25/05/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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Good morning, welcome to the Sunday Politics. Senior Liberal Democrats


say the public has lost trust in Nick Clegg. They call for him to go


after the local election meltdown. And before the likely Europa rove a


catastrophe tonight. Labour and Tories struggled to cope with the


UKIP insurgency as Nigel Farage hosts his success and declares the


UKIP Fox is in the Westminster henhouse.


And coming up in half an hour: Sinn Fein and the DUP vie for the title


of top party after Thursday's local election. We'll hear claim and


counter-claim from the main parties disappeared, UKIP failed to show.


More analysis in just over half an hour.


Cooped up in the Sunday Politics henhouse, our own boot should --


bunch of headless chickens. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis, Janan Ganesh. The


Liberal Democrats lost over 300 councillors on Thursday, on top of


the losses in previous years, the local government base has been


whittled away in many parts of the country. Members of the European


Parliament will face a similar comment when the results are


announced tonight. A small but growing chorus of Liberal Democrats


have called on Nick Clegg to go. This is what the candidate in West


Dorset had to say. People know that locally we worked


incredibly hard on their councils and as their MPs, but Nick Clegg is


perceived to have not been trustworthy in leadership. Do you


trust him? He has lacked bone on significant issues that are the core


values of our party. This is how the party president


responded. At this time, it would be foolish


for us as a party to turn in on ourselves. What has separated us


from the Conservatives is, while they have been like cats in a sack,


we have stood united, and that is what we will continue to do. The


major reason why is because we consented to the coalition, unlike


the Conservatives. We had a vote, and a full conference.


Is there a growing question over Nick Clegg's leadership? Different


people have different views. My own view is I need to consult my own


activists and members before coming to a conclusion. I am looking at


holding a meeting for us to discuss the issue. I have been told by some


people they do not think a meeting is required, they think he should


stay, and other people have decided he should go. As a responsible


Democrat, I should consult the members here before coming to my


conclusions. What is your view at the moment? I have got to listen to


my members. But you must have some kind of you. Because I have an open


mind, I do not think he must stay, I am willing to say I have not made my


mind up. From a news point of view, that is my official position. I can


assure you there is not much news in that! I said earlier I am not going


to say he must go must stay, I am consulting my members. But you must


have some kind of view of your own before you have listened to your


members. There are people who are wrongfully sanctioned and end up


using food banks, I am upset about that, because we should not


allow... I do not mind having a sanctioning system, that I get


constituents who are put in this position, we should not accept that.


I rebel on the issue of a referendum on membership of the EU. I am also


concerned about the way the rules have been changed in terms of how


parents are treated in their ability to take children to funerals out of


school time. There are questions about the leader's responsible T for


those policies. Nick Clegg has made it clear he is a staunch


pro-European, he wants the Liberal Democrats to be in, he does not want


a referendum, if you lose a chunk of your MEPs tonight, what does that


say about how in June you are with written public opinion? There are


issues with how you publish your policies. I do not agree 100% with


what the government is doing or with what Nick Clegg says. I do think we


should stay within the EU, because the alternative means we have less


control over our borders. There is a presentational issue, because what


UKIP want, to leave the EU, is worse in terms of control of borders,


which is their main reason for wanting to leave, which is strange.


There are debate issues, but I have got personal concerns, I do worry


about the impact on my constituents when they face wrongful sanctions.


You have said that. A fellow Liberal Democrat MP has compared Nick Clegg


to a general at the Somme, causing carnage amongst the troops. I am


more interested in the policy issues, are we doing the right


things? I do think the coalition was essential, we had to rescue the


country from financial problems. My own view on the issue of student


finance, we did the right thing, in accordance with the pledge, which


was to get a better system, more students are going to university,


and more from disadvantaged backgrounds. But there are issues.


But Nick Clegg survive as leader through till the next election? It


depends what odds you will give me! If you are not going to give me is,


I am not going to get! If you listen to John hemming, he has got nothing


to worry about. He does have something to worry about, they lost


300 seats, on the uniform swing, you would see people like Vince cable


and Simon Hughes lose their seats. But nobody wants to be the one to


we'll be nice, they would rather wait until after the next election,


and then rebuild the party. Yes, there is no chance of him walking


away. Somebody like Tim Farron or Vince Cable, whoever the successor


is, though have to close the dagger ten months before an election, do


they want that spectacle? If I were Nick Clegg, I would walk away, it is


reasonably obvious that the left-wing voters who defect had


towards the Labour Party in 2010 will not return while he is leader.


And anything he was going to achieve historically, the already has done.


Unlike David Miliband, sorry, Ed Miliband or David Cameron, he has


transformed the identity of the party, they are in government. Had


it not been for him, they would have continued to be the main protest


party, rather than a party of government. So he has got to take it


all the way through until the election. If he left now, he would


look like he was a tenant in the conservative house. What we are


seeing is an operation to destabilise Nick Clegg, but it is a


Liberal Democrat one, so it is chaotic. There are people who have


never really been reconciled to the coalition and to Nick Clegg, they


are pushing for this. What is Nick Clegg going to do, and Tim Farron?


-- what is Vince Cable going to do? Vince Cable is in China, on a


business trip. It is like John Major's toothache in 1990. What is


Tim Farron doing? He is behind Nick Clegg, because he knows that his


best chances of being leader are as the Westland candidate, the person


who picks up the mess in a year. Vince Cable's only opportunity is on


this side of the election. But you say they are not a party of


government, but what looks more likely is overall the -- is no


overall control. You might find a common mission looking appealing.


