18/03/2012 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


18/03/2012

Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news, interviews and debate.


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Two weeks and counting, the candidates to be the next Ulster

:01:37.:01:42.

Unionists leader have started their campaign. We ask how they plan to

:01:42.:01:52.
:01:52.:01:52.

Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1700 seconds

:01:52.:30:12.

deny it -- United the be divided Welcome to Sunday Politics in

:30:12.:30:16.

Northern Ireland. The battle for the Ulster Unionist leadership

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became a two-horse race when the favourite, Danny Kennedy, decided

:30:19.:30:24.

not to enter the running. Now it is a contest between John McCallister

:30:24.:30:29.

and Mike Nesbitt. Who can restore the fortunes of a party in decline?

:30:29.:30:33.

Also, as the excitement builds to London 2012, are there lessons to

:30:33.:30:38.

be learned from our failure to gain from games? Those companies will

:30:38.:30:42.

have that experience and I have no doubt they will get feedback. If

:30:42.:30:45.

they don't, they should and learn lessons from where they are going

:30:45.:30:53.

next and what to do next. With an 11% pay rise for a MLAs on the way?

:30:53.:30:56.

Which one got a respectable result in their school report? Find out in

:30:56.:31:05.

60 seconds. With me for the next 30 minutes is

:31:05.:31:08.

Professor Pete Shirlow from Queen's University and the News Letter's

:31:08.:31:15.

Sam McBride. Let's talk about the contest. What do you think the

:31:15.:31:20.

Ulster Unionists can do to halt the decline in the party's fortunes?

:31:20.:31:25.

is a significant decline, they have lost around 90,000 votes in 1990 --

:31:25.:31:30.

since 1998. They have to do a massive thing to claim back those

:31:30.:31:34.

boats. They need to start with where the votes go. About half of

:31:34.:31:39.

them probably went to the DUP. They realise that there is a significant

:31:40.:31:43.

Unionist electorate which has become this interested at is not

:31:43.:31:48.

articulating any desire to engage with politics. -- has become this

:31:48.:31:55.

interested at is not. They have to build a base but they also have to

:31:55.:32:02.

discuss our opinions. They need to find out where these voters went

:32:02.:32:07.

away. There is an opportunity, it is about bringing people to the

:32:07.:32:11.

electorate. A surprise that Danny Kennedy pulled out. The rumours

:32:11.:32:15.

were going round all week. Was it too much of a poisoned chalice for

:32:15.:32:20.

him? I think he just did not want to run. If he had decided to go for

:32:20.:32:26.

it, he would have got a vote. He probably felt that Mike Nesbitt had

:32:27.:32:33.

support swinging behind him and that he expected to come behind.

:32:33.:32:40.

People might Mike Nesbitt decided to speak to the impartial reporter.

:32:40.:32:44.

He's courted voters have been Fermanagh. If he had decided to run

:32:44.:32:48.

he would have got a significant challenge is and decided he did not

:32:48.:32:53.

want it, for whatever reason. It will be the fastest of

:32:53.:32:57.

leadership races. In two weeks' time we will know who is in charge.

:32:57.:33:02.

We would have liked to debate the issues head to head but the leaders

:33:02.:33:07.

of the Ulster Unionist Party are insisting on separate interviews.

:33:07.:33:14.

First stop, Mike Nesbitt and could he be the next party leader? Before

:33:14.:33:17.

head -- that, let's to get his journey from broadcasters and

:33:17.:33:23.

politicians. -- let's look at. It was as a sports reporter that

:33:23.:33:27.

Mike Nesbitt made his name. He began his career at the BBC, maybe

:33:27.:33:32.

two UTV in 1992, where he remained for 14 years. He announced he was

:33:33.:33:37.

not renewing his contract and after a break, he re-emerged as a

:33:37.:33:42.

Victims' Commission a, a post he resigned from in 2010. -- Victims'

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Commission Now. He was a party for the ill-fated Conservative and

:33:49.:33:54.

Ulster Unionist alliance. He lost out to Jim Shannon but was elected

:33:54.:33:58.

as the representative for Strangford in 2011. The nine months

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later he is in the running to become leader of the party. Back

:34:01.:34:05.

his campaign launch in Stormont, he was black by supporters, including

:34:05.:34:13.

his wife and former TV presenter, Lynda Bryans. Last time, the party

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mood was for continuity. It appears the party mood today is for change.

