01/11/2015 Sunday Politics Scotland


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer are joined by shadow home office minister Keir Starmer and Conservative MPs David Davis and Philip Davies.

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Coming up on Sunday Politics Scotland:


Kezia Dugdale makes a pitch to reclaim progressive policies with


a pledge Labour will use tax and welfare powers to restore tax


cuts to tax credits finally came to a head last week with a defeat


in the Lords and serious dissent among Tory MPs in the Commons.


George Osborne has gone back to the drawing board on tax credits


and promised to "deal with" the House of Lords, whose actions


The Prime Minister set up a review of the Lord's powers.


That review is being headed by hereditary Tory peer


He had agreed to do an interview with us this morning but 10


Downing Street phoned us yesterday to pull him from the show.


We think the government does not want us to talk about tax credits,


so let's talk about tax credits. Janan, will the Chancellor now get


away with some fine tuning, with some tweaking, or does he have to


start from scratch? Even the tweaking is very difficult. It is


technically difficult to reform the policy while simultaneously helping


people who stand to lose out. It is fiscally difficult because the


current policy saves about ?4 billion, a third of the ?12 billion


he pledged to fine from welfare. There is no managerial way of doing


it. What could be done is either projecting, or hoping for


projections of higher tax receipts so he has to cut less. The deficit


is not as bad. Or move the target for getting rid of the deficit and


achieving the surplus year later. It is a much more fundamental solution.


It was only a few months ago the Tory press thought Mr Osborne walked


on water. His reputation has taken a real battering from this. In a very


short time, three weeks since the Tory party conference when they


walked out in a state of Triumph and euphoria. This budget looks like


another omnishambles and considerably more serious. Last time


it was funny with pasty taxes. This time, can he really drive through


all these cuts? At the moment he is trying to put imposed 40% cuts which


are undoable, like local government. This is only the first of many more


that will come, this undertaking. Ministers will cave in and accept


the cuts, but their departments will fall apart and they will rebel.


Against a weaker Chancellor. Yes. As Janan says, there is no tweaking


available. He gives back exactly the same amount of money he takes away,


or these hard-working people will be out of pocket. What do you hear


about what might be in the pipeline? We have got the Autumn


Statement and a comprehensive review, a three-year rolling


spending plan. It is on the last Wednesday of this month and now we


are in November, what is he up to? He is going to pony up and pony up


megabucks thanks to Rupert Harrison, his former economics


adviser and he devised the deficit reduction plan in the last


Parliament and the plan to target the surplus in this Parliament. It


sounds really hard line, there is no change from plan A, but it always


has written into it plan B and planned sea. He has delayed by one


year the targeting of the surplus and he could delay it by a further


year and still reach it by the time of the general election. Or he could


say because the OBE I will revise down economic growth forecasts by


the time of the Autumn Statement, the 10 billion he is meant to


achieve by 2019-2020, that could come down. The Chancellor is in a


hole and he is not stupid and he is going to get out of it and he is


going to spend a lot of money, but he will sound hard line by duffing


up the House of Lords. Do we take it seriously, the duffing up of the


House of Lords to reflect from the tax credits strimmer? Strimmer,


rumpus, whatever you want to call it. There was a lot of talk about


them stuffing the Lords... With Tory peers? Which ended badly the last


time it happened about 100 years ago. I cannot believe they will do


anything as provocative as that, but if he wired House of Lords another


incident like this and you make the argument for your own abolition.


There is a good argument for reform and abolition. I do not see why the


Lords should not do this as often as they want as long as the government


refuses to have a democratic debate. Willie Whitelaw is not of the most


ferocious people in the entire political system. We could have put


him through the fire this morning, but at least we did not talk about


Now, how far should the security services be able to spy


This week the Government will publish draft legislation to create


new powers and a new framework for the security services as they adapt


to the ever-growing challenges of digital communications being used by


the bad guys - terrorists, criminals,


paedophiles. But is there still a danger the privacy of innocent


Joe public gets gets violated as the power to intrude is extended?


There is not one person at MI6 who is not talking about it.


What, the upcoming draft Investigatory Powers Bill?


Sadly, my invite to the premiere of the new film got lost in the post,


In the new Bond film in which he drives this, one of the themes is


surveillance in the Internet age, and Westminster is revving up


for a potential row about how much the police and intelligence agencies


Because in the Goldfinger years of the '60s, it was easy to spy


on the villains, tail their Rolls or tap their phone.


Now, in the Daniel Craig era, the spooks need new weapons to track


One source told me that the work at places like the listening post


GCHQ has shifted from looking for a needle in a haystack to finding a


piece of hay in a haystack, and so a big question will be, how does the


goverment handle what is called bulk data? In other words,


looking at everyone's web activity to isolate the dodgy stuff.


Not something to worry about, say security types.


They are not interested in whether Lord West is having


They do not care, they do not look at that.


What they want to know is, am I talking to a bomb maker in the


Yemen who is talking to someone who they know has carried out an attack


in the Middle East before, who is talking to some American group that


we know are terrorists, that is talking to some people


When they get all these linkages, they hone it down and hone it down,


they use big data in the sense they use other techniques to refine it,


then they will say, this is extremely worrying, there is


something going on and then they will say, we want to go and look


at the detail of what is in these e-mails, or on social media.


But it scares the living daylights out of


The big issue for her, whether judges get to be involved.


At the moment, if someone wants to tap your telephone,


it is the Foreign Secretary or the Home Secretary who decides.


Normally in democracies we think there is a role for the judiciary in


This has not happened in the UK compared to the US or elsewhere


We also need to look to see the extent to which the security


agencies seek more power, do they want the power to hack our


Something that was considered outrageous when journalists did it,


is it now going to be OK for the spooks?


When the last Bond film came out three years ago, Parliament was


fighting over the so-called snoopers' charter, which would have


compelled Internet companies to keep and hand over a lot of our data.


