09/02/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


09/02/2014

Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news on the floods, plus an interview with shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.


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Transcript


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morning, folks, welcome to the Sunday Politics. Rising flood water,

:00:39.:00:47.

a battered coastline, the winter storms forced the Government to take

:00:48.:00:51.

control. Is it hanging the Environment Agency out to dry?

:00:52.:00:56.

Embarrassment for the Government is the Immigration Minister resigns

:00:57.:01:00.

after he discovered he was employing a cleaner with no right to work here

:01:01.:01:05.

for seven years. Ed Miliband promised an end to what he called

:01:06.:01:10.

the machine politics of union fixes in the Labour Party,

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And coming up here. We report from Sinn Fein's ard fheis in Wexford and

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speak to party President, Gerry Adams. I'll also be talking to the

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Shadow Secretary of State, Ivan Lewis. Join me in half an hour.

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In London after two days of disruption in the capital the Mayor

:01:24.:01:27.

Boris Johnson will be talking to ask about strife on the Underground. All

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of that and after a week of very public coalition spats can David

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Cameron and Nick Clegg keep the coalition show on the road? Two

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senior party figures will go head to head. And with me, Helen Lewis, Nick

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Watt and Iain Martin who would not know they Somerset Levels from their

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Norfolk Broads, but that will not stop them tweeting their thoughts.

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We start with the strange Case of the Immigration Minister, his

:02:03.:02:08.

cleaner and some lost documents. Yesterday Mark Harper tendered his

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resignation, telling the media he had discovered the cleaner who

:02:14.:02:16.

worked for him for seven years did not have the right to work in the

:02:17.:02:20.

UK. The Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he had done the

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honourable thing. I was sad to see him go, he was a strong minister.

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Had he been a member of the public he would not have done anything

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wrong, but he set himself a very high standard and he felt that

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standard and honourably stood down. This would seem like a good

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resignation, maybe unlike the Baroness Scotland one years ago on a

:02:47.:02:50.

similar issue, but have we been told the full story? We wait to see that.

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Labour have picked up saying he is an honourable man, that the reason

:02:58.:03:02.

why he resigned is these very owners checks that landlords and employers

:03:03.:03:07.

will have to perform on employees over their documentation. The most

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interesting line is that, we do not require them to be experts or spot

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anything other than an obvious forgery. The suggestion that there

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is the document he was presented with originality, which he lost, was

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on home office paper and was perhaps not entirely accurate. That is the

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embarrassment. He is the minister putting through a bill that will

:03:35.:03:38.

demand tougher checks on people and he himself did not do enough checks

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to discover she was illegal. There is an odd bit where he involves the

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home office later to check her out as well. He writes a resignation

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letter and he has to hold himself to pay higher standard. He has done the

:03:54.:03:59.

David Laws approach to this, resign quickly and he can come back. David

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Cameron wants him to return swiftly to the frontbenchers. He is a state

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school educated lad. He is the kind of Tory that the Tories are in short

:04:13.:04:20.

supply of. He is a rising star. I would caution on this idea that it

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is customary that whenever anyone resigns, it is always thought they

:04:25.:04:30.

will come straight back into office. If only the outside world worked

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like that. It is not, in a company if the HR person resigns, he is such

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a great chap he will be back next week. There is a silver lining for

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David Cameron is he has been able to move Harriet Bond up as he moves

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everyone up. But nobody will see her in the whips office because she is

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not allowed to appear on television. And if you three want to resign? Do

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not hate you are coming back next week. But we will do it with honour.

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It has been a hellish week for residents of coastal areas with more

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storms bringing more flooding and after Prince Charles visited the

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Somerset Levels on Tuesday the Government has been keen to show it

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has got a grip on the situation at last.

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For last weekend's Sunday Politics I made the watery journey to the

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village of Muchelney, cut off for a whole month. Now everyone has been

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dropping in. First it was Prince Charles on a park bench pulled by a

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tractor. He waded into the row about how the floods have been handled.

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Next it was the chair of the Environment Agency, Lord Smith, who

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faced angry residents. Sought the river is out. That is precisely what

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we are going to do. Where he faced, a resident, he did not need that

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many. David Cameron went for a look as well and gave the region what it

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wanted, more pumps, more money and in the long-term the return of

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dredging. There are lessons to learn. The pause in bridging that

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took place from the late 1990s was wrong and we need to get dredging

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again. When the water levels come down and it is safe to dredge, we

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will dredging to make sure these rivers and stitches can carry a

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better capacity. The Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has not been

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seen again because he is recovering from emergency eye surgery. In the

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meantime the floodwaters rose ever higher. Some residents were told to

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evacuate. In Devon the railway was washed away by the waves leaving a

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big gap in the network. Look at the weather this weekend. If you can

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believe it, the storms keep rolling in. What is the long-term solution

:07:17.:07:21.

for flood prone areas of the country? I am joined from Oxford by

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the editor of The Ecologist magazine, Oliver Tickell, and by

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local MP Tessa Munt. Tessa, let me come to you first. What do you now

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want the Government to do? I want it to make sure it does exactly as it

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promises and delivers what every farmer and landowner around here

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knows should have been done for years. First, to solve the problems

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we have right now, but to make sure there is money in the bank for us to

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carry on doing the maintenance that is necessary. Was it a mistake not

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to do the dredging? When the waters start to subside does dredging

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become a key part of this? Yes, of course. It is something the farmers

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have been asking for four years. When you wander along a footpath by

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a river and you see trees growing and there is 60% of the capacity

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only because there is silt, it needs to have a pretty dramatic action

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right now and then we need to make sure the maintenance is ongoing.

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Oliver Tickell, was it a mistake to stop the dredging? If the dredging

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had happened, the land would not be covered in water for so long?

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Clearly it is necessary to do at least some dredging on these rivers

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and in particular because these rivers are well above ground level.

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They are carrying water that comes down off the hills well above the

:09:04.:09:09.

level of the flood plain on the Somerset Levels. They naturally tend

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to silt up. But the key thing is that is only a small part of the

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overall solution. What we need is a catchment wide approach to improve

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infiltration upstream and you also need to manage the flood plain on

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the levels and upstream so as to have active flood plain that can

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store water. This idea it is just about dredging is erroneous.

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Dredging is a part of it, but it is a catchment wide solution. Dredging

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is only a small part of the solution he says. Yes, of course it is. But

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look here. With the farmer is locally, the landowners, they know

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this land will carry water for a few weeks of the year, that is not a

:10:02.:10:06.

problem. But this water has to be taken away and there is a very good

:10:07.:10:11.

system of drainage and it works perfectly well. In my area there are

:10:12.:10:15.

serious problems because the dredging has not taken place. There

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are lunatic regulations around were when they do do some of dredging,

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the Environment Agency is asked to take it away because it is

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considered toxic waste. This is barmy. We need to take the stuff out

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of the rivers and build the banks up so we create protection in the

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future. We have to make sure the dredging is done but make sure the

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drainage works well and we have pumps in places and we have

:10:49.:10:55.

floodgates put onto the rivers. We need to make sure repairs are done

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more quickly. All right, let me go back to Oliver Tickell. Is it not

:11:03.:11:07.

the case a lot of people on your side of the argument would like to

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see lands like the Somerset Levels return to natural habitat? Looe I

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would like a degree of that, but that does not mean the whole place

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needs to turn into wilderness so it will remain agricultural landscape.

:11:23.:11:30.

