19/01/2014 Sunday Politics West


19/01/2014

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news, interviews and debate. Guests include chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander.


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Transcript


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Morning, folks. Welcome to the Sunday Politics. Nick Clegg says

:00:37.:00:44.

Chris Rennard must apologise. "What for?", say his friends. We'll ask

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senior Lib Dem minister Danny Alexander whose side he's on.

:00:50.:00:54.

What about the voters? What do they make of the Lib Dems? We hear the

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views of a Sunday Politics focus group. A

:00:58.:01:17.

And can governments ever legislate against violent extremism? Muslim,

:01:18.:01:21.

Portsmouth MP Penny Mordaunt's plunge from the highboard from who

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else but the Minister for Portsmouth.

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And with me, as always, the best and the brightest political panel in the

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business: and in London, Boris Johnson has pledged to recruit more

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volunteers. Nick Watt, Helen Lewis and Janan Ganesh, who'll be tweeting

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throughout the programme. First this morning, Nick Clegg is

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considering a fresh investigation into the behaviour of the party s

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former chief executive, Lord Rennard. Last week, a lawyer

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appointed by the party decided that no action could be taken against

:02:02.:02:04.

him, but that women who had accused the Lib Dem peer of inappropriate

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behaviour "were broadly credible". More than 100 party activists are

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demanding an apology. Chris Rennard say he's nothing to apologise for

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and the party whip must be returned to him. Helen, this is not going

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away. It is turning into a crisis for the Lib Dems? They have only got

:02:25.:02:30.

seven female MPs. There is no female Cabinet Minister. There is a

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reasonable chance that after the next election there might in no

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female Liberal Democrat MPs at all. A scandal like this will not

:02:42.:02:45.

encourage women into the party. Have they made a complete mess of it You

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feel for Nick Clegg, because he launched an utterly rigorous

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process. He called in a QC. The QC looked at it and decided that the

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evidence did not meet the burden of proof in a criminal trial. But

:03:03.:03:06.

clearly he felt that the evidence from these women was very credible

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and serious. He said it was broadly credible. Clearly it was serious.

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Rennard is being advised by Lord Carlisle, fellow Liberal Democrat

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peer, who is giving purely legal advice. He is saying it has not

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reached that edge-mac, so do not apologise. This is a political

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issue, so the agony continues. Nick Clegg was hoping to keep the party

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whip withdrawn. But they did not launch an enquiry, the Webster

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enquired it was not an enquiry, it was a legal opinion. You're right,

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it was an internal opinion. The Lib Dems distinguished themselves from

:03:51.:03:53.

the other two parties not with policy, but with ethics. They

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presented themselves as being cleaner, and in possession of more

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Robert Jay than Labour and the Conservatives. That will be harder

:04:02.:04:16.

to do now. -- more probity. There are a Lib Dem peers that are more

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relaxed about taking him back and letting him pick up the party whip.

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That is the problem. There is a generational issue. The older Lib

:04:25.:04:30.

Dems in the House of Lords, the kind of thing, he did not do anything

:04:31.:04:35.

that wrong. The younger activists and those outside the House of

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Lords, they think it is a pollen. Yes, there is definitely a sort of

:04:41.:04:44.

what you are complaining about sort of thing. That is symptomatic of a

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cultural difference. The report last year found that they tried to manage

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the allegations. They did not do what any company would do if there

:04:57.:04:59.

was an allegation of sexual harassment. If there had not in the

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by-election in Eastleigh, this story may not have got the attention it

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did. Channel four news are the one that really drove this. Without

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their reporting, this might not have come out. It is not going to go

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away, because the issue of whether he gets the party whip back will

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come week. -- will come up this week.

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So it's not been a great week for the Liberal Democrats and none of

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this will help public perceptions of a party already struggling in the

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polls. In a moment, I'll be talking to the second most senior Liberal

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Democrat in the land, Danny Alexander. First, Adam Fleming went

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to Glasgow to find out what voters there made of the party.

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Let's put the Lib Dems under the microscope in Glasgow. We have

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recruited some Glaswegians who have voted for them, and some who have

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not. Hello, John. Let's get started. I will be watching them through the

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one-way mirror, along with the former Liberal Democrat MP John

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Barrett. Let's get to the heart of the matter straightaway. If the Lib

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Dems were a biscuit, what would they be? Tunnock's Teacake. Hard on the

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outside but soft in the middle. They give in. There is no strength of

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character there. They just give in to whoever. Ouch. Rich Tea. A bit

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bland and boring. Melts and crumbles under any sort of heat and pressure.

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Morrison's own brand of biscuit not top of the range like Marks

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Spencer or Sainsbury's or Waitrose. A custard cream, sandwiched between

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David Cameron and the Tories. I think they were concerned that they

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had one exterior, but something else was really inside. They did not find

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it too definitive, too clear, too concise, too tasty, too appealing.

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Which means? It is a worry. If that is their gut reaction, literally,

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let's find out what is behind it. The context of them being stuck

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between a rock and a hard place for them as a party, I feel slightly

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sorry for them. I think people who voted for them will think they are

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victims as well, being sold down the river by going to the coalition I

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think the ones, particularly student fees, that was an important one to a

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lot of people. People felt cheated. I agree. Just going back on that, so

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publicly and openly, it makes you think, well, what do they stand for?

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It is trust. Harsh. But our group is feeling quite upbeat about the state

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of the economy. What have the Lib Dems contributed to that? I am not

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quite sure. It is George Osborne, a Conservative, who is the Chancellor,

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so it is mostly down to him. The Liberal Democrats are mostly on

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their coat tails, if you know what I mean. Have the Lib Dems done

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anything, anyone? I think the Liberal Democrats were responsible

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for increasing the tax allowance, ?10,000 for next year. I think they

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have played a major role in that. Yes. I am glad somebody noticed

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that. We will have helped everyone who is receiving a salary, and it is

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interesting that nobody has mentioned that. Now, let's talk

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about personalities. Everyone knows him, but what about say, this guy?

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Alexander. Danny, they got it straightaway. I actually quite like

:08:45.:08:47.

him. I think he talks very clearly and it is easy to understand what he

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says. Fellow redhead Charles Kennedy is popular as well. He is very

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charismatic and it is through him that I voted Liberal the last few

:08:59.:09:04.

times. But who is this? I recognise him but I cannot tell you his name.

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That is the party's leader in Scotland, Willie Rennie, and the

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party's role in the upcoming referendum on independence draws a

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blank as well. It does not feel like they have featured, it is SNP and

:09:15.:09:21.

Labour and Conservative. They are last in a four horse race. We have

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been talking about the biggest issue in Scottish politics, independence

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and the referendum and the Lib Dems are nowhere. They are not mentioned

:09:40.:09:42.

and they seem to think it is all about Labour and the SNP. The Lib

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Dems are part of the Better Together campaign and we are being drowned

:09:47.:09:49.

out among that. Looking to the future, what messages do voters have

:09:50.:09:54.

for the Lib Dems? Get a backbone. Do not go back on your policies or your

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word. Be strong and decisive. If you will pardon the expression, man up.

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DIY, do it yourself. Do not award bankers and other people for

:10:09.:10:15.

failure. Stand up. Be your own person, party. If that focus group

:10:16.:10:19.

represented the whole country, what would the result for the Lib Dems be

:10:20.:10:25.

at 2015 in the election? If they get the message across between now and

:10:26.:10:30.

then, the result could be OK. If they do not get the message across,

:10:31.:10:33.

the result could be disaster. Maybe they would do a lot better on their

:10:34.:10:40.

own. I do not think you are seeing the true Lib Dems because they are

:10:41.:10:43.

in the coalition. They maybe deserve another chance. Crucially for the

:10:44.:10:47.

