29/09/2013 Sunday Politics Northern Ireland


Mark Carruthers with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Andrew Neil interviews Foreign Secretary William Hague and Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 29/09/2013. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



do with the lack of talent, it is Sunday Politics. David Cameron


rushes out a scheme to help house-buyers with deposits. Is he


merely stoking a new house price bubble? As Tory activist 's gather


merely stoking a new house price in Manchester, we will have the


results of our exclusive survey of Conservative councillors. I will be


speaking to Foreign Secretary William Hague. And Ed Miliband made


headlines with his pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months after


headlines with his pledge to freeze the next election. But does the new


And coming up here - a drama, a Energy


And coming up here - a drama, a crisis or a little local difficulty?


We hear live from the Secretary of State. And could some Northerners


get a vote for the next President of Ireland?


Underground should be made illegal, something the Prime Minister doesn't


rule out. With me are a trio of top political


commentators. All three will be tweeting their thoughts, or in some


cases just their thought through the show, using the hashtag #bbcsp. The


Conservative Party conference gets under way in Manchester this


afternoon. We have already been bombarded with a series of policy


announcements, a tax break for married couples of up to £200 per


year, more money on life extending cancer treatments and, last night,


the news that the second stage of the Chancellor's Help To Buy scheme


will start next week. That is brought forward from the start of


next year. David Cameron says it is all about helping hard-working


people. Right now, you can't get, it's very difficult to get, a 90% or


95% mortgage. That means a typical family with two people earning


20,000, 25,000, they are being asked, to buy an average house, they


20,000, 25,000, they are being are being asked to find a £40,000


deposit. They can afford the mortgage payment, but they can't get


the mortgage. They can't buy their flat or house. As Prime Minister,


I'm not going to stand back while people's aspirations to get on the


housing ladder, to own their own flat or home, is being trashed. That


is why we need to act. A predictable attempt by party leadership to


kick-start the conference with eye-catching policies. The polls


show a big bounce for Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, with decent


numbers for UKIP. What do party activists think about David


Cameron's leadership and the challenge posed by UKIP? Adam


Fleming has been meeting Tory councillors as they travel to their


party conference. For the Conservatives this weekend,


all roads and trams lead to Manchester for their party


conference, and as a scene setter we asked ComRes to survey councillors


are Finland and Wales. Councillors asked ComRes to survey councillors


like Tom, packing for conference at home in Wellingborough. Immigration


is an issue for him. He thinks there are pros and cons. But we found that


54% of his colleagues feel immigration has had a negative


impact on the UK. I think it reflects into this wider issue of


our relationship with Europe. People are very concerned about the


possible influx of ovarian and Romania emigrants. Obviously the


issue of Europe is very big. -- Ukrainian. His colleagues in Corby


are worried about the rise of the UK Independence Party. In our survey,


nearly a quarter of Conservative councillors thought that their party


should make a pact with UKIP. The concern is, yes, will they take


votes away from ourselves in 2015? If that happens, maybe we don't get


back in. Maybe a partnership is the way to go. It depends what they want


and we want. But we should be talking about them. A pact? Depends


what they say, anything is possible. What would you like to see? Ideally,


from my point of view, a national pact. David Cameron arrived in


Manchester last night. Around the same time as these activists from


London. I broke the news to them that in our survey just 26% of Tory


councillors think that the prime ministers in touch with the lives of


ordinary people. The same at all Conservatives, you don't judge


people by their background. It's not where they come from, it is where


they are going to. It is not a where they come from, it is where


problem that he is a bit on the posh side? Cull you might describe him


like that, I would not use those words. Explain your T-shirt, it is a


phrase that a senior Cameron person is alleged to have used about you?


It is a humorous way of letting the party now that we are here to say


what we think. Members are important. We are not going away any


time soon. A sentiment you will hear a lot at this conference, because


just 22% of councillors in our survey said that David Cameron was


any good at listening to the people that work hard for his party. That


was Adam. Joining me now from the Conservative Party conference in


Manchester, Foreign Secretary William Hague. Welcome to the Sunday


Politics. Good morning. Over one in five Tory councillors in our survey


support a pact with UKIP at the next election. Why do you think that is?


If it is one in five, it means a large majority did not want a pact


with UKIP at the next election. They have noticed that UKIP, in local


elections, has been receiving votes, some of which would otherwise have


been for the Conservatives. I think we have to make sure that people


understand that at a general election they are choosing between a


Conservative and Labour Government, as David Cameron as Prime Minister


or Ed Miliband. If people want to get a referendum on Europe, the only


way to do that is to have David Cameron as Prime Minister. I think a


general election is different from the local government perspective. It


is pretty unusual, some might say unprecedented, for a large chunk of


one of the big parties in this country to want to go into coalition


one of the big parties in this with a smaller party before an


election. When has that ever happened? Looking at your survey,


three times as many didn't want to do that. As ever, with a survey,


with statistics, you can highlight it whichever way around you want to.


The point is, we are not having pacts with other parties, electoral


pacts with other parties. You rule it out? That is not going to happen.


What we do want is to have a pact it out? That is not going to happen.


with the voters, if you like, as we have often done in the Conservative


Party. We have won over the voters of other parties to support our


policies and Prime Minister. That is important with those people that say


they want to vote for UKIP. By default, they would produce a Labour


government in the exact opposite of many of the things they intend, if


they would otherwise vote Conservative and decide to vote for


UKIP instead in a general election. That could help to produce a Labour


government. The chairman of the 1922 committee, the elected voice of


Conservative backbenchers, he says your party should spell out what had


once back from the European Union before next year's European actions.


