18/11/2012 Sunday Politics West


Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate including conservative party chairman Grant Shapps and shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper.

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And in the west - a new dawn for west country politics. But the


turnout in the police elections was pitiful - what does that mean for


Apology for the loss of subtitles for 2383 seconds


how they do the job? That's in 40 Thanks Andrew - you join us live


this lovely morning for the Sunday Politics in the west. Bristol has a


new mayor and the police forces have new commissioners. But these


images taken at a polling station in Gloucestershire summed up


election day - where did all the voters go?


I'm delighted to say that I am joined by the new Mayor of Bristol,


George Ferguson. And the new police and crime commissioner for Avon and


Somerset, Sue Mountstevens. Welcome to you both. George, has it sunk in


yet? Yes, it has. I feel deeply honoured that the people of Bristol


have entrusted me. It is a huge responsibility. Tomorrow morning I


will be starting. I will start the steadily, I will get into what the


true situation is, in terms of the Budget and everything else. And I


will start thinking about putting the Cabinet together.


Mountstevens, you told me on Friday you were shocked. Are you still


shocked? I am getting used to the idea. People have put their trust


in me and I now have to deliver. I won the job to start as soon as


possible so the residents can see a difference.


The election day in Bristol was full of drama - on paper, the


Labour candidate Marvyn Rees should have walked it. But in the end it


was the independent - George - who will go down in local government


history. He will be sworn in tomorrow, then it is just the small


matter of selecting a cabinet from councillors who represent the


parties he defeated, pushing through budget cuts, and


transforming the city. In a moment, I will be asking him how he's going


to do it - but first, Paul Barltrop It's six months since he was the


first candidate to come forward. George Ferguson had assembled an


army of volunteers, taken on the political establishment and won.


Sweet victory for the independent, bitter disappointment for Labour,


who had put big resources behind their candidate Marvin Rees. All


sides are now contemplating what comes next. The new man in charge


here faces formidable challenges. Financially, there's a hole in the


budget, within weeks the mayor has got to find �28 million of savings,


but the more immediate task is to form a cabinet of councillors. No


political party is excluded, and this weekend the discussions and


deliberations are already underway. Liberal Democrats emerging after a


four hour meeting yesterday - they're happy to work for the mayor.


After all, until recently, he was a member of their party. We want to


Halpin do that well. We are in it for the future of the city and the


residents of Bristol. -- help him. Tomorrow, his time as Bristol's


last council leader ends. He thinks the new mayor won't be as big a


change as many believe. He has no more power and few resources. It is


no use people expecting miracles overnight. I don't think that is on


offer. He'd like all parties to co- operate. But that's harder for the


Conservatives' defeated candidate Geoff Gollop. He has talked


critically of excessive spin being used by George Ferguson. Anyone who


thinks they can solve all these problems is falling the people


because it is not possible. So how someone is best to work with that


is an issue that is yet to be resolved. One has to have an open


mind in politics, and I do. For Labour, whose hopes had been so


high, defeat hurts. One activist said they were gutted. They may


choose to spurn the new mayor's advances - and possibly reap


rewards at next May's council elections.


