19/01/2014 Sunday Politics South West


19/01/2014

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Nick Clegg says

:00:37.:00:43.

Chris Rennard must apologise. "What for?", say his friends. We'll ask

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senior Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander whose side he's on.

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What about the voters? What do they make of the Lib Dems? We hear the

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views of a Sunday Politics focus group.

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In the South West, a warning that many councils in the region are on

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the brink of bankruptcy and may soon be unable to provide the services

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Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt's plunge from the highboard from who

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else but the Minister for Portsmouth.

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And with me, as always, the best and the brightest political panel in the

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business: and in London, Boris Johnson has pledged to recruit more

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volunteers. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, who'll be tweeting

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throughout the programme. First this morning, Nick Clegg is

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considering a fresh investigation into the behaviour of the party s

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former chief executive, Lord Rennard. Last week, a lawyer

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appointed by the party decided that no action could be taken against

:02:01.:02:03.

him, but that women who had accused the Lib Dem peer of inappropriate

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behaviour "were broadly credible". More than 100 party activists are

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demanding an apology. Chris Rennard say he's nothing to apologise for

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and the party whip must be returned to him. Helen, this is not going

:02:20.:02:23.

away. It is turning into a crisis for the Lib Dems? They have only got

:02:24.:02:29.

seven female MPs. There is no female Cabinet Minister. There is a

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reasonable chance that after the next election there might in no

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female Liberal Democrat MPs at all. A scandal like this will not

:02:41.:02:44.

encourage women into the party. Have they made a complete mess of it You

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feel for Nick Clegg, because he launched an utterly rigorous

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process. He called in a QC. The QC looked at it and decided that the

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evidence did not meet the burden of proof in a criminal trial. But

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clearly he felt that the evidence from these women was very credible

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and serious. He said it was broadly credible. Clearly it was serious.

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Rennard is being advised by Lord Carlisle, fellow Liberal Democrat

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peer, who is giving purely legal advice. He is saying it has not

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reached that edge-mac, so do not apologise. This is a political

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issue, so the agony continues. Nick Clegg was hoping to keep the party

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whip withdrawn. But they did not launch an enquiry, the Webster

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enquired it was not an enquiry, it was a legal opinion. You're right,

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it was an internal opinion. The Lib Dems distinguished themselves from

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the other two parties not with policy, but with ethics. They

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presented themselves as being cleaner, and in possession of more

:03:58.:04:01.

Robert Jay than Labour and the Conservatives. That will be harder

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to do now. -- more probity. There are a Lib Dem peers that are more

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relaxed about taking him back and letting him pick up the party whip.

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That is the problem. There is a generational issue. The older Lib

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Dems in the House of Lords, the kind of thing, he did not do anything

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that wrong. The younger activists and those outside the House of

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Lords, they think it is a pollen. Yes, there is definitely a sort of

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what you are complaining about sort of thing. That is symptomatic of a

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cultural difference. The report last year found that they tried to manage

:04:49.:04:56.

the allegations. They did not do what any company would do if there

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was an allegation of sexual harassment. If there had not in the

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by-election in Eastleigh, this story may not have got the attention it

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did. Channel four news are the one that really drove this. Without

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their reporting, this might not have come out. It is not going to go

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away, because the issue of whether he gets the party whip back will

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come week. -- will come up this week.

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So it's not been a great week for the Liberal Democrats and none of

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this will help public perceptions of a party already struggling in the

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polls. In a moment, I'll be talking to the second most senior Liberal

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Democrat in the land, Danny Alexander. First, Adam Fleming went

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to Glasgow to find out what voters there made of the party.

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Let's put the Lib Dems under the microscope in Glasgow. We have

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recruited some Glaswegians who have voted for them, and some who have

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not. Hello, John. Let's get started. I will be watching them through the

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one-way mirror, along with the former Liberal Democrat MP John

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Barrett. Let's get to the heart of the matter straightaway. If the Lib

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Dems were a biscuit, what would they be? Tunnock's Teacake. Hard on the

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outside but soft in the middle. They give in. There is no strength of

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character there. They just give in to whoever. Ouch. Rich Tea. A bit

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bland and boring. Melts and crumbles under any sort of heat and pressure.

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Morrison's own brand of biscuit not top of the range like Marks

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Spencer or Sainsbury's or Waitrose. A custard cream, sandwiched between

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David Cameron and the Tories. I think they were concerned that they

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had one exterior, but something else was really inside. They did not find

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it too definitive, too clear, too concise, too tasty, too appealing.

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Which means? It is a worry. If that is their gut reaction, literally,

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let's find out what is behind it. The context of them being stuck

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between a rock and a hard place for them as a party, I feel slightly

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sorry for them. I think people who voted for them will think they are

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victims as well, being sold down the river by going to the coalition I

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think the ones, particularly student fees, that was an important one to a

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lot of people. People felt cheated. I agree. Just going back on that, so

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publicly and openly, it makes you think, well, what do they stand for?

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It is trust. Harsh. But our group is feeling quite upbeat about the state

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of the economy. What have the Lib Dems contributed to that? I am not

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quite sure. It is George Osborne, a Conservative, who is the Chancellor,

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so it is mostly down to him. The Liberal Democrats are mostly on

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their coat tails, if you know what I mean. Have the Lib Dems done

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anything, anyone? I think the Liberal Democrats were responsible

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for increasing the tax allowance, ?10,000 for next year. I think they

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have played a major role in that. Yes. I am glad somebody noticed

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that. We will have helped everyone who is receiving a salary, and it is

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interesting that nobody has mentioned that. Now, let's talk

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about personalities. Everyone knows him, but what about say, this guy?

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Alexander. Danny, they got it straightaway. I actually quite like

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him. I think he talks very clearly and it is easy to understand what he

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says. Fellow redhead Charles Kennedy is popular as well. He is very

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charismatic and it is through him that I voted Liberal the last few

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times. But who is this? I recognise him but I cannot tell you his name.

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That is the party's leader in Scotland, Willie Rennie, and the

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party's role in the upcoming referendum on independence draws a

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blank as well. It does not feel like they have featured, it is SNP and

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Labour and Conservative. They are last in a four horse race. We have

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been talking about the biggest issue in Scottish politics, independence

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and the referendum and the Lib Dems are nowhere. They are not mentioned

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and they seem to think it is all about Labour and the SNP. The Lib

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Dems are part of the Better Together campaign and we are being drowned

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out among that. Looking to the future, what messages do voters have

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for the Lib Dems? Get a backbone. Do not go back on your policies or your

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word. Be strong and decisive. If you will pardon the expression, man up.

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DIY, do it yourself. Do not award bankers and other people for

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failure. Stand up. Be your own person, party. If that focus group

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represented the whole country, what would the result for the Lib Dems be

:10:19.:10:24.

at 2015 in the election? If they get the message across between now and

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then, the result could be OK. If they do not get the message across,

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the result could be disaster. Maybe they would do a lot better on their

:10:34.:10:39.

own. I do not think you are seeing the true Lib Dems because they are

:10:40.:10:42.

in the coalition. They maybe deserve another chance. Crucially for the

:10:43.:10:47.

Lib Dems, that means there is some hope, but there is also plenty of

:10:48.:10:50.

anger, some disappoint, and a bit of bafflement as well.

:10:51.:10:59.

