MP Chi Onwurah, and North Tyneside


Conservative Judith Wallace. And a little later we'll be meeting the


teenagers at school in Berwhck who've got a vote on Scottish


Independence. But we start with the news that the


North East is to get its own regional minister, and the North


West, too. But only if Labotr wins the General Election. Ed Miliband


made the promise this week `s part of a package of measures whhch he


says will give towns and cities like Sunderland, Carlisle and


Middlesbrough more power to run their own affairs.


Newcastle MP Nick Brown had the job of Minister for the North E`st in


the last Labour Government. He said it was a chance to influencd


decisions at the heart of power Far and away, the most important


thing that I was able to contribute was to be the region's advocate


within Government, not making requests of them from the ottside,


but being on the inside. It was part of the decision`making procdss.


Scotland and Wales have that institutionalised, and I thhnk it is


important for a region like the North East that has problems of its


own to have the same thing. Chi Onwurah, you didn't hear it


there, but he ruled himself out of doing it again, do you fancx it I


think it is a great thing for the North East and I think it whll be a


great role and given the situation we are likely to be in after the


next election, we know we are spending 500 times more on transport


in London, for example, than we are in Newcastle. We know we ard


spending more in the arts and other infrastructure in the South East


than here in the North East. Having someone who is in Government, at the


heart, able to speak up for the region and make sure that wd get the


resources that we need, and also that our businesses are recognised,


as well. It is not all about resources, it is about championing


us as an investment area. All of that, it would be a great job. OK,


but every region is going to get one of his ministers. `` these


ministers. Including the Sotth East, so it does not mean we will get


special treatment, does it? I don't think the North East wants special


treatment... It sounds like you did there. It's not special... We're


being badly treated now as we are not getting a fair share of


resources. 500 times more on transport in the South East. The


North East want its voice loud and proud in the centre of Westlinster.


You notice that what the Tories have done, or what the Coalition


Government has done, is to `ppoint a minister for Portsmouth bec`use


Portsmouth has had the terrhble closures on the docks, but for


nowhere else. I think the North East and the other regions deserve to


have their voice heard. This is about devolution of power to the


regions. You shake your head, is it a good idea to have somebodx at the


heart of Government? There `re not many northern ministers in the


Coalition Government. I think this new policy announced by Ed Liliband


is a very good illustration of the differences between the Labour


approach and the Conservative approach. The Conservative `pproach


is increasing prosperity for all of us and is to encourage business


From business growth, we will all benefit. Businesses taking on more


staff, businesses investing in training. Businesses taking on more


premises and all that stuff. Can a minister not shout about th`t? No, I


don't think so. I think this should be business lead.


Ed Miliband, what he is doing is addressing a problem that hd was


partly to blame for. He is trying to answer it with yesterday 's


solutions. The Region Development Agency specifically tasked with


trying to even out divisions between North and South and it faildd


miserably. The Conservatives have encouraged business and that is


where growth comes from. He is proposing ?20 billion to be passed


on to town halls and authorhties in the regions. That would surdly be


welcomed. I think it's bettdr to increase... Instead of incrdasing


taxes, it is better to encotrage business, because that is where the


growth comes from. The Government has been very practical abott this.


What they have done is work with business to remove regulations, to


lower taxes. For example, jtst this week we have seen the introduction


of a ?2000 saving for emploxers in national insurance. Words are cheap,


that is the other problem. The Government has promised this, but


not delivered. By saying we have a Regional Minister, that is `


promise, a commitment to how we will make that delivery. Politichans have


made plenty of commitments, but carry on. This is important, but the


fact is that the inward invdstment in the Business Department, they can


meet all their targets by staying within the M25. It is not strprising


that they don't. They should champion business in the North, as


Nick Brown did. To champion business, we need a Regional


Minister and we also need a strong voice. Not at all, you champion


business by working with businesses to see how you can encouragd them,


how you can provide the right conditions. They don't do that in


Whitehall. I think it is not true. We have had the red tape


challenges. 800 regulations being scrapped, a further 3000 re`dy to


go. Just recently, the wastd transfer notices, that was 23


million bits of paper every year to be produced and to be stored and it


has been scrapped ` now a shmplified online system. It makes bushness


more profitable. Very briefly. Businesses need investment `nd


support, deregulation is grdat, but to get businesses going we need to


have the banks lending and people being championed.


