18/05/2014 Sunday Politics North East and Cumbria


18/05/2014

Andrew Neil and Richard Moss with the latest political news. Ahead of the local and European elections, Andrew Neil talks to Sajid Javid, Simon Hughes and Hilary Benn.


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Good morning. Welcome to The Sunday Politics. Just four days to go until

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election day, and be warned, coming to a street near you, a party leader

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on a charm offensive. They all want your vote in the European elections

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on Thursday, and in the local elections across England, too. Polls

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are all over the place this morning. Your vote could make a

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difference. This man is 11 points ahead in one poll, he has promised

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an earthquake on Thursday, but what then? Our Adam has braved the

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In the North East and Cumbria: How campaign trail, he has been asking

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In the North East and Cumbria: How will council cuts affect the outcome

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of this week's local elections? And disabled people in the region give

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evidence to a this week, a last look at the euro

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elections, and the 50th anniversary of the first elections to London's

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32 boroughs. I am in the studio, with those who think they have got

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all the big answers. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh. So, it

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is the European elections for everybody on Thursday, local

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elections for England and a bit of Northern Ireland as well. They are

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the last elections before the big one, the 2015 general election. Some

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say that these European and local elections will not be much of a

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pointer to how the big one goes. But that will not stop political

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commentators and party gurus from examining them closely. So, what is

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at stake? Thursday May the 22nd is local elections and European

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Parliament elections. These local results should be known

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by Friday. In the European elections, all 751 members of the

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European Parliament will be elected across Europe. 73 MEPs will be let

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it by people living in the UK. But the results will not be announced

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until Sunday night, after voting has closed throughout the 28 member

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states of the EU. Nick Watt, we are in a position where the polls this

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morning cannot tell us what the outcome is going to be on Thursday,

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and the general election is still wide open - we really are in

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uncharted territory? Also it is difficult to know where we are,

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because there is that ComRes poll which shows an 11 point lead amongst

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those certain to vote for UKIP, and another poll in the Sunday Times

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showing that it is a much more slender lead for UKIP. But we know

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that will they win? We do not know, but clearly they will unsettle the

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major parties. Fall or five months ago, we assumed that the UKIP

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success would create panic in the Conservative Party, but that has

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been factored into David Cameron's share price. The Conservative Party

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is remarkably relaxed at the moment, and I wonder whether this time next

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week, when we have the results, whether the two political leaders

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who will be under pressure will be Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg. Nick

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Clegg, because they could go down from 12 MEPs to maybe just three or

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four. And Ed Miliband, because, one year before a general election, he

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should be showing that he is a significant, potent electoral

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force. So, they should all be worried about UKIP, but whereas a

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couple of months ago, we would all have said David Cameron was the one

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who should be worried, now, we are saying it is Mr Miliband and Mr

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Clegg? And of the two, I think it is Ed Miliband who should be worried.

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The Lib Dems are an incredibly resilient party. He described his

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own party as cockroaches, and incredible resilience! I think the

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Lib Dems are ready to take this one, but I think Labour are really wobbly

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at the moment. What UKIP has done, to England, it means that England

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has caught up with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, England

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now has a four party system, which makes it all the more uncertain what

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the outcome will be? Yes, but whether UKIP finish first or second,

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it will be the biggest insurgent event since the European elections

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began in 1979. People talk about the Greens in 1989, but I think they

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finished third. Were UKIP to win a national election or even finish

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runner-up, it would be truly historic. It is reflecting on

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something which is happening across Europe, pianist in Italy, Holland,

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France and in this country. -- populist parties. And it makes first

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past the post look absolutely ridiculous. You could be in a

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situation after the next general election where Labour do not get the

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largest percentage of the vote but they get the largest number of

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seats. First past the post works fairly if there are only two

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parties, but when there are four... We will talk more about that. Let's

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speak now to Suzanne Evans of UKIP. She is at Westminster. Now, UKIP

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claims that there is going to be an earthquake in British politics on

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Thursday. Suppose there is, what does UKIP then need to do to become

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a more grown-up, proper party? I think UKIP has very much become a

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grown-up, proper party. We have been around for 20 years. What we are

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going to be doing after the European elections, if we do cause this

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earthquake, and the polls are looking like we are going to, is we

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will be firmly looking towards 2015, getting our general election

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manifesto out, to keep those votes on board from the euro elections and

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putting forward common-sense policies which really will bring

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Britain back to the people. We want to be able to hold the balance of

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power come the general election. If we can do that then there will be a

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referendum. That will be our aim. You say you are a more grown-up

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party, but when you look at the stream of gaffes and controversies

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created by your candidates and members, I will not go into them

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this morning, at the very least, I would suggest you are needing a more

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robust system of selection? You could say the same for the other

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three parties, who have been around for a lot longer. They have got

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nothing like the embarrassments you had. I am afraid they had. Just this

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week, since Monday, we have had 17 Liberal Democrat, labour or

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Conservative councillors either arrested, charged or convicted on

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all manner of offences. In addition we have had 13 who have been

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involved in some kind of racist, sexist or homophobic incident. I am

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not saying I am proud of any of that. The whole of politics probably

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needs to be cleaned up, but I certainly do not think we are any

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worse than the other parties, who have much greater resources than we

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do. Those other parties are even putting people in power who they

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know have got criminal convictions or who have previously belonged to

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far right, fascist parties like the BNP. Can you continue to be a

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one-man band? The only time any other UKIP petition makes the

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headlines is when they say something loony or objectionable? We have a

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huge amount of talent in this party. We have fantastic spokespeople

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across the patch, the huge amount of expertise in the party. Inevitably

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the media focuses on Nigel Farage, who is a fantastic, charismatic

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leader. But believe me, there is a huge amount of talent. When we get

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our MEPs into power after the European elections, we will see many

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more of them I think on television and radio and in the newspapers. We

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are not a one-man band. Who runs your party? The party is run by

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Nigel Farage, our leader. But he spends all his time running between

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television studios and in and out of the pub! You would be amazed how

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much he does, and of course we have a National Executive Committee, like

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the other parties. So who runs it? The National Executive Committee, in

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conjunction with Nigel Farage, the MEPs, the spokespeople, it is a

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joint effort. Your Local Government Minister Stosur is, if you vote

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UKIP, you go on to pledge that your councillors will not toe the party

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line, how does that work? -- your local government manifesto says...

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On the main policies, they will toe the party line, because that is

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obviously what people will be voting for. It is no good putting forward a

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manifesto like the Lib Dems did on 2010 and going back on it. We have

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put forward a lot of positive -- a lot of policies at local government

:10:10.:10:13.

level, and those we will stick to. But when it comes to individual,

:10:14.:10:18.

local issues, say, a particular development or the closure of a

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school, whatever, UKIP then will vote what they think is in the best

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interests of the people in the borough, and not according to any

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party whip system. This plays out really well on the doorstep, I find.

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People do not want their politicians to be in the pockets of their

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party, putting party first, ahead of the people. You want people to vote

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to leave the European Union in a referendum - have you published a

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road map as to what would then happen? Yes, there will be a road

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map. The Lisbon Treaty for the first time gave us that exit opportunity.

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Have you published a road map? I am not the legal expert on this but

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there are ways in which you can come out of Europe fairly quickly. There

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is a longer you all as well. But have you published any of that

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detail? Not that I have read. But certainly there are ways to do it.

