26/01/2014 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Andrew Neil and Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including an interview with transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 26/01/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



Morning folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.


Ed Balls has gone socialist and fiscal Conservative in one speech.


He promises to balance the biggest bit of the budget. And to bring back


the 50p top tax rate. Political masterstroke, or a return to old


Labour? If you go to work by public


transport, chances are the price of your ticket has just gone up -


again. We'll speak to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. He's


our Sunday Interview. And it's been another wet week


across much of the UK, but what's the outlook according to this man?


This morning.This morning. Held in recent years by party veterans


And coming up here... recent years by party veterans like


And coming up here... Does Stormont need an opposition?


The Ulster Unionist leader has already said no, so why is Lord


Empey proposing the idea at Westminster? Find out in


And with me - as always - the political panel so fresh-faced,


entertaining and downright popular they make Justin Bieber look like a


boring old has-been just desperate to get your attention. Nick Watt,


Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, and they'll be tweeting quicker than a


yellow Lamborghini racing down Miami Beach. Being political nerds, they


have no idea what I'm talking about. Ed Balls sprung a surprise on us all


yesterday. We kinda thought Labour would head for the election with a


return to the 50p top rate of tax. But we didn't think he'd do it now.


He did! The polls say it's popular, Labour activists now have a spring


in their step. The Tories say it's a return to the bad old days of the


'70s, and bosses now think Labour is anti-business. Here's the Shadow


Chancellor speaking earlier this morning. I was part of a Government


which did very many things to open up markets, to make the Bank of


England independent, to work closely with business, but the reality is we


are in very difficult circumstances and because if I'm honest you,


George Osborne's failure in the last few years, those difficult


circumstances will last into the next Parliament. Business people


have said to me they want to get the deficit down, of course they do. But


to cut the top rate... It is foolish and feeds resentment I want to do


the opposite and say look, pro-business, pro investment, pro


market, but pro fairness. Let's get this deficit down in a fairway and


make the reforms to make our economy work for the long term. What are the


political implications of Labour now in favour of a 50%, in practise 352%


top rate of tax? One of the political implications I don't think


exist is that they'll win new voters. I'm not sure many people out


there would think, I would love to vote for Ed Miliband but I'm not


sure if he wants to tax rich people enough. It will con Dale their


existing vote but I don't think it is the kind of, in the 1990s we


talked about triangulation, moving beyond your core vote, I don't think


it is a policy like that. If there has been a policy like that this


year, this month, it has been the Tories' move on minimum wage. I


thought Labour would come back with their own version, a centre-right


policy, and instead they have done this. I think we talk about the 35%


strategy that Labour supposed will have, I think it is a policy in that


direction rather than the thing Tony Blair or Gordon Brown would have


done. Where he was not clear is on how much it would raise. We know the


sum in the grand scheme of things isn't much, the bedroom tax was


about sending a message. What we are going to see is George Osborne and


Ed Balls lock as they try to push the other one into saying things


that are unpopular. The Tories, ?150,000 a year, that's exactly


where Ed Balls want them to be. All three main parties have roughly the


same plan, to run a current budget surplus by the end of the next


Parliament. George Osborne said ?12 billion of welfare cuts, hasn't said


how he is going to do it. Ed Balls is giving an idea that he is going


to restore this 50 persons rate. The contribution of that will be


deminimus. It is not much, but what does it say about your values.


Because it is that package, it is cleverer than people think. Where


the challenge is is the question that Peter Mandelson posed at the


last election, which is can the Labour Party win a general election


if it doesn't have business on its side? That's the big challenge and


that's the question looking difficult for them this morning.


Does it matter if Labour has business on its side. I thought the


most fascinating thing about this announcement is it came from the guy


mindful of business support, Ed Balls. When in opposition and when a


Minister and as a shadow as a result, he's been far more conscious


than Ed Miliband about the need not to alienate the CB Bill. In the


run-up of an election. This is a measure of Ed Miliband's strength in


the Labour Party, that his view of things can prevail so easily over a


guy who for the last 15 years has taken a different view. Eight out of


ten businesses according to the CBI don't want us to leave business.


Business is in a bit of a cleft stick. Ed Miliband would like to see


businesses squealing, and Ed Balls is clearly not so comfortable on


that one. There's a difference on that. Mind you, they were squealing


this morning from Davos. They probably had hangovers as well. The


other thing they would say is this is not like Ed Balls thinks that 50p


is the optimal rate forever, it what go eventually. Isn't that what


politicians said when income tax was introduced? Yeah, in '97 Labour


regarded 40 persons as the rate where it would stay.


