06/04/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


06/04/2014

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including a look over Maria Miller's expenses apology. With Labour's Caroline Flint.


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Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:37.:00:40.

Pressure on Culture Secretary Maria Miller mounts as the Tory press,

:00:41.:00:43.

Tory voters and even a Tory Minister turn against her. That's our top

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story. The economic outlook is getting

:00:49.:00:51.

rosier. But Ed Miliband is having none of it. The cost of living

:00:52.:00:56.

crisis is here to stay, says Labour. Shadow Minister Caroline Flint joins

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us for the Sunday Interview. And we bring you the Sunday Politics

:01:06.:01:09.

Gallery. But which former world leader is behind these paintings of

:01:10.:01:10.

And coming up here... world

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And coming up here... Has Peter Robinson crossed the line?

:01:17.:01:17.

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd and the SDLP's Alex Attwood debate the

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deepening divisions within the Executive over welfare reform.

:01:21.:01:23.

deepening divisions within the new London borough. A blue flint for

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And with me as always, the best and the brightest political panel in the

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business - Janan Ganesh, Helen Lewis and Nick Watt. Their tweets will be

:01:38.:01:40.

as brief as a Cabinet Minister's apology.

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A frenzy of betting on the Grand National yesterday. But there was

:01:47.:01:50.

one book on which betting was suspended, and that was on the fate

:01:51.:01:53.

of Culture Secretary Maria Miller, now the 2/1 favourite to be forced

:01:54.:01:56.

out the Cabinet. She galloped through her apology to the Commons

:01:57.:02:00.

on Thursday in just 32 seconds. But speed did her no favours. There's

:02:01.:02:03.

been mounting pressure on her to resign ever since, especially from

:02:04.:02:07.

Tories. And this weekend the Chairman of the Independent

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Parliamentary Standards Authority, Ian Kennedy, said it's time MPs gave

:02:10.:02:12.

away the power to decide how colleagues who break the rules are

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punished. An inquiry into Maria Miller's expenses claims was launch

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in 2012, following allegations he claimed ?90,000 to fund a house she

:02:33.:02:37.

lived in part time with her parents. She had designated this her second

:02:38.:02:42.

home. She was referred to the Parliamentary Standards

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Commissioner, who recommended that she repay ?45,000. But this week the

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Commons Standards Committee, comprising of MPs from all parties,

:02:53.:02:56.

dismissed the complaint against Maria Miller and ordered her to

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repay just ?5,800 for inadvertently overclaiming her merge claimants.

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She was forced to apologise to the Commons for the legalistic way she

:03:11.:03:13.

dealt with the complaints against her. But Tony Gallagher told the

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Daily Politics on Friday: We got a third call from Craig Oliver who

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pointed out, she is looking at Leveson and the call is badly timed.

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I think if you are making a series of telephone calls to a newspaper

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organisation investigating the conduct of a Cabinet Minister, that

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comes close After that interview Craig Oliver

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contacted us, saying there was no threat in anyway over Leveson. I

:03:37.:03:41.

mead it clear at the time. Tony Gallagher is talking rubbish about

:03:42.:03:45.

me, and you can use that. The Daily Telegraph have released a tape of a

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phone call between Maria Miller's aid, Joanna Hindley, and a reporter

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investigating her expenses claim. Joanna Hindley said:

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Maria's obviously been having quite a lot of editor's meetings around

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Leveson at the moment. So I'm just going to kind of flag up that

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connection for you to think about. The Prime Minister is sticking by

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his Culture Secretary, but this weekend's crescendo of criticism of

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her presents him with a problem and he could be wishing Maria Miller

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would just fall on her sword. Even over 80% of Tory voters in a Mail on

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Sunday poll think she should go. On the Andrew Marr Show, the Work and

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Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, defended his colleague. I've

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known her always to be a reasonable and honest person. But is she doing

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the Government or her any good by staying in office at the moment, do

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you think? This is a matter the Prime Minister has to take

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consideration of and she herself. My view generally is I'm supportive of

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Maria, because if we are not careful we end one a witch-hunt of somebody.

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And I'm joined now by the Conservative MP, Bob Stewart, and

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the man in the white suit, former MP and anti-sleaze campaigner Martin

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Bell. Welcome to you both. Stuart Stuart sturkts let me put this to

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you, a Conservative MP told this programme, this is a quote, she has

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handled this appallingly. Downing Street has acted like judge and

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jury, for Craig Oliver to get involved is disastrous. She's been

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protected by the whips from the start. What do you say to that? It's

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not great, is it? The fact of the matter is the question one should

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ask is, did she deliberately try to make money? Did she deliberately try

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to obscure ate? The answer is she certainly didn't deliberately try to

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make money, in the system, which was the old system, and with regard to

:05:38.:05:41.

obscure ago, I wasn't there, but let's put it this way. She was going

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through a quasi-judicial process and might have ended up in court, so she

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has a right to defend herself. Hold on o you said she doesn't do it to

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make money, she remortgaged the house a couple of times to earn more

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interest to us, the taxpayer, and when interest rates went down she

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didn't reduce the amount she was charging in expenses. Well, the

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point is the adjudicator said there was ?45,000 she was owed. And then a

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committee, Standards Committee, said actually it should be reduced. That

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was mainly MPs but there are three lay members. Yes, but they don't

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have the vote. OK, fine, that is where it is wrong and we've got to

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get it sorted. Let me put another quote from our Conservative MP. He

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didn't want to be named. None of you do at the moment. I'm being named.

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But you are backing her. George young in cahoots. He's been leading

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on the Standards Committee to find her innocent. The Standards

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Committee is unfit for purpose. I think the Standards Committee should

:06:46.:06:50.

be revisited. I think the system is still evolving. And I think actually

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we ought to have totally independent judgment on MPs' pay and allowances.

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We haven't have not got there yet and that is where it is wrong.

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Martin Bell, have MPs interfered in the Maria Miller process and with

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the current Standards Commissioner in the same way that they saw off a

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previous Commissioner they thought was too independent? Andrew it is

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exactly the same. Yesterday I looked at a diary entry I made for May

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2000, I said, dreadful meeting standards and privileges, they are

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playing party politics. One of them told Elizabeth fill kin to her face

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the gossip in the tea room was she had gone crazy. Nothing's changed.

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What this shows is most of all, what's the committee for? If it is

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just going to rubber stamp what the party wants and its mates, I don't

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see any point. But it hasn't rubber stamped. It's changed it. Well, it

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has watered down. That's why we should make it totally independent

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and it shouldn't be involved in the House of Commons. It is plus plus ca

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change isn't it? MPs', scandal, and MPs closing ranks for one of their

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own. Has the Commons learned nothing? And this is after the

:08:14.:08:18.

expenses scandal, where everything was out for everybody to see, you

:08:19.:08:22.

would think MPs would be careful. This is before the expenses scandal.