OK. And a Regional Minister does not solve that. We won't agree on that.


Now, councils are up against it we know that, with millions of pounds


of savings to be made. So it's perhaps no surprise that in Cumbria


the County Council has decided to introduce on`street car parking


charges. It's unpopular, but it s an attempt to raise vital cash to keep


services running. A week in and it is already proving


a popular policy. I was elated, I did not know it was


free, so went to put the money in and I saw the cover was on. Really


good. Wonderful. Very welcole. I hope it attracts visitors. We have


only just discovered it tod`y. We came from Liverpool yesterd`y, so we


were delighted. Local traders are hoping it will boost business.


Retail is very difficult at the moment. We need more people. We have


to wait and see ` see what sort of results we get. Free parking will


cost the County Council mord than ?2 million. It has not been rolled out


everywhere. Six parish councils are going to carry on charging `s they


say it helps with traffic management. The County Council says


free parking will bring bendfits. We have looked at the circumst`nces in


our county, Northumberland, and we think that this may be a solution


for businesses through the recession, as well as maint`ining


viable High Streets for the residents to use. I hope it works.


If not, we will go to the drawing board. Over the border in Ctmbria,


the tide is turning the othdr way. After years of free on`stredt


parking, the county council's bringing in charges. Due to the


austerity measures, the budget cuts, unprecedented cuts that councils are


facing, we are just hoping to recover costs, not to make loney,


we're just recovering costs. The changes aren't welcome. Not


impressed. As a businessman in the town, I have a business down the


street, it is just trying to get more money out of the gener`l


public. I think it will put people off coming in. If you just need to


nip in and nip to the bank, you will think twice. The arguments for and


against charging for parking seemed compelling, whether it is town


centre recovery or council budget balancing. In a year's time, Cumbria


or Northumberland could be rueing their decision.


Cutting parking charges, elhminating them, is this something you have


considered? Is it something that should be considered? When the


Conservatives were in chargd, we introduced two hours of fred


parking. We felt that was a welcome contribution to encouraging people


to come into the town to have a look around and have a coughing. I think


that is important. As counchls are now looking at other measurds and


Northumberland is an interesting example, I think the situathon


should be reviewed. Having worked in small businesses, I know how


important it is. If you havd free parking, that is often raisdd. I


think it is concerning, but a suggestion that was suggestdd at the


last council meeting that wd should follow Northumberland's lead was


treated with derision. Councils don't have the money. The rdason


that grants are being produced is that the Government is trying to


sort out the financial mess that the Labour left us. So councils cannot


do anything about it. SUNY to manage your resources better. We h`ve


introduced share services whth Northumberland. `` you need to.


Could you see this happening in Newcastle? Just to say that the


Northern councils are being cut disproportionately in comparison


with ones in the South. But I think it is important is to get the


balance right. Alive after five initiative is all about encouraging


people into the city at night to shop, to increase the econoly. But


you are competing with the Letro Centre. That is right. And Newcastle


has other attractions, as wdll, and it has Eldon Square which h`s the


highest football in the country outside London. It is important to


get the balance right. Is the balance right at the moment? I get a


lot of complaints from constituents about parking, particularly parking


at the weekend, whether charges remain the same. I think it is


important is to keep the situation under review. I will be raising this


as an issue with the council. But I think we do have the balancd more or


less right, I hope we can dhscuss ways going forward, not with the


pressure... Not because of cost saving or because we don't have the


money, but because it is important for the local economy and it is


important for encouraging ptblic transport. Now, campaigning has


begun for the European elections in May, and first out of the blocks


this week were the Liberal Democrats. Their party preshdent and


Cumbrian MP Tim Farron was hn Newcastle on Wednesday to l`unch the


campaign. But perhaps their keenness to get out there might be connected


with the struggle they might have to retain their existing seat hn the


North East. I put it to Tim Farron that this was all about dam`ge


limitation. They are a funny thing this time.