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We are the sixth strongest world economy, I think we are in a strong

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position having left the EU to be able to negotiate a very good trade

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deal with the European Union. It is what people voted for in 1975. What

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would be our exact status? It would be I think what people voted for

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back in 1975. An independent, sovereign country in a trade

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agreement, a very positive and valuable trade agreement with the

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European Union. I voted in that referendum, I remember it well, 1975

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involved the free movement of people 's... That is something which I do

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not think UKIP or the country wants. 70% of people now are deeply

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concerned about immigration. So it would not be 1975, then? Andrew, it

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sounds like you are complaining that we might have something which is

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better than 1975. I am just trying to find out what it is! That sounds

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like positive to me. We will negotiate a trade deal and all

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manner of issues, whatever is best for the British people. We want our

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sovereignty back, we want our country back. Would you be upset if

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a bunch of Rumanian men moved in next door to you? Where I live, I am

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surrounded by one and two-bedroom flats. If ten Rumanian men moved in

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next door to me, I would want to ask questions. That is very different

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from say a Robinho family moving in next door. I would think, are they

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being ripped off, are they up to no good or are they perhaps being

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trafficked by a gang master? So I think it would be of concern, and I

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do not think there is anything wrong with that, it is a humanitarian

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approach. That would be different from a family moving in who were

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learning to speak English, who wanted to contribute to the British

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economy. Maybe if your boss is watching, he will now have found out

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how to answer that question. Now, what is more glamorous, 24

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hours in the life of a counter-terrorism agent, or 12 hours

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in the life of Adam Fleming, on the campaign trail? I will let you make

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up your own mind. So, it is eight o'clock in the morning here in

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Westminster. Today's challenge is, how much campaigning for the local

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and European elections can we fit into 12 hours? See you back here at

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eight o'clock tonight. Wish me luck. With my cameraman and

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producer, we went to Thurrock in Essex first. I got a very, very warm

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welcome from Abe buoyant UKIP. They have never had this much attention.

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One candidate's misdemeanour ends up on the front page. But you have got

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Lib Dem candidates being convicted of racially aggravated assault, and

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that was not on the front pages of the newspapers. Houdini is fine but

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it must be applied evenly. Have you had to sack Thurrock UKIP members

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for dodgy tweets or anything? Oh, God, no. Next we head to meet a top

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Tory in a different area. We are heading to Eastbourne. But stuck in

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traffic. We are going to miss William Hague. We got there, just in

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time, to ask the really big questions. David Cameron went to

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Nando De Colo last week, where are you going to go for lunch? I do not

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even get time for lunch. I think something in the back of the car. We

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will go down the street and see what people have got to say. Even the

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Foreign Secretary has depressed the flesh at election time? Even the

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Foreign Secretary meets real people. The message William Hague impresses

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upon everyone he meets is that the Tories are the only party offering a

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referendum on our membership of the EU. He's off for lunch in the limo.

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I've got five minutes by the beach. This is the best thing about

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elections, lunch. Do you want one? And chips are weirdly relevant at

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our next stop - the Green Party battle bus which is parked in

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Ashford in Kent. What is special about this vehicle? It runs from

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chip fat oil so it is more friendly to the environment. But boss was

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boiling. The next stop is Gillingham to see Labour. Labour have just

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hired Barack Obama's election guru David Axelrod to help them craft

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their message. What does David Axelrod know about the people who

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live on the street? I know the local details but you handle those. Ed

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Miliband and his party have had to handle a few dodgy opinion polls

:16:49.:16:50.

lately, prompting some leadership speculation from one activist. Who

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is your favourite Labour politician? Ed Balls. Back in the car and we're

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flagging. Final stop, Southwark in south London. We are in the right

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place, this is Simon Hughes' Lib Dem taxi. The Lib Dems are campaigning

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as the party of in. But are they in trouble? Your party president said

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the party would be wiped out and lose its MEPs. Is that helpful? If

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he did say that, then no, that's not terribly helpful. And let's not

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forget, every London council is having elections too. I have 40

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minutes to get back to the office in Westminster, which calls for

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something drastic, like this. After 212 miles, but will be make it home

:17:49.:17:57.

for eight? We have made it, aided, 12 hours of pure politics. Happy

:17:58.:18:10.

elections, everyone. Adam Fleming impersonating Jack

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Bauer! Natalie Bennett is in our studio, welcome back. The Greens

:18:17.:18:20.

used to be the upcoming party in Britain, now it is UKIP. What went

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wrong? We are in a very good place, looking towards travelling our MEPs

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and we could be the fourth largest group in Parliament after these

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elections. More and more people are recognising we are the only party

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calling for real change, the only party saying we have two stop making

:18:45.:18:51.

poor, disadvantaged young people over the mistakes bankers. You have

:18:52.:18:58.

made a strong pro-environment stands synonymous with the politics of the

:18:59.:19:04.

left, why have you done that? Why should an equal minded Conservative

:19:05.:19:09.

vote for you? I think one of the reasons why many Conservatives, I

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met them in Chester where they are stopping coalbed methane

:19:17.:19:19.

exploration, lots of Conservatives are looking to vote for us beyond

:19:20.:19:25.

issues like fracking and the Green belt, and many of them are concerned

:19:26.:19:29.

about the fact we haven't reformed the banks. This morning we had the

:19:30.:19:34.

Bank of England chief coming out and saying we have a huge house price

:19:35.:19:40.

bubble and people recognise that many of the parties offering the

:19:41.:19:48.

same are not working. And yet the polls show that the hardline

:19:49.:19:57.

greenery is not winning. We are looking to travel our number of MEPs

:19:58.:20:01.

and we have people recognising that we have to change the way our

:20:02.:20:07.

economic 's, politics and society works so that everyone has

:20:08.:20:10.

sufficient resources within the limits of the one planet because one

:20:11.:20:17.

planet is all we have got. You want all electricity to be generated by

:20:18.:20:23.

renewables, is that right? So where would the electricity come from on

:20:24.:20:28.

days when the wind is not blowing? Most of the electricity is there. It

:20:29.:20:35.

is mature. We need to be hooked into a European wide grid, we need a

:20:36.:20:39.

smart grid that will allow for demand to be adjusted according to

:20:40.:20:45.

supply. So we would take French nuclear power, would we? We need to

:20:46.:20:50.

work with a partnership across Europe. We are being left behind and

:20:51.:21:00.

we are losing opportunities. 50% of German renewable electricity is

:21:01.:21:04.

owned by communities and it stays within communities, rather than the

:21:05.:21:14.

big six energy companies. So you have still got to take the French

:21:15.:21:25.

nuclear power. What we need to do... Nuclear is a dead technology,

:21:26.:21:32.

going down in the developed world. At the moment the Government

:21:33.:21:35.

proposes the most expensive proposal for Britain and yet the last two

:21:36.:21:41.

plans took 17 years to bring online, way too slow for what we need now.

:21:42.:21:46.

We know what the Green council would be like if you were to win more

:21:47.:21:50.

seats on Thursday because you run Brighton. Your own Green MP joined

:21:51.:21:56.

strikers against the council, the local Greens are at each other's

:21:57.:22:02.

throats, a council ridden with factionalism, attempts to raise

:22:03.:22:07.

council tax to 5%, attempted coups against the local Green leader by

:22:08.:22:11.

other Greens and you have had to bring in mediators. If you look at

:22:12.:22:17.

the life of people in Brighton and Hove, it has seen its visitor

:22:18.:22:23.

numbers go up by 50,000, it has become the top seaside resort in

:22:24.:22:29.

Britain, we have seen GCSE results going up significantly. These are

:22:30.:22:34.

the things affecting people's lives in Brighton and Hove. 60% of

:22:35.:22:39.

Brighton and Hove people think life is better and the Greens. We have a

:22:40.:22:46.

debate to be had from next year's election and perhaps we can have

:22:47.:22:51.

that debate next year. But you hold up Brighton as the way the city

:22:52.:22:56.

should be run? We have made huge progress, we have found money to be

:22:57.:23:00.

brought into the city to improve Green spaces. I was on the big ride

:23:01.:23:09.

in London yesterday, and we need to change our roads so they worked the

:23:10.:23:14.

people as well as cars. Which side of the picket line were you on in

:23:15.:23:22.

Brighton? With Caroline Lucas? I was in London, travelling around as I do

:23:23.:23:27.

most days. From Penzance to Newcastle and many areas in between.

:23:28.:23:35.