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That is why I am standing, to offer a change to revive and revitalise

:34:23.:34:32.

this party. Mike Nesbitt joins us now. You are just in the door of

:34:32.:34:35.

the Ulster Unionist Party and Stormont. What makes you want to be

:34:35.:34:41.

leader? I am sensing in the last week, when Tom shock does with his

:34:41.:34:46.

announcement that he was going to leave, I was in listening mode and

:34:46.:34:50.

I travel as much as I could around the country. It took a lot of calls

:34:50.:34:55.

and messages. It is surprising, to the point of shocking for some

:34:55.:35:02.

people in the Ulster Unionist, and inspiring, but there is a mood

:35:02.:35:09.

Albarn -- among the membership for change. It is not passive, it is a

:35:09.:35:18.

very positive, we won't change. -- we won't change. After 14 years of

:35:18.:35:24.

taking a bashing because of 1998, our membership is saying, it is

:35:24.:35:28.

over, we want to be positive, we want to hold our heads up, we want

:35:28.:35:33.

to say I am proud to be an Ulster Unionists because I believe in

:35:33.:35:36.

values which are for the benefit of all the people of Northern Ireland.

:35:36.:35:41.

This party is back. It could be let that in a different way and seen as

:35:41.:35:45.

a sad reflection on a party that has been no one in its -- has no

:35:45.:35:48.

one in its ranks it believes can take the party forward and someone

:35:48.:35:54.

from the outside? I am not from the outside. You have had a career as a

:35:54.:35:58.

broadcaster. Is that a bad thing? Is it a bad thing not to have your

:35:58.:36:03.

fingerprints over the last 14 years? We used to have 10 MPs and

:36:03.:36:08.

now we have none. Many people are looking and saying, here is a guy

:36:08.:36:13.

who has got different ideas and it is the mood. It is not about the

:36:13.:36:16.

person. They should not be about their leader. It is about capturing

:36:17.:36:22.

the mood of the party and it wants to change positively. What you have

:36:22.:36:27.

set answer for does not sound like change. You do not want to go into

:36:27.:36:32.

opposition, or of tea Unionist Unity, it sounds similar to what we

:36:32.:36:42.
:36:42.:36:42.

have had? -- of Ulster Unionist unity. I want to bring in an

:36:42.:36:46.

opposition. 14 years ago we could not have possibly survive with a

:36:46.:36:54.

government in opposition. Is that not unlikely because the DUP and

:36:54.:37:00.

Sinn Fein will foot against it? 1998, everybody had a chance to

:37:00.:37:03.

vote in a referendum. There has been significant change, with the

:37:03.:37:10.

St Andrews Agreement. There is small change, in. -- there is more

:37:10.:37:14.

change coming. I would like a referendum on the major

:37:14.:37:18.

constitutional changes that have occurred since 1998 in the Belfast

:37:18.:37:25.

Agreement. Put it to be people, other parties. If they vote along

:37:25.:37:28.

the lines that they voted on to a man, they will say no to opposition

:37:28.:37:33.

and to keep what they have at the moment. They are the party getting

:37:33.:37:40.

support. I was elected by just under 50% of the electorate. I have

:37:40.:37:46.

to reach out of them. In the last two years, when I have fought

:37:46.:37:50.

elections, people come up and say good luck. They have coming up and

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they have not been thing good luck, they have said good luck and you

:37:53.:38:03.

have to do this, we are be hind the -- behind you. In yesterday's News

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Letter you mention two policies, getting rid of commissions and

:38:06.:38:09.

quangos and getting were fixed rates for young people. Is that it?

:38:09.:38:15.