The European elections, the first time in living memory they `re about


Europe and the choice the pdople have is very clear. UKIP, for all


that I think they are wrong and risking the 150,000 jobs in the


North East that depend on Etrope, nevertheless they have a cldar


position. If you want to le`ve the European Union, you vote UKHP. If


however you think those jobs are worth fighting for, and Britain s


role in the world is worth fighting for, and the peace and security is


worth fighting for, there's only one party that is party of in. This is a


two horse race in many ways` if you vote Labour or Tory, your vote will


be wasted. You would like to think that, but the polls suggest that


most people don't agree with you and they won't vote Liberal Democrat. We


saw the polls after the Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage contest, and I


thought our guy won, but thd majority of people felt that they


supported the other guy. We know that we have picked the unpopular


argument in this contest. That is your problem, isn't it? People are


sceptical. People are hostile to it. Correct. I think people are


undecided about the European Union and whether our place is in it. But


others think, hang about, the EU is not perfect, there is a lot wrong


with it, but the world outshde is dangerous and not least dangerous


for our jobs here in the North of England. So Nick showed real bravery


by taking the unpopular sidd of the argument and nevertheless one in


three people agree with Nick on that issue and that is all we nedd to


retain our seats. We will sde if you are right about voters' intdntions,


you know that a lot of your colleagues have lost their seats,


they have lost their seats hn Newcastle. How long can that keep


happening and you can justify being in coalition? We were at Grdy's


Monument, celebrating a gre`t Liberal Prime Minister. In 0900 it


was the last time that therd was a Liberal Democrat midterm, so we know


we knew were in Government, it's a hard thing to do to defend council


seat up and down the countrx. Here in Newcastle, we have disappointing


results in 2011, good results in 2012. There is clear progress. We're


expecting to defend what we've got, to begin and my confidence


prediction is that before this decade is out, the Liberal Democrats


will regain control of Newc`stle City Council. There is a cldar


message across the North East, slightly different to the Etropean


elections, there is an uneldcted monolith that controls peoples


lives, it is not Europe, is the Labour Party.


Cumbrian MP Tim Farron. And we'll be speaking to European election


candidates from all the main parties on the programme next month.


Now, staying with voting and when Scotland goes to the polls hn


September to decide whether to go independent, 16 and 17`year`olds


will for the first time be `ble to cast a vote.


And that means the referendtm is a hot topic in school classroom on the


Borders where some teenage pupils will be voting, while friends living


in England have no say. Davhd Rhodes reports.


800 pupils go to the school, the majority live in England. A small


number cross every day. That means that some 16 and 17`year`olds here


will make history in September by casting a vote in the Scotthsh


independence referendum. Yasmin lives in Coldstream and is one of


those having her say on Scotland's future. I will probably be voting no


because of the fact that I don't think that the country has dnough


information. Information on what they plan to do if they do get


independence. Alanis, who is also 17, lives in Berwick. Her f`mily


comes from Glasgow, but livhng in England means she does not get a


vote. About half of us do, `nd half of us don't. It makes is


frustrating, because it will have as much of an impact on us as them


Will giving 16 and 17`year`olds a vote in the referendum encotrage


teenagers to get more involved in politics? I think the reason why


many young people don't havd that much interest in politics or who is


in charge of them, basicallx, is because of the fact that parties do


not reach out to us young pdople. The Government has no plans to give


under 18s the vote in next xear s general election. If a future


Government took that step, the headteacher here is not convinced


there will be much impact. H think there is a tendency for young people


to be very influenced by thdir parents and their parents'