Lib Dems, that means there is some hope, but there is also plenty of

:10:48.:10:51.

anger, some disappoint, and a bit of bafflement as well.

:10:52.:11:00.

And watching that with me, senior Liberal Democrat and Chief Secretary

:11:01.:11:04.

to the Treasury Danny Alexander Welcome to the programme. One of the

:11:05.:11:08.

things that comes through from the focus group is that if there is any

:11:09.:11:12.

credit around for the economic recovery, it is the Tories that are

:11:13.:11:18.

getting it, and you are not? What can you do about that? The first

:11:19.:11:22.

thing to say is that the economy would not be recovering if it was

:11:23.:11:26.

not for the Liberal Democrats. If it was not for our decision right

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beginning in 2010 to form a strong, stable coalition government that to

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deal with the problems, we would still be in the mess that Labour

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left us with. Why are you not getting the credit? That was one

:11:41.:11:45.

focus group. It was interesting to hear opinions. We have to work very

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hard to get across the message that the economy would not be recovering

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without the Liberal Democrats. People would not be seeing the

:11:57.:12:00.

largest income tax cuts for a generation without the Liberal

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Democrats. The ?10,000 threshold that one of the people referred to

:12:06.:12:08.

is coming into peoples pay packets this year. Lots of people recognise

:12:09.:12:15.

that. There was the one person in the focus groups. This is your

:12:16.:12:22.

measure of success, raising the people at which people pay income

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tax. But most of the voters do not even give you credit for that. The

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role that we haven't British politics as a party, is that we are

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the only party that can be trusted to deliver a fair society and a

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strong economy. People know they cannot trust the Labour Party. We

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saw it again from Ed Miliband this morning. You cannot trust the Labour

:12:45.:12:53.

Party with the nation's finances. It may well be your policy, the income

:12:54.:12:57.

tax threshold, but it is the Tories that are getting the credit? I do

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not think that is true. I have spent lots of time meeting photos and lots

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of people recognise that if it was not for the Liberal Democrats,

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people would not be seeing those tax cuts. We are helping disadvantaged

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children in schools. It is right that we have to work very hard

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between now and polling day to do several things, to make sure that we

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secure the recovery, there can be no complacency. The economic recovery

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is in its early stages and we need to make sure it is sustainable. We

:13:30.:13:33.

need to make sure the benefits of the recovery are shared out people

:13:34.:13:37.

who have made sacrifices, people on low pay, people who have seen their

:13:38.:13:46.

savings are eroded. The Tories have now hijacked another Lib Dem

:13:47.:13:49.

policy, another big hike in the minimum wage. You spoke about the

:13:50.:13:53.

need to make sure that people on low pay benefit from the recovery, a big

:13:54.:13:59.

hike in the minimum wage. Did the Chancellor consulting on this? We

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have been talking about it for some time. Vince Cable asked the low pay

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commission for advice on this. Why did Vince Cable not make this

:14:10.:14:12.

announcement, why was it the Chancellor? Let me say a few other

:14:13.:14:18.

things about this. If we are going to secure the recovery, this year we

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have to make sure that businesses start investing. We have got to get

:14:23.:14:27.

Roddick typically rising. An increase in the minimum wage is

:14:28.:14:31.

something that needs to follow that. We will not do it unless the low pay

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commission adviser as it is important for the economy at this

:14:36.:14:40.

stage. Did you know the Chancellor was coming out with that statement?

:14:41.:14:44.

I did not know he was going to say something on that particular day. We

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have worked together on it in the tragedy to see what the economic

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impact would be, and to emphasise that it is the commission, which has

:14:55.:14:58.

credibility with business, trade unions and government. It must not

:14:59.:15:06.

be a politically motivated increase. So you did not know, and Vince

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Cable, and it is properly a matter for him as the Business Secretary,

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he did not make the announcement? I don't think that's right. I don t

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clear every word I say with him I don't expect him to do the same to

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me. The Lib Dems have told us before it was the Treasury that was

:15:30.:15:38.

blocking this from happening. We were going to ask the low pay

:15:39.:15:42.

commission to advise us on bringing the minimum wage back up. During the

:15:43.:15:49.

financial crisis, wages have been lower-than-expected but it's also

:15:50.:15:55.

right, we shouldn't act in a hasty way, we should listen to what the

:15:56.:16:00.

commission has to say, and if they don't recommend an increase we have

:16:01.:16:05.

to make sure economic conditions are there to get it right. Not only are

:16:06.:16:13.

the Tories getting credit for that, our Scottish voters group showed

:16:14.:16:15.

that people have still not forgiven you for ratting on tuition fees and

:16:16.:16:20.

that was a broken promise that didn't even apply to the people in

:16:21.:16:26.

Scotland, where there are no tuition fees! Nick Clegg has been very clear

:16:27.:16:30.

about the issues that that brought up. If you look at our manifesto,

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the University of London said we delivered about 70% of our policies

:16:40.:16:44.

in the manifesto. They haven't forgiven you for the big one. The

:16:45.:16:51.

big promise we made was to cut income tax the millions of people.

:16:52.:17:00.

That is a policy which is putting money back into the pockets of

:17:01.:17:05.

working people. It is only possible because we are delivering our

:17:06.:17:09.

economic plan in government with the Conservatives. Now we have to make

:17:10.:17:15.

sure, through tax cuts, through looking at issues like the minimum

:17:16.:17:20.

wage and other groups who have made sacrifices, make sure that benefit

:17:21.:17:26.

is shared. I am not going to agree to anything which undermines the

:17:27.:17:30.

confidence of businesses to invest in this country over the next 1

:17:31.:17:35.

months. Speaking of Scotland, the Lib Dems, why do they now look

:17:36.:17:42.

largely irrelevant in the battle for the union? Not one of our focus

:17:43.:17:48.

group even knew who your Scottish leader is. I don't accept that. I

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have spent a lot of time with Alistair Carmichael and others, we

:17:54.:18:03.

are all making the case every day. If Scotland votes to be independent,

:18:04.:18:08.

it will be in a much worse financial position within the European Union.

:18:09.:18:14.

Scotland will be contributing to the rebate for the UK, rather than

:18:15.:18:20.

benefiting from it. It has been a disaster for your Scottish based to

:18:21.:18:23.

have joined a coalition with the Tories. It may have been the right

:18:24.:18:28.

thing to do, you say it is in the national interest, but Scottish Lib

:18:29.:18:32.

Dems did not expect to be in a coalition with the Tories. By the

:18:33.:18:38.

way I think it is also in the national interests and the interests

:18:39.:18:43.

of the people for Scotland, cutting the income tax of Scottish people,

:18:44.:18:49.

stabilising the economy. We are now seeing good growth. But you are in

:18:50.:18:55.

meltdown. I don't accept that. We will see what happens in the 20 5

:18:56.:19:03.

election. I think we have a record to be proud of, we have played a

:19:04.:19:07.

very important role in clearing up the mess Labour made in the

:19:08.:19:11.

economy, of making sure the Coalition government tackles the

:19:12.:19:14.

problems in this country, but does so in a fair way. I think the

:19:15.:19:21.

biggest risks to the economic recovery over the next few years is

:19:22.:19:25.

either a majority Labour government or a majority Conservative

:19:26.:19:30.

government. Labour you cannot trust with the finances, the Tories want

:19:31.:19:34.

us to play chicken with the European Union which would truly be a

:19:35.:19:38.

disaster to investment in this country. You announced this week

:19:39.:19:43.

that if Scotland votes to leave the UK, it would be the British Treasury

:19:44.:19:47.

that would guarantee all British government debt. There wouldn't be a

:19:48.:19:53.

negotiation, but the backstop would be that even if they didn't take

:19:54.:19:57.

anything, we would still guarantee the debt. What was happening in the

:19:58.:20:02.

markets that you needed to calm them down? We were getting quite a few

:20:03.:20:06.

questions from the people we rely on to lend us money. We are still

:20:07.:20:13.

borrowing billions of pounds every month as a country. Those people

:20:14.:20:17.

were asking us to clarify this point. It was becoming a serious

:20:18.:20:30.

concern? It wasn't reflected in the guilty yields. I follow the bond

:20:31.:20:34.

market quite carefully and there was no sign this was having an impact.

