17/11/2013 Sunday Politics West


17/11/2013

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With Justine Greening, Andy Burnham and Mark Pritchard.


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics.

:00:36.:00:39.

Downing Street announces an inquiry into allegations of hardball tactics

:00:40.:00:42.

and intimidation by unions in industrial disputes. That's our top

:00:43.:00:47.

story. Thousands dead. Hundreds of

:00:48.:00:51.

thousands without homes. Millions affected. What is Britain doing to

:00:52.:00:55.

help the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan? We'll ask

:00:56.:00:58.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening.

:00:59.:01:03.

Winter is coming and so, it seems, is another crisis in England's

:01:04.:01:06.

hospitals. I'll be asking the Shadow Health Secretary how he'd put a stop

:01:07.:01:07.

to In the West: It's a year since he

:01:08.:01:16.

was elected as Mayor but is George Ferguson spending too much time

:01:17.:01:17.

doing it his way? He's live with us doing it his way? He's live with us

:01:18.:01:20.

fatalities on the capital's streets, and renewed calls to get lorries off

:01:21.:01:23.

the roads in peak hours. With me, the best and brightest

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political panel that money can buy. Janan Ganesh, Nick Watt and this

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week, Zoe Williams, who'll be tweeting their thoughts throughout

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the programme. The Government has announced a

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review to investigate what the Prime Minister has called "industrial

:01:48.:01:49.

intimidation" by trade union activists. Bruce Carr QC will chair

:01:50.:02:02.

a panel to examine allegations of the kind of tactics that came to

:02:03.:02:05.

light during the Grangemouth dispute, when the Unite union took

:02:06.:02:07.

their protests - replete with a giant rat - outside the family homes

:02:08.:02:14.

of the firms' bosses. Earlier this morning the Cabinet office minister,

:02:15.:02:19.

Francis Maude spoke to the BBC and this is what he had to say. To look

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at whether the law currently works and see if it is ineffective in

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preventing the kind of intimidatory activity that was alleged to have

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taken place around range mouth during the previous disputes --

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Grangemouth. We make no presumptions at the beginning of this. I do think

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it is a responsible thing for the government to establish what

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happened and really do a proper review into whether the law is

:02:52.:02:55.

adequate to meet the needs. That was Francis Maude. This is a purely

:02:56.:03:02.

political move, isn't it? Unite did this a couple of times, it is hardly

:03:03.:03:06.

happening all over the country but the government want to say, we are

:03:07.:03:09.

prepared to investigate Unite properly, Labour isn't. This seemed

:03:10.:03:17.

a lot worse when I thought it was a real rat. I thought it was a giant

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dead rat. I am not sure if you know much about rats but real rats are

:03:24.:03:26.

not this big, even the ones in London. The thing is, obviously it

:03:27.:03:33.

is naked politics but I think it is more intelligent than it looks. They

:03:34.:03:38.

are trying to taint Miliband as a week union puppet and that doesn't

:03:39.:03:44.

really wash. They hammer away with it and it might wash for some

:03:45.:03:49.

people. But it really castrates Miliband in the important issues he

:03:50.:03:53.

has to tackle. Zero hours, living wage, all of those things in which

:03:54.:03:57.

he needs to be in concert with the unions, and to use their expertise.

:03:58.:04:03.

He is making them absolutely toxic to go anywhere near. It keeps the

:04:04.:04:16.

Unite story alive, have to kill -- particularly since Mr Miller band is

:04:17.:04:19.

under pressure to reopen the investigation into what Unite are up

:04:20.:04:33.

to -- Mr Miliband. They are frustrated, not only at the BBC but

:04:34.:04:37.

the media generally at what they think is a lack of coverage. I see

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the political rationale from that respect. There is a risk. There are

:04:41.:04:46.

union members who either vote Tory or are open to the idea of voting

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Tory. All Lib Dem. If the party comes across as too zealous in as --

:04:52.:05:04.

its antipathy, there is an electoral consequence. Ed Miliband has been

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careful to keep a distance. Yes they depend on vast amounts of

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money. When Len McCluskey had a real go at the Blairites, Ed Miliband was

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straight out there with a very strong statement. Essentially Len

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McCluskey wanted Blairites in the shadow cabinet sacked and Ed

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Miliband was keen to distance himself or for that is why it is not

:05:29.:05:33.

quite sticking. Another story in the Sunday papers this morning, the Mail

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on Sunday got hold of some e-mails. When I saw the headline I thought it

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was a huge cache of e-mails, it turns out to be a couple. They peel

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away the cover on the relationship between Ed Miliband and Ed Balls,

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with some of Ed Miliband's cohorts describing what Mr balls is trying

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to do as a nightmare. How bad are the relations? They are pretty bad

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and these e-mails confirm the biggest open signal in Westminster,

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which is that relations are pretty tense, -- open secret. That Ed

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Miliband doesn't feel that Ed Balls is acknowledging the economy has

:06:17.:06:21.

grown that Labour needs to admit to past mistakes. The sort of great

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open signal is confirmed. On a scale of 1-10, assuming that Blair-Brown

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was ten. I think it is between six and seven. They occupy this joint

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suite of offices that George Cameron and -- David Cameron and George

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Osborne had. It is not just on the economy that there were tensions,

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there were clearly tensions over HS2, Ed Balls put a huge question

:06:52.:06:57.

over it at his conference. There will be more tensions when it comes

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to the third runway because my information is that Mr balls wants

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to do it and Ed Miliband almost resigned over it when he was in

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government. I don't think Ed Miliband is thinking very

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politically because he has tried live without Ed Balls and that is

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not tenable either. -- life without. He has defined a way of making it

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work. That is where Tony Blair had the edge on any modern politician.

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He didn't want to make Ed Balls his Shadow Chancellor, he had to.

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Somebody said to him, if you make Ed Balls Shadow Chancellor, that will

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be the last decision you take as leader of the Labour Party. Is it as

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bad? I was surprised at how tame the e-mails were. At the FT it is

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compulsory, one French word per sentence! To call him a nightmare,

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compared to what they are willing to say in briefings, conversations

:08:02.:08:06.

bits of frustrations they express verbally come what is documented in

:08:07.:08:09.

the e-mails is actually pretty light. It has been a grim week for

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the people of the Philippines as they count the cost of the

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devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan. HMS Daring has just arrived

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near the worst hit areas - part of Britain's contribution to bring aid

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to the country. It has been one of the worst natural

:08:29.:08:32.

disasters in the history of the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan hit the

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country nine days ago, leaving devastation in its wake. The numbers

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involved are shocking. The official death toll is over 3600 people, with

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many thousands more unaccounted for. More than half a million people have

:08:46.:08:50.

lost their homes and the UN estimates 11 million have been

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affected. David Cameron announced on Friday that the UK government is to

:08:55.:08:58.

give an extra ?30 million in aid, taking the total British figure ?250

:08:59.:09:05.

million. An RAF Sea 17 aircraft landed yesterday with equipment to

:09:06.:09:07.

help aid workers get too hard to reach areas. HMS Illustrious is on

:09:08.:09:13.

its way and due to arrive next weekend. The British public have

:09:14.:09:21.

once again dipped into their pockets and given generously. They have

:09:22.:09:25.

given more than ?30 million to the Disasters Emergency Committee.

:09:26.:09:28.

The International Development Secretary, Justine Greening, joins

:09:29.:09:31.

me now for the Sunday Interview Good morning, Secretary of State.

:09:32.:09:35.