They could still hold the balance of power. A lot of people in the Labour


Party might say, let's just have a minority government. 30 odds and


sods who will not turn up to vote. If they want to be up until 3am


every morning, be like that! When you were in short trousers, it was


like that every night, it was great fun! The Liberal Democrats will not


provide confidence to a minority government, they will pull the plug


and behave ruthlessly. Does Nick leg lead the Liberal Democrats into the


next election? Yes. Yes. Yes. I am sorry, Nick Clegg, you are


finished! We will speak to Paddy Ashdown in the second part of the


show to speak about the Liberal Democrats. The UKIP insurgency could


not deliver the promised earthquake, but it produced enough shock waves


to discombobulated the established parties. They are struggling to work


out how to deal with them. We watched it all unfold.


Behind the scenes of any election night is intensely busy. Those in


charge of party strategy and logistics want their people focused,


working with purpose and rehearsed to make sure their spin on the


results is what viewers remember and take on board. A bit of a buzz of


activity inside the BBC's studio, kept and primed for the results.


What this does not show due is the exterior doubles up for hospital


dramas like Holby City, there are doorways that are mock-ups of


accident and emergency, but the electorate will discover which of


the parties they have put into intensive care, which ones are


coming out of recovery and which ones are in rude health. We joined


David Dimbleby. Good evening, welcome to the BBC's new election


centre. When three big beasts become for on the political field, things


have changed. Eric Pickles says we will be seen off next year, we will


see you at Westminster! This party is going to break through next year,


and you never know, we might even hold the balance of power. Old


messages that gave voters in excuses to go elsewhere on the ballot paper


exposed the older players to questions from within their ranks.


In the hen house of the House of Commons, the fox that wants to get


in has ruffled feathers. The reason they have had amazing success, a


rapid rise, partly what Chuka Umunna says about being a repository, but


they have also managed to sound like human beings, and that his Nigel


Farage's eight victory. For some conservatives, a pact was the best


form of defence. It would be preferable if all members of UKIP


and voters became Tories overnight. That seems to be an ambitious


proposition. Therefore, we need to do something that welcomes them on


board in a slightly different way. Labour had successes, but nobody but


they're wizards of Spain was completely buying a big success


story. Gaffes behind the scenes and strategic errors were levelled at


those who have managed the campaign. They have played a clever game, you


shuffle bedecked around, and if UKIP does quite well but not well enough,


that helps Labour get in. That kind of mindset will not win the general


election, and we saw that in the tap ticks and strategy, and that is why,


on our leaflets for the European elections, we chose deliberately not


to attack UKIP, that was a bad error. Not so, so somebody who has


been in that spotlight. If you look at the electoral maths, UKIP will


still be aiming at the Tories in a general election. They are the


second party in Rotherham, Labour will always hold what the room, it


is safe, there is no point being second in a safe seat. UKIP have


taken Castle Point, a Tory seat they will target. The question for the


next election, can they make a challenge? The Tories will be under


the gun from UKIP. The substance of these results is UKIP not in


government, they do not have any MPs, they do not run a single


Council, at dismissing them ceased to be an option. The question is,


who will they heard most and how do you smoke the keeper's threat?


Joining me now, day about and Patrick O'Flynn. Do you agree not


enough was done for the elections? No, we have very good results around


Hammersmith and Fulham, Croydon, Redbridge, and we picked off council


wards in Haringey meaning that Lynne Featherstone and Simon Hughes worked


on. The Ashcroft polling shows that in key marginals, we are well ahead


and on course to win in 2015. I will be putting Mr Ashcroft's poll to


Eric Pickles shortly. On the basis of the local elections your national


share of the vote would be just 31%, only two points ahead of the Tories,


only two points ahead of Gordon Brown's disastrous performance in


2010. Why so low? National share is one thing but I am talking about


what we are doing in the key marginals. Clearly some were taken


away from others like Rotherham but we have got many voters back. You


are only two points better than you were in 2010 and use of your worst


defeat in living memory. That is the totality. What matters


is seat by seat, that is what the Republicans found in the


presidential elections. Patrick O'Flynn, you performed well in the


local election but it wasn't an earthquake. It is definitely true


that Labour did well in London but that is a double-edged sword because


you have an increasing disconnect between the metropolis and the rest


of the country. Our vote share was somewhat depressed not just because


London is one of our weakest part of the country but because most of the


warts in London were 3-member wards and we were typically only putting


up one candidate. Even when they fared well, it still tracked down


the projected national share. I think we did well, and what was


particularly good was getting the target seat list becoming clear


before our eyes. Suzanne Evans said that basically smart folk don't vote


for UKIP. I think that is a tiny fragment of what she said. She said


London is its own entity and is increasingly different from the rest


of the country. One of the things that is different from London as


opposed to Rotherham is that we have very big parties. I have a few


thousand people in mind, Rotherham has a few hundred. People don't go


and knock on doors and talk to people, in London we have always had


to do that. London is full of young voters, full of ethnically diverse


voters, that is why you are not doing well, you don't appeal to live


there. I think London in general has a very different attitude to mass


uncontrolled immigration. Londoners know that if an immigrant moves in


next door to you, to use Nigel Farage's phrase, the world doesn't


end tomorrow. People in the big cities know that, that is the point.