It was thrown out when Nick Clegg played the role of Dr No


A security minded Conservative told me this could be another car crash,


because there are enough Tory MPs worried about civil liberties that


the government will need Labour support in the Commons,


So, will your browsing history remain for Your Eyes Only,


do you trust Her Majesty's Secret Service, or are the worriers just


Stay tuned for Theresa May's new legislation, coming soon.


Hopefully they do not ban bad James Bond puns.


Well, James Bond puns are unlikely to be outlawed but on the


Andrew Marr Show this morning the Home Secretary, Theresa May,


did confirm that internet service providers would have to keep


She was also asked about whether judges would need to


As I say, the three reviews came up with three


David Anderson was clear that he thought, partly


in relation to future proofing on future legislation, future legal


challenges, perhaps, judicial authorisation was the right way.


The parliamentary committee, the intelligence and security committee


of Parliament, said there should be executive authorisation, i.e.


the Secretary of State should still do it because


We have looked at all of those arguments and listened to what


people have said, and we will be bringing forward the government's


position on Wednesday, but as I say, I am very clear that what we will


bring forward has very strong oversight arrangements.


We're joined now by the Shadow Home Office Minister and former Director


of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer.


Welcome, this is the first time we have had due on. It is. As a general


principle do you support stronger have had due on. It is. As a general


powers for the intelligence services in accessing digital data? There is


a case for a new law. We have been patching up for a very long time,


the law is out of date. It is very important we have no go areas for


those involved in serious offending like terrorism and child sexual


abuse. And organised crime. And organised crime and when I was DPP


we rarely prosecuted without relying on data and this is important for


protecting the public. Is judicial as opposed to ministerial approval


of warrants to be able to do this, is that a red line issue? It is. We


have the chance to have a modern, comprehensive law that sets out the


powers for law enforcement and the security services and at the same


time we have the chance, a historic chance, to get the safeguards


right. One of the safeguard is judicial authorisation of intercept


roles. There is a big difference between data and content. By content


you mean what are people actually saying to each other? That should be


signed off by a judge. That is what happens in other countries. That is


the real issue. In fairness, Theresa May has backed off from the original


plans and faced up to some of the criticism, but it is really a chance


now for all of us to agree a framework for the future that is on


the one hand giving the authorities the powers they need, but on the


other hand entrenching in law the right safeguards and judicial


oversight is important in that. We do not know exactly what she is


going to say, she has to tell Parliament first, but in the Sunday


Times there is the ideal of a 2 tier system that an initial warrant, for


example what is my browsing history? The initial one would be issued by


the Home Secretary, but if you want to get into the content of what is


in these websites and what I have been sending, that needs to be a


judge. That is one idea that has been mooted, what is your reaction


to that? I am not in favour of took your system. If you're going to go


for content, we should go to a judge straightaway. Roughly speaking,


there are about 2500 warrants per year for interceptions. That is a


very high number for a Home Secretary to deal with. In reality,


that means that a lot of the preparation is done by her team, for


her to look at. There is nothing wrong with that and I am not being


critical of the team, but it would be far better if it was done by a


judge, independent of any of the operations, independent from all the


parties. It is a classically judge test, is it necessary,


proportionate, focused on the right person? This is what is done in


other countries and this would settle this dispute and allow


everybody to move on, the consensus is important. This could be a


historic moment if the Home Secretary will allow it. She has


stepped in the right direction. If she completes on that by having the


right safeguards, that is a prize worth having. However, who would be


accountable if a judge refused a warrant, not a politician, what a


judge, and as a result, there was a terrorist attack? Who do we hold


accountable? One idea would be to have a panel of judges, a commission


of judges. There are many judges that are clear to do this sort of


work. Individual decisions have to be made. In the main, we hope the


decisions are right. We could not hold a judge accountable? If the


Home Secretary gets it wrong, she's accountable, she has to appear


before Parliament, come on television, it could be the end of


her job. The judge would be accountable? We have always had a


system of accountability with judges that relies on the right person


making the decision in the first place and after the event,


investigation and looking at the warrants that had been issued. That


system did continue. It is difficult, we are arguing in the


dark, but I do not accept the proposition that if you put it to an


independent judge that is a lesser safeguard than if you put it to the


Home Secretary. These are decisions about how privacy is too precious to


be left with the Home Secretary. It should be done by a judge. Within


these constraints, I take it you think that the Internet browsing


history of every computer net device should be kept by Internet providers


by 12 months? That is the position that David Anderson, the independent


reviewer, proposed. We will have to see what is in the bill, but it


needs to be as clearly can just rained -- clearly constrained as


possible for as short a time as possible. How much, who accesses it,


and what conditions, this is key. Your leader and deputy leader in the


Labour Party has been opposed to this type of legislation. Mr Corbyn


called previous attempts a massive intrusion into people's lives. What


do you say to him? It is a massive intrusion, any interception of


Communications is. The question is whether it is justified. I have


worked with the police, Lauren Forstmann and the security services


for five-year is, when I was Director of Public Prosecutions. I


know how important it is that we get access to the material we need to


get access to, not just in terrorist cases. As you say, you have been


director of public and is. How much more difficult would it have been


