09/02/2014 Sunday Politics West


09/02/2014

Andrew Neil and David Garmston with the latest political news on the floods, plus an interview with shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna.


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Transcript


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morning, folks, welcome to the Sunday Politics. Rising flood water,

:00:38.:00:46.

a battered coastline, the winter storms forced the Government to take

:00:47.:00:50.

control. Is it hanging the Environment Agency out to dry?

:00:51.:00:56.

Embarrassment for the Government is the Immigration Minister resigns

:00:57.:00:59.

after he discovered he was employing a cleaner with no right to work here

:01:00.:01:04.

for seven years. Ed Miliband promised an end to what he called

:01:05.:01:09.

the machine politics of union fixes in the Labour Party,

:01:10.:01:18.

A row over smoking. Should your Council tax be used to pay for

:01:19.:01:21.

advertisements like In London after two days of

:01:22.:01:24.

disruption in the capital the Mayor Boris Johnson will be talking to ask

:01:25.:01:34.

about strife on the Underground All of that and after a week of very

:01:35.:01:40.

public coalition spats can David Cameron and Nick Clegg keep the

:01:41.:01:45.

coalition show on the road? Two senior party figures will go head to

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head. And with me, Helen Lewis, Nick Watt and Iain Martin who would not

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know they Somerset Levels from their Norfolk Broads, but that will not

:01:56.:02:00.

stop them tweeting their thoughts. We start with the strange Case of

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the Immigration Minister, his cleaner and some lost documents

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Yesterday Mark Harper tendered his resignation, telling the media he

:02:10.:02:14.

had discovered the cleaner who worked for him for seven years did

:02:15.:02:19.

not have the right to work in the UK. The Communities Secretary Eric

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Pickles said he had done the honourable thing. I was sad to see

:02:24.:02:28.

him go, he was a strong minister. Had he been a member of the public

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he would not have done anything wrong, but he set himself a very

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high standard and he felt that standard and honourably stood down.

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This would seem like a good resignation, maybe unlike the

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Baroness Scotland one years ago on a similar issue, but have we been told

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the full story? We wait to see that. Labour have picked up saying he is

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an honourable man, that the reason why he resigned is these very owners

:03:00.:03:04.

checks that landlords and employers will have to perform on employees

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over their documentation. The most interesting line is that, we do not

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require them to be experts or spot anything other than an obvious

:03:17.:03:21.

forgery. The suggestion that there is the document he was presented

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with originality, which he lost was on home office paper and was perhaps

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not entirely accurate. That is the embarrassment. He is the minister

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putting through a bill that will demand tougher checks on people and

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he himself did not do enough checks to discover she was illegal. There

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is an odd bit where he involves the home office later to check her out

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as well. He writes a resignation letter and he has to hold himself to

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pay higher standard. He has done the David Laws approach to this, resign

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quickly and he can come back. David Cameron wants him to return swiftly

:04:02.:04:09.

to the frontbenchers. He is a state school educated lad. He is the kind

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of Tory that the Tories are in short supply of. He is a rising star. I

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would caution on this idea that it is customary that whenever anyone

:04:24.:04:28.

resigns, it is always thought they will come straight back into office.

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If only the outside world worked like that. It is not, in a company

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if the HR person resigns, he is such a great chap he will be back next

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week. There is a silver lining for David Cameron is he has been able to

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move Harriet Bond up as he moves everyone up. But nobody will see her

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in the whips office because she is not allowed to appear on television.

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And if you three want to resign Do not hate you are coming back next

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week. But we will do it with honour. It has been a hellish week for

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residents of coastal areas with more storms bringing more flooding and

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after Prince Charles visited the Somerset Levels on Tuesday the

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Government has been keen to show it has got a grip on the situation at

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last. For last weekend's Sunday Politics I

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made the watery journey to the village of Muchelney, cut off for a

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whole month. Now everyone has been dropping in. First it was Prince

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Charles on a park bench pulled by a tractor. He waded into the row about

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how the floods have been handled. Next it was the chair of the

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Environment Agency, Lord Smith, who faced angry residents. Sought the

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river is out. That is precisely what we are going to do. Where he faced,

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a resident, he did not need that many. David Cameron went for a look

:06:18.:06:22.

as well and gave the region what it wanted, more pumps, more money and

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in the long-term the return of dredging. There are lessons to

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learn. The pause in bridging that took place from the late 1990s was

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wrong and we need to get dredging again. When the water levels come

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down and it is safe to dredge, we will dredging to make sure these

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rivers and stitches can carry a better capacity. The Environment

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Secretary Owen Paterson has not been seen again because he is recovering

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from emergency eye surgery. In the meantime the floodwaters rose ever

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higher. Some residents were told to evacuate. In Devon the railway was

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washed away by the waves leaving a big gap in the network. Look at the

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weather this weekend. If you can believe it, the storms keep rolling

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in. What is the long-term solution for flood prone areas of the

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country? I am joined from Oxford by the editor of The Ecologist

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magazine, Oliver Tickell, and by local MP Tessa Munt. Tessa, let me

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come to you first. What do you now want the Government to do? I want it

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to make sure it does exactly as it promises and delivers what every

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farmer and landowner around here knows should have been done for

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years. First, to solve the problems we have right now, but to make sure

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there is money in the bank for us to carry on doing the maintenance that

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is necessary. Was it a mistake not to do the dredging? When the waters

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start to subside does dredging become a key part of this? Yes, of

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course. It is something the farmers have been asking for four years

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When you wander along a footpath by a river and you see trees growing

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and there is 60% of the capacity only because there is silt, it needs

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to have a pretty dramatic action right now and then we need to make

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sure the maintenance is ongoing Oliver Tickell, was it a mistake to

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stop the dredging? If the dredging had happened, the land would not be

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covered in water for so long? Clearly it is necessary to do at

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least some dredging on these rivers and in particular because these

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rivers are well above ground level. They are carrying water that comes

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down off the hills well above the level of the flood plain on the

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Somerset Levels. They naturally tend to silt up. But the key thing is

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that is only a small part of the overall solution. What we need is a

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catchment wide approach to improve infiltration upstream and you also

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need to manage the flood plain on the levels and upstream so as to

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have active flood plain that can store water. This idea it is just

:09:36.:09:39.

about dredging is erroneous. Dredging is a part of it, but it is

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a catchment wide solution. Dredging is only a small part of the solution

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he says. Yes, of course it is. But look here. With the farmer is

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locally, the landowners, they know this land will carry water for a few

:10:00.:10:04.

weeks of the year, that is not a problem. But this water has to be

:10:05.:10:08.

taken away and there is a very good system of drainage and it works

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perfectly well. In my area there are serious problems because the

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dredging has not taken place. There are lunatic regulations around were

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when they do do some of dredging, the Environment Agency is asked to

:10:26.:10:29.

take it away because it is considered toxic waste. This is

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barmy. We need to take the stuff out of the rivers and build the banks up

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so we create protection in the future. We have to make sure the

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dredging is done but make sure the drainage works well and we have

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pumps in places and we have floodgates put onto the rivers. We

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need to make sure repairs are done more quickly. All right, let me go

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back to Oliver Tickell. Is it not the case a lot of people on your

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side of the argument would like to see lands like the Somerset Levels

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return to natural habitat? Looe I would like a degree of that, but

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that does not mean the whole place needs to turn into wilderness so it

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will remain agricultural landscape. Everybody, all the interested

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parties who signed up to a document called vision 2034 the Somerset

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Levels envisages most of the area of the Somerset Levels being turned

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over to extensive grassland and that is what it is best suited for. Let

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me put that to Tessa Munt. Have you signed up to this where you will end

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up with extensive grassland? I have seen it, but grass does not grow if

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water is sitting on this land for weeks and weeks. What you have to

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remember is a lot of the levels are managed very carefully and they are

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conservation land and that means cattle are allowed to go out at

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certain times of the year and in certain numbers. It is well managed.