Probably a good move. Thank you. I'm joined now by the Conservative MP,

:23:36.:24:09.

the Lib Dem MP Simon Hughes and Sajid Javid. We want to see a

:24:10.:24:19.

European Union resolutely focused on the single market, free trade, and

:24:20.:24:23.

only we can bring about that change. Labour and Lib Dems are happy with

:24:24.:24:28.

the status quo, in fact they would like more integration, and a UKIP

:24:29.:24:35.

party can not deliver the change. Hilary Benn, at this stage positions

:24:36.:24:40.

usually romp home in European elections and no party has gone on

:24:41.:24:44.

to form a government without winning the European elections first. Now it

:24:45.:24:51.

suggests you could become second, you haven't handled UKIP very well

:24:52.:24:57.

either. There is a lot of alienation from politics around, globalisation

:24:58.:25:01.

has left some behind and people are concerned about that but UKIP will

:25:02.:25:07.

not provide the answer. Nigel Farage only talks about Europe. We are to

:25:08.:25:11.

hear it would not be in the interests of British people to come

:25:12.:25:16.

out of Europe. We do want a season change in Europe, for example we

:25:17.:25:20.

want longer periods when new member states come in. We don't think child

:25:21.:25:26.

tax credits should be paid to children not living in the UK, but

:25:27.:25:31.

Nigel Farage is also proposing to charge us when we see the GP, to

:25:32.:25:38.

halve maternity pay, and he wants a flat tax. UKIP is not the answer to

:25:39.:25:42.

the problems we face and we will continue to campaign as we have done

:25:43.:25:47.

to show that we are putting forward policies on energy prices, and in

:25:48.:25:57.

the end that is what people will look for. Simon Hughes, you will be

:25:58.:26:03.

lucky to come forth. The voters decide these things. Really? I never

:26:04.:26:11.

knew that. My response to the UKIP question is that they get support

:26:12.:26:13.

because they have never been in power, they are never likely. A bit

:26:14.:26:20.

like the way you used to never get into power. I accept that, but now

:26:21.:26:30.

we are in government. The reality is that laws made in Brussels, we make

:26:31.:26:34.

together by agreement, and it is the case from the Commons figures that

:26:35.:26:40.

only seven out of 100 laws are made in Brussels. Actually they have been

:26:41.:26:49.

shown not to be the only ones. 14 out of 100. If we were to come out

:26:50.:26:54.

of Europe, we would seriously disadvantage our economics and the

:26:55.:27:04.

jobs... 3 million jobs depend on the European Union. If the Conservatives

:27:05.:27:09.

comes third or even a poor second, it will show that people don't

:27:10.:27:14.

really trust your promise about European referendum. They have been

:27:15.:27:19.

there before, they don't trust you. What we have already shown, despite

:27:20.:27:23.

being in coalition with Liberal Democrats, we have shown progress on

:27:24.:27:28.

Europe, we have vetoed a European treaty when people said we

:27:29.:27:32.

wouldn't, we have cut the European budget which is something Liberal

:27:33.:27:36.

Democrats and Labour MEPs voted against, we cut it by ?8 billion.

:27:37.:27:41.

But overall we are still paying more. We have still cut it. We have

:27:42.:27:50.

taken Britain out of the bailout fund that Labour signed us up to. We

:27:51.:27:57.

are now going to take that same energy to Europe and renegotiate our

:27:58.:28:01.

relationship and let the British people decide in a referendum. Why

:28:02.:28:11.

has Ed Miliband become such a liability for your party? Even your

:28:12.:28:14.

own MPs are speaking out against him. If you look at the polls, we

:28:15.:28:20.

have been in the lead almost consistently. The voters will

:28:21.:28:26.

decide. Ed Miliband is a decent man, but what really marks him out is

:28:27.:28:31.

that he is thinking about the problems the country faces. Simon

:28:32.:28:39.

and Sajid both support the bedroom tax, we will scrap it. Ed Miliband

:28:40.:28:48.

said the energy market doesn't work for consumers, we will freeze energy

:28:49.:28:57.

prices while we change the system. So why are his ratings even lower

:28:58.:29:06.

than Nick Clegg's? They will be voted for next year in the general

:29:07.:29:10.

election, and if I were David Cameron I would ask myself this

:29:11.:29:15.

question - the economy is recovering, why is it that David

:29:16.:29:19.

Cameron and the Conservatives have been behind in the polls? Because in

:29:20.:29:24.

the end the big choice in British politics is between the two parties

:29:25.:29:28.

that say, if we sought the deficit everything is fine, and Labour who

:29:29.:29:34.

say that there are things about this country, the insecurity that has

:29:35.:29:39.

given rise for support for UKIP, and we are the ones talking about doing

:29:40.:29:45.

something about zero hours contracts. The more your leader

:29:46.:29:49.

bangs on about Europe, the worse your poll ratings get. He is out of

:29:50.:29:59.

the kilter with British people. It may not be a majority of people who

:30:00.:30:04.

think that we ought to stay in the European Union, but when you speak

:30:05.:30:09.

to people about it, people understand that we are better in

:30:10.:30:12.

them out. In the elections on Thursday, that is not about who runs

:30:13.:30:17.

Britain, that is for next year. In terms of the local councils, we have

:30:18.:30:20.

battles on the ground, like in my community, where we are trying to

:30:21.:30:25.

take it back from the Labour Party. Affordable housing has just not been

:30:26.:30:30.

delivered. We have delivered that in office and we had admitted to that.

:30:31.:30:36.

-- we are committed to that. Labour have actually demolished homes. So,

:30:37.:30:42.

people want more affordable homes. One issue which is behind people's

:30:43.:30:47.

antipathy towards immigrants is that they cannot get the affordable

:30:48.:30:50.

housing they need. We as a government have delivered more

:30:51.:30:55.

affordable housing in this Parliament -170,000 new properties

:30:56.:30:58.

earning and more, over the next three years. That does not work out

:30:59.:31:10.

that very many per year. Overall housing is a lot less than it was in

:31:11.:31:16.

2006. Let me tell you, under the Labour government, we lost nearly

:31:17.:31:20.

half a million affordable homes. Fewer built than under Mrs Thatcher

:31:21.:31:26.

or under the coalition. What is your last ditch message to the millions

:31:27.:31:31.

of Tory voters thinking of voting UKIP on Thursday? First, what I

:31:32.:31:39.

would say is, Ed Miliband also said that we should not tackle the

:31:40.:31:42.

deficit, it was not a priority. As a result of our resolute focus, we now

:31:43.:31:46.

have the fastest growing economy in the developed world, and more people

:31:47.:31:51.

employed than ever before. I am sure you will have more chance to say

:31:52.:31:54.

that at the general election, what is the answer to my question? We

:31:55.:31:59.

need a Europe which is focused on free trade and the single market.

:32:00.:32:03.

Labour and Lib Dems are happy with the status quo, we are not. We are

:32:04.:32:08.

the only party which can bring about change, UKIP cannot bring about any

:32:09.:32:15.

change. Hilary Benn, why not have a referendum on Europe? If you think

:32:16.:32:21.

like Nigel Farage that you should get out of Europe, I do not agree

:32:22.:32:25.

with him, because Britain's future lies in Europe. My message simply

:32:26.:32:30.

would be, vote for a party which wants to tackle insecurity in the

:32:31.:32:35.

workplace, to give more security to the 9 million people who are now

:32:36.:32:39.

privately renting, build more homes. What Simon has just said about the

:32:40.:32:45.

coalition's housing record, it has been appalling, the lowest level

:32:46.:32:47.

since Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister. With Labour, you have got

:32:48.:32:53.

a party which will freeze energy prices, more childcare, policies

:32:54.:32:56.

which directly address the problems which people face. I think the

:32:57.:33:02.

public will realise that. UKIP offers absolutely nothing at all for

:33:03.:33:05.

the future of the country. You used to be in favour of a referendum? We

:33:06.:33:11.

are in favour, we voted for one, we have legislated for one. The next

:33:12.:33:14.

time there is a change between Britain and Europe, in the

:33:15.:33:18.

relationship, there will be a referendum. We have supported that.

