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The Cornwall councillors who are leaving the Liberal Democrats -
they say the Pasty Tax is one of many reasons why they've lost faith
Apology for the loss of subtitles for 1804 seconds
Hello, coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South West...
The MPs being targeted by a campaign for an EU referendum.
For the next 20 minutes I'm joined by Jude Robinson, Labour councillor
on Cornwall Council and Ros Kayes, deputy leader of the Lib Dem Group
on West Dorset District Council. The leader of the Liberal Democrats
in Cornwall has told Nick Clegg he must sit up and listen to the
concerns of two Lib Dem councillors who left the party this week. They
resigned within a day of each other and both blamed the leadership for
their departures. Later we were here Nick Clegg's response. -- we
will hear. First, this report... For 10 years, Graham Walker was a
lead them, elected to Cornwall Council in 2009. -- Liberal
Democrat. Earlier this week, he quit the party. The bottom line is,
I cannot defend some of the things that the Lib Dems are allowing the
Conservatives to do. He was not the only one. Chris Pascoe ended an
association with the Lib Dems that started over 30 years ago. He was
the first to quit the party. Government are making so many
mistakes. I have given them three years and it has not got any better.
Two defections is hardly the end for the Lib Dems in Cornwall but
for an end -- for a place steeped in liberal tradition, it has not
gone without notice. In the Celtic fringe, the area the party always
falls back on, if they are losing councillors here are a bit
councillors are worried about losing their vote here, that is
something that will concern the leadership. Four a clue to what is
going on looked no further than eight demo in Falmouth. -- look no
further than a demo. The Pasty Tax has been the main thing. It is an
icon in Cornwall and it is a step too far. It is just an insult to
the Cornish. As a college lecturer, education issues from the scrapping
of tuition fees to Free Schools have all played on councillor
Walker's mind. Then there are the austerity measures, health reforms
and benefit changes. All in all, coalition policies that have led
him to get off his bike and quit the party. I understand that the
party is between a rock and a hard place. It is at the point for me
that I do not feel I have a choice. I have been canvassing and I have
asked people. I have heard very clearly that they will not vote
because of what the Liberal Democrats have done nationally. My
only choice is to become independent. Councillor walker does
not even know if he will defend his majority. The government are going
to have to take note of particularly the reasons that
Graham has given for his departure and act on it. If we stop listening
as a national party we are in trouble. What I would say to them
is, we are disappointed to lose somebody of this Canada. I hope the
party will take notice. president of the lead Dems tried to
talk councillor Walker out of quitting, a sign of how worried
party leaders are following the local election results. In my last
two years, the party has lost over 1,000 councillors. Some believe
preservation is best achieved from the inside. It is better to hang on
in there. Regimes come and go. Policy stances news and change and
if you are not in their, then you lose your right to criticise.
we are going to the polls next year, some councillors thing hanging on
his to bigger risk. You are a Lib Dem councillor. Do
you think a lot of people feel this way about the leadership? A lot of
people do Part I have to agree with Adrian, if you want to change
things, you have to fight the battles that need to be fought.
There are areas where I think going into coalition, we were wide-eyed
in terms of the NHS and education issues. Nick played? I think the
negotiators missed a trick. Those issues of health, education and
housing are issues we are trying to address. Is Nick Clegg still the
right man for the job? I think there are questions about the level
of popularity that Nick Clegg has. I campaigned on the doorstep last
year and was re-elected with a fourfold increase in my majority.