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Do you accept it should return to grassland? Grassland, fine, but you

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cannot call land grassland in the flipping water is on it so long that

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nothing grows. It is no good at doing that. You have got to make

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sure it is managed properly. Drainage has been taking place on

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this land for centuries. It is the case the system is there, but it

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needs to be maintained properly and we have to have fewer ridiculous

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regulations that stop action. Last year the flooding minister agreed

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dredging should take place and everything stopped. Now we have got

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the promise from the Prime Minister and I thank Prince Charles for that.

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Is it not time to let the local people run their land rather than

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being told what to do by the Environment Agency, central

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Government and the European Union? The internal drainage boards have

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considerable power in all of this. They wanted to dredge and they were

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not allowed to. The farmers want to dredge that is what is going to

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happen, but they have signed up to a comprehensive vision of catchment

:13:41.:13:43.

management and of environmental improvement turning the Somerset

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Levels into a world-class haven for wildlife. It is not much good if

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your house is underwater. The farmers themselves, the RSPB, the

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drainage boards, they have all signed up to this. The real question

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now is how do we implement that vision? You give the money to the

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drainage boards. At the moment they pay 27% of their money and have been

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doing so for years and years and this is farmers' money and it has

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been going to the drainage boards and they pay the Environment Agency

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who are meant to be dredging and that has not happened. We have to

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leave it there. We have run out of time.

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Last week saw the Labour Party adopts an historic change with its

:14:36.:14:40.

relationship with the unions. Changes to the rules that propelled

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Ed Miliband to the top. Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader in 20 0 by

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the electoral college system which gives unions, party members and MPs

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one third of votes each. This would be changed into a simpler one

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member, one vote system. A union member would have to become an

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affiliated member of the party. They would have to opt in and pay ?3 a

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year. But the unions would have 50% of the vote at the conference and

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around one third of the seats on the National executive committee. The

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proposals are a financial gamble as well. It is estimated the party

:15:23.:15:26.

could face a drop in funding of up to ?5 million a year when the

:15:27.:15:30.

changes are fully implemented in five years. The leader of the Unite

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trade union has welcomed the report saying it is music to his ears. The

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package will be voted on at a special one of conference in March.

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And the Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna joins me now for the

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Sunday Interview. Welcome back. In what way will the unions have less

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power and influence in the Labour Party? This is about ensuring

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individual trade union members have a direct relationship with the

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Labour Party. At the moment the monies that come to us are decided

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at a top level, the general secretaries determine this, whether

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the individual members want us to be in receipt of those monies or not so

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we are going to change that so that affiliation fees follow the consent

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of individual members. Secondly we want to make sure the individual

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trade union members, people who teach our children, power via -

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fantastic British businesses, we want them to make an active choice,

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and we are also recognising that in this day and age not everybody wants

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to become a member of a political party. We haven't got much time The

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unions still have 50% of the vote at Labour conferences, there will be

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the single most important vote, more member -- union members will vote

:17:16.:17:29.

than nonunion members, their power has not diminished at all, has it?

:17:30.:17:39.

In relation to the other parts of the group of people who will be

:17:40.:17:43.

voting in a future leadership contest, we are seeking to move

:17:44.:17:48.

towards more of a one member, one vote process. At the moment we have

:17:49.:17:53.

the absurd situation where I, as a member of Parliament, my vote will

:17:54.:18:02.

count for 1000. MPs are losing. . They still have a lot of power. I am

:18:03.:18:09.

a member of the GMB union and the Unite union, also a member of the

:18:10.:18:14.

Fabians as well so I get free votes on top of my vote as a member of

:18:15.:18:20.

Parliament. We are moving to a system where I will have one vote

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and that is an important part of this. You asked how many people

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would be casting their votes. The last time around, under the

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old system, up to 2.8 million ballot papers were sent out with prepaid

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envelopes for people to return their papers were sent out with prepaid

:18:38.:18:46.

turnout. The idea that you are going to see a big change... Even if

:18:47.:18:52.

your individual party members. In one vital way, your purse strings,

:18:53.:19:04.

your individual party members. In the unions will be more powerful

:19:05.:19:05.

than ever because at the moment they have to hand over 8 million to

:19:06.:19:16.

than ever because at the moment they fraction of that now. They will get

:19:17.:19:18.

to keep that money, but then come the election you go to them and give

:19:19.:19:28.

them a lot of money -- and they will have you then. They won't have us,

:19:29.:19:36.

as you put it! The idea that individual trade union members don't

:19:37.:19:40.

have their own view, their own voice, and just do what their

:19:41.:19:44.

general secretaries do is absurd. They will make their own decision,

:19:45.:19:48.

and we want them to make that and not have their leadership decide

:19:49.:19:54.

that for them. Let me go to the money. The Labour Party manifesto

:19:55.:19:59.

will be reflecting the interests of Britain, and the idea that somehow

:20:00.:20:06.

people can say we are not going to give you this money unless you do

:20:07.:20:11.

this or that, we will give you a policy agenda which is appropriate

:20:12.:20:14.

for the British people, regardless of what implications that may have

:20:15.:20:20.

financially. They will have more seats than anybody else in the NEC

:20:21.:20:25.

and they will hold the purse strings. They will be the

:20:26.:20:31.

determining factor. They won't be. Unite is advocating a 70% rate of

:20:32.:20:35.

income tax, there is no way we will have that in our manifesto. Unite is

:20:36.:20:44.

advocating taking back contracts and no compensation basis, we would not

:20:45.:20:57.

-- there is no way we would do that. How many chief executives of the

:20:58.:21:07.

FTSE 100 are backing Labour? We have lots of chief executives backing

:21:08.:21:15.

Labour. I don't know the exact number. Ed Miliband has just placed

:21:16.:21:18.

an important business person in the House of Lords, the former chief

:21:19.:21:31.

executive of the ITV, Bill Grimsey. How many? You can only name one

:21:32.:21:39.

Bill Grimsey, there is also John Mills. Anyone who is currently

:21:40.:21:45.

chairman of the chief executive With the greatest respect, you are

:21:46.:21:50.

talking about less than half the percent of business leaders in our

:21:51.:21:55.

country, we have almost 5 million businesses, not all FTSE 100

:21:56.:22:01.

businesses, not all listed, and we are trying to get people from across

:22:02.:22:07.

the country of all different shapes and sizes. Let's widen it to the

:22:08.:22:22.

FTSE 250. That is 250 out of 5 million companies. The largest ones,

:22:23.:22:28.

they make the profits and provide the jobs. Two thirds of private

:22:29.:22:33.

sector jobs in this country come from small and medium-sized

:22:34.:22:37.

businesses, and small and medium-sized businesses are an

:22:38.:22:40.

important part of a large companies supply chains. So you cannot name a

:22:41.:22:51.

single chairman from the FTSE 2 0, correct? I don't know all the

:22:52.:22:58.

chairman. Are you going to fight the next election without a single boss

:22:59.:23:09.

of a FTSE 250 company? I have named some important business people, but

:23:10.:23:12.

the most important thing is that we are not coming out with a manifesto

:23:13.:23:22.

for particular interests, but for broader interest. Let me show you,

:23:23.:23:33.

