26/01/2014 Sunday Politics South West


26/01/2014

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Politics. Politics.

:00:37.:00:41.

Ed Balls has gone socialist and fiscal Conservative in one speech.

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He promises to balance the biggest bit of the budget. And to bring back

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the 50p top tax rate. Political masterstroke, or a return to old

:00:50.:00:53.

Labour? If you go to work by public

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transport, chances are the price of your ticket has just gone up -

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again. We'll speak to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin. He's

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our Sunday Interview. And it's been another wet week

:01:05.:01:07.

across much of the UK, but what's the outlook according to this man?

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This morning.This morning. Held in recent years by party veterans like

:01:13.:01:13.

Vince Cable And in the South West, the bishop

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who is concerned about council cuts. And the former MP calling for a

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clamp`down on the region's cannabis farms.

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And with me - as always - the political panel so fresh-faced,

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entertaining and downright popular they make Justin Bieber look like a

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boring old has-been just desperate to get your attention. Nick Watt,

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Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, and they'll be tweeting quicker than a

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yellow Lamborghini racing down Miami Beach. Being political nerds, they

:01:53.:02:09.

have no idea what I'm talking about. Ed Balls sprung a surprise on us all

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yesterday. We kinda thought Labour would head for the election with a

:02:14.:02:17.

return to the 50p top rate of tax. But we didn't think he'd do it now.

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He did! The polls say it's popular, Labour activists now have a spring

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in their step. The Tories say it's a return to the bad old days of the

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'70s, and bosses now think Labour is anti-business. Here's the Shadow

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Chancellor speaking earlier this morning. I was part of a Government

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which did very many things to open up markets, to make the Bank of

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England independent, to work closely with business, but the reality is we

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are in very difficult circumstances and because if I'm honest you,

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George Osborne's failure in the last few years, those difficult

:02:41.:02:44.

circumstances will last into the next Parliament. Business people

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have said to me they want to get the deficit down, of course they do But

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to cut the top rate... It is foolish and feeds resentment I want to do

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the opposite and say look, pro-business, pro investment, pro

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market, but pro fairness. Let's get this deficit down in a fairway and

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make the reforms to make our economy work for the long term. What are the

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political implications of Labour now in favour of a 50%, in practise 352%

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top rate of tax? One of the political implications I don't think

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exist is that they'll win new voters. I'm not sure many people out

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there would think, I would love to vote for Ed Miliband but I'm not

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sure if he wants to tax rich people enough. It will con Dale their

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existing vote but I don't think it is the kind of, in the 1990s we

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talked about triangulation, moving beyond your core vote, I don't think

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it is a policy like that. If there has been a policy like that this

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year, this month, it has been the Tories' move on minimum wage. I

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thought Labour would come back with their own version, a centre-right

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policy, and instead they have done this. I think we talk about the 35%

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strategy that Labour supposed will have, I think it is a policy in that

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direction rather than the thing Tony Blair or Gordon Brown would have

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done. Where he was not clear is on how much it would raise. We know the

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sum in the grand scheme of things isn't much, the bedroom tax was

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about sending a message. What we are going to see is George Osborne and

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Ed Balls lock as they try to push the other one into saying things

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that are unpopular. The Tories, ?150,000 a year, that's exactly

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where Ed Balls want them to be. All three main parties have roughly the

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same plan, to run a current budget surplus by the end of the next

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Parliament. George Osborne said ?12 billion of welfare cuts, hasn't said

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how he is going to do it. Ed Balls is giving an idea that he is going

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to restore this 50 persons rate The contribution of that will be

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deminimus. It is not much, but what does it say about your values.

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Because it is that package, it is cleverer than people think. Where

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the challenge is is the question that Peter Mandelson posed at the

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last election, which is can the Labour Party win a general election

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if it doesn't have business on its side? That's the big challenge and

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that's the question looking difficult for them this morning

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Does it matter if Labour has business on its side. I thought the

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most fascinating thing about this announcement is it came from the guy

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mindful of business support, Ed Balls. When in opposition and when a

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Minister and as a shadow as a result, he's been far more conscious

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than Ed Miliband about the need not to alienate the CB Bill. In the

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run-up of an election. This is a measure of Ed Miliband's strength in

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the Labour Party, that his view of things can prevail so easily over a

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guy who for the last 15 years has taken a different view. Eight out of

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ten businesses according to the CBI don't want us to leave business

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Business is in a bit of a cleft stick. Ed Miliband would like to see

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businesses squealing, and Ed Balls is clearly not so comfortable on

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that one. There's a difference on that. Mind you, they were squealing

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this morning from Davos. They probably had hangovers as well. The

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other thing they would say is this is not like Ed Balls thinks that 50p

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is the optimal rate forever, it what go eventually. Isn't that what

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politicians said when income tax was introduced? Yeah, in '97 Labour

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regarded 40 persons as the rate where it would stay.

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It's been a bad week for the Lib Dems. Again. Actually, it's been one

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of the worst weeks yet for Nick Clegg and his party in recent

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memory, as they've gone from talking confidently about their role in

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Government to facing a storm of criticism over claims of

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inappropriate sexual behaviour by a Lib Dem peer, Chris Rennard, and a

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Lib Dem MP, Mike Hancock. Here's Giles with the story of the week. A

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challenge to Nick Clegg's authority as he face as growing row over the

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Liberal Democrat... I want everyone to be treated with respect by the

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Liberal Democrats. We are expecting him to show moral leadership on our

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behalf. A good man has been publicly destroyed by the media with the

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apparent support of Nick Clegg. I would like Nick Clegg to show

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leadership and say, this has got to stop. When Nick Clegg woke up on

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Monday morning he knew he was in trouble, staring down the barrel of

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a stand justify with Lord Rennard over allegations that the peer had

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inappropriately touched a number of women. Chris Rennard thought he was

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cleared. Nick Clegg wanted more I said if he doesn't apologise, he

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should withdraw from the House of Lords. If he does that today, what

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do you do then? I hope he doesn t. I think no apology, no whip. 2014 was

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starting badly for the Liberal Democrats. Chris Rennard refused to

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apologise, saying you can't say sorry for something you haven't

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done. The and he was leaning towards legal action. Butch us friends

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better defending Pym and publicly. This is a good, decent man, who has

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been punished by the party, with the leadership of the party that seems

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to be showing scant regard for due process. But his accusers felt very

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differently. It is untenable for the Lib Dems to have a credible voice on

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qualities and women's issues in the future if Lord Rennard was allowed

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to be back on the Lib Dem benches in the House of Lords. Therein lay the

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problem that exposed the weaknesses of the Lib Dem leaders. The party's

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internal structures have all the simplicity of a circuit diagram for

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a supercomputer, exposing the complexity of who runs the Liberal

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Democrats? The simple question that arose of that was can the leader of

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the Lib Dems remove a Lib Dem peer? The simple answer is no. The Lib Dem

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whips in the Lords could do it but if enough Lib Dem peers disagreed,

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they could overrule it. Some long-stand ng friends of roar

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Rennard think he is either the innocent victim of a media

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witch-hunt or at the least due process has been ridden over rough

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shot by the leadership. Nobody ever did spot Lord Rennard as he didn't

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turn up to the Lords, will citing ill health. But issued a statement

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that ruled out an apology. He refused to do so and refused to

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comply with the outcome of that report, so there was no alternative

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but for the party to suspend his membership today. On Wednesday Nick

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Clegg met Lib Dem peers, not for a crunch decision, but to discuss the

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extraordinary prospect of legal action against the party by the man

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long credited with building its success. The situation was making

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the party look like a joke. One Tory MP said to one of my colleagues this

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morning, the funny thing about the Liberal Democrats, you managed to

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create a whole sex scandal without any sex. And we can laugh at

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ourselves but actually it is rather serious. And it got more serious,

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when an MP who had resigned the Lib Dem whip last year was expanded from

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the party over a report into allegations of serious and unwelcome

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sexual behaviour towards a constituent. All of this leaves the

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Lib Dems desperately wishing these sagas had been dealt with long ago

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and would now go away. Nick Clegg ended the week still party leader.