And watching that with me, senior Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary

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to the Treasury Danny Alexander Welcome to the programme. One of the

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things that comes through from the focus group is that if there is any

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credit around for the economic recovery, it is the Tories that are

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getting it, and you are not? What can you do about that? The first

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thing to say is that the economy would not be recovering if it was

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not for the Liberal Democrats. If it was not for our decision right

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beginning in 2010 to form a strong, stable coalition government that to

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deal with the problems, we would still be in the mess that Labour

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left us with. Why are you not getting the credit? That was one

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focus group. It was interesting to hear opinions. We have to work very

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hard to get across the message that the economy would not be recovering

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without the Liberal Democrats. People would not be seeing the

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largest income tax cuts for a generation without the Liberal

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Democrats. The ?10,000 threshold that one of the people referred to

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is coming into peoples pay packets this year. Lots of people recognise

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that. There was the one person in the focus groups. This is your

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measure of success, raising the people at which people pay income

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tax. But most of the voters do not even give you credit for that. The

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role that we haven't British politics as a party, is that we are

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the only party that can be trusted to deliver a fair society and a

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strong economy. People know they cannot trust the Labour Party. We

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saw it again from Ed Miliband this morning. You cannot trust the Labour

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Party with the nation's finances. It may well be your policy, the income

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tax threshold, but it is the Tories that are getting the credit? I do

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not think that is true. I have spent lots of time meeting photos and lots

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of people recognise that if it was not for the Liberal Democrats,

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people would not be seeing those tax cuts. We are helping disadvantaged

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children in schools. It is right that we have to work very hard

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between now and polling day to do several things, to make sure that we

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secure the recovery, there can be no complacency. The economic recovery

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is in its early stages and we need to make sure it is sustainable. We

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need to make sure the benefits of the recovery are shared out people

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who have made sacrifices, people on low pay, people who have seen their

:13:37.:13:45.

savings are eroded. The Tories have now hijacked another Lib Dem

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policy, another big hike in the minimum wage. You spoke about the

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need to make sure that people on low pay benefit from the recovery, a big

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hike in the minimum wage. Did the Chancellor consulting on this? We

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have been talking about it for some time. Vince Cable asked the low pay

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commission for advice on this. Why did Vince Cable not make this

:14:10.:14:12.

announcement, why was it the Chancellor? Let me say a few other

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things about this. If we are going to secure the recovery, this year we

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have to make sure that businesses start investing. We have got to get

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Roddick typically rising. An increase in the minimum wage is

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something that needs to follow that. We will not do it unless the low pay

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commission adviser as it is important for the economy at this

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stage. Did you know the Chancellor was coming out with that statement?

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I did not know he was going to say something on that particular day. We

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have worked together on it in the tragedy to see what the economic

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impact would be, and to emphasise that it is the commission, which has

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credibility with business, trade unions and government. It must not

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be a politically motivated increase. So you did not know, and Vince

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Cable, and it is properly a matter for him as the Business Secretary,

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he did not make the announcement? I don't think that's right. I don t

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clear every word I say with him I don't expect him to do the same to

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me. The Lib Dems have told us before it was the Treasury that was

:15:30.:15:37.

blocking this from happening. We were going to ask the low pay

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commission to advise us on bringing the minimum wage back up. During the

:15:43.:15:49.

financial crisis, wages have been lower-than-expected but it's also

:15:50.:15:54.

right, we shouldn't act in a hasty way, we should listen to what the

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commission has to say, and if they don't recommend an increase we have

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to make sure economic conditions are there to get it right. Not only are

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the Tories getting credit for that, our Scottish voters group showed

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that people have still not forgiven you for ratting on tuition fees and

:16:15.:16:20.

that was a broken promise that didn't even apply to the people in

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Scotland, where there are no tuition fees! Nick Clegg has been very clear

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about the issues that that brought up. If you look at our manifesto,

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the University of London said we delivered about 70% of our policies

:16:40.:16:44.

in the manifesto. They haven't forgiven you for the big one. The

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big promise we made was to cut income tax the millions of people.

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That is a policy which is putting money back into the pockets of

:17:00.:17:05.

working people. It is only possible because we are delivering our

:17:06.:17:08.

economic plan in government with the Conservatives. Now we have to make

:17:09.:17:15.

sure, through tax cuts, through looking at issues like the minimum

:17:16.:17:20.

wage and other groups who have made sacrifices, make sure that benefit

:17:21.:17:25.

is shared. I am not going to agree to anything which undermines the

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confidence of businesses to invest in this country over the next 1

:17:30.:17:35.

months. Speaking of Scotland, the Lib Dems, why do they now look

:17:36.:17:41.

largely irrelevant in the battle for the union? Not one of our focus

:17:42.:17:48.

group even knew who your Scottish leader is. I don't accept that. I

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have spent a lot of time with Alistair Carmichael and others, we

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are all making the case every day. If Scotland votes to be independent,

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it will be in a much worse financial position within the European Union.

:18:08.:18:13.

Scotland will be contributing to the rebate for the UK, rather than

:18:14.:18:19.

benefiting from it. It has been a disaster for your Scottish based to

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have joined a coalition with the Tories. It may have been the right

:18:24.:18:28.

thing to do, you say it is in the national interest, but Scottish Lib

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Dems did not expect to be in a coalition with the Tories. By the

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way I think it is also in the national interests and the interests

:18:38.:18:42.

of the people for Scotland, cutting the income tax of Scottish people,

:18:43.:18:48.

stabilising the economy. We are now seeing good growth. But you are in

:18:49.:18:55.

meltdown. I don't accept that. We will see what happens in the 20 5

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election. I think we have a record to be proud of, we have played a

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very important role in clearing up the mess Labour made in the

:19:07.:19:10.

economy, of making sure the Coalition government tackles the

:19:11.:19:13.

problems in this country, but does so in a fair way. I think the

:19:14.:19:20.

biggest risks to the economic recovery over the next few years is

:19:21.:19:25.

either a majority Labour government or a majority Conservative

:19:26.:19:29.

government. Labour you cannot trust with the finances, the Tories want

:19:30.:19:34.

us to play chicken with the European Union which would truly be a

:19:35.:19:37.

disaster to investment in this country. You announced this week

:19:38.:19:43.

that if Scotland votes to leave the UK, it would be the British Treasury

:19:44.:19:47.

that would guarantee all British government debt. There wouldn't be a

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negotiation, but the backstop would be that even if they didn't take

:19:53.:19:56.

anything, we would still guarantee the debt. What was happening in the

:19:57.:20:01.

markets that you needed to calm them down? We were getting quite a few

:20:02.:20:06.

questions from the people we rely on to lend us money. We are still

:20:07.:20:12.

borrowing billions of pounds every month as a country. Those people

:20:13.:20:16.

were asking us to clarify this point. It was becoming a serious

:20:17.:20:30.

concern? It wasn't reflected in the guilty yields. I follow the bond

:20:31.:20:33.

market quite carefully and there was no sign this was having an impact.

:20:34.:20:40.

That's why the right thing to do was to clarify this point now, rather

:20:41.:20:44.

than the concerns being reflected in what you imply, and I think it is a

:20:45.:20:51.

bad idea for Scotland to vote for separation but it would be wrong to

:20:52.:20:54.

allow for the fact that question is on the table to cost taxpayers in

:20:55.:20:59.

the UK more money and higher interest payments simply because

:21:00.:21:01.

Alex Salmond has put that question on the table. That's why I think it

:21:02.:21:07.

was the right thing to do. There were a lot of calls from the focus

:21:08.:21:11.

group that you need to be different. Nick Clegg has embarked on this

:21:12.:21:16.

aggressive differentiation. Where you can be different is the

:21:17.:21:22.

bankers' bonuses. What conceivable reason could there be for anybody at

:21:23.:21:27.