for you to get major convictions in serious cases without both the 2004


and 2006 terrorist acts which Mr Corbyn opposed? Very difficult. We


use them on a regular basis. I said that when I was in the job. I made


the case that we should not lose capability and I am not going to


change my mind. It is not just your leader or his deputy, many of the 22


Labour MPs who voted against this previous piece of legislation on


this subject area, they are the ones who nominated Mr Corbyn for Nader


and they are now in power is the position and influence in your


party. Do you see a serious split on this issue? I do not think so. I


think Jeremy Corbyn listens to colleagues in policy response to the


government. We will make a response when we have heard what the Home


Secretary has said. We should seize the opportunity for proper


safeguards. In fairness, in the past, Mr Corbyn and others were


emphasising the case for safeguards which they did not think were strong


enough. To clarify, I have been told that you have squared Mr Corbyn on


this. In your view, if it is proper judicial oversight, then Mr Corbyn


will go along with those measures? I would not use that expression but we


have had a discussion. There is clarity in agreement that proper


powers where they are needed, it is right to have proper safeguards. He


is with you on that? Uncompromising on the safeguards is the position we


should adopt, but do not stand in the way of the powers that are


necessary for law enforcement and the security services where they are


needed. You squared it, because you have got the agreement of the Labour


leader on that. That is the position on what we have agreed. As an Andy


Burnham biker in the election, how is Jeremy Corbyn doing, better or


worse than you expected? Jeremy Corbyn got a massive mandate to lead


the party. He has put together a broad team to lead the party. We are


developing policy in response to the government's programme. We have a


government at the moment that is extreme in the sense that it is


pushing through provisions furiously and fast that it odd to be holding


back and looking out to be scrutinised more carefully. I think


we are doing fairly well in this exercise. You are London MP. London


Labour got easily the most votes in the capital at the general election.


Many people say this is a Labour city by and large. If Labour does


not win the 2016 election for mayor, does that indicate that a general


election victory under Mr Corbyn is a long, tough stretch? Listen, this


time last year I was about to start a selection exercise to be selected


as Frank Dobson's replacement as Labour candidate. We were all


predicting what the general election would hold. I am not going to fall


into the trap of trying to work out what will happen in 2020. I will say


it is really important that Labour win that election. You need to win?


We need to win London, local elections and the general election


in 2020. It is an important test for Mr Corbyn, London? If you cannot win


London, how would you win the country? It is a test for all of us.


I accept that. We must win next year, the local election and the


general election. We should focus on that. You have said that Jeremy


Corbyn is not the Messiah. I do not think that came as a surprise even


to those who voted for him or even Jeremy Corbyn. Is he John the


Baptist? I said that Jeremy has broken or a space in which we could


have a discussion about the project for the future. We had been lacking


that. That space is there. Jeremy Corbyn is not the Messiah. He does


not have all the answers and if you touch on, you are not healed. I was


seeing, the heavy lifting for the future has to be done by all of us.


Keir Starmer, thank you. It has been awhile since somebody has led the


Labour Party with your name. Thank you.


Now, it's been a torrid few weeks for the government on the issue


of tax credits with senior Conservatives such as Boris Johnson


and David Willets expressing unease about the Chancellor's proposed


cuts, unease which turned into a pretty


frightful week for the inhabitants of 10 and 11 Downing Street.


Peers created a nightmare for the Chancellor by voting,


in the House of Lords, to delay tax credit cuts and to compensate


Later in the week, 20 Tory backbenchers, including Bernard


Jenkin, Heidi Allen and Jacob Rees-Mogg, also sent shivers up


Mr Osborne's spine when they backed a motion from Labour's Frank Field


calling on the government to mitigate


And there may have been sleepless nights for


the Prime Minister over at number 10, too, with the EU once more


He jetted off to Iceland where he courted controversy by appearing to


some to be scare-mongering about life outside the EU.


Mr Cameron had said the so-called "Norway option"


of having access to the EU single market but little say over EU rules


wrong for the UK and that he would "guard very strongly" against it.


Now there's trouble brewing for the government over the spooks',


Next week the government will unveil a draft Investigatory Powers Bill


which former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg described as


And we're joined now by the former Shadow Home Secretary, David Davis.


Welcome back to the Sunday Politics. If you go -- but judicial review,


would I do it for you? Almost, it is not judicial review, it is judicial


authorisation. I beg your pardon, authorisation of warrants by a


judge, not a politician. That is 90% of the way they are. We have too


much surveillance because they are not proper constraints or checks. If


we got back, I would largely lose interest in the area, because it is


no longer a real threat to our liberties. What about your attitude


towards what I was speaking about with Keir Starmer, because it was


briefed on from the Home Office, the 2-tier approach, an initial approach


to find out what websites I am looking at, that comes from the Home


Office, but to dig down to get into the content of what I have been


doing, that needs a judge? No. The best guidance on this is the


independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson, who


issued a strong report on this. He said it has got to be independent


and ideally overseen by the judiciary. It cannot be a policeman


in the office next door, it cannot be a spy in the office next door, or


the Home Secretary, it has to be independent. If you do that, you do


not need a 2 tier system, you have a uniform approach. Our politicians


not more accountable than judges? Any time I have asked a question of


any minister on a security matter, even what Lord did you do this


under, they never comment. There is no accountability. -- law. Look at


America. 9/11. There were clear errors in the handling of


intelligence. The head of the CIA went. Nobody paid a price for that.


They should not have done in my view, but they did not pay a price.


