04/05/2014 Sunday Politics South West


04/05/2014

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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Walls are being

:00:37.:00:41.

re-painted in Belfast as Gerry Adams begins his fourth day in police

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custody in connection with one of the most brutal and shocking murders

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of the Troubles. That's our top story.

:00:50.:01:00.

He may have got egg on his face this week but Nigel Farage is a serious

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electoral threat in this month's elections. I'll ask the Conservative

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Party Chairman Grant Shapps how worried he is.

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And we're on the trail of Nick Clegg. You were voted the best

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In the South West: The host of Euro likely to be a good

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In the South West: The host of Euro election candidates competing for

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the get`out`of`Europe vote. And warnings of a rural bus funding

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crisis. questions of identity, immigration

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and independence. We have a table full of Euro candidates here to

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debate what it means for London. And with me, as always, the best and

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the brightest political panel in the business - Nick Watt, Helen Lewis

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and Janan Ganesh. They'll be throwing metaphorical rotten eggs

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into the twittersphere. First this morning - Gerry Adams,

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President of Sinn Fein, has spent a fourth night in police custody after

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he was arrested in connection with the killing of Jean McConville more

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than 40 years ago. Sinn Fein has claimed that the arrest is

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politically motivated coming, as it does, during local and European

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election campaigns. Northern Ireland's deputy first minister,

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Martin McGuinness, has indicated he might review the party's support for

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policing in the province if Gerry Adams is charged. The Jean

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McConville murder was one of the most notorious cases of the

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Troubles. The widowed mother of ten was

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kidnapped from her home in December 1972, never to be seen alive again.

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The IRA denied involvement but in 1999 admitted it had murdered her

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and several others, known as the Disappeared. Before his death, the

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former IRA commander Brendan Hughes pointed the finger at Gerry Adams,

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claiming: In April this year, either Bell was

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charged with aiding and abetting the murder. -- Ivor Bell. Gerry Adams

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has always insisted he is innocent of any part in the abduction and

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killing all burial of Mrs McConville.

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We were hoping to speak to the Northern Ireland Secretary, Theresa

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Villiers, but having agreed to do an interview with us this morning, she

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pulled out. But we are joined from Belfast by Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey.

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Welcome to the Sunday Politics. And the police just doing their job by

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questioning Gerry Adams? Gerry Adams said publicly some time ago that he

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was available to speak to the police, but that is not what this is

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about at the moment, because what we have here is clearly evidence in our

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mind of political interference in what should be due process. Gerry

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Adams made it clear some time ago he wanted to speak to the police, it

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was available at any time, and yet that request was not taken up until

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three weeks into an election and we believe that was deliberately

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orchestrated by a small number of people. What evidence can you

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present this morning that proves that claim? The direct circumstances

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Gerry Adams finds himself in at the moment, take that in stark contrast

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when they have dealt with members of the British Army for instance...

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That is just circumstantial. The PSNI know that the soldiers involved

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in that and a number of other high-profile killings of citizens

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here, and not one of those people has been arrested. In fact any of

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the people who were interviewed were interviewed by request. There was a

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stark contrast, in terms of how they have dealt with the British military

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involving state killings. We haven't got too much time. Sinn Fein said it

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would review its support for the PSNI if Gerry Adams is charged. That

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sounds like political interference in the police process. It's not

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because we have a clear mandate from the people who elect us. Policing

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has been an important part of the peace process here for many years,

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Sinn Fein plays an important role in local policing partnerships. We

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negotiate to make sure we have powers transferred here to elected

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representatives in the north. It is a long way to go before we have

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policing highly accountable, and making sure they deliver a very

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impartial service. How will he react if Gerry Adams is charged? I am

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still trying to get a clear answer. If Gerry Adams is charged, will you

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withdraw support for the Northern Ireland police service? We view this

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as a serious situation and a serious ongoing situation and we will

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monitor how this pans out. We have a very important role to play to

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support the police service here. We have done consistently, worked with

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them on a daily basis, but we will not accept political interference by

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a small number of people in the police who are undermining the

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police. We will not accept political policing. If there was evidence, and

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I emphasise the word if, because we have seen none, but if there were

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evidence to justify Gerry Adams being charged, why should he not be

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charged? It is my understanding from the family of Gerry Adams that there

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has not been a single shred of evidence put forward. I understand

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that, but if there was evidence, why should he not be charged? You put

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that caveat yourself and then you expect me to speculate, there is no

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way I will do that. The fact of the matter is there hasn't been one

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single shred of evidence put to Gerry Adams in the last few days, in

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fact what has been put to him is a range of issues of newspaper

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cuttings, books, statements made from people, including from people

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who didn't want their statements released until they have died.

