28/09/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


28/09/2014

The latest political news, interviews and debate in Northern Ireland.


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Morning folks and welcome to The Sunday Politics,

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live from the Conservative Conference in Birmingham.

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There will be one less Conservative MP here after Mark Reckless defected

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He joins us live from his constituency, where he has

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It has not been the best of starts for the Prime Minister, as he

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arrives in Birmingham for the last Tory conference before the election.

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On top of the Reckless defection, a junior Tory minister has resigned

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RAF jets have carried out their first mission over Iraq

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In London, how the richest 1% are pulling further away, and why those

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priced out are choosing And joining me, three of the

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country's most loyal journalists, who sadly have yet to resign or

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defect to our inferior rivals. Nick Watt,

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Polly Toynbee and Janan Ganesh. And, of course, they'll be

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tweeting throughout the programme. And you too can get involved

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by using the hashtag #BBCSP. At the current rate of Tory

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resignations, Mr Cameron could be speaking to an

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empty hall when he makes his keynote address to the Tory conference here

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in Birmingham tomorrow. It's been a classic car crash of a

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start to the conference, with a UKIP defection, a minister shamed into

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resignation by a sex scandal and Ed Miliband's memory lapses now look

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like a little local difficulty. Here's what

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the Prime Minister had to say These things are frustrating and

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frankly counter-productive and rather senseless. If you want to

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have a European referendum, if you want to get the deficit down, if you

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want to build a stronger Britain that we can be proud of, there is

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only one option, which is to have a Conservative government after the

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next election. And Mark Reckless joins me now

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from Rochester. Welcome to the programme. Why did

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you lie to all your Conservative colleagues and mislead those who

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elected you? Well, I am keeping faith with my constituents and

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keeping my promises to them. You heard the Prime Minister saying that

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the Conservative led government was dealing with the deficit and cutting

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immigration. The reality is, we have increased the national debt by more

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in five years than even Labour managed in 13, and immigration is

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back up to the levels we saw under Labour. I believe in the promises I

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made in 2010, and I want to keep my words to my electorate, not least to

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deal with the deficit, cut immigration, reform the political

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system, to localise powers back to the community, particularly over

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house-building. The government has broken its word on all those things

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are. I want to keep my word to my voters here, and that is why I have

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done what I have done, by moving to UKIP. You have not kept your words

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to your Conservative constituency chairman. You assured him 48 hours

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ago that you would not defect, and you left his voice mail on the

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Conservative Party chairman's office telephone, missing to come to

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Birmingham to campaign for the Tories. This is your voice mail... I

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have just picked up your e-mail... So, Friday night, telling Grant

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Shapps you are coming to Birmingham to campaign for the Tories. The next

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day, you are joining UKIP. Why did you are a? I sounded a bit more

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hesitant on that call than I usually do, and I am not sure if that was

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the full conversation. But you cannot discuss these things in

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advance, you have to make a decision. I have decided the future

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of this country is better served by UKIP then it is by the Conservative

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Party under David Cameron. I made a lot of promises to my constituents,

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and I want to keep those promises. That is why I am moving to UKIP, so

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I can deliver the change this country really needs. In May of this

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year, you said that Nigel Farage, quote, poses the most serious threat

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to a Tory victory at the election. So, you agree, voting UKIP means a

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Labour government? I think voting UKIP means getting UKIP. While in

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the past a disproportionate number of UKIP people were

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ex-Conservatives, now, they are winning a lot more people, from all

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parties. People are so disillusioned with the political class in

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Westminster, that they have not voted often for a generation. Those

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are the people Nigel Farage is inspiring, and frankly, he has also

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inspired me. What he has done in the last 20 years, building his party,

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getting people from all walks of life, sending up for ordinary

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people, I think deserves support. That is a key reason why I am

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moving. UKIP are now the agents of change. You said it poses them a

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serious threat to a Tory victory? My ambition is not a Tory victory. We

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made all of these promises in 2010 as Conservatives, and they have been

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broken. We now hear from David Cameron about English votes for

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English laws, supported by Nick Clegg as well, but that is what we

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said in our manifesto in 2010, and we have done absolutely nothing

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about it. It is not credible now to pretend that you are going to do

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those things. They have omitted to give every Scot ?1600 per year in

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definitely. If you want to stand up for the English taxpayer, and really

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tackle the debt, then UKIP are the party who will do that. But there is

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nothing principled about this, this is just an attempt to save your

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skin. You said UKIP stopped you winning in 2005 - UKIP did not stand

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in 2010, and you won. You are frightened that UKIP would beat you

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in the next election, this is to save your skin to me you think I am

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doing this because I am frightened, you think this is the easy option,

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to abandon my position in Parliament, but my principles on the

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line? On the contrary, you look at MPs who have moved party before,

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almost none of them have given their voters to chance to have a say on

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what they have done. I am asking permission from my voters, and I am

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moving to UKIP because I believe many of the people in my

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constituency have been let down by a Conservative led government, and

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that what UKIP is saying appeals to decent, hard-working people, who

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want to see real change in our country. If they do not agree, then

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they can vote in a by-election and have their say on who they want to

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be their MP. I am being open and honest, giving people a say. I am

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trying to do the right thing by my constituents, and whatever the risk

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is to me personally, I think it is the right thing to do. It is what

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MPs should be in politics to try and do for the people they represent.

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Your defection, coming after Douglas Carswell's, confirms the claim that

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UKIP is largely a depository for disaffected right-wing Tories like

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yourself, isn't it? On the contrary, the number of people I met in

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Doncaster yesterday was extraordinary. When I first went to

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Conservative conferences 20 years ago, there was some enthusiasm for

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politics, I remember Norman Tebbit speaking against Maastricht, people

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fought they could change things, there was real politics. But I do

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not think you will see that at Birmingham this week, it is PR

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people, lobbyists, corporate, few ordinary members of. At Ancaster,

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people had saved up for months just to get the rail ticket to Doncaster.

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People who believe in UKIP, who believe in Nigel Farage, who believe

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in the team, as agents of change, who can actually deal with a

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political class at Westminster which has let able down. We want proper

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reform to the political system, which David Cameron promises but

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does not deliver. Final question - after the next election, the Prime

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Minister is going to be either David Cameron or Ed Miliband, that is the

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choice, one or the other - who would you prefer? Well, what we would

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prefer is to get the most UKIP policies implemented. We want a

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first rate we want to deal with immigration. I asked about who you

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wanted to be Prime Minister. We will look at the circumstances. We need

:10:12.:10:17.

as many UKIP MPs as possible, to restore trust in politics. If people

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vote UKIP, they will get UKIP. How serious is

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vote UKIP, they will get UKIP. How serious. It is the old Tory disease,

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destroyed John Major, and it has been bubbling away again.

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destroyed John Major, and it has beginning to feel like the worst

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days of Labour beginning to feel like the worst

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eighties. It matters, because people care passionately. It is nothing

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like Labour in the early 1980s, it is bad, but it is nothing like that.

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There are these very strong strands. People like David Davis

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writing a large piece in the Daily Mail attacking the leader on the

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first day of the conference. That is the kind of thing that Labour used

:11:03.:11:06.

to do. That is what David Davis does all the time! But this is authentic

:11:07.:11:12.

in the sense that there is a real, genuine dispute about Europe. Some

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of us were not around in the 1980s, but I imagine it is pretty bad.

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There is the short-term problem of the by-election they might lose, the

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media problem of the general election which they cannot win if

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UKIP remain anywhere near their current level of support. But in

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many ways the longer term question is the most pressing, which is, does

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it make sense for the Conservative Party to remain one party, or would

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it not be better for the hard-core of 20-30 intransigent Eurosceptics

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to essentially join UKIP or form their own party? At least the

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Conservatives would become more internally manageable. And probably

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lose the next election. Probably, yes. That is what you are advising

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them? If the reward is to have a coherent party in 15 years' time. It

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is just as well you are a columnist, not a party strategist. I

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was an anorak in the 1980s, who watched the Labour conference on the

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TV. Were you wearing your anorak? Of course I was, that is how sad I am.