What Diane Abbott is doing is try to convince London of its moral


superiority so I am delighted... It is a simple fact that immigrants do


not end the world if they move in next door. The economic recovery is


getting more robust by the month, you have a seriously to ship problem


according to many people on your own site. Maybe you're 31% of the vote


is as good as it gets. Those who go round bitching about Ed Miliband


have been doing that before the result. We have all polled very


well. Ed Miliband does not polled very well. He has actually fashioned


some really effective policies. Unemployment is tumbling, inflation


is falling, growth is strengthening, and you have a leader who claims


there is a cost of living crisis and he doesn't have a clue about his own


cost of living. I think that was poor staff work. That he doesn't


know what goes in his own shopping basket? I think his own staff could


have prepared him for that. My point is that the numbers are looking


better, we know that, but people don't feel better off. Then why are


all consumer index polls better? They are feeling confident. They may


be saying that, but people are worried about their future, their


children's future. That is not what you buy today or tomorrow. If you


ask people about their future and their children's future and


prospects, they feel frightened. What will be a good result for you


in the general election? We need to see Nigel Farage elected as an MP


and he mustn't go there on his own. How many people do you think will be


with him? Who knows, but we will have 20 to 30 target seat and if you


put together the clusters we got in last year's County elections with


the one we got this year, you can have a good guess at where they


are. A number of people who voted for you and Thursday say they are


going to back to the three main parties in general election. It


would be foolish of me to say that they are going to stay. Some have


said they have just lent their votes but voters hate being taken for


granted. It is up to us to broaden our agenda, and build on our


strengths, work on our weaknesses. Ed Miliband may have to do a deal


with him. We have been here before, but the UKIP bubble is going to


burst and that may happen around the time of Newark. Are you going to win


Newark now? We are going to give it a really good crack. We love being


the underdog, we don't see it as being the big goal -- the be all and


end all. If you're going to get a big bounce off the elections, not to


go and win your shows people who govern in Parliament, they don't


vote for you. It is Labour who have given up the campaign already so we


need a really big swing in our favour and we will give it a great


crack. The bubble will burst at the Newark by-election, trust me. Have


you been to Newark? Newark will see from local people... Where is it? It


is outside the M25, I can tell you that. My point is that we are set


for victory in 2015. I want to run this clip and get your take on it,


an interview that Nigel Farage did with LBC. What they do is they have


an auditor to make sure they spend their money in accordance with their


rules. You say that is if there is something wrong with it. Hang on,


hang on. This is Patrick O'Flynn, is this a friend in the media or a


member of the political class? Do you regret doing that now? What were


you doing? No, I was trying to get Nigel Farage to a more important


interview with Sunday Times that had painstakingly organised. He was on


there? I have told the LBC people next door that he was running over.


So you interrupted a live interview and you don't regret that? No,


because just between us I wasn't a massive enthusiast for that


interview taking place at all. I know what James O'Brien is like and


I knew it wouldn't be particularly edifying. But your boss wasn't happy


with the intervention. Sometimes the boss gets shirty. We all upset our


boss every now and again, but anyway you could be an MEP by this time


tomorrow and you won't have to do this job any more. You can then just


count your salary and your expenses. I will make the contribution my


party leader asked me to, to restore Britain to being a self-governing


country. Are you going to stay in the job or not? I would not be able


to do the job in the same way but I would maybe have some kind of


overview. We will leave it there. Yesterday Michael Ashcroft, a former


deputy chairman, produced a mammoth opinion poll of more than 26,000


voters in 26 marginal constituencies, crucial seat that


will decide the outcome of the general election next year. In 26


constituencies people were asked which party's candidate they would


support, and Labour took a healthy 12 point lead, implying a swing of


6.5% from Conservatives to Labour from the last general election. That


implies Labour would topple 83 Tory MPs. The poll also shows UKIP in


second place in four seats, and three of them are Labour seats.


Michael Ashcroft says a quarter of those who say they would vote UKIP


supported the Tories at the last election. As many as have switched


from Labour and the Lib Dems combined.


The communities Secretary Eric Pickles joins me now. The Ashcroft


Paul that gives Labour a massive 12 point lead in the crucial marginal


constituencies, you would lose 83 MPs if this was repeated in an


election. It doesn't get worse than that, does it? Yesterday I went


through that Paul in great detail, and what it shows is that in a


number of key seats we are ahead, and somewhere behind, and I think is


Michael rightly shows... You are behind in most of them. This is a


snapshot and we have a year in which the economy is going to be


improving, and we have a year to say to those candidates that are


fighting those key seats, look, just around the corner people are ahead


in the same kind of seat as you and we need to redouble our efforts. The


Tory brand is dying in major parts of the country, you are the walking


dead in Scotland, and now London, huge chunks of London are becoming a


no-go zone for you. That's not true with regard to the northern seats.