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We are looking at an historical event, during your time, Martin, not

:08:27.:08:31.

mine. I'm clean on this. You campaigned for him as an

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independent. I did, he was a good friend of mine. And now you've

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joined the club. And now you are defending Maria Miller? I'm

:08:41.:08:44.

defending someone who hasn't been proved guilty of anything beyond the

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fact she was rather slow to come forward with evidence. My point on

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that, is I understand that. MPs are being lambasted the whole time these

:08:53.:08:57.

days. There were a heck of a lot of them, Martin, who are utterly

:08:58.:09:01.

decent. She didn't try to make money. We've just been through that.

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I don't think that's right. The jury is out on that. What should have

:09:07.:09:10.

happened in the Miller case, Martin Bell? I don't think there should be

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a committee on standards. I think the Commissioner should make a

:09:15.:09:18.

report. There has been to be justice for the MP complained against. Then

:09:19.:09:22.

the committee of the whole House can consider it. But we are, the House

:09:23.:09:28.

of Commons, then as now is incapable of regulating itself. That's been

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proving yet again. She made a perfunctory apology. She threatened

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and instructed the Standards Commissioner investigating her, and

:09:40.:09:43.

her special adviser linked expenses to Leveson, when trying to stop the

:09:44.:09:47.

Daily Telegraph from publishing. I mean, is that the behaviour of a

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Cabinet Minister? Well, it's probably not the behaviour of

:09:53.:09:55.

someone that's got time on their hands. She's a very busy Cabinet

:09:56.:10:01.

Minister. Well, she had enough time to write lots of letters to the

:10:02.:10:06.

Standards Commission ser. She felt under such threat. She had the time.

:10:07.:10:13.

She had to make the time. Die know the lady is not trying desperately

:10:14.:10:17.

to make money. I disagree but on that. The fact of the matter is,

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this was an old, old system, that we've tried to put right, or the

:10:22.:10:26.

Commons has tried to put right. I agree that MPs shouldn't get

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involved in this. Should we get rid of this committee? It serves no

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purpose except to cause trouble. The adjudicator has said that and it

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should be the end of it. It shouldn't come back to the Commons.

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Although her special adviser threatened them over Leveson she was

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and is the Minister responsible for trying to introduce something like

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Leveson and that is something a big chunk that the press doesn't want.

:10:55.:11:00.

She is a target. It has a good record on this issue. It played wit

:11:01.:11:06.

a straight bat. The facts aren't in dispute are they? Will she make it

:11:07.:11:11.

to the next cabinet reshuffle and then go? Iain Duncan Smith said it

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is a matter for the Prime Minister. In my view, as things stand, I

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question did she deliberately want to make money? I don't think she

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did. Should she go? No. Should she be reshuffled? I don't know.

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Goodness me, you are asking someone who will never be reshuffled,

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because he will never make it. I was only asking for your opinion, not

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your ability to do it. This is a problem for Cameron isn't it? It is

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a problem for Cameron. There is nothing wrong with returning to be

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badge benches, as you know. Hear, hear. To that. Stick with me. Helen,

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can she survive? Is I'm going out of the prediction game when I said

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Clegg is going to win the date, so I owe Janan a tenner on that one.

:12:05.:12:10.

Grant Shapps has supported her. She was ringed by Sir George young and

:12:11.:12:17.

Jeremy Hunt... This is pretty devastating. On past form David

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Cameron hates having to bounce people out of the cabinet. He will

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want to keep Maria Miller until the summer reshuffle. This is a question

:12:29.:12:31.

mark on whether she survive this is. This isn't damaging to the

:12:32.:12:33.

Conservative or the Labour Party, it is damaging to everyone. This is

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catastrophic damage to the entire political establishment. Every

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single speech that David Cameron and Ed Miliband have given since 2009,

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talking about restoring trust, they can wipe them from their computers,

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because voters are going to look that there and say, this lot haven't

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learnt anything. They are giving perfunctory apologies and then you

:12:56.:13:00.

have MPs sitting in judgment on MPs and rather than paying back ?45,000,

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she pays back ?5,800 after MPs have been into it. Damage is huge. Just

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getting rid of one Cabinet Minister, you will need to do more than that.

:13:12.:13:15.

You will notice that Labour haven't made huge weather of this. No,

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goodness me, they have their own skeletons. Exactly. The person who

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has made hay out of this is Nigel Farage, who has not been backwards

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in coming forward. He doesn't seem to care about skeletons. The Prime

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Minister has be-Gunby backing her, but that's not popular even with

:13:35.:13:38.

Tory voters. How does he get out of this? This is the problem for him.

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Five years ago his reaction to the expenses scandal was seen by many

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Tory backbenchers as excessive. They felt hung out to dry by a man who is

:13:50.:13:54.

independently wealthy. To go from that to making a special exemption

:13:55.:13:59.

to Maria Miller because it is politically suitable is more

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incendiary and provocative. It is not just upsetting the voters and

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the Daily Telegraph but a good number of people behind him. I think

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they will get rid of her. I think the Government, to paraphrase

:14:10.:14:15.

Churchill, will zoo the decent thing after exhausting all options, of the

:14:16.:14:21.

European elections a reshuffle. The culture department has gone from a

:14:22.:14:27.

baulk water in haul to one of the most politically sensational jobs

:14:28.:14:30.

because of its proximity to the Leveson issue. She has to be

:14:31.:14:34.

replaced by someone Lily skillful and substantial. Mr Cameron is not

:14:35.:14:49.

short of smart women? Nikki Morgan, the education department, these are

:14:50.:14:56.

absolutely outstanding women and the problem that the generation elected

:14:57.:15:02.

in 2005, Maria Miller generation, there are some really good people

:15:03.:15:09.

elected in 2010. You are not responsible for hacking into the

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culture Department's Twitter account last night? I was out at the time!

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They all say that! One so, Maria Miller is like a modern-day Robin

:15:25.:15:28.

Hood... She robs the poor to help the rich. Which one of us has not

:15:29.:15:36.

embezzled the taxpayer? I reckon it is the lady. You have the perfect

:15:37.:15:45.

cover. We would not know how to, would we? You cannot tweet from a

:15:46.:15:54.

mobile device, can you? Play it safe. No, do something dramatic.

:15:55.:15:58.

Have lots of pledges. Have just a few pledges. Ah, there must be a

:15:59.:16:01.

Labour policy review reaching its conclusion because everyone has some

:16:02.:16:04.

free advice for the party about its message and the man delivering it.

:16:05.:16:12.

Here's Adam. He is well liked by the public don't quite buy him as a

:16:13.:16:18.

leader. The papers say he is in hock to the unions and the party has a

:16:19.:16:21.

lead in the polls but it is not solid. Bartenders Neil Kinnock. That

:16:22.:16:26.

is what they said Winnie who lost the 1982 election. The whole country

:16:27.:16:35.

deserves better and we will work to ensure that the day will come when

:16:36.:16:41.

with the Labour government, the country will get better. Someone who

:16:42.:16:46.

was there can see some spooky parallels. The important lesson from

:16:47.:16:52.