We take a very soft approach to this. Ministers are not really


accountable. If they were, and string questions in Parliament, it


would be different, but they are not. They may not be accountable


enough, but many people will think they are more accountable than


judges who have jobs for life. One minister said, judicial oversight of


interception warrants is a bad idea, he did not mean oversight, he meant


authorisation. If a bomb gets through because a judge refused to


sign a warrant, what will happen? There is a much better way of doing


it. Anderson points this out. Also, the other important report on this


points this out. You have a proper oversight procedure as well. It


backs up things. You have judges that do it, a single panel. They


look in retrospect? Yes, add everything that is done, before or


after any mistakes. They find them. The aim is to protect the public,


that is aim. At the moment the Home Secretary does about ten of these


warrants in a working day. It is impossible forward person to do


this. It is bad practice, bad managerially, bad legally and bad in


terms of counterterrorism. People who take your view of the quarter


are lies, Canada, Australia, the United States, New Zealand also of


judicial authorisation of warrants. I was looking at the figures, US


judges approved 99.6% of all warrants. In the end, it makes no


difference. The warrants are given. The warrants are given. The US


Judges have been pulled up on this, it has been tightened up. They have


somebody to put the other case which they did not have before. If you


have a decent system, you do not take a bad warrant. You do not go to


them with the expectation of being turned on, you make sure you have


the right person at the rate basis. The percentage does not tell you


much. If you do not get judicial authorisation, will you challenge


this bill in the courts as you did the last bill? No, because the last


one went through the Commons in the courts as you did the last bill? No,


because the last one went through the Commons on Wednesday it had not


been properly tested, so I thought, let's tested elsewhere. Parliament


is a better test than court if it is allowed to do the job. I do not


think this bill will get through the Commons or the House of Lords


without judicial authorisation. Even if the government comes out without


it this week, it will have to change again? There is a new consensus on


this across the board, across the experts, the Spriggs, the parties


and the Houses of Parliament. The Prime Minister consistently claims


that he rules nothing out in Europe, but is it not the case that by


rubbishing the Norwegian option as he did last week, it is clear he is


determined to stay" Mac -- to stay. He wants to get an outcome which


allows him to stay in. Attacking the Norwegian option is irrelevant.


Sure, he wants to be able to negotiate to stay in. But the EU is


in crisis. Many people on your side say it is such a crisis at the


moment that a British exit could be a catalyst for the whole demise of


the EU project. So why doesn't the Prime Minister make much tougher


demands as the price for staying in? It would be a catastrophe if Europe


was to lose us. He is caught in a conundrum. I broadly would agree


with that argument. He should make extremely tough demands. Tell the


British public it is a negotiation, you will not get everything, but we


will put the outcome to you. The problem is any failure to achieve a


complete success would be used as a weapon to beat him with and


therefore he will aim lower in the hope to gain 100% success. It is the


wrong analysis. The high We tried to get tough demands and


didn't get everything. We were outnumbered. 14 to one. Now it is 26


to one. 27 to one. Of course you don't get everything. Here, for the


very reason you say, Europe is no longer in a position, in a strong


position, its primary experiment, the bureau, is in a terrible state.


Therefore we have stronger argument. Isn't it inevitable, given


that, that when you finally get to know what the Prime Minister is


asking for in some detail, and we may get that by the time of the


summit in December, isn't it just the blunt truth that a huge chunk of


your party, maybe most of it, is going to be deeply disappointed by


the possibility of his demands? I don't think so. I think the truth of


the matter is that everybody has condition to the fact the demands


will be not the sort of substantive constitutional changes that some


others wanted. People are therefore beginning to shake the position to


the stance they take. One of the things about this, however, is that


there is the option of a referendum, they have that option to exercise


and they will try to get a resolution that way. That will


pacify the situation. Tax credits. Should Mr Osborne tweak his tax


credit plan to make it more acceptable? Or should he junk it and


go back to the drawing board? Two things. He needs to achieve a reform


in the tax credits process. It is just too expensive for what it


does. He also needs to achieve fiscal balance or better by 2020.


Those two things are absolute requirements, really. He doesn't


need to do it all ratio. That is the issue. I sponsored a debate on


Thursday in the Commons. It got amazing uniformity across the house.


What came out of that was a simple feeling of, look, whatever you do,


so long as it doesn't penalised the working poor, particularly the


dependence, then we will go with it. That is the criteria. That is more


than a tweak. A lot more. The simple truth is, look, if you are a single


parent working, raising two kids, you can lose up to ?2000. You can't


afford to lose a pound, actually. We will do more than a tweak, but


getting to the same place in 2020 is good enough. The financial markets


will actually accept that. They will say it's the end game that matters,


not the stages on the way. Thank you for being with us today.


We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now


Good morning and welcome to Sunday Politics Scotland.


Kezia Dugdale accuses the SNP of being too scared to set out what


they'll do with additional tax and welfare powers -


as she sets out new proposals on tax credits, education and the NHS.


By using both at the Scottish Labour in May, you are voting to use new


powers of the Scottish Parliament to restore the money lost through tax


credit cups. Do poorer students in Scotland have


fair access to university funding? We'll be asking the Education


Secretary, Angela Constance. Now, the Scottish Labour Party is


rounding off its conference in Perth with a debate about Trident nuclear


weapons - we'll know the result Kezia Dugdale, the new leader,


used her speech yesterday to announce plans to stop cuts


in tax credit and give funds to The strategy is pretty obvious -


to challenge the SNP's claim to be I'm joined from the conference


in Perth by I got the impression that they were


all a bit gloomy earlier in the weekend. Has Kezia Dugdale banished


to cheer them up? I think she has. -- managed. They are having an


authentic debate right now, taking place on Trident, it has added to


that. There was a round of applause when it was suggested that it was a


good thing that there were open decisions. It is the most lively


conference debate I've seen for a long time. It was like the debate


held in the same hall about whether the SNP would commit an independent


Scotland to join Nato or not. A series of elements to the debate.


There is the majority -- morality. There is the cost, associated with


it. There is also the question of the jobs and, as well as patients


pieces -- speeches against Trident, there are also speeches in favour of


jobs. They are covering bases, talk of defence diversification was


simply a fairy tale jobs. Against that, you have had two arguments.


