02/06/2013 Sunday Politics South


Andrew Neil and Peter Henley with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the lobbying scandal with Francis Maude and Jim Murphy.

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a �10,000 pay rise? Some of them already make "loadsamoney" with


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2449 seconds


outside jobs - are we really all in I'm Peter Henley. Today: Should we


be paying our MPs more? They already make a tidy sum and many make


thousands more from outside work. But are they getting the going


rate? First, let's meet the politicians will be with me for the


next 20 minutes. Alan Whitehead is the Labour MP for Southampton Test


and Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the Liberal Democrat leader of


Portsmouth City Council. Portsmouth is in the news because of the


Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock and the disciplinary committee that he


faces. You're a senior Liberal Democrat and have been around a long


time. Do you think what's happening with Mike is a fallout from the


questions inquiry? Are Liberal Democrat stealing badly with women


or is it just down to this one case? I think what's in the news is


the opening of the Mary Rose Museum and things like that are much more


on people's minds. There are always issues with people who are in the


public eye. They're always issues with Mike Hancock, it seems. He's


never been charged with anything, as far as I know, so I think that's


your supposition and not one out by reality. The charges coming from


your party leader, Nick Clegg. That's the disciplinary procedure


which he'll face on Monday. If he was an independent MP and lost the


whip, could he continue as a Liberal Democrat councillor on the City


Council? It's entirely hypothetical. We don't know what any outcome of


any discussions are going to be. What I do know is that this is a


civil case that has been launched by one person trying to get some money


from somebody else. That could happen to any of us. It's only about


a financial arrangement. It could happen to anyone. Peter, it could


happen to you. The police have looked at this and decided there is


no case to answer. No, they said there was not sufficient evidence to


bring a prosecution. And they are not proceeding. Is it one of those


things that happens to MPs? You get vexatious constituents and you've


constantly got to be dealing with the public, as teachers do and as


journalists do. Or do you think, without prejudging the situation,


MPs should be cut a bit of slack? are still in somewhat hypothetical


circumstances but there is, I think, a strong duty of care that MPs have


in terms of how they deal with their constituents and how they deal with


people who come to see them and what transpires. If that is what is at


the heart of this issue, then there certainly is something to talk about


concerning how and please do deal with their constituents. -- how MPs


do deal. I would hope that anyone who comes to see me is happy with


what transpires, whether I can help them out on the particular issue or


not. I think that's a very important principle but we shall see when the


inquiry takes place and the disciplinary proceedings, if they do


take place, what comes out. suggestion is that because a writ


has been issued he's got to go before his party leader.


proceedings from that point of view are similar, in a way, to someone


being referred to the House of Commons standards committee, where


you may not have been guilty or charged with criminal offence but


there is perhaps an issue about how your conduct has been in view of


your elected circumstance and that's what I think that's about in


essence. And in this case, this has already been there and the


Parliamentary standards body has decided they would not proceed and


make no judgement about Mike. are not committee. Indeed. That's


the problem, I think, in terms of how Parliament deals with its own


members. It's how you draw the line between what is a member's personal


life and what is a member's responsibility as far as his role as


an MP is concerned but there is, it seems to me, a very clear


relationship between doing the right thing by your constituents and your


role as an MP. I think that is what is going to be judged in the future


and whether Mike then sits as an independent or whether he has the


whip withdrawn and decides to stand down or, indeed, whether the whole


discussion proceeds and he then, should that turn out well for him,


comes back as a Liberal Democrat MP is a Vermeer. He's got health issues


and hasn't been in Parliament for a while. -- is up in the air. Anybody


who knows Mike there won't -- knows there won't be a by-election.


won't happen or you wouldn't stand if it did? It won't happen.That is


the sound of a door being left open. We've heard a lot about plans to cut


immigration but sometimes they can have unintended consequences. This


week Vince Cable was warning that restrictions on student visas could


be putting students from countries like India and harming the colony.