Do you agree? We will be spelling out some things in the European


elections. I will be talking about this later on today. For instance,


about the need the UK and the European treaties the concept of


ever closer union, a concept that in Britain we have never really


believed in. We would like that to be changed, with all of the


consequences that would flow from that. We will be setting out the


examples and principles of the changes we want to say. Certainly


over the next year, not only before the European actions but the general


election, if you are saying, let have the exact list of anything that


we are going to be able to negotiate, that is difficult because


there will be a negotiation of a new deal in Europe if David Cameron as


Prime Minister after the next election. To some extent, that has


to be negotiated. Only 11% of your own councillors feel that people in


their area think that George Osborne is in touch with ordinary people.


Why is he seemed to be so aloof? It is not for me to explain why people


say what they say in surveys. The important thing is what we are


delivering for the country. What George Osborne is delivering his


renewed economic growth. 1.4 million new jobs in the private sector, help


for hard-working people, by reducing the tax for 25 million of them. The


Help To Buy scheme that we are highlighting today. That is what


really matters to people, actually, I think you will find. Let's talk


about helping ordinary people. Ed Miliband is guilty freeze energy


prices. What are you going to do about energy prices, we already


asked energy companies to put people on their lowest tariffs. This has


not been amended. -- implemented. Why not? This is going to happen


within this government. It is going to happen within this government


when the... Why hasn't it happened now? People are suffering now from


rising energy prices. It has not happened because my colleagues have


been implimenting it. In the case of Ed Miliband's policy, if you are


asking why it has not yet happened under this Government, it didn't


even survive a few our's scrutiny in opposition. In a few hours he had to


concede that if there was a big change in oil prices then the policy


would not work. The trouble is, it would dry up some of the investment


in the energy industry. I don't think it is a credible promise. For


a party that presided over council tax bills doubling in the next


government, -- last government, it's not very credible. Why is George


Osborne going against the European Union to protect banker bonuses?


Well, we don't want to see the European treaties used in a way that


they should not be used. It's not necessarily over this particular


issue. It is over the power that the European Union has over our lives


and over this country. Can the bankers look after themselves? We


should be able to decide those things in our own country. We have


never signed up to such matters in European institutions. If you allow


one thing that wasn't meant to be decided to be decided, you find


one thing that wasn't meant to be there are another ten or 20 things


that affect many other people. We are very vigilant about what we call


competence creep, with the European Union taking more powers than it was


meant to have. That is one of the reasons why people do want a


referendum, do want a new deal in Europe. That is what we intend to


give them. Let's look at in competence creep. A big city


institution, ICAP, fined for fixing the LIBOR rates. The founder of that


company has donated £5 million to your party. Shouldn't you give it


back? Aren't you ashamed to accept that money? He has donated his own


money to the Conservative Party. Which he made out of ICAP. As people


have to other parties, people are free to do that and they should be


free to do that. I am not aware of any plan for that to be repaid.


Because you can't afford to. Let's recap this. We have seen Tory MPs


parrot propaganda lines from the energy companies this week. We have


the Chancellor going to court to fight for unlimited banker bonuses.


We have a top Tory donor the centre fight for unlimited banker bonuses.


of yet another city scandal. Ed Miliband is right when he says you


lot are on the side of the vested interests so the rich and powerful,


isn't he? Well, again, look at the record. I just did! 1.4 million


extra jobs in the private sector, 25 million people with a tax cut, a


Help To Buy scheme which is going to help so many people, particularly


young people have the house that they need and deserve for the


future. Council tax bills held down, welfare reform so that it pays to


work. Actually, this is a government achieving things for hard-working


people and that will be highlighted to this conference.


While President Laugharne he's talking about peace, the Iranians


are speeding up their nuclear weapons programme. -- is talking.


It would be hard to say from week to week whether it is speeding up


or slowing down but they are continuing with it. That is why we


say the new message - the new words - from Iranian leadership are very


welcome. I said that to the Foreign Minister in New York over the last


few days but it is the actions that will count. At the moment, the


nuclear programme continues. We have agreed to commence


negotiations on that and that will be a very important test as to


whether actions will match the words. When will we know it if we


are being strung along? He has strung as a long in the past as a


nuclear weapons negotiator. When will we know if he is not just


doing that again? Over the next few weeks, it will be a very important


time. He has said there should be more transparency over the Iranian


nuclear programme. It is not transparent in many regards at the


moment. The atomic agency is asking for information that is not being


given. One test is, in the coming weeks, will they give more


information? The information that the international of authority is


asking for about their nuclear programme. We will be able to form


a view of this in the coming weeks or months. It is important we test


their new willingness to talk to us and negotiate with us. It is


important to find out whether they are serious about it. You are


asking, is the nuclear programme really continuing? Are they really


going to be realistic about negotiations and offer something


they have not offer before? Speaking of being strung along,


what sanctions would President Assad face if, in six months - the


Year, Syria still has a chemical weapons arsenal. In the resolution


we voted through the UN Security Council on Friday night, is the


commitment that the Security Council will take measures under


Chapter seven of the UN Charter in the event of non-compliance. Does


that allow full force? I did not catch that. Does that allow for


force? It is similar to the Security Council resolution about


Iraq, which most people concluded in not allow full force. It does


not specify that. It talks about terms seven of the charter. That is


a message of the whole UN Security Council that there will be measures


- there will be consequences - if the Assad regime does not comply.


Russia has a lot riding on this. It has a big commitment. I have spent


a lot of time at my Russian counterpart over the last week.


Russia has said, this is something you will have to do. We will work


with Russia and others very closely to check there is compliance will


this resolution. Given the progress that has been made, you must be


very glad that the British House of Commons stopped your rash to force


against Syria. -- rush. The reason has happened is because there was a


credible threat of military action. President Obama did not get it


through Congress. They have not had the vote in Congress. There is no


other explanation as to why the policy changed. It was because


there was a debate about military action in the West that the policy


changed on theirs. That is why it changed. We were not in a rush for


military action. The boat put to the House of Commons was to have


another Aotearoa after the inspectors reported. It was before


we got to that point that the Russian and Syrian policy changed.