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But once again the crisis from UKIP has forced the Prime Minister to

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step in an even more Eurosceptic direction. Said on television what

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he was trying not to say, which is that if he does not get his way in

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the European negotiations, he will recommend to the British people that

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we should go. He began by saying, as I have always said, and when they

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say that, you know they are saying something new. He basically said,

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Britain should not stay if it is not in Britain's interests. I think this

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is big stakes for both the Tories and four UKIP. The Tories are able

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to write off Clacton. Rochester is number 271 on the UKIP friendly

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list. If the Tories win it, big moment for them. If UKIP lose it,

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this strategy of various will be facing a bit of a setback.

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To what extent are Mark Reckless's views shared by Conservative

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The Sunday Politics commissioned an exclusive poll of Conservative

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Pollsters ComRes spoke to over 1,000 councillors -

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that's almost an eighth of their council base - and Eleanor Garnier

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There is not a single party conference at the seaside this year,

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and Sunday Politics could not get through them all without a trip to

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the coast. So here we are on the shore in Sussex. There are plenty of

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Conservative councillors here, and Tory MPs as well, but one challenge

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they all face is UKIP, who have got their sights on coastal towns.

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Places like Worthing East and surer and, with high numbers of

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pensioners, providing rich pickings for UKIP. In West Sussex, the Tories

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run the county council, but UKIP are the official opposition, with ten

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councillors. We cannot lose any more ground to UKIP. If we lose any more

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ground, if you look at the way it has swung from us to them, it is

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getting near to being the middle point, where we might start losing

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seats which we have always regarded as safe seats. So, it has got to be

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stemmed, it cannot go any further. Our exclusive survey looked at the

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policy areas where the Conservatives are vulnerable to UKIP. If an EU

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Referendum Bill is called tomorrow, 45% say they would vote to leave,

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39% would stay in. Asked about immigration...

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It was those issues, Europe and immigration, that Mark Reckless said

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were the head of his decision. I promised to cut immigration while

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treating people fairly and humanely. I cannot keep that promise as a

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Conservative, I can keep it as UKIP. When asked if Conservative

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councillors would like an electoral pact with UKIP in the run-up to the

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general election, one third said they support the idea. 63% are

:15:38.:15:44.

opposed and 7% don't know. Conservative councillors who left

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the party to join UKIP say it wasn't easy. I left because basically the

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Conservatives left me. I saw it as a difficult decision to change, but

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what I was seeing with UKIP was freed. Me being able to speak for my

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residents. Back to our survey and on climate change 49% said it was

:16:12.:16:15.

happening, but that humans are not to blame. Our survey showed that 60%

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think David Cameron was wrong to pursue legalising gay marriage, with

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31% saying it was the right thing to do and 9% not sure. In Worthing

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councillors said gay marriage was divisive. That has really been an

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issue here, it might have damaged the party slightly, and I think in a

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way by setting a rule like that, it is a very religious thing and it is

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almost trying to play God to make that decision. But some of the

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party's toughest decisions have been over the economy. 56% in our survey

:16:58.:17:03.

thought the spending cuts the Government has so far announced have

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not gone far enough. 6% were not sure. They are prepared for

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difficult decisions, but local activists say the party's voice must

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be clearer. I think the message has to be more forceful, it has to be

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specially targeted to the ex-Conservative voters who now vote

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UKIP, especially in this area, the vast majority of UKIP people are

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disillusioned Conservatives. The message has to be loud and strong,

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come back and we are the party to give you what you want. With just

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eight months until the general election, the pressure is on and

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local Conservatives are searching for clues to help their party stem

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the flow of defections. Joining me now is William Hague, the former

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Foreign Secretary and the Leader of the House of Commons.

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Tories like Mark Reckless are defecting to UKIP because they don't

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trust the party leadership to defecting to UKIP because they don't

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deliver on Europe, do they? They believe people like you and David

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Cameron will campaign to stay in and they are right. They said before

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they defected that people should vote

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they defected that people should referendum on Europe, and that is

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right of course. The only way to get a referendum is to do that and this

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is the point, the people should decide. However a future government

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decides it will campaign, it should be the people of the country who

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decide. Can you say to our viewers this morning that is not enough

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powers are repatriated back to Britain, you would want to come

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out, can you say that? Our objective is to get those powers and stay in.

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The answer to the question is I won't be deciding, David Cameron

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won't be deciding, you the voters will be deciding. But you have to

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give us your view. If you don't get enough powers back, would you vote

:19:13.:19:17.

to come out and recommended? Our objective is to get those powers and

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be able to stay in. You just get endless speculation years in

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advance. I will decide at the time how I will vote. Surely that is the

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rational position for everyone to take but I want a referendum to take

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place. I understand that. As you pointed out to Mark Reckless just

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now, unless there is a Conservative government, people won't have that

:19:44.:19:47.

choice. Under a Labour government they will not get a choice at all.

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Our survey of Tory councillors shows that almost 50% would vote to leave

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the EU in a referendum. I think it showed, wasn't it 45, and 39%, but

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again, I'm pretty sure they will decide at the time. They will want

:20:08.:20:13.

to see what a future government achieves in a renegotiation before

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they decide what to vote in a referendum. Unless David Cameron is

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Prime Minister and there is a Conservative government, there will

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not be a renegotiation. That is a point you have made four times. I

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think they have got it. Your Cabinet colleague says we should not be

:20:35.:20:37.

scared of quitting the EU, but you went native in the Foreign Office,

:20:38.:20:42.

didn't you? You used to be a Eurosceptic, you are now the Foreign

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Office line man. No, I don't think so! We brought back the first

:20:49.:20:52.

reduced European budget ever in history. Even Margaret Thatcher...

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Leaving the EU scares you, doesn't it? Not much scares me after 26

:21:00.:21:04.

years in politics but we want to do the best thing for the country.

:21:05.:21:13.

Where we scared when we got us out of liability for Eurozone bailouts?

:21:14.:21:17.

We were not scared of anybody. People said we couldn't achieve

:21:18.:21:20.

things but we negotiated these things. We can do that with a wider

:21:21.:21:28.

negotiation in Europe. Mr Reckless says he cannot keep the Conservative

:21:29.:21:35.

promise to tackle immigration. You have failed to keep your promise to

:21:36.:21:48.

keep net immigration down. You promised to cut it below 100,000,

:21:49.:21:54.

you failed. It is over 200,000 people. We have cut it from 250,000

:21:55.:22:12.

in 2005, the last figures were 240,000. I think we can file that

:22:13.:22:20.

under F four failed. It includes students, we want them in the

:22:21.:22:25.

country. You knew that when you made the promise. But has it come down?

:22:26.:22:29.

Yes, it has. Have we stopped the promise. But has it come down?

:22:30.:22:36.

coming here because of our benefit system? Yes. None of that happened

:22:37.:22:40.

under Labour. If Mark Reckless had his way, it would be more likely we

:22:41.:22:46.

would have a Labour government. They have an open door policy on

:22:47.:22:52.

immigration. You are not just losing MPs to UKIP, you are losing voters.

:22:53.:22:58.

Polling by Michael Ashcroft shows that 20% of people who voted Tory in

:22:59.:23:02.

2010 have abandoned youth and three quarters of them are voting UKIP

:23:03.:23:07.

now. We will see in the general election. Politics is very fluid in

:23:08.:23:14.

this country and we shouldn't deny that in any way but UKIP thought

:23:15.:23:18.

they were going to win the by-election in Newark, we had a

:23:19.:23:22.

thumping Conservative victory, and I think opinion polls are snapshots of

:23:23.:23:27.

opinion now. They are not forecast of the general election and we will

:23:28.:23:31.

be doing everything we can to get our message across. Today we are

:23:32.:23:35.

announcing 3 million more apprenticeships in the next

:23:36.:23:40.