1992 is it cannot rest on your laurels and hope for the best, you

:16:53.:16:56.

cannot sit on a lead of seven points because the election narrows that

:16:57.:17:01.

and you cannot rely on the government not getting its act

:17:02.:17:04.

together because the Conservative Party was well funded and organised,

:17:05.:17:09.

the double whammy posters, the tax bombshell, but incredibly effective

:17:10.:17:14.

and the message was unified and they beat us on the campaign. The lesson

:17:15.:17:21.

for Labour today is this lead will evaporate quite possibly over the

:17:22.:17:24.

next few months and we might go into the election behind in the polls.

:17:25.:17:30.

But Ed Miliband is getting conflicting advice about how to

:17:31.:17:34.

avoid 1992 happening. Be bold, be cautious and then, the idea that

:17:35.:17:39.

Labour can squeak into office with just 35% of the vote, which worries

:17:40.:17:46.

some people. Each month, the Labour Party meets around the country and

:17:47.:17:52.

last week, everybody spoke about the dangers of this 35% strategy. They

:17:53.:17:56.

were increasingly unhappy and it is very important that those people

:17:57.:18:02.

around the leader naturally have a duty to protect him and they make

:18:03.:18:07.

sure he gets this message that while there is total support for him, they

:18:08.:18:13.

do want this key year in the run-up to the General Election to be

:18:14.:18:16.

putting out an alternative which we can defend on the doorstep. The

:18:17.:18:23.

doorstep where Neil Kinnock made his concession speech is crammed with

:18:24.:18:28.

Spanish back hackers. The old Labour offices are no a budget hostel.

:18:29.:18:35.

Labour headquarters is down the road and they are putting the finishing

:18:36.:18:39.

touches to a speech Ed Miliband will give this week about the cost of

:18:40.:18:43.

living and I am told he will drop hints about new policies in juicy

:18:44.:18:47.

areas like housing, low pay, growth and devolving power. As for the

:18:48.:18:51.

charge that they are not radical enough, his people say they want to

:18:52.:18:55.

be bold but they have to be credible as well. They say that Labour is

:18:56.:19:00.

more united than it has ever been but there has been some grumbling

:19:01.:19:05.

that the cost of living campaign is not the same as a vision for the

:19:06.:19:09.

country. And that Ed Miliband was not statesman-like enough at Prime

:19:10.:19:13.

Minister's Questions and one figure who sat at the same table in the

:19:14.:19:17.

Neil Kinnock years summed it up like this. Things are OK but it feels

:19:18.:19:22.

like we're playing for the draw. Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline

:19:23.:19:25.

Flint joins me now for the Sunday Interview. This 35% victory

:19:26.:19:39.

strategy, it does not sound very ambitious? I am campaigning to win

:19:40.:19:46.

this election with a majority government and everybody else around

:19:47.:19:51.

the table is also. But we want to go to every corner of the country and

:19:52.:19:56.

win votes for Labour and win seats, that is what we are working towards.

:19:57.:20:01.

To avoid last time, the coalition bartering. But that 35% is a victory

:20:02.:20:08.

strategy so are you saying there is no 35% strategy and that no one at

:20:09.:20:13.

the heart of Labour is not arguing for this? We are working to win

:20:14.:20:19.

around the country and to win all of those battle ground seats and we

:20:20.:20:23.

must have a strategy that appeals to a cross-section of the public but

:20:24.:20:28.

within that, that broad group Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and. You

:20:29.:20:38.

could do that with 35% of the vote? There is lots of polling and

:20:39.:20:41.

everyone looks at this about what we need to do to get seats and we want

:20:42.:20:46.

to have a comprehensive majority at the next election to win to govern

:20:47.:20:54.

this country. Last week, we have been reading reports of splits in

:20:55.:20:58.

the party over policy and on tactics, even strategy. A struggle

:20:59.:21:04.

for control of the General Election manifesto, we are told. What are you

:21:05.:21:11.

arguing over? I said on the committee and just listening to the

:21:12.:21:14.

film before, it is about being radical but also credible and we are

:21:15.:21:19.

talking about evolution and that is an important subject but we are also

:21:20.:21:25.

united and to be honest, in 2010 people were writing us off saying we

:21:26.:21:29.

would turn on ourselves and that has not been the case. We are not

:21:30.:21:34.

arguing about the fundamentals, we are discussing the policies that are

:21:35.:21:39.

coming up with different colleagues and talking about how we can make

:21:40.:21:42.

sure they are presented to the public and that is part of a

:21:43.:21:45.

process. That is a discussion, not disagreement. The Financial Times,

:21:46.:21:53.

which is usually pretty fair, reports a battle between Ed

:21:54.:21:59.

Miliband's radical instincts and the more business fiscal conservatism of

:22:00.:22:03.

Ed Balls. What side are you on? I am for radical change, I am for energy

:22:04.:22:08.

and I believe strongly we must be formed the market and people might

:22:09.:22:13.

portray that as anti-business but this is about more competition and

:22:14.:22:18.

transparency and others coming into this market so our policy on this is

:22:19.:22:22.

radical, not excepting the status quo. It is also for business.

:22:23.:22:30.

Opinion polls show that few people regard Ed Miliband as by Minister

:22:31.:22:39.

material -- Prime Minister material. That has been true since he became

:22:40.:22:44.

leader. And in some cases, they have been getting worse. Why is that?

:22:45.:22:50.

Opinion polls say certain things about the personalities of leaders,

:22:51.:22:55.

David Cameron is not great either. And they were not great when he was

:22:56.:23:01.

in opposition. At this stage, he was getting 49% as Prime Minister real

:23:02.:23:08.

material and Ed Miliband, 19. -- Prime Minister material. When you

:23:09.:23:15.

look at certain questions that the public is asked about who you think

:23:16.:23:19.

you would trust about being fair in terms of policy towards Britain, who

:23:20.:23:23.

understands the cost of living crisis, they very much identify with

:23:24.:23:29.