RBS getting a bonus twice in their salary? We have not been approached

:21:28.:21:35.

by RBS in terms of those votes. I would be sceptical about an approach

:21:36.:21:42.

from RBS if it can. It shows what we have presided over as a party in

:21:43.:21:50.

government, massive reductions. . I'm not asking you about that, I'm

:21:51.:21:54.

asking what conceivable case there can be for a bank that has failed to

:21:55.:22:04.

sell its branches even though ordered by the Government, still has

:22:05.:22:07.

38 billion of toxic debt on its balance sheet, I ask again what

:22:08.:22:13.

possible reason should they get twice salary as a bonus? Your right

:22:14.:22:20.

to say RBS is in a very different position to other banks, it is

:22:21.:22:29.

mostly owned by the state. RBS hasn't put a case to us but they

:22:30.:22:33.

might do so I would like to look at what they would say, but I would be

:22:34.:22:37.

sceptical as to whether a case could be made given some of the things you

:22:38.:22:41.

said, but also the fact that it is a bank that has benefited from the

:22:42.:22:48.

taxpayer standing behind it. Now RBS has to focus more on domestic

:22:49.:22:53.

retail. Let me turn to Chris Rennard, ten women have accused him

:22:54.:22:58.

of sexual harassment. He denies every case. Who do you believe? We

:22:59.:23:04.

have been through a process on this as a party. A report has been issued

:23:05.:23:15.

on this. I agree with Alistair Webster on this, he has made clear

:23:16.:23:19.

that while he cannot prove what happened to a criminal standard

:23:20.:23:23.

that there is clear there has been considerable distress and harm

:23:24.:23:27.

caused. I agree with him about that and that's why it is necessary for

:23:28.:23:33.

Chris Rennard to apologise as he has been asked to do. If he refuses to

:23:34.:23:41.

apologise, should he be denied the Lib Dem whip in the Lords? I don't

:23:42.:23:47.

think he should be readmitted to the Liberal Democrat group in the House

:23:48.:23:50.

of Lords until such time as the disciplinary process, including the

:23:51.:23:58.

apology, has been done properly We are very democratic party, it is a

:23:59.:24:01.

matter for our group in the House of Lords in due course to make that

:24:02.:24:07.

judgement. Party HQ has had a lot of complaints from party members about

:24:08.:24:11.

the fact no apology has been made. The appropriate committee would need

:24:12.:24:14.

to look at that and decide what action needs to be taken because

:24:15.:24:20.

these are very serious matters. We as a party have learned a lot, taken

:24:21.:24:27.

a long, hard look at ourselves, to change the way we work. The apology

:24:28.:24:33.

does need to be made. We are told that Lord Newby, the Chief Whip of

:24:34.:24:37.

the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, we are told he has shaken

:24:38.:24:41.

hands with Chris Rennard and welcomed him back. That decision has

:24:42.:24:50.

not been taken yet. I think Lord Newby would share my view on this.

:24:51.:24:55.

Have you shaken his hand and welcomed him back? No, I haven't.

:24:56.:25:03.

Does Nick Clegg have the power to deny Chris Rennard as the whip? I am

:25:04.:25:10.

making it clear that a lack of apology is totally unacceptable and

:25:11.:25:14.

therefore we have to take steps if that is not forthcoming. His view

:25:15.:25:21.

and my view is that Lord Rennard should not be readmitted to the

:25:22.:25:27.

House of Lords if that is not forthcoming. In our party, our group

:25:28.:25:32.

in the House of Lords has two in the end take a view for itself. And they

:25:33.:25:40.

can override Nick Clegg's view? I hope that when they look at this...

:25:41.:25:47.

Do they have the power to override Nick Clegg? They have the power to

:25:48.:25:58.

decide who should be the whip. The failure to follow up the simple

:25:59.:26:02.

human demand for an apology for the stress that has been caused is

:26:03.:26:09.

totally unacceptable. Your party is totally down lighted on this --

:26:10.:26:26.

divided on this. Here is what Lord Carlile had to say. A total

:26:27.:26:32.

nonsense, hyperbole. It is a ridiculous statement to make and we

:26:33.:26:37.

have seen Alistair Webster, the QC who did this investigation, comment

:26:38.:26:41.

on that himself this morning. He has followed the process the party laid

:26:42.:26:46.

down in its rules, which sets the standard for the investigation which

:26:47.:26:50.

asked him to report on the evidence he has found, but he also has a duty

:26:51.:26:54.

of confidentiality and responsibility under the data

:26:55.:27:01.

protection legislation as well. Here is what your activists have said in

:27:02.:27:14.

a letter to the Guardian. This shows there are strong opinions, but why

:27:15.:27:19.

should Chris Rennard apologise for something he denies, unproven

:27:20.:27:25.

allegations, on an unpublished report that Chris Rennard has not

:27:26.:27:29.

been allowed to read? He should apologise because he wants to

:27:30.:27:33.

continue to be a member of the Liberal Democrats and this is the

:27:34.:27:38.

recommendation that has been made by the internal disciplinary process.

:27:39.:27:43.

Webster himself said this was not an inquiry, it is an opinion. If Chris

:27:44.:27:49.

Rennard apologises on this basis, he opens himself to civil lawsuits He

:27:50.:27:56.

says he is not going to do it. As a Liberal Democrat you join the party

:27:57.:28:01.

because you believe in its values, you abide by its rules. One of those

:28:02.:28:06.

rules is that we have a process if there are disciplinary allegations.

:28:07.:28:14.

The committee of the party supported Webster's recommendations, one of

:28:15.:28:17.

which was that an apology should be made because he clearly found

:28:18.:28:23.

distress had been caused. Will there now be a proper inquiry? I don't

:28:24.:28:27.

think any of these legalistic things, I don't think he can have it

:28:28.:28:40.

both ways. Will there be a proper inquiry? Alistair Webster did do a

:28:41.:28:46.

proper inquiry. There was a proper report into what happened at the

:28:47.:28:50.

time and we have learned a lot from this is a party, and the most

:28:51.:28:55.

important thing now is that Chris Rennard apologises. You have made

:28:56.:29:01.

that clear. What kind of biscuits are you? Are you a Tunnocks? Soft on

:29:02.:29:11.

the inside? It is good of you to be advertising a Scottish product. We

:29:12.:29:18.

just wondered if you weren't tough enough to take on Ed Balls. Thank

:29:19.:29:23.

you. More than tough enough is the answer to that.

:29:24.:29:40.

Generally governments are a bit rubbish at IT projects. They tend to

:29:41.:29:44.

run way over budget and never quite achieve what they promised. So the

:29:45.:29:48.

revelations of a former spy that the US and British security agencies

:29:49.:29:50.

were in fact astonishingly efficient at eavesdropping on the digital

:29:51.:29:52.

communications of their citizens came as a bit shock. But just how

:29:53.:29:56.

worried should we be about their clandestine activity?

:29:57.:29:58.

In his latest revelation, former US by Edward Snowden has claimed that

:29:59.:29:59.

America's National Security Agency operates a secret database called

:30:00.:30:05.

Dishfire. It collect 200 million mobile phone messages every day from

:30:06.:30:09.

around the world, accessed, he says, why British and American spies. This

:30:10.:30:16.

week, the president has outlined a series of surveillance reforms,

:30:17.:30:20.

including Ning to the storage of the phone call information of millions

:30:21.:30:27.

of Americans, and no Morse -- and no more spying on allies like Angela

:30:28.:30:36.

Merkel. Critics say that the British intelligence agencies have refused

:30:37.:30:39.

to acknowledge even the need for a debate on the issue. The Foreign

:30:40.:30:44.