Tell me what seats you have? In terms of councillors we are the


largest party in local government. After four years in power... You are


smiling but no political party has ever done that. You haven't got a


single councillor in the great city of Manchester. We have councillors


in Bradford and Leeds, we have more... You haven't got an MP in any


of the big cities? We have more councillors in the north of England


than Labour. A quarter of those who say they would vote UKIP and did


vote UKIP supported the Tories at the last election. Why are so many


of your 2010 voters now so disillusioned? Any election will


bring a degree of churning, and we hope to get as many back as we can,


but we also want to get Liberal Democrats, people who voted for the


Lib Dems and the Labour Party. If we concentrate on one part of the


electorate, then we won't take power and I believe we will because I


believe we represent a wide spectrum of opinion in this country and I


believe that delivering a long-term economic plan, delivering prosperity


into people 's pockets will be felt. On the basis of the local election


results, you would not pick up a single Labour seat in the general


election. You make the point that it is about local elections. Seats that


Labour should have taken from us they didn't, which is important... I


am asking what possible Labour seat you would hope to win after the


results on Thursday. Local elections are local elections. The national


election will have a much bigger turnout, it will be one year from


now, we will be able to demonstrate to the population that the trends we


are seeing already in terms of the success of our long-term economic


plan, they will be feeling that in their pockets. People need to feel


secure about their jobs and feel that their children have a future.


Maybe so many of your people are defecting to UKIP because on issues


that they really care about like mass immigration, you don't keep


your promises. We have reduced immigration and the


amount of pull factors. Let me give you the figures. You have said a


couple of things are not true. You promised to cut net immigration to


under 100,000 by 2015, last year it rose by 50,000, 212,000. You have


broken your promise. We still intend to reduce the amount from non-EU


countries. I want to be clear, I have no problem with people coming


here who want to work and pay their national insurance and tax, to help


fund the health service. What I have objection to our people coming here


to get the additional benefits. You made the promise. It is our


intention to deliver it. People defect to UKIP because mainstream


politicians to -- like yourself do not give straight answers. Can you


be straight, you will not hit your immigration target by the election,


correct? We will announce measures that. People factor. Will you hit


your target? It is a year from now, it is our intention to move towards


the target. Is it your intention, do you say you will hit your target of


under 100,000 net migration by the election? We will do our damnedest.


But you will not make it. I do not know that to be fact. They also vote


UKIP cos they do not trust you and Europe, David Cameron has promised a


referendum, he has vowed to resign if he does not deliver one, but


still your voters vote for UKIP. There were reasons why people voted


for UKIP. A great deal of anger about the political system, about


the Metropolitan elite that they see running programmes like this and the


political programmes. We need to listen to their concerns and address


them. David Cameron has got a better record on delivery. He vetoed a


treaty, he stopped us having to bail out the currency. Why are you likely


to convert a night in the European elections? If you do come third, it


will show they do not trust you on Europe. Next year, we will face a


general election, about having money in people's pockets, about who will


run the country. David Davis wants to China and get the voters to trust


the Tories on the referendum, he was the pledge to be brought forward to


2016. He is a clever guy. But if you are going to try to negotiate a


better deal to give the population a better choice, you cannot do that in


a year, you will require two years. You are an Essex MP, you know about


Essex people, it must be depressing that they are now voting for UKIP. I


do not have any UKIP in my constituency. I felt bad to see


Basildon go down and to see the leader go down. Do you know why that


is? The Tory party does not resonate with the Essex people in the way


that the Margaret Thatcher party did. That is why you did not get a


majority in 2010 and why you will not win in 2015. We need to connect


better. They will want to know about their children's future, will they


have a job, a good education? When it comes to electing a national


government, they do not want to see Ed Miliband in office. They are


voting for Nigel Farage. In terms of what government you get, do you want


to see David Cameron in number ten or Ed Miliband? Essex will want to


see David Cameron. You only got 36% of the vote four years ago, your


party, occurs you did not get the Essex people in the same numbers,


like John Major or Margaret Thatcher did. You need more than 36% in 2015


to win the election. On Thursday, your share was 29%. We were 2%


behind Labour. They did not do very well either. A year before, -- a


year before the election in 1997, they were on 43%. It is highly


deliver the votes. We have a campaign looking at the marginals.


We know exactly where we are not doing as well as we should be. I am


a big fan of Michael Ashcroft. Do you think he does this to be


helpful? He is a great man and a good conservative, I am a good


friend of his. I think that his publication was one of the best


things that happened to the party. You got 36% of the vote last time,


you are down to 29, you need 38 or 39, you would get that if you had a


pact with UKIP. There will be no pact. I am a Democrat. It is like a


market stall, you should put your policies out there and you should


not try to fix the market. Would you stop a local pact? There will be no


pact with UKIP. None. It has just gone 11:35am. We say


goodbye to Hello and welcome to Sunday Politics


in Northern Ireland. It's all over bar the shouting for


the council elections anyway. All 462 seats in the 11 new super


councils have been declared, while the parties and the pundits continue


to pore over their spreadsheets to determine the full implications of


Thursday's poll. There were no major shifts, smaller parties and


independents have become a bigger part of the picture, the Ulster


Unionists made gain, the DUP and SDLP have less to celebrate while


Sinn Fein's vote decreased slightly. We'll hear from the five main


parties shortly and assess what the results might mean for politics here


in the next 12 months with Professor Rick Wilford from Queen's


University. Let's have a look at how the parties


stand at the end of the counting. The overall picture, as far as first


preference votes is concerned, saw Sinn Fein on top with 24% and the


DUP with 23%. The Ulster Unionists secured 16% with the SDLP on 13.5%.