How much of the ?50 million that the government has allocated has got

:09:36.:09:40.

through so far? All of it has landed on the ground now. HMS Daring has

:09:41.:09:45.

turned up, that will be able to start getting help out to some of

:09:46.:09:48.

those more outlying islands that have been hard to reach. We have

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seen Save the Children and Oxfam really being able to get aid out on

:09:55.:09:57.

the ground. We have a plane taking off today that will not read just

:09:58.:10:02.

carrying out more equipment to help clear the roads but will also have

:10:03.:10:10.

their staff on board, too. We have ?50 million of aid actually on the

:10:11.:10:16.

ground? We instantly chartered flights directly from Dubai where we

:10:17.:10:20.

have preprepared human Terry and supplies, and started humanity work

:10:21.:10:24.

-- humanitarian supplies. A lot of it has now arrived. I think

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we have done a huge amount so far. We have gone beyond just providing

:10:37.:10:41.

humanitarian supplies, to getting the Royal Air Force involved. They

:10:42.:10:44.

have helped us to get equipment out there quickly. We have HMS

:10:45.:10:50.

Illustrious sailing over there now. Why has that taken so long? It was

:10:51.:10:54.

based in the Gulf and is not going to get there until two weeks after

:10:55.:10:57.

the storm first hit and that is the one ship we have with lots of

:10:58.:11:01.

helicopters. The first decision we took was to make sure we could get

:11:02.:11:05.

the fastest vessel out there that was able to help HMS Daring. HMS

:11:06.:11:10.

Illustrious was just finishing an exercise and planning to start to

:11:11.:11:14.

head back towards the UK. We have said to not do that, and diverted

:11:15.:11:19.

it. Shouldn't it have happened more quickly? We took the decisions as

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fast as we were able to, you can't just turn a big warship around like

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the HMS Illustrious. We made sure we took those decisions and that is

:11:30.:11:32.

while it will be taking over from HMS Daring come and that is why HMS

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Daring is ready there. It will be able to provide key support and

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expertise that has not been there so far. The US Navy is doing the heavy

:11:43.:11:48.

lifting here. The US Navy had the USS Washington, there is an aircraft

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carrier, 80 planes, 5000 personnel and they have the fleet, they are

:11:53.:11:57.

doing the real work. We obviously helping but the Americans are taking

:11:58.:12:02.

the lead. It is a big international effort. Countries like the US and

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the UK, that have a broader ability to support that goes beyond simply

:12:07.:12:14.

call humanitarian supplies -- have made sure we have brought our

:12:15.:12:19.

logistics knowledge, we have sent out our naval vessels. It shows we

:12:20.:12:23.

are working across government to respond to this crisis. Why does

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only just over 4% of your aid budget go on emergency disaster and

:12:33.:12:36.

response? A lot depends on what crises hit in any given year. We

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have done a huge amount, responding to the crisis in Syria, the conflict

:12:40.:12:44.

there and the fact we have 2 million refugees who have fled the country.

:12:45.:12:48.

We are part of an international effort in supporting them. Shouldn't

:12:49.:12:54.

we beginning more money to that rather than some of the other

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programmes where it is harder to see the results question of if we were

:12:58.:13:04.

to give more money to the refugees, it would be a visible result. We

:13:05.:13:07.

could see an improvement in the lives of children, men and women.

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What we need to do is alongside that is stop those situations from

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happening in the first place. A lot of our development spend is helping

:13:18.:13:21.

countries to stay stable. Look at some of the work we are doing in

:13:22.:13:26.

Somalia, much more sensible. Not just from an immigration but there

:13:27.:13:32.

is a threat perspective. There is a lot of terrorism coming from

:13:33.:13:36.

Somalia. You only have to look at Kenya recently to see that. Which is

:13:37.:13:42.

why you talk about what we do with the rest of the spend. It is why it

:13:43.:13:46.

is responsible to work with the government of Somalia. Should we

:13:47.:13:52.

give more, bigger part of the budget to disaster relief or not? I think

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we get it about right, we have to be flexible and we are. This Philippine

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relief is on top of the work in Syria. Where can you show me a

:14:02.:14:08.

correlation between us giving aid to some failed nation, or nearly failed

:14:09.:14:12.

nation, and that cutting down on terrorism? If you look at the work

:14:13.:14:17.

we have done in Pakistan, a huge amount of work. Some of it

:14:18.:14:21.

short-term. It is written by terrorism. That is -- ridden by

:14:22.:14:29.

terrorism. That is not going to fix it self in a sense. Look at the work

:14:30.:14:36.

that we do in investing in education. The things that little

:14:37.:14:45.

girls like Malala talk about as being absolutely key. We are ramping

:14:46.:14:52.

up our aid to Pakistan, it will be close to half ?1 billion by the time

:14:53.:14:58.

of the election. Why should British taxpayers be giving half ?1 billion

:14:59.:15:05.

to a country where only 0.5% of people in Pakistan pay income tax,

:15:06.:15:09.

and 70% of their own MPs don't pay income tax. It is a good point and

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that is why we have been working with their tax revenue authority to

:15:20.:15:23.

help them increase that and push forward the tax reform. You are

:15:24.:15:34.

right, and I have setup a team that will go out and work with many of

:15:35.:15:40.

these countries so they can raise their own revenues. You really think

:15:41.:15:44.

you will raise the amount of tax by sending out the British HRM see How

:15:45.:15:57.

many troops I we sending out to protect them? They don't need

:15:58.:16:02.

troops. We make sure that we have a duty of care alongside our staff,

:16:03.:16:16.

but we have to respond to any crisis like the Philippines, and alongside

:16:17.:16:20.

other countries we have two work alongside them so that they can

:16:21.:16:25.

reinvest in their own public services. If they can create their

:16:26.:16:31.

own taxes, will we stop paying aid? We need to look at that but the new

:16:32.:16:36.

Pakistan Government has been very clear it is a priority and we will

:16:37.:16:43.

be helping them in pursuing that. Let me show you a picture. Who are

:16:44.:16:50.

these young women? I don't know I'm sure you are about to tell me. They

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are the Ethiopian Spice Girls and I'm surprised you don't know because

:16:58.:17:01.

they have only managed to become so famous because your department has

:17:02.:17:09.

financed them to the tune of ?4 million. All of the work we do with

:17:10.:17:13.

women on the ground, making sure they have a voice in their local

:17:14.:17:20.

communities, making sure they have some control over what happens to

:17:21.:17:24.

their own bodies in terms of tackling FGM, female genital

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mutilation... Did you know your department has spent ?4 million on

:17:34.:17:38.

the Ethiopian Spice Girls? Yes, I do, and we have to work with girls

:17:39.:17:46.

and show them there is a life ahead of them with opportunity and

:17:47.:17:50.

potential that goes beyond what many of them will experience, which

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includes early and forced marriage. It is part of the work we do with

:17:56.:18:07.

local communities to change attitudes everything you have just

:18:08.:18:11.

said is immeasurable, and they broadcast on a radio station that

:18:12.:18:14.

doesn't reach most of the country so it cannot have the impact. It only

:18:15.:18:26.

reaches 20 million people and the project has been condemned saying

:18:27.:18:26.

there were serious inefficiencies. That aid report was done a while ago

:18:27.:18:35.

now, and it was talking about the project when it first got going and

:18:36.:18:39.

a lot of improvements have happened since. I would go back to the point

:18:40.:18:45.

that we are working in very difficult environments where we are

:18:46.:18:47.

trying to get longer term change on the ground and that means working

:18:48.:18:53.

directly with communities but also investing for the long-term,

:18:54.:18:57.

investing in some of these girls start changing attitudes in them and

:18:58.:19:04.

their communities. Why does the British taxpayers spend ?5 million

:19:05.:19:14.

on a Bangladesh version of Question Time? We work with the BBC to make

:19:15.:19:20.

sure we can get accountabilities... That is bigger then the BBC Question

:19:21.:19:40.

Time Normal -- budget. That includes the cost of David Dimbleby's

:19:41.:19:48.

tattoo! We are working to improve people's prospects but also we are

:19:49.:19:52.

working to improve their ability to hold their governments to account so

:19:53.:19:56.

that when they are not getting services on the ground, they have

:19:57.:20:00.

ways they can raise those concerns with the people who are there to

:20:01.:20:08.

deliver services for them. In your own personal view, should the next

:20:09.:20:12.