One, the cost is unsustainable and could be better used in other ways,


and two, regardless of the cost, regardless of the jobs, it was just


morally wrong to have that nuclear deterrent. The politics of this, I


presumably they are trying to give themselves up to campaign in the


elections next year. One imagines a lot of new people coming into the


Labour Party are fed up of going out in the streets and don't want to go


out and campus if they are being taunted by nuclear weapons by the


SNP. That is an issue, certainly with the tax credits thing you


mentioned earlier. It is an issue with Trident, however much they


adopt, and I think they will vote for an anti-temp one -- for


anti-Trident. I expect it will take a position against Trident. What


about the wider UK party? This is a Westminster decision, decision will


be made in the House of Commons as to whether to read -- to renew


Trident or not. Two views. One saying the position here is futile,


that the UK party will decide anyway. No, you heard argument that


a vote here could be a lever for the wider UK party to say that the bomb


should be banned entirely. You are right, it fits into a wider debate


about the nature of the Scottish Labour Party and its fair and we


have been looking at that and looking at the current condition of


the Labour Party at this conference. Here is a report of that from my


colleague. This week, Labour supporters have


been reflecting on a giant of their movement. The great founder of the


Scottish Labour Party... It is now 100 years since the Scots socialist


campaigner who became the UK's first Labour MP. This weekend, a Scottish


Labour conference paid its respect from lines from some of its


best-known speeches. Socialism implies the inherent equality of all


human beings. The danger which comes from allowing men to grow rich and


permitting them to use their wealth to corrupt the press, to silence the


pulpit. I am an agitator. My work is consisted of trying to start up a


divine discontent with wrong. While Labour is was happy to talk about


the achievements of characters like Akira Hardy, the party also knows it


has to look to the future and not simply dwell on the glory days of


the past. The theme of this conference is about asking voters


who were turned away from Scottish Labour to have a fresh look at the


party. The problem is that the SNP is so massively popular right now


that that's challenge may prove insurmountable. Cue the fresh talent


to sort things out. Jeremy Corbyn is a left winger and as a socialist,


the new Labour leader was keen to draw on the hardy ethos to take


forward the Labour message. Our mission is the same as that which he


laid out just 21 years into our party's life, when he said the


movement would not rest until the sunshine of socialism and human


freedom break forth upon our land. But is this the right message? One


of Labour's big problems is the huge number of voters they have lost to


the SNP as the Nationalists have positioned themselves as the real


party of working people. Why are some determined to stick with


Scottish Labour? I have never liked SNP, I don't think Scotland would be


able to go on its own. I'd rather have the United Kingdom than on our


own. Support the union, but I also supports devolution, as well. I


think the Scottish parliament should have more power, but it can't be


controlled by one party. Labour presents me better opportunities for


myself going forwards and the country going forwards. With all the


troubles we are facing, the SNP doesn't seem to have the best record


at the moment on something. Getting voters back to Labour is the key


challenge facing Scottish leader Kezia Dugdale. Her plan is to make


the party distinctly different from the SNP, especially where it comes


from new tax and wealth or power devolved to Holyrood. Before the UK


elections, our opponents said there was no difference between Labour and


Tories. I hope they can see that's difference now. A Labour government


introduced tax credits, a Tory government will cut them. At the


Scottish elections, if people ask what is the difference between a


Scottish Labour government and an SNP government, this is the


difference. A Scottish Labour government will restore the


much-needed tax credits and SNP, left to their own devices, will


leave those Tory cuts in place. As Labour draws a bit strategy for next


year's Scottish election, could the words of Hardy hinder rather than


help? You may have helped sow the seeds of labour, but it is one that


is now past his prime? Joining us now from


the conference is Ian Murray MP. He is Scotland's only remaining


Labour MP. On this tax credits business, can we be clear what it is


you are promising? Are you saying he will not implement any of the cuts


in either working tax credits or child tax credits? This comes from


the new powers in the Scotland Bill and the new powers allow the


Scottish Parliament to top up any reserve benefits, so what would


happen is we would take the losses that people have incurred through


the reduction in tax credits. We're not sure of the quantum of that's


because the House of Lords have forced the Chancellor this week to


go and look at mitigation measures, but if we take where we are today,


we would introduce a top up devolved power that would allow us to


mitigate the effects of that tax could change. All of them? That was


the bold thing that was announced by Kezia Dugdale yesterday. All of the


cuts? That was the emitter and that has been made. We're looking at that


and we have costed that I'm fully costed that on basis of the grid


position today. Obviously, we don't know, and we hope the Chancellor


will either scrap these changes or he will listen to the House of Lords


and put in place the mitigation of facts so that the poorest are not


white stuff. As we stand here today, before any of those mitigation


measures are put in place, we would restore the losses of the tax


credits to Scottish working families. If George Osborne goes


back in his Autumn Statement and says, I am going to change tax


thresholds, that will mitigate this, your policy would only be to use the


powers of the Scottish Government to make up for the losses? It might be


a lot less than it would be now. That is correct. The house of lords


on Monday voted to send the Chancellor and the House of Commons


a way to think again on these. It is said they would not approve the


strategy instrument to make changes to the tax credit system, unless the


Chancellor came back with mitigation measures for the poorest. This


policy has been costed and looked at on the basis of where we stand


today, but if the Chancellor goes back and our Shadow Chancellor has


said, if he comes back and says he will either cancel these or fully


mitigate the effects for the very poorest in society on the basis of


the tax credits, we will support him on that and that is the right thing


to do. If George Osborne does what Jeremy Corbyn and John -- John


McConnell had fast integer, which is to make sure nobody misses out, the


new policy disappears? We would be delighted if the Chancellor came


back and didn't hit the quarter of a million families in Scotland with


these working tax credit cuts. These are people who are in work,


Conservative backbenchers are uncomfortable, the House of Lords


spoke very loudly on Monday night to see it was unexpected bull. This --


unacceptable. There are people in work, doing the right thing, doing


everything that is asked of them. The previous Labour government


brought these tax credits in to make sure that people were not in a


benefit trap. People getting up, doing the right thing, preparing for


the families unable to progress to the work system. He mitigates any of


those troubles with regards to people not losing out, we will


support him, and I think we would all rejoice in the fact that the


poorest and most honourable in society are not paying for the backs


of what happened in the economy eight years ago. You say this is


fully costed by yourselves, what is your estimate of the cost of this?