It's been a bad week for the Lib Dems. Again. Actually, it's been one


of the worst weeks yet for Nick Clegg and his party in recent


memory, as they've gone from talking confidently about their role in


Government to facing a storm of criticism over claims of


inappropriate sexual behaviour by a Lib Dem peer, Chris Rennard, and a


Lib Dem MP, Mike Hancock. Here's Giles with the story of the week. A


challenge to Nick Clegg's authority as he face as growing row over the


Liberal Democrat... I want everyone to be treated with respect by the


Liberal Democrats. We are expecting him to show moral leadership on our


behalf. A good man has been publicly destroyed by the media with the


apparent support of Nick Clegg. I would like Nick Clegg to show


leadership and say, this has got to stop. When Nick Clegg woke up on


Monday morning he knew he was in trouble, staring down the barrel of


a stand justify with Lord Rennard over allegations that the peer had


inappropriately touched a number of women. Chris Rennard thought he was


cleared. Nick Clegg wanted more. I said if he doesn't apologise, he


should withdraw from the House of Lords. If he does that today, what


do you do then? I hope he doesn't. I think no apology, no whip. 2014 was


starting badly for the Liberal Democrats. Chris Rennard refused to


apologise, saying you can't say sorry for something you haven't


done. The and he was leaning towards legal action. Butch us friends


better defending Pym and publicly. This is a good, decent man, who has


been punished by the party, with the leadership of the party that seems


to be showing scant regard for due process. But his accusers felt very


differently. It is untenable for the Lib Dems to have a credible voice on


qualities and women's issues in the future if Lord Rennard was allowed


to be back on the Lib Dem benches in the House of Lords. Therein lay the


problem that exposed the weaknesses of the Lib Dem leaders. The party's


internal structures have all the simplicity of a circuit diagram for


a supercomputer, exposing the complexity of who runs the Liberal


Democrats? The simple question that arose of that was can the leader of


the Lib Dems remove a Lib Dem peer? The simple answer is no. The Lib Dem


whips in the Lords could do it but if enough Lib Dem peers disagreed,


they could overrule it. Some long-stand ng friends of roar


Rennard think he is either the innocent victim of a media


witch-hunt or at the least due process has been ridden over rough


shot by the leadership. Nobody ever did spot Lord Rennard as he didn't


turn up to the Lords, will citing ill health. But issued a statement


that ruled out an apology. He refused to do so and refused to


comply with the outcome of that report, so there was no alternative


but for the party to suspend his membership today. On Wednesday Nick


Clegg met Lib Dem peers, not for a crunch decision, but to discuss the


extraordinary prospect of legal action against the party by the man


long credited with building its success. The situation was making


the party look like a joke. One Tory MP said to one of my colleagues this


morning, the funny thing about the Liberal Democrats, you managed to


create a whole sex scandal without any sex. And we can laugh at


ourselves but actually it is rather serious. And it got more serious,


when an MP who had resigned the Lib Dem whip last year was expanded from


the party over a report into allegations of serious and unwelcome


sexual behaviour towards a constituent. All of this leaves the


Lib Dems desperately wishing these sagas had been dealt with long ago


and would now go away. Nick Clegg ended the week still party leader.


Lord Rennard, once one of their most powerful players, ended the week,


for now, no longer even in it. Giles on the Lib Dems' disastrous


week. Now, as you doubtless already know, on Tuesday Lib Dem MPs will


vote to choose a new deputy leader. You didn't know that? You do now.


The job of Nick Clegg's number two is to speak with a genuine Lib Dem


voice, untainted by the demands of coalition Government. At this point


in the show we had expected to speak to all three candidates for the


post, held in recent years by party veterans like Vince Cable and Simon


Hughes. We thought it being quite a significant week for the party, they


might have something to say. And here they are. Well that's their


pictures. For various reasons, all three are now unavailable. Malcolm


Bruce, he's reckoned to be the outsider. His office said he had a


"family commitment". Gordon Birtwistle, the Burnley MP, was


booked to appear but then told us, "I was at an event last night with


Lorely Burt" - she's one of the candidates - "and she told me it was


off". And Lorely Burt herself, seen by many as the red hot favourite,


told us: "Because of the Rennard thing we don't want to put ourselves


in a position where we have to answer difficult questions." How


refreshingly honest. Helen, how bad politically is all this for the Lib


Dems? What I think is the tragic irony of the Lib Dems is they've


been revealed as being too democratic. In the same way that


their party conference embarrassed Nick Clegg by voting sings that he


signed up to, and now everything has to be run past various


sub-committees first. Is it democratic or chaotic? It is


Byzantine. Mike Hancock was voluntarily suspended, and this week


he was properly suspended. It was new information into the public


domain that forced that. I'm already hearing Labour and Conservative


Party musing that if it is a long Parliament, we will form a minority


Government. It is a disaster for them. Voters like parties that


reflect and are interested this their concerns. Parties that are


self obsessed turn them off. The third party, if they carry on like


this, they'll be the fifth party in the European elections, so they have


got to draw a line under this. They do that, if they do, through


mediation. As I understand it, Chris Rennard,s who has go devoted his


entire life to the Liberal Democrats, and previously the


Liberal Party, is keen to draw a line under this. He is up for


mediation but he needs to know that the women that he has clearly


invaded their personal space, that there wouldn't be a possible legal a


action from them. The it is very difficult to see how you could


resolve that. Except he is threatening through his friends,


these famous friends, to spill all the beans about all the party's sex


secrets. Isn't the danger for the Lib Dems, this haunts them through


to the European elections, where they'll get thumped in the European


elections? They'll get destroyed in the European elections, which keeps


it salient as a story over the summer. And it has implications for


Nick Clegg's leadership. He's done a good job until now, perhaps better


than David Cameron, of exercising authority over his party. He had a


good conference in September. Absolutely, and now the Lib Dems


have looked like a party without a leader or a leadership structure.


Part of that is down to the chaotic or Byzantine organisational


structure of the party. Part of it is Nick Clegg's failure to assert


himself and impose himself over events. Is it Byzantine or


Byzantine. It is labyrinthine. You don't get these words on the Today


programme. The cost of living has been back on the agenda this week as


Labour and the Tories argue over whether the value of money in your


pocket is going up or down. Well there's one cost which has been


racing ahead of inflation and that's the amount you have to pay to travel


by train, by bus and by air. Rail commuters have been hard hit over


the last four years, with the cost of the average season ticket going


up by 18% since January 2010, while wages have gone up by just 3.6% over


the same period. It means some rail users are paying high prices with


commuters from Kent shelling out more than ?5,000 per year from the


beginning of this month just to get to work in London. It doesn't


compare well with our European counterparts. In the UK the average


rail user spends 14% of their average income on trains. It is just


1.5% in Italy. Regulated fares like season tickets went up 3.1% at the


beginning of this month, and with ministers keen to make passengers


fought more of the bills, there are more fare rises coming down the


track. And Patrick McLoughlin joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


Welcome. You claim to be in the party of hard-working people, so why


is it that since you came to power rail commuters have seen the cost of


their average season ticket going up in money terms by over 18% while


their pay has gone up in money terms by less than four? I would point out


that this is the first year in ten years that we have not had an above


inflation increase on fares. The Government accepts we have got to do


as much as we can to help the passengers. A big inflation increase


since 2010. This is the first year in ten years that it has not been


above RPI, but we are also investing huge amounts of money into the


railways, building new trains for the East Coast Main Line and the


great Western. We are spending ?500 million at Birmingham station, this


is all increasing capacity, so we are seeing investments. Over the


next five years Network Rail will invest over ?38 billion in the


network structure. We also have an expensive railway and it is ordinary


people paying for it. A season ticket from Woking in Surrey,


commuter belt land in London, let's look at the figures. This is a


distance of over 25 miles, it cost over ?3000 per year. We have picked


similar distances to international cities.