Secretary William six says that we have a very strong system of checks

:30:45.:30:51.

and balances. -- William Hague. ?? new line Nick Pickles is director of

:30:52.:30:54.

the pressure group Big Brother Watch. The Labour MP Hazel Blears in

:30:55.:30:57.

on Parliament's Intelligence And Security Committee. They're here to

:30:58.:31:07.

go head to head. Welcome to both of you. Hazel

:31:08.:31:13.

Blears, let me come to you first. President Obama has made some major

:31:14.:31:16.

changes as a result of what we have learned that the NSA in America was

:31:17.:31:22.

up to. But British politicians seem to, they are not up for this kind of

:31:23.:31:26.

thing, they are hoping it will go away? It is not going away and that

:31:27.:31:30.

is why my committee, the Intelligence And Security Committee,

:31:31.:31:35.

has decided to launch an enquiry into whether the legal framework is

:31:36.:31:40.

up-to-date. We have had massive technological change. We have had a

:31:41.:31:47.

call for evidence. Some of the sessions will be open so that people

:31:48.:31:53.

can see what the evidence is. Obviously some of the information

:31:54.:31:56.

will have to be classified, but on the committee, there is a real

:31:57.:32:00.

commitment to say, there is a big debate going on, let's see if the

:32:01.:32:04.

system is as Rob asked as we can make it. The big question is

:32:05.:32:08.

oversight and the call for evidence that the committee has issued is not

:32:09.:32:14.

mention oversight. It is ten years since the Foreign Affairs Committee

:32:15.:32:17.

said that the committee should be a fully elected committee chosen by

:32:18.:32:23.

Parliament and not the Prime Minister. It has changed, actually.

:32:24.:32:30.

The Prime Minister nominates people and the house gets to him -- gets to

:32:31.:32:40.

approve. In America, they have a separation of power, the president

:32:41.:32:47.

does not nominate Kennedy. Basically, Hazel Blears, you're an

:32:48.:32:51.

establishment lackey? I do not think so. Most of the people on the

:32:52.:32:56.

committee have some experience of intelligence and these issues. In

:32:57.:33:01.

this country, we have robust scrutiny, compared to some of her

:33:02.:33:06.

European neighbours. We have Parliamentary scrutiny, the

:33:07.:33:11.

interception commissioners, and ministers have to sign the warrants.

:33:12.:33:15.

But there may be room for improvement, which is why we are

:33:16.:33:19.

having the enquiry. Do not forget, President Obama said that the agency

:33:20.:33:24.

should not have the ability to collect data, he wanted to put more

:33:25.:33:28.

safeguards in. That is essential for the work of the agencies. If you

:33:29.:33:34.

cannot see the data, you cannot take the connections and see the

:33:35.:33:39.

patterns. Some people never talk about the threat from terrorism it

:33:40.:33:43.

is all about travesty. There are several thousand people in this

:33:44.:33:48.

country, as we are talking, who are actively planning to do a country

:33:49.:33:52.

harm. When this debate started in the US, the NSA head stood up and

:33:53.:33:57.

said there are 54 plots that have been detected by this capability

:33:58.:34:04.

that has detected and that in bulk. Now the head of the NSA has admitted

:34:05.:34:11.

that the number is actually zero. It is not the intelligence committee in

:34:12.:34:16.

the US that did the work to reduce that number, it was a Judiciary

:34:17.:34:21.

Committee. The fact that we have two different bodies doing this in this

:34:22.:34:24.

country, it means that you do not get the correct view. How can people

:34:25.:34:31.

have confidence in a body when if you go around Europe, for example,

:34:32.:34:36.

or the world, we are not at the end not requiring judges to not sign

:34:37.:34:41.

warrants? I do not accept that the committee failed on that range of

:34:42.:34:46.

issues. You look at the reports on 7/7. Two reports by the committee

:34:47.:34:51.

get to the heart of it. If you look at that terrorist attack on our

:34:52.:34:56.

country, people will say, why did you not have them on the radar? The

:34:57.:35:00.

agencies are between a rock and a hard race. They have got to be

:35:01.:35:06.

subject to oversight, but beanie capability. Did you know about

:35:07.:35:15.

Dishfire? We go to GCHQ on a regular basis and I know about the

:35:16.:35:19.

capabilities that we have got. Some of the names of these programmes, we

:35:20.:35:27.

would not necessarily know. But did you know that GCHQ had the

:35:28.:35:31.

capability to use Dishfire, or to get Dishfire material from the NSA?

:35:32.:35:36.

I knew and my committee knew that we had the capability to collect data,

:35:37.:35:41.

and these days, people do not write letters, they do not use landline

:35:42.:35:45.

telephones, they use the Internet and text in, so it is important that

:35:46.:35:50.

the agencies are able to keep up with that take the logical change.

:35:51.:35:57.

What should happen? The proper legal framework should include, if a

:35:58.:36:00.

company is cooperating, as Google and Facebook do, it should be

:36:01.:36:06.

illegal for GCHQ to hack into them. In the US, Lundberg estimate that

:36:07.:36:12.

this has driven a 35mm and hole in the US economy because people do not

:36:13.:36:16.

trust but there are systems are secure. We need to know that GCHQ

:36:17.:36:21.

are not trying to use a different door into the system, whether by

:36:22.:36:26.

hacking or foreign intelligence We need judicial oversight with judges

:36:27.:36:33.

and not politicians signing off The final 30 seconds to you. As a result

:36:34.:36:37.

of the changes in the Justice and Security act, the committee is

:36:38.:36:41.

accountable to Parliament and not the Prime Minister. Those changes

:36:42.:36:45.

are taking place, and I am up for the debate if we need more change or

:36:46.:36:51.

not. But I want British agencies to have more power to protect the

:36:52.:36:56.

people in this country. Thank you to both of you. It's coming up to

:36:57.:36:59.

11:40. You're watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20

:37:00.:37:03.

minutes, we'll get the verdict of the Minister for Portsmouth on that

:37:04.:37:04.

dive from the Portsmouth MP. Ouch! Coming up on the Sunday Politics in

:37:05.:37:38.

the South West ` a warning that many councils in the region face

:37:39.:37:41.

financial crisis and may be unable to deliver the services they're

:37:42.:37:43.

required to by law. And for the next 20 minutes, I'm

:37:44.:37:47.

joined by former Cornish MP and now Labour Councillor Candy Atherton and

:37:48.:37:50.

Stephen Gilbert, Lib Dem MP for St Austell and Newquay. Yet another

:37:51.:37:54.

Cornish MP, Dan Rogerson, the Minister for Flooding found himself

:37:55.:38:14.

at the sharp end again this week. Edging, yes or no? Dredging. I just

:38:15.:38:21.

want you to answer the question, will you pay for dredging. The

:38:22.:38:25.

government will put money into schemes which we think will work. If

:38:26.:38:30.

we can make a contribution to that, we will be keen to do that. Maybe

:38:31.:38:36.

some as a people should hold their breath for the dredging money. That

:38:37.:38:40.

is obviously a specific is you for them. But a lot of people are

:38:41.:38:44.

concerned that the government does not have enough financial resources

:38:45.:38:48.

going into flooding. `` fighting flooding. Absolutely. I heard the

:38:49.:38:55.

government say they were putting in more money, and they are not. They

:38:56.:39:01.

have put in some. Yes, but not knowing `` nothing like enough. You

:39:02.:39:06.

have to keep dredging otherwise the water will end up flooding all

:39:07.:39:11.

across Somerset. If you keep salami slicing the Environment Agency, you

:39:12.:39:15.

will end up with more and more flooding. Stephen, Labour keep

:39:16.:39:21.

saying that the flooding budget has overall been cut. Over the spending

:39:22.:39:28.

review period, the budget has been cut? The government is spending

:39:29.:39:35.

millions to protect... But overall, there is a cut? The Coalition

:39:36.:39:42.