Conservative Government, if there is one, should you continue to ring

:20:13.:20:18.

fence spending on foreign aid? But it is critical that if we are going

:20:19.:20:23.

to spend 7.7% of our national income, we should make sure it is in

:20:24.:20:28.

our national interest and that means having a clear approach to

:20:29.:20:32.

humanitarian responses, in keeping the country safe, and a clearer

:20:33.:20:37.

approach on helping drive economic development and jobs so there is a

:20:38.:20:43.

long-term end of the dependency Do you believe in an shrine in the

:20:44.:20:49.

percentage of our GDP that goes on foreign aid in law? Yes, and that is

:20:50.:20:55.

a coalition agreement. There have been a lot of agreements that you

:20:56.:21:05.

are sceptical about ring fencing. We are focused on shaking up the

:21:06.:21:10.

economy and improving our public finances. Why haven't you done that?

:21:11.:21:23.

At the end of the day we will be accountable but we are committed to

:21:24.:21:28.

doing that. You are running out of time, will you do it? I hope we can

:21:29.:21:34.

find the Parliamentary time, but even if we don't, we have acted as

:21:35.:21:40.

if that law is in place and we have already met 0.7% commitment. If you

:21:41.:21:46.

are British voter that doesn't believe that we should enshrine that

:21:47.:21:53.

in by law, which means that with a growing economy foreign aid will

:21:54.:21:57.

rise by definition, and if you think we should be spending less money on

:21:58.:22:01.

the Ethiopian Spice Girls, for whom should you wrote in the next

:22:02.:22:09.

election? I think we have a very sensible approach. I don't know what

:22:10.:22:15.

the various party manifestoes.. The only party who thinks we shouldn't

:22:16.:22:21.

be doing this is UKIP. I think you have to look at the response to both

:22:22.:22:31.

the Philippines crisis and Children In Need. Of all the steps we are

:22:32.:22:38.

taking to get the country back on track, it shows the British people

:22:39.:22:44.

will respond to need when they need it and it is one of the things that

:22:45.:22:52.

makes Britain's special. Thank you. "It's always winter but

:22:53.:22:55.

never Christmas" - that's how doctors describe life inside

:22:56.:22:57.

accident and emergency. The College of Emergency Medicine have warned

:22:58.:23:00.

that this year could bring the "worst crisis on record". If that

:23:01.:23:04.

dire prediction comes, expect a spring of political recriminations,

:23:05.:23:06.

but how prepared are the NHS in England? And what do they make of

:23:07.:23:10.

this autumnal speculation? Giles has been to Leeds to find out.

:23:11.:23:19.

This winter has already come to our hospitals. It had an official start

:23:20.:23:25.

date, November the 3rd. That is when weekly updates are delivered to the

:23:26.:23:33.

NHS's most senior planners, alerting them to any sudden changes in

:23:34.:23:38.

patient numbers coming in. Where do they numbers register most then

:23:39.:23:46.

A They are the barometer for what is going on everywhere else, and

:23:47.:23:51.

they are the pressure point, so if the system is beginning to struggle

:23:52.:23:55.

then it is in the A department that we see the problems. It is not

:23:56.:24:03.

that the problems are the A departments, but they are the place

:24:04.:24:09.

where it all comes together. Plans to tackle those problems start being

:24:10.:24:14.

drawn up in May and they look at trends, even taking notice of any

:24:15.:24:23.

flu epidemics in New Zealand. They also look at the amount of bets But

:24:24.:24:33.

the weather, economic realities structural reforms, and changes to

:24:34.:24:37.

the general health of the population, are all factors they

:24:38.:24:42.

have to consider. We get huge amounts of information through the

:24:43.:24:46.

winter in order to help the NHS be the best it can be, but we had to

:24:47.:24:51.

redouble our efforts this year because we expected to be a

:24:52.:24:56.

difficult winter. We know the NHS is stretched so we are working hard to

:24:57.:25:03.

be as good as we can be. That means they are looking at winter staffing

:25:04.:25:10.

levels, plans to ask for help from neighbouring hospitals, and

:25:11.:25:14.

dovetailing help with GP surgeries, and still having the ability to move

:25:15.:25:20.

up an extra gear, a rehearsed emergency plan if the NHS had to

:25:21.:25:26.

face a major disease pandemic. You spend any time in any of our

:25:27.:25:30.

hospitals and you realise the NHS knows that winter is coming and they

:25:31.:25:35.

are making plans, but you also get a palpable feeling amongst health

:25:36.:25:38.

workers across the entire system that they do get fed up of being

:25:39.:25:46.

used as a political football. Doctors and all health care

:25:47.:25:49.

professionals are frustrated about the politics that surrounds the NHS

:25:50.:25:55.

in health care. They go to work to treat patients as best as they can,

:25:56.:25:58.

and the political knock-about does not help anyone. I find it

:25:59.:26:05.

frustrating when there is a commentary that suggests the NHS

:26:06.:26:09.

does not planned, when it is surprised by winter, and wherever

:26:10.:26:15.

that comes from it is hard to take, knowing how much we do nationally

:26:16.:26:22.

and how much our hard working front line staff are doing. When the

:26:23.:26:31.

Coalition have recently tried to open up the NHS to be a more

:26:32.:26:36.

independent body, it is clear the NHS feel they have had an unhealthy

:26:37.:26:43.

dose of political wrangling between parties on policy. The NHS is not

:26:44.:26:47.

infallible or making any guarantees, but they seem confident that they

:26:48.:26:53.

and their patients can survive the winter.

:26:54.:26:56.

Joining me now from Salford in the Shadow Health Secretary, Andy

:26:57.:27:04.

Burnham. Tell me this, if you were health secretary now, you just took

:27:05.:27:09.

over in an emergency election, what would you do to avoid another winter

:27:10.:27:19.

crisis? I would immediately halt the closure of NHS walk-in centres. We

:27:20.:27:25.

heard this week that around one in four walk-in centres are closed so

:27:26.:27:30.

it makes no sense whatsoever for the Government to allow the continued

:27:31.:27:34.

closure of them. I would put nurses back on the end of phones and

:27:35.:27:40.

restore an NHS direct style service. The new 111 service is not in a

:27:41.:27:47.

position to provide help to people this winter. I think the time has

:27:48.:27:54.

come to rethink how the NHS care is particularly for older people so I

:27:55.:27:58.

propose the full integration of health and social care. It cannot

:27:59.:28:03.

make any sense any more to have this approach where we cut social care

:28:04.:28:09.

and let elderly people drift to hospitals in greater numbers. We

:28:10.:28:13.

have two rethink it as a whole service. So you would repeal some of

:28:14.:28:21.

the Tory reforms and move commissioning to local authorities

:28:22.:28:26.

so the NHS should brace itself for another major top-down health

:28:27.:28:32.

reorganisation? No, unlike Andrew Lansley I will work with the

:28:33.:28:36.

organisations ie inherit. He could work with primary care trusts but he

:28:37.:28:47.

turned it upside down when it needed stability. I will not do that but I

:28:48.:28:54.

will repeal the health and social care act because last week we heard

:28:55.:29:06.

that hospitals and health services cannot get on and make sensible

:29:07.:29:10.

merger collaborations because of this nonsense now that the NHS is

:29:11.:29:16.

bound by competition law. Let me get your views on a number of ideas that

:29:17.:29:21.

have been floated either by the press or the Coalition. We haven't

:29:22.:29:26.

got much time. Do you welcome the plan to bring back named GPs for

:29:27.:29:37.

over 75s? Yes, but it has got harder to get the GP appointment under this

:29:38.:29:42.

Government because David Cameron scrapped the 48-hour guarantee that

:29:43.:29:46.