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Lord Rennard, once one of their most powerful players, ended the week,

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for now, no longer even in it. Giles on the Lib Dems' disastrous

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week. Now, as you doubtless already know, on Tuesday Lib Dem MPs will

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vote to choose a new deputy leader. You didn't know that? You do now.

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The job of Nick Clegg's number two is to speak with a genuine Lib Dem

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voice, untainted by the demands of coalition Government. At this point

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in the show we had expected to speak to all three candidates for the

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post, held in recent years by party veterans like Vince Cable and Simon

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Hughes. We thought it being quite a significant week for the party, they

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might have something to say. And here they are. Well that's their

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pictures. For various reasons, all three are now unavailable. Malcolm

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Bruce, he's reckoned to be the outsider. His office said he had a

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"family commitment". Gordon Birtwistle, the Burnley MP, was

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booked to appear but then told us, "I was at an event last night with

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Lorely Burt" - she's one of the candidates - "and she told me it was

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off". And Lorely Burt herself, seen by many as the red hot favourite,

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told us: "Because of the Rennard thing we don't want to put ourselves

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in a position where we have to answer difficult questions." How

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refreshingly honest. Helen, how bad politically is all this for the Lib

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Dems? What I think is the tragic irony of the Lib Dems is they've

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been revealed as being too democratic. In the same way that

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their party conference embarrassed Nick Clegg by voting sings that he

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signed up to, and now everything has to be run past various

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sub-committees first. Is it democratic or chaotic? It is

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Byzantine. Mike Hancock was voluntarily suspended, and this week

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he was properly suspended. It was new information into the public

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domain that forced that. I'm already hearing Labour and Conservative

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Party musing that if it is a long Parliament, we will form a minority

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Government. It is a disaster for them. Voters like parties that

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reflect and are interested this their concerns. Parties that are

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self obsessed turn them off. The third party, if they carry on like

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this, they'll be the fifth party in the European elections, so they have

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got to draw a line under this. They do that, if they do, through

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mediation. As I understand it, Chris Rennard,s who has go devoted his

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entire life to the Liberal Democrats, and previously the

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Liberal Party, is keen to draw a line under this. He is up for

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mediation but he needs to know that the women that he has clearly

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invaded their personal space, that there wouldn't be a possible legal a

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action from them. The it is very difficult to see how you could

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resolve that. Except he is threatening through his friends

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these famous friends, to spill all the beans about all the party's sex

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secrets. Isn't the danger for the Lib Dems, this haunts them through

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to the European elections, where they'll get thumped in the European

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elections? They'll get destroyed in the European elections, which keeps

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it salient as a story over the summer. And it has implications for

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Nick Clegg's leadership. He's done a good job until now, perhaps better

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than David Cameron, of exercising authority over his party. He had a

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good conference in September. Absolutely, and now the Lib Dems

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have looked like a party without a leader or a leadership structure.

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Part of that is down to the chaotic or Byzantine organisational

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structure of the party. Part of it is Nick Clegg's failure to assert

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himself and impose himself over events. Is it Byzantine or

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Byzantine. It is labyrinthine. You don't get these words on the Today

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programme. The cost of living has been back on the agenda this week as

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Labour and the Tories argue over whether the value of money in your

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pocket is going up or down. Well there's one cost which has been

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racing ahead of inflation and that's the amount you have to pay to travel

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by train, by bus and by air. Rail commuters have been hard hit over

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the last four years, with the cost of the average season ticket going

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up by 18% since January 2010, while wages have gone up by just 3.6% over

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the same period. It means some rail users are paying high prices with

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commuters from Kent shelling out more than ?5,000 per year from the

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beginning of this month just to get to work in London. It doesn't

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compare well with our European counterparts. In the UK the average

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rail user spends 14% of their average income on trains. It is just

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1.5% in Italy. Regulated fares like season tickets went up 3.1% at the

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beginning of this month, and with ministers keen to make passengers

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fought more of the bills, there are more fare rises coming down the

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track. And Patrick McLoughlin joins me now for the Sunday Interview

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Welcome. You claim to be in the party of hard-working people, so why

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is it that since you came to power rail commuters have seen the cost of

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their average season ticket going up in money terms by over 18% while

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their pay has gone up in money terms by less than four? I would point out

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that this is the first year in ten years that we have not had an above

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inflation increase on fares. The Government accepts we have got to do

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as much as we can to help the passengers. A big inflation increase

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since 2010. This is the first year in ten years that it has not been

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above RPI, but we are also investing huge amounts of money into the

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railways, building new trains for the East Coast Main Line and the

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great Western. We are spending 500 million at Birmingham station, this

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is all increasing capacity, so we are seeing investments. Over the

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next five years Network Rail will invest over ?38 billion in the

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network structure. We also have an expensive railway and it is ordinary

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people paying for it. A season ticket from Woking in Surrey,

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commuter belt land in London, let's look at the figures. This is a

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distance of over 25 miles, it cost over ?3000 per year. We have picked

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similar distances to international cities.

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The British commuter is being ripped off. The British commuter is seeing

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record levels of investment in our railways. The investment has to be

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paid for. We are investing huge amounts of money and I don't know

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whether the figures you have got here... I'm sure they are likewise,

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as you have managed to do... White -- ten times more than the Italian

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equivalent. We have seen transformational changes in our

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railway services and we need to carry on investing. We were paying

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these prices even before you started investing. We have always paid a lot

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more to commute in this country than our European equivalents. I'm not

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quite sure I want to take on Italy is a great example. You would if you

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were a commuter. You is a great example. You would if you

:19:59.:20:04.

the other rates of taxation has to be paid as well. Isn't it the case

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they are making profits out of these figures and using them to subsidise

:20:11.:20:14.

cheaper fares back in their homeland? The overall profit margin

:20:15.:20:22.

train companies make is 3%, a reasonable amount, and we have seen

:20:23.:20:26.

a revolution as far as the railway industry is concerned.

:20:27.:20:31.

a revolution as far as the railway 20 years we have seen passenger

:20:32.:20:36.

journeys going from 750 million to 1.5 billion. That is a massive

:20:37.:20:40.

revolution in rail. Let me look 1.5 billion. That is a massive

:20:41.:20:45.

spokesperson for the German government, the Ministry of

:20:46.:20:45.

transport. They are charging huge fares in

:20:46.:21:03.

Britain to take that money back to subsidise fares in Germany. What do

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you say to that? We are seeing British companies winning contracts

:21:09.:21:12.

in Germany. The National Express are winning contracts to the railways.

:21:13.:21:18.

What about the ordinary commuter? They are paying through the nose so

:21:19.:21:23.

German commuters can travel more cheaply. We are still subsidising

:21:24.:21:28.

the railways in this country, but overall we want to reduce the

:21:29.:21:32.

subsidy we are giving. We are still seeing growth in our railways and I

:21:33.:21:40.

want to see more people using them. Why do you increase rail fares at

:21:41.:21:48.

the higher RPI measure than the lower CPI measurement? That is what

:21:49.:21:53.

has always been done, and we have stopped. This is the first time in

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ten years that we have not raised the rail figures above RPI. You

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still link fares to RPI. You use the lower CPI figure when it suits you,

:22:08.:22:13.

to keep pension payments down for example, but the higher one when it

:22:14.:22:17.

comes to increasing rail fares. We are still putting a huge subsidy

:22:18.:22:21.

into the rail industry, there is still a huge amount of money going

:22:22.:22:26.

from the taxpayer to support the rail industry. I am not asking you

:22:27.:22:32.

about that, I am asking you why you link the figures to the higher RPI

:22:33.:22:40.

vesture Mark if we are going to pay for the levels of investment, so all

:22:41.:22:47.

the new trains being built at Newton Aycliffe for the East Coast Main

:22:48.:22:51.

Line and the great Western, ?3. billion of investment, new rolling

:22:52.:22:55.

stock coming online, then yes, we have to pay for it, and it is a

:22:56.:22:59.

question of the taxpayer paying for it all the -- or the passenger.

:23:00.:23:13.

You have capped parking fines until the next election, rail commuters we

:23:14.:23:17.

have seen the cost of their ticket has gone up by nearly 20%, you are

:23:18.:23:27.

the party of the drivers, not the passengers, aren't you?

:23:28.:23:34.

