02/06/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


02/06/2013

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the lobbying scandal with Francis Maude and Jim Murphy.


Similar Content

Browse content similar to 02/06/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!

Transcript


LineFromTo

Ulster Unionist whip is withdrawn from Lord Laird after he's caught up

:01:21.:01:24.

in a lobbying sting - we hear from Mike Nesbitt. And Alasdair McDonnell

:01:24.:01:34.
:01:34.:01:34.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2446 seconds

:01:34.:42:20.

defends his leadership of the SDLP. Northern Ireland. The Ulster

:42:21.:42:24.

Unionist peer Lord layered fans and self caught up in a row over

:42:24.:42:28.

political lobbying after agreeing to carry out Parliamentary work for pay

:42:28.:42:34.

them -- back payment. We will have reaction from the Ulster Unionist

:42:34.:42:39.

leader. Is it a case of back to the future for the STL P when its former

:42:39.:42:44.

deputy leaders Seamus Mallon and Brid Rogers appeared to

:42:44.:42:52.

emphasise... The man with his hand on the tiller, Alasdair McDonnell is

:42:52.:42:57.

with me in the studio. With me to comment on it is Alex Kane and the

:42:58.:43:06.

former Victims' Commissioner Patricia McBride. The Ulster

:43:06.:43:11.

Unionist peer Lord layered and Lord Cunningham and Lord Mackenzie have

:43:12.:43:18.

been accused of carrying out Parliamentary work for payment. All

:43:18.:43:21.

three have denied breaking any rules. Let us listen to a bit of

:43:21.:43:31.
:43:31.:43:46.

what he said. Our political editor joins me now. This is a breaking

:43:46.:43:52.

story. It is happening as we are an air. Mike Nesbitt has issued a

:43:52.:44:00.

statement saying that Lord Laird has ruling wished the party whip.

:44:00.:44:04.

initial response of the Ulster Unionists to this episode was that

:44:04.:44:08.

Lord Laird was correct in referring himself to the Westminster

:44:09.:44:14.

authorities. He became the target of an investigation by two teams of

:44:15.:44:19.

undercover reporters. The Sunday Times posed as representatives of a

:44:19.:44:25.

South Korean energy company and the video you saw was from a separate

:44:25.:44:28.

investigation by the Daily Telegraph and it was on the Panorama

:44:28.:44:35.

programme. They posed as lobbyists on behalf of the G. The rule is that

:44:35.:44:40.

members of the House of Lords may undertake work but not work for the

:44:40.:44:44.

parliamentary duties. Lord Laird has denied any wrongdoing. Initially he

:44:44.:44:49.

was backed by the party, but having reviewed the video footage, Mike

:44:49.:44:58.

Nesbitt decided that more action was required. On Friday, he made me

:44:58.:45:03.

aware of the situation. He was at pains to say he was very confident

:45:03.:45:08.

he had done nothing wrong but in the in stretch -- in the interest of

:45:08.:45:12.

transparency he referred himself to authorities at Westminster. Waking

:45:12.:45:16.

up this morning, looking up the papers and reviewing the video

:45:16.:45:24.

footage, I decided that we needed to go a bit further, so I contacted him

:45:24.:45:28.

and the web and is being relinquished pending the outcome of

:45:28.:45:36.

the Westminster review. We will take it from there. Has he resigned or

:45:36.:45:43.

was it taken away? It has been taken away, it has been suspended. We are

:45:43.:45:51.

making a gesture to say that this is a particularly serious series of

:45:51.:45:56.

allegations. We want Westminster to do what they have to do. The Ulster

:45:56.:46:01.

Unionist Party expect high standards of all our elected representatives

:46:01.:46:05.

and that includes looking at rules and not saying how can I work around

:46:05.:46:10.

that, that involves looking at a rule and saying how do I give

:46:10.:46:15.

meaning to both this period and the letter of that rule. You are

:46:15.:46:21.

concerned that he has not stuck to the spirit of the rules? There is

:46:21.:46:27.

some evidence. On the face of it, it does not look good and I expect our

:46:27.:46:32.

representatives to honour the spirit as well as the letter of rules and

:46:32.:46:35.

laws. David Cameron made a speech in which he predicted that lobbying

:46:35.:46:40.

could be a big scandal, is this something which applies not only to

:46:40.:46:48.