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who didn't want their statements was charged, again I emphasise the

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word if, does the police process fall apart? The police process is a

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fragile entity, it requires work and we have been saying this publicly

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and privately with the Irish and British

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and privately with the Irish and process has to be nurtured and

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developed. We are not out of the woods yet. From a Republican point

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of view we have been working flat out. I just wanted a quick answer to

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my question, is a yes or no? What question I asking me? Is the peace

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process in jeopardy? It is fragile and I am not going to have words put

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into my mouth but I don't want to use. It has to be worked out and

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nurtured. Thank you for joining us. Nick Watt, you were a Northern

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Ireland correspondent like myself in days gone by. Where is this going to

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go? It shows how challenging the peace process is because on the one

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hand you have the unspeakable pain of the McConville family, but you

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also have the danger of not having mechanisms to deal with the past.

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South Africa is a good example, you have to have some mechanism to deal

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with the past because if you don't, you are going to have, as Sinn Fein

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have now, someone in a police cell but you don't have the arrests of

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the Bloody Sunday soldiers. Paramilitary prisoners were released

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after two years... We have seen no action against somebody accused of

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the Hyde Park bombings, it is not a one-way street. We have the

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decommissioning of IRA weapons by the IRA, therefore destroying

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crucial evidence. You have these inconsistencies because you don't

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have an mechanism for dealing with the past, but doing that is really

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difficult because of the pain of real people. Don't you get a feeling

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that here in London they are hoping he will not be charged? Definitely

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because it would be nice if everything went away, but the civil

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case of the family is taken out of the hands of the police. You can see

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here a real failure in Westminster to see this as anything other than

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settled. David Cameron we know sees himself as a chairman. I was

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speaking to a friend in Northern Ireland who said he has never met

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Gerry Adams and I think this is very revealing. They consider this as a

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settled issue that will not trouble Westminster again. It would be, but

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the relatives of the disappeared don't want it to be settled. This

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points to the reality that the Belfast agreement probably had to be

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done, but the moral price at which it was purchased was far greater

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than we were willing to admit during the euphoria. For a country that

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prides itself by the rule of law to tolerate the early release of

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prisoners and former pal and military -- paramilitaries, I think

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was a very serious matter. As for the PSNI, it only exists because its

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predecessor failed to command the confidence of the nationalist

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community. It is a very big deal if even the PSNI ends up falling into

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the same trap. We have to is leave it there I'm afraid. It was the

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Conservative's local election campaign launch on Friday, and what

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did David Cameron focus on? Burning local issues like the state of our

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roads, rubbish collection or care of the elderly? No. It was Europe. The

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Prime Minister re-iterated again his promise of an in-out referendum on

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our membership of the EU in 2017. And it's being reported this morning

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that he will share a platform with Nigel Farage in a pre-general

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election debate. Here's what the UKIP leader had to say about the

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issue when he was on the Marr Show this morning with Ed Miliband. David

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Cameron very often makes these vague promises, then doesn't deliver

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afterwards. I don't think he has any intention of allowing me into any of

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these debates. Perhaps Ed Miliband wants to debate? We have got to have

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the TV debates as we did join the last general election. I think David

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Cameron is doing everything he can to wriggle out of them. It is up to

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the broadcasters but whether they invite Nigel. My main desire is that

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the debates go ahead. We are joined now by Grant Shapps. Will he be

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included? The debates were not without problems, they took place

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during the campaign period and disrupted the flow of the campaign,

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taking it out of the regions, people getting to speak to the leaders so a

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longer period for that would be helpful. I think they are good idea

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and they should go ahead, but all of the negotiation about who is

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involved is yet to happen. So it is not a done deal that Nigel Farage

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will be included? That needs to be negotiated with the TV companies.

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The Conservatives believe we should have debates, but exactly the format

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and the timing, all of the -- that will be debated in the autumn, but

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first we have European elections, the Queen 's speech and a Scottish

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referendum. The local election campaign was launched on Friday. Why

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did you talk more about Europe than local councils? Both are important.

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The local elections are critically important for people, their local

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services. It is easy to forget, for example, that the council tax has

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been largely frozen since this Government came to power, a big

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contrast to Dublin under the previous Labour government. So why

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did you go on and on about Europe? Let me show you the poster used to

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launch your local election campaign. There it is, and in-out referendum

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on Europe, the day of the local elections, where is the word local?