The British commuter is being ripped off. The British commuter is seeing


record levels of investment in our railways. The investment has to be


paid for. We are investing huge amounts of money and I don't know


whether the figures you have got here... I'm sure they are likewise,


as you have managed to do... White -- ten times more than the Italian


equivalent. We have seen transformational changes in our


railway services and we need to carry on investing. We were paying


these prices even before you started investing. We have always paid a lot


more to commute in this country than our European equivalents. I'm not


quite sure I want to take on Italy is a great example. You would if you


were a commuter. You is a great example. You would if you


the other rates of taxation has to be paid as well. Isn't it the case


they are making profits out of these figures and using them to subsidise


cheaper fares back in their homeland? The overall profit margin


train companies make is 3%, a reasonable amount, and we have seen


a revolution as far as the railway industry is concerned.


a revolution as far as the railway 20 years we have seen passenger


journeys going from 750 million to 1.5 billion. That is a massive


revolution in rail. Let me look 1.5 billion. That is a massive


spokesperson for the German government, the Ministry of


transport. They are charging huge fares in


Britain to take that money back to subsidise fares in Germany. What do


you say to that? We are seeing British companies winning contracts


in Germany. The National Express are winning contracts to the railways.


What about the ordinary commuter? They are paying through the nose so


German commuters can travel more cheaply. We are still subsidising


the railways in this country, but overall we want to reduce the


subsidy we are giving. We are still seeing growth in our railways and I


want to see more people using them. Why do you increase rail fares at


the higher RPI measure than the lower CPI measurement? That is what


has always been done, and we have stopped. This is the first time in


ten years that we have not raised the rail figures above RPI. You


still link fares to RPI. You use the lower CPI figure when it suits you,


to keep pension payments down for example, but the higher one when it


comes to increasing rail fares. We are still putting a huge subsidy


into the rail industry, there is still a huge amount of money going


from the taxpayer to support the rail industry. I am not asking you


about that, I am asking you why you link the figures to the higher RPI


vesture Mark if we are going to pay for the levels of investment, so all


the new trains being built at Newton Aycliffe for the East Coast Main


Line and the great Western, ?3.5 billion of investment, new rolling


stock coming online, then yes, we have to pay for it, and it is a


question of the taxpayer paying for it all the -- or the passenger.


You have capped parking fines until the next election, rail commuters we


have seen the cost of their ticket has gone up by nearly 20%, you are


the party of the drivers, not the passengers, aren't you?


We are trying to help everybody who has been struggling. I think we are


setting out long-term plans for our railways, investing heavily in them


and it is getting that balance right. But you have done more for


the driver than you have for the user of public transport. I don't


accept that. They are paying the same petrol prices as 2011. This is


the first time in ten years that there has not been an RPI plus


rise. We are investing record amounts. Bus fares are also rising,


4.2% in real terms in 2010, at a time when real take-home pay has


been falling. This hits commuters particularly workers who use buses


on low incomes, another cost of living squeeze. I was with


Stagecoach in Manchester on Friday, and I saw a bus company investing in


new buses. Last week First ordered new buses. Part of your hard-working


families you are always on about, they are the ones going to work


early in the morning, and yet you are making them pay more for their


buses in real terms than they did before. They would be happier if


they could travel more cheaply. It is about getting investment in


services, it has to be paid for. Why not run the old buses for five more


years? Because then there is more pollution in the atmosphere, modern


buses have lower emissions, and we are still giving huge support


overall to the bus industry and that is very important because I fully


accept that the number of people, yes, use the train but a lot of


people use buses as well. High-speed two, it has been delayed because 877


pages of key evidence from your department were left on a computer


memory stick, part of the submission to environmental consultation. Your


department's economic case is now widely regarded as a joke, now you


do this. Is your department fit for purpose? Yes, and as far as what


happened with the memory stick, it is an acceptable and shouldn't have


happened, and therefore we have extended the time. There has been an


extension in the time for people to make representation, the bill for


this goes through Parliament in a different way to a normal bill. It


is vital HS2 provides what we want. What I am very pleased about is when


the paving bill was passed by Parliament just a few months ago,


there was overwhelming support, and I kept reading there was going to be


70 people voting against it, in the end 30 people voted against it and


there was a good majority in the House of Commons. So can you give a


guarantee that this legislation will get onto the statute books? I will


do all I can. I cannot tell you the exact Parliamentary time scale. The


bill will have started its progress through the House of Commons by


2015, and it may well have concluded. The new chairman of HS2


said he can bring the cost of the line substantially under the budget,


do you agree with that? The figure is ?42 billion with a large


contingency, and David Higgins, as chairman of HS2, is looking at the


whole cast and seeing if there are ways in which it can be built


faster. At the moment across London we are building Crossrail, ?14.5


billion investment. There was a report last week saying what an


excellent job has been done. Crossrail started under Labour.


