26/02/2012 Sunday Politics West


26/02/2012

Andrew Neil and David Garmston present political news and debate, including former defence secretray Liam Fox in his first major television interview since leaving the cabinet.


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Is Labour's scaremongering on privatisation? And his first

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television interview since quitting the Cabinet, a Liam Fox on why

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George Osborne should depend on Tory properties - with Tory

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policies. That is the Sunday interview. And our political panel

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of the bright young things you to analyse British politics in the

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week ahead and St -- tweeting and the programme ahead. In the West -

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Swindon councillors become the first in the country to axe full

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time paid union reps for staff. Will they set a precedent across

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2031 seconds

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Hello. In the next 20 minutes in this week's programme, everybody

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out - Swindon council votes to stop paying full-time union reps. Is at

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the start of a war between the Conservatives and the unions?

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The Conservatives voted through that changed faster than you can

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say Arthur Scargill. We will be talking at through that with our

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guests later. They are Chris Skidmore, a conservative from the

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old coal-mining areas of Bristol, and Anne Snelgrove, are confident

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of Gordon Brown. -- a confident of Gordon Brown. Chris, I want to talk

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to you about health, first of all. You are on the health Select

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Committee. These health reforms, will they go through? I think they

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must. I think the key point Mike we need to start with this in the NHS,

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we have an ageing population, and there is more pressure on the NHS

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than ever before. The rumour is that the Prime Minister it does not

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understand it, no one understands. That is not true, they are right

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behind the reforms. Anne Snelgrove, do you agree?

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There are rumours the Conservatives want to take Andrew Lansley out and

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shoot him. The message is there is �2 billion being spent on an

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unnecessary -- �2 million being spent on an unnecessary

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reorganisation. I accept we need to make changes. We could achieve them

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without this very wasteful and disruptive health reform. It is a

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choice between management costs and putting patients first.

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In our first story, union rights - the council is to stop paying full-

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time union reps. It will save taxpayers money, but that is out of

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a budget of almost �500 million. The Conservative authority is the

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first to take the axe to paid union reps and other councils may follow.

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Swindon is a council where they like to think they are ahead of the

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game. With a solid Conservative majority they kept tax down and be

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damned -- began cutting before the collision existed. Now their

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clampdown on union representatives could set a national precedent.

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On Thursday night unions mobilised, protesting as councillors assembled

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to determine the fate of this man. We have people who have come all

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the way from Dorset and Devon to support us and we appreciate that.

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Bob Cretchley is facing the drop, as long -- along with his job share

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colleague, Karla Bradford. They work solely on new matters. --

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union matters. But the council reckons this arrangement is costing

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too much. They are braced for a fight. If you are going to

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effectively challenge the unions in any way you can usually it vet --

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understand there will be a robust response.

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It will not be easy, but is the principal right? Cost saving is

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important. Should taxpayers be subsidising the union activity when

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the union should subsidise their own activity from the subscription

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they collect. Liam Fox has decided to speak it. He would like a return

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to the union tackled approach of his political hero, Margaret

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Thatcher. In the public sector, where money is coming from the

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public purse, in this case from the Swindon council tax payers, I think

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the council has a duty to ensure all the money they raise goes to

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public services. In hard-pressed times, council tax payers should

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not be paying the salaries of union officials. Some of his former

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colleagues in Government agree. If there is a fight, unions are

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already. What started this week in Swindon could go a long way.

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Joanne Kaye is the regional secretary for Unison in the South

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West. Is this a money-saving device, or is this about attacking the

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unions? It is about attacking the unions. But it was about money, the

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council could look to the �300,000 that goes to 38 councillors per

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year on basic allowances, or the �20,000 that goes to the leader of

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the council. �29,000 to give the people who do the work a voice is

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not a huge amount. But they are having to make big cuts. Why should

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the taxpayer fund union activities? It is not activities, but his

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duties, legal obligations that councils have to find maternity pay.

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It is a legal obligation, and most employers have centrally funded

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posts which means they are not taking away from the frontline

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services. It is a legal obligation, which the Conservatives introduced.

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It is, but it is a Conservative council who are attacking that

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legislation from 1992. The reality is, that work will have to be done

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and someone else will have to do it, so it will not save money but it

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will mean two people end up out of work. Let's bring in Chris Skidmore

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and our guests. Do you agree with Liam Fox that unions need their

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wings clapping? I think a lot of viewers will be very angry.