Ed Miliband. We are ahead in the polls. Ed Miliband has made that

:23:30.:23:35.

happen. We have one more councillors, we have been running in

:23:36.:23:41.

by-elections and we have held this government over the barrel over six

:23:42.:23:45.

months on energy prices. That is to do with his leadership. The more

:23:46.:23:49.

that voters save him, the less they seem convinced. In 2011, he had been

:23:50.:23:57.

leader for one year, and only 11% regarded him as weird, by 2014, that

:23:58.:24:06.

was 41%. Look at that! Look at that weirdness! What people need is to

:24:07.:24:12.

know where the Labour Party stands on fundamental issues. And in those

:24:13.:24:15.

areas, particularly the cost of living and fairness and people being

:24:16.:24:20.

concerned that we are entering into a period where people will be worse

:24:21.:24:25.

for the first time ever at the end of the Parliament, these things are

:24:26.:24:29.

important and Ed Miliband is part of our success. Definitely. I think

:24:30.:24:37.

this is ridiculous, to be fair, he is not a politician that says, I am

:24:38.:24:42.

dying with the Arctic monkeys, I know who is the number one. He did

:24:43.:24:50.

not play that game. -- down. He is not either there to portray himself

:24:51.:24:55.

as someone who was with the children, I know everything about

:24:56.:25:00.

popular culture. His authenticity is the most important thing. People do

:25:01.:25:04.

not think he is authentic, unless they think we were at is authentic.

:25:05.:25:10.

Is it true that his staff applaud him when he comes back after giving

:25:11.:25:16.

even a mediocre speech? I have never heard that. I have never heard about

:25:17.:25:24.

him being applauded. And I am pleased to applaud him with he makes

:25:25.:25:27.

speeches, I have given him a standing ovation. You have to do

:25:28.:25:31.

that because the cameras are rolling! No, he made a good speech.

:25:32.:25:38.

Five minutes without notes. It took a long time to memorise I don't

:25:39.:25:42.

blame him! The cost of living. Focusing on that, it has paid

:25:43.:25:48.

dividends. But inflation is falling and perhaps collapsing, unemployment

:25:49.:25:52.

is falling faster than anybody thought, as we can see. Wages are

:25:53.:25:59.

rising, soon faster than prices. Retail sales are booming, people

:26:00.:26:04.

have got money in their pockets. Isn't the cost of living crisis

:26:05.:26:09.

narrative running out of steam? I do not think so and I should say that I

:26:10.:26:16.

welcome any sign of positive changes in the economy, if anybody gets a

:26:17.:26:20.

job in Doncaster, I am pleased by the end of this Parliament families

:26:21.:26:26.

will be over ?900 worse off because of tax and benefit changes and the

:26:27.:26:33.

working person is ?1600 worse off and it is the first government since

:26:34.:26:36.

the 1870s where people will be at the end of the Parliament. We

:26:37.:26:40.

believe the government made wrong choices that lead the rich off at

:26:41.:26:44.

the expense of those on middle and lower incomes. -- let the rich. The

:26:45.:26:52.

average family ?794 worse off from tax and benefit changes. That has

:26:53.:26:57.

been backed up. They are those figures. But he has skewed these

:26:58.:27:02.

figures by including the richest, where the fall in tax and the

:27:03.:27:08.

penalty they pay is highest. If you take away the richest, it is nowhere

:27:09.:27:13.

near that figure. Everybody agrees and even the government and

:27:14.:27:17.

knowledges that at the end of their tenure in Parliament, people will be

:27:18.:27:23.

worse off. 350,000 extra people who would desperately like full-time

:27:24.:27:27.

work who are working part-time and 1 million young people unemployed and

:27:28.:27:31.

the reason the cost of living has a residence is people feel that. I was

:27:32.:27:36.

in a supermarket and at Doncaster and someone summed this up, he said

:27:37.:27:41.

I work hard and at the end of the week, beyond paying bills, I have

:27:42.:27:45.

got nothing else. If you take away the top 10% who are losing over

:27:46.:27:54.

?600,000, the average loss comes down to around ?400, less than half

:27:55.:28:00.

of what you claim. That figure is totally misleading. These are the

:28:01.:28:07.

figures from the IFS. It still shows... Whatever way you shape

:28:08.:28:13.

this, people will still be worse off, families worse off because of

:28:14.:28:16.

these changes to tax and benefits and working people because wages

:28:17.:28:23.

have not kept up with prices. Your energy portfolio, you back the

:28:24.:28:28.

enquiry into the big six companies and you intend to go ahead with the

:28:29.:28:32.

price freeze and reconfigure the market even before it reports. If

:28:33.:28:38.

you win, this is a waste of time? Whilst we have had this process

:28:39.:28:41.

before the announcement, we always feel if it goes that way, there

:28:42.:28:46.

might be areas we have not thought of that the enquiry will also draw

:28:47.:28:49.

attention to that we might want to add on. You are right, our basic

:28:50.:28:53.

reforms for the new regulator, to separate generation supply, we will

:28:54.:28:59.

pursue that. What happens if this report concludes that your plans are

:29:00.:29:03.

not correct? You will still go ahead? I don't think so. Actually,

:29:04.:29:09.

if you look at the report that Ofgem produced, some of the issues Labour

:29:10.:29:13.

has been drawing attention to like vertical integration, they cover

:29:14.:29:18.

that. I was asking about the Competition Commission? The report

:29:19.:29:23.

last week is a result of working together and I think it is clearly

:29:24.:29:31.

accepted in this sector, look at SSE last week, they will separate the

:29:32.:29:34.

business. We are pushing at the open door. It has already pulled out of

:29:35.:29:55.

gas. So it follows if you freeze energy prices across the market, it

:29:56.:29:58.

might be the right thing to do but there will be a cost in terms of

:29:59.:30:02.

jobs and investment, correct? Well, I met with SSE last weekand the

:30:03.:30:06.

chief executive and talked about these issues. The jobs changes are

:30:07.:30:11.

partly about them looking at how they could be more efficient as a

:30:12.:30:14.

company. On offshore wind that wasn't really to do with the price

:30:15.:30:17.

freeze. That was more to do with issues around confidence in that

:30:18.:30:20.

area and therefore willing to put the money into it, as well as

:30:21.:30:26.

technical issues as well But there'll be job losses. Is that a

:30:27.:30:32.

price worth paying? We believe the reason we are having a price freeze

:30:33.:30:36.

is these companies have been overcharging customers and haven't

:30:37.:30:39.

been investing in their organisations and making them more

:30:40.:30:43.

efficient. I do not believe a price freeze is linked to job losses.

:30:44.:30:47.

These companies do need to be more efficient. Goal for all of us is

:30:48.:30:50.

realising the fantastic opportunity for more jobs and growth from an

:30:51.:30:54.

energy sector that has certainty going forward. That's what Labour

:30:55.:30:58.

will deliver. Caroline Flint, thank you.

:30:59.:31:01.

It's 1130 and you're watching The Sunday Politics. We say goodbye to

:31:02.:31:04.

viewers in Scotland, who leave us now for Sunday Politics Scotland.

:31:05.:31:06.

Coming up here in Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics

:31:07.:31:20.

in Northern Ireland. Deadlock over welfare reform, differing accounts

:31:21.:31:23.

about a deal, now a war of words between the First and Deputy First

:31:24.:31:31.

Ministers. Sinn Fein was unable to get

:31:32.:31:34.

agreement from their Party for the package.

:31:35.:31:38.