We are trying to help everybody who has been struggling. I think we are

:23:35.:23:47.

setting out long-term plans for our railways, investing heavily in them

:23:48.:23:52.

and it is getting that balance right. But you have done more for

:23:53.:23:57.

the driver than you have for the user of public transport. I don t

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accept that. They are paying the same petrol prices as 2011. This is

:24:05.:24:10.

the first time in ten years that there has not been an RPI plus

:24:11.:24:18.

rise. We are investing record amounts. Bus fares are also rising,

:24:19.:24:25.

4.2% in real terms in 2010, at a time when real take-home pay has

:24:26.:24:31.

been falling. This hits commuters particularly workers who use buses

:24:32.:24:36.

on low incomes, another cost of living squeeze. I was with

:24:37.:24:41.

Stagecoach in Manchester on Friday, and I saw a bus company investing in

:24:42.:24:55.

new buses. Last week First ordered new buses. Part of your hard-working

:24:56.:25:01.

families you are always on about, they are the ones going to work

:25:02.:25:07.

early in the morning, and yet you are making them pay more for their

:25:08.:25:11.

buses in real terms than they did before. They would be happier if

:25:12.:25:18.

they could travel more cheaply. It is about getting investment in

:25:19.:25:23.

services, it has to be paid for Why not run the old buses for five more

:25:24.:25:31.

years? Because then there is more pollution in the atmosphere, modern

:25:32.:25:35.

buses have lower emissions, and we are still giving huge support

:25:36.:25:40.

overall to the bus industry and that is very important because I fully

:25:41.:25:43.

accept that the number of people, yes, use the train but a lot of

:25:44.:25:52.

people use buses as well. High-speed two, it has been delayed because 877

:25:53.:25:59.

pages of key evidence from your department were left on a computer

:26:00.:26:05.

memory stick, part of the submission to environmental consultation. Your

:26:06.:26:09.

department's economic case is now widely regarded as a joke, now you

:26:10.:26:16.

do this. Is your department fit for purpose? Yes, and as far as what

:26:17.:26:22.

happened with the memory stick, it is an acceptable and shouldn't have

:26:23.:26:26.

happened, and therefore we have extended the time. There has been an

:26:27.:26:31.

extension in the time for people to make representation, the bill for

:26:32.:26:42.

this goes through Parliament in a different way to a normal bill. It

:26:43.:26:55.

is vital HS2 provides what we want. What I am very pleased about is when

:26:56.:26:59.

the paving bill was passed by Parliament just a few months ago,

:27:00.:27:04.

there was overwhelming support, and I kept reading there was going to be

:27:05.:27:10.

70 people voting against it, in the end 30 people voted against it and

:27:11.:27:15.

there was a good majority in the House of Commons. So can you give a

:27:16.:27:19.

guarantee that this legislation will get onto the statute books? I will

:27:20.:27:28.

do all I can. I cannot tell you the exact Parliamentary time scale. The

:27:29.:27:31.

bill will have started its progress through the House of Commons by

:27:32.:27:40.

2015, and it may well have concluded. The new chairman of HS2

:27:41.:27:46.

said he can bring the cost of the line substantially under the budget,

:27:47.:27:57.

do you agree with that? The figure is ?42 billion with a large

:27:58.:28:02.

contingency, and David Higgins, as chairman of HS2, is looking at the

:28:03.:28:06.

whole cast and seeing if there are ways in which it can be built

:28:07.:28:12.

faster. At the moment across London we are building Crossrail, ?14.

:28:13.:28:17.

billion investment. There was a report last week saying what an

:28:18.:28:23.

excellent job has been done. Crossrail started under Labour.

:28:24.:28:29.

Actually it was Cecil Parkinson in the 1990 party conference. You may

:28:30.:28:37.

get HS2 cheaper if you didn't pay people so much, why is the

:28:38.:28:43.

nonexecutive chairman of HS2 on ?600,000? And the new chief

:28:44.:28:53.

executive on ?750,000. These are very big projects and we need to

:28:54.:28:56.

attract the best people become so we are going for the best engineers in

:28:57.:29:01.

the world to engineer this project. It is a large salary, there is no

:29:02.:29:07.

question about it, but I'm rather pleased that engineers rather than

:29:08.:29:11.

bankers can be seen to get big rewards for delivering what will be

:29:12.:29:15.

very important pieces of national infrastructure. I didn't have time

:29:16.:29:19.

to ask you about your passenger duty so perhaps another time. We are

:29:20.:29:26.

about to speak to Nigel Mills and all of these MPs on your side who

:29:27.:29:29.

are rebelling against the Government, how would you handle

:29:30.:29:34.

them? We have got to listen to what our colleagues are talking about and

:29:35.:29:40.

try to respond it. Would you take them for a long walk off a short

:29:41.:29:45.

pier? I'm sure I would have many conversations with them. An

:29:46.:29:57.

immigration bill to tack the immigration into the UK. When limits

:29:58.:30:04.

on migration from Bulgaria and Romania were lifted this year there

:30:05.:30:09.

were warnings of a large influx of migrant workerses from the two new

:30:10.:30:13.

European countries. So far it's been more of a dribble than a flood. Who

:30:14.:30:19.

can forget Labour MP Keith Vaz greeting a handful of arrivals at

:30:20.:30:23.

Luton Airport. But it is early days and it is one of the reasons the

:30:24.:30:28.

Government's introduced a new Immigration Bill. The Prime Minister

:30:29.:30:31.

is facing rebellion from backbenchers who want tougher action

:30:32.:30:38.

on immigration from abroad. Nigel Mills would reimpose restrictions on

:30:39.:30:46.

how many Romanians and Bulgarians can come here. Joining me is Nigel

:30:47.:30:53.

Mills, Conservative MP behind the amendment and Labour MP Diane

:30:54.:30:58.

Abbott. Welcome. Nigel Mills, there hasn't been an influx of Romanians

:30:59.:31:06.

and Bulgarians. Why do you want to restore these, kick these

:31:07.:31:09.

transitional controls way forward to 2019? I don't think any of us were

:31:10.:31:14.

expecting a rush on January 1st Andrew. I think we were talking

:31:15.:31:19.

about a range of 250,000 to 350 000 people over five years. That's

:31:20.:31:24.

obviously a large amount of people, especially when you think net

:31:25.:31:29.

migration to the UK was well in excess of the Government's target of

:31:30.:31:33.

tens of thousands last year. The real concern is that it would be

:31:34.:31:38.

ever increasing our population, attracting lots of low-skilled,

:31:39.:31:44.

low-wage people, which keeps our people out of work and wages down.

:31:45.:31:49.

Did you accept that if you were to accept this, it would be in breach

:31:50.:31:53.

of the Treaty of Rome, the founding principle of the European Union We

:31:54.:31:59.

were trying to keep the restrictions that Bulgaria and Romania accepted

:32:00.:32:03.

for their first seven years of EU membership, on the basis that when

:32:04.:32:06.

we signed the treaty we weren't aware that we would have a huge and

:32:07.:32:10.

catastrophic recession we are still recovering from. But you would be in

:32:11.:32:16.

breach of the law, correct? The UK Parliament has a right to say we

:32:17.:32:20.

signed this deal before the terrible recession, and we need a bit longer

:32:21.:32:24.

in our national interest. It is worth noting that Bulgaria and

:32:25.:32:32.

Romania haven't met all their accession requirements. The

:32:33.:32:36.

Bulgarian requirement passed a law... So if they break the law it

:32:37.:32:41.

is alright for us to break the law? Is we should be focusing on trying

:32:42.:32:46.

to get 2. 4 million of our own in work, and 1 million people not in

:32:47.:32:52.

work... Let me bring in Diane Abbott. Will you vote for this

:32:53.:32:57.

amendment and why? It is in breach of the treaty. While I deplore MPs

:32:58.:33:02.

that try to cause trouble, these MPs have been particularly mindless

:33:03.:33:06.

because what they want to do wouldn't be legal. However, it is a

:33:07.:33:11.

Tory internal brief, if I might say so. Maybe you can cause trouble by

:33:12.:33:16.

voting for it. No, that would be going too far. Underlying it is a

:33:17.:33:23.

real antagonism for David Cameron. They have had to hold off on this

:33:24.:33:27.

bill until January. It was supposed to be debating before Christmas As

:33:28.:33:31.

we speak they've not cut a deal so it could be pretty grus om. Nigel

:33:32.:33:39.