Tony Blair brought in. He was challenged in the 2005 election

:29:47.:29:51.

about the difficulty of getting a GP appointment, and Tony Blair brought

:29:52.:29:55.

in the commitment that people should be able to get that within 48

:29:56.:30:02.

hours. That has now been scrapped. Do you welcome the idea of allowing

:30:03.:30:06.

everyone to choose their own GP surgery even if it is not in our

:30:07.:30:14.

traditional catchment area? I proposed that just before the last

:30:15.:30:19.

election, so yes. Do you welcome the idea of how a practice is being

:30:20.:30:22.

rated being a matter of public record, and of us knowing how much,

:30:23.:30:30.

at least from the NHS, our GP earns? Of course, every political party

:30:31.:30:34.

supports transparency in the NHS. More information for the public of

:30:35.:30:38.

that kind is a good thing. Do you welcome this plan to make it will

:30:39.:30:44.

form the collect in an NHS hospital -- make wilful neglect a criminal

:30:45.:30:52.

offence. It is important to say you can't pick and mix these

:30:53.:30:54.

recommendations, you can't say we will have that one and not the

:30:55.:30:59.

others. It was a balanced package that Sir Robert Francis put forward.

:31:00.:31:03.

My message is that it must be permitted in full. If we are to

:31:04.:31:06.

learn the lessons, the whole package must be addressed, and that includes

:31:07.:31:12.

safe staffing levels across the NHS. Staff have a responsible to two

:31:13.:31:17.

patients at the government also has responsible at T2 NHS staff and it

:31:18.:31:20.

should not let them work in understaffed, unsafe conditions -- a

:31:21.:31:33.

responsibility to NHS staff. Is there a part of the 2004 agreements

:31:34.:31:43.

that you regret and should be undone? A lot of myths have been

:31:44.:31:48.

built up about the contract. When it came in, there was a huge shortage

:31:49.:31:53.

of GPs across the country. Some communities struggle to recruit

:31:54.:31:58.

This myth that the government have built, that the 2004 GP contract is

:31:59.:32:04.

responsible for the AM decries is, it is spin of the worst possible

:32:05.:32:12.

kind -- the A crisis. You would redo that contract? It was redone

:32:13.:32:17.

under our time in government and change to make it better value for

:32:18.:32:22.

money. GPs should be focused on improving the health of their

:32:23.:32:24.

patients and that is a very good principle. Not so great if you can't

:32:25.:32:32.

get 24-hour access. I agree with that. We brought in evening and

:32:33.:32:37.

weekend opening for GPs. That is another thing that has gone in

:32:38.:32:41.

reverse under Mr Cameron. It is much harder to get a GP appointment under

:32:42.:32:44.

him and that is one of the reasons why A is an oppressor. -- under

:32:45.:32:55.

pressure. What do you make of the review into intimidatory tactics by

:32:56.:33:00.

unions? If there has been intimidation, it is unacceptable,

:33:01.:33:04.

and that should apply to unions as well as employers. Was Unite wrong

:33:05.:33:12.

to turn up and demonstrate? I don't know the details, this review will

:33:13.:33:16.

look into that presumably. I need reassurance that this is not a

:33:17.:33:20.

pretty cool call by Mr Cameron on the designed to appear near the

:33:21.:33:24.

election -- that this is not a political call. Are you sponsored by

:33:25.:33:35.

unite? No. Do you get any money from Unite? No. What have you done wrong?

:33:36.:33:44.

It seems others are getting money from Unite. Can I tell you what I

:33:45.:33:51.

think is the scandal of British party political funding, two health

:33:52.:33:54.

care companies have given ?1.5 million in donations to the Tory

:33:55.:34:02.

party, they have ?1.5 billion in NHS contracts. I wonder why you don t

:34:03.:34:06.

spend much time talking about that and obsess over trade union funding.

:34:07.:34:11.

We are happy to talk about that We see from e-mails that Mr Miliband's

:34:12.:34:18.

closest advisers regard Mr Ed Balls as a bit of a nightmare, do you see

:34:19.:34:24.

a bit of a nightmare about him as well? I don't at all, he is a very

:34:25.:34:29.

good friend. I can't believe that you are talking about those e-mails

:34:30.:34:33.

on a national political programme. My goodness, you obviously scraping

:34:34.:34:38.

the barrel today. I have been in front-line labour politics for 0

:34:39.:34:42.

years. I can't remember the front bench and the wider party being as

:34:43.:34:46.

united as it is today and it is a great credit to Ed Miliband and Ed

:34:47.:34:50.

Balls. We are going into a general election and we are going to get rid

:34:51.:34:53.

of a pretty disastrous coalition government. It was worth spending a

:34:54.:34:58.

few seconds to establish your not having nightmares. Thank you for

:34:59.:35:02.

joining me. It's just gone 11:30am. You're

:35:03.:35:04.

watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20 minutes, I'll be

:35:05.:35:06.

talking to the MP accused of Thank you, Andrew, and welcome to

:35:07.:35:23.

the part of the programme that's just for us here in the West. We are

:35:24.:35:27.

live here on BBC One with a classy line up of guests. Coming up today:

:35:28.:35:31.

It's a year since he was elected, so has the red trouser`wearing Mayor,

:35:32.:35:34.

George Ferguson, been a good thing for Bristol? We hear from his

:35:35.:35:38.

colleagues who say it's either his way or the highway.

:35:39.:35:43.

And George Ferguson is with us this morning, along with Jacob Rees Mogg,

:35:44.:35:46.

the Conservative MP from Somerset, and Darren Jones, who is a Labour

:35:47.:35:52.

candidate in Bristol. Welcome. John Major said this week that it was

:35:53.:35:56.

"truly shocking" that the private school`educated and affluent middle

:35:57.:36:09.

class still run Britain. There is a concern that some state

:36:10.:36:14.

education has failed people and that there has not been a high enough

:36:15.:36:19.

level of education to provide a greater degree of competition you

:36:20.:36:29.

would want. It's the quality of the education, not the quality of the

:36:30.:36:35.

people. I'm not sure the old boy network exists that effectively To

:36:36.:36:42.

some extent, the old boys in the Conservative party don't want more

:36:43.:36:46.

old boys. And that's part of the reason Michael Gove is doing such

:36:47.:36:55.

good work. Has eaten held you back? No. Networks are really important,

:36:56.:37:06.

though. I have encountered the glass ceiling, time and time again. How

:37:07.:37:19.

old are you? 27. Isn't that just a statement to how well the

:37:20.:37:22.

comprehensive school system works, then? I am an exception to the rule.

:37:23.:37:41.

What about you, George? I have a privileged education but I think

:37:42.:37:46.

there is a huge job to be done. I think John Major is absolutely

:37:47.:37:51.

right. We have got to give opportunities to people. I am

:37:52.:37:54.

setting at the Venice commission that is looking at just that, how we

:37:55.:38:01.

give greater access to people who do feel excluded. I think Darren is a

:38:02.:38:05.

great example because he's got the determination, but we've also got to

:38:06.:38:09.

recognise that we shouldn't exclude anybody because of their background.

:38:10.:38:14.

Do you find yourself apologising for your background sometimes? No, I

:38:15.:38:23.

don't. What I've done, I've done for myself, but I've also done

:38:24.:38:26.

everything I can to give people a leg up.

:38:27.:38:29.

It's a year since George Ferguson was elected Mayor of Bristol. Since

:38:30.:38:33.

then, we have grown accustomed to the man with the red trousers, and

:38:34.:38:36.

tomorrow, he makes an important speech on the future of the city of

:38:37.:38:40.

Bristol. Paul Barltrop reports on his first year in office.

:38:41.:38:51.