Government has also tackled the issue of flood insurance for those

:39:43.:39:45.

businesses and homes which are hit by flooding. People don't want

:39:46.:39:53.

insurance, they want protection. From the experience of my

:39:54.:39:56.

constituency, which had bad flooding in November 2010, 2011 and 2012, is

:39:57.:40:05.

that dredging does work. We need water companies to clear drainage

:40:06.:40:09.

systems more often. We need flood warnings to be kept in place and we

:40:10.:40:12.

need more support for domestic resilience measures. Those measures

:40:13.:40:19.

have been put into place in my constituency since the flooding in

:40:20.:40:23.

2010. They, alongside the funding from the government, really do make

:40:24.:40:28.

a difference. It is about a collective, coordinated approach and

:40:29.:40:36.

not cheap point`scoring. It is not cheap point`scoring to say that you

:40:37.:40:40.

need to put the money in. You have come to this party far too late.

:40:41.:40:46.

That is why those people would put Dan Rogerson in a ducking stool. It

:40:47.:40:50.

was tough for them and the government needs to wake up.

:40:51.:40:53.

Cornwall Council this week voted to build nearly 50,000 new homes in the

:40:54.:40:57.

county over the next 20 years. The Conservative opposition group on the

:40:58.:41:00.

council says far fewer are needed and that government planning

:41:01.:41:02.

guidelines are forcing unsustainable levels of development. But the Royal

:41:03.:41:05.

Town Planning Institute has now weighed in to the debate claiming

:41:06.:41:08.

the government itself is underestimating the true number of

:41:09.:41:11.

new houses needed. Tamsin Melville reports.

:41:12.:41:21.

Even on a grey January day, it is easy why to see why St Ives is a

:41:22.:41:26.

desirable place to live. Councillors want 1000 new houses by 2030. But

:41:27.:41:31.

there is fierce debate over the number and what sort of houses they

:41:32.:41:36.

should be. During the debate this week, one councillor said he is now

:41:37.:41:40.

embarrassed to walk through the streets St Ives because there are so

:41:41.:41:46.

many holiday lets. Looking through the estate agent windows, properties

:41:47.:41:51.

can sell for over ?1 million. Not all the homes being built in the

:41:52.:41:54.

town will be within the reach of local people. But 50% here would

:41:55.:41:58.

have to be affordable, according to the plan. There are too many holiday

:41:59.:42:04.

homes and people with second homes. It would be good to have more

:42:05.:42:08.

housing. We have enough properties in St Ives as it is. This week,

:42:09.:42:17.

Councillors gripped `` voted for a countywide target of 47,500 new

:42:18.:42:22.

houses. Many felt that a lower figure would be respect `` would be

:42:23.:42:28.

rejected by the government, leaving the county without a plan and at the

:42:29.:42:33.

mercy of builders. Based on the experience of other local

:42:34.:42:36.

authorities, this was the best way to get a plan adopted and the best

:42:37.:42:40.

way to stop delay. Delay is something that I really fear.

:42:41.:42:45.

Getting a rejection could delay this by 18 months to two years. That does

:42:46.:42:51.

nothing to protect communities. Our community should decide where they

:42:52.:42:55.

want the developments to be. The decision is based on national

:42:56.:43:01.

projections of population, which opponents say are too high. Some

:43:02.:43:04.

conservatives wanted a lower homes target based on the latest census ``

:43:05.:43:11.

latest census which points to fewer people living in the area. We feel

:43:12.:43:17.

under pressure here. Those figures should be looked at and some reality

:43:18.:43:22.

injected into it. They are losing credibility. Not just in Cornwall,

:43:23.:43:30.

but across the UK. The whole process is wrong. We as councillors must say

:43:31.:43:38.

that it is wrong. Meanwhile, town planners say that the risk of local

:43:39.:43:44.

authorities is to build too few homes. The census showed that the

:43:45.:43:49.

population has gone up but the number of households has gone down.

:43:50.:43:57.

That is not the trend. The trend has been, over quite a long period, that

:43:58.:44:01.

the number of households has gone up because households have got smaller.

:44:02.:44:07.

The 2011 figures were slightly odd. The number of 25 to 35`year`olds

:44:08.:44:13.

living with their parents all together in groups was much higher

:44:14.:44:16.

than we would expect. Probably because of the state of the economy.

:44:17.:44:23.

Cornwall's draft plan will probably out `` go out for public

:44:24.:44:27.

consultation before it is adopted, probably in one year's time. Whether

:44:28.:44:31.

this is localism or not remains contentious.

:44:32.:44:34.

The leader of the Conservative group on Cornwall Council, Fiona Ferguson

:44:35.:44:38.

joins us. Can you just pick up on that final point there from the

:44:39.:44:44.

Royal Town Planning Institute. You claim you are basing your

:44:45.:44:47.

presumptions on the latest census, they are making the point that it

:44:48.:44:53.

was an odd sensors, taken during a time of recession. I think the

:44:54.:45:00.

important thing about what they said is that they are supporting our view

:45:01.:45:07.

that the census numbers, or the Office of National Statistics

:45:08.:45:10.

numbers, are not the last word on the subject. They appear `` they

:45:11.:45:14.

agree with us on the principle. But they are going the opposite way on

:45:15.:45:18.

the numbers. What they are saying is that it can vary from area to area

:45:19.:45:23.

and at the 2011 census numbers may not be correct for individual areas.

:45:24.:45:30.

But I think, in relation to Cornwall, they need close

:45:31.:45:35.

examination. We still think that the number that the council gave are too

:45:36.:45:39.

high. But they are acknowledging that they have to be looked at area

:45:40.:45:47.

by area. I agree. If we took what the planning Istituto said, they

:45:48.:45:51.

have said that some areas of May have under provision of 30%. If we

:45:52.:45:58.

were talking about that in Cornwall, we would be talking about additional

:45:59.:46:05.

housing, up to 92,000 houses. Those would be ridiculous numbers.

:46:06.:46:13.

Stephen, can `` census is dodgy, but Conservatives are right? No. There

:46:14.:46:21.

are people staying at home and there is less social mobility because

:46:22.:46:26.

there are fewer jobs. What is interesting about the voting in

:46:27.:46:35.

Cornwall Council is that the local candidate did not support the

:46:36.:46:40.

numbers that Fiona is suggesting and I suggest that the number is more

:46:41.:46:44.

about the election than helping people in Cornwall who are stuck at

:46:45.:46:51.

home with mum and dad to get a foot on the housing ladder. That is

:46:52.:46:54.

something that we should all want to see. I get the strong sense that

:46:55.:46:59.

both you and the Conservatives are pretty cross with your own

:47:00.:47:02.

government for not following through this localism pledge and letting you

:47:03.:47:06.

decide. You are saying as Lib Dems that this is a realistically high

:47:07.:47:12.

figure. The Conservatives are making a point of principle, they are

:47:13.:47:14.

making the point of the government that they want to make their

:47:15.:47:20.

decision. The decision was for Cornwall Council is to take. There

:47:21.:47:24.

is a danger of being overturned. All of those of us who are proud of

:47:25.:47:30.

Cornwall and the landscape and history and want to protect that,

:47:31.:47:33.

would want a plan because having a plan is better than not having one.

:47:34.:47:38.

We need a number that is both realistic and defensible and I feel

:47:39.:47:43.