Digby Jones says Labour's policy is, "if it creates wealth, let's kick

:23:34.:23:46.

it" . Another quote, that it borders on predatory taxation. They think

:23:47.:23:53.

you are anti-business. I don't agree with them. One of the interesting

:23:54.:23:59.

things about Sir Stuart's comments on the predatory taxation and I

:24:00.:24:03.

think he was referring to the 5 p rate of tax is that he made some

:24:04.:24:07.

comments arguing against the reduction of the top rate of tax

:24:08.:24:14.

from 50p. He is saying something different now. Digby of course has

:24:15.:24:17.

his own opinions, he has never been a member of the Labour Party. Let me

:24:18.:24:23.

come onto this business of the top rate of tax, do you accept or don't

:24:24.:24:27.

you that there is a point when higher rates of income tax become

:24:28.:24:32.

counter-productive? Ultimately you want to have the lowest tax rates

:24:33.:24:38.

possible. Do you accept there is a certain level you actually get less

:24:39.:24:44.

money? I think ultimately there is a level beyond you could go which

:24:45.:24:50.

would be counter-productive, for example the 75% rate of tax I

:24:51.:24:54.

mentioned earlier, being advocated by Unite in France. Most French

:24:55.:25:07.

higher earners will pay less tax than under your plans. I beg your

:25:08.:25:15.

pardon, with the 50p? Under your proposals, people here will pay more

:25:16.:25:22.

tax than French higher earners. If you are asking if in terms of the

:25:23.:25:27.

level, you asked the question and I answered it, do I think if you reach

:25:28.:25:34.

a level beyond which the tax burden becomes counter-productive, can I

:25:35.:25:38.

give you a number what that would be, I cannot but let me explain -

:25:39.:25:42.

the reason we have sought to increase its two 50p is that we can

:25:43.:25:49.

get in revenue to reduce the deficit. In an ideal world you

:25:50.:25:53.

wouldn't need a 50p rate of tax which is why during our time in

:25:54.:25:57.

office we didn't have one, because we didn't have those issues. Sure,

:25:58.:26:07.

though you cannot tell me how much the 50p will raise. In the three

:26:08.:26:13.

years of operation we think it raised ?10 billion. You think. That

:26:14.:26:22.

was based on extrapolation from the British library. It is at least

:26:23.:26:26.

possible I would suggest, for the sake of argument, that when you

:26:27.:26:32.

promise to take over half people's income, which is what you will do if

:26:33.:26:39.

you get your way, the richest 1 currently account for 70 5% of all

:26:40.:26:49.

tax revenues. -- 75%. Is it not a danger that if you take more out of

:26:50.:26:56.

them, they will just go? I don't think so, we are talking about the

:26:57.:27:06.

top 1% here. If you look at the directors of sub 5 million turnover

:27:07.:27:08.

companies, the average managing director of that gets around

:27:09.:27:23.

?87,000. Let me narrow it down to something else. Let's take the .1%

:27:24.:27:33.

of top taxpayers, down to fewer than 30,000 people. They account for over

:27:34.:27:38.

14% of all of the income tax revenues. Only 29,000 people. If

:27:39.:27:43.

they go because you are going to take over half their income, you

:27:44.:27:50.

have lost a huge chunk of your tax base. They could easily go, at

:27:51.:27:57.

tipping point they could go. What we are advocating here is not

:27:58.:28:02.

controversial. Those with the broadest shoulders, it is not

:28:03.:28:06.

unreasonable to ask them to share the heavier burden. Can you name one

:28:07.:28:16.

other major economy that subscribes to this? Across Europe, for example

:28:17.:28:24.

in Sweden they have higher tax rates than us. Can you name one major

:28:25.:28:31.

economy? I couldn't pluck one out of the air, I can see where you are

:28:32.:28:37.

coming from, I don't agree with it. I think most people subscribe to the

:28:38.:28:42.

fact that those with wider shoulders should carry the heavy a burden We

:28:43.:28:49.

have run out of time but thank you for being here.

:28:50.:28:53.

Over the past week it seems that Nick Clegg has activated a new Lib

:28:54.:28:57.

Dem strategy - 'Get Gove'. After a very public spat over who should

:28:58.:29:00.

head up the schools inspection service Ofsted, Lib Dem sources have

:29:01.:29:03.

continued to needle away at the Education Secretary. And other

:29:04.:29:06.

senior Lib Dems have also taken aim at their coalition partners. Here's

:29:07.:29:30.

Giles Dilnot. It's unlikely the polite welcome of these school

:29:31.:29:33.

children to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and his party colleague

:29:34.:29:36.

schools minister David Laws would be so forthcoming right now from the

:29:37.:29:38.

man in charge of schools Conservative Michael Gove. Mr Laws

:29:39.:29:41.

is said to have been furious with The Education secretary over the

:29:42.:29:44.

decision to remove Sally Morgan as chair of Ofsted. But those who know

:29:45.:29:48.

the inner working of the Lib Dems say that's just understandable. When

:29:49.:29:50.

you have the department not being consulted, it would be possible for

:29:51.:29:53.

him to not publicly comment. The remarkable thing would be if he

:29:54.:29:57.

hadn't said anything at all. We should be careful to understand this

:29:58.:30:07.

is not always part of a preplanned decision. There is a growing sense

:30:08.:30:18.

that inside Number Ten this is a concerted Lib Dem strategy, we also

:30:19.:30:21.

understand there is no love lost between Nick Clegg and Michael Gove

:30:22.:30:25.

to say the least, and a growing frustration that if the Lib Dems

:30:26.:30:31.

think such so-called yellow and blue attacks can help them with the

:30:32.:30:34.

election, they can also damage the long-term prospects of the Coalition

:30:35.:30:42.

post 2015. One spat does not a divorce make but perhaps even more

:30:43.:30:45.

significant has been Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander s

:30:46.:30:47.

recent newspaper interview firmly spiking any room for George Osborne

:30:48.:30:50.

to manoeuvre on lowering the highest income tax rate to 40p. All this

:30:51.:30:53.

builds on the inclusion in Government at the reshuffle of

:30:54.:30:56.

people like Norman Baker at the Home Office and Simon Hughes at Justice

:30:57.:30:59.

people who are happier to publically express doubt on Conservative

:31:00.:31:01.

policy, unlike say Jeremy Browne who was removed and who has made plain

:31:02.:31:15.

his views on Coalition. It is difficult for us to demonstrate that

:31:16.:31:19.

we are more socialist than an Ed Miliband Labour led party. Even if

:31:20.:31:27.

we did wish to demonstrate it, doing it in coalition with the

:31:28.:31:33.

Conservatives would be harder still. Nonetheless a differentiation

:31:34.:31:37.

strategy was always likely as 2 15 approached, so is there evidence it

:31:38.:31:43.

works? Or of the work we publish shows the Lib Dems have a huge

:31:44.:31:47.

problem in terms of their distinctiveness, so attacking their

:31:48.:31:53.

coalition partners or the Labour Party is helpful in showing what

:31:54.:31:55.

they are against, but there are bigger problem is showing what they

:31:56.:32:01.

are for. And one Conservative MP with access to Number Ten as part of

:32:02.:32:06.

the PM's policy board says yellow on blue attacks are misplaced and

:32:07.:32:12.

irresponsible. At this stage when all the hard work is being done and

:32:13.:32:16.

the country is back on its feet the Lib Dems are choosing the time to

:32:17.:32:24.

step away from the coalition. That is your position, but do you suspect

:32:25.:32:28.

coming up to the next election we will see more of this? I think the

:32:29.:32:35.