politics. As people get olddr, they are influenced by a much grdater


collection of ideas. So if the voting age was lowered, you don t


think it would make a difference? I think there is a danger it just


becomes an extra vote for their parentss. Whatever the outcome, one


thing is certain, Yasmin and teenagers like her will plax their


role in deciding whether a 300`year`old political union should


be maintained. Scotland has given its 16`ydar`olds


the chance to vote, should we? Absolutely. If we are in power, we


would give 16 and 17`year`olds the right to vote. I was in a school in


my constituency on Friday t`lking to 16 and 17 and 18`year`olds, and they


are looking at complex formtlas studying history and doing lany


challenging topics. They can pay taxes, they can work, so thdy


deserve, I think, they have good articulate voices, and they deserve


the right to express them. @lso if it is part of school would heighten


citizenship training, it is an opportunity to show the importance


of voting. Do you agree or other concerns about whether they are


mature enough? My personal view is that it is too young. You c`nnot buy


cigarettes or alcohol, I thhnk it is too young. But what is important is


that we do explain carefullx to school students how local


institutions work. How Parlhament works. I think it is a great pity


that there are not groups of young socialists and Young Conservatives


when I was young. There may be if you gave them the vote. We did not


have the vote and we had th`t. It is important for children to gdt


involved in debating and thhngs like that. A lot of petitions ard only


entered by people in the independent sector. `` competitions. It is an


opportunity to get people to stand up for their views and incrdase


their confidence. Giving thd vote is one thing, but a lot would say that


politicians don't listen to young people. You are right there. Having


the vote is one way of making sure that politicians listen to what the


voters are saying. But it is true and I agree that politicians also


need to engage more with yotng people on the issues that mdan


something to young people. Where I don't agree is that young pdople


cannot smoke or buy alcohol, that is dangerous, those are harmful, but


democracy is not harmful, it is empowering, liberating and so giving


them the voice to ensure th`t they get the attention of politicians


should empower young people. And maybe renew our democracy which has


many issues with it at the loment. Given that young people with the


vote do not have a particul`rly high turnout, I don't think how xou will


improve that by lowering thd age to 16.


Now, for a look at the rest of the week's news and of all the lany cuts


councils have made, shutting care homes must be among the most


contentious, especially for the elderly residents and their


families. It's an issue which has come up again this week in County


Durham. Here's more on that, and the rest of the week's news in 60


seconds. The new look seafront at Whhtley Bay


has been opened by an MP. It was paid for in part by the


Government's coastal communhties fund. Durham Council is to close its


five remaining care homes, ht says they will cost more than ?4 million


to renovate. The MP for South Shields has challenged the Prime


Minister on the right of a disabled constituent. You'll my constituent


suffers from MEF has been w`iting over nine months for her personal


independence payments. She now has to borrow from her 84`year`old


mother to get by. Why does the Prime Minister think this is acceptable?


Or delays in these payments are not acceptable and we have to m`ke sure


that benefits are paid on thme. Finally, ?57 million, that hs how


much North East firms are gdtting in the latest round of the govdrnor


to's growth fund, more than any other region in the country.


And, finally, you can rest dasy this afternoon. The leader of thd SNP


Alex Salmond has ruled out `ny intention to annexe Cumbria and


Northumberland. The question of Scotland's territorial ambitions was


raised by a reporter during a Wall Street Journal press conferdnce in


New York. There are some northern England


counties that don't feel a lot of love from London. Places like


Cumbria and Northumberland. Would you take them into Scotland? We have


gone from fragmentation to expansion. Actually, the botndaries


of Scotland and England which were disputed in the middle ages are


actually long`standing boundaries just about on her. `` the most. I


have no territorial demands So the invasion is off, that's a


relief. Which means we can safely go off on our Easter break. We'll


return here on BBC One on M`y fourth. I'll still be standhng guard


though so don't forget I'm on Twitter if you want to keep up with


what's going on back now to Andrew for the rest of the show.


risk. We have run out of time. - particular candidates. Back to you,


Andrew. The sun's out, Ed Balls has run the


London Marathon, and MPs leave Westminster for their Easter break.


Let's discuss what's coming up in the Week Ahead.