Bristol broke the mould, first by opting for a mayor when other cities

:38:52.:38:56.

said no, then by snubbing the parties who'd long dominated its

:38:57.:39:00.

politics. There've been other celebrations. He was in France to

:39:01.:39:04.

hear Bristol had, at the third attempt, been chosen as a European

:39:05.:39:11.

Green Capital. We had tried three times, so third time lucky. He likes

:39:12.:39:15.

to be decisive. Within hours, he'd renamed the council house and

:39:16.:39:17.

abolished on`street Sunday parking charges, but any idea of being the

:39:18.:39:20.

motorist's friend soon vanished His biggest controversy: Proposing

:39:21.:39:27.

residents' parking for 18 zones Seems to me, George, this is about

:39:28.:39:32.

what you want. He had to compromise, and he'll face more flak as the

:39:33.:39:37.

scheme is rolled out. He made a bad mistake with residents' parking The

:39:38.:39:41.

way it was done not good and not in anyone's manifesto. People were

:39:42.:39:48.

saying, "Can he do that?!" And I was saying, "Yes, did you not realise

:39:49.:39:52.

that's what it's all about?!" It's one of many issues which has brought

:39:53.:39:55.

him into conflict with councillors. He's shown frustration with what

:39:56.:40:00.

goes on in the Chamber. He's had a negative effect. Some decisions have

:40:01.:40:05.

been delayed. There have been rows and a breakdown in working

:40:06.:40:08.

relationships in the council between the mayor and councillors, the mayor

:40:09.:40:11.

and officers, and officers and councillors. Some say his fondness

:40:12.:40:21.

for the media, especially the new media, sidelines democratic

:40:22.:40:27.

processes. Very critical decision`making by Twitter. It's

:40:28.:40:31.

become issue. I've talked to senior officers who've joined Twitter so

:40:32.:40:37.

they know what the mayor's doing. The truth is a year isn't really

:40:38.:40:41.

long enough to judge the leader s achievements. Some successes like

:40:42.:40:44.

the Green Capital were started by others, some of the rows like

:40:45.:40:47.

residents' parking have yet to be resolved, but one thing's for sure:

:40:48.:40:51.

The mayor, with his colourful character and trademark red

:40:52.:40:54.

trousers, has certainly made an impact. He's posed for innumerable

:40:55.:40:58.

pictures, taken part in stunts, gone to hundreds of openings and events.

:40:59.:41:05.

His long hours have sometimes left him rather frayed, such as when he

:41:06.:41:17.

swore at a heckler. You don't apologise for using those words ! I

:41:18.:41:24.

don't. I probably will do something of the sort again! And he has been

:41:25.:41:29.

blunt, off camera this time, with councillors. When you're in a

:41:30.:41:34.

position of power, you can't continue to be everything to all

:41:35.:41:38.

people. You're going to have to offend people, and perhaps by

:41:39.:41:42.

offending them by swearing at them, especially on camera, was a mistake.

:41:43.:41:49.

But he kept his language clean for a visit to Downing Street, the Prime

:41:50.:41:52.

Minister joining a lengthening list of major figures aware of those red

:41:53.:41:58.

trousers and where they come from. George, let's talk about your style

:41:59.:42:04.

as leader. Do you accept you've governed via Twitter? I have a very

:42:05.:42:13.

direct relationship with the people of Bristol. They elected me, not the

:42:14.:42:20.

council, and I try make that clear and that direct relationship is

:42:21.:42:27.

really important. On some issues, I do, but I value the huge help I get

:42:28.:42:34.

by the six members of my cabinet from four different parties. They

:42:35.:42:38.

work really cohesively and brilliantly. There are some

:42:39.:42:42.

councillors who see it as their job just to shoot me down. What's all

:42:43.:42:50.

this with Twitter? I made one decision on Twitter, because I want

:42:51.:42:52.

to make it really clear I meant what I said about changes to what was the

:42:53.:43:05.

bus transport. I said I am doing it. It took about 11 months for the

:43:06.:43:09.

Department of Transport to approve the change, but we got there. You

:43:10.:43:15.

are going with all sorts of people on Twitter. Is that a wise use of

:43:16.:43:25.

your time? I do these things. I sit through ridiculously long council

:43:26.:43:31.

meetings. We really should sharpen up our act and get shorter and more

:43:32.:43:35.

efficient about it. I communicate with people buy every single means.

:43:36.:43:40.

Social media just happens to be one of them. I do both formally and

:43:41.:43:52.

personally. You got elected in a very sketchy manifesto. Therefore,

:43:53.:44:00.

no one really knew where you came from what you wanted do. You have to

:44:01.:44:07.

listen, don't you? People didn't know what you planned. I am more

:44:08.:44:13.

visible and more accessible than any leader Bristol has ever had, and the

:44:14.:44:19.

level of attention I get, the lecture I am giving tomorrow night

:44:20.:44:23.

at the University has sold out. Trying come! There is a huge level

:44:24.:44:33.

of connectivity between the citizens of Bristol and their leadership that

:44:34.:44:37.

has not been there before, and I do listen, and I had 35 clear points in

:44:38.:44:46.

my non`manifesto. Was there a single specific point? There were many

:44:47.:44:53.

such as tackling transport, but also cover delivery of the arena. If you

:44:54.:45:00.

have a look through it, there are five or six specific points, but

:45:01.:45:07.

mainly, about a more liveable city. It's about leadership, isn't it

:45:08.:45:13.

What is it take to be a good leader? I would have hoped Bristol would

:45:14.:45:22.

have elected a conservative may in the future. Leadership is crucially

:45:23.:45:28.

important. Having an individual who is accountable can work extremely

:45:29.:45:33.

well. If you look at Boris Johnson in London, the police and crime

:45:34.:45:38.

commissioners, they are a focus for people's attention. Under Labour,

:45:39.:45:46.

Bristol languished for years and didn't really meet its potential. Do

:45:47.:45:50.

you give your wholehearted support to what the Maia is doing? Just

:45:51.:45:56.

because you say you listen doesn't mean you do. The majority of Bristol

:45:57.:46:02.

didn't elect you because turnout was so embarrassingly low. Every

:46:03.:46:08.

community has councillors to represent them. That's why you got

:46:09.:46:11.

to listen to those councillors, George. In the communities I work

:46:12.:46:18.

with, a lot of the things you're doing mean to them. The transport

:46:19.:46:27.

issues are still ongoing. These things affect people's lives. I

:46:28.:46:35.

think Darren is completely wrong! I am tackling many issues and well

:46:36.:46:39.

advanced with every single issue here is mentioning. There are seven

:46:40.:46:45.

Labour leaders who would absolutely disagree with Darren. It's very easy

:46:46.:46:51.

being a political opponent, not having the responsibility. I think

:46:52.:46:56.

there is an element of irresponsible criticism because if they look at

:46:57.:46:59.

the leadership of the other cities, I am doing the same and more. Let's

:47:00.:47:04.

move on to what you are announcing tomorrow. I will not tell you what

:47:05.:47:11.

is happening because I will announce tomorrow night! What I am doing is

:47:12.:47:16.

taking ?90 million over the next three years, so we will have set the

:47:17.:47:25.

scene. And I will just tell you that a huge amount of that will come out

:47:26.:47:30.

of efficiency and changing the way we are doing things, so what

:47:31.:47:38.

represented 25% cut in net budget will be considerably less in the

:47:39.:47:43.

loss of services. How many job losses, as a result of this? About

:47:44.:47:52.

800 full time job losses. That's really serious. We have got to do

:47:53.:48:01.

that as sensitively as possible We have got to seek voluntary

:48:02.:48:04.

redundancies, but in the end, I can't take that many people out

:48:05.:48:10.

without the need for some compulsory redundancies. Which services will

:48:11.:48:14.

take the brunt of the cuts? You have to wait until tomorrow because it is

:48:15.:48:19.

unfair on people working in any particular area to learn from this

:48:20.:48:23.

programme as to whether their jobs are at risk. But the biggest cup

:48:24.:48:29.

comes out of the administration I am surprised how much slack there

:48:30.:48:40.

was. You can, if you have not had a lot of George already, there is a

:48:41.:48:46.

special programme about George Ferguson on BBC One tomorrow night

:48:47.:48:49.

at 7:30pm. The very survival of one West

:48:50.:48:52.