Lib Dems are about as hard to pin down as a weasel in Vaseline. And

:32:36.:32:41.

with the public's view of politicians right now, and wants to

:32:42.:32:44.

be seen as slicker than a well oiled weasel? And we have Lib Dem peer

:32:45.:32:51.

Matthew Oakeshott and senior Conservative backbencher Bernard

:32:52.:33:01.

Jenkin. Matthew, the Lib Dems are now picking fights with the Tories

:33:02.:33:05.

on a range of issues, some of them trivial. Is this a Pirelli used to

:33:06.:33:10.

Lib Dem withdrawal from the coalition? I do not know, I am not

:33:11.:33:18.

privy to Nick Clegg's in strategy. Some of us have been independent for

:33:19.:33:22.

some time. I resigned over treatment of the banks. That is now being

:33:23.:33:29.

sorted out. But what is significant is we have seen a string of attacks,

:33:30.:33:34.

almost an enemy within strategy When you have Nick Clegg, David Laws

:33:35.:33:40.

and Danny Alexander, the three key people closest to the Conservatives,

:33:41.:33:47.

when you see all of them attacking, and this morning Nick Clegg has had

:33:48.:33:51.

a go at the Conservatives over drug policy. There is a string of

:33:52.:33:56.

policies where something is going on. It is difficult to do an enemy

:33:57.:34:02.

within strategy. I believe as many Lib Dems do that we should withdraw

:34:03.:34:08.

from the coalition six months to one year before the election so we can

:34:09.:34:12.

put our positive policies across rather than having this tricky

:34:13.:34:16.

strategy of trying to do it from within. Why does David Cameron need

:34:17.:34:24.

the Lib Dems? He probably does not. The country generally favoured the

:34:25.:34:29.

coalition to start with. Voters like to see politicians are working

:34:30.:34:33.

together and far more of that goes on in Westminster then we see. Most

:34:34.:34:38.

of my committee reports are unanimous reports from all parties.

:34:39.:34:46.

Why does he need them? I do not think he does. You would be happy to

:34:47.:34:54.

see the Lib Dems go? I would always be happy to see a single minority

:34:55.:34:59.

Government because it would be easier for legislation. The

:35:00.:35:03.

legislation you could not get through would not get through

:35:04.:35:07.

whether we were in coalition or not. The 40p tax rate, there

:35:08.:35:12.

probably is not a majority in the House of Commons at the moment,

:35:13.:35:17.

despite what Nick Clegg originally said. It does not make much

:35:18.:35:21.

difference. What makes a difference from the perspective of the

:35:22.:35:25.

committee I chair is historically we have had single party Government

:35:26.:35:30.

that have collective responsibility and clarity. The reason that is

:35:31.:35:34.

important is because nothing gets done if everybody is at sixes and

:35:35.:35:39.

sevens in the Government. Everything stops, there is paralysis as the row

:35:40.:35:44.

goes on. Civil servants do not know who they are working for. If it

:35:45.:35:49.

carries on getting fractures, there is a bigger argument to get out If

:35:50.:35:56.

it continues at this level of intensity of the enemy within

:35:57.:36:01.

strategy as you have described it, can the coalition survived another

:36:02.:36:06.

16 months of this? It is also a question should they. I never

:36:07.:36:10.

thought I would say this, I agree with Bernard. Interestingly earlier

:36:11.:36:17.

Chuka Umunna missed the point talking about business support.

:36:18.:36:21.

Business is worried about this anti-European rhetoric and that is a

:36:22.:36:24.

deep split between the Liberal Democrats and the UKIP wing of the

:36:25.:36:28.

Tory party. That is really damaging and that is something we need to

:36:29.:36:34.

make our own case separately on Do you get fed up when you hear

:36:35.:36:39.

constant Lib Dem attacks on you What makes me fed up is my own party

:36:40.:36:43.

cannot respond in kind because we are in coalition. I would love to

:36:44.:36:50.

have this much more open debate I would like to see my own party

:36:51.:36:57.

leader, for example as he did in the House of Commons, it was the Liberal

:36:58.:37:00.

Democrats who blocked the referendum on the house of lords and if we want

:37:01.:37:04.

to get this bill through it should be a Government bill. We know we can

:37:05.:37:08.

get it through the Commons, but we need to get the Liberals out of the

:37:09.:37:12.

Government so they stop blocking the Government putting forward a

:37:13.:37:16.

referendum bill. And put millions of jobs at risk? I am not going down

:37:17.:37:26.

the European road today. It strikes me that given that the attacks from

:37:27.:37:30.

the Lib Dems are now coming from the left attacking the Tories, is this a

:37:31.:37:35.

representative of the failure of Nick Clegg's strategy to rebuild a

:37:36.:37:40.

centrist Liberal party and he now accepts the only way he can save as

:37:41.:37:46.

many seats as he can do is to get the disillusioned left Lib Dem

:37:47.:37:52.

voters to come back to the fold The site is we have lost over half our

:37:53.:37:57.

vote at the last election and at the moment there is no sign in the polls

:37:58.:38:01.

of it coming back and we are getting very close to the next election I

:38:02.:38:07.

welcome it if Nick Clegg is starting to address that problem, but talking

:38:08.:38:13.

about the centre is not the answer. Most Liberal Democrat voters at the

:38:14.:38:17.

last election are radical, progressive people who want to see a

:38:18.:38:22.

much fairer Britain and a much less divided society and we must make

:38:23.:38:25.

sure we maximise our vote from there. We know what both of you

:38:26.:38:32.

want, but what do you think will happen? Do you think this coalition

:38:33.:38:36.

will survive all the way to the election or will it break up

:38:37.:38:42.

beforehand? I think it will break up beforehand. Our long-term economic

:38:43.:38:48.

plan is working. The further changes in policies we want to implement to

:38:49.:38:51.

sustain that plan are being held back by the Liberal Democrats. When

:38:52.:38:58.

will they break up? It has lasted longer than I thought it would, but

:38:59.:39:02.

it must break up at least six months before the election. Do you think it

:39:03.:39:10.

will survive or not? The coalition has delivered a great deal in many

:39:11.:39:15.

ways, but it is running out of steam. It depends what happens in

:39:16.:39:19.

the May elections. If the Liberal Democrats do not do better than we

:39:20.:39:23.

have done in the last three, there will be very strong pressure from

:39:24.:39:32.

the inside. You both agree. Television history has been made.

:39:33.:39:38.

You are watching the Sunday Politics. Coming up: I will be

:39:39.:39:42.

looking Good morning. Welcome. Can we really

:39:43.:40:01.

blame the politicians for the weather? Not really, is how much

:40:02.:40:06.

help should we expect for the victims of it? And another brow

:40:07.:40:12.

about smoking. Should your Council tax pay for ads like these, as local

:40:13.:40:20.

authorities cut their spending, they are accused of stabbing out actions

:40:21.:40:24.

to protect the book help. Let's join our guests, a Conservative MP and

:40:25.:40:34.

the woman hoping to kick him out. `` protect the public. More from them

:40:35.:40:38.

in a moment. First, there seems to be no end to the terrible weather.