Everybody, all the interested parties who signed up to a document

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called vision 2034 the Somerset Levels envisages most of the area of

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the Somerset Levels being turned over to extensive grassland and that

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is what it is best suited for. Let me put that to Tessa Munt. Have you

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signed up to this where you will end up with extensive grassland? I have

:11:54.:12:01.

seen it, but grass does not grow if water is sitting on this land for

:12:02.:12:07.

weeks and weeks. What you have to remember is a lot of the levels are

:12:08.:12:12.

managed very carefully and they are conservation land and that means

:12:13.:12:15.

cattle are allowed to go out at certain times of the year and in

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certain numbers. It is well managed. Do you accept it should return to

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grassland? Grassland, fine, but you cannot call land grassland in the

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flipping water is on it so long that nothing grows. It is no good at

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doing that. You have got to make sure it is managed properly.

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Drainage has been taking place on this land for centuries. It is the

:12:47.:12:52.

case the system is there, but it needs to be maintained properly and

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we have to have fewer ridiculous regulations that stop action. Last

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year the flooding minister agreed dredging should take place and

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everything stopped. Now we have got the promise from the Prime Minister

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and I thank Prince Charles for that. Is it not time to let the local

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people run their land rather than being told what to do by the

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Environment Agency, central Government and the European Union?

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The internal drainage boards have considerable power in all of this.

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They wanted to dredge and they were not allowed to. The farmers want to

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dredge that is what is going to happen, but they have signed up to a

:13:36.:13:42.

comprehensive vision of catchment management and of environmental

:13:43.:13:46.

improvement turning the Somerset Levels into a world-class haven for

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wildlife. It is not much good if your house is underwater. The

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farmers themselves, the RSPB, the drainage boards, they have all

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signed up to this. The real question now is how do we implement that

:14:03.:14:07.

vision? You give the money to the drainage boards. At the moment they

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pay 27% of their money and have been doing so for years and years and

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this is farmers' money and it has been going to the drainage boards

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and they pay the Environment Agency who are meant to be dredging and

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that has not happened. We have to leave it there. We have run out of

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time. Last week saw the Labour Party

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adopts an historic change with its relationship with the unions.

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Changes to the rules that propelled Ed Miliband to the top. Ed Miliband

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was elected Labour leader in 2010 by the electoral college system which

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gives unions, party members and MPs one third of votes each. This would

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be changed into a simpler one member, one vote system. A union

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member would have to become an affiliated member of the party. They

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would have to opt in and pay ?3 a year. But the unions would have 50%

:15:08.:15:15.

of the vote at the conference and around one third of the seats on the

:15:16.:15:20.

National executive committee. The proposals are a financial gamble as

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well. It is estimated the party could face a drop in funding of up

:15:25.:15:29.

to ?5 million a year when the changes are fully implemented in

:15:30.:15:34.

five years. The leader of the Unite trade union has welcomed the report

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saying it is music to his ears. The package will be voted on at a

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special one of conference in March. And the Shadow Business Secretary

:15:47.:15:49.

Chuka Umunna joins me now for the Sunday Interview. Welcome back. In

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what way will the unions have less power and influence in the Labour

:15:59.:16:02.

Party? This is about ensuring individual trade union members have

:16:03.:16:07.

a direct relationship with the Labour Party. At the moment the

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monies that come to us are decided at a top level, the general

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secretaries determine this, whether the individual members want us to be

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in receipt of those monies or not so we are going to change that so that

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affiliation fees follow the consent of individual members. Secondly, we

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want to make sure the individual trade union members, people who

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teach our children, power via -- fantastic British businesses, we

:16:40.:16:48.

want them to make an active choice, and we are also recognising that in

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this day and age not everybody wants to become a member of a political

:16:53.:17:01.

party. We haven't got much time. The unions still have 50% of the vote at

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Labour conferences, there will be the single most important vote, more

:17:07.:17:22.

member -- union members will vote than nonunion members, their power

:17:23.:17:33.

has not diminished at all, has it? In relation to the other parts of

:17:34.:17:42.

the group of people who will be voting in a future leadership

:17:43.:17:45.

contest, we are seeking to move towards more of a one member, one

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vote process. At the moment we have the absurd situation where I, as a

:17:51.:17:57.

member of Parliament, my vote will count for 1000. MPs are losing...

:17:58.:18:05.

They still have a lot of power. I am a member of the GMB union and the

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Unite union, also a member of the Fabians as well so I get free votes

:18:13.:18:17.

on top of my vote as a member of Parliament. We are moving to a

:18:18.:18:20.

system where I will have one vote and that is an important part of

:18:21.:18:26.

this. You asked how many people would be casting their votes. The

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old system, up to 2.8 million ballot papers were sent out with prepaid

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envelopes for people to return their papers were sent out with prepaid

:18:38.:18:46.

turnout. The idea that you are going to see a big change... Even if

:18:47.:18:52.

your individual party members. In one vital way, your purse strings,

:18:53.:19:04.

your individual party members. In the unions will be more powerful

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than ever because at the moment they have to hand over 8 million to

:19:07.:19:16.

than ever because at the moment they fraction of that now. They will get

:19:17.:19:18.

to keep that money, but then come the election you go to them and give

:19:19.:19:28.

them a lot of money -- and they will have you then. They won't have us,

:19:29.:19:36.

as you put it! The idea that individual trade union members don't

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have their own view, their own voice, and just do what their

:19:41.:19:44.

general secretaries do is absurd. They will make their own decision,

:19:45.:19:48.

and we want them to make that and not have their leadership decide

:19:49.:19:55.

that for them. Let me go to the money. The Labour Party manifesto

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will be reflecting the interests of Britain, and the idea that somehow

:20:01.:20:06.

people can say we are not going to give you this money unless you do

:20:07.:20:11.

this or that, we will give you a policy agenda which is appropriate

:20:12.:20:14.

for the British people, regardless of what implications that may have

:20:15.:20:20.

financially. They will have more seats than anybody else in the NEC

:20:21.:20:25.

and they will hold the purse strings. They will be the

:20:26.:20:31.

determining factor. They won't be. Unite is advocating a 70% rate of

:20:32.:20:35.

income tax, there is no way we will have that in our manifesto. Unite is

:20:36.:20:44.

advocating taking back contracts and no compensation basis, we would not

:20:45.:20:57.

-- there is no way we would do that. How many chief executives of the

:20:58.:21:07.

FTSE 100 are backing Labour? We have lots of chief executives backing

:21:08.:21:15.

Labour. I don't know the exact number. Ed Miliband has just placed

:21:16.:21:19.

an important business person in the House of Lords, the former chief

:21:20.:21:31.

executive of the ITV, Bill Grimsey. How many? You can only name one?

:21:32.:21:39.

Bill Grimsey, there is also John Mills. Anyone who is currently

:21:40.:21:45.

chairman of the chief executive? With the greatest respect, you are

:21:46.:21:50.

talking about less than half the percent of business leaders in our

:21:51.:21:55.

country, we have almost 5 million businesses, not all FTSE 100

:21:56.:22:01.

businesses, not all listed, and we are trying to get people from across

:22:02.:22:07.

the country of all different shapes and sizes. Let's widen it to the

:22:08.:22:22.

FTSE 250. That is 250 out of 5 million companies. The largest ones,

:22:23.:22:28.

they make the profits and provide the jobs. Two thirds of private

:22:29.:22:33.

sector jobs in this country come from small and medium-sized

:22:34.:22:37.

businesses, and small and medium-sized businesses are an

:22:38.:22:40.

important part of a large companies supply chains. So you cannot name a

:22:41.:22:51.

single chairman from the FTSE 250, correct? I don't know all the

:22:52.:22:58.

chairman. Are you going to fight the next election without a single boss

:22:59.:23:09.

of a FTSE 250 company? I have named some important business people, but

:23:10.:23:12.

the most important thing is that we are not coming out with a manifesto

:23:13.:23:22.

for particular interests, but for broader interest. Let me show you,

:23:23.:23:33.

