02/06/2013 Sunday Politics South


02/06/2013

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

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2449 seconds

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

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

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

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

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

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and Gerald Vernon-Jackson is the Liberal Democrat leader of

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

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Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock and the disciplinary committee that he

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

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

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questions inquiry? Are Liberal Democrat stealing badly with women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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inquiry takes place and the disciplinary proceedings, if they do

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

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

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

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being referred to the House of Commons standards committee, where

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

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

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

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

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Parliamentary standards body has decided they would not proceed and

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

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

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

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

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

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relationship between doing the right thing by your constituents and your

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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immigration but sometimes they can have unintended consequences. This

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week Vince Cable was warning that restrictions on student visas could

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

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

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from Eastern Europe. The seasonal agricultural workers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chief Executive of the British Growers Association. Welcome to the

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

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

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

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

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

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completely reliant upon these workers coming in and the fact that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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them work and horticulture, planting and harvesting salads, vegetables

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

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

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

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

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expanded scheme put into place allowing for students to come in

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

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agricultural student population, to continue working under the same kind

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

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which is currently worth �3.7 billion nationally and we got

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opportunities to grow through an enormous amount of import

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

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

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that opportunity by employment restrictions. What we would like to

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

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

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

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

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

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looks like an unintended consequence. This is obviously about

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EU integration but the business of limiting students seems to have

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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protected because that creates wealth for so many people. In

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

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

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

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

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

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

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back the development of the rural community. Countries like Bulgaria

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

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

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

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

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

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grow. Kenyan MPs voted themselves a

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

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

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

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

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representatives take home in addition to their parliamentary pay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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insensitive and shows just how completely out of touch with the

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

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and friendly politicians have never been more unpopular than they are

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today, so I frankly think this proposal could cause quite

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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candidates with no previous experience or qualifications and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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sell. It's trying to persuade the public,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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realistic about the pressures on people in the public sector who

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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cabinet member for children and families, who looks after 68

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

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

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

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

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

:02:09.:02:12.

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

:02:12.:02:17.

work properly. Now our regular round-up of the

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

:02:21.:02:28.

South. The five police forces in the South

:02:28.:02:31.

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

:02:31.:02:34.

struck at a meeting of police and crime commissioners. Meanwhile

:02:34.:02:38.

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

:02:38.:02:45.

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

:02:45.:02:48.

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

:02:49.:02:51.

repressive state like Bahrain it will be used to crackdown on

:02:51.:02:56.

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

:02:56.:03:00.

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

:03:00.:03:04.

because academics opposed to education policies. It was revealed

:03:04.:03:08.

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

:03:08.:03:11.

because more than 4000 children who qualify for free school meals

:03:11.:03:16.

haven't registered. And the old argument about the

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undeserving north resurfaced as George Osborne announced another �35

:03:18.:03:23.

billion for Liverpool. Southampton's port is also preparing

:03:23.:03:31.

to dredge for super ships but without state aid.

:03:31.:03:34.

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

:03:34.:03:38.

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

:03:38.:03:41.

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

:03:41.:03:47.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:04:18.:04:22.

for ports and container terminals and cruise terminals across the

:04:22.:04:26.

country. That was the original discussion between Southampton and

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

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

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

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

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

:04:51.:04:57.

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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