:40:39.:40:44.

In Somerset, the plight of the farmers has touched the nation.

:40:45.:40:50.

There is a political storm as well. The Prime Minister wore boots. This

:40:51.:40:56.

is the image the government wanted to project. David Cameron came to

:40:57.:41:02.

Somerset and waded into the debate. We are doing everything we can to

:41:03.:41:06.

help. More help from emergency services among more pumps, money to

:41:07.:41:12.

help Somerset get back on its feet. The Army coming in to help about

:41:13.:41:16.

whether it is helping with sandbags, which they have been doing over the

:41:17.:41:20.

last 24 hours, or looking to see whether embroidery bridges can be

:41:21.:41:24.

put in place, everything that can need and will be done. His visit

:41:25.:41:28.

came hours after the head of the Environment Agency. Chris Smith aced

:41:29.:41:32.

complaints from locals who were angry. His defence was that the

:41:33.:41:38.

industry budget `` that the budget was set by the government. Two days

:41:39.:41:45.

running, MPs were told of millions extra being given, but in fact,

:41:46.:41:52.

floods prevention fell in the coalition's first two years. All

:41:53.:41:57.

agree much will need to be spent, much more. The scale of the

:41:58.:42:01.

challenge that we face from climate change and floods demands we have a

:42:02.:42:05.

combo has a look at the investment that is required. The government is

:42:06.:42:16.

being one. The extreme `` the government is being warned. In

:42:17.:42:22.

general, we are going to have to adapt, and low`lying parts in some

:42:23.:42:27.

places, we will have to think about how we will live in them. The floods

:42:28.:42:33.

may be live `` the floods may be with us for months, and the debate

:42:34.:42:37.

about how to prevent them will go on for much longer. If you are affected

:42:38.:42:42.

by the floods, our thoughts are with you. How do you think the government

:42:43.:42:48.

is handling this crisis? The first thing to say is, of course, we are

:42:49.:42:51.

not letting the government for the weather, but I think people feel

:42:52.:42:56.

that the reaction has been very slow from the government. I think that it

:42:57.:43:03.

is good that there is no action being taken, and it is good that the

:43:04.:43:07.

government are now looking to reinstate the funding which they

:43:08.:43:13.

actually cut. In a sense, that is an admission of failure. Why do you

:43:14.:43:15.

think the government was caught on the back foot? I do not think the

:43:16.:43:21.

government has been cut `` caught on the back foot. We have put in

:43:22.:43:25.

another ?100 million for the rest of this year. We have put in ?3.1

:43:26.:43:29.

billion in the course of this Parliament. We can talk figures

:43:30.:43:38.

There is a sense that the government did not get a grip on the situation

:43:39.:43:43.

and it was out of sight, out of mind. When you look at some of the

:43:44.:43:49.

Conservative MPs, some of them have done a great job right at the

:43:50.:43:52.

highest level, and all of the local MPs of all local parties have done a

:43:53.:43:57.

good job to make sure that Somerset's voice is heard. This is a

:43:58.:44:02.

longer`term problem. The rivers have not been dredged since 1995, and we

:44:03.:44:11.

have got to double our efforts for folks in the countryside. We heard

:44:12.:44:15.

Ed Miliband talking about climate change, but not very long ago, we

:44:16.:44:20.

were talking about drought. It is quite hard to plan for these

:44:21.:44:23.

extremes of weather even that we do not know what is going to happen. I

:44:24.:44:27.

think it is in ports and that we look at climate change as something

:44:28.:44:33.

which is happening, and we have evidence to suggest it is. `` I

:44:34.:44:37.

think it is important. The crucial element here is the funding, and at

:44:38.:44:40.

the moment, the government are saying that the funding is there for

:44:41.:44:46.

people, and all they are doing. . Listen, what is actually happening

:44:47.:44:50.

is that the government is saying that they are putting more funding

:44:51.:44:56.

into it, but the funding is less than when we had a lever government.

:44:57.:45:03.

`` Labour government. I guess if David Cameron felt the need to

:45:04.:45:11.

actually show up... That is another issue, the role of the Environment

:45:12.:45:15.

Agency, and making sure they prioritise what is needed in the

:45:16.:45:19.

local area. For too long it has been an area concerned with conservation

:45:20.:45:24.

rather than flooding. I think the Environment Agency needs to pull

:45:25.:45:27.

their finger out. We have all seen the adverts on the lid and urging

:45:28.:45:31.

smokers to quit, but should the Council tax be funding a group that

:45:32.:45:42.

are behind the ads? Is it a false economy? I used to manufacture

:45:43.:45:51.

cigarettes and smoked them. Hard`hitting adverts like this do

:45:52.:45:57.

not come cheap. And the rest. I rolled my own. It costs about

:45:58.:46:03.

?350,000 for the group to put this on TVs throughout the region.

:46:04.:46:11.

Thankfully, I do now. You and I pay about 30p a year in order to fund

:46:12.:46:14.

this. Ed used to be done through the NHS, but now with councils in charge

:46:15.:46:19.

of public health, some are thinking twice about continuing to pay for

:46:20.:46:24.

smoke free Southwest. `` it used to be done. They say they have evidence

:46:25.:46:29.

that packaging can appeal to children. One concern is over

:46:30.:46:33.

whether it is right for a publicly funded company to lobby for

:46:34.:46:38.

government. Gloucestershire is one company `` Council that is thinking

:46:39.:46:44.

of withdrawing funding. They say that they are not legally able to

:46:45.:46:50.

fund lobbying and they have a breakdown of exactly how the money

:46:51.:46:53.

is being spent, particularly the impact of the funding locally to

:46:54.:46:58.

help make the decision. The priority is to ensure that they get maximum

:46:59.:47:05.

impact for taxpayer money, putting more people in Gloucestershire to

:47:06.:47:09.

quit smoking, so we reduce the amount of people dying of

:47:10.:47:13.

smoking`related illnesses. Crystal city Council are going to reduce

:47:14.:47:20.

funding by 20%. `` Bristol city Council. North Somerset Council have

:47:21.:47:23.

just decided to stop funding altogether. We have heard from

:47:24.:47:29.

trading standards how illegal tobacco is coming in and getting

:47:30.:47:32.

into our schools, and I would rather tackle that far more dangerous and

:47:33.:47:38.

then a blanket campaign to tell people to stop smoking. Most adults

:47:39.:47:42.

who smoke know that they should not. I do not want to direct

:47:43.:47:47.

resources at telling people how to live their lives. But the former

:47:48.:47:51.

head of Public health in the region says that it is successful campaigns

:47:52.:47:55.

in the past that have helped to ban smoking in pubs. The budget is going

:47:56.:48:02.

to local authorities, but they are meant to be ring fenced and they are

:48:03.:48:06.

meant to be spent on improving the health of the population, and

:48:07.:48:10.

political decisions taken on the basis of people posit personal

:48:11.:48:13.

preferences should not really into it, it should be about the health of

:48:14.:48:18.

the population. `` people's personal preferences. We should be doing our

:48:19.:48:25.

best to help people, and spending on a campaign against tobacco is vital

:48:26.:48:30.

in that. Smoke free Southwest now has its site and lobbying the

:48:31.:48:34.

government to introduce plain packaging, but we may never see

:48:35.:48:45.

adverts like this ever again. `` has its site. We can't be to the

:48:46.:48:49.

director of smoke`free Southwest `` we can now speak to the director of

:48:50.:48:56.

smoke`free Southwest. Why should Council taxpayers pay for those

:48:57.:49:01.

advertisements? Because the councils that fund us are absolutely serious

:49:02.:49:05.

about tackling the 8000 deaths that we see in the Southwest every year.