Digby Jones says Labour's policy is, "if it creates wealth, let's kick

:23:34.:23:46.

it" . Another quote, that it borders on predatory taxation. They think

:23:47.:23:53.

you are anti-business. I don't agree with them. One of the interesting

:23:54.:23:59.

things about Sir Stuart's comments on the predatory taxation and I

:24:00.:24:03.

think he was referring to the 50p rate of tax is that he made some

:24:04.:24:07.

comments arguing against the reduction of the top rate of tax

:24:08.:24:14.

from 50p. He is saying something different now. Digby of course has

:24:15.:24:17.

his own opinions, he has never been a member of the Labour Party. Let me

:24:18.:24:23.

come onto this business of the top rate of tax, do you accept or don't

:24:24.:24:27.

you that there is a point when higher rates of income tax become

:24:28.:24:32.

counter-productive? Ultimately you want to have the lowest tax rates

:24:33.:24:38.

possible. Do you accept there is a certain level you actually get less

:24:39.:24:44.

money? I think ultimately there is a level beyond you could go which

:24:45.:24:50.

would be counter-productive, for example the 75% rate of tax I

:24:51.:24:54.

mentioned earlier, being advocated by Unite in France. Most French

:24:55.:25:07.

higher earners will pay less tax than under your plans. I beg your

:25:08.:25:15.

pardon, with the 50p? Under your proposals, people here will pay more

:25:16.:25:22.

tax than French higher earners. If you are asking if in terms of the

:25:23.:25:27.

level, you asked the question and I answered it, do I think if you reach

:25:28.:25:34.

a level beyond which the tax burden becomes counter-productive, can I

:25:35.:25:38.

give you a number what that would be, I cannot but let me explain -

:25:39.:25:42.

the reason we have sought to increase its two 50p is that we can

:25:43.:25:49.

get in revenue to reduce the deficit. In an ideal world you

:25:50.:25:53.

wouldn't need a 50p rate of tax which is why during our time in

:25:54.:25:57.

office we didn't have one, because we didn't have those issues. Sure,

:25:58.:26:07.

though you cannot tell me how much the 50p will raise. In the three

:26:08.:26:13.

years of operation we think it raised ?10 billion. You think. That

:26:14.:26:22.

was based on extrapolation from the British library. It is at least

:26:23.:26:26.

possible I would suggest, for the sake of argument, that when you

:26:27.:26:32.

promise to take over half people's income, which is what you will do if

:26:33.:26:39.

you get your way, the richest 1% currently account for 70 5% of all

:26:40.:26:49.

tax revenues. -- 75%. Is it not a danger that if you take more out of

:26:50.:26:56.

them, they will just go? I don't think so, we are talking about the

:26:57.:27:06.

top 1% here. If you look at the directors of sub 5 million turnover

:27:07.:27:08.

companies, the average managing director of that gets around

:27:09.:27:23.

?87,000. Let me narrow it down to something else. Let's take the 0.1%

:27:24.:27:33.

of top taxpayers, down to fewer than 30,000 people. They account for over

:27:34.:27:38.

14% of all of the income tax revenues. Only 29,000 people. If

:27:39.:27:43.

they go because you are going to take over half their income, you

:27:44.:27:50.

have lost a huge chunk of your tax base. They could easily go, at

:27:51.:27:57.

tipping point they could go. What we are advocating here is not

:27:58.:28:02.

controversial. Those with the broadest shoulders, it is not

:28:03.:28:06.

unreasonable to ask them to share the heavier burden. Can you name one

:28:07.:28:16.

other major economy that subscribes to this? Across Europe, for example

:28:17.:28:24.

in Sweden they have higher tax rates than us. Can you name one major

:28:25.:28:31.

economy? I couldn't pluck one out of the air, I can see where you are

:28:32.:28:37.

coming from, I don't agree with it. I think most people subscribe to the

:28:38.:28:42.

fact that those with wider shoulders should carry the heavy a burden. We

:28:43.:28:49.

have run out of time but thank you for being here.

:28:50.:28:53.

Over the past week it seems that Nick Clegg has activated a new Lib

:28:54.:28:58.

Dem strategy - 'Get Gove'. After a very public spat over who should

:28:59.:29:00.

head up the schools inspection service Ofsted, Lib Dem sources have

:29:01.:29:03.

continued to needle away at the Education Secretary. And other

:29:04.:29:06.

senior Lib Dems have also taken aim at their coalition partners. Here's

:29:07.:29:30.

Giles Dilnot. It's unlikely the polite welcome of these school

:29:31.:29:33.

children to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and his party colleague

:29:34.:29:36.

schools minister David Laws would be so forthcoming right now from the

:29:37.:29:38.

man in charge of schools Conservative Michael Gove. Mr Laws

:29:39.:29:41.

is said to have been furious with The Education secretary over the

:29:42.:29:44.

decision to remove Sally Morgan as chair of Ofsted. But those who know

:29:45.:29:48.

the inner working of the Lib Dems say that's just understandable. When

:29:49.:29:50.

you have the department not being consulted, it would be possible for

:29:51.:29:53.

him to not publicly comment. The remarkable thing would be if he

:29:54.:29:56.

hadn't said anything at all. We should be careful to understand this

:29:57.:30:07.

is not always part of a preplanned decision. There is a growing sense

:30:08.:30:18.

that inside Number Ten this is a concerted Lib Dem strategy, we also

:30:19.:30:21.

understand there is no love lost between Nick Clegg and Michael Gove

:30:22.:30:25.

to say the least, and a growing frustration that if the Lib Dems

:30:26.:30:31.

think such so-called yellow and blue attacks can help them with the

:30:32.:30:34.

election, they can also damage the long-term prospects of the Coalition

:30:35.:30:42.

post 2015. One spat does not a divorce make but perhaps even more

:30:43.:30:45.

significant has been Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander's

:30:46.:30:47.

recent newspaper interview firmly spiking any room for George Osborne

:30:48.:30:50.

to manoeuvre on lowering the highest income tax rate to 40p. All this

:30:51.:30:53.

builds on the inclusion in Government at the reshuffle of

:30:54.:30:56.

people like Norman Baker at the Home Office and Simon Hughes at Justice

:30:57.:30:59.

people who are happier to publically express doubt on Conservative

:31:00.:31:01.

policy, unlike say Jeremy Browne who was removed and who has made plain

:31:02.:31:15.

his views on Coalition. It is difficult for us to demonstrate that

:31:16.:31:19.

we are more socialist than an Ed Miliband Labour led party. Even if

:31:20.:31:27.

we did wish to demonstrate it, doing it in coalition with the

:31:28.:31:33.

Conservatives would be harder still. Nonetheless a differentiation

:31:34.:31:37.

strategy was always likely as 2015 approached, so is there evidence it

:31:38.:31:43.

works? Or of the work we publish shows the Lib Dems have a huge

:31:44.:31:47.

problem in terms of their distinctiveness, so attacking their

:31:48.:31:53.

coalition partners or the Labour Party is helpful in showing what

:31:54.:31:55.

they are against, but there are bigger problem is showing what they

:31:56.:32:01.

are for. And one Conservative MP with access to Number Ten as part of

:32:02.:32:06.

the PM's policy board says yellow on blue attacks are misplaced and

:32:07.:32:12.

irresponsible. At this stage when all the hard work is being done and

:32:13.:32:16.

the country is back on its feet, the Lib Dems are choosing the time to

:32:17.:32:25.

step away from the coalition. That is your position, but do you suspect

:32:26.:32:29.

coming up to the next election we will see more of this? I think the

:32:30.:32:35.