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Hard-working council tax payers want their money spent on frontline

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services and not subsidising the unions. Unions are pretty wealthy,

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they have money. Anne Snelgrove was given �12,000 by

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union representatives... I do not think that is right. They did not

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give me any money personally, will you apologise? I will not apologise.

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A you have to get your facts right. Swindon Borough Council, when they

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were talking about cuts, �29,000, on the same day this came through

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my letterbox. It is the Swindin news, a glossy, full-colour, 28

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page magazine and it is an election path.

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Do you also think that Swindon Borough Council should have paid

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400 �1,000 to our local businessman...

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Were a need to make savings... The that get back to the issues. --

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we need to get back to the issues. Liam Fox had to pay �20,000 on his

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mortgage, he had to repay that money. I did not take any

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allowances in the last year, how much did you take this year?

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�400 on food, is that right? They us is the politics of the

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gutter. They are union-bashing, spending thousands of taxpayers

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money on things like this. A his point is that there is a

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perception that Labour is in the pocket of the unions.

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I don't think that is true, and you can hear that is not true from the

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unions. So people need to accuse you of

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double standards. You don't seem to be worried about other public

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services workers, those who work in banks who have bonuses.

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I think banks need to take responsibility, as well.

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We have to look across the board at how we can save money and make

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money. Why have you not clipped their

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wings? We have begun to.

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The bankers' bonus tax, but you have put young people in your

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constituency into real jeopardy. You stopped the bankers' bonus tax,

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which would have paid for 366 -- which would have paid to combat a

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366 % increase in use on employment in your constituency in the year --

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in that youth unemployment in the year up to 2012.

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You are union members will still get the same service from other

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representatives in the council? That will still cost the council

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money, and these arrangements have been put into place not by us, but

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by employers. People are interfering in the arrangement

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between employers and representatives, because they have

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found it works. If you have a union rep who is a frontline social

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worker, and you take them away from their duties to carry out those

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legal obligations, that is destructive. Local managers and

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human resource people know that these arrangements work best.

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I support the rights of unions. Private sector union reps are in

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place. Probably not on the scale, public

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sector rips are a more prominent. If it has been proportionate in the

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way they are making cuts elsewhere, I think it will have been

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acceptable. However, there are hundreds of people whose jobs are

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being cut and it will be a false economy in sacking union reps.

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There was a 40 % reduction in public sector workers...

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That was 12 years ago. Joanne Kaye, we will have to say

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goodbye to you and leave these two to have a fight.

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More of us are turning to cosmetic surgery to keep us looking younger,

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but the scandal over breast implants shows it is not something

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to be undertaken lightly. Some of the implants have burst, leaving

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patients with big bills to have them removed or begin the NHS to

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pick up the tab. What should politicians do about this industry?

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Our correspondent has been to meet two West Country Women who have had

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burst implant. Tina and Steffy paid thousands of

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pounds to clinics to have their breasts enlarged. Sold for �50 each,

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these are the French PIP implants that were used.

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This is a PIP implants. There -- they are made from

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industrial grade silicone, which is now burnt -- which is now banned.

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A my glands would relate Swarland. Other women were having similar

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symptoms. Private clinics have refused to offer free replacement,

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despite the Government saying they are morally obliged to.

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It is important not to exaggerate the reasons to be worried, but if

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women are worried we will support them. We expect private providers

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to offer that same standard of care. To there is no private insurance

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scheme for the industry, so Steffy has paid almost �6,000 to have

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powers replaced. A if you bought a car, and it was

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faulty, no one would question it. The number of people I know and we

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are the first to complain and take things back, and to do not support

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this motion that women should be fixed by the clinic...

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The NHS hospital in Taunton will foot the bill to remove Tina's

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implants after concerns over her general health. The private clinic

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said they would not operate on her. I found lumps underneath my arms

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for quite a few months. I did not alter the doctor straight away. The

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doctor said, possibly you have a reaction to the silicone.

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Tina has turned to Hull local MP, Tessa Munt, for help.

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It is horrifying when you find how many of these implants have

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ruptured. Then I discover from people who have written to me, it

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is not just Tina, but other people as well, that it has this in it, it

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is a carcinogen, it has Mercouri in it, things that are known

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irritants... -- it has knackery. This scandal has rocked the heart

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of the billion pound cosmetic industry, and these campaigners,

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Tina and Steffy, are determined to change the law to protect women

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like them in the future. With us is one of the West's

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leading plastic surgeons, Nigel Mercer.