We need to make sure that works in practice. Thank you. What do you


make about this rushing forward with the help to buy scheme which


was meant to start next year - coming forward mad to the next


couple of weeks? I think it is a terrible policy. The Treasury


Select Committee, Perez a fundamental problem with the


Government having an interest in mortgage lending. -- there is a


fundamental problem. It should have been set much lower to exclude


London and the South East where houses are dramatically overvalued.


Many economists think freezing energy prices is a terrible policy.


These policies can be popular. If you have no chance of getting a


deposit, the Government will make that possible because it will


guarantee a big chunk of the deposit. Do not forget George


Osborne tried every single lever. It looked like he could not do


anything to get the economy moving. It is moving. They have pulled it


forward and there are signs it is recovering. The reason why they are


doing this is they want to show this week at the conference there


are real sort of understandable issues you can explain very simply


that really up going to improve people's lives. The Conservatives


were slightly spooked by Ed Miliband's speech last week. The


language used by David Cameron this morning was that the tax policy was


nuts. Much more cautious and -- language about the energy price


freeze. They are nervous that Ed Miliband may be touching a nerve on


that one. What we will get this week, I suggest, his Tory populism


to counter Miliband populism. I think we will see that and it will


be a mistake. As long as it is think we will see that and it will


about The Picture, they are on relatively strong ground. When the


political conversation changes to more fiddly things, particularities


of energy prices or living standards, things that are some way


below that picture, I do not think they can win a bidding war with the


Labour Party. It is about borrowing against a party that stands for the


rectitude at against a party that stands for the


It is about getting the conversation back to where


It is about getting the before the Labour conference, which


is unemployment, GDP growth and the warming economic picture. That does


not pay energy bills. Does not sound that the Tories have anything


not pay energy bills. Does not to counter the price freeze. -- it


does not sound. They have had a week to think about a great attack


line and they do not add anything. They have just said, the lights


will go out. Now they're saying, it will not


the credibility test. Ed Miliband said, if there were a big spike in


energy prices, he would not be able to keep his freeze in those


circumstances. it is about credibility. Being seen


as serious and grown-up is worth it is about credibility. Being seen


more than any burst of popularity. My worry about the announcement is


more than any burst of popularity. with the election campaign, it


begins to lose credibility, begins to seem a banana republic. It looks


a lot less wise than it did last week. I disagree. Every time energy


bills go up and they will continue to go up, it will be a reminder of


how much people are being hit in the pockets. People know by energy


prices are going up. There is a structural change in the world that


was not there before - China and India. These energy companies may


be making huge profit but, at the end of the day, what is driving up


the cost of fuel is China and India. Ed Miliband, great man that he is,


I am not sure he can take on the people Sammir on that one. How dare


you! -- the People's Army. Ed Miliband came out fighting at


Labour's Conference in Brighton last week. Dogged by criticism over


the summer of his leadership style and lack of policies, Mr Miliband


tried to demonstrate his strength of character with a series of bold


announcements, and attempted to position himself on the side of


ordinary Brits. The Labour leader told party members he would stand


up to the strong and take on the vested interests that hold back our


up to the strong and take on the economy. In a speech in which he


jokingly referred to himself as an action hero, Mr Miliband promised


to switch the forthcoming business action hero, Mr Miliband promised


tax cut from large firms to smaller businesses. He said he would force


big firms to train at an apprentice every time they bring in a worker


from outside the EU. He hinted that increasing the minimum wage would


be increased. He bowed to take on developers with a use it or lose it


threat to landowners and pledged to build 200,000 homes each year by


2020. He promised to freeze energy prices and reset the energy market.


The next Labour government will freeze gas and electricity prices


until the start of 2017. That provoked a rash of headlines -


hailing the return of red Ed macro. It has also given him a spike in


the polls. And Labour's Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint


joins me now for the Sunday Interview.


Ed Miliband says, our energy market is broken and does not work. In


what way is that market to date different from the one Labour left


behind in 2010? We have six companies that dominate the energy


sector. It is the same. They generate energy, and sell it on to


us. What we recognise and Ed Miliband recognised when he was


Secretary of State and asked for more information from the company


Secretary of State and asked for is on hold serve costs and profits,


all the things we have done to mitigate against that in terms of a


warm front programme and everything else has not dealt with the


fundamental problem that the Horsell market is too secretive and


it is too much about such supply. - - the wholesale market. We have


been raising with the Government in a co-operative way the argument for


resetting the market. It has got worse in terms of speed at which


prices have gone up. Labour put wholesale and retail together. It


was the start this dates back to Margaret Thatcher and the


privatisation. We took some reforms to reset the market. We have


realised it was not working and it was broken and we need to reset it.


Ed Miliband will be the first to say we did not do enough from 2005


onwards. Let's have a look at what happened to energy prices under the


Labour government. Electricity up 67%, gas up 139%. Overall prices up


by 48%. The market was broken and the Government as well. From 2005,


we saw prices biking as wholesale prices went up. The tick action on


the one Front programme, decent homes for social housing. -- we


took action on per warm front programme. Trying to do things


around social obligations needs to be looked at. Gas and electricity


bills are high partially as a consequence of the market you


presided over but as a consequence of Labour policy. Beds have a look


at the breakdown of dual fuel - gas and electricity bill. -- let's have


a look. The supply costs of getting it to us and so on. The policies


that were introduced by your government - Green levies - are


adding almost 10% to has told energy bills. £112 on average bill


of 1188. You have put the bill up. Eight -- social and green


obligations amount to £112. That helps the poorest insulate homes.