Alliance polled just under 7% of the vote. The changes from the 2011


local government elections show Sinn Fein with a slight drop, the DUP


dipping by 4%, the UUP up by nearly 1% and the SDLP down by 1.5%.


Looking at the overall seats table we see the DUP on top with 130


seats, Sinn Fein with 105, UUP with 88 and the SDLP with 66. Then comes


Alliance with 32 seats and Jim Allister's TUV with 13 seats. Rick


Wilford has been monitoring the results as they've come in over the


weekend and he's with me now. You have been poring over at your


spreadsheet. What do you think the big story is? Sinn Fein are ahead in


the populist vote by the DUP are ahead in the seat count. That has


reproduced the performance at the Assembly election at the Westminster


election and the European election, where Sinn Fein has topped the


polling. As always, with any election, some parties would have


reasons to be cheerful and others will have reasons to be cheered


less. There is no growth and there suggests that there has been no


doubts from the arrest of Gerry Adams. -- balance. He was talking


about the electorate being Hellenized but that has not


happened. It might -- galvanised. There could be wary that this could


have an effect on the outcome of the European election, where eyes


suspect that votes will go to Jim Nicholson to get him over the line.


The party that has taken the biggest hit is the SDLP. This is it weakest


performance during the post-agreement. Since 1998. The


trend for them is downwards. It is Alastair McDonald's first election


since the coming leader of the partly -- party. A tide could be


turning for the UUP, but they will be cheered by this. They will argue


that they have turned a corner. The other parties more or less are


stable. It is no great seismic change here. But of course, one of


the outcomes is the balance of parties in the councils, and no


single party has had an overall majority in any counsel, and that


means there will not be a premium on trying to make difficult decisions


that they are going to have to make over the next 12 months. We have


also seen a lot of smaller parties not doing well. That is very often


the case at local government level. We have seen two things that have


been striking, for agreeing the counselors, and 13 for the TUV. --


for greener counselors. This could cause a bit of a wobble


in the DUP because they will be concerned about whether this is the


beginning of growth. The PUD has done well as well and they have


tripled their vote since the last election. That demonstrates the


outcome of very hard work and voter registration, particularly in West


Belfast. The Green Party has quadrupled. The other party out like


to mention is the Alliance Party. They seemed to weather the storm.


They slipped a bit, not much. I think they are through the worst of


it. We will see. Thank you very much indeed. We'll hear more from you


later. Those were the main themes of the election. Our reporter has been


looking back at how the story developed once counting got underway


on Friday morning. Elections throw up drama by their


very nature. It is always a story of who are the winners and two are the


losers, but this campaign was all the more remarkable for producing a


shock even before the balance were counted. The -- balance. A story was


provided that no-one predicted. Hours before polling day, one party


was torn apart in a row about we designation and allegations of


improper behaviour by the leader, which he denies. Of the parties 47


candidates, on the one was a successful. The transfer the -- only


one. The transfer put me ahead of the DUP and made sure about my seat


and counsel which I am grateful for. The Ulster Unionist vote has gone up


and they have won seats with new candidates. It was also good for the


TUV party. But within the Unionist party, it is clear all is not well.


He never attacked Sinn Fein. He never attacked the SDLP. You are


absolutely pathetic. The only person you have attacked... I am not in bed


with Sinn Fein. A lack of harmony is not confined to unionism. Between


Sinn Fein and the SDLP, the issue of votes transfer is in this election


has caused tension. Why did you not encourage your voters to give


preferences to the SDLP, and other pro-agreement party? You were asked


that several times and you never answered. You never said, yes, that


is what people should do. I do not have any confidence in the SDLP. It


is absolutely outrageous that he would say that. We know anecdotally


on the grounds that Sinn Fein people have been saying, do not vote for


Alex Atwood, just vote for Martina Anderson. In Belfast, there was much


focus on how the Alliance Party would fare after the plaque -- flag


protests. A much talked about voter backlash never materialised. It is


very clear that despite the fact that a meltdown was predicted it did


not come. The people of Belfast know that we have served them properly


and with respect and dignity and they have shown that in the polling


today. The smaller parties will have a voice and a new councils,


including UKIP, the Green Party and the PEP. In Derry where the SDLP had


problems, this man topped the poll in his area. I believe I got my


votes from a broad spectrum of people, particularly those who are


dissatisfied with the political parties and believe that they are


not represented their best interests. This has been about the


most dramatic change in local government for 40 years. Now we know


who controls our 11 new councils. They have new powers in key


decisions to make on planning, services and budgets. The elections


are over, but many battles lie ahead.


With me in the studio are the Ulster Unionist leader, Mike Nesbitt, the


deputy leader of the Alliance Party, Naomi Long, the SDLP leader,


Alasdair McDonnell, Niall Donnghaile from Sinn Fein, and from our Foyle


studio we're joined by the DUP's Gregory Campbell. Thank you all.


Mike Nesbitt, your colleague Danny Kennedy concluded yesterday with a


claim that you had won this election. Nobody denies you've done


better than many people thought you would, but you what you've managed


to do is to stop the rot. We have started the revival. I said that


when I've put myself up for leadership I would offer to leave


the party through to electoral cycle. This is a cycle one. We have


achieved three things. We are stable for the first time in living


memory, we have two build departure lines to build that, but we are


stable. We have taken the off this narrative that we are in terminal


decline. Thirdly, we wanted to growth, and if you look at votes


cast, percentage votes and seats one, we have started to grow, and as


Eisai, that is phase one of cycle one and it will be a long process.