Mills, what do you say to that I think there is a recognition that

:33:40.:33:43.

there is a problem with the amount of migration from EU countries that

:33:44.:33:48.

we need to tackle. We could try to achieve an annual cap perhaps,

:33:49.:33:51.

longer limits on when countries get free movement. I think the debate is

:33:52.:33:55.

moving in the right direction, but I think those people who are trapped

:33:56.:33:59.

out of work and desperately looking for work want something to be done

:34:00.:34:04.

now and not wait a few more years while we have more assessments

:34:05.:34:09.

Andrews. People are worried about the level of immigration. They I it

:34:10.:34:13.

is too high. That's the consensus in the country. We spoke to to

:34:14.:34:20.

migration centre in Hackney and they said they are struggling to cope

:34:21.:34:23.

with the number of people using their services. These are people

:34:24.:34:27.

with problems with the law. In the past years EU migrants put in more

:34:28.:34:32.

to the economy in taxation than they take out in benefits. When it comes

:34:33.:34:37.

to free movement, which is agitating Nige em, that horse has bolted. We

:34:38.:34:42.

signed a treaty. There is nothing people like Nigel Mills can do,

:34:43.:34:46.

unless they want to rip their party apart, God forbid. Will you go as

:34:47.:34:51.

far as to rip your party apart, Nigel Mills? Are you going to take

:34:52.:34:55.

this all the way? Would you rather see this bill go down than your

:34:56.:35:01.

amendment not be accepted? This is a very important bill. I think we all

:35:02.:35:06.

want to see measures on the statute book, so the last thing we want to

:35:07.:35:10.

see is this bill go down. We do need to set out clearly that we have real

:35:11.:35:15.

concerns about the level of EU migration and something needs to be

:35:16.:35:22.

done. Would you rather have the bill without your amendment or no bill at

:35:23.:35:28.

all? I am hoping we can have the bill with the amendment. I know

:35:29.:35:32.

that, but if you can't? Is that will depend on what the Labour Party

:35:33.:35:39.

decide to do. They are talking tougher on immigration but will they

:35:40.:35:43.

take action on it? Your party has been talking tough on immigration

:35:44.:35:47.

but I will be surprised if an Ed Miliband Labour Party would vote for

:35:48.:35:52.

egg in direct cameravention of the Treaty of Rome. It would make no

:35:53.:35:56.

sense. Nigel Mills is wishing for the impossible. If I was a Tory I

:35:57.:36:04.

would be wringing high hands. He hasn't ruled out crashing the bill.

:36:05.:36:09.

That's incredible. Where will this end, Nigel Mills? We'll end with a

:36:10.:36:15.

vote on Thursday. There's a lot of amendments people can use to show

:36:16.:36:19.

their concern about migration. We want limited and proportionate

:36:20.:36:23.

action, and that's what I am proposing. I want to see the bill on

:36:24.:36:27.

the statute book, I want the restrictions on people who shouldn't

:36:28.:36:32.

be here getting bank accounts and driving licences. I don't want to

:36:33.:36:37.

crash this bill but there's more measures we need in it. Nigel Mills

:36:38.:36:43.

thank you. You are going to be -- popping up I think on the Sunday

:36:44.:36:48.

Politics East Midlands. Diane Abbott, thank you as well.

:36:49.:36:54.

We're in for more heavy rain and high winds across the UK today. You

:36:55.:36:57.

may remember that one UKIP councillor - he's since been

:36:58.:37:00.

suspended - caused controversy last weekend by blaming the recent

:37:01.:37:03.

flooding on the legalisation of gay marriage. Why didn't I think of

:37:04.:37:06.

that? So who better than this man to bring you the unofficial forecast.

:37:07.:37:10.

I'll be bringing you the late least UKIP weather from your area.

:37:11.:37:15.

You're watching Sunday Politics. Also coming up in just over 20

:37:16.:37:21.

minutes, I'll be looking at the week ahead with our political panel.

:37:22.:37:33.

Hello. I'm Lucie Fisher. Coming up on the Sunday Politics in the South

:37:34.:37:40.

West: The rise of the cannabis farm. One former Devon MP says there could

:37:41.:37:45.

be one in a house near you. And for the next 20 minutes I am

:37:46.:37:49.

joined by the Conservative MP Mel Stride and Labour Councillor Nicky

:37:50.:37:53.

Williams. Welcome to the programme. This week the Bishop of Crediton

:37:54.:37:56.

spoke out against council cuts which could force a shelter for homeless

:37:57.:38:00.

people to close. The Leonard Stocks Centre in Torquay opened four years

:38:01.:38:04.

ago. But half its funding comes from Torbay Council, which has to save

:38:05.:38:10.

more than ?22 million. To force the closure of a homeless

:38:11.:38:14.

centre or hit some of the welfare projects out there doesn't just

:38:15.:38:17.

affect those who are immediately affected, the homeless and the

:38:18.:38:23.

troubled people themselves. It has knock`on effects for others, and we

:38:24.:38:26.

probably all need to speak up for those who are most vulnerable in our

:38:27.:38:35.

society. It is quite unusual for a bishop to

:38:36.:38:38.

feel moved to speak out on an issue. Does he have a point? In the

:38:39.:38:44.

specific case of what is happening in Torbay, my understanding it is

:38:45.:38:47.

out to consultation so a final decision has not been taken, and I

:38:48.:38:52.

can't comment on that specifically because I know `` I don't know the

:38:53.:38:57.

context of what is happening on the ground, but in terms of raising the

:38:58.:39:01.

issue of the homeless in the form rubble, he is absolutely right. The

:39:02.:39:12.

Conservative government is holding a lot of houses. But where is there to

:39:13.:39:16.

go for these people if you close that shelter? In the case of Torbay,

:39:17.:39:21.

I don't know what is happening on the ground. Places open and closing

:39:22.:39:27.

all sorts of areas for differing reasons. So you don't feel

:39:28.:39:31.

responsible that the government cuts mean policies work down to councils

:39:32.:39:35.

and are working their way down to people we see on the street?

:39:36.:39:38.

Councils have difficult choices to make and there is no doubt about

:39:39.:39:42.

that. Money is extremely tight white across the country. They are having

:39:43.:39:47.

to make ethical decisions. What we are seeing only today is a rapid

:39:48.:39:54.

decrease in the level of unemployment and the economy is

:39:55.:39:58.

picking up. We are looking at ourselves slowly come out of the

:39:59.:40:01.

recession we have been through and we are putting things right, but it

:40:02.:40:05.

will be tough in the meantime. If we keep at it and keep with the long

:40:06.:40:10.

term economic plan, we'll make progress. What you make of that? We

:40:11.:40:16.

shouldn't worry? The reality is that these cuts are hitting the most

:40:17.:40:25.

vulnerable people. The cuts from the central government are being passed

:40:26.:40:29.

on to local government and we as local councillors run the services

:40:30.:40:31.

which protect the most vulnerable people. If you could put it in the

:40:32.:40:35.

way they are at the moment, inevitably, there are tough

:40:36.:40:41.

decisions being made. We are doing everything we can to protect the

:40:42.:40:46.

most vulnerable, but if you remove all the resources and the money,

:40:47.:40:50.

inevitably some people will be put in an awful position and we will

:40:51.:40:53.

have to make some hard decisions. What do you say to that? You can go

:40:54.:40:58.

back to the old Labour Party ways which got us into this mess in the

:40:59.:41:04.

first race, `` first place, which is to keep borrowing and spending and

:41:05.:41:07.

taxing, and you will end up in the position we were in in 2008. We are

:41:08.:41:11.

working through a long`term economic plan, seeing and employment go down

:41:12.:41:16.

and growth coming back. We are seeing some signs of real wage

:41:17.:41:19.

increases, and in the longer term is, those things give it a healthy

:41:20.:41:24.

and sustainable society. It is time move on.

:41:25.:41:27.

The former Totnes MP Anthony Steen is stepping up his efforts to raise

:41:28.:41:30.

the profile of cannabis farms and their links to child slavery. He has

:41:31.:41:35.

given the Sunday Politics recent figures which show Devon and

:41:36.:41:38.