Overwhelmingly, looking at your graph and the figures I have,


wholesale costs are worth more than half. What we have seen, based on


figures we now have, in Eni macro, a wholesale costs fell by 39% and


that was not reflected in our bills. Do you have plans to do anything


about the £112? If you took that off, you could cut bills by 10%


tomorrow. Or if you were in power. It is important that restimulate


the opportunity to grow clean energy. It -- we stimulate. If we


do not have clean energy, we will be beholden for ever-more to fossil


do not have clean energy, we will fuels that are depleting. It will


create jobs and bring in investment will start in the last few years,


we have seen investment in renewable energy half. -- in


investment. If I could go back to competition in the markets,


whatever advance there are, looking at whether the money raised through


energy companies to deliver energy efficiency, is that doing as well


as it might? Could it be better delivered by another agency? They


are fair questions. We need to get ahead of that and look at the


market. Can we make the market will competitive make sure when there is


downward pressure on wholesale prices, that is reflected on our


bills? That is the bigger picture argument. Also the freeze to help


people during that period. As you complain about the energy


prices, it was as a result of your actions. Ed Miliband introduced the


climate change act. He admitted prices would have to rise to pay for


decarbonisation. He said, we are going to minimise the costs as much


as possible, but it is true there is not a low-cost energy future out


there. It is important that we address the pressures on bills, but


also recognise that if we are going to build a better future where we


can have more home-grown British energy and, in the long-term,


cheaper, we need to invest in renewables. Truth is it is about the


market. I acknowledge I acknowledge eyes what you say about the 112. I


am not going to disagree. But wholesale prices have fallen. They


fell in 2009, we got a reduction in bills of 5%. Which are saying that


the big companies are overcharging customers. We are seeing profits


going up, but we haven't seen the amount of investment suggested by


those profits coming through. But that £125 is going to get worse,


because your leader said in his speech in Brighton that Labour will


have a world leading commitment in Government to take out all carbon


from energy generation by 2030. That is not that far away. By 2030, no


more coal generation, no more gas generation, only much more expensive


nuclear and much more expensive renewables. It cannot be done


without bills going up even further? Hang on a second. The 2030 target to


remove carbon from the electricity supply, we have said we should set a


target now because, actually, it gives us more time to plan ahead and


also allows investment to come in. There is plenty of people with cash


in their pockets not want to invest what they are stalling because of


the Government's hesitancy over this. I just want a clarification


here. My understanding is that your commitment is to get rid of all


carbon from power generation by 2030? From the letters city supply.


Only electricity. We will still have gas? We have always said we will


need gas for decades to come. So we are clear for that. But you will be


increasingly dependent on expensive nuclear. EDF are currently demanding


twice the market price to build plans in this country. Renewables


are two or three times the market price. Bills are going up under your


policies, and the coalition policies? On nuclear, we took a


decision under the Labour Government that we needed to revitalise the


sector, to hit targets on clean that we needed to revitalise the


energy and make sure it can do the heavy lifting. The Government at the


present time are engaged in heavy lifting. The Government at the


discussions with EDF about what the strike price should be. It's


important, because I don't know what it's going to be, it is important


that stands up to scrutiny in terms of value for money. At the same


time, I go back to market reforms. We will not just have a target for


difference, the jargon for nuclear, we will have it for renewables as


well. That is even more important, that we have a transparent market so


that we can have a robust target price to be judged against. Michael


Gove recognised in question time that the market was not working. The


Telegraph said in its editorial, they used the term cosy cartel. We


have former advisers to David Cameron saying something needs to be


done. I'm surprised David Cameron doesn't acknowledge that. You are


going to freeze prices for 20 months and will come up with a new


regulator to replace Ofgem. Will that regulator have the power to


regulator to replace Ofgem. Will control prices? The new energy


watchdog will have a strategy responsibility to monitor the


wholesale costs and prices, which it currently doesn't have at the


moment. As a result of that it will currently doesn't have at the


have the power that, if the wholesale prices fall, it can force


the energy companies, if they don't, wholesale prices fall, it can force


to pass on reductions in bills to consumers. It will not have what we


see in some parts of the European Union, 15 of them, that have a


variety of price controls that set things at below inflation and what


have you. France, Spain, Italy. It will not do that. Why? Because we


are looking at a temporary price freeze to reflect a reduction in


are looking at a temporary price wholesale prices, to give the


British public respite from ever climbing bills while they get


reforms into the market. At the end of this, what we want is a more


competitive market that can be trusted, that is more transparent.


We do believe it is right that, actually, we need a regulator that


has much more of a role in making sure the market is managed


effectively. Are you accusing energy companies of profiteering? EU I am


accusing them of overcharging and not passing on wholesale reduction


costs to the customer in a fair way. Of making Carter -- cartel profits?


I do believe that the level of profits they have passed on to their


shareholders is high, compared to the reductions they could have


provided to consumers. Let's look at the evidence for that. Here are the


British owned companies, SSE and Centrica. In the last fiscal year


they made combined earnings of £4 billion. But they invested £3


billion. The remaining money went to debt servicing and paying dividends,


which go into pension funds. Where in these figures is the


profiteering? My figures that I got through their reporting to Ofgem and


work done by other organisations, Witch and others, it shows that in


Centrica's case they have something like 8% return in profit margins on


the retail side. That goes up to 24% on the generation side. They have


passed on, in terms of profits, something I70 4% through evidence to


shareholders. But these figures don't show that. They have invested


£3 billion. I am reporting what has been reported by Ofgem. Ofgem has


not accused them of property in. They may well be, but we don't have


the evidence. I would accuse Ofgem of not doing the job they should be


doing, and they have held back from tackling the issue. It is


acknowledged, across the sector, across the big six, something like


50% of profits has gone over to dividends to shareholders. In


Centrica's case it is 74%. On the Centrica example, even though they


have had the highest profit margins, they have invested the least. It is


fair to question. We are running out they have invested the least. It is


of time. None of us really know what the true price of energy is that is


Labour's policy to reform his crucial. That is because he merged


the market and we can't tell the difference. If they continue putting


prices up, even after your price freeze, if they don't invest in a


way that they do, do you rule out wholesale nationalisation?