No, that is not it. Economy is it, absolutely. I think we could do a

:38:15.:38:20.

lot better. What I would like to have seen coming out of the

:38:20.:38:23.

economic strategy is a message to be unemployed that we will try and

:38:23.:38:29.

get 60,000 new jobs. That sends a message to be 60,000 unemployed,

:38:29.:38:32.

you have less than a one in two chance of your government securing

:38:32.:38:37.

you a job. People might argue 25,000 is more realistic. For some

:38:37.:38:46.

observers, it is not likely? not be aspirational? Let's build a

:38:46.:38:51.

private sector are so poor fund -- so powerful and profitable that we

:38:51.:38:55.

depend less on the block grant, because we have built our own

:38:55.:38:59.

economy that is so robust that we are doing fine. Do you think you

:38:59.:39:04.

will win? That is up to the 2000 members of the Ulster Unionist

:39:04.:39:09.

Party. If they want me. I was at church last Sunday and the sermon

:39:09.:39:17.

was based on the idea that if it is supposed to be, it will happen.

:39:17.:39:23.

you expecting a dirty fight? I do not think there is any evidence it

:39:23.:39:28.

will be a dirty fight. No one in politics set out on a leadership

:39:28.:39:33.

campaign for it to be a dirty fight. This time, the two candidates are

:39:33.:39:37.

much more similar to each other than the last time. Basil McCrea

:39:37.:39:39.

and Tom Elliot were very clearly different people with different

:39:39.:39:47.

agendas. Both Mike Nesbitt and John McCallister are from broadly the

:39:47.:39:51.

Liberal and moderate wing of the Ulster Unionist Party and there is

:39:51.:39:57.

not really a representative of the traditional and classical Ulster

:39:57.:40:04.

Unionist position. In some ways, there is not going to be that much

:40:04.:40:07.

than -- other than the issue of opposition, be big issue between

:40:07.:40:12.

them. What about the idea of a referendum? The Secretary of State

:40:12.:40:16.

will not move on opposition unless the two bigger parties wanted.

:40:16.:40:21.

Could we have a referendum on opposition? Both candidates have a

:40:21.:40:25.

notion that there should be some sort of oppositional politics,

:40:25.:40:29.

which would be good and would be more policy based as opposed to

:40:30.:40:36.

poll based. That is a pork -- important, even when they may

:40:36.:40:43.

achieve it in different ways. Whether there is a referendum is

:40:43.:40:49.

remaining to be seen. They can be very focused in terms of opinion. I

:40:49.:40:52.

think that is a breath of fresher. Both of them realise this will not

:40:52.:40:57.

be quick and it will take time to turn the party around. If you try

:40:57.:41:00.

and do it quickly it will not happen. Both are strong leaders and

:41:00.:41:03.

the thing that is very clear is that they are going to be

:41:03.:41:08.

unambiguous about what they want to do. What is the Ulster Unionist

:41:08.:41:15.

Party? How is it different from the Alliance Party are the DUP? They

:41:15.:41:21.

will set out what the party is and what the party aims to achieve.

:41:21.:41:25.

do not want this to be about a referendum on being in or out of

:41:25.:41:30.

government. The next leader needs to do a good shift. They need to do

:41:30.:41:33.

at least two cycles of Assembly elections. We need to look at where

:41:34.:41:41.

we are going to be not on the 2nd April but on 2nd April 1920 15 and

:41:41.:41:49.

2020. -- 2015. We want to put the people first and build on the

:41:49.:41:53.

economy. We want people have jobs that they actually enjoy. We want

:41:53.:41:58.

people with homes rather than houses. If you have very little

:41:58.:42:02.

influence in the Executive, how can you do that? You cannot make

:42:02.:42:06.

changes to corporation tax Auret difference to the skill set of the

:42:06.:42:12.

workforce? We were the ones proposing corporation tax. I know

:42:12.:42:16.

John says he wants to bring the minister out of the Executive but

:42:16.:42:19.

is he giving up our chairmanships and vice chairmanships, where we

:42:19.:42:23.

will sit in the chamber? Will we have to elbow in between Jim

:42:23.:42:30.

Allister and so -- David McNarry? When the opposition back in? They

:42:30.:42:40.

are'making body. -- they are the policy-making body.

:42:40.:42:45.

John McCallister was the first to declare as a candidate. In a moment

:42:45.:42:49.

we will hear from him, but first, a snapshot of his career so far.

:42:49.:42:53.