There's also a crisis looming down on the farm amongst seasonal workers


from Eastern Europe. The seasonal agricultural workers


scheme is only open to Rumanian and Bulgarian workers. It runs out at


the end of the year and that's also when those countries get access to


the whole of the EU jobs market. The fear is that they'll either look for


more permanent jobs here or else jobs closer to home - places like


Germany. It could be the last we'll see of the 21,000 people who come


over here each season. That's a third of the temporary fruit farm


workforce. Joining us now from Birmingham is James Hallett, the


Chief Executive of the British Growers Association. Welcome to the


programme. Tell us about this situation. Are these people who come


regularly as migrant workers, and if so why should they stop? We are


concerned that while this scheme has run for nearly 60 years with various


different populations across Europe, there is potential it will end at


the end of this year. The concern we have is that this industry is


completely reliant upon these workers coming in and the fact that


at the end of this year they will have employment rights across the


country in all sorts of different sectors means we are worried that


they will end up going into other industries and horticulture will be


left without a very important part of its workforce. Are you saying the


only reason they worked on all of that fruit picking, a lot of it on


the South coast of England, was because they couldn't get any other


sort of work? This scheme is licensed and managed scheme of


migration to allow students come into this country for a maximum of


six months at a time and work in agriculture. The vast majority of


them work and horticulture, planting and harvesting salads, vegetables


and fruit, and at the end of this year there is the opportunity for


Bulgarian and Romanian - whether students are not -- or not - to come


into this country. We are concerned we will lose a real bedrock of our


workforce. What are you asking to happen? We would like to see an


expanded scheme put into place allowing for students to come in


from countries such as Ukraine, where there is a very large


agricultural student population, to continue working under the same kind


of licensing and management because, very simply, this is an industry


which is currently worth �3.7 billion nationally and we got


opportunities to grow through an enormous amount of import


replacement, in particular. We have a trade deficit with �4 billion. We


don't want the industry to be stuck and not be able to take advantage of


that opportunity by employment restrictions. What we would like to


do is to recruit UK citizens to do this work but the fact remains that


we can't find enough of them so we do have to go further afield. The


countries around the borders of Europe, such as Ukraine, are ideal


solution. We need to ensure we got this continuation of the bedrock of


students that we need. Let's turn to our two politicians will stop it


looks like an unintended consequence. This is obviously about


EU integration but the business of limiting students seems to have


caused real problems, doesn't it? think as far students are concerned,


the question how visas are issued and over what period, and to what


extent that means that students perhaps go else where in the world


for studies instead of the UK, is a realist you for the UK economy and


the higher education. It's potentially shooting our economy in


the foot. -- a real issue. It illustrates that the whole question


of migrant labour and how it works is actually much more complex than


some people would have us believe. These people who are coming over to


the UK to take part in horticulture, you could say, are


parallel to the highly skilled migrants that we bring in across the


world for jobs that don't have the UK people easily available to do


them. We provide work permits and so on for those people but, of course,


that is, located by the accession -- that is complicated by the accession


of new countries coming into the equal right to work across Europe


next year. It's a pretty convex issue. People are concerned about


immigration, aren't they? Is it just not thought through our other big


tensions? With the higher education thing, this is one of the things


Britain does brilliantly. It's a huge export market for the UK, where


we have people coming from abroad to come and learn in our educational


establishments in Britain and they bring in a huge amount of money.


What we've got to get right is that if somebody is here on a student


Visa, that's for them to stay. But if they're here to study and go home


at the end of it, that's how it's meant to work and we've got to be


careful to keep that bit of British industry - cos that's what it is -


protected because that creates wealth for so many people. In


Portsmouth and Southampton and all over the South. John, do you think


that there will be serious problems if this isn't maintained? I think


there will be serious problems, not least the fact that there are


businesses all over the South and across the economy who are holding


back on investment decisions which, in essence, is holding back under


the limit of the rural economy. It is a serious problem. -- holding


back the development of the rural community. Countries like Bulgaria


and Romania and others are gritting for next year. We haven't got time


to wait. -- recruiting for next year. We need the creation of more


permanent jobs based upon seasonal labour which is the bedrock of the


economy so we reread need to have this labour coming in, continuing to


come in, because this is a rural economy with enormous opportunity to


grow. Kenyan MPs voted themselves a


whopping 50 descent pay increase this week. That means they now earn


more than members of our own mother of Parliaments. -- 50%. There are


suggestions that our MPs' money should go up as well. Possibly not


the best time to be publishing the latest details of what our elected


representatives take home in addition to their parliamentary pay.


That also came out this week. It ranged from John Howard's earning of


�100 for two performances on the church organ to Nicholas Owen is's


almost �300,000 for company directorships. -- Nicolas Soames's.


Are you ready to serve? We are looking for men and women - mostly


men, though - to join an elite group of 650 parliamentarians to run the


country. It's a five-year contract with the option for endless renewal


if your face fits. Absolutely no previous experience necessary. The


chances of promotion are good. Someone has to be Prime Minister!


Some public speaking is involved. The part you play will be even more


meaningful... And ability to sound plausible on the Today programme


would be preferred. A salary of �65,000 plus a fat severance package


and a really good pension make this a must have jobs. Your country needs


you. Hands up if you fancy an above inflation pay rise. Hands up if you


haven't had one for several years. Hands up if you're not likely to see


one in the foreseeable. We all know times are hard but we're all in it


together... Or are we? Because those we elect - our MPs - believe they


deserve thousands more than they currently get. So as most of us are


sliding backwards, MPs' salaries are set to soar. At the moment and MP


owns �65,000 a year but the Independent Parliamentary standards


authority, who set MPs' pay, are expected to recommend a hefty uplift


of around �10,000. There is even speculation in some quarters it


could be as much as 20,000. Not good timing when public sector workers


are getting nothing and inflation are swallowing the rest. I think the


fact there are voices asking for a �20,000 pay increases highly


insensitive and shows just how completely out of touch with the


public people are. The whole country has been told to tighten its belt


and friendly politicians have never been more unpopular than they are


today, so I frankly think this proposal could cause quite


considerable anger across the country. So you're saying that if


you get UKIP MPs over the road, they will not be taking a pay rise in


2015? Well, they will be elected in 2015 and whatever their starting


salary is is what it is. I don't think this pay rise will go through


because people will realise the public is massively opposed to it.