The estimated cost by 2021 is ?440 million per year as we sit here


today. We have taken the figures from Scottish reports. They want to


cut air passenger duty with new powers in the Scotland Bill and then


ultimately scrap it. That is 250 million per year up until the end of


this Parliament. We wouldn't implement, because we get in contact


powers, the upper threshold for income tax rising from 43,000 up to


50,000 that the Chancellor has already put in place. Those are


already clear in the red book that accompanies the Budget. When John


Swinney said to his party conference, that he couldn't stop


the cuts in tax credits, and he said the full effects of Iain Duncan


Smith's welfare reforms were about ?6 billion a year in Scotland, and


that he couldn't stop that happening, are you disputing his


figures? I would need to see where those figures have come from, but it


is pretty clear that the red book which is produced by Her Majesty's


Treasury and signed off by the Office for Budget Responsibility,


which is independent from government, has said that this in


Scotland would create ?440 million of people working on child tax


credits. We would restore that ?440 million by a combination of not


taking the air passenger duty cut and then taking -- not taking the


threshold increase for the upper rate tax payers. Not a penny of


additional tax should be paid by Scottish taxpayers with this


proposal. Presumably you would: Scottish Government to implement


this. I don't care who implements this. I don't care if the House of


Lords after defeat the government, or if George Osborne says he is


sorry and will reverse these. I don't care if he mitigates them or


of the Scottish governments do it. What we are saying is if we are in


government in May 2016, with the powers of the Scotland Bill


transferred to the Scotland climate, the Labour Party, the


Scottish Labour Party, will commit to reversing these tax credit cuts.


If anybody else wants to do it, we will be delighted because this is


about supporting working families and making sure they have an income


that they can survive on. I don't really care who implements this


policy, but this is a Scottish Labour policy. It is a radical


policy from Kezia Dugdale and we will do it if no one else will. You


said a moment while -- month ago that there wouldn't be any tax rises


that there wouldn't be a plan to rise the test -- rise the threshold.


People in Scotland he would have benefited will not benefit. They


will end up playing ?1200 a year more than people in England. Are you


happy to go to the better off amongst your constituents in


Edinburgh and say, look, you won't get that advantage, in order to pay


for not cutting the tax credits, some money of which may go to people


who are not in jobs? Gordon, everyone, I think, across the


country, including in Edinburgh, will realise these tax credit cuts


are an abomination to Scotland and the wrong thing to do. The


Chancellor has failed every single policy in terms of them trying to


balance the books at government level. He has then decided he will


take money out of the very poorest in society, who are in work. That is


the main thing. These are working tax credits. That is the main point


here. People are actually in work. People in my constituency will not


pay a penny more in tax with regards to this. We will not implement the


increase in the personal allowance of the 40p rate. People will be no


worse off, they will pay not a penny more tax and we will use the money


we receive from not increasing the threshold to make sure the poorest


and most vulnerable in society, who are actually in work and not having


these cuts imposed upon them at the working tracks level. That is the


right thing to do. The vast majority of reasonable people think that is


the right thing to do, as well. Your new proposals on autonomy, have you


worked out how they're going to work yet? As an in Westminster, who do


you now consider yourself accountable? Let's forget about


Trident, because you have said repeatedly you will vote against it,


no matter what the Scottish Westminster party tell you to do.


If, in the future, for example there was a policy on tax credits which


Jeremy Corbyn had a different view on it from the Scottish party, would


you feel bound to vote in the House of Commons the way you are told by


the government whips, sorry, by the Labour whips, or by the way you are


told to by the Scottish Labour Party?


A First in a UK Government whip. The letter of intent that was signed by


Jeremy Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale on Monday makes it clear there would


have to be a process but you would still have to take the UK Labour


Party whip because you are at Westminster. There would be a


process tween the National executive committee, the Scottish executive


committee in between the UK and Labour parties. It states that


clearly in the letter of intent. That clearly in the letter of


intent. That's what we speak. It is clear that the moment it would have


to be a process to allow Scottish Labour MPs to have that Scottish


conflict resolution put into place. At the moment they would take the


Labour Party whip. I have no idea. Unless the individual wanted to take


the whip. I have no idea what you said means. It sounds like you would


still be wept in the UK Labour whips up maybe not. Is that right? What I


am saying is, the letter of intent that was signed by Kezia Dugdale and


Jeremy Corbyn makes it has to be a process worked out for conflict


resolution when the Scottish Labour Party has a different policy from


the UK Labour Party and the intention is at the moment a


Scottish Labour MP would still take the UK Labour whip but there has to


be processed in terms of conflict resolution to resolve that. I know


you said you do not want to talk about trade which surprises me given


that is what we have spoken about over the last few months but that is


a prime example where the Scottish Labour Party might take a different


tack to the UK Labour Party. These decisions are taken all of the world


when you have a tournament and federal party aching this something


we have to work out, it is something -- nothing new here. I said about


Trident you would vote in favour of which whip to vote about it. If the


UK Labour Party changed their position on Trident and we are going


through that debate in the Shadow Cabinet at the moment, Jeremy said


he wants to have that debate, that may not be the case, the position


may change on that. Individual issues are difficult to talk about


hypothetical science but there will be processed place in the letter of


intent that clear. Thank you for joining us. We will leave it there.


The former First Minister Alex Salmond famously


said that "the rocks would melt with the sun" before he allowed tuition


Those words were later carved onto a commemorative stone.


But Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called on


Nicola Sturgeon this week to "ditch the stone carvings" and instead


focus on practical solutions for getting more students from deprived


During First Minister's Questions, the Scottish Labour leader Kezia


Dugdale accused Nicola Sturgeon of reneging on a promise to eliminate


student debt, saying the SNP have instead created a "debt mountain"


that stands at two point seven billion pounds.


The value of student debt in Scotland is more than the combined


cost of the new Forth road crossing and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in


Glasgow. In fact, the value of the accumulated debt of students in


Scotland, it is now the government of's biggest single financial asset.