Parliament. I think this is what people will be voting on, rather

:23:41.:23:45.

than who has defected. Your activist base once parked with UKIP. Our

:23:46.:23:53.

survey shows a third of Tory councillors would like a formal pact

:23:54.:23:59.

with UKIP. Why not? It shows two thirds are against it. No, it shows

:24:00.:24:09.

one third want it. I read the figures, it showed 67% don't want

:24:10.:24:15.

it. We are not going to make a pact with other parties, and they don't

:24:16.:24:19.

work in the British electoral system even if they were desirable. You are

:24:20.:24:26.

sharing the Cabinet committee on English votes for English laws. Is

:24:27.:24:31.

further devolution for Scotland conditional on progress towards

:24:32.:24:36.

English devolution? No, the commitment to Scotland is

:24:37.:24:39.

unconditional. We will meet the commitments to Scotland but we

:24:40.:24:43.

believe, we the Conservatives believe, that in tandem with that we

:24:44.:24:47.

have to resolve these questions about fairness to the rest of the UK

:24:48.:24:53.

as well. That will depend on other parties or the general election

:24:54.:24:58.

result. Are you committed to the Gordon Brown timetable? Yes,

:24:59.:25:03.

absolutely. So you are committed to producing draft legislation by Burns

:25:04.:25:08.

night, that is at the end of January. Will you produce proposals

:25:09.:25:13.

for English votes on English laws by then? We will, but whether they are

:25:14.:25:18.

agreed across the parties will depend on the other parties. There

:25:19.:25:25.

was no sign that they were agreeable at the Labour conference. We will

:25:26.:25:32.

produce our ideas on the same timetable as the timetable for

:25:33.:25:36.

Scottish devolution. You will therefore bring forward proposals

:25:37.:25:41.

for English votes for English laws by the end of January? Yes. And will

:25:42.:25:46.

you attempt to get them on the statute book before the election?

:25:47.:25:51.

The commitment in Scotland is to legislate after the election. You

:25:52.:25:57.

will publish a bill beforehand? We will publish proposals beforehand. I

:25:58.:26:01.

don't exclude doing something before the election, but the Scottish

:26:02.:26:06.

timetable is to legislate for the further devolution after the general

:26:07.:26:10.

election, whoever wins the election. Have you given thought as to what

:26:11.:26:16.

English votes for English laws would mean? I have thought a lot of it

:26:17.:26:22.

over 15 years. I am not going to prejudge what the outcome will be,

:26:23.:26:27.

but it does mean in essence that when decisions are taken, decisions

:26:28.:26:33.

that only affect England or only England and Wales, then only the MPs

:26:34.:26:38.

from England and Wales should be making those decisions. You can

:26:39.:26:41.

achieve that in many different ways. Is that it for English

:26:42.:26:46.

devolution, is that what it amounts to? That is devolution to England if

:26:47.:26:52.

you like, but within England there is a lot of other devolution going

:26:53.:26:56.

on and we might well want to extend that further. We have given more

:26:57.:27:01.

freedom to local authorities, there is a lot of scope to do more of

:27:02.:27:06.

that, but that in itself is not the answer to the problem of what

:27:07.:27:15.

happens at Westminster. You haven't just given Scotland more devolution

:27:16.:27:20.

or planned to do it, you have also enshrined the Barnett formula and

:27:21.:27:25.

that seems to be in perpetuity. It is widely regarded as being unfair

:27:26.:27:29.

to Wales and many of the poorer English regions. Why do you

:27:30.:27:35.

perpetuate it? It will become less relevant overtime if more

:27:36.:27:41.

tax-raising powers... It goes all the way back to the 1970s, we

:27:42.:27:43.

tax-raising powers... It goes all commitment on that, we will keep our

:27:44.:27:47.

commitments to Scotland as commitment on that, we will keep our

:27:48.:27:52.

but as more tax-raising powers devolved, the Barnett formula is

:27:53.:27:59.

less significant. If you transfer ?5 billion of tax-raising powers to

:28:00.:28:04.

Scotland, 5 billion comes off the Barnett formula? It will be a lot

:28:05.:28:09.

more complicated than that, but yes, as their own decisions about

:28:10.:28:14.

taxation are made, the grand from Westminster will go down. And you

:28:15.:28:19.

can guarantee that if there is a majority Conservative government,

:28:20.:28:24.

there will be English votes for English laws after the election?

:28:25.:28:28.

Yes, I stress again that there are different ways of doing it but if

:28:29.:28:32.

there is no cross-party agreement on that, the Conservatives will produce

:28:33.:28:35.

our proposals and campaign for them in the general election. Don't go

:28:36.:28:41.

away because I want to move on to some other matters.

:28:42.:28:47.

Now to the fight against so-called Islamic State terrorists.

:28:48.:28:49.

Yesterday, RAF Tornado jets carried out their first flights over Iraq

:28:50.:28:52.

since MPs gave their approval for air-strikes against the militants.

:28:53.:28:54.

When you face a situation with psychobabble -- psychopathic killers

:28:55.:29:03.

who have already brutally beheaded one of our own citizens, who have

:29:04.:29:07.

already launched and tried to execute plots in our own country to

:29:08.:29:12.

maim innocent people, we have a choice - we can either stand back

:29:13.:29:17.

from this and say it is too difficult, let's let someone else

:29:18.:29:22.

try to keep our country safe, or we take the correct decision to have a

:29:23.:29:25.

full, comprehensive strategy but let's be prepared to play our role

:29:26.:29:30.

to make sure these people cannot do not trust harm.

:29:31.:29:34.

And William Hague is still with me - until July he was, of course,

:29:35.:29:37.

Why have only six Tornado jets being mobilised? Do not assume that is all

:29:38.:29:50.

that will be taking part in this operation. That is all that has been

:29:51.:29:53.

announced and I do not think we should speculate. Even the Danes are

:29:54.:30:01.

sending more fighter jets. There is no restriction in the House of

:30:02.:30:03.

Commons resolution passed on Friday on what we can do. So why so

:30:04.:30:09.

little? Do not underestimate what our Tornados can do. They have some

:30:10.:30:15.

unique capabilities, capabilities which have been specifically asked

:30:16.:30:19.

for by our allies. When you are on the wrong end of six Tornados, it

:30:20.:30:22.

will not feel like a small effort. But there will be other things which

:30:23.:30:28.

can add to that effort. We are joining in a month after the

:30:29.:30:31.

operation started, we are late, we are behind America, France,

:30:32.:30:37.

Australia, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, one hand tied behind our

:30:38.:30:40.

backs cause of the rule about not attacking Syria - why is the British

:30:41.:30:46.

government leading from behind? First of all, we are a democratic

:30:47.:30:50.

country, and you know all about Parliamentary approval. You could

:30:51.:30:55.

have recalled parliament. We have done that, with a political

:30:56.:30:59.

consensus. Other European countries also took the decision on Friday to

:31:00.:31:04.

send their military assets. Our allies are absolutely content with

:31:05.:31:07.

that, and Britain will play an important role, along with many

:31:08.:31:10.

other nations, including Arab nations. General Sir David Richards

:31:11.:31:18.

Sheriff, who just steps down as the Nato Deputy Supreme Commander, he

:31:19.:31:24.

condemns the spineless lack of leadership and the absence of any

:31:25.:31:25.

credible strategy. It is embarrassing,isn't it? Of course,

:31:26.:31:36.

they turn into armchair generals. We are playing an important role, we

:31:37.:31:40.

are a democratic country. Your viewers will remember, we had a vote

:31:41.:31:45.

last year on military action in Syria and we were defeated in the

:31:46.:31:48.

House of Commons, a bad moment for our foreign policy. We have taken

:31:49.:31:52.

care to bring this forward when we can win a vote in the House of

:31:53.:31:56.