:20:35.:20:41.

That's why the right thing to do was to clarify this point now, rather

:20:42.:20:45.

than the concerns being reflected in what you imply, and I think it is a

:20:46.:20:51.

bad idea for Scotland to vote for separation but it would be wrong to

:20:52.:20:55.

allow for the fact that question is on the table to cost taxpayers in

:20:56.:20:59.

the UK more money and higher interest payments simply because

:21:00.:21:02.

Alex Salmond has put that question on the table. That's why I think it

:21:03.:21:08.

was the right thing to do. There were a lot of calls from the focus

:21:09.:21:11.

group that you need to be different. Nick Clegg has embarked on this

:21:12.:21:17.

aggressive differentiation. Where you can be different is the

:21:18.:21:22.

bankers' bonuses. What conceivable reason could there be for anybody at

:21:23.:21:28.

RBS getting a bonus twice in their salary? We have not been approached

:21:29.:21:35.

by RBS in terms of those votes. I would be sceptical about an approach

:21:36.:21:43.

from RBS if it can. It shows what we have presided over as a party in

:21:44.:21:51.

government, massive reductions. . I'm not asking you about that, I'm

:21:52.:21:55.

asking what conceivable case there can be for a bank that has failed to

:21:56.:22:04.

sell its branches even though ordered by the Government, still has

:22:05.:22:08.

38 billion of toxic debt on its balance sheet, I ask again what

:22:09.:22:14.

possible reason should they get twice salary as a bonus? Your right

:22:15.:22:20.

to say RBS is in a very different position to other banks, it is

:22:21.:22:29.

mostly owned by the state. RBS hasn't put a case to us but they

:22:30.:22:33.

might do so I would like to look at what they would say, but I would be

:22:34.:22:37.

sceptical as to whether a case could be made given some of the things you

:22:38.:22:42.

said, but also the fact that it is a bank that has benefited from the

:22:43.:22:48.

taxpayer standing behind it. Now RBS has to focus more on domestic

:22:49.:22:54.

retail. Let me turn to Chris Rennard, ten women have accused him

:22:55.:22:59.

of sexual harassment. He denies every case. Who do you believe? We

:23:00.:23:05.

have been through a process on this as a party. A report has been issued

:23:06.:23:15.

on this. I agree with Alistair Webster on this, he has made clear

:23:16.:23:19.

that while he cannot prove what happened to a criminal standard

:23:20.:23:23.

that there is clear there has been considerable distress and harm

:23:24.:23:28.

caused. I agree with him about that and that's why it is necessary for

:23:29.:23:34.

Chris Rennard to apologise as he has been asked to do. If he refuses to

:23:35.:23:42.

apologise, should he be denied the Lib Dem whip in the Lords? I don't

:23:43.:23:48.

think he should be readmitted to the Liberal Democrat group in the House

:23:49.:23:51.

of Lords until such time as the disciplinary process, including the

:23:52.:23:58.

apology, has been done properly We are very democratic party, it is a

:23:59.:24:01.

matter for our group in the House of Lords in due course to make that

:24:02.:24:07.

judgement. Party HQ has had a lot of complaints from party members about

:24:08.:24:12.

the fact no apology has been made. The appropriate committee would need

:24:13.:24:15.

to look at that and decide what action needs to be taken because

:24:16.:24:21.

these are very serious matters. We as a party have learned a lot, taken

:24:22.:24:28.

a long, hard look at ourselves, to change the way we work. The apology

:24:29.:24:34.

does need to be made. We are told that Lord Newby, the Chief Whip of

:24:35.:24:38.

the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, we are told he has shaken

:24:39.:24:42.

hands with Chris Rennard and welcomed him back. That decision has

:24:43.:24:50.

not been taken yet. I think Lord Newby would share my view on this.

:24:51.:24:56.

Have you shaken his hand and welcomed him back? No, I haven't.

:24:57.:25:03.

Does Nick Clegg have the power to deny Chris Rennard as the whip? I am

:25:04.:25:10.

making it clear that a lack of apology is totally unacceptable and

:25:11.:25:14.

therefore we have to take steps if that is not forthcoming. His view

:25:15.:25:21.

and my view is that Lord Rennard should not be readmitted to the

:25:22.:25:28.

House of Lords if that is not forthcoming. In our party, our group

:25:29.:25:33.

in the House of Lords has two in the end take a view for itself. And they

:25:34.:25:40.

can override Nick Clegg's view? I hope that when they look at this...

:25:41.:25:47.

Do they have the power to override Nick Clegg? They have the power to

:25:48.:25:59.

decide who should be the whip. The failure to follow up the simple

:26:00.:26:03.

human demand for an apology for the stress that has been caused is

:26:04.:26:09.

totally unacceptable. Your party is totally down lighted on this --

:26:10.:26:26.

divided on this. Here is what Lord Carlile had to say. A total

:26:27.:26:32.

nonsense, hyperbole. It is a ridiculous statement to make and we

:26:33.:26:37.

have seen Alistair Webster, the QC who did this investigation, comment

:26:38.:26:42.

on that himself this morning. He has followed the process the party laid

:26:43.:26:47.

down in its rules, which sets the standard for the investigation which

:26:48.:26:50.

asked him to report on the evidence he has found, but he also has a duty

:26:51.:26:54.

of confidentiality and responsibility under the data

:26:55.:27:02.

protection legislation as well. Here is what your activists have said in

:27:03.:27:15.

a letter to the Guardian. This shows there are strong opinions, but why

:27:16.:27:19.

should Chris Rennard apologise for something he denies, unproven

:27:20.:27:25.

allegations, on an unpublished report that Chris Rennard has not

:27:26.:27:30.

been allowed to read? He should apologise because he wants to

:27:31.:27:33.

continue to be a member of the Liberal Democrats and this is the

:27:34.:27:38.

recommendation that has been made by the internal disciplinary process.

:27:39.:27:44.

Webster himself said this was not an inquiry, it is an opinion. If Chris

:27:45.:27:50.

Rennard apologises on this basis, he opens himself to civil lawsuits He

:27:51.:27:57.

says he is not going to do it. As a Liberal Democrat you join the party

:27:58.:28:01.

because you believe in its values, you abide by its rules. One of those

:28:02.:28:07.

rules is that we have a process if there are disciplinary allegations.

:28:08.:28:15.

The committee of the party supported Webster's recommendations, one of

:28:16.:28:18.

which was that an apology should be made because he clearly found

:28:19.:28:24.

distress had been caused. Will there now be a proper inquiry? I don't

:28:25.:28:28.

think any of these legalistic things, I don't think he can have it

:28:29.:28:41.

both ways. Will there be a proper inquiry? Alistair Webster did do a

:28:42.:28:47.

proper inquiry. There was a proper report into what happened at the

:28:48.:28:51.

time and we have learned a lot from this is a party, and the most

:28:52.:28:56.

important thing now is that Chris Rennard apologises. You have made

:28:57.:29:01.

that clear. What kind of biscuits are you? Are you a Tunnocks? Soft on

:29:02.:29:12.

the inside? It is good of you to be advertising a Scottish product. We

:29:13.:29:19.

just wondered if you weren't tough enough to take on Ed Balls. Thank

:29:20.:29:24.

you. More than tough enough is the answer to that.