A former president of the Young Farmers' Club, John McCallister has

:42:53.:42:57.

enjoyed a speedy rise through the ranks of the Ulster Unionists. He

:42:57.:43:01.

joined just seven years ago and was elected to Stormont in 2007 as

:43:01.:43:08.

member for South Down, winning re- election for years letter. His

:43:08.:43:11.

distinctive delivery and relative youth marked him out among his

:43:11.:43:16.

colleagues. The with the Minister agree that this has an adverse

:43:16.:43:19.

affect on businesses, tourism, commuters right across the Southern

:43:19.:43:24.

Area? Although he back Basil McCrea's unsuccessful bid for the

:43:24.:43:28.

leadership 18 months ago against Tom Elliot, he served as deputy

:43:28.:43:33.

leader and a Tom Elliot as well as chief whip. He is the first -- he

:43:33.:43:36.

was the first candidate to declare when a vacancy came up and set out

:43:36.:43:45.

his stall clearly. This is the important debate to have, whether

:43:45.:43:48.

we were towards closer Unionist co- operation or go into opposition and

:43:48.:43:53.

oppose the government and support them if they are right? We need to

:43:53.:43:57.

set out a clear agenda of what is good for Northern Ireland. That is

:43:57.:44:02.

what I think Ulster Unionism at its best is and should be about. John

:44:02.:44:07.

McCallister joins us now. Good afternoon. Is it a brave or foolish

:44:07.:44:10.

move to declare your hand on opposition so early in the race and

:44:10.:44:16.

set it out as a competition between opposition and what every his Mike

:44:16.:44:20.

Nesbitt is standing for? There is no point in going into a race and

:44:20.:44:25.

heading -- hedging your bets. Tell people about the change you will

:44:25.:44:29.

bring. People are probably refreshed to hear people say what

:44:30.:44:34.

they are going to do. That is where I would lead the party. How will

:44:34.:44:37.

the work? It is an informal opposition you are talking about,

:44:37.:44:42.

not one that is legislated for, is that right? That is right. There is

:44:42.:44:47.

no structure at the moment. Are you seriously going to tell me that we

:44:47.:44:51.

should not do this because Peter and Martin say we can't? This is

:44:51.:44:55.

about saying, do you agree with the principles of opposition? We are

:44:55.:45:00.

going to take a first step and co- owner and be in opposition, formal

:45:00.:45:05.

or informal, we will be in opposition and hold this

:45:05.:45:09.

administration to a card and provide people with an alternative

:45:09.:45:19.
:45:19.:45:25.

Howwood that work? -- how would that work. The only position you

:45:25.:45:31.

would lose was the one ministerial. I think it improves the Government.

:45:31.:45:36.

Where we were in 1998, it was sensible to have an inclusive form

:45:36.:45:43.

of government to get us from where we were, coming out of conflict. It

:45:43.:45:48.

is a healthy thing to have an opposition. Every democratic system

:45:48.:45:54.

in the world has an opposition or checks and balances on power. That

:45:54.:46:01.

is what we need. This is what most people in politics think has to

:46:01.:46:07.

happen. The it has been reported you do not have a lot of support in

:46:07.:46:12.

the Assembly group, who seemed to be going for Mike Nesbitt. If you

:46:12.:46:16.

were as successful, how would you convince them it would be a good

:46:16.:46:19.

idea to give up the one piece of power you have around the Executive

:46:19.:46:27.

table? The one piece of power sums it up. Why hang about for a few

:46:27.:46:32.

crumbs from the table and let the Deputy First Minister decide when

:46:32.:46:36.

we can speak and what we can do and what policies we adopt? That is not

:46:37.:46:41.

what we want. We need to break out and change the politics and move

:46:41.:46:51.
:46:51.:46:57.

away from the calf up a type of We are regarded as the least

:46:57.:47:01.

influential party in the Executive, and that is not helpful to a party

:47:01.:47:10.

trying to reconnect. Just being in there for one tiny crumb is not

:47:10.:47:17.

reason enough. You need an identity and message. This is about working

:47:17.:47:22.

the Systems in Stormont and it is healthy for democracy. How do you

:47:22.:47:27.

convince them? I have not asked my colleagues for support. I have

:47:27.:47:37.
:47:37.:47:39.

taken this message to the party faithful. MLAs' votes can the same.

:47:39.:47:45.