Commons, and that is how we will proceed. The air Chief Marshal until

:31:57.:32:04.

recently in charge of the RAF, he says, it makes no sense to bomb Iraq

:32:05.:32:09.

but not Syria. He calls the decision ludicrous. Of course, it DOES make

:32:10.:32:16.

sense to bomb Iraq, because the Iraqi government has asked for our

:32:17.:32:24.

assistance. This came up a lot in the debate on Friday, and the Prime

:32:25.:32:27.

Minister explained, similar to what I have just been saying, that there

:32:28.:32:33.

is not a political consensus about Syria in the House of Commons. When

:32:34.:32:37.

we did it last year, we were defeated, and it was described by

:32:38.:32:41.

all commentators as a huge blow to the government and to our foreign

:32:42.:32:47.

policy. So, we will bring forward proposals when there is a majority

:32:48.:32:50.

in this country to do so in the House of Commons. Professor Michael

:32:51.:32:56.

Clarke, one of the world top experts on military strategy and history, he

:32:57.:33:02.

says there are very few important IS targets in northern Iraq, that they

:33:03.:33:07.

are all in Syria, and we are limiting ourselves to the periphery

:33:08.:33:11.

of the campaign. First of all, just because you are not doing everything

:33:12.:33:14.

does not mean you should not do something. Secondly, the United

:33:15.:33:18.

States and other countries are engaged in the action against

:33:19.:33:22.

targets in Syria. This is a coalition effort, with people doing

:33:23.:33:28.

different things. Thirdly, if we were to put their proposal to the

:33:29.:33:32.

House of Commons tomorrow, and it was defeated, we would not have

:33:33.:33:36.

achieved a great deal. You do not know it would have been defeated.

:33:37.:33:40.

The Labour Party has given no indication they would have supported

:33:41.:33:45.

that. So, you are hostage to the Labour Party? We have to win a

:33:46.:33:49.

democratic vote in the House of Commons, and the Labour Party is a

:33:50.:33:52.

very large part of the House of Commons. You are asking us to pursue

:33:53.:33:58.

a policy which at the moment could be defeated in Parliament. Is it not

:33:59.:34:03.

embarrassing to be on the wrong side of so many of these military

:34:04.:34:08.

experts? Why should we trust the judgment of here today, gone

:34:09.:34:13.

tomorrow, politicians? We have the military experts with us now. We

:34:14.:34:19.

have a national security council, we do not have sofa government, unlike

:34:20.:34:23.

the last government. The national security council is chaired by the

:34:24.:34:27.

Prime Minister. Alongside the Chief of Defence Staff and the heads of

:34:28.:34:34.

the intelligence agencies. And we take decisions together with the

:34:35.:34:39.

people who have the information now. So, you will know what British

:34:40.:34:44.

and American intelligence says about Syria. The Prime Minister has said

:34:45.:34:49.

there is a danger that the British-born jihadists will come

:34:50.:34:53.

back and attack us. But the intelligence reports which you will

:34:54.:34:56.

have seen are clear - Al-Qaeda and its associates are selecting,

:34:57.:35:01.

indoctrinating and training jihadists in Syria, not Iraq. Does

:35:02.:35:07.

that not make the Syrian exclusion even more ludicrous? I cannot

:35:08.:35:15.

comment on intelligence. Is the situation in Syria I direct threat

:35:16.:35:19.

to this country? Yes, it is. Have we excluded action? No, we haven't.

:35:20.:35:25.

Could you come back to the House? The Prime Minister said, it was in

:35:26.:35:30.

the motion put to the House of Commons, that if we want to take

:35:31.:35:33.

action in Syria, we will come back to the House of Commons. But we have

:35:34.:35:38.

not taken any decision about that and we would not do so if we thought

:35:39.:35:44.

we were going to be defeated again. The government supports US strikes

:35:45.:35:47.

on Syria, show you must relieve they are legal. Either way the legal

:35:48.:35:54.

basis differs from one country to another, according to their reading

:35:55.:35:58.

of international law. But you have supported it. We do believe that

:35:59.:36:03.

they and Arab countries are taking action legally and we support their

:36:04.:36:08.

action. But I understand your legitimate questions. But it comes

:36:09.:36:15.

back to your basic question, why in Iraq and not Syria. Nonetheless, it

:36:16.:36:21.

is important to take action in Iraq. We are also engaged in Syria

:36:22.:36:26.

in building up the political strength of the more moderate

:36:27.:36:32.

opposition and in trying to bring about a peace agreement, and we do

:36:33.:36:35.

not exclude action in Syria in the future. If we propose doing

:36:36.:36:43.

something, then we ask for the specific legal advice. Why would you

:36:44.:36:47.

not ask for the legal advice anyway? Because you have to be sure

:36:48.:36:52.

of the legal advice at the time, and also we do not comment on the advice

:36:53.:36:56.

given to us by the Law officers. Mr Blair ended up publishing his. That

:36:57.:37:02.

was because there was a huge legal dispute. So you have not had legal

:37:03.:37:06.

advice yet that Britain attacking Syria would be legal? The legal

:37:07.:37:11.

situation is unlikely to be the barrier in this case, let me put it

:37:12.:37:14.

that way. Within international law, you can act in the event of extreme

:37:15.:37:24.

humanitarian distress and elective self-defence, so one can imagine

:37:25.:37:27.

strong legal justification, but of course, we will take the legal

:37:28.:37:29.

advice at the time. watching The Sunday Politics. We say

:37:30.:37:31.

goodbye to viewers in Scotland, who Scotland. Coming up here in 20

:37:32.:37:36.

minutes, The Week Ahead. Hello, and welcome to Sunday

:37:37.:37:46.

Politics in Northern Ireland. Why won't the Executive discuss

:37:47.:37:49.

the problem of looming budget cuts? We ask the party's

:37:50.:37:55.

Education Minister, John O'Dowd, Theresa Villiers takes centre

:37:56.:37:57.

stage at the Conservative party We'll get a flavour of what she'll

:37:58.:38:01.

be telling delegates in Birmingham. And with me throughout with

:38:02.:38:07.

their thoughts - journalists It's been quite a week for the DUP,

:38:08.:38:09.

and the First Minister in particular,

:38:10.:38:21.

who had to head off what looked like It all started with

:38:22.:38:23.

a major reshuffle at Stormont which saw the Health Minister,

:38:24.:38:27.

Edwin Poots, replaced by Jim Wells. Mr Poots then sparked speculation

:38:28.:38:31.

about Peter Robinson's future He, in turn, was quickly slapped

:38:32.:38:34.

down by Mr Robinson, who branded Then, in a bizarre

:38:35.:38:38.

but very modern show of support, a torrent of Twitter messages followed

:38:39.:38:43.

online as MP and MLA alike followed each other to demonstrate their

:38:44.:38:48.

undying support for their leader. Some commentators detected a lack

:38:49.:38:52.

of enthusiasm in messages from Mr Poots and Paul Givan, who's to lose

:38:53.:38:57.

his job on the Justice Committee. Let's hear from my guests

:38:58.:39:02.

of the day, journalists Liam Clarke Thank you for joining us. Liam, do

:39:03.:39:16.

you remember anything like this as far as the DUP is concerned? No,

:39:17.:39:21.

they are usually on message through a crisis. The nearest thing you

:39:22.:39:27.

could think of was Iris Robinson when everyone pulled behind the

:39:28.:39:32.

leader. There is a lot of disarray in the ranks now. Whether Peter

:39:33.:39:38.

Robinson has reasserted his authority, we will know shortly, he

:39:39.:39:41.

has shown he is a leader and is prepared to punish his enemies or

:39:42.:39:47.

people who criticise him, he cast Edwin Poots into outer darkness, and

:39:48.:39:52.

Paul Givan, who was seen as a rising star in the party is also

:39:53.:39:58.

diminished, so we will see if that sticks. Dearbhail McDonald,

:39:59.:40:02.

observing things from a distance from Dublin, did you get a sense the

:40:03.:40:07.

rebellion had been put down or could it rumble on? I was watching it

:40:08.:40:15.

mostly on Twitter because Enda Kenny was also having a difficult week

:40:16.:40:19.

with internal strife. I was watching an online with a mix of or,

:40:20.:40:25.

amusement and hover, looking at the North Korean style support on

:40:26.:40:27.