Cornwall police found 150 of the farms in just one year. Mr Steen

:41:39.:41:42.

says the cannabis plants are often being pruned and watered by children

:41:43.:41:45.

who have been trafficked into Britain. We will speak to him in a

:41:46.:41:49.

moment, but first this report from Jenny Kumah.

:41:50.:41:57.

On the streets of Plymouth, it is easy to find links between the South

:41:58.:42:02.

West and the slave trade that was abolished more than 200 years ago.

:42:03.:42:08.

This spot marks the childhood home of Sir John Hawkyns, the first

:42:09.:42:14.

English slave trader. What is not so easy to see is the human trafficking

:42:15.:42:17.

and child slavery that is happening today. One South West charity which

:42:18.:42:22.

supports victims of modern slavery says more needs to be done to

:42:23.:42:25.

protect trafficked children, like this boy, whose words are voiced by

:42:26.:42:30.

an actor. I was 15 when I came here from

:42:31.:42:36.

Vietnam. My family was very poor. A friend of my father's offered me a

:42:37.:42:40.

job in a restaurant, but when I arrived I was met by a different

:42:41.:42:45.

man. The man said I had to do everything he told me to do or I

:42:46.:42:48.

would be arrested and my family would be in trouble. I was locked in

:42:49.:42:53.

a house and forced to look after cannabis plants. The doors and

:42:54.:42:57.

windows were locked. It was dark. I had very little food. If I asked

:42:58.:43:01.

questions, I was beaten. I wasn't allowed out at all. Government

:43:02.:43:06.

figures show that more than 500 child slaves were found in the UK

:43:07.:43:10.

last year. An official report says many were found working on cannabis

:43:11.:43:14.

farms set up in houses which, from the outside, look like ordinary

:43:15.:43:21.

family homes. A former Devon MP has long campaigned on this issue. I am

:43:22.:43:25.

quite sure in the South West there are trafficked women and boys and

:43:26.:43:31.

girls. In large towns, Plymouth, Torquay, Exeter, there is bound to

:43:32.:43:34.

be trafficked people, and they won't be in the city. They are usually in

:43:35.:43:39.

the suburbs looking perfectly normal, but they aren't.

:43:40.:43:44.

Anthony Steen is now the Home Secretary's special envoy on

:43:45.:43:50.

combating modern slavery. He has written to more than 240 MPs to

:43:51.:43:54.

raise awareness of the problem, highlighting the growing number of

:43:55.:43:59.

raids on cannabis factories. Recent figures show the police raided

:44:00.:44:02.

around 150 cannabis farms in Devon and Cornwall in just one year, with

:44:03.:44:06.

hotspots in Torbay, Plymouth and Exeter. Devon and Cornwall police

:44:07.:44:14.

say there have not been any human trafficking prosecutions linked to

:44:15.:44:17.

those raids, but in Avon and Somerset, there is more concern.

:44:18.:44:22.

Certainly we are seeing more cases of people who have been trafficked,

:44:23.:44:25.

examples of modern slavery, and people who are in need of

:44:26.:44:28.

safeguarding care from the police and other agencies. The draft Modern

:44:29.:44:34.

Slavery Bill is currently being scrutinised by Parliament. It will

:44:35.:44:40.

mean life sentences for offenders. It is not just about legislation. It

:44:41.:44:49.

is about an action plan as well. There are practical steps that the

:44:50.:44:52.

police, our new National Crime Agency, working with other agencies,

:44:53.:44:55.

such as local authorities, can take, and we will be publishing that

:44:56.:44:58.

action plan in the spring. But anti`trafficking campaigners say

:44:59.:45:01.

that many child slaves end up facing criminal charges and those that are

:45:02.:45:04.

taken into care all too often go missing. They warned the new bill

:45:05.:45:08.

does not do enough to address these problems.

:45:09.:45:13.

Jenny Kumah reporting, and the Chair of the Human Trafficking Foundation

:45:14.:45:18.

Anthony Steen joins us from London. Welcome to the programme. Many

:45:19.:45:25.

viewers will be surprised to see you say that lies at my child slavery is

:45:26.:45:31.

happening on ours `` our doorstep. The police have not prosecuted a

:45:32.:45:34.

single case in Devon and Cornwall Police. Are you exaggerating?

:45:35.:45:41.

Definitely not. The police in Devon and the ones who have provided me

:45:42.:45:46.

with the figures. There is no exaggeration. No exaggeration that

:45:47.:45:50.

we are finding cannabis farms, but not so much the child slavery?

:45:51.:45:55.

Perhaps not slavery in Devon and, but in most cannabis farms, which

:45:56.:46:01.

are terraced houses with electricity and water diverted so it doesn't

:46:02.:46:07.

cost anything, toys are locked in and they are expected to attend to

:46:08.:46:11.

the crops and then the police raid the farms. Devon and Cornwall Police

:46:12.:46:16.

a particularly good police force with a capable chief comes to. They

:46:17.:46:23.

are not charging young boys with this crime and the Lord Chief

:46:24.:46:26.

Justice recently made it plain that he disapproves immensely of police

:46:27.:46:33.

forces that charge boys who are actually victims of trafficking as

:46:34.:46:36.

guilty of a criminal offence. So I think what Devon and Cornwall Police

:46:37.:46:41.

shown is that they are following good practice and quite rightly

:46:42.:46:44.

following what the Lord Chief Justice says. The government is in

:46:45.:46:49.

`` bringing in a Modern Slavery Bill. Is that enough? As chairman of

:46:50.:46:54.

the human trafficking foundation, I would like to see it go further. I

:46:55.:47:01.

think the Home Secretary is to be applauded at taking this initiative.

:47:02.:47:07.

The foundation itself which you are representing here is saying that the

:47:08.:47:09.

government is seeing this as an immigration problem rather than a

:47:10.:47:15.

child protection problem. No, that is atypical NGO response. No, you

:47:16.:47:20.

are quoted in the Guardian as saying that it should be about being

:47:21.:47:25.

hostile to traffickers, caring to victims, a human rights approach

:47:26.:47:29.

rather than an immigration issue. That is absolutely correct! That is

:47:30.:47:35.

a very good quote. I applauded. That is about six months ago, but things

:47:36.:47:40.

have moved on. The bill has been published and it is a first`rate

:47:41.:47:43.

bill. It has nothing to with immigration. I gave a warning before

:47:44.:47:48.

and now they have needed it. Full marks to the government. Is this a

:47:49.:47:52.

problem we should be taking more notice of? Should people be looking

:47:53.:47:57.

on their streets to see if there is some kind of activity going on? We

:47:58.:48:00.

have to get it in proportion. We should not be worried about what is

:48:01.:48:05.

happening around every corner and every street across Devon, but I

:48:06.:48:08.

think Anthony is raising an extremely important point. I commend

:48:09.:48:14.

him on the years of campaigning that he has done. We take all cases like

:48:15.:48:19.

this seriously, which is why this bill going through Parliament at the

:48:20.:48:29.

moment, which may be amended, is going to bring in a potential life

:48:30.:48:32.

sentence for those involved in this despicable crime. It will bring an

:48:33.:48:41.

anti`slavery commissars which will overlook and coordinate a

:48:42.:48:43.

multi`agency approach to the problem and it will bring in powers that

:48:44.:48:46.

will restrict movement and activities of those who are involved

:48:47.:48:50.

in this despicable practice. Those are real things. We have a bill. You

:48:51.:48:57.

think this bill is going to go far enough? Should there be a separate

:48:58.:49:00.

offence for child slavery, which I know some charities are saying there

:49:01.:49:07.

should be? Should there be a specific part of the lease `` of the

:49:08.:49:15.

bill for that? Definitely. We have been calling for legislation since

:49:16.:49:19.