The suggestion that I had said I would go to my Party to seek the

:31:39.:31:44.

sanction and support of my Party for the discussions that we had with the

:31:45.:31:54.

DUP is not true. So is it just another pre-election

:31:55.:31:58.

stand-off, or is it a real crisis within the Executive? We'll ask Sinn

:31:59.:32:01.

Fein's John O'Dowd and Alex Attwood of the SDLP if the situation can be

:32:02.:32:05.

resolved this side of the election. And from difficult relationships at

:32:06.:32:08.

Stormont to what has been called a "warm and positive one" between the

:32:09.:32:11.

Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom. Martin McGuinness says

:32:12.:32:14.

he'll dine with the Queen in London to honour the Irish President

:32:15.:32:17.

Michael D Higgins's first official state visit to the UK.

:32:18.:32:20.

Joining me to discuss all of that and more are PR consultant Sheila

:32:21.:32:32.

Davidson and commentator Alex Kane. So, how bad are things between the

:32:33.:32:37.

first and Deputy First Minister 's? Has this latest spat over welfare

:32:38.:32:42.

reform brought their relationship to a new low point or is it just

:32:43.:32:46.

electioneering? Peter Robinson up the stakes when he outlined what he

:32:47.:32:50.

called one of his nuclear option is to hand back powers on welfare

:32:51.:32:54.

reform to Westminster. Martin McGuiness hit back saying he had

:32:55.:32:58.

crossed the line in claiming he had tried but failed to sell a deal to

:32:59.:33:01.

his Party. We will hear from Sinn Fein and the STL P Enimont, but

:33:02.:33:04.

first there is a reminder of what the First Minister told me on

:33:05.:33:10.

Thursday. -- we will hear from the SDLP in a moment.

:33:11.:33:16.

We had the removal of what was known as the bedroom tax for anyone in a

:33:17.:33:21.

property in Northern Ireland, and we agreed that we should have a

:33:22.:33:25.

contingency fund. We looked at putting aside some ?40 million to

:33:26.:33:30.

deal with the special hardship cases. As with any other set of

:33:31.:33:38.

negotiations, the Sinn Fein representatives had to go back to

:33:39.:33:41.

their Party and I had to go back to mine. We got approval from the DUP

:33:42.:33:47.

for the package. Sinn Fein was unable to get agreement from their

:33:48.:33:54.

Party for the package, and in the 11 months since then they have never

:33:55.:33:57.

come back to us to ask for any further changes, nor have they

:33:58.:34:05.

succeeded in all of their negotiations with the British

:34:06.:34:07.

government in getting any change to the process at all. Did you believe

:34:08.:34:12.

that Martin McGuiness and his team locally here at Stormont had agreed

:34:13.:34:17.

to a deal? I wouldn't take any part ice package

:34:18.:34:24.

to my Party colleagues I was unsatisfied with myself.

:34:25.:34:27.

So you felt he was satisfied with the compromises that were contained

:34:28.:34:30.

in that agreement? I don't think either of us were

:34:31.:34:37.

seeing isn't this brilliant? This was the best fist that could be made

:34:38.:34:41.

of it, and it would provide the very best welfare package on the whole in

:34:42.:34:45.

the UK. For a start, in terms of his

:34:46.:34:49.

interpretation of the discussions that took place between his Party

:34:50.:34:52.

and mine over the issue of welfare cuts, what he said on the programme

:34:53.:34:57.

bore no reality whatsoever to the outcome. The suggestion that I had

:34:58.:35:02.

said I would go to my Party to seek the sanction of my Party, the

:35:03.:35:09.

support of my Party for the discussions that we had with the DUP

:35:10.:35:13.

is not true. Martin McGuiness and Peter Robinson

:35:14.:35:17.

with differing accounts of where we are with welfare reform. With me now

:35:18.:35:22.

are Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd, education Minister in the Executive,

:35:23.:35:28.

and the SDLP's Alex Attwood, a former member of the Executive.

:35:29.:35:33.

Martin McGuiness says Peter Robinson has crossed the line. Is your Party

:35:34.:35:37.

simply up in arms because the First Minister has now spilled the beans

:35:38.:35:39.

on something that is embarrassing for Sinn Fein? Namely that the

:35:40.:35:44.

Deputy First Minister could not sell the draft deal to his own Party?

:35:45.:35:49.

Understands this, if Martin McGuiness had come forward to the

:35:50.:35:54.

Party with a package and it had Martin McGuiness's endorsement, the

:35:55.:35:58.

likelihood is any package would have gone through anyhow.

:35:59.:36:01.

Martin McGuiness is a very thoughtful individual, he thinks

:36:02.:36:04.

these matters through and his leadership is deeply respected in

:36:05.:36:09.

the Party. If Martin McGuiness brought a package to our Party to be

:36:10.:36:13.

accepted the likelihood is it would be accepted...

:36:14.:36:17.

But it is absolutely in contradiction to what Peter Robinson

:36:18.:36:20.

says. He says there was a draft package, he specifically signed off

:36:21.:36:24.

on it with Martin McGuiness, Martin McGuiness went to his Party and

:36:25.:36:28.

could not sell that draft package to them. He is saying that is not

:36:29.:36:33.

correct. I am seeing it, Martin McGuiness is saying it.

:36:34.:36:36.

There was no package brought to our Party.

:36:37.:36:38.

What line has Peter Robinson crossed? If it didn't happen?

:36:39.:36:44.

There are a number of lines he has crossed. The confidentiality between

:36:45.:36:48.

Martin McGuiness and Peter Robinson has to be sacrosanct, because those

:36:49.:36:52.

men have to be able to work together and trust each other and have

:36:53.:36:56.

discussions with each other. To misrepresent Martin McGuiness's

:36:57.:37:00.

position is crossing the line. It makes it extremely difficult for

:37:01.:37:04.

that trust to be held between two senior people in our Executive if

:37:05.:37:08.

one is misrepresenting another's position.

:37:09.:37:13.

Isn't this embarrassing for Sinn Fein? Actually, Peter Robinson's

:37:14.:37:16.

version of events is the correct version of events?

:37:17.:37:23.

Does the Party strike you as being embarrassed two why would Peter

:37:24.:37:28.

Robinson say that? We are talking about this instead of

:37:29.:37:34.

talking about the past talks, -- the doctor has to talks. Instead of

:37:35.:37:39.

talking about Peter Robinson's constituency of east Belfast. All of

:37:40.:37:42.

those things are not being discussed, but one line from Peter

:37:43.:37:46.

Robinson is being discussed. That is why he said it. All of those things

:37:47.:37:49.

are no longer in the media. We're now having to sit and talk about

:37:50.:37:54.

that conversation that did not take place. We should be talking about

:37:55.:37:58.

how we as an Executive approach the British government and bring to an

:37:59.:38:01.

end the worst elements of the Welfare Reform Bill.

:38:02.:38:06.