:49:06.:49:11.

In terms of what we do come up we rent campaigns which are highly

:49:12.:49:16.

affected `` in terms of what we do, we run campaigns that are highly

:49:17.:49:21.

effective. We are a specialist health organisation and our primary

:49:22.:49:26.

role is to try to protect children from taking up smoking, and to

:49:27.:49:30.

reduce the death. You are opposed to this being funded by local

:49:31.:49:35.

authorities, but that is not surprising because you want to grow

:49:36.:49:40.

a new generation of smokers. That is outrageous. We defend adult

:49:41.:49:45.

consumers who choose to smoke. You are funded by the tobacco industry.

:49:46.:49:51.

What we are against his political lobbying by groups like smoke`free

:49:52.:49:53.

Southwest, where you have a situation where it government money

:49:54.:49:58.

is being used to lobby government and introduce legislation. With

:49:59.:50:02.

great respect to the owner, I cannot see what's you they actually bring

:50:03.:50:08.

`` to Fiona, I cannot see what they actually bring. If it is not

:50:09.:50:14.

affecting you and your brand, presumably you can just get on with

:50:15.:50:18.

it. Why are you talking about my brands? I do not represent the

:50:19.:50:24.

tobacco industry. I speak on behalf of the consumer. We're talking about

:50:25.:50:28.

smoke`free Southwest and the amount of government money they get to

:50:29.:50:33.

lobby government. Federal government already spends millions of pounds on

:50:34.:50:43.

anti`smoking education. This is a soon on of damage we are seeing I

:50:44.:50:47.

am delighted that the Lord 's this week have nodded through four really

:50:48.:50:53.

positive messages that will protect our children. The things we do our

:50:54.:50:57.

evidence `based. We are public health, and we try to get good

:50:58.:51:02.

vacation. You lobby, so it is the government paying for a lobby group

:51:03.:51:07.

to lobby itself. The evidence around what you do to try and create health

:51:08.:51:12.

is communicate well, and I make no apology for being an organisation

:51:13.:51:16.

that communicates the strongest possible evidence to the public and

:51:17.:51:21.

to those that are the decision`makers. Excuse me, if I

:51:22.:51:26.

could finish. The decision`makers, and the awesome line is, there will

:51:27.:51:31.

be people who are alive tomorrow. `` the bottom line. She wants people to

:51:32.:51:38.

live and you do not care. There are other organisations already doing

:51:39.:51:43.

that. Why should government have to spend this money? In terms of

:51:44.:51:47.

communication, what they do not communicate very well is the source

:51:48.:51:50.

of their funding. We are open about the fact we get money from tobacco

:51:51.:51:54.

companies. You try and distance yourself. Let me finish. You already

:51:55.:52:01.

had a word. If you go onto the smoke`free Southwest website, you

:52:02.:52:05.

will not find their source of funding. We had a Freedom of

:52:06.:52:09.

Information request to find out how the money came in. That is not true.

:52:10.:52:15.

We are totally transparent. The local authorities that fund us are

:52:16.:52:20.

more ambitious and want to make faster strides to improve the health

:52:21.:52:26.

of their population. He looked at the website, we are cost`effective

:52:27.:52:30.

because we `` if you look at the website, we are cost`effective, and

:52:31.:52:35.

when you reduce smoking, you can campaign, which is why we do that.

:52:36.:52:43.

Some people might like `` some people might find it difficult to

:52:44.:52:51.

find this `` fund this. My job is to do the job around evidence, science.

:52:52.:52:57.

Let's begin our other guests. This used to be paid for by the NHS and

:52:58.:53:03.

now they have made it to local authorities, and local authorities

:53:04.:53:06.

have other fish to fry. It was part of a measure to put a renewed focus

:53:07.:53:11.

on public health. Public health would be seen as not just something

:53:12.:53:17.

within the NHS, but something that does everyone's responsibility. But

:53:18.:53:22.

the NHS has got a stake in preventing disease, whereas local

:53:23.:53:29.

authorities have not. Local authorities are the interface for

:53:30.:53:34.

local communities. That is where I think local authorities have a

:53:35.:53:37.

strong and significant role which is backed up by a lot of research. Do

:53:38.:53:42.

you think that the government is tough enough on smoking? I think the

:53:43.:53:47.

previous Labour government did an awful lot to tackle smoking, and

:53:48.:53:51.

obviously, what we are seeing is the smoking ban, which we implemented,

:53:52.:53:56.

and now of course we are taking action to ban smoking in cars with

:53:57.:54:02.

children. That vote is tomorrow Will you vote for that? I am voting

:54:03.:54:08.

for that, yes. I would vote for that. I think it is important that

:54:09.:54:12.

we take users to make sure that children are protected in the

:54:13.:54:16.

circumstances. That is not to say that we would store them into

:54:17.:54:22.

people's houses and stopped then. `` that is not to say that we would

:54:23.:54:25.

storm into people's houses and stop them. This week, the Education

:54:26.:54:31.

Secretary once again sent shock waves through staff rooms. Michael

:54:32.:54:36.

Gove says he wants more discipline in schools and extra tests for

:54:37.:54:40.

pupils. It has not gone down at all well with teachers who are set to

:54:41.:54:44.

strike again next month in a dispute over their pay.

:54:45.:54:50.

They are values steeped in tradition. Rigorous testing of

:54:51.:54:58.

ability and of knowledge. State schools need a longer school day.

:54:59.:55:04.

This week, the Education Secretary had this advice for the nation's

:55:05.:55:08.

teachers, he said that under a future Conservative government, he

:55:09.:55:10.

would have longer days at schools, perhaps even nine or ten hours long

:55:11.:55:18.

`` long, and tests at 13, and above all, discipline, perhaps even line

:55:19.:55:25.

stop and that has upset some `` lines. And that has upset some

:55:26.:55:31.

teachers. Using writing as a punishment, that has flabbergasted

:55:32.:55:37.

me. You learn that you never use reading or writing as a punishment.

:55:38.:55:41.

It is completely contradicted to everything you are trying to do as a

:55:42.:55:46.

teacher. It shows he has no understanding what we are trying to

:55:47.:55:50.

achieve at all. Michael Gove has likened resistance to his changes to

:55:51.:55:55.

a 1950s science`fiction film, and has been comparing this to dismiss

:55:56.:55:59.

to a shape shifting mass will never make them universally popular. Sir

:56:00.:56:07.

David Carter oversees 11 schools in the West and has the ear of

:56:08.:56:13.

government. I think that the divides opinion. I think he is the darling

:56:14.:56:18.

of the right wing and the left`wing parity him to their own peril. He is

:56:19.:56:24.

an intelligent man. In his party is very popular and I think they look

:56:25.:56:29.

to him to provide vision and strategy when they have been

:56:30.:56:34.

challenged in the public sector Whether he is universally liked I

:56:35.:56:42.

am not sure. Back `` a level politics students are considering a

:56:43.:56:46.