The student debt monster the SNP once promised to dump is now a debt


mountain. Did the First Minister ever have an intention of keeping


that promise? Domiciled students and here I will talk about tuition fees,


do not have to be fees of up to ?20,000 charge for tuition elsewhere


in the UK. That is the real saving that does not become a debt in


Scotland in the way it does in other parts of the UK. Currently at the


least well-off students in England and Scotland took up the maximum


amount of student loan available to them during the term of the degree


of English students would accumulate debts of around ?12,000 more than


Scottish students. The reality is that too it is easier to be poor and


get to uni in England even under the Tories that it is in Scotland under


the SNP. There has been a 50% increase since 2006 and applications


to university from the 20% most deprived areas in our country. Young


people are more likely to participate in higher education by


the time they are more likely to participate in higher education by


the time all graduates who their university education to playback a


contribution once they got a decent job. That money could then be used


to increase bursaries for good students who under the current


scheme cannot get a foot through the door. This plan is sensible,


moderate and would help those most in need. Can I ask what reason,


other than an ideological one, with this First Minister have or not


considering it? We have an honest disagreement. I believe in free


education, I benefited from it as a young person and I believe I have no


right to take it away from any other young person today. This SNP


government has singularly failed to close the gap between rich and poor


in access to university in more than eight years of office. Presiding


Officer, we have a solution, and it works. All we ask is that the First


Minister has the courage to ditch the stone carvings and the vanity


projects and to move to practical solutions for our tourist students,


will she? Ruth Davidson calls it ideological, I called principle, it


will be for the people of Scotland to make up their minds.


Well, the Education Secretary, Angela Constance is with me


The National union of students who were very critical of the tuition


fees have called on you to cut grant aid, will you do that? We will


remain in close Ighalo with the National union of students, we have


a good relationship with them. What about changing the policy? We have


to remember that in 2012, can we do that again? I said 20,012. We are


live! Of Newport. Forget me, I thought it was a pre-recorded. In


2012 the NUS were supportive of the changes we made to the student


support package which was all about increasing the overall level of


support package which was all about support available to the tourist


students and our focus was... I know you said that the figures that


you're on student awards agency Scotland produced this week show


that nonrepayable grants, let's leave loans to one side, they have


gone down by 20% since 2006. The total paid out in nonrepayable


grants has gone down by 36% and the number of students supported as gone


down by 11%. Given your policy is to try to get more students from lower


backgrounds into higher education how can it possibly help to cut


grants like that? We are getting more students from poor backgrounds


into higher education. We want to increase the pace and pick up the


pace. How does cutting the grants help that? What I was trying to


explain earlier was that in 2012 we, in an effort to increase more


money going into the pocket of the Buddhas of students, we increased


the overall amount of money available to our tourist students


and in 2011 we were re-elected... When you say overall amount of money


you mean debt? So now poor students are increasingly borrowing more


money than richer students to go through university in Scotland


because you have cut the grants? We can look at the detail of those


beggars. Scottish students have cut the grants? We can look at the


detail of those beggars. Scottish students at the lowest to the poor


students in England, the coolest students in England still accumulate


more student debt. -- Forest. -- Cannes. We changed from bursaries to


loans which was a effort to increase the money in the pockets of the


poorest students. That was welcomed by the NUS at the time. You say you


can put the situation with down south. Figures from UCAS show that


while the number of students from lower backgrounds are increasing in


Scotland it is increasing at a higher level and increasing faster


in England. If your policies are so brilliant wires that the case? We


inherited a greater problem from our predecessors but it is important to


recognise we are closing the gap by a faster rate. According to UCAS


figures we are closing the gap at a faster rate than our counterparts in


England. That is just not true. It is not what UCAS says. If you look


at the UK entry level the number of students from disadvantaged


backgrounds we are closing the gap at a faster rate than our English


counterparts. We would fully recognise we want to pick up the


pace and in the years that I have been Education Secretary we have


increased bursaries provision to the Buddhist students. We have increased


income thresholds and improve the wider access commission. It is an


interim report that will be available in the next few weeks


because that agenda is broader than just student support. It is used


throughout our education system. Let's not take the UCAS figures. The


Scottish funding level, it says figures are not compatible, between


Scotland and England, it does some work of its own and said 9.2% of


graduate students came from the most deprived areas in 2007 when your


government came to power. If 2013 that had gone up to 10.4%, so hardly


moved, why is that? What we know about 18-year-old is from the most


disadvantaged communities going to university has increased by 50%.


What proportion of those, as you want to talk about these figures,


what proportion of these 18-year-olds go to higher education


in Scotland? Is a 50% increase. What is the proportion? In terms of young


people... What proportion of those people you have just measured go


into further education in Scotland and what proportion in England? In


terms of young people from the 20% most disadvantaged communities, 15%


of those are denied education. And how many in England? Excuse me. With


the UCAS figures are important in terms of the detail, the UCAS


figures include young people who are in higher education there the


college sector but do not include those figures. What the with


England? I will tell you what is important in Scotland. No one is


disputing we have more work to do in access. So you do not dispute more


people in England end up in higher education than in Scotland, you do


not dispute that? What I am not disputing is that we have indeed


made good progress under this government. Why can't you just give


a straight answer to my question? That is not a good argument for


removing free tuition. I am just asking you to agree with me that


more people from Lincoln families end up in higher education in


England at the proportion than in Scotland. -- low income families.