Actually it was Cecil Parkinson in the 1990 party conference. You may


get HS2 cheaper if you didn't pay people so much, why is the


nonexecutive chairman of HS2 on ?600,000? And the new chief


executive on ?750,000. These are very big projects and we need to


attract the best people become so we are going for the best engineers in


the world to engineer this project. It is a large salary, there is no


question about it, but I'm rather pleased that engineers rather than


bankers can be seen to get big rewards for delivering what will be


very important pieces of national infrastructure. I didn't have time


to ask you about your passenger duty so perhaps another time. We are


about to speak to Nigel Mills and all of these MPs on your side who


are rebelling against the Government, how would you handle


them? We have got to listen to what our colleagues are talking about and


try to respond it. Would you take them for a long walk off a short


pier? I'm sure I would have many conversations with them. An


immigration bill to tack the immigration into the UK. When limits


on migration from Bulgaria and Romania were lifted this year there


were warnings of a large influx of migrant workerses from the two new


European countries. So far it's been more of a dribble than a flood. Who


can forget Labour MP Keith Vaz greeting a handful of arrivals at


Luton Airport. But it is early days and it is one of the reasons the


Government's introduced a new Immigration Bill. The Prime Minister


is facing rebellion from backbenchers who want tougher action


on immigration from abroad. Nigel Mills would reimpose restrictions on


how many Romanians and Bulgarians can come here. Joining me is Nigel


Mills, Conservative MP behind the amendment and Labour MP Diane


Abbott. Welcome. Nigel Mills, there hasn't been an influx of Romanians


and Bulgarians. Why do you want to restore these, kick these


transitional controls way forward to 2019? I don't think any of us were


expecting a rush on January 1st, Andrew. I think we were talking


about a range of 250,000 to 350,000 people over five years. That's


obviously a large amount of people, especially when you think net


migration to the UK was well in excess of the Government's target of


tens of thousands last year. The real concern is that it would be


ever increasing our population, attracting lots of low-skilled,


low-wage people, which keeps our people out of work and wages down.


Did you accept that if you were to accept this, it would be in breach


of the Treaty of Rome, the founding principle of the European Union? We


were trying to keep the restrictions that Bulgaria and Romania accepted


for their first seven years of EU membership, on the basis that when


we signed the treaty we weren't aware that we would have a huge and


catastrophic recession we are still recovering from. But you would be in


breach of the law, correct? The UK Parliament has a right to say we


signed this deal before the terrible recession, and we need a bit longer


in our national interest. It is worth noting that Bulgaria and


Romania haven't met all their accession requirements. The


Bulgarian requirement passed a law... So if they break the law it


is alright for us to break the law? Is we should be focusing on trying


to get 2. 4 million of our own in work, and 1 million people not in


work... Let me bring in Diane Abbott. Will you vote for this


amendment and why? It is in breach of the treaty. While I deplore MPs


that try to cause trouble, these MPs have been particularly mindless,


because what they want to do wouldn't be legal. However, it is a


Tory internal brief, if I might say so. Maybe you can cause trouble by


voting for it. No, that would be going too far. Underlying it is a


real antagonism for David Cameron. They have had to hold off on this


bill until January. It was supposed to be debating before Christmas. As


we speak they've not cut a deal, so it could be pretty grus om. Nigel


Mills, what do you say to that I think there is a recognition that


there is a problem with the amount of migration from EU countries that


we need to tackle. We could try to achieve an annual cap perhaps,


longer limits on when countries get free movement. I think the debate is


moving in the right direction, but I think those people who are trapped


out of work and desperately looking for work want something to be done


now and not wait a few more years while we have more assessments


Andrews. People are worried about the level of immigration. They I it


is too high. That's the consensus in the country. We spoke to to


migration centre in Hackney and they said they are struggling to cope


with the number of people using their services. These are people


with problems with the law. In the past years EU migrants put in more


to the economy in taxation than they take out in benefits. When it comes


to free movement, which is agitating Nige em, that horse has bolted. We


signed a treaty. There is nothing people like Nigel Mills can do,


unless they want to rip their party apart, God forbid. Will you go as


far as to rip your party apart, Nigel Mills? Are you going to take


this all the way? Would you rather see this bill go down than your


amendment not be accepted? This is a very important bill. I think we all


want to see measures on the statute book, so the last thing we want to


see is this bill go down. We do need to set out clearly that we have real


concerns about the level of EU migration and something needs to be


done. Would you rather have the bill without your amendment or no bill at


all? I am hoping we can have the bill with the amendment. I know


that, but if you can't? Is that will depend on what the Labour Party


decide to do. They are talking tougher on immigration but will they


take action on it? Your party has been talking tough on immigration


but I will be surprised if an Ed Miliband Labour Party would vote for


egg in direct cameravention of the Treaty of Rome. It would make no


sense. Nigel Mills is wishing for the impossible. If I was a Tory I


would be wringing high hands. He hasn't ruled out crashing the bill.


That's incredible. Where will this end, Nigel Mills? We'll end with a


vote on Thursday. There's a lot of amendments people can use to show


their concern about migration. We want limited and proportionate


action, and that's what I am proposing. I want to see the bill on


the statute book, I want the restrictions on people who shouldn't


be here getting bank accounts and driving licences. I don't want to


crash this bill but there's more measures we need in it. Nigel Mills


thank you. You are going to be -- popping up I think on the Sunday


Politics East Midlands. Diane Abbott, thank you as well.


We're in for more heavy rain and high winds across the UK today. You


may remember that one UKIP councillor - he's since been


suspended - caused controversy last weekend by blaming the recent


flooding on the legalisation of gay marriage. Why didn't I think of


that? So who better than this man to bring you the unofficial forecast.


I'll be bringing you the late least UKIP weather from your area.


You're watching Sunday Politics. Also coming up in just over 20


minutes, I'll be looking at the week ahead with our political panel.


Until Welcome to Sunday politics in


Northern Ireland. The Ulster Unionist Party has said no to


opposition at Stormont, get one of his peers is proposing that very


thing. Where does the party stand? We will hear from Lord MP and former


Ulster Unionist Party 's NI21 deputy leader John McCallister.


And pressure over welfare reform. Those who resist the inevitability


of welfare reform can answer why our roads budget, education budget has


to lose out next year and potentially next year, too.


With me throughout with their thoughts, academic Cathy


Gormley-Heenan and journalist Sam McBride.