:33:19.:33:25.

We voted for it. You would obviously want to vote yes in any referendum.

:33:26.:33:32.

We would. But if you had one now, it would be for coming out or staying

:33:33.:33:38.

in, and you are going to wait until there is another step son shall

:33:39.:33:40.

transfer of powers to Brussels, and then say to people, either vote for

:33:41.:33:50.

this substantial transfer or vote to leave! Of course they will vote to

:33:51.:33:56.

leave! Yes, we are not natural partners with the Conservatives, but

:33:57.:34:01.

we do not want to be distracted at the moment by a referendum in the

:34:02.:34:05.

future in relation to Europe. Because what we have done is built

:34:06.:34:12.

our own economy back. That has been the priority. We do not want

:34:13.:34:15.

artificial priorities. The Tories want an artificial date plucked out

:34:16.:34:20.

of the air for their own advantage. We say, let's get on with being

:34:21.:34:25.

positive about being in Europe, and many people on the doorstep

:34:26.:34:28.

absolutely understand that. Yesterday, the Energy Minister said

:34:29.:34:33.

that he thought the party would be willing to campaign for a British

:34:34.:34:36.

withdrawal from the EU if there was not a successful negotiation, a

:34:37.:34:42.

successful repatriation, do you agree with that? First of all, I am

:34:43.:34:52.

very optimistic... I got that I am going into these negotiations with

:34:53.:34:58.

confidence but Michael Fallon is one of your ministerial colleagues, he

:34:59.:35:04.

said that if we cannot get a deal on substantial repatriation, then the

:35:05.:35:08.

party should be willing to campaign for a British withdrawal - do you

:35:09.:35:13.

agree? My view is that I am confident we will get a deal, and

:35:14.:35:16.

then we will put it to the British people. But you will have to take a

:35:17.:35:21.

line. If you do not get substantial repatriations, will you side with

:35:22.:35:24.

Michael Fallon all with the Prime Minister, who seems to want to stay

:35:25.:35:30.

in regardless? I may only have been in politics for four years, but I am

:35:31.:35:34.

not going to ask that kind of hypothetical question. Every

:35:35.:35:37.

question I ask is hypothetical, that is the fascination of the programme!

:35:38.:35:42.

I go into these negotiations with complete confidence. If you look at

:35:43.:35:47.

our track record, it suggests we will be successful. Hilary Benn,

:35:48.:35:54.

what is the difference between your attitude and that of the Lib Dems

:35:55.:36:00.

towards a referendum? We have been very clear that if it is proposed at

:36:01.:36:03.

sometime in the future, further powers would be transferred, then,

:36:04.:36:08.

we would put that to the British people in a referendum. That is the

:36:09.:36:14.

Lib Dem position. This is our position, which I am planing to you.

:36:15.:36:19.

It would be an in-out referendum. We would only agree to a transfer of

:36:20.:36:22.

powers if we thought that it was in the interest of Britain. But we

:36:23.:36:27.

believe that Britain's place remains and should remain in Europe, for

:36:28.:36:34.

economic reasons. But we also want to see some changes in our

:36:35.:36:41.

relationship with Europe, and electing Labour MEPs on Thursday

:36:42.:36:44.

will be a way of boosting that argument. In what way is everything

:36:45.:36:51.

you have just said not entirely sell my must with the Lib Dem position? I

:36:52.:36:57.

am not worried about that. -- entirely synonymous. It is the

:36:58.:37:03.

dividing line between us and UKIP, because they somehow believe that

:37:04.:37:06.

Britain leaving the European Union would be good for our economy. Truth

:37:07.:37:10.

is, it would be really bad, because so many jobs depend on being part of

:37:11.:37:16.

a large market in an increasingly globalised world. I have got one

:37:17.:37:28.

more question for you on the locals. We seem to have lost our connection

:37:29.:37:32.

with Leeds. What is the single most important reason that people should

:37:33.:37:36.

vote for you in the local election? Because taxpayers' money is just

:37:37.:37:40.

that, it does not belong to the politicians, and we can do a lot

:37:41.:37:44.

more and get more for less with taxpayers money. If you look at

:37:45.:37:47.

Conservative councils up and down the country, most of them have not

:37:48.:37:51.

been raising council tax, they have been getting more for less, and that

:37:52.:37:56.

is what people deserve. We will produce the maximum amount possible

:37:57.:37:59.

of affordable housing to meet the housing needs of Britain, instead of

:38:00.:38:03.

the richest minority having flats and houses that nobody can afford.

:38:04.:38:10.

We seem to have lost Hilary Benn. I can answer for him. I will do it -

:38:11.:38:17.

he would certainly say, vote Labour. You are watching The Sunday

:38:18.:38:21.

Politics. We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who now leave us for

:38:22.:38:24.

Hello and a warm sunny welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.

:38:25.:38:38.

Hello and a warm sunny welcome to the part of the show where we look

:38:39.:38:42.

at the political stories that matter here in the North East and Cumbria.

:38:43.:38:47.

It's just four days until we go to the polls and this week we're

:38:48.:38:50.

concentrating on the elections for our local councils. With me in the

:38:51.:38:54.

studio is Lord Shipley, who ran Newcastle Council in the heady days

:38:55.:38:57.

when the Lib Dems were in charge. Today he's in the Lords. I'm also

:38:58.:39:01.

joined by the Labour MP for North Tyneside Mary Glindon and for the

:39:02.:39:04.

Conservatives, the MP for Skipton and Ripon, Julian Smith. Also coming

:39:05.:39:08.

up: Disabled people who've criticised the Government's new work

:39:09.:39:11.

capability assessments give evidence to a Parliamentary inquiry in

:39:12.:39:16.

Newcastle. But let's start on the campaign trail and the Prime

:39:17.:39:19.

Minister was at the Port of Tyne in South Shields on Friday. It came in

:39:20.:39:23.

the week that unemployment in the North East went up, the only region

:39:24.:39:27.

in the country to see an increase on the last quarter. But David Cameron

:39:28.:39:30.

was in upbeat mood pointing to the region's economic successes. The

:39:31.:39:35.

last unemployment figures were disappointing but in the past

:39:36.:39:38.

quarter and the past year, the percentage of people employed in the

:39:39.:39:41.

North East was growing faster than any other part of the country. Van

:39:42.:39:46.

London, the Southeast. We are having a recovery. I wanted to be further

:39:47.:39:52.

and faster will stop Nissan are making more cars than the whole of

:39:53.:39:55.

Italy. We are fabricating oil rigs on the Tyne just a few miles away

:39:56.:40:00.

from here. We have got a recovery underway but we have got to

:40:01.:40:04.

safeguarded by sticking to the long`term economic plan. Mary

:40:05.:40:09.

Glindon, despite that rising unemployment, more jobs are being

:40:10.:40:12.

created than anywhere else in the country and a recovery is happening.

:40:13.:40:18.

Nobody doubts that the coverage is happening but I think one of the

:40:19.:40:23.

issues that the Prime Minister was, the biggest issue is that they have

:40:24.:40:26.

not invested enough to get the skills we need to get more young

:40:27.:40:31.

people employed. We still have 850,000 young people not employed.

:40:32.:40:38.

In my constituency, we have 25% of people, almost 25% earning less than

:40:39.:40:44.

the living wage. Jobs on the Tyne are fantastic. We want more of them.

:40:45.:40:48.

People on low paid jobs and zero while contracts, it is not giving

:40:49.:40:52.

people enough money to live on. `` zero hour contracts. As Mary Glindon

:40:53.:40:59.

says, the quality of the jobs might not be up to that much. And the idea

:41:00.:41:03.

that we are narrowing the gap with the South does not wash. I think it

:41:04.:41:11.

is narrowing a fit. It goes down everywhere else. `` a little bit.