It does not sound like you are endorsing him. He is doing an
excellent job of holding the coalition together. That is what
the country needs. You just have to look at Italy. We have a clip of
Nick Clegg from Friday in Cornwall. We put it to him that councillors
were defecting and blaming him. is a great pity when people leave
any political party at any time. I don't want to in any way duck the
fact that of course, the party nationally is taking difficult
decisions. We are involved with painstaking compromises at a time
when there is no money. Some people do not like that but it is my job
to explain why we are doing it and that we believe it is the right
thing in the long term and that if you want to wipe the slate clean
for the next generation to move forward as the country, create jobs
and prosperity and optimism in Cornwall and the rest of the
country, we need to get through this difficult time. Does that make
you feel better? I think the Big Issue is that people trust the
Liberal Democrats while they do not like Nick Clegg. What I do find is
that people trust the brand. It is retaining the core values of
liberal democracy. Some have defected. Let's move on. Why did
these councillors not defect to Labour? That is an interesting
question. I knock on doors are a lot and people on the streets are
coming across to Labour in droves. I do not get the feeling in
Cornwall that people trust the Lib Dem brand at all. They do not seem
to trust Labour. There are two people so disillusioned that they
have jumped ship, yet they did not take Labour as an alternative?
is a strange relationship between Labour and the Lib Dems in Cornwall.
You are the only Labour councillor? At the moment. We have areas where
we are coming back. In the constituency I am in, there is one
Lib Dem councillor. In West Cornwall, the Lib Dems are not
strong. They are stronger than Labour, aren't they? You have not
had an MP since 2005. In my constituency I am in, there is want
Lib Dem councillor and one Labour. The rest are Tories are independent.
-- or independent. I do not understand why Graham or Chris did
not come to Labour. I wonder if the style of campaigning is too
different. The Lib Dem vote in Cornwall... Are there any others
you have heard of? There are people who have talked about it. They do
not seem to be able to make the leap. This may not be the last. Is
this about Lib Dem policy as much as people's individual chances? If
it was just policy, surely people would have defected weeks ago?
think you are right. When you look at defections, they happen all over
the country all the time. Looking online earlier today, I could see
that there had been a Tory who defected to UKIP and one who had
defected to the Lib Dems. doesn't the party fall back on
Cornwall? I lot of defections happen for personal reasons. -- a
lot of. If I was in the Labour Party are would be worried, why had
they not come to Labour? What is it about the lack of charisma of the
Labour leadership and a lack of community activism in the South
West that would mean they have not gone? We have had town councillors
come across to Labour. We had one in Penzance.
The campaign for a referendum on Europe is heading for the south-
west. An all-party group called the People's Pledge this week announced
six constituencies in Devon and Cornwall where they plan to hold a
local poll. This should please at least three of the region's MPs who
have signed up. There are worries that people will vote with an eye
on the current troubles in Europe rather than its long-term prospects.
It is five years since the people here were asked to consider Europe.
A big majority voted in favour of a have a referendum. Voting yes, 260.
But voting no, 12. But turnout was a mere 18%. The people are cynical.
It is good to give people a chance anyway. This is a good result.
campaign group called the People's Pledge now wants to hold similar
local polls as a way of prayer for her -- pressurising the government
to hold a national referendum. They held a list of constituencies where
they would like to do this. Many of them are marginal Conservative
seats were UKIP is strong, like Camborne and Redruth. We have got
George Eustice. He is a fine man. He has a wafer-thin majority. He is
a former UKIP candidate are now he believes in it renegotiation. --
and now he believes in the renegotiation. The People's Pledge
held their first ballot in Essex earlier in the year and they won by
just 92 votes. Here, 90% said yes to a national poll. Turnout was 30%.
This week, the Newton Abbot MP became the third in the south-west
to sign up to the campaign. It is in my constituency. I have many
small businesses who are burdened by the high level of regulation
coming from Europe and that rural community. It is a real issue.
People need to have an informed say and I am determined government not
only allows them to have that, but the days on an informed basis.
was one of seven south-west rebel MPs who voted in favour of a
referendum last year. In west Devon, but local MP voted with the
government against the poll and his seat is being targeted by the
People's Pledge campaign. The NP shares similar pledge to this local
Conservative councillor. I am not sure it is practically possible,
however I would like to see as renegotiate our current position.
