20/05/2012 Sunday Politics South West


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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


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