:29:25.:29:41.

Generally governments are a bit rubbish at IT projects. They tend to

:29:42.:29:45.

run way over budget and never quite achieve what they promised. So the

:29:46.:29:48.

revelations of a former spy that the US and British security agencies

:29:49.:29:51.

were in fact astonishingly efficient at eavesdropping on the digital

:29:52.:29:53.

communications of their citizens came as a bit shock. But just how

:29:54.:29:56.

worried should we be about their clandestine activity?

:29:57.:29:58.

In his latest revelation, former US by Edward Snowden has claimed that

:29:59.:30:00.

America's National Security Agency operates a secret database called

:30:01.:30:06.

Dishfire. It collect 200 million mobile phone messages every day from

:30:07.:30:10.

around the world, accessed, he says, why British and American spies. This

:30:11.:30:16.

week, the president has outlined a series of surveillance reforms,

:30:17.:30:20.

including Ning to the storage of the phone call information of millions

:30:21.:30:27.

of Americans, and no Morse -- and no more spying on allies like Angela

:30:28.:30:37.

Merkel. Critics say that the British intelligence agencies have refused

:30:38.:30:39.

to acknowledge even the need for a debate on the issue. The Foreign

:30:40.:30:44.

Secretary William six says that we have a very strong system of checks

:30:45.:30:52.

and balances. -- William Hague. ?? new line Nick Pickles is director of

:30:53.:30:55.

the pressure group Big Brother Watch. The Labour MP Hazel Blears in

:30:56.:30:58.

on Parliament's Intelligence And Security Committee. They're here to

:30:59.:31:08.

go head to head. Welcome to both of you. Hazel

:31:09.:31:13.

Blears, let me come to you first. President Obama has made some major

:31:14.:31:16.

changes as a result of what we have learned that the NSA in America was

:31:17.:31:22.

up to. But British politicians seem to, they are not up for this kind of

:31:23.:31:26.

thing, they are hoping it will go away? It is not going away and that

:31:27.:31:31.

is why my committee, the Intelligence And Security Committee,

:31:32.:31:36.

has decided to launch an enquiry into whether the legal framework is

:31:37.:31:40.

up-to-date. We have had massive technological change. We have had a

:31:41.:31:48.

call for evidence. Some of the sessions will be open so that people

:31:49.:31:53.

can see what the evidence is. Obviously some of the information

:31:54.:31:57.

will have to be classified, but on the committee, there is a real

:31:58.:32:01.

commitment to say, there is a big debate going on, let's see if the

:32:02.:32:05.

system is as Rob asked as we can make it. The big question is

:32:06.:32:09.

oversight and the call for evidence that the committee has issued is not

:32:10.:32:14.

mention oversight. It is ten years since the Foreign Affairs Committee

:32:15.:32:18.

said that the committee should be a fully elected committee chosen by

:32:19.:32:24.

Parliament and not the Prime Minister. It has changed, actually.

:32:25.:32:31.

The Prime Minister nominates people and the house gets to him -- gets to

:32:32.:32:41.

approve. In America, they have a separation of power, the president

:32:42.:32:47.

does not nominate Kennedy. Basically, Hazel Blears, you're an

:32:48.:32:51.

establishment lackey? I do not think so. Most of the people on the

:32:52.:32:56.

committee have some experience of intelligence and these issues. In

:32:57.:33:02.

this country, we have robust scrutiny, compared to some of her

:33:03.:33:06.

European neighbours. We have Parliamentary scrutiny, the

:33:07.:33:11.

interception commissioners, and ministers have to sign the warrants.

:33:12.:33:15.

But there may be room for improvement, which is why we are

:33:16.:33:20.

having the enquiry. Do not forget, President Obama said that the agency

:33:21.:33:25.

should not have the ability to collect data, he wanted to put more

:33:26.:33:29.

safeguards in. That is essential for the work of the agencies. If you

:33:30.:33:34.

cannot see the data, you cannot take the connections and see the

:33:35.:33:39.

patterns. Some people never talk about the threat from terrorism it

:33:40.:33:44.

is all about travesty. There are several thousand people in this

:33:45.:33:48.

country, as we are talking, who are actively planning to do a country

:33:49.:33:52.

harm. When this debate started in the US, the NSA head stood up and

:33:53.:33:58.

said there are 54 plots that have been detected by this capability

:33:59.:34:04.

that has detected and that in bulk. Now the head of the NSA has admitted

:34:05.:34:11.

that the number is actually zero. It is not the intelligence committee in

:34:12.:34:16.

the US that did the work to reduce that number, it was a Judiciary

:34:17.:34:21.

Committee. The fact that we have two different bodies doing this in this

:34:22.:34:24.

country, it means that you do not get the correct view. How can people

:34:25.:34:31.

have confidence in a body when if you go around Europe, for example,

:34:32.:34:37.

or the world, we are not at the end not requiring judges to not sign

:34:38.:34:42.

warrants? I do not accept that the committee failed on that range of

:34:43.:34:46.

issues. You look at the reports on 7/7. Two reports by the committee

:34:47.:34:52.

get to the heart of it. If you look at that terrorist attack on our

:34:53.:34:56.

country, people will say, why did you not have them on the radar? The

:34:57.:35:01.

agencies are between a rock and a hard race. They have got to be

:35:02.:35:07.

subject to oversight, but beanie capability. Did you know about

:35:08.:35:15.

Dishfire? We go to GCHQ on a regular basis and I know about the

:35:16.:35:20.

capabilities that we have got. Some of the names of these programmes, we

:35:21.:35:27.

would not necessarily know. But did you know that GCHQ had the

:35:28.:35:32.

capability to use Dishfire, or to get Dishfire material from the NSA?

:35:33.:35:37.

I knew and my committee knew that we had the capability to collect data,

:35:38.:35:42.

and these days, people do not write letters, they do not use landline

:35:43.:35:46.

telephones, they use the Internet and text in, so it is important that

:35:47.:35:51.

the agencies are able to keep up with that take the logical change.

:35:52.:35:57.

What should happen? The proper legal framework should include, if a

:35:58.:36:01.

company is cooperating, as Google and Facebook do, it should be

:36:02.:36:06.

illegal for GCHQ to hack into them. In the US, Lundberg estimate that

:36:07.:36:13.

this has driven a 35mm and hole in the US economy because people do not

:36:14.:36:17.

trust but there are systems are secure. We need to know that GCHQ

:36:18.:36:22.

are not trying to use a different door into the system, whether by

:36:23.:36:26.

hacking or foreign intelligence We need judicial oversight with judges

:36:27.:36:33.

and not politicians signing off The final 30 seconds to you. As a result

:36:34.:36:38.

of the changes in the Justice and Security act, the committee is

:36:39.:36:42.

accountable to Parliament and not the Prime Minister. Those changes

:36:43.:36:46.

are taking place, and I am up for the debate if we need more change or

:36:47.:36:52.

not. But I want British agencies to have more power to protect the

:36:53.:36:56.

people in this country. Thank you to both of you. It's coming up to

:36:57.:37:00.

11:40. You're watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up in just over 20

:37:01.:37:03.

minutes, we'll get the verdict of the Minister for Portsmouth on that

:37:04.:37:05.

dive from the Portsmouth MP. Ouch! The government prides itself on

:37:06.:37:58.

localism, so we'll be asking if councillors really have any choice

:37:59.:38:01.

to do anything but freeze their rates. Today, we'll be talking

:38:02.:38:08.

politics with both sides of the coalition. Neil Carmichael is a Tory

:38:09.:38:14.