Pay rises for MPs were hard enough before the P POSIX pence is gamble


but -- the MPs' expenses scandal. They are among the very best paid


across the European Union. There is absolutely no public appetite for


increasing MPs' pay. The British public have said that MPs at the


moment are paid broadly fair salary. That should be the end of


it. It's true that you don't need any qualifications or experience to


be an MP so is 60, 75,000 or even 85,000 a year the market rate for


the job they do? I would be delighted if I could work with


candidates with no previous experience or qualifications and


place them in a role-playing 85,000. That really is quite


amazing. That would be a good day at the office? Absolutely, yes it


would. So what voters thinkis it time we roared wobbly our


parliamentarians? I feel like the timing is a bit of considering there


have been so many cuts to public sector jobs, especially in the NHS.


I think though timing could be better. If you don't pay the going


rate for the job you won't get people with high enough intellect. I


think it's a bit of a jump, 30%, but some people may say they should have


perhaps at the rises earlier. people haven't had pay rises for


three years, have they? It's not on, is it? No. And you can't trust them


anyway. Any increase will be delayed until after the next general


election but there's no hiding the fact that MPs are in for a tough


sell. It's trying to persuade the public,


isn't it? What is it about resisting paying you more? I think MPs are in


a rather difficult position as far as this latest proposal is concerned


because it doesn't come from MPs themselves. Previously MPs were


responsible for deciding what they were paid. This is the independent


Parliamentary standards authority. Do you think it was a bit mean


saying you haven't got any previous experience? That's true in a sense,


in as much as the electorate elect who wants to as far as MPs. That's


one thing we ought to remember. It's not a job where someone is appointed


because they are the most qualified and if they don't get the money then


they won't apply. The electorate elect them. People need to be


realistic about the pressures on people in the public sector who


haven't had pay rises for several years. We had an independent


recommendation, just like MPs did, recommending that we increased our


salaries, and we turned it down. We said it was unacceptable when public


sector pay has been frozen. point there was the public don't


trust you and then your setting up an independent body, they make a


recommendation and you say you can't do it because of public opinion.


We've got people in my counsel who had a pay freeze for three years and


why shouldn't we do the same? -- council. I know our council pays a


cabinet member for children and families, who looks after 68


schools, children's social services and the youth service, and we pay


them �18,000 a year including expenses. We pay the director


�100,000 a year. So I think there is an issue that sometimes for some


people in local government, the pay is really very minimal for the risk


about that person put themselves at trying to make sure that they make


sure that all the schools, all the social services and youth services


work properly. Now our regular round-up of the


political begin the South in 60 seconds. -- political week in the


South. The five police forces in the South


West are to share the cost of fighting terrorism. The deal was


struck at a meeting of police and crime commissioners. Meanwhile


Hampshire firm has been offending software that spies on people's


e-mails. The company says it's a legitimate security product. There


are claims it is supporting repression. In the hands of a


repressive state like Bahrain it will be used to crackdown on


dissidents. Boris Johnson wants a new Oxford college to be named in


honour of Margaret Thatcher. In 1985 she was denied an honorary degree


because academics opposed to education policies. It was revealed


oxygen schools are missing out on �2.5 million from the pupil premium


because more than 4000 children who qualify for free school meals


haven't registered. And the old argument about the


undeserving north resurfaced as George Osborne announced another �35


billion for Liverpool. Southampton's port is also preparing


to dredge for super ships but without state aid.


Portsmouth - the council are putting money into dredging, aren't they,


but that's because you're the commercial operator? Yes, we run the


commercial port and make a profit which means that our council tax is


the lowest in Hampshire. We run it as a business. Is that state aid?


Know because we're making a profit and that goes back to taxpayers, not


the other way round. What George Osborne is doing in Liverpool...


Looks like its state aid. Have you given up on this fight now? They


seem to be getting all the money up there and not in Southampton.


paid some of the regional grant that they got for the turn around port


back. There is still an issue as to whether the rest goes back. The


whole business revolves around whether it's a level playing field


for ports and container terminals and cruise terminals across the


country. That was the original discussion between Southampton and


Portsmouth. No one was trying to put anybody else out of business but


whether it was a level playing field between those different places as


far as regional aid, state aid and European aid was concerned. It


clearly wasn't in the pace of Liverpool. -- case. That's the


Sunday Politics in the South. Thanks to my guests for this week, Alan


Andrew Neil and Peter Henley with the latest political news, interviews and debate, including the latest on the lobbying scandal with Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy. Plus Nadine Dorries MP on MPs' expenses.

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