How do you respond to this charge that your Party is economically

:38:07.:38:09.

illiterate? At one stage in the interview on Thursday night he said,

:38:10.:38:12.

I will explain it very simply encase anyone from Sinn Fein is watching?

:38:13.:38:19.

He is arrogant beyond belief. Those who coined the phrase

:38:20.:38:22.

economically illiterate were from the Dublin regime, that prod the

:38:23.:38:28.

economy in the south to its knees. -- that brought the economy.

:38:29.:38:33.

Our policies are credible across the board. Our policies in relation to

:38:34.:38:39.

the budget in the South have been cause of disagreement in the South.

:38:40.:38:45.

Economically they are credible. Peter Robinson was equally scathing

:38:46.:38:49.

about the SDLP's position on welfare reform. You whether social

:38:50.:38:54.

development Minister that started negotiations with the Treasury on

:38:55.:38:56.

this matter and nothing has been agreed, that was back in 2010, four

:38:57.:39:01.

years ago. First of all, let me deal with this

:39:02.:39:05.

Peter Robinson issue. There was a deal done between Martin McGuiness

:39:06.:39:09.

and Peter Robinson and Gerry Adams pulled the carpet out...

:39:10.:39:11.

You are agreeing with Peter Robinson, you are saying that John

:39:12.:39:18.

O'Dowd is not telling it as it is? The deal was pulled by Gerry Adams

:39:19.:39:22.

and I was told by senior people in and around the Irish government,

:39:23.:39:26.

that is probably corroboration. The more worrying thing is that Martin

:39:27.:39:30.

McGuiness did that deal with Peter Robinson because that deal did not

:39:31.:39:35.

deal with the issues of welfare reform and cuts. It was a weak deal

:39:36.:39:40.

done in the image of Peter Robinson, with Martin McGuiness

:39:41.:39:43.

being a cheerleader from the side. What we have to do now, however, and

:39:44.:39:48.

this is where I agree with John, is that in parallel to the two

:39:49.:39:51.

governments, with the American government close by, after the 22nd

:39:52.:39:55.

of May bringing to a conclusion the doctor has its use, there should be

:39:56.:40:02.

a parallel discussion with London over this issue. -- bringing to a

:40:03.:40:13.

conclusion the Haas issues. They have the measure of Nelson

:40:14.:40:16.

McCausland, because he is more interested in any parade and credit

:40:17.:40:22.

goes and what it does and does not do in north Belfast than he is on

:40:23.:40:27.

welfare. Welfare reform has to be negotiated by the Executive, by all

:40:28.:40:30.

parties and in a process parallel to the conclusions of the Haass

:40:31.:40:36.

negotiations, if not before the 22nd of May then immediately afterwards.

:40:37.:40:40.

I am sorry, I have to go back to John O'Dowd, how do you respond to

:40:41.:40:43.

Alex Attwood who says he believes Peter Robinson's version of events?

:40:44.:40:48.

To make matters worse he says that has been corroborated by the Irish

:40:49.:40:52.

government. Thankfully, Alex is not a member of

:40:53.:40:56.

Sinn Fein so he would not be aware of any discussions within Sinn Fein.

:40:57.:41:02.

Alex is electioneering here. He is a former member of the Executive.

:41:03.:41:06.

But he is still not a former or president -- present member of Sinn

:41:07.:41:11.

Fein. Alex is sitting here seeking votes, rather than a resolution to

:41:12.:41:15.

welfare reform. There is no point in me fighting with the DUP author DUP

:41:16.:41:19.

fainting with Sinn Fein or me sitting fighting with Alex.

:41:20.:41:24.

He is a former social development Minister.

:41:25.:41:27.

Yes, there is comedy brought forth bills that damaged and afflicted the

:41:28.:41:34.

poor. What we need to do is present a united front to the British

:41:35.:41:37.

government and work on this as a collective, rather than niggling at

:41:38.:41:41.

each other and... But this is fairly embarrassing for

:41:42.:41:46.

Sinn Fein, isn't it? People don't believe your version of events.

:41:47.:41:49.

Citizens will make up their own minds on these matters.

:41:50.:41:52.

Alex? A number of things. On the 24th of

:41:53.:41:57.

February in the Assembly, I outlined at length the SDLP approach to

:41:58.:42:03.

welfare reform saying that we would limit the damage to the block grant.

:42:04.:42:08.

Now if we estimated the negotiation to an Executive level and outlined

:42:09.:42:12.

what that looked like, unfortunately Simon Hamilton, the finance

:42:13.:42:15.

minister, did not even bother responding to a better strategy to

:42:16.:42:21.

deal with this issue. Given that the biggest damage in any part of

:42:22.:42:25.

Britain and Northern Ireland in part -- in terms of welfare cuts has been

:42:26.:42:28.

here. How do you resolve welfare reform

:42:29.:42:32.

now? It seems impossible for this circle to be squared?

:42:33.:42:36.

First of all, Peter Robinson is electioneering. He is telling the

:42:37.:42:42.

truth about welfare reform. But he is election nearing. He is beating

:42:43.:42:48.

his chest because he wants to have this election defined in terms of

:42:49.:42:51.

poking Sinn Fein and the SDLP in the eye. This is how we as -- this is

:42:52.:42:59.

very important. In parallel to negotiations if not before then

:43:00.:43:04.

after the 22nd of May involving the two governments in the parties and

:43:05.:43:08.

the American government close by, you have a negotiation to bring

:43:09.:43:12.

Haass to a conclusion. At the same time you have an all-party approach

:43:13.:43:16.

to deal with the issue. In one sentence if you would, Peter

:43:17.:43:20.

Robinson, how do we restore trust between the first and Deputy First

:43:21.:43:29.

Minister is? -- First Ministers. There are challenges in the heart of

:43:30.:43:33.

the Executive and on the streets, which Unionism has to lift up to,

:43:34.:43:38.

and the leader of Unionism, Peter Robinson, has to live up to that. He

:43:39.:43:42.

has to be talented, as well. Only on Thursday we found out that the UVF

:43:43.:43:46.

are organising a campaign of intimidation towards minorities.

:43:47.:43:52.

What is he doing to challenge that? He makes allegations towards his

:43:53.:43:56.

partners in government. Let us hear what my guests of the

:43:57.:44:00.

day make of all of that. Joining me is Sheila Davidson and Alex Kane.

:44:01.:44:04.

Alex, could you see your way through that disagreement?

:44:05.:44:10.

It is the same old, same old. It is the same story since 2011, Alex and

:44:11.:44:14.