Twitter for the dear leader was amusing but I think it Robinson may

:40:28.:40:34.

have dampened at but there may be huge problems for the DUP. They are

:40:35.:40:39.

normally on message but seem to be in disarray for this week. It

:40:40.:40:44.

highlights the two factions that seem to make up the DUP, the

:40:45.:40:50.

Robinson wing, which seems to have the upper hand now, then the older

:40:51.:40:56.

Paisley when, people like Paul Givan, Edwin Poots, Ian Paisley

:40:57.:41:03.

Junior, what role is there for them in the party in future? That is

:41:04.:41:11.

difficult to say. My own impression is that Peter Robinson is has

:41:12.:41:14.

dampened it for the time being but I think Edwin Poots may be proved

:41:15.:41:19.

right and he will not be leader for the next general election. There is

:41:20.:41:23.

speculation about when he may go that you think it will last for a

:41:24.:41:29.

period of months but not for years. A new leader comes in, he will have

:41:30.:41:34.

to try to appease those internal factions. You have to remember about

:41:35.:41:40.

the DUP that their activist based is very Orange Order, the largest

:41:41.:41:45.

religious do nomination is Free Presbyterian, this came out in a

:41:46.:41:51.

University of Liverpool survey, and that doesn't give a leader much

:41:52.:41:56.

wriggle room and is not necessarily an activist base that represents

:41:57.:42:03.

voters, so there is a tension there. We will hear more from both of you.

:42:04.:42:04.

Thank you. The Executive is running out

:42:05.:42:06.

of time to agree a budget that will see the Assembly

:42:07.:42:08.

through to the election in 2016. Sinn Fein has been blamed for

:42:09.:42:11.

delaying discussions on the matter and has re-emphasised its opposition

:42:12.:42:14.

to introducing welfare reform here. The Finance Minister,

:42:15.:42:16.

Simon Hamilton, told me on The View on Thursday that he'd tried,

:42:17.:42:19.

and failed, to raise the matter I think that was welcomed by other

:42:20.:42:34.

Executive members, some said while they didn't agree with everything in

:42:35.:42:40.

the paper, they respected the need to have a proper adult conversation

:42:41.:42:45.

about a sensitive issue. What was contained was what I outlined to the

:42:46.:42:50.

Deputy First Minister and fortnight ago, contained in a briefing given

:42:51.:42:54.

by officials in my department to the Executive last Thursday, so this is

:42:55.:43:00.

information everyone in Sinn Fein have had from a fortnight ago.

:43:01.:43:03.

We needed to have a proper mature discussion

:43:04.:43:05.

It was clear the general area where things had to be dealt with,

:43:06.:43:11.

but we simply couldn't get agreement round the table to have that

:43:12.:43:14.

That bit of the fault is almost entirely with

:43:15.:43:17.

Sinn Fein, because other parties were prepared to discuss it.

:43:18.:43:23.

The Alliance leader, David Ford, and the DUP's Simon Hamilton.

:43:24.:43:25.

Joining me now is Sinn Fein's Education Minister, John O'Dowd.

:43:26.:43:28.

Why didn't Sinn Fein support a proper discussion of

:43:29.:43:31.

Simon Hamilton's paper at last Thursday's Executive meeting?

:43:32.:43:37.

We had a paper delivered to us at 3pm on Wednesday with ?200 million

:43:38.:43:47.

of cuts to public services. For a debate and decision at 3pm on

:43:48.:43:51.

Thursday. That is unacceptable. It would be irresponsible for any

:43:52.:43:57.

politician to make decisions based on a 24 hour period on a paper that

:43:58.:44:03.

if it merits discussion should be issued a week beforehand. Simon

:44:04.:44:08.

Hamilton said not a single member of Sinn Fein didn't know about that six

:44:09.:44:14.

weeks ago -- two weeks ago. He personally briefed them. It is one

:44:15.:44:21.

thing being briefed on cuts to services but when you receive a

:44:22.:44:25.

formal document to decide on, you need time to discuss it. When I

:44:26.:44:30.

received that I was surprised to find there was a bid for ?10 million

:44:31.:44:38.

from my department. I haven't made a bid for my own department, I may

:44:39.:44:45.

not. But the point is discuss it, the other parties or up for

:44:46.:44:49.

discussing it except for Sinn Fein. There was a discussion at the

:44:50.:44:54.

Executive but what was looked for was a decision and we refuse to make

:44:55.:45:00.

a decision based on 24 hours to analyse it. It wasn't a formal

:45:01.:45:04.

discussion, it wasn't formally tabled. When I receive a document

:45:05.:45:11.

with a bid from my department which I have not made, my first question

:45:12.:45:16.

is, if this bid has been made on behalf of my department, how valued

:45:17.:45:22.

are the sons attributed to other departments, so all the figures

:45:23.:45:27.

deserve to be drilled down further. -- the songs attributed. So discuss

:45:28.:45:35.

it further. A fortnight ago I DUP Health Minister said he would need

:45:36.:45:40.

?100 million board the health service would collapse, so in the

:45:41.:45:44.

space of a fortnight it changed by ?87 million. That proves you

:45:45.:45:51.

shouldn't rush into these decisions. Your critics say you are sticking

:45:52.:45:54.

your head in the sand and hoping it will go away. We have made a call

:45:55.:46:00.

for the welfare bill to be brought onto the floor of the Assembly, to

:46:01.:46:05.

be debated for MLAs to have their say on it, for citizens to have

:46:06.:46:12.

their say. The first duty of the new DST Minister will be to bring the

:46:13.:46:16.

welfare bill onto the floor of the Assembly. -- DST. You also need to

:46:17.:46:23.

agree a budget for 2016 soon or Assembly. -- DST. You also need to

:46:24.:46:27.

will be in default with the Treasury and unable to provide this letter of

:46:28.:46:35.

comfort. Simon Hamilton is looking at ?200 million of cuts in the next

:46:36.:46:38.

financial year. How would you address that issue? The first people

:46:39.:46:44.

we should give comfort to is the people we represent. Some parties

:46:45.:46:49.

seem more concerned about the needs of civil servants in the Treasury

:46:50.:46:54.

than the citizens we serve. But they will all be affected by the cuts.

:46:55.:46:59.

That is our first concern, the people who elect us. 66,000 people

:47:00.:47:06.

who are currently on benefits, cannot work because of illness, will

:47:07.:47:11.

see a cut to their welfare payments if welfare cuts are introduced. One

:47:12.:47:16.

in three people on personal dependence payments will see a cut

:47:17.:47:18.

as well, every family dependence payments will see a cut

:47:19.:47:23.

now who are on family tax credits will face a cut as a result of

:47:24.:47:29.

welfare cuts. Lots of people will be affected if you don't deal with the

:47:30.:47:34.

issue. The library service is now letting people go. A scheme has been

:47:35.:47:40.

put in place to allow civil servants to take redundancy. Lots of people

:47:41.:47:47.

not necessarily directly affected by welfare reform will be affected if

:47:48.:47:50.

you don't discuss the issue and resolve it. We have not said we will

:47:51.:47:55.

not discuss it that we will not discuss it in a 24-hour framework

:47:56.:48:01.

and with a document which is flawed. It deserves to be analysed, we will

:48:02.:48:08.

analyse that with the figures attributed to departments and make a

:48:09.:48:13.

decision based on that. What about the people who work for departments

:48:14.:48:17.

or are in receipt of funding from other government departments, who if

:48:18.:48:21.

you're budget in education and health budget are protected would be

:48:22.:48:27.

looking at an eye watering figure of 14% of cuts in the next financial

:48:28.:48:34.

year? That is my argument, that we need time to consider all the

:48:35.:48:38.

implications of the October monitoring paper. If you were

:48:39.:48:44.

serious about discussing it, you would have talked about it on

:48:45.:48:48.