You are comparing the figures in Scotland. You were including them


yourself just a minute ago. We can compare things when you like the


comparison but not when you do not like the comparison? UCAS figures by


their own admission do not include the proportion of young people who


enter higher education in Scotland there are further education but they


do in England. In Scotland 17% of higher education is provided in


college. How does that compare with England? In England the proportion


is five or 6%. Where do we get the figures your government has prepared


to show the incompatibility? Will you produce figures making the


comparison yourself? They don't take into account the


proportion of young people in Scotland that go into higher


education... We can argue about figures for years. The bottom line


is, I don't think you would dispute, let's put it simply, that there is


no greater progress, particularly in Scotland than getting low income


students into higher education. We're closing the gap quicker. Work


any pointers the data that shows tuition fees policy has any effect


on it benefits students of all backgrounds. That was the manifesto


pledge we made in 2011. Nicola Sturgeon wants her premiership to be


judged on getting more people into university from low-income


backgrounds. We have also delivered on a manifesto pledge to introduce a


minimum income guarantee which was supported by the National Union of


Students. And we are succeeding in getting... We are succeeding in


getting more disadvantaged Scots into higher education, but we have


more work to do. We want to pick up the pace, that is why we have


introduced the access commission. That is why I have introduced


improvements to the current student living costs package. It is why we


are doing radical work in early years, why we are trying to close


the gap in primary school and why we are ensuring more people in


secondary school have more choices and chances. Thank you very much


indeed. It's time to have a look


at what's been happening this week I'm joined from Perth by the former


Labour MSP Pauline McNeill and Neill -- let's talk about the Labour


Party conference, as you are there. You seem quite impressed by Kezia


Dugdale's speech. It was a very good speech. I think it was a far better


speech than anyone had the right to expect. Sometimes, it is more like a


casual Ward -- casualty ward teleconference, giving the enormous


defeat Labour suffered at the general election. She delivered a


speech which had a lot of content in it and clearly located the party to


the left of the SNP. Particularly on this issue of tax credits, saying


they would use their tax raising powers of the Scottish parliament


for the first time since 1999, use the tax-raising powers to reverse


the Tory cuts in tax credits to low-income families. It was very


significant and the Labour Party has turned a corner here in Perth. Just


now, we were listening to an extraordinary debate on Trident,


something we haven't heard at the UK Labour Party, is, because they


bottled it in Brighton last month, and it has been a very good debate.


The old divisions are not causing the kind of problems they may have


had in the 1980s. This is much more intelligent form of debate and


disagreement. Pauline, do you think Kezia Dugdale... You have some


experience, presumably personally, in trying to fight off an SNP who


claimed they are to the left of the Labour Party nowadays. Do you think


Kezia Dugdale has carved out a new niche? I think she has certainly


laid down a challenge for the SNP, because I think she has framed a


debate for the first time that a Labour leader has done in Labour


turns. The first half of her speech was a positive speech, talking about


what she would do. She has also demonstrated on that particular


policy, which is that in power, Labour would restore tax credits,


that they would not reduce air passenger duty to do that. She has


also demonstrated that there are sometimes hard choices that have to


be made and I think that has thrown down a challenge to the SNP, but I


don't think we have responded to that policy yet, to be in


government, if you are going to be progressive, and your policies are


about achieving things for working class children, they are going to be


hard choices to make, there are going to have to be other policies,


a passenger duty. I think what she got in the hall was a great sense of


relief and she got constant applause, which I've never really


seen for many years for a Labour leader, the thing that is a sense of


will that exists in the Labour Party. I think people are realistic,


they know that we have turned a corner here, or it is our last


chance. All very upbeat. After that bit of a boost, what is your general


assessment of the mood of the conference? One obvious criticism of


what Kezia Dugdale said yesterday it was, it is just going to attract a


core vote of what people used to vote Labour, not necessarily a


party, it might be, but not necessarily a policy that will make


the Scottish middle classes very happy. This clearly is the issue,


because she said that if you are going to have left-wing policies,


this was her main criticism of the SNP, if you have left wing policies,


you have to find the means of paying for them and somebody has to pay for


them. That is going to mean people will have to pay more tax in


Scotland. Inevitably, it will be the middle classes or those who believe


themselves to be middle earners who will have to pay rather more in tax.


She is not proposing to actually increase the rates of taxation. What


she is saying is that they will not increase the threshold is -- the


threshold for higher rate tax. The will be a marginal increase in


taxation for people earning between 40 and ?50,000. Whether they notice


is another issue. It may well be that many of these people in


Scotland, who have been voting for left-wing parties like the SNP and


Labour, consistently over the last 50 years, they may be prepared to


accept a modest hit on their earnings and also accept things like


not cutting air passenger duty. If it means you can avoid having these


tax credit cuts hitting very low income families in Scotland. We


don't necessarily know this will be a vote loser. The assumption


generally along the political classes is that any discussion in


changes in tax will inevitably be suicide at the polling booths.


Scotland has a different political culture from south of the border. It


is not as toxic and issue as it is in the south. Pauline, we have just


been hearing about some of the details of theirs and I suppose the


problem for you... You would say you would be delighted if George Osborne


scrapped his plans to cut tax credits, but what Ian was saying is


that if he mitigated, it won't cost us much. In an ideal world, from


your point of view, George Osborne would make sure that the people


don't lose any money from the cuts in tax credits. The trouble for you


is a new flagship policy then evaporates. Well, that remains to be


seen. I think that the policy commitment here, apart from anything


else, Kezia Dugdale had to nail the question which is, what is the


purpose of labour and what does Labour stand for? Right here and


now, where we face the prospect of a reduction of tax credits for working


class families, and let's not forget it was the heart of the UK Labour


government's progress in government. She has to say what she


would be prepared to do. I think that is what most people will take


out of her conference speech. I think the issue is obviously the


test for Scottish Labour and for UK Labour, how they respond to what


ever George Osborne is going to come up with. Labour has to be clear in


Scotland if faced with a reduction for working families of over 300,000


families, who stands to lose out of this, that we have two nail our


colours to the mast and I think that is the tone of it. There are risks


involved, yes, but clearly identifying what Labour stands for


is very crucial at this stage. I am sorry to cut in, we have to leave it


there. We are completely out of time. Sorry about that.


Sunday Politics is back next week at the slightly later time


What the actual... Who do you think you are?!


Andrew Neil and Gordon Brewer with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With shadow home office minister Keir Starmer on the forthcoming Investigatory Powers Bill, Conservative MP David Davis on Europe and fellow Tory MP Philip Davies explaining why Parliament should debate men's rights.

Panellists are Janan Ganesh, Polly Toynbee and Nick Watt.

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