04/05/2014 Sunday Politics South West


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


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


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


of the Troubles. That's our top story.


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


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


Party Chairman Grant Shapps how worried he is.


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


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


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


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


crisis. questions of identity, immigration


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


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


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


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


into the twittersphere. First this morning - Gerry Adams,


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


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


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


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


election campaigns. Northern Ireland's deputy first minister,


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


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


McConville murder was one of the most notorious cases of the


Troubles. The widowed mother of ten was


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


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


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


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


claiming: In April this year, either Bell was


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


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


killing all burial of Mrs McConville.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


three weeks into an election and we believe that was deliberately


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


present this morning that proves that claim? The direct circumstances


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


negotiate to make sure we have powers transferred here to elected


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


policing highly accountable, and making sure they deliver a very


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


and privately with the Irish and British


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


the Bloody Sunday soldiers. Paramilitary prisoners were released


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


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


decommissioning of IRA weapons by the IRA, therefore destroying


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


predecessor failed to command the confidence of the nationalist


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


The local elections are critically important for people, their local


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


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


contrast to Dublin under the previous Labour government. So why


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


promising something he has already promised? The actual referendum


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that is about the future. Our relationship with Europe is


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


thirds of Conservative members are considering voting for UKIP, almost


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


because this research also showed that those Conservative members most


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


well. Presumably, active Conservative members, they know


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


going up and down the country meeting Conservative members, and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


reform in Europe by voting Conservative. Labour and the Lib


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


not talking about the local elections! These are serious


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


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


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


the same thing this government has been doing for small businesses


domestic league, where for example every small business owner watching


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


AstraZeneca, Mr Miliband called this morning for a tougher public


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


anti-job security. Grant Shapps, thank you.


A challenging week for the Liberal Democrats with a local election


campaign overshadowed by another row with the Conservatives about knife


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


thanks for the offer of a ride home!


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


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


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