Lib Dems are about as hard to pin down as a weasel in Vaseline. And

:32:36.:32:41.

with the public's view of politicians right now, and wants to

:32:42.:32:44.

be seen as slicker than a well oiled weasel? And we have Lib Dem peer

:32:45.:32:51.

Matthew Oakeshott and senior Conservative backbencher Bernard

:32:52.:33:01.

Jenkin. Matthew, the Lib Dems are now picking fights with the Tories

:33:02.:33:05.

on a range of issues, some of them trivial. Is this a Pirelli used to

:33:06.:33:11.

Lib Dem withdrawal from the coalition? I do not know, I am not

:33:12.:33:18.

privy to Nick Clegg's in strategy. Some of us have been independent for

:33:19.:33:22.

some time. I resigned over treatment of the banks. That is now being

:33:23.:33:29.

sorted out. But what is significant is we have seen a string of attacks,

:33:30.:33:34.

almost an enemy within strategy. When you have Nick Clegg, David Laws

:33:35.:33:40.

and Danny Alexander, the three key people closest to the Conservatives,

:33:41.:33:47.

when you see all of them attacking, and this morning Nick Clegg has had

:33:48.:33:51.

a go at the Conservatives over drug policy. There is a string of

:33:52.:33:56.

policies where something is going on. It is difficult to do an enemy

:33:57.:34:02.

within strategy. I believe as many Lib Dems do that we should withdraw

:34:03.:34:08.

from the coalition six months to one year before the election so we can

:34:09.:34:12.

put our positive policies across rather than having this tricky

:34:13.:34:17.

strategy of trying to do it from within. Why does David Cameron need

:34:18.:34:25.

the Lib Dems? He probably does not. The country generally favoured the

:34:26.:34:30.

coalition to start with. Voters like to see politicians are working

:34:31.:34:33.

together and far more of that goes on in Westminster then we see. Most

:34:34.:34:38.

of my committee reports are unanimous reports from all parties.

:34:39.:34:46.

Why does he need them? I do not think he does. You would be happy to

:34:47.:34:55.

see the Lib Dems go? I would always be happy to see a single minority

:34:56.:34:59.

Government because it would be easier for legislation. The

:35:00.:35:04.

legislation you could not get through would not get through

:35:05.:35:08.

whether we were in coalition or not. The 40p tax rate, there

:35:09.:35:12.

probably is not a majority in the House of Commons at the moment,

:35:13.:35:17.

despite what Nick Clegg originally said. It does not make much

:35:18.:35:22.

difference. What makes a difference from the perspective of the

:35:23.:35:26.

committee I chair is historically we have had single party Government

:35:27.:35:30.

that have collective responsibility and clarity. The reason that is

:35:31.:35:35.

important is because nothing gets done if everybody is at sixes and

:35:36.:35:40.

sevens in the Government. Everything stops, there is paralysis as the row

:35:41.:35:45.

goes on. Civil servants do not know who they are working for. If it

:35:46.:35:50.

carries on getting fractures, there is a bigger argument to get out. If

:35:51.:35:57.

it continues at this level of intensity of the enemy within

:35:58.:36:02.

strategy as you have described it, can the coalition survived another

:36:03.:36:07.

16 months of this? It is also a question should they. I never

:36:08.:36:10.

thought I would say this, I agree with Bernard. Interestingly earlier

:36:11.:36:18.

Chuka Umunna missed the point talking about business support.

:36:19.:36:22.

Business is worried about this anti-European rhetoric and that is a

:36:23.:36:25.

deep split between the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP wing of the

:36:26.:36:29.

Tory party. That is really damaging and that is something we need to

:36:30.:36:35.

make our own case separately on. Do you get fed up when you hear

:36:36.:36:40.

constant Lib Dem attacks on you? What makes me fed up is my own party

:36:41.:36:44.

cannot respond in kind because we are in coalition. I would love to

:36:45.:36:50.

have this much more open debate. I would like to see my own party

:36:51.:36:57.

leader, for example as he did in the House of Commons, it was the Liberal

:36:58.:37:00.

Democrats who blocked the referendum on the house of lords and if we want

:37:01.:37:04.

to get this bill through it should be a Government bill. We know we can

:37:05.:37:09.

get it through the Commons, but we need to get the Liberals out of the

:37:10.:37:12.

Government so they stop blocking the Government putting forward a

:37:13.:37:17.

referendum bill. And put millions of jobs at risk? I am not going down

:37:18.:37:26.

the European road today. It strikes me that given that the attacks from

:37:27.:37:31.

the Lib Dems are now coming from the left attacking the Tories, is this a

:37:32.:37:36.

representative of the failure of Nick Clegg's strategy to rebuild a

:37:37.:37:41.

centrist Liberal party and he now accepts the only way he can save as

:37:42.:37:47.

many seats as he can do is to get the disillusioned left Lib Dem

:37:48.:37:53.

voters to come back to the fold? The site is we have lost over half our

:37:54.:37:57.

vote at the last election and at the moment there is no sign in the polls

:37:58.:38:02.

of it coming back and we are getting very close to the next election. I

:38:03.:38:07.

welcome it if Nick Clegg is starting to address that problem, but talking

:38:08.:38:14.

about the centre is not the answer. Most Liberal Democrat voters at the

:38:15.:38:17.

last election are radical, progressive people who want to see a

:38:18.:38:23.

much fairer Britain and a much less divided society and we must make

:38:24.:38:26.

sure we maximise our vote from there. We know what both of you

:38:27.:38:32.

want, but what do you think will happen? Do you think this coalition

:38:33.:38:37.

will survive all the way to the election or will it break up

:38:38.:38:43.

beforehand? I think it will break up beforehand. Our long-term economic

:38:44.:38:48.

plan is working. The further changes in policies we want to implement to

:38:49.:38:51.

sustain that plan are being held back by the Liberal Democrats. When

:38:52.:38:58.

will they break up? It has lasted longer than I thought it would, but

:38:59.:39:03.

it must break up at least six months before the election. Do you think it

:39:04.:39:10.

will survive or not? The coalition has delivered a great deal in many

:39:11.:39:15.

ways, but it is running out of steam. It depends what happens in

:39:16.:39:19.

the May elections. If the Liberal Democrats do not do better than we

:39:20.:39:24.

have done in the last three, there will be very strong pressure from

:39:25.:39:33.

the inside. You both agree. Television history has been made.

:39:34.:39:38.

You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up: I will be

:39:39.:39:42.

looking Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics

:39:43.:39:53.

in Northern Ireland. A magnificent opera house, a cast of hundreds and

:39:54.:39:56.

plenty of standing ovations. No, it wasn't the last night at the Proms,

:39:57.:40:05.

it was the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis. He's led the party for more than 30 years

:40:06.:40:09.

and despite a difficult year for Gerry Adams, there's no doubting his

:40:10.:40:12.

popularity as Sinn Fein's leader. But is it time to think about who

:40:13.:40:20.

will succeed him? There is no contest for the party leadership at

:40:21.:40:24.

the moment. It is entirely hypothetical. When it comes to the

:40:25.:40:29.

time when the party has to choose another party President, they will

:40:30.:40:33.

do so and what they will have is what they did not have in my day is

:40:34.:40:40.

a range of people. Plus, he's the Labour spokesman on Northern Ireland

:40:41.:40:43.

and he's not happy with the Tory approach to sorting our local

:40:44.:40:56.

difficulties. Ivan Lewis will join us live from Dublin. And joining me

:40:57.:40:59.

to share their thoughts on all of that are the author and commentator

:41:00.:41:03.

Susan McKay and the BBC's former Ireland correspondent, Denis

:41:04.:41:05.