Westminster but also to Stormont? This would be an appropriate time to

:46:48.:46:52.

look at it. As you walk around Stormont, it is always full of

:46:52.:46:54.

people and some of them are there, obviously lobbying, and perhaps we

:46:54.:46:59.

need to look at some clarity about the status and the relationships and

:46:59.:47:03.

to make sure that nothing is happening, either by omission or

:47:03.:47:08.

ownership that is not the way it should be. That was Mike Nesbitt

:47:08.:47:16.

speaking to you earlier. What do we know about these two separate sting

:47:16.:47:23.

operations that appear to involve Lord Laird? The Daily Telegraph,

:47:23.:47:28.

which has been working with Panorama reported that Lord Laird had told of

:47:28.:47:35.

their undercover reporters that he was interested in taking a payment

:47:35.:47:39.

of �2000 per month to represent a company that is backing the

:47:39.:47:46.

interests of the G. No money was paid over. In relation to the other

:47:46.:47:53.

investigation, he is quoted in that newspaper saying that whilst he

:47:53.:47:56.

would not ask questions, what happens in the House of Lords is

:47:56.:48:00.

that appears at their friends and colleagues to as questions. That is

:48:00.:48:06.

the thrust of the other report. Lord Laird is saying he is confident he

:48:06.:48:09.

has broken no rules and he has passed this on to the Parliamentary

:48:10.:48:14.

authorities. The question will be whether you can keep to the letter

:48:14.:48:20.

of the rules and not necessarily to the spirit of them. What are the

:48:20.:48:27.

implications for the Ulster Unionist Party? It is an embarrassment. That

:48:27.:48:30.

is why Mike Nesbitt has moved quickly. It is not the first time

:48:30.:48:34.

that Lord Laird has been involved in controversy. Back in March,

:48:34.:48:39.

questions were asked about his role as paid adviser to Christopher

:48:39.:48:43.

Knight who was interested in buying the Belfast Giants. That got

:48:43.:48:48.

embroiled in scandal when it emerged he was on the sex offenders register

:48:48.:48:54.

in Florida. Lord Laird referred to the charges against him as a minor

:48:54.:49:04.
:49:04.:49:05.

misdemeanour but then apologised for that comment. Thank you. Alex Kane

:49:05.:49:10.

joins me now, he is a former director of communications for the

:49:10.:49:13.

Ulster Unionist Party and former Victims' Commissioner Patricia

:49:13.:49:21.

McBride. How damaging is this situation? It is embarrassing. It is

:49:21.:49:23.

embarrassing for Mike Nesbitt because it had nothing to do with

:49:23.:49:33.
:49:33.:49:35.

him. It is to do with a peer who is linked to the party. If you listen

:49:35.:49:42.

to him this morning, he used the term when he watched the tape that

:49:42.:49:48.

it was an edifying viewing. If you look at how he dealt with Ken

:49:48.:49:52.

Maginnis and David McNarry, he moved quickly, he wants to close this

:49:52.:50:02.
:50:02.:50:04.

down. It is nothing to do with him or the party. What do you think?

:50:04.:50:09.

think he should have done his due diligence. He was criticised. He did

:50:10.:50:14.

not think it was his role to undertake due diligence in concern

:50:14.:50:21.

with the Belfast chance. He should have learned from that lesson.

:50:21.:50:25.

Tomorrow the Special Advisers' Bill reaches the final stages in the

:50:25.:50:28.

Assembly. At one point it looked like it would fall after the ST LP

:50:28.:50:36.

threaten to lodge an petition of concern. It changed its mind.

:50:36.:50:40.

Alasdair McDonnell says the party will probably abstain when it comes

:50:40.:50:45.

to the vote. As a result, the bill is expected to pass. Whatever the

:50:45.:50:49.

outcome, has the controversy damage the party? The murder of Mary

:50:49.:50:56.