Cornwall Council achieve that. Is that a good plan per se, or is it

:47:44.:47:47.

just to get it past the planning inspector? I think it will get past

:47:48.:47:54.

the Inspectorate, but I think there's a debate be had. We have a

:47:55.:48:01.

higher number. If you meet families who have three or four generations

:48:02.:48:05.

living in one household, that gives you pause for thought because they

:48:06.:48:08.

will not be able to get any foot on any housing ladder. We are not

:48:09.:48:15.

building any social homes or council houses. Unless we can afford to

:48:16.:48:18.

build the number of people that we need for people in the county to

:48:19.:48:23.

live in, we need to keep revising these figures. I voted for 47,500.

:48:24.:48:31.

We are talking about 2300 a year across the county. Many of them have

:48:32.:48:38.

been already been built. It seemed a reasonable sum and we cannot leave

:48:39.:48:42.

ourselves open to developers riding roughshod over us. That is a very

:48:43.:48:48.

good plan, if you do not arrive by a plan, this free for all could

:48:49.:48:57.

continue? There is a big risk with this plan, going forward in its

:48:58.:49:02.

current format, backed by the evidence that the council are

:49:03.:49:04.

putting forward. They are saying that there is a range of housing

:49:05.:49:14.

needed in Cornwall and it is between 47000 and 72,000. If the council put

:49:15.:49:18.

forward a plan which is backed by that evidence bases, then I think

:49:19.:49:21.

what will happen is that the inspector will say, yes, it is

:49:22.:49:29.

72,000. So we have got to challenge this. I think people would be

:49:30.:49:34.

surprised if we did not do so. Councillor Atherton in Falmouth...

:49:35.:49:38.

What would they think if you ended up with no plan for the next 18

:49:39.:49:43.

months? I think the protection of a plan is ill use array is `` is ill

:49:44.:49:51.

use array, is by putting forward the plan we are going to end up by

:49:52.:50:01.

having to 72,000 houses. `` the protection of the plan is an

:50:02.:50:05.

illusion. People would say that the plan was no protection at all. And

:50:06.:50:10.

in addition to that, the terrible thing which was alluded to by

:50:11.:50:15.

Stephen Gilbert, is that there isn't really affordable housing for local

:50:16.:50:21.

people in there. So there is a double problem. An awful lot of

:50:22.:50:26.

houses, possibly up to 72,000, and not affordable by local people. We

:50:27.:50:32.

cannot accept that. Stephen Gilbert, it is fair to say that to go to the

:50:33.:50:38.

public, to say that you just need a plan and that is better than

:50:39.:50:46.

nothing, is not acceptable? No, we're not saying that. Nobody wants

:50:47.:50:50.

to see Cornwall concreted over. But we want a realistic plan to look

:50:51.:50:55.

after those people who are stuck in the private rented sector all

:50:56.:51:01.

inappropriate `` in inappropriate social housing. There is a desperate

:51:02.:51:08.

housing need for local people. What we need is leadership in Cornwall

:51:09.:51:15.

Council. It is invidious for people with homes to say don't build any

:51:16.:51:19.

more. Thank you very much. Figures obtained by the Sunday

:51:20.:51:22.

Politics suggest that nearly a third of councils in the region are at

:51:23.:51:26.

real risk of bankruptcy or finding they are unable to deliver statutory

:51:27.:51:29.

services before the next financial year. The figures from the local

:51:30.:51:32.

authority auditors Grant Thornton also show the South West has the

:51:33.:51:35.

largest number of at`risk authorities in the country. John

:51:36.:51:45.

Danks reports. It is the doomsday scenario that all councils fear. But

:51:46.:51:50.

how likely is it that key services could be in jeopardy? A study of

:51:51.:51:56.

local authorities in England has identified that 30% of councils in

:51:57.:52:00.

the South West could be at risk of reaching a tipping point before the

:52:01.:52:04.

next financial year. Tipping point could mean several different things.

:52:05.:52:09.

It could mean that a local authority could not set a balanced budget, it

:52:10.:52:13.

could mean failures in several services which mount up to be

:52:14.:52:17.

critical. It could mean the inability to deliver certain

:52:18.:52:27.

services. The auditors did not name the council is most at risk but the

:52:28.:52:32.

report is another indication of the pressures facing local authorities

:52:33.:52:37.

as their funding is cut. These small district and borough councils are

:52:38.:52:41.

facing a serious threat. And I urge the Minister is to take it as

:52:42.:52:46.

seriously as it deserves. One year on from that speech and Philip

:52:47.:52:52.

Collins knows all too well about the challenges of running a small

:52:53.:52:57.

council. We are a very small area, lowest wage in the UK. We do not get

:52:58.:53:02.

the same funding as urban areas, it is 50% less and we have more

:53:03.:53:09.

distance to travel for the services that we do. Thankfully, these scenes

:53:10.:53:16.

are a rare occurrence in Exeter. But some local authorities are warning

:53:17.:53:20.

that less frequent bin collections could be unavoidable. At the

:53:21.:53:25.

moment, we collect garden waste on a fortnightly basis. Maybe come 2015,

:53:26.:53:32.

something will have to change there. One way councils could raise money

:53:33.:53:36.

is by increasing council tax but this goes against government efforts

:53:37.:53:41.

to get them to freeze it. Last year, Governor `` councils were told they

:53:42.:53:45.

would have to have a referendum if they wanted to put up council tax by

:53:46.:53:50.

more than 2%. They are still waiting to hear what the threshold will be

:53:51.:53:54.

this year. We are caught between a rock and a hard place. We come up

:53:55.:53:58.

with ways of setting a budget and we don't know what the rules are yet.

:53:59.:54:04.

West Somerset council would have had to raise its council tax by 39% to

:54:05.:54:09.

make ends meet when it faced bankruptcy in 2012. It had to

:54:10.:54:13.

radically restructure and now shared services with neighbouring councils.

:54:14.:54:18.

The report from the auditors suggests that other South West

:54:19.:54:20.

councils might have to follow suit. Joining us in the studio is the

:54:21.:54:23.

self`declared leader of the peasants' revolt on council funding,

:54:24.:54:30.

Conservative MP Neil Parish. This bears out a lot of the fear is that

:54:31.:54:36.

you have? Yes, we need a fairer share for our schools across

:54:37.:54:42.

Cornwall but it also shows that the local authorities themselves have to

:54:43.:54:47.

restructure. West Somerset does not need a lot of Chief officers, it

:54:48.:54:53.

needs good services. Torbay is too small. With all those things

:54:54.:54:57.

together, we can make the money go further. My demands for more money

:54:58.:55:01.

for oral authorities but also we need to spend it wisely. I know

:55:02.:55:05.

Stephen Gilbert would like more money. I had this discussion with

:55:06.:55:10.

both of you last year. We are at this time of year again, you both

:55:11.:55:14.

thought the local government settlement was terrible last year,

:55:15.:55:18.

it is before us again. Will you wrote it down? Let's be clear, it

:55:19.:55:25.

was terrible and the government has taken no efforts to address the

:55:26.:55:30.

disparity between the amount going to rob areas and urban areas. If

:55:31.:55:36.

there is no progress in reducing that, I will think very carefully

:55:37.:55:39.

about whether to support the government on this. We need help.

:55:40.:55:45.