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Is it in small print? I hear what you're saying, I am happy to be here

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to talk about the local elections. But you are right, they are on the

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same day, and not many people know that only by voting conservative can

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you get an in-out referendum. -- Conservative. UKIP cannot deliver,

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we can, it is the same date, so people... This was the launch of the

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local election campaign. Why does the Prime Minister have to keep on

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promising something he has already promised? The actual referendum

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would be in 2017. He promised it before, he keeps repeating it

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because he knows people don't really trust him. I think it is a question

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of the fact that, actually, unless you remind people that the pledges

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there, that the only way to get an in-out referendum is to vote for

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it, this is a critical moment at which we need people to vote for

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that referendum if they want it. It is not the case, as I saw this

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morning, being said by Nigel Farage, that a referendum was promised

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before and not delivered. There was no referendum in the last manifesto.

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There will be in the next one. There was a cast-iron guarantee, in the

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Sun in 2006. Let's just clear that up... Once the Lisbon Treaty... In

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the Sun article, he said, we will have a referendum on the Lisbon

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Treaty. Clearly, because that treaty had been passed before the general

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election, it is difficult to have a referendum on something in the past.

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We joined Europe in the 1970s, having a referendum on that! Look,

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that is about the future. Our relationship with Europe is

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absolutely critical. Most people in this country feel, I was not old

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enough to vote in that referendum, most of those who voted, they voted

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for a Common Market, that is not what we have got. We want to

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continue the work we have been doing in the EU Budget, what did UKIP do?

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They voted against it. We want more of those powers brought home, and we

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will put it to a referendum, and people will have to vote

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Conservative to get it. We have been looking at new research, almost two

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thirds of Conservative members are considering voting for UKIP, almost

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two thirds. I have a simple message here, which is this. If you vote for

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UKIP... Can we have it up? 30% are likely, 30% are possible. That is

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why it is important we are making these arguments. If you vote for

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UKIP, you are voting to take us further away from returning powers

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to this country, further from a referendum. It is support for Ed

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Miliband becoming Prime Minister, and he will do exactly what Labour

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have always done - hand away powers, and away the rebate for nothing in

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return, giving Europe even more so over the day-to-day affairs in

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Britain. Why are so many people considering voting UKIP? It is to

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hold your feet to the fire, they do not trust you on a referendum, so

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they will vote UKIP to force you to tap in your line. We have a very

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tough line. If I had said four years ago that this government would

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manage to cut the overall EU budget, would take us out of the

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bailout fund that Labour got us into, passing a law that no more

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powers can go to Europe without a referendum, if I had said that,

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people would say, I do not believe it will happen. Not only have we

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done these things, we are promising and in-out referendum, and the only

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way to get it is to vote Conservative. Nigel Farage has

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said, we can't change anything in Europe, and it is no wonder that the

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president of the European Commission has said, we love having these UKIP

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MEPs, because they don't turn up and vote, apart from when they vote

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against the cut in the budget. It goes beyond UKIP in your party,

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because this research also showed that those Conservative members most

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likely to vote for UKIP, they said they do not feel valued or respected

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by their own leadership, and they regard David Cameron as ideological

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eat more remote from them than UKIP. What I would say is look at that

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list... Let me take that step further. What people need our series

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solutions to serious problems. When people vote for a UKIP MEP, I will

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say, which one of the 40% of the MEPs who got in for UKIP last time

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are you voting for, the ones above left or defected, the ones have gone

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to jail? 40% have ended up not delivering. People have a right to

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know what to expect when they vote in these elections. They can look at

:20:36.:20:40.

our record at home, and this goes to the point you have raised about what

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we have done in Britain to get this economy back on track, recover from

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Labour's recession. We are prepared to take those decisions in Europe as

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well. Presumably, active Conservative members, they know

:20:58.:21:00.

that, so why do they not feel valued by the leadership? I spend time

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going up and down the country meeting Conservative members, and

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they are on the doorstep, last weekend 150 out in Enfield

:21:13.:21:15.

campaigning for the European and local elections... Why are they keen

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on UKIP? When I meet somebody who says that, not necessarily a

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member... Have you met members of say they will vote UKIP? No, but a

:21:29.:21:39.

vote for UKIP is... Do not do it, you will end up with Labour having

:21:40.:21:44.

more control, handing away powers to Europe. 51-year-old meeting members

:21:45.:21:48.

who say they will vote UKIP, you must be out of touch. -- if you are

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not meeting members. Some of your members are thinking of voting UKIP.

:21:55.:21:59.

I spend huge amount of time travelling around, I just told you

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about this action day in Enfield, where we had an enormous turnout.