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How can we prevent a repeat of this?

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Were have to tighten up the regulatory system for implant. --

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we have to do. The problem we have is that the company that owned PIP

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implants have done something criminal. You cannot legislate

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against that, but you can prevent it by having mystery shopping of

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implants, so that the manufacturers don't know when you well tested. We

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have to beef up the testing, we need safety testing within medical

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implants. Why have the professionals involved not God this

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sorted out already? If you go to a cosmetic surgeon you expect to see

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a professional with professional standards. We have a problem in the

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UK where we have big business involved in the provision of

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cosmetic surgery. The clinic's are not providing it a good service to

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the patient, and the practice they have been given is really very poor.

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We have good tighten up, not just doctors and the regulators, we all

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need to tighten up how we provide minister and -- how we provide

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medicine. In the meantime, should the NHS to

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pick up the pieces? That is very difficult, if the

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clinic has gone bust, yes. But actually that clinics route need

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profit really should step up to the plate, as Andrew Lansley suggested.

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Why is there much better regulation in this industry?

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I do not think you can regulate for fraud, that is the problem. I think

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what the Government could do is lean on these companies a little

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bit more. They are not stepping up to the plate. It is a tragic

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situation for women such as the lady we saw in the report. My heart

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goes out to her and we must put more pressure on them. It is not

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good enough for women who are currently waiting to find out

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whether they have this silicone gel inside them.

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Some clinics are stepping up to the plate.

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Absolutely, there are three who are the bad guys.

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Do you think there are concerns that regulation has not strong

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enough? As a Conservative regulation is not really your thing.

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A cross-party report has been put into what is going on. I agree with

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Nigel that we should probably bring back some kind of register a bit --

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register because some of the women do not even know if they have this

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implied in place -- this implant in place.

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There have been 300,000 extra appointments on the NHS -- in the

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NHS as a result of this. That is a big burden, isn't it?

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We are enormously overstretched, so if these ladies are being dealt

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with by the NHS, someone else is not being treated. That is not fair

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on the general patient. Andrew Lansley has said he would go after

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the money to treat these patients from the clinics.

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We saw that women in the report and you do not want them waiting that

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amount of time, I think he need to hurry up. -- we saw that woman.

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Sculls weekly round-up of West Country politics in 60 seconds.

:53:12.:53:18.

-- time know for our weekly round- The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick

:53:18.:53:22.

Clegg, announced -- announced details of a �1 billion business

:53:22.:53:26.

Support Fund. He want to make it children working factories.

:53:26.:53:33.

Wiltshire's Constable -- Chief Constable is leaving for a job in

:53:33.:53:38.

the Border Agency. Brian Moore will leave at the end of the month.

:53:38.:53:43.

Known for his distinctive turn of phrase, Jacob Rees-Mogg spoke for

:53:43.:53:48.

more than an hour on parking charges. He wanted to stop the vote

:53:48.:53:55.

by talking it out of time. Protesters in the North Somerset

:53:55.:54:00.

failed to stop their council meeting cutbacks.

:54:00.:54:04.

And the Cheltenham MP, Martin Horwood, was one of those who took

:54:04.:54:14.
:54:14.:54:20.

place in the parliamentary Pancake That Was the Week in 60 seconds.

:54:20.:54:24.

What Pickup on one of those stories, Nick Clegg tries to make

:54:25.:54:28.

manufacturing fund and fashionable. Chris, why did you not going to

:54:28.:54:31.

manufacturing? I am not very good with my hands,

:54:32.:54:36.

but I agree with what the coalition is saying about rebalancing the

:54:36.:54:42.

economy to produce more manufacturing industries. The

:54:42.:54:45.

Bristol-Bath Science Park has a potential 3,000 new jobs in my

:54:45.:54:52.

constituency. Anne, this has been a problem since

:54:52.:54:56.

I left school, that people have been encouraged to go into banking

:54:56.:55:02.

rather than manufacturing. We need of the jobs, and banks are

:55:02.:55:06.

not lending to small and medium- sized enterprises, which are the

:55:06.:55:13.

engine of manufacturing in this country. It is all very well coming

:55:13.:55:16.

to Bristol and making big announcement, but where is the

:55:16.:55:19.

meat? I do not see much happening with these local enterprise

:55:19.:55:24.

partnerships. No money has come into Swindon from those.

:55:24.:55:29.

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