Joining the debate are two local politicians. Peter Abraham is the


Conservative group leader in Bristol and Thangam Debbonaire, who


is the Labour candidate for Bristol West. But first, let's hear from


the Mayor. Should I call you the mayor? From 2pm tomorrow I will be


the mayor, yes. What will you do in your first 100 days? I think we


have to change the mood. We need to look at what can be done within the


very difficult economic circumstances that I am presented


with. And we need to make sure that whatever is done it protects the


most vulnerable. That has to have absolute priority. I think we have


to change the mood about people's perception of the government in


crystal -- Bristol. I think people are cynical and that has been shown


in the way people don't vote in elections. I want to make everybody


feel they are part of the governance of this city. We need to


open up the council house and truly get into the communities, we need


to have a much greater understanding of the needs of the


Community's, and we have to share the Government's -- governance of


the area. -- needs of the communities. If you look at your


leaflets, you are the champion of this and a supporter of that, but


there is no detail. You are not looking at the detailed document. I


carefully did not give promises about numbers. I think chasing


numbers is a silly game. You know, the number of houses or the amount


that you pay to go on the bus. Those are the sort of cynical


political promises that come out of party manifestos. Can I give you


one number you will have to grapple with? �28 million in cuts in the


next six weeks. It is time to tell us what you're going to do. I shall


be telling you what I will do when I have dug down into this figures


and I can see where the spending is, where it has to be prioritised. I


cannot do that because it's -- before I go into office, and it


would be silly to go and say that. When I became president of the are


BAe in 2003, that first meeting I had was a shock about the hole in


the finance -- final salary pension scheme. -- president of the RBA. It


has 40,000 members, it is a serious national organisation. And the same


principles apply. I then had to look at how we make best use of the


barns. -- funds. You like being popular, there is no doubt about


that. You're going to be sworn in on Monday and possibly sworn at on


Tuesday. I've had people swear at me and then sell meat during the


selection. Indicating that I am some sort of sleaze back. -- and


insults me during this election. All I know is that I am here to


serve the people of Bristol. Peter, you are a seasoned political


operator. What do you think will happen when he takes office? When


the spin, if you'll forgive me, has to stop and he gets down to it,


what will happen? Let's be clear, you talked about the deficit will


need to find. Work is under way with that and has been for some


while. So I thought will not have a blank sheet of paper. -- George


will not have. My job is to support and to get the best possible deal


for the people of Bristol. What I learnt on Thursday is that people


are fed up to the back teeth with as arguing amounts ourselves. I


hope it we can sit down... So you would serve in his cabinet if he


asked you to? Are not looking for a job. I want to serve. I've always


worked for Bristol. That I will continue to do. This weekend, I


checked with my group because I won the strength of that, that they


want to work with him as well, totally. So what has been said in


the heat of the moment is just not the case. We want to work together


and get this Budget, which is our first priority, a right. Thangam


Debbonaire, Kenny believe that George one? -- can you believe that


George won? I can believe he won, he is a great candidate. We were


disappointed that our candidate did not win. I think there are many


reasons. I spoke to Labour supporters recently, and some of


them were not convinced that Bristol should have a mayor. Yes,


there was a referendum, but there was quite a low turnout. At think


that is something to be concerned about. On paper, Labour should have


won. If you add up the votes they councils get, it is a Labour city.


George, he has said he will serve with you. Labour, will you? Just


like the Conservatives, the Labour group will be discussing this. This


is not something that I can make up. Certainly, the leader of the Labour


group will be talking to all the Labour councillors over the next


few days. But the trouble is at the moment we were -- don't know quite


what it is George once. -- wants. Have you been making phone calls


about who you will have on your Cabinet this weekend? I will look


at that over the following week. I will talk to all parties and some


individuals within those parties. That doesn't allow us anything!


Well, it does tell you that this needs to be properly considered and


it has to have due deference to the individuals and the party's. -- the


parties. George Ferguson's victory in


Bristol set a trend for independents. Apart from Wiltshire,


they won all the local police elections in the west. The turnout


was terrible, but Sue Mountstevens here slammed the Tory favourite to


win and got the biggest vote in the country. Let's look at some of the


I will listen to all residents, especially the quiet voices.


Understand their needs and help shape police priorities across the


The people of Dorset have spoken loud and clear. Party politics in


We've worked hard over the last couple of months in the county,


trying to tell people what this I've never stood for office before


so I don't know the protocol. I will stay independent, I promise


you that. I will represent all those who voted for me and another


candidate and all those who even felt the need to spoil their ballot


papers. Well, Sue Mountstevens has joined us for a bit of questioning.


Well done again. But do you consider that you have a strong


mandate? When you applied for a job, nobody asks you about the process.