Thursday. David Ford said this is a major problem, we have a hole in our

:48:49.:48:53.

budget, let's clear our dairies and deal with it on Friday. Other

:48:54.:48:59.

parties agreed. Other parties didn't agree, they were looking the

:49:00.:49:04.

decision. We will reach a decision upon it but it has to be based on

:49:05.:49:08.

actual figures attribute double two each department with the evidence to

:49:09.:49:15.

back it up. When will Sinn Fein you ready to discuss this serious

:49:16.:49:21.

issue? We will discuss it throughout the week and when we are ready to

:49:22.:49:26.

make a decision we will. And having received that briefing from Simon

:49:27.:49:31.

Hamilton two weeks ago, you felt out into it on Thursday? The document

:49:32.:49:37.

for decision arrived at 3pm on Wednesday for a decision on

:49:38.:49:44.

Thursday. Do you think your department and the health department

:49:45.:49:46.

should be given special treatment and other departments have to take

:49:47.:49:54.

big cuts? I don't receive any special treatment. The services I

:49:55.:50:00.

deliver in terms of education I think should be protected. More

:50:01.:50:04.

important than other arms of government? Let's see the

:50:05.:50:10.

implications of a bad education system. If we cut services in

:50:11.:50:17.

education we will see greater under attainment, young people ending up

:50:18.:50:21.

in the justice system, unemployed and more pressure on the health

:50:22.:50:27.

service, so let's continue to invest in education and build a better

:50:28.:50:32.

society. I imagine Danny Kennedy would say we need to protect roads,

:50:33.:50:35.

we need to attract investment, Arlene Foster would say we need to

:50:36.:50:42.

promote tourism. Let's look at the reasons why the cuts are taking

:50:43.:50:48.

place. We focus on welfare cuts but most cuts are being affected because

:50:49.:50:54.

our block grant diminishes. Bath block grant is now ?10 million and

:50:55.:51:02.

it is forecast by 2020 the average spell and in population will fall,

:51:03.:51:07.

so how can the Executive continued to function if we have an economic

:51:08.:51:12.

policy which is reducing public spending year on year? Simon

:51:13.:51:17.

Hamilton made it clear on Thursday that this is happening because

:51:18.:51:21.

Martin McGuinness is not a free agent and cannot deal with these

:51:22.:51:27.

issues. He would like to resolve welfare reform but his strings are

:51:28.:51:30.

being pulled by Gerry Adams and others. Is that true? You mean Gerry

:51:31.:51:35.

Adams being the leader of the party? I am surprised that comes as

:51:36.:51:41.

news. Gerry Adams is the leader of Sinn Fein. Martin McGuinness is the

:51:42.:51:47.

Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland. Which represents all the

:51:48.:51:56.

people in Ireland. Martin McGuinness is Deputy First Minister and carries

:51:57.:51:59.

out that function well at the leader is Gerry Adams. So Simon Hamilton is

:52:00.:52:06.

right? That is what you've said. That is not my terminology. You said

:52:07.:52:12.

Gerry Adams tells Martin McGuinness what to do. We have a collective

:52:13.:52:20.

leadership. Gerry Adams is the ultimate leader, where is the

:52:21.:52:25.

surprise? So that ties in with what you are saying, Martin McGuinness

:52:26.:52:30.

may have wanted to do a deal and may have been told he could not by Gerry

:52:31.:52:36.

Adams. That did not happen. Martin McGuinness understand the

:52:37.:52:39.

consequences of welfare cuts and their impact on society. I have

:52:40.:52:43.

given you the shocking figures, 66,000 people who will see benefits

:52:44.:52:49.

cut, Martin McGuinness understands that. Thank you, John O'Dowd, let's

:52:50.:52:58.

hear from Liam Clarke and Dearbhail McDonald. What do you make about

:52:59.:53:03.

that wider debate about who is in charge of Sinn Fein? There would be

:53:04.:53:09.

a view downsized but it is all about 2016. All eyes are on the general

:53:10.:53:16.

election and people may feel Gerry Adams's focus is on getting into

:53:17.:53:23.

power in the Republic and the North. The focus from politics up north is

:53:24.:53:28.

that Sinn Fein are angling to be in government and yet people are

:53:29.:53:32.

saying, can they make the tough decisions, can they take these,

:53:33.:53:37.

because they are opposed to austerity in the South yet people

:53:38.:53:41.

are asking if they are fit for government, so that is why it has

:53:42.:53:46.

been closely watched and there is a suspicion that perhaps Sinn Fein and

:53:47.:53:52.

the DUP will allow the Assembly to collapse so they do not have to take

:53:53.:53:56.

responsibility. If you have lived in the Republic in the last six years

:53:57.:54:01.

and dealt with austerity and cuts we have had to endure as a result of

:54:02.:54:06.

the crisis, the collapse in people's income, the huge

:54:07.:54:11.

unemployment, we have done austerity and the question for Sinn Fein is,

:54:12.:54:15.

are they man enough to take these decisions they seem incapable of

:54:16.:54:24.

appear? The, just a sentence. The reason they couldn't make the

:54:25.:54:28.

decision on Thursday seems to be they have two if to the hard-core

:54:29.:54:35.

leadership. Thank you. That's back they had to affair. -- they had to

:54:36.:54:39.

refer to the leadership. Stormont's politicians will be

:54:40.:54:43.

watching keenly as the Secretary of State addresses the Conservative

:54:44.:54:45.

Party conference this afternoon. She's been facing calls from

:54:46.:54:47.

republicans for a border poll, while the DUP has been calling for reform

:54:48.:54:50.

of the political structures here. Our political reporter

:54:51.:54:52.

Stephen Walker is When I spoke to him

:54:53.:54:54.

earlier I began by asking him about the atmosphere among

:54:55.:54:58.

delegates, with one defection and It's not a great start, it is an odd

:54:59.:55:04.

atmosphere. Conservative activists want to be energised and we are only

:55:05.:55:09.

eight months from a general election but when they read the papers today

:55:10.:55:14.

they may be depressed about the defection and resignation, so not

:55:15.:55:17.

the start the Conservatives would have wished for. Stephen, after the

:55:18.:55:24.

Scottish referendum, there is discussion about constitutional

:55:25.:55:28.

change and devolution, will that feature on the agenda? It will,

:55:29.:55:34.

after Scotland the political landscape has changed because we are

:55:35.:55:38.

talking about things like evolution that we didn't talk about before, so

:55:39.:55:44.

the referendum has changed things, and people are talking about

:55:45.:55:48.

England. This is something Nigel Farage raised last week. He said if

:55:49.:55:53.

there is devolution and more powers for England, England would leave the

:55:54.:55:59.

union and it would be in crisis, so when terms of constitutional change,

:56:00.:56:03.

the issue of England will dominate. Today there will be a discussion

:56:04.:56:10.

about the UK and that will incorporate England, Scotland, Wales

:56:11.:56:13.

and Northern Ireland, and Theresa Villiers will make her speech there.

:56:14.:56:19.

Our interest is in Northern Ireland. To what extent will it force its way

:56:20.:56:25.

on the broader agenda? It is on the agenda, it is not high up after

:56:26.:56:32.

Scotland people are cocking about evolution and therefore they think

:56:33.:56:35.

about what is happening in Stormont, so from that point of view it is on

:56:36.:56:41.

the agenda. She will take part in a discussion along with colleagues

:56:42.:56:44.

from Scotland and Wales that Northern Ireland is being discussed.

:56:45.:56:48.

It is not the top priority when you read today's newspapers, you will

:56:49.:56:54.

see the things making headlines, but Northern Ireland will be mentioned.

:56:55.:56:58.