It was a fundamental part of the Good Friday Agreement, the creation


of a mandatory coalition. But every so often the debate over


establishing an official opposition cranks up a gear. This time it is


the turn of the Ulster Unionist Party the party chairman has tabled


an amendment to the Northern Ireland Bill which would pave the way for


opposition. The party NI21 have the stated


intention of campaigning for an opposition.


Welcome to the programme, Lord Empey, first of all, why are you


making a case for formal opposition at Stormont at this stage? Because


there is a piece of legislation in front of Parliament that allows me


to do so, the Northern Ireland miscellaneous provisions Bill and


allows you to put forward items of a wide range of areas.


I have put forward a series of amendments. There is a legislative


vehicle in front of us at this point. So you can do it, the


question is why choose to do it? It looks to the public, I suggest,


that it is a change of tack on the part of the Ulster Unionist Party.


You were not in favour of opposition, now you appear to be. I


am afraid you are wrong. Our 2010 manifesto had provision for


opposition. In our manifesto for 2011 it is included, and at Mike


Nesbitt's maiden speech he raised the question of opposition. Whether


we as a party would ever seek to be an opposition is a totally different


issue from whether we have an official opposition or not. We want


the provision could be applied because we think it will strengthen


Stormont, it will move us one stage towards more normal politics and I


cannot see any reason why anyone would be opposed to it.


In the public mind, John McCallister stood for the story -- Ulster


Unionist leader against Mike Nesbitt, he stood on a ticket of


wanting to take the party into opposition and Mike Nesbitt oppose


that. Now the former leader looks to be supporting opposition. Can you


see how that looks strange to the public? John wanted to take the


party into opposition there and then.


We are arguing there is no opposition facility at Stormont to


take the party into. All you can do is remove yourself from the


executive and just sit there. There is no status, you will get no


speaking rights, supply days or anything and opposition would get.


John McCallister, do you accept that analysis?


My Private Members' Bill would create that, and effectively at the


minute we are looking at two former leaders of the Ulster Unionist Party


effectively wanting to take powers away from the Northern Ireland


Assembly. Legal advice in this is quite clear.


We can do this at Stormont, and that is the place this should be being


done. I welcome the debate, but if he wants to do something in the


Northern Ireland miscellaneous Bill, what he should be doing is tackling


the bits we cannot do at Stormont, like designation or particularly


tackling the way we elect the Justice Minister. You are saying


this debate is unnecessary because you think the powers already reside


at Stormont? Let me be clear on that, they reside


at Stormont. The legal advice is that they reside


at Stormont. That is where this should be decided and debated. But


that would be for something of informal opposition rather than


formal opposition. What he is wanting to do, all of


that is decided at Stormont, and we can change that.


The best vehicle to do that is in my Private Members' Bill. This point


about trying to normalise politics - you cannot have a party leader out


fighting a culture where -- culture war and then talk about normalising


politics. The public will not understand that message. You cannot


talk about opposition as you would claim, Reg, for about 16 years and


not want to go into it, not see that we believe strong enough to go into


it. We believe in having it but do not want to go into it seems to be


the message from the UUP. John McCallister is saying, Reg Empey,


that this should be the preserve of the MLAs at Stormont.


No, if he looks at his own party's website on the 27th of August, when


he sat beside Alex came at a seminar organised by himself on opposition,


Alex Kane made it absolutely clear that if you went down the road he


wants to go down and leave it at Stormont you would be the way thing


of the shin of -- of Sinn Fein and the DUP, they can snuff you out like


that. Standing orders at Stormont can be changed at any point by the


largest two parties. We want to have it in statute so there is no


question that the stat us of an opposition is not dependent on the


goodwill of the two parties who happen to be in control. -- the


status. Does that mean that Mike Nesbitt would want to take the


Australian unionists into opposition?


He can do that at the moment anyway. -- the Ulster Unionists.


No, he cannot. All you can do is become a group of


backbenchers with no status. First of all, any party that thinks in an


election fights to win. You fight to win, to get support for your


policies and implement them in over a month. But on occasion, parties do


not win. -- implement them in government. We want to have an


opposition which is officially recognised which cannot be the


plaything of any two parties at Stormont. The methodology for


electing ministers and selecting them is all in the Northern Ireland


act, so should opposition be. There is not very much separating you, is


there? The point is, opposition is not


mentioned in the Northern Ireland act.


For that very reason it means it is a devolved matter and the Northern


Ireland Assembly can change it. Alex Kane is not a lawyer for the


Northern Ireland Assembly, there is not the legal adviser. And Professor


Rick Wilford doesn't know what he is doing?


The advice from the Assembly is that opposition is a devolved matter and


when you read through Reg's amendment we can change that in the


Assembly and that is the best vehicle to do it.


Reg talks about being snuffed out by the DUP and Sinn Fein if they wanted


to. You mention a few things like the Afive, it is hardly a ringing


endorsement of the Ulster Unionist Party being in government. -- the


A5. This is a debate we should be all on. You cannot do that while in


government and fighting a culture war at the same time. All of those


things contradict each other. John is arguing to totally different


things. Whether due as a party are in opposition is one issue. What I


am dealing with is providing a structural mechanism to allow it to


happen at Westminster where it cannot be interfered with by


Stormont. Otherwise the parties that control Stormont can snuff you out


at any time. You accept you can do it at Stormont?


No, you cannot do that. You can.


The legal advice is clear. You can change standing orders, not


primary legislation. But the place to do primary


legislation is at Stormont. It is not, you are totally wrong. I would


welcome him to the debate behaviour is doing something, particularly


around designation. We will leave it there, thank you


both for now. Let's hear from our commentators,


Cathy Gormley-Heenan and Sam McBride. Sam, some people think we


may be dancing on the head of a pin, others think this is a fundamental


issue that needs to be clarified, which is it for you? It is both.


Sitting on the fence! It is going to be teased out at Westminster,


whether the government takes this as an amendment to its bill.