:22:04.:22:10.

Those members were on the doorsteps pointing out that you can only get

:22:11.:22:13.

reform in Europe by voting Conservative. Labour and the Lib

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Dems will not deliver, UKIP can't, Conservatives will. You have not got

:22:21.:22:25.

that message across, because a YouGov poll shows, on Europe, who

:22:26.:22:31.

has the best policies? Tories 18%, Labour 19%, UKIP 27%. On the

:22:32.:22:38.

economy, Tories 27%, Labour 23, UKIP 4. Why don't you shut up about

:22:39.:22:43.

Europe and talk about the economy? Look, on the 27th of May, we have

:22:44.:22:49.

European elections, as well as local elections. If I don't talk about the

:22:50.:22:53.

European elections, you would say what you said at the beginning about

:22:54.:22:56.

not talking about the local elections! These are serious

:22:57.:23:00.

elections, and the point I am tried to make is that the issues at stake

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are not peripheral, they are not unimportant. Our MEPs have been

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battling to cut red tape from a European level on small businesses,

:23:10.:23:12.

the same thing this government has been doing for small businesses

:23:13.:23:14.

domestic league, where for example every small business owner watching

:23:15.:23:21.

this show knows they have got ?2000 back in employment announced on

:23:22.:23:24.

national insurance contributions. We are doing it at home, we are doing

:23:25.:23:27.

it in Europe, and it is important to tie that together. Ireland that Mr

:23:28.:23:33.

Cameron saying, you should stop banging on about Europe... -- I

:23:34.:23:49.

remember. This is before the last general election, as in days for the

:23:50.:23:58.

Lib Dems, 18%. Even then, you didn't win the election, and now you are

:23:59.:24:01.

only three or four points ahead, it doesn't look good for you, does it?

:24:02.:24:07.

Even then, the poll did not turn out to be what it was on the day. No,

:24:08.:24:13.

that is what happens, that is the voting intentions now! You are in a

:24:14.:24:16.

worse position than a year before the last election, which you didn't

:24:17.:24:23.

win. We are almost proving the point that you can take a clip at any

:24:24.:24:27.

moment in time, not sounding like a politician, but the only poll that

:24:28.:24:31.

matters is on the day. In just over a year's time, people will have a

:24:32.:24:37.

completely different picture to look at than these opinion polls. We have

:24:38.:24:42.

an economy from being a basket case, the great Labour recession

:24:43.:24:47.

knocking 7% of this economy, hurting every family, to a point where we

:24:48.:24:51.

the fastest-growing economy in the developed world. In a year's time, I

:24:52.:24:56.

hope people will see that we are the people who've taken the difficult

:24:57.:24:59.

decisions, got the economy to the right place, more security for you

:25:00.:25:04.

and your family. Do not give the car keys back to the people who crashed

:25:05.:25:08.

it in the first place. If I had a pound for every time I have heard

:25:09.:25:13.

that! It is clearly not getting through. On the Pfizer attempted of

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AstraZeneca, Mr Miliband called this morning for a tougher public

:25:20.:25:25.

interest test such big takeovers. Do you agree with that or not? Let me

:25:26.:25:29.

be absolutely clear, if there is any kind of joining, we are in favour of

:25:30.:25:36.

British jobs, British aren't deep, expanding our pharmaceutical sector.

:25:37.:25:46.

-- R But what Mr Mallon and wants to do with rent caps, he is

:25:47.:25:57.

anti-business. -- Mr Miliband. He wants to take us back to the bad old

:25:58.:26:05.

those. -- bad old days. Should there be a bigger public interest test? We

:26:06.:26:13.

have seen some takeovers that people have criticised, but others, like

:26:14.:26:18.

Bentley, Land Rover, which have been very successful. Should there be a

:26:19.:26:23.

tougher test?! We will have tests that ensured this get-together

:26:24.:26:26.

becomes a great Anglo-American project, or it doesn't happen, but

:26:27.:26:31.

the Miliband approach is simply to be anti-business, anti-jobs and

:26:32.:26:36.

anti-job security. Grant Shapps, thank you.

:26:37.:26:40.

A challenging week for the Liberal Democrats with a local election

:26:41.:26:44.

campaign overshadowed by another row with the Conservatives about knife

:26:45.:26:49.

crime. Adam has spent the day with Nick Clegg on the campaign trail.

:26:50.:26:54.

How nice! Nick Clegg is taking me on a political mini break to the

:26:55.:26:58.