MP for Stroud. And we have a Lib Dem MP from Bath as well. Let's start by

:38:15.:38:22.

talking about the contentious badger cull in the West. We discovered

:38:23.:38:26.

costs would just five times more than expected and the government was

:38:27.:38:31.

forced to admit it may have overstated the number of herds with

:38:32.:38:37.

TB due to a computer glitch. This is a farce, isn't it? Well, we know how

:38:38.:38:43.

many cattle have been slaughtered because of TB. We also know how many

:38:44.:38:49.

farmers across my area at least have then back I have been punished for

:38:50.:38:58.

it. The number of slaughterings that have taken place have been

:38:59.:39:06.

considerable. What we have to do is get this right for the badgers as

:39:07.:39:15.

well. Don Foster, it seems to be incompetence. We've learnt a great

:39:16.:39:24.

deal from these trials. We have a very serious problem. Sadly, we

:39:25.:39:28.

haven't got a vaccine and were told we won't have one for quite some

:39:29.:39:32.

time to come. That is why we had these trials. I think the government

:39:33.:39:37.

now is to come forward to Parliament to be very clear about what has

:39:38.:39:41.

happened with the trials and then to bring to Parliament proposals for

:39:42.:39:45.

what we do next. It is not a foregone conclusion we will see a

:39:46.:39:49.

expansion of the current programme until we've got right some of the

:39:50.:39:53.

things that you rightly say we clearly need to sort out. Raise

:39:54.:40:02.

council tax if you dare. That is the tough message from Eric Pickles On

:40:03.:40:07.

a visit to the West Country on Thursday he put the boot into one

:40:08.:40:10.

Conservative run council and gave a strong hint he will clamp down

:40:11.:40:13.

harder than ever on those who refuse to freeze the tax.

:40:14.:40:19.

He is the man they love to hate A politician who talks tough to

:40:20.:40:22.

councils. Eric Pickles was in Somerset and Butcher on Thursday. He

:40:23.:40:27.

toured council officers hearing how they found new ways to save money.

:40:28.:40:44.

Here, council tax laws back back pack `` council taxes will not rise.

:40:45.:40:55.

Somehow it seems as if he wants to get his own back on us. Actually, we

:40:56.:41:01.

are the most efficient deliveries of public services. We are taking by

:41:02.:41:04.

far the biggest hit in the austerity gut. That did not go down too well

:41:05.:41:13.

with the minister. It is convenient for people to hide behind the cap.

:41:14.:41:17.

The cap is gone. They have to make a decision. I don't think it shows

:41:18.:41:22.

much leadership to put an increased slightly below the cap. Alaska men

:41:23.:41:26.

used to cap the amount council tax increased will stop back at the last

:41:27.:41:40.

government this year, it could be 1.5%. That could be a problem for

:41:41.:41:48.

police forces. On Wednesday, Wilts's Police and Crime

:41:49.:41:50.

Commissioner set out the reasons why. Wilts is one of the third most

:41:51.:41:59.

efficient forces in the country as far as spending goes. Our spending

:42:00.:42:02.

on local policing is lower than the average, so there is no reason why

:42:03.:42:08.

we shouldn't come back up to where we are. That is what people want.

:42:09.:42:14.

The final decision will be taken next month. By then, a 2% rise could

:42:15.:42:20.

be enough to prompt a referendum, judging by the Minister's response.

:42:21.:42:26.

They have to take the electorate into their confidence. I'm quite

:42:27.:42:34.

blind to politics. I will treat conservatives, labour, the Lib Dems,

:42:35.:42:48.

independence, exactly the same way. But his power over our tax bills

:42:49.:42:57.

does have some limits. Many parish council is also rising taxes. The

:42:58.:43:03.

main reason? Cuts in government central funding have been passed

:43:04.:43:08.

down the line. The cuts will keep coming. A new report by experts ones

:43:09.:43:17.

that some are approaching a tipping point, especially in the South West.

:43:18.:43:23.

It could mean a local authority not being able to set a balanced budget,

:43:24.:43:28.

it could mean little failures in several services which mount up to

:43:29.:43:33.

critical levels, if you like. It could be the inability to deliver

:43:34.:43:36.

statutory services, which could be catastrophic. Eric Pickles will not

:43:37.:43:42.

be swayed. The Tory big hit ended his visit in Chippenham, helping to

:43:43.:43:48.

launch a campaign to cut parking charges levied by his fellow

:43:49.:43:56.

conservatives on the council. Tony Lake is one of the most the

:43:57.:44:07.

zebras `` vociferous protesters We don't disagree with the spending

:44:08.:44:11.

cuts, we understand the need to get the spending deficit under control.

:44:12.:44:14.

I think a lot of good things come out from them. Cut to the chase

:44:15.:44:25.

What is your complaint? Are cut `` our complaint is they are now

:44:26.:44:31.

talking about late February go before we even know what the cap is.

:44:32.:44:38.

So you want to know if the cap is 2% and then you will raise your tax by

:44:39.:44:44.

1.9%? Not at all. We have not done that in the past. We haven't decided

:44:45.:44:49.

what were going to do. We have a spending gap left on a budget of

:44:50.:44:53.

about 1.5 million. We've already identified the banks `` the best

:44:54.:45:05.

part of 17% of that. You used to work in the love `` the local

:45:06.:45:12.

government and then you were a minister. Why is local government

:45:13.:45:18.

taking the hit these days? The local government spends about ?120 billion

:45:19.:45:24.

a year, a quarter of all government spending. So when our cuts across

:45:25.:45:27.

all areas, it's not surprising local government has taken a hit as well.

:45:28.:45:34.

The cuts mean spending power will be be juiced on average by 2.9%. It's a

:45:35.:45:45.

1.8% cut, a relatively small cut to find, for Tony. Our calculation on

:45:46.:46:00.

the spending gap, the lack of government funding, it's more like

:46:01.:46:07.

9%. This isn't about reserves. That is nonsense. We get this from Eric

:46:08.:46:11.

every few weeks saying the council have massive reserves. We have two

:46:12.:46:16.

types of reserves. Earmarked reserves which we cannot use and a

:46:17.:46:21.

small amount of revenue non`earmarked which any sensibly run

:46:22.:46:24.

business would have in case it gets hit. The one thing I will accept is

:46:25.:46:31.

it is very difficult for local government. But what we've seen in

:46:32.:46:35.

recent years is local govern working much more efficiently and

:46:36.:46:38.

effectively, working with each other, combining back office space

:46:39.:46:41.

and so on, getting more of the council tax they are entitled to.

:46:42.:46:45.

That pressure has made a real difference. Polls show that

:46:46.:46:50.

confidence in public government has gone up the last years. But there is

:46:51.:46:56.

money in reserves, there is more that they could get from council

:46:57.:47:06.

tax. Do you think local governments should do anything other than freeze

:47:07.:47:11.

the council tax? I think freezing it is the right thing to do because at

:47:12.:47:15.

the end of the day we need to make it easier for people to live their

:47:16.:47:19.

lives. The cost of living is all part of this. And it is critical to

:47:20.:47:24.

encourage councils to become even more efficient at delivering

:47:25.:47:28.

services. But you are making the council take the cuts and the blame

:47:29.:47:31.

on Westminster does not make the cuts up there. Yes, we do. There are

:47:32.:47:37.

certain areas we have not cut at all, like the NHS. Let's get back to

:47:38.:47:44.

the referendum. As I understand it, councillors want to pick up the rate

:47:45.:47:52.

by a certain amount that means they have two have a referendum. Why have

:47:53.:47:57.

the parliament not told them what the cap will be? We are consulting

:47:58.:48:04.

on this. Eric Pickles made clear that the announcement will be made

:48:05.:48:07.

in the very near future. Most councils are already in a position

:48:08.:48:11.

where they've done most of the copulation. They can do most of the

:48:12.:48:16.

work and as Tony said there is a small bet that they're trying to

:48:17.:48:19.

sort out. I understand the uncertainty, but we're getting on as

:48:20.:48:24.

quickly as possible. On the question of the freeze band, let's take an

:48:25.:48:33.

example. Our band D is about ?1 00. In another council, it is ?1300

:48:34.:48:39.