If it does, and Lord Empey as closer links to the Tories through the


history of the Ulster Unionist Party, and if they do then clearly


the legal advice that the government has is that it can. If they do not,


there will be a question over that. There are two separate issues here.


Is there a mechanism for opposition? Sometimes I think public


unhappiness at Stormont has forced a debate into the parties, where the


Ulster Unionist Party is reluctant about this, increasingly there is


this realisation that something has to be done, and the debate has moved


on to two separate ways to do the same thing. What is your opinion on


where authority arrived as Michael resides?


You are an academic and you know Rick Wilford and Alex Kane very


well, you know the territory very well, do you side with John or Reg?


I am not a legal expert. I am not prepared to side with


either of them. I am heartened by this debate, today, because it puts


the issue of opposition squarely onto the agenda. Last year the


Assembly and review committee looked at this issue specifically. They put


out a call for a consultation. Not many people got involved in the


debate at the time under this forces us to have a thorough and robust


debate on the mechanisms for an opposition and what that may mean


for Northern Ireland, particularly for things like who would chair the


Public Accounts Committee? Northern Ireland is the only area in the UK


that has a Public Accounts Committee not chaired by the member of the


opposition. That is important to me because an opposition at its core is


about good governance and holding the government to account. You


cannot hold yourself to account if you are holding the office and


holding the accountability mechanisms, as well. That is why


this debate, complicated as it may seem, is important. It is


fundamental. The debate that has been hand, that


people outside of the political village have had come is forcing the


pace on this. -- the debate that has been hand.


?15 million has been lost out of the executive budget already this year


because of our failure to agree on welfare reform. The finance minister


warned this week the penalty is expected to increase significantly.


The welfare reform Bill was pulled in April because of a lack of


agreement with the DUP blaming Sinn Fein for a delay. The finance


minister, Simon Hamilton, said he was disappointed no progress had


been made. I will have to return to the welfare reform issue.


I am hugely disappointed no progress has been made on this issue. As a


result, the executive had no option but to set aside ?50 million to


cover the cost of financial penalties for the remaining three


months of this financial year. This, in effect, as one colleague


described it, is dead money, returning to the Treasury, which is


now unable to be spent on services that benefit our citizens. Those who


resist, Mr Speaker, the inevitability of welfare reform, can


answer why our health budget, roads budget or schools budget has to lose


out this year. It is my party's view that in terms


of the ?15 million of welfare money, that is not dead money. That


15 million is still in the pockets of many low income people. It is


more likely to be spent, in terms of local economy and retail and other


areas. That 15 million is not dead money, it is money that is quite


important to the local economy. The differing views of Simon Hamilton


and Daithi McKay. With me is Les Allamby, an expert in


welfare law. Where do we stand on this complicated issue? All of the


main political parties are critical of welfare reform as it is in


Britain. You can understand why, because


Sheffield Hallam University recently did a survey that said ?750 million


will come out of the economy if we slavishly follow the GB reform, and


of the local authorities across the UK seven out of the top 20 were


actually in Northern Ireland. Where we are is the two main parties in


government, Sinn Fein and the DUP, worked very hard over the summer to


try and get a deal, and they got a measure of agreement on a number of


issues on this in the public domain, such as the bedroom tax


which has gone very badly in Britain. They will only introduce it


for new claimants. You think that is the deal they have reached? That is


not the whole of the deal but it is part of it.


There are other parts of the deal, I think they have followed the


Scottish model, which is to put more money into what will be called the


discretionary support fund here and to do other things. Where the two


parties are parting company that at the moment is that is the deal as


far as the DUP are concerned, but for Sinn Fein I think the issue is,


is that a staging post in the deal? There is the added complicity for


Sinn Fein that they have been very critical of the South's coalition


austerity policies and therefore they have an awkward position of, if


they implement austerity there in Northern Ireland, they obviously


have a very strong equality agenda, but welfare reform will increase


economic and social inequality. They are between a rock and a hard


place, Sinn Fein. People would say that if the bones of a deal are in


existence, the sooner they get it published and signed up to in public


the better. Potentially, Northern Ireland plc is


losing ?5 million per month now to the Treasury again. We know that has


not been imposed as yet, but potentially the amount of money we


are going to lose from our budget is significant.


We had an earlier legal debate, and there is -- interesting legal debate


about how the Treasury can implement the ?5 million financial penalty. Do


you think it is a hollow threat? I don't think it is a hollow threat,


because they could do it relatively quickly.


On the other hand, I think it is clearly important. We would have


been pushed into a decision much more quickly if welfare reform and


universal credit and Personal Independence Payments had gone with


the timetable in Britain, but it's slowed down on the universal credit


side because of problems with IP. In my view on the Personal Independence


Payments side it has slowed down because it has played very badly for


people with disabilities and the government has slowed that down


because of an election. Therefore most of the pain will be felt in the


early period of the next government. That has given us some breathing


space. I would personally like to see what the two parties agree on


being published, so that we can see where we are now and then have a


debate about other things we may want to do above and beyond that.


The two main parties may agree on something of deal to move this


forward, but it requires wider society to agree on that.


But also, critically, the other parties at Stormont.


Absolutely, and both the Ulster Unionist Party, particularly Michael


Copeland as the spokesperson, and the SDLP have been largely kept out


of the loop, and they are particularly very critical. One of


our worries is that what will happen with welfare reform is it will


become a political football, whereas actually what we are dealing with is


the importance of Social Security for people, particularly of working


age, and it may well prove to be counterintuitive, just as the


economy is getting back on its feet, that we do the number of things in


Social Security that actually take us in the other direction and have a


negative impact on economic recovery. It is a tough, bread and


butter issue for our politicians to deal with this. What makes it


interesting is that it is outside the usual binary political debate.