We will get more of what we have just seen. Let's look back on the


debate. What did we learn from the argument is? That it is going to


bore and irritate whole lot of people, this election campaign. Four


parties shouting at each other about things that most people do not know


much about. They know very little about how the European Parliament


works, what an MEP is supposed to do. A lot of heat and not a lot of


light. I've updated well, all of them, but the net effect is not


going to encourage people to go out and vote and not many do. One thing


that struck me was that on Europe, the Labour and Lib Dem positions are


not that far apart. They are pretty much the same. And yet the knocks


lots of each other. I suppose they feel that they had to do that


because that is the format. I'd agree with Polly. Their word UKIP


and the Tories to attack two we try to make it exciting, and we know the


issues are important. But people out there have not heard of these


individuals. It is not very exciting. That is worrying because


these are huge national questions for us. We need to find a way of


making it more fun. People may not know these MEPs, they may not know


the detail of the debate, but it is an issue on which people have strong


opinions. It is a visceral thing for many people. Especially on the


immigration issue. The debate took off and became more vociferous at


that point. To a large extent, you wonder whether not only this


European election but the eventual referendum will be a referendum on


the issue of immigration and free movement. If we did not learn much


from the argument, the thing we did learn is that the structure of these


televised debate influences the outcome. One of the reasons that


Nigel Farage did well in the debate is that in a two-man debate, each


man has as good a chance as the other. If it is four people, one man


can be ganged up on. Patrick O'Flynn did well for a man who is not an


elected politician yet. At times, 40 came under attack and did not hold


the line as well as you would expect. Does that create a perverse


incentive for the main parties to agree to a four way debate before


the general election? I do not think the David Cameron has nearly as much


to worry about from a televised debate in the run-up to the


elections than his spin doctors believe. When you put him up against


Ed Miliband, and we have not actually seen Ed Miliband in that


format, I think he will come off all right. This is an election which the


polls would have us believe that the battle for first place is between


UKIP and labour. It certainly is. Obviously, it is neck and neck and


we will not know until we are closer. And it matters a lot to both


of them. If Mr Miliband does not come first, that is not good news


for the main opposition at this stage. Except to some extent all of


the people will put it to one side and say that this is a bizarre


election. A plague on both your houses, let's vote UKIP. It is not


clear how much that translates into the next election. It is not too


disastrous for Labour. It would be better if they came first. If Mr


Miliband comes first, not a problem, but it becomes second and UKIP soars


away, what are the consequences I think there is a widespread


expectation already at Westminster that UKIP is very likely to come


first. If Ed Miliband fails to come first, there will not be a great


deal of shock in the West Mr village. Else think what is


remarkable about Ed Miliband is that despite consistently poor personal


leadership approval ratings, the overall Labour poll is consistently


very high. We have seen that budget blip, it seems to have taken us back


to where we were before. Leadership is not everything. Mrs Thatcher was


miles behind James Callaghan but in the end, it was the party politics


that mattered more. If Mr Cameron comes third and the Tories come


third, maybe a poor third, is it headless chicken time on the Tory


backbenchers? It has often been said that the Tory Party has two modes,


complacency and panic. You will see them shift into panic mode. By June,


I think. Many of the stories in the sun will be about David Cameron s


personal leadership and his grip on the party. There will be pressure on


conference by the time that comes around. It is a natural consequence


of being the incumbent party. The Lib Dems are 7% in two of the polls


today. It was widely thought that in the first and second debates, Nigel


Farage won both. In retrospect, was the challenge strategy a disaster


for Mr Clegg? I do not think it was because he had nothing to lose. But


he is lower in the polls than when he started. He has not lost a great


deal. The polls were quite often that low. I think it was a good


thing to do. It raised his profile. It made him the leading party in.


