28/09/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


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Morning folks and welcome to The Sunday Politics,


live from the Conservative Conference in Birmingham.


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


He joins us live from his constituency, where he has


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


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


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


RAF jets have carried out their first mission over Iraq


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


priced out are choosing And joining me, three of the


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


defect to our inferior rivals. Nick Watt,


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


tweeting throughout the programme. And you too can get involved


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


resignations, Mr Cameron could be speaking to an


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


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


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


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


like a little local difficulty. Here's what


the Prime Minister had to say These things are frustrating and


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


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


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


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


next election. And Mark Reckless joins me now


from Rochester. Welcome to the programme. Why did


you lie to all your Conservative colleagues and mislead those who


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


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


the Conservative led government was dealing with the deficit and cutting


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


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


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


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


deal with the deficit, cut immigration, reform the political


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


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


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


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


to your Conservative constituency chairman. You assured him 48 hours


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the full conversation. But you cannot discuss these things in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the past a disproportionate number of UKIP people were


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


parties. People are so disillusioned with the political class in


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Doncaster yesterday was extraordinary. When I first went to


Conservative conferences 20 years ago, there was some enthusiasm for


politics, I remember Norman Tebbit speaking against Maastricht, people


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reform to the political system, which David Cameron promises but


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


vote UKIP, they will get UKIP. How serious is


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


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


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


days of Labour beginning to feel like the worst


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


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


There are these very strong strands. People like David Davis


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


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


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


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


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


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


media problem of the general election which they cannot win if


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


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


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


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


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


Conservatives would become more internally manageable. And probably


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The Sunday Politics commissioned an exclusive poll of Conservative


Pollsters ComRes spoke to over 1,000 councillors -


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


thought the spending cuts the Government has so far announced have


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


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


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


specially targeted to the ex-Conservative voters who now vote


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


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


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


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


local Conservatives are searching for clues to help their party stem


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


Foreign Secretary and the Leader of the House of Commons.


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


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


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


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


they defected that people should vote


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to see what a future government achieves in a renegotiation before


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


Prime Minister and there is a Conservative government, there will


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


announcing 3 million more apprenticeships in the next


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


further devolution for Scotland conditional on progress towards


English devolution? No, the commitment to Scotland is


unconditional. We will meet the commitments to Scotland but we


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


produce our ideas on the same timetable as the timetable for


Scottish devolution. You will therefore bring forward proposals


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


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


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


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


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


timetable is to legislate for the further devolution after the general


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


perpetuate it? It will become less relevant overtime if more


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


can guarantee that if there is a majority Conservative government,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


When you face a situation with psychobabble -- psychopathic killers


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


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


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


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


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


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


to make sure these people cannot do not trust harm.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


unique capabilities, capabilities which have been specifically asked


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


send their military assets. Our allies are absolutely content with


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


other nations, including Arab nations. General Sir David Richards


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


condemns the spineless lack of leadership and the absence of any


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


States and other countries are engaged in the action against


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


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


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


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


The Labour Party has given no indication they would have supported


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the intelligence agencies. And we take decisions together with the


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


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


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


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


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


indoctrinating and training jihadists in Syria, not Iraq. Does


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in building up the political strength of the more moderate


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


be telling delegates in Birmingham. And with me throughout with


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


and the First Minister in particular,


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


a major reshuffle at Stormont which saw the Health Minister,


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


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


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


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


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


undying support for their leader. Some commentators detected a lack


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


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


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


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


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


could think of was Iris Robinson when everyone pulled behind the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


wriggle room and is not necessarily an activist base that represents


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


Thank you. The Executive is running out


of time to agree a budget that will see the Assembly


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


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


to introducing welfare reform here. The Finance Minister,


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


We needed to have a proper mature discussion


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


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


That bit of the fault is almost entirely with


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


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


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


Why didn't Sinn Fein support a proper discussion of


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


in three people on personal dependence payments will see a cut


as well, every family dependence payments will see a cut


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


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


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


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


not necessarily directly affected by welfare reform will be affected if


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


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


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


analyse that with the figures attributed to departments and make a


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


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


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


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


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


implications of the October monitoring paper. If you were


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


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


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


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


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


actual figures attribute double two each department with the evidence to


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


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


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


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


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


Thursday. Do you think your department and the health department


should be given special treatment and other departments have to take


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


policy which is reducing public spending year on year? Simon


Hamilton made it clear on Thursday that this is happening because


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


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


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


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


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


Deputy First Minister in Northern Ireland. Which represents all the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Adams. That did not happen. Martin McGuinness understand the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


because they are opposed to austerity in the South yet people


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


refer to the leadership. Stormont's politicians will be


watching keenly as the Secretary of State addresses the Conservative


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


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


of the political structures here. Our political reporter


Stephen Walker is When I spoke to him


earlier I began by asking him about the atmosphere among


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


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


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


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


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


Scottish referendum, there is discussion about constitutional


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


after Scotland the political landscape has changed because we are


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


the referendum has changed things, and people are talking about


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Scotland people are cocking about evolution and therefore they think


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


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


from Scotland and Wales that Northern Ireland is being discussed.


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


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


The Prime Minister will attend a Northern Ireland reception tomorrow


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


backlash exposed Bartley tensions. People who have the strategic vision


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


colleagues rushed to support their minister, Simon Hamilton turned on


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


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


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


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


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


government in Northern Ireland continues its work, including


welfare reform. And with golf bringing more jobs to Northern


Ireland, the First Minister and Deputy First Minister went to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to you. Here we are back in Birmingham with


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


he had a really bad performance that his television performance was


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


time learning speeches nonsense of leaders wasting their


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


they have been there almost since the disastrous budget, the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


conference, that one area where Miliband is potentially vulnerable


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


cold logic - witches it makes Ed Miliband becoming prime minister


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


worried are patria, we understand you are


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


I think I've overdone it with the pistachios


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


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


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