Travers shocked community used to killing. For decades, her wore her

:50:56.:50:59.

brief in silence until Sinn Fein appointed Mary McArdle, the only

:50:59.:51:03.

person convicted in connection with the killing, as a Special Adviser to

:51:03.:51:09.

the Culture Minister Carol McCallan. At the time of the murder, Alistair

:51:09.:51:13.

McDonnell was the family doctor and he understood the herd them

:51:13.:51:20.

appointment will cause. Initially the party appeared sympathetic. It

:51:20.:51:29.

changed its mind when they would not accept amendments. We have made

:51:29.:51:33.

every attempt that we possibly could to shape this into good law and it

:51:33.:51:36.

has not been successful. I think at this stage we are considering

:51:37.:51:44.

supporting a petition of concern. Will you do it? I think we will.Ann

:51:44.:51:51.

Travers met with party leaders who were less banking to talk about it.

:51:51.:52:00.

Can I ask you how the meeting went? Show some respect! Finally the party

:52:00.:52:03.

appeared to have a change of heart and agreed not to block the bill and

:52:03.:52:13.
:52:13.:52:13.

denied it was ever an option. Crime who was going to veto the bill?

:52:13.:52:18.

There were no hints coming from the party. Dominic Bradley raised the

:52:19.:52:22.

issue that because Jim Allister was being so awkward and unhelpful, we

:52:22.:52:29.

were having great difficulty. more than a week, the party wrestled

:52:29.:52:34.

publicly with the issue of what to do about the Special Advisers' Bill

:52:34.:52:39.

before coming to a conclusion loaded with potential pitfalls. In a way

:52:39.:52:42.

they were dammed if they did and downed if they did not. The

:52:42.:52:47.

impression is left of the party that is not sure where they are going.

:52:47.:52:52.

There have been pressure from the party of old guard. The macro and

:52:53.:52:59.

younger all coming from Mass was shot dead. To put those people who

:52:59.:53:02.

have that type of record into the top of the administration in

:53:02.:53:11.

Stormont is to actually negate any of the basic philosophies of the

:53:11.:53:16.

Good Friday Agreement in terms of reconciliation. It is giving two

:53:16.:53:21.

fingers to the Unionist community. When Seamus Mallon and Brid Rogers

:53:21.:53:25.

weighed in, it made things impossible for Alasdair McDonnell

:53:25.:53:29.

who had looked as though he was beginning to get to his feet steady

:53:29.:53:34.

on the ground and get a grip of things. The role of the leader is to

:53:34.:53:38.

make a decision and to lay down policy and get on with it and seemed

:53:38.:53:42.

to be a few days when the party was struggling. Alex Attwood struggled

:53:42.:53:48.

publicly when he was asked questions. People clearly felt

:53:48.:53:51.

strongly. Some people in Sinn Fein were suggesting that some

:53:51.:53:59.

individuals may support the petition of concern. Alasdair McDonnell is

:53:59.:54:07.

with me now. How difficult has it been to have the issue of your

:54:07.:54:10.

leadership raised and the direction of the party raised in the way it

:54:10.:54:15.

has been? It has not been difficult. It is a difficult issue. We are

:54:15.:54:22.

dealing with it in a democratic fashion. We discuss things. Other

:54:22.:54:27.

parties operate difficult -- differently. We discuss things

:54:27.:54:33.

openly and honestly. This was a difficult issue, in some ways it was

:54:33.:54:37.

the lesser of two evils, there is a serious victims issue out there that

:54:37.:54:40.

has been neglected for many years and victims are brushed under the

:54:40.:54:45.

carpet, brushed out of the way by the present Executive at Stormont in

:54:45.:54:51.

many ways and the victims issue has to be one of our priorities. We

:54:51.:54:55.

cannot create the processes we want to see until we deal honestly with

:54:55.:54:59.

the past. It is embarrassing that the two former deputy leaders of

:54:59.:55:05.

your party appeared to weigh in and effectively criticise the tact you

:55:05.:55:10.

appeared to be taking? I am not embarrassed at all. I respect their

:55:10.:55:14.

point of view. They are members of the party in good standing and they

:55:14.:55:19.

are welcome to express their point of view. That is the culture of the

:55:19.:55:27.

party. We are not a top-down party, we are a bottom-up party. We listen

:55:27.:55:35.

to them. We listen to victims. that demonstrate that you got it

:55:35.:55:43.

wrong in the first place? No, I am sorry, things involved in politics.