Rural services are suffering and there are high costs involved. As

:55:46.:55:51.

far as I'm concerned, we are meeting with Eric pickles. We are getting

:55:52.:55:55.

somewhere and whether we have enough, I do know. That is why won't

:55:56.:56:00.

be ready to rebel if we need to. The government needs to take it

:56:01.:56:05.

seriously. They both say the problem is that this government is sticking

:56:06.:56:13.

with Labour's bad old formula. And they all talked about how wonderful

:56:14.:56:17.

it was going to be with them. They have a point, which was partially

:56:18.:56:21.

addressed, but not enough. They have not turned up with the goods

:56:22.:56:26.

either. I await with interest, because I do not believe that you

:56:27.:56:31.

will vote against, not on a critical issue. We were left with a deficit

:56:32.:56:38.

of ?1 billion and that is what we have to clear up. Clearly, this

:56:39.:56:46.

report found that role areas were not an issue, but size matters. ``

:56:47.:56:52.

rural areas. We have a lot of tiny councils in the South West. Some

:56:53.:56:58.

people said that we need big unitary councils. I will not say what Devon

:56:59.:57:04.

should do and I would not say that Cornwall is in a good position as a

:57:05.:57:11.

unitary. ?197 million of arrears is a nightmare. What is a nightmare is

:57:12.:57:20.

the previous government which crashed the economy and fails to

:57:21.:57:23.

take any responsibility for the consequences. It is good here you

:57:24.:57:28.

finally apologising for the funding settlement that Cornwall has had for

:57:29.:57:32.

decades. If you look at the resilience to some of the budget

:57:33.:57:40.

changes because of certain measures because of unitary measures `` only

:57:41.:57:45.

`` becoming unitary, it vindicates that decision. Evolution, not

:57:46.:57:52.

revolution. It costs money and does not deliver better services.

:57:53.:57:55.

Neil, you feature in our regular round`up of the political week in 60

:57:56.:58:01.

seconds. The cost of policing last year's

:58:02.:58:05.

pilot badger culls was ?2.4 million. ?1,300 for every badger killed. This

:58:06.:58:12.

is the price of democracy. We allow people to demonstrate against the

:58:13.:58:16.

cull. They have got in the way of the cull and caused extra police

:58:17.:58:19.

cost. MPs say the government should

:58:20.:58:22.

provide more nurses and give people at the end of their life the choice

:58:23.:58:27.

not to be in hospital at all. We know the vast majority of people

:58:28.:58:30.

would prefer to die at home and less than one third get the opportunity

:58:31.:58:35.

to do so. As Devon faces a ?750,000 bill to

:58:36.:58:39.

mend its weatherworn roads, the Prime Minister is asked to help.

:58:40.:58:45.

Unless there is a massive investment from outside, the safety factor on

:58:46.:58:48.

our roads will just get worse. The danger factor will increase.

:58:49.:58:55.

And the region celebrates EU protected status for its beef and

:58:56.:58:56.

lamb. A double bill of Neil Parish on tape

:58:57.:59:13.

and in the studio. Stephen Gilbert, Ye has got a point, you have illegal

:59:14.:59:24.

activity and if you have it breaking the law, it should not cost? It is a

:59:25.:59:34.

contentious issue. But on the policing cost, it is the defence of

:59:35.:59:41.

democracy? It might be the defence of democracy, but I question the

:59:42.:59:45.

whole coal of badgers that the whole cult of badgers. If they put the

:59:46.:59:51.

money into vaccination, we would be in a better place now. You defend

:59:52.:59:58.

the badger cull. It has gone pretty badly, though hasn't it? Vaccination

:59:59.:00:05.

will not work because it will not kill infected badgers. The last

:00:06.:00:12.

government had barricaded. `` prevaricated. If we want healthy

:00:13.:00:16.

food in this country, we have to have a cull. Thank you to you all.

:00:17.:00:19.

That's the Sunday have a cull. Thank you to you all.

:00:20.:00:23.

houses being built by the mayor Andrew, back to you. Welcome back.

:00:24.:00:33.

Now she made quite a splash last night. I am talking, of course, of

:00:34.:00:38.

the Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt. If you missed her first

:00:39.:00:42.

appearance in ITV's celebrity diving competition show, here she is in

:00:43.:00:43.

action. APPLAUSE

:00:44.:01:15.

Here is a lady who is more used to campaigning for votes than diving

:01:16.:01:18.

for them. She created far too much rotation. Hard work has gone into

:01:19.:01:24.

the start of this dive to try and control it. That looked painful Now

:01:25.:01:35.

the Portsmouth North MP got voted off the show last night but what

:01:36.:01:38.

about the verdict that really matters? The newly appointed

:01:39.:01:40.

Minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, is here. Welcome to the

:01:41.:01:47.

programme. I would give her ten out of ten for bravery. I was cheering

:01:48.:01:52.

her on. She was doing this for a local charity, raising money for the

:01:53.:01:56.

local swimming pool. She was a good sport. As Minister for Portsmouth,

:01:57.:02:02.

can we expect to see you in your swimming trunks for the next

:02:03.:02:06.

series? I do not think I have the spare time at the moment. But there

:02:07.:02:11.

is a big challenge in Portsmouth. Penny Mordaunt and the other local

:02:12.:02:16.

MPs there have been remorseless in asking ministers to help the city.

:02:17.:02:21.

They are losing jobs. There is a goblin Trinity -- there is a big

:02:22.:02:31.

opportunity to create jobs. Should she have been on a celebrity

:02:32.:02:35.

television show of their role these problems in Portsmouth? This was in

:02:36.:02:41.

her spare time and it is raising money for a good cause. I do not

:02:42.:02:44.

think we should eat two sniffy about it. Did I not see you dressed up on

:02:45.:02:50.

Thursday night, doing your programme? This is my job. This is

:02:51.:02:57.

not her job. It was in her spare time, she was raising money for a

:02:58.:03:08.

local charity. Your Minister for Portsmouth. Are we going to have a

:03:09.:03:13.

minister for every town? Are we going to have a minister for

:03:14.:03:16.

Chipping Sodbury? Chipping Sodbury does not have the issues that

:03:17.:03:21.

Portsmouth have -- that Portsmouth has. There are jobs at risk in

:03:22.:03:28.

shipbuilding. The government puts in a lot of money through the regional

:03:29.:03:34.

growth fund, some ?20 million. There are range of government funding

:03:35.:03:39.

streams going into Portsmouth. My job is to make sure that is properly

:03:40.:03:44.

coordinated. I need to make sure that Portsmouth seizes this

:03:45.:03:47.

opportunity to develop a more broadly -based marine and maritime

:03:48.:03:52.

economy. To make sure a marginal seat stays Tory at the next

:03:53.:03:57.

election? There are marginal seats everywhere. There is a Liberal

:03:58.:04:07.

Democrat marginal the -- seat. Vince Cable and I have been working

:04:08.:04:10.

together for the issues that Portsmouth is facing. We work on

:04:11.:04:16.

these things together. But I have the very specific job of making sure

:04:17.:04:19.

that the effort on the ground is coordinated. So Vince Cable is not

:04:20.:04:25.

the Minister for Portsmouth? I have been there recently, so has Vince

:04:26.:04:30.

Cable. So there are two ministers for Portsmouth? Just a minute. I am

:04:31.:04:36.

making sure that the effort is properly coordinated on the ground.

:04:37.:04:40.

I am determined to turn this challenging time into a proper

:04:41.:04:45.

opportunity. Should we be to Paul faced about this? No, good honour.

:04:46.:04:51.

How much money would be have to pay you to get into a swimming costume?

:04:52.:04:56.