John attacking the DUP and each other, then bringing in Haass and

:44:15.:44:19.

the UVF when they are supposed to be talking about welfare. This thing

:44:20.:44:23.

has been going on for three and a half years, it is not new. The

:44:24.:44:28.

government announced this in 2010, yet here we are three and a happy

:44:29.:44:31.

years later and they have not agreed anything. They are having separate

:44:32.:44:35.

talks the Exchequer. We do not know for sure because we

:44:36.:44:39.

were not there on that particularly sad -- particular Saturday morning

:44:40.:44:43.

when Martin McGuiness, apparently, called Peter Robinson in to say he

:44:44.:44:48.

could not sell him this package. We have two competing versions of

:44:49.:44:52.

events. How do we explain this fundamental disagreement on what

:44:53.:44:55.

happened? They do not like each other. The

:44:56.:44:58.

core of this agreement is the two parties do not like each other or

:44:59.:45:02.

share the same agenda. We have had this before going back to the maze

:45:03.:45:06.

prison. Martin McGuiness said publicly he thought he had agreed a

:45:07.:45:09.

deal with Peter Robinson which Peter Robinson reneged on. The same now

:45:10.:45:14.

with welfare. People need to understand that

:45:15.:45:18.

ordinary members of the public are watching this debate and have not

:45:19.:45:21.

got a clue who do believe other than the parties they support. There is

:45:22.:45:25.

no logic to any of it that ordinary members of the public can

:45:26.:45:29.

understand, but what they do understand is the bleeding in the

:45:30.:45:31.

newspapers about what is happening in England and Wales where people

:45:32.:45:40.

who are making this new welfare reform are finding difficulty in

:45:41.:45:45.

finding places to live. Iain Duncan Smith was on Andrew Marr of this

:45:46.:45:50.

morning talking about people being able to live. People here are

:45:51.:45:58.

watching that not one politician here is talking about what they want

:45:59.:46:02.

to talk about. They are talking in big figures, talking in politics,

:46:03.:46:06.

and everyone is electioneering at the moment. People understand that

:46:07.:46:10.

but we are going to switch off and not vote. We have to leave it there.

:46:11.:46:14.

No meeting of minds, thank you all very much for coming to join us.

:46:15.:46:19.

Let us pause for a round-up of the political week in 60 seconds with

:46:20.:46:21.

Martina Purdy. As the stalemate over welfare reform

:46:22.:46:32.

rumbles on, the First Minister warns Northern Ireland faces and nuclear

:46:33.:46:34.

option. Two of the parties in the five Party

:46:35.:46:38.

coalition are prepared to take the tough decisions, therefore you have

:46:39.:46:42.

to take this office. We no longer want to have devolved to as these

:46:43.:46:44.

issues. The controversy runs on as a former

:46:45.:46:48.

senior police officer gives his side of the story.

:46:49.:46:52.

I would not see it as a cultural thing in the Northern Ireland Office

:46:53.:46:58.

to share that Republicans were not prosecuted.

:46:59.:47:01.

The health service still under huge strain, the minister comes in for

:47:02.:47:04.

criticism. Will the Minister now be considering

:47:05.:47:10.

his position? An entirely Northern Ireland pork --

:47:11.:47:15.

property portfolio is sold to US investment firm. And as the Assembly

:47:16.:47:19.

waves goodbye to double jobbing one MLA raises a smile.

:47:20.:47:23.

The minister come as a junior minister, was also a counsellor and

:47:24.:47:27.

some thought he may be drove a taxi at

:47:28.:47:27.

Martina Purdy reporting. Now we know after weeks of will he, won't he,

:47:28.:47:39.

Sinn Fein has announced Martin McGuiness will attend events during

:47:40.:47:43.

next week's state visit to Great Britain by the Irish president,

:47:44.:47:48.

Michael D Higgins. After what was seen as a hugely successful visit by

:47:49.:47:52.

the Queen to the Republic, what will this visit bring?

:47:53.:47:58.

Joining us this morning is Brian O'Connell, thank you for joining

:47:59.:48:03.

us. I suppose the focus must now be on the fact that Martin McGuiness

:48:04.:48:06.

has confirmed he will attend proceedings, including the state

:48:07.:48:10.

dinner. Are you surprised? No, I am not. It would probably be

:48:11.:48:15.

bigger music Martin McGuiness was going to boycott this. I personally

:48:16.:48:19.

think that Sinn Fein missed a trick when they boycotted the Queen's

:48:20.:48:25.

banquet in Dublin Castle in 2011. I think they realised it afterwards.

:48:26.:48:30.

Yes, they did have some problems with their core supporters. They

:48:31.:48:35.

will still have problems, because Martin McGuiness has accepted this

:48:36.:48:39.

invitation, but I think, as John O'Dowd was mentioning there, Sinn

:48:40.:48:44.

Fein have a broader agenda south of the border, as well. They are

:48:45.:48:50.

increasingly significant Party in the Dail, they are going up in the

:48:51.:48:54.

opinion polls and it would have liked other strange coming up to

:48:55.:48:57.

European elections if they had not attended some of the events that the

:48:58.:49:05.

Irish head of state was attending. -- it would have looked rather

:49:06.:49:10.

strange. Is there a sense of anticipation

:49:11.:49:14.

with one week to go, are people watching developments keenly?

:49:15.:49:18.

There certainly is amongst the Irish community here in Britain, and Irish

:49:19.:49:25.

people, the Irish are probably the biggest ethnic minority in Britain

:49:26.:49:28.

at the moment. Outside of that community, I do not think that the

:49:29.:49:33.

state visit has actually raised an awful lot of interest at the moment.

:49:34.:49:39.

It will then it happens, when it starts on Tuesday, when the Queen

:49:40.:49:45.

greets President Higgins in winter. -- in Windsor Castle. People are

:49:46.:49:48.

probably now considering the longer term, looking forward the

:49:49.:49:53.

relationship is probably more about trade and economic issues as much as

:49:54.:50:01.

it is about Northern Ireland and the issues we have been discussing

:50:02.:50:02.

earlier. Brian, thank you for joining us.

:50:03.:50:08.

Let us hear the final thoughts of Alex Kane and Sheila Davidson.

:50:09.:50:11.

Sheila, quite a photograph of Martin McGuiness going into the state

:50:12.:50:19.

banquet in his right eye and coat-tails two -- white tie.

:50:20.:50:22.

I think we are seeing Sinn Fein move into an entirely different era in

:50:23.:50:25.

how they approach this. They are trying to be more statesman-like. I

:50:26.:50:28.

do not know how it will play with the recent past and of the John

:50:29.:50:32.

Downie issue and how that will affect the mood music of how people

:50:33.:50:38.

will commentate on that? Is it all about southern politics,

:50:39.:50:40.

Alex? I think it is bigger than that. It

:50:41.:50:46.

is a perfect and balance of what is happening in Northern Ireland

:50:47.:50:48.

between all the parties. Sinn Fein and the DUP need to be aware that

:50:49.:50:53.

London and Dublin will -- are getting on very well at the moment.

:50:54.:50:58.