:41:12.:41:17.

What has happened could simply be a temporary blip. Employment is also

:41:18.:41:21.

rising. The critical thing is that the eye that sector, especially in

:41:22.:41:29.

high`tech industries, these are creating more jobs. The high`tech ``

:41:30.:41:42.

the high`tech sector. There are many friendships in the private sector.

:41:43.:41:46.

If there is not clear evidence that that North`South divide has

:41:47.:41:49.

narrowed, would that not be a failure? It would not be. London has

:41:50.:41:55.

been growing. London has investment from outside the UK. It has become a

:41:56.:42:02.

world city. It is helping pass. Because tax revenue coming in to

:42:03.:42:05.

government is being generated in London and redistributed. `` helping

:42:06.:42:14.

us. The gap will narrow in the course of the next few years. When I

:42:15.:42:19.

pushed the prime minister on whether or not he was being complacent about

:42:20.:42:22.

the North East, he said the same thing as before, the regional growth

:42:23.:42:26.

fund, which has been criticised, and lower taxes. It has not narrowed the

:42:27.:42:33.

divide. I think we need to look at long`term statistics. They show that

:42:34.:42:39.

there is around 40,000 new private sector jobs which have been created

:42:40.:42:41.

under the Government. We have doubled apprenticeships. We have

:42:42.:42:47.

?350 million of regional growth fund money coming in. The investment from

:42:48.:42:53.

foreign companies. Then why has unemployment gone up? As we turn the

:42:54.:43:02.

economy around, in some situations it does not go as quick as you would

:43:03.:43:06.

have liked. But the long`term trend is good. I do not accept the talking

:43:07.:43:12.

down of the local economy. We have got big opportunities to attract

:43:13.:43:14.

business. We are creating more businesses. 11,000 businesses have

:43:15.:43:20.

set up since the last election. You are accused of talking the region

:43:21.:43:26.

down. I want the best for the region to address the issues and the big

:43:27.:43:30.

issue is employers on the Tyne and other employers, we look at these

:43:31.:43:34.

futuristic industries, they are telling us that the skills gap is

:43:35.:43:38.

not being met. The issue is how to do that and we hope that might be

:43:39.:43:42.

resolved. There's local elections across large

:43:43.:43:53.

parts of of the region, from Craven and Harrogate in North Yorskhire to

:43:54.:43:57.

Carlisle in the west, as well as the whole of Tyne and Wear. But whatever

:43:58.:44:00.

party runs your town hall, councillors have all been grappling

:44:01.:44:03.

with the same problem, dealing with big cuts to their budgets. So how

:44:04.:44:06.

will those cuts affect the way people choose to vote on Thursday?

:44:07.:44:09.

Mark Denten went to Labour`run Newcastle to find out. Marching in

:44:10.:44:12.

the streets. Protests outside council meetings and even in the

:44:13.:44:16.

pool. People in Newcastle have been getting well stirred up. Angry about

:44:17.:44:20.

the Coalition. Sometimes angry at Labour councils. Hopping mad about

:44:21.:44:27.

cuts. This man used to swim at the city pool in Newcastle six days per

:44:28.:44:31.

week. It has now shut after a round of council cuts. It was brilliant.

:44:32.:44:37.

It is a community that used to come and everybody knew each other.

:44:38.:44:42.

Seemingly, the council decided that it was not viable. The council has

:44:43.:44:50.

lost more than ?97 million in grants since 2010. But the local Labour

:44:51.:44:54.

council has had to decide where to make the cut, closing the pool,

:44:55.:44:59.

axing the arts budget and cutting jobs. The question for the voters at

:45:00.:45:02.

the election is who is the villain of the piece? Ministers in Whitehall

:45:03.:45:08.

several hundred miles away, or the local council just up the road? To

:45:09.:45:13.

the critics, the Liberal Democrats are tainted, part of a Coalition

:45:14.:45:17.

hell`bent on starving local councils of funding. But they say Labour have

:45:18.:45:23.

come from places. They had a budget of three of ?450 million over three

:45:24.:45:28.

years. A fraction of that, 3 million would have done at the swimming

:45:29.:45:32.

pool, it would have allowed a private operator to come in and run

:45:33.:45:36.

it, running costs would be small in relation to the city budget. It is a

:45:37.:45:41.

which was wrong. The man in the middle of making the cuts says that

:45:42.:45:45.

clearly it is the Government's fault. They have faced

:45:46.:45:51.

disproportionately big cuts. In the lifetime of the parliament we should

:45:52.:45:54.

have had ?38 million more than we have had. Because of the ideology of

:45:55.:45:58.

the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats. Eric Eccles has a

:45:59.:46:02.

strategy to shift the blame onto local councils, who have two front

:46:03.:46:07.

up to local residents. `` Eric Pickles. What about a party that has

:46:08.:46:13.

not had any councillor since 1996, the Conservatives irrelevant? There

:46:14.:46:19.

are a lots of people that vote Conservative. Look at what will

:46:20.:46:23.

happen in the election. And it is influence that we can have in the

:46:24.:46:27.

party in government. The most important thing is to protect front

:46:28.:46:31.

line services. And what is the potential for significantly larger

:46:32.:46:34.

savings to be made from the way that the councils are run? Hoping to row

:46:35.:46:42.

from a spec to a major player, UKIP, say that they would cut waste. We

:46:43.:46:49.

should focus on front line services and retaining them by reducing

:46:50.:46:55.

backroom services. You have got virtually no track record in local

:46:56.:46:58.

government and none in this city. Why should voters trust you to make

:46:59.:47:05.

the cuts and balance the budget? We have got an attendance record

:47:06.:47:09.

unparalleled in government. We have got people with a sensible business

:47:10.:47:13.

background and they know how to run large organisations effectively.

:47:14.:47:18.

While politicians argue, the swimming baths remain shut. Who does

:47:19.:47:23.

this lifelong Labour voter blame? Labour. If we want an easy target.

:47:24.:47:30.

After all the noisy cuts and protest, people will go to the polls

:47:31.:47:33.

in four days. Some services have been taken away and voters might

:47:34.:47:38.

well be deciding who to punish. We have got a lifelong Labour voter and

:47:39.:47:43.

he has looked at the facts and he has set your party is to blame. Does

:47:44.:47:48.

that worry you? It is sad to hear somebody saying that. I am not

:47:49.:48:01.

represented by Newcastle, and so... Your party has been moaning about

:48:02.:48:04.

the cuts. Somebody has been personally affected handsets that

:48:05.:48:07.

and that must suggest your message has not come across. I think we have

:48:08.:48:13.

got our message in North Tyneside. Newcastle is not my area. But the

:48:14.:48:16.

council leader made it clear that they have made hard decisions. The

:48:17.:48:20.

decisions they have made I cannot personally comment on. They need to

:48:21.:48:26.

do more to get to that gentleman and people like him. What the cuts have

:48:27.:48:30.

done and how they have had to make hard decisions, I am glad we the

:48:31.:48:36.

council tax frozen... I am sure they will be a dispute from the

:48:37.:48:40.

Conservatives about your record. But it is not just Labour councillors

:48:41.:48:44.

complaining. Conservatives in North Yorkshire are disappointed with the

:48:45.:48:47.

budget cuts. Do you accept councils have taken too much of a hit? I do

:48:48.:48:54.

not. I don't from a humble background. `` I've built up. I

:48:55.:49:00.

accept it has been tough but there is more that we can do. We can share

:49:01.:49:07.

services. We can, like in Harrogate and Selby, work more closely

:49:08.:49:10.

together. We can do joint working with the private sector. Your

:49:11.:49:16.

colleagues are just moaning minis? No, I said it has been a tough time.

:49:17.:49:24.

But there is more creativity... Have you told the county council leaders

:49:25.:49:28.

that they can be more creative? I think that they would find me quite

:49:29.:49:31.

challenging in that I feel they can do more. I feel they can do more.