:55:43.:55:47.

We are between a rock and a hard place in terms of this bill. The

:55:47.:55:55.

bill is flawed, we want to see a better bill, we worked very hard to

:55:55.:55:58.

repair that Bill. Jim Allister would not tolerate the repairs and neither

:55:58.:56:01.

would the DUP and Sinn Fein voted against our amendments. In

:56:01.:56:06.

frustration, one of our members did raise the question of the

:56:06.:56:10.

possibility of a petition of concern. He raised it in a

:56:10.:56:20.
:56:20.:56:21.

conversation with me. We deal with facts. The facts were that that was

:56:21.:56:29.

a possibility. He said that he thought he probably would. He was

:56:29.:56:32.

quite entitled to say that because he was deeply frustrated and angry

:56:32.:56:38.

about the way he had been treated. Our membership has victims as a top

:56:38.:56:47.

priority. We will continue to do that going forward. Sorry. I have

:56:47.:56:52.

worked for 30 years as a GP. Ann Travers was a patient of mine, an

:56:52.:57:02.
:57:02.:57:03.

employee of mine. Ann Travers asked us for a meeting. We matter.

:57:03.:57:12.

thought you were getting it wrong. will not criticise Ann Travers.

:57:12.:57:17.

Quite simply, I have been dealing with victims, I have a lot of

:57:18.:57:25.

people, patience of mine walking around with bullet holes in them. I

:57:25.:57:31.

do not need any lessons from anyone in terms of victims. Why are you

:57:31.:57:36.

going to probably abstain tomorrow? Is the bill is flawed. We will not

:57:36.:57:42.

vote for it. It is the lesser of two evils because it is the issue of

:57:42.:57:46.

victims, the majority of victims we have spoken to feel that this bill,

:57:46.:57:53.

bad as it is, let it go and let the courts deal with it. The vast

:57:53.:57:57.

majority of victims, I would have thought would have been much happier

:57:57.:58:04.

for you to support it. Ann Travers has a point of view. There are a

:58:04.:58:11.

whole range of points of view. I am on good terms with Michael

:58:11.:58:18.

Gallagher. Paul Kavanagh says he was a victim. He was convicted of

:58:18.:58:24.

killing in the IRA and he says it is unfair. There is a hierarchy of

:58:24.:58:30.

people. There are a handful of people who are an elite within Sinn

:58:30.:58:32.

Fein. There are interests unfortunately do not take precedence

:58:32.:58:38.

over the interests of thousands of victims. It means that Paul

:58:38.:58:45.

Kavanagh's victimhood and needs are down the pecking order compared with

:58:45.:58:50.

the innocent victims that are out there. Why not support the

:58:50.:58:54.

legislation because by abstaining it looks like you're balancing Ann

:58:54.:58:59.

Travers concerns whether Paul Kavanagh's concerns. I am sorry if

:58:59.:59:04.

you want to look at it that way. We are looking at this, it is a flawed

:59:04.:59:08.

bill, we have made the point it is flawed, we would have supported the

:59:08.:59:12.

bill had our amendments to make the bill a decent bill been accepted.

:59:12.:59:22.
:59:22.:59:22.