It is an one member, one Vogue party. That is the message I am

:47:45.:47:55.
:47:55.:48:00.

saying to the party -- won a vote party. I want to ask them. This is

:48:00.:48:07.

a real change. I do not have the party machinery supporting me, I am

:48:07.:48:10.

committed to taking the argument out to the people and the

:48:10.:48:16.

membership. Do you think you will win? I would not be better in your

:48:16.:48:24.

house on it, but I will give it my best shot. Whoever wins has to

:48:24.:48:30.

behind the leader. Mike Nesbitt suggested that we have a referendum

:48:31.:48:40.
:48:41.:48:45.

on changing the style of Stormont. A referendum. You had a referendum

:48:45.:48:50.

on the Good Friday Agreement. It did not mean everybody accepted it.

:48:50.:48:54.

You need to make the argument to people. If they agree with it, they

:48:54.:49:00.

will vote for that. The reason I think our vote has gone, we have

:49:00.:49:09.

tried been in the Executive as a smaller party. We have had two

:49:09.:49:13.

ministers and the boat going down to one minister. We are not getting

:49:13.:49:22.

the credit -- of the vote. You need an alternative. You, as a voter,

:49:22.:49:27.

have no way of changing the Government. That is not healthy in

:49:27.:49:34.

democracy. Do you think this idea will win round members who were not

:49:34.:49:40.

connected to Stormont? The truth is that nobody knows. There has never

:49:40.:49:45.

been a poll of opinion in the Unionist Party. He was saying

:49:45.:49:49.

earlier he did not want it just to be a referendum, it is difficult to

:49:49.:49:56.

see how that is not the main issue. It is possibly a majority, there is

:49:56.:50:01.

a big chunk of the party, but if it is the most important thing to that

:50:01.:50:08.

chunk of the party, to take on the DUP from the opposition benches, if

:50:08.:50:12.

that chunk of the party is big enough and see this as the only way

:50:12.:50:16.

to get to opposition, John McCallister might do better than

:50:16.:50:24.

some people think. This is a massive issue. And what happened

:50:24.:50:28.

with Tom Elliott. Do you think that either candidate can end the

:50:28.:50:38.
:50:38.:50:41.

division? Do smack mend. Elliott was a continuity choice.

:50:41.:50:50.

The key is that something big has to change. A problem I have with

:50:51.:50:56.

the UUP is I came back from England in 1983 and most had never been to

:50:56.:51:02.

my door asking me to vote for them. Everybody else has. How do they

:51:02.:51:08.

mobilise the membership? Others are better at doing it. One of the keys

:51:08.:51:13.

for the leader is putting energy into the party. If the energy and

:51:13.:51:20.

commitment is there, you can go anywhere. John, how do you bring

:51:20.:51:25.

energy back into the party, is it about knocking on doors? Absolutely.

:51:25.:51:33.

You have to get out. You have to engage with people. And listen to

:51:33.:51:39.

the good and the bad that people are telling you. I have done

:51:40.:51:48.

serious can then -- canvassing in my constituency. That does pay off.

:51:48.:51:53.

It is about giving a central message of what you stand for and

:51:53.:52:00.

the direction of the party. That would be my job if elected to, to

:52:01.:52:07.

give the message. We would be in listening mode. We would want to

:52:07.:52:12.

present ideas to the public and be the alternative at the next

:52:12.:52:17.

election. Interesting to see how the next two weeks passed out.

:52:18.:52:23.

If it is over four months to the start of the greatest show on earth.

:52:23.:52:27.

The London Olympics. Apart from brief training camps, what has

:52:27.:52:32.

Northern Ireland gained from the games? There are some flashing

:52:32.:52:38.

images in this report. It is 5:30am. These young swimmers

:52:39.:52:43.

start a two-hour training session. It takes dedication from the

:52:43.:52:51.

youngsters, coaches and parents. swimming means my life. I am in

:52:51.:52:56.

seven times a week. That is all I think about. It is an important

:52:56.:53:01.

sport. It keeps you fit and it is all I have known. This is where the

:53:01.:53:09.

swimmers won to be in a few months' time. At the Olympics. Young

:53:09.:53:16.

hopefuls are training every day in the 50 metre facilities. They will

:53:16.:53:25.

have a 10 lame of Paul, 50 metres. -- as swimming pool with 10 lanes.