:49:32.:49:38.

When there was a bit more money around, you were in the council, and

:49:39.:49:42.

people are saying that it would be sweetness and light and libraries

:49:43.:49:47.

would still be open? ?20 million of additional money came to the Council

:49:48.:49:51.

for Public health. It would take 3 million to put the city pool right.

:49:52.:49:55.

As we heard on the film. But Labour decided to spend 18 million doing at

:49:56.:50:00.

the Civic Centre in the next few years. I think the public has a

:50:01.:50:03.

right to expect where the priorities should live. You are not suggesting

:50:04.:50:10.

councillors have had a good deal? Schools are being protected with the

:50:11.:50:13.

next ?100 million with the pupil Renee in this region. The national

:50:14.:50:16.

health service has been protected and pensions. Local government has

:50:17.:50:24.

had a fairly tough time. But the fact of the matter is, choices can

:50:25.:50:28.

be made, as we have heard in the film, and if you can spend ?18

:50:29.:50:33.

million on the Civic Centre, why can you not... Mary Glindon, I suppose

:50:34.:50:41.

what is puzzling is that they have been protests as we have seen. But

:50:42.:50:46.

we do not see waves of anger which will necessarily cause problems for

:50:47.:50:50.

the Coalition parties in this region. In North Tyneside I think,

:50:51.:50:56.

we have only been back in power one year, and we came into power with

:50:57.:51:04.

the Tories stopping the building of homes for older people and 800 new

:51:05.:51:09.

houses. There were a lot of things out there that the Tories did in

:51:10.:51:15.

North Tyneside. We have been canvassing in Tynemouth. They hoped

:51:16.:51:19.

to return to cancel. You knock on the door now and this has happened

:51:20.:51:23.

to me and others and they have said, we are not too bothered how we will

:51:24.:51:28.

vote. When you see the former Tories might stand, they will be out and

:51:29.:51:32.

voting again. That shows how strongly they feel. We will see what

:51:33.:51:37.

happens. Would it mean very much if you have more council seats in

:51:38.:51:41.

Harrogate and Craven if you cannot win in Newcastle and Gateshead? We

:51:42.:51:46.

need as many councillors in the region as possible. Conservatives

:51:47.:51:49.

have shown that they run councils efficiently. You cannot get enough

:51:50.:51:56.

elected. We want more in the councils. What's the garment is

:51:57.:51:59.

trying to do is encourage councils to create jobs and build homes and

:52:00.:52:04.

keep the money themselves. `` government. We have got a new home

:52:05.:52:10.

is bonus and we are giving them business rates to spend on more

:52:11.:52:16.

investment. I'm sure we will try and defend your seeds in Newcastle but

:52:17.:52:18.

you have got a dearth of candidates in South Tyneside and Sunderland.

:52:19.:52:26.

``. You are not the main opposition. `` see is. `` seats. We are still

:52:27.:52:37.

challenges. In the North East and Cumbria. It is not quite like that.

:52:38.:52:41.

We do want to concentrate resources. We are defending a number

:52:42.:52:48.

of them, 18 altogether. I am pretty certain we will hold them. And there

:52:49.:52:53.

is a chance of gaining. You might be surprised. We will see what happens

:52:54.:52:55.

on Thursday and Friday. One of the parties that will be

:52:56.:53:04.

watched most closely in these elections is the BNP. Five years ago

:53:05.:53:08.

they won a European Parliamentary seat in the North West and took

:53:09.:53:12.

nearly 9% of the vote in the North East. Since then they've faced

:53:13.:53:15.

internal divisions and a decline in support. The party is fighting in

:53:16.:53:18.

the Euro elections, but doesn't have a single local election candidate in

:53:19.:53:22.

Cumbria or the North East. So have other anti EU parties like UKIP

:53:23.:53:24.

stolen the party's clothes? They have not at all. They have used

:53:25.:53:27.

rhetoric which suits them taken from us. They are a different party

:53:28.:53:32.

compared to the BNP. They have got a different immigration policy. We are

:53:33.:53:38.

not ex`Tory members. And soon enough they will jump into bed with Labour

:53:39.:53:42.

or the Conservatives. And when they do, the bubble will burst and they

:53:43.:53:45.

will be bust Michael Liberal Democrats. `` like the Liberal

:53:46.:53:50.

Democrats. The BNP. Now who is fit to work and

:53:51.:53:58.

who should qualify for benefits? In most cases the answer to that

:53:59.:54:01.

question rests upon a test, the work capability assessment. It's made

:54:02.:54:04.

headlines recently as Atos, the private company which has been

:54:05.:54:06.

carrying them out, ended its contract early. It follows criticism

:54:07.:54:09.

from disability campaigners who complained about long delays and

:54:10.:54:11.

branded the tests "ridiculously harsh and unfair". Well, a Select

:54:12.:54:14.

Committee of MPs is investigating the whole issue and this week they

:54:15.:54:17.

brought their inquiry to Tyneside. As Emily Unia reports, it was a

:54:18.:54:21.

chance for some disabled people to finally have their say. She is 28

:54:22.:54:30.

and registered blind. She had to have a work capability assessment in

:54:31.:54:34.

2012 to find out if she was able to claim employment and support

:54:35.:54:38.

allowance. It was a bad experience. She has come to Newcastle to tell

:54:39.:54:42.

MPs investigating the system why she thinks it is unfair. It is very

:54:43.:54:48.

specific. I think that the attitudes are very specific. They do not take

:54:49.:54:53.

into account the visual impairment and other conditions can vary from

:54:54.:54:59.

day to day. If I had a bad night sleep, my site might be worth the

:55:00.:55:05.

next day. She had a chance to tell her story to the work and pensions

:55:06.:55:11.

committee. I am registered blind. I have in since I was born. Up until a

:55:12.:55:17.

few years ago I was on incapacity benefit. And I went onto the ESA. I

:55:18.:55:23.

had jobs when I was younger. When I was 19. But because of confidence

:55:24.:55:31.

issues and things like that I have not worked for a long time. They are

:55:32.:55:36.

investigating the process carried out by Atos but why come to

:55:37.:55:41.

Newcastle? Because we have not been here before has a committee. We were

:55:42.:55:44.

keen to get out of London and make sure that we were not just hearing

:55:45.:55:49.

metropolitan voices. The voices of people around the country, at the

:55:50.:55:53.

sharp end, directly affected, we want to hear about. And in

:55:54.:55:58.

particular to the changes to welfare and employment allowance and of the

:55:59.:56:03.

work capability assessment. We need to fight back against this system.

:56:04.:56:10.

Public hostility has been high. It announced in February it would end

:56:11.:56:13.

its contract early after reports of staff receiving death threats. It

:56:14.:56:18.

has not yet been decided who will run the system when the contract

:56:19.:56:22.

finishes. But whoever takes over, she hopes that it will be a fairer

:56:23.:56:28.

system. Julian Smith, what groups have said is that it is more about

:56:29.:56:32.

disqualifying people from benefits rather than a genuine desire to get

:56:33.:56:37.

people back working. I think we are all very sensitive to people that

:56:38.:56:43.

are suffering in these reports that we have had. The government is doing

:56:44.:56:49.

everything that it can to make it as good as possible. We have had for

:56:50.:56:56.

reviews of the testing. The current one will be completed soon. Would

:56:57.:57:02.

you accent mistakes have a mate? It is tough and we have to do better. I

:57:03.:57:06.

think that they need to have improved tests for long`term

:57:07.:57:08.

conditions. Blindness, mental health. These areas need to be

:57:09.:57:14.

tested I think more effectively. But I think in general policy brought

:57:15.:57:20.

hundreds of thousands of people off the benefit list and into work and

:57:21.:57:23.

that is good for them and good for their families. They seem to have

:57:24.:57:29.

given Atos the push here. They recognise that everything was not

:57:30.:57:34.