Country police force is in the balance. Money is so tight in Dorset

:48:53.:48:56.

that the Police and Crime Commissioner says the force may have

:48:57.:48:59.

to merge with another one if there are any more cuts. Our home affiars

:49:00.:49:02.

correspondent, Steve Brodie, reports.

:49:03.:49:06.

In Dorset, one of the country's smallest police forces. Times are

:49:07.:49:10.

hard and the reductions in central funding have been difficult to make.

:49:11.:49:21.

If you have mobile body cams, you are capturing evidence of everything

:49:22.:49:23.

they are doing. Its crime commissioner says the outlook is

:49:24.:49:26.

bleak. He claims a merger with neighbouring forces could be the

:49:27.:49:31.

only solution. We can't take any more cuts. We can take what we have

:49:32.:49:36.

got, just, but we are cliff edge now. If the Government cuts us

:49:37.:49:42.

again, it may be a merger. Like all PCCs, Angus Macpherson has to face

:49:43.:49:45.

the reality of funding his police force with less money from central

:49:46.:49:48.

Government, and like the rest, he can only put up his share of the

:49:49.:49:59.

council tax by 2%. The Wiltshire commissioner says he has no

:50:00.:50:03.

intention of going above the 2% cap, but unlike his neighbour in Dorset,

:50:04.:50:06.

he's ruled out any form of official merger. I wouldn't go down that

:50:07.:50:14.

line. It's very important that the people of Wilts recognised but I am

:50:15.:50:23.

held to account. Former chief constable Dr Tim Brain doesn't think

:50:24.:50:26.

mergers are an economic solution to budget problems. In many cases, they

:50:27.:50:35.

turn out to be more expensive in smaller forces and it's not an

:50:36.:50:39.

answer to fundamental under resourcing or cuts. The problem we

:50:40.:50:45.

have got at the moment is there are many cuts in policing and

:50:46.:50:47.

amalgamations of forces are not the right answer. The commissioner in

:50:48.:50:51.

charge of the West's biggest police force has ruled nothing out when it

:50:52.:50:54.

comes to next year's budget. Sue Mountstevens says she's already been

:50:55.:50:57.

holding initial discussions with the fire service to see if they can save

:50:58.:51:01.

money by working together more but she hasn't ruled out any budget

:51:02.:51:04.

proposals, from a freeze to a 1 % increase. And no decision on the

:51:05.:51:08.

council tax share has yet been made in Gloucestershire, but already PCC

:51:09.:51:11.

Martin Surle has cut more than 1 million from the budget to build new

:51:12.:51:24.

a new custody suite. I thought it was unacceptable. It was ?2 million

:51:25.:51:30.

over the budget. We had almost come to the wire. I was expected to sign

:51:31.:51:34.

it and I just couldn't. With no sign of any change of direction from the

:51:35.:51:37.

Government, the cost of policing will fall directly on where you

:51:38.:51:47.

live. Have the new Police and Crime

:51:48.:51:49.

Commissioners been effective, Darren Jones? I think they have been. They

:51:50.:51:59.

have given a visible face to the police. Sue has been getting around

:52:00.:52:08.

my constituency very well. She has made itself known to people. The

:52:09.:52:14.

police were previously unaccountable to anybody. Nobody knew about the

:52:15.:52:18.

police authorities and how they worked. The police have very

:52:19.:52:22.

substantial budgets to which cuts are being made and you need to know

:52:23.:52:27.

who you can complain to about that, who is a democratic representative.

:52:28.:52:33.

You could make a similar argument for Somerset. But do these areas

:52:34.:52:36.

need a high level of policing anyway? That's something that can be

:52:37.:52:42.

determined by a police and crime commissioners who can respond to the

:52:43.:52:46.

needs of the local communities and in the Avon and Somerset area, there

:52:47.:52:49.

are different needs the different places. Part of rural areas in my

:52:50.:52:58.

constituency 's needs a presence of policing. This all goes back to

:52:59.:53:07.

austerity. Is Labour going to reverse those cuts or do you agree

:53:08.:53:10.

with the Prime Minister that austerity is here to stay? This is

:53:11.:53:17.

an example in practice because the problem is, the Conservatives are

:53:18.:53:21.

centralising power, and on the other hand, they are saying, speak to your

:53:22.:53:27.

policing crime commissioners who say, I can't do anything about that.

:53:28.:53:32.

So you reduce the power of communities to have an impact on

:53:33.:53:37.

policing. Our priority is making sure people are saved on the streets

:53:38.:53:42.

and their communities. The election cost ?100 billion of the

:53:43.:53:50.

commissioners. The priority has to be about people being safe in their

:53:51.:53:55.

communities. I was on patrol in my constituency, and to see the

:53:56.:53:59.

relationships they have in the neighbourhood is fantastic. I was

:54:00.:54:10.

asking you about cuts. It's above my pay grade to tell you what will be

:54:11.:54:13.

in the budget of the next Labour government. I have had a briefing

:54:14.:54:21.

from Ed Balls, but he said on some of these decisions, because we don't

:54:22.:54:25.

have access to the information the Government has, we will have to make

:54:26.:54:29.

sensible decisions when we arrive in government in 2015.

:54:30.:54:32.

It's time now to take a spin through this week's other political stories

:54:33.:54:36.

in 60 seconds. The Ministry of Defence has been

:54:37.:54:39.

ordered to take action to improve the safety of its military selection

:54:40.:54:44.

exercises. It follows the death of Corporal James Dunsby who collapsed

:54:45.:54:47.

in the Brecon Beacons while taking part in tests to join the SAS.

:54:48.:54:54.

The Liberal Democrat Cabinet in Bath have agreed to cut ?2.3 million

:54:55.:54:57.

allocated to 11 children's centres in the city. Parents and carers are

:54:58.:55:02.

furious and will keep campaigning until the cuts are reversed.

:55:03.:55:09.

A deal to stop two of Somerset's district councils from going broke

:55:10.:55:13.

has been voted through. West Somerset and Taunton Deane hope to

:55:14.:55:16.

save millions of pounds by merging staff and services.

:55:17.:55:21.

Critics say they're outraged at Wiltshire councillors' decision to

:55:22.:55:24.

pay themselves more in expenses The leader, Jane Scott, will be able to

:55:25.:55:27.

claim 22% more, taking her annual expenses to ?30,722.

:55:28.:55:40.

Let's pick up on the story about councillors in Wiltshire voting

:55:41.:55:43.

through an increase in their expenses. Cannot be justified? It's

:55:44.:55:57.

absolutely absurd. These councils are implementing carts and they are

:55:58.:56:01.

then paying themselves more. Not that long ago, or councillors could

:56:02.:56:08.

do was claim modest expenses. Now, to get ?43,000 a year is absurd and

:56:09.:56:15.

is an insult to the Wilts voters and taxpayers. Jacob, you MPs are about

:56:16.:56:20.

to vote through an 11% increase in your salary. As long as there is a

:56:21.:56:27.

freezing public sector, they should maintain their pay. In my view, MPs

:56:28.:56:38.

have to take responsibility. What do you think about councillors being

:56:39.:56:44.

paid? I agree with Jacob, which is unusual, but a 22% pay rise is not

:56:45.:56:52.

acceptable. Much like with MPs, councillors should move the

:56:53.:56:55.

decisions on their remuneration expenses to an independent body

:56:56.:57:00.