Absolutely. I want a more competitive market and that is why


we are resetting it. You are watching Sunday Politics. Coming up


in just over 20 minutes I will be looking at the week ahead with our


political panel and Hello, and welcome to the programme.


Some more instalment is in crisis, others passed it off as pure drama.


The Prime Minister warned of difficulties but insisted there was


no power-sharing crisis. We will hear life from the Secretary of


State, who is at the Tory party conference in Manchester.


Could people on this side of the border be offered a chance to vote


Could people on this side of the in Irish presidential elections? The


body set up to recommend changes to in Irish presidential elections? The


the Republic's condition votes on the issue.


I am joined by the Belfast Telegraph's political editor, Liam


Clarke, and the editor of the Irish News, Noel Doran.


As Tories gather in Manchester for their annual conference this


weekend, the party has rejected Labour claims that the Secretary of


State Theresa Villiers is taking a semi detached approach to tackling


State Theresa Villiers is taking a serious issues here. On Friday, Eva


Taman sidestepped any suggestion he might have to intervene in the Haas


talks. -- David Cameron sidestepped. You spoke to the Prime Minister in


Downing Street at the end of last week. He says there is no crisis,


but what is the mood among delegates in Manchester today? A despair to


say Northern Ireland is not the talking point. People are talking


about the economy and the announcement relating to housing,


and welfare reform. It is not as high up on the agenda as it used to


be. David Cameron said he does not think Stormont is in crisis. He said


he is not going to intervene every five minutes. To find out if that


analysis is shared by the Secretary of State, I am joined by Theresa


Villiers. The Prime Minister says there is not a crisis at Stormont,


ie in danger of underplaying it? Clearly, we have a mandatory five


party coalition. There will be times when they do not agree with each


other. That is a fact of life in any coalition. We know that in the


Conservatives. I have had a very constructive meeting. There is


important work going on in relation to the economic package. It is the


case that there is work going on. There is always a need for closer


cooperation and more progress and I will continue to press the case with


all parties. The Labour Party say you should be more involved. Do you


accept there is a danger you could be seen as semidetached? I do not


accept that criticism. The Prime Minister and I have been very


involved in the economic package, the G8, and the investment


conference coming up. We believe passionately in rebalancing the


economy in Northern Ireland and being on the side of hard-working


people. That is why we have reduced income tax for many of them, why we


have frozen fuel duty, and why are devastated and plan is aimed at


boosting the Northern Ireland economy and helping people with


household bills by keeping mortgages low. I have talked to every


political party about the Haas process. That is why we are


encouraging the First and Deputy First Minister to get this started


in the first place and take hold of First Minister to get this started


the important issues. What happens if you do not meet the deadline for


the talks at Christmas? We should have faith in the process as it


starts. We should not be looking at failure before it has even kicked


off. I think Richard Haass is an impressive individual and the


reality is, Northern Ireland's political leadership have


demonstrated the ability to resolve difficult problems and have


demonstrated an ability to make progress and they have transformed


life in Northern Ireland. I believe they are capable of resolving these


questions. On the three areas, flags, parading on the past, which


of those steel think you could get agreement on most quickly? -- which


of those do you think. Flags and parading are easier to build


consensus on than the past. It is well worth pushing forward fresh


thinking on all three issues. This week at the conference you are


talking about doing things for hard-working people. What of those


measures will apply to Northern Ireland and will there be special


measures? A number of the measures are crucial - fixing public finances


is the only way to rebalance the economy and boost the private sector


in Northern Ireland. We are also helping with the cost of living,


which is a big issue for many in Northern Ireland. That is why we


have reduced income tax and fuel duty. We are also focusing on


drawing in investment into Northern Ireland. That is why the Prime


Minister will be back in Northern Ireland in a few days for a global


Minister will be back in Northern investment conference, which is


Minister will be back in Northern making the most of the fantastically


successful G8 which was in Northern Ireland. What happens if Stormont


successful G8 which was in Northern does not meet its welfare reform


deadline? If Stormont decides they are not going to implement welfare


reform, that does leave them with a bill rising to around 60 million a


year. It is a very big decision to break with parity, so I hope they


will recognise that we have worked hard to give them the flexibility


that Nelson McCausland asked for. We understand the concerns about


welfare reform and we are convinced reforms are the right way forward


and we hope the Executive feel the same.


Back to Belfast. Let's hear the same.


thoughts of my studio guests, the Irish News editor Noel Doran and


Liam Clarke, the political editor of the Belfast Telegraph. Noel Doran,


no surprise that the Secretary of State would say she has every


confidence that Northern Ireland's politicians are capable of coming to


a resolution of the issues in Richard Haass's talks. Do you think


she feels she has to say that order she believe it? We have not seen


much of her in recent times. I she believe it? We have not seen


suppose she would say that. We are in difficulties. There are tensions


and relationships have been declining. Not so much of the last


week or two, but last August and the latter confronting the Parades


Commission which was not signed by Peter Robinson. A second draft


emerged and that change the climate completely. You could argue that the


Secretary of State is caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one


hand, she cannot interfere in the Richard Haass talks and on the other


hand she is accused of being semidetached? I think this is


merited. Both are First and Deputy First Minister have not been seen


together much and for her to grab the wheel while there is a moment of


difficulty would undermine the institutions and the chance of


getting a solution. She has to hold back. If things get really bad,


people expect the Irish and British back. If things get really bad,


government to intervene and you have got to keep the pressure on local


players to do more. Interesting turn of phrase on flags and parades. She


said they are two areas more susceptible to building consensus


than the past. It is interesting. These are the issues that have


tended to drag us down not over just the last year but many years.