It is. If we look at the local authorities worst affected by this -


Belfast, Strabane, Coleraine - it affects heartlands of both the main


political parties. This will play very badly in the heartlands of both


the DUP and Sinn Fein, and they are both very aware of that. Therefore,


the politics of this are really important as well as the actual


outcomes for the people on the ground. If the Personal Independence


Payments are introduced as it is, then 25% of people of working age


under Disability Living Allowance will lose benefit altogether when


they move across to that. That is a lot of money coming out of the local


economy, a lot of hardship, and that will have to be picked up somewhere


else as -- in terms of health or housing problems. In Britain this is


happening, other places are happy that Michael having to pick up the


slack. It is not saving the money the government originally intended.


-- other places are having to pick up the slack.


Cathy, do you get the sense that the two main parties are inching toward


something of agreement on this? Inching is probably the right word.


There is the possibility of an agreement on the horizon, in part


driven by the fact that there may be penalties brought to bear on others.


Simon Hamilton has said he has kept aside 50 million to pay for the


first quarter of penalties at ?5 billion per month. -- 15 million. ?5


million per month. The Treasury has said they will levy the penalty if


they did not detect any progress. Progress and agreement are two


different things, and I think the two main parties can say they are


inching towards an agreed position on this, so they are making progress


without moving very fast. The reason for that, I think, is that moving at


a slow pace allows the politicians in Northern Ireland to really zone


in non-where the problems are in the rest of the UK, so that those


mistakes are not made here, for example around the competing


problems that they have had. It sounds a little bit like a carrot


and stick approach on the behalf of the Treasury.


Do you think this matter will be sorted out clearly once and for all.


No, because I think last year Nelson McCausland said publicly is that


four of the six areas he had agreed behind the scenes with the


government would be concessions to Northern Ireland.


We seem to be no further forward. I find it extraordinary that was not a


single party that supports the welfare reforms giving that polling


suggest they are popular. -- given that. Let's take a look at the week


in 60 seconds with Stephen Walker. It was friends this united as old


pals fell out. He was prepared to go forward to the


destruction of the party. But the current DUP leader was keeping his


own counsel. I do not intend to take part in


these kinds of recriminations. Others suggested Doctor Ian Paisley


was on his own. What Ian Paisley has done is expose


himself as a billy no mates. Another leading man said he would


exit the stage - Matt Baggot is to step down as the PSNI chief


constable. At Westminster, David Cameron said


the government would not intervene and impose a solution over flags,


parades and the past. I think if the parties work together and the


British and Irish Lions are there to help, I think we can make progress.


Even before it hit the stage, a spoof play on the Bible was shown


the final curtain by Newtownabbey Council.


Stephen Walker reporting. Cathy, has the dust finally settled on the two


Ian Paisley documentaries? I don't think so, I think people


will be interested in this story for a long time as the uninterested in


any political dynasty. It is of particular interest to us because


we're from Northern Ireland. -- as they are interested in any political


business -- dynasty. But coups were leaders are


overthrown, then we come back to the leader to the previous one who had


just been deposed. It is fascinating for us at a local level but this is


in practice practising politics internationally.


The intriguing place -- the intriguing thing is to wear all of


this leaves Ian Paisley junior. Even though he seems to have had limited


involvement in this year is the one person who remains that could be


punished. Thank you both very much for your


company. That is it back to you.


UKIP leader Nigel Farage is never far away from controversy, but this


week he's been outdoing himself. He was hit over the head with a placard


by a protester in Kent, provoked outrage by saying women with


children are worth less to city firms, and said the ban on owning


handguns was 'crackers'. He also seemed less than sure of his party's


own policies when I interviewed him on the Daily Politics. And the story


that got everyone talking was the suggestion by a UKIP councillor that


flooding is linked to gay marriage. We'll talk about all of that in a


moment, but first, over to Nigel with the weather. Weather for all


areas of the British Isles but definitely not "Bongo Bongo Land."


You may have heard about a storm in a tea cup developed when you kip


councillor in Oxfordshire blamed the floods on the gay marriage Bill. The


old party is focusing on the view of UKIP members like him, even though


he had said a sell yuj of things before when a Tory councillor. How


quickly things change depending on when the blouse. There are


occasional barmy views by people of all persuasions. In Whitby a Labour


councillor claimed of fathered a child with an extra terrorist ral,


and said his real mother was a 9 foot green alien. And in Wales a


councillor thinking about heading off for the


slopes, there were flurries of embarrassment for the Tories after


Aidan Burly organised a Nazi skiing party in a resort.


Anyone heading to Brussels, perhaps on the gravy train, watch out for


hot air. In Britain temperatures are rising


ahead of the European elections in May. It could get stormy, so advise


light aircraft. Watch out for outbreaks of common sense, and no


chance of cyclonic fruit cakes. Back to you, Andrew, with the rest of the


Sunday Politics. Nick, if it was any other party that


had bon through the past week it would be in meltdown. And maybe it


is harming UKIP and maybe it isn't. What do you think? That just shows,


that great weather forecast, Prince Charles now has a rival to be an


excellent weather forecaster, as does the Duchess of Cornwall. It


shows why Nigel Farage is the fefr candidate to the European elections.