Should they actually be paid a salary rather than make do with

:57:01.:57:11.

expenses? There's a debate on that. Unless you are retired or wealthy,

:57:12.:57:15.

you can't afford to take a cut in your hours work to do it. But it

:57:16.:57:20.

needs to be sensible and can't be made by the council is receiving the

:57:21.:57:24.

money. I don't think they should be paid. Are you saying that because

:57:25.:57:37.

you are a wealthy man in you could do it? Some people from other

:57:38.:57:40.

backgrounds couldn't possibly play put in the hours. The administrators

:57:41.:57:48.

are doing the implementation policy. We've got a confusion. Councillors

:57:49.:57:57.

should be focusing on the policy decision, which isn't a full`time

:57:58.:58:01.

job. That's it from the West this week.

:58:02.:58:04.

Thank you to Jacob Rees`Mogg, Darren Jones and George Ferguson for

:58:05.:58:08.

joining us. I'll see you again next week, but don't go away because the

:58:09.:58:09.

programme if we hear more. Thank you. Andrew,

:58:10.:58:10.

it is back to you. Who'd be an MP? It's a good

:58:11.:58:28.

question. Certainly something Mark Pritchard must have asked himself

:58:29.:58:31.

when his picture graced the front page of the Daily Telegraph, with

:58:32.:58:34.

allegations that he had offered to set up business deals overseas in

:58:35.:58:37.

return for hundreds of thousands of pounds. Mr Pritchard dismissed the

:58:38.:58:40.

claims as hurtful and wrong. He referred himself to the

:58:41.:58:42.

Parliamentary Standards Commissioner who has now said there is

:58:43.:58:44.

insufficient evidence to investigate. In a moment we'll talk

:58:45.:58:47.

to Mr Pritchard, but first let's take a look back at how the story

:58:48.:58:50.

unfurled. A Conservative MP has denied allegations that he used his

:58:51.:58:54.

Parliamentary contacts for financial gain... The daily Telegraph says

:58:55.:58:58.

Mark Pritchard offered to broker investments overseas. In a statement

:58:59.:59:05.

he said the allegations made by the Telegraph are false. Mr Pritchard

:59:06.:59:13.

was secretly filmed... What do you make of these allegations? He has

:59:14.:59:18.

referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for

:59:19.:59:21.

standards to clear his name and I suspect this story will reopen the

:59:22.:59:30.

debate about what MPs should be allowed, having business interests

:59:31.:59:38.

elsewhere. Is it not clear that you did ask for money in consultancy

:59:39.:59:48.

services? First of all I would like to apologise for the sunglasses I

:59:49.:59:52.

have had a lot of comments about that. On a serious point, these

:59:53.:00:01.

claims by the Telegraph of false. You didn't ask for ?3000? They are

:00:02.:00:08.

false, hurtful and malicious. It is known widely that I have sued the

:00:09.:00:12.

Telegraph previously. I have also been critical of their coverage of

:00:13.:00:18.

the plebgate affair, their reporting of that. I have been supportive of

:00:19.:00:21.

the cross-party Royal Charter and I know that some people in the media

:00:22.:00:26.

don't like my position on that. That is why it is malicious. I believe in

:00:27.:00:31.

a free press. That free press also has a responsibility to be fair

:00:32.:00:38.

accurate and lawful. In discussions with this business who turned out to

:00:39.:00:43.

be a Telegraph reporter, it is true that you ask for ?3000 a month

:00:44.:00:49.

consultancy fee. The point is.. That is the point. No. That video

:00:50.:00:56.

has been cut and pasted to serve the Telegraph's story. The story was

:00:57.:01:01.

that we want to get Mark Bridger, for whatever reason, at any cost. --

:01:02.:01:07.

Mark Bridger hard. I would not go down the line they were hoping I

:01:08.:01:11.

would go down. Everything I own outside of Parliament is openly

:01:12.:01:17.

declared. We are allowed to have outside witness interests. The

:01:18.:01:19.

Telegraph need to say clearly whether they accept that or they

:01:20.:01:25.

don't. I think you need to say clearly whether you asked for the

:01:26.:01:29.

money or not. You then went on to ask for ?300,000 if it was a 10

:01:30.:01:33.

million deal, you asked for 3% commission. Let me be clear, if I

:01:34.:01:40.

was asking for income in return for lobbying, or raising issues in

:01:41.:01:44.

Parliament, or setting up Parliamentary groups, or going to

:01:45.:01:49.

ministers, writing to ministers that would be completely

:01:50.:01:55.

inappropriate. I was approached by somebody to advise them on business.

:01:56.:02:00.

It is entirely proper and entirely within the rules for members of

:02:01.:02:03.

Parliament to have outside consultancies and interests. Did you

:02:04.:02:10.

or didn't you? I am answering the question in the way that I want to

:02:11.:02:13.

answer it, not in the way that fits a particular narrative. The

:02:14.:02:17.

narrative, unfortunately, of some parts of the Telegraph and to be

:02:18.:02:21.

fair, there are some very good journalists, I know there is a

:02:22.:02:26.

dispute about the direction of that paper at senior parts. Do they want

:02:27.:02:30.

to return to being a Catholic, objective newspaper or do they want

:02:31.:02:35.

to slip into the slippery slope of being an agnostic rag, looking for

:02:36.:02:40.

sensationalist headlines? Part of this has come from your membership

:02:41.:02:42.

of these all-party Parliamentary groups. You were in Malta when you

:02:43.:02:51.

are first approached, I think you were on a trip there, Hungary is

:02:52.:02:55.

another one, there is an uncomfortable overlap between your

:02:56.:02:59.

political and business interests. I have no business interests in any of

:03:00.:03:03.

those countries. Some of the country is the Telegraph mentioned, let me

:03:04.:03:10.

be clear, I have not even visited. You were boasting that you knew the

:03:11.:03:14.

Albanian Prime Minister and the Mayor of Teheran and the previous

:03:15.:03:20.

prime minister. I make no apology for making foreign trips. I think it

:03:21.:03:24.

is unfortunate we have a narrative developing in some parts of the

:03:25.:03:29.

press that if a politician goes abroad at the taxpayers expense it

:03:30.:03:33.

is wrong. If they go abroad at a host government's expense it is

:03:34.:03:36.

wrong. If they go abroad with a charity, NGO and private company,

:03:37.:03:41.

even if it is declared, it is wrong. We want people with an international

:03:42.:03:46.

perspective in Parliament. Look at this map. You are a member of 5

:03:47.:03:51.

country groups. I don't know what Canada has done not to deserve you,

:03:52.:03:56.

or Australia. 54 groups, you are a part of. You're like... This is the

:03:57.:04:03.

Mark Pritchard British Empire. That is very kind. If I had global

:04:04.:04:07.

interests that white I would not be in Parliament. No, no, no. That is

:04:08.:04:15.

the point... It is the suspicion, that you used these groups to drum

:04:16.:04:19.

up business for your consultants. Prove it, that is the trouble. These

:04:20.:04:22.

sorts of headlines, create suspicion. I am suing the

:04:23.:04:31.

Telegraph... Have you issued a writ? I expect an apology. Have you issued

:04:32.:04:38.

a writ? I have just answered your question. It is yes or no, have you

:04:39.:04:45.

issued a writ? I am in final legal discussions tomorrow about issuing a

:04:46.:04:49.

writ. You have raised something for top the fact is that is inaccurate.

:04:50.:04:54.

I am a member of 40-something Parliamentary groups, of which I

:04:55.:05:01.

make no apology. We have got 54 Let me answer the question if I may It

:05:02.:05:07.

would be very useful. There are 196 countries around the world, it is

:05:08.:05:12.

less than a quarter of the country groups on my figures. I make no

:05:13.:05:21.

apology. One of my regrets is not having visited Syria, I don't know

:05:22.:05:23.

if I am a member of the Syria group, part I should become a member, I

:05:24.:05:29.

make no apology. -- perhaps I should become. When it came to the Syria

:05:30.:05:33.

vote, I was blind sided foot of yes, we have excellent briefings. I had

:05:34.:05:40.

to make a judgement based on part knowledge with nothing beats being

:05:41.:05:44.

on the ground, as even BBC journalists recognised this week.