Obviously it is possible to come up with solutions but it has proved


impossible in recent times. The thing is getting worse. It will take


a fair bit of negotiating to get out of the tangle of parades and flags.


Are we just aiming for a resolution of two of the three key areas, is


that where we have lowered our sites? I think it is. There was a


hope that Richard Haass would suggest a consultation on the past.


There is optimism on parading, because it was agreed between people


in 2010. We cannot have the Orange Order are saying that is a start for


negotiations. If we can get that sort, because the drugs is dying


every year. Having had a crisis in the past week? The crisis reference


came from Gerry Kelly, who tends to find himself on the front line in


circumstances you would not necessarily find Martin McGuinness.


If we saw Martin McGuinness saying things like that we might be


entitled to be more worried. There is no doubt that the relationship


between Sinn Fein and the DUP has to climb. You think that -- do you


think that Sinn Fein need to reflect on Castlederg? Yes. I do not think


it is a crisis and I do not think either party needs to pull out of


government, but there is no doubt it is harder for them to get business


done and there is the potential for more obstruction later on. Moth


emulator. -- more from you later. Now, 60


Seconds. The week got off to a fiery start


with a wry between the First Minister and Jim Allister. The


member as the executor of a will is selling land to republicans in


County Fermanagh to benefit his own family. That is fair game as a


politician but my wife is not in politics. John O'Dowd says Sinn Fein


politician but my wife is not in may reconsider republican


commemorations. Lord Mara's human trafficking bill took a step closer


to becoming law. -- Lord Morrow. We can help some of the most


vulnerable men, women and children, who come to our province.


The Prime Minister says power-sharing is working. They work


hard at their relationship and they are doing the right thing by


governing together. I would not call it that, but there are is more to


come. -- but there is.


People on this side of the border could soon be offered the chance to


People on this side of the border vote in Ireland's presidential


elections. It is part of a possible reform of the law in the public


which is primarily aimed at allowing emigrants to vote for the head of


the state, but would also allow people in the north to cast a


ballot. With me, Alastair Ross and Barry McElduff. Why is this only an


issue? It is not suddenly an issue. Since 2011 there has been an


independent campaign, one vote, one voice. Even predating that, it is an


issue for nationalists in the North. They want more meaningful expression


of our constitutional right to our Irishness. Why is it an issue now?


of our constitutional right to our It is in the Good Friday Agreement


ad in the Constitution that we have a birth rate entitlement to an Irish


national identity. It is in the Good Friday Agreement. Which was 1998.


There has been a quiet campaign, and it came to light more following on


from the presidency of Mary McAleese. It is a huge irony that I


might resort to GAA talk now. Not of the footballers in 2003 had a vote


at Croke Park, and Mary McAleese did not have a vote. We want meaningful


expression. Is it also partly to do with the fact that Martin McGuinness


expression. Is it also partly to do might have won in 2011 if he had had


northern votes? There is northern interest but it is not confined to


the nationalist and republican community. During Mary McAleese's


presidency, I was a regular visitor to the presidential house. People


from all sides wanted to be part of those delegations. But would you


want people to vote in the South's presidential elections? The Irish


president is the president of the Republic of Ireland has no


jurisdiction over Northern Ireland. Distinction has been made and the


office of the president has been a force for good, and I would not want


there to be a backward step. You would not want to give the


impression that the President has jurisdiction over Northern Ireland.


But surely people who want to vote would have the right to do so? It


would give the didymus the to the idea of having control over all of


Ireland. -- it would give legitimacy. There are citizens in


Northern Ireland who do not pay taxes in the Republic, have no stake


in the outcome of the elections, who taxes in the Republic, have no stake


do not live there, potentially having a say in the outcome of the


election. But that happens all over the world, where expats are allowed


to vote in presidential elections. If you get their way, somebody


living in London or America with an Irish passport could vote but


someone in Belfast could not. That Irish passport could vote but


is not true, there is not an absolute right. If you live in


America or Australia or somewhere for 15 years, you would not be able


to vote in a UK election. You could have somebody living in Australia or


America for the last 30 years who have no stake in what is happening


here. The fact that they do not pay taxes would suggest that to me and I


think people in the Republic would feel at. He is being perfectly


reasonable when he says it is a step too far. It is not too far, it is


hugely symbolic. It is for Alastair Ross! I would suggest there is a


strong interest in the Protestant community, and certainly in the


nationalist community, about wanting to access voting rights in respect


of a presidential election. You think unionists and the North want


to vote in -- in the North want to vote in the Irish presidential


election? Where is your evidence? Mary McAleese opened up the doors,


even on the 12th of July, two orange groups who might want to avail of


the premises. -- to Orange Order groups. There is a significant


interest in my part of world. I brought down a group of 49 mothers


of autistic children. It is good to give meaningful expression to the


Good Friday Agreement. You think give meaningful expression to the


there are unionists in the North who want to vote in the Irish


presidential election, who are they? I have attended meetings of the one


vote, one voice campaign, which is non-party aligned, and there were


members of the Protestant unionist community there. Often people are


ahead of their politicians. Well, there you are. I have never met any


of them. Barry McElduff has a better ear to the ground with grassroots


unionism than you have. Well, my door is open to anyone who is


interested in this. The surveys door is open to anyone who is


lately would indicate that people are content with the constitutional


position and do not take that much interest in politics down south.


Under the Good Friday Agreement you are entitled to dual citizenship,


and if you live in the north you are entitled to have a say in the Irish


nation, if you wish to express it. entitled to have a say in the Irish


That is fair enough about me well be what happens. This debate would


indicate that we do not have a right. It comes back to this point,


do individuals living in Northern Ireland who do not contribute to the


Republic of Ireland economy with taxation, who do not have to live


with the consequences of the vote, should they have to live with the


outcome of a vote that is not affect them? That is a key issue which is


very important to ordinary citizens. I think this position is regressive.