:53:25.:53:30.

They have testing rooms. They have what you would be looking for Team

:53:30.:53:36.

G B to have. They get that 24 hours a day. A taking shape on the

:53:36.:53:45.

outside -- outskirts of Bangor is the new swimming pool. It has been

:53:45.:53:50.

delayed. It was due to open two years ago. Because of difficulties

:53:50.:53:55.

with government finance, that date had to be postponed from this

:53:55.:54:00.

summer. An unavoidable problem in the building work, when beams were

:54:00.:54:05.

damaged, meant another delay. It will not be open until next

:54:05.:54:10.

February at the earliest. Despite that, it is regarded as a new dawn

:54:10.:54:14.

for sport in Northern Ireland, and the minister is due here this week

:54:14.:54:24.

to name the swimming pool. They have been working flat out and I am

:54:24.:54:31.

told they are on target. I went down to visit it. If I find out

:54:31.:54:38.

anything different, I will hold them to account. I will -- am sure

:54:38.:54:44.

it will be done. The swimming pool will not be delivered in 2012, but

:54:44.:54:49.

neither it seems will there be a boost for companies tendering for

:54:49.:54:55.

work. 1500 contracts were handed out worth �5 billion. Most

:54:55.:54:59.

successful firms were in the south- east of England. In Northern

:54:59.:55:06.

Ireland, 43 companies have won contracts. Less than 1% of the

:55:06.:55:12.

total awarded. One of the few local firms to secure work is this one in

:55:12.:55:17.

Belfast. The company has around �7 million of business, including the

:55:17.:55:24.

fitter out of the media centre. That was a year and a half of pre-

:55:24.:55:29.

qualification and interviews and network events. It was hard work.

:55:29.:55:35.

We were determined there was opportunity in the London region.

:55:35.:55:39.

We did not succeed as much as we would have liked to have done but

:55:39.:55:44.

it put a foot in the door and the companies will have that experience.

:55:44.:55:49.

I have no doubt they will get feedback. They should learn lessons

:55:49.:55:55.

on what to do next. This Economist says it is disappointing that the

:55:55.:56:00.

share of the spoils is so minimal for Northern Ireland. The one of

:56:00.:56:04.

the demonstrated effects of an Olympic Games is that it encourages

:56:04.:56:11.

people to participate in sport. Over the next few years, I think we

:56:11.:56:17.

will see more people. That is a social benefit and also benefits us

:56:17.:56:22.

financially and economically by reducing costs to health and social

:56:22.:56:26.

services looking after people. You would be forgiven there were no

:56:26.:56:30.

other political stories this week. But there were other stories making

:56:30.:56:40.
:56:40.:56:41.

headlines for a -- headlines. Mary McCardle was jailed for her

:56:41.:56:47.

role in the murder of a magistrate's daughter. I want to

:56:47.:56:55.

achieve something for my sister's memory. Claims a former Taoiseach

:56:55.:57:03.

viewed the murder of soldiers as a political act. MLAs will get a pay

:57:03.:57:11.

rise. Three men emerged as possible new leaders of the UUP, only for

:57:11.:57:18.

the favourite to change his mind. Robinson and Martin McGuinness were

:57:18.:57:23.

quizzed by school children. answered my questions to a

:57:23.:57:31.

respectable standard. I spend so much time preparing this exciting

:57:31.:57:41.
:57:41.:57:45.

speech, and there they are, having a conversation.

:57:45.:57:50.

People have been vocal about the pay issue this week. When it go

:57:50.:57:57.

ahead? I think it will go ahead. They have sourced it to this body.

:57:57.:58:02.

They did not want to vote it through. They did not conceive the

:58:02.:58:06.

independent body might cut something else. Given the number of

:58:06.:58:11.

MLAs we have, it is difficult to see how they can reverse that and

:58:11.:58:18.

Andrew Neil and Tara Mills with the latest political news and debate.

Andrew Neil interviews John Cridland, Chairman of the CBI on what businesses want from Wednesdays Budget. Sir Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust, and Stephen Hammond MP go head to head over the Government's plans to change planning laws affecting the countryside.


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