:05:45.:05:49.

Nothing beats being on the ground. You posted about your connections in

:05:50.:05:52.

Albania to getting a business contract. You meet these people

:05:53.:05:56.

through these all Parliamentary groups. That is where there is an

:05:57.:06:02.

unhealthy overlap. That is what the Telegraph said, let's wait and see.

:06:03.:06:08.

Look... You are a newspaperman, you know lots of people in the newspaper

:06:09.:06:12.

industry, as well as being a respected broadcaster. I am not

:06:13.:06:16.

going to prejudice my legal proceedings against the Telegraph. I

:06:17.:06:20.

make no apology. A good politician has to be local am a national and

:06:21.:06:26.

international. Hang on hang on - has to be local, national and

:06:27.:06:32.

international. We need politicians who get out of the Westminster

:06:33.:06:35.

bubble, who have a business hinterland, who keep their foot in

:06:36.:06:38.

the real world and have an international perspective. And ask

:06:39.:06:45.

for 3% commission? I have answered the question. It was a cut and

:06:46.:06:49.

pasted video, photo shopped to suit the agenda of the Telegraph. They

:06:50.:06:53.

need to get back to serious news reporting and I wish those well at

:06:54.:06:56.

the senior part of the Telegraph who want to get to those days. We look

:06:57.:07:00.

forward to the writ. Thank you. Now - there's been more good news on

:07:01.:07:03.

the economy for George Osborne this week - inflation's down, growth

:07:04.:07:06.

forecasts have been revised up and unemployment has fallen again. On

:07:07.:07:09.

Friday the former Bullingdon boy donned a head torch and went down't

:07:10.:07:12.

pit for just one of many photo opportunities ahead of the Autumn

:07:13.:07:15.

Statement, which he'll deliver in the Commons on fifth December. And,

:07:16.:07:18.

who knows, he might even take his hard hat off for that.

:07:19.:07:25.

# Going underground. # Let the boys all saying and let

:07:26.:07:35.

the boys all shout for tomorrow # Lah, lah, love, love.

:07:36.:07:41.

# I talk and talk until my head explodes.

:07:42.:07:49.

# Make this boy shout, make this boy scream.

:07:50.:07:53.

# Going underground. # Going underground.

:07:54.:08:03.

# I'm going underground. # I'm going underground.

:08:04.:08:09.

George Osborne in his heart out he probably sleeps with it on. This

:08:10.:08:17.

Autumn Statement is becoming a more important part of the political

:08:18.:08:22.

calendar for the coalition. It looks like this is where they are finally

:08:23.:08:25.

going to come up with some kind of response to Ed Miliband's game

:08:26.:08:31.

changing electricity price freeze. The idea which is mooted is they

:08:32.:08:35.

will move people's green tax on two general bills which is not an answer

:08:36.:08:40.

but cosmetically it could have apolitical impact. George Osborne is

:08:41.:08:44.

receiving a lot of representations from lobby groups, business, MPs on

:08:45.:08:50.

his own side, for tax cuts and extra bits spending and he has to spend

:08:51.:08:54.

the next two weeks reminding people of something that has been skewered

:08:55.:08:57.

by the economic recovery. This country has a fiscal deficit which

:08:58.:09:06.

is twice that of France, supposedly the crisis economy in western Europe

:09:07.:09:09.

or if you accept it will take another parliament again to

:09:10.:09:12.

eliminate this deficit, we are not even halfway through the age of

:09:13.:09:15.

austerity. He is in no position to give anything away. He has to hold

:09:16.:09:20.

the line. Danny Alexander has been useful but this is his real

:09:21.:09:24.

challenge. He is going to give stuff away. When the Autumn Statement

:09:25.:09:29.

comes away, 15 months from an election, Nick Clegg has been

:09:30.:09:33.

talking about raising the tax allowance threshold even further,

:09:34.:09:38.

talk of moving green levies of the electricity bills, he is going to

:09:39.:09:42.

give stuff away. We will get funding for free school meals that Nick

:09:43.:09:44.

Clegg mentioned in his party conference. The significance of the

:09:45.:09:49.

Autumn Statement is twice a year, a Chancellor stands up and we all look

:09:50.:09:54.

at the state of the economy. If you talk to members of the Chancellor's

:09:55.:09:57.

circle, it is interesting how nervous they are. They say, don t

:09:58.:10:01.

assume we are going to have this wonderful growth for ever, don't

:10:02.:10:04.

assume everything is fine in the eurozone. I think what would help

:10:05.:10:09.

the Chancellor is if somebody was able to see some of that humility in

:10:10.:10:14.

public. It is recognised that he was far too triumphalist

:10:15.:10:15.

speech he made on the 9th of September, when he said to Ed Balls,

:10:16.:10:22.

we have one and you cannot make an economic policy on the cost of

:10:23.:10:23.

living -- we have... Won. economic policy on the cost of

:10:24.:10:36.

people don't seem to learn from Norman Lamont's green shoots. Labour

:10:37.:10:40.

has moved from complaining there is no growth, now there is, to say

:10:41.:10:46.

has moved from complaining there is is gross but living standards are

:10:47.:10:46.

not rising. If the economy grows by nearly 3% next year, even the bank

:10:47.:10:51.

is saying it will grow by 2.8%, living standards could start to

:10:52.:10:56.

rise. It does but everybody in a difficult position politically if

:10:57.:10:59.

the economy starts growing, ironically. We need to remind

:11:00.:11:02.

ourselves that economy, the natural direction of an economy is to grow.

:11:03.:11:08.

Unless the politicians screw up Unless you have some idiot in

:11:09.:11:13.

charge! It is not a cause for the Morris dance that they seem to be

:11:14.:11:17.

doing, certainly on the Tory side. Osborne is put in a difficult

:11:18.:11:20.

position goes he will have to stop giving stuff away, he cannot push

:11:21.:11:27.

the austerity line at the same time as jangling his magical growth - he

:11:28.:11:33.

will have to start giving stuff away. It puts Labour in a difficult

:11:34.:11:39.

position, it is very unlikely that living standards will match GDP Not

:11:40.:11:46.

since 2003, GDP has been a great indicator. Wages have stagnated for

:11:47.:11:52.

ten years, food has gone up 17% energy has gone up 24%. That is a

:11:53.:11:56.

decade in which everybody has got poorer. The real sweet spot comes

:11:57.:12:01.

when wages start to outstrip inflation. It is a sweet spot and

:12:02.:12:06.

will be a huge challenge for Ed Miliband. As ever on the economy

:12:07.:12:11.

with a sweet spot, you have a danger moment because that is when the

:12:12.:12:15.

governor of the Bank of England will have to look at interest rates.

:12:16.:12:18.

Everything he was saying last week was when we move toward 7%

:12:19.:12:22.

unemployment come that is not the trigger for raising interest rates,

:12:23.:12:25.

it is the moment when we look at it. Everything was saying he did not

:12:26.:12:31.

want to do that. When do you anticipate wages outstripping

:12:32.:12:33.

inflation? It hasn't happened for so long. The second half of next year.

:12:34.:12:40.

Wages and prices are not the sole measure of living standards, there

:12:41.:12:42.

are broader measures which no one seems willing to use.

:12:43.:12:46.

That's all for today. The Daily Politics will be back at tomorrow at

:12:47.:12:49.

midday on BBC Two and I will back here on BBC One at 11:00am next

:12:50.:12:53.

week. Remember if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.

:12:54.:12:58.

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. With international development secretary Justine Greening, shadow health secretary Andy Burnham and Conservative MP Mark Pritchard.


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