Labour initiative. Making it so the teachers have to prove this every

:56:47.:56:55.

three years will put them off. It would take them through sufficient

:56:56.:56:59.

ways to teach the children better. The idea that teachers have ``

:57:00.:57:04.

teachers should have licenses has also angered many in the

:57:05.:57:07.

profession. I think it is about the deep rough rationalizing of

:57:08.:57:13.

teachers, really. You do not have tests for teachers every three

:57:14.:57:17.

years, you do not have tests for dentists or people like that, and it

:57:18.:57:20.

is a profession and it deserves to be treated as one, and I do not

:57:21.:57:26.

think this is a very sensible mind `` line for label `` line up for

:57:27.:57:35.

Labour to take at all. It is clear that education will be a key theme

:57:36.:57:41.

in 2015, but just writing it out, it makes me think I have heard it

:57:42.:57:45.

somewhere before. Education, education and education.

:57:46.:57:52.

I am surprised he could spell it! You are a school governor, aren t

:57:53.:57:55.

you? Why is Michael Gove is setting the agenda? I do not think he is. We

:57:56.:58:01.

are looking at getting more qualified teachers into schools to

:58:02.:58:05.

stop I think Chris and I might have a different perspective `` into

:58:06.:58:11.

schools. I think Chris and I might have different perspectives on the

:58:12.:58:14.

eye think Chris looks at the more politically than I do, but as a

:58:15.:58:18.

parent, you want your children to make sure they are in a classroom

:58:19.:58:24.

with someone who understands not just the subject but how to deal

:58:25.:58:27.

with your children emotionally, and we are seeing classrooms filling up

:58:28.:58:33.

with unqualified teachers. As they are in private goals. They seem to

:58:34.:58:39.

rub along, don't they `` private schools. They seem to rub along

:58:40.:58:43.

don't they? I'm in schools have a lot to learn from state schools ``

:58:44.:58:50.

private schools have a lot to learn from state schools. I think Michael

:58:51.:58:53.

is determined to transform the educational landscape to make sure

:58:54.:59:01.

that pupils get the chance... We are in this global `` global race, and

:59:02.:59:05.

we have got to make sure that we give people the education that the

:59:06.:59:09.

very best and brightest deserve and that is what we are setting out to

:59:10.:59:14.

do. Is it reasonable to license teachers every three years or test

:59:15.:59:17.

them every three years? That is an interesting debate. There were

:59:18.:59:26.

18,000 qualified children `` teachers under label `` teachers

:59:27.:59:33.

under Labour, and now there are 14,000. When it comes to asking

:59:34.:59:39.

teachers to have a test every three years, it sounds great, but what is

:59:40.:59:42.

behind that sensible is the practice of extra bureaucracy and paperwork

:59:43.:59:47.

will stop when you check them out if they failed but you Mark? `` tabor

:59:48.:59:53.

work. Would you chalk them out if they failed? No. We would give them

:59:54.:00:03.

time. It is just making sure that they are up to scratch so they can

:00:04.:00:11.

teach people 's property `` properly `` pupils properly. As I said

:00:12.:00:17.

earlier, I do not think we should be using private schools as a benchmark

:00:18.:00:25.

all of the time. In Bristol, every secondary school,, and some of their

:00:26.:00:28.

facilities are are better than some of the private schools. We have had

:00:29.:00:37.

to schools go back into the state sector. They used to be a huge

:00:38.:00:41.

divide in Bristol between the state sector and the private sector. They

:00:42.:00:54.

have transformed. Is he up `` is the aspiring to appeal to middle`class

:00:55.:00:58.

parents? The one way he could do that is to improve the quality of

:00:59.:01:03.

education. We have seen education maintenance allowance being cut All

:01:04.:01:06.

of those things that make our state schools equal to public schools We

:01:07.:01:12.

have to leave it there. The floods in Somerset dominated the political

:01:13.:01:17.

week, but that was not all that happened. Here is our 62nd round up.

:01:18.:01:29.

`` 62nd round up. Mark Harper has resigned as Immigration Minister

:01:30.:01:33.

after discovering that his own cleaner was an illegal immigrant. He

:01:34.:01:38.

had been responsible for a tough government clamp`down. One of his

:01:39.:01:41.

most famous moments was on this programme, when he told an Iraqi

:01:42.:01:45.

asylum seeker to go home. Many reckon it will not be long before he

:01:46.:01:50.

is back in government. I think he would be a terrific minister. He

:01:51.:01:55.

will carry on being. It is to his credit that he has stepped up to the

:01:56.:01:59.

plate and said that there is a higher standard that applies to him

:02:00.:02:07.

and that he `` and we will miss him in government but I hope he is back

:02:08.:02:12.

before too long. The Prime Minister has said that the West still mind

:02:13.:02:20.

him of the romance. He says one sung by a popular band reminds him of

:02:21.:02:24.

when he used to drive to see his wife.

:02:25.:02:30.

And on that note, it is time to say that is it. Thank you to our guests

:02:31.:02:38.

for being here. Do not forget, you can keep up to speed on your local

:02:39.:02:43.

BBC radio station, and you can also a voice. Both of you, thank you so

:02:44.:02:56.

much. Andrew, it is back to you Can David Cameron get a grip on the

:02:57.:03:01.

floods? Can UKIP push the Conservatives into third place in

:03:02.:03:04.

the Wythenshawe by-election on Thursday? Is the speaker in the

:03:05.:03:07.

House of Commons in danger of overheating? All questions over the

:03:08.:03:15.

weekend. Let's look at the politics of the flooding. Let me show you a

:03:16.:03:22.

clip from Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, earlier on

:03:23.:03:29.

the BBC this morning. We perhaps relied too much on the Environment

:03:30.:03:35.

Agency's advice. I apologise. I apologise unreservedly and I am

:03:36.:03:39.

really sorry we took the advice of what we thought we were doing was

:03:40.:03:45.

the best. The Environment Agency is being hung out to dry by the

:03:46.:03:48.

Government and the Government has taken over the running of the

:03:49.:03:54.

environmental mess in the Somerset Levels. It is turning into a serious

:03:55.:03:59.

crisis by the Government and even more so for the people who are

:04:00.:04:03.

dealing with the flooding. There is no doubt that what has been revealed

:04:04.:04:09.

is it is not just about what the Government did or did not do six

:04:10.:04:14.

months ago. What is being exposed is an entire culture within the

:04:15.:04:19.

Environment Agency, fuelled often by European directives about dredging

:04:20.:04:23.

and all manner of other things, a culture grew up in which plants were

:04:24.:04:28.

put ahead of people if you like All of that is collapsing in very

:04:29.:04:32.

difficult circumstances by the Government and it is difficult for

:04:33.:04:38.

them to manage. Chris Smith would save the Environment Agency is

:04:39.:04:41.

acting under a law set by this Government and previous governments

:04:42.:04:46.

and the first priority is the protection of life, second property

:04:47.:04:49.

and third agricultural land and he is saying we are working within that

:04:50.:04:55.

framework. It is an edifying spectacle, they are setting up Lord

:04:56.:04:59.

Smith to be the fall guy. His term of office comes at the end of the

:05:00.:05:03.

summer and they will find something new. But the point Lord Smith is

:05:04.:05:08.

making is that dredging is important and it was a mistake not to dredge,

:05:09.:05:12.

but it is a bigger picture than that. I am no expert, but you need a

:05:13.:05:17.

whole skill solution that is looking not just bad dredging, but at the

:05:18.:05:24.

whole catchment area looking at the production of maize. It is harvested

:05:25.:05:28.

in autumn and then the water runs off the topsoil. You see the

:05:29.:05:34.

pictures of the flooding, it is all topsoil flooding through those

:05:35.:05:38.

towns. What you have got to have in the uplands is some land that can

:05:39.:05:42.

absorb that water and there are really big questions about the way

:05:43.:05:47.

we carry out farming. Chris Smith was meant to appear on the Andrew

:05:48.:05:51.