That is because you've frozen the rate in the past when you didn't

:48:40.:48:44.

have too. Yes, we have deliberately kept it down. But a 1% freeze grant

:48:45.:48:51.

to that counsel you as the ?130 Bandy puts them even further away.

:48:52.:48:59.

Slightly difficult to do the maths on a Sunday morning, but thank you

:49:00.:49:02.

for coming in. Now, it might shock you to learn

:49:03.:49:06.

that one of our studio guests spends his working week with being members

:49:07.:49:12.

of his party. But we're told Don Foster never inflict any actual

:49:13.:49:18.

pain. He is a government whip and years in charge of encouraging MPs

:49:19.:49:27.

to toe the party line. It may not look like the wild West,

:49:28.:49:33.

but listen carefully and you may hear the distant crack of a whip

:49:34.:49:37.

around Westminster. It could be the parliamentary whips at work, getting

:49:38.:49:43.

backbenchers into line. Three of them now come from the west, and

:49:44.:49:49.

this is their story. Among those keeping the conservative cowboys in

:49:50.:49:55.

order, our assistant whips Claire and John. The high Sheriff of Lib

:49:56.:50:00.

Dem discipline and government Deputy Chief Whip is now Don Foster. From

:50:01.:50:06.

the whips office, you must make sure his MPs turn up to vote and vote the

:50:07.:50:12.

way his party wants. Gentle persuasion is the preferred

:50:13.:50:15.

technique, but he admits his is a business of carrot and stick. We

:50:16.:50:21.

could stop people being on the whip, which means you don't get any

:50:22.:50:25.

of the information to sort your life out. We could make things difficult

:50:26.:50:29.

in terms of the sort of office accommodation that you want and

:50:30.:50:35.

possibly do nasty things in terms of cutting off party funding if

:50:36.:50:39.

anything is going to your constituency. But the Lib Dems are

:50:40.:50:43.

not flush with dosh so that is unlikely. It is the power of

:50:44.:50:49.

persuasion. Each whip has a flock of around two dozen MPs. If it becomes

:50:50.:50:53.

clear one of your sheep might be tempted to stray, you might bring

:50:54.:50:57.

them to a posh restaurant like this one to administer some gentle but

:50:58.:51:02.

well lubricated arm`twisting. I think I will have the lamb. I use

:51:03.:51:09.

suggesting MPs can be persuaded by such fripperies? Are you denying

:51:10.:51:15.

that perks don't come into it? MPs are just as fallible as anyone

:51:16.:51:20.

else. So, yes, it can make a difference to some people, and

:51:21.:51:25.

others not. At the end of the day, people are trying to stick up for

:51:26.:51:30.

the local patch. That is what gets them out of bed in the morning and

:51:31.:51:34.

it is the thing which will get them re`elected or not. That is a

:51:35.:51:39.

powerful motivator. That is the dilemma for all MPs, the crunch

:51:40.:51:43.

vote. To stay with the party on his ticket they were elected, all

:51:44.:51:48.

rebel, and face the consequences. When I was saying I'm afraid I'm

:51:49.:51:52.

going to rebel on Lords reform, it was suggested to me that I would

:51:53.:51:57.

lose my big society ambassador role. And my response was, well, I'm

:51:58.:52:02.

afraid I believe in it. You can t stop me believing in community

:52:03.:52:05.

spirit, so do what you want with the titles. Television dramas like house

:52:06.:52:16.

of cards gave whips a bad portrayal as masters of the dark arts. That

:52:17.:52:20.

reputation has been difficult to shake, especially among those who

:52:21.:52:25.

cannot see why that country has to pay for what is essentially a

:52:26.:52:31.

political office. The stereotype is actually accurate. They know all the

:52:32.:52:38.

secrets of the MPs. The whips have something called a dirt book with

:52:39.:52:43.

all the information about whether an MP has a love life, a gambling

:52:44.:52:49.

habit, drinks too much, maybe is overdrawn and therefore needs a bit

:52:50.:52:52.

of extra money, so maybe wants to get onto a certain select committee.

:52:53.:52:57.

All these things come into play and are all part of the leveraged, the

:52:58.:53:01.

machinery, of influence and pressure that is brought to bear. If you

:53:02.:53:09.

believe the whips in this place the business of whipping is no longer

:53:10.:53:12.

than nasty, bullying backbiting processing might have been. They

:53:13.:53:17.

insist that they need the law enforcers to whip the parties into

:53:18.:53:22.

some sort of meaningful shape remains as acute as ever, but the

:53:23.:53:26.

many outside these walls, the practice of whipping remains one of

:53:27.:53:33.

the Sadie at `` shakiest in the saloon bar of British politics.

:53:34.:53:40.

Joining us is Dawn Parry who used to be a conservative and stood in

:53:41.:53:44.

Newport at the last election in Wales. Now, she says she is fed up

:53:45.:53:49.

of party politics and will run as an independent in Bristol West last

:53:50.:53:55.

time. What is wrong with being mated to tether party line? `` being made

:53:56.:54:09.

to toe the party line? Instead of representing the views of those

:54:10.:54:12.

individuals who perhaps elected you to parliament, you are forced into a

:54:13.:54:16.

situation whereby you have to vote with the party and toe the line The

:54:17.:54:40.

problem of the Dorna is if she does get elected as an independent, she

:54:41.:54:43.

will realise she is a large number of decisions to make every single

:54:44.:54:47.

day and there will not be the opportunity to go back and consult

:54:48.:54:51.

your electorate on all of those issues. Therefore what happens in

:54:52.:54:55.

political parties ` unsure it's the same as in the Conservatives ` we

:54:56.:54:59.

get together and discuss the issues and agree collectively what we think

:55:00.:55:02.

the line should be. By having a clear line from a political party,

:55:03.:55:14.

the government then know what sort of things we care about and the

:55:15.:55:17.

values we have. Is it right that Charlotte should have been

:55:18.:55:19.

threatened with losing her job as a big society spokesperson? I'm not

:55:20.:55:21.

going to comment on the techniques used by other whips. Let me make it

:55:22.:55:24.

clear. The days of thumb screws are long gone, quite rightly. Parliament

:55:25.:55:30.

now decides who will be members of select committees and who will chair

:55:31.:55:35.

them, what the debates will be. So a lot of those tools have disappeared

:55:36.:55:38.

and we have to do it by getting everyone together and getting those

:55:39.:55:42.

policies right in the first place. You gladly rebelled at all, have

:55:43.:55:51.

you? Well, I tend to agree with the overall agenda of the government. I

:55:52.:55:54.

think the coalition is doing the right things, getting the deficit

:55:55.:55:58.

down and having a long`term plan to solve the problems we were left with

:55:59.:56:03.

by the last Labour government. And also there are lots of ways you can

:56:04.:56:10.

influence the government. For instance, writing reports,

:56:11.:56:17.

contributing to select committees. I would like to come back on something

:56:18.:56:23.

that Don said which was about how important it is collectively that

:56:24.:56:27.

elected members vote a certain way. Let's be honest. When a bill comes

:56:28.:56:31.

forward and when people have to come up with a yes or no, surely 650

:56:32.:56:36.

intelligent individuals who then elected by the people can make their

:56:37.:56:42.

own decisions. People vote for the party, not the candidate. They vote

:56:43.:56:46.

for Mr Cameron or Mr Gleick, they don't really vote for the Lib Dem

:56:47.:56:53.

candidate. Well, let's talk about the people then. Because in the old

:56:54.:56:58.

days people certainly did. There was a bat social difference. But this is

:56:59.:57:06.

a television age now. Yes, but the way people move forward and how they

:57:07.:57:09.

want to vote has changed enormously to the point where now a very small

:57:10.:57:14.

number of people vote in elections and we have governments in power

:57:15.:57:18.

would just a quarter of the populace. We have to leave it there.