Murray... With elections on both sides of the border just months

:41:06.:41:08.

away, Sinn Fein's annual conference was well-timed to rally the party

:41:09.:41:11.

faithful. But despite the upbeat mood in the conference hall, the

:41:12.:41:14.

problems facing the party in Northern Ireland were never far

:41:15.:41:17.

away. Martin McGuinness called on those he described as "sensible

:41:18.:41:20.

people within Unionism" to use their influence to secure a deal on flags,

:41:21.:41:23.

parades and the past. Our Dublin Correspondent, Shane Harrison,

:41:24.:41:25.

reports from the ard fheis in Wexford... Welcome to Wexford and

:41:26.:41:33.

the sunny south-east, but not very often this weekend. The rain was so

:41:34.:41:38.

persistent at one stage that there was concern that the river might

:41:39.:41:44.

flood, so pardon the unintended pun, but at the ard fheis, Sinn Fein was

:41:45.:41:48.

hoping to persuade floating voters in advance of the elections in May I

:41:49.:41:54.

have is of the elections. There was an orange alert for the weather.

:41:55.:42:02.

Orange alert was another theme throughout the conference

:42:03.:42:04.

proceedings. The ard fheis took place in the Wexford Opera house and

:42:05.:42:09.

delegates heard the Deputy First Minister criticised the Unionist

:42:10.:42:13.

parties for their failure to reach an agreement with nationalists on

:42:14.:42:19.

the Haass proposals. He said the Unionist parties were dancing to the

:42:20.:42:25.

Orange Order's tune. The current difficulties are real and they are

:42:26.:42:30.

not insurmountable. My commitment and the commitment of Sinn Fein to

:42:31.:42:35.

the process and to the institutions is absolute. The ard fheis heard

:42:36.:42:39.

Martin McGuiness say that the issues could not be drawn out until after

:42:40.:42:44.

the May elections, while Gerry Adams offered to meet the Orange Order to

:42:45.:42:48.

discuss their concerns. Delegates were optimistic that there would be

:42:49.:42:53.

an agreement with the DUP. We can all agree it would be better if the

:42:54.:42:58.

Executive were working in a coordinated fashion in terms of

:42:59.:43:02.

addressing the issues they are failing to address at the moment.

:43:03.:43:07.

The DUP need to realise that communities are moving on without

:43:08.:43:11.

them. They are moving ahead of the Executive in terms of delivering on

:43:12.:43:15.

cross-border issues, communities working together and the DUP need to

:43:16.:43:21.

catch up. Grassroots unionism understand that there is a situation

:43:22.:43:25.

in government and that some point somebody will have to blink and I

:43:26.:43:31.

think the DUP will have to realise from their own grassroots that the

:43:32.:43:35.

ordinary people in the six counties want a government to do the work.

:43:36.:43:40.

Gerry Adams has been President for over 30 years and a leading

:43:41.:43:45.

republican for over four decades. In the last 12 months he has been

:43:46.:43:49.

criticised in the media and by politicians, mainly in the Republic,

:43:50.:43:55.

following a programme on the Disappeared and questions about

:43:56.:44:07.

passing on information about his brother, a convicted child rapist.

:44:08.:44:09.

The ard fheis rallied around him. A relentless campaign of vilification

:44:10.:44:11.

against Gerry Adams in this State is a disgrace and it shoots stop

:44:12.:44:16.

immediately. Of those who were not even born when Gerry Adams became

:44:17.:44:21.

leader, want him to stay on. When Gerry Adams puts his name forward,

:44:22.:44:27.

they will elect him President. Will you make him President for life? I

:44:28.:44:32.

am not sure that the rules will allow for that, but I am certain

:44:33.:44:36.

that each time it Gerry Adams contests for the position, we will

:44:37.:44:45.

vote him in. The ard fheis ended without a song from the fat lady,

:44:46.:44:49.

but with lots of applause for the tall, slim, bearded man. Shane

:44:50.:44:55.

Harrison reporting from Wexford. Our Political Editor, Mark Devenport,

:44:56.:44:58.

has been speaking to the Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams. He began by

:44:59.:45:01.

asking him about Sinn Fein ruling out re-negotiation of the Haass

:45:02.:45:03.

proposals when surely that's precisely what's going on at

:45:04.:45:12.

Stormont? We should be doing our best as political leaders, who ever

:45:13.:45:16.

we represent, to serve all of the people and the fact is these issues

:45:17.:45:21.

are not going away. We have to deal with the past, we have to deal with

:45:22.:45:27.

issues of identity and contentious parades and we will deal with them.

:45:28.:45:33.

There is a process of change underway and sometimes it strikes me

:45:34.:45:39.

that it is quite difficult to be a Unionist leader, because they come

:45:40.:45:46.

from a history of no, never, no surrender and now they have to

:45:47.:45:52.

embrace equality and embrace other qualities which are almost foreign

:45:53.:45:56.

to the Unionist philosophy. All they can do is delay, but they cannot

:45:57.:46:00.

stop a process of change, the political landscape, the 1-party

:46:01.:46:08.

state has gone, the 2.5 parties state in this state has gone, so

:46:09.:46:14.

changes happening. If there is not a dealer by the time of the elections,

:46:15.:46:20.

have you got any other alternative? We will continue to make process and

:46:21.:46:26.

engage with all sectors of society, I actually think that the Unionist

:46:27.:46:33.

leaders are well behind were popular opinion, including popular Unionist

:46:34.:46:39.

opinion, while they may reflect the elitist or committed political core

:46:40.:46:42.

that we all work with, you but you have to see beyond that and Martin

:46:43.:46:47.

McGuiness said quite wisely to Michael Nesbit, if you have got 90%

:46:48.:46:55.

of A.D. , then close the deal. We are uncomfortable with aspects of

:46:56.:47:02.

this, we would argue that it could be strengthened in certain aspects,

:47:03.:47:06.

but you cannot in this negotiation get it the way you want. This will

:47:07.:47:12.

not be the Ulster, Don't, it is going to be a compromised --

:47:13.:47:20.

covenant. The British Government needs to make it clear, the Irish

:47:21.:47:25.

government has said it wants to see this implemented, the British

:47:26.:47:33.

Government needs to do the same. Do you think it David Cameron was wise

:47:34.:47:38.

to big that speech calling for people in England, Wales and

:47:39.:47:40.

Northern Ireland to make their voices known in relation to Scottish

:47:41.:47:48.

independence? That is his business. We decided to stay out of the debate

:47:49.:47:52.

on Scotland because that is a matter for the people of Scotland. The

:47:53.:47:57.

affairs of this island are matter for the people here. He is the

:47:58.:48:02.

British Prime Minister, he will say whatever he says. I made a point to

:48:03.:48:07.

one of your colleagues, and I will make a broader point, the use to be

:48:08.:48:14.

a British Empire, now we are it. That is what it has been reduced to,

:48:15.:48:20.

almost from ruling the globe, they are now reduced to this,

:48:21.:48:26.

thankfully. There used to be a certainty for those who would

:48:27.:48:29.

support the union that it would be there for ever, the North was

:48:30.:48:33.

described as being as British as Finchley, but that has gone. People

:48:34.:48:39.

need to wake up, it has gone. The union is now conditional, one of the

:48:40.:48:42.

big achievements of the Good Friday Agreement is that it is a matter for

:48:43.:48:47.

the people to decide and we want to urge that debate here, whatever the

:48:48.:48:52.

people of Scotland do, that is a matter for them, but the debate

:48:53.:48:57.

here, we want to encourage that. You said that the UK is hanging by a

:48:58.:49:04.

thread, if Irish republicans were two to -- to take some encouragement

:49:05.:49:09.

from Scotland, is the reverse true, if there is a no vote, it may have a

:49:10.:49:15.

negative impact on your campaign for border poll. No, there is an

:49:16.:49:23.

integrity to the awful negative impact of British Government rule on

:49:24.:49:27.

our island. I say that with respect to people from the Unionist

:49:28.:49:32.

tradition who have a sense of Britishness, or whatever, about

:49:33.:49:36.

their right to that and their identity, no one can argue that

:49:37.:49:42.