In the last general election, Newick -- UKIP came third in this
area. Here in the Conservative Club in Tavish Scott -- in Tavistock, I
found support. They have so much control over us. We should not have
to put up with Europe tell us. -- what Europe tell us. On the streets
there were similar views. It is important for people to be able to
say what they think. I think people more and more are thinking it would
be good if we could lead to the European Union. Some residents in
Devon and Cornwall could get the chance to express their views on
the Europe at the ballot box. The People's Pledge have announced they
will hold their next poll in Manchester this July, but they hope
to hold polls in the south-west in the autumn.
He is it time for a referendum in - - on Europe? I think there is
enough turmoil without referendums. Whatever happens in Europe affects
our economy and at the moment, our economy needs all of the help it
can get. Jon Cruddas is supporting the referendum. He signed up this
week for Labour. Be using he senses boats? There must be a reason he is
signing up. -- do you think. There probably will be a referendum. It
is getting to the point where this issue has to be dealt with once and
for all. There has not been a referendum since the 70s. This is a
democratic process. Things have changed since the 70s. Surely,
people should be given a chance to have their say? Yes, I did just --
I just do not feel right now it is the most important reissue -- issue.
The time for considerations of this nature is a time of calm, when
people can look at the arguments. I believe there needs to be a re-
evaluation of the way in which the EU works. Some of the problems have
been a result of the lack of governance issues and we need to
consider that. At the moment it would be madness. The impact on our
economy, where 40% plus of Trade is based in Europe, would be
devastating. It would be devastating on the EU project as a
whole. The impact of Britain withdrawing would be offer. Seeing
a referendum would be madness is because you would think the public
would vote to pull out of Europe? They are scaremongering at the
moment. He is that -- is that not taking away from the electorate?
When people vote out of fear they always make appalling decisions.
People make bad decisions were made road out of fear, that is why
Hitler got supported. But if the Lib Dems had their way, we would be
in a single currency right now. That surely undermines your
credibility? If you look at what was happening in the 1990s when we
were thinking about the 5th -- single currency, there was always a
split. I beg the country made the right decision. What I am concerned
about is that David Cameron is marginalising himself from the
mainstream and losing our ability to impact on what might happen with
rescue packages. You campaigned in one of the areas to be targeted in
these polls. What is the mood like? I think people are more concerned
about whether they can pay their rent, whether their kids are going
to get a job, whether they have a job at the end of the month. UKIP
got over 20% of votes in Plymouth, surely people are telling you
something? The last time anybody talk to me about Europe on the
doorstep was in 2008 and he said we should get out. I said, Cornwall is
getting �300 million from Europe over the next three years. He said
A there's been a big rise in the number of people forced to take
part-time work. Business leaders say the figure is close to 100,000.
West Devon District is the worst example, about 40% are suffering
part-time employment at the moment. It is a serious situation. One of
the charities which the government gets -- pays to get people back to
work has gone into administration. A grandfather from north Devon said
grandparents should be given a legal right to see their
grandchildren. There are lots of grandparents who are only too
willing and want to help their grandchildren.
At the Devon County Show, the environment secretary promised hill
farmers �30 million. Today's announcement will have the 300
commoners and Darbar in a scheme which boasts protects the
environment but helps them continue farming in that rugged but much-
loved part of the world. That Was the Week in 60 seconds. A
big rise in the number of people forced to take part-time work. What
should the government be doing? first thing we need to look at as
well as those statistics mean and in which sectors they are taking
part-time work. Are we looking at the 30 Aras, 20, or under 20? We
also need to look at patterns in terms of women are young people, or
bread winners have been there are has cut back? -- having their hours
Cup. Year on year, employment has gone up considerably. That is what
we are looking at. There are a number of people in part-time work
taking evening work, weekend work. That is an alarming feature, where
people are needing to take on extra work so they can live. This harks
back to feelings by the previous leader -- Labour government. They
had 10 years of boom time to build up manufacturing and a skills set
and we are looking at a government being asked to create jobs. A huge
amount of jobs were created under the Labour government and we put