right but are you satisfied? For all their criticism about Atos they did

:57:35.:57:41.

renew their contract. And we are seeing the consequences. My

:57:42.:57:45.

caseworker went along to the Select Committee and listens to terrible

:57:46.:57:48.

stories about what has happened. It is seven months before people even

:57:49.:57:53.

get their test. It is a yes`no answer. There is no way of

:57:54.:57:59.

personalising it. We are finding so many appeals are coming forward. You

:58:00.:58:03.

are still on a limited amount of money waiting for the appeal. It is

:58:04.:58:08.

very demeaning for people. They are trying to put that right. The

:58:09.:58:11.

principal that Julian Smith is saying that it is better to get

:58:12.:58:16.

people back working for their own self`respect rather than leaving

:58:17.:58:19.

them languishing on benefits for the rest of their lives. When Labour

:58:20.:58:24.

started to look at incapacity benefit the purpose was to get

:58:25.:58:27.

people back working that needed to get into work and that was the

:58:28.:58:31.

purpose. Not to cut benefits in the way this government have done. Lets

:58:32.:58:37.

be honest, it was a bit convenient to lead people there at times

:58:38.:58:40.

instead of restoring their dignity and getting them to work. I do not

:58:41.:58:48.

agree. Before I was an MP, we thought the Government were being

:58:49.:58:53.

harsh to people on incapacity benefit. I do think Labour tried

:58:54.:58:56.

their hardest. The issue now is that people are suffering because this is

:58:57.:59:01.

failing them. And many people are saying, get rid of it and start

:59:02.:59:07.

again. Are you proud of what the Liberal Democrats have been doing on

:59:08.:59:13.

benefits? Not at all. But remember, Atos was appointed by the devious

:59:14.:59:18.

Labour Gutman. It was right it was renewed in 2012 because I think they

:59:19.:59:25.

hoped it could get it right. `` the previous Labour government. There is

:59:26.:59:30.

something seriously wrong with the system. Thank you for that

:59:31.:59:37.

discussion and I am sure we will come back to that. Now, what does a

:59:38.:59:41.

Government Minister keep in his pocket? A hankerchief? A smartphone?

:59:42.:59:44.

Or a bit of Teesside's political history? Well keep watching as Mark

:59:45.:59:55.

answers that question, along with the rest of the week's political

:59:56.:59:58.

news in 60 seconds. Rory Stewart has got a new job. Other MPs have chosen

:59:59.:00:01.

him as the new chairman of the defence Select Committee. Who will

:00:02.:00:05.

replace this man has the mail of Middlesbrough when he leaves the top

:00:06.:00:09.

job that you mark they have selected Dave but as the candidate for the

:00:10.:00:14.

elections next year. He has used a West Minster hall debates to voice

:00:15.:00:17.

his concerns about ambulance delays in the North East. Greg Clark, born

:00:18.:00:22.

and bred in Middlesbrough had a bit of a secret for the Newcastle MP

:00:23.:00:28.

Nick ran, calling on re`establishing a minister for the North East.

:00:29.:00:32.

Sometimes I carry around a medallion. It was struck to

:00:33.:00:36.

commemorate a statue to the first Maher of Middlesbrough. I must say

:00:37.:00:41.

we are still waiting for a move to direct the statue under the formal

:00:42.:00:44.

regional Minister for the North East. I think we need to power local

:00:45.:00:49.

leaders and what we are doing is the right way around. We are very

:00:50.:00:52.

interested in the medallion... Goodness knows what else Ministers

:00:53.:01:02.

are hiding in their pockets. And that's about it from us. If you want

:01:03.:01:08.

to keep across the local election results and you don't mind a late

:01:09.:01:12.

night, then join David Dimbleby and me on Thursday evening from 11.35

:01:13.:01:16.

here on BBC One. I'll be in Carlisle with a panel of guests chewing over

:01:17.:01:19.

the regional results with regular updates throughout the night. I

:01:20.:01:23.

promise not to nod off if you don't. And of course we'll be back here

:01:24.:01:26.

next Sunday morning at eleven. For now, it's over

:01:27.:01:28.

thank you very much indeed. Back to Andrew.

:01:29.:01:40.

Welcome back. Politicians always insist in public that opinion polls

:01:41.:01:46.

do not matter. Even though their own parties each spend a small fortune

:01:47.:01:51.

on private polling. If they take them seriously, so do we! Let's take

:01:52.:01:57.

a closer look. First up, how the votes might fall for the European

:01:58.:02:01.

Parliament. Back in January, Labour looked set to finish first. By

:02:02.:02:06.

April, UKIP had edged into the lead. According to today's poles, Nigel

:02:07.:02:11.

Farage's party is either down into place, or has soared ahead. Both

:02:12.:02:16.

cannot be right. It is a similar picture for the general election.

:02:17.:02:29.

Labour's lead has been cut back by the Tories. This is the most

:02:30.:02:36.

unpredictable general election in a long time. It keeps us in a job! We

:02:37.:02:43.

are joined now by the managing director of the pollsters, ComRes.

:02:44.:02:47.

Welcome to the programme. While the polls all over the place on the

:02:48.:02:51.

European election? We are trying to do two things, figure out who is

:02:52.:02:54.

going to be voting, and how they are going to be voting. I think a lot of

:02:55.:03:00.

the polls are predicting quite high turnout. They are looking at more

:03:01.:03:05.

than 50% turnout, which is simply not can be the case. So, what we are

:03:06.:03:10.

doing is predicting it based on those who are ten out of ten,

:03:11.:03:14.

certain to vote, and it really benefits UKIP, it benefits them

:03:15.:03:21.

democratically, demographically, with the older age profile, who are

:03:22.:03:29.

going to vote. Another poll gives them only a one-point lead, so, come

:03:30.:03:35.

the results coming out, you are either going to look away ahead of

:03:36.:03:38.

your time or very stupid? Absolutely. That is the job of

:03:39.:03:43.

pollsters. Somebody has to be wrong. Ultimately, we were spot on in 2009,

:03:44.:03:48.

and we are hoping to be spot on on Thursday. So you were spot on on

:03:49.:04:03.

voting intention in 2009? Yes. What does the indications of what is now

:04:04.:04:11.

a four party system mean, does it change the nature of your methods?

:04:12.:04:18.

It changes how we look at the polls, how we look at what is going to

:04:19.:04:23.

happen as a result of the vote. Predicting the number of seats is

:04:24.:04:26.

becoming more and more important and more difficult to do, because

:04:27.:04:30.

distribution is becoming fundamentally important. Because it

:04:31.:04:37.

is for parties? That's right. . Does the polling give us any evidence to

:04:38.:04:42.

try to settle the matter of whether UKIP votes are coming from? Yes. We

:04:43.:04:48.

know that over 50% of the UKIP vote share is coming from the

:04:49.:04:51.

Conservatives come people who did vote Conservative in 2010. But

:04:52.:04:55.

actually, the other 50% is coming from a wide range of different

:04:56.:05:00.

sources. And what we are seeing is that ultimately, every single

:05:01.:05:04.

establishment party should be worried, because the people voting

:05:05.:05:08.

for UKIP are the people that really do not like politics at the moment.

:05:09.:05:13.

They are wanting people to speak on their behalf, so it affects all of

:05:14.:05:19.

them. There is evidence that there is now a move of some working-class

:05:20.:05:22.

Labour votes to UKIP as well? That's right. That is what I mean about the

:05:23.:05:28.

establishment vote, the people that they can really reach out to, who

:05:29.:05:32.

are really interested in things like immigration, in those single issues,

:05:33.:05:38.

where they do not feel the political parties of the mainstream are

:05:39.:05:42.

representing them. I would suggest that for the European elections,

:05:43.:05:48.

where turnout is low, ComRes may be right or wrong, but likely to vote

:05:49.:05:56.

would seem to be the yardstick. I would say that is true in almost any

:05:57.:06:00.