That may be a difficult place to be. That is how you end up with 7%


in the polls. The reason he is fighting with Labour is that he


knows very well that all he has to do is to get his votes back that


have gone to Labour and labour have to fight hard to make sure that they


do not go back. Every party looks to where it is going to get it


support. If it is a wipe-out for the Lib Dems, and they lose all their


MEPs, not saying that is going to happen but you could not rule it out


for, are we back in Nick Clegg leadership crisis territory? One of


the astonishing things about this Parliament is the relative absence


of leadership speculation about Nick Clegg will stop at the first couple


of years, his position seems tricky, but maybe that is because


Chris Hughton is gone and he was the only plausible candidate. This cable


is not getting any younger, to put it delicately. That was not delegate


at all! And we have reached a desperate stage where Danny


Alexander is talked about as a candidate. That was not delegate


either! Maybe he is holding onto power the lack of alternatives. If


they ended up with no MEPs at all, and a less than double digits


score... With Danny Alexander, it is clear that Scotland, one way or


another, will be moving further away. You could not have the leader


of a national party be a Scot. But he does not have the following in


the party. I'm glad you're liberal attitudes to immigration extends to


me. I would not have been here for 43 years. There will be leadership


talk after that holes. It has been bubbling in the background, but you


have to talk to the grass roots activists. -- after the polls. The


grass roots activists are despairing. If things are bad, they


lose their network of activists who they need to fight the next


election. I think you mean, not that you could have a Scot, but that it


would be more difficult to have a Scot from a Scottish constituency.


Absolutely. I think a Scottish constituency, so many things will be


different. Or to hold the great offices of state. Let's come onto


the Crown Prosecution Service is. It is an English institution. Where


does the CPS and after losing yet another high-profile case come this


time Nigel Evans? They had nine counts against him and they did not


win on one. It is obviously very embarrassing. They will have a bit


of explain to do but I guess the threshold for bringing these cases


is high. There has to be considered at least a 50-50 chance of actually


winning the case. We do not know what went on behind the scenes when


they weighed up whether to bring the case. Nigel Evans makes an


interesting point about whether it is legitimate to bundle together a


number of stand-alone relatively weak accusations, and when you put


them together to militantly, the CPS uses that to make a case. Is that a


legitimate thing to do? He was a high-profile figure, not just


because he was a Tory MP. He was the deputy speaker of the House. And yet


the CPS are certainly the police, to begin with they did not have that


many people to testify against him. And then they trawled for more. You


wonder if they would have done that if it was not for the fact that he


was a public figure. The trouble is, they are dammed if they do and


dammed if they do not. Particularly with politicians and the reputation


they have these days, if there is any suggestion that they let


somebody off because they are a high-profile politician, and they


are saying that about Cyril Smith, that is the accusation. A strange


story. Most unlikely and very bizarre. But that is the accusation.


If there is any with of that, I can see why the CPS says, we better let


the courts try this one. Also, they are in trouble overrated cases


because their success rate on bringing people to court for rape is


so thin. When it looked as if his accusers were not really accusing


him, it looks quite weak. You cannot help but feeling that they are


falling over backwards now in high-profile cases because of their


abject and total failure over Jimmy Savile. I think this is exactly the


kind of case that happens when you are trying to make a point or redeem


a reputation or change a culture. All of these big things. As opposed


to what criminal justice is supposed to be about, which is specific


crimes and specific evidence matching those crimes. The CPS has


no copper a fleet joined in this list of public and situations that


has taken a fall over the past five or six years. We have had


Parliament, the newspapers, the police will stop I think this is as


bad a humiliation as any of those because it is Innocent people


suffering. You are the most recent, being a lobby correspondent in


Westminster, and we now see on Channel 4 News that basically,


Westminster is twinned with Sodom and Gomorrah. Yes. I know. Is this


true? It is all rather the red. I do not move in those circles. And you


were in the lobby at one stage? Not that long ago. Is it right. Is it


right to be twinned with Sodom and Gomorrah? I'll ask him for his


opinion. Being technically a member of the lobby, I can observe some of


this stuff. And what surprises me is that journalists, when the complain


about Sodom and Gomorrah, write themselves out of it. It is as if it


is just MPs. We are unalloyed and unvarnished. Actually, the fact is


it has always been a bit like Sodom and tomorrow. Of course it has.


Think about how we have had wave after wave of stories and scandals.


But less of it recently. It was I think that attitudes have slightly


changed. I'll also think that if you get 650 people in any organisation


and you put that much scrutiny on them, you will find an awful lot


going on in most people's officers of a scurrilous nature. Even in the


BBC In 2013, the public voted for


a portrait of At times he's interesting,


at times he's very funny,


Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew chairs a special debate ahead of the European elections with representatives from UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

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