British Government involvement in our affairs on partition or the

:49:43.:49:46.

development of sectarianism or all of the divisions, we talk about the

:49:47.:49:51.

last 30 years of conflict, which thankfully is behind us, but think

:49:52.:49:55.

back over the centuries. It has never been good for us. Those people

:49:56.:50:01.

within unionism who are sitting back now and saying, will we have another

:50:02.:50:07.

summer like last year? Will we have idiots running around the city

:50:08.:50:11.

centre with union flags around them, besmirching their own flag and

:50:12.:50:18.

breaking the law and inflicting sectarian pressure upon small

:50:19.:50:23.

communities or can we not just be like people everywhere, that we

:50:24.:50:27.

welcome this summer, or we can all relax and have a good time? Martin

:50:28.:50:33.

McGuiness made clear that he has no intention of putting himself forward

:50:34.:50:37.

to succeed you as party President, will the next leader be based in the

:50:38.:50:44.

Dail rather than an MLA? That is up to the party. When I first stood as

:50:45.:50:50.

party President, I did so reluctantly. At that time, I did say

:50:51.:50:56.

that I thought that the party President should come from the

:50:57.:51:02.

south. We have such a range of talented people. Do you still think

:51:03.:51:06.

the party President should come from the South? Yes, but I am mindful

:51:07.:51:15.

that there is no contest for the party leadership at the moment. It

:51:16.:51:20.

is entirely hypothetical. When it comes to the time when the party has

:51:21.:51:24.

to choose another party President, they will do so and what they will

:51:25.:51:30.

have, it which they did not have in my day, is a range of people, both

:51:31.:51:40.

men and women from Donegal to Wexford, across the country, of

:51:41.:51:46.

bright intelligent, smart and very energetic people and what we all

:51:47.:51:50.

share, all the different ages that we have, we still share and idealism

:51:51.:51:56.

and have an energy and commitment. Thank you. Gerry Adams talking to

:51:57.:52:01.

Mark Devenport in Wexford. Joining me now are the BBC's former Ireland

:52:02.:52:04.

Correspondent, Denis Murray, and the commentator Susan McKay... You're

:52:05.:52:09.

both welcome. Sinn Fein made the point repeatedly over the weekend

:52:10.:52:13.

that it is an all island party, but this was a speech for two quite

:52:14.:52:20.

different electorates. It was almost like two speeches and the vast bulk

:52:21.:52:24.

of it was for the audience in the Irish Republic. I covered in ard

:52:25.:52:28.

fheis for years and the bulk of the speech was always about the

:52:29.:52:33.

struggle, about the North, about that question. Now, it is almost

:52:34.:52:39.

despite Gerry Adams's insistence on an all island party, it is almost

:52:40.:52:43.

like you do not have to talk about Northern Ireland, it is resolved.

:52:44.:52:48.

The Republic is where Sinn Fein can increase the vote. There was that

:52:49.:52:54.

line in the speech, offering to reach out to the Orange Order and

:52:55.:52:58.

meet the leadership to discuss identity, but over and above that,

:52:59.:53:03.

there was not a huge amount about unionism. There are other quite

:53:04.:53:09.

significant things. A lying about the Orange tradition, been an

:53:10.:53:15.

important part of our history. He is making the right noises, but when he

:53:16.:53:21.

says about idiots in his speech. The people who are doing that, you may

:53:22.:53:24.

see them as that, but that passion goes very deep with them. Is it

:53:25.:53:32.

about setting out his stall for further growth in the Republic? Sinn

:53:33.:53:38.

Fein is on the rise in the Republic and they will do better and better

:53:39.:53:42.

for the meantime, but they underestimate the resilience of

:53:43.:53:48.

Fianna Fail. They have the biggest appeal of those least likely to

:53:49.:53:53.

vote. They are popular with young men, working-class young men, they

:53:54.:53:58.

are unpopular with women and middle-class voters. They are going

:53:59.:54:02.

to have to work on that constituency and obviously Mary Lou McDonald

:54:03.:54:06.

would make a huge difference if she was leader. Is that looking more

:54:07.:54:12.

likely? Gerry Adams is terribly damaged. He has looked damaged.

:54:13.:54:21.

Because he is there among the faithful, but certainly he is

:54:22.:54:28.

damaged. If he talks about a toxic culture in relation to issues like

:54:29.:54:31.

child abuse, it will not wash because the party has been shown to

:54:32.:54:36.

have a toxic culture itself in that regard. He does need to go for the

:54:37.:54:44.

party to have a wider appeal. He is hopeless on economic issues in the

:54:45.:54:47.

Republic. Mary Lou McDonald has performed strongly on that. It must

:54:48.:54:53.

be said that the party did back the disastrous Fianna Fail bank

:54:54.:54:57.

guarantee which underlies so much of the economic crisis in the Republic.

:54:58.:55:06.

Thank you both for now. The Shadow Secretary of State, Ivan Lewis, is

:55:07.:55:09.

meeting the Tanaiste, Eamonn Gilmore, in Dublin today. On a

:55:10.:55:12.

recent trip to Belfast, Mr Lewis warned that three years of

:55:13.:55:15.

consecutive elections could lead to a period of 'timidity or political

:55:16.:55:17.

paralysis' in Northern Ireland. Reacting to the failure of the Haass

:55:18.:55:21.

talks to break the deadlock over parades, flags and the past, he said

:55:22.:55:24.

that 'standing still' over the challenges that remain would 'mean

:55:25.:55:27.

going backwards'. Ivan Lewis joins me now from Dublin... Thank you for

:55:28.:55:35.

joining us. You are due to meet Eamon Gilmore later today, you were

:55:36.:55:39.

at the ard fheis over the weekend. You have been critical of the

:55:40.:55:46.

Tories's handling of politics here, what would you do differently if you

:55:47.:55:51.

were in charge? Flags parades and the past are issues which are

:55:52.:55:56.

outstanding issues connected with the peace process. If you looked at

:55:57.:55:59.

the evolution of the peace process, every stage of that process, the UK

:56:00.:56:04.

and Irish governments have been heavily engaged, directly meeting

:56:05.:56:08.

the parties, trying to help find common ground. The parties must

:56:09.:56:12.

maintain leadership but that lack of engagement we have seen,

:56:13.:56:15.

particularly from the UK Government has come home to roost with the

:56:16.:56:20.

failure to reach agreement in relation to Haass. Theresa Villiers

:56:21.:56:26.

disputes that, she says she is engaged and waiting to step in if

:56:27.:56:30.

requested to do so. Eamon Gilmore made a similar point. I have been in

:56:31.:56:38.

this job for five months and every Northern Irish politician I have met

:56:39.:56:42.

has talked about, clearly, the sense of the Secretary of State who is

:56:43.:56:47.

disengaged. When have we seen David Cameron make any comments about the

:56:48.:56:52.

Haass talks? In the end, of course it is right that we must allow

:56:53.:56:58.

devolution to work, we must encourage Northern Ireland parties

:56:59.:57:00.

to take responsibility, but the issues we are focused on our

:57:01.:57:07.

directly, issues connected with the peace process and if you look at the

:57:08.:57:12.

past, the UK Government is massively central to dealing with the past in

:57:13.:57:16.