:57:19.:57:22.

Is it worth an extra ?41,000 a year, that job? I don't get anything like

:57:23.:57:28.

that. I look forward to receiving my pager. I took a pay cheque from

:57:29.:57:32.

being government minister to becoming a government Chief Whip.

:57:33.:57:39.

You get ?41,000 more than a backbencher. I categorically do not

:57:40.:57:43.

even get half that amount extra If you can tell me where the money is,

:57:44.:57:47.

I look forward to receiving it and I will give it to a good cause.

:57:48.:57:57.

41,000? ! Well, we'll check it. Now, it's been another busy week. Here's

:57:58.:58:07.

a brief reminder 60 seconds. The Mayor of Bristol flushed away

:58:08.:58:11.

his plans to close all but one of the city 's toilets. George Ferguson

:58:12.:58:16.

said a rosier financial outlook in the toilets could stay. In bat,

:58:17.:58:20.

parents and children demonstrated ever proposed cuts to children's

:58:21.:58:24.

centres. Ruling Lib Dems insist no centres

:58:25.:58:28.

will be closed but some may be handed over to other organisations

:58:29.:58:31.

to run. Somerset paid its respect to a

:58:32.:58:36.

former MP who died aged 90. He served at the battle and was awarded

:58:37.:58:42.

a military Cross for his role as a tank commander.

:58:43.:58:47.

The EU awarded West Country beef and Lamb protected status. The

:58:48.:58:51.

recognition means our meat now ranks alongside other protected food like

:58:52.:58:57.

Stilton cheese and Cornish pasties. And a Somerset MPs sent tongues

:58:58.:58:59.

wagging again. He dismissed spending a quarter of

:59:00.:59:03.

?1 million on portrait of politicians as mere chicken feed.

:59:04.:59:12.

Do you think taxpayers should really be asked to pay for portrait of the

:59:13.:59:16.

political classes? I've decided to save you a little bit and I've come

:59:17.:59:26.

up with these. Perfect. I've got more hair than I expected. A serious

:59:27.:59:33.

point. In times of austerity is it really wise to be paying for these

:59:34.:59:39.

paintings? The sums of these money, 2000 up to 10,000, that is not

:59:40.:59:44.

chicken feed by anybody's standards. But I do think it is right that we

:59:45.:59:48.

have a record over the years of what happens. I do agree. The old part of

:59:49.:59:58.

parliament is full of Victorian politicians and I think we should

:59:59.:00:02.

have a reflection of the people in there now. Will the BBC donor those

:00:03.:00:06.

to Parliament so that we save money? You can have them. Now thought, that

:00:07.:00:16.

is it. You can keep up to speed with this programme on Twitter. For now,

:00:17.:00:20.

back to London. houses being built by the mayor

:00:21.:00:32.

Andrew, back to you. Welcome back. Now she made quite a splash last

:00:33.:00:37.

night. I am talking, of course, of the Portsmouth North MP, Penny

:00:38.:00:41.

Mordaunt. If you missed her first appearance in ITV's celebrity diving

:00:42.:00:44.

competition show, here she is in action.

:00:45.:00:59.

APPLAUSE Here is a lady who is more used to

:01:00.:01:16.

campaigning for votes than diving for them. She created far too much

:01:17.:01:22.

rotation. Hard work has gone into the start of this dive to try and

:01:23.:01:34.

control it. That looked painful Now the Portsmouth North MP got voted

:01:35.:01:37.

off the show last night but what about the verdict that really

:01:38.:01:40.

matters? The newly appointed Minister for Portsmouth, Michael

:01:41.:01:43.

Fallon, is here. Welcome to the programme. I would give her ten out

:01:44.:01:50.

of ten for bravery. I was cheering her on. She was doing this for a

:01:51.:01:54.

local charity, raising money for the local swimming pool. She was a good

:01:55.:02:01.

sport. As Minister for Portsmouth, can we expect to see you in your

:02:02.:02:04.

swimming trunks for the next series? I do not think I have the

:02:05.:02:09.

spare time at the moment. But there is a big challenge in Portsmouth.

:02:10.:02:14.

Penny Mordaunt and the other local MPs there have been remorseless in

:02:15.:02:20.

asking ministers to help the city. They are losing jobs. There is a

:02:21.:02:27.

goblin Trinity -- there is a big opportunity to create jobs. Should

:02:28.:02:34.

she have been on a celebrity television show of their role these

:02:35.:02:37.

problems in Portsmouth? This was in her spare time and it is raising

:02:38.:02:43.

money for a good cause. I do not think we should eat two sniffy about

:02:44.:02:50.

it. Did I not see you dressed up on Thursday night, doing your

:02:51.:02:56.

programme? This is my job. This is not her job. It was in her spare

:02:57.:03:04.

time, she was raising money for a local charity. Your Minister for

:03:05.:03:12.

Portsmouth. Are we going to have a minister for every town? Are we

:03:13.:03:15.

going to have a minister for Chipping Sodbury? Chipping Sodbury

:03:16.:03:18.

does not have the issues that Portsmouth have -- that Portsmouth

:03:19.:03:26.

has. There are jobs at risk in shipbuilding. The government puts in

:03:27.:03:31.

a lot of money through the regional growth fund, some ?20 million. There

:03:32.:03:36.

are range of government funding streams going into Portsmouth. My

:03:37.:03:41.

job is to make sure that is properly coordinated. I need to make sure

:03:42.:03:46.

that Portsmouth seizes this opportunity to develop a more

:03:47.:03:49.

broadly -based marine and maritime economy. To make sure a marginal

:03:50.:03:54.

seat stays Tory at the next election? There are marginal seats

:03:55.:03:59.

everywhere. There is a Liberal Democrat marginal the -- seat. Vince

:04:00.:04:09.

Cable and I have been working together for the issues that

:04:10.:04:13.

Portsmouth is facing. We work on these things together. But I have

:04:14.:04:18.

the very specific job of making sure that the effort on the ground is

:04:19.:04:23.

coordinated. So Vince Cable is not the Minister for Portsmouth? I have

:04:24.:04:27.

been there recently, so has Vince Cable. So there are two ministers

:04:28.:04:35.

for Portsmouth? Just a minute. I am making sure that the effort is

:04:36.:04:39.

properly coordinated on the ground. I am determined to turn this

:04:40.:04:42.

challenging time into a proper opportunity. Should we be to Paul

:04:43.:04:50.

faced about this? No, good honour. How much money would be have to pay

:04:51.:04:54.

you to get into a swimming costume? Bid is not enough money in the BBC

:04:55.:05:00.

covers. Good on her. It took seven years to get a leg there's an MP.

:05:01.:05:07.

She should be a minister. It is a pity she has the spare time to do

:05:08.:05:11.

this. She is very talented. It is interesting about the Minister for

:05:12.:05:17.

Portsmouth, up in the north-east they must be sad that they do not

:05:18.:05:23.

have any marginal seats. Nick Brown as David Cameron last July, can we

:05:24.:05:26.

have a minister for the north-east, and the Prime Minister is said no?

:05:27.:05:32.