The Prime Minister will attend a Northern Ireland reception tomorrow

:56:59.:57:02.

night and on Tuesday there will be a Northern Ireland debates with a

:57:03.:57:06.

traditional Ulster Fry, so there are Northern Irish events at this

:57:07.:57:11.

conference. The Secretary of State is due to speak this afternoon but

:57:12.:57:17.

we do not know what she will say. She is under pressure from quarters

:57:18.:57:21.

who want to drive political progress here, she could make some big

:57:22.:57:26.

announcement or simply continue with her softly softly approach, we just

:57:27.:57:34.

do not know. She has faced criticism from Sinn Fein, who are asking her

:57:35.:57:41.

to hold a border poll, and from the SDLP and Labour Party, who do not

:57:42.:57:45.

think she is hands-on enough, so people are asking her to get

:57:46.:57:48.

involved and make her mark on this process to try to rate this

:57:49.:57:55.

political logjam. Thank you, Stephen -- to break this logjam.

:57:56.:57:59.

Now, let's pause for a moment and take a look at the political week

:58:00.:58:02.

The DUP leader shuffled his ministers and in the face of some

:58:03.:58:15.

backlash exposed Bartley tensions. People who have the strategic vision

:58:16.:58:18.

of a lemming and we have to deal with those people. As party

:58:19.:58:25.

colleagues rushed to support their minister, Simon Hamilton turned on

:58:26.:58:29.

Sinn Fein. He isn't in charge of his party. Gerry Adams is calling the

:58:30.:58:34.

shots and Martin McGuinness wanted to do a deal but cannot move

:58:35.:58:40.

forward. With the speaker Bill, a temporary successor was put in

:58:41.:58:45.

place. I have been authorised to perform these functions. The Labour

:58:46.:58:50.

leader called for the stalemate at Stormont to be settled. The

:58:51.:58:54.

government in Northern Ireland continues its work, including

:58:55.:59:01.

welfare reform. And with golf bringing more jobs to Northern

:59:02.:59:06.

Ireland, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister went to

:59:07.:59:06.

Scotland for the Ryder Cup. Let's hear a final thought

:59:07.:59:10.

from my studio guests, Let's talk about demand from

:59:11.:59:23.

Republicans for a border poll. Is it a runner? We had an opinion poll on

:59:24.:59:31.

Monday and we were surprised there is majority support for a border

:59:32.:59:36.

poll. I suppose it was the Scottish effect, polling is done around the

:59:37.:59:42.

town at the time of the referendum, maybe there was that support before

:59:43.:59:46.

but no one ever asked for it. Does that surprise you? Scotland has been

:59:47.:59:54.

such a game changer and a lot of people in the North would like

:59:55.:59:58.

clarity. If there was a border poll and people wanted Irish unity, the

:59:59.:00:03.

second aspect is, with the people ended South take on the North? The

:00:04.:00:10.

answer might be no. It might, but the notion of a border poll has to

:00:11.:00:15.

be handled carefully because if you don't have the support of Unionists,

:00:16.:00:20.

it is a very poor kind of unity you would achieve, but it is interesting

:00:21.:00:24.

people want clarity and want to express an opinion. With there have

:00:25.:00:30.

to be a commensurate poll in the Republic? If a border poll voted for

:00:31.:00:38.

Irish unity, you would enter a period of negotiation and then two

:00:39.:00:39.

more polls either My thanks to you both. Andrew, back

:00:40.:00:41.

to you. Here we are back in Birmingham with

:00:42.:01:01.

the Conservatives. The Tories thought all they had to do was come

:01:02.:01:06.

here, have a rally, a jamboree, and off they go to the races, or in

:01:07.:01:13.

their case the general election. Two races later it hasn't quite worked

:01:14.:01:18.

out like that. Let's look at the state of this conference as it gets

:01:19.:01:24.

under way. On our panel we are joined by David Davis. You wrote an

:01:25.:01:29.

article in the Mail on Sunday this morning which was an Exocet at the

:01:30.:01:35.

heart of David Cameron's modernising strategy. It was designed to act as

:01:36.:01:42.

a lever. It was designed to cause trouble. No, we are in the running

:01:43.:01:47.

for the next general election. One of the characteristics of having a

:01:48.:01:51.

five year fixed term Parliaments is that the last year is about

:01:52.:01:56.

campaigning. It is important we beat Miliband, he would be a disastrous

:01:57.:02:02.

Prime Minister. You think the whole modernising strategy was a wrong

:02:03.:02:09.

turn, that is what the article said. Yes. Has that opened the door to

:02:10.:02:25.

UKIP? It has left a lot of people disillusioned with politics. What do

:02:26.:02:35.

you do to get it right? Who was listening to you?

:02:36.:02:53.

Frankly we need to take a more robust series of policies. How many

:02:54.:03:12.

more UKIP defections will there be? I do not think there will be any

:03:13.:03:21.

more. I would be very surprised. I know Nigel Farage has a brilliant

:03:22.:03:25.

sense of timing, but I do not think he has got the resources to do that,

:03:26.:03:30.

namely, another Tory MP. So it could be another Labour one, maybe? I

:03:31.:03:34.

think an awful lot will hinge on what happens in Rochester. Because

:03:35.:03:42.

that is not a slam dunk. Clack and unfortunately looks like it will be

:03:43.:03:46.

a walkover for them. But Rochester is a different scene. And so, there

:03:47.:03:59.

could be a kind of Newark situation. When I campaigned in Newark, two

:04:00.:04:04.

labour families I spoke to said they would vote Tory to keep UKIP out.

:04:05.:04:09.

How bad was the Labour conference last week? One politician said after

:04:10.:04:16.

he had a really bad performance that his television performance was

:04:17.:04:19.

suboptimal. I think that would be a good way of describing Ed

:04:20.:04:24.

Miliband's speech. The problem for Ed Miliband in memorising speeches

:04:25.:04:28.

is that we are not auditioning for a new lines Olivier, we're rehearsing

:04:29.:04:31.

for Prime Minister. He failed the Laurence Olivier test, and therefore

:04:32.:04:36.

failed the Prime Minister test. I think the real problem for him was

:04:37.:04:39.

forgetting to mention the deficit. He spoke from the heart about issues

:04:40.:04:42.

which she really cares about, He spoke from the heart about issues

:04:43.:04:47.

NHS, the rupture between wages and inflation, and forgot the deficit.

:04:48.:04:51.

Those issues are important, but if you are not addressing things like

:04:52.:04:54.

the deficit, then people are really not going to be listening to your

:04:55.:04:59.

messages on the areas that matter. Was it bad? Yes, suboptimal, I am

:05:00.:05:07.

afraid. I hope that this ends the nonsense of leaders wasting their

:05:08.:05:08.

time learning speeches nonsense of leaders wasting their

:05:09.:05:11.

heart. You could learn a Shakespeare play in the time it takes to learn

:05:12.:05:17.

70 minutes of a leader's speech. I think we should just go back to

:05:18.:05:20.

sensible reading what you have written. You can then alter it just

:05:21.:05:25.

beforehand. A lot of things were changing, which is not surprising,

:05:26.:05:29.

but he did not have time to learn it. It is a silly gimmick, it worked

:05:30.:05:33.

once or twice, but that is enough for that. Despite some of the

:05:34.:05:37.

derision of Mr Miliband, the Tories are flat-lining in the sun decks,

:05:38.:05:40.

they have been there almost since the disastrous budget, the

:05:41.:05:47.

omnishambles, of 2012, Labour is still several points ahead, nothing

:05:48.:05:52.

seems to change? And David Cameron is now the leader in trouble. It is

:05:53.:05:56.

almost as if a week is a long time in politics. I thought the Labour

:05:57.:06:04.

and friends was Saab -- sub-suboptimal. It was so parochial.

:06:05.:06:10.