-- and as I've say. You can put it in a certain context if you are


begrudging. You have done better than many people thought you would


do. I am just pointing out the facts. By inputting it into context


and trying to understand what has been achieved. -- I am putting it


into context. Ulster Unionists will be looking at the scoreboard in the


newspapers and they will be motivated and we are on a journey


and it is an upward journey and a positive journey.


Gregory Campbell, Sammy Wilson described the result as


disappointing in places blaming Jim Allister's European candidate


profile and the switch to the right of the UUP. Agree? I think that is a


reasonably accurate assessment. The European election nationally was


dominated by UKIP and the anti-European feeling, which we are


a part of, and of course, Jeb Allister entering the phrase as well


as the smaller parties, and that resulted in what we have described


as a shredding of the Unionist vote. That is bad enough in a public


relations election, but some people were saying, as long as people


transfer, that does not result in shredding, but you never get the


position where 100% of voters going out to vote for a smaller candidate


alternates for themselves, and we saw evidence of that yesterday, they


do not transfer to other parties, so there is a degree of shredding no


matter what people say. We have to look at the analysis over the next


few weeks, look at areas where there might have been too many


candidates. Our vote was excellent and in many areas it was


tremendous. We started at a very high plateau to retain that was very


good. We had a slight rock. I think -- I think that the one thing Mike


doesn't want to do is become known as 0.1% Nesbitt. He is seeing the


funny side of that. You are ahead in terms of seats, with 130, but a lot


of people predicted you should have coming closer to 140, and her party


leader said you could have won a few more seats, but in terms of the


popular vote, you are 6000 behind Shin pain. We are the biggest party


-- Sinn Fein. We are the biggest party and we have more seats than


anyone else. Not the terms of the popular vote. It dispels any notion


of complacency. I have always argued for this. We always need to say, as


soon as the election is over, you know cool down and prepare for the


next one and see where you can put fewer candidates and get a bigger


vote in various areas, and there are numbers of areas where we can learn


lessons. We held up tremendously given that we are at a high plateau.


We always have to remember the relative aspect of the response this


time compared to the previous election and the key is to build on


this for the next election. A bit disappointing as far as the


Sinn Fein was concerned? It could have been a nightmare, but it proved


difficult for us, and people wanted to continue to have a Sinn Fein


voice in a part of the city that has seen some purging negative


leadership in the last couple of years. -- pretty negative. It was a


good result for the party in Belfast. The arrest of Gerry Adams,


some of the people in the party thought that would galvanize the


support for Sinn Fein. We will see how that goes. We look at the party


and we look to see how we do overall, and Sinn Fein has bounced


and are doing very well. It was disappointing that you did


not get the seats that many people thought you would get based on your


performance last time. I think it is a bit harsh to say that it is


disappointing. We are the third largest party in Belfast city


Council. A wipe-out was being predicted, so the fact that we held


our ground in a very testing 18 months for the Alliance Party as


actually good for the party. There are places where, due to boundary


changes, we did not convert those votes into seats, and that is a


change -- shame, even in Belfast where we were ahead in the popular


votes. That is always unfortunate. I am very pleased in terms of the


performance of the party, not just in Belfast, but also in other


places, where we have two counselors elected in two different councils,


which is a real step forward to us and gives us the ability to build.


Think there is opportunity there for Alliance. Not what we would have


liked at the high water mark but we managed not to be wiped out as


everybody protected. I am sure you heard part -- talk about it if you


did not, there was talk of being on notice in East Belfast. There is


talk that you cannot hold onto the seat. Peter Robinson is never


someone who has been accused of grace under pressure. When I was


elected in 2003, he predicted that the Alliance Party was finished and


we would have to scrape the barrel to find a candidate and I think he


took that the -- and I think he was wrong. I proved we did not have to


scrape the bottom of the barrel. He has not done the sums very well. He


did not say the DUP would take the seat. The person he was going to be


my successor was pleading with other unionists including those who have


beaten him up physically and metaphorically, begging them to form


a pact, because they are in a firefight. They could not beat me. I


would simply caution them. They tried that against a predecessor. We


might come onto that issue a bit later. You would have heard and not


like the comments from the professor 's saying this is not an auspicious


start to your leadership of the SDLP and the downward trend continues as


far as her party is concerned. I am very pleased with the outcome of the


election as far as the SDLP is concerned. I set out to renew the


party and rebuild the party and I am very happy and I want to thank the


candidates for the success that we have had. We have 66 council seats.


The pendants were predicting 66 or 67. -- dependence.


We have mustered up the level that I anticipated and we now have 40%


women are preventing us. 26 out of 66. When you look at the graph.