Cotswolds. Yes, we are getting the train. He wants to highlight what

:26:59.:27:03.

his party is doing in local government, and a personal passion

:27:04.:27:08.

of his in Europe. Graham Watson, the Lib Dem MEP for the south-west, has

:27:09.:27:11.

been running a campaign to have prunes recognised as a laxative. Is

:27:12.:27:17.

that Lib Dems battling for Britain in Europe? It is not our front page

:27:18.:27:21.

manifesto commitment! It is one of many things that Graham does, he

:27:22.:27:27.

does many other things. In fact, he is a good example of an MEP who took

:27:28.:27:34.

a pioneering role, for instance, in making sure... There is the proven

:27:35.:27:37.

world, but also the crime-fighting role. -- prune. He has done work to

:27:38.:27:45.

make sure that when British criminals flee justice, we can bring

:27:46.:27:50.

them back. And he has promoted prunes! First stop, a gorgeous

:27:51.:27:54.

country pub, but it turns out everyone is a journalist or a very

:27:55.:28:00.

on message activist. Dark days, being a Lib Dem in the last few

:28:01.:28:04.

years? Strangely not. If you find you are a Lib Dem deep down, you do

:28:05.:28:09.

not get that disheartened, because you know that, locally, you are

:28:10.:28:12.

doing so well for the people that you live next door to that,

:28:13.:28:17.

actually, I find I am almost impervious to what happens on a

:28:18.:28:22.

national level. I am mayor of Cirencester. Have you taken any

:28:23.:28:27.

leadership lessons from Nick Clegg, inspiring new in your leadership of

:28:28.:28:32.

Cirencester? I think what he has demonstrated his patience. It has

:28:33.:28:36.

been a tough time, he has taken a lot of flak, and as the mayor of a

:28:37.:28:39.

town, lots of people agree with you and a fair few don't. You are a full

:28:40.:28:46.

on mayor, he is just a Deputy Prime Minister, do you outrank him? I

:28:47.:28:51.

don't think so, he is in government, I am not. So our there any normal

:28:52.:28:56.

people in here? We are from Swindon, you cannot get more

:28:57.:29:02.

abnormal. Are you a big fan of his? No! What has he done wrong? I don't

:29:03.:29:09.

believe in his views at all. Where has he got to? Nigel Farage would

:29:10.:29:16.

have had a pint! At this time in the morning a copy was more appropriate.

:29:17.:29:22.

I have no time for a drink of any kind, because now we are off to look

:29:23.:29:27.

at a local traffic blackspot. This is amazing, like a Lib Dem election

:29:28.:29:31.

leaflet brought to life, Lib Dems pointing at a road. High-vis

:29:32.:29:37.

jackets! Next we had to giggle full bath, but there will be no Regency

:29:38.:29:43.

sightseeing for us, oh no, Nick is taking us to an abandoned

:29:44.:29:53.

wilderness. We have just had a health and safety briefing, we have

:29:54.:29:57.

been told to look out for dive-bombing seagulls and an angry

:29:58.:30:00.

fox. That is the sort of thing Nick Clegg has to put up with. He wants

:30:01.:30:05.

to talk about the economy but he has to dodge the day's beat new story,

:30:06.:30:12.

letters leaked by a Tory suggesting that Lib Dems are soft on knife

:30:13.:30:15.

crime. Isn't that a new kind of warfare? I just think it is silly.

:30:16.:30:26.

They may think they are clever by catching some headlines but they are

:30:27.:30:29.

not helping people who worry about knife crime, like I do. We work

:30:30.:30:40.

together... Just like the Coalition! This is a co-working

:30:41.:30:45.

space where different businesses share the same office. My time with

:30:46.:30:50.

the Deputy Prime Minister is drawing to a close. We haven't talked about

:30:51.:30:55.

the most important story of the week, that you were voted the best

:30:56.:30:58.

looking party leader and the most likely to be a good cook. Right,

:30:59.:31:08.

this is news to me and I can guarantee you that my scepticism of

:31:09.:31:12.

opinion polls has just been confirmed. Just as well because the

:31:13.:31:17.

more serious polls don't look great for him or his party. Goodbye, and

:31:18.:31:23.

thanks for the offer of a ride home!

:31:24.:31:30.

He is still walking. Malcolm Bruce joins us now. According to Lib Dem

:31:31.:31:34.

briefing documents, you are likely to choose -- lose a big chunk of

:31:35.0:24:42

With Lucie Fisher. Andrew Neil interviews the Conservative chairman Grant Shapps and Sir Malcolm Bruce, the deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats, on the forthcoming European elections.


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