You said that other states and countries have this approach. In the


French presidential election last year, almost 1 million people beyond


the French state voted in apprentice presidential election. There are


certain people who see this as a bit of a Trojan horse, this is the thin


end of the wedge. You have got to be sensitive to that. It is about


rights, and rights threaten no one. If Alistair did not want to avail of


that it is his choice. But it could change people's notion of the status


of Northern Ireland and its relationship to the Republic. Jana


Mac President Michael D Higgins said he was a president for all of the


Irish people, North and South, and for the wider diaspora. I do not


think he is threatening. He is not the president for all of the people


of Northern Ireland. His jurisdiction has been over the Irish


Republic. I think relationships have been good and I would not want to


jeopardise that. The Alliance Party took part in one vote, one voice.


The Alliance Party might be divided. It will be interesting to hear what


people say and to see what the result of the vote is when it


happens later on today. A final word from our commentators.


Do you think it is a burning issue, A final word from our commentators.


are there are a lot of people in Northern Ireland who would like to


avail of the opportunity to vote in an Irish presidential election? It


is difficult enough to get them to vote in Northern Ireland! If they


voted it would be on local issues. Research says 67% of Catholics would


vote Sinn Fein. If Protestants are unionists vote against Sinn Fein,


there is not an engagement with Southern political issues. There


could well be resentment in the south of northerners had the vote


and a factor that. I think there is a petition list attitude with Barry


McElduff. There are always problems but it would be a fascinating


prospect. I watched Michael D Higgins yesterday, he is a


tremendously popular and revered figure. In terms of the impact on


the southern electorate, Martin McGuinness was half a million votes


behind Michael D Higgins. If the Sinn Fein electoral machine had


delivered, Martin McGuinness would still have been third. I think some


northern nationalists would not have voted for Michael D Higgins anyway.


I think it is a fascinating prospect and has happened in other countries


and the debate is eight report -- an important one. One last issue,


Daniel Libeskind, responsible for the Maze-Long Kesh project, said he


believes this by Peter Robinson's intervention that the project will


happen. That is an interesting contribution at this time? It was a


loss of nerve on the part of the DUP. Peter Robinson said it would


not be a shrine to terrorism but he said he was finding that unionist


victims group 's did not accept his argument. -- unionist victims'


groups. Why would the son of a Holocaust victim want to build a


shrine to terrorism? Yes, that needs to be taken seriously. I am not sure


that everyone is enthusiastic about the project, but I think Sinn Fein


believed they had a deal with Peter Robinson and when


and Emily Thornberry. Back to you, Andrew.


So, we'll David Cameron's marriage tax break win over voters? How will


So, we'll David Cameron's marriage the Tories react to Ed Miliband's


conference initiatives? And what is UKIP leader Nigel FarageFarage up to


with the Tories in Manchester? Joining us now is UKIP's Diane


James. She came second in the easterly by-election.


On this business of a possible Tory- UKIP pact, in a general election,


let's see what David Cameron had to say about that earlier. I am not


looking for a packed. I think we need to give people a clear choice


at the general election. The British economy has turned a corner. We are


on the right track, we are seeing more jobs, new businesses, we are


beginning to get things moving again. Do you want to stick with us,


delivering an economy for hard-working people, or do you want


to put it at risk with Ed Miliband hard-working people, or do you want


and his crazy plans to tax business out of existence? That was the Prime


Minister on the Sunday Politics. Is there any appetite on the UKIP side


for a pact? In my experience, discussions around the country, I


would say no. It's being discussed, then? EU no. It has not come up. It


is the media that is pushing this. It has reflected what has happened


with the parties since the conference season began. Labour are


trying to reclaim what I would call the traditionalist socialist


position. I'm not sure what the Liberal Democrats or two, but the


Conservatives are trying to react to the threat that UKIP represents.


There is this element, the accusation they are lurching more to


the right, which the media wants to interpret as them possibly being


able to do some sort of pact with UKIP. Have you given any thought to


what shape it would take? Not whatsoever. It is not on the radar.


I have read comments, including individual such as Douglas


Carswell, the Eurosceptics, that they might form a potential, let's


call it, you know, cabinet. If there were UKIP members, I don't doubt


that Nigel Farage would be one of them. But I would reiterate it is


not discussions that are taking place. I am thinking more of an


electoral pact, not a coalition. I have responded to that by saying,


the moment, there are no ongoing discussions. There is certainly


nothing that has been discussed at a constituency level or coming out of


the national executive. You don't believe any constituencies are


discussing this with Tory Eurosceptics? I am not privy to what


all 360 constituencies might be discussing. All I can do is give you


the example of the few I have seen and know it is not on the agenda.


Without a pact, it is perfectly possible that you could fail to win


a single seat at the next election, but put Ed Miliband into Downing


Street? Categorically not. There are a number of seats out there that are


very clear marginals, just like Eddy Izzard was. I believe there could be


an MP -- just like Eastleigh was. If you take enough votes away from the


Tories, if you make sure that Labour wins? I will go back to the comment


I made. If you take Eastleigh as an example, a Liberal Democrat held


seat, even after that result, does not mean that UKIP is suddenly going


to be focusing on Tory seats. We are out there because people resonate


with our message. For the Liberal Democrats to make it abundantly


clear that they will not support a referendum, that they will not


support any discussion on leaving the queue, that could be a big


turn-off for voters. David Cameron says there is not going to be a


pact, Diane James says there is not going to be one. There might be one


or at a constituency level. But it seems clear to me that there will


not be a national one. So, does David Cameron have a UKIP strategy?