Does this mean that Portsmouth is more deprived economic late than the

:05:33.:05:39.

north-east? No, it means it is a marginal seat.

:05:40.:05:41.

The Labour Leader Ed Miliband was on the Andrew Marr programme this

:05:42.:05:44.

morning and he outlined plans under a Labour government for an annual

:05:45.:05:47.

competition audit. Here is what he had to say. The next Labour

:05:48.:05:49.

government will have an annual competition at it, not just done by

:05:50.:05:53.

the regulatory body. Alongside them will be the citizens advice bureau,

:05:54.:05:58.

setting the agenda for the future, setting the agenda for how we can

:05:59.:06:01.

ensure that competition will benefit consumers and businesses. I want to

:06:02.:06:07.

see Labour going into the next election as the party of

:06:08.:06:09.

competition, the party of the consumer, the party of hard-pressed

:06:10.:06:15.

working families who are struggling. They need somebody to deal with

:06:16.:06:19.

those issues and that is what the next Labour government will do. I

:06:20.:06:23.

thought you were meant to be the party of competition? We are the

:06:24.:06:29.

party of competition. This is the party that has given us some of

:06:30.:06:34.

these problems. We have an annual competition review in the energy

:06:35.:06:37.

sector. We have already tackling banking. What is interesting about

:06:38.:06:43.

his proposal is it is the smaller ones who are less sure about this,

:06:44.:06:47.

the smaller banks who think that this could inhibit the growth. It is

:06:48.:06:51.

the smaller energy companies who think that through interfering with

:06:52.:06:55.

the market, through his price freeze, that he will hinder

:06:56.:07:01.

competition. We spoke about this before. It is a clever pitch that Ed

:07:02.:07:07.

Miliband is making. Under the guise of token markets and claiming to be

:07:08.:07:12.

the party of competition, he is creating the reason for state

:07:13.:07:18.

intervention? -- broken markets Exactly, and it is state

:07:19.:07:22.

intervention that does not work There is a proud tradition in

:07:23.:07:30.

government of smashing open cartels. Teddy Roosevelt did it nearly a

:07:31.:07:34.

century ago. The problem is, in those situations it was clear and

:07:35.:07:37.

obvious that the consumers were suffering. I am not sure it is

:07:38.:07:44.

entirely obvious in this country. In the banking sector we have free

:07:45.:07:48.

current accounts in the high street. That is not true in all Western

:07:49.:07:53.

countries. In the energy sector our bills are not outlandish they high.

:07:54.:07:56.

It is when we take taxes into account the become unaffordable He

:07:57.:08:03.

has to make the case that consumers are suffering as a result of these

:08:04.:08:08.

monopolies. Ed Miliband would say it is not about state intervention but

:08:09.:08:13.

about making markets work. The piece that was written by his intellectual

:08:14.:08:18.

Duryea about the significance and the importance of Teddy Roosevelt.

:08:19.:08:21.

He was the Republican president in the yearly -- in the early years of

:08:22.:08:27.

the last century. He wanted markets to work. There is an interesting

:08:28.:08:35.

debate on Twitter this morning. Tim Montgomerie is saying, why are we,

:08:36.:08:40.

the Conservative Party, not seen as the party of Teddy Roosevelt? We are

:08:41.:08:50.

seen as the party of business. There are smaller energy companies

:08:51.:08:54.

competing against the big six. In banking, we have seen smaller

:08:55.:08:59.

companies coming. It was the Labour government that created the big six

:09:00.:09:04.

energy companies. I think Teddy Roosevelt also invaded Cuba and the

:09:05.:09:09.

Philippines. That could give us a clue as to Ed Miliband's foreign

:09:10.:09:15.

policy. Nigel Farage has promised to purge the party of its more extreme

:09:16.:09:19.

candidates ahead of the European Council elections in May. But that

:09:20.:09:23.

may not be going so well. Listen to this. The latest in this process is

:09:24.:09:32.

these homosexual laws. And Thomas I shall manage. I believe that the

:09:33.:09:39.

Prime Minister, who was warned that disasters would follow a three went

:09:40.:09:45.

in this direction, he has persisted, and I believe that this is largely a

:09:46.:09:50.

repercussion from this godlessness that he has persisted in. The

:09:51.:09:56.

instructions I have got from now on, or is just not to answer in, and not

:09:57.:10:01.

to give interviews such as this one. So you are ignoring them? I am not

:10:02.:10:08.

ignoring them. But you are talking to me? You are the last one I shall

:10:09.:10:12.

be speaking to. I think it is too late. Who would have thought it It

:10:13.:10:18.

is not global warming that is causing the floods, it is gay

:10:19.:10:24.

marriage? That explains it. Last year David Cameron offered a coded

:10:25.:10:28.

retraction of his statement that UKIP is full of fruit cakes. I think

:10:29.:10:33.

he will be tempted to retract the retraction. It is a warning to lots

:10:34.:10:38.

of Tories who think that their best interests are served by flirting

:10:39.:10:45.

with lace -- with UKIP. Nigel Farage is a very plausible guy, but several

:10:46.:10:49.

layers down, there are people who are very different. Nigel Farage is

:10:50.:10:55.

saying that he's going to clear the party out of what Mr Cameron called

:10:56.:11:00.

the fruitcakes. If he is true to his word, Mr Sylvester's days in the

:11:01.:11:05.

party should they numbered. If Nigel Farage falls under the bus, what is

:11:06.:11:15.

left of place -- what is left of UKIP? People say that they like UKIP

:11:16.:11:21.

because unlike other politicians, they speak their mind. But as it

:11:22.:11:27.

turns into more of a proper organisation, people speaking their

:11:28.:11:32.

mind will be less acceptable. The European elections are always a

:11:33.:11:36.

protest vote. People are not happy with the elite. You will get people

:11:37.:11:40.

saying utterly ridiculous things like that man in Henley-on-Thames.

:11:41.:11:46.

But this is a chance to vote against the entire political establishment.

:11:47.:11:50.

I am not sure that comments like that will make much of a difference.

:11:51.:11:58.

There are lots of arguments about climate change. That was certainly a

:11:59.:12:04.

new one! They are the only big protest party at the moment. Protest

:12:05.:12:08.

party is obviously hoovered up lots of votes. We have got to be clear in

:12:09.:12:13.

European message that we are the only party that can reform Europe

:12:14.:12:18.

and give people a proper choice the first referendum in over 40 years.

:12:19.:12:23.

Mr Sylvester used to be a conservative. You're probably glad

:12:24.:12:28.

to see the back of him? David Cameron is right, there are probably

:12:29.:12:33.

a few fruitcakes around there. I think that mainstream conservatives

:12:34.:12:36.

will understand that this is the only party that can secure European

:12:37.:12:42.

reform and give people the choice they have been arguing for. Whatever

:12:43.:12:46.

happens in the European elections, it is a protest vote. We have almost

:12:47.:12:52.

run out of time. We will see this week of Chris Rennard gets the party

:12:53.:12:56.

whip act. There is a battle brewing between Danny Alexander and the

:12:57.:13:01.

common side of the Liberal Democrats and the House of Lords. If he turns

:13:02.:13:07.

up on Monday and asks to be let in, I they going to make a big scene at

:13:08.:13:14.

the gate of Parliament? And the issue will stay in the papers? Yes,

:13:15.:13:20.

they are clearly nervous that Lord Rennard might be tempted to mount a

:13:21.:13:28.

legal bid. That is all for today. Thanks to all my guests. The Daily

:13:29.:13:32.

Politics is back on Monday at midday on BBC Two. And I will be here again

:13:33.:13:37.

next week. Remember if it is Sunday, it is the Sunday Politics.

:13:38.:13:39.

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