At photograph of Martin McGuiness going in, that will be very

:50:59.:51:01.

significant, will it not? I think it will be. It is theatre

:51:02.:51:06.

here. It is a sign they are still in the process.

:51:07.:51:07.

here. It is a sign they are still in Dobson. Tim Donovan is back in the

:51:08.:51:07.

chair the process.

:51:08.:51:07.

Like the process.

:51:08.:51:08.

chair next week. And with that, back to Andrew. Welcome back and time now

:51:09.:51:22.

to get more from our panel. So they can justify their meagre patents.

:51:23.:51:29.

This cost of living mantra will last all the way until the election.

:51:30.:51:34.

Cannot? Ed Miliband leaves he is onto something and for most of this

:51:35.:51:37.

Parliament, inflation has outstripped wages. That is going to

:51:38.:51:43.

go the other way and wages will rise, to which you say Ed Miliband

:51:44.:51:49.

has nothing to say. He says if you think people are going to feel

:51:50.:51:53.

better in the blink of an eye, you are a Conservative and do not

:51:54.:51:56.

understand the depth of this and he is taking the message from a

:51:57.:52:00.

presidential election in America in 2012 and make Romney was ahead on

:52:01.:52:06.

some of the economic indicators but Barack Obama was ahead on the key

:52:07.:52:10.

one, do you believe this candidate will make your family's life

:52:11.:52:14.

better? The message that Ed Miliband will try to say is the next election

:52:15.:52:21.

is about whose side are you on? And he believes Labour will be on the

:52:22.:52:24.

side of more voters than conservatives. It would be crazy for

:52:25.:52:28.

Labour not to talk about the cost of living because even if wages exceed

:52:29.:52:34.

inflation next year, it is not as if voters will walk around feeling like

:52:35.:52:37.

Imelda Marcos, they will still feel as if they were struggling and not

:52:38.:52:43.

just compared... Retail sales are slowing? That is not the sign of

:52:44.:52:50.

palpable disparity. Circumstances are better than three years ago but

:52:51.:52:57.

not better than five years ago. The Reagan question will still be

:52:58.:53:00.

employed, are you better off than at the last election? But things in

:53:01.:53:06.

America were actually getting worse when he asked that. I covered that

:53:07.:53:11.

election, that is why it resonated and they did get worse. The

:53:12.:53:16.

Ayatollah had quadrupled the price of oil. This is based on things

:53:17.:53:22.

getting relatively better, after a very long wait, so the cost of

:53:23.:53:27.

living critique will have to adapt? It will but it gets out of a very

:53:28.:53:33.

sticky spot and the IFS says wages will not outstrip inflation and by

:53:34.:53:37.

that time they can start talking about other things, plans for the

:53:38.:53:41.

railways and tuition fees and at the moment, everything is up for grabs.

:53:42.:53:45.

Labour know that every time they talk about something they want to

:53:46.:53:49.

do, the question is, how do you pay for it? They can talk about the

:53:50.:53:53.

economy and they don't have substantial things to say. Is it

:53:54.:53:57.

true that Mr Iain Duncan Smith was going to make a major announcement

:53:58.:54:03.

on benefit cheats? Or something to do with that this morning? But he

:54:04.:54:08.

decided against it because of the tobacco over Maria Miller? It would

:54:09.:54:12.

be very odd to go on to The Andrew Marr Show to have a chat and see

:54:13.:54:18.

what he is having for lunch. Patrick went from the Guardian said he was

:54:19.:54:21.

going to set out higher financial penalty phase for providing

:54:22.:54:25.

inaccurate information in claims. This is a bad day to do that, given

:54:26.:54:31.

that MP expenses are treated far more lenient the than any one from

:54:32.:54:37.

Joe public. That would be fascinating, if true. And he is

:54:38.:54:42.

making a very big speech on well for tomorrow and this tweet from Patrick

:54:43.:54:47.

went at the Guardian, he has proper sized on welfare matters and he

:54:48.:54:51.

tends to know what is going on. But it would be deeply unfortunate if

:54:52.:54:57.

that was the message today. How can he make a speech that has anything

:54:58.:55:00.

about cracking down on benefit claimants? Not today but I am not

:55:01.:55:05.

sure tomorrow. Do you get the impression that nobody in both main

:55:06.:55:12.

parties is very confident of winning in 2015? I column last week said the

:55:13.:55:17.

result, the most likely result from one year on is another hung

:55:18.:55:21.

parliament and which government results from that depends on the

:55:22.:55:26.

mathematical specifics of whether the Tories can do a deal as well as

:55:27.:55:30.

Labour, leaving everything in the hands of Nick Clegg or whether one

:55:31.:55:34.

party can do a straightforward deal but I do not detect any sense of

:55:35.:55:38.

exuberance or confidence in either camp. And the Tories are still

:55:39.:55:44.

shooting themselves over losing the boundary commission reforms because

:55:45.:55:48.

that was going to net them 20 seats and they lost that because they

:55:49.:55:51.

messed up the House of Lords reform and there are still furious with

:55:52.:55:55.

themselves. The former US President, George W Bush, has been a busy boy

:55:56.:55:59.

and here at the Sunday Politics we thought you'd like to see the

:56:00.:56:02.

results of his artistic endeavours. Time for the gallery.

:56:03.:56:07.

I was a prize to find myself saying, some of these are not bad! --

:56:08.:56:55.

surprised. Vladimir Putin? I like the one of Tony Blair but his early

:56:56.:57:02.

ones of dogs, to be in the presence of the master is to see his portrait

:57:03.:57:07.

of a Joanne Love. He is not of the Turner prize but I was surprised. He

:57:08.:57:13.

gets the mask of Vladimir Putin, also Tony Blair. I was impressed

:57:14.:57:19.

that he did not allow personal or political grudges to influence his

:57:20.:57:23.

artwork. Jacques Chirac, he comes out of this incredibly well! And

:57:24.:57:28.

Angela Merkel comes out astonishingly well. Quite generous

:57:29.:57:34.

as well. Tony Blair is the best one and the reason is he had the closest

:57:35.:57:38.

relationship with them and he has talked about this portrait, saying

:57:39.:57:42.

he was quite fond of him and you can see that. These are awful, they

:57:43.:57:48.

would not get you an A-level but you must admire him to have the guts to

:57:49.:57:55.

do this, and display them publicly! An A-level? Just doing joined up

:57:56.:58:01.

numbers gets you that these days! What do you do when you retire? This

:58:02.:58:06.

is less embarrassing than some of the other things people have done.

:58:07.:58:10.

As good as Churchill? I don't know... No! Churchill was brilliant!

:58:11.:58:18.

And on that! That's all for today. Tune into BBC Two every day at

:58:19.:58:21.

lunchtime this week for the Daily Politics. And we'll be back at the

:58:22.:58:24.

later time of 2:30pm next Sunday after the London Marathon. Remember,

:58:25.:58:28.

if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

:58:29.:58:35.

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