2005... You asked me a question and I am trying to answer it. 40% of our


counselors are new as well. -- candidates. Some of them are


younger. The party is renewing. This has been the greatest change in the


SDLP in its existence and it is working, and the fact that we might


have slipped up and others have made mistakes is not all that relevant in


the overall plan of things, because we were build on what we have got


here and we will go forwards and the people that we have brought in, so


many of them are capable of being Assembly candidates. I am delighted


with them. They may not be in big the -- as big a number as they have


been in the past. The local government in 2005 you had 17%, and


then in the last election you had 50% and that is now 13.5%. There is


a clear downward trend. Mike Nesbitt is delighted about that. Quite


simply, everyone has a downward trend. Sorry, Mike Nesbitt has


picked up 0.9%. Fine. That is not a downward trend. I think the Green


Party is up and the TUV is up. All the other major parties are under


pressure except for the Ulster Unionist party. We have the


potential to build and buy them in the process of rebuilding. It is not


going to happen overnight. When I got elected I said it would take


four or five years. The SDLP is more concerned about what they can


produce and what they can deliver going forward than the numbers. The


biggest party does not always deliver the best results. How does


point the -- how the 0.9% Mike Nesbitt sound? Our target was 78, we


got 88. Gregory should be lucky and thankful we only got 0.9% swing,


because if we have got more than that, we would be wiping the DUP


out. You took a little nibble out around the age. The -- around the


edge. My good colleague who got elected for the last time received a


tweet today saying that he could not annoy -- saying that you could not


annoying us today. That is just step one. What happens now is the mark


let's talk about PACs and the broader Unionist position. The --


what happens now? It has to be on your radar at this stage. The only


thing on the radar at this stage Army is tomorrow. Then we will look


at it. The -- at this stage before me. It is important to get Jim


across the line and then analyse the results. If you look at the results


he got in Belfast, you will realise that Peter Robinson was talking


nonsense yesterday. He got the big results in East Belfast? Jim Rogers


and Sonia Copeland, two Ulster Unionists. If there is going to be a


United candidate it is going to be in Ulster Unionists. Peter Robinson


is not going to win the seat back next year. He has made it clear he


is not going to stand again. The DUP lusted for unionism (and they are


not going to win it back -- got lost it for unionism last time and they


are not going to win it back. You cannot pretend you are not thinking


about issues like PACs in East Belfast and maybe Fermanagh. Of


course you are. You think I can't sit here and deny that? You just


indicated it was in your mind. You made an opening page! I have not.