2010. It does not go far enough in that it does not talk specifically

:49:20.:49:23.

about the child victims of trafficking. And what happens to

:49:24.:49:27.

them. If they have been caught, what men often happens to those

:49:28.:49:30.

children? Often they are treated as criminals, but also, if they are

:49:31.:49:37.

taken into care, 60% of them are likely to disappear again and ended

:49:38.:49:40.

being trafficked again and end up being at in this vicious circle. We

:49:41.:49:48.

need to protect children as soon as they come to our attention, which is

:49:49.:49:54.

why we need that focus in the bill. Can I just congratulate both of them

:49:55.:49:57.

about being very well informed and up to speed, but I think it is quite

:49:58.:50:01.

an indictment on society that Torquay, small Torquay, had 24

:50:02.:50:11.

cannabis farms identified in 2011`2012, and 22 in Plymouth. This

:50:12.:50:15.

is quite large numbers, probably three or four Mac people in each,

:50:16.:50:19.

and some of them are bound to have children in them, because there are

:50:20.:50:23.

children from Vietnam in most cannabis farms, and the police have

:50:24.:50:27.

found several thousand cannabis farms in Britain, so we should be

:50:28.:50:32.

alarmed. I do have to stop you there. You stop me there. Thank you

:50:33.:50:37.

for joining us. Last May UKIP rocked the political

:50:38.:50:40.

establishment when they took nearly a quarter of the votes in the local

:50:41.:50:44.

elections. This May they are expected to better that, maybe even

:50:45.:50:47.

come first, in the European elections. Last time round, UKIP got

:50:48.:50:50.

two MEPs in the South West and, as Paul Barltrop reports, they have

:50:51.:50:53.

approached the role in very different ways.

:50:54.:50:56.

The Euro elections always give UKIP something to smile about. Last time

:50:57.:51:01.

around, they won two seats in the South West, 13 overall. But those

:51:02.:51:07.

who have been elected often don't fare too well. Two former MEPs have

:51:08.:51:13.

ended up in jail for fraud. Among the 2009 cohort, one was expelled

:51:14.:51:17.

from the party, two quit to join the Tories, while two others departed

:51:18.:51:21.

acrimoniously. Among those who remain, things aren't ideal. There

:51:22.:51:25.

is frustration, even anger, among senior party figures, about the

:51:26.:51:31.

performance of Trevor Colman. In the European Parliament, you won't find

:51:32.:51:34.

him on the UKIP benches. He sits apart since a disagreement in 2010.

:51:35.:51:39.

He is often not there. Recent figures show he has only taken part

:51:40.:51:44.

in just over half of the votes. In nearly five years in the chamber, he

:51:45.:51:48.

has made speeches or asked questions 19 times. The total for his UKIP

:51:49.:51:54.

colleague William Dartmouth is 673. The average for the South West's

:51:55.:52:00.

four other MEPs is 260. Trevor Colman makes no apology. The

:52:01.:52:05.

European Parliament has no power. It can't change or make legislation. It

:52:06.:52:12.

has little or no power. We are, in fact, just a pantomime taking place

:52:13.:52:15.

to give the illusion of democracy where none exists. Why make a speech

:52:16.:52:21.

when you know it is totally ineffective? You are there talking

:52:22.:52:25.

to a gallery of about six people. I don't quite see the point of me

:52:26.:52:33.

doing that. Then why did you get elected if you were not going to do

:52:34.:52:37.

anything? It is not that I am not doing anything. I am trying to get

:52:38.:52:43.

us out of this mess and that can only be achieved over here. In fact,

:52:44.:52:47.

one of the reasons he flies back and forth to Europe is to clock in to

:52:48.:52:51.

get the money. You go to these plenary sessions, barely take part

:52:52.:52:55.

in them, but is one of the main motivations to enable you to go on

:52:56.:52:58.

getting those allowances? I wouldn't say it is one of the main

:52:59.:53:02.

motivations. I am trying to be fair about it. It is a factor. Of course

:53:03.:53:06.

it is a factor. And this is what most of it is spent on, a website.

:53:07.:53:12.

Tonight, top EU stories... Five staff work on it, around ?200,000 of

:53:13.:53:15.

EU money funds an anti`EU campaign tool, but it doesn't detail how he

:53:16.:53:21.

spends taxpayers' money. He refuses to join fellow UKIP MEPs who detail

:53:22.:53:25.

their expenses on the official party website. You could publish it, but

:53:26.:53:34.

you don't. Why not? I don't believe there is a need to. We don't have to

:53:35.:53:38.

publish any of this, and if people are interested in why I am spending

:53:39.:53:42.

money or not spending money, they can come to this office any time

:53:43.:53:46.

they like and they can examine the accounts. Anyone. He is adamant he

:53:47.:53:53.

has not broken the rules. Other South West MEPs aren't impressed. At

:53:54.:53:56.

a Euro election debate in Bristol on Thursday, they complained that he is

:53:57.:53:59.

failing to serve his constituents. There is a massive amount that goes

:54:00.:54:03.

on in the European Parliament, and that is why most of the members are

:54:04.:54:07.

there full time doing their jobs. I am sorry if Trevor Colman finds it

:54:08.:54:11.

so boring. I would have to ask the question, why did he stand in the

:54:12.:54:14.

first place? Trevor Colman is standing down in May. UKIP will hope

:54:15.:54:18.

his successor causes the party less trouble.

:54:19.:54:21.

Paul Barltrop reporting, and UKIP's Chairman Steve Crowther joins us

:54:22.:54:26.

from Bristol. Welcome to the programme. Hello.

:54:27.:54:34.

Trevor Colman is not standing again. Why not? Has he been pushed

:54:35.:54:40.

by party leadership? Absolutely not. He is retiring. He has been fighting

:54:41.:54:45.

the EU to send mail for a decade and he's going to take a well earned

:54:46.:54:49.

retirement. And these questionable things have nothing to do with it?

:54:50.:54:52.

He had only spoken in Brussels 19 times and went publishing expenses.

:54:53.:54:57.

It is embarrassed for the party. Not at all. It is interesting, the

:54:58.:55:01.

figures that Paul came up with that, the average number of speeches

:55:02.:55:06.

made by Lib Dems and other MEPs is 260, while the average for UKIP MEPs

:55:07.:55:14.

was 346. But that is because William Dartmouth spoke nearly 700 times.

:55:15.:55:19.

Surely that is the problem. UKIP does not have a coherent kind of

:55:20.:55:23.

MEP. You have one person speaking 19 times and the other person 700

:55:24.:55:27.

times. It leaves you wondering what you get is about? It is extremely

:55:28.:55:32.

coherent. We do not get elected to help the European Parliament at ``

:55:33.:55:39.

to do its job. We get elected to try to abolish it. We divide our

:55:40.:55:43.

labours. We have to go over to the European Parliament and find out

:55:44.:55:46.

what is going on and back here we have to let people know. If you take

:55:47.:55:54.

the balance of what William is doing and list and its work focusing on

:55:55.:55:56.

speeches in Parliament, and then what Trevor is doing over here

:55:57.:56:01.

getting the word out by his website and hundreds of meetings... A

:56:02.:56:07.

website that costs ?200,000 year. I'm just going to ask Nicky year,

:56:08.:56:11.

the think there is a problem? Is this democracy at work? Is certainly

:56:12.:56:18.

not. His constituents must be absolutely appalled, because they

:56:19.:56:22.

are there to represent them to make their case for Europe, and if he is

:56:23.:56:26.

not there, how can he do it? What would you say to that, Steve? That

:56:27.:56:32.

is nonsense! He is making their case. Everybody who votes for UKIP

:56:33.:56:35.

in the European election knows what they are voting for, a party who

:56:36.:56:40.

wants to abolish it or get us out of it. Trevor is working hard to make

:56:41.:56:46.

that happen. He is representing his constituents and getting the

:56:47.:56:48.

information through his team from Brussels and Strasbourg as to what

:56:49.:56:52.

the parliament is doing, and his broadcasting it and going round to

:56:53.:56:55.

talk to his constituents about it. Is this the way you would expect an

:56:56.:57:00.

MEP to act? Not at all. I agree with Mickey. He is their first and

:57:01.:57:05.

foremost to support his constituents and stand up for his country. As the

:57:06.:57:10.

Conservative Party, we have many issues with Europe and we believe in

:57:11.:57:13.

fighting our corner, not turning our back and walking away, as Trevor

:57:14.:57:17.

seems to have been doing. And what about the issue of spending so much

:57:18.:57:21.

money every year on a website? There is nothing illegal about that. It is

:57:22.:57:26.

down to the voters to see if they decide that he and his party in that

:57:27.:57:33.

instance have behaved appropriately. Do you believe he has behaved

:57:34.:57:37.

appropriately? Absolutely. When the value for money tables come out of

:57:38.:57:41.