I think a government have to think about the process. But at the end


of the day, I got 125,000 votes. The that's first and second


preference. Yes, and I have now got the job, and it is now up to me to


improve the morale of the police, to increase confidence. How do you


propose to do that? I think now I can be the voice of the residents,


so I will make sure that voice is heard at every level of policing


decisions. So, in practical terms, you know what the residents will


say. You were been campaigning for a couple of months. What will he be


telling the chief constable when you get sworn in? I will be working


with him. I won't tell them. But together, we want to make all our


residents feel safe. So we will look at the priorities are set out


- anti-social behaviour, burglary and violent offences against women


and girls. That is what we will prioritise. He may well tie you


that those are already his priorities. -- tell you. Well, we


will write a plan together. Do you think that these PCCs are a good


idea? There's been contempt for the process. The number of people who


spoilt their ballots. A I think there was a clear message on the


residents saying they did not want party politics in any way shape or


form involved in policing. That is what I will deliver. Politicians


are not going to get in the way of me listening to residents, speaking


to the police and working together. The chief constables, not


necessarily with you, but in other areas, could well say that these


people had barely got any mandate. It is up to you to speak to other


bins. I can only speak to myself. - - to other PCCs. Thangam Debbonaire,


is this a good idea? Were all, it is an idea that David Cameron


brought in. It is a shame that he bought it in and then did not get


behind it. This was a flagship element of his big society plan. I


think it's as a lock the people won't convinced by an -- I think it


says a lot that people were not convinced by it, including David


Cameron! People at my polling station were saying that they had


not heard of the candidates. People without the internet and were at a


disadvantage. Or could it be that people are relatively happy with


the police and see no great desire for change? If people were unhappy


with the police, thousands would have been out there. I think you


are absolutely right. The role of the police and crime commission or


is wider than the previous police authority. Peter, it was a


devastating defeat in your area for your man. Again, as he was the


clear favourite and yet people rejected party politics right


across the board. Except in Wiltshire. I feel quite strongly,


and I support the police commissioner, I thought it was a


good idea. I still do not today no re the chairman of the police


authority was. I've met Sue Mountstevens, I know her. I think


that is very important. There is a need for the public to be


represented. I 100% support the police, I think they do a


marvellous job, but there is a level where we need somebody like a


police authority, now a commissioner, to be able act for us.


What I'm critical of is not the decision of the police and crime


commission at, but the advisers to the government had thought you


could cover an area like Avon and Somerset without any financial help.


-- commissioner. Even the party machines struggle. I think that is


ridiculous. Where were the advisers, the electoral commissioners are


saying to the government, this is not on? You are right, the


residents were very angry. The a have a lot answer for, I think. --


they have. You are now probably the most influential politicians in the


West Country. I suppose we are. I know we will work well together. I


was voting -- rooting for her, because I felt strongly that we


should have an independent bin. -- PCC.


We did ask the new commissioners for Gloucestershire and Wiltshire


to come in today, but they didn't get back to us. Let's take a spin


through the other political stories making the headlines this week in


our 60 second roundup. David Cameron and 26 members of his


coalition cabinet held their weekly meeting in a school near Bristol


this week. The Prime Minister was quizzed by pupils at John Cabot


Academy - so did he get top marks? I've never really taken much


interest in politics before, but after meeting the Prime Minister, I


think it is something I should be more interested in.


The west's smallest local authority is on the brink of bankruptcy -


losing �100,000 a year. The Conseravtive leader of West


Somerset says it is not due to incompetence, but the rural nature


of the area. If it goes bust, it would be the first council to go


under ever. We're not getting the income that are people deserved.


And when budgets were cut for youth clubs in Somerset, some feared they


would all close. But the local community have rallied around and


the good news is most have stayed Of course, it was dominated by-


elections. George, this is the start of a new life for you. Any


chance of new trousers, or...? be different shades, but the same


colour! Will you change? Nothing will change me. I am what I am, I


am now the servant of people of Bristol. Will you get a car, horses


and it carried? And no, you are getting a confused with a different


sort of mayor! And what you have to swear on Wednesday, remind us?


is an oath of impartiality, and that I'm there to represent all


voices, every Biddy, whether they voted for me or didn't vote.


That's all we've got time for today. Thank you to all of our guests. The


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