European election apart from this one. Because there has been so much

:06:01.:06:04.

attention on this election, because of UKIP and the probably do that

:06:05.:06:07.

they will win second, I wonder whether it is now such a big topic

:06:08.:06:12.

of conversation, the subject of Nigel Farage, that people who would

:06:13.:06:17.

otherwise talk a good game about voting UKIP but do not show up on

:06:18.:06:21.

the day are this time around likely to show up on the day? I am not

:06:22.:06:27.

entirely convinced by that. We underestimate how many people are

:06:28.:06:35.

completely disengaged by politics. I think it is very easy for us to

:06:36.:06:38.

think, and I agree that by any other standards, this is the most coverage

:06:39.:06:43.

a European election has ever had in Britain, but still, most people

:06:44.:06:48.

don't care. Instinctively, Nick, you would think, if you are a UKIP

:06:49.:06:54.

photo, if you have made that choice, then you would probably be more

:06:55.:06:57.

motivated to go and vote on Thursday? I am sure that is right.

:06:58.:07:02.

Also, the publicity that Nigel Farage has had. And also, as

:07:03.:07:09.

Catherine says, people are attracted to UKIP because they are annoyed

:07:10.:07:14.

with the established parties. If you have made that big decision to do

:07:15.:07:17.

it, then you will probably do it. The really big question which we

:07:18.:07:20.

want to take out of these elections is, how many people who have left

:07:21.:07:26.

the established parties, left the Conservative Party, in these

:07:27.:07:30.

elections on Thursday, how many of them will stick with UKIP and how

:07:31.:07:36.

many of them will go back? Nigel Farage is very confident, he is

:07:37.:07:42.

saying that 60% of those certain to vote UKIP will stick with UKIP. If

:07:43.:07:46.

that happens, it is a real problem for Downing Street. Downing Street

:07:47.:07:50.

are basically saying that many Tories will have a fling with UKIP

:07:51.:07:53.

but they will return to the marital home next year. You do two sorts of

:07:54.:08:00.

polling, for the European elections, and for the general election, which

:08:01.:08:04.

may be more relevant to the local election voters, but what is the

:08:05.:08:08.

answer to his question? We do not know at the moment. We when you ask

:08:09.:08:14.

people how likely they are to vote in the same way, they are thinking

:08:15.:08:19.

that actually, I am going to vote in exactly the same way at the general

:08:20.:08:22.

election, they are not going to say, I am going to split my vote. I think

:08:23.:08:27.

the key point is, what happens in the Euros. We have a fixed term

:08:28.:08:31.

parliament, which means momentum is crucial. What comes out of the Euros

:08:32.:08:36.

will be a statement about how well UKIP can last for the next year, or

:08:37.:08:41.

indeed, if it comes second, it is about momentum and feeling about the

:08:42.:08:47.

parties. I do not think we can tell yet. If UKIP does well, there could

:08:48.:08:51.

be some leadership crises we will have to cover. I want to look at a

:08:52.:08:56.

couple of the headlines on the screen. Now, it seems, as you can

:08:57.:09:11.

see from the Mail, Mr Miliband could be in some trouble. The Labour MP

:09:12.:09:14.

for Rochdale talking about the mantra of misery which is Labour's

:09:15.:09:20.

policy is not going down well. And there are also rumbles about, if Mr

:09:21.:09:26.

Clegg comes fourth or even fifth in the European elections, that there

:09:27.:09:30.

will be a plot to remove him. There are not many names behind that plot

:09:31.:09:37.

yet, but Vince Cable does get an honourable mention! Not that he is

:09:38.:09:44.

plotting, but he could take over! If Labour comes a poor second, and the

:09:45.:09:48.

Tories are third, and Nick Clegg is nowhere, there is a

:09:49.:09:54.

Clevedon-Miliband agenda, isn't there? It will be very different for

:09:55.:10:00.

each man. The worst thing that could happen to Labour is if Nick Clegg

:10:01.:10:08.

loses his job, because he will be replaced by somebody substantially

:10:09.:10:11.

to the left of him, you would have to assume, someone like Tim Farron.

:10:12.:10:17.

I think it is unlikely that David Laws Danny Alexander, the two

:10:18.:10:20.

prominent figures who are to the right of him, would win the

:10:21.:10:25.

leadership. If it is someone who is quite a way to the left of Nick

:10:26.:10:31.

Clegg, then some voters might find the party a more attractive

:10:32.:10:33.

proposition. Which is why the Tories want to hold on to Nick Clegg.

:10:34.:10:38.

Absolutely. But I think you are right, there is a really big bubble

:10:39.:10:44.

for Ed Miliband here. The second big thing, I do not know if you saw the

:10:45.:10:48.

photo opportunity this week, Boris Johnson strolling through a garden

:10:49.:10:53.

with David Cameron, they got off the chew one-stop early just to

:10:54.:10:58.

appreciate the spring sunshine. But where are the shadow cabinet? I hear

:10:59.:11:03.

rumours of a politician called Yvette Cooper, but I do not know

:11:04.:11:07.

what she has been up to recently. And Rachel Reeves and Andy Burnham,

:11:08.:11:12.

all of these big hitters are not lashing themselves to the mast of

:11:13.:11:16.

the Labour election campaign. And some of these big hitters are

:11:17.:11:20.

immensely talented, Rachel Reeves, Chuka Umunna, these guys are really

:11:21.:11:23.

talented. You get the impression that they are watching this as you

:11:24.:11:28.

say and biding their time. Ed Miliband has bet the farm on this

:11:29.:11:32.

calculation that there has been this rupture between the rise in wages

:11:33.:11:37.

and the rise in inflation, although that is now beginning to slow. The

:11:38.:11:44.

calculation he is making is that in the 2012 presidential election, Mitt

:11:45.:11:46.

Romney was ahead on many of the economic indicators, but Barack

:11:47.:11:51.

Obama won because he said, I am on your side. He has bet the farm on

:11:52.:11:57.

that. But there is a big difference between Miliband and Barack Obama,

:11:58.:12:01.

which is that Barack Obama was elected in 2008 after the crash, so

:12:02.:12:05.

everything he did was about rescue. The problem for Ed Miliband and Ed

:12:06.:12:10.

Balls is that they were in power when the crash happened, so it is

:12:11.:12:14.

difficult to make that comparison. Labour is nip and tuck with the

:12:15.:12:19.

Tories, or ahead by a small amount - Mr Miliband's personal ratings are

:12:20.:12:24.

much worse than what David Cameron's were at the same stage in

:12:25.:12:27.

the political cycle, does that matter? I think personal ratings do

:12:28.:12:34.

matter, particularly if things like Ukraine gained more prominence in

:12:35.:12:40.

the media. It is a question of who you want as your statesman. But on

:12:41.:12:44.

the economy specifically, actually, the economic ratings in terms of

:12:45.:12:47.

confidence in the leader has not changed. That has not changed for

:12:48.:12:54.

years now. It is pretty stable. Actually, the narrowing of the polls

:12:55.:13:02.

could be due to the usual narrowing about 12 months out from the

:13:03.:13:07.

election, and Labour really need to use the momentum. Thank you for

:13:08.:13:11.

that. Plenty to talk about after you all go to the polls on Thursday.

:13:12.:13:15.

There will be tonnes of election coverage and results on the BBC,

:13:16.:13:19.

Thursday night, Friday, and of course, Sunday night, when the

:13:20.:13:23.

European results come out. Daily Politics is back on BBC Two tomorrow

:13:24.:13:27.

lunchtime. I will be back here next Sunday at 11 o'clock as usual for

:13:28.:13:31.

The Sunday Politics. Remember, if it is Sunday, it is The Sunday

:13:32.:13:34.

The Sunday before we go to the polls in local and European elections, Andrew Neil talks to the culture secretary Sajid Javid, Liberal Democrat Simon Hughes and Labour's Hilary Benn.


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