They were not accepted and we are withdrawing. Quite simply, that is

:59:22.:59:26.

the honourable position. Three members of your party are concerned

:59:26.:59:29.

about this. They are coming under an enormous amount of pressure. There

:59:29.:59:35.

is a lot of speculation that somebody might break ranks. It only

:59:35.:59:40.

takes one of your MLAs to break ranks and a petition of concern

:59:40.:59:46.

could be raised. There is a lot of spinning going on. Are you sure that

:59:46.:59:54.

will not happen? I am quite sure it will not happen. I am absolutely

:59:54.:00:01.

sure. Do you wanted in writing? The party had never been more united and

:00:01.:00:03.

never more functional and never more clear-cut as to whether priorities

:00:03.:00:11.

lie. You are clear that all of your party members will abstain? That is

:00:11.:00:18.

a different question. You asked me was a sure that nobody would sign a

:00:18.:00:25.

petition of concern. Are you sure that all the members will abstain?

:00:25.:00:32.

Yes. Let us hear from Alex Kane and Patricia McBride. You wrote a

:00:32.:00:40.

critical piece about their handling of the situation. You said that the

:00:40.:00:42.

party had been embarrassed and shamed into changing its position.

:00:42.:00:51.

Do you retract any of that? I do not. He talks about the use of

:00:51.:00:55.

probably in relation to what Dominic Bradley said. It was the use of that

:00:55.:01:00.

and the fact it was not stamped out immediately by you as leader which

:01:00.:01:03.

caused Brid Rogers and Seamus Mallon to enter the debate. What made that

:01:04.:01:10.

newsworthy is the fact they normally do not. That is the first time for a

:01:10.:01:14.

long time I have heard either of them coming to a public debate and

:01:14.:01:22.

say something, whether you like it or not, it sounded critical. The

:01:22.:01:26.

fact that you have ended up saying we are going to abstain. That also

:01:27.:01:36.
:01:37.:01:40.

seems weak, because you're either for a bill or against a bill. It is

:01:40.:01:45.

a personal criticism in one sense, but it is a criticism I have made of

:01:45.:01:52.

the UUP and the DUP. I do not know where you stand on this. Do you want

:01:52.:01:56.

to answer that? He is objecting to the democracy that works within my

:01:56.:02:05.

party. We have tried to fix this bill and they will not allow us.

:02:05.:02:15.
:02:15.:02:19.

DUP, UUP, TUC work to obstruct any amendments. We are united in this.

:02:19.:02:26.

We are quite able to stand united tomorrow or any other day. You are

:02:26.:02:34.

former Victims' Commissioner, where do the victims fit in? We need to be

:02:34.:02:37.

aware that Alasdair McDonnell has said that he believes that should be

:02:37.:02:42.

a hierarchy of victims. That is concerning. It undermines everything

:02:42.:02:47.

that his party has stood for up until this point. A lot of people

:02:47.:02:51.

would agree with that. It is an about-face in party policy. The

:02:51.:02:59.

second issue regarding this is that the public opinion believes that the

:02:59.:03:03.

intervention of Seamus Mallon and Brid Rogers has had an impact on

:03:03.:03:08.

this. I am asking, where are the victims who have been consulted? My

:03:08.:03:12.

colleagues and I established the forum for victims and survivors,

:03:12.:03:18.

that is the proper mechanism. Has the party been to that for? Who have

:03:18.:03:22.

a spoken to, I am not aware from my discussions of people over the last

:03:22.:03:32.
:03:32.:03:37.

week. Let us look at the political weight in 60 seconds. -- wake. Would

:03:38.:03:44.

they are wooden day, the STL P finally decided not to block the

:03:44.:03:52.

special advisers Bell? We will not be supporting a petition of concern.

:03:52.:04:01.

Sinn Fein called a bad law. This bill is for anyone who has been hurt

:04:01.:04:08.

in the past. After two years in prison, Marian Price was released.

:04:08.:04:11.

We do not feel anyone should lose their liberty on the basis of that,

:04:11.:04:21.
:04:21.:04:47.

it is not open to challenge. Siam illustrate whether the party will

:04:47.:04:51.

make the decision to fish or cut bait. Only implement the Good Friday

:04:51.:04:57.

Agreement will they allow it to be undermined by bad law. A final

:04:57.:05:02.

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the lobbying scandal with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy. Plus Nadine Dorries MP on MPs' expenses.


Download Subtitles

SRT

ASS