Our invitation to the British people to kick the establishment. The


establishment have spent five years that the European Parliament is a


waste of time, so who are you going to vote for? A Nigel Farage type of


person. What was important about your eadviceration of Nigel Farage


on Daily Politics is that when it came to the substance, they


flounder. But the point about that party is they may have the thinnest


set of policies, but people know what they stand for more than any


other parties - get out of Europe, a grammar school in every town. If any


other leading politician called for an end to the ban on handguns, at a


time when we've seen these appalling gun deaths in the United States, now


almost one every week in some terrible siege in a school. It would


be a crisis. It seems to wash off him. He's got congenital


foot-and-mouthitis. Straight into another wild nothing to do with why


people might vote UKIP. I don't think people are desperate to have


handgun licences back in this country. It is such an unusual


phenomenon, UKIP, that if this was a Tory or a Labour or a Lib Dem saying


it, we've seen the damage done to the Lib Dems on a much more serious


manner, we would say this is terminal. But maybe it adds to this


image that we are not like the other parties. I think that is it. We keep


waiting for these scandals and embarrassments to do damage to


UKIP's poll ratings, but it's not working. It is ultimately because if


you are an antiestablishment party, if you are an anti-system party, the


rules of the game which apply to the establishment parties don't apply to


you. And the more ramshackle and embarrassing you are, the more


authentic you seem. It what be take something for them not to finish


second in May. Do they spend the following 12 months sinking in the


poll snoos And George Osborne's strategy is fame everything as


Labour versus the Conservatives. The electorate will have their fun in


May. Maybe the Tories will be beat into third place but in thejection


is that -- but in the general election it is Labour versus the


Tories. The Conservative Party will run around, 46 letters to Graham


Brady, a leadership contest. That sort of scenario. UKIP, if it rules


well in the European elections, could cause big trouble for Mr


Cameron and Mr Clegg couldn't it? The big point about this, David


Cameron said this is not a political party but a pressure group. This is


the way to look at UKIP, and the way it is used by people in the right of


the party, who say we have to do this. I like the policy of painting


the trains in their old liveries. It would be like my old train set. I


like the bigger passports. Pre-GNER... And London and Midland.


I used to be a train spotter. Gordon Birtwhistle has been on the


phone. Good to know you are watching but pity you are not here. He wanted


to clarify he had constituency commitments to prevent him coming on


the show to talk about becoming leader of the party, but he didn't


dispute anything we said on the show.


Yesterday, Ed Balls said that housing investment will be a central


priority for the next Labour Government. It's a big issue, as the


lack of new homes pushes up the the price of owning or renting. Well,


tomorrow the Tories will announce what they say is the most ambitious


programme of affordable housebuilding for 20 years. The


Government sees housing as a really important part of the economy.


That's why we are announcing a ?23 billion package for 165,000 new


affordable homes. So individual builders, councils, housing


associations can bid for that money. Phase one, which we are halfway


through at the moment, we've built 170,000 houses. 99,000 already


coming out of the ground, so we've made real progress on that. So,


165,000 new, affordable homes. It is a lot. Let me add three more words.


Over three years. It is not such a lot. It is not, and Labour's


commitment is 200,000 homes a year and even that isn't enough. The


problem here is that the vest interest is with people who already


have homes. They have a vote in the system through the planning


regulations. In London there is a gap in the hedge through Richmond


Park through which you should be able to see St Paul's Cathedral.


That's why you cannot build homes where you want them. I don't think


we want to build homes over Richmond Park. He wasn't saying that. That's


dies an Tyne -- that's Byzantine. You've got to deal with supply,


which is why Labour is talking about 200,000 a year, and what George


Osborne has done with supply is helping with demand. We know the


Help to Buy Scheme is pretty dangerous, and Mark Carney is keen


to put the break on that. If you are to deal with supply, you have to do


radical things. Chris Huhne talked about on brownfield sites you can


tax people who are holding the land as if the development has taken


place. Then if you are really going to deal with it you have to talk


about the greenfield sites, and you have to deal with the garden cities


argument, which is too much for the Tories. All the parties seem to


agree building new houses is a political winner. I hope that they


are right. I'm not sure they are. The housing market is the example of


what economists call the insider in-outsider problem. People who are


already homeowners have no rational incentive to vote for more housing


stock. Even if you leave aside the Conservative arable objections, if


you are a homeowner there is an interest to stick with the planning


promise that we have. So then we are stuck between a rock and a hard


place. Not only are we growing at the moment but our population is


growing. I've seen projects that in quite quickly we will overtake


Germany and become the largest populated country in Europe. If


that's the case we've got to build homes. We have. If you look at Tower


Hamlets in London, the population is r ging higher than the number of


dwelling. Classically the theory's been young people are most affected


by this and they don't vote much. But when their parents have young


Johnny stuck at home at 37, that's an electoral issue. That's why the


garden cities project is interesting, because they finance


themselves. You zone it for development, it is worth ?2 million


an acre and then you can build on it. But who is going to want the


greenfield sites gone. And how quickly can we build garden cities


today? Some were started before the Town and Country Planning Act. I've


read stats about the way Chinese and Japanese are building houses and


they were slower than that. Here's a thought, sticking on the housing


theme. Ed Miliband came up with the energy freeze, a populist


interventionist move. Then the use it or lose it to land developers.


Then breaking up the banks. Now the 50p tax rate. How much would you put


on Labour coming up for rent controls? That's already a big


split. They are split already on it. They have. In London it is a popular


policy. It might not play well in the rest of the country. I would say


50-50 on that. I think Labour supporting rent controls like the


Tories having a go at welfare. The policy may be individually popular


but it sends an impression about the party which might be less attract


active. It confirms underlying suspicions that vote these guys into


power and suddenly they are tampering with the private economy.


The memories of the '70s when Governments tried and failed to do


that. It is riskier than a superficial reading of the polls


would superficial reading of the polls


would suggest. One to watch? I think they are looking at it. That was the


key message of the Ed Balls speech on housing, is looking at supply and


how you get to that 200,000 figure a year, which is substantially more


than what Kris Hopkins is talking about. What we didn't get to talk


about, remember we had Michael Wilshaw on, the Chief Inspector of


Schools. We all consumed was Mr Gove's man, the Education


Secretary's man. Now according to the Sunday Times he is spitting


blood about the way Mr Gove and his office are speaking about him behind


the scenes. We've checked the quotes and he stands by them, so I think


we'll have to have the head of Ofsted back on the programme. If you


are watching, we're here. All that to the Lib Dems who didn't come on


today. That's all for today. Thanks to all


my guests. The Daily Politics is back on Monday at midday on BBC Two,


and I'll be here again next week. Remember, if it's Sunday, it's the


Sunday Politics. Britain, with 120,000 soldiers,


is now at war with Germany This would be the first


truly modern war.


Download Subtitles