MEPs across`the`board, you will find that there are UKIP members near the

:57:42.:57:45.

top, in the Middle and near the bottom. We have different jobs to

:57:46.:57:49.

do, but they are all behind the same cause, which is getting the

:57:50.:57:52.

information from the EU Parliament about what is going on there and

:57:53.:57:55.

winning it back and disseminating it here. Many of the parties are quite

:57:56.:58:00.

content to send their MEPs to Brussels to draw their daily

:58:01.:58:03.

allowances and just sit there. I have to stop you there. Thank you

:58:04.:58:06.

for joining us. Now our regular round`up of the

:58:07.:58:07.

political week in 60 seconds. The Somerset floods were declared a

:58:08.:58:18.

major incident, as one of the county's MPs attacked Environment

:58:19.:58:21.

Agency bosses for refusing to dredge the rivers. Every year they silt up

:58:22.:58:29.

a bit more, every year they need to be cleared. It is just beyond a

:58:30.:58:32.

joke. Unemployment figures show dole

:58:33.:58:35.

figures in most parts of the region hitting a five`year low, but one

:58:36.:58:38.

debt charity said calls to its helpline had risen by nearly 40% in

:58:39.:58:44.

the past 12 months. Payday loans are a massive problem in the South West.

:58:45.:58:49.

We have seen a huge rise in the number of people who have this type

:58:50.:58:54.

of loan. It is very dangerous. Teachers were accused of forcing

:58:55.:58:57.

16`year`olds to stay on and take A`levels so their schools could get

:58:58.:59:00.

more cash. Young people across Plymouth are telling me that they

:59:01.:59:03.

feel as though they are little more than walking pots of money when it

:59:04.:59:08.

comes to careers advice. And countryside campaigners in

:59:09.:59:11.

Cornwall said the council had spoilt this lane by putting up 60 signs.

:59:12.:59:23.

Let's look briefly at the cost of living debate. We touched upon this

:59:24.:59:29.

briefly earlier. The government has revealed figures that shows that

:59:30.:59:33.

wages are starting to go up. Have Labour made a mistake on focusing on

:59:34.:59:38.

this issue? Not at all. I am not even going to approach the

:59:39.:59:42.

statistics. What is important is how people feel. Do they know at the end

:59:43.:59:45.

of the day that they have more money in their pocket a few years ago?

:59:46.:59:49.

That is the basis on which we should go. We know that payday loans are a

:59:50.:59:53.

huge problem in Plymouth, which is why we as a council have been

:59:54.:59:57.

proactive in tackling that. What would you say in response to that?

:59:58.:00:01.

Nicky says that statistics don't matter and in one sense she is

:00:02.:00:06.

right, but that has not stopped the Labour Party constantly going on

:00:07.:00:08.

about the fact that real wages have been diminishing, as they did under

:00:09.:00:12.

the last Labour government. Now things appear to be turning around,

:00:13.:00:17.

particularly when you take into account the tax cuts that the

:00:18.:00:20.

government has brought in on paid. I have to stop you there because that

:00:21.:00:23.

is the Sunday Politics in the South West. Thanks to my guests Mel Stride

:00:24.:00:27.

and Nicky Williams. Now back to Andrew in London.

:00:28.:00:28.

constituency, very pleased. Andrew, back to you.

:00:29.:00:42.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is never far away from controversy, but this

:00:43.:00:45.

week he's been outdoing himself He was hit over the head with a placard

:00:46.:00:49.

by a protester in Kent, provoked outrage by saying women with

:00:50.:00:51.

children are worth less to city firms, and said the ban on owning

:00:52.:00:59.

handguns was 'crackers'. He also seemed less than sure of his party's

:01:00.:01:02.

own policies when I interviewed him on the Daily Politics. And the story

:01:03.:01:06.

that got everyone talking was the suggestion by a UKIP councillor that

:01:07.:01:10.

flooding is linked to gay marriage. We'll talk about all of that in a

:01:11.:01:14.

moment, but first, over to Nigel with the weather. Weather for all

:01:15.:01:23.

areas of the British Isles but definitely not "Bongo Bongo Land."

:01:24.:01:26.

You may have heard about a storm in a tea cup developed when you kip

:01:27.:01:32.

councillor in Oxfordshire blamed the floods on the gay marriage Bill The

:01:33.:01:38.

old party is focusing on the view of UKIP members like him, even though

:01:39.:01:44.

he had said a sell yuj of things before when a Tory councillor. How

:01:45.:01:50.

quickly things change depending on when the blouse. There are

:01:51.:01:58.

occasional barmy views by people of all persuasions. In Whitby a Labour

:01:59.:02:04.

councillor claimed of fathered a child with an extra terrorist ral,

:02:05.:02:09.

and said his real mother was a foot green alien. And in Wales a

:02:10.:02:17.

councillor thinking about heading off for the

:02:18.:02:26.

slopes, there were flurries of embarrassment for the Tories after

:02:27.:02:34.

Aidan Burly organised a Nazi skiing party in a resort.

:02:35.:02:40.

Anyone heading to Brussels, perhaps on the gravy train, watch out for

:02:41.:02:46.

hot air. In Britain temperatures are rising

:02:47.:02:50.

ahead of the European elections in May. It could get stormy, so advise

:02:51.:02:57.

light aircraft. Watch out for outbreaks of common sense, and no

:02:58.:03:02.

chance of cyclonic fruit cakes. Back to you, Andrew, with the rest of the

:03:03.:03:07.

Sunday Politics. Nick, if it was any other party that

:03:08.:03:11.

had bon through the past week it would be in meltdown. And maybe it

:03:12.:03:16.

is harming UKIP and maybe it isn't. What do you think? That just shows,

:03:17.:03:22.

that great weather forecast, Prince Charles now has a rival to be an

:03:23.:03:27.

excellent weather forecaster, as does the Duchess of Cornwall. It

:03:28.:03:33.

shows why Nigel Farage is the fefr candidate to the European elections.

:03:34.:03:37.

Our invitation to the British people to kick the establishment. The

:03:38.:03:42.

establishment have spent five years that the European Parliament is a

:03:43.:03:45.

waste of time, so who are you going to vote for? A Nigel Farage type of

:03:46.:03:52.

person. What was important about your eadviceration of Nigel Farage

:03:53.:03:57.

on Daily Politics is that when it came to the substance, they

:03:58.:04:00.

flounder. But the point about that party is they may have the thinnest

:04:01.:04:04.

set of policies, but people know what they stand for more than any

:04:05.:04:11.

other parties - get out of Europe, a grammar school in every town. If any

:04:12.:04:16.

other leading politician called for an end to the ban on handguns, at a

:04:17.:04:22.

time when we've seen these appalling gun deaths in the United States now

:04:23.:04:25.

almost one every week in some terrible siege in a school. It would

:04:26.:04:30.

be a crisis. It seems to wash off him. He's got congenital

:04:31.:04:40.

foot-and-mouthitis. Straight into another wild nothing to do with why

:04:41.:04:45.

people might vote UKIP. I don't think people are desperate to have

:04:46.:04:49.

handgun licences back in this country. It is such an unusual

:04:50.:04:55.

phenomenon, UKIP, that if this was a Tory or a Labour or a Lib Dem saying

:04:56.:05:02.

it, we've seen the damage done to the Lib Dems on a much more serious

:05:03.:05:07.

manner, we would say this is terminal. But maybe it adds to this

:05:08.:05:10.

image that we are not like the other parties. I think that is it. We keep

:05:11.:05:17.

waiting for these scandals and embarrassments to do damage to

:05:18.:05:21.

UKIP's poll ratings, but it's not working. It is ultimately because if

:05:22.:05:28.

you are an antiestablishment party, if you are an anti-system party the

:05:29.:05:33.

rules of the game which apply to the establishment parties don't apply to

:05:34.:05:39.

you. And the more ramshackle and embarrassing you are, the more

:05:40.:05:43.

authentic you seem. It what be take something for them not to finish

:05:44.:05:50.

second in May. Do they spend the following 12 months sinking in the

:05:51.:05:54.

poll snoos And George Osborne's strategy is fame everything as

:05:55.:05:57.