You could've watched the top speeches without knowing that the

:06:11.:06:13.

borders of Ukraine, and Iraq and Syria were in question. I hope,

:06:14.:06:18.

because of Friday's discussion in Parliament, that this conference

:06:19.:06:22.

will raise its sights a bit, and we will have something in Cameron's

:06:23.:06:27.

speech, possibly that of George Osborne as well, which is a bit more

:06:28.:06:30.

global. People hoped UKIP had gone away during the summer, people at

:06:31.:06:35.

this conference, I mean, but it is back with a bang. They are still up

:06:36.:06:43.

at 15% in the polls, the Tories languishing on 32 - what is going to

:06:44.:06:48.

change? UKIP won 3% of the last election, I always thought they

:06:49.:06:56.

would get about 6%. If, by the turn of the year, they are still in

:06:57.:07:00.

double digits, I think at that point you can begin to wake of his

:07:01.:07:05.

party's chances of winning. I have had three people say to me so far,

:07:06.:07:09.

come election day, it will be fine, people will sober up and so on. It

:07:10.:07:13.

will be all right on the night is not a very good strategy, frankly.

:07:14.:07:19.

When they get past 5%, I start to bite into our 3-way marginal seats,

:07:20.:07:25.

with liberals, Labour and Tories, and we have got about 60 of those in

:07:26.:07:28.

the Midlands and the north, so it really is quite serious. And if I

:07:29.:07:33.

may steal one of David's lines, when you were interviewing Mark Reckless

:07:34.:07:39.

this morning, and was not talking about the EU referendum, he was

:07:40.:07:42.

talking about how he felt he had broken his pledges to the electorate

:07:43.:07:46.

because the Conservatives he said had failed on immigration and on the

:07:47.:07:49.

deficit, and those sort of bread-and-butter issues could be

:07:50.:07:53.

really potent on the doorstep, which means the Tories have got to run the

:07:54.:07:57.

kind of campaign they ran in Newark, which is a real centre ground,

:07:58.:08:01.

Reddan but a campaign, in which they would hope to get Liberal Democrat

:08:02.:08:05.

and Labour voters out to vote tactically against UKIP. I think

:08:06.:08:09.

today we have seen Cameron been pushed to the right. He has had to

:08:10.:08:15.

say, yes, I would leave Europe, which he has never said before. It

:08:16.:08:18.

is a huge stepping stone, a big difference. It takes the Tory party

:08:19.:08:24.

somewhere else. May be get them a lot of votes. But it has not so far.

:08:25.:08:30.

But I think it loses a lot of people. The industry organisations,

:08:31.:08:35.

for example. The prospect of going out of Europe, but is quite a fight

:08:36.:08:41.

for them. Is it not the lesson that you can out UKIP UKIP? Well, you do

:08:42.:08:48.

not need to, really. I agree, last week was sub-sub-suboptimal. Hold

:08:49.:09:00.

on, that is enough subs! I would not be crowing too much! But what I was

:09:01.:09:07.

going to say, he left out something incredibly important, the deficit.

:09:08.:09:11.

But how many people outside the M25 are thinking about the deficit? One

:09:12.:09:17.

problem we face with Miliband is, he is good at politics and bad at

:09:18.:09:22.

economics, in a way. He comes up with bonkers policies which people

:09:23.:09:24.

love, price-fixing, things like that. Our problem will be about

:09:25.:09:30.

relevance on the doorstep. I do not think at the end of the day it will

:09:31.:09:34.

be about Europe. But was there not a moment of danger for you at the

:09:35.:09:39.

conference, that one area where Miliband is potentially vulnerable

:09:40.:09:41.

is not having credible team with business. Who turned up at the

:09:42.:09:46.

Labour conference, the head of Airbus, saying, we have got to stay

:09:47.:09:51.

in the European Union? The danger is that Europe allows the Labour Party

:09:52.:09:56.

to gain credibility with business. There is some truth in that. But we

:09:57.:10:02.

are in effectively the home straight, the last six months, and

:10:03.:10:05.

people will be fussing about prices and jobs. Very parochial. They will

:10:06.:10:10.

not be saying, what does the CBI think about this? It is, what is

:10:11.:10:16.

happening to me, in my town, in my factory, in my office. That is where

:10:17.:10:23.

the fight will be. Is it not the truth that if UKIP stays anywhere

:10:24.:10:29.

near around this level of support, it is impossible for the Tories to

:10:30.:10:33.

win an overall majority? I would say, if it is this level of support,

:10:34.:10:38.

it is impossible for the Tories to finish as the biggest party, even in

:10:39.:10:42.

a hung Parliament. The Tories keep trying to win back UKIP voters with

:10:43.:10:47.

cold logic - witches it makes Ed Miliband becoming prime minister

:10:48.:10:51.

more likely. UKIP is basically a vessel phenomenon, coming from the

:10:52.:10:56.

gut, and David Cameron has never found the emotional pitch in his

:10:57.:10:59.

rhetoric to meet that. I wonder whether we will see that moron

:11:00.:11:03.

Wednesday. It is just not him. I hope we do. -- more on Wednesday. I

:11:04.:11:16.

hope you're right that we do actually engage on emotion. So far

:11:17.:11:20.

with UKIP, our policy has been to insult them. It does not work. I

:11:21.:11:24.

know that from my constituency. We have to say to them, there is a

:11:25.:11:29.

wider Tory family, we understand you are patria, we understand you are

:11:30.:11:31.

worried are patria, we understand you are

:11:32.:11:33.

worried about your family, and we do the same. What does it tell us about

:11:34.:11:38.

the state of the Tories, seven months from the election, the

:11:39.:11:41.

economy is going well, they are not that far behind Labour, and yet

:11:42.:11:44.

there is all sorts of leadership speculation? It is extraordinary.

:11:45.:11:49.

They are doing well, they are in with a shout. It depends. UKIP has

:11:50.:11:58.

to be kept below 9% of. -- below 9%. I think David Cameron is one of

:11:59.:12:05.

the few who speaks human, actually talks quite well to people and does

:12:06.:12:10.

not look like a swivel-eyed loons. Whereas a lot of people behind him

:12:11.:12:11.

do. You look at Duncan Whereas a lot of people behind him

:12:12.:12:16.

Eric Pickles, they are all kind of driven, ideological men, with very

:12:17.:12:21.

right-wing policies. And nice people! Don't hold back! He is not

:12:22.:12:29.

the Addams family, he is basically quite human. I think a lot of people

:12:30.:12:34.

do not realise how ideological he is himself and how well he has led his

:12:35.:12:38.

party in the direction they all want to go. You go on about him being

:12:39.:12:42.

this metropolitan moderniser, I do not think that is what he is,

:12:43.:12:47.

really. It may not be visible from the guardian offices in the

:12:48.:12:52.

metropolis! Everybody where you are, Polly, is a metropolitan moderniser.

:12:53.:12:58.

And where you are, too. That is the nature of living in London. The

:12:59.:13:01.

trouble is, when these people get into Westminster, they are part of

:13:02.:13:05.

Westminster, too. If you could only win by being an outsider, the moment

:13:06.:13:10.

you get in, you are done for. All teeing up nicely for Boris Johnson

:13:11.:13:13.

to be the next leader? I do not think so! The point of my Exocet, or

:13:14.:13:23.

lever, this morning, is that I think this is winnable. If we are good

:13:24.:13:27.

Tories for the next six months, we can do this. It is by denying ground

:13:28.:13:32.

to UKIP, not giving in to them, not buckling. Denying ground. Thank you

:13:33.:13:38.

to our panel. They did all right today, but the normal. That is your

:13:39.:13:42.

lot for today. I am back tomorrow. We will have live coverage of George

:13:43.:13:47.

Osborne's speech to the conference. I am back next week in Glasgow for

:13:48.:13:51.

The Sunday Politics at the Labour conference. How could you miss

:13:52.:13:57.

that? Remember, if it is Sunday, it is The Sunday Politics. Bye-bye.

:13:58.:14:24.

I think I've overdone it with the pistachios

:14:25.:14:28.

and somehow, the custard's split, but it's too late!

:14:29.:14:31.

of statutory press regulation in sponge cake may be a bridge too far.

:14:32.:14:42.

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