09/02/2014 Sunday Politics West


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

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 09/02/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



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


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


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


Embarrassment for the Government is the Immigration Minister resigns


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


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


the machine politics of union fixes in the Labour Party,


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


advertisements like In London after two days of


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


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


public coalition spats can David Cameron and Nick Clegg keep the


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


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


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


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


the Immigration Minister, his cleaner and some lost documents


Yesterday Mark Harper tendered his resignation, telling the media he


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


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


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


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


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


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


This would seem like a good resignation, maybe unlike the


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


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


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


checks that landlords and employers will have to perform on employees


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


residents of coastal areas with more storms bringing more flooding and


after Prince Charles visited the Somerset Levels on Tuesday the


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


last. For last weekend's Sunday Politics I


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


rivers and stitches can carry a better capacity. The Environment


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


farmer and landowner around here knows should have been done for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


least some dredging on these rivers and in particular because these


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


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


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


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


catchment wide approach to improve infiltration upstream and you also


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


will remain agricultural landscape. Everybody, all the interested


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


regulations that stop action. Last year the flooding minister agreed


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


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


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


being told what to do by the Environment Agency, central


Government and the European Union? The internal drainage boards have


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


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


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


management and of environmental improvement turning the Somerset


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


leave it there. We have run out of time.


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


relationship with the unions. Changes to the rules that propelled


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


individual trade union members have a direct relationship with the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


businesses, and small and medium-sized businesses are an


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


comments arguing against the reduction of the top rate of tax


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


companies, the average managing director of that gets around


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


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


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


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


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


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


controversial. Those with the broadest shoulders, it is not


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


continued to needle away at the Education Secretary. And other


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


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


children to Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and his party colleague


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


man in charge of schools Conservative Michael Gove. Mr Laws


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


significant has been Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander s


recent newspaper interview firmly spiking any room for George Osborne


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


builds on the inclusion in Government at the reshuffle of


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


people who are happier to publically express doubt on Conservative


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


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


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


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


Conservatives would be harder still. Nonetheless a differentiation


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


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


problem in terms of their distinctiveness, so attacking their


coalition partners or the Labour Party is helpful in showing what


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Matthew Oakeshott and senior Conservative backbencher Bernard


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


put our positive policies across rather than having this tricky


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


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


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


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


of my committee reports are unanimous reports from all parties.


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


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


Government because it would be easier for legislation. The


legislation you could not get through would not get through


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


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


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


difference. What makes a difference from the perspective of the


committee I chair is historically we have had single party Government


that have collective responsibility and clarity. The reason that is


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


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


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


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


it continues at this level of intensity of the enemy within


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


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


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


Chuka Umunna missed the point talking about business support.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Government so they stop blocking the Government putting forward a


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


looking Good morning. Welcome. Can we really


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


government are now looking to reinstate the funding which they


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that packaging can appeal to children. One concern is over


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


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


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


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


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


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


impact for taxpayer money, putting more people in Gloucestershire to


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


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


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


just decided to stop funding altogether. We have heard from


trading standards how illegal tobacco is coming in and getting


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


political decisions taken on the basis of people posit personal


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


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


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


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


government to introduce plain packaging, but we may never see


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


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


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


advertisements? Because the councils that fund us are absolutely serious


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


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


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


effective. We are a specialist health organisation and our primary


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


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


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


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


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


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


Southwest, where you have a situation where it government money


is being used to lobby government and introduce legislation. With


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


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


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


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


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


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


lobby government. Federal government already spends millions of pounds on


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


that communicates the strongest possible evidence to the public and


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


authorities have not. Local authorities are the interface for


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Secretary once again sent shock waves through staff rooms. Michael


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


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


strike again next month in a dispute over their pay.


They are values steeped in tradition. Rigorous testing of


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


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


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


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


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


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


teachers. Using writing as a punishment, that has flabbergasted


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


to him to provide vision and strategy when they have been


challenged in the public sector Whether he is universally liked I


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


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


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


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


teachers should have licenses has also angered many in the


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


somewhere before. Education, education and education.


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


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


are looking at getting more qualified teachers into schools to


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


is determined to transform the educational landscape to make sure


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


behind that sensible is the practice of extra bureaucracy and paperwork


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


education. We have seen education maintenance allowance being cut All


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


when he used to drive to see his wife.


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


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


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


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


floods? Can UKIP push the Conservatives into third place in


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


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


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


clip from Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, earlier on


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


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


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


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


Government and the Government has taken over the running of the


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


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


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


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


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


Environment Agency, fuelled often by European directives about dredging


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


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


difficult circumstances by the Government and it is difficult for


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


acting under a law set by this Government and previous governments


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Environment Agency was talking about dynamiting every pumping agency


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


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


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


will be in contravention of European directives. The Wythenshawe


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


his interventions have become more frequent and something was strange.


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


Government Chief Whip has absolutely no business whatsoever shouting from


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Sunday Politics.


Download Subtitles