I'd just stated the facts that there will be a full analysis. Did that


sound like a pitch for an Ulster Unionists agreed candidate to you? I


think 0.9% Nesbitt needs to go back. You are minus .04% if you want to


play that game. Looking at people trying to turn a minus into a plus,


I am not going to do that, but let's look at this, Naomi's totally


disgraceful comments right now, they indicate where the pressure is


coming towards Naomi. If we look at the overall the gears, you can talk


about single candidates topping the poll -- overall figures. Would you


have to do is look at the number of votes for each party in east Belfast


and you do not come out with Alliance Party being top, that is


absolutely crystal clear, and what she said about Gavin Robinson was


disgraceful and incorrect, and I think she should with draw it


unequivocally. I'm sorry, I was at his acceptance speech in City Hall


last night when he made his opening pitch and pleaded with the other


Unionists to side with the DUP. That was very clear. I was in the room


and I've heard that. It was begging. More importantly... Let's hear what


she has to say. I wonder what the people of East Belfast make of it


this morning, because with absolute disregard for their vote. When I was


elected, Peter Robinson said that I had borrowed the seat, ignoring the


popular mandate that I had received from the electorate. Now we have to


Unionist parties bickering over which of them will tell the people


of East doth asked who to elect. I have more confidence in the people


of East Belfast. The -- East Belfast who to elect. I will work the seat


as they have over the last four years over the next year, and I


believe that I will leave it in the hands of the people of East Belfast,


but when it comes to a fair fight, Ivy League Alliance is as likely to


the -- as anyone else the -- I believe Alliance is as likely as


anyone else to take the seat. You are not the latest party in East


Belfast. Through this discussion on. You are a counsellor to one of the


new super councils. How difficult is it going to be on the ground for


these new councils to actually make important decisions on important


issues? You are going to have more responsibilities than you had in the


past and there is quite a bit of fragmentation. There now is greater


representation for the TUV, for UKIP, the Green Party, and your


party leader yesterday, on our coverage, told me he had no


confidence whatsoever in the SDLP, so you can't even get on with your


fellow nationalists. I want to bring it back to the last point. As a


voter in East golf asked, we have a current MP the -- East Belfast, and


we have a current MP and he is being attacked. The gallery is being


played to. I don't think Peter Robinson or Gavin Robinson or anyone


else has done that and they think they should. With the greatest of


respect, they are not here to defend themselves. They have been clear


that have condemned... Totally and unequivocally. Why can't the DUP


stand on the same road with Tammy Long questionnaire it is a pity for


the people across the -- with Naomi Long? It is a pity for the people of


East Belfast. They might have had reasons not to go but they made


clear their condemnation. Maybe you had reasons to go but not the -- but


let's not go down that road. I don't think the First Minister would say


that he didn't... In terms of the councils... Exactly. Let's deal with


the issue of the councils. I think even without the formation of the


super councils, Belfast city Council, despite the ad press in


recent times, have proven what we can deliver. The -- bad press. We


have delivered an investment plan that is making an impact across the


city and we have delivered 200 additional jobs across the city


Council. In many ways, the new counsel will relish the opportunity


and we will have to take some time to find our feet. I think the


parties have proven we can work together and I think it will make


for an interesting counsel. Under that management was not great in


certain places. We have a people before profit counsellor in West


Belfast at the expense of a Sinn Fein counsellor, an independent


Republican who is an arch critic of a Sinn Fein president political and


peace progress. Did you get it wrong? In Belfast, it is no mean


feat to get the counsellor 's election -- elected anyway that we


did. In Gary, you are talking about someone who is opposed to the


political and peace strategy, and along time we have been the -- and


for a long time we have been encouraging them. You have been


encouraging them in not getting elected. Gary has a mandate. You


have been saying that these people represent no-one and don't have a


mandate. I will say this, we have been saying this to the media quite


sick the -- consistently, the next time there is an incident like this,


maybe a microphone could be but into these purposes it is as opposed to


Sinn Fein. How do you think these new councils are going to work? How


much cooperation will there be on the ground between Sinn Fein and the


STL P, whenever Gerry Adams is a -- said what he did yesterday. Your


colleague was incensed by that. I think it is time to move on into the


future. A lot of people in Sinn Fein do not have much confidence in Gerry


Adams, to be quite blunt, but that is a matter for them to sort out. He


fled West Belfast and had not done very much for 20 years. He fled, did


the chicken run on that when he found out that he was being run out


of West Belfast. The point is this, the point is that we have to go


forward from here. These new councils, we have to put forward a


partnership, and there have to be partnerships at all levels, and


those partnerships should not be thought of that they should be


partnerships for the benefit of people. The -- should not be... They


should be for the partnerships for the benefit of people. People are


looking for a bit more social justice, they are looking for


prosperity, and none of those things have fully emerged yet. The councils


have a major problem. They are not as important as Stormont. The


councils have an opportunity to facilitate a lot of development and


a lot of the quality of life at local level, and we all have an


obligation around this table and Gregory as well, we all have an


obligation to deliver for the people there. It is about the product that


we put out, not ourselves. Is that going to happen on the ground? Will


that work? Will these new councils deal with these issues, or are


Unionists going to go in there and make a big issue of flying the Union


flag and talking about locking mechanisms? The constitutional


issues... What we should be focusing on his education, the economy,


health and housing, the things that affect people when they wake up in


the morning and frustrate them when they go to bed at night. We have to


cooperate not just with unionists, but with the SDLP, Sinn Fein,


Alliance, we have to deliver for other people. You are happy with the


constitutional position and that it is settled, and that the flying as


the -- flag is flying a properly, you are OK with that, but if it is


not, you get vexed. Some people get it set about it and some are more


lax 's get upset about it and some are more relaxed. It is important --


upset about it and some are of about your happy with designated days to


stop I have talked about designated plus, a number of days rate is


appropriate when you can... I am not here today to talk about


the flag. And here to deliver. We have taken our candidates and we


have been offering them advice on planning powers, which is the


biggest single new power, economic development, we are going to


continue to work with experts to power up our counselors. I


understand that. Gregory, are you going to take a relaxed attitude to


the flying of flags in these new councils? I do not think I agree


with him and I do not think he should get obsessed with the flag.


In the capital city, the flag should fly every day of the year, and that


all of the other councils, the flag should fly as many days as possible.


This is what happens in the rest of the UK. But let's not concentrate on


flags. Will that not be an issue for the DB best record DUP? -- for the


time two? Are you saying you will be moderation all around? We tend to go


for the maximum output for unionism, and that is what we will do. Let's


get back... Our position has been to utterly condemn violence and we


don't take lessons from Sinn Fein and became more strongly condemn


Sinn Fein for their past record. Naomi, I want to give you the final


words on the flag issue. Are you hopeful that that is going to be


dealt with quickly and easily, or could it be, the book that these new


councils get caught on? I hope it does not, and that is why in the


house process and the local government reform bill in the


Assembly we try to resolve that issue so it would not become a


sticking block in all of the councils. What the flag issue has


done, and I've think both parties need to think about this, it has


breathed new life into the pan two, and that is not good for the Ulster


Unionists. The -- the DUP. Thank you for your contributions.


There's no question that politics, and the election in particular,


dominated the past week, and while some people might look on from the


sidelines with cynics' eyes, for those involved in putting their


names on the ballot papers it can be an emotional time, as this look back


demonstrates very well. A final word from Rick Wilford.


Let's talk briefly about whether or not some prounion approach to pack


making is likely to be on the agenda. I think the door is open at


this stage in I suspect probably in the wake of the results tomorrow at


the European election, I think there will be some... The Westminster


election is going to be a real bear pit. I'd expect they will do the


same in South Belfast. The door is ajar. Every politician you talk to


seems to be for the happy about how things went. There have been no


catastrophes. A small earthquake in Chile, that is the way someone could


sum it up. There are winners and losers. The important thing is a


tone of the new local councils, the super councils. If it takes from


what is going on at the top, as dictating the tone, you get this


trickle down politics, which is very sour, bitter, and I think that is


not going to fix the smooth take-off and transition. If, on the other


hand, there is a determination among the parties to work in a bottom-up


way and trying to engage in politics, then maybe... As my


grandfather used to say, we live in hope and die in despair. What can we


expect from the results tomorrow? Same and three. I've think Alex


Atwood will lose out. Acting table of votes will go to the -- I think


many of its will go to Jim Nicholson.


That's it for now. Join me tomorrow for all the latest on the European


election count from the King's Hall from 2:15pm on BBC Two. Until then,


from everyone in the team, goodbye. Voting has taken place


in the European Parliament election and BBC News NI will bring you the


results live from the count centre. With reaction, expert analysis


and a chance to have your say,


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