Northern Ireland, as is the Irish government. If you look at any

:57:17.:57:20.

outcome from Haass, there will be financial implications, in terms of

:57:21.:57:24.

any new infrastructure required to deal with the past, there will be

:57:25.:57:28.

legislative issues, in terms of devolving -- getting rid of the

:57:29.:57:36.

Parades Commission. The British and Irish government have direct

:57:37.:57:40.

involvement. Are you saying that you would have called all of the parties

:57:41.:57:46.

around the table and you would be chairing further Haass

:57:47.:57:50.

negotiations? That sounds very paternalistic that we would be

:57:51.:57:54.

calling in the parties, we would have been having over a long period

:57:55.:57:58.

of time intensive discussions. They would have been private and

:57:59.:58:02.

discreet. We would be trying to identify the common ground. Last

:58:03.:58:08.

week, the Secretary of State did an interview where she said there would

:58:09.:58:12.

be some resources potentially available to make any agreement on

:58:13.:58:16.

the past work. Prior to that, she said there would be no resources.

:58:17.:58:21.

Subsequently she said she had been misquoted and would still be no

:58:22.:58:26.

resources. There is even a lack of clarity. The Prime Minister has been

:58:27.:58:30.

absent entirely from the discussions. What is perhaps not

:58:31.:58:37.

helpful to moving forward is to have an end to the bipartisan approach,

:58:38.:58:43.

to have a shadow Secretary of State sniping at the Secretary of State

:58:44.:58:48.

who says she is doing her best? It is not me who arrived in Northern

:58:49.:58:52.

Ireland and talked about the disengagement of the UK Government,

:58:53.:58:56.

it is all the political parties who feel the same. If they all feel the

:58:57.:59:00.

same, they are either involved in a conspiracy or telling the truth. Of

:59:01.:59:05.

course on questions of security and many other issues, not welfare and

:59:06.:59:13.

jobs and growth, but on security, we will maintain our bipartisan

:59:14.:59:15.

approach. Can I ask you about the Ballymurphy families who have had

:59:16.:59:19.

their demand for an independent panel backed by the Taoiseach in

:59:20.:59:24.

Dublin? The families are waiting for a meeting with David Cameron, where

:59:25.:59:30.

do you stand on that demand? I shall certainly be meeting them for the

:59:31.:59:35.

first time next week in Belfast. There are questions to answer, I

:59:36.:59:39.

will certainly meet with them and engage with them and clarifying our

:59:40.:59:43.

position on the nature of any enquiry, but of course, David

:59:44.:59:50.

Cameron should meet with the families. Ivan Lewis, thank you.

:59:51.:59:58.

Now, let's pause for a look back at the week in politics in sixty

:59:59.:00:06.

seconds, with Gareth Gordon... Could the row over a new chief constable

:00:07.:00:11.

calls political fallout? If you do not get your way, is this a

:00:12.:00:19.

resignation matter? I think you are straying beyond the remit. Should

:00:20.:00:23.

Protestants learn the Irish language? I believe it is part of a

:00:24.:00:27.

republican agenda. Eventually they will try and make it the same as

:00:28.:00:33.

English. In a free country, people are entitled to learn whatever

:00:34.:00:37.

language they wish and to practice whatever language they wish. Has the

:00:38.:00:44.

GAA done enough to calm fears over the new Casement Park? There are

:00:45.:00:48.

things we could have done better. I take responsible a day for that.

:00:49.:00:54.

Does the Education Minister O one of his critics an apology? Because I

:00:55.:00:57.

would not write to him, because I wrote to the permanent Secretary,

:00:58.:01:02.

that he should punish me. There are many injustices throughout the world

:01:03.:01:09.

and meeting him on the latter is not one of them. Gareth Gordon

:01:10.:01:12.

reporting. Denis Murray and Susan McKay are still with me... Picking

:01:13.:01:18.

up there, what is the perspective from Dublin on this spat between the

:01:19.:01:25.

Secretary of State and Ivan Lewis about how much the British

:01:26.:01:28.

Government and Irish government should or should not be involved in

:01:29.:01:32.

the political dialogue regarding Haass at the moment? The Irish

:01:33.:01:38.

government is nervous about dealing with criticising unionism and since

:01:39.:01:42.

that unionism is clearly responsible for the failure of the Haass talks

:01:43.:01:47.

to be agreed at this point, that is difficult for them. Eamon Gilmore

:01:48.:01:52.

has indicated that he will support trying to get the proposals

:01:53.:01:57.

implemented, but in a timid way. I think it will be seen as welcome

:01:58.:02:02.

that the shadow Secretary of State is saying things, pointing out the

:02:03.:02:05.

dithering that Theresa Villiers has done. She has been a week Secretary

:02:06.:02:13.

of State. Your thoughts, Dennis? The way the talks ended was not

:02:14.:02:19.

pleasant. Richard Haass meant his deadline. Tony Blair kept moving the

:02:20.:02:24.

deadline back. Those talks were about ending the conflict, these

:02:25.:02:28.

talks are about trying to deal with the post-conflict situation and the

:02:29.:02:33.

problems. I do not see how you revive those in any meaningful way

:02:34.:02:37.

until after the elections and then you're into the marching season. It

:02:38.:02:42.

remains a challenge. Thank you for joining us. That's it for

:02:43.:02:44.

Londoners who otherwise may not have a voice. Both of you, thank you so

:02:45.:02:56.

much. Andrew, it is back to you. Can David Cameron get a grip on the

:02:57.:03:01.

floods? Can UKIP push the Conservatives into third place in

:03:02.:03:05.

the Wythenshawe by-election on Thursday? Is the speaker in the

:03:06.:03:08.

House of Commons in danger of overheating? All questions over the

:03:09.:03:16.

weekend. Let's look at the politics of the flooding. Let me show you a

:03:17.:03:22.

clip from Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, earlier on

:03:23.:03:29.

the BBC this morning. We perhaps relied too much on the Environment

:03:30.:03:35.

Agency's advice. I apologise. I apologise unreservedly and I am

:03:36.:03:39.

really sorry we took the advice of what we thought we were doing was

:03:40.:03:45.

the best. The Environment Agency is being hung out to dry by the

:03:46.:03:48.

Government and the Government has taken over the running of the

:03:49.:03:54.

environmental mess in the Somerset Levels. It is turning into a serious

:03:55.:03:59.

crisis by the Government and even more so for the people who are

:04:00.:04:03.

dealing with the flooding. There is no doubt that what has been revealed

:04:04.:04:09.

is it is not just about what the Government did or did not do six

:04:10.:04:14.

months ago. What is being exposed is an entire culture within the

:04:15.:04:20.

Environment Agency, fuelled often by European directives about dredging

:04:21.:04:23.

and all manner of other things, a culture grew up in which plants were

:04:24.:04:29.

put ahead of people if you like. All of that is collapsing in very

:04:30.:04:32.

difficult circumstances by the Government and it is difficult for

:04:33.:04:38.

them to manage. Chris Smith would save the Environment Agency is

:04:39.:04:41.

acting under a law set by this Government and previous governments

:04:42.:04:46.

and the first priority is the protection of life, second property

:04:47.:04:49.

and third agricultural land and he is saying we are working within that

:04:50.:04:55.

framework. It is an edifying spectacle, they are setting up Lord

:04:56.:04:59.