Marr show this morning, but pulled back at the last minute. There must

:05:52.:05:55.

be doubts as to whether he can survive to the summer. Where is the

:05:56.:05:59.

chief executive of the Environment Agency? I agree with Nick that Chris

:06:00.:06:06.

Smith has been setup in this situation. David Cameron went to the

:06:07.:06:10.

Somerset Levels on Friday for about half an hour, in and out, with no

:06:11.:06:17.

angry people shouting at him. You to a farm. It is agreed he has had good

:06:18.:06:24.

crisis. But we are seen as being a London media class who does not

:06:25.:06:30.

understand the countryside. You can imagine David Cameron in a pair of

:06:31.:06:34.

wellies. If this was happening in Guildford, it would not have dragged

:06:35.:06:40.

on for so long. Looe it is interesting how they are saying the

:06:41.:06:43.

Environment Agency has put words in front of everything else. The

:06:44.:06:49.

great-great-grandson of Queen Victoria thinks people should be

:06:50.:06:53.

sacked at the whim. He is talking about how the Environment Agency

:06:54.:06:57.

spent ?31 million on a bird sanctuary. It turns out the bird

:06:58.:07:03.

sanctuary was an attempt to put up a flood defence system for a village

:07:04.:07:08.

which has worked. That village has been saved. They compensated some

:07:09.:07:12.

farmers for the farmland they were not going to be able to farm and put

:07:13.:07:17.

a flood defence system further back to protect this village and then

:07:18.:07:26.

they built a bird sanctuary. It was not ?31 million to create a bird

:07:27.:07:29.

sanctuary, it was to save a village and it worked. But in 2008 the

:07:30.:07:35.

Environment Agency was talking about dynamiting every pumping agency

:07:36.:07:40.

There was a metropolitan mindset on the part of that agency. If it does

:07:41.:07:45.

what Owen Paterson, who is now off in an eye operation, suggested a

:07:46.:07:51.

plan to fix this, they will find a lot of what they want or need to do

:07:52.:07:56.

will be in contravention of European directives. The Wythenshawe

:07:57.:08:04.

by-election. There is no question Labour is going to win, probably

:08:05.:08:09.

incredibly convincingly, one poll showing 60% plus of the vote. It

:08:10.:08:14.

would be surprising if Labour was in any threat up there. The issue is,

:08:15.:08:19.

does UKIP beat the Tories and if so, by how much? The latest poll was

:08:20.:08:25.

showing it in second place as nip and tuck, but the feeling I have is

:08:26.:08:32.

UKIP will do better. And they have got a great local candidate. The

:08:33.:08:35.

Tories have not parachuted somebody in and they have got a local man in

:08:36.:08:40.

and that will help them. We have all been waiting to see if the Tories

:08:41.:08:44.

lose their head, but they might go chicken earlier than that. Will UKIP

:08:45.:08:53.

come second? It looks like that A poll this week showed that Labour is

:08:54.:08:58.

way ahead and UKIP possibly second. But it is an important by-election

:08:59.:09:03.

for UKIP. If they do well in the European elections, they should

:09:04.:09:08.

still be on a roll. They did really well in by-elections last year. If

:09:09.:09:11.

they do not do well, is it because they are not on payroll? Or in

:09:12.:09:17.

Manchester they have a fantastic leader of the council? Will UKIP

:09:18.:09:23.

come a good second? I think they will and if they do not, it might

:09:24.:09:27.

suggest Nigel Farage is losing its slightly. One thing to look out for

:09:28.:09:34.

is how little Labour are attacking UKIP. Their election strategy relies

:09:35.:09:39.

a lot on UKIP taking Tory votes But it could also take Labour votes

:09:40.:09:45.

Particularly in the north and we shall see. The results will be out

:09:46.:09:50.

on Thursday night. The Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bird ,

:09:51.:09:57.

his interventions have become more frequent and something was strange.

:09:58.:10:03.

Have a look. I am grateful to the honourable gentleman. Order, the

:10:04.:10:10.

Government Chief Whip has absolutely no business whatsoever shouting from

:10:11.:10:15.

a sedentary position. Order, the honourable gentleman will remain in

:10:16.:10:20.

the chamber. If we could tackle this problem. I say to the honourable

:10:21.:10:28.

member for Bridgwater, be quiet if you cannot be quiet, get out, it is

:10:29.:10:32.

rude, stupid and pompous and it needs to stop. Michael Gove. Order.

:10:33.:10:51.

You really... Order. You are a very over excitable individual. You need

:10:52.:10:57.

to write out 1000 times, I will behave myself at Prime Minister 's

:10:58.:11:01.

questions. He was talking to the Education Secretary and it is not

:11:02.:11:07.

1000 lines, it is 100 lines, at least it was in my day. Is he

:11:08.:11:16.

beginning to make a fool of himself? There was only one over excitable

:11:17.:11:19.

person there and that was the speaker and he is losing the

:11:20.:11:22.

confidence of the Conservative MPs, but he never had that in the first

:11:23.:11:27.

place. But he is an incredibly reforming speaker. He has this

:11:28.:11:32.

strange idea that Parliament should hold the Government to account. It

:11:33.:11:39.

will never catch on. It means very frequently there are urgent

:11:40.:11:44.

questions. The other day he called a backbench amendment on the

:11:45.:11:47.

deportation of foreign criminals. He could have found a way not to call

:11:48.:11:53.

that. He is a real reformer and the executive do not like that. That is

:11:54.:11:57.

true and he has allowed Parliament to flourish which has given us room

:11:58.:12:05.

to breathe at a time of a coalition Government when Parliament has more

:12:06.:12:09.

power. That is all that enough to overcome these increasingly mannered

:12:10.:12:15.

and some of them may be preplanned interventions? The last one was last

:12:16.:12:22.

week, and last week the speaker had a rather stressful week with the

:12:23.:12:30.

tabloids. Something is clearly up. I think it is a real shame. I think

:12:31.:12:36.

many of us when he was elected did not think he would make a great

:12:37.:12:40.

speaker and there are people like Douglas Carswell and Tory rebels who

:12:41.:12:45.

have said he is a fantastic speaker. He has given the Commons room to

:12:46.:12:50.

breathe and he has called on ministers to be held to account when

:12:51.:12:55.

they do not want to be. What do you think? He is seen as anti-government

:12:56.:13:00.

and he is pro-backbencher and that is what people do not like. People

:13:01.:13:06.

like Douglas Carswell are actually very strongly in support of him We

:13:07.:13:13.

carry the interventions every week on Prime Minister 's questions and

:13:14.:13:17.

we see them every week and they are getting a bit more eccentric. If I

:13:18.:13:21.

was having to keep that under control, I would be driven slowly

:13:22.:13:28.

mad. But his job is easier than mine. But if you look at his

:13:29.:13:33.

deputy, Eleanor Laing, she is very robust, but she is calm. Chap who

:13:34.:13:40.

does the budget is excellent. We are on throughout the week at midday on

:13:41.:13:49.

BBC Two. We will be back next Sunday at 11. If it is Sunday, it is the

:13:50.:13:52.

Sunday Politics.

:13:53.:13:59.

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