Labour versus the Conservatives The electorate will have their fun in

:05:58.:06:01.

May. Maybe the Tories will be beat into third place but in thejection

:06:02.:06:08.

is that -- but in the general election it is Labour versus the

:06:09.:06:16.

Tories. The Conservative Party will run around, 46 letters to Graham

:06:17.:06:20.

Brady, a leadership contest. That sort of scenario. UKIP, if it rules

:06:21.:06:25.

well in the European elections, could cause big trouble for Mr

:06:26.:06:29.

Cameron and Mr Clegg couldn't it? The big point about this, David

:06:30.:06:36.

Cameron said this is not a political party but a pressure group. This is

:06:37.:06:41.

the way to look at UKIP, and the way it is used by people in the right of

:06:42.:06:46.

the party, who say we have to do this. I like the policy of painting

:06:47.:06:53.

the trains in their old liveries. It would be like my old train set. I

:06:54.:07:05.

like the bigger passports. Pre-GNER... And London and Midland.

:07:06.:07:14.

I used to be a train spotter. Gordon Birtwhistle has been on the

:07:15.:07:18.

phone. Good to know you are watching but pity you are not here. He wanted

:07:19.:07:24.

to clarify he had constituency commitments to prevent him coming on

:07:25.:07:28.

the show to talk about becoming leader of the party, but he didn't

:07:29.:07:32.

dispute anything we said on the show.

:07:33.:07:35.

Yesterday, Ed Balls said that housing investment will be a central

:07:36.:07:38.

priority for the next Labour Government. It's a big issue, as the

:07:39.:07:41.

lack of new homes pushes up the the price of owning or renting. Well,

:07:42.:07:44.

tomorrow the Tories will announce what they say is the most ambitious

:07:45.:07:47.

programme of affordable housebuilding for 20 years. The

:07:48.:07:54.

Government sees housing as a really important part of the economy.

:07:55.:08:00.

That's why we are announcing a 23 billion package for 165,000 new

:08:01.:08:05.

affordable homes. So individual builders, councils, housing

:08:06.:08:10.

associations can bid for that money. Phase one, which we are halfway

:08:11.:08:15.

through at the moment, we've built 170,000 houses. 99,000 already

:08:16.:08:19.

coming out of the ground, so we ve made real progress on that. So,

:08:20.:08:26.

165,000 new, affordable homes. It is a lot. Let me add three more words.

:08:27.:08:31.

Over three years. It is not such a lot. It is not, and Labour's

:08:32.:08:35.

commitment is 200,000 homes a year and even that isn't enough. The

:08:36.:08:41.

problem here is that the vest interest is with people who already

:08:42.:08:46.

have homes. They have a vote in the system through the planning

:08:47.:08:48.

regulations. In London there is a gap in the hedge through Richmond

:08:49.:08:53.

Park through which you should be able to see St Paul's Cathedral

:08:54.:08:58.

That's why you cannot build homes where you want them. I don't think

:08:59.:09:03.

we want to build homes over Richmond Park. He wasn't saying that. That's

:09:04.:09:11.

dies an Tyne -- that's Byzantine. You've got to deal with supply,

:09:12.:09:15.

which is why Labour is talking about 200,000 a year, and what George

:09:16.:09:20.

Osborne has done with supply is helping with demand. We know the

:09:21.:09:25.

Help to Buy Scheme is pretty dangerous, and Mark Carney is keen

:09:26.:09:31.

to put the break on that. If you are to deal with supply, you have to do

:09:32.:09:37.

radical things. Chris Huhne talked about on brownfield sites you can

:09:38.:09:41.

tax people who are holding the land as if the development has taken

:09:42.:09:44.

place. Then if you are really going to deal with it you have to talk

:09:45.:09:48.

about the greenfield sites, and you have to deal with the garden cities

:09:49.:09:53.

argument, which is too much for the Tories. All the parties seem to

:09:54.:09:57.

agree building new houses is a political winner. I hope that they

:09:58.:10:00.

are right. I'm not sure they are. The housing market is the example of

:10:01.:10:06.

what economists call the insider in-outsider problem. People who are

:10:07.:10:11.

already homeowners have no rational incentive to vote for more housing

:10:12.:10:17.

stock. Even if you leave aside the Conservative arable objections, if

:10:18.:10:20.

you are a homeowner there is an interest to stick with the planning

:10:21.:10:25.

promise that we have. So then we are stuck between a rock and a hard

:10:26.:10:29.

place. Not only are we growing at the moment but our population is

:10:30.:10:34.

growing. I've seen projects that in quite quickly we will overtake

:10:35.:10:39.

Germany and become the largest populated country in Europe. If

:10:40.:10:42.

that's the case we've got to build homes. We have. If you look at Tower

:10:43.:10:48.

Hamlets in London, the population is r ging higher than the number of

:10:49.:10:53.

dwelling. Classically the theory's been young people are most affected

:10:54.:10:57.

by this and they don't vote much. But when their parents have young

:10:58.:11:03.

Johnny stuck at home at 37, that's an electoral issue. That's why the

:11:04.:11:08.

garden cities project is interesting, because they finance

:11:09.:11:12.

themselves. You zone it for development, it is worth ?2 million

:11:13.:11:17.

an acre and then you can build on it. But who is going to want the

:11:18.:11:23.

greenfield sites gone. And how quickly can we build garden cities

:11:24.:11:29.

today? Some were started before the Town and Country Planning Act. I've

:11:30.:11:34.

read stats about the way Chinese and Japanese are building houses and

:11:35.:11:38.

they were slower than that. Here's a thought, sticking on the housing

:11:39.:11:42.

theme. Ed Miliband came up with the energy freeze, a populist

:11:43.:11:47.

interventionist move. Then the use it or lose it to land developers.

:11:48.:11:52.

Then breaking up the banks. Now the 50p tax rate. How much would you put

:11:53.:11:57.

on Labour coming up for rent controls? That's already a big

:11:58.:12:03.

split. They are split already on it. They have. In London it is a popular

:12:04.:12:06.

policy. It might not play well in the rest of the country. I would say

:12:07.:12:11.

50-50 on that. I think Labour supporting rent controls like the

:12:12.:12:15.

Tories having a go at welfare. The policy may be individually popular

:12:16.:12:20.

but it sends an impression about the party which might be less attract

:12:21.:12:24.

active. It confirms underlying suspicions that vote these guys into

:12:25.:12:28.

power and suddenly they are tampering with the private economy.

:12:29.:12:32.

The memories of the '70s when Governments tried and failed to do

:12:33.:12:36.

that. It is riskier than a superficial reading of the polls

:12:37.:12:40.

would suggest. One to watch? I think they are looking at it. That was the

:12:41.:12:46.

key message of the Ed Balls speech on housing, is looking at supply and

:12:47.:12:51.

how you get to that 200,000 figure a year, which is substantially more

:12:52.:12:55.

than what Kris Hopkins is talking about. What we didn't get to talk

:12:56.:12:59.

about, remember we had Michael Wilshaw on, the Chief Inspector of

:13:00.:13:04.

Schools. We all consumed was Mr Gove's man, the Education

:13:05.:13:07.

Secretary's man. Now according to the Sunday Times he is spitting

:13:08.:13:12.

blood about the way Mr Gove and his office are speaking about him behind

:13:13.:13:15.

the scenes. We've checked the quotes and he stands by them, so I think

:13:16.:13:19.

we'll have to have the head of Ofsted back on the programme. If you

:13:20.:13:24.

are watching, we're here. All that to the Lib Dems who didn't come on

:13:25.:13:28.

today. That's all for today. Thanks to all

:13:29.:13:31.

my guests. The Daily Politics is back on Monday at midday on BBC Two,

:13:32.:13:35.

and I'll be here again next week. Remember, if it's Sunday, it's the

:13:36.:13:36.

Sunday Politics. Britain, with 120,000 soldiers

:13:37.:14:14.

is now at war with Germany This would be the first

:14:15.:14:22.

truly modern war.

:14:23.:14:31.

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