Smith to be the fall guy. His term of office comes at the end of the

:05:00.:05:03.

summer and they will find something new. But the point Lord Smith is

:05:04.:05:08.

making is that dredging is important and it was a mistake not to dredge,

:05:09.:05:12.

but it is a bigger picture than that. I am no expert, but you need a

:05:13.:05:17.

whole skill solution that is looking not just bad dredging, but at the

:05:18.:05:24.

whole catchment area looking at the production of maize. It is harvested

:05:25.:05:28.

in autumn and then the water runs off the topsoil. You see the

:05:29.:05:34.

pictures of the flooding, it is all topsoil flooding through those

:05:35.:05:38.

towns. What you have got to have in the uplands is some land that can

:05:39.:05:42.

absorb that water and there are really big questions about the way

:05:43.:05:47.

we carry out farming. Chris Smith was meant to appear on the Andrew

:05:48.:05:51.

Marr show this morning, but pulled back at the last minute. There must

:05:52.:05:55.

be doubts as to whether he can survive to the summer. Where is the

:05:56.:06:00.

chief executive of the Environment Agency? I agree with Nick that Chris

:06:01.:06:07.

Smith has been setup in this situation. David Cameron went to the

:06:08.:06:10.

Somerset Levels on Friday for about half an hour, in and out, with no

:06:11.:06:17.

angry people shouting at him. You to a farm. It is agreed he has had good

:06:18.:06:24.

crisis. But we are seen as being a London media class who does not

:06:25.:06:30.

understand the countryside. You can imagine David Cameron in a pair of

:06:31.:06:34.

wellies. If this was happening in Guildford, it would not have dragged

:06:35.:06:40.

on for so long. Looe it is interesting how they are saying the

:06:41.:06:43.

Environment Agency has put words in front of everything else. The

:06:44.:06:49.

great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria thinks people should be

:06:50.:06:53.

sacked at the whim. He is talking about how the Environment Agency

:06:54.:06:58.

spent ?31 million on a bird sanctuary. It turns out the bird

:06:59.:07:03.

sanctuary was an attempt to put up a flood defence system for a village

:07:04.:07:08.

which has worked. That village has been saved. They compensated some

:07:09.:07:12.

farmers for the farmland they were not going to be able to farm and put

:07:13.:07:17.

a flood defence system further back to protect this village and then

:07:18.:07:26.

they built a bird sanctuary. It was not ?31 million to create a bird

:07:27.:07:29.

sanctuary, it was to save a village and it worked. But in 2008 the

:07:30.:07:35.

Environment Agency was talking about dynamiting every pumping agency.

:07:36.:07:40.

There was a metropolitan mindset on the part of that agency. If it does

:07:41.:07:46.

what Owen Paterson, who is now off in an eye operation, suggested a

:07:47.:07:51.

plan to fix this, they will find a lot of what they want or need to do

:07:52.:07:56.

will be in contravention of European directives. The Wythenshawe

:07:57.:08:04.

by-election. There is no question Labour is going to win, probably

:08:05.:08:09.

incredibly convincingly, one poll showing 60% plus of the vote. It

:08:10.:08:14.

would be surprising if Labour was in any threat up there. The issue is,

:08:15.:08:19.

does UKIP beat the Tories and if so, by how much? The latest poll was

:08:20.:08:26.

showing it in second place as nip and tuck, but the feeling I have is

:08:27.:08:32.

UKIP will do better. And they have got a great local candidate. The

:08:33.:08:35.

Tories have not parachuted somebody in and they have got a local man in

:08:36.:08:40.

and that will help them. We have all been waiting to see if the Tories

:08:41.:08:44.

lose their head, but they might go chicken earlier than that. Will UKIP

:08:45.:08:53.

come second? It looks like that. A poll this week showed that Labour is

:08:54.:08:58.

way ahead and UKIP possibly second. But it is an important by-election

:08:59.:09:04.

for UKIP. If they do well in the European elections, they should

:09:05.:09:08.

still be on a roll. They did really well in by-elections last year. If

:09:09.:09:11.

they do not do well, is it because they are not on payroll? Or in

:09:12.:09:17.

Manchester they have a fantastic leader of the council? Will UKIP

:09:18.:09:23.

come a good second? I think they will and if they do not, it might

:09:24.:09:27.

suggest Nigel Farage is losing its slightly. One thing to look out for

:09:28.:09:34.

is how little Labour are attacking UKIP. Their election strategy relies

:09:35.:09:40.

a lot on UKIP taking Tory votes. But it could also take Labour votes.

:09:41.:09:45.

Particularly in the north and we shall see. The results will be out

:09:46.:09:50.

on Thursday night. The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bird: ,

:09:51.:09:57.

his interventions have become more frequent and something was strange.

:09:58.:10:03.

Have a look. I am grateful to the honourable gentleman. Order, the

:10:04.:10:10.

Government Chief Whip has absolutely no business whatsoever shouting from

:10:11.:10:15.

a sedentary position. Order, the honourable gentleman will remain in

:10:16.:10:20.

the chamber. If we could tackle this problem. I say to the honourable

:10:21.:10:28.

member for Bridgwater, be quiet, if you cannot be quiet, get out, it is

:10:29.:10:32.

rude, stupid and pompous and it needs to stop. Michael Gove. Order.

:10:33.:10:51.

You really... Order. You are a very over excitable individual. You need

:10:52.:10:57.

to write out 1000 times, I will behave myself at Prime Minister 's

:10:58.:11:01.

questions. He was talking to the Education Secretary and it is not

:11:02.:11:07.

1000 lines, it is 100 lines, at least it was in my day. Is he

:11:08.:11:16.

beginning to make a fool of himself? There was only one over excitable

:11:17.:11:19.

person there and that was the speaker and he is losing the

:11:20.:11:22.

confidence of the Conservative MPs, but he never had that in the first

:11:23.:11:27.

place. But he is an incredibly reforming speaker. He has this

:11:28.:11:32.

strange idea that Parliament should hold the Government to account. It

:11:33.:11:39.

will never catch on. It means very frequently there are urgent

:11:40.:11:45.

questions. The other day he called a backbench amendment on the

:11:46.:11:47.

deportation of foreign criminals. He could have found a way not to call

:11:48.:11:53.

that. He is a real reformer and the executive do not like that. That is

:11:54.:11:57.

true and he has allowed Parliament to flourish which has given us room

:11:58.:12:05.

to breathe at a time of a coalition Government when Parliament has more

:12:06.:12:06.

power. That is all that Government when Parliament has more

:12:07.:12:10.

power. That is all that enough to overcome these increasingly mannered

:12:11.:12:16.

and some of them may be preplanned interventions? The last one was last

:12:17.:12:23.

week, and last week the speaker had a rather stressful week with the

:12:24.:12:30.

tabloids. Something is clearly up. I think it is a real shame. I think

:12:31.:12:37.

many of us when he was elected did not think he would make a great

:12:38.:12:41.

speaker and there are people like Douglas Carswell and Tory rebels who

:12:42.:12:46.

have said he is a fantastic speaker. He has given the Commons room to

:12:47.:12:50.

breathe and he has called on ministers to be held to account when

:12:51.:12:55.

they do not want to be. What do you think? He is seen as anti-government

:12:56.:13:00.

and he is pro-backbencher and that is what people do not like. People

:13:01.:13:07.

like Douglas Carswell are actually very strongly in support of him. We

:13:08.:13:13.

carry the interventions every week on Prime Minister 's questions and

:13:14.:13:17.

we see them every week and they are getting a bit more eccentric. If I

:13:18.:13:21.

was having to keep that under control, I would be driven slowly

:13:22.:13:28.

mad. But his job is easier than mine. But if you look at his

:13:29.:13:33.

deputy, Eleanor Laing, she is very robust, but she is calm. Chap who

:13:34.:13:41.

does the budget is excellent. We are on throughout the week at midday on

:13:42.:13:49.

BBC Two. We will be back next Sunday at 11. If it is Sunday, it is the

:13:50.:13:52.

Sunday Politics.

:13:53.:14:00.

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