The only encouraging thing for UKIP's successful David Cameron is


that their support is so enormous UKIP's successful David Cameron is


that the moment that he would only really need to win back maybe a


third or a quarter of its to make a decisive difference to the Tory


share of the vote in 2015. The question becomes, how much of that


UKIP support is up for grabs? A poll last week suggested that 47% of


current UKIP voters would consider voting Tory if it meant preventing


Ed Miliband becoming Prime Minister. That number goes up to 57% against


the backdrop of an economic recovery. So, plausibly, there is


quite a lot to play with. The secondary question is, what does


David Cameron do to win over those people? He has tried a Europe will


referendum and it didn't work. He tried travelling up his immigration


policy and that didn't work. I wonder if it is time. You wait until


the run-up to 2015, when they start to focus on the explicit choice


between Ed Miliband and David Cameron, and that is what shifts a


lot of UKIP support to David Cameron. We heard from William Hague


earlier in the programme, the Tory line is that if you vote UKIP you


could end up with Ed Miliband in Downing Street. That is the simple


appeal, isn't it? Yes, and I think Diane is right, I think the European


elections will show a good showing for UKIP. It is deemed the one where


you can play away. I think it will be hard for people to get excited


about that, I think that bounce will fade away. In Eastleigh, they had a


good ground game, that is difficult for UKIP, that don't have that


machinery sorted. How are they going to fund that operation? But the UKIP


bounce could fade away after the European elections. Even if they go


down to 6% or 8% in a general election, they are still immensely


dangerous to the Conservative Party. But there is really only two things


David Cameron can do. One is to be boring and talk about helping people


with their mortgage, helping with bread and butter issues. The second


thing is, those European actions, he tends to the natural Conservative


voters and says, you have had your fun, next year do you want me or Ed


Miliband us your prime and? The real danger with David Cameron is saying,


of course, there is not going to be a pact, the danger is you will get a


repeat of the 1977 election. John Major said, famously, do not bind my


hands. A series of Conservative candidates said they would


personally rule out membership of the euro, when the Conservative


membership was wait and see. That looked like a Prime Minister not in


charge of his party. The danger is you will get a repeat of that


amongst Conservative candidates. Let's assume you do really well in


the European actions and there is a widespread expectation that you


will, even in Downing Street. They might be managing expectations. What


stops you fading away as the general election approaches? A number of


reasons. As has been mentioned, the whole issue of the referendum pledge


has been proved to be an absolute nonsense. It is so contingent on if


I am re-elected, if it's not a coalition government, is, if, if.


That was fooled nobody. The issue of where voters are coming from, it is


because they have lost faith in what David Cameron says. There is nothing


he is going to say that is convince them to give him another chance. I


think that is my view and the view of a lot of UKIP. I am told that


they have expunged Nigel Farage from the fringes? It is a great scoop, on


the front page. They are outside the ring of steel. Even so, they won't


include him in the conference programme, so they must be worried


about something. His people have paid money for adverts in the Tory


brochure and his name has been taken out. Speaking of people the Tory


brochure and his name has been taken leadership is worried about, Boris


Johnson, are we in any doubt as a result of his Financial Times


interview that he is now beginning his long march back to Parliament?


He does express feeling slightly sad during the Syria debate that he was


not there, on the political front line to participate. I still do not


see why it is in his interest is to move before 2015. No, I don't think


he will move before, I think he is sending a signal to the existing


Tories in the Commons that when Call Me Dave goes, I will be back? He has


the Vince Cable problem, if you say the same thing too many times,


people get bored and factor it in. The interesting thing is him saying


that people have seven years before the electorate get bored of them. He


might be cresting that. He doesn't want to be Prime Minister, he is


much more ambitious than that. He wants to be an emperor. He was


asked, which Roman emperor would you like to be compared to? You said,


Augustus, the first and most important. I don't think you are


thinking big enough. See what I have to put up with, every Sunday? By


virtue of being born in the US, he could be president. Unlike Arnold


Schwarzenegger. How about a deal with Boris? He has made no secret,


after Eastleigh, that he would be open to a discussion. Let's call it


no more than a discussion. He has been adamant, however, he does not


see any reason, any justification or any opportunity where he would be


able to have that discourse with any opportunity where he would be


David Cameron. Maybe it comes down to that on both sides. I've no idea.


We know that the Tories will be even more Eurosceptic after the next


election? I can't imagine David Cameron's successor will be somebody


that supports EU membership in principle. If you look at the


ideological direction of the party. The leadership contest will be about


2018. If you are standing, when David Cameron renegotiate our


membership, are you going to say David Cameron renegotiate our


this is a great deal for Britain because the Prime Minister has


turned to leave rapid change two words in the working Time directive,


turned to leave rapid change two or are you going to become a leader


by saying, I want out? What would be a good conference for David Cameron


this week? A decent poll bounce. Ed Miliband have a good one. An


eye-catching announcement related to living standards. May be a clearer


line on energy prices? That would certainly help, that fightback has


been rubbish so far. The thing we should be looking out for are not


the polls immediately after, but the ones about the end of October, when


everything gets to settle down and then we will see what happens. In a


word, what is Nigel Farage out to get at the Tory conference? What is


he doing, other than mischief? I could almost say revenge. Revenge on


Mr Cameron? Yes. You know? Lord Ashcroft was there at the Labour


conference, let's put it into conference. You call it mischief,


but there is every reason why he should be there. We all call it


mischief. Thanks for being with us. Join me on Daily Politics for live


coverage of the Conservative Party conference tomorrow morning from


11:30 on BBC Two. We will bring you George Osborne's speech live and


uninterrupted. I'll be back next weekend when guests will include


former Conservative Chancellor Kenneth Clarke. Remember, if it is


Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.


Download Subtitles