Bid is not enough money in the BBC covers. Good on her. It took seven

:04:57.:05:02.

years to get a leg there's an MP. She should be a minister. It is a

:05:03.:05:08.

pity she has the spare time to do this. She is very talented. It is

:05:09.:05:13.

interesting about the Minister for Portsmouth, up in the north-east

:05:14.:05:18.

they must be sad that they do not have any marginal seats. Nick Brown

:05:19.:05:24.

as David Cameron last July, can we have a minister for the north-east,

:05:25.:05:30.

and the Prime Minister is said no? Does this mean that Portsmouth is

:05:31.:05:34.

more deprived economic late than the north-east? No, it means it is a

:05:35.:05:39.

marginal seat. The Labour Leader Ed Miliband was on

:05:40.:05:42.

the Andrew Marr programme this morning and he outlined plans under

:05:43.:05:45.

a Labour government for an annual competition audit. Here is what he

:05:46.:05:48.

had to say. The next Labour government will have an annual

:05:49.:05:50.

competition at it, not just done by the regulatory body. Alongside them

:05:51.:05:55.

will be the citizens advice bureau, setting the agenda for the future,

:05:56.:05:59.

setting the agenda for how we can ensure that competition will benefit

:06:00.:06:04.

consumers and businesses. I want to see Labour going into the next

:06:05.:06:08.

election as the party of competition, the party of the

:06:09.:06:12.

consumer, the party of hard-pressed working families who are struggling.

:06:13.:06:17.

They need somebody to deal with those issues and that is what the

:06:18.:06:20.

next Labour government will do. I thought you were meant to be the

:06:21.:06:25.

party of competition? We are the party of competition. This is the

:06:26.:06:30.

party that has given us some of these problems. We have an annual

:06:31.:06:34.

competition review in the energy sector. We have already tackling

:06:35.:06:40.

banking. What is interesting about his proposal is it is the smaller

:06:41.:06:44.

ones who are less sure about this, the smaller banks who think that

:06:45.:06:50.

this could inhibit the growth. It is the smaller energy companies who

:06:51.:06:53.

think that through interfering with the market, through his price

:06:54.:06:56.

freeze, that he will hinder competition. We spoke about this

:06:57.:07:02.

before. It is a clever pitch that Ed Miliband is making. Under the guise

:07:03.:07:08.

of token markets and claiming to be the party of competition, he is

:07:09.:07:13.

creating the reason for state intervention? -- broken markets

:07:14.:07:20.

Exactly, and it is state intervention that does not work

:07:21.:07:25.

There is a proud tradition in government of smashing open cartels.

:07:26.:07:30.

Teddy Roosevelt did it nearly a century ago. The problem is, in

:07:31.:07:35.

those situations it was clear and obvious that the consumers were

:07:36.:07:40.

suffering. I am not sure it is entirely obvious in this country. In

:07:41.:07:45.

the banking sector we have free current accounts in the high street.

:07:46.:07:49.

That is not true in all Western countries. In the energy sector our

:07:50.:07:54.

bills are not outlandish they high. It is when we take taxes into

:07:55.:07:59.

account the become unaffordable He has to make the case that consumers

:08:00.:08:04.

are suffering as a result of these monopolies. Ed Miliband would say it

:08:05.:08:10.

is not about state intervention but about making markets work. The piece

:08:11.:08:16.

that was written by his intellectual Duryea about the significance and

:08:17.:08:20.

the importance of Teddy Roosevelt. He was the Republican president in

:08:21.:08:24.

the yearly -- in the early years of the last century. He wanted markets

:08:25.:08:31.

to work. There is an interesting debate on Twitter this morning. Tim

:08:32.:08:37.

Montgomerie is saying, why are we, the Conservative Party, not seen as

:08:38.:08:45.

the party of Teddy Roosevelt? We are seen as the party of business.

:08:46.:08:51.

There are smaller energy companies competing against the big six. In

:08:52.:08:55.

banking, we have seen smaller companies coming. It was the Labour

:08:56.:09:00.

government that created the big six energy companies. I think Teddy

:09:01.:09:05.

Roosevelt also invaded Cuba and the Philippines. That could give us a

:09:06.:09:10.

clue as to Ed Miliband's foreign policy. Nigel Farage has promised to

:09:11.:09:17.

purge the party of its more extreme candidates ahead of the European

:09:18.:09:21.

Council elections in May. But that may not be going so well. Listen to

:09:22.:09:28.

this. The latest in this process is these homosexual laws. And Thomas I

:09:29.:09:35.

shall manage. I believe that the Prime Minister, who was warned that

:09:36.:09:40.

disasters would follow a three went in this direction, he has persisted,

:09:41.:09:47.

and I believe that this is largely a repercussion from this godlessness

:09:48.:09:54.

that he has persisted in. The instructions I have got from now on,

:09:55.:09:58.

or is just not to answer in, and not to give interviews such as this one.

:09:59.:10:04.

So you are ignoring them? I am not ignoring them. But you are talking

:10:05.:10:09.

to me? You are the last one I shall be speaking to. I think it is too

:10:10.:10:16.

late. Who would have thought it It is not global warming that is

:10:17.:10:18.

causing the floods, it is gay marriage? That explains it. Last

:10:19.:10:25.

year David Cameron offered a coded retraction of his statement that

:10:26.:10:30.

UKIP is full of fruit cakes. I think he will be tempted to retract the

:10:31.:10:36.

retraction. It is a warning to lots of Tories who think that their best

:10:37.:10:39.

interests are served by flirting with lace -- with UKIP. Nigel Farage

:10:40.:10:47.

is a very plausible guy, but several layers down, there are people who

:10:48.:10:52.

are very different. Nigel Farage is saying that he's going to clear the

:10:53.:10:56.

party out of what Mr Cameron called the fruitcakes. If he is true to his

:10:57.:11:01.

word, Mr Sylvester's days in the party should they numbered. If Nigel

:11:02.:11:07.

Farage falls under the bus, what is left of place -- what is left of

:11:08.:11:19.

UKIP? People say that they like UKIP because unlike other politicians,

:11:20.:11:23.

they speak their mind. But as it turns into more of a proper

:11:24.:11:27.

organisation, people speaking their mind will be less acceptable. The

:11:28.:11:32.

European elections are always a protest vote. People are not happy

:11:33.:11:39.

with the elite. You will get people saying utterly ridiculous things

:11:40.:11:42.

like that man in Henley-on-Thames. But this is a chance to vote against

:11:43.:11:47.

the entire political establishment. I am not sure that comments like

:11:48.:11:56.

that will make much of a difference. There are lots of arguments about

:11:57.:12:00.

climate change. That was certainly a new one! They are the only big

:12:01.:12:06.

protest party at the moment. Protest party is obviously hoovered up lots

:12:07.:12:11.

of votes. We have got to be clear in European message that we are the

:12:12.:12:14.

only party that can reform Europe and give people a proper choice the

:12:15.:12:20.

first referendum in over 40 years. Mr Sylvester used to be a

:12:21.:12:24.

conservative. You're probably glad to see the back of him? David

:12:25.:12:29.

Cameron is right, there are probably a few fruitcakes around there. I

:12:30.:12:33.

think that mainstream conservatives will understand that this is the

:12:34.:12:41.

only party that can secure European reform and give people the choice

:12:42.:12:45.

they have been arguing for. Whatever happens in the European elections,

:12:46.:12:49.

it is a protest vote. We have almost run out of time. We will see this

:12:50.:12:53.

week of Chris Rennard gets the party whip act. There is a battle brewing

:12:54.:12:59.

between Danny Alexander and the common side of the Liberal Democrats

:13:00.:13:04.

and the House of Lords. If he turns up on Monday and asks to be let in,

:13:05.:13:08.

I they going to make a big scene at the gate of Parliament? And the

:13:09.:13:18.

issue will stay in the papers? Yes, they are clearly nervous that Lord

:13:19.:13:22.

Rennard might be tempted to mount a legal bid. That is all for today.

:13:23.:13:30.

Thanks to all my guests. The Daily Politics is back on Monday at midday

:13:31.:13:34.

on BBC Two. And I will be here again next week. Remember if it is Sunday,

:13:35.:13:37.

it